marital tension, NBA, sports

BREAKING NEWS: NBA Season is On!

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA owners and players reached a tentative agreement early Saturday to end the 149-day lockout despite intense, eleventh hour attempts by Erin Vore to provoke tensions on both sides and prolong the standoff until the end of time.

“I am bitterly disappointed that both sides reached an agreement,” Vore told reporters. “I thought maybe I’d never have to be subjected to a Utah Jazz post again. Well, that dream is dead.”

The NBA hopes to begin the delayed season on Christmas Day. “Great, way to ruin my favorite holiday,” Vore said.

“We want to play basketball,” NBA commissioner David Stern said. “No, we don’t,” Vore added.

After a secret meeting earlier this week, the sides met for more than 15 hours Friday, working to try to save the season. Vore, present at the talks, sat next to Derek Fisher and held up signs that said, “CAN’T WAIT FOR NUCLEAR WINTER!” throughout the tense negotiations.

According to sources present during the talks, Vore berated Stern for being a “pansy” and a “turdburger.”

The usually unflappable Stern appeared particularly shaken when, after calling for reconciliation and labeling past disagreements as “unfortunate,” Vore shouted, “Your mom is unfortunate!” Later Vore added, “Before we’re done here, y’all be wearing gold-plated diapers.”

“What does that even mean?” Stern whispered to NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver, who shrugged as he deleted the 724th e-mail from Scott Guldin to his BlackBerry requesting that the price of the League Pass be lowered.

This handshake deal almost didn’t happen when Vore began pulling down her pants in an apparent attempt to poop on the actual handshake. She was restrained by security and escorted outside where she crumpled on the sidewalk and sobbed for an hour.

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Friday Recommends, marital tension, movies

Friday Recommends: Not Seeing Contagion On Date Night

This should have been our first warning.

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Date nights come around only so often, and they get to be pricey once childcare is involved, so by no means should you make the same mistake we did tonight by squandering your romantic evening out on the movie Contagion. This is especially true if one of the people in your marriage is a hypochondriac.

Contagion begins with a cough. Then we see Gwyneth Paltrow looking a wee bit under the weather. Within ten minutes, she is dead. In another five, her head is being cut open for an autopsy. The director, Steven Soderbergh, who clearly hates us, films Paltrow’s face so we can hear the saw but not see the cut … until a doctor folds her scalp down over her forehead. The elderly woman in front of us leaned over to the person sitting next to her and said, “What’s going on?” Someone behind us laughed heartily. Someone else muttered, “At least somebody is enjoying this.”

Contagion proceeds to track the rapid spread of a bat/pig virus that has ruthlessly mutated and begun wiping out our finest Oscar-winning actresses. It is a creepily satisfying thriller — the virus goes global, and we are informed of all the cities and their populations being introduced to this lethal outbreak — but you will not want to do any cuddling or hand-holding during or after the movie, and possibly you will never want to touch another human being ever again. For that, you would be better served going to see 50/50 (our second choice), or perhaps even Moneyball (sold out).

If you insist on seeing Contagion, however, you will be treated to Jude Law’s truly awful teeth; a delicately restrained performance from Matt Damon; many pensive looks from Marion Cotillard; lots of coughing Asians; some sharp editing work that makes everyday objects like a drinking glass radiate germs; and the implicit message that government is a force for good that should be trusted in times of crisis. You’ll also get a good laugh any time Jennifer Ehle or Demetri Martin put on their hazmat suits. The world may be going to hell in a handbasket, but who can resist laughing at people with big, goofy balloon limbs? Not us.

family, marital tension, marriage

Did We Or Didn’t We?

One of the recurring little arguments in our marriage is whether or not we watched The Last Temptation of Christ together. Erin says yes; Ben no. “I distinctly remember sitting on our futon in our apartment on Westlawn watching it with someone else,” Erin says. “Then you were watching it with another man,” Ben says. “Yeah, I called my secret boyfriend and said, ‘Hey, feel like coming over to my husband’s house and watching The Last Temptation of Christ with me?'”

As evidence, Ben cites his journal, in which he obsessively (Erin may not choose so kind a word) records any books or films he has read or watched. Scanning back through the early years of our marriage in Nashville, there is no record of The Last Temptation of Christ. (There is, however, The Spanish Prisoner, which Erin claims she never watched. “Yes you did, remember?” Ben says. “It had Steve Martin and Campbell Scott and Campbell Scott thought he was going crazy.” “I have never seen that film,” Erin says. “Why would I have written it down in my journal?” Ben asks. “Why would I have written it down in my journal?” Erin says in a higher-pitched, whiny voice: the game, set, match of any elementary school argument.)

The nature of these arguments, and the reason they endure, is that they are essentially freed from any determinative fact. Evidence from one party that is seen as infallible (Ben’s journal) is seen by the other side as highly suspect if not irrelevant (or simply downright erroneous). There are only conflicting eyewitness accounts and a hung jury. And the case can always be retried. It’s like a “Law & Order” repeat in which both sides reiterate the exact same arguments and it ends with no resolution. Then it’s on again the following week.

We have only been married six years, which is not nearly as much time for memories to entrench and fossilize as, say, thirty or forty years. If we can’t remember things correctly now, how will our memories — the shared understanding of the way our story happened — ever improve? The answer is they won’t. Rather than fret about this, however, we’re trying to make peace with it.

There is also always the chance of resolution, of one party finally acceding to the other and saying, “Yes, yes, you’re right, it happened the way you say it did.” My (Ben’s) parents for years recounted their sides of what came to be known as “The Deviled Eggs Incident.” The account more or less goes that my mom and her family, being good, down-home, Midwestern-bordering-on-Southern Baptists, had a thing for potlucks and deviled eggs. My dad did not, and so throughout their dating my father frequently declined to partake of what was, to his prospective in-laws, a supreme delicacy.

Fast forward to their first year of marriage when, at a party or on a cruise (depending on who’s telling the story; the mental picture of a cruise is what settles in my mind, though it is almost certain my parents never went on a cruise together), a young, somewhat attractive (again, how attractive depends on the teller) woman offered my parents a plate of deviled eggs. Dad took an egg; Mom went ballistic. (Some accounts have my dad saying, “Why yes, I love deviled eggs!”)

Throughout my childhood, this incident was recalled and hotly debated many times. It is why my brother and I were never once served deviled eggs. My mom pledged never to make them for her husband until he agreed to her account of the story and confessed his wrongdoing.

Then, not too long ago, the accounts suddenly merged. We were at a family reunion and there, on both of my parents’ plates, were deviled eggs. “Wait, what’s going on?” I said. They laughed. It was no big deal. My father had apparently pleaded forgiveness and fessed up, corroborating my mother’s account of the incident and since enjoying, on occasion, her deviled eggs when she decided to make them for parties or church potlucks. “Your mother makes very good deviled eggs,” he said, to which she responded, “That’s right, and I always have.” Whether my father finally remembered the incident differently or whether he just wanted to bury the past and make his wife happy, to this day I’m still not sure. Maybe he was simply hoping I was taking notes, and wouldn’t make the same mistake he did.

marital tension, poop

Marriage In The Digital Age

NPR featured a story the other day about technology and marriage — specifically, the challenges of intimacy and companionship when there’s an iPhone in the room (or Blackberry at the dinner table, or laptop in bed).

A typical scenario plays out in the South Florida home of Carolyn and Sorin Popescu. With dinner over and the dishes done, the couple might settle in to watch TV. It could be a cozy time to reconnect at the end of the day. That is, if Sorin didn’t have to manage work e-mails on his iPhone — again.

“I would make a reference to something on the TV,” says Carolyn, “and he’d say ‘Huh, what? Oh that’s funny, yeah,’ and put his head back down and keep typing. So, you miss a little bit of closeness that way.”

Sorin can’t avoid working evenings — he manages staff in time zones around the world. Still, the couple have had spats over his iPhone use, including one heated beachfront argument when Carolyn threatened to rip the device out of his hands and throw it into the water.

We’ve experienced our own spats along these lines — like the time Ben moved the microwave to his nightstand.

“What are you doing?” Erin asked.

“Heating up nachos,” Ben said as he crawled into bed. The timer went off and Ben pulled out a hot plate of cheesy goodness. “You want one?”

“No, I brushed my teeth,” Erin said. “Aren’t you concerned about sleeping with that thing twelve inches from your head?”

“Drust me,” Ben said, cheese stringing from his mouth, “dis is wordth it.”

Matters got stickier the following night when Ben and Erin were sitting up in bed using their respective handheld electronic devices. Ben’s beeped.

“Why did you just send me a text asking if I brushed my teeth with dog crap?” he said.

“Because your breath smells like dog crap.”

“No, I mean — I’m sitting right here. You could have told me.”

“I chose not to do so for obvious reasons, namely that I didn’t feel like smelling dog crap breath.”

“Not only is this hurting my feelings,” Ben replied, “but it’s ruining a perfectly good Hot Pocket.”

The following night, Erin returned from brushing her teeth to find Ben sitting up in bed, arms folded, looking pouty.

“Are we out of nachos or something?”

Ben shook his head.

“Oh, we ran out of dog crap toothpaste?”

Ben shook his head.

“Oh, oh, I know. Trader Joe’s stopped selling those microwavable beef taquitos you like so much! I’m really sorry, honey. Life’s just so unfair sometimes.”

“That’s not why I’m pouting.”

“Oh it isn’t? Then what else could it be?”

“Maybe that you tweeted that I’m having back hair removal surgery next week.”

“Oh, that.”

“Honey, why are we doing this? It’s like we don’t even talk anymore. I guess it was a mistake to move the microwave into the bedroom, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, it was. And I’m sorry if I’ve behaved a little passive-aggressively the past few days, it’s just that I think technology has contributed to some tension in our holy matrimony.”

“So we need to set boundaries?”

“Yes, I think we do.”

“Do you want the microwave on your nightstand?”

“NO I DO NOT want the microwave on my nightstand. I want it in the kitchen. Where it belongs.”

“Well. Okay. If it’s tearing this marriage apart, then I can do it. I’ll move it down there tomorrow.”

“I’d like it moved tonight, thank you.”

“But my Hungry-Man Mexican Style Fajitas! They’ll be done in twelve seconds.”

“I will take a sledgehammer to that microwave if you choose Hungry-Man fajitas over your spouse.”

“All right, all right! I’m moving it now. You can be such a Luddite sometimes.”

“I love you too.”

marital tension, marriage

Wife Locks Husband In Laundry Room

We’ve had our spats, but thankfully it never degenerated this far:

ARROU, France – An 80-year-old Frenchman was recovering in a state of shock in hospital on Saturday after being freed from a year locked in a laundry room by a wife half his age and her alleged lover.

French paramilitary police rescued the unnamed man from his home in the village of Arrou, southwest of Paris, on Wednesday, blinded, malnourished and physically abused by the ordeal at the hands of his own family.

“The victim suffered violence and ill-treatment,” local police commander Bruno Arviset told journalists. “The man ate twice a day, mostly pastries that were past their sell-by date.”

Wouldn’t this have been an interesting Jack Bauer enhanced interrogation technique? “Oh, I’m not going to torture you with these pliers. I’m going to torture you with a Mrs. Freshley Jumbo Honey Bun.”

His wife, 45, was jailed on Saturday pending trial after being charged with physical abuse, illegal detention and taking advantage of a vulnerable person, a judicial source said.

Investigators suspect the man’s family had a financial motive as around $650,000 dollars had been taken from the man’s bank accounts in recent months.

Thankfully, Ben does not have $650,000 in the bank.

Friday Recommends, marital tension, music

Friday Recommends: These Five CDs

When Eric Bescak visited us last month, he delivered a flash drive containing twenty albums, albums from bands mostly unknown to our ears yet borne aloft by indie cred, favorable word-of-mouth, and — most significantly — Eric’s insistent stamp of approval. His generous gift to us was an invitation to explore new musical frontiers. Perhaps it will not come as a total surprise to Eric that we have — we mean it when we say unintentionally — neglected his recommendations in favor of five new albums from old stand-bys. We have chosen comfort food over the exotic. But it’s good comfort food.

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Fruit Bats, The Ruminant Band. The one recommendation from Eric that we did take was this one, after he promised that The Ruminant Band would “make us forget we ever loved Wilco.” That was obviously an overstatement. But The Ruminant Band has its own pleasures to offer. A sunny 70s AM vibe prevails, notably on “Primitive Man” and “Being On Our Own.” There’s an effortless, breezy feel to the whole affair: perfect music for porch-sitting on a summer night. “Everything is gonna be just fine,” Eric Johnson sings on the closer, “Flamingo.” Pass the PBR.

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The New Pornographers, Together. The New Pornographers haven’t exactly broken new ground with Together, but this is their best album since Mass Romantic. What was unsuccessful in TNP’s previous album, Challengers — more mid-tempo songs and less pop bombast —  has been honed here with the supergroup’s most collaborative effort to date. (Even the Dan Bejar tracks aren’t half bad!) High points: the slow-burning “Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk” and “My Shepherd,” sweeping “Up in the Dark,” and horn-driven “A Bite Out Of My Bed.”

Here’s the video for “Crash Years.” Anne Evans loves it.

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LCD Soundsystem, This Is Happening. It would be a shame if this is James Murphy’s final album as LCD Soundsystem, as he has claimed (or threatened). With nods to Bowie and Eno, This Is Happening lives up to its massive expectations, delivering superior art/dance rock and some pretty snappy lyrics to boot. (“Be honest with me, honestly/ Unless it hurts my feelings,” he sings on “Drunk Girls.”) With everyone tripping over themselves to praise his sound, Murphy seems to be taking it in stride; as he put it in a New Yorker profile last month (written by, of course, Sasha Frere-Jones), “I understand that if someone’s going to make me his idea of cool I can’t control that.”

We’re not linking to a video on this one. This means you should go buy it and listen to “All I Want,” a shoo-in for the Top Ten Songs of 2010. Go.

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The National, High Violet. This is not a happy album, but it’s the best thing we’ve heard so far this year. Former Cincinnatians-turned-New-Yorkers The National are known for brooding, theatrical pop — anti-summer music. “Sorrow” begins with Matt Berninger’s sad sack baritone singing, “Sorrow found me when I was young / Sorrow waited, sorrow won.” “Conversation 16” features a chorus with the lyrics, “I was afraid I’d eat your brains / Because I am evil.” Remarkably, it all sounds good — and sometimes great. Should sadness sound this pretty?

High Violet has deepened with every listen so far, and we expect there’s more melancholy, social anxiety and heartbreak to come the more we burrow in. “The National aren’t ‘dad-rock’ so much as ‘men’s magazine rock,'” sayeth Pitchfork, “music chiefly interested in the complications of being a stable person expected to own certain things and dress certain ways.” We’re not sure we’d endorse the “men’s magazine rock” label, but the rest of it is pretty accurate.

If the lyrics to “Bloodbuzz Ohio” are any indication, we don’t think they miss home.

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The Hold Steady, Heaven is Whenever. Ben has to play this when Erin’s not home, given her towering hatred for all things Hold Steady. Former keyboardist Franz Nicolay left the band after Stay Positive, and his absence is felt. Still, “The Weekenders” and “Hurricane J” deliver the same rousing, raise-a-glass-and-sing-along spirit we’ve come to expect from Craig Finn and–

[Erin takes computer from Ben]

I would rather shred my ears with a cheese grater than tolerate this music being played anywhere, ever, to anyone’s satisfaction, much less the man who will be the father of my child. This is why we don’t own a cheese grater.

[Erin hands computer back]

Yes, well. It’s not their finest but any stretch — more of an album you admire than love, really — but Heaven is Whenever is still a kick. Having never seen them live (by choice for one of us, by circumstance for the other … you can guess which is which), this clip from The Late Show sure gives us the impression Finn is kind of a dork.

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Next Voreplay: Black Keys, Tift Merritt and Teenage Fanclub (how we’ve missed you!). Oh, and everything Eric gave us. Also, Dave Powell said we could quote him as strongly endorsing David Byrne & Fatboy Slim’s Here Lies Love, a two-disc song cycle about Imelda Marcos’s rise to fame. You heard it here first.

marital tension, parenthood

Back On The Grid

We’ve been off the grid for a little while, and you may be asking yourself, What exactly have the Vores been up to if they’re not blogging?

1) Playing Settlers of Catan with our friends (and relatives) Joe & Mary Tufts. After introducing them to the game Friday night, they (Joe) proceeded to beat us on Saturday. We promptly kicked them out and banished them from our home forever.

2) Marveling at Utah’s 25-point comeback last night in Portland. The win (in overtime) lifted the Jazz’s road winning streak to seven games. Maybe holding on to Carlos Boozer was a good idea. (Dumping Ronnie Brewer before the trade deadline, however, was not.)

3) Watching the Winter Olympics. Confession: Russian bobsledders scare the bejeezus out of us.

4) Reading Making Toast and Get Me Out. Reviews to follow sometime soon.

5) Deciding that we will not find out the gender of Baby Voreblog.

Yes, this happens to agree with the results of the Voreblog Readers Poll, in which 58% of you said we should keep it like a secret. But of course marriage is not a democracy, and while your input was greatly valued, Dear Reader, it was not a determining factor. Instead, once we realized we could only joke about disagreeing for so long, we finally got down to the tricky business of actually disagreeing — something we’ve been fortunate to encounter rarely in our marriage. And after discussion, consideration, argument and reconciliation, the end result was this: Erin agreed to give Ben a gift by not finding out.

In exchange, Erin owns veto power and ultimate authority on the naming rights.

What about the dog?, you might be asking. We decided that while we do indeed want a dog, it would be out of order to do the dog first, then baby. Better the other way around.

So that’s where we stand.

Also coming soon: Our long overdue “2009: Best of Movies” post, delayed because we’ve been catching up on many films we missed in the theater. Last week we saw District 9 and The Hurt Locker. We loved one and felt overhyped by the other. Which was which? Stay tuned!