Smug Rocking Chairs in Portsmouth

Lobster trap rocking chairSmug Scout recently spent a long weekend in Portsmouth, which as usual meant an unrelenting onslaught of Smugness (aside from one very very sad absence of Smug camaraderie). Smug Scout had an especially packed agenda because she brought her friend Smug Eastside Actor, who had never before set foot in New Hampshire. One of Smug Scout’s other friends in L.A., Smug Ex-NH Bartender, even touchingly called him a “little NH virgin.” Smug Eastside Actor’s deflowering was as painless as his photography was prolific. Because he is an actual actor, not simply a Smug one, he has almost 3,000 friends/”friends” on the social media site Smug Scout has renamed One Billion Monuments to Narcissism (1BMN), all of whom enjoyed beautiful and alluring photos at five or ten minute intervals all weekend. As a result, the local tourist board is offering him an incentive to return in the form of a free lobster roll at State Street Saloon. (Well, yes, Smug Scout completely made the last part up, but she wanted to give a special mention to that quietly Smug watering hole for its appeal to the most impossible New England chowder and lobster roll purists/elitists. The bar itself is of course not new to her, as the friend who recently abandoned Portsmouth for the bowels of Key West [now Smug Conch Collector? Smug Seedy Florida Bar Trawler?] used to take her there late at night for its colorful local clientele and the legendary “White” Bloody Mary.)

As excited as Smug Eastside Actor was by his new experiences, because Smug Scout comes to Portsmouth four or five times a year, there are not so many surprises for her anymore. Thus she was thrilled by the discovery of Smug rocking chairs made out of lobster traps outside of a ridiculously Smug new store on State Street named Pickwick’s Mercantile. First of all, let us review the key features of Smug chairs:

  1. Absolutely no new materials, only reclaimed and/or repurposed from another, preferably more practical, utility.
  2. Violently uncomfortable.

Smug Scout did not know that all of the grounded lobster traps she sees all over the place in NH and Maine were waiting to be reclaimed and repurposed; she thought they were just regional outdoor decorations, sort of like the dead, rusted out cars on cinder blocks one sometimes sees in less sophisticated Smug-repellent rural or blue collar neighborhoods. So she may be ignorant about all practicalities related to lobster traps, but she does know that chairs made out of them offer a punitive discomfort. They do not have cushions or even contours, though the back meets the seat in a way that is somewhat curved to fit a human body–as long as that body is made of Jell-O. Smug Scout believes it would feel like sitting Indian style on a sewage grate. Even Eames wire chairs appear plush by comparison; at least they are sculpted and have leather seat pads made specifically for them. In fact, the only difference between “Lobstah Rockahs” and medieval torture racks is that the former do not feature spikes and do come in six fashion colors with contrasting mesh drink holders (ideally proportioned for the bottle of vodka you will need to dull the physical pain from your sitting experience). Smug Scout cannot think of who would truly enjoy sitting in a “Lobstah Rockah,” but she believes that the chairs’ biggest fan base would be actual lobsters, who would be only too delighted to find their underwater death chambers turned into pricey furniture.

Smug Scout did some research and found that the company making these lobster trap chairs is called Sea Rose Trap Company from Scarborough, Maine. Naturally, she was fascinated by the descriptions she is reproducing below in red (of course, right?). Her responses remain black.

The Original Lobstah Rockah™!

Sturdy and comfortable, these lobster trap rocking chairs are made to last! Pressure treated rockers, vinyl coated wire, and poly twine will all withstand the elements for years to come. Each rocking chair has all the details you’d find on a real lobster trap. This is the genuine article!

Wire choices: black, green, yellow, blue, lime, grey
Twine choices: yellow, orange, blue, black

Smug Scout is very confused about why “all the details you’d find on a real lobster trap” are a selling point for a rocking chair, which is supposed to provide a relaxing experience rather than an entrapping one. Smug Scout is also confused about the writer’s use of “on” rather than “in” here, but she knows this type of nitpicking makes most people cross.

Lobstah Rockah™ Loveseat

The latest addition to our product line – The Lobstah Rockah™ Loveseat. Now you can enjoy all the benefits of the Lobstah Rockah™ with anothah! Durable and weather resistant, this loveseat is made with vinyl coated wire and has pressure treated rockers. This chair has every detail that you would find on a real lobster trap. 

Wire choices: black, green, yellow, blue, lime, grey
Twine choices: yellow, orange, blue, black

Do not assume that Smug Scout has no romantic fantasies set in New England; she has many. You will not be surprised to find out that these tend to feature reclaimed wood, especially birch and knotty pine. Not one of them, however, features either a “Lobstah Rockah Loveseat” (to put you in the mood for an…altahcation?) or a phonetic transcriptionist who turns “another” into “anothah.” Smug Scout is happy to listen to New England accents, but transcribing them is another story. All this “lobstah” and “chowdah” and “steamahs” nonsense is just gimmicky drivel meant to sucker punch rube tourists from newer (read: inferior) states.

She does laugh when she sees NE residents write “scollops,” though.

Smashing Pumpkins at the Portsmouth FM: Violent, Wasteful, Anti-Smug

1380833_648037781895109_2003147997_nFirst of all, the title of this post is not a reference to the 90s rock band. Second of all, Smug Scout did not take the photo that accompanies this post because she is not in Portsmouth now (she brazenly lifted it from the Portsmouth FM’s Facebook page). Smug Scout would do anything to be in Portsmouth right now, especially because she hates fall, or more accurately the lack of fall, in L.A. In fact, Smug Scout has minimized and re-named the seasons in L.A. to reflect what happens here in the absence of any actual weather. Thus, L.A. has fire season (September – November), awards season (November – February), and strawberry season (all the other months, plus all year). If there is any difference here between “summer” and “winter,” it is that you are more likely to get sun in January than June, though the temperature in both months averages 60 degrees (well, mainly along the coast, where Smug Scout lives). “January,” in some weird Pavlovian way, triggers the locals to get out their parkas, mittens, mufflers, snow boots and other Arctic camping outdoor gear (aggressively peddled to Angelenos by cynical North Face and REI marketers) that would suffocate Smug Scout in such springlike conditions.

Uh-oh, Smug Scout has really digressed! Her seasonal malaise is surely causing her to focus excessive attention on mocking L.A. and idealizing Portsmouth. So be it. Still, she would not have wanted to be at the Portsmouth FM this weekend to witness an unspeakably un-Smug spectacle: smashing pumpkins. First Smug Scout was puzzled when she looked at the accompanying picture. She could not believe her eyes. Was that a Smug little colorful Portsmouth gargoyle preparing to obliterate a pumpkin on a tree stump with a…croquet mallet? (She also wondered if the burly, belted, and gloved troll in front of the pumpkin dead piles could really be a woman, but that question is hardly germane to her critique.) Why? Would redneck flyover states hold pumpkin shooting contests to promote gun use? Smug Scout finds this kind of “fun” violent and vicious. Smug Scout would never have participated in such a gruesome event in her miniature form because she would have felt too sorry for the murdered pumpkins. (She did win a pumpkin decorating contest at one time, however, by using corn kernels to make a toothy ghoulishly grinning face.) Actually, Smug Scout in her “grown-up” form feels the same way. She vaguely hopes the vindictive Grand Pumpkin (from the Simpsons, not to be mixed up with the harmless Great Pumpkin from Charlie Brown) will come and devour some of these mallet-wielding children. Or she would if that were not a violent thought.

On top of finding this activity violent, Smug Scout finds it incredibly wasteful. Is this the very same FM that gave free food to furloughed federal workers just one week ago? Now they can return for free pumpkin pie “ingredients”? Does no one else object to the metamorphosis of viable local produce into scraps of pulverized pulp, scraps as ill-suited to third world baskets as pre-bagged, dirt-free kale?

Smug Scout found some barely comprehensible edification on the topic of waste when she visited the event website: “Don’t worry, the smashing don’t go to waste, we feed ’em to the pigs.” What kind of interior bumpkin illiterate came up with “smashing don’t”? Did this non-grammarian mean “smashings”? For that matter, did this non-punctuator mean a semicolon? Smug Scout supposes the pigs will find this contest debris tasty enough, though she grimly acknowledges they will come to a violent end as well.

Smug Scout does not believe lessons on violence and waste should come from the Portsmouth Farmers’ Market. These are lessons better taught by horror movies, slaughterhouses, and the lower classes (both poor and moneyed), not a bastion of Smug correctness. Smug downgrade!

If you would like to read more faux folksy, grammatically slapdash, and, let us say, whimsically punctuated text, visit the below site:

Smug Scenes from the Portsmouth Farmers’ Market: Iconic Shoppers

Smug Scout knows she has been very remiss in her writing duties, if not her actual Smug scouting duties. She has been as busy with the latter as ever, especially during her summer vacation. Now that she is in Portsmouth, she feels very inspired again, most likely due to its uniquely jaw dropping level of Smugness. She has already spent two Saturdays at her favorite Smug epicenter, the Portsmouth Farmers’ Market. She is happy to report that virtually nothing has changed since last summer, but in the almost nine hours of amazed and amused viewing, often sneakily from the periphery, she captured some iconic images that she would like to share with her readers. You may be tempted to critique Smug Scout for photos of middling quality, but keep in mind that she was using her zoom lens to avoid unpleasant confrontation with her unwitting subjects. She is still not sure how she would have explained to some of these locals why she was taking their pictures, but she knows any attempt would have gone poorly or even worse.

IMG_1143Smug Family: Smug Scout loves watching Smug local families arrive and depart, ideally without screeching sound effects. Though this picture does not show the wealth of detail she wishes it did, you will still notice some classic Portsmouth FM hallmarks:

  • The Radio Flyer wagon has a Whole Foods tote bag filled with produce, while multiple onions roll around loosely in a layer of dirt at the bottom of the wagon. (Smug Scout may have made up that last detail, but she did see onion stalks sticking out.)
  • The parents are carelessly dressed, as if they purposely wanted to provide a dreary, sloppy backdrop to their colorful daughters. The mother’s hair is a nest of frizz, while the father wasted not a second on brushing or shaving.
  • The girls have their hair in some youthful feminine style and wear brightly colored sundresses. The girl in blue with the pink Crocs unwisely takes after her father in shoe taste, though she has not yet advanced to the murky, rank dishwater color scheme he prefers. (N.B. At one time, the Smug Barrington Bartender told Smug Scout that Smug children prefer to wear Crocs in two different colors, but Smug Scout has yet to see this. She suspects that the Smug Barrington Bartender knows of other epicenters that outdo even this one. She wonders why the Smug Barrington Bartender is withholding these locations from her.)

Loading the Forrester Loading a Subaru: Smug Scout does not plan to move to Portsmouth, though she dreams of it often. However, if she were to move here, one of the first things she would do is buy a Subaru Outback or Forrester. Then she would go to the Portsmouth FM and take part in a ritual that occurs with astonishing regularity:

  • Buy many plants and flowers
  • Leave them lined up on the sidewalk (no fear of theft here!)
  • Retrieve Subaru Outback or Forrester from parking lot
  • Drive back to sidewalk
  • Park Subaru
  • Slowly load plants and flowers into trunk
  • Arrange and rearrange plants, flowers, and other purchases
  • Depart 15-20 minutes later, maybe longer if another Subaru does not pull up to do the same thing in the same location

Smug Scout realizes this activity may sound terribly banal, but she simply cannot believe how many owners of Outbacks and Forresters engage in this ritualistic activity every single week. She wonders if the Subaru owners manual instructs its drivers to have gardens established through these exact means. (“You may NOT buy plants or flowers at Lowe’s. You MUST seek out a local market. You may NOT load them carelessly or quickly. You MUST display them tastefully in the trunk.”) So fascinating, these Smug New Hampshire natives with their Subarus.

IMG_0904Hairy and Tattooed Shoppers: You simply cannot spend five hours at the Portsmouth FM without seeing all manner of excess hair and tattoos. Smug Scout grabbed her camera when she saw this archetypal couple (left). Note intentionally wild and style-free hair, colorless outfits, and ghoulishly pale limbs with indecipherable images tattooed all over. Smug Scout is not, however, impressed that these otherwise Smug locals did not bring reusable bags or third world woven baskets with them. Even if they forgot their bags/baskets, they could have bought new reusable totes from Black Kettle Farm or the Seacoast Local organization (motto: “You are where you eat”). This next one (right) did better in the Tattooed shopperecological department. Though her hair “style” is equally slapdash, her outfit equally dingy and drab, her skin equally ghostly, and her tattoos equally garish and impossible to interpret from the safe distance Smug Scout was forced to keep, this hairy and tattooed shopper at least had the good sense to bring a large third world woven basket and fill it with flowers, herbs, and greens that she, in classic Portsmouth fashion, arranges for display more than protection. Some of those flowers may be beheaded if someone–for example, a terrifying looking uncouth visitor from the backwoods interior of the state–bumps into her roughly, but she will probably make sure to be nowhere near such yokels.

Stay tuned for the second part of the Smug scenes from the Portsmouth FM series. The next one features a new age farm, a precious local band, and kale. Start brewing your Smug White Heron tea. Smug Scout will have the post for you very soon.

Smug Home Inspection: Derek

Smug Scout lives to locate Smugness in its natural or, better yet, completely contrived habitat. One of her favorite places to do this is in other people’s homes. Sometimes, of course, a favorite place for her may be far from a favorite place for her subjects to invite her. For example, she is fairly sure she annoyed the Smug Barrington Bartender by asking to see her refrigerator a few too many times (after a few too many of Smug Barrington Bartender’s Bully Boy artisanal small batch organic white wheat whiskey cocktails). Smug Scout is sure that Smug Barrington Bartender’s refrigerator is full of multiple varieties of kale, local artisanal spirits, and handcrafted products from her Smug country store. She certainly has nothing to prove to Smug Scout. On the other hand, Smug Scout’s friend Derek had much more to prove after tantalizing Smug Scout by saying she probably would not want to see his messy Portsmouth apartment. She said it would be more than enough just to see the Smug decorative corn stalks on his “balcony” (more like a way station for trash that has been carried outside but not down the stairs), but when he invited her in, his place became fair game for a spontaneous Smug home inspection. What caused Smug Scout to be initially quite dumbstruck was the way Derek’s apartment effortlessly combined Smugness with absolute squalor. At first, Smug Scout did not really want to look around, let alone sit down, because she thought she was in the filthy, debauched lair of a frat boy. Imagine her surprise when she discovered a slew of Smug accoutrements mixed into the rubble:

  • Locally grown Marina di Chioggia. At first Smug Scout could not believe her eyes. She even said: “You have a Marina di Chioggia?” Derek breezily informed her that this Smug, wart-riddled green pumpkin was a gift from local farmer friends. Smug Scout wishes that she had New Hampshire farmer friends who would share such a Smug bounty.
  • Fair trade bamboo bath mat.  In addition to its sterling no-exploitation Derek's bamboo bath matpedigree, this item is Smug because it does so poorly at its only job: soaking up water after a shower. It has zero drying ability, but at least it gives the impression of walking barefoot in some sustainable Southeast Asian forest. You have the added benefit of not having to worry about poachers, smugglers, frightening insects, infectious tropical diseases and other problems that bedevil sustainable Southeast Asian forests. We can probably agree that freezing and wet feet are better than malaria, dengue fever, or being shot with a tranquilizer dart by some cretinous scoundrel poacher who mistook you for an elephant.
  • Derek's coat rackHand forged cast iron coat rack. Smug Scout did not know right away that she was even looking at a coat rack because no matter how long or hard she stared at it, she did not see one single coat. She then realized that Derek does not wear coats (though he has since bought a bright green Marmot jacket) and that he preferred to use this hand forged cast iron coat rack as a wall decoration. Even the following month when Smug Scout attended parties in Derek’s apartment, she noticed that no one put coats on the coat hooks. Smug Scout assumed this was a house rule of Derek’s, so she put her own Marmot winter wear on the back of a chair that seemed far enough from drunk people’s drinks to be safe. Meanwhile, guests piled their coats on the couch. Smug Scout smirked at the idea that the coat rack was empty while the couch was unusable for its original purpose: sitting.
  • Handmade birch bark candles. At first Smug Scout thought she was looking at some phony imitation of birch bark, so Derek had to inform her, quite archly in fact, that these candles were made from repurposed birch trees from the New England woods. These trees, he had to point out Smugly, were not savagely cut down for commercial reasons but rather died of natural causes and reincarnated as a Smug eco-friendly light source.
  • Local and artisanal salts, spices, rubs, spreads. Smug Scout was delighted to see this impressive collection of exotic flavored salt, lavender infused raw honey, and Smug Stonewall Kitchen products from the eponymous store down the street. However, what elevated this display’s Smug quotient is that it is just that: a display. Smug Scout was stunned to discover that Derek neither cooks nor eats in this kitchen.
  • Soap and spoon contraptionArtisanal handmade lavender oatmeal soap and local handcarved wooden spoon “sculpture” to prop up broken window. Smug Scout was especially fascinated by this contraption because it demonstrates critical yet at the same time paradoxical elements of Smugness: ridiculously expensive and handmade products stripped of their intended utility only to receive another, apparently more important one. You see, if Derek neither cleans nor cooks, he may as well use the soap and spoon to perform a function like holding up a broken window that he would rather not pay to have properly fixed. Smug Scout understands this choice very well because she balks at spending money anywhere other than Smug restaurants, stores, and vacation destinations.

Still, as impressed as Smug Scout was by the random, yet oddly comprehensive, array of Smug products, she could not help but turn up her nose at the squalor. These were the worst sightings:

  • Horrific refrigerator. Smug Scout does not know how to put this politely, nor does she have the slightest inclination to try: she was repulsed by the contents of Derek’s refrigerator, not even to mention the legion of unidentifiable stains decorating its surfaces. She thinks any product bearing a Market Basket label, such as “Fat Free Cottage Cheese,” already a vile over-processed product, must border on inedible. (For those not from the region, Market Basket is a bargain supermarket for those of low taste, lower class, and lowest standards, though Smug Scout has never actually set foot in one to confirm the certainty of her position.)  Another nightmare of chemical processing, Entenmann’s “Softees” donuts, certainly comes from the same anti-Smug source. She does not even want to know what the “homemade” very dark brown liquid in the seltzer bottle is (probably not artisanal black birch liqueur).  She does approve of both the Stonewall Kitchen Chipotle Ketchup and the Sriracha, though the latter container does not look safe to handle.
  • Beheaded cabbage patch kidGrotesque tableau. Smug Scout is pretty sure that Derek got the gourd from the fields of his New Hampshire farmer friends, but she does not believe the same could be said of the Cabbage Patch head. She does not know what the white plastic rat has to do with local gourds and bloody doll heads (nor they with each other for that matter) but vaguely wonders if it has something to do with the Pied Piper. And while she received a similar gourd as a gift from Derek, she will not be re-imagining this grisly trifecta in her own home.

Thank you so much for the tour, Derek! Smug Scout recalls that you sent an updated photo of your “re-Smugged” refrigerator, but it has disappeared into BlackBerry oblivion. Perhaps you would like to re-send it? Smug Scout welcomes any photographic rebuttals!

Smug Recycling Contraption

If there is a Smug recycling contraption somewhere in the world, where do you, my Smug readers, think it could possibly be? Take this test:

  • A. Switzerland, which has the highest rate of recycling worldwide
  • B. San Francisco, which has the most comprehensive recycling program in the U.S.
  • C. Los Angeles, which offers full recycling and composting at area farmers’ markets
  • D. Portsmouth, which is in the state of New Hampshire

You will be astonished to find out that the winner is D, Portsmouth. Enough with the Portsmouth mania, you non-Portsmouth residents may be crying out. Too bad Portsmouth routinely outdoes all other epicenters in virtually any Smugness competition. Smug Scout simply cannot ignore the fact that Portsmouth all but invented Smug Scout.

And now Portsmouth has this new bossy and redundant recycling contraption. Smug Scout is fascinated that it not only tells you what to do, it also repeats that same information as what not to do. For example, the left side is for “No Trash” but the right side is for “Trash.” Similarly, the left side demands “Cans” which the right side rejects: “No Cans.” This redundancy is moron-friendly. In essence, a moron only needs to read one set of instructions to operate the contraption accurately, but if he/she is too befuddled, the other set gives the same instructions negated, so the chance of accurate placement of disposed items increases. What a Smug and savvy system, Portsmouth!

The other aspect Smug Scout loves is the implicit dire warning involved in the sign on the right: “Landfill.” For Smug people, “landfill” may as well mean “nuclear waste dump site.” For Smug Portsmouth residents, it may also mean “Turnkey Landfill,” which is a grotesquely large fetid stinking mass of a garbage dump in the nearby town of Rochester. Smug Scout only knows about this because a Smug Portsmouth Bartender friend took her there as part of an extensive tour of his hometown and its environs. He thought it would be funny for Smug Scout to be utterly disgusted. Smug Scout was actually more disgusted by the anti-Smug restaurant he brought her to afterwards, but she digresses.

In short, you do not want to need the “Landfill” side. You do not want to buy anything you have to dispose of there. You do not want that self-righteous judgment from spying Smug bystanders. If you cannot finish, for example, that revolting pasty, gummy, flavorless, vicious-insult-to- the-New-England-tradition clam chowder from, for example, New Hampshire’s worst restaurant (could it be in…Rochester?), you would be better off dumping it in the toilet and renaming it “puke.” After all, in an eco-obsessed Smug context, “threw it up” is somehow less egregious than “threw it out.”

Smug Tattoo

Smug Scout does not like tattoos. Not one bit. She knows this is not a popular position, but she stands by her unpopular positions because she knows that ultimately they are inconsequential anyway. She believes tattoos usually fall into three broad categories:

  1. Pure delinquent. These belong to actual convicted criminals. This may be the most unexpectedly and unwittingly Smug, even artisanal, category of tattoo because a number of them are hand designed and handmade (albeit in a penitentiary), often with found materials and under conditions that, for lack of a more prison-centric term, we could call “rustic.” The images are often highly symbolic (such as teardrops to signify murder), religious (if in a primarily stylized rather than observant way), and violent (particularly in reference to gang life). Smug Scout finds these rather interesting because they function as grisly autobiography. Smug Scout likes this sort of thing in the same way as other people whose firsthand exposure to violence does not extend far beyond hostile parking space stalking in the FM parking lot or pushing ahead of some Smug mob to get the last bunch of wild arugula.
  2. Pure roughneck. These belong to an anti-Smug group of people. Not only are they members of the non-moneyed lower classes, but they are not trying to hide this status. Their hobbies may include motorcycles, raucous music, cheap processed food, large batch liquor and canned beer, hunting creatures smarter than they are (deer, moose, women, etc.) and using tools Smug Scout cannot identify. The images are often vulgar (women with exaggerated assets) or maudlin (dead people). They may contain messages of questionable relevance in florid, illegible script. Smug Scout finds these rather sad and unsightly, especially when age and weight gain distort them grotesquely.
  3. Pure bullshit. These belong to people who may want to convey an air of the delinquent or the roughneck or the edgy or even just the vaguely interesting, though their lives are socially acceptable and painfully mundane. This group would never have gotten tattoos fifty years ago when it was not hip to permanently memorialize some clichéd whim on your body (though Smug Scout imagines butterflies everywhere must be delighted to see themselves on so many ankles). What used to be the trashy domain of professional sailors and truck drivers is now called “body art” or “using the body as a canvas.” Smug Scout sees it more as “using the body as a narcissistic billboard.”

So except for the handcrafted prisoner tattoos, Smug Scout did not see much Smugness in tattoos. She did not see it until her recent visit to her favorite Smug epicenter, Portsmouth NH. A Smug friend of hers introduced her to its owner (also the artist) at a Smug local bar where she was lucky enough to photograph it (and, yes, this is typical of Smug Scout’s silly drinking shenanigans). It is the most Smug tattoo she could have ever imagined: a hand etched looking deer with powerful antlers leaping through a forest of birch trees. Antlers are Smug because in their dead form Smug people–who would never dream of anything as barbaric as actually hunting the deer–feel they match reclaimed wood furniture and frivolous local handcrafted household accessories. Birch trees are Smug because they are pale, thin, uniquely colored, grow wild in New Hampshire, and, most importantly, look beautiful even when other trees are bare and the landscape displays a deathly bleakness. This tattoo conveys a fascinating phenomenon to Smug Scout: a local, seasonal, artisanal person, in essence a Smug product in human form. Smug Scout would probably never get a tattoo herself, but she does wonder what tattoo would suit her. She feels certain it would involve black kale.

Smug Stuffed Animals in Portsmouth

Though Smug Scout prefers Smug grown-up company, she knows there are many Smug children under five (such as the ones who congregate in boisterous packs at the Portsmouth FM) whom she recognizes as future Smug scouts in miniature form. Smug Scout recognizes that they possess certain abilities and inclinations she happily lacks, such as the operation of felonious babysitting gadgetry like iPads and iPhones.

Smug Scout is grudgingly aware that Apple products, like actual organic, local, heirloom apples, are very Smug, but she would like to dispense with the lot of them, or bushel if you prefer, and advise parents to focus not just on distracting their miniatures with addictive carnival screens that will turn them into anti-social automatons but also on truly Smug old-fashioned children’s playthings: handcrafted stuffed animals. Thus, she dedicates this post to her young readers.

Hello, miniature Smug scouts under five! Aunt Smug Scout knows you do not really want to waste your young life pressing your sticky little fingers onto greasy screens. Yuck! Smug Scout knows you really want Smug stuffed animals that are fun for both play and Smug stature among your friends. She suggests you bring your Smug parents to Nahcotta, which is a Smug local arts, crafts and sustainable products store in Portsmouth, NH. There is a whole section devoted to shoppers in your demographic, so you will have no trouble spending your Smug parents’ money on superior products. Smug Scout recommends Earth Friendly Creatures, which are small, simple, barely identifiable stuffed animals that cost around $16.  Use the below tips to negotiate with your parents (who may not want to pay so much on something they like to believe they could easily craft themselves–if only they could just finish that nasty organic vegetable canning project).

  • Made by underpaid, uninsured artistic adults in Massachusetts, rather than underpaid, uninsured, non-artistic children in China
  • Body is made of locally milled “EcoSpun” recycled materials from Massachusetts, rather than toxic materials from China
  • Eyes and noses are made from recycled bottles from Massachusetts drinkers rather than recycled bottles from California drinkers that arrived in China via container ship
  • Tag is tied on with a chopped off shoelace from Massachusetts rather than a plastic tie from China
  • Only available at Smug arts and crafts stores in New England rather than anywhere else in the world, including China

Warning: if your parents are the type of New Hampshire residents to say “Mass-holes,” please replace “Massachusetts” with “local New England artisans.” Otherwise they could refuse the purchase on nonsensical geographic grounds, no matter how often you point out that Massachusetts is more local than China.

Tip: if you do not live in New England, please tell your parents to schedule a vacation there immediately. Choose Portsmouth, NH, or Portland, ME. Smug parents will just love it!  There is reclaimable wood everywhere, and you’ll notice that some of it is still in an exotic form known as trees.  In fact, tell them that reclaimed wood is so popular that Smug restaurants are even named after prized varieties of it, such as a legendary establishment known as the Black Birch Kitchen & Drinks. Point out there are cocktails made with macerated local black birch tree bark. No one would dream you made that up. 

Final note: If your negotiations fail, try telling your parents that if they will not buy you an Earth Friendly Creature, you will embarrass them by lying down and playing dead in front of the next corporate chain you see.  Pick Starbucks, for example. Your parents will be mortified to be stopped and spotted near dangerously multi-source mongrel coffee.


Smug SmackDown: Men in Skirts

Smug Scout has been quite tickled lately by all of the men in skirts. She approves of men who pay homage to women through their apparel choices. Still, she knows that not all of these men are feminists. She knows not all of these men want to fight for women’s reproductive rights, contribute money to Hillary’s Clinton’s future run for president, or discuss Lady Gaga’s weight gain.  She knows many of them are just plain Smug. In today’s Smug SmackDown, see if you can tell which of these three men in skirts is the Smug heavyweight.

Man in Skirt #1: Spotted at Scottish Games in Pleasanton, CA

Man in Skirt #2: Spotted in Prescott Park in Portsmouth, NH

Man in Skirt #3: Spotted at Portsmouth Farmers’ Market in Portsmouth, NH

Smug Scout knows how difficult it must be to pick a winner and sees you must be struggling.  Therefore, she will help you with hypothetical conversations with the three men in skirts.  By the time you have read the third exchange, you will know the answer. Hint: look for Smug key words.

Conversation with Man in Skirt #1

  • Smug Scout: Why are you wearing a skirt?
  • Man in Skirt #1: It is a utili-kilt.
  • Smug Scout: Why are you wearing a utili-kilt?
  • Man in Skirt #1: I am at a Scottish festival.
  • Smug Scout: Is goth construction worker a new clan?
  • Man in Skirt #1: I don’t know. But it’s comfortable, and after I’ve had a lot of Scottish ale, it’s easy to—
  • Smug Scout: Please do not say one more word.

Conversation with Man in Skirt #2

  • Smug Scout: Why are you wearing a skirt?
  • Man in Skirt #2: It is a utili-kilt.
  • Smug Scout: Fine, why are you wearing a utili-kilt?
  • Man in Skirt #2: In case you couldn’t tell while you were pretending to take a picture of the whimsical mural next to me, I am actually working.  I have tools in my cargo pockets.
  • Smug Scout: Yes, I figured that the wheelbarrow was not just Smug ecological transportation. But why not wear cargo shorts?
  • Man in Skirt #3: Because when I go to the Daniel Street Tavern to wind down after work, I can drink a lot of non-local, non-artisanal, non-organic beer without needing to deal with—
  • Smug Scout: Please do not finish that sentence. Please rethink your beer choices.

Conversation with Man in Skirt #3

  • Smug Scout: Why are you wearing a skirt?
  • Man in Skirt #3: It is most certainly not a skirt. It is an organic cotton, handcrafted, local-vegetable-dyed utili-kilt.
  • Smug Scout: Wow! Why are you wearing that organic cotton, handcrafted, local-vegetable-dyed utili-kilt?
  • Man in Skirt #3: As you can see, I am at the Portsmouth Farmers’ Market. I just bought a vegetarian All-Day Breakfast Wrap and an Iced Organic Chai from White Heron Tea.
  • Smug Scout: But what does that have to do with wearing an organic cotton, handcrafted, local-vegetable-dyed utili-kilt?
  • Man in Skirt #3: I just answered your question!
  • Smug Scout: Yes, I suppose you did. But how do you keep the homemade vegetarian sausage and roasted local organic heirloom tomato sauce out of that thicket on your face?
  • Man in Skirt #3: Excuse me. I have to go buy organic wild dandelion greens, heirloom purple basil, and local backyard red sunflowers.
  • Smug Scout: Yes, indeed you do. Since you did not bring an appropriately crafted reusable bag, you should use your cargo pockets to carry your greens, herbs, and flowers.   Those pockets should be good for something. They obviously will never see an actual tool.

As you no doubt correctly guessed, Man in Skirt #3 is the winner.  But you should have figured that out as soon as you saw he was spotted at the Portsmouth Farmers’ Market. Those are the only Smug key words you really need.