This is the kind of movie that independent film fans search for and hope to find. It’s well-written, acted and directed with a story that’s off the beaten path a bit, to be sure. It concerns the odd relationship between two people who don’t exactly fit in the world an upscale suburban housing community. One is a 10.year old girl named Devon (Mischa Barton) whose parents want her to be the perfect little daughter. She’d rather live in her own world, one in which she entertains herself with her favorite fairy tale of the child-menacing witch, Baba Yaga. The other is a twentysomething yard worker named Trent (Sam Rockwell), who is treated in this paranoid community almost like a black South African under apartheid, i.e. get in, do you work and get out.
Both of them display their non-conformist behavior early on. She climbs out her bedroom window to her roof, takes off her nightgown and watches it magically float away into the night sky. He stops on his way home from work on a one-lane bridge, blocking the traffic, and proceeds to disrobe and take a leap into the river below. Devon gets interested in him, especially after she witnesses his blatant and subtle humiliation at a neighborhood cookout, where he’s come to get paid for some work. She more or less stalks him at his mobile home, even spying on him making love to one of the community’s young women, a girl who will barely acknowledge him otherwise. Trent tries to shoo Devon away at first, but he can’t help but be flattered by the young girl’s interest.
Of course the potential for misunderstanding in this kind of relationship is great and it inevitably happens. I feared that the movie was about to fly apart after Devon’s father and some others confronted Trent, but the fantastic ending (fantastic in the sense of fantasy) made me smile. If you are looking for something different, this movie definitely qualifies.
Trent is a young man living in a trailer in a wooded area beyond the suburbs. He makes a living cutting the massive lawns of the populace of a gated suburb village. He befriends a young girl from within the suburb, who herself has some stability issues, despite being only 10 years old. The two build a friendship despite the resentment towards the `white trash’ Trent from within the suburb,
I didn’t know what this film was about before I sat and watched it, reading the plot summary in the TV guide as the title sequence began, I wondered if I would bother, but I’m glad I did. The film works on several level the most apparent of which is the simple story of a friendship that is threatened. This part works well as the friendship never seems forced and, although the spectre of sexual tension is there (in Trent occasionally feeling uncomfortable), it is not a strand that is actually part of their relationship.
This all works well due (in most part) to two great performances from Barton and Rockwell. Barton shows amazing maturity and ability to carry the role off without it being like many child stars (where it is clear they are forcing everything). Rockwell meanwhile is a mass of subtleties and little touches that make his character likeable.
However this part wouldn’t work as well if it weren’t for the wider theme of the trash being poorly treated by the smugger middle classes. This theme creates the reason for the threat to their friendship (more or less) but it also serves as a humbling attack on a class that lives a selfish, scared life behind gates with private security guards. Such places are increasingly common in America and this film is clear as to their effect on both those inside them as well as the wider community of America. Although it keeps a gentle tone for the most, the film depicts those in the suburb as selfish, aloof and fearful. Even more condemning about this depiction is that it never feels like they have been exaggerated or monsterised in any way!
The script is well written and certainly makes the actors jobs a lot easier certainly Barton benefits from great dialogue and character development. Rockwell meanwhile benefits more from direction as much of his best work is not dialogue based. McDonald, Quinlan and McGill all do solid work in support. The end of the film is a little worrying as it appears to veer off at a tangent, but the final sentiment is beautifully presented and encouraging (albeit due to a child’s apparent naivety).
Overall this is a lovely film that I’m very glad I watched. About more than just an adult/child friendship, this film is moving and involving in both it’s core plot and it’s wider themes.
Sam Rockwell has been had. He lit up the screen in “Box of Moonlight,” is a major player in the upcoming “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and yet he didn’t get equal billing for screen time in either of those films. What gives? In “Lawn Dogs” Rockwell is stunning as the lawn boy who accepts a little “rich” girl as a friend and gives her a new view of the world. The movie is rich in atmosphere and color. The central Southern United States has rarely appeared so docile and yet so menacing. Every time I thought I knew where “Lawn Dogs” was going. it pulled another pleasant surprise. Mischa Barton is amazing as Devon Stockard, the little girl with more on her mind than selling cookies. This is truly one of the best American films of the 90’s. If you like off-beat slices of America with a twisted view, then “Lawn Dogs” is the best movie you’ll see in a long time. It is quite simply full of the magic, menace and imagination alive in the heads and hearts of little girls. about to become young women. Oh yeah, and give Sam Rockwell his due!
This superb film, directed by John Duigan, the gifted director of THE YEAR MY VOICE BROKE, is about a friendship between a young girl (Mischa Barton of “The OC”) and a free-spirited young, adult man (Sam Rockwell).
It’s self-aware enough to acknowledge the inherent sensitivity of its subject matter, but it doesn’t cave into conservative conclusions about how such a relationship ought to be portrayed.
At heart, LAWN DOGS is about trust, not the death of innocence or the festering political correctness all around us that sees danger in every unconventional relationship. It does touch on the subject of sexual abuse, but it doesn’t come at it from the angle you’d suspect. and that’s the whole point, isn’t it? Sexual abuse, for the most part, usually visits as someone you’ve known well enough to trust completely.
Dictionary entry overview: What does wank mean?
Familiarity information: WANK used as a noun is very rare.
get sexual gratification through self-stimulation
Familiarity information: WANK used as a verb is very rare.
masturbation; onanism (manual stimulation of the genital organs (of yourself or another) for sexual pleasure)
argot; cant; jargon; lingo; patois; slang; vernacular (a characteristic language of a particular group (as among thieves))
wank (get sexual gratification through self-stimulation)
Present simple: I / you / we / they wank he / she / it wanks Past simple: wanked Past participle: wanked -ing form: wanking
Get sexual gratification through self-stimulation
Verbs of touching, hitting, tying, digging
caress; fondle (touch or stroke lightly in a loving or endearing manner)
Troponyms (each of the following is one way to “wank”):
“Hard words break no bones.” (English proverb) “The more you mow the lawn, the faster the grass grows.” (Albanian proverb) “While they read the Bible to the wolf, it says: hurry up, my flock left.” (Armenian proverb) “Gentle doctors cause smelly wounds.” (Dutch proverb)
The “Bible of Baseball S’language” is an on-going project to unite the language that we as ballplayers speak. We’ve combined many of the historical terms with many modern-day sayings that people have submitted to us from all over the country (and world).
 – When your team messes up and is punished by running to ‘380’ and back.
[Ace] – The team’s best starting pitcher.
[Airliner] – A home run hit really high in the air “Holy airliner! They serving drinks on that flight?”
[Alley] – The space between the left fielder and the center fielder, or the right fielder and center fielder.
[Arm Candy] – Ibuprofen, Advil, etc…
[Around The Horn] – When you toss the ball around the infield after making an out when the bases are empty.
[Aspirin Tablet] – A fastball that is especially hard to hit, making it seem as if the ball is the size of an Aspirin.
[Ate Him Up] – When a batted ball is difficult for a fielder to field.
[Backdoor Breaking Ball] – A breaking pitch, usually a slider or cut fastball that is thrown out of the strike zone and seems to be a ball when it breaks and catches the edge the zone for a strike.
[Balls Party Of 4] – When the opposing pitcher walks someone, you then yell out, “Balls party of four, your table is ready.”
[Banjo Hitter] – A batter who lacks power, and hits a lot of bloop singles. The name is said to come from the twanging sound of the bat at contact, like that of a banjo.
[Barber] – When someone chats up the players a lot.
[Barking] – Complaining about a call or trash talking.
[Bartender] – A term shouted after a home run is hit because the hitter just ordered the team a ‘shot of Jack’, with ‘Jack’ referring to hitting a home run. The term ‘Bartender’ can also be used to describe your ‘closer’.
[Basebromance] – A bromance between throwing partners.
[Base Clogger] – Is a player whose lack of speed keeps him from advancing more than a base at a time and/or keeps faster players running behind him from advancing.
[Basement] – Last place, bottom of the standings. Also known as the cellar.
[Battery] – The pitcher and catcher considered as a single unit. Henry Chadwick coined the term, drawing from the military sense of the term artillery battery.
[Batting BINGO Numbers] – A hitter is batting below.100. Example.080 is pronounced Oh-eighty, like a bingo number.
[Bayou or Louisiana] – When an infielder whiffs on a ground ball or a hitter lets a fastball by him, meaning the ball went ‘by you.’
[Bazooka] – A strong throwing arm.
[BB] – Referencing the baseball when it is hard to hit because it seems as small as a BB.
[Bean] – A high hopping grounder. Derives from a jumping bean.
[Belt] – To hit a ball hard to the outfield or out of the park.
[Bench Jockey] – A player, coach, or manager whose gift of gab takes on a role of its own. They can annoy opposing players or teams while sitting on the bench.
[Bermuda] – When three fielders converge toward a fly ball and make a triangle shape and let the ball drop between them.
[Bird Food] – A fastball thrown over the batter’s head.
[Bleeder] – A weak hit ball that somehow finds its way to the outfield for a hit.
[Blinkers] – Refers to a player’s back “Hey bud your left blinker is out.”
[Blooper] – A weak, short fly ball that usually falls between the infielders and the outfielders.
[Bomb] – A big home run. Also comes from the saying “Bomb Squad.”
[Bread and Butter] – A player’s greatest or most reliable skill. Whether it’s hitting, fielding, or even a pitcher’s strikeout pitch.
[Brickwall] – A catcher that lets nothing by him.
[Buckner] – When a routine ground ball goes right between your legs.
[Build A House] – A pitcher who consistently hits a spot in the strike zone. Most commonly pitches at the knees.
[Bullet] – A hard hit ball or throw.
[Bump] – The pitcher’s mound.
[Bush League] – A term used to describe play that is of unprofessional quality.
[Butcher Boy] – When a batter fakes a bunt, then swings away. Thus, luring the third baseman closer to home plate and putting him in a precarious position.
[Cadillac Double] – When someone hits the ball and starts taking their batting gloves and gear off before rounding first and coasts into second.
[Cage Bomb] – Would-be home runs that are hit while taking batting practice in the cage.
[Camp] – When a player sits under a fly ball for a while, he is said to be “camped” under it.
[Can Of Corn] – An easy play.
[Cannon] – Having a strong arm.
[Chair] – When a pitcher strikes out a batter, it is said that he ‘tossed him a chair,’ because the hitter now has to go sit down.
[Cheddar] – When a pitcher is throwing hard. Also said to be throwing ‘ched’ for short.
[Cheerio] – If an umpire is squeezing you and has a small strike zone, ie. the size of a cheerio.
[Cheese Dog] – A very easy pitch to hit.
[Cheese Factory] – Refers to a pitcher with a wide array of pitches. He can throw ched (cheddar) and also throw some stuff with a little stank to it (something off speed that leaves you with a “What’s that smell?” look on your face).
[Cherry Hop] – When a fielder gets an easy hop on a ground ball to make the easy play.
The Feminine Musique: “Stacy’s Mom
Undeniably one of the catchiest songs of the early 2000s, “Stacy’s Mom” holds a special place in many people’s hearts, including my own. A careful mix of humor and pop rock, the song describes the narrator’s adolescent attraction to his friend Stacy’s mom. Before I move into analyzing the portrayal of women in the song, here’s a quick –– and admittedly less fun –– breakdown of the narrative described in the lyrics.
The song starts with the iconic intro verse, “Stacy’s mom has got it going on,” followed by the narrator asking Stacy if her mom is back and if they can hang out at the pool. The narrator then reiterates: “I’m not the little boy that I used to be / I’m all grown up now, baby, can’t you see?”
The chorus affirms the narrator’s love for Stacy’s mom, stating “she’s all that I want and I’ve waited for so long.” Meanwhile, the narrator also clarifies that he is not interested in Stacy at all, and, despite the age gap and moral implications, he loves only Stacy’s mom. In the next verse, the narrator explains when he mowed Stacy’s lawn, her mom came out wearing just a towel and looked at him. As a result, the narrator concludes: “I could tell she liked me from the way she stared.” The narrator also clarifies that Stacy’s mom is single after Stacy’s dad walked out and that Stacy’s mom “could use a guy like me.”
First, it is important to preface the dissection of this song with the fact that, on the surface, it’s a lighthearted coming-of-age song about a boy finding his friend’s mother hot af. That alone is an innocent enough concept and, according to Fountains of Wayne bassist and songwriter Adam Schlesinger, the song was inspired by one of his childhood friends thinking his grandmother was hot. While the song is characterized by its comical nature, one only needs to listen to the lyrics a little more closely to notice its negative portrayal of women.
In “Stacy’s Mom,” we have two women who are the antithesis of one another: Stacy and Stacy’s mom. Stacy is presumably a pre-teen, and, most importantly, a virgin. Stacy’s mom, on the other hand, is not a virgin –– she’s a mother, something that is spelled out to us by her title as Stacy’s mom. The song not only creates this dynamic between the two –– it emphasizes it.
An example of such is the narrator’s sexualization of Stacy’s mom’s body. In the first verse, he insinuates that she would be in her swimsuit with him and Stacy at the pool, and in the second, he mentions her only having a towel. If you’re paying attention to the lyrics, both call to mind images of a scantily clothed woman, something that is realized in the song’s music video. The references to Stacy’s mom’s body highlights the mother’s sexual maturity and, in turn, paints an image of a sexually developed woman next to her adolescent daughter.
The sexualization of Stacy’s mom stands in contrast to the narrator’s representation of Stacy. In the chorus, he refers to her as “baby.” Undoubtedly, the pet name “baby” holds many implications, but, in this case, it insinuates innocence. The narrator calls Stacy “baby” because he thinks she’s naive since she can’t understand why he likes her mom. Notably, in the same line, he is conversely asserting his own masculinity, stating he’s “not the little boy” he once was.
Throughout the song, the narrator is insisting on his own masculine (and sexual) maturity. From mowing the lawn to comparing himself to Stacy’s dad, the narrator makes a stark contrast between himself and Stacy. They might be similar ages, but he paints himself as an adult –– hence the reason he thinks he belongs with Stacy’s mom.
On top of this, the narrator falls into some problematic tropes, such as assuming Stacy’s mom reciprocates his feelings because she’s nice to him and that he deserves these affections because he’s waited to be with her. Above all else, the song implies that Stacy’s mom — a hot, single woman — needs a man. Regardless of how masculine and grown-up the narrator thinks he is, the song makes Stacy’s mom a sexual object in need of sexual attention rather than a single mother just being her own person.
Granted, “Stacy’s Mom” is innocent, and part of why the narrative is so funny is because it’s presented from the perspective of a prepubescent boy. But the song wasn’t written by a prepubescent boy –– it was written by adult men, and its status as a top song means its audience reaches beyond just the preteen first boner boys of the 2000s.
The portrayal of women in “Stacy’s Mom” is — to put it frankly — not the best, but it’ll without a doubt hold its place as a retro bop for years to come. Moving forward though, it’s important to ask: why was this song so popular? How did the lyrics and narrative play into its popularity? And, most importantly, would a song with this kind of narrative be popular today, nearly fifteen years later?
This Woman Wants to Destroy Your Lawn
And replace it with something better. Why Heather McCargo and the Wild Seed Project want us all to think differently about what we plant (and yeah, to think about it in the winter).
Heavy-duty pickups roared past Heather McCargo’s Prius as she pulled onto the shoulder of Route 11A, in Springvale. It was a cool, clear July day, and the 62-year-old founder of the nonprofit Wild Seed Project stepped out to wait for the dozen or so field-trippers she’d come to guide through a forested preserve called the Harvey Butler Rhododendron Sanctuary. As they gathered, another pair of visitors strode out of the woods, chatting, one of them referring to the place as “a secret garden.” McCargo was quick to set the record straight — the Butler Sanctuary is no garden. “Those aren’t planted,” she told everyone. Indeed, she said, the parcel contains some of the only rhododendrons in Maine that were not deliberately grown. It’s what biologists call a refugium, a relic population that clawed its way north after the last ice age, isolated from its relatives flourishing in the hills of southern Appalachia. “That is the native, wild, big-leaf rhododendron!” McCargo said, her voice peaking in an excitable pitch. “It’s stunning!”
An hour later, she’d led her crew to the preserve’s namesake stand, a patch of lanky shrubs with shiny, dark, evergreen leaves and clusters of fragrant white flowers. “Rhododendron maximum,” McCargo said, reverently. She explained that most garden-variety rhododendrons, the ones decorating suburban lawns, have been cross-bred with Asian species to create hybrids that blossom in every color under the sun. “The hybrid ones don’t support our fauna the way these do,” she said, pointing to a flower just beginning to unfurl, filled with bumblebees. “We should be planting these in our gardens.”
Last November, the nonprofit Native Plant Trust awarded McCargo its Regional Impact Award.
McCargo established the Wild Seed Project in 2014 to teach people to appreciate and grow native plant species, helping to restore some of New England’s lost biodiversity. Initially, the organization comprised only McCargo, a working board, and a small cadre of volunteers, collecting and selling seeds from plants often written off as weeds — joe-pye weed, milkweed, jewelweed — mailing packets from McCargo’s home in Portland’s West End. In her backyard, McCargo planted more than 80 species of trees and shrubs, a demonstration plot with which she attracted curious gardeners and arborists — in the hopes of radicalizing them.
Today, WSP has a staff of eight, an office in North Yarmouth, a nascent horticultural center in Cape Elizabeth, and some 2,000 dues-paying members, who get access to garden tours and QAs, discounts on seeds, and more. Through its online store, the group offers seeds for more than 90 plant species native to the Northeast. It sold some 6,000 packets in 2019, roughly doubled that the first year of the pandemic, then doubled it again the next year. In 2021, a long, admiring story in the New York Times brought WSP national attention, calling its mission “urgent.” That same year, McCargo stepped down from the group’s helm, handing off day-to-day duties to a new executive director. These days, she sits on WSP’s board, leads walks and workshops and presentations, gives interviews, and spends a lot of time doing what she loves most — simply walking in the woods.
The Rapid growth of the Wild Seed Project coincided with a broader war on lawns gaining traction across the country. Lawns in the U.S. cover a land mass about the size of Iowa, accounting for as much as half of all residential water consumption and a quarter of the use of several popular herbicides. Gas-powered lawn and garden equipment puts an estimated 20 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, and the emissions footprint of nitrogen-heavy lawn fertilizers is as bad or worse. Across the country, particularly in the parched West, cities and towns have started mandating the removal of turf grass and incentivizing permaculture, and more-naturalistic lawn alternatives have even begun catching on in New England, as the region slogs through years of severe drought.
Out in the Butler Sanctuary, as McCargo led her group around the rhododendron patch, she squatted down to show off a little woodland wildflower: Trillium undulatum. Commonly called painted trillium, it had three pale petals with a blush of crimson at their center. Ants typically disperse trillium seed, McCargo said, attracted by a nutrient-rich crest atop each seed. But the insects, she explained, rarely carry the seed more than 20 feet — which, as it happens, is the average width of a two-lane road. Wild Seed Project’s deceptively simple mission — plant seeds, mostly natives, just about anywhere — is a response to such habitat fragmentation and destruction, which has displaced native plants like painted trillium and kept it from regaining a foothold, making landscapes less biodiverse and less resilient to a changing climate. “It doesn’t have to be a shopping mall or a road — if you have a lawn, they can’t get across it,” McCargo said. “Humans put up all these obstacles.”
McCargo spent nearly 35 years working in sustainable horticulture, including five as a head propagator for the Massachusetts-based Native Plant Trust, before founding the Wild Seed Project. In the ’90s, she moved to Brooksville, on the Blue Hill peninsula, where, among other things, she did landscape design and taught agricultural arts at Blue Hill’s Bay School. In 2011, she and her family — her husband, Brian McNiff, a wind-power consultant, and their son and daughter — pulled up stakes for a stint in Barcelona. During their year abroad, McCargo was blown away by the ubiquity of balcony gardens, but she couldn’t help wondering why everything looked the same as back home. “All the urban plants are the same cultivars now,” she said. “Anywhere in the Mediterranean, in California, and probably in South Africa and Australia, you see the same urban plants.” Where others just saw pretty flowers, McCargo saw a mass-produced product flown in by a horticultural industry hooked on nasty, unnecessary chemicals. “I remember thinking then, ‘Okay, most of the world’s people live in the cities. If we can’t get urban people getting nature, then forget it,’” she says.
What to do
A person can help prevent sunburn or sun exposure by:
- applying a fragrance-free, broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF30
- choosing products containing only these active ingredients: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or both
- staying in the shade where possible
- wearing clothes that protect the head, face, and body from the sun
There is currently no evidence that specific foods cause eczema, although individuals may have allergic reactions to specific foods.
Based on anecdotal evidence, some research has suggested that removing products containing white flour, gluten, and nightshades, such as tomatoes, may help, but more research is needed to confirm this. Meanwhile, increasing the intake of vegetables, organic foods, and fish oil appeared to be beneficial.
Irritant foods, such as chilies, may cause inflammation in sensitive skin.
What to do
A person can help avoid possible food triggers by:
- wearing protective gloves when handling chilies and other possible irritant foods
- trying eliminating individual items from the diet to see if it helps
- following a varied and nutritious diet with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to boost overall health and wellbeing.
A person should consult their doctor if they suspect they have a skin infection. This is particularly true when the infection develops in an area where their eczema tends to flare up.
If a person has noticed their eczema has worsened or is no longer responding to their usual treatment, they may benefit from speaking with a doctor or dermatologist.
A dermatologist can help a person identify the type of eczema they have and prescribe treatments that may be more effective. They can also refer someone for diagnostic tests, such as allergy testing, if necessary.
If a rash appears suddenly, spreads quickly, or shows signs of infection, a person should contact a doctor as soon as possible.
Here are some questions people often ask about eczema triggers.
What foods should I avoid if I have eczema?
Some people have found it beneficial to cut out foods containing white flour, gluten, and nightshades, such as tomato, but increase the overall intake of vegetables, organic foods, and oily fish. However, more research is needed, and people should speak with a doctor before changing their diet.
Eczema can start suddenly in adults, and it is not clear why this happens. Possible causes include hormonal changes and the skin becoming drier with age. Or, there may be a new trigger, such as environmental changes or additional stress.
How can I get rid of eczema symptoms fast?
Avoiding triggers and moisturizing the skin may help reduce symptoms, but this can take time. Over-the-counter and prescription creams and medication may also help if home remedies do not improve symptoms.
There are many potential causes for eczema flare-ups, including weather changes, irritants, allergens, and water. Identifying triggers can help a person manage their eczema and reduce the symptoms.
Last medically reviewed on February 1, 2023
How we reviewed this article:
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- Silverberg, J., et al. (2020). Association of itch triggers with atopic dermatitis severity and course in adults [Abstract]. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1081120620304099
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