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A few choice words from Mom

June 8th, 2010 · 76 comments

Mothers truly skilled in the art of passive-aggression don’t need much to make their feelings known.

Just ask Rachel in Boston, who recently finished a three-semester master’s program a few months later than expected. “My mom was less than thrilled that my nine classmates finished on time while I struggled to edit my final paper,” Rachel says. “When I finally finished, we had a small graduation party, and she presented me with this gem of a cake.”

Finally! Rachel

Meanwhile, writes our submitter in Madison, Wisconsin: “My mother has a bit of a ‘thing’ against any sort of carbonated beverage and constantly refers to diet soda as ‘the devil’s brew.’ I recently bought a little pack of the mini-cans of Diet Coke, and left one on the computer desk. After arriving home one evening, I found that my mother had kindly re-labeled one of my empty cans for me.”

Little can of poisonous chemicals

In recognition of this particular skill, has apparently farmed out the writing of their suggested “PayPhrases” to stay-at-home Moms across the country…as Jessica in California noticed, on a double-take.

Express Checkout with PayPhrase: "Jessica's Brief Relationships"

related: Is your blog kid-tested, Mom-approved?

FILED UNDER: Boston · cake · Diet Coke · Madison · Moms & Dads

76 responses so far ↓

  • #1   not gen anything

    Oh, come on! These are amateur passive aggressive moms. We need a real guilt inducing mom note.

    Jun 8, 2010 at 4:02 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   Mo® bang

      Tsk tsk where is the $5.00 check and card from Grandma for Rachel? Surely this will have a better shame spiral to it.

      Jun 8, 2010 at 4:33 pm   rating: 24  small thumbs up

    • #1.2   Woman on the Verge bang

      I have thumbed Mo because I love the phrase “shame spiral”.

      Jun 8, 2010 at 4:46 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #1.3   Maas

      Yeah, “Finally! Rachel” really isn’t that bad given that the aforementioned Rachel describes the event that the cake represents by saying “When I finally finished…” It sounds like Rachel and her mother have exactly the same view of her graduation.

      Jun 8, 2010 at 6:58 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #1.4   Rachel

      Yeah, you make a valid point. It was a relief to finish up. I was more amused by this cake than annoyed, especially because of the strange grammar :)

      Jun 8, 2010 at 7:05 pm   rating: 15  small thumbs up

    • #1.5   Mo® bang

      At least she didn’t add a post script like, “Now get a job!”

      Jun 8, 2010 at 7:11 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #1.6   Rachel

      Oh, that’s been the running monologue for awhile now…even though I *do* have a job. Go figure! (I’m an only child, so there’s no one else to nag.)

      Jun 8, 2010 at 7:15 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #1.7   park rose bang

      In the tradition of his forefathers, I’m thinking this is a message that maybe Jacob left Rachel or Issac left Rebekah, or Abraham left Sarah.

      Jun 9, 2010 at 12:59 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #1.8   infant tyrone bang

      I gather Job is still available, but like his forefathers, missing a foreskin.

      Jun 9, 2010 at 3:10 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #1.9   park rose

      If they’d all been a bit better at foreplay, it might not have taken so long. Always blame the empty womb. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

      Jun 9, 2010 at 10:57 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #2   Tikikala

    chimicals.. @_@

    Jun 8, 2010 at 4:17 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #3   Quite Contrary

    Oh, mom. As if you are perfect. Where do you think I learned my procrastination skills and my love of chemicals?

    Jun 8, 2010 at 4:21 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #3.1   Mark bang

      I learned it by watching YOU!

      /bad 80′s drug PSA

      *pines for Mishee*

      Jun 8, 2010 at 4:23 pm   rating: 20  small thumbs up

    • #3.2   Mo® bang

      The more you know…

      Jun 8, 2010 at 4:26 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #3.3   Mark bang

      And knowing is half the battle!

      Jun 8, 2010 at 4:32 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #3.4   Mo® bang

      Way to go Joe!

      Jun 8, 2010 at 4:33 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #3.5   Sirius¤ bang

      If you smoke pot – nothing happens

      Jun 8, 2010 at 4:33 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #3.6   Woman on the Verge bang

      I saw Reefer Madness. I will drink Diet Coke and become disheveled and play the piano with great fervor!

      Jun 8, 2010 at 4:47 pm   rating: 19  small thumbs up

    • #3.7   Kimmypie

      He learned it by watching Dad…
      Now he supports terrorism when he buys his pot from the hippie across town…
      Damn it, Dad!!

      Jun 21, 2010 at 6:55 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #4   Mo® bang

    Aw MOM! What is next? I won’t be allowed to cook meth in the garage?

    Jun 8, 2010 at 4:21 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #5   Jynical

    When I was much younger, my cousin and I would get my dad’s porn out and giggle at the pictures. One afternoon, we opened the drawer and on top of the magazines was a handwritten note from my mother that said, “God is watching you.” I wish I could go back in time, take a picture and come back to submit it to this site.

    Jun 8, 2010 at 4:22 pm   rating: 25  small thumbs up

    • #5.1   Neeners

      Are you sure you were just “giggling”?

      Jun 8, 2010 at 6:39 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #5.2   Edwina the Defrocked Nun

      and not gigglebraxing?

      Jun 9, 2010 at 12:24 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #5.3   HandyMarigolds

      So was the note for you kids, or for your dad?

      Jun 9, 2010 at 9:09 am   rating: 12  small thumbs up

    • #5.4   Rubber Chicken

      Or both?

      Jun 9, 2010 at 1:06 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #6   The Girl from New York

    I fully expect the Mommsen girls to get a cake like Rachel did if reading “The Rules” doesn’t get them to the top of the Mommsen “next-to-marry” list.

    Jun 8, 2010 at 4:29 pm   rating: 15  small thumbs up

    • #6.1   HandyMarigolds

      Nice callback!

      Nothing like announcing your engagement (or graduation, or pregnancy, or promotion) and hearing, “Gah, it’s about TIME!” instead of congratulations.

      Jun 9, 2010 at 8:59 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #7   Significant

    Actually, diet coke devil mom has a legitimate point. That little “phenylketonurics” warning on the can has to do with fake sugar substances such as aspertame, sucrolose and others that are really harmful to your body (especially when they’ve been built up in your system for so long). You don’t hear about the dangers because it’s a cheap alternative to what’s better for you out there (take the natural sugar Stevia for example). Some people are very sensitive to it so they end up finding alternatives right away (which is good). Then there are those (most people) who don’t feel the immediate side effects but the damage is still being done to the internal organs. Phenylalanine is what they use as formaldehyde when preserving dead bodies. So take that for what you will. A little bit of it won’t kill you, but if you eat/drink a lot of foods that are diet, or are “sugar free”, consider cutting back on them.

    Yeah, I sound like one of those crazy people. The fake sugar’s out to get you! Run! But it’s true.
    *end rant*

    Jun 8, 2010 at 4:37 pm   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #7.1   eslinger bang

      I’m highly allergic to aspartame, and I found out the hard way (horrible heart palpitations, among other reactions). Even something as small as a stick of gum will set me off. And since so many companies choose to keep using aspartame instead of safer alternatives such as Stevia, then I just have to keep checking everything before I drink/eat it. There are a few soda companies using Splenda, thankfully. However, I gotta say, those sodas don’t taste that great: Diet Rite and Diet RC (not ALL Diet RC, some have aspartame, some don’t; I have no clue why). I’ll just drink regular soda in the meantime. Or better yet, water. Soda’s really not that great for anyone to begin with. :P

      P.S. – That Diet Coke wasn’t fucking delicious. :( But that cake was! :D

      Jun 9, 2010 at 2:25 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #7.2   Mark bang

      Phenylalanine has absolutely nothing to do with formaldehyde or preserving dead bodies. It is an amino acid (which is paired with aspartic acid to make aspartame). The warning about phenylketonurics is not about artificial sweeteners in general, it is solely about aspartame, and solely because aspartame contains phenylalanine (which is a naturally-occurring amino acid, which most people digest without any trouble). It just happens that people with phenylketonuria cannot digest phenylalanine, so it builds up in their bodies eventually causing serious problems such as death. If you’re not a phenylketonuric, you can digest phenylalanine just fine and the warning is irrelevant to you.

      See wiki.

      eslinger, obviously if you’re allergic to aspartame that is a different story.

      Also note that stevia may or may not be safe. There are conflicting studies. It appears from a perusal of the literature that the current thought is that it is pretty safe, but there are several studies which report weakly mutagenic properties.

      And I agree, I much prefer water to any soda. Of course, beer has both of them beat!

      Jun 9, 2010 at 2:44 pm   rating: 11  small thumbs up

    • #7.3   Mo® bang

      ChemE FTW!!!
      There is some knowledge to put in your nugget!

      I like water, beer and wine in that order.

      Jun 9, 2010 at 3:57 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #7.4   Kimmypie


      Jun 21, 2010 at 6:57 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #8   The Great Joe Bivins

    Rachel’s mom then presented her another cake which read “Now how about some grandchildren?”

    Jun 8, 2010 at 4:47 pm   rating: 20  small thumbs up

    • #8.1   Rachel

      Rachel here. The grandchildren comment did in fact come the next day…no cake, though :(

      Jun 8, 2010 at 4:56 pm   rating: 20  small thumbs up

    • #8.2   Gladystopia

      Is it better or worse if it comes with cake? Because frankly, I’d be happy to listen to at least some of my mom’s PA comments if they were emblazoned on chocolate frosting.

      Of course, that would ruin her whole monologue about my weight….

      Jun 8, 2010 at 4:59 pm   rating: 20  small thumbs up

    • #8.3   HandyMarigolds

      I wonder if there’s a market for a PA specialty bakery. “Cakes and pastries for every occasion — including ‘When are you going to have a baby already?’ and ‘You’re not going to eat ALL of this, are you?’”

      Jun 9, 2010 at 9:04 am   rating: 12  small thumbs up

    • #8.4   Rubber Chicken

      But will you get a cake when you do give her grandchildren?

      Jun 9, 2010 at 1:08 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #9   cowbert

    eww aspartame is a nice poisonous chemical indeed.

    Jun 8, 2010 at 5:22 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #9.1   Mark bang

      [citation needed]

      Jun 8, 2010 at 5:47 pm   rating: 13  small thumbs up

  • #10   Penguins In Guam

    I agree, diet sodas are evil. I’ll stick with pure, fattening death chemicals any day.

    Jun 8, 2010 at 5:28 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #10.1   Neeners

      Although there are alternatives to eating the pseudofood from the supermarket it just isn’t convenient unless you are one of those chosen few who have the time to grow their own food in the backyard, and tend mini farm animals like chickens and goats, and work a forty hour a week job. ” Chemically Enraged Mom” should let the rest of us know how she does it. I think that she has unwittingly given her family food items that weren’t 100% natural and diet coke is the least of her worries.

      I don’t think my container gardening is cutting it for a fam of four. I am only good at herbs still can’t grow the veggies. So I guess it’s chemicals and hormones for all at my house, maybe that is what preserves us.

      Jun 9, 2010 at 4:50 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #11   jinx

    Guessing by the fact that there were only nine other people in her class, Rachel is retarded. She was in inclusion classes. They didn’t have the heart to break it to her, though, when her non “special” classmates graduated on time. Anyway, mom fails for having the f*cked up egg that turned into Rachel. At least, dad was smart to stay out of it because he knew his swimmer that produced Rachel was well… slow.

    Jun 8, 2010 at 5:52 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #11.1   Neeners

      ‘ouch’ that even hurt to read!!

      Jun 8, 2010 at 6:35 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #11.2   Rachel

      I’m not sure what you mean by “inclusion classes” but I only had nine classmates because it was a small master’s program. My final paper took longer than expected because I took on too much freelance work during the last semester. I’m not stupid, but I will admit that I did suffer from poor time management skills during the program.

      Jun 8, 2010 at 6:44 pm   rating: 22  small thumbs up

    • #11.3   SpelingChamp

      She’s from Boston… it’s spelled Retahded. Seriously… how could you not know that? Next time, if you’re going to misspell words, at least write something creative, funny, and worth reading.

      Jun 8, 2010 at 9:11 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #11.4   jinx

      lol I love how Rachel is pretending I made up the term inclusion class. It’s ok, Rachel. You’re not “different”. ;) The helmet you wear makes the regular… Er, other students jealous. :)

      Jun 8, 2010 at 9:58 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #11.5   infant tyrone bang

      Rachel probably just had a flashback bout of hyperpunctuation.
      Not exactly a rare occurrence in the life of a recovering postgrad.
      Your turret’s syndrome may be in remission,
      but your ass-purger’s is functioning on a high level.

      The fucked up gametes theme was delicious.
      Your own parents should dine so well,
      wherever they’re being held and studied.

      Jun 8, 2010 at 11:26 pm   rating: 17  small thumbs up

    • #11.6   HandyMarigolds

      Special ed master’s programs, Jinx? I’ll have to take your word for it.

      Sounds awesome, though! Are the campus shuttles shorter than normal?

      Jun 9, 2010 at 9:11 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #11.7   Neeners

      Yea, I hope there are some. I’m graduating this fall and if I am brave enough, I may want to take on a special ed Masters program since my brain feels like it is fried.

      Jun 9, 2010 at 11:06 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #11.8   katscratch

      Bless your heart, Jinx, trying so hard to be clever.

      (And tea, with a tiny dose of honey or real sugar if needed, is my nominee for Perfect Thing to Drink. Tasty *and* good for you.)

      Jun 21, 2010 at 11:04 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #12   Neeners

    Mom, would you prefer a fifth of gin, or jack daniels with a straw in it to the diet coke?

    Lighten up!

    Jun 8, 2010 at 6:36 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

  • #13   Odious

    Rachel, just list the ingredients in a can of soda and then look at the labels on the food your mom eats.
    (soda will be comparatively innocuous)
    Better get some post-its first…

    Jun 8, 2010 at 7:35 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #14   spyderqueen

    Hah, anyone in my family when confronted with the soda note would promptly channel Homer Simpson with an “Mmmmmmm, poisonous chemicals…..”

    Jun 8, 2010 at 11:02 pm   rating: 12  small thumbs up

    • #14.1   The Elf

      Alright brain. I don’t like you and you don’t like me. So let’s finally finish editing this master’s thesis and I can get back to killing you with diet coke.

      Jun 9, 2010 at 8:01 am   rating: 18  small thumbs up

    • #14.2   HandyMarigolds

      Amen. People talk about chemical-induced memory loss like it’s a bad thing!

      Jun 9, 2010 at 9:13 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #15   Nack

    Leave a note on the soda can and leave it on the desk: “I was trying to kill myself, Duh.” Maybe add a post script: “And I’m trying to bury myself alive in garbage too, don’t throw my little can tomb away…”

    The cake though, I have to defend, Mom might’ve been trying to kid right along with Rachel about it all being finally and completely over with. As a mother of a teenager, God, I want schooling to be over. Just.. over…And what better way to say it than with yummy real-sugar frosting!

    Jun 9, 2010 at 12:34 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #16   HandyMarigolds

    I wish I could sic the Wisconsonian mom on my colleagues’ stuff in the break room fridge. She could label everything with helpful descriptives like “constipation in a bottle” and “won’t really help you lose weight if you eat the entire box in one sitting.”

    Jun 9, 2010 at 8:54 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #17   Nix

    Madison, WI, you need to listen to dear old Mum on the Diet Coke issue. It is a little can of poisonous chemicals. Aspartame breaks down into formaldehyde and methanol in your body, known carcinogens.

    Listen to your mother and switch to sparkling water if you need a carbonated fix!

    Jun 9, 2010 at 12:11 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #17.1   Mark bang

      Nix – that is false.

      Note that I have no special love of diet drinks — I despise them, and drink sugared soft drinks probably a total of 10 times a year. Water with lemon is my drink of choice (behind beer, of course). Just sayin’, the “science” behind Aspartame’s supposed harmful effects has long been debunked.

      Jun 9, 2010 at 12:34 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #17.2   Mo® bang

      Hooray Science!
      It works bitches!

      Jun 9, 2010 at 12:46 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #17.3   Gandalf

      Since Aspartame is a dipeptide, it’s break down products would be two amino acid: phenylalanine and glutamic acid. Amino acids are used by the body to produce proteins. The sweetnes of Aspartame is hondreds of time sweeter than sugar, so there is only a small amount of it in each serving of Diet Coke. The phosphouric acid in soft drinks is probably more harmful.

      However, if you consume methanol, it will break down in the body as formaldehyde.

      Jun 9, 2010 at 2:23 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #17.4   eslinger bang

      Huh. Many of the symptoms mentioned on Snopes are what happen to me when I ingest even a tiny bit of aspartame. Thanks a lot, now I have Lupus, you jerks! :P

      P.S. – I’m joking, just in case anyone thinks otherwise. And no, Lupus isn’t funny, I know.

      Jun 9, 2010 at 2:50 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #17.5   Mark bang

      It’s not lupus.


      Jun 9, 2010 at 2:53 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #17.6   Woman on the Verge bang

      I knew it! Mark IS HOUSE!!!

      Jun 9, 2010 at 3:01 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #17.7   Mo® bang

      That explains why he wanted a cane for his birthday!

      Jun 9, 2010 at 4:00 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #17.8   park rose bang

      I think you misheard, timo. I think he begged for asked for a caning. ;)

      Jun 9, 2010 at 4:55 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #17.9   Sara

      Dude, it gets worse: after the formaldehyde+methanol breakdown, the dreadful carcinogens exit as fecal mist!!111!! Shut the terlit lid and put down the soda!!!

      Jun 10, 2010 at 3:02 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #17.10   Mo® bang

      The fecal mists fly everywhere, get on your toothbrush, shutdown flights in Europe and kill kindly old spinster wimmens!!!11!!1!!!

      Jun 10, 2010 at 3:34 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #18   xindi

    Rachel’s Mom graduated EARLY from the University of PA Notes, with a Masters, back in 1983.

    Jun 9, 2010 at 1:31 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

  • #19   DensityDuck

    A better note might have been “total rip-off, you’re paying twice as much for 2/3 the soda”.

    Seriously–those mini-cans are RIDICULOUSLY overpriced.

    Jun 9, 2010 at 5:39 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #20   Bubby

    That little can of poisonous chemicals was fucking delicious!

    Jun 9, 2010 at 10:11 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #21   ANR

    One time my mom decided I didn’t call her early enough in the morning to wish her a happy birthday. So, she called me and left me a message wishing herself a happy birthday. She may be a year older, but she’s definitely not any more polite.

    Jun 16, 2010 at 10:02 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #22   ANR bang

    on my mom’s birthday she decided I didn’t call her early enough in the day to congratulate her and turning one year older. So, she decided to call ME and leave a message saying happy birthday to herself. It’s a voice note, and it’s passive agressive indeed.

    Jun 16, 2010 at 10:11 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #23   tristan

    re pic 2: My dad owned a general store in Victoria, Australia for a while, i still remember the Coke rep suggesting we use the expired diet coke as weed killer…

    Jun 22, 2010 at 3:39 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #24   Wednesday

    My parents also got me a passive-aggressive cake when I finally graduated with a B.A. after seven years and four colleges at the age of 28. It said “At Last” and I’m sure they thought they were being terribly original.

    Jun 24, 2010 at 10:17 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #25   Warning: Take my last Diet Coke from the fridge and I WILL cut you. |

    [...] don’t ever condone passive-aggressive note-writing, but you should be warned: hard-core Diet Coke drinkers do not fool around. (Trust me — I’m a recovering addict [...]

    May 11, 2011 at 12:22 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up


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