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2003-04-05 | 10:55 p.m.

My Mom is funny.

She can be very fussy about certain things, as if she were the last pillar of propriety, and all of civilization depended upon her maintaining standards. Tonight, we had salmon for dinner. I told the kids we were having salmon, pronouncing it sammon like everybody else in my universe. My mother doesnít want to correct me, so she pretends she didnít hear and tells them, "Weíre having SAL-mon." Pronouncing the L, as in Salman Rushdie. But what cracks me up is that I donít remember her saying it this weird way when I was growing up. I think she just decided to start doing it within the last five years or so. I guess she thinks it sounds more refined.

Maybe I should make up a salmon dish and call it "Salmon Rushdie." Go for the cheap joke; just add hot water.

Anyone needing a laugh should listen to my Mom ripping on Naomi Judd while watching "Star Search." The new one, with Arsenio Hall. Naomi Judd is one of the regular judges. My Mom imitates Judd critiquing a contestant: "I noticed you went a little flat at a couple of points," my mother mimics in a terrible, mincing voice. Then she snarls: "How the HELL would she know? She canít sing!"

My mother feels she must defend the poor contestant, who is all of fifteen and has just sung very beautifully before a television audience for the first time in her life. I tease her and say that during Star Search, she is everybodyís mother. Mom bangs around the kitchen, growling and muttering at the memory of Naomi Judd.

I think it's funny, but I also think she's right. Naomi Judd is almost certainly unbearable if you are not wild about her. I am reminded that I have my own unresolved feelings about Wynonna Judd, whom I admired until she played at a Republican convention. Then I couldn't listen to her music anymore without thinking about how irritating it was that she is a Republican. I did try--I didn't think it was fair to judge her for her politics--but that's the way my mind works. I can't get rid of some things. Up to that point, I guess I thought we could have been friends. You know, if we had ever met. But no Republican would ever want to be my friend. So pffffft--there went my friendship with Wynonna. I never had a chance.

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