Sunday, October 31, 2004

Political: Politics Don't Belong in Halloween

Just took my niece and her wee friend around the doors of her neighborhood to trick or treat. All the other kids were, as you would expect, out in force as Batman and Shrek and Barbie and Spiderman....and as an Arab terrorist.

Yeah, you read that right. One little guy was dressed up in a white robe-ish thing carrying a toy AK-42, with a very large sword on his belt. At first I thought it was some cartoon/anime character that I perhaps did not know, being that I do not yet have to watch all of the Nickelodeon channels with a little one.

So we ask him, "Hi Sweetie! And who are you dressed up as tonight?!"

"I'm a terrorist. drattattaattaaattttaaatttaaaa." [fake machine gun fire pointed at us]

Stunned silence as I watch him run around amidst the tigers, princesses, superheroes, ladybugs and all of the other characters that kids love to emulate.

Stunned amazement as I wonder aloud who the hell are this kid's parents?

My sister points to a house across the street with the Bush/Cheney '04 yard signs. Says he's a true blue GOP-er in the non-complimentary sense of the phrase. And I am left wondering: how, by this father's politics, is a parade full of flamboyantly-dressed gay men so objectionable, but parading your kid door to door as a mass murderer is not? Even leaving aside the whole issue of dressing your kid up "as an Arab," am I the only person who thinks the whole thing is appalling? Aren't we supposed to be our kids' moral compass when they are too young to have one themselves? Aren't we supposed to be our kids' filter for both damaging stereotypes and insensate cruelty?

Short Story Long: Some parents ought to have their jobs outsourced to people possessing a heart, a brain and a conscience.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Political: Could John McCain win this election?

Electoral Vote Shedding

Political: The New Yorker Endorses a Candidate

Read the article detailing this precedent-setting move by the magazine. Courtesy of EdgarNewt's EndNotes, a friend of The Haggis.

EN2's link to the New Yorker

World Series: Wicked Awesome!

The Red Sox are the 2004 World Series Champions!

Eighty-six yeaahs since they last won.

Total pissah for the Cahdinals.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Political: Middle Finger Veterans For Truth

Oh my goodness, you KNOW you want to see this. It is the future POTUS giving a camera "the digit." Yep. W giving the finger. Do you think this impacts the GOP theory that what someone did years ago is elemental to their ability to serve? Or is that only if its in a swift boat?

Bush Gives The Finger

Political: Your Voter Protection Card

Courtesy of my girl MC from Chi-Town.

Print this out and take it with you. Seriously.

Voter Protection Card

Political: As in baseball, Keep The Faith!

Dearest Democrats and Sundry Non-Republicans:

Enough of the drama! Enough of the hand wringing! Enough of "the only way we can win is to throw Bush back into Mount Doom."

There is reason to be cautiously optimistic. Think about it. You are the Sitting American President, and you are in a DEAD HEAT with your challenger? YOU are the one with the record! The benefits of incumbency! The Republican money machine behind you! The ability to take national center stage! Why are you in a DEAD HEAT with your challenger?! No sitting president should be polling less than 50%; this President is topping out in polls at 48%.

None of this is meant as a call to complacency, nor is it a statement of a sure thing. We still need to get out there and help, do phonebanking, drive students and senior citizens to the polls, keep up the momentum. For those of you on the other side, you might want to do the same for your guy. For those of you voting for Nader, I struggle to find the words to address you. But that is another post...

Short Story Long: No Liberal Hand-Wringing! No Conservative Posturing! This jump ball is still up in the air.

Smorgasbord: A Time Wasting Game Just For YOU!

Paper Toss

Smorgasbord: Stalled in a Public Bathroom

I am back working in an office a few days a week, and as such get the singular joy that is going to the bathroom in a stall environment. Three stalls to be exact. One huge "handicapped" one even though a wheelchair couldn't fit through the outer bathroom door if the person shimmied it in sideways. Two smaller stalls. Two sinks with the water that turns on and off at will but never when you need it. The requisite coin-operated machines dispensing feminine products that neither I nor any woman I have ever known has ever used. First of all, I don't bring my wallet to the bathroom. Secondly, who is vouching for the recency and quality of anything that comes out of a bathroom wall? No gracias. That is why female coworkers with that stuffed second-drawer-down-on-the-right-hand-side exist. In an emergency, they just wade through the fruit rollups, Swiss Miss No Sugar Added Hot Chocolate packets, Ricola throat drops and Avon hand cream to get you what you need. No sweat.

Anyway. Yesterday I went in to the bathroom. Stall one looked fine. Handicapped Stall Three looked fine. Stall two had something going on in the bowl that I will not describe. So what did I do? I said, "Yeeech" and went to stall three. Come back 45 minutes later (those of you who know me know that this is a standard amount of time for a woman who drinks lots of water with little capacity for holding it), Dreaded Stall Two is still "indisposed." So I go back to Stall Three with another, "Yeech. Who would DO that?!"

As I was in Stall Three I pondered the strange behavior of people in public bathrooms. All it would have taken for Stall Two to be fine was me walking in there and flushing it with my foot. No skin-to-commode contact necessary. I'd be performing a public service for the rest of the women. And yet I would not do it. It was like the entire stall was lethal and could not be approached, never mind flushed. I wanted to be a good doobie, but the thought of going near THAT was just too much to ask.

So I went back to my desk and returned (as I do) about an hour later. Sweet Porcelain Gods! Stall Two was cleared. If I had never seen it earlier, I would have had no idea that there had been anything to see. It was, as The Biscuit on Ally McBeal would say before using his wireless automatic flushing gadget, "a clean bowl."

And yet I still would not go in. And so I once again pondered in cavernous Stall Three just what kind of person would leave such a nasty calling card, as if they'd do that at home and just walk away: "Oh sorry dear! I was in a rush and just figured you'd flush it for me later." I then subsequently wondered what kind of Angel of Public Facilities would have the stones to finally and at long last put us all out of our misery and take care of business. The more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that the Restroom Savior had to be somebody's mother. She has dealt with crap for many years, both literal and figurative, and no doubt, on the third visit just thought, "Oh for heaven's sake; if I don't do it, no one will." Whoever you are, oh Seraph of Sanitary Surfaces, I salute you.

Short Story Long: As if anyone should have to issue this reminder to grown adults: Always Flush. Sometimes Twice.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Political: The Black Watch goes to Iraq

From the Chicago Sun-Times. I'm getting teary-eyed as I read this.

Famed Scottish regiment heads to Iraqi hot spot

October 25, 2004


BASRA, Iraq -- Under a clear blue sky and enclosed in a square of armored vehicles, the soldiers of Britain's famous Black Watch regiment, some teenagers, sang "Amazing Grace" before hearing an Old Testament reading from the Book of Joshua that talked of standing "firm and steadfast."

"In the best traditions of the British Army we serve as ambassadors of our country," the chaplain, Aled Thomas, told them as they prepared to join U.S. forces south of Baghdad.

"The way we conduct ourselves can make us stand out as a force for good or not."

At the moment when he paused after saying "let us pray," the distant boom of a large explosion could be heard several miles away.

"The regiment is ready to go and the guys are focused," said Lance Corp. Lewis Montague, 23, from Kirkcaldy, Scotland.

"Everybody is a bit nervous but we have been through this before during the war last year. We just talk to our friends, keep each other going and stay focused."

The Black Watch was the first of the Scottish Highland regiments, the units famous for their kilts and recruited from the rugged mountains of Scotland. The regiment's name stems from the dark tartan it wears.

Corp. Alex Wilson, 27, from Dunfermline, Scotland, said the battalion was excited at being the first British troops into the so-called Sunni Triangle, where hundreds of American servicemen have been killed.

The regiment was led into their final Sunday service before departure by bagpipes and drums playing the traditional Scottish song "Blue Bonnets Over the Border."

The troops' self-assurance was more than matched by their commanding officer, Lt. Col. James Cowan.

"There's been much sensationalist talk about the threat we will face," he said. "Frankly, this regiment beat Napoleon, beat the Kaiser and beat Hitler.

"For the Jocks of the Black Watch this is just the latest chapter in our history and another job to be done."

Cowan was eager to avoid reference to the Americans' more direct approach at peacekeeping. "We are different nations and we do things differently.

"We are the British Army, they are the American army, we will do it our way and they will do it their way.

"We will act as a force for good in a new and different part of this country and it will be well within our ability and experience. We will fit in."

Cowan also ducked questions over the future of the Black Watch. Defense cuts mean that it is high on the list of infantry regiments to be disbanded.

"I'm sure the Black Watch has a long, fine future ahead of it," he said.

Monday, October 25, 2004

My Crushes: Fat Elvis

...well, actually Fat Simon.

As a teenager in the late 80's I always laughed derisively at those middle-aged women who loved Tom Selleck and who continued the inexplicable practice of throwing their dainties at Neil Diamond. I could never figure out how these mothers and wives and otherwise upstanding members of the Junior League were coming undone over some overweight sweaty middle-aged dude who sang "oldies."

Oh Dear.

I find myself all atwitter at the recent reunion of Duran Duran IN ITS ORIGINAL LINEUP!! I am so excited about it that I would be lying if declared that I had not pondered the now-distinct possibility that I might frighteningly turn into one of those women throwing my La Perlas at Simon LeBon while my husband stays home with my completely-grossed-out kids.

Short Story Long: I have seen the future, and she is me.

Political: Move it or Lose it

Y'all. It's time. Get your butts out there and volunteer. Your humble blogger will be spending her Friday night at Kerry HQ here in DC doing some phonebanking to swing states.

Are you man enough to get to Bush-Cheney HQ and cancel out my efforts?

I dare you.
Bring it on.
Bet mine is bigger than yours. ;)

Volunteer for KE04

Volunteer for BC04

Political: GWB Asleep on the Job--Again

Americans at home and our servicepeople abroad are clearly safer with George Bush and Dick Cheney at the helm:

380 MetricTons of Explosives Missing in Iraq
by VOA News
25 October 2004

The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed a report that 380 metric tons of explosives are missing from a key former military installation in Iraq.

IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei is expected to brief the United Nations Security Council later Monday on the disappearance of the explosives.

The New York Times quotes experts as saying the missing explosives are of a type that could be used to demolish buildings, produce missile warheads or possibly trigger a nuclear weapon.

U.S. officials are said to have been informed several weeks ago that the explosives had disappeared from Iraq's Al Qaqaa military storage facility. The newspaper says the site was supposed to be under U.S. military control, but it has been extensively looted and was not secure as recently as Saturday.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Political: He's Back! And not a moment too soon!

Diane Sawyer

Telly: Desperate Housewives

As much as I hate "America's Next Top Model," I LOVE Desperate Housewives. You need to check it out.

That's my PSA for the week.

World Series: Dream The Impossible Dream

"Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second."
--William James


Saturday, October 23, 2004

World Series: Fox Coverage

Anyone want to comment on the Fox coverage?

e.g, I keep thinking the Sox are scoring home run after home run, since they keep doing replays without telling you.

Tim McCarver should not quit his day job. Oh wait, this IS his day job. S. says, "Tim McCarver sounds like what I'd sound like if I commentated a ballet."

In general, it's not so good. Any thoughts?

World Series: Additional Real Time Chatter

Okay. Pursuant to the earlier statement regarding fus manchu (fu manchus?), we also extend those remarks to include White People With Cornrows. As I just said to someone, "It's so wrong, you wonder how anyone could think it's right." It's not, "oh dear, you wore white slingbacks after Labor Day." No, no. You are a white dude with cornrows! Take it from a whiter girl: no one wants to see your flourescent white scalp. Not even if you are pitching at the World Series. Mr. Bronson Arroyo, I am making a virtual citizen's arrest. Part of your sentence will be eating three squares at my house, because you, son, need to gain some weight.

But, back to baseball!!

Smorgasbord: Gym Etiquette

All this sports-watching has us talking about working out, who is macked out, who looks good, blah blah. It also has us discussing nasty people we encounter at our respective gyms.

We all go to different gyms, so the fact that we all know "this guy" or "this woman" tells me that he and she get around. Tell me if you recognize these people:

1) The person who sits on the locker room leather couch buck nekkid. No towel underneath, no nothin'. Just freeb**ling on the couch as if no one else ever has to sit there.

2) The woman who blow dries and puts on makeup buck nekkid in a crowded vanity area. Like, if you were at home you'd be doing this naked? Please. What is it about having just done 40 minutes on the elliptical that makes us want to show off our stuff to strangers?

3) The guy who uses the gym-provided lotion to moisturize areas that SHOULD NOT HAVE DRY SKIN ISSUES. Note to that dude: if you notice skin flaking, see a doctor; you do not have "combination skin." Trust me.

4) The people who do the hot tub naked. What is this? I'm only a marginal prude, but MUST you deny me the intellectual fiction that there is something (be it even a teeny shred of garment) between you and me in the water? You are the reason I do not use public hot tubs. Again, if you were at your friend's hot tub, you'd put on a swimsuit. Why do you have to get naked with ME when I don't even know you?

Short Story Long: I'm sure you all have others. Share. We must put a stop to this national epidemic of gym boorishness.

World Series: Red Sox Roundtable

Top of the 2nd.
Sox 4-0 over the Cards.

Holy Mamatoli!

Some thoughts on these teams for your review, discussion and disagreement:

A) Although Curt Schilling played with his ankle skin sutured to his tendon to keep it in place (which I would not do for my own mother never mind a baseball team), David Ortiz absolutely deserved to be MVP.

B) Pedro (according to my boy S.) is a "serviceable" #1 pitcher and a fantastic #2 pitcher. The prognostication is that he will perform very well in this series. He WILL be somebody's Daddy before the series is over.

C) We don't like the Cardinals' road uniforms. (But that's just us getting all "America's Next Top Model" on you).

D) We are not afraid of Mike Metheny. In fact, we're more afraid of Pat Metheny.

E) What is it with Red Sox players and the fu manchu? As I've always said, there's not a man alive with a goatee who doesn't look better without it. (Yes, I'm talking to YOU! You're better looking that you give yourself credit for!)

F) There WILL be a Game Six, so those of you lucky dogs who have tickets (and you know who you are but we're not jealous no we're thrilled for you really), you can rest easy in the prediction of the DC fans.

G) What is Nomar thinking right now? "I should have been nicer in the clubhouse?" "$12 million, I guess, would have been enough?" "Looks like Cabrera was a good deal after all?" "Well, at least my wife has a world championship..."

H) Fun fact for those of you still reading: you can't see the B on the helmets because they are covered in pine tar. Call S for more details.

Ohmigod!! The kid who got hit in the teeth is holding up a sign saying, "You broke the curse and my teeth!"

That's cool.

Stay tuned.

Short Story Long: Beisahboll ha bin berry berry goo to me.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Telly: America's Next Top Model

Oh my lord, please tell me you don't watch this show. Unlike me, who is sitting here suffering through the pseudo-drama and soft coreness of it all. Wow. This show bites. Oh, yes, it has all the elements of reality television: faux connections between total strangers (ie, Tyra's "heart to hearts" with "the girls"), plenty of T&A for the adolescent (and not-so-adolescent) males, faux drama as one girl tearily calls her boyfriend to say how hard it is because she has to give "like, 100% every photo shoot," (the poor thing!) and the standard hard-knock stories about rough childhoods to make you root for one or another of the "girls" based on her parents having divorced when she was little, as if no one else in the world has managed to hold it together after a divorce and do something as grueling and selfless and life affirming as, um, modeling. Yeah. Okay.

You know that this show got greenlighted because it featured ample boobage, (can I say this on a blog?--) a preponderance of cameltoe, and borderline anorexia, which is apparently attractive in the US these days. I'm actually kind of struck how none of the "girls" is actually what you'd consider pretty. They look like models, in the sense that they are not pretty, but rather have the right number of millimeters between their eyes, the right number of ribs showing, and (with the exception of one actually cute African-American woman, Toccara) the right number of BMI points below the lowest healthy limit. Also, let us not forget Janice Dickinson--the horribly plastic-surgeried has-been model whose only real remaining feature is her mile-long mean streak. Oh--and speaking of mean critiques, I forgot to mention the requisite number of b*tchy gay men trashing the "girls'" performance and appearance. One man actually said to one of the African-American women while she was modeling, "Keep it loose. Don't get ghetto in the face, missy!" I'm sorry--how is that NOT offensive? How is Tyra Banks part of this? How am *I* part of this?!! Kill me now. And if Miz Banks says, " the running towards being America's Next Top Model" one more time, I swear I will scream. It's like her contract stipulates that she must mention the show's name every 45 seconds that she is on-screen.

Short Story Long: Oh my lord. I don't know why I'm watching this. I think I'm just too tired to get up and find the remote...

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Mars/Venus: Taking Love As It Comes

Now that I've written that title, I'm wondering if this really is a Mars/Venus thing or whether it's just a human thing. I am speaking of the tendency among people in relationships (romantic, familial or whatever) to feel unloved or that somehow the person(s) in their life are not meeting their needs. Entire industries (talk shows, internet p*rn, reality makeovers, plastic surgery) have been created around mitigating the effects of those feelings of unloveableness or unworthiness, which tells me that they are neither a random nor rare occurrence.

We all know, in the clear light of day, that love is not something you can extort or cajole or beg or force from someone. It either exists or it does not. But what we often forget is that love can be present, it can be offered, it can be bestowed in ways other than those which we have learned to consider legitimate. So many of the times we may feel unloved or unworthy, what we are really experiencing is a failure to see the love being given to us because it doesn't meet our innate criteria for what love should be or how love should be given.

It's interesting that we never look at children and wonder why they don't give us love on OUR timetable and at OUR convenience. When my niece runs up to me when I walk in the door, hugs me around the legs, and says (using her name for me), "Lally! Lally! I love you!," I pick her up, kiss her all over her face while saying, "How's my best pal in the whole world?!" I don't place a value judgement on her timing or delivery. Whenever my niece wants to tell me I'm the greatest, I am all ears for her message, however she wants to tell, paint, draw, sing for me. I don't require that she use bigger, better, more florid prose. I don't need her to say it more often. I don't need her to stop otherwise annoying me with her childish behavior at other times for me to believe that she means what she says right now as she tells me she loves me. I don't question her love. It just is what it is, and I accept it gratefully and with a full, happy heart.

Why do we lose that ability as we grow older? Why do we all of a sudden start thinking someone doesn't love us, when all they are doing is sharing that love in a way we don't consider to be real? Why do we put value judgements onto someone's expression of love? Why do we feel disrespected when our parents don't talk to us/treat us/socialize with us/love us in the exact way we feel we need to have it happen rather than being grateful that they are here to give it at all? Why do we find a partner's attempt to love us at an inconvenient time to be an annoyance rather than an embarrassment of riches? Why do we forget that a true sign of maturity is recognizing that sometimes something you think is really important is not; it's simply a crutch or a defense mechanism you have built over the years?

I don't have the answer. If I did, I'd be a far better partner, daughter, sister and friend.

Short Story Long: Resolve that Just For Today, when someone offers you love---be it via nagging, awkward silence when you want to speak, public kisses when you are shy, concerned phone calls when you are busy, emailed articles when you hate spam, inquiries into your health and dating life when you feel invaded, playful teasing when you don't feel playful, expressed disappointment with an action you've taken when you don't need to hear it from someone else, fear of losing you when you wish for the moment that they'd go, silly phone calls when you are swamped at work, a home-cooked meal when you ate at the office, a backrub when you don't feel like receiving one---accept the love. Take it. Enjoy it. Revel in it. Count yourself lucky among millions to have someone who takes the time to express it. No, not in the way you want or need right now. But don't banish the love. Banish your "needs" instead. You won't regret it.

Smorgasbord: I Loves Me My Halloween

This is an opinion on which people of good faith can differ. So noted. But here's the thing: I LOVE HALLOWEEN!! I just think it's fun. Don't get me wrong. I'm not loving the part where teenagers not in costume come to your door and expect candy. In fact, I'm so against it that last year, by the end of the evening, I had perfected my response to these punk a** teenagers: "[snarky laugh of derisiveness]. No way, dude! You didn't even dress up! No candy for you!" J was concerned that the house would be egged later. Perhaps a valid concern. But no way was I handing out mini Clark bars to some punk who thinks that showing up and saying "trick or treat" in a menacing manner entitles him to some candy. He can kiss it. My Halloween Rule: Candy for the kids. Sarcasm for the teenagers. Works every time.

So this year my dear friend AG is coming down from Detroit City to visit. We are going to a Saturday night party and then taking my niece trick or treating on Sunday. For Saturday we are going to the party as The Bush Twins. She's Barbara. I'm Jenna. I figure it's the easiest d*mn costume ever: streaky blond, long wig, skintight jeans, sorority girl strappy shoes, a slightly inappropriate top, perhaps reminiscent of lingerie or see-through chiffon--and huge fake boobs upon which I will pin my Bush Cheney '04 pin. That's, like, 40 bucks for the whole costume (because I actually already own a couple of kind of inappropriate tops, I'm embarrassed to say)! Ba da bing!! And I get to walk around with a very large set of "hanging chads" (for a change!). Giddy up!

What are your costume ideas for this year? What are your favorites from any year? I'll give you candy if you tell us.

Red Sox Win The Pennant!!!!

Midnight. October 20th, 2004.

Porcine creatures flew. Hades had flurries. The Red Sox came from 3 down in the series to win, in the biggest comeback in baseball postseason history.

Who's YOUR daddy, Yankees!!

And may I say that Johnny Damon, whose name makes me think of a 50's hearthrob, showed tremendous class in his post-game remarks. As did John Henry, who sounds like a revolutionary patriot. As does Theo Epstein. ;)


Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Smorgasbord: The Impossible Dream...we hope

Real Time: 10:17pm EST
Score: Yankees, 1 ; Red Sox,8
Top of the Fifth.

I don't want to write any more in case I jinx it.

Mars/Venus: Fat Pants

Here on the East Coast, the leaves are turning, the birds are migrating, a fall chill is in the morning air. If you are like me, you are no doubt having that ongoing internal monologue about whether you should break down and turn on the heat. Personally, I am of the "breaking the seal" mentality. That is, once you turn it on there is no turning it off till April. And so I postpone and postpone; wearing three shirts to bed with socks and a wool cap, and finding myself feeling like I'm back in Scotland where no self-respecting Scot would ever turn the heat on in their bedroom because "its not good for you and its a waste of money to heat yourself while you sleep." You THINK I'm kidding! My entire childhood is one big memory of waking up cold with my feet on a now-frigid hot water bottle that was toasty the night before. Most Americans are certain I was a child in 1933 when I mention the hot water bottle and lack of heat, but that was just the way it was in the 70's, kids. It's only now looking back that I ask my parents how they feel about having abused and neglected their children in such a shocking manner. Their response is deafening silence as they no doubt try to figure out where they went wrong with me that I want to do something as dangerous and wasteful as heat my bedroom. ;)

Anyway, as all of my stories usually do, this one is taking us on a wee journey through the recesses of my mind. As you recall this entry is entitled Fat Pants. So why am I discussing the thermodynamics of Scottish beaudoirs circa 1979? Because it leads us back--clearly--to the fact that this time of year is also when women across the land are doing the Winter Clothing Switch. For my California friends and my male friends, the WCS is when women put away all of the tank tops and cute shoes of summer, and unpack all of their winter sweaters, pants and boots. It's a bona fide rite of seasonal passage. Trust me.

So. I did the WCS this past Monday. And had you been a fly on the wall you would have seen me in my underwear in my closet. In tears. Yep. I'm woman enough to admit it. I was crying in my skivvies because I tried on my "fat pants" from last season----and they fit. It was a meltdown like you have not seen since Chernobyl. J was leaving for work, yelled goodbye up the stairs and I yelled back through those gurgly, sniffly, gaspy tears you cry when you are inconsolable: "I'm a fattie and you're not helping!" To which he responded, I'm sure, by debating calling the nice men with the nice white coats to come take me to a place where I could wear elastic waistbands for the rest of my life without fear that it made me one of the Golden Girls.

As I look back, I am of course quite embarrassed at my complete loss of sanity. If you are a guy, you know exactly what J was feeling. And if you are a woman reading this, you know exactly how I felt. That feeling of total disbelief that you could have gained those 6-8 pounds without even noticing, and yet knowing in your heart that it's your own damn fault that your previously outer-limits-of-weight-pants now fit you just right. I was, in a sure sign that I am completely out of the societal mainstream and just this side of the overindulged bourgeoisie, acting as if someone had died when all that had happened was that my a** expanded by about an inch.

Short Story Long: Gentlemen, if you are near that special woman in your life, turn to her right now and tell her those three words she needs to hear regularly and with feeling in order for peace and tranquility to reign. Say it with me: "You're Not Fat."

My Crushes: Jon Stewart. Again. Still.

I know this is going to get old for regular readers, but I'm sorry. I just have to kvell once again about the national treasure that is Jon Stewart. You know you want to see his chastisement of Begala and Carlson on Crossfire last week. Here's the link:

Crosssfire Video

You have to love a guy who gets invited onto a show and then calls its host "a d*ck." That is chutzpah in the funniest and most charming way, is it not? Which is not to say that if you comment on this piece with, "E--you are a d*ck" that I will find you funny and charming. The simple reason for that is that you are not Jon Stewart, now are you?

I have been mulling my ongoing and inexplicable attraction to Jon Stewart, Sean Connery, Ewan McGregor and Tobey Maguire. They seemingly have nothing in common with each other, and yet I find each as delightful as the day is long. How is it that we can find such a multiplicity of different people attractive without actually having to admit that we must therefore find anyone walking and breathing to be attractive? Do I just have low standards? Or do I have an "eclectic sense of the beautiful?" Or do I just need to turn off the damn TV and get out more?

If you haven't thought about why you like the people you like, I highly recommend that you do. Examining your crushes is a fun and telling way of determining what subconscious cues move you. It is also important to differentiate whether you have a crush on Cameron Diaz, or more accurately on her character from Something About Mary. Such is the power and nonsense of celebrity: in order to sustain itself, celebrity relies on the viewer's emotional transference of attraction from the fictional character to the individual actor. I used to have a major thing for John Cusack until I realized that I actually had a major thing for Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything. When I had that epiphany, I all of a sudden lost my interest in John Cusack the actor and just went and bought the movie DVD.

For the sake of research and the public good, I will share with you my insights into my own ridiculous crushes:

Jon Stewart: Cute in a non-JCrew-model kind of way. Comfortable with his Jewishness but not defined or limited by it. Funny in a non-shticky kind of way. Doesn't care what you think of him.

Ewan McGregor: Scottish. Comfortable in his own skin. Looks illegally amazing in a kilt. Seriously. Kilts were made for men with hairy legs and a twinkle in their eye; Ewan is just that man. Very funny in a dirty and off-color way. Doesn't care what you think of him.

Sean Connery: Scottish. Major attitude which can manifest itself as abrasiveness; which I suppose is a redundant repetition of "Scottish." ;) Very funny in a tres droll kind of way. Doesn't care what you think of him.

Tobey Maguire: Who knows? He's just cute in his Spiderman outfit. He probably cares a lot what you think of him. I have no idea if he's funny. But he made an upside-down kiss in the rain something "freezeframe--watch--rewind--freezeframe--watch--rewind" worthy, so he gets a pass on everything.

So what have I learned about myself? I like men who are confident enough to be authentically themselves, even--and especially-if they are eccentric. I like men with legs that look good in a kilt. I like men with legs that look good in spiderman suits. I guess what I'm saying is that I apparently like men's legs. I like men who are proud of their heritage and do not hesitate to live it and share it. And more than anything, I like men who make me laugh, be it about politics, religion, current events or farting. In fact, I especially like men who make me laugh about farting. Because if you don't think farts are funny, there is something very, very wrong with you.

Short Story Long: Has anyone seen Jon Stewart's legs?

Monday, October 18, 2004

Smorgasbord: Go Red Sox! Playin' for Pride!

You HAVE to watch The Daily Show tonight! They do a segment on the Curse of the Bambino. They interview a kid who got hit in the face with a ball, thereby lifting the curse since he now resides in the house that Babe Ruth built back in the day. Anyway, Steven Corddry is in a bar with two classically Massachusetts guys ("m*ssholes" we were called back in high school) and asks them about whether this kid taking it in the teeth has lifted the curse. One guys states unequivocally that the curse still stands because it's no big deal to take a ball in the face; in fact "I've taken more balls in the face than anyone." His friend, in an absolutely fall-off-your-seat funny move reminiscent of Ben Affleck in Good Will Hunting, starts laughing hysterically and says, "Dude! You just said on national television that you've *taken more balls in the face* than anyone!! Oh my god!! THAT's gonna lift the curse!" It was like one of the Sully skits on Saturday Night Live. Totally genius comedy moment that even Steven Corddry was having trouble not losing it. I was in total hysterics.

Short Story Long: It loses something in the translation; you've got to see it.

Oh yeah---GO SOX!! Redemption, baby! Redemption!!!

Political: Hot Lips O'Reilly

Okay, even writing that made my skin crawl. As you have surmised, it's time to chat briefly about the whole Bill O'Reilly sexual harassment thing. I want to chat about it briefly in order that I say the following to all web sites, bloggers, and news outlets:


My eyes are burning! My ears are melting! My brain is dissolving! I can't take it! The man has FOREVER ruined my loofah for me. How am I supposed to exfoliate and keep my milky white skin glowing, if I can no longer bear to have a loofah in the shower with me?!

I ask you!

Enough, I say, enough!! No one wants to think about anyone 'in flagrante telephonicto' but there are some people more than others about whom it is critical to the time/space continuum that we never, ever, never ponder in mid-phone s*x:

Henry Kissinger
Dick Nixon
Martha Stewart
Rosie O'Donnell
Burt Reynolds
Your mom
Your dad
Robin Williams
Margaret Thatcher (that minx!)
Joe Torre
Donald Trump
George Costanza from Seinfeld

absolutely positively never ever never ever:

Bill O'Reilly.

Short Story Long: This is not what God or nature intends for us to hear about.

Smorgasbord: Time for Shakespeare!

What is a blog without an infrequent contribution from guest writer Bill Shakespeare?

You Know Who You Are, and Who This is For

Sonnet 29

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee—and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love rememb'red such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Mars/Venus: Soul Mates

I read this somewhere, and wish I could take credit for it:

"Do you know when they say soul mates? Everybody uses it in personal ads. "Soul-mate wanted." It doesn't mean too much now. But “soul-mates” - think about it. When your soul - whatever that is anyway - something so alive when you make music or love, and so mysteriously hidden most of the rest of the time, so colorful and big but without color or shape - when your soul finds another soul it knows, even before the rest of you knows it. The rest of you just feels sweaty and jumpy at first. And your souls get married without even meaning to - even if you can't be together for some reason in life, your souls just go ahead and make the wedding plans. And after that happens you know, - that's it, this is it.

But sometimes you have to let that person go. When you're little, people, movies, and fairy tales all tell you that one day you're going to meet this person. So you keep waiting and it's a lot harder than they make it sound. Then you meet and you think, okay, now we can just get on with it. But you find out that sometimes your soul brother-partner-lover has other ideas about that. They want to go to New York and write their own songs or whatever. They feel like you don't really love them but the idea of them, the dream you've had since you were a kid about a panther boy to carry you out of the forest of your fear or an angel to make love and celestial music with in the clouds or a genie twin to sleep with you inside a lamp.

This doesn’t mean that they’re not truly the one. It just means you've got to do whatever you have to do for you alone. You've got to believe in your magic and face right up to the part of yourself that wants to keep the one you love locked up in a place in you where no one else can touch them or even see them. Just the way when somebody you love dies, you don't stop loving them but you don't lock up their souls inside you. You turn that love into something else, give it to somebody else. And sometimes in a weird way when you do that, you get closer than ever to the person your soul married."

Smorgasbord: The Red Sox

Or should I say the Red Sux?

I don't even want to talk about it....

All I know is that if I sucked this badly at my job, I would be fired and escorted out of the building by security, with maybe enough time to pull my family photos off my cubicle wall. Not so for our professional baseball players. You can suck wind, choke at the crucial moment, and in general post an embarrassing performance night after freakin night, and you still cash your multi-million dollar check.

Short Story Long: Baseball is America's Sport? Dear God, I hope not.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Political: It's Not Dirty Unless You Think It Is

Why is Mrs. Cheney characterizing Senator Kerry's mention of her daughter's homosexuality as a "tawdry political trick?" Why is homosexuality tawdry? If someone said, "I support international interracial adoptions, much like my opponent does, as she has a beautiful Chinese daughter" I'd say, "You're Damn Right! And there she is in the audience! She's the most loved kid in the world." John McCain would say the same thing about his adopted Bangladeshi child. Why would mentioning something about my child be a cheap trick, unless I was somehow ashamed of my child? Why would I care what other people thought about my daughter, unless I myself was not entirely at peace with my daughter? And why would I be a member of a political party comprised of members who would have a problem with my daughter? The tawdry, shameful thing is not John Kerry's remark. It is seeing two parents in such anguish trying to decide: "Do I change my love for my child or do I change my political views?" That oughta be an easy question to answer in the final analysis, if not immediately in the moment.

August former Congressman Steve Gunderson put it very well, in terms of putting a human face on the issue; when people think of "gay" they see parades and Freddy Mercury and something seedy out of their own diseased minds. They don't see the Mary Cheneys, the millions and millions of gay people living in the most subversive way possible, which is going to church, living monogamously, and just being so much like you and I that you don't even know that you live next door to "them." I feel bad for the Cheneys that they perceive their daughter's sexual orientation as a judgment upon them, as if my hetero orientation is a judgment upon my own parents. It is what it is. And, as John Kerry said, Mary Cheney is who she is.

Short Story Long: Elizabeth Edwards nailed it: "I think it's a very sad state of affairs."

Political: Debate, Part The Third



And no, you really are NOT still undecided. You're just indecisive. On CNN, those who were still undecided said, "Well, I still haven't heard enough about job outsourcing...blah blah." Okay, Americans. It's called a representative democracy. That means that we elect others to govern for us because we're busy being baristas and lawyers and researchers and nurses and bloggers. It does NOT mean that we have no responsibilities! There is a thing called "the internet(s)", depending on which candidate you ask. If you type in or or, even better, and search for either, you will find an entire area of the world wide web devoted to telling you exactly what you need to know to make a decision. There are also many other sites you can visit that are not controlled by the campaigns:

You can always come to The Haggis, but I'm as partisan as it gets, FYI. :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Political: Where have you gone, Walter Cronkite?

Here is the background on what's precipitating this post:

Michael Copps' earlier statements

I am agog at the unbelievable nadir our democracy has sunk to, in that one man who owns television stations (Sinclair Broadcasting) can MANDATE a political diatribe before an election. The sick irony of the situation is that, for being a staunch freedom-loving, Red-hating Republican, the media mogul sure is acting like an old Soviet apparatchik, isn't he? It makes me sick, and the self-righteous weenies at the FCC (not including Commissioner Michael Copps who has battled the slippery slope rather valiantly) who have created the environment in which this media takeover can occur, better be careful, because it's all fun and games until someone else holds the broadcasting power. Because then they'll be the first ones up against the wall. Much like the Christian conservatives who want prayer in school, they only want THEIR prayer in school. How would Pat Robertson feel about his grandkids being forced to pray a Mormon prayer? Or how about enforced prayings of the Rosary? Hmmm...just as I suspected: no takers on the Right.

I find it ironic that, for an ideology that so despises government in the life of the common citizen, conservatism has nothing to say about this crisis of democracy which, at its core, uses the power of the government to so egregiously erode the right to freedom of the press and of speech. The FCC, by breaking down the barriers that prevented a handful of robber barons from owning huge percentages of our nation's media outlets, has delivered the freedom of the press to a few of its cronies and party faithful. The link above has more information. Read it and be afraid. Be very afraid.

Short Story Long: I await the outcry from the esteemed media professionals at the stations that are being ordered to air a non-news based political hatchet job containing no independent corroboration of its claims. Will any of you, at long last, stand up and act with honor?

Monday, October 11, 2004

Smorgasbord: Online Dating

A friend and I were discussing online dating and how, even though everyone has that one example of how two soul mates met online and have three beautiful children and all is right in the world, that for the vast majority of singles seeking that someone special, the internet is LESS useful or informative than your random bar on a Friday night.

Take the following trends for example: copying elements of other's profiles, cutting and pasting messages from others back to people who email you, and photoshopping your online photo to enhance your looks. I'm not kidding! It's like the entire concept of trying to meet someone who matches with you is taking a back seat to getting X number of dates, messages, "smiles", "winks" or whatever other cheesy flirty things you can do via the internet to enhance your flagging sense of self esteem.

We're not saying that people who use online dating systems are exclusively lacking self-esteem or that it's not a valid and wonderful way to meet someone. Because we all DO know those totally normal and cool people who are trying to meet other people online. It's nothing to feel weird about. But could we at least agree on a couple of basics?

1) Don't lie. This means YOU, Mr. "Athletic Build." Being Not Fat is not the same as being athletic.

2) Don't be lame. One friend says she automatically excludes any profiles that say "I am attractive, generous and kind." Who would admit it if they weren't?! SHE will be the judge of your looks and personality and whether they fit with her definition of generous and kind.

3) Don't tell me about other dates. Mr. I Love Moonlit Walks on the Beach. First of all, please see Rule #1, because you know you don't come home from work, eat dinner, then head down to the beach for a moonlit walk. Secondly, what that tells me, if it IS true, is that you take your chicks to the beach when you go on a date, which is not exactly the way to attract another woman, is it? I am THRILLED to know that our date will be a rehash of your previous ones. And thanks for bringing up the fact that I will be one of many.

4) Don't get personal. Mr. I Love To Skinny Dip and See Your Tattoos On The First Date. That sets off "WEIRDO!" alarm bells for a woman. And if it doesn't, you can't bring her home to your mom.

5) Don't say, "My friends say I'm funny and cool to be around." DUH! My online friend will also immediately exclude you too, because "who has friends who think you are lacking a sense of humor and are excruciating to spend time with?" She makes a good point. Don't bother with that old online chestnut.

6) This one is for the ladies: Don't photoshop your photo. Seriously. We know you are trying to appeal to men who are ludicrously visual creatures, especially when given an online ticket to just click-click-click and look for attractive women. But what are you going to do when you meet? Have some reason why your nose got wider and your weight jumped about 10 pounds? Trust us: if a 30-something guy selects you on the basis of your photo alone, he's still emotionally at the level of the guy searching the Freshman Face Book during orientation week. Move along. Swiftly.

6a) Do not post a Glamor Shot/suggestive photo. Again, for the ladies. Seriously. First of all, nothing says, "false advertising" like a soft-focus or over-sexualized pose in your profile. And, (see Rule 7), remember that many guys have their female friends vet their online choices. The second I see your glamor/hoochie mama photo, I am vetoing you forever, because you are telling me that you are the kind of girl that other girls don't like. And you are telegraphing that you are the "kind" of girl that guys DO like (if the kind of guy you're looking for is someone who likes a proclivity toward suggestive poses in his girlfriend). Rule of thumb: just look like yourself. You're prettier than you think you are.

7) Don't Forget That This Is a Human Interaction. Observe all rules you would observe if you were meeting this date in person. Do NOT gush or otherwise write 3 page emails detailing your love for a particular book or TV show or activity. Do NOT tell dirty jokes. Do NOT forget that even though it's on email, it's still an impression you're making. Oh--and most importantly of all in this day and age--remember that friends let friends read their incoming emails from prospective guys. Assume, until you have an actual relationship with this person, that your emails are not confidential.

There's more, but those should keep you on the straight and narrow for now.

Short Story Long: If you wouldn't say it to her face, don't write it. If you wouldn't reveal it on a first date, don't put it in your profile. And if you are just surfing looking for photos of just the pretty girls, remember that Photoshop is not a supersecret government restricted program...

Political: Passing the Buck to the Generals

Why is no one talking about this statement from Friday's debate? If the war starts tanking, blame the military leadership? This from the crowd who want Dan Rather to step down for f'ing up a news story on the argument that he is bottomline accountable for the work of his team!

Once again we learn that there is one set of rules for the Bushes and another set of rules for The Rest of Us. (See previous news on Jeb's daughter's drug problem which would have put any other kid in jail as a result of her father's "3 strikes and you're out" policy. Somehow she evaded that consequence.....hmm...)

"I remember sitting in the White House looking at those generals, saying, "Do you have what you need in this war? Do you have what it takes?" I remember going down to the basement of the White House the day we committed our troops as a last resort, looking at Tommy Franks and the generals on the ground, asking them, "Do we have the right plan with the right troop level?" And they looked me in the eye and said, "Yes, sir, Mr. President." Of course, I listen to our generals. That's what a president does. A president sets the strategy and relies upon good military people to execute that strategy." -- President Bush

Sunday, October 10, 2004

My Crushes: James Bond

"Hello, Miss Moneypenny." Seano is still a dashing, if classically Scottishly-disheveled man. Here he is, doing his patriotic duty attending the opening of the new Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood in Edinburgh. Yes, Virginia, there IS a Scottish Parliament. Posted by Hello

Political: Out of the mouths of babes...

Mommy! Make the bad man stop! Posted by Hello

Hope Springs Eternal!! Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Political: Presidential Debate, Part The Second

This will be brief because today is the National Book Festival (brought to you by the Library of Congress and First Lady Laura Bush) and the whole dang family is converging on DC to attend.

So, let me just say this: the best line of the entire debate was the President's response to Senator Kerry's example of small business tax cuts. Kerry was using the example of "the President gets $48 for a lumber mill, blah blah, and he's considered a small business. He's not."

To which our dear President (he of "ob-gyns can't practice their love on their patients") says in an attempt to be witty, "I own a lumber mill?!"...................... He then looks at poor Charlie Gibson and says,

"You want some wood?"

I laughed till I cried. Then I laughed some more till I realized that I'm not a 16 year old boy and I shouldn't find that so funny.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Alan Keyes and Gov. Allen. I never did post this from the GOP convention... Posted by Hello

Friday, October 01, 2004

Smorgasbord: Getting to Know You

These surveys were popular back in the 90's. Since I felt like I was in a time warp watching President Bush talk about war in Iraq, I figured it was perhaps appropriate to bring it back for a brief time.

Feel free to cut/paste/and post your own!

Name? E (don't use your real name just in case weirdos want to start sending you "enlarge your p&nis" emails)
Hometown? Small town, Massachusetts. City a' Cultchah!
Boxers or Briefs? Boxer briefs.
Bacon bits or croutons? Bacon bits.
Salad dressing? Ginger sesame.
Do you drink? If the booze is free and the men are cute. Just kidding. I drink socially.
Deodorant? Suave Raspberry.
Shampoo? Herbal Essences.
Skinny dipping? Never.
Do you make fun of people?: Duh! Yeah!
Favorite Color? Green.
Any convictions? Not yet. But I haven't chained myself to a nuclear plant's chain link fence with Martin Sheen yet, so there is still time.
Best friends? You know who you are. Poor schmucks.
Pets? I wish.
Favorite movies? Amadeus, Willy Wonka, Braveheart, Office Space.
Favorite music? Old school rap, Ella Fitzgerald, any and all Rat Pack, Andrea Boccelli.
Hobbies? Gardening, reading, and rockin' da house at karaoke.
Dream car? One that comes with a driver.
Current car? Footmobile, baby!
Movie Crush? Joaquin Phoenix and Ewan McGregor. Rowwrrrr.
TV Crush? Sydney Bristow's dad on Alias. Seth Cohen on The OC.
Word/phrase you overuse? Giddy Up!
Favorite food? French fries. As if you had to ask.
Tattoos? Nope. Just can't see myself with "love" spelled out on my knuckles.
Do you get along with your parents? Totally. The Pottsteins, although a handful, are delightful. They got much smarter as I got older...
Favorite perfume/cologne? Eternity for Men. Giddy Up!
Favorite sport? Tennis, field hockey, MLS Soccer
Silliest person you know? RJL. Silly and off-da-richter smart to boot.
Most humiliating moment? Farting really loudly during story time in 2nd grade...and realizing that my "who was THAT?!" protestations were not to be believed because Ground Zero for the rank miasma was my plus-sized fattie-kid corduroys.
Favorite holiday? Thanksgiving. And then Christmas every other year, because it means that we interrupt the standard Jewish Christmas of Chinese food and first-run movies for a huge dinner at "Grammy and Dee's" house. 42 people around a huge table, three major cuts of different meats, more sides than you can imagine, plenty of boozation, a very welcoming atmosphere, and good, good times.

Political: The Debate--Round 1

So the first Presidential Debate was held last night in Miami, which means that we must now spend the next 48 hours arguing about Who Won and Who Flubbed and Who Looked More Presidential. Since you can get that anywhere, The Haggis is going to avoid it. What we will discuss instead is this:

Who Really Believes That The Debates Affect the Election Outcome? Are there really people who are truly Undecided? Or are they just too busy to focus right now, but in general have some sense of where their vote will land?

I ask because CNN's Bill Hemmer (who every day looks more like John Boy Walton in those post-war/starting to be a writer in the big city episodes), was in Ohio with "undecided voters" who were giving their immediate responses in real time to each candidate's remarks. I felt bad for Bill Hemmer for two reasons: a) he was far, far away from the real action while the inexplicably still-employed unbearable Candy Crowley was at Debate Central, and b) he was covering undecided voters who, by their comments, were nothing of the kind.

As he asked the panel of everyday folk to offer their thoughts on why they pressed the 1 or the 5 or the 10 on their Insta-Reaction-Love-Connection-Style hand keypad, it became clear from their comments that these Undecideds already knew who they supported. One woman said, "I just really trust President Bush on Iraq, and so I liked his answer better." Interesting that it was not the other way around: "his answers on Iraq gave me confidence and so I trust him."

Now, let's use a comparison. You know how every now and again an artist will put out an album that just stinks up the joint? It is the worst creative effort they have ever put forth and deserves to end up in the 99 cent bin next to Leo Sayer and Billy Ocean albums? Reviewers always say: "this CD is for true fans only," meaning that true fans are the only ones who will think that Jewel's "poetry" is inspired or that Jennifer Love Hewitt really is going to hit it big some day as a singer (you know who you are, JLH fan-in-question!). So you buy the CD because *you are already bought into the cult of personality that is that artist.* You are a supporter of that artist even when all good taste, sense and reason is telling you that Rod Stewart ought not to tackle Cole Porter.

Cut back to this woman and President Bush. Her answer belies her essential support for the President. She is as "undecided" as I am "taciturn." The woman is a GWB supporter, buys all his albums no matter what pablum is on them, watches every Larry King Live he is on, stands out in the rain to get concert tickets, and has the screen saver to boot. But if you ask her: "Hey--are you a fan of Georgie B?" You will get a more measured response than her actions and thought processes indicate to be true because something about saying an unqualified Yes makes her uncomfortable. Or maybe she just wanted to get on television...

Short Story Long: Okay, I can't resist the horse race: Kerry was more succinct than usual but still needs to practice Soundbite Television. It's a morale booster that he did as well as he did. Bush has the Aw Shucks vote all sewn up. He kept going back to "look, it's a hard job/terrorists hate freedom/Iraqis love freedom" which provided all the elements of a rockin' drinking game (ie, drink every time he says one of the above); but as simplistic as I thought that was, Wendy Winecooler from Ohio probably thought it was an honest and understandable answer because it did not descend into the more arcane "multilateral/international/omnibus bill/proliferation" territory.

As interesting as last night was, I am more jazzed to see Edwards take on Cheney next Tuesday. That is gonna be a fist fight to the finish, kids.