Wednesday, September 28, 2005

DeLay Delight!

Tom DeLay was indicted today for conspiracy to commit fundraising fraud. From Yahoo:

"A defiant DeLay said he had done nothing wrong and denounced the Democratic prosecutor who pursued the case as a "partisan fanatic." He said, "This is one of the weakest, most baseless indictments in American history. It's a sham."

One of the weakest, most baseless indeed. At least since the Republicans tried to impeach a President for getting a blow job.

Payback is a b*tch, isn't it, Tommy?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

What an Unlucky Girl!

A friend and I were discussing the annoying habit of many people who say, "What a lucky girl!" when they find out our daughters are adopted rather than the joyous offspring of a torrid summer fling with a hottie Chinese guy.

We decided over dinner that we should start telling people how UNlucky their child is to be in their family. I mean, if it's not offensive to imply that a child is a charity case who was lucky enough to be fortunate enough to be adopted by my random self, then surely it isn't rude to imply the latter, that gee, I bet she's gonna rue the day she was born to you schmucks!

Case in point: Baby Spears Federline. Britney and Kevin's spawn. Surely this child is, by anyone's standards, prodigiously unfortunate and unlucky in the extreme. Why does no one say this to Brit and Kev?

Or how about Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain's daughter? Drug addicts for parents? Even rich ones? You just don't get unluckier than that.

Billy Joel's daughter Alexa. Your dad is married to a woman one year older than you. Gee, THAT's not creepy, is it?! And your mom is on her, what?, fifth marriage?! Good luck, sweetie. We are pulling for you, big time.

Mary Cheney. 'Nuff said.

The list goes on and on, and includes some non-famous people that I just cannot wait to tell me my daughter is "so fortunate." Of course, because my mom would kill me otherwise, my response will be something like, "ALL kids are lucky to have good parents who have good manners, aren't they?"

Gettin' Me A Life

Let me preface this whole post with the following:

I love my child. I love my life. I love everything in it. I would not trade one day with The Bambina for one thousand days of my former life.

That said...

We start three days of day care next week and I cannot stop feeling guilty for being happy, relieved, thrilled and excited.

The truth is, she is going to love day care. Already she gives me that look around 3pm as if to say, "Um, do you have anything else in the back? Is this all you have? Are these all the toys I own? Are two trips to the park all you've got in the schedule? Oh. I see. Well, that's fine. No really. It's fine. I'll just go over here and dial Zimbabwe on your cell phone, then..."

She is now at the age where she likes other kids, most definitely holds her own against the slightly older boys at the park, and really does need to learn to share. Being with other kids for 6 hours a day, three days a week oughta be just the thing for her. It will also make our day together and her one day with her local grandma all the more novel and fun.

It's all good. For both of us. I will finally be able to do the following:

*Work during business hours and not from 8pm till 2am after she has gone to bed
*Schedule client phone calls for hours other than nap times
*Exercise for the first time since FEBRUARY. Yeah. February. That's no typo. I have not set foot inside a gym or on any gym-like apparatus since February 2005. And my ass is the proof of that fact.
*Eat my lunch like a normal human, rather than stuffing something down my cakehole in 30 seconds flat so I can make sure she gets her lunch.
*Eat peanut butter, shellfish and drink Diet Coke till I bust. All of the things kids can't eat but that they want to eat off your plate--it just becomes easier to not eat them than to constantly have to police whether she has brushed her finger over your peanut buttery toast in the AM and therefore runs the risk of some horrifying allergic reaction you have been told is inevitable.
*Finish a sentence. And by that, I mean a sentence that does not include "yes! you are holding the Yellow Ball!" or "What does a tiger say?! Roar!!"
*Read the paper. Online or, gasp, even a good old-fashioned paper-paper. Who knows? I will once again have a single clue about current events. Never again will I embarrass myself by saying, "Katrina pounded New Orleans? Wow. Now, was she the former p*rn star on Survivor or the prissy one from The Apprentice?"

Yes, it is all good. She is going to love it. I am going to love it.

And, yes, I am going to drop her off for the first time, smile, wave, and then head to my car and cry just a little that my baby is growing up.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Conservative Values

Just saw this book review. Wow. What responsible parent would actually read this to their child? I guess it's never too early to start giving your child the tools to be politically divisive. After all, we're not just US citizens who hold differing beliefs on the ways and means of improving our country. Some of us are very frightening to small children. Which is ironic in a way, since the things that we ought to be bequeathing in pristine condition to our children: their democracy, their education, their environment, and their safety and security at home and abroad, are the very things the Bush administration has been ignoring, avoiding or outright failing to protect.

Liberals Under My Bed

But when you don't have an answer to any of that stuff, there is always the old fallback of gay marriage and taxes to explain why you are still a conservative, even after the shockingly subpar performance of this administration. Because, let's just be honest here--when it comes down to it, the average conservative truly isn't for small government and limited spending; they are just for a larger, more active, more spendy government on the things they like.

Seriously: the way George Bush is spending money, he is making all of the previous Democratic presidents look like veritable tightwads. But this doesn't seem to upset that many conservatives, since he is spending it on military pursuits and on tax breaks, rather than on (gasp!) "social programs." George Bush has increased the size of the government from Bill Clinton's administration. Our deficit is now beyond the imagination. The levee situation (where the Bush administration cut the funding to repair the levees) in New Orleans is a horrifying example of how much protecting our environmental infrastructure really means to this administration. There is nothing "conservative" about George Bush except for the fact that he says he's religious and he opposes gay marriage. His policies are NOT conservative. They are just short-sighted.

Take New Orleans' levees.
Aren't conservatives concerned with the strength of our economy? A true conservative would have seen the benefit to fixing the levees if for no other reason than to ensure that the unspeakable damage to the region's--and our nation's--economy would be prevented.

Aren't conservatives for good governmental management? A true conservative would not have filled the top homeland security and disaster recovery posts with cronies such as his friend's college roommate having zero relevant experience.

Aren't conservatives concerned with keeping government small? A true conservative would not be racking up an $80 BILLION bill in Iraq (for 2005 alone), a $200 BILLION clean up bill in the Gulf States...and not backing away from tax breaks. At no other time in our nation's history have we been simultaneously engaged in battle and in domestic disaster recovery while having tax BREAKS. It is irresponsible and unsustainable on its face.

But, hey, at least your kids will know that they don't have to like gay people and that no one can make them eat their broccoli. Thank God for The Conservatives.

Friday, September 23, 2005

House Arrest-- Or A Weekend of Protests

Nothing makes me happier than seeing US citizens exercise their freedom of assembly and redress of grievances. Truly.

However, nothing makes me more bummed than knowing that I won't be able to drive anywhere for the next two full days without spending at least an extra 90 minutes trying to get where I need to go due to multiple street closings. And of course this is the weekend of a friend's baby shower out in Virginia, which requires me to drive.


It's going to be interesting. This weekend is the perfect storm of protests. The Anti-War Rally that was planned in answer to the Pentagon's 9/11 Clint Black/holding candles/Operation Iraqi Freedom march. There are the World Bank/IMF protests down near the White House. Those are always interesting because they bring out Free Mumia/Man-Boy Love people in addition to Those Who Do Not Shower For Peace. And then there is some conference at DAR Constitution Hall that will further snarl traffic all around the entrances and egresses of DC proper.

I'm kind of bummed that I'll be at a baby shower rather than heading down to the protest sites to take photos and see protesters clash with police and each other. Good times! Good times! With any luck, the shower planner has made the rock solid choice to forego the stupid shower games and just get right to the Congrats and the gifts, which might leave me with some time to go and see what's what...on foot, of course.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Pacifica Radio: What is Wrong with the Left

Okay, I'm starting to feel like that guy Colmes on Hannity and Colmes. You know the guy. The "liberal" who is basically so meek and so into finding common ground with the Right that he is essentially a non-entity on the show?

Here's the thing. Maybe I need to do a better job of being a liberal, and of making the case for why being a Capital L Liberal is NOT the same as being on The Left. Case in point: Pacifica Radio. I have sat through so many hours of certifiably insane--and unchallenged--conspiracy theories, including the old chestnut that thousands of Jews did not show up to work on 9/11, that my blood boils.

I get so worked up about the nonsense opinion that passes for news over at the Fox News Channel, when the Left has is its very own counterpart in Pacifica Radio. It is embarrassing to have the term Liberal associated with Pacifica, just as most Conservatives should be embarrassed to be associated with Fox News.

The impetus for this rant is the recent interview with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. I offer the following transcript for your review of the fawning, unquestioning acceptance of everything he says, along with some seriously unjournalistic bootlicking:

MARGARET PRESCOD: Mr. President, on behalf of KPFK, Pacifica Radio in Southern California, welcome to the United States. We have been waiting for this moment. Many people in the United States have been shocked at the racism they have witnessed against low income people in New Orleans and the other gulf cities and we wonder how Venezuelans view what has happened. And also you are clearly working to unite people of color throughout the world. You are the first Latin American president we know of who identifies as black and indigenous, and this breaks a long tradition of racism in the Americas. You’ve also identified with the people of Haiti who are fighting to defeat a brutal coup against their president how crucial do you think the defeat of all racism is to making the fundamental economic and social changes needed to save the world from the destruction of the market?

UAN GONZALEZ: Mr. President, welcome. Bien venido a los Estados Unidos. Your democratic revolution has a different aspect to it, in that your rich in oil, and the world badly needs oil. What do you do in Latin America to use oil as a weapon to assist the poor. Can you tell us a little more about what you are offering to the communities of the United States who are also suffering from high oil prices.

AMY GOODMAN: And televangelist Pat Robertson, his call for your assassination. What do you demand now, what is your response to that?

PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ: Well as a matter of fact, Robertson is not acting alone. He’s just conveying, in a perhaps desperate manner, the thinking of those people closer to Mr. Bush. This is the voice of the most radical - of the extreme right wing in the U.S., I am totally convinced that is the situation with Mr. Robertson. And as you can see, so far there has been no reaction by the U.S. government in this regard. There’s nothing being said about these terrorist remarks that is in full breach of international law and breaches the laws of the United States.

But it’s not only Mr. Robertson here. For some time, for some months, people who participated in a coup attempt in Venezuela and are living here in the United States. And from TV stations in this country these people are calling for my assassination. A week ago, in another TV show, people in uniform, in fatigues, like terrorists. Venezuelans and Americans and Cubans exiled in the United States, and a former agent of the CIA, very recently said on TV that Chavez should be dead already...

Where are the follow-up questions?!! For instance, Pat Robertson's comments breach no international laws. He's a talking head, a minister, but he's not a head of state, not an officeholder, not an army general. He can say anything he wants to, however ridiculous and insane it makes him look to the general populace. In addition, they did not ask President Chavez to acknowledge that, at least here in the US, people also have the right to publicly respond to and disparage Pat Robertson and the government. How would this situation play out in his home country? What do the average Venezuelans really think of his administration as they are still in poverty despite being the fifth largest global oil supplier? Would they be afraid to express that opinion? This is a man whose record on human rights is, at best, shady (See the OAS' Inter-American Commission on Human Rights report for proof).

So what we have is a "liberal" radio network, supposedly committed to issues like human rights, drooling all over a ruthless dictator (however "democratically elected") simply because he hates George Bush?!

Pacifica? Hardly. More like "Hypocritica."

Red States are Grosser Than Blue States

In my momentary aspiration to be a "mainstream" journalist, I will now take a small snippet of well-researched and accurate data and brazenly extrapolate it into a full-blown theory of cause-and-effect with sociopsychopolitical implications.

You have to read down a little to get to the part where they assess the different locations where handwashing after using the bathroom was most and least practiced. That is where my theory takes effect.


Monday, September 19, 2005

How I Spent My Sunday

La Dolce Vita.

Lookin' For Love in All the Wrong Places

Yes, I am a dork. I confess to having made the following statement to the Baby Daddy:

"I am looking for a show to fall in love with."

Seriously. You know the show I mean. The one that, pre-Tivo, you would be unavailable for social plans or work or anything, unless they involved sitting in front of your TV.

Buffy was the show for about two seasons. Dark Angel for two seasons. Alias for two seasons. Law and Order SVU for all seasons. Desperate Housewives the first season.

The sad thing is that all of the Appointment TV shows do two things after about season two:

1) Start messing with their winning formula to "bring new life" to the show when what I like is precisely the old stuff that made me like the show in the first place. Do NOT let Jamie and Paul Buchman have a baby! Do NOT bring on Ted McGinley! Do NOT have "A Very Special Will & Grace" or a "Very Special Scrubs." If your episode has the words "A Very Special" in front of it, air a repeat instead.

2) Start getting cocky and adding in supernatural, weird, embarrassingly obvious nudie stuff to "attract a different demographic." Like when Jennifer Garner went from hottie ass-kicker (which I loved) to Farrah Fawcett or Cheryl Ladd in Charlie's Angels, ie, "this week's episode is set in a bikini roller derby!" So obvious. So sad. So unnecessary. Yeah, it brings in the 22 year old boy demographic, but it pisses off the show's female base.

So I am hoping for good stuff this season. I'm already loving the guilty pleasure "Jailbreak" on FOX. Sat through an episode of Kitchen Confidential and How I Met Your Mother, to which I can only quote Abe Lincoln: "People who like this sort of thing will find that this is the sort of thing they like."

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Another Reason I'm Not a FONZ

Here in DC, a person who supports the National Zoo is called a FONZ: Friend of the National Zoo. Super idea to be the Zoo's Friend. Except for the fact that, if you have been following the zoo in the media of late, there have been many reasons to not return the zoo's calls and to pretend you're working late so you don't have to do happy hour with it: Several dead animals due to caretaker carelessness, ongoing issues with the facility itself, the subsequent departure of the zoo's director, etc.

Today's visit to the zoo with The Bambina gave me another reason to not invite the zoo to my next kegger and to take it off my speed dial: $12 Parking.

$12 Parking!!

And here's the best part: they don't tell you it isn't free parking until you drive all the way through the zoo, down the back road, all the way to the remaining empty parking lot, and up to the gate where a sign on the parking booth says, "0-1 hours: $4; 1-2 hours: $12..."

I can hear all the codependent FONZ's saying, "it's $4 parking! Not $12!" Yeah. Because everyone I know with a 15 month old kid packs them into the car with all their stuff, drives 15 minutes, unpacks everything, gets them into a stroller and up to the zoo gate--to stay 40 total minutes and then rush back down the hill, across the access road and back into the car and out the gate before your ticket expires at 61 minutes....

I know this sounds like such a stupid, petty issue. But think about how uncool it is to treat your Friends that way. Post signs saying, "Parking This Way." Direct them down a mile and a half of access road, bring them to the gate, and then say, "Oh--by the way; I know the zoo is free, but did I mention that the parking is $12? Love ya!"

Friends indeed....

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Good Old Days

Remember what it was like to have a President who made you believe that anything was possible, that we all had a role to play, that America could be seen for the force of goodness that it really is?

I miss that feeling. I really do.

WJ Clinton Global Initiative

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Ubiquitous Book Deal

I took The Bambina for a walk today and ended up at a bookstore where we picked out some new books for her. As we walked to the back of the store where they keep the kids' stuff, I noticed that EVERY G-D*MN PERSON ON THE PLANET HAS WRITTEN A BOOK! Were you aware that Dr. Phil's SON wrote a book? That The Runaway Bride has a hefty book deal? That no-name people who were nonsense federal jargon workers such as "Deputy Undersecretaries for the Executive Branch's Judicial Legislative Committee of the Whole" [I'm making that up] have written numerous books on their experiences in the current and former administrations? They are all piled in the Politics and Government section--and I'm standing there thinking, "Who ARE these people and how did they get book deals?"

So I was thinking that I should get on the bookwriting bandwagon, and then realized that I can't for the following reasons:

1) My dad is not Dr. Phil.

2) I'm not sure how to get on the Oprah Book Club long list, never mind her short list.

3) I have no good recipes that I could share while wearing a wee skimpy apron on the book cover or while yelling contrived catch phrases about garlic and rosemary.

4) I have not beaten testicular cancer.

5) I have not been a former groupie to today's biggest rap stars.

6) I have never left a man at the altar.

7) I have not played any major or minor roles in the JonBenet Ramsey, OJ Simpson, Elizabeth Smart or Natallee Holloway investigations.

8) I haven't yet had time to come up with my "100 Conservatives Who are Ruining America" list. Been too busy being a Liberal Who Is Ruining America...

9) I have no desire to encourage others to take The Road Less Traveled, find out The Color of their Parachute, become Highly Effective or Achieve Unlimited Power.

10) I have not served in any presidential administrations, either by drafting famous speeches like "Ask not.." or "Axis of Evil"...or by performing fellatio on the Commander in Chief.

So, as you can see, I'm out of luck. Although I do wonder what is going on with book publishing today, where the biggest books (excluding Harry Potter) are all crap. All the self-help books about how to Get Thin, Be Gorgeous, Manage Your Time, Get Smarter. It's kind of sad in a way that only I can articulate since I have purchased most of them! The truth is that the answers to the questions that had prompted me to buy those books were found only by reading more Dickens, more Vonnegut, more Willa Cather--and hell, even more 'Nick and Nora' books {Dashiell Hammett}. Only by reading something and having lightbulbs go off from the inside/out, did I get the answers I was seeking. By trying to force the lightbulbs from outside/in, all I got was a shelf of now-totally embarrassing pablum that I have to hide before company visits, or pretend that it was here when we bought the house...

I wish we could get to a place where "good stories, well told" whether fiction or non, was the standard for excellence; where reading the book is transformative in some way that does not include a seven day/four step/three agreements plan for exorcising those parts of us we dislike. The best example I can think of is Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt.

It tells the story of the author's childhood in Ireland. I feel a certain kinship with Irish people because their parents' upbringings in "the old country" tend to mirror that of my parents in Scotland. The values are the same. The history of being screwed over by the English is similar. The grinding poverty was similar. I blithely picked up the book and started reading it, not knowing that it would take me to places I hadn't really wanted to go.

In short, I damn near cried through most of the book because it quite accurately describes my mother's childhood circumstances in Scotland, the poverty of which made me ache for her, all these years later. I had known, in general, that she was poor, had one pair of shoes and one dress that she wore every day and one other dress for church {which even for a poor city like Glasgow was considered to be what Barbara Bush would call "underprivileged"}, lived in a rougher area of the city with a father who drank his paycheck and a mother who had to work nights at a fish market to compensate, etc etc. But until I read Angela's Ashes, I never really allowed myself to feel it as a daughter should.

As I read his book, I felt myself understanding my mother better than I ever had. Why she is so stoic, why she says "what a terrible waste of money to buy me a birthday gift!" {which always annoyed me but now makes me want to hug her}, why we were never allowed to have "I'm sorry" make everything okay; we always had to make some kind of amends to someone we'd wronged, be it financial or social or whatever. "I"m sorry" was not good enough, because in the end it was just an "easy way out" without the action or commitment to back it up. I understand why she and my dad worked several jobs to put us through college so that we'd never have to be so poor. I also understand why they also have not paid for a single day of higher education after undergrad (besides being tapped out!), since they wanted to teach us to depend on ourselves, live within our means, and gain the understanding that something worth paying for has to be worth working for, and if we weren't willing to work and sacrifice and make hard choices in order to have it, then surely we couldn't credibly say that it was worth having.

I could go on and on about the doors that Frank McCourt opened between me and my mom, but they would all mirror the same thought: Frank McCourt told the story for my mother that she could not bring herself to tell, and in doing so, he gave me a window into her life I would never have had otherwise (she admits to not reading past Chapter Two). Yes, things in reality are still very much the way they were pre-Frank: She still doesn't say too much about her childhood, still doesn't think we should spend money on her, still doesn't emote too much about anything. But I "get" her. I feel her. I know her in a way that I would never have known her if I had not read that book. His book was transformative in the most pure, non-forced, non-Anthony Robbins/Deepak Chopra way. It changed me from the inside/out, which then changed my ways of interacting with my mom, which then changed everything in all the ways that matter.

Thank you Frank McCourt. Thank YOU, Simon & Schuster. Now if only Frank McCourt would leave Dr. Phil's son at the altar in order to become a groupie for P. Diddy while he battles testicular THAT would be a bestseller!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Finding Neverland: Two Thumbs Up

Well, the two thumbs are both mine. But you know what I'm sayin'. FN is the movie about JM Barrie, the author of Peter Pan. It dramatizes how he met the family of boys who inspired him to write the story after a string of failed plays and books. I avoided seeing it because I figured it would be boring. Wrong. This movie was so good I could have cried. It was wonderful for many, many reasons but I will give you the top two:

1. Johnny Depp
2. Johnny Depp with a rock-solid Scottish accent

Ain't nuthin' finer than Mr. Johnny Depp speaking Scottish. It's as delightful to me as french fries and chocolate on one yummy plate.

Most critically, extra points go to JDepp for learning it and doing it RIGHT. So many movie Scottish accents sound like Groundskeeper Willie from The Simpsons or Scotty from Star Trek, both of which nail my dad's accent but not really anyone else's in Scotland.

Bad Scottish movie accents are much like the many bad Boston accents perpetrated upon moviegoing audiences. By "bad Boston accent" I am of course referring to "The Kennedy" patois that Hollywood uses for almost all New Englanders. The Kennedys are NOT Bostonian!! NO ONE sounds like the Kennedys--in Massachusetts or anywhere else. Their accent is their own creation; a combination of Teddy Roosevelt and Katharine Hepburn which no self-respecting Masshole would ever desire to imitate. Even less so if you go a little bit south of Boston (ie, Southie) or a little bit north of Boston (to my old digs in the Merrimack Valley). Any kid who talked like John Kennedy would have gotten his a** soundly kicked at my high school for being a "total wicked loozah." For a real Masshole accent you either need to watch Ben Affleck on Saturday Night Live in the "Sully" skit with Jimmy Fallon [Massachusetts has more boys nicknamed "Sully" per capita than any other region on earth], or you just need to hear my parents' video tape of me getting ready for my senior prom with my big huge permed hair and my date with his hot pink cummerbund, hockey mullet and (I kid you not) tail in the back of his hair:

"Oh my freakin' goh-ad, can you hurry up and take the pic-chah? I'm so wicked hot out hee-ah. And my hay-ah's goin' flat."

Scary. Even scarier is the fact that Johnny Depp, back when I was dating a boy who shared my love for all things Def Leppard, was a fresh-faced young heartthrob on 21 Jump Street about whom I could not have cared less.

Can you blame me? After all, he didn't even have a mullet...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Barbara Bush Says: "Let Them Eat Cake"

Okay, how did I miss this quote from our esteemed former first lady:

What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.

A lot of doubt has surfaced as to the quote's veracity, however (according to "The fact is, she did say it during a question-and-answer session with a reporter for "Marketplace," a program aired on National Public Radio. Audio recordings of both the finished segment and the original, unedited interview are available online."

Bab's Nonsense

First of all, who uses the term "underprivileged" anymore? Only people who are OVERprivileged, is who.

Secondly, what kind of malignantly clueless person would think that living in a sports arena in another state while separated from your home and family would be a STEP UP for someone, no matter how poor they may be?

I guarantee you if Hillary Clinton said anything even close to this outrage, Tom DeLay would be busting a forehead artery in multiple media formats. "Dr." Bill Frist would be pontificating about how, as a member of the medical establishment, he can declare that arenas have poor air quality, blah blah and therefore Hillary is a lesbian communist for making such beastly, insensitive comments. Bill O'Reilly--as a self-proclaimed working class guy--would invite her on his show to publicly chastise her.

Where is the outrage for Dear Old Babs? Her comments clearly show her--and her family's--total lack of knowledge of and interest in ordinary Americans. If the Bushes are our best and brightest political dynasty, then we are so far up sh*t's creek that we might as well capsize the boat right now and drown ourselves out of our misery.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Six Months of Bambina's Bounty

Tomorrow will be 6 months to the day that The Bambina created our family. So much has changed: I am definitely getting by on less sleep, definitely eating a lot more tater tots, definitely getting my quota of Wiggles. But beyond these obvious things, I have been thinking about the significant ways in which being a mother has changed me for the better.

A lot of things used to matter to me. A lot of things used to seem important. And then I became a mother. Nothing ratchets down your sense of self-importance, your tolerance for personal drama and your penchant for fastidiousness than becoming a parent.

For example, I used to obsess about my weight and appearance.

Okay, I still do. Especially with meds whose primary side effects are acne and weight gain in the form of an ever-growing “back porch”…

But they don’t infect my daily thoughts like they used to. I’m too busy trying to get my act together so I don’t inadvertently give my daughter the same body image issues I—and many of my friends--have wrestled with, both as a fat kid and an all-too-often thin-but-hungry young woman. I am learning—gasp!--that there are worse things in life than not being 104 pounds (like having no food at all or losing everything you own in a hurricane or having your child killed in Iraq or being thin from an illness), and that the selfish myopia necessary to maintaining such a “perfect” weight is unbecoming in an adult woman with a child.

I used to worry about my likeability. Was I well-thought of by others? Would my boyfriend’s mom entrust her son’s happiness to me? Would people like me if I didn’t always agree with them?

Okay, I still do.

But I am busy giving my daughter an emotional and social foundation from which she will never (or at least, no more than the average person) give a rat’s ass whether someone likes her. I want her to be authentically and comfortably herself, whomever that person happens to be. I want her to feel accepted at home, loved for who she is—although challenged to be all she can be. I don’t want her to look for that love and acceptance somewhere else. I went to school with too many girls who tried to find the Daddy Love through controlling, abusive boyfriends. I know too many people—male and female—who, as a result of their “approval addictions,” are emotionally retarded in ways that prevent them from openly giving and receiving love from one special person. They can’t commit to one person because they can’t believe that one person can love them enough. They need the constant high of empty approval from people who shouldn’t matter to them.

I will consider myself a failed parent should my daughter ever end up in that place. Similar to the Baby Daddy who, paraphrasing Chris Rock, says that his primary job as a father is to Keep Her Off The Pole, ie, “if your daughter is a stripper, you have done something really wrong as a father.” I think our differing representations are the Mars/Venus versions of the same idea: that you want your daughter to respect herself, like herself and know to her core that she deserves to be loved by people who matter…a group that does not include skeevy dudes with dollar bills.

As I am writing this and seeing it devolve into stripper poles, I have begun trying to figure out what is driving my introspection, beyond tomorrow's big day, and I think I have figured it out: The Bambina has had a stomach virus for two full weeks now, and today was her first, good, meaty poop in almost 15 days. As I changed her diaper, I felt a wave of relief wash over me and realized that I had been living and dying each day by what was in her diaper, worried that the 7-day virus had been taking twice as long to depart. I laughed out loud as I mentally summarized my life today compared with my life pre-Bambina. In short, I used to be concerned with so many meaningless things that seemed important. Now, I am concerned with so many important things that would appear to others to be meaningless but that make my life full and rich and fragrant.

You know--kind of like a healthy baby’s diaper.

Del Boca Vista Revisited

For various reasons that would make this post (more?) boring to read, The Bambina and I slept over at my parents’condo last night. As you may recall from earlier posts, they live in a “senior community” that our girl Miko creatively dubbed Del Boca Vista after the elder Seinfelds/Costanzas’place in Florida. The DBV nomenclature is hilarious by virtue of its accuracy. There are elderly Jews here living side by side with elderly Italians, playing canasta, mah jongg and 45s like they're goin’out of style. It is its own sitcom waiting to happen if only Larry David and Ray Romano would visit.

Anyway, the ladies have become accustomed to the cute little Asian girl walking around with her “Bumpa” as she calls him, so the ridiculous comments have mercifully ceased. But the wacky senior hijinks mercifully have not!

DBV instituted a new parking policy giving each resident one parking pass. Sounds reasonable enough, right? Wrong. Esther down the hall has two cars and wants a pass for both of them. The office says nay, since there is no Mr. Esther also in the apartment to justify the second parking pass. Marie wants one for her son's car since he comes and takes her to Mass in her own car, necessitating that he park in the lot for the duration. No dice, saith the management; why can't the son drive Marie in HIS car, therefore leaving her car with the parking pass in the lot? None of their g@*&amn business is why, says Marie.

Friends, you have not seen a revolt like the one brewing at DBV since the hippies took over Columbia University. I am predicting a Kent State situation as soon as the first car is towed. You heard it here first; FEMA better hear it second, and GWBush better hear it third: bring the national guard home from both Gulfs because the Esthers and Maries are gonna go Dog Day Afternoon on DBV when their Dodge Reliants and Mercury Cougars are towed off the lot for flouting the parking pass edict. I just hope The Bambina is awake to see the wee ladies get up in the grill of a tow truck…

In further DBV news, I noticed that my parents have products in their home that I did not know were still manufactured after 1979. Signal mouthwash, anyone? Jean Nate Afterbath Splash? Ultra Brite toothpaste? I started laughing so hard that I couldn’t explain my levity for about 5 full minutes because I was gasping so desperately for air. It was such a timewarp moment that I was waiting for my bewildered parents to offer me a hot cup of Postum or Ovaltine to calm me down.

Serious Question: Where do they get this stuff? Serious Answer: “The Dollar Store.” I’m not kidding. My parents—and 89% of the people at DBV—shop at The Dollar Store. Now, whether this is The Dollar Tree or Everything A Buck or Nuthin’ But Washingtons or whatever, I do not know since they all just call it “The Dollar Store.” But what I do know is the large groups of DBV residents descend on this discount store and clear the shelves of all the 1970’s health and beauty aids, not to mention dozens of those little business card sized packets of unsweetened Kool-Aid you remember from 2nd grade.

The best part about revisiting Del Boca Vista is seeing these “little old ladies” who are anything but, and just finding it so humorous that they are ready to declare war because they might have to park their non-parking-passed cars an extra 50 yards from the building, but at the same time they routinely sherpa 72 pounds of junk out of The Dollar Store and up 2 flights of stairs to their apartments so their grandkids can have all the Mary Jane candies and Clark Bars they can eat.

In my wisdom I am not about to point out the obvious irony of their behavior. I'm sure I'd be run out of DBV in a high speed chase with women yelling, "Meshugeh! Chutzpah!" and "Cacasodo!" as they pelted my car with hundreds of Bit o' Honeys and Necco Wafers...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

OMG--You HAVE to do this!

Google the word "failure."


With mucho thanks to my girl CD for sending this along...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

We Miss You, Dave Thomas

We just got home from a Labor Day junket up North to see family and friends. The Bambina was a total Peach Pie for both legs of the flight. She was about 3 hours past her nap when we finally landed, so I thought I’d just jet past the Wendy's drive-thru to get her some chicken nuggets for her since our house fridge is embarrassingly empty.

Wow. I ordered one nuggets, one sprite, one diet coke, and one mandarin chicken salad with biggie fries. I received in my bag:
Two regular cokes
One nuggets
One grilled chicken sandwich
One biggie fries.

Again, WOW. You have got to WORK to get a 5-item order that wrong!

It’s sad, really. I have always loved Wendy’s, even back to the days when they had those long dangly bead curtains and the faux Victorian newsprint on the plastic tables. I always loved their food because is seemed like a tall step up from the McD/BK fast food offerings. {I remember freaking my friends out by telling them that chicken mcnuggets were made from chicken skin, beaks and penises. To this day I have yet to ascertain whether chickens do indeed have visible genitalia, but I just think the reference bolsters my claim in such a humorously gross way that I have decided to continue to repeat it without any kind of scientific corroboration. I hope I don't get sued like Oprah did...}

Anyway, my recent experiences with Wendy’s both here and on the West Coast have convinced me that without Dave Thomas, Wendy’s is a total train wreck. It used to rock, and now it reeks. The service at Wendy’s is so horrible that it absolutely has to be intentional, or else they are single-handedly blowing through every theory of statistical probability that the mathematical community has ever created. I have gone to Wendy’s 4 times in as many months and have yet to drive home with the right food. It is insane. And unless you check the bag really well, you are half way home or in your damn kitchen before you realize that you are toting around a freakin’ baked potato with cheese when you really wanted a nachos and cheese. The last time I drove back to get my order fixed, which they did with so little fanfare and with such little concern for speed that you just KNOW it happens all the time. Perhaps the employees are real nice, hardworking men and women. I don’t doubt that. But, people, please. *I* am a native speaker of English and would have trouble taking an order over that intercom. You’re gonna put two people from El Salvador on it and expect them to understand the myriad accents that populate the DC area? If that’s your game plan, then you are ASKING for a Biggie Customer Service Nightmare.

I sometimes feed my frustration with my incorrect order in the moment by imagining what their employment interview must go like:

Manager: Can you speak English?
Applicant: No.
Mgr: Great! Do you understand English when spoken over a 1980’s intercom system?
App: No.
Mgr: Great! When someone says “biggie fry” do you feel compelled to give them a small frosty instead?
App: What’s a frosty?
Mgr: Great! When can you start?!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Law Enforcement Officers in NO and MS Need Our Help

As many of you know, my brother is in law enforcement, although fortunately not in the Gulf states. He reminded me today that Katrina's "first responders" are also victims; like the people they are trying to help, they have lost their homes, families, all of their possessions in the world. Many are surviving on whatever food they themselves can forage for in stores. Many are off-line and without standard transportation since their cars are under water. They are doing what they can with what they have to work with, and I think it's important that we take a moment to think about them as they do their jobs around-the-clock, many with no idea of their family's location or status.

I don't know anyone personally in New Orleans, but I do know that as a deputy, my brother would be out there doing his job no matter what, and I want to believe that someone would take a moment to offer him support. thanks, y'all.

Here are some thoughts from the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial Fund web site:

Here is one of the few messages to get out, from a deputy in Mississippi which was sent in the middle of the night:

"My only contact with the outside world is our in-car computers. Most of us have lost everything we have. We have lost 75 percent of the residences and businesses in Harrison County. When I find the stupid cord for the camera I'll send you some pictures.

"I'm tired of locating bodies. You see this stuff on TV all the time, but until you walk the walk you just can't comprehend the magnitude of it all.

"This is the first time in my life I wish I wasn't a police officer. I had to send my children to live with their grandparents in Pittsburgh. There won't be any school for at least six months. Power will take at least six weeks. This is ungodly. I don't know what you guys can do; any help will be much appreciated."




2941 HWY 51 SOUTH
CANTON, MS 39046


Visit the NLEOMF website frequently for the most current news and information about this unprecedented relief effort. Please post your personal tributes, relief information and words of support on our Hurricane Relief Message Board online at ...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Rehnquist Passes Away; His Rulings Live On

Chief Justice William Rehnquist died tonight in his home. Just as the confirmation hearings for Judge Roberts begin this week, the search for a new Chief Justice will also begin.

I'm sure Rehnquist was a decent fellow (as my mother would say), notwithstanding the following quick summary of his opinions on significant matters of constitutional merit:

Van Orden vs. Perry, which affirmed the right of the Texas State Capitol to have a 6-foot high monument of The Ten Commandments on its grounds.

Dissented on Atkins vs. Virginia, which barred the execution of "mentally retarded" persons.

Part of the majority in Bush v. Gore that overturned the Florida State Supreme Court's decision and threw the "election" to Bush.

Zelman vs. Simmons-Harris, which found that religiously affiliated schools may participate in taxpayer-funded tuition voucher programs.

Dissented on Texas vs. Johnson, which struck down laws banning flag burning.

Wow. That's quite a record. The scary thing is not that Rehnquist pushed these beliefs, it's that his successor will more than likely be far worse...

Damn the Spam

Sorry, y'all. Now when you leave a comment it will ask you to type in some verification letters to ensure that you are not an automated spammer.

Sorry for the extra step, but it's irritating to have the flow of conversation interrupted to read useless posts about vinyl siding (my house is brick), computer deals (already have one, clearly), and penis enlargement (mine is plenty large enough, thank you).

It's a bummer to have to do this, but I (and my huge penis sitting in my brick house working on my already-purchased laptop) might lose my mind if I get one more spammer commenting on a post.

Friday, September 02, 2005

My Cyborg Name

Got this site from the august, esteemed and inimitable Mr. B. Harris over at Dubious Quality. Thank God for people like Bill who bring little joys to my life with sites like

Bill, you are doing the Lord's work. :)

Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself

I generally can't stand Michael Moore, but this email is right ON.

Open letter from Michael Moore < emailed >

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

Dear Mr. Bush:

Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be airlifted. Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them? I once lost my car in a Sears parking lot. Man, was that a drag.

Also, any idea where all our national guard soldiers are? We could really use them right now for the type of thing they signed up to do like helping with national disasters. How come they weren't there to begin with?

Last Thursday I was in south Florida and sat outside while the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed over my head. It was only a Category 1 then but it was pretty nasty. Eleven people died and, as of today, there were still homes without power. That night the weatherman said this storm was on its way to New Orleans. That was Thursday! Did anybody tell you? I know you didn't want to interrupt your vacation and I know how you don't like to get bad news. Plus, you had fundraisers to go to and mothers of dead soldiers to ignore and smear. You sure showed her!

I especially like how, the day after the hurricane, instead of flying to Louisiana, you flew to San Diego to party with your business peeps. Don't let people criticize you for this -- after all, the hurricane was over and what the heck could you do, put your finger in the dike?

And don't listen to those who, in the coming days, will reveal how you specifically reduced the Army Corps of Engineers' budget for New Orleans this summer for the third year in a row. You just tell them that even if you hadn't cut the money to fix those levees, there weren't going to be any Army engineers to fix them anyway because you had a much more important construction job for them -- BUILDING DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ!

On Day 3, when you finally left your vacation home, I have to say I was moved by how you had your Air Force One pilot descend from the clouds as you flew over New Orleans so you could catch a quick look of the disaster. Hey, I know you couldn't stop and grab a bullhorn and stand on some rubble and act like a commander in chief. Been there done that.

There will be those who will try to politicize this tragedy and try to use it against you. Just have your people keep pointing that out. Respond to nothing. Even those pesky scientists who predicted this would happen because the water in the Gulf of Mexico is getting hotter and hotter making a storm like this inevitable. Ignore them and all their global warming Chicken Littles. There is nothing unusual about a hurricane that was so wide it would be like having one F-4 tornado that stretched from New York to Cleveland.

No, Mr. Bush, you just stay the course. It's not your fault that 30 percent of New Orleans lives in poverty or that tens of thousands had no transportation to get out of town. C'mon, they're black! I mean, it's not like this happened to Kennebunkport. Can you imagine leaving white people on their roofs for five days? Don't make me laugh! Race has nothing -- NOTHING -- to do with this!

You hang in there, Mr. Bush. Just try to find a few of our Army helicopters and send them there. Pretend the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are near Tikrit.


Michael Moore

P.S. That annoying mother, Cindy Sheehan, is no longer at your ranch. She and dozens of other relatives of the Iraqi War dead are now driving across the country, stopping in many cities along the way. Maybe you can catch up with them before they get to DC on September 21st.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I'm Still Feelin' The Love for Wes Clark

Here's his site for your review. Lots of great thinking on Iraq and our military in general.

A Blog From New Orleans--Read It and Weep

It's by a guy named Interdictor. Our good friend Raine has it here:

Bush Caught Inflagrante Delicto with Katrina

The disaster in Louisiana and Mississippi is so tragic that I could cry for the poor people down there. At the same time, the disaster that has been the disaster response makes me so angry I could cry for the poor people down there. If Bill Clinton were our president, you can be damn sure the 'Pubs would be loaded for bear for his "incompetence."

But here's the thing: I'd rather have a president who is caught with his pants down doing something that does not hurt the public, than a president who is caught with his pants down by something that telegraphs to our citizens and to the world that we do not have a freakin' clue about how to protect ourselves during a massive upheaval.

This is a hurricane about which GWB said that "no one foresaw" the levees in New Orleans breaking. First of all, he's wrong factually. Disaster drills did see the levees breaking. What they didn't see was the rank amateur (mis)coordination of relief and law enforcement.

How, in America in 2005, do you put tens of thousands of people in a sports arena with no food, water or lavatories and not expect Lord of the Flies to break out? How, in America in 2005, do you have human corpses on the side of the road with no plans for how to remove them? How, in America in 2005, do you have Bangladeshi-style human tragedy on the shores of the Ponchartrain?

At least the Bangladeshi government doesn't pretend that "preparedness" and "homeland security" are its middle names...