Thursday, February 28, 2008

Some Video Goodness

On the subject of videos. These are from a person/group named CamPain2008. You may have seen these already. But if not, enjoy.

The first one is funny, but it burns my eyes:



This has an Obama-Bollywood theme. I love Bollywood style music, so this one was cool:


And this one from the archives on Rudy Giuliani. Awesome.

I'm F**ing Ben Affleck

After my big self-righteous post (in what my father would have called "your usual high dudgeon") about being a fantastic adult and a fully-realized human and a mother beyond reproach, I now post the following links to two recent videos that make me laugh hysterically every time I watch them. I guiltily admitted to my girl C that I like them, and she god bless her, said that she and the mr. sing it randomly around the house.

Some of you will find these offensive. Those of you potentially my age who love those Massholes Damon and Affleck (or Sarah Silverman and Jimmy Kimmel) will find these very funny. The Affleck response comes around 1:40 on the second video.



White Ministers Can't Hate

A great piece over at Salon on the double standard involving, shall we say, controversial men of the cloth. The summary: Obama has to "reject and denounce" Farrakan, a man he has never met. Yet Bush, McCain and Giuliani, stand on the same stage and hug Hagee, Robertson, et. al, and yet never receive the Russert grilling. Greenwald, the author, offers a few statements by these eminent theologians that are just as troubling as those of Farrakhan, e.g., gays caused Katrina, Muslims are programmed to kill, etc.

Why no rejecting and denouncing on the Right?

salon.com/

Let's Hear it For The Hague

Okay, it's time for a mini-rant. As many of you may know, there are new Hague Conventions regarding adoption, which I support. They help to ensure safety and transparency for both the children placed for adoption and for the waiting families. I get that and I support that. The new conventions are the reason that the adoption programs of some countries have been suspended pending compliance. Anything that ensures the safety and well-being of the kids is something I'm all for.

But here's where I get all NIMBY about it. We now have to take Parenting courses in order to qualify. We have to pay for and take classes on parenting, with a set number of credit hours that must be verified by the course provider, before we will be allowed to travel to get our daughter. I think I'd be lying if I said that this didn't irritate the f*** out of me. Why? Because, after all the paperwork, all the financial statements, all the doctors letters of appropriate health, all the completely invasive and unbelievably detailed information we have already provided--happily I might add-- including lengthy essays on our parenting philosophy, what skills we feel we have that qualify us to be parents, detailed screeds on previous experience with children (duh. Does having a 3.9 year old count!?), we still have to take classes to prove we're "qualified" enough to be parents.

I get it in theory, that there is no harm in knowing as much as you can. I get that and really do agree with it. And obviously I'm going to get over my pique, take the classes, do the damn credit hours, pay the damn fees and think it was all no big deal the second I'm holding my daughter. I get that. I think I'm just chafing under the notion that somehow I'm not a good mother unless I have the Certificate of Course Completion to verify it to someone else's satisfaction. That somehow an adoptive parent needs classes where a biological parent doesn't. Why not mandate parenting classes for every woman who walks into an OB's office? Because most people would balk, that's why. Especially if they already have children they are currently parenting.

Blah blah. I get it, I get the theory behind it, I get it. But it annoys me. I guess I want them to magically recognize that anyone who spends this much time and energy "applying" for the gift of parenthood is probably, you know, somewhat committed to being a stellar parent. But if it's hoops they want jumped, it is hoops they shall get. All I'm saying is that if one more person says, "Oh, so you were an 'instant mother'!" I might have to whip out my transcript to show how so very not instant this all is.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

That is (Hazel)Nuts!


From our friends across the pond, an article regarding Nutella, that most delicious of delectable and devilish food products:

A TV advert for Nutella has been withdrawn after the advertising watchdog ruled it exaggerated the hazelnut spread's nutritional value. The commercial showed several mothers giving their children Nutella on toast with a voiceover saying it could be part of a balanced breakfast. But it was pulled to be amended following 53 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Manufacturers Ferrero UK said it took advice from independent nutritionists. The commercial included a voiceover saying: "Surprisingly, each jar contains 52 hazelnuts, the equivalent of a glass of skimmed milk and some cocoa." We think it is highly irresponsible of Nutella to imply that their spread is healthier than it actually is...That would also mean consuming over 100g of sugar, even for the smallest jar of Nutella," she added. The ASA ruled the commercial misleadingly implied that the spread made a more significant nutritional contribution to a balanced breakfast than was the case.

Nutella is the single most decadent and delicious thing I have ever eaten in my entire life. As a kid in Scotland we'd get it as a special treat, and damn, I remember every single time like it was yesterday. Folks, if you haven't tried Nutella you really, really should. If you have, then you already know that no one--adult OR child--should be eating that stuff for breakfast! Let's review: it's hazelnut-chocolate spread. What about that says "Ah yes, let's put it on my kid's toast"? There are 100 calories per tablespoon in Nutella, half of them fat (and from personal experience I'm just gonna say that a person can go through a tablespoon pretty easily, until you realize you're on tablespoon number 5 and hell, that could have been some pepperoni pizza for that kind of caloric investment). So unless you are preparing for a role in Bridget Jones or to be the next Rulon Gardner, you need to love the Nutella, but keep that mess in the cupboard for special occasions. And, Ferrero, you should NOT be implying it has as much calcium as skim milk unless you also add, "...If you consume the entire 1,000 calorie jar."

Or, in other words, I thank you for the joy in my heart Nutella, but I do not thank you for the jiggle in my ass.

Vandalism of the English Language and...


at the Obama campaign office in Longview, TX. I'm sure we could all write a few paragraphs on it, but I will let the photos speak for themselves. After all, the kind of person who would do something like this has bigger problems than just being an a**hole. Because if your goal is to cover an office with the word "racist", you probably should make sure you know how to spell it first.

On a serious note, the saddest part of this story is that the man who owns the building and vans marred is a longtime Longview resident. So the real injured party here is a local ordinary business man. Sad.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Millionth Democratic Debate

I'm a political dork junkie as you know. But for the love of God, isn't this the 20th debate between the Democratic candidates? At what point do we just get honest and say that we are doing this in the hopes that someone trips up? What more must we hear from these candidates?

Rant aside, you know I'm watching it because that's what I do.

Tonight it's on MSNBC, which means Williams and Russert, the gruesome twosome. We just did 16 minutes on the minutiae of each candidate's health care plans. HRC is strong on this issue, so she really wanted to stay on this topic. One sour note in her response was her use of a recent SNL skit to justify her belief that she is being treated unfairly by the media. She wondered aloud why she keeps getting asked "all these questions first." Most people I know who are ambitious enough to be POTUS WANT to get the question first, so the second responder has to say, "yeah--what she said" and look like a follower. Who doesn't want the question first? Whiners.

Next up is NAFTA. And here comes Russert with his "I have a quote from you from 1984, in your kitchen, where you said you loved NAFTA and would totally marry it and yet now you say you don't like it. Explain." Timmy's been on Wikipedia. Now it's Obama's turn to get "gotcha'd" on NAFTA.

I don't like Timmy, even if he's doing his voodoo on HRC. All this quoting from 1998 just makes me squirm because it's just meaningless. I mean, if you asked me about a quote I delivered in 1994, I'd be hard pressed to know if you were making it up or whether I really did say it. And, quite frankly, more often than not I'd probably have to say, "Wow. Did I really say that? Sorry." Which is why I don't have a political career and instead get my jollies watching those who do.

Now onto foreign policy and HRC's characterization of Obama's experience level as being akin to that of GWB. His response is that on the most important foreign policy vote of our generation--whether to get into Iraq--he clearly was on the side of good judgment. HRC says that his position on Iraq was just a speech, that he had no responsibility, so his speech has no credibility. She says he "basically threatened to bomb Pakistan" and that she abhors his position that he'd meet with dictators. She feels that she will have a much better case to make side by side against John McCain.

Obama responds that he made "the speech" during his campaign for Senate, so it actually did have consequences. Oh snap, the gloves are OFF. He's saying that she's not ready on Day One. Because on day one, she voted to give GWB full power. Blah blah. Lots of details, read the transcript. Just know that it is all very respectful but really really raw.

More to come.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Oscars

Oh, whatever. Not nearly enough Jon Stewart for my liking. On a fun note, we know one of the people nominated (who will remain anonymous to protect them from being associated with a smutty enterprise like this). As they were reading the nominees, I said to the BBDD, "Do you think [person] will say, 'I want to thank [person who lives in my house] who barfed in my car all those years ago for making it stink to this day. And I want to thank the Academy for this award so that I can now afford to get a new, non-vomit-reeking car'?" Sadly the nominee did not win. But luckily we were all spared the potential embarrassment of the Famous Car Barf speech. ;)

I have not seen most of the movies (duh!) but I can tell you that I absolutely want to see Cate Blanchett in the sequel to Elizabeth. If you saw the clip of her in that movie you will know what I am saying when I say "WOW." "I too can command the wind, sir! I have a hurricane in me that will strip Spain bare!" I would seriously not be effing with Elizabeth I, y'all, and no mistake.

I also want to see Michael Clayton. Say what you will, but I heart George Clooney. I think he's lovely. Whatever on his politics or whatever, I just like his movies, and more importantly, HIM in his movies.

Based on tonight's voting I'm apparently supposed to also want to see No Country for Old Men. Someone needs to convince me, because other than the delicious Josh Brolin I'm feeling a little hesitant in the Crazy Violence Department. So feel free to weigh in.

I'd write more, but the "wrap it up" music has started and they are about to kill my microph...

The Clothes Do Not Make the (Wo)Man

UPDATE: Apparently it was the HRC campaign that sent out the emails and pics. What a shocker.

Let us prepare to contend with Outrage! Disgust! Indignation! as photos of "Obama Wearing Muslim Garb During Visit to Kenya" hit the web. Why would anyone wear a traditional outfit from his ancestral homeland if he wasn't a closeted Muslim, right? And what kind of patriotic American with pretenses to the Oval Office would ever consider putting on such a ridiculous (and evil?) outfit?!

What kind of American would wear another nation's traditional dress as a sign of respect, I ask you! The mind boggles at the temerity of such a person.




















Oh. Er, I mean, er, such cultural sensitivity is admirable in a Commander In Chief...

































I could post photo after photo, but I will stop at this one. By far the best evidence that an outfit can give an erroneous impression:

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sign O' The Times

Two key pieces of evidence that I am indeed old:

1. Prince, the Potentate of Purpleness, the man who rocked my adolescence, is getting a hip replacement. That's right, all of you who danced to "1999" thinking, "This is a song about the distant future!" Prince is old enough to need a hip replacement.

2. In lesser-known-to-Americans celebrity news, Todd Carty had a heart attack on stage last week. Todd Carty played the dreamy Tucker Jenkins on the British show Grange Hill. I'm not sure what the American equivalent would have been; it was more drama and more reality-based than Saved By The Bell. Maybe like a DeGrassi Junior High or something? Anyhoo, the point being that Todd Carty, the delicious and insouciant and dreamy and rascally Tucker Jenkins of my childhood is now old enough to have a heart attack.

All I need now is for Ricky Schroder to get diverticulitis and I'm closing up shop and moving to Boca.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Debate

What a good debate! First, let's just get this out of the way: Jorge Ramos from Univision is delicioso. Que sabroso!

Okay, so that being said, this was an interesting evening. The first 45 minutes saw HRC dominating, IMHO, on topics like Cuba. Obama was doing fine, but she was clearly in her element in this format. And then OH SNAP! She brought up the plagiarism stuff and it was ON. Obama offered that it was ridiculous to characterize him using phrases given to him by his national campaign co-chair as "plagiarism." Clinton, in an obviously-rehearsed response, said that it was "change you can xerox." Instead of laughter and applause, she got a smattering of boos and dead silence, which highlights her challenge in delivering that kind of supposed smackdown: it just doesn't feel authentic. Talk about someone else writing your words for you...

I will say that her summation in answer to "what was the moment you were strongest during a crisis" or something like that, got a standing ovation, and for good reason. I'm disappointed that she raised the "well, we all know what that was..." thing but she then pivoted it to what Americans live through, returning soldiers, etc. Obama's answer was good in that it answered the question of what makes you able to assume this most critical of positions; but HRC gave a showstopping answer that will play to those amenable to its message of "it's not me; it's about you."

In any case, it was worth watching. Objectively, I think it was a bit of a tie between them for different reasons. Hillary because she did dominate the first 45 minutes and also ended well. Obama because he used each of her points of contrast with him to support his argument that what is needed in DC is not new ideas ("DC is where good ideas go to die") but a new way of working to get those ideas and policies enacted. He also won because he had ample opportunity to ding her on her new 527, her refusal to release her tax returns and did not. So when she went on the plagiarism jab, she looked petty and he looked magnanimous.

And lest you think I'm a total loser, I flipped to Lost during the commercials. ;)


***Although on second thought, he SHOULD have hammered her on the 527 her friends have just formed that is of course not at all in any way trying to influence an election toward a specific candidate in the grand tradition of the Swift Boaters. I'm sure her campaign has nothing to do with it being as it is illegal, right?

***Further Update****Did it seem to anyone else that Obama was not aware that that was the closing opportunity of the evening? He seemed to be looking at the moderators during HRC's ovation for the next question, for the usual "summation" part of the campaign. Which would explain his rather brief answer to the question at hand.

Secondly, it occurred to me that HRC's moment of discussing the "wounded warriors" (a phrase used earlier in the evening by Obama, for the record) seemed genuine. However, other bloggers have picked up on some phraseology in her statement that directly mirrors a quote from John Edwards in an earlier debate, having to do with "whatever happens we'll be fine, but will the American people be fine?" I think what I'm saying is that HRC is being ill-served by her campaign staff who can't help themselves going negative. Because the second you call someone out for something, you are immediately in the spotlight for it yourself. Her campaign is a disaster, even if she pulls it out and gets the nomination. Political studies courses will dissect her campaign for years to come, victory or defeat, for what NOT to do. I don't hate Hillary and I don't wish terrible things upon her personally. But she is missing the significant flip side of the style vs. substance debate in her refusal to consider that the style in which a candidate conducts her campaign is an indicator of how she will govern. It's painful to watch, even though I don't support her. Win or lose, her campaign has been a disaster.

Slate-ism

Our friends over at Baseball Crank have just articulated something about Slate.com I've been unable to cogently put together, and here it is, regarding an article on what Hillary's meal choices say about her:

baseballcrank.com

They keywords are "nitpicking and a supercilious and unserious analysis with a faux-highbrow tone." Amen, brother.

*Which is not to say that I don't absolutely LOVE Dear Prudence columns regardless.

Austin City Limits

Tonight, baby! It's the Red State Debate in Austin, TX between HRC and Obama. Whatever happens, it's going to be well-worth watching instead of Lost. It could be the night where HRC propels herself back onto equal footing with Obama. Or it could be the night where HRC hits the limits of her candidacy. Either way, it's a can't-miss debate, or as Bill Clinton said regarding HRC's success in Texas: it's do or die. Tonight, 8pm Eastern. Be there.

Ich Liebe Der Speigel


Forget "Are you smarter than a fifth grader?" Find out if you know as much about European goings-on as they do about ours at the Spiegel Pub Quizzes. This is the most fun I've ever had reading Spiegel. Trust me; you'll love it. But whoever signs your paychecks won't.

spiegel.de

*While you're there you won't go wrong reading their articles too.

For My Father

We still miss you, JP. Two years later, and we laugh again, we feel joy again. Always followed by, "But how much better it would be with Dad here." I see you in the three of us, your kids, in whom you live on. I see you during my runs and walks when I (still) have conversations with you in my head about matters great and small. And I see you in Bambina, when she wants to know what "freebies" I've brought home from the doctor's office and when she wants to keep a piece of trash "for a project." The girl loves her freebies and her junk, just like her Bumpa.

This is for you, Dad. I decided to go for the old movie camera look, just like the old reels we used to watch when we were kids. Turns out that once you stream it, it looks slackass anyway. So. It's a little less schmancy than I originally created, but since 1GB is the limit I had to tone down my amazing techno effects and do the bare bones movie. But you'll be pleased to know that the special effects at the end were free. :) I hope it meets your ultimate standard: "A Good Job Well Done And Cheap Too!"
' video

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Happy Wednesday

Happy Wednesday everyone.
I’m at Dana Farber all day today getting my rituxan infusion. As you’ll recall, this is part of that anti-GVHD study I’m participating in. It’s completely pain-free once you get past the fact that my veins have so much scar tissue on them that getting an IV in requires the services of two nurses and one “closer,” the Papi who tags in and gets it done.

So here I am, about 100 days till my re-birthday, my one year anniversary. It's nice to be on the other side of the 100 days, but it's also more nerve-racking. They've been tapering me off my immunosuppressant meds for the past 6 months. Now I have three left to go, which on the one hand feels great but on the other feels scary as all hell. If any GVH scary stuff is going to happen, it will happen from now until June, so as much as people say, "You must be so excited!" I honestly just can't get there mentally from here with the vigilance against GVH ongoing. I know people are happy and relieved for me, and I am too. But there's just too much that can still go wrong for me to be throwing confetti just yet. All I'm focusing on is staying healthy *today.* Because I can't control GVH, I can't control infections really. All I can do is try to keep thinking positively but also realistically, recognizing that 75% of transplant recipients get some kind of GVH, so the odds of me getting something are really rather quite large especially as the decreasing immunosuppressives are allowing my new white cells to ramp up. (Minus the B-cells I'm killing today thanks to the rituxan!) If there is one thing I've learned over the past 270-something days is that every day is another day, meaning that even if yesterday was awesome, today could be a disaster and vice-versa. So I don't get too worked up if I look terrible one day and then pretty healthy the next. If I get too excited about looking "good" one day I have to also get depressed if my facial skin has a hivey freakout the next day, so I choose to just not care one way or the other. So telling me how good I look doesn't actually make me feel better, to be honest (although you can deliver them all you want this summer!). It just tells me you are assessing my appearance on a daily basis, which I have trained myself not to do for reasons of mental health. I am focusing on just feeling what I feel like and looking what I look like without passing any judgment on it, good or bad.

It's a quality I'd like to bring to my life beyond this transplant; one in which I am kinder to myself, more forgiving, and less concerned with what other people think. This disease and this transplant have taken a lot of things from me, and no amount of "I'm better for this experience" should honestly obscure that fact. But I've also gained a great deal, most of it to do with gratitude and kindness, both towards others and toward myself. Am I grateful for the experience? I sure hope not or else I'd be a masochist. But am I a better person because of this? I sure hope so or else the past 270-something days have been a complete waste of time, signifying nothing.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Primary Lessons

If it's a Tuesday during Winter 2008, it must mean there's been a primary. So far Obama has taken Wisconsin, with expectations that he'll also take Hawaii. Some thoughts, not all together relevant to either candidate:

1. Plagiarism. Hmmm...I'm going to say it's not "plagiarism" by definition if you use some speech points your friend used. It's not too smart, but it's not plagiarism. I'm sure I use some lines in this blog that I originally heard from one of you, and if I remember how I learned it I'll generally say, 'As my girl Jen says." But otherwise I'm just talking...and I'm probably plagiarizing your words. If the HRC campaign combed this blog they would no doubt find entries where I used someone else's words, however unintentionally. Furthermore: now comes HRC to say, "It's not us saying this, it's the media saying it." Helloooo?! It was the Clinton campaign conference call on which Howard Wolfson announced the "disturbing similarities!!" Further, furthermore, is it plagiarism if your OWN campaign will not go on record assuring voters that YOU have not used another's words in any remarks? You are accusing someone of doing something that you are not even willing to say that you yourself have not done! So why are we talking about this? Oh right. Because Obama is "running on his rhetoric." Really? I'm actually voting for him based on his ideas and his policy positions, as are most people I know. I'd be stunned to find anyone who is voting for him based on the fact that he gives a great speech, as if they'd vote for him even if his great speech was filled with calls for more troops to Iraq, more greenhouse gases, and tax cuts for everyone with incomes over $750,000. Please. They knew they were close in Wisconsin so they threw out something disparaging that could eat up a whole news cycle on the eve of a primary election. I look forward to hearing from "the media" on March 3rd that Barack Obama is a lousy tipper. (For thoughts from a former speechwriter, click here: theatlantic.com)

2. Sexism. I've been thinking of Hillary recently in the context of sexism. Honestly, she is not my preferred candidate (as you have no doubt surmised these last few weeks), but I also think it's important to say that sexism is absolutely a part of why some people dislike her. When the media discusses her laugh as a "a cackle" or disparages her when she cries (how about we have a laugh fest next time George Bush tears up while saluting Old Glory and then let's characterize his stupid frat-boy snickering laugh as just that on national TV, shall we?), it really does make me angry. HRC absolutely faces challenges that stem from sexism, and anyone who says she doesn't has his head in the sand. Yes, we could argue (I might) that a woman, knowing of those particular challenges, ought not to cry. Or if she does, it ought to be about something other than her feelings about her personal quest for the Presidency, like perhaps Old Glory. Is it fair? Nope. But is it reality? Sadly, yep. But should she be held to some standard that no one, male or female, can meet? Certainly not. All of which is to say two things: my support for Obama should not be construed as a knock on HRC's "cackle" or whatever. She's just not the candidate I want to support. So don't try to get me to say she's a "rhymes with b*tch" or whatever cause it's not going to happen. Second, for people who email me and tell me that I'm letting down women by not supporting her: Hello! Have you worked that argument backwards? Because what that tells me is that to support Hillary is to be anti-feminist. Why? Because the feminism I believe in (and believe me, in college I was a womyn---fist raised, baby!) says that women have choices. If you think about the lives of women pre-feminism, theirs was an existence of pre-determined choices (or, as I see it, no real choices): "you can be a nurse or a teacher. You can marry this man or that man, and have kids. You can't be an astronaut. You can't be a lawyer. Those are not choices open to you." As that old bumpersticker says: "feminism is the radical notion that women are people." And THAT'S why it's pre-feminist to tell me that, as a woman, my vote must go to another woman. My vote must go where I CHOOSE it to go, judging that candidate by characteristics OTHER than gender.

3. Okay, moving on. Is anyone else watching CNN for these primary returns? My favorite/most annoying part is John King (a soon-to-be-Jew after he marries Dana Bash; welcome to the tribe, John!) on his touch-tap video board? It is hilarious because he is so clearly into the technology that he can't contain himself. The Board lets him tap on a state, then tap on a city, then on a district, and it gives the population of that district, the % pop of the state it represents, and where each candidate needs to do well/did well/hopes to do well. But he gets so excited that he out-taps himself and ends up having to say things like, "whoa! We left Eau Claire a little early there! Let's get back to it! Tap tap tap..." Besides staring at Anderson Cooper (call me, Anderson!), John King on his tap-tap video board is the reason I suffer through Wolf Blitzer and Gloria Borger for three hours on a primary night. The BBDD's theory is that John King was the guy who got tagged to go sit in the demo with the video board technology vendor and got so sucked into the sales pitch that he became the superuser and then lobbied the powers-that-be to put this thing on the air! Think of the synergy! Think of the multivariate analysis potential from a data warehousing standpoint! Imagine the...insert techno vendor sales language here..! Chris Matthews and Russert will be eating our tap-tap video board dust, those Luddites! CNN! Yes We Can!

4. On a completely different subject, but still touching on sexism, Bambina got a great book from her Gram last week called "Girls Can!" It has a cute narrative featuring stories about Sandra Day O'Connor, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Sally Ride, and how girls can do anything they put their minds to. Well, Bambina has completely flipped out over Sally Ride, and I mean FLIPPED. She is so beside herself that this lady was in space, in a spacesuit, AND she has brown hair! It's like her whole little world has gone upside down in the knowledge that there is an actual photo of an actual woman who is an astronaut. So when we read the book we have to take the dust jacket off so she can be looking at the photo of Sally Ride while we are reading the story about the girl who loved numbers and baseball and decided to go to space. I could tell Bambina was wondering what the point of the book was, so I told her that a long time ago girls weren't allowed to do all the stuff that boys do. They weren't allowed to be astronauts or Supreme Court justices or presidential candidates. What followed was the most telling conversation of my life, because for the life of me I could not give her a reasonable answer to her question of Why Didn't They Let Girls Do That? I was trying to come up with something somewhat kid-friendly, like "well, they didn't think girls could run that fast. And then Jackie came along to prove them wrong and then they couldn't say that anymore." This answer did not satisfy her, and you realize that there is no reasonable way to explain prejudice and bigotry to a child; that if you raise a bigoted, prejudiced, racist kid you have gotten up early in the morning and gone out of your way to do so, because on its face such an attitude just does not jibe with a kid's sense of what is right and fair and just. So I was continuing to test out answers with Bambina, continuing to be unsatisfied myself, when the BBDD walked in the room, listened to two go-rounds of the "why didn't they let girls go into space?" conversation and promptly, honestly and perfectly answered the question to the satisfaction of a preschooler (and a mom, for that matter) when he said, "Because they were stupid!" Can I get an Amen?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Badass Presidents


Here: Cracked.com via BaseballCrank.

Too too funny.

Bambina Bounty

It's been a crazy few days here at Chez Haggis, what with the flooding basement, ungrounded electricity making scary smoky smells, and random general homeowner dramatic events. Good thing we have Bambina to keep us smiling.

Her preschool had the "weddings" on Friday, where each kid paired up with another kid and got under the pretend chuppah (wedding canopy). Even though we thought it was a bit of dumb exercise since kids this age have no concept of marriage, Bambina thought it was so much fun except for one thing: "but Mama I wanted to marry a girl, not a boy."

Me: "Oh, they made you pair up with a boy? That's because most people who get married are a girl and a boy."

Bambina: "When I grow up I will marry a girl. Boys are yucky, especially 'Ando' because he always has runny boogers and then tries to hold my hand."

Me: "Sweet Girl, you go ahead and marry a girl then. Or you can decide not to get married at all. Boys can marry boys too, you know. Uncle E and his boyfriend are getting married this summer, remember? And your Uncle G and Uncle G are two boys married."

Bambina: "Yes Mama, boys should only marry boys and girls should only marry girls. And if I don't meet a girl to marry, I will marry you okay?"

Sounds like a plan to me.

And speaking of plans, on the topic of me being able to get out and about again, Bambina is focusing on our First Big Outing. The FBO, she and I have decided, will be to a coffeeshop. Now, when we were talking about this First Big Outing, Bambina felt strongly that she should be able to drink coffee with me due to the mammoth importance and significance of the event. After looking it up and finding that a sip or two of decaf coffee is harmless for a kid, I said, "Okay. You can have coffee at our FBO." Whoops and hollers and excitement ensued. And then we looked at the BBDD looking at me with some consternation and suspicion. I didn't realize it, but I guess I said out loud, "And Daddy gives Mama the hairy eyeball!" Fast forward weeks and we find out that she has been regaling relatives and friends and teachers with the following verbatim narrative: "And Mama and I will go out to a coffeeshop where we will sit at a big person table and talk about our day and she will drink coffee and I will drink coffee and Dada will give us the hairy eyeball." There is No Such Thing as a throwaway remark when a preschooler is present, is all I'm saying.

And in further Hairy Eyeball stories, Bambina and I were blowing up balloons yesterday and making them into weiner dogs. There was great excitement about the balloons because I have been unable to blow up any of her others for reasons of nausea. For whatever reason, the balloons she's had previously smell to me like chemotherapy and make me gag if I get near them. (I have a few random items that do this to me, which is a whole other post regarding how on God's green earth they are manufacturing products that remind a person of toxic infusions...) For my fellow chemo kids, you probably know what I'm saying, that it's not just the smell but the smell-as-taste. Like, when I was getting the chemo infused via IV, I could taste it too. It's weird and hard to explain, but it just permeated my entire sensory system leaving misery in its wake via taste, smell and sight. Which is why I couldn't get near Bambina's old balloons, even for a second without literally gagging. So these new ones are just plain old latex (watch for my lips to swell in 3, 2, 1...) without the added busulfan. So we were blowing into them with all of our might, but maybe because they were some kind of ersatz balloon material they were extremely difficult to blow up. The BBDD was outside trying to flood proof our home perimeter, but when he came in he found the following sorry scene: The two of us in hysterical laughing fits because we had both been blowing so hard on the balloons that we had both involuntarily farted within milliseconds of each other. All the BBDD could say while administering the aforementioned hairy eyeball was, "Stay classy, Mama. Stay classy."

Good advice indeed. :)

The Thing About Life..

..Is That One Day You'll Be Dead.

This is the title of a new book by David Shields, excerpted in last week's The Week Magazine. If you are one of those people who gets all wee-wee'd up about turning 52 or gaining a pound or even simply discussing the fact that you will eventually go "tits up" as my Dad said, you will want to stop reading here. Everyone else needs to read this book which is as horrifying as it is entertaining. Here's an excerpt of the excerpt:

"Your strength and coordination peak at 19. Your body is the most flexible until age 20; after that joint function steadily declines. World-class sprinters are almost always in their late teens or early twenties. Your stamina peaks in your late 20s or early 30s; marathon records are invariably held by 25- to 35-year olds." It's a very interesting book on the human body, down to the cellular level. It discusses all the ways in which our physiologies change at each age level as a result of biologic processes. The one point he does make, which I love, is this: "The skin weakens and dries, the number of sebaceous glands declines dramatically, and all of the tissues of the skin undergo some change. You get wrinkles and gray hair. Wrinkles don't come from age, though. They come from sunlight which slowly maims the face causing wrinkles, mottling and loose skin."

So definitely get the book, if you can stand to do so. And, as always, wear sunscreen. :)

The Lives of Others

We just watched this fantastic movie last night. It was last year's Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language film. The movie details the Stasi's surveillance of an East German playwright and his actress girlfriend. It is through that story that we see how the surveillance changes the man doing the surveilling, how it affects relationships in the GDR, how it ruins lives, kills dreams. The previous sentences have no doubt reductively turned this amazing movie into something you think will not interest you, but believe me it is potentially the saddest, most hopeful, darkest, most optimistic movie you will see this year. We have good friends from Germany; one from the West and one who grew up in the GDR. They met, literally, when the wall came down, and are now married with kids. I remember them telling us about the day the wall fell, how West streamed into East and vice versa, the headiness, the disbelief, the notion of walking either backward or forward in time depending on which side you'd come from. Perhaps their most compelling story of that day is the memory of sheer mass panic as a siren sounded loudly several hours after the wall fell. Everyone thought the wall was being closed, that they had to run for their lives to make it to the Western side of the wall. It is one of those stories you hear, and you feel for your friends but you really, honestly have no true idea what they were feeling because, as Sister Patty always tells me, "You can't know what you can't know," meaning that certain life events will always only be truly understood by those who experienced them first-hand. Others can empathize, sympathize and imagine the feeling, but they cannot KNOW because they cannot know. Watching The Lives of Others drove home to me what my friends must have been feeling as they heard that siren blare. It also demonstrated the power of the individual to change a world even under the repression of a state.

And speaking of the lives of others, I've been mulling Britney Spears over the past few days. I know; things I thought I'd never say. But hear me out. Asra Nomani, a contributor to People magazine, resigned last week following the massive paparazzi convoy following Britney Spears home from UCLA Medical Center where she'd been hospitalized for psychiatric evaluation against her will. Nomani acknowledged complicity in feeding the beast of the Britney media circus, but had come to believe that "basic moral decency" required the press to back off as Spears was clearly in a fight for her life. Some have called this move holier than thou, others say it is simply not workable; that the public wants their Britney and they are in the business of providing it. Others say that Britney herself wants all this attention.

So here's my point: Isn't Britney Spears a bit of a metaphor for the current negative state of popular culture in America? She represents the pursuit of fame from a very young age, driven by parental dreams. She embodies the "ick" factor that should be inherent in the sexualization of young females in America. Back in the late 90's when she was first on the scene at 15 and 16, women commented on the grossness of men in their 20's and 30's lusting after (an albeit scantily-clad) child. I remember thinking less of male coworkers who thought she was "hot." (Some of those males now have toddler daughters, which delights me no end as they finally "get it," that they'd kill any 30 year old guy looking at their 15 year-old daughter). She represents the pursuit of money at all costs. Rolling Stone's recent article on her details how her "friends" and assistants were promised shopping sprees by her management if they could get Britney to come out of her trailer to work on days when she was not feeling well, not up to doing press, or just in general being a human teenager. Can you imagine a life where everyone around you is out for themselves? Where your friends are cheering you up so they can get stuff at Armani Exchange? It's unconscionable on a basic, human level. Britney, unfortunately, also represents an abdication of parental responsibility to PARENT your child. I'm not talking about Britney's kids; I'm talking about Britney's mother and father. No child should be the sole breadwinner for the family, and no parent should ever allow it. And becoming a paid employee of your kid doesn't count, Mrs. Spears. But most disturbingly--and perhaps the issue that prompted me to thinking about Britney Spears--is that she represents the lack of compassion in our popular culture. Here is a young woman clearly in the throes of a profound mental health crisis...and we watch it as if she's not really human, and worse--as if WE are not really human. It bothers me greatly. Especially in the context of watching The Lives of Others, wherein (mini-spoiler alert) the Stasi agent, becoming more troubled by the motivations behind his orders to spy on the playwright, seems to find his humanity deepened as the actions of others grow more frantic and more sinister. In my interpretation, the life of the playwright held up a mirror to the Stasi agent's life, and he didn't like what he saw. So too, perhaps the chaos and drama and unrelenting footage of Britney's descent into mental illness will hold a mirror up to our lives and perhaps reflect the sickness we have inside ourselves and our culture that turns such a lamentable situation into entertainment.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Coming Soon

I'll be posting a little bit later. Last night did not happen due to a semi-flood in our basement and a little electrical drama, so my blog times have gone by the wayside. In the meantime I wish a Happy Valentines Day to those of you celebrating. And a happy Thursday to those of you not. BBDD is very funny; he said, "Hey--why don't we just stay in for Valentine's Day this year?!" Good thinkin Lincoln.

Later.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Beware This Book

Bambina came home from the library the other day with a few books. One of which is called "The Mermaid's Cape" by Margaret K. Wetterer. It's a little out of her age range, but let me tell you, it should not be on any child's reading list at any age.

The story is of a lonely fisherman who meets a beautiful mermaid. She cannot live or breathe underwater without her cape, so he steals it and hides it and makes her come live with him and marry him. I was reading this before really digesting what I was saying and Bambina said, "That not very nice to keep her cape." Which is when I realized that this book was selling something I don't want my daughter to buy.

Listen to this: "Though his heart was moved with pity, for he was a kindly man, still the young fisherman would not give her the cape. He knew that while he had the cape he had power over the mermaid...after a time the mermaid saw that her tears and her pleadings were in vain. Sadly and slowly...she followed the young fisherman home."

WHAT?!!!! He's so "kindly" that he's kidnapping her while she cries?! It doesn't get better. "Finally after 7 years they had a son." I wonder why it took 7 years?! The book ends with her son finding the hidden cape, giving it to her, and her running far and fast and jumping back into the sea. And the townspeople telling him they knew no good would come from marrying a mermaid.

Fortunately the BabyDaddy came up with a good fake story that followed the pictures in the book, but unfortunately Bambina wants to read about the mermaid visiting the fisherman's friends and drinking juice and playing all the time now. It's painful to even crack the binding on this total abomination of a book. It's old, but only from 1981. It's not like we were all for teaching kids about kidnapping and coercive relationships with "kindly" men even then. I'm just stunned this even made it into print. I'm not the kind of mother who thinks that my little snowflake shouldn't hear about bad stuff. As you know she doesn't care that chickens and cows are killed for her lunch, she gets that there are mean people in the world, she knows that people die, etc. But to tell her a story like this with the message that a nice man can have power over you even if you don't want to be with him? It's just twisted.

So do yourself a favor and take about a minute at the library to make sure a cute book about mermaids isn't teaching your daughter to be a victim.

Rant complete. :)

Gary Hart on SuperDelegates

abcnews.com

That's Gary Hart talking about how he lost the nomination to Walter Mondale due to superdelegates. Interesting. It seems there is precedent, and it ain't pretty.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Jews for Obama--and Against Lashon Hara

Hat tip to Aunt S for sending along one of those viral emails being sent to Jewish people supposedly blowing the lid off Barack Obama's (not-so) secret anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. I wish I could go through the email point by point, but as you know about such emails, the "evidence" is so overwhelming in its sheer volume that we'd be here all night trying to sort through the truth, half-truth, and outright lie. Oh my god, it must be true! Look how long this email is! You couldn't possibly fill that much space with stuff that isn't true! (As my girl Meg says, "It weighs like an A.") It also just provides quotes rather than links to reputable news sources where the quotes can be found. Hello?! Basic email courtesy, basic minimum standard for supporting such serious claims. Or am I supposed to believe it because I read it in an email that 500 other people have read? So annoying.

Besides the fact that about 50% of the email provided innuendo about what Obama really believes based on his associations with others rather than on what he has himself said and done, it gets many things just flat wrong. The email fails to note when offering Richard Cohen's now-well-known smackdown on Obama's association with his church preacher honoring Louis Farrakhan, that Obama DID speak swiftly and unequivocally on the topic. And how about this?! I'm providing the link: mediamatters

The email also spends a great deal of time impugning the characters of people who the email author believes might be in an Obama administration. But here's my major issue with this email and others like it. In Judaism we have a concept called Lashon Hara. It means Evil Tongue/Evil Speech and refers to specifically to situations such as this email. I know that the writer (Ed Lasky) and senders believe that they are attempting to save us all from harm, thereby preserving them from such a charge. But a viral email full of innuendo? Really? Don't get me wrong. This here very blog runs on talking a decent amount of trash about people. I'm the last person to suggest that we all stop talking about people in the strict constructionist interpretation of the Torah. Please. But I'm not speaking On Behalf of the Jews or On Behalf of Israel when I offer that George Bush may be an terrible president. I'm speaking IMHO, and I'm sure as hell not "uttering a false report" (Exodus 23:1) under the guise of being helpful. I'm not saying "When Obama moved to Chicago and became a community organizer, he found it expedient to choose a Christian church to join. Even though his father and stepfather were both Muslims and he attended a Muslim school while living in Indonesia, suspicions based on his days as a child are overheated and unfair. Still, his full name alone conveys the biographical fact that he has some elements of a Muslim background." Wow. Wasn't long ago that having a "stein" at the end of your name subjected you to this kind of mindless bigotry and suspicion, so I'm doubly troubled by the fact that this email is by and for a Jewish audience. From the Jerusalem Post: There are no more American-sounding names than George, Lincoln and Rockwell. Too bad that George Lincoln Rockwell was a rather famous leader of the American Nazi Party. Or in other words, we are better than this.

We are--or ought to be--better than this. If you don't support Obama, have at it. But to imply that he's somehow dangerous because "He is the candidate most favored by the Arab-American community"? That's racist, as well as unfounded and unsupported by any polls I've seen. What if he was the preferred candidate of Chinese-Americans and Cuban-Americans? What of it? To imply that he's soft on terrorism because he doesn't say unequivocally that he'd be happy to bomb Iran? Moronic by any standards, especially since there are Israelis LIVING IN ISRAEL who agree with him. Are they Bad For Israel too?

And in the areas where Obama's bona fides cannot be besmirched? Mr. Lasky simply discounts them because they don't fit into his preferred narrative. Funding for Israel? His supporters will point to a string of votes that are supportive of the American-Israel alliance (foreign aid, for example). These generally are not controversial and routinely pass by large margins, precisely because they support an ally and serve American interests.

Iran? However, Obama did introduce the Iran Divestment Bill along with two Democratic Congressmen (Congressmen Barney Frank and Tom Lantos). Given that Barney Frank is one of the most knowledgeable members of Congress and chairs the House Financial Services Committee and knows the financial industry well, would know how to craft such a bill. I suspect that Obama signed on as a co-sponsor for protective coloration, while Frank and fellow veteran Tom Lantos felt it could not hurt to have a rising star as a co-sponsor.

Or, when Obama holds an opinion that is clearly within the mainstream but not suitable to Mr. Lasky, he simply adds innuendo: "...as Barack has put it, Iraq is under occupation by America (which makes one wonder how he feels about Israeli settlements)." By far, however, my favorite line is this on Obama's vote against John Bolton for UN Ambassador: Regardless of Bolton's evident talents and drive, Obama worked to derail his career. Was it his views that Obama objected to? Hello?!! John Bolton is a wing nut! *I* opposed John Bolton's nomination! Does that make me a bad Jew or shaky on Israel? Gimme a break. Anyone in their right mind opposed John Bolton's nomination. You don't have to dislike Israel to dislike Bolton. But according to this email, Obama's opposition to a fine fellow like Bolton renders him suspect on all aspects of Israel policy.

On the subject of "pressuring Israel" Mr. Lasky says, "Obama has also said "our neglect of the Middle East Peace Process has spurred despair and fueled terrorism" implicitly blaming Israel for terrorism and a sign that a President Obama would pressure Israel. Obama seems to ignore the roles that schools play in the Middle East in the teaching of hatred; the roles of mosques and Imams in stoking terrorism; the glorification of violence and martyrdom in the media; the role of jihad in the Koran." Where has Barack Obama EVER said or is credibly known to believe that Israel is "responsible for terrorism"? That is lashon hara right there, bringing up "settlements" and "blaming Israel for terrorism." Push polling. Push-emailing? Whatever it is called, it's dishonest discourse designed to shade the truth, obfuscate the facts and make people--who more than likely WON'T research all of his claims-- distrust a candidate wholly on the basis of these "issues."

Well. I have no idea if I'm met my objective of encouraging anyone who gets this email to mail this blog post back to every person on the email list. So just to ensure it occurs, I'm attaching links to others (Jews, no less!) who have said it better than me. And for good measure I'm listing the nine organizations that have denounced these emails. Surely each of us can find at least ONE in there about which we think, "okay, I suppose they are not committed to the destruction of Israel by promoting a Muslim Manchurian candidate":

William Daroff, vice president of United Jewish Communities
Richard S. Gordon, president of the American Jewish Congress
David Harris of the American Jewish Committee
Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League
Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Nathan J. Diament of Orthodox Union
Phyllis Snyder of the National Council of Jewish Women
Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center
Hadar Susskind, Washington director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs

And here are the articles:
nytimes.com

jerusalem post.com

And you, Mr. Lasky, have a few more al-cheits to do this Yom Kippur.

*More on lashon hara at Judaism 101: http://www.jewfaq.org/speech.htm

Bambina Abbondanza

Oh my goodness. So much Bambina bounty to share. She's "almost four!" so we are being treated to a new round of opinions, thoughts, behaviors and attitudes on issues big and small.

On weddings:
At her preschool they learn about various Judaic traditions and ceremonies. Apparently they are currently discussing weddings. Last week she put a fitted sheet over her head as a veil/dress and then put her horse jockey goggles on and announced, "I'm getting married! Don't you love my dress?!" I said I did love her dress, but what were the goggles for? "For the mess that comes after the wedding." True 'dat.

On brides and grooms:
So what does the bride do? "She stands around and yells at people that they're not doing stuff right." And what does the groom do? "He doesn't do anything." And what of the vows? "They make a promise to each other: I promise not to kiss you ever!" Mental note to check in with school on curriculum development...

On babies:
"Mama? When babies come out, do the mommies have big holes left in their tummies?" Oh crap; I'm not prepared for this. Hmm. "Well, sweetie, babies don't actually come out of the tummy itself. They come out of the mommy's vagina." Horrified look followed by blank stare as she looks down to do the math. I add, "it gets bigger just for that day." "Oh. Okay. Coz that would not be good if it stayed small!" No indeed.

On mommies tummies, specifically mine:
"Mama. I came out of your tummy?" "No, sweet girl, you came out of your Chinese Mother's tummy. Remember?" Silence. "I wish I came out of your tummy." Rapid brain scan for all readings and research on this topic since 2005..... "I wish that too, my love. But becoming your Mama just the way it happened makes me super happier than anything in the whole world." Little smile, followed by "Me too." And just as I am warmed up and ready to chat more about this expected but always surprising-in-the-moment subject matter--moment over: "Let's read Fancy Nancy!"

On Chinatown:
She loves going to Chinatown. Loves the candy store, loves the fans. Loves the dim sum. Loves the big gate and the bamboo that is inexplicably growing in a New England climate. Yesterday when we asked her if she'd like to give me a driving tour of Chinatown she jumped up and yelled, "Yes! I want to go! Chinatown makes my heart happy!" So off we went. Next weekend is the big new year's parade with the dragon, so she's completely stoked for that. And as soon as I am better she says that we are going to spend the whole day there eating dim sum and candy. I say that makes my heart *very* happy.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Lose the Shoes

Back in May we instituted a shoes-off policy in the house, per doctor's orders for me. Now that we've lived with it for 8 months, we've decided to make it permanent. My doctor said that most of the dirt and pollutants in your home are carried in on shoes, so shoes off to keep those to a minimum. Turns out he was all too right. I know I've become your resident germophobe, but seriously, this is pretty crazy:

"The EPA estimates Americans spend 90 percent of their day indoors, where air is, on average, two to five times more polluted than outdoor air-and exposure to contaminants in your home can exacerbate allergies, asthma, and chemical sensitivities. When you come in from outdoors and don't remove your shoes, you track in mold, lead particles, dirt and dust, lawn chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers...or trace amounts of excrement from neighborhood pets."

So now I've been combing the internet to find polite ways to tell people--when they finally CAN visit--that they have to take their shoes off at the door. It's a very interesting process because there seem to be two kinds of people: those who are surprised I'm even wondering how to ask because who *wouldn't* take their shoes off before walking all over your house? and those who believe that I can pry their shoes off their cold, dead feet. I recognize that there are psychosocial aspects to asking people to remove their shoes. For men shoes can indicate status, provide height, provide a way to not feel "naked." For women, shoes are often an integral part of an outfit, without which we feel half-dressed. I get it. But I figure with advance warning everyone can get their heads around it. Especially since I'm not saying, "Gee I have such nice rugs I don't want you to get dirty." I'm saying, "Please. I have such nice stem cells that I'd like to keep nice." So I think I'm settling on buying a nice bench with shoes under it at the door, with one of those tasteful signs reading, "Shoes Go Here" or something similar, as well as giving people a heads-up at invitation time. For my part, I always assume it'll be shoes-off at people's houses, so I make sure my stanky feet are either under wraps or are looking like I just stepped out of a spa.

In any case, once your shoes are off, I do promise to not make you sit on a plastic-covered couch. :)

Grammys 2008

I'm sitting watching the Grammys, and it's a mixed bag. It's Tina Turner and Beyonce doing Proud Mary at the moment. Have I mentioned how much I *heart* Tina Turner? She is 69 years old and damn if she isn't still a firecracker. I don't think 69 is that old, but to be moving like she's moving and still sounding like she's sounding is something to see at any age.

Earlier in the show they did a tribute to The Beatles, with Ringo, Yoko, Mrs. Harrison and somebody else for Paul perhaps? in the audience. The tribute involved what I thought was some cockamamy interpretive dance but turns out to have been inspired by the movies "Love" and "Across the Universe," both of which featured (or were about) Beatles music. As I was trying to make sense of the performance I said out loud, "Damn. You know something is bizarre when Yoko is sitting in her seat looking like, 'what the hell is this weird performance-art crap?'"

Now it's the Foo Fighters who ordinarily aren't my scene but who are just totally rocking the house. But, again, they have John Paul Jones ("from Led Zeppelin" added to the script for the kids watching at home) conducting the orchestra backing the band. It's just this whole very obvious attempt to be all, "Look! The Grammys respect Tradition While Honoring Innovation!" It just kind of reeks of effort, much like that ill-advised MTV pairing of Martha Stewart with Ol' Dirty Bastard back in the '90's.

Anyway, I'm off to do something productive. Like pray the writer's strike really, really ends soon.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Mitt Romney Likes Himself

Just a mini-post today since I've been battling to keep a migraine at bay since last night. But I just have to say this (hat tip to JulieG for making me look): Mitt Romney is potentially the most self-satisfied man I've ever heard speak. First with the statement that his 5 sons are engaged in public service to America by campaigning for him. And now, that only his departure from the race can stop America's descent into terror. WTF? I know a lot of people are focusing on the fact that he implied that we'd surrender to terror if either Hillary or Obama won. What struck me more was his sense that somehow he had a role to play in this one way or the other. The man was not going to win, not after Tuesday. And for the love of God, the wheels of American democracy would continue to turn even with Romney competing with McCain. I'm agreeing with JulieG that perhaps Ole Mitt has his sights set on being VP. Why? Because surely no reasonable person would want THAT to be the speech by which they bid a final adieu to public life.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Facebook Friends

So I ended up on Facebook. I don't recall how exactly. I think someone wondered why I wasn't on it, so I said okay. Then I ignored it for probably a year or so. Then someone "friended" me and I thought I'd better check it out to make sure I wasn't divulging too much information or whatever. I think I was thinking it was like MySpace. You know, full of tweens leaving cruel messages for each other, pretending to be Zac Efron totally dumping your ass. I was stunned to see perfectly normal (except perhaps for their friendship with me), seemingly non-criminal people on it. The chaplain of my old college is on it--and so is the rabbi! So I figured I'd give it a go, seeing as it's (cue the violin music) the only real way I'll see any of my friends' faces these days. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that no one in my networks was disparaging anyone's male virility or female chastity in crude, misspelled diatribes. So there I am.

The parts I'm enjoying most are the updates on what people are doing (again, for the shut-in loser in me) and the Bookshelf application. You can post on your profile all the books you've read, the ones you want to read, etc, which I am loving as a way to get book recos from friends. So all in all, my facebook experience has been going rather well. I still can't bring myself to put my kid's face or name on there, nor do I want to really really identify myself for people who only know me in an ancillary way. But I'm liking the level of involvement I have right now.

Contrast with the BabyDaddy. Beyond the fact that I should call him HWNDNBMITB (He Whose Name Dare Not Be Mentioned In The Blog) instead of BBDD, he is adamant that he will not under any circumstances join facebook. So tonight I was telling him how his friends in real life are now my facebook friends. (I mean, they are my friends too obviously (even if I'm closer to their wives), but you know what I mean; I know them because I know him). He is still unmoved. I showed him that his professional colleagues are on facebook and are no less credible for it; still he is unmoved. I've gotta respect his love of privacy, but I find it humorous nonetheless. So I started going through my (his) friend list near him and saying things tenderly like, "Oh Andrew. I'm so glad you're my friend." "Oh Julian, I can't tell you how happy it makes me to be your facebook friend..." "Oh Todd, when I need someone to chat with, to share my feelings with, I'll just SuperPoke you! Because you're my facebook friend!" Amazingly, he still will not join facebook, not even to stop me SuperPoking his friends. ;) But me, I think I like it. I think it works for me because everyone on my friend list is actually a person I know decently well and like. I see people with, like, 455 friends and I'm wondering if they actually really know every one of them to the extent that that person would want a note popping up saying, "E just had OJ for breakfast!"

My only complaint is that the fun quizzes available sometimes inadvertently spam your friends if you're not precise with the mouse clickage. I think I sent all my friends (including former professors and political pundits--and rabbis and chaplains) the following message: "E just took the 'Name That Smokin' Hot Actress' Quiz and she wants to challenge you to a match! Can you beat E's 89% score?" I also don't like how it always alerts everyone to everything you've done. Being a newbie I wrote a friend what I thought was a note. Turns out I put it on her "wall," so my profile immediately read, "E just wrote M a note. Click here to read it." Whaaaa?!! Thank God it was an innocuous whassup, rather than something like a tenderly-worded "I'm so glad you're my hunka hunka burnin facebook friend." Because THAT would be an invasion of my closely-guarded privacy. ;)

Happy Chinese New Year!


It's Lunar New Year again! Year of the Rat.

We're all decorated and ready to bring in the new year. Tonight is of course Chinese food with tangerines for dessert. I know I've said it before, but I absolutely love having three new years to celebrate. Happily, I've managed to transmit that joie de new year to Bambina who is decked out from head to toe in red today (the absolute must-have color for new year celebrations), has hung her lanterns in our front window, helped put up the chun lian (couplets in the photo) in the window, and is getting herself totally psyched to start yelling Gong Hay Fat Choy at the top of her lungs.

So, for those of you who celebrate, and even for those of you who don't, Gong Hay Fat Choy! Happy Lunar New Year!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Thoughts from Super DorksDay!

My girl JulieG and I were just IM'ing while watching the election returns. I asked, "are we total dorks for being so excited?" She sagely said that she fully embraces that kind of dorkhood. And so do I.

In watching the returns, a few items jumped out at me:

1. I think CNN overstates Obama's loss in Massachusetts. They keep talking about HRC's victory in the face of the endorsements by Ted and Caroline Kennedy and John Kerry. I don't want to burst anyone's bubble, but I think most people in Massachusetts will tell you that they have no particular regard one way or the other for the Kennedys. Yeah, there are always haters and lovers. But the vast majority of Massholes, I am certain, are positively ambivalent about "The Kennedys" as a collective proper noun. I think their endorsement was symbolic and certainly welcome, as most endorsements are. But to characterize Senator Clinton's win in Massachusetts as some kind of repudiation of the Kennedys is a bit of a stretch. Yes, it gives Wolf B something to yammer about on the telly, but it's not--from the perspective of your average Masshole--something on which to hang an entire theory of victory.

2. Yes, Romney did win Massachusetts. But no one is mentioning that 44% of MA Republicans voted for McCain. That's hardly a rousing show of support for our fearless former governor.

3. Why is no one asking Mike Huckabee, who just espoused his view of the Sanctity of Life and how all Americans are entitled to equal protection under the law, why his regard for a fetus' rights to equal protection doesn't extend to gay Americans and others who don't meet his Bible-based view of the world.

4. Everyone is waiting to see how California shakes out in the wee hours of the Eastern-time morning, but what of the millions of California residents who voted via absentee ballot? Will those votes swing the race one way or another? Will there really be reliable results at midnight?

5. Also in California, as CNN reports the "winner," will they make viewers aware that the Democratic Party's rules regarding the splitting of delegates by percentage means that a candidate could lose in California by 6 points and still be neck-and-neck in the delegate count? On the other side of the coin, in the GOP's winner-take-all process, McCain with 38% of the vote, Huckabee with 33% and Romney with 29%, McCain would "win" every single delegate even though more people voted for other candidates than for him.

Any other thoughts you want to share?

Gomez For Super Tuesday

It's officially Super Tuesday! I'm waiting to see how super it turns out to be. I obviously have my preference with which I will refrain from bludgeoning you. (GObama '08!) The following song by Gomez helps to sum up where I am with regard to the choices in this Democratic primary. As much as I support Obama, I truly wish that Bill Clinton had not injected himself into the race in the time, place and manner that he did, because in doing so he completely solidified in my mind why a vote for Senator Clinton is a vote to send them BOTH back to the White House. As I've analogized before, Bill Clinton emodies all the characteristics of the charming rakish old boyfriend whose charms are best enjoyed nostalgically. You look back and think, "we had some great times" but you know that, in the final analysis now that you are older and wiser, he really did treat you like shit and you are ashamed you put up with it all for so long. Bill personifies feelings I really don't want to feel about politics anymore. I'm looking for something more transcendent, more positive, more hopeful. He used to be that guy, back in 1992. A Place Called Hope. Now, for me, it's time to move away from one man or one place representing hope, and toward a movement that sees hope as the power and the willingness to believe again in ourselves and in our nation.


Monday, February 04, 2008

Good Sports(wo)manship

Okay, I'm gonna be an example to my child and display some grace in the Patriots loss last night. Especially because, as my girl C says, the Giants just wanted it more. And, let's be honest, the 4th quarter play where Manning escaped a potential sack by THREE guys and goes on to score is something the Giants can be proud of. The Patriots, not so much. :(

Perhaps, like the Tony Romo/Jessica Simpson thing, we can blame the presence of Gisele Bundchen on this ignominious defeat?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

What? Is the FCC Too Busy Keeping Me Safe From Areolas?

The Super Bowl is still ongoing but I'm too pissed off to really enjoy it. Did you guys see the salesgenie ads? You know, the racist ones? I was aghast at the first one wherein Indian accents are mocked. I was thinking, "that is the most racist commercial I've seen in a long time!" Until, that is, the second one aired with pandas running a bamboo furniture business talking all "so velly solly!" This from a company founded by Vin Gupta. Self hater, perhaps? Or perhaps he's hoping to generate "buzz" for his company via low-brow, no-wit racism? Either way, it's a company I'd like to see go under from--irony!--a lack of sales leads.

And, either way, how does that kind of sh*t get on the air? Isn't the FCC supposed to fine the networks for content of an offensive nature? If only Gupta's company had run an ad with the panda's tits hanging out, then we'd have been spared this piece of garbage.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

A Patriot of Giant Proportions









Bambina's preschool often sends home details about what the kids have been doing that week. This week we received one single sheet of paper entitled, "Who Are You Supporting In The Super Bowl?" The answers were as follows:

Kid 1: Patriots!
Kid 2: I don't like football.
Kid 3: Um...my mommy.
Kid 4: The football
Kid 5: *shrug*
Kid 6: a lion

And my kid? My sweet loyal Bambina?:

Bambina: The Giants!

That sound you hear is a mother's heart breaking. ;)