Tuesday, April 29, 2008

That Ain't Wright

I just don't even know where to start with the whole Reverend Wright thing, except to say that he is obviously a person who loves having a platform and damn if he isn't going to use it.

Here's the link to the transcript wherein Obama denounces the Reverend's remarks and yesterday's "spectacle":

I've been trying to think all day of a characterization for what Wright is doing. I was about to give up when I read this on Wonkette: "Wright's 'notgiveafuckery'." That it IT! Here is a guy who just does not give a F what he says or does. But before I get all uptight about it, they also ended their liveblogging with this little perspective-giver:

2:24 — Ha, nevermind fuckers! It's over. To recap: Obama is having a serious friend breakup with that black preacher, who spoke at a place where some reporters eat lunch yesterday.

This post, by the way, over at Popehat details the event organizer: a Hillary supporter who has blogged on her dislike for Obama. Jus' sayin': http://www.popehat.com/2008/04/29/rove-is-a-pimp-he-could-never-have-outfought-obama/#more-856

Liveblogging Neil Diamond

Oh, like you wouldn't! Like you have a life or something? Puh-leeze!

It's Neil Diamond night on American Idol, baby!!! Sweet Caroline!

So, let's get started; each person is doing two songs:

Jason Castro, he of the breathy cluelessness, sings Forever in Blue Jeans while wearing blue jeans. He forgot the words to the song while performing for Neil, and just always has this slackass approach, like, yeah, dude, I totally forgot the words in front of this old guy who is apparently famous for music or whatever.... DESGRACIADO!!! MENOSPRECIO!!

Then he does September Morn. I love Neil, but that song doesn't really age well. And neither does Castro. (clue to "doesn't age well": any song that uses the word "lovers" to describe the romantic protagonists, perhaps?)

Then David Cook rocks I'm Alive. Nice. He manages to sing it like himself while sounding a little bit like Neil without veering off into Will Ferrell territory.

Cook is now doing All I Really Need Is You. Nice rock ballad with an edge. BBDD has it right on when he says, "What do you think? Goo Goo Dolls-type career for him?" You bet your Rzeznik.

Then OF COURSE Brooke does I'm a Believer. Because she can't not sing a song that isn't in the Pizza Hut juke box circa 1985, can she? Oh my lord!

Now Brooke is doing a song whose title escapes me on piano. Much better than the last one.

Then Archuleta does Sweet Caroline. Dumb choice. That song is sacrosanct to so many disparate groups of people (from drunk college students "so good! so good! so good!" to Red Sox fans in the 8th inning), that you just can't come on out and do a little Hershey Park main stage thing with it and think you're getting votes.

Wee Davey is up now doing his version of America. I loved this song when we first immigrated to the US because it kind of summed up the whole experience of lifting up from everything you've ever known and just arriving in the US with a dream and a prayer. Tonight, Archuleta has turned it into a 4-H festival 4th of July hoedown. Not sure I loved it, but the judges do. Simon just made the point that it was a good song choice for David's fan demographic. Wee Davey is perhaps more business-savvy than we give him credit for...

Then Syesha does Hello. Okay, here's my personal axe to grind. I LOVE that song. Say what you will about Neil, but that song speaks. It speaks to missing someone, to just needing to hear their voice on the phone in the middle of the night. It's like a love song for old married people even while it is a song for long-distance college couples, blah blah, it's a nice song. Syesha cabareted it a little.

Now shes's doing Thank the Lord for the Night Time. I like it. Retro but cool. Simon hates it and thinks she might be voted off. Come on! How Jason Castro continues to walk around the set as a contestant while Syesha fights for her life every week just boggles the mind. Although one should never underestimate the power of the American tween and her unlimited text messages to IDOL5701...

Check Back Tonight

I'm up to my eyeballs in stuff, so can't blog till later.
Until then, I'm sure you can find some replay of the Rev. Wright sermon to keep you busy. Yikes.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My Next Career

The other day the BBDD and I were discussing what my next career will be. Obviously a girl's gotta work, and obviously after this crazy year I have zero interest in doing what I used to do. But I do want to work...and good thing, because apparently the bank account says I have to. How ridiculous is THAT?! So where to begin?

Well, first, my initial foray back into the working-outside-the-home world will be a part-time venture as we await Baby Sister. It would be a bit uncool to take a full-time career-track job and then take another year off. If there is one thing I learned from Bambina it is that the first year with your new baby is gold, especially when the baby you bring home is already 9 months old. That's nine months of mama time to make up for, getting to know each other, experiencing the bonding, attaching and 'claiming' of each other that ties you and your kid together forever. I'm sure other parents have other ways and means and circumstances that are also fantastic, but for me, that is what feels right. So more beans and rice dinners for another year! But totally worth its weight in carb grams.

Which narrows us down to certain paid gigs of the part-time variety. My first idea was a Williams-Sonoma-type place where I could work while Bambina is a school, sell some muffin tins, and see humans again. But then I wondered aloud if I had the maturity to work in a place where someone might ask me for a Dutch Oven. BBDD and I fell out laughing when we pictured me being fired for smiling, saying, "Certainly!," then trapping the customer's head under my work smock. Not an auspicious beginning to a career in retail.*

So what then? I love coffee. How about I pull some coffee in a Peets or Starbucks or something? Only, saying, "I love coffee; I should work there" is a bit like saying, "I love to golf, therefore I absolutely have the skills to run a country club operation." The two don't always go together. And would I be able to avoid telling the lady getting the double-double super whip vanilla caramel macchiatalatto that she should go order a Big Mac because the caloric intake is the same? And what if I finally freaked out and went postal being forced to look at that DAMN TOO-SMALL CONDIMENT TABLE for 5 hours a day? Why do they have these huge stores, all these chairs, and that ONE teeny tiny little cart that 20 people have to crowd around to get some Splenda?! Can we move a table and add another cart? Can we have sugar at the counter? Can we do something besides creating a condiment mosh pit over there?!!! Stop the madness!!!! Hmm...perhaps I'm not ready for that either.

Which brings us to Light Office Activities, as the temp agencies like to call it. Should I answer phones at a doctor's office? What? And be near all those sick people? Hell no! How about at a car wash or something? I've heard, via my friend Rose Royce, that "sometimes the boss don't mind if ya act the fool." That sounds promising. But perhaps something a little more in a suit and tie kind of environment, just to show Bambina that mommies do also wear suits and do Things That Don't Involve Kids. But who would have me? I guess we'll just have to wait and see. But if any of you have any ideas, please feel free to share. I'm sure you all can identify "skills" in me that I can't. You know, besides world-class dutch ovens.

*A practical joke involving flatulence underneath a blanket or cover inspired by the mechanics of the "Dutch Oven".

The Secret to Stress-Free Motherhood

Ladies (and the men who love them), this weekend I read the absolutely definitive statement on how to achieve balance and harmony in my life as a mother. It came from that wise fount of knowledge, Gwyneth Paltrow, in Vogue magazine. Now I don't have any axe to grind in general with Gwynnie. I don't particularly love her movies or anything, but I am not a hater. That said, her advice? To "simplify."

Yes, Simplify. As she is driven around New York City by a driver, chatting with a magazine writer, dropping in at a designer store (where she is ONLY buying Balenciaga mini dresses this summer, as part of her effort to "simplify," because who can take the time as a working mother to figure out what to wear?!), and then heading home to relieve the nanny who has handled her kids for the day.

Aw, bless. I understand that Gwyneth Paltrow has a vastly different life than I do. But to tell me to "simplify" in a breezy, blithe way as if that is what working mothers (the kind who work in an office, or sometimes the kind who work in a house without contact with other humans for a year....) can do to achieve such a state of grace is a bit like me telling Gwynnie that she should throw in small loads of laundry throughout the week to avoid that big Saturday Laundry Day I know she struggles with mightily.

To be fair, I get that Gwyneth Paltrow probably didn't call up the mag and say, "I have advice for working mothers; come take dictation." I also get that Vogue is not Ladies Home Journal or whatever. But it's just the ludicrousness of the whole notion that any celebrity has any useful advice for any person on any topic whatsoever that might be even remotely relevant to those who do not get driven around NYC, feted at designer stores, and provided workouts for 2-3 hours a day with famous trainers. How about someone famous just saying, (a la Sarah Jessica Parker [god bless her] who famously said that celebrities don't even look like themselves in real life so real women should not get sucked into that trap, and that she has a nanny and a trainer and she's paid to look a certain way which is why she does but that no real person should think she's normal),"you know what? I'll tell you what I wear to my estate in England and to the Hamptons, but my only advice for any real women reading this magazine is to cancel your subscription. Even if it was free, E."

Now THAT sounds simple enough!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

You Like Me; You Really Really Like Me

Such a thrill to get a wee nod from the rebel grrrl over at Utah Savage: utahsavageand-award-goes-to

Thanks! :)

And, PS, if this had been an actual ceremony I would have been wearing this:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Hypothetical Candidate

Here is my boyfriend Jon Stewart's take on Pennsylvania, both for Obama and Clinton. It's about 5 minutes long, but worth it in laughs.

One Step Forward...

Bah. The GVH came back on Monday. That was me at 30mg of prednisone for a week--and BLAM. So now I'm back at 60mg and also on another new immunosuppressive in order to attempt to transition me from the pred without having another flare. So here's your blog post at 4:20am. I've been up since 1:30. Awesome.

Whenever I'm on a new drug I do the full google search on it to get all the side effects in my head so I don't flip out if all of a sudden I feel, say, dizzy for "no reason." So I was looking at the one for my new drug: it causes lymphoma in 4% of people who use it! Now THAT'S a drama I don't need. And, even better, it causes DIARRHEA! That's funny: take this drug that causes diarrhea in order to fix the problem that is causing you diarrhea. It's a little silly, but at the same time, when you're in the situation I'm in you just have to thumb your nose at the lymphoproliferative cancer warnings and say "whatever."

So now I think I'm on more immunosuppressive drugs than I was 3 months ago. Evidenced by the fact that I woke up yesterday with thrush in my mouth. It's basically a fungal infection that makes your tongue white; I had it, like, every day post-transplant till Day 80, I think. So I am also swishing and swallowing the sadly-familiar very nasty elixir to get rid of that. And the new drug has given me mouth sores, so eating is a wee bit of a challenge because everything kind of feels like I'm squeezing a lemon on a cut.

So I'm a bit pissed off at my situation and just so OVER this whole year already.

At the same time, good weather has finally arrived in the Great White North, so sunshine and good times await me and Bambina out of doors. She was given one of those kiddie motorized golf carts by her GiGi, and it is her absolute pride and joy. It goes about 3 miles per hour and she is just all about taking that thing out for a spin every chance she gets. The best part, in her mind, is that it has a little cup and snack holder. So I put her thermos of water and a paper cup of cheesy chips in it, and she was tickled pink to be driving around WITH SNACKS! Then she pretends to be putting in a CD. She'll ask, "What do you want to hear?" Then when you answer she'll say, "Yeah, I don't have that in the car. But I do have The Traveling Wilburys. Interested?" Sure, I'm interested, sweet girl. Play me some Wilburys. Which involves her pressing a pretend button and then wailing loudly a la Tom Petty, "Congratooolaaaayshons for breakin' ma heart!" Believe me, there's nothing funnier than a preschooler in a Del Boca Vista golf cart offering you a bluesy mazel tov on "tearin' it all apart..."

And speaking of cars, she is just one inch away from being legal in a big girl booster seat rather than the car seat she's currently being stuffed into. She wants into that seat so badly, but for a wee petite pudding those inches just don't come quickly enough. She was a decent-sized baby at birth but is, we think, in the ballet dancer's body she is going to have for life. She will probably end up being about 5'1" and 102 pounds fully grown--and that after an all-you-can-eat bender at a Shoney's. Coming from a family of proud heavy people, it sometimes pains me to see her so tiny because all those "food is love" beliefs are in my head and soul from generations of Scottish love. Not to mention that in my family you were always asked if you were sick if you were not a couple of pounds overweight, that good health meant having a little somethin' extra, which I don't necessarily disagree with when looking at painfully thin "healthy" people. So some part of me deep down feels like I, as a good mother, should be force feeding my kid to fatten her up. Luckily the sane part of me (with a helping nudge from the BBDD) just allows her to be who she is. Even if that means she won't see that booster seat till she's 7...

Okay, I'm going to try to sleep now. Hah!


Thanks to Popehat, as usual, for the link:

I am up at 3am, but damn am I laughing. Especially at the recently-added Stephanopoulos entry.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Somebody Put Us Out of Our Misery

Andrew Sullivan has summed it up better than I can, regarding Hillary's nine-point win in Pennsylvania. The most accurate line? "If Obama thinks he has a right to actually be nominated by the Clinton Democrats because he has won more votes, more states and more delegates, he is sadly mistaken. They will never let such a person win without a death struggle. And that is where the Democrats are now headed." Hello, President McCain:

andrewsullivan.theworst ofallworldsfortheDems

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What Would Jesus Do?

Obviously, the people in this church didn't ask themselves the question:

JONESVILLE, S.C. -- The sign in front of a small church in a small town is causing a big controversy in Jonesville, S.C. Pastor Roger Byrd said that he just wanted to get people thinking. So last Thursday, he put a new message on the sign at the Jonesville Church of God.

It reads: "Obama, Osama, hmm, are they brothers?"

Byrd said that the message wasn't meant to be racial or political. "It's simply to cause people to realize and to see what possibly could happen if we were to get someone in there that does not believe in Jesus Christ," he said.

When asked if he believes that Barack Obama is Muslim, Byrd said, "I don't know. See it asks a question: Are they brothers? In other words, is he Muslim ? I don't know. He says he's not. I hope he's not. But I don't know. And it's just something to try to stir people's minds. It was never intended to hurt feelings or to offend anybody."

Obama has said repeatedly during his campaign that he is a Christian and attends Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Despite some criticism, Byrd says that the message will stay on the sign. He took the issue before his congregation Sunday night, and they decided unanimously to keep it. Byrd also said he doesn't want it to look like controversy forced him to take the sign down.

Beyond the fact that this shows that small-minded people continue to believe what they want to believe no matter what evidence is provided to the contrary, it also shows how far we have to go in our national discourse when someone who implies that someone is a "brother" of a terrorist can then just say, "I didn't mean to be political! I was just trying to get people to think." Um, Reverend: how about starting with your own brain before you get to worrying about ours? Oh--and thanks for that beautiful message of Brotherly Love.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ed Rendell Hearts Farrakhan

And here's the video goodness to prove it:

So how does Hillary Clinton feel that one of her campaign's strongest supporters is in the tank with Farrakhan? Will she reject and denounce him? Is her association with him reason for voters to wonder if she is unpatriotic? Or anti-semitic? And if the good people at ABC News were so good at their jobs, why was she not asked about Rendell's glowing praise for "the Reverend" during the debate after Obama was slammed for even knowing William Ayers? Seems this is a bit more relevant to Pennsylvania voters, no?

That is, if Mrs. Clinton continues to assert, as she did last week on national television, that any associations you have as a candidate for President are valid and "worth exploring"...

If I Say I Love Jesus, Will You Stop Emailing Me?

So back in the day, 2004 to be exact, I wrote a post about being approached by Jews for Jesus: Here Not the most interesting post in the world, but just written on the day from my frustration with the whole evangelization thing and my ongoing mystification about trying to be simultaneously Jewish and seeing Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

Apparently someone somewhere linked to it on a Jews for Jesus site, and I am now the lucky recipient of comments and tons of emails from people either pissed off at me or, sometimes in the same paragraph, praying for me that I might come to Jesus and be saved. But not to worry--I'll still be a Jew when it's all over.

The tone of the email campaign is precisely what I was annoyed about in the original post, which is all the assurances that I can be both Jewish AND "saved," no matter what any other source (including my own head and heart) tells me to be true. In short, there is a definition of Judaism. Having a Messiah ain't in the definition. But beyond that, it's the notion that it is the place of anyone anywhere to get someone to leave their own religion and join another, by virtue of metro station lit drops or email campaigns or whatever. It's a notion that, in and of itself, has almost no parallel in Judaism. We don't proselytize, unless you count toward other Jews. Between and among ourselves we argue constantly about who/what denomination is better, blah blah blah. But for everyone else? You do your thing, we'll do ours.

So what's my point (again)? To invert Jeff Foxworthy's "You Might Be a Redneck If...:" If you find yourself with an opportunity to proselytize--and you take it, you might not be Jewish. Or, if you feel like you can't get off your computer before sending an email to encourage someone to find salvation via Jesus, you might not be Jewish.

Again, I love me my Christians. Heck y'all, I've even got some of ya in my family! Bambina's baby naming was a who's who of beloved Christianity in our house; potentially the most mixed event in history since the wedding of Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel. If you know me, you know this is not about dissing Jesus or his followers. I've made my thoughts on Madonna-style pseudo-kabbalah equally clear. In this case, it's about respecting another's religion. Enough to not pretend it's your own, and enough to not get all email-y when they take exception to it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I'm Too Sexy For My Shirt

So the insomnia continues unabated, only now with actual daytime fatigue thrown in due to my tapering dose of the prednisone. So now I really do look like hell as I personify the antithesis of Beauty Sleep. No matter. The primary challenge I am now facing in my ongoing prednisone saga is that of, how shall we say, night sweats. Oh, and day sweats too. As my friend NM in MN would say, "I'm sweatin' like a fat kid!" Having been a fat kid for almost all the years that one can credibly be called a "kid", I know whereof NM speaks. And this is worse. Like, soaking through two shirts a night worse. And for the first time in my life (a life that once had me asking my doctor if perhaps I was missing sweat glands because I never seemed to perspire before completely overheating), I am going for a walk (not a run or a canter or a gallop or even a sashay--just a walk) and coming home with Pit Stains. How sexy is that?!

This whole year I've had a joke, whether it was random missing hair, loss of eyelashes, crazy skin reactions, grotesque tubes sticking out of holes in my body, nasty-looking skin cancer removal wounds, whatever, I always said a la Will Smith in Men In Black, "I make this look gooooood!" But there is just no spin for shvitzing like a shtunk, my dears. And what with my ongoing moon face development, I can only post one photo of how I'm looking these days:

Jus' playin'. ;)

Happy Developmentally-Appropriate Passover

This weekend was the beginning of Passover, with the first Seder on Saturday night and the second tonight. I love Passover because it requires you to tell the story of The Exodus and to remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt. The purpose is to celebrate freedom while remembering the bitterness of slavery. And, in the way my observance goes, with the obvious religious exhortation to work to eradicate slavery and oppression today wherever they exist. This whole holiday, to me, is about putting oneself in the position of "other," of obeying the biblical order to remember that we were once strangers in a strange land...and hopefully integrating that into the daily practice of how I treat others and wish others to be treated on a global scale.

Much is made of the role of kids in the Passover Seder, how to keep it fun, how the youngest asks The Four Questions (four variations on "How is this night different from all other nights?") as a means of helping them understand the purpose of the holiday. (In our case, one answer to that question was, "Because Mama is wearing a skirt." You know it's a special day when Mama's knees are visible...) The kids also search for the Afikoman, which is a piece of matzoh hidden by a grown up and then "ransomed" back to them by the kids who find it. This was Bambina's favorite part of the whole thing, especially since we hid it outside in the mailbox, so the search involved going outside around bed time (which never happens) while Mama filmed the whole thing.

It helps that Bambina attends religious preschool, so she came to the Seder with a ton of knowledge. So much that I made a mental note to write her teachers a note and tell them that they rock. But the one unplanned part came when Bambina completely refused to hear the story of Passover. Wanted to leave the room, and just wouldn't even let the story start. We asked her why and she said, "Because it a scary story!" Mental note to call the teachers and ask them what the hell they're teaching up there... But then as we talked to her we realized that--hellooo!--it IS a scary story for a little kid. And if as an adult you're not touched by it and moved by it, you are not paying attention and not fulfilling the commandment.

Think about it: Baby Moses put in a basket in the Nile by his mother, found and adopted by Princess Batya, Pharaoh's daughter. Lots of loaded stuff there for a family before we even get to the meat of the story. Then the Pharaoh making people work as slaves. Then the plagues, including the killing of the firstborn. Then the parting of the Red Sea and the drowning of the Egyptians. If it were a Disney movie I wouldn't let her see it till she was eleven. And here we are having her sit through it over dinner at the age of three! Obviously, we tell the story in a more age-appropriate way than "and then God killed all the first born children!", but you can't really just skip the plagues, right? Can't skip the parting of the sea, right? So we pretty much didn't tell the story last night, the commandment to do so be damned, on account of not wanting to give our kid nightmares.

I'm sure plenty of people will say that's a shame, but as I thought about Bambina's reaction to the story, I realized that she had exactly the RIGHT reaction. Why would someone have slaves? Why would someone oppress other people? "Isn't that mean?" "Why did the mean Pharaoh not let the people just go?" Why would someone need ten plagues to give up on his desire for slaves? Why would ten plagues even be sent? Isn't THAT mean? Yep. A sense of...ick...is precisely what I want my kid to feel when faced with these questions. I want her (although a little older than 3.11 would have been nice...) to approach these questions, these holiday stories, these universal questions of good and evil with a healthy dose of dismay and disgust. And then I want her to connect those uncomfortable feelings with the here and now, with the way we treat each other, the way we allow our foreign policy to be conducted, the way we resolutely and unfailingly refuse to see ourselves as "other" in our daily interactions. I want her to feel the joy of freedom, to know how blessed and lucky we all are. And I want her to feel and understand and integrate the knowledge that so many people are not.

But, like I said, a few more years would have been nice before that connection was made. Although, mental note again, to contact the teachers and thank them for their role in helping my sweet Bambina in her development of empathy. It's one of the key developmental milestones for preschoolers, and this Seder, if nothing else, showed just how much she's grown in the past year. Which is not to say she's not still enough of a kid developmentally to sell you out for a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. But just that seeing her take all these threads of the story and weave them into a self-designed narrative of "Why Are Some People So Mean" was really rather cool. And the conversations that came of it were so fantastic, including insight into the mean kid at her school and the creation of a new Family Rule (we have five that we previously wrote together):
1. Nobody hits anybody in this family ever for any reason ever and we really mean ever.
2. Always tell the truth even if you don't want to.
3. A little candy makes your tummy happy; a lot of candy makes your tummy say "that was not very yummy for me."
4. No secrets ever. No one keeps secrets ever and we really mean ever. Tell Mama and BBDD about any grown ups who ask kids to keep secrets.
5. Team "Haggis" Forever and Ever! And we mean ever!

And now Six: NO Mean People Allowed In Our House Ever!

And we do mean ever. :)

Friday, April 18, 2008

I'm Still Bitter

For more on the woman who was invited on the ABC debate to ask Obama if he really loves America, and how it all came about:


The primary issue here is the fact that ABC sought out this anti-Obama citizen, tracked her down, and had her ask one of the only three non-moderator questions. mcclatchydc.com That's her story, in her own words, of her serious economic and social hardship.

So here's my question: why is Obama being attacked for his remark that sometimes voters vote against their own economic self interest--when what we have is a real live voter who is, by her own account, a person in need of economic assistance--and who is going to cast her ballot not on any major issue, but based on whether someone wears a freaking lapel pin! Hello!

And for the record, I'd like to ask her if I love America more than her because I have an American flag bra that I wear close to my heart.

And another point along the same "elitist" and "bitter" lines, that are my own opinion and not anything to do with Obama's original remarks: why is it so terrible to talk about poorer/rural white people but it's not equally frowned-upon to disparage "city folk"? Any day on any conservative talk radio you can hear them insulting "latte-loving" city people/elites. Why all the sensitivity around not insulting the "values of middle America"? Why aren't the values of other Americans equally as valid? Like, do rural whites have a lock on patriotism and family? Somehow because I was an urban dweller who drank lattes and explored vegetarianism and don't believe there's such a thing as a "gay agenda," that my values aren't just as patriotic as Nash McCabe, Blue Collar White American? So how does she get carte blanche to say that someone not wearing a lapel pin does not love America (which is a pretty monstrous charge, is it not?), but I don't get carte blanche to say that someone obsessed with lapel pins is a moron? It's tautological: I'm an elitist because I don't share her opinions; when I express that I don't share her opinions, I am displaying my elitism. I therefore am a snob. It's a fight you can't win, unless you're working class and white.

I would posit, instead, that Nash McCabe is the snob. Think about it: A snob, guilty of snobbery, is a person who adopts the worldview that some people are inherently inferior to him/her for any one of a variety of reasons including real or supposed intellect, wealth, education, ancestry, etc. Quote from McClatchy: "But to understand why Obama rubs McCabe wrong is to go beyond the question of what a flag pin has to do with patriotism — it's not really about the flag pin, she said in a telephone interview Thursday — and consider McCabe's life. It's no Hawaiian prep school and Ivy League story, unlike Obama's....In Obama, she sees someone who rose like a rocket, always has a smooth explanation for everything — whether it's about his former preacher or the flag pin — and who makes it all look too easy. That's what upsets me about Barack Obama," she says. "He takes everything so nonchalantly." She admits that she's more likely to give Clinton the benefit of the doubt while looking for fault in Obama."

She's 100% entitled to vote for whomever she pleases. But for ABC to pretend she was just a voter on the street, and for her to pretend that she's not looking down her nose in, yes, reverse snobbery, is my issue. And for me to be considered an elitist if I disagree? THAT makes ME bitter.

Thanks, Mom!

Mother's Day is coming up soon. So make your plans to honor your mother. Might I humbly suggest, in lieu of needlepoint cushions saying "Moms Mean Love" or whatnot, that you consider joining the National Marrow Donor Thanks Mom Campaign? www.marrow.org "What better way to say “Thanks, Mom” for giving you life? Share that gift of life with another!"

Here's how to join the registry: marrow.org/Join_the_Donor_Registry You'll be sent a cheek swab kit to send back, from which they will be able to type you and potentially match you. Online registration costs $52 to pay for the tissue-typing. It's that freakin' easy, y'all.

My donor saved my life. She didn't have to. Probably had a hundred more important and seemingly-interesting things to do with her time and 52 bucks. That's a chunk of lattes, a bill payment...or even a nice needlepoint cushion for a special lady. But she did it, and now I'm here. Another Mother's Day with my Bambina. Courtesy of a stranger who said, "What the hell; why not?" My immune system is hers; every blood cell I grow is hers. My stem cells, the building blocks of my whole world, are hers. She is as much a part of my life as my own family, because I'm living and breathing because of her. A person who was under no obligation to sign up for anything, but did it anyway.

When I finally do get to meet my donor, I WILL kiss her, germs be damned. And I just might kiss her mother too.

Now THAT's Gratitude

I love you guys so much that I completely missed yesterday's Reader Appreciation Day. It was the idea of the OTHER Mother (which I found via Average Jane): theothermother

Her ideas were:
1. The Madonna Option: Write a post thanking your readers for putting up with your foibles, mistakes, and eccentricities (a list) and being loyal to you (your blog) no matter what.
2. Write a tribute to your 5 most avid commenters
3. Share some of your favorite comments ever posted to your blog.
4. Giveaways and free prizes to loyal/lucky readers are always fun.
5. Thank your readers in any way you want.

So which should I choose, albeit a day late and a dollar short? Perhaps a combination of all five.

1. The Madonna Option. Now, you will need to picture me saying this in my England-via-Detroit accent as I will attempt to refrain from also discussing Kabbalah and macrobiotic diets: Dearest readers, thank you. For reading my stuff, commenting, emailing me your thoughts, telling me off, and--this past year especially--providing me with a genuine outlet for "social" interaction that has been therapeutic and wildly fun. Having said that, I read some of the earliest posts then read some from the past 14 months. Yikes. If anyone finds my writing mojo, send it to the address at the bottom of your screen. Nevertheless, thank you for continuing to read my drivel even when it's been about riveting and scintillating topics like my colon, my stomach lining, my bone marrow, and of course my diseased mind. I promise some more varied fare as soon as I am allowed some more varied life experiences.

2. Oooh. I can't single anyone out because I love all of the comments. Even the mean ones. The ones who power this site know who you are, and it would be a shell of an enterprise without your spirited input.

3. Some favorite comments. I just tried to go back and find some, but there are so many good ones. And also not knowing if the commenter really wants to be highlighted separately from the post, I'll just let you peruse yourselves rather than out anyone without their permission.

4. Giveaways and prizes. I love giveaways and prizes! But since I can't shop these days, I'd have to have a "Win My Used IPod" contest or "Free Homemade Construction Paper Greeting Card" sweepstakes. A bit lackluster for my taste. So how about we table the largesse till I'm allowed out and about? Then I'll have a real live Giveaway Extravaganza of Things I Found at The Dollar Store. Don't be a hater; you never know how much you'll love one of these till you get it free as a prize!

5. Thank readers in any way I want. Ooooh. So many options, especially for the hotties among you. ;) I'm going to think about this one a little more, especially when I've had more than 11 hours of sleep in 3 days...

In the meantime, even though it's not tax-deductible, just know that reading this blog can indeed by classified as charitable giving. I'm really lucky to have you all supporting me and cheering me on. Respeck!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Dirtiest Debate

This debate is a shonda. A total travesty.

First, the dirtiest, most irrelevant questions ever. All about Wright and bitter and the Weather Underground. Stephanopoulos and Gibson should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. Nothing edifying, nothing informative, nothing worth the public's time. Nothing that wouldn't also be aired on a political version of Entertainment Tonight. It's trash.

Second, if I needed any further encouragement to dislike Hillary Clinton this debate sure provides it. Hear me now and believe me later: I WILL NOT VOTE FOR HER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. EVER. I've never seen a Democratic candidate go so negative on another Democratic candidate in a debate. She cannot help herself to behave in a low-class manner. On a question about her Bosnia lies, Obama said, "She is entitled to a mistake" and wanted to move on to topics like our economy. When asked a similar question about Obama, she spent minutes going over Wright and how that questions Obama's patriotism, flag pins and how that questions his patriotism, and anything else she could throw out that might question Obama's patriotism. Even after Obama said that the notion that someone he knows obliquely who lives in his district who did some terrible things when Obama was 8 years old should somehow reflect those views onto him is ridiculous. She should have let it go, looked classy and let the moment hang. But she couldn't. And here's the part that made me angriest of all: at no time while she was calling into question Obama's patriotism and fitness for office did she make eye contact with him. She never once looked him in the eye. For me that speaks volumes. If you are going to say that someone is not fit for office, you ought to say it to his face--into his eyes--and show the courage of your convictions.

I don't hate her. But oh my, I just cannot envision any scenario under which she would ever receive my vote. Not even for town dog catcher.

Superstition and Paranoia Go Hand In Hand

So I just got back from Dana Farber. I got good news.

Only, I'm not going to tell you what it is. I'm now officially too superstitious to talk about it anymore till it happens. So you won't hear another word about this unless it all goes (back) to sh*t as they taper me off the prednisone. So let's just all assume that no news is good news for the foreseeable future and leave it at that. Never let me be accused of tempting The Fates by seeking to influence things that must follow their own path to fruition.

In other, related news I learned two things today:
1. I actually have been diagnosed with Acute GVHD rather than Chronic. Both because of the speed with which it developed sans any of the other usual presaging symptoms and the speed with which it departed upon prednisone's arrival. It's weird to get Acute so late in the game, but I wouldn't be me if something weird didn't find its way into the mix.

2. My germophobia paranoia has been confirmed and justified. My doctor told me that one of the reasons I have done so well these past ten months is precisely because of germophobia. With a kid in preschool and moving into a new house and all of the ongoing stuff, he really feels that just being completely aggressive about avoiding germs is always more than half the battle. Because then your new bone marrow can have the chance to grow and strengthen and flourish without having to deal with additional assaults from infections and the antibiotics needed to cure them...and of course because then you don't die from infections that can't be cured. Few transplantees die from failed bone marrow; they've pretty much got that stuff down at this point. We die from infections: bacterial, viral and fungal, all as a result of long-term immunosupression. So whatever you can do (yes, wash your hands/use purell like you're getting a commission) to keep the germs out of your body is really the part the transplantee plays in helping to heal herself. It doesn't always work, and I will continue to be immunosuppressed for many months beyond my one year mark, and so will have to maintain the caution from germs and the avoidance of coughing/sick people. But it was kind of cool in a twisted way to be told that my germophobia coming into the transplant has helped me make it this far. It's like being told that your alcoholism feeds hungry kids! Or that your gambling addiction is helping to close the hole in the ozone! My hangups affirmed! YAY!

So, anyway, here endeth the Bone Marrow Posts for the near future. And sorry for the tease. I'll apologize to you IN PERSON when I can. :)

And Some Links...

I just found this awesome blog via Popehat. It's called Billville, and it's got everything for those who love books, reading and reading books. And lots of other stuff that is cool too. My insomnia thanks you, Bill.

Here is a Guide To Driving in Beijing During the Olympics for those of you insane enough to even consider such a thing. Having traversed those roads myself I can say with total surety: don't do it, mate!

An article from The Independent on ten options for solving the credit crisis, ahead of Gordon Brown's visit to the US.

That should keep you busy for now. If you swing that way, you'll be pleased to know I stumbled upon a very cogently-written piece of thought leadership in the British "newspaper" The News of the World. It was augustly entitled, "Stars With Boobs Out." You can go there yourself if you simply must see Bai Ling's nipples.

You're welcome.

So Many Options

Oh look! It's another Democratic debate! Only this time being held in the City of Bitterly Love, Philadelphia. If you like that sort of thing it's on ABC at 8pm. If you'd like to make it more fun, get a couple of beverages together and take a drink every time someone says, "bitter" or "elitist" or "condescending." You'll be under your coffee table by 8:30.

I'm going to try to watch it but I am also working on finishing my required hours of parent education for the adoption of Baby Sister. You'll recall my breathlessly indignant post that the Hague now requires me to take classes and get certificates of continuing education in...parenthood...in order to be eligible to adopt again. So rather than sit around and feel irritated about the perceived indignity of having to prove I'm a good mother I just got into Mom Mode ("It's Not About Me") and signed up for all the classes, which mercifully can be done online. I just finished my first one (might as well productively use my insomnia time, no?), and in all honesty can actually see how they might be helpful for people who haven't done a lot of independent reading or research prior to pursuing adoption, or who might be waiting first-time parents.

So this is my mea culpa for being all wiggy about the classes. They have helpful information on attachment, bonding and being a conspicuous family for parents pursuing adoption; and truly, anything that puts more information into the hands of parents is a good thing. It would just be great if they differentiated between students who currently are parenting a child and those who are not, as well as those adopting infants versus those adopting older kids from "the system" in order to make it all a little more relevant. I will confess to completely tanking on the sections regarding the adoption of older kids from the foster care system. It was all I could do to not write on my final essay about What I Learned, "I learned that I would need far more training and skillset development to effectively, competently and ethically parent an older child from a painful background." I was THAT bad at it, y'all. Which was humbling in a good way.

So we'll see if I end up doing debate stuff, attachment stuff, or blogging about last night's American Idol (it was..gaaack...Mariah Carey night). Or, I could give you the short version: no one gets dinged this week simply because Mariah Carey songs are so dreadfully unsingable by anyone but Mariah Carey that to ask anyone to do anything with any of her stuff is to ask too much. So, Idol Contestants, consider this your John McCain-Inspired "Criticism Holiday"! But unlike those tax cuts he likes, this ain't permanent.

Have a great Wednesday!

The Audacity of Insomniatic Hope

So the prednisone-induced insomnia continues, as you can see from these 4am posts. My doctor dropped my dose from 60mg to 40mg a day last week, and so far "things" have gone smoothly. Or, rather, heartily and normally. ;) But the difference between 60 and 40 is huge. At 60mg I was up all night and feeling no pain. Cleaning out cabinets, developing budgets, writing Bambina's Lifebook, channeling my inner Martha Stewart. At 40mg, I'm still not sleeping great (although I'm now able to fall asleep by midnight, I'm just up at 4am for the day), but the consequence-free environment has sadly ended. I'm officially tired. But, hey, a somewhat-functioning brain is a small price to pay for a perfectly-functioning colon, right?!

I have my Dana Farber appointment today wherein I hope to find out (if there is an answer) what my near future looks like in terms of attempting to re-enter society. I know that it will be slow, small and methodical but at this point I'm holding out hope for the ability to even be allowed to answer my front door to the Fed Ex or pizza guy. But what I definitely hope to get is some sense of when I can finally take Bambina to school. I have been so lucky to be able to be home with her this year, but there is no question that I have missed out on her life in a pretty big way. I don't know any of her friends, her friends' parents, her teachers, her classes. I haven't grocery shopped with her since she was two. I have never taken her to a museum during a time when she was old enough to remember it. I have not taken her to a library that she can recall. I have not eaten in a restaurant with her since she was in a high chair. I have not taken her on a playdate, I have not seen her first ballet class, her gymnastics class, I will miss her first soccer "class" this week. In short, I know my daughter as a person but not as a person in the world. If you were to ask me whether she is shy around strangers, whether she is a leader or follower around other kids, what she is like at pick up and dropoff times, I would have to either say "I don't know" or tell you what someone else has told me second-hand. There is a whole section of my child's life that I have not been a part of, and more than I want to eat in a restaurant, more than I want to see my friends or attend weddings or visit other people's homes, I really really really just want to walk my kid into school, put her stuff in her cubby, and tell her I'll see her in a few hours when I come to pick her up. It's really the only thing I want.

She wants to know when I'm going to be "a normal mommy" again, and boy, I do too. So maybe today I'll find out. Maybe I won't.

But I'm hoping I will.

Tax Holiday Cure-All

McCain offered a slate of economic proposals yesterday, among them a holiday from the gas tax. Republicans love tax holidays, don't they? The whole notion that if we just didn't have this tax, things would be so much better! Y'all. The entire federal tax on gasoline is 18 cents a gallon. So why isn't McCain asking Exxon, et.al where the other $3.21 is coming from? And why not also recognize that Americans enjoy the lowest gas prices in perhaps the world by comparison. Or would we rather just go on being oil-dependent and economically dopey? Or, as this piece in the New Republic says:
What Tax Holiday?

Dean Baker argues that John McCain's "gas-tax holiday" proposal wouldn't actually lower gas prices—it would just allow oil companies to charge more at the pump:

According to the oil industry, they have their refineries running flat out, producing all the gas they can. This means that the price is determined on the demand side. We have a fixed amount of gas entering the market, the question is simply what price clears the market. In this context, if we reduce or eliminate the gas tax, the price doesn't change, the lower tax will simply allow Exxon and other oil companies to keep more profits (unless of course they were lying about running their refineries at capacity).

Of course, Congress could require that retail gas prices fall by the full amount of the tax, but that would just create shortages. Either way, it's a bad idea. (Not to mention the fact that suspending the gas tax puts the highway trust fund in an even deeper hole. But, hey, it's not as if bridges in this country are collapsing or anything...) --Bradford Plumer

For more info on gas prices and how they work, click here: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/gas-price.htm It's not quite what you'd expect. And, then again, it is: Crude oil inventories have the single biggest effect on gas prices, and the United States depends heavily on foreign oil supplies. In January 2006, the United States imported over 9.1 million barrels per day....The single largest entity impacting the world's oil supplies is the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), a consortium of 12 countries: Algeria, Angola, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. Together, these 12 nations are responsible for 40 percent of the world's oil production and hold two-thirds of the world's oil reserves. America, we have a problem, and it ain't the tax. It is our dependence on foreign oil from some countries with whom we wouldn't otherwise want to be on any list. Forget the 18 cents, for god's sake and let's see the big picture, shall we? Or will we just stay in Iraq for 100 more years to "ensure democracy?"

McCain also argued that in not making Bush's tax cuts permanent, Clinton and Obama would be effectively causing the greatest tax increase since World War II. That's interesting logic, especially from a man who in the same breath proposed freezing discretionary spending at any non-military or veteran agency. So by his logic, isn't that a massive *cut* in investment in our kids, schools, roads? Please.

And in news that will surprise no one, the two things McCain did not mention in this bold economic plan were the monstrous federal deficit and the cost of the war in Iraq.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Multiracial Family Fun

Ken over at Popehat has a sadly-all-too-familiar post about stranger interest in one's multiracial family:


Along the same lines, the BBDD took Bambina to the doctor on Friday where a nice lady came over and started chatting about how cute Bambina is. Then, as expected, she said, "So--what is she?" Right in front of our daughter. "So. What is she?" Um, a human child. What are you? Much like Ken, the BBDD gets pissed OFF when total strangers feel compelled to know "what" your kid "is" and see absolutely nothing wrong with asking right in front of the child. So the BBDD just looked at her and said nothing. So the lady said, "You know, where is she from?" He answered in a very matter of fact manner, "We live right here in [town]; we're local. And you?" Total silence. Then she said, "Oh, I guess some people don't like to talk about it," as if not sharing personal information with a stranger implies that we are ashamed of that information! Obviously not the case, and not worth trying to make that case with someone you don't even know and will never see again.

The primary defining feature of our response to strangers is our concern for Bambina. She is almost 4, which means she's pretty aware of stuff like this these days. She recently told us that it is "annoying" when strangers stop us to tell her how cute she is. On the one hand, you might think "what a punk ass kid! The people are just being nice!" On the other hand, imagine being four years old and constantly having total strangers walk up to you, tell you you are cute, and then ask your parents "what is she?" She may be young, but she's not stupid. Like any other kid, she just wants to be a kid, which for the most part means to be left alone to do her thing. She gets that she is a bit of an object of interest in public and it is starting to bother her, as everything we've read on the subject said it would. So I don't try to talk her out of her feelings; she is absolutely entitled to them. We just tell her that people mostly mean well, that we can say Thank You if they compliment us, and then she doesn't have to say anything else if she doesn't want to. I'm not going to force my kid to interact with strangers who make her uncomfortable so that those strangers can think my kid is polite. That's not my job. My job is to prepare my kid to face life as a regular kid--albeit as a racial minority, as a child of adoption, and as a member of a multiracial family. It's not to make random people in the Trader Joes feel good about themselves. It's never okay to be rude to people who seem well-meaning. But I look forward to the day when the onus to not be rude is finally, at long last, put back on THEM rather than on me and my four year-old.

This article from parenthood.com sums it up for me, especially the last line by Renee Lubowich:

"Is your son adopted?"

You’re standing at the checkout line at the supermarket, and someone leans over your shoulder and oohs and aahs: "What a beautiful baby. Is she yours?" Or you’re watching your son navigate the play structure at a playground when someone you’ve never met asks, "Is your son adopted? How much did he cost?" Or the boy and girl you adopted from two different birth families in the United States are playing happily together and a neighbor asks, "Are they real brother and sister?"

Adoptive families say they’re often asked deeply personal questions by people they don’t know. "There’s a general sense that people have the permission to say anything they want," says Susan Jordan, the mother of a son and daughter from Honduras. "They don’t imagine we would have feelings about it or that we would feel about our children the way they feel about their children."

Often, adoptive parents don’t know how to respond. Susan Caughman, publisher of Adoptive Families magazine, says the important thing to keep in mind is that the way you respond should be based on the situation, a lesson that is important to teach adoptive children as well. "If the person asking is someone you really care about, you might explain it one way," Caughman says. "If you are being bothered by someone or don’t even know them, answer another way."

"If someone asks, ‘How much did she cost?’ you might say, ‘She’s priceless.’ Or you could say, ‘Would you like me to call you and tell you more about the process of adoption at another time?’" Renee Lubowich says one of her favorite responses for adoptive parents is, "Why do you ask?" "I think it gives the adoptive parent more time to think about how they want to respond," she says, "and it also asks the questioner to think about why the question is being asked." It can be a burden for adoptive families to always feel they have to be educating the world, Lubowich says. "But for someone who is interested in adoption, you might say, ‘I’d be glad to talk with you sometime. Here in the supermarket doesn’t seem like the best place.’"

Lubowich says it’s important for non-adoptive families being addressed in public to set an example for their children. "My response is really for my child, not for the person asking the question or for me. It’s what I’m teaching my child about how to handle herself in the world."

Now if only curious grown-ups could learn that too...

First, Kill All the Journalists

So while we listen to a bunch of elitists like George Will bloviate about how elitist Barack Obama (son of a single mother, mixed-race, non-wealthy upbringing, worked as a community organizer in Chicago's south side) is compared to the uber-folksy Hillary Clinton (I shot a duck! Once.) and John McCain (husband of the multi-million dollar beer heiress), here are all the things your stupid TV media people are not talking about:

From the Army Times (that left-wing rag): "McCain Reveals Confusion Over Petraeus Role": Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona may not have been paying the closest of attention last week during hearings on the Bush administration’s Iraq policy. Speaking Monday at the annual meeting of the Associated Press, McCain was asked whether he, if elected, would shift combat troops from Iraq to Afghanistan to intensify the search for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. “I would not do that unless Gen. [David] Petraeus said that he felt that the situation called for that,” McCain said, referring to the top U.S. commander in Iraq. Petraeus, however, made clear last week that he has nothing to do with the decision...McCain did not stay for the full Petraeus appearance before the armed services committee, so he might have missed that explanation." Why would Senator McCain, the leading proponent of the war effort in Iraq (and with a campaign focused around his military knowledge) NOT stay for his General's full appearance? And how does he not know who makes decisions regarding combat troop shifts? And how does he keep getting away with making statements that show a clear lack of comprehension of al-Qaeda and Sunnis and Shiites (you know, the people we're fighting? Sort of. In Iran. Or is it in Iraq? Or Syria. And who knew that Iranians aren't Arabs?). WHY are we not hearing more about John McCain's CLEAR gaffes on national security? Oh. Because our media would rather parrot the Karl Rove Talking Points Memo: Does Barack Obama Hate Pennsylvanian Churchgoers? Give me an effing break.

Next, from Media Matters: "AP scrubbed Hadley's reportedly mistaken reference to 'Nepal.'"
Summary: In an article on appearances by national security adviser Stephen Hadley on two television news programs during which he discussed President Bush's decision to attend the Olympics opening ceremonies, the Associated Press did not note that during his appearance on ABC's This Week, Hadley repeatedly referred to Nepal when apparently talking about Tibet and reported: " 'The whole issue of opening ceremonies is a nonissue,' Hadley said. 'I think it is a way of dodging what really needs to happen if you're concerned about' Tibet." In fact, Hadley had said, "This whole issue of opening ceremonies is a nonissue. I think it is a way of dodging what really needs to happen if you're concerned about Nepal [emphasis added]." By contrast, The New York Times reported that Hadley "referred at least a half-dozen times to Nepal when he seemed clearly to be speaking of Tibet." So think about that: a news organization failed to tell you that a United States National Security Advisor repeatedly discusses the wrong country when discussing issues surrounding one of the most complicated foreign policy relationships our nation has. If you don't think that's a problem, I have a mountain in Nepal to sell you.

Next, an article at Portfolio.com that ought to result in firings across the board at the Pentagon. Apparently, our financial tracking systems are so antiquated (and efforts to upgrade them are so unsuccessful) that the Pentagon really, actually has no clear way to track where the trillions of dollars it spends really go. Nice. So--can we start asking how the Pentagon will get its financial house in order so it can meet basic Standards of Accounting--or are we going to keep ourselves busy discussing how a lack of bowling ability makes you not a good president. I mean, it's just a few trillion of YOUR money, so feel free to ignore it if you'd rather focus on something else...portfolio.com

Okay, so I think I've purged my irritation for the morning. So far. I know I'm a bit of shill for my boyfriend Barry, but it's more than that. It's just the absolute irritation of watching self-important blowhards like Russert and Mathews and pretty much everyone on Faux News discussing how elitist OTHER people are! Yeah, like people who actually have to be accountable for what they say. People who don't get paid tons of money to sit around and talk out their a-holes. This is not journalism. It's high school. You remember high school, that bastion of meritocracy? And it is absolutely the death knell of our democracy if we allow news organizations to decide what they will tell us, to decide what candidate is worthy or not, to ascribe personal characteristics to public figures based on their own opinions (I'm talking to you, Chris Mathews) and call it journalism.

UPDATE: A nice piece on Elitism We Like by Vigilante: http://the-vigil.blogspot.com/2008/04/i-am-closet-elitist.html

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Morning Melange

Some links for you today.

First, a rather scary and well-researched year-long investigation over at Popular Mechanics on the top ten pieces of US infrastructure that need to be fixed ASAP. Cities on the list twice? Hi, Chicago! Now, imagine what we could be doing with the billions of dollars we're spending in Iraq. Maybe making sure a bridge doesn't collapse under you on your way home from work? Call me crazy, but I'm of the opinion that the terrorists don't win if we leave Iraq; they win if we let our nation crumble from our own sorry neglect. popularmechanics.com

Next, an article on Google executives in Australia who are chafing at having their personal information made public. The ones who want to load photos of your front door onto the internet for anyone to see. "Google Australia is expected within months to launch an application that will publish highly detailed, street-level photos of much of Australia, in a move that has drawn strong criticism from privacy advocates. While Google has defended the project, the internet company baulked when The Weekend Australian requested the personal details and addresses of the group's key figures to allow the paper's photographers to take pictures of their homes. 'Providing those details would be completely inappropriate,' said Google spokesman Rob Shilkin." I'll say.

Next, a link to some photos from a book showing some cool x-ray photographs. Nothing too significant, just another kind of cool and fun thing to keep you from really starting work today:

Now I suppose it's time for you to read that TPS Report Memo...

Bitter? You Bet.

Regarding the whole Bitter Barry drama, here is an article that says it better than I can:


Oh! And here's a PRICELESS exchange from Fox News where she's trying to get this Man On The Street to bury Obama for saying he's bitter. Guess what? He's bitter (and voting for McCain). As the intro says, "Awkward!"

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Your Momma is A Skank Whore

Oh. If I offended you, I'm really sorry.

So says Mr. Bobby Clampett, the Augusta golf announcer who referred to Wen-Chong Liang as "the chinaman" and then apologized with this:

"It has been a privilege to be here with you the last 2 days describing action of all of the players. In describing the Asian player Wen-Chong Liang if I offended anybody please accept my sincere apologies."

Um, Bobby. *IF* you offended anyone? You used a slur! Just apologize, tell me you were being a moron (because I've lived in Georgia and I know that some people down there don't yet know in 2008 that "the C word" is deeply offensive), and just say you're sorry without qualification. If I called your Momma a whore you wouldn't POSSIBLY be offended. You wouldn't MAYBE POTENTIALLY have a problem with me. You WOULD be offended! Just have the decency to apologize for real and sin no more.

I think I'm now more pissed off at his non-apology than I was at his original comment. And I continue to wonder how someone gets to 2008 without getting the memo on racial slurs...

UPDATE: I just read some of the comments on this on aol golf fanhouse. Oh my lord! They seriously don't think "chinaman" is offensive! The comments are all, "He's from China and he's a man, so he's a chinaman...just like there are Englishmen and Frenchmen." I'm stunned. Because it's really actually so very NOT the same, is it? Because then you'd say "Chinese Man" wouldn't you? Which *would* be like Frenchman and Englishman. I mean, yeah, a Jewish guy is technically at a certain age a Jewboy, but does that make it okay for you to call someone that? The N word is just a colloquial version of the word Negro which is Spanish for black, so what's the problem, right?


Friday, April 11, 2008

I'm Off

Taking a day off. See you Monday!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thursday Roundup

Buenos Dias.

First, an article on some new names for Crayola crayon colors from www.mcall.com:

Gone is wild watermelon. Now it will be called awesome. That's just one of the name changes of eight colors in the Crayola 64 box that was announced earlier today at the Toys R Us in Times Square in New York City. The newly named colors are aimed at appealing to a new generation of children, more than 20,000 of whom picked the names in an online poll...Here are the other old names followed by the new names: laser lemon, super happy; wild tangerine, fun in the sun; screamin' green, giving tree; beaver, bear hug; turquoise blue, happy ever after; hot magenta, famous; orchid, best friends.

Apparently, the new generation of children to whom Crayola wishes to appeal will no longer be able to describe color nuance, like orchid vs. peach vs. apricot. No, they will just know that a pinkish color is "awesome!" In other words, think of the cool crayola vocabulary (my three year old knows the word and color "cerulean") lost to dreck like "awesome." I'm hoping that this will be like "new Coke" and get phased out within the year. For the love of God, leave the naming to Ben and Jerry.

Next, an older article about one man's attempt to be anonymous in today's technological world: "In 2006, David Holtzman decided to do an experiment. Holtzman, a security consultant and former intelligence analyst, was working on a book about privacy, and he wanted to see how much he could find out about himself from sources available to any tenacious stalker. So he did background checks. He pulled his credit file. He looked at Amazon.com transactions and his credit-card and telephone bills. He got his DNA analyzed and kept a log of all the people he called and e-mailed, along with the Web sites he visited. When he put the information together, he was able to discover so much about himself—from detailed financial information to the fact that he was circumcised—that his publisher, concerned about his privacy, didn’t let him include it all in the book...So when this magazine suggested I try my own privacy experiment, I eagerly agreed. We decided that I would spend a week trying to be as anonymous as possible while still living a normal life. I would attempt what many believe is now impossible: to hide in plain sight." Don't click if you don't want to be freaked out: www.popsci.com

Next, the ten most hated people on the internet, via popehat

So that's all I got for ya today. I'm still in manic-no sleep-prednisone land, so my to-do list is getting longer by the minute, and time's-a-wastin'. Tonight's dinner is kedgeree, an old Victorian-era Days of the Raj dish wherein English people took a fantastic and delicious Indian dish, and--oh how dreadful dahling--made it British. Only, my version is from the voluptuous and amazing Nigella Lawson, so she's using salmon instead of haddock and actually keeping in the coriander and all the stuff that made it, you know, Indian (as well as adding some Thai flavor too). I got the idea after going through all of the family old photos, meaning the black and white and sepia ones, and found some that my grandfather took in India while there as a 17 year-old soldier during WWII. For being a bit of a racist (is that like being a "bit" pregnant?) for as long as I knew him, his remarks on the backs of the photos reflect a great deal of respect for the beauty of the country as it was being revealed to him during his stay. One in particular, a photo of the Nilgiris Valley, expressed emotion I never heard him express in real life, about how it looked just like Scotland and how he missed home but felt more and more at home in India every day.

Anyway, for those of you interested in kedgeree, here's Nigella's recipe: http://uktv.co.uk

For those of you who know me and are wondering who has hijacked this blog, you can keep on checking the skies for flying porcine creatures as my drug-induced domesticity continues unabated.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

American Idol: Watching So You Don't Have To

It's Tuesday night and you know what that means: American Idol recap.

What a crap night. In further proof that I am not a music agent, the judges love everything I hate and vice versa.

Michael Johns did his version of Dream On by Aerosmith. Unfortunately, he was literally doing it like Aerosmith, which (see Syesha and Carly below) you can't do. He needed to take out the rock guitar part (that famous guitar lick "da na nananananananananannanaanaaaa" going into the falsetto "dream on dream on" and throw in some bass instead, lose the falsetto and make it slow and low and sexy as all hell). Sadly, no. It was Aerosmith karaoke instead.

Syesha did a Fantasia song. Once again, Syesha. Quit picking the Blockbuster Blowout Lungs of Divadom songs and just sing one damn song in your OWN voice! You're killing me over here because you're actually good! But very few people are Whitney/Fantasia good. Stop the madness and pick Melissa effing Manchester for a change, my friend. Believe me, the judges will love it. And the kids these days will flip for "You Should Hear How She Talks About You, the extended dance remix."

Jason Castro. Oh my hell. He did the Israel Kamakawiwo'ole version of Over the Rainbow that every single person thinks that he or she personally discovered, either as a result of watching Mr. Holland's Opus or no doubt some episode of The OC. The Israel song is divinely inspired and beyond beautiful and has so much meaning for me. Jason Castro's version was the John Mayer/Marilyn Monroe Mix. And the ladies loved it because who doesn't like a guy who dresses like one of the Jets from West Side Story while blurring the line between exhaling and singing? I kept waiting for him to either erupt into full-on Tiny Tim stuff with his ukulele or to go the entire other way and start singing, "Hap-pppy Birth-daaaaay, Mister Pwwesidentttt..." And, as you guessed, the judges loved it.

David Cook. Not his best night. He picked a song by Our Lady Peace. Never heard of them? That's because they were in that crop of late-90's bands that all sounded the same: Marcy Playground, Seven Mary Three, The Verve Pipe, Matchbox 20. Totally indistinguishable. Just like his song tonight. Too bad, because he's looking better every week and is clearly a huge talent.

Kristy Lee Cook did some song by Martina McBride. I'm biased, so you know I can't stand anything she does. All I'll say is that it was more vanilla pudding--with extra country gravy.

Carly "Hillary Clinton" Smithson is either lying about her age or her memory of Live Aid. She did "The Show Must Go On" by Queen, citing her viewing of it "as a very young girl." Like, were you two, Carly? (She says she's 24, and LiveAid was in 1985). I think so, because you so DID NOT see Freddy Mercury perform that song anywhere at anytime and then bring this sh*t tonight and call it an homage. Sacrilege! Freddy is in the Whitney and Fantasia and Aretha bracket, so you don't show up and bring...this...and tell me you're remembering Freddy Mercury. Apropos of nothing, all I could think while watching her shriek the hell out of the song was John Leguizamo imitating his Colombian father telling someone off: "Desgraciado! Desgraciado!" Desgraciado indeed.

Next up was wee David Archuleta on piano doing the song Angels, by the absolutely irredeemable Robbie Williams. Again, the judges loved it. He did it well, even though the song has no hook. And has the added baggage of being associated with Mr. Williams whom I deplore as a first-rate pr*ck in the strongest possible terms.

And then Brooke closes the show doing Carole King. Well, OF COURSE Brooke is doing Carole King! And next week Carole Bayer Sager and the week after that, Joni Mitchell. The halls of every university are littered with chicks like Brooke, guitar in hand, trying to bring back the days of the female troubadour. As much as I like female singer songwriters, I just can't deal with the over-earnestness Brooke brings to the proceedings. If you're not familiar with Brooke, let me put it this way: she said that "You've Got a Friend" is a song that she sang at a talent show with two of her friends, and that it "makes people happy." Not when you sing it slow-tempo and with tears in your own eyes... Y'all. Send this chick back to the student center from whence she came.

But other than all that, I LOVED it. Argh.

I Guess I'm Number 3,482?

How did I miss this!?! You have to follow this link to the Slate article. Maybe we were all too busy discussing Jeremiah Wright's sermons to chat about McCain's "Jew counting" finance chair? It's good to know that Dick Nixon, via transcript, was every bit the bastard I always thought he was. Now let's see if McCain will ever "reject and denounce" Malek's actions, however far in the past.

Deceptively Energetic

Nothing for you today, I'm afraid; I'm knee-deep in rice balls. Yep, I'm in full-on 50's housewife mode, cooking meals ahead of time and being all Betty Crocker about it. I came to the conclusion that I'm lucky enough to be able to be home with Bambina (even though I feel a little stab of pain every time I have to convince her that Mama used to put on a suit, fly on airplanes, and carry a briefcase too...No really! Mama had a job! Mama made money! Mama knew every Delta Club lounge in every airport!) But lucky I am. So I've decided to embrace it, and how.

I may have written about the Jessica Seinfeld cookbook before, but if not, it's called Deceptively Delicious. It is a bunch of recipes wherein mac and cheese is not just mac and cheese: it is mac and cheese and butternut squash puree. I love this book, first because it actually makes it possible to get Bambina to eat vegetables (fruit is not an issue; she'll eat any kind of fruit all day long. But if it's green and starts with "v" she's not havin' it on a visceral level). Second, because the recipes actually work, and once she eats it and likes it, I tell her that there is squash in there, have her help me make it with the squash in there, and voila--she couldn't care less about squash in her mac. So I guess you could say I'm being deceptive with my kid about her food in the first instance. And I guess I could say that I don't happen to give a squash. So today is rice balls day. They are fried (check!), they are cheesy (check!) and they have spinach, squash and sweet potato in them (check?). The only danger is that *I* like them too...

The other reason I've been embracing my inner June Cleaver is prednisone. Damn, y'all. I cannot sleep! Last night I actually talked myself down from getting out of bed at 1:30am and going downstairs to reorganize the kitchen cabinets. I'm not kidding. That is messed up, especially if you know how domestically-challenged I tend to be. Luckily, I'm starting to taper the drug as of today. So as long as the "center" holds and no untoward stuff starts happening again gastrointestinally over the next week, I may be on the road to trying to get off this prednisone ride. I was warned by the doctor that I should expect fatigue and mood swings since he's dropping me a decent-sized dose before my Dana Farber appointment next week. The BBDD will therefore be accepting charitable donations of fine bourbon at the address at the bottom of your screen...

So in the meantime I have the most organized filing system, the most organized kitchen cabinets, the most organized pre-printed shopping list, the most organized 6-day hence dinner menu...and a world of fatigue no doubt about to come flying down upon me. But no matter! Press On Regardless, as they say. I'm going to make rice balls and tofu nuggets and "mac" and cheese while the getting is good. And, post-crash, whenever that may be, I'll just send Bambina out to the 7-11 for some pork rinds and a coke for her dinner while mommy watches Dr. Phil on the couch.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Sign of the Apocalypse: The Bat Mitzvah Brazilian

Oh and speaking of kids who need protection, let's discuss those whose worst enemies seem to be their own parents. I give you: an article on the wealthy among us who are taking their pre-teen daughters for "spa" services such as bikini waxes.

Now, I'm trying to clean things up a little after registering a Mom-Chagrining 7.1% on Vigilante's Cuss-O-Meter, but this needs to be said: That sh*t is f*cked up.


More Monday Nuggets

Via Baseball Crank , a rather interesting article on Who Is Googling You? (at the bottom) Yikes.

From Carpetbagger, more on the complete impotence of the media in light of the administration basically saying the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution does not apply to them. Here's a piece:
“Yoo and torture” - 102 media mentions
“Mukasey and 9/11″ — 73
“Yoo and Fourth Amendment” — 16
“Obama and bowling” — 1,043
“Obama and Wright” — More than 3,000 (too many to be counted)
“Clinton and Lewinsky” — 1,079

And another one, wherein Karl Rove appears on Faux News without mentioning that he's advising the McCain campaign. thinkprogress.org Are there ANY reporters out there working at all?

And here it is: Disgruntled Democrat's solution for Michigan and Florida. Any takers?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Ball and Chain


That's a great article by a mom who let her 9 year-old ride the subway home alone, and the outraged and aghast reactions she has received as a result. I think she's absolutely right, and I hope I'm woman enough when Bambina is of age to give her the gift of independence and a sense of accomplishment in achieving small steps by herself. I know it will be hard for me, but I also know that raising a kid is not supposed to be about me, no matter how much I can apparently yammer on about it on this here blog....

I remember as a kid in Scotland walking home about a mile and a half from the Brownies with my sister at 6:30 or 7pm--by ourselves. If you're familiar with Scotland, that means "mostly in the dark" (until it stays light till 11pm in the summer). Yeah, you could argue that those were "different times" and that was a small town or whatever. But was it really? Aren't there towns right here and right now whose conditions mirror those of my old town? And aren't we almost more aware of all the terrible things that could happen? So why are we not feeling any safer? Why are we *less* willing to send our kids out into the world when we are perhaps more forewarned and forearmed than ever?

Perhaps because of the fear that accompanies such forewarning. An article in the Boston Globe magazine a few weeks back discussed child kidnapping: "Of the 797,500 children younger than 18 reported missing...in 1999, the last year for which data is available, the vast majority were classified as runaways...family abductions or temporarily missing with a benign explanation. Only an estimated 115 were the victims of what experts call 'stereotypical' kidnappings, defined as crimes perpetrated by a stranger or slight acquaintance in which a child is transported 50 miles or more, detained overnight, held for ransom, taken with the intent of being kept permanently, or killed."

Think about that. One hundred and fifteen. Now, don't misunderstand. There is no pain I can refuse to allow myself to imagine (believe me) like that of a parent whose child has gone missing. I can't even write a sentence about it beyond that, so horrifying is the thought to me, and so heartfelt are my feelings for those parents whose kids are either found after terrible abuse or never found at all. But is refusing to allow my kid on the subway alone or to walk home alone or to do something--anything--without me or an adult hovering nearby really going to keep her safe? I suppose it might. But will it also allow me to do my job as a parent, which is to prepare my child for life? It simply can't. I will not always be around at critical decision points in Bambina's life; I will not be in the car on her date, I will not be in her dorm room at college, I will not be there as she walks to her job or her house. I will not be there to manage her drinking, studying, socializing or any aspect of her life. My only presence in those moments will be in the intangibles, in the deep wells of her brain and her heart and her soul, in those little (I hope) flickers of confidence and intelligence and self-efficacy and resilience that I pray every day I'm helping to nurture. And the only way I know to nurture them is to help her see them for herself, hopefully show by example how to value them and how to strengthen them, and then let her loose as her development allows to find herself delighted at all she can do all by herself.

At the same time, I do believe that parental fear is a good thing. Even after all the drama in my life the past few years and my resulting sense of "Bring it. It can't be worse than thinking you're going to die or having a transplant...," parental fear is the one thing that still has the power to wake me up in a cold, cold sweat from which I can get no quick relief. The protective instinct is a powerful and undeniable force for good between a parent and child. But if I forbid her from riding the subway if she begs me to at 9, when I myself did stuff like that as a kid and benefited from it, what am I telling her? Contrary to what I may think, I'm not saying, "I love you so much that I can't let you take this risk." (Which is, of course, a completely valid and reasonable thing to say, and which I currently say a lot). But in this particular case, I'd really be saying, "I love my fear too much to let you go conquer yours."

In this day and age, if we can be honest about the subway, a better bet for keeping your kid safe is actually physically putting them on the damn 6 Northbound (with their friends [all of whom you know and whose parents you all know])---and keeping them away from all the pedophiles online.

It Must Be True, I Heard It On The News

A quick but kinda scary link for you for Monday. This is a list of media ownership, meaning who owns what, who is on whose board, and their connections to other industries and corporations.

Brace yourself. On the bright side, however, you'll never again wonder why some news is not reported...

and here's why it matters:

Friday, April 04, 2008

Hairy Does It

Yeah, I'm phoning this in today. I've got tons to do around the house before the Tsunami gets home from preschool and we get deeply involved in planning her Ariel Little Mermaid birthday party. She loves being a mermaid. The other day we took a 90 minute bath during which she stayed in character the entire time. Yeah, I said "90." The only reason I made her get out was the fact that I was starting to scour my brain for any research or studies showing long baths to be dangerous and mothers who allow them to be negligent. Even though I couldn't think of any, I made good use of the BBDD's Decision-Making Rule of Thumb: imagine explaining it exactly as you would to someone after the fact and see how bad it sounds. If it sounds bad, stop doing what you're doing. (e.g. "well you see, I know she'd been in the bath for an hour and a half and was getting wrinkly, but I had NO IDEA that that seemed a bit excessive for a three year-old...") Yeah. Time to get out. (He instituted his D-M R of T after I mentioned back in the day that I drove myself to Hopkins for platelets, got benadryl that made me sleep like crazy, but that I felt fine enough to drive home an hour and a half later, so he didn't need to drive me. He said it out loud: "Oh, Officer, well you see she said she was fine and I had a meeting and what's 60 mg of benadryl to a 110 pound woman anyway? And I know she's kind of ill and all but I had this meeting..." He took my car keys and never gave them back).

Anyway, so we got out. And then kept on playing Ariel only "this time she's not in the water she's got her human feet on and her princess dress and you are visiting her and Jasmine and Mulan at Disneyworld and you can't find her because she is stuck in traffic in the parking lot but don't worry she will be back to her grotto soon so you just wait and chat with her friend Flounder and his friend [a stuffed dog in her room] named 'Brian Honeyname.' And then Ariel will make you some yummy chicken broth and you can take some home to your mommy and daddy because who doesn't like chicken broth." It was like living in a cartoon on fast-forward. Although, most days with her feel that way; she got a new stuffed sheep whose name is "bedubadudeblabadaudoododadoodododdooo [said extremely quickly], but he just goes by 'Boobie'."

And speaking of boobies and stuff, she has noticed that grown ups have hair "down there." And she is NOT at all impressed. She wanted to know if daddies have hair too. I said that most grownups have hair there (making the judicious decision to leave waxing, shaving and threading for another conversation perhaps in 15 years...), to which she replied that [boy's name] at school goes to the potty with the door open and he has a penis because he's a boy but "it not a hairy penis because he not a grownup yet." Hoping to forestall any further discussion that might find its way out of the home and into the preschool and then into the Department of Social Services I just said, "and what we'll do next time is give [boy's name] his privacy, even if the door is open...hey! want to play Ariel for 3 hours?!!" Crisis averted...Mama's sanity further eroded.

So that's where I'm headed. Back into the Land of Ariel, Mermaid Ninja Warrior Bus Driver Chef. I hope you're headed into an awesome weekend, one that starts now. :)

Friday Roundup

Nothing doing today that really merits a post on its own, beyond the usual politics/war/does Obama bowl like a girl stuff.

So let's see what else is shakin'. I just read a short but interesting article in this month's Hadassah magazine on the Kibbutz Ketura's Arava Institute. The institute was founded in the inspiration of the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty in 1996, on the border of the two countries. Environmentalist Alon Tal envisioned bringing together Israeli, Arab and international students to create leadership on issues "transcending national boundaries" in order to forward both environmentalism and peaceful coexistence. What's inspiring is the role that women, both Muslim and Jewish, have played in advancing both the goals of the school and their emerging careers in fields such as environmental law and water management. It's just one story, and one school, but it's the kind that make me feel hopeful; for the environment, for the advancement of women, and for peace. arava.org

By now you've heard that Randi Rhodes of AirAmerica Radio has been suspended for calling HRC a "big f&&&ng whore." Stay classy, Randi. Stay classy. My larger issue with it is what I call my "Ronald Reagan Rule" for Women (huh?!). Ronnie said Thou Shalt Not Speak Ill of a Fellow Republican. I personally think that's hooey. But, from a female perspective, I just really draw the line at women calling other women names like "bitch" and "whore" and "slut." I have disliked plenty of women in my life; don't get me wrong. But, for me, a woman using that kind of epithet towards another woman is not only vulgar (says she of the Multiple F word posts...) but self-hating. Those words were invented to judge and control women on qualities by which men are not similarly judged. And don't tell me "mimbo" is an equivalent. They are angry, nasty words that I just cannot countenance being used about another woman, no matter how much I personally dislike her. Would I allow for "termagant" or "shrew"? Perhaps. But the Seven Deadly Sisters (those evil words used only for women) are absolutely beyond the pale. Even for me.

Speaking of beyond the pale, I'm not so pale anymore. Oh, don't get me wrong. Still Scottish. Still stopping traffic on a sunny day with the glare. But not so...translucent...shall we say these days. So I've got that going for me, what with my functioning red cells and all. I've also got my daily-expanding moon face. When I first took the prednisone, you will recall how upset I was. I had a great chat with one of my best girlfriends the other day that helped me just get over it. She has three kids and each time claims to have gained like 40 pounds during the pregnancy. (As a side note, she is the kind of beautiful that makes an entire room stop and look at her when she enters, and yet she is totally unaware of it). She took it very personally when people would comment on her weight while pregnant (who ARE these people who do these cruel things?!!) because even though you know that you're not "fat" in the traditional sense, you are an object of conversation because of it, and it is also very much out of your hands unless you want to go the Nicole Kidman/Victoria Beckham 12-pound gain route, which no sane person should. So she said you just kind of have to dissociate yourself from the weight (your own issues) while feeling extremely associated with the baby causing it (your love for things other than self). So I practiced dissociating myself from the puffiness enveloping me yesterday while associating myself with the healing as a result of it, and it kind of worked. So I look in the mirror and see this rapidly-expanding face. And whereas a few days ago I'd have been sucking in my cheeks and cursing the gods of water retention, today I just kind of laughed like, "Wow! Those are some cheeks you've got there E! And those cheeks are the reason your butt cheeks are not glued to a toilet all day. Celebrate!" You can call me Fat and Happy if you must.

If you need some Friday diversion, you can visit http://www.telegraph.co.uk
for the Telegraph's list of the 101 Most Useful Websites. I personally think it's a bit lame to put Google first, since...duh. But further down the list are some good ones, especially Arts & Letters Daily for good reading and the Royal Horticultural Society, which I visit for gardening tips.

And here is an article by two former military men (one of whom was an assistant Secretary of Defense under Reagan) regarding the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's patriotism: chicagotribune.com. As you've no doubt noticed, I've avoided talking about the Wright controversy too much. That is for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, because people in glass houses... I've sat through sermons in Presbyterian churches, Catholic churches and Jewish temples that I'd apparently, by our new standards, have to answer for if I ever ran for office. I belonged to a temple where the rabbi routinely gave sermons with which I did not agree, and with political phraseology I wouldn't use. But that's where I went. It was local. The people were friendly. And, let's be honest, he didn't say that stuff enough to warrant a walkout. And anyone who ever claims I should have is an ass. Secondly, if you watch--actually watch--the ENTIRE sermons delivered by Rev. Wright, and not just the 16 seconds Faux News is showing you, you get a completely different sense of things. Like, for example, in the famous "9/11 is America's chickens coming home to roost" clip, Wright was actually quoting Bush administration Ambassador Peck--speaking on FOX News. Here is a clip of ten minutes of his sermon, most of which strikes me as rather standard Sunday morning fare:
The last minutes of the sermon ask what should be the response to the "unspeakable act" of 9/11, and Wright says it should be self-examination. Less about getting other people right with God and more about making sure YOU are right with God.

And during this day before the sundown that brings in Shabbat, on all things from name calling to preacher judging to engaging in petty nastiness for sport, I say a hearty "Amen" to that.