Thursday, May 29, 2008

Friday AM Linkage

A collection of stuff for you.

First. How badly do you need to play Gotcha Politics to say that Buchenwald was "merely a labor camp" and therefore it's not so special that Obama's great-uncle helped liberate it? If it scores anti-Obama points, then no problem dishonoring people who died there and the US servicemen who liberated the camp, right? Bastards. Not for being anti-Obama, but for being absolute *ssholes.

Next, a rather frightening article from National Journal about cyberterrorism against US networks (like that blackout affecting 3 states, Canada and 50 million people back in 2003), mostly originating in China. Absolutely soil-your-shorts scary.

In advance of National Geographic's special "Stonehenge Decoded," please enjoy this video of Nigel Tufnel from Spinal Tap discussing Stonehenge's origins. You don't get much funnier (albeit dryly funny) than Christopher Guest. You just don't.

RIP, Hedy. I Mean, Hedley.

From TMV, a tribute to the amazing Harvey Korman, who died today at the age of 81. Harvey rocked. Especially in Blazing Saddles.

That's Immoral!

I'm referring of course to cheap shoes.

BBC America is airing a special on women married to cross-dressers. It's called something dramatic like Married To A Transvestite! or something. Oh. It's called Transvestite Wives: "Transvestite Wives looks at three transvestite relationships, as seen through the eyes of their wives and partners. In the Scottish Highlands, Sheila discovered seven years into her marriage that her husband Dennis was a transvestite. In Newark, 20-year-old Sam, is embracing her 40-year-old partner Chris' tranny lifestyle; and in Barnsley, Robyn, who has struggled to be accepted for her weight problem, at last finds happiness with her cross-dresser husband Dean."

My initial reaction? I was disturbed, but I couldn't immediately figure out why. Then I nailed it. My disquiet had nothing to do with "oh my lord how do women live with men who dress like women?!" I think when you love somebody, you love them. I wouldn't leave my husband if he started dressing like a woman. But you know why I WOULD leave him? If he started dressing like an ugly woman. I'm not kidding. THAT is what was bugging me about the men on the BBC site. They look like really unfortunate women. Dude, you go on with your bad self and wear that dress. But if you think for one minute you're going out in public with me wearing a dress from Fashion Bug and a wig from The Dollar Store you are out of your tranny mind. If I'm going to be seen out with my cross-dressing husband, said husband better look at least on par with ME. He'd better look at least to the level of a man-dressed-like-a-woman that I'd find attractive.

Does that make me simultaneously open-minded and shallow?

Happy ReBirthday To Me

I'm officially one year old today. It's called a rebirthday by transplantees because it marks the day your new life began. One year ago today, Day Zero, was the day I got pulled from the wreckage of my old bone marrow, and it was the first day of the rest of my life. So March will always be my birthday. But May 29th is my Rebirthday. And the gratitude I feel for being here to celebrate it, not to mention the May birthdays of the two people I love most in all the world, simply defies description.

by Joyce Sutphen

The second half of my life will be black

to the white rind of the old and fading moon.

The second half of my life will be water

over the cracked floor of these desert years.

I will land on my feet this time,

knowing at least two languages and who

my friends are. I will dress for the

occasion, and my hair shall be

whatever color I please.

Everyone will go on celebrating the old

birthday, counting the years as usual,

but I will count myself new from this

inception, this imprint of my own desire.

The second half of my life will be swift,

past leaning fenceposts, a gravel shoulder,

asphalt tickets, the beckon of open road.

The second half of my life will be wide-eyed,

fingers shifting through fine sands,

arms loose at my sides, wandering feet.

There will be new dreams every night,

and the drapes will never be closed.

I will toss my string of keys into a deep

well and old letters into the grate.

The second half of my life will be ice

breaking up on the river, rain

soaking the fields, a hand

held out, a fire,

and smoke going

upward, always up.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bambina Bday

It's Bambina's birthday this week. We had her party yesterday which was a super good time. Just a few kids out in the back yard with the swingset, a little colored-sand art project, some chips, pizza and cake--and voila--a totally fun 4 year-old soiree. Having been out of the kiddie loop since Bambina was 2, I was kind of nervous about the party, not knowing really where our party would fit on the Kid's Party Continuum. Like, would the parents think, "this is the most low-rent, no-entertainment party on earth? Where is the juggler?! No magician?!" And then I decided I didn't give a rat's ass. I just put together the party I knew Bambina would enjoy and called it a day.

Bambina's two best friends from preschool came (among other dear friends too), and it was so sweet to watch them interact. One of her friends is so cute I can't stand it. She's so outgoing and so talkative and absolutely the empitome of the word Spunk. Bambina's other friend is much like Bambina herself. Likes to get the lay of the land before diving in, warms up socially after a little while, and generally dislikes having people up in her face...until she's decided she wants everyone up in her face on her own terms and then the party really gets started. But what I love is listening to them talk to each other and hearing them, essentially, socialize each other: "you have to share!" "that was not nice to say!" "I said I didn't want to; don't ask me again." Because 4 year olds are tone-deaf for tone, it all sounds so impolite, but it really is just their unvarnished way of communicating as friends.

I am loving this age, to be honest. It is a tremendous challenge for both kid and parent because it is so fraught with contradiction. On the one hand, Bambina is not a baby; not even a "little" kid. She is a person with thoughts, opinions, feelings, desires and fears all her own; all of which need to be respected. At the same time, she still sometimes longs for baby things, needs the security she's always had as a baby, and undergoes sometimes daily conflicts within herself about what she wants vs. what she needs. It's alternately and sometimes simultaneously heartbreaking and funny to see her trying to reconcile herself between asserting independence and wanting me to carry her and hold her. She'll absolutely refuse to be kissed on demand, but then she'll--when she's good and ready--kiss you and say something heart-meltingly sweet like, "Do you feel all the love in you now from me?!"

Along the lines of independence, we're having lots of conversations these days about "tone." About "sometimes the way we say something can make it sound rude even if we don't mean it to be." Cue the Charlie Brown teacher voice: waah waah waah waah. I feel Bambina's pain on this because I actually vividly recall my mother haranguing me about "it's not what you say, it's how you say it" and just having NO IDEA what she was talking about. I mean, seriously wondering, "I don't know why what I just said is such a big deal." No concept of tone at all. And I may have been older than 4 at the time... So I understand why I get the blank stare when I try to explain why she may not say to Mama, "Don't tell me what to do!" or my personal favorite, "Don't mess with me, Mama, because I know what I am doing."

It's just a really fun age, and if you get the chance to love and parent a 4 year-old you really should do it. It feels like a privilege to watch her develop and learn and daily become the person she's becoming. She recently came up with the idea that we need a new holiday. It's called Love Day, and we will celebrate it by lighting candles, going to sleep, waking up in the middle of the night, drinking lots of juice, going back to sleep, waking up, yelling, "Happy Chinese New Year!," then eating candy because it's Love Day. Sounds simple enough. But what made it so much fun was watching her describe it, her total excitement that she was creating this holiday, and her giggles as she thought about how cool it would be to get up at 2am for a juice bender. I was laughing as hard as she was, which I think is perhaps the key to this whole parent thing, maybe. Laugh with your kids when they are laughing; for the moment they are in their groove, try to get in that groove with them and really try to see the world they way they do. It not only gives you tremendous insight into your child as a person, but it also turns out to be a whole lot of fun. And those moments are the ones that sustain you through the less-fun ones where you, as a good parent, are required to bring the hammer down on the other stuff that's not good for your kid.

Like maybe juice at 2AM...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Post-Vacation Links

Here is some cool art made entirely from barcodes:

Here is a hilarious post by Ken about the FBI infiltrating Vegan Potlucks:

Here's a cool one on a cave just discovered in Galilee from 20,000-40,000 years ago:

And, for a completely different take on the recent Photos From Mars excitement, look no further than The Sun, Britain's intellectual go-to source. Clue: the article headliner is: "LESS than thrilling snaps of red dust and pebbles enthrall life-hunting boffins":

McCain's Free Pass

You need to watch this video about John McCain:

And then you need to wonder why he's being given such a pass on such major contradictions.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Driving Miss Haggis

I finally am driving legally. Just between you and me, my old DC license expired in March. Nothing I could do about it because where was I going in March? The DMV? But now that I'm out and about a little bit, driving my child around, having a valid license has become a wee bit of a priority.

Which led me to the DMV yesterday. My doctor said to go, but avoid crowds (huh?!), anyone who looks unwell (huh?!), and try to keep it brief (okay, now you're just being ridiculous...). I took my mask and gloves along just in case. Luckily this particular DMV is in a rundown strip mall. It looks like the state bought out one of those organ stores from the 1980's plus a Spencer Gifts and converted them into the DMV. Which worked out perfectly, because I just avoided the whole "inside the store" seating areas where The Great Unwashed were hanging out and instead stood around in the mall, in between the Tobacco Shed and the Scrubs For Less stores. I just kept checking back to see that my number wasn't getting close (it wasn't getting close), and then went back to my little self-contained area near the two stores guaranteed to have no customers. It was a tossup between them and the little Massachusetts Souvenirs rolling cart, but I opted for the larger square footage for safety's sake.

During my hour wait for my number to be called I pondered why a souvenir store would be in a crappy strip mall near a DMV. What is this guy's business model? Oh, like all the Boston tourists will be FLOCKING to this rundown semi-suburban strip mall (that is so rundown they had to hang one of those big plastic signs saying "Mall Entrance" over the door so you'd know where to walk in)! And while the tourists are buying their work uniforms for $9.99 they'll want that lobster keychain! Or-hey--all those people who currently live in Massachusetts as evidenced by their presence at the DMV--what better market for tourist paraphernalia!? Because there's nothing I love more than coming home with a new license--and a Big Papi T-shirt. The final assessment is that the owner is trying to lose money for tax purposes. There can be no other explanation.

When my number was getting close I ran through my game plan in my head: Jedi Mind Tricks. These aren't the droids you're looking for. These absolutely are the right documents. You are not going to give me a hard time. You will be bowled over by the exceedingly polite and friendly person meeting you at your window. You are not going to make me come back here--because I am now approaching my mental limit of how long I can stand here in this sea of people without wigging.

My number came up. And I got a nice man. I don't think it hurts to approach the DMV person at his window with a Good Morning and a How Are You Today, since I assume they get lots of crap from people who are pissed they've waited an hour to even be seen. But luckily he was nice and had me on my way in 10 minutes flat. Albeit with a craptacular photo, but I truly, truly don't care. A few years ago, a bad ID photo would have sent me reeling. Today, I'm just happy to be standing up for a photo, so I couldn't care less. And besides, do you really go to the DMV with the assumption that it's a Glamour Shots appointment? It's a damn ID photo. Which never looks like you anyway, for good OR for bad. So when he showed me the computer-generated photo (which always makes your face look longer and weirder), I just shrugged and said, "Ah. It does the job. Good enough." Just get me out of this germhole, dude!!

So I got my license and went on my way to pick up Bambina at preschool. On the way out we ran into our old rabbi, the one who married the BBDD and I. I introduced Bambina to him, told her that he is the man in the wedding pictures, and mentioned on our way to the car that he is married to a rabbi too. (I'm always doing my "girls can do anything!" thing, aren't I?) She thought that was cool. She asked why he had no hair and I told her that it had been a very long time since I'd seen him, so long that the last time I'd seen him he'd had plenty of hair, so the no-hair was news to me too. To move the topic along I said that they had, maybe 6 kids I thought. She said, "That's a lot of kids!" I said that some families are big and some are small; it all depends what you like. She then said "I want eighty children when I'm older." Eighty?!! That's a lot of kids, my love. "I want eighty." Okay! Good for you! And then her follow up?

"And I want to be married two times."

To the same person? Or to different people? "Oh, different people. Two different people. Two times. Maybe a rabbi."

I had to stop the car I was laughing so hard. But the good news is that if I'd been caught for my illegal stop, I had a legal license to show for it.

Homicidal Haggis

It's "ant season" apparently.

We'd had a couple of ants (the big, fat black juicy kind) show up in our kitchen. Nothing to get too wiggy about, but still minorly distressing. Then we had our old deck torn down a couple of days ago, and WHAM, the ant situation escalated (I'm sure they were living in it, such a piece of crap it was). Then yesterday my kitchen became a Hitchcock movie. Bambina and I were eating breakfast when she pointed out an ant on the counter. So I got up and took care of it. Then we saw another. And another. Nice. All day I was randomly dealing with 2 or 3 ants at a time. So we put out some ant traps. If you have a similar problem and are considering ant traps let me tell you now to save your money. Not one ant walked into an ant trap. Not one. Then later that evening I walked into the kitchen to get my nightly post-tummy-hurting pill bowl of cornflakes, flipped on the light and OHMYGODWHATTHEHELL?!!! It was a total ant invasion. I cannot even begin to tell you how many ants were absolutely covering the kitchen counters, copulating in the sink, walking on the walls. If Bambina hadn't been asleep upstairs I would have screamed like Janet Leigh.

The BBDD was out with a friend, so I called him like the house was on fire. Voice Mail. Bah. So at 10 o'clock at night I resolved that I could go not one more day with these ants, and if this sh*t was going to get done it was going to have to get done by me. I knew I couldn't go to bed for fear that there'd be even more ants the next morning, so it was going to have to be resolved now. I started watching them (and I"m not exaggerating their numbers. There were no fewer than 50 or 60 ants on my counter at the time) to see where they were going. After about 10 minutes of Bear Grylls-style observation I realized that they were literally pouring out of a small hole in our window sill--the window that is directly where our old deck used to be connected to the house. They must have found their way in, and voila. It was so gross to see them just literally marching in lockstep, nonstop, out of that hole and into my kitchen. I was seriously trying to imagine just how many ants there could possibly be to have so many still coming in when so many were already inside. It was so horrifying.

Upon seeing now about 100 ants in my kitchen, my horror quickly turned to homicidal resolve, and the killin' began. But it had to be mass killin'. I sure as hell wasn't going to go around with a paper towel searching and destroying ants on a one-by-one basis. Not the least of which is because as homicidal as I felt, the human mind can only so many times put a large juicy ant in a paper towel, squeeze, and get that sick "pop" feeling before finally giving up. I needed to depersonalize the killing in order to do it best. So I needed something that could crop dust them. Only problem, we don't have toxic cleaners in our house, both for my developing bone marrow and for everyone else's to be honest. So my old faithful "poor man's way" of using some Procter and Gamble cleaner to kill bugs wasn't going to work. I was pissed. Like, how the hell am I going to kill an army of ants with effing coconut oil-based surfactant?!! Damn! But luckily I had some OxyClean, that hydrogen peroxide based wonder cleaner. Aw hell, at the very least, it'll drown them.

And drown them I did. Which set off a furious ant marathon back to The Hole. And, as homicidal as I was, I let them go. Because there's no point killing the ant if it's heading back outside anyway. Also because that means fewer ant carcasses to wipe up. So, using all the high-tech tools at my disposal, I pushed the ants toward the hole with paper towels, saw that all but a couple were back in, and then closed the hole and entire window sill around the seams with masking tape. Just call me MacGyver.

The worst/best part? After my frantic voice mail to BBDD about the infestation, he came home to find me with cornflakes in one hand, oxyclean in another, nonchalantly spraying remaining ants as if killin' is what I do for a livin' while enjoying a nutritious part of a complete breakfast.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bambina Says The Race Is Not Over

In the car today I asked Bambina who she was voting for for President. I said, "Your choices are: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton or John McCain." She repeated each name out loud and then said, "I am voting for Hillary Clinton."

She then asked who I'm voting for. I said, "Mama is voting for Barack Obama." She asked who the BBDD was voting for. He said, "Barack Obama." We mentioned other family members who most likely would be voting for John McCain or Clinton. Then reiterated that we were an Obama Family. To her credit as a kid with her own opinions and strong personality, she said, "I'm still voting for Hillary Clinton."

Superdelegates, are you listening?

Chris Dodd Nails It

I'm watching the election results on CNN, and God bless Senator Chris Dodd. As you know, Ted Kennedy has been diagnosed with a stage 4 brain tumor for which there are limited options. Wolf Blitzer that hack gets Dodd on screen and gives him Cancer Face (that look I used to hate that people give you when they hear you are sick, that's supposed to communicate concern but really communicates pity, either faux or real). Then asks very somberly about Senator Kennedy.

Now, think what you will about the Senior Senator for Massachusetts (I happen to like him just fine), but I don't make light of anyone getting a cancer diagnosis. Looking down the barrel of the Mortality Gun has hit me too close to home to ever imagine that, were I in a different profession, someone might find it humorous to hear the news that I might die. So you'll get no jokes from me on Teddy. Or Karl Effing Rove for that matter. I don't laugh when people get scary diagnoses, even if I don't happen to like those people. Doing so is just this side of evil, in my opinion.

But back to Dodd. He just smashed Blitzer's faux concern right back at him by saying, "You know, it really bothers me to hear people talking about him like he's no longer with us; this guy is a fighter, he's positive, he's energetic, and I'd be worried if I were that tumor." You can argue that Senator Kennedy might realistically have 14 months left. But for the love of God, give the guy his 14 months. Because what I also consider to be this side of evil is robbing someone of whatever hope they might have, even in the worst of circumstances. And yes, even if it is Ted Kennedy.

My Bloodlines Don't Run Deep Enough

By now you've probably heard of Kathleen Parker's column discussing who is a "Full-Blooded American." It was in the WaPo and a bunch of other papers, including the Jewish World Review. And it was a disgrace. Here's Popehat's take on it, along with a link to the article:
A small sample:
It’s about blood equity, heritage and commitment to hard-won American values. And roots. Some run deeper than others and therein lies the truth of Josh Fry’s political sense. In a country that is rapidly changing demographically — and where new neighbors may have arrived last year, not last century — there is a very real sense that once-upon-a-time America is getting lost in the dash to diversity.

The entire article is racist. And shame on a Jewish publication for accepting it for publication. Jews ought to know all too well the danger inherent in letting someone define your nationhood, personhood or patriotism by bloodlines, your relative newness to a country, or your perceived “otherness.” Shame shame shame on JWF for trafficking in this kind of racism. Because let’s be honest. It IS racism. No one will ever question my bloodlines or my right to run for office in America, even though I was born and lived somewhere else till I was 8 and didn’t become a citizen till I was 18. Why? Because I’m white. Think about it. My Dad loved living in San Antonio where he claimed to be the newest immigrant in town. But you know what? He still got better service in a store than a 5th generation Mexican-American. How does that happen? If “bloodlines” and “commitment” really are the coin of the realm in America, then how does someone with 5 generations-worth of “bloodlines” still have to work to be considered American? In the same way, how does someone born in Hawaii to a mother from Kansas, with a grandfather who served in World War II somehow have to prove his right to be considered American? How does that happen? Because the father who, shall we say indelicately, provided the sperm then ran off when Obama was 2, happened to be an African? Because he was a Muslim (albeit an atheist one)? Either way, even by the author’s vile premise, Barack Obama is still more “American” than I am.

Which leads to my further point: This article is not only racist it is un-American. After all, isn’t the entire premise of America E Pluribus Unum? From many, one. By its very definition, it means that new people, different people are integral to who we are as a country. The entire promise of America, the reason my family moved here and countless others have done the same for generations, is the belief that no one has a lock on the American dream by birth alone. That no matter where you are from, be it Plymouth Rock 10 generations ago or Guangzhou circa 2007, America offers the same dream to all. If you work, if you sweat, and if you throw in your lot with this country, its blessings and its bounty are as open to you as anyone. The entire concept of America as we discuss it in situations like these is anathema to the notion of “bloodlines.” Bloodlines were precisely the things that defined the Old World Order. The move, the push, the striving to reach America represented a throwing off of those once-immutable shackles that had kept people in their places for centuries.

One of the reasons Obama appeals to me, in addition to his policy proposals, is his understanding of what it means to be The Other on a cellular level. “As the child of a black man and a white woman, someone who was born in the racial melting pot of Hawaii, with a sister who’s half Indonesian but who’s usually mistaken for Mexican or Puerto Rican, and a brother-in-law and niece of Chinese descent...I’ve never had the option of restricting my loyalties on the basis of race, or measuring my worth on the basis of tribe. Moreover, I believe that part of America’s genius has always been its ability to absorb newcomers, to forge a national identity out of the disparate lot that arrived on our shores.“

Which is why we should be doubly vigilant and doubly outraged at any attempts to define Americans by bloodlines. It is an argument that, while seemingly supporting all of our long-held beliefs about “commitment” to country, in actuality unravels the very ties that bind us together in this grand experiment we call America.

The Idol Final Performances

Cheeseball, y'all.

They're using a wrestling theme, ie, "in the blue corner! Weighing 100 pounds! David Archuleta!" With some large-haired televangelist-looking dude (which is to say, a wrestling executive) offering random exhortations like "Keep your eyes open! Be brave! A faint heart never won the day" throughout the show.

First round songs were picked by Clive Davis. David Cook sang I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For by U2. Archuleta got Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me.

Second round song for Cook was okay. It was a weird, no-name song selected in some contest or other. Judges told him it "wasn't a winning moment." Archie is singing some other no-name song chosen by the same process. Very easy listening. Very anglicized John Secada-sounding song. (No cut on John Secada; I actually like him when he's singing in Spanish. His English stuff is mostly mierda).

And of course, because they want to sign the 17 year-old, the judges LOVE Archuleta's craptacular song. Upon hearing Simon give him the round, David Archuleta's face contorts into an almost weepy look. I know he is supposed to be so cute, so sweet. But it's so damn creepy. It’s not normal. His father is the classic stage parent, so bad that he's been banned from backstage for what our President would call being a major league a**hole. Which leads the BBDD to believe that Archuleta's seeming modest overwhelmedness is really his relief that he won't be beaten and stuffed in a closet under the stairs when he gets home.

Okay, Round Three. Paula says David Cook's Collective Soul song showed him "standing in his truth." Simon hated it. I thought it was a really good version of the song. You can tell he was feeling it, especially since his terminally-ill brother is in the audience.

Archuleta! Oh no he dih'n't!! Archuleta is doing "Imagine" by John Effing Lennon! No You Don't! Oh my hell, y'all! It is a CRIME to take that song and make it into an over-earnest, treacly, easy listening piece of shit that could have been written and sung by any lounge fucking act. And the judges LOVE it. This is bullshit from start to finish. They clearly want Archuleta to win.

Oh whatever. I'm not the target demographic anyway. As a friend and I were discussing, we wouldn’t actually buy anything any of these contestants produced. In fact, I’ve never purchased anything by any American Idol contestant ever, not unless you count netflixing Dream Girls with Jennifer Hudson. But seriously. How can they possibly call the worst karaoke low-rent Josh Groban version of Imagine I have ever heard "a knockout"? My only hope is that Yoko is somewhere seething like I am, and she's going to, by all legal and physical means necessary, knock the producers' dicks in the dirt for desecrating the memory of her husband.

Or, perhaps Yokie, unlike me, has a life and couldn't give a rat's a** about watching adolescents sing songs for votes.

And for once in my life, I shall now go and Do As Yoko Does.

Tonight Tonight

Is when I'll be blogging. It's the Idol finale, which I'm sure will be replete with cruise shippy-type entertainment to fill out the full hour of programming. And by then I'll have read up enough on some news to comment somewhat intelligently. So some fluff and some stuff. Tonight.

Smooches Gracias!

Monday, May 19, 2008

May Two-Four

Oh--and Happy Late In The Day Victoria Day to my favorite Canadian readers. :)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Everybody Panic!

I took my first solo trip to a Walgreens today, wherein I picked up my own prescriptions, heard the lady behind me in the checkout line cough at the same instant I felt my hair move from her expelled breath, forgot my pen so had to use the communal one at the credit card swipe machine, and just generally felt like I had dived head first/mouth open into a teeming pool of grossness. All this after going to bed last night with a sore throat. Yikes.

So in honor of my valiance (=dramatics) in the face of mortal danger (=semi-mortal danger), I'm providing you with some scary links to start off your Monday AM.

First, the latest "E.Coli meat recall from 11 states" story for you. I'm talking to you, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin!

Next, an article on Forbidden Foods. Sounds more gross than scary? Then you haven't gotten to the "maggot cheese" part yet.

Up next, alarm about sodium benzoate. Which is in lots of stuff you eat and drink, most notably some soft drinks. Apparently it not only converts to benzene when mixed with Vitamin C, but it damages the mitochondria of your cells. Awesome. That's scary. What makes it gross is that the only reason sodium benzoate is added is to stop the cola from growing mold. Mmmm...a nice cold Diet Pepsi sounds great right now, doesn't it?!

Happy Monday! ;)

Paint The Mother Pink

Okay, I go off the grid for one measly year--and someone turns the money PINK? I just put some cash in my wallet for the first time since I-don't-know-when and my five dollar bill is not a greenback. It's a pinkback. Or maybe a peachback? Shrimpboatback? ButteredYamback? Whichever way, I'm feeling either like Rip Van Winkle or like some dude who's just gotten out of jail and can't believe cars have GPS and houses have microwaves or something.

Pink money. Next thing, you'll tell me the Iraq War is still going on!

I've clearly been away too long.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Weekend Links

Some stuff for you if you happen to be online this weekend:

First, an interesting article from Paul Maslin (former pollster for Howard Dean and Bill Richardson) on states Obama must win in order to beat McCain. The upshot? Barry needs to get out there and start chatting with folks who don't think they like him. And he might need to pick Jim Webb as VP.

Next, some photos of the devastation in Yingxiu, China. Truly unbelievable and awful. Especially the ones with the kids who have walked for 9 hours or who are waiting to be cut free from the debris. And the fact that 8,000 of the 10,000 people who lived there are now dead. It's devastation on an unbelievable scale.

Then this, an article via Carpetbagger, on how the VA has been trying to hold down the number of diagnosed cases of PTSD to avoid paying veterans the additional benefits that go along with such a diagnosis. Way to support those troops, Bush Administration!

And that's all you get because Bambina just woke up. Happy Saturday!

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Real McCain

As this WaPo article says, if this is what the general election is going to look like, "we're in for an ugly 6 months." Discussing, of course, "the honorable" John McCain's attempts to associate Obama with Hamas, as well as our honorable president's smear of Democrats while addressing the Israeli Knesset. As James Rubin, the author says, "It is hard to remember any president abusing the prestige of his office in as crude a way as Bush did yesterday" by engaging in domestic partisan politics while addressing the parliament of a foreign nation. An absolute disgrace.

Thank goodness McCain isn't engaging in hypocrisy in order to win an election. Oh...except McCain is on record as saying of Hamas, "They're the government; sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them, one way or another, and I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas because of their dedication to violence and the things that they not only espouse but practice, so . . . but it's a new reality in the Middle East. I think the lesson is people want security and a decent life and decent future, that they want democracy. Fatah was not giving them that."

So which is it, McCain? Saying that you'd speak to Hamas under the appropriate conditions (renunciation of violence, etc--ie, all the same conditions that you and Barack Obama agree on) is appeasement? Or is it only appeasement if a Democrat does it?

On a larger scale, more importantly than just this issue, what I believe we are seeing is the Real John McCain we'd get as President. Not the "straight talk" media darling. We're starting to see the Keating Five, "I'll never apologize for calling them gooks," McCain. And it's going to get ugly for everyone.

The irony here is that McCain is seeming more like Hillary Clinton every day, she of the Richard Mellon Scaife interviews. Here's a guy who wants the office so badly that he's taking advice from none other than Karl Rove, the man who accused him via pushpolling calls in 2000 of having fathered a black child out of wedlock. The fact that Rove was referring to his adopted Bangladeshi daughter apparently hasn't stuck in McCain's craw; a fact that would in my family, I promise you, forever put Rove on a sh*t list from which there would be no escape. How do you go back and work with someone who does that to your child? It's unconscionable.

And, in my opinion, it gets to the heart of why a McCain presidency would be a disaster for America. Because anyone who will say or do anything to get elected will have no problem saying or doing anything once elected. And we've already had 8 loooong years of that.

**And, in fairness to HRC who I ding constantly, props for her response to Bush's remarks: “President Bush’s comparison of any Democrat to Nazi appeasers is both offensive and outrageous on the face of it, especially in light of his failures in foreign policy. This is the kind of statement that has no place in any presidential address and certainly to use an important moment like the 60th anniversary celebration of Israel to make a political point seems terribly misplaced. Unfortunately, this is what we’ve come to expect from President Bush.”

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Well, That Was Weird

So my first day out. Weird, scary but also good.

Good because I surprised Bambina by picking her up at preschool. That was awesome. Met her teachers (as much as you can "meet" anyone while surrounded by tons of kids and parents and trying to move everything and everyone out of the room). But that was cool.
Me heading toward Bambina's class

Weird and scary for a variety of reasons. First, I had forgotten that people have individual odors. Not bad odors. Just...odors. I was sitting in the DF waiting room for my shots without my mask on (having a minor panic attack every time someone walked too near me or whenever I heard someone behind me cough or sneeze), and every time someone walked past me I was completely overwhelmed by the smell. A full year of total-block masks will do that to you, I guess. I felt like that 18th century French guy in that book, Perfume, who was particularly sensitive to the odors of others (and who ended up killing them to make perfume from their pheromones, but let's leave that for another post, shall we?). So that was weird. I also decided that women wear waaaay too much perfume. I think I now understand what people who can't hear feel like when they get a cochlear implant and all of a sudden they can hear everything with no immediate ability to filter sounds out. It was all too much too much in a short period of time.

Second, I still like a wide berth in my dealings with the public, and having someone I don't know walk right next to me freaks me out. Yeah, it's partly their smell. But it's also just my heightened vigilance about what they're spraying on me as they go by. Like, if I can smell you after you go by, what are you leaving behind?

Third, I'm in a bit of a nebulous area, healthwise. I'm a year out from transplant on the calendar, but my immunosuppressive medication dose (albeit a different cocktail) is the same as it was in December 2007 thanks to the GVHD. So even though the calendar says it's time to start easing myself back into life, the reality is that I'm still not normal and won't be for probably another full year. And that's assuming my current megadoses of immunosuppressives keep the GVH at bay. Otherwise who the hell knows how long it'll take.

Which leads to the fourth thing: I don't actually feel that great every day, to be honest. All these meds have side effects that are some times harder to power through than a transplant. Which is something I never imagined saying. As evidenced by the fact that this post is going up around 5am, you can guess that I'm still getting about 3 hours of sleep a night. And my new med for the GVH (the one that causes diarrhea) is absolutely causing all manner of intestinal distress that makes it a wee bit difficult to really go out (now that I can) and do too much stuff. Because public toilets are still off limits. And, just to be a total complainer, there is no joy in eating. I had a nutrition consult the other day because I've pretty much eaten white rice, bananas, applesauce and white bread for two months. Got some good recommendations for adding protein and variety, but so far none have stopped the internal distress. So I think I'll be more able to enjoy my putative "freedom" once the GVH is under control, my meds have been reduced, and I can even wrap my mind around the notion of not just sitting in a restaurant, but being able to eat something other than a white bread/applesauce sandwich.

But, hey, as I always say, "every day after a transplant is a good day." And yesterday was. And so today will be. Now if I could just get some sleep, some happy poops, and a reduction in my NASA-sized lunar moon face, it would be a great one.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hurts So Good

So how's my day going? Fabulously scary. Terrorizingly amazing. Anxiety-producingly well.

That's me getting my first round of vaccinations. Two months till my next ones.

That's me in an elevator for the first time in about 20 months without a mask on. Pardon the prednisone Moon Face.

Don't get too psyched. Still lots of precautions. And still taking it all slowly. No movies, no restaurants after 5:30pm. No crowds. No big parties. Avoiding sick people. No gardening. No dust. Kind of the same as before, only without the mask and gloves.

Besides, it's going to take a while for me to develop trust between me and my new immune system. We're only just getting to know each other, and it's still not really where it should be. So some activities will be limited by medical issues. Others will be limited by my psychological ones. All in good time. Maybe I'll do one new thing a week, just to ease myself back into life safely.

The one thing I AM doing today is picking my daughter up at her preschool. And THAT is the only thing that matters to me, has mattered to me, and will matter to me from here on out. I'll catch your parties next year. The next few months will be all about getting back into my kid's life, so if I'm going to stretch myself for something it will be that.

Gotta go! Don't want to be late on my first day. :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Biggest Government Ever

Can't bother to click the link? Here's the short and scary version:
The US government posted a $US159.3 billion surplus in April, helped by the mid-month deadline for individuals meeting 2007 tax obligations, but it was down from the prior year's surplus, the Treasury Department reported on Monday.

In April 2007, the surplus was $US177.7 billion.

In the first seven months of fiscal 2008, which ends on September 30, the government's budget deficit swelled by 88.4 per cent to $US152.2 billion, from $US80.8 billion in the first seven months of fiscal 2007.

The latest figures point to growing strain on the budget, which is poised to face a deeper deficit as payments under an economic stimulus program agreed by Congress and the Bush administration get into full swing.

The Congressional Budget Office forecast in March that the fiscal 2008 deficit likely will hit $US396 billion. Defence spending keeps climbing as the administration seeks more funds for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Which I guess proves that Republicans aren't anti-big government after all. That's just the excuse they use to give the money to the Pentagon rather than to something else. And while they're forking that money over to "defense" they're simultaneously handing all of us checks! It's nice to live in a consequence-free environment, isn't it? Where you can keep spending money, giving it "back" to the people, and then leave the mess for the next President to clean up. And it's nice to know that, even in the midst of a two-front war, the folks back home are not only sacrificing exactly NOTHING, we're ahead 1500 bucks!

God Bless America.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Messiah! Dinner Time!

The social security administration released its list of the Top 1000 baby names of 2007.

Apparently enough Americans have named their sons "Messiah" to get it to number 723. That's nice.

But don't despair. Jayden, Jadon, Caeden, Braydon, Kaden, Aiden, Aidan, Jaden, Caden, Ayden, Braden, Cayden, Jaiden, Kaiden, Aden, Caiden, Braeden, Jaydon, Braiden, Zayden, Jaeden, Aydan, Bradyn, Kadin, Jadyn, Kaeden, Braedon, Jaydyn, Aidyn, Haiden, Jaidyn, Kadyn, Jaydan, Raiden, and Adin; you all made the list too.

And let us give thanks for daughters named for what sounds to me like the space program but what sounds to the BBDD like a strip club: Serenity, Destiny, Destini, Essence, Harmony, Miracle, Charity, Journey and Armani. You're all on the list too.

Never fear, though. We still lack enough imagination to make anything but Jacob and Emily number one, for 9 and 12 years running, respectively.

ps--if any of these are your kids' names, I apologize for being an ass about it. Turns out my real-life name is higher on the list than Harmony. And my name is not a name you'd ever expect to see on the top 1000 of 2007 anywhere. Maybe 1887, but not 2007. Go figure.

With Dems Like These...

This article completely depresses me. It's about the impending clock-cleaning Obama is about to get in WVa and Kentucky. It's not the loss in votes; that's expected. But it's the sentiments behind the votes. Those sentiments being prejudice and ignorance.

Now I know I'm on shaky "elite" ground in saying this, but hear me out. When you have people saying that they'd vote for EITHER Hillary Clinton OR John McCain, what you have are blocs of people voting on something other than issues. I mean, seriously. Pick an issue, any issue (except the gas tax holiday, ha ha), decide how you feel about it, then compare and contrast the views and proposals of HRC and JMcC. Economy? War? Education? Taxes? Enviroment? Choice? Civil Unions? Spending? Pick any damn issue and tell me there isn't worlds of daylight between Clinton and McCain on every single one. So how does a anyone credibly say they would vote for one or the other if they're actually voting for President based on something?

I mean, here's a quote: "Like most people in Mingo County, West Virginia, Leonard Simpson is a lifelong Democrat. But given a choice between Barack Obama and John McCain in November, the 67-year-old retired coalminer would vote Republican. “I heard that Obama is a Muslim and his wife’s an atheist,” said Mr Simpson." So there you have it. "I heard." Did he also hear that McCain called his wife the C word? That Clinton made up a story about sniper fire? I'm sure Mr. Simpson has "heard" lots of stuff about the candidates. Curious that he seems concerned only with the ones about Obama. But not concerned enough, apparently, to see if what he "heard" is true. But I guess if someone is giving you a reason to feel okay about voting your prejudices, you don't argue, right? It's not because he's black; it's because, you know, I heard he's a muslim and his wife's an atheist.

Even more depressing is hearing this from someone who is all of 24 years old: "Josh Fry, a 24-year-old ambulance driver from Williamson, insisted he was not racist but said he would feel more comfortable with Mr McCain, the 71-year-old Vietnam war hero, in the White House. “I want someone who is a full-blooded American as president,” he said. One wonders if Mr. Fry could tell us what his definition of "full-blooded American" might be. But he need not. Simply knowing that he'd be "more comfortable" with McCain speaks volumes.

More depressing than hearing these sentiments from people who belong to my political party is the fact that Bill Clinton is fomenting it in his good ole' boy tour of rural America: Clinton "told them his wife represented “people like you, in places like this”, and urged voters to turn out in record numbers on Tuesday to send a message to the “higher-type people” who were trying to force her out of the race." And this, earlier, fomenting the class divisions in his very own party: "Hillary is in this race because of people like you and places like this and no matter what they say," Clinton said. "And no matter how much fun they make of your support of her and the fact that working people all over America have stuck with her, she thinks you're as smart as they are. She thinks you've got as much right to have your say as anybody else. And, you know, they make a lot of fun of me because I like to campaign in places like this, they say I have been exiled to rural America, as if that was a problem. I don't know about you, but I'd rather be here than listening to that stuff I have to hear on television, I'd rather be with you. There is a simple reason: You need a president a lot more than those people telling you not to vote for her."

Here's my point: You'd hope that people would vote for President based on issues of concern to their families and communities. At the same time, every American is entitled to vote based on any damn thing they want. It's not ideal, but it's something they're entitled to do. Agreed. All I'm asking is whether they ought not to be entitled to being applauded for it by a former President.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Subliminable Advertising

From The Moderate Voice, some video that seems to show some subliminal stuff going on over at Fox regarding John McCain. Or, as TMV said, "We embed; you decide:"

Take A Hike

Bambina has wanted to go hiking for a while now, so we decided to take a mother’s day trek through a local gorge. It was easy enough for both a 3.11 year-old and a 36.2 year old transplant fogey, and damn if we didn’t have an awesome time. I always liked hiking in the nice, active, somewhat-workouty outdoor walk kind of way. I’ve never liked hiking in the bushwacking, bugs in your face, wiping your butt with leaves kind of way. Today was neither. It was the introduce-your-kid-to-hiking (and reintroduce-yourself) kind of trek up no mountains, hills or rock faces. It was the walk on trails, put down a blanket, eat snacks, skip rocks on the water kind of day, and Bambina cannot wait for the next one. Good times. Made more fun by Bambina asking "When is it going to be Children's Day?" since it apparently has not escaped her that moms, dads, grandparents and administrative assistants get special days in addition to birthdays yet she does not.

Poor Bambina, as I’ve mentioned, has had it. I feel like we’re dealing with a delayed grief response. Like, the closer it gets to me being able to do things with her and take her to school, it’s almost like it has made her realize just what she’s missed and lost this past year. So we’ve stopped talking about what we’ll do in the future when I’m better because it’s making the present unbearable for her. All of her reactions are completely normal and completely expected; just delayed. I fully expected to be managing her emotions this time last year, but it’s like the wave of them has just caught up with her (or perhaps she has just caught up with them) and she’s only now able to try to make sense of them. Which is no easy task for a kid, and honestly no easier for us. So we’re just letting her feel what she feels, reassuring her that Mama is always here no matter what, and that (sing it, Bob Marley!) Everything’s Gonna Be All Right. Just not yet.

In happy news, she still hasn’t lost her humor and her spunk no matter how much she’s ready to cry or meltdown at a second’s notice. She brought me a really cute painting of her hand prints from school. It had been laminated with a little comment card in it that said, “I love my Mommy because: She is gonna let me get a puppy and she tucks me in at night.” So apparently, Bambina is getting a puppy. Courtesy of me. Can’t blame a kid for trying, huh? Lower the Mama’s defenses then spring the “a puppy would make it all better” argument on her. After, of course, informing your classmates and teachers first. That’s chutzpah. And, you know what, I kind of respect it.

Speaking of chutzpah, Bambina has also apparently told her teachers that not only are we going to China to get Baby Sister, but that we will thereafter be bringing home two little brothers as well. BBDD says “not bloody likely!” I say never say never. ;)

Which, as I ponder this sweetest of Mother’s Days, in the sense that it was one that 14 months ago I wasn’t sure I was going to see, is maybe the best way to approach life. Never say never. You don’t know where life will take you, who it will bring into your universe, how it’s going to get you from here and now to there and then. So just try to enjoy the journey. And if you can’t enjoy it, try not to rage against it, using up all your energy in the pursuit of answers, explanations or reasons why sh*t happens to you. As Rainer Maria Rilke said in Letters to a Young Poet: ...I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Happy Early Mother's Day

Bambina and I were driving around the other day (we have to leave the house when the cleaning people come so I don't breathe in the vacuum dust, as well as just having to not be near people). Our usual (pathetic and sad but fun for us) routine is to drive while singing REALLY LOUDLY to a Dan Zanes band CD. It's the highlight of our week. We turn up the volume, roll down the windows, and make like hillbillies, blasting our music while yelling Yee-Haw! Only, we're blasting Dan Zanes. And we're driving a family car. But it's good times regardless.

We stopped at a park where we'll usually read a book or three, and Bambina said that she wanted to read "the mom book." I said I didn't know what book that was. "The one back here, Mama." "Sweet Girl, I don't know what book that is." "The one behind your chair!" "What?" She got out of her chair, completely annoyed at my ignorance, and slid a gift bag out from under the driver's seat. A clearly-supposed-to-be-hidden-till-Sunday gift bag with a Happy Mother's Day book in it. I started laughing. "Oh. THAT book! What a nice book!" So I helped her decorate it with the enclosed stickers and helped her write me a 'surprise' message. Too funny. Then she sang me a mother song she learned in preschool that made me all smiley inside: "mommy is beautiful, mommy is nice. Mommy gives me kisses in the morning and the night..."

I like Mother's Day. But I get that I'm not the average mother. I'm not--and I'm comfortable that I'm not--the mother about whom you can needlepoint a cushion. For example:

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~Tenneva Jordan

Nope. I say that you get a knife and make an extra slice. Because Mama likes her pie.

Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible. ~Marion C. Garretty, quoted in A Little Spoonful of Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul

Nope. Sometimes mother love is precisely the fuel that enables a normal human to tell her kid that normal humans can't do three things at once, can't be at your beckon call, and can't--rather won't--do the impossible for you because that ain't how the world works.

No one in the world can take the place of your mother. Right or wrong, from her viewpoint you are always right. She may scold you for little things, but never for the big ones. ~Harry Truman

Nope. Mama is indeed going to tell you when you've effed up...especially the big ones. Moms whose kids are always right, right or wrong, are raising a**holes. And Mama ain't raisin' no a**hole, not even to make Harry Truman like me.

But if you're going to make me a needlepoint cushion regardless, you might as well sew this:

Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother's love is not. ~James Joyce

Happy Mother's Day to you and your dunghill!

Cindy McCain's Tax Returns

Mrs. McCain has just confirmed that she will not, under any circumstances, release her tax returns which she has always filed separately from Senator McCain. Interesting.

Here's a great post on it. It's a quickie, so read it all the way to the end.

I Think I'm Losing My Bearings

Apparently saying that someone is "losing their bearings" is akin to saying that they are very, very old. At least, that's what the morons in the McCain campaign have just suggested to us. It's something that hadn't occurred to me until the McCain people brought it up. Great job, guys!

Obama was responding to McCain's McCain's borderline-defamatory statement that Hamas endorsed Obama for president and would love to see him win. Obama responded that his and McCain's positions regarding Hamas are materially identical, so he fails to see how that is at all a credible thing to say: "John McCain always says ‘I am not going to run that kind of politics,’ and to engage in that kind of smear is unfortunate, particularly because my policy toward Hamas has been no different than his. I’ve said it’s a terrorist organization and we should not negotiate with them unless they recognize Israel, renounce violence, and unless they are willing to abide by previous accords between the Palestinians and the Israelis. So for him to toss out comments like that I think is an example of him losing his bearings as he pursues this nomination. We don’t need name calling in this debate.”

I didn't really see any age attack in there. What I heard was the charge that, for someone who says he's running a clean, respectful campaign, that this kind of comment represents a "loss of bearings" toward the goal of a respectful dialogue. You know, the old sailing analogy. I don't use it myself, preferring instead my Paula Abdul-inspired, more British "lose the plot." Either way, it's not really about age.

Oh. Unless your campaign SAYS it is!

And on another note, I fully expect the McCain-Obama race to be crazy dirty. No way is McCain a choir boy on this, not with Rove and the GOP machine behind him. The difference being that a bunch of swift-boat-style organizations will pop up, McCain will disavow them, and they'll continue to run commercials about Reverend Wright and secret muslim stuff regardless. Brace yourself.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Unity Ticket...

...and other ludicrous notions.

Please. There will be no Obama/Clinton ticket. You'd have to be twelve kinds of crazy to put someone on your ticket who will be used against you in the general election. Consider that there is video of HRC saying that she and John McCain are qualified to be President, but that Obama is not. If I'm McCain and HRC is the VP candidate, I am absolutely running that clip on an endless loop. Clinton made the strategic choice in the past few months of this campaign to go dirty on Obama. Having made that choice, she has put herself in a position from which there is no easy entry onto the ticket. You can't say that someone *just might* not be a patriotic American based on his pastor and then expect to run alongside him.

From a political perspective it also does not work. If Obama is truly running on "change" and getting rid of the Old Politics, he can't possibly have her on the ticket so firmly does she represent precisely what he says he's working to overturn. In addition, she brings nothing to the ticket--save her supporters--that would help in a general election. Obama needs to pick a Western or Southern governor/senator, preferably with military or foreign policy experience. Richardson/Webb/Clark (although not sure how that would fly with Clinton, Inc) or someone like them.

In any case, we can all get our panties unwadded. It's not going to happen. Not the least of which is because perhaps HRC wouldn't even want the job:

Early Bird Links

Some stuff for you today:

First, this on Obama getting too many votes, which made me laugh out loud:

Next up, an article discussing the ludicrous expansion of the gas tax holiday, which several states are trying to push through. Wow. You will never go broke underestimating the stupidity of the American people sometimes, huh?

Next, one of the year's most objectionable books is about a "gay" penguin family. Those gay penguins and they gay agenda! Rending the fabric of Arctic society!

And yet this book (thanks to NM in MN for the lead), which walks young children through mommy's plastic surgery, is not on any objectionable list. Wow.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Happy Hump Day

You are now officially closer to Friday than Monday. Sorta Kinda-ish.

So, some things to get your day swinging. First, some more TV recommendations. How I Met Your Mother. We just saw the first season on Netflix, but the current series is on CBS at 8:30 on Mondays. This show is so funny I can't believe it took a lull in my netflix queue to make me watch it. Now, when I say the show is "funny" I mean funny to me. If you are me, or like me, or are friends with me, or find things like potty humor, a capella group reunions or slutty pumpkins to be wildly humorous, then you will also find this show to be funny. I'm thinking if you didn't go to college in the 90's you might not. But then again you might. If you're like me. The show is all about one guy telling his kids in 2030 How I Met Your Mother. Via flashbacks to today, we follow him as he searches for Mrs. Right, with the help of his friends. The funniest friend, IMHO, being Neil Patrick Harris (former Doogie Howser) as his horndog friend Barney. The show is on Season 3 on CBS, but get it from Netflix if you want to start at Season 1. And try not to hold it against them that they're having Britney Spears guest star in an episode.

Another show recently added to the Most Addictive list is Doctor Who, starring David Tennant. Yes, that Dr. Who. I grew up with this show in Scotland. We spent Saturday nights at my gran's house in Glasgow eating fish and chips and watching it. Well, it's back. We saw Season 3, then went backwards to Season 2, and will see Season 1 (which stars Christopher Eccleston, now on Heroes) as another incarnation of the Doctor. This show rocks because each time the Doctor "regenerates" he's a different guy physically and somewhat emotionally, but he still has all the knowledge of his hundreds of years as a Time Lord. I'm doing the show no justice here, perhaps because it requires so much explanation. HERE is the wikipedia entry if you want it. Otherwise, just jump in and start watching. The production values are proudly low, the dialogue sometimes proudly camp, but David Tennant as the Doctor is absolutely fabulous.

Okay, onto North Carolina and Indiana. One thought. Why does the media make such a big deal out of the fact that a large percentage of African-Americans vote for Barack Obama but have never made a comparable big deal that large percentages of white people have always voted for white candidates? Why is that news? So they can say, oh black people are just voting for him because he's black? Really? So all the white people who have voted through the years for their chosen candidates who happened to be white ONLY voted for them because they were white? It seems like kind of an unfair metric by which to judge voting choices. So if a Jewish person wins an election in a heavily-Jewish town, he only won because he was Jewish? He had not one single other electable quality about him? Come on. All I'm saying is that if we're not going to judge every candidate by the same standards, let's stop repeating stupid statements like "they only vote for him because he's black." A, because it's actually a racist thing to say, as if black people don't have the same though processes you and I do about an election (and as if my black friends who happen to be Republicans don't exist), and B) because it makes you sound stupid.

Next, a post at Glenn Greenwald, on John McCain's embrace of the Bush notion of Executive Power (ie, that "the judiciary should show respect for the President's authority"--huh?!): If you're not concerned, you're not paying attention.

Okay, that's all for today. Until tonight.

There's Always Time for Idol

Tonight is Rock and Roll Hall of Fame night. Yep. They're going to choose from the 500 top rock/pop songs of all time. Let's see how it goes.

David Cook is doing Hungry Like The Wolf. Duran Duran lives! Simon will hate it, I bet. It IS a weird song choice to be honest. Oh. Simon says its okay and "good enough" to get through to next week. It was "feh" for me to be honest. BBDD and I were both wondering what happened to the orgasmic female moans in the background. You can't do Hungry if you're not going to have the woman going "uuuuhhhhhhnnnnnn!" throughout the song.

Syesha does Proud Mary, the Tina Turner version not the Creedence. Which I think is her error, IMHO. She's doing her usual second-best version of some diva song. Bah. Syesha! Stop the madness! Although, good job getting the dress shorter and workin' those hips while rollin' on the river.

Jason Castro has Shot The Sheriff. Because you know, if you have dreadlocks in your hair, you too can sing Bob Marley. Wow. That is the biggest piece of shit I have ever seen or heard. Randy Jackson said it was "really karaoke." Like, totally drunk, stupid, white dude karaoke. BBDD says, "he's probably just high." That seems like a rather likely scenario when you see his smiley/whatever reaction to being told he just laid a monster dog turd of a song.

Archuleta does Stand By Me. And he does it nicely. Can't say too much more than that.

David Cook's second song is Baba O'Reilly by The Who. BBDD will help me write this one since I simply cannot stand The Who and generally refuse to listen to anything by them. His thought is that it "is not bad" because he did his own version, avoiding Roger Daltrey, "because you can't be Roger Daltrey." Yeah, what he said. Okay, so just went to YouTube to see the video. There's Roger with his rather tight 3/4 shirt and his Glenn Close-in-Fatal-Attraction overprocessed perm. Okay, I see it now. I still don't like them. But I get that you shouldn't try to be Roger Daltrey. Especially that hair.

Syesha does A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke. I can't decide what I think. I love this song when Sam sings it. I think she sings it technically well, but I'm just not sure. Hmm. Anyone? Thoughts? Oh. She's crying. I have to give her credit for researching the song and for truly singing it from a place of understanding and meaning.

Oh my hell. Castro is doing Dylan's Tambourine Man. I'm sure because, "you know man, I once owned a tambourine and I like the name 'Bob' and whatever." Randy is being kind by saying he's "not in the zone." Oh he's in a zone all right. The zone of clueless mediocrity. Which is pretty much where most reality TV people comfortably reside, but not generally in the top 4 of American Idol.

Archuleta is doing Love Me Tender by Elvis. He's only 17 and just said, "I really researched it because I hadn't really heard it before." Aw, bless. His version feels really "104.5FM easy listening" to me. Not sure if the judges will adore it because Archuleta's fan base will think it's awesome. Randy just congratulated him for "caressing each word." Thanks, Randy! I have that "bad touch" feeling in my tummy now.

So that's the show. At least Paula didn't seem too drugged out this week. Actually, scratch that. I'm bummed that Paula didn't seem too drugged out this week. I like it better when she says all of her batshit crazy stuff, when she loses the plot, when she just simply seems to be a drug-addicted, sleep-deprived, meth-loaded trainwreck who nonetheless just has SO MUCH LOVE to give. Otherwise it's all just looking at Simon in his too-tight BVD shirt wondering why he forgot the shirt that's supposed to go OVER that one.

Okay, now it's time to get back to real voting and check the NC and IN returns...

Happy Birthday JP!

Today would have been my Dad's 69th birthday. I still miss him like crazy every day. But I miss him not with sadness anymore; rather, with the warm glow of gratitude for my wild good fortune in having had him for a father in the first place. It has taken two years and a ton of drama and attitude-adjusting events in my own life to get here. But here I am, and here I happily reside. I still wish he could see Bambina as she blames her stuffed sheep Stephan for her farts. I wish he could see her ride her little golf cart. I wish he could see her growing up, although I'm sure he'd still call her "wee tykie" till she was 40, driving her as crazy as he drove me by calling me Lamb Chop at my college graduation.

So how do you get to this place where you're not sad, but rather just so damn glad you had the life you had with someone who is now physically gone? Time. And some helpful thoughts:

To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go. ---Mary Oliver

And, from Elbert Hubbard, but could have just as easily come from my Dad himself:

Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Another Monday Morning Melange

Just to ease you into the work week.

First, another reason I can't really get back in the game till I'm off all my immunosuppressives and fully vaccinated. Seems some people who aren't immunized are coming down with measles. A disease that was "eradicated" in 2000. Nice.

Then, we have an article on John McCain's ties to a 70's wingnut. The article makes the point that McCain is all over Obama's connections to William Ayers. Why is the press giving McCain a pass on his ongoing friendship with G. Gordon Liddy?

Next up, an interesting couple of headlines regarding polls and whether you should care what they say. Read this and tell me you didn't just shake your head and laugh:
CBS Poll: Support For Obama Rebounds — In Wake Of Controversy Over Former Pastor, Illinois Senator Builds Lead Over McCain, Clinton — (CBS) Democrat Barack Obama appears to have rebounded from some of the damage caused by the controversy surrounding his former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright …

Susan Page / USA Today:
Poll: Flap over pastor hurts Obama — Barack Obama's national standing has been significantly damaged by the controversy over his former pastor, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, raising questions for some voters about the Illinois senator's values, credibility and electability.

Um, so which is it?

Next, via The Moderate Voice, a piece from Le Figaro in which the Europeans shake their collective heads at our obsession with infidelity among our politicians. Amusing and interesting.

And finally, from The Daily Mail, an article on the grave concerns of the British government about tea availability in the wake of nuclear armageddon. It's funny, but it's real. When you grow up in a house with parents of the British persuasion, trust me, no matter what tragedy is befalling you in the moment, someone will yell "Put the kettle on!"

Saturday, May 03, 2008

A Whole Lotta Talk About Nothin'

I’m sitting in the car while the BBDD and Bambina are in the Children’s Museum. As lame as it sounds to sit in the car for an hour and a half, at this point I have decided that it beats hanging out at home, especially since I actually take the time to write letters and cards or call friends rather than finding random June Cleaver stuff to do and calling it a weekend well-spent. Not to mention that it does Bambina some good to have me along, even for the ride. As much as I am over this year already, she is really over it. I have such agita about not jinxing my recovery not because I need it to happen for me, but because I need it to happen for her. Kids express their feelings in various ways, as you know. For Bambina lately she’s just telling us in her own way that she needs some normalcy again. Because as normal as we’ve worked to make this year for her, and as simpler as it was to create when she was almost 3 rather than now almost 4, the truth is that there is a limit to how much you can “spin” a year of No Mama after about 340 days of it. She’s done carrying this burden and she needs us to know it, by virtue of needing lots of hugs and kisses and extra reassurances. So we’re giving it, no matter how much someone else might think we’re contributing to a minor regression in her development. I think that growing up and figuring things out at 4 is a pretty big job even when your mom hasn’t been off the grid and out of a large part of your life for a year, and sometimes needing a little babying is what makes it all manageable. And, honestly, when I look back at these days, what will I say? Did I have something better to do than hug my kid a little more? Did I need sleep so badly that I couldn’t sit with my kid for 30 seconds at 3am till she fell back to sleep holding my hand? Please. If this is not what being a parent is all about, I’m not sure what is. It’s not like we’re okay with regression in the sense of letting her break the rules of rudeness or bad behavior. Instead, we’re saying that if your kid is together enough to say, “I didn’t get enough hugs today!’ you ought to at least put down your latte and get your damn hug on.

It’s also easy to forget that kids get tired too. Just this week Bambina laid down on my lap, put her feet on the couch and said, “Mama. I am out of energy. I feel like I had a long day today!” Of course, an hour later she was raring to go just as I was feeling like collapsing. We were playing Snow White (wherein we act out the “story” of Snow White who saves the prince with the help of her friends the dwarves) and she said two really cool things. First she said something, laughed to herself, and then said, “Mama. Sometimes I make only myself laugh!” I cheered to myself, "That's my kid!!" and I told her that’s the only kind of laugh that matters.

Then she looked at a picture of the Disney princesses and said, “Mama, why the princesses wear such small shirts? Don’t they get cold?” On the one hand I was hoping she wouldn’t notice, on the other hand, yay! I replied that if I was their mommy I wouldn’t let them wear those shirts and that, yes, they really should cover their tummies and shoulders a bit more because that is more of a grown-up outfit rather than a princess outfit. And then I pointed to her Ariel and Snow White real-life costumes that are fully clothed and offered that they probably wear the full shirts most of the time but maybe they just wore those tiny ones for that photo. Honestly, it’s the only reason I’m psyched she doesn’t glom onto Jasmine from Aladdin, because—talk about agita—the BBDD gets crazy every time he sees the bare midriff and the bikini on something geared to his daughter’s age. Thank God for Snow White and Mulan who manage to be princessy without being half naked (although I wouldn't object to them overdubbing that 1930's Betty Boop voice Snow White's got in the movie which I think was considered cute then?) But the clothing issue does make me want to punch somebody at Disney right in the face. Like, did Ariel have to have a shell bikini top? Really? Does Jasmine really have to have a belly button showing? And it's not just the princesses that are all wrong in all the wrong ways. Here's a pic of Ariel's dad:

Note the icky man-nipple action and just too much torso and navel before the fish tail starts. It's grody. Yeah, and my kid's birthday party is going to be full of it. Because when your 4 year old wants a mermaid party, your 4 year old gets a mermaid party no matter how much Mama is disturbed by King Triton's goody trail.

Anyhoo. Moving swiftly along. To the fact that I need a drink very badly. Haven't had one in more than a year (must be nice to my liver which is already doing the work of three what with all my medications, not to mention that alcohol is toxic to bone marrow especially the new baby just-getting-started or the old-in-need-of-help kind), but don't actually really honestly long for one. The desperate need only hits me whenever I read Peggy Noonan and find myself saying out loud, "Good god, woman. You might be right!" Her article this week on why she's not so lathered up about the Reverend Wright is just the latest in a series that have had me just a little too close for comfort to her side of the aisle for my tastes. Now, maybe it's because she uses "hatred" of the English as an example, but damn if sister Peggy weren't speaking my language today:
And if you're wondering, I like Springbank 10 Year or A. Rafanelli Cabernet. ;) I'm gonna need a case of each unless Peggy either gets some writer's block or gets a visitation from the ghost of Ronnie Reagan telling her to stop helping Obama already.

And that, barkeep, is about all I've got for you today. Like I promised, a whole lotta talk about nothin'.

Be My Library

Does anyone have a copy of "Cancel Your Own Goddamn Subscription" that I can borrow? It's the collection of William F. Buckley's responses to letters to the editor, and I so want to read it but so do not want to send $24.95 of my hard-earned liberal money to The National Review. If you, however, already have (suckah!), I'll gladly send you some ducats to mail it to me. Help a sister out.

No thanks, however, on your Rediscovering God In America by Newt Gingrich...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I Missed Matlock!

In my seemingly nonstop descent into senior citizendom, I went to bed at 9pm last night; out like a light by 9:30. And, as you can see, in further senior citizen style, I'm up nice and early to pee.

So besides missing American Idol (I see that our little strawberry shortcake Brooke was voted off finally), I probably missed my Matlock and my Florence Henderson Show too. So no recap on any of those for you today, I'm afraid.

So what's shakin. Oh, we have a group in DC called Women's Voices Women Vote who apparently has a pattern of sowing mass confusion among voters on the eve of important Democratic primaries. I wish I could say that Rove is on the board, but it turns out to be, sadly for Democrats, former Clintonland over there. Read the article: apparently this is the 11th time they've done this, they have been censured by state attorneys general and have so far been all "sorry you feel that way" about telling registered voters via robocalls that they are not actually registered to vote after the registration deadline has passed in their state. Also interesting to note that they supposedly are targeting single females, but the majority of calls are going to African American married households. You may disagree, but if it happens once it's probably an error. If it happens eleven times in eleven states, what you have is a concerted effort to suppress voter turnout. And by an organization run by Democrats. That's nice.

Next, if you haven't already Netflixed it, you should get 30 Days. It's by the inimitable Morgan Spurlock of Supersize Me fame. We just watched the first three episodes, and they are fantastic. In the show, an ordinary person does something completely new for 30 days. First, Morgan and his fiancee live on minimum wage for 30 days. They move to Columbus, leave their cell phones and credit cards behind, find an apartment, find jobs, and live for a month like everyone else on minimum wage. Whatever your opinion on the issue of wages is, believe me, this show will blow your mind open as you wonder how ANYONE does it. The people they meet in their jobs ALL work, ALL day, and all are struggling and barely getting by. These are not welfare people hanging out on corners; these are 64 year old day laborers getting on buses at 5am to get work. It's harrowing to watch, especially when you consider that it's bone-shattering even for the Spurlocks who are childless, white, educated and going home on day 31. It will open your mind. Next, a man spends 30 days pursuing health and youth by going on a micronutrient and testosterone replacement program. I won't ruin it for you, but it's also pretty harrowing to watch, especially when you see what it all does to him in the name of youth and vigor. The third episode is called Muslim in America. An ordinary married-guy-with-a-kid from West Virginia spends 30 days in Dearborn, Michigan living with a Muslim couple and living like a Muslim. The WVa guy is a Bible-believing Christian, and it is just an amazing episode because it serves to explode stereotypes on both sides. The Christian wants to learn about Islam but finds himself unable to pray in the mosque for fear that he might be saying something that betrays his own faith. At the same time, as he dresses and eats and lives as a Muslim he begins to experience the prejudice faced by them, starting at his own Charleston, Wva airport where he says he's never, ever been stopped in all his years, but once he put on the hat and the robe, couldn't get through security without almost stripping naked. Again, I won't ruin the show for you, but it's just fantastic. Each time you wonder if you'd have the stones to do something so out of your comfort zone for just one month, with no safety net. And then what does that tell you? Like, if you watch the minimum wage show and say, "No way would I do that," then perhaps your opinion of minimum wage might need an adjustment? It's a show that manages all at once to create discussion, discomfort and inspiration.

Next, if you want a one-stop media roundup on international news, go no further than It has an article on our sending of an additional aircraft carrier as a "reminder" to Iran (but it's not a buildup?), articles on the progress of the war in Iraq, and some good stuff on the situation that might be about to explode between Russia and Georgia. It's tempting to think, "oh that's not relevant to my life as an American." Read this stuff. At the very least, some of it might help explain why your bread costs $4 a loaf...

Oh, and speaking of buying that $4 bread, here's the timing of your "stimulus" check arrival, via The Moderate Voice, as well as a discussion of it's impact on stimulating the economy. Yeah, right. If you consider "buying the same groceries for 50% more money" to be just the jumpstart this economy needs.

So that should get you started for today. More later. Unless I fall asleep during the reruns of I Love Lucy.