Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Carol

This isn't the first time I've promoted her blog, but if you want to be inspired, you really ought to read all of the advent meditations on Carol's blog, Join the Living. She and/or her partner, Kate, posted daily advent meditations - ones that are apt all the year round and that are spiritually relevant. Enjoy!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mark Twain on free speech:

'As an active privilege, it ranks with the privilege of committing murder: we may exercise it if we are willing to take the consequences. Murder is forbidden both in form and fact; free speech is granted in form but forbidden in fact. By the common estimate both are crimes, and are held in deep odium by all civilized peoples. Murder is sometimes punished, free speech always - when committed. Which is seldom... There is justification for this reluctance to utter unpopular opinions: the cost of utterance is too heavy...

'... I feel it every week or two when I want to print something that a fine discretion tells me I mustn't. Sometimes my feelings are so hot that I have to take to the pen and pour them out on paper to keep them from setting me afire inside..'

- from Mark Twin's "The Priviledge of the Grave"

Thanks to this week's The New Yorker for this reminder.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sometimes it's hard having a superpower.. You know?

It turns out that I have bionic hearing. Of all the superpowers one could acquire, this wouldn't be my first pick, but then one rarely chooses these things as he is being bitten by a radio active spider, as he is careening from his destroyed planet into a farm field in his infant sized space ship, or as he is being genetically modified into a weapon of mass destruction by the military who (generally) underestimates a person's emotional yearnings to do the right thing. Not that any of that happened to me. I don't think.

But I do have strong hearing as evidenced by the fact that I get angry when certain members of my household breathe too loudly. I try not to react when the person next to me sounds like the space shuttle throttling as he casually watches a movie turned up so loud that the Branch Davidians feel nervous. That confrontation always ends poorly, with a snippy comment by the breather that goes, "You seriously want me to die, don't you. Sorry I have to breathe in your space to survive."

Because of my extraordinary (ahem) gift, life can be fairly miserable. I can hear every conversation in my classroom and have to pretend not to hear most of them since some of them could ruin a person's faith in humanity. I hear every slight move the baby makes over the monitor. It wakes me up at night and I have to make sure he is Okay, even though I know that he probably just slightly moved his hand. Also, I hear a horrifically high pitched shrieking that comes from our cable box. So much so that I sometimes can't be in the same room with the TV.

And the last sound is a particular bitch.

We had satellite up until a month ago when fate would send a cable representative up our drive. Rich, in his usual hospitable manner, invited the guy in, made him a cup of cocoa, and asked him if he'd like to build a fort in the living room with the couch cushions and play Wii Mario Cart. Or that's how it sometimes happens in my mind when we invite a salesman into our house. It's always bad news because we "befriend" the person and feel obligated to buy whatever it is that he's selling. That's how we ended up with the most worthless vacuum known to man and a subscription to Cruising World Magazine.

Needless to say, we got cable and bundled some stuff, or something.

The problem was the cable box screamed. Loudly. Sometimes even Rich could hear it.

After the first week of enduring the sound, I demanded that Rich call the cable company. They remarked that sometimes the boxes squeal a little when the DVR is working and that they would come out and fix it right now. They did. I hardly had time to drag a comb through my hair when the man showed up with a shiny new cable box. And I was impressed. Until the shiny new box began squealing, too.

Once again we called. This time, At&t (the phone company/cable supplier) hung up on us twice and on the third attempt told us they would send someone between 12 noon and 4pm the following day. I tried not to be too snarky about the fact that noon to 4 is when all of the cool stuff happens in a day. I'm not sure exactly what, but I do know that I was most inconvenienced. And it was, after all, my fault, I suppose, that my super bionic military infused hearing from another planet was picking up the sound. I had already been a pain, and I was trying not to push it.

So we waited. Patiently. From 12 noon to 4pm. No calls. No doorbells. No new cable box.

Annoyed, Rich called again. They "checked on his account" for 20 minutes, and while doing so, hung up. We hung our heads, defeated.

As life moves along in it's own special time, or two hours later in this case, I forgot to be mad about the cable box. We were having dinner guests over to celebrate Christmas before all of us succumbed to family visits and the usual "holiday cheer". Around the time that the fist guest arrived, the phone, which hadn't rung all day, rang.

Me: "Hello?"

Him: "Yeah. This is Dennis. From At&t. I have a work order for you."

Me: (Annoyed)"Um. You guys were supposed to be here from noon to fou.."

Him: (Also annoyed and cutting me off)"Yeah and I just got the order."

Clearly he was having a bad day, so I tried to soften my tone.

Me: "Okay. Where are you, Dennis?"

Him: "Close."

Me: "Okay. But we're having a dinner party. I suppose you are welcome to come on in and install the new box.. and if you're hungry, there's plenty of spaghetti. Do you like spaghetti?"

Him: "Uh. Well. (sigh) Um. It's OK about the dinner part, but I'll come and install the box."

Me: "Okay. See you soon, Dennis."

And we disconnected.

The dinner guests arrived. And so did Dennis. He began installing the new box as we were toasting our evening. I again offered some dinner to Dennis, who was clearly amused at the proposition, and as the evening went on, I occasionally looked around dinner guest Jamie who was sitting directly across from me and who silently snickered with me, to check on Dennis. He was fine, his blue tooth ear piece blinking with importance. And we ate. And he watched.

Rich eventually showed Dennis out, inviting him back later for fort building, and everyone seemed content or at least amused.

That is until I was up with the baby in the middle of the night. While walking through the living room I sighed to myself, "Well. At least this one doesn't scream as loudly as the previous two." And I wasn't talking about the baby.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A New Kind Of Discipline


Oh, you better watch out You better not cry

Better not pout. I'm telling you why

Santa Claus is coming to town!


(Thanks for the magical Christmas for kids pics, Gagi!)


Dichotomy

Before Jack arrived and during the time I procrastinated about setting up his room until I was so pregnant I could hardly walk, I was somewhat cool. Okay. I use the term loosely.But I had the most awesome circumstance - that is getting to do what I wanted, when I wanted. But the day I was setting up the nursery, clearing out all of that junk clutter - the stuff that accumulates because you don't have the heart to throw it out just yet and that tells some interesting stories about who you are - I ran across something particularly intriguing. At the time, I threw that object in the "get it the hell out of the way, I don't care what you have to do to it to make it disappear" pile, but maybe it should have gone in the "hey look Rich, it's another trip to the attic for you; sorry, I can't take care of it myself since I'm 75 years pregnant and you did this to me (eat a bag of shit)" pile.

I wish I had put it in the latter pile, but alas, it is gone forever.

I'm talking, of course, about my Beef stick. I realize that that could be misconstrued, so I'll leave it to you to brave the link. But that's one of the things that I miss. Or really, it represents the lifestyle that I miss. Instead of saving sticks and bobble heads and all the ridiculous pre-baby chochkey, I'm saving onesies and pacis and booties. Not that those things are bad to save. I do love my kid more than any of that. But I miss me too.

I tried to salvage some part of my 'before Jack' identity, by moving from Viaggio to here and setting up the Bug Barn, for example. Also, without meaning to, I realized the other day that I'm only buying red things (underwear, outerwear, shoes). I'm trying to continue doing the things I used to do - like Salon. But Me as I knew me, is fading. And I think that's OK. I guess I should say that I'm evolving. I mean, Ani DiFranco did it. So can I, right? But it's hard.

My thoughts are flooded only with Jack - what he needs, if he's hungry or tired or bored. I no longer have time for The New Yorker or for reading anything heavier than Janet Evanovich and Stephanie Meyer. And I'm doing crafts, for the love of God- making ornaments out of Styrofoam and glitter! For example, a few days ago I was watching Martha Stewart glue glitter to Styrofoam bird asses. I then caught myself thinking, "Oooh. glittery bird ass; it's a good thing!"

And then I made one.

And then I started wretching at the realization.

Gah! And what the hell!?

I know it's supposed to be like this, and I'm sure there is some sort of genetic something that makes mommies blind to everything except to what their babies and Martha Stewart need. I think it starts with nesting - that whole throwing out the Beef sticks to get ready for the baby. But where does it end? Should it?

I'm probably loosing it. But in my defense, I already was. At least I have a semi-legitimate excuse.

(As you can see, the writing is suffering, too, as the brain is now one tracked.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's What's for Dinner

I'm having peppermint cookies and white Merlot for dinner tonight - part of the perks of being A) a "grown-up" B) too lazy to cook C) completely unconcerned at the moment about personal health and D) a selfish, indulgent girl.

Thanks for the cookies, Fougs!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Blahgy Blog

I didn't go to my faculty Christmas party this year.. because.. um. .. I suck. I have no excuse other than I flat out didn't want to go. I haven't been particularly social this year for a several reasons:

1. I am bad at idle chit chat and really don't have time for it. Be my friend, genuinely, or get out of the way so that I can get a cup of coffee and go home.

2. I am tired. And cranky. Because I have a 6 month old baby who is teething.

3. I have a ridiculous amount of homework all of the time, every. single. day. most of which stays packed in my school bag because

4. I have a ridiculous amount of housework to do, too.

5. I haven't felt "well" in a while, probably because of hormones.. or lack of exercise..or lack of vegetables.. or due to stress.. probably because I have 150 students, 3 preps, and some really demanding parents (as in one sent me a boldface list of demands, to which I raised my middle finger).

6. I'm balding.

7. I'm so so SO tired. I think I already mentioned it. But I can't remember because I'm SO so tired.

Ironically, I am actually in the holiday spirit, probably because I am so excited to make it special for Baby Jack. He is a relief to all of my cantankery.

I'm sorry for being all grumpy on my blog, or really, my "blah-g". It probably means I'll be getting a call or two from my family. But I promise to get better soon. I do have a break coming up. All I have to do is survive tomorrow and then I might be able to catch up and breathe.

And there is hope. I'm on a red kick lately and recently helped myself to some RED unmentionables from Victoria's Secret, and a red pea coat to match. I'll throw on my heels and it's a party... but not a faculty Christmas one.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

In Memoriam

Bettie Page 1923-2008
"She captured a generation of men and women with her free spirit and unabashed sensuality..."

On Being Left

There are so many things I need to write about today and I can't. My muse has packed her suitcase, left an ultimatum in the form of a tear-stained note on my pillow, and is currently hailing a cab. I don't have the energy to run after her, especially when it's raining. So this is me lethargically drooling across a keyboard, hoping that someday all will be resolved, though far be it for me to put any effort into it. She may never return. And that means neither will I. The trick is it's supposed to be this way for me - what's best for him is the "right" way for me, for us and this new life- for today, at least.

I'm such a bitch to let her go.

But then she could have had the decency to tell me she was leaving..

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Dream Cafe Revisited

Last night, after a few stems of Pinot Grigio and some contemplative conversation, I accidentally found myself at what used to be a whimsical restaurant, a bohemian veg mecca that unfortunately cowed to meat, therefore becoming appealing to those of us who are a little behind the curve, trend-wise, and a lot more safe. And there I sat among new friends and old, realizing that what happened to the restaurant was sort of a reflection of me.

Not the meat part.. I've always been a carnivore except for that one week when a friendly Uzbek challenged me to an all out veg-a-thon. That was a long week for me, especially as I only know how to steam veggies and toss salads.. Plus, I had jury duty that week. But that's a different story.

Anyway.

What I mean is that I'm past that age of trial and error, freedom wise, and have settled in to my age group - the one where we are fairly comfortable with the status quo- where we make decisions because we are responsible, and "it makes sense," rather than allowing for surprises, even if sometimes the surprises are uncomfortable. I've cowed to an expectation.

What's worse is during the time when it made sense for me to be most irresponsible, I was completely rational! Ugh. What a waste! OK, so not all was a waste. I did, you know, get an education and travel the (safe, Western) world, pretending to be irresponsible. I did wander down to Mexico City once in college, equipped with nothing but a backpack and curiosity, and then eventually Montezuma's revenge.. That was irresponsible, I suppose, and made the bus ride back close to unbearable. But now I'm all consumed by the fact that that part of my life - the part with those sorts of options - may be over for a while.

I have a mortgage. In suburbia. With a cat. And a kid.

Whatthehellhappened?!!

Can I find my way back to at least a little bit of spontaneity?

Some of my friends have gone back, and I envy them.

We did pack Jack's clothes in a Rick Steeves travel backpack for our Thanksgiving jaunt to the Flatlands, and that gave me some hope for our family's future. Also, I applied for a work visa abroad (and was told I am an unlikely candidate), and searched for teaching jobs abroad. I found one UK match that sounded perfect, except I would have to start January 9th - as in a month from now, if I were hired. No can do with all of my responsibility and mortgage..

I suppose, I'm just looking for a new adventure now. I want to dust off the comfort zone and do something else. And maybe looking is enough of a distraction for now, until I can actually make some life changing decisions.
But I am antsy..

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Friday Night Salon

When was the last time you had a genuine conversation--an experience not of mere self-assertion but of speaking and listening as though you had something both to offer and to receive? Our habits of language define us, but the pace of our lives is such that the simple gestures of listening carefully and speaking prudently are amazingly rare. The Friday Night Salon aims at being an alternative to the urban rush that denies the civilizing graces of community. We begin with good food and drink, then take our places in a circle for discussion about a variety of relevant, substantial topics. It's a welcome way to end the Dallas workweek.

Discussion topics for December 5, 2008:
1. The psychology of money
2. Is homo sapiens intellectually curious by nature?
3. Can we control how we experience time?

All responses to any and all of the questions are welcome!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cloudy and Confounded Philosophy

Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has fallen, we've got used to the ruins, and we start to build up new little habitats, new little hopes. If we can't make a road through the obstacles, we go round, or climb over the top. We've got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen. - Lady Chatterley's Lover, D.H. Lawrence, 1927

Sunday, November 30, 2008

"I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever be, like, whelmed?"

Thirty days of my life have just gone by, each one feebly chronicled here for NaBloPoMo. I feel glad that it is over because I didn't enjoy the days of posting what I call "fluff," but sad, too, because I really enjoyed reading what you all had to say. Also, I made new friends!!!

Actually, I enjoy the fluff - but only when I think it is valuable or funny in some way. When I didn't have something to say, I felt like NaBlo, in his zoot suit and matching fedora, would hold a gun to my ribs and with his cigar smoky breath whisper something like, "You see here, honey, you'll post the meaningless fluff or you'll be sleeping with the fishes. Capisce?"

And I would be all like, "OK. fine. Maybe I want to sleep with fishes. I mean they're not so bad, other than they smell, um, fishy. Plus, that would get me out of grading papers (which I can't NOT mention), and away from my sick husband and kid. Hell, I'll sleep with you, NaBlo, if you can work that kind of magic. But first, I've always wanted to go to a speakeasy. Do you know where one is? What's the password? Can I order a Cape Cod? Can I wear your hat?"

And then Nablo would sigh, drop the gun, turn around and walk away, mumbling something about it not being worth it and something about Vinnie not liking this a damn bit.

"Hey, where are you going? Come back! I'll wear my stilettos! Hey!" I'd call after him. "I'll sleep with the fishes if you want!" And then on the bank of the Hudson, I would mix two buckets of concrete, step into them while wet, wait for the mix to harden, and then throw myself into the river, through the fall yelling, "See! Look! Fluff fluff fluff fluff.. (splash)" All for Nablo: fluff for fluff's sake.

I really wanted to challenge myself to think this month. I rarely get a chance to have a thought these days. Unfortunately, life gets busy. And my life is insane at the moment. I realized this when I was sitting at my in-laws house wondering if I had time to do my homework AND put out the Christmas decorations. The answer was NO. Then I had to wonder about priorities. Among many similar circumstances (change the second activity to whatever you want, the first one (homework) always being the constant), I did have time to at least post something. That is something to be proud of, I suppose. And I will miss NaBlo.

At least I'm free now. I can post or not post as much as I want.

**Title quote from Ten Things I Hate About You

Saturday, November 29, 2008

At least we're home

This is just a quick note to say that we're home safe. We had to make a midnight drive back -- the baby (finally) asleep in his car seat, Rich hanging over a sick bucket for 6 hours. They both have a nasty stomach virus, and I'm doing my best to help, though helpless is exactly what I feel..

In related news, this morning I awoke to find a baby cricket in the kitchen sink. I tried to save it, using the ole paper under the bug relay. In the end, I got the cricket outside, but I think I broke two of its legs in the process.

I hope this doesn't reflect poorly on my nursing skills.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Shannon Doherty did you happen to meet my friend, Gloria?

Gloria Estefan is my nemesis. Many of you know this already. For those of you who don't, I'll briefly explain. When the Miami Sound Machine comes on the radio, it's like all of a sudden I'm under hypnosis and the mesmerist, in his calmest, most sedate voice says, "OK. Ginger, when you hear, 'One, two, three, four; Come on baby, say you'll love me; five, six, seven ti-imes...' I want you to grab that butcher knife, wave it in the air, and vow to assassinate the person who personally programmed that song into the play list. OK. You will wake up at the sound of 'eight, nine, ten, eleven...'" And then I do. I grab the nearest weapon, which is usually my big mouth and I verbally castrate the DJ. I can't help it. It's coded in my DNA. I mean it's nothing personal. I'm certain that Gloria is a wonderful human being. I just inexplicably loathe her voice. It makes me want to commit homicide.

The reason this came up today was I saw a preview for some Hallmark Thanksgiving special "starring Shannon Doherty" who apparently went from 90210 bitch-itude to "And I'm thankful for you, and you, and oh, yes, little Timmy, you too. Let's roast marshmallows and sing Christmas carols by the light of the warm, glowing hearth, and learn special lessons about giving thanks."

I didn't know it until I saw the preview, but I had a Gloria Estefan reaction to Shannon, too. Right then and there, I vowed NEVER to watch anything EVER with her in it.

Even though I'm not really sad about this recent development, I do blame Gloria for it. Thanks Gloria. Thanks a lot for limiting my Hallmark movie choice this holiday season. I hope you two are very happy together.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Obligatory Post

In Lubbock.
Smiling Baby.
Family.
Visiting friends.
First family "portraits".
Off schedule.
Smiling...No, wait. Screaming baby.
Rosa's Mexican Food.
No nap.
Movie.
Fussy time (me).
Tired.
Still no nap (me or baby).
Screaming baby again.
Spilled wine.
2 minutes to post.
G'night soon, I hope.

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's been a whole year, but we're back in the Flatlands

We made it to the Hub City, all in tact, and saw some really cool wind turbine farms - not the sort of farms we're used to seeing in these parts, I tell you what.

Other than cleaner energy, everything seems to be the same around here, except that the whole town is still recovering from the remarkable ass kickin' it received on Saturday. The folks are licking their wounds, guns in the air. We will survive. Yes. We will survive.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Between Loads..

Fulfilling NaBlo postal obligations between loads of laundry by saying these things:

* I miss going to the movies. There are so many I want to see. I missed Wall-E, and Ironman, and now I see that James Bond will not wait for me.. Plus, I miss the popcorn. For far too long I was "good" and either didn't get a tub OR I got a tub without butter. What was I thinking?! I wasted all of that buttery goodness! Maybe one or more grandparents will watch Jack for an evening over Thanksgiving so that we can catch a movie or two.. (hint hint).

*The TTU defeat last night was too painful to watch.. So I didn't. I sulked in my room while Rich endured the trauma. Call me a fair weather fan if you want, but there is something to be said for not bitch slapping yourself over and over again. And last nights game was the mother of all bitch slap parties to which I RSVP'd a resounding, "Aw, hell no! I won't go!"

* I should be grading papers. I have 40 Macbeth essays left to mark and 11 Dorian Gray character sketches. Only 4.25 hours of grading over Thanksgiving.. except for all of the stuff waiting for me when I get back: 130 Inferno projects, 130 SAT practice papers, and an entire literary magazine to edit. Oh, and planning the next units.. But no stress.. F*CK!

* At least my kid can sit up and play with toys for minutes at a time. And I mean it when I say I am thankful for that!

*Tomorrow we head to the Flatlands.. That will be fun!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hooray Beer...Goggles

The man with the snake brimmed ten gallon hat swaggered by our table at Buck n Loons. He paused, eyes piercing through my skin, and continued on around the corner. I mumbled something about that being an odd behavior - to walk by a person, stop for enough time for the observed to feel uncomfortable, and then continue on without a word - but then I realized that I was talking about a man who had a rattle snake wrapped around his hat, the head of said snake lying limply on the brim. Probably he was not very concerned with social norms or ordinary types of pleasantries. He certainly did make an impression, though.

I am not unaccustomed to West Texas eccentrics since many of them were members of my Texas Panhandle family. Those men would gather in Mimi’s kitchen, chug Keystones, and rehash old stories that usually involved pick-ups, dirt, and/or a shotgun. These yarns were endearingly woven and told of some idiot friend who got himself into some sort of scrape, one that the ______(fill in the blank with fire chief, preacher, or sheriff)____ had to get him out of. Many of the tales ended with the listeners braying, “Ah hell” in whatever inflection was appropriate to the story – as in “No shit?!” or “That’s too bad,” or “That’s the most hilarious thing I’ve ever heard!” As the evening progressed and the beer coolers emptied, some of the stories were reenacted with props – like with a dead rattlesnake, a weed whacker, or shot gun shells. Always there was a lot of laughter, though any city slicker would have been justifiably afraid. Even I was sometimes uncomfortable, though I felt a great love and admiration for those Flatlander good-ole-boys.

So the snake brimmed man at Buck n Loons didn’t scare me as much as he reminded me of my childhood.

I, being at the end of an extremely challenging work day, sat lethargically people watching and sipping on Texas tea when he sauntered back around. I was determined to speak, to at least say hello to this dusty cowboy who obviously had some fascinating stories to tell. Before I could take a breath for what would be hello, he again stopped at our table.

This time he tapped Rich on the shoulder and said, “You do know you’re with the prettiest woman in the room, dontcha?” But before I had the chance to puff up with any ounce of pride, before Rich could even respond to confirm or deny his observation, the man said, “You better realize it or else we’ll have to take you to Vegas.”

Being understandably thrown, Rich asked, “What?”

The man explained, “You know, Vegas.. Where you can easily bury a body without being caught.”

We paused for a moment, trying to determine whether or not the man was making a joke or being genuine. I glanced over at Baby Jack, wondering how I would grab him and make a speedy exit if necessary.

Then with a huge yawping guffaw, the man slapped Rich on the back and made his way back to the bar.

“He he..he,” we weakly tittered in return.

“Check, please!”

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's Friday! ... Hey. Where's my dancing cat?!

Oh. There it is.

www.totalleh.com - click to visit

And I'll take it to go... Whew.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

An Escape from Reality

It took some resistance on my part and much begging on theirs, but I finally gave in. Thanks to my students, I am reading Twilight.

Here's the thing: The book isn't written particularly well, though I am appreciative of the fact that it uses some SAT vocabulary words and the main character, Bella, likes to read and do homework - a character trait that sets her apart from the other flighty girls in the story and is, therefore, part of what the dream boy/vampire Edward admires in her. It is not a unique story, by any means, and is, as everyone deems it, a teen ROMANCE novel.

The question is, is that OK?

Edward, the ideal, who (though he wants Bella in an instinctual, predatory way) must keep his distance, physically, except for the occasional flirtatious face stroking. And maybe this will change by the end of the novel, which, in my opinion, will kill the interest. In romance novels, the lovers can't give in too easily and must make the reader wait (sometimes agonizingly) for consummation. That's what keeps us reading. Edward has to be a gentleman otherwise he wouldn't be able to control himself and would 'devour' Bella.

In the past Vampire stories (especially in places like Victorian England where staunch religion suppressed basic human nature) were sort of a way to bypass religious dogma while still playing at morality. In reading the books, men, with the unquenchable thirst for delicate, pure women, were allowed to 'take' them in a primal way, without all of the messiness of the sinful affair. And women, in reading the books, could be quite willingly 'taken'. In the end, the vampires were 'monstrous' villains and the poor helpless, though alluring, women were victims, plain and simple.

So maybe this is what Twilight is, as are all romance novels, an escape from reality where the girl who represents those of us who are ordinary - brown haired, brown eyed semi intelligent girls who want to be special enough for the ideal man to want us so much that it pains him- to be innocently seduced without feeling guilty about the seduction.

And there's nothing wrong with that, I suppose, as long as we remember that it is fantasy. Edward is not real. But then, neither is Bella.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Texas grand Jury indicts Cheney, Gonzales

(CNN) — A grand jury in south Texas indicted Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney Geneneral Alberto Gonzales on separate charges related to alleged prisoner abuse in federal detention centers, Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra told CNN Tuesday.
On the southern tip of Texas, Willacy County is on the United States-Mexico border.
Democratic state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. is also charged in the indictment. Michael R. Cowen, an attorney for Lucio, issued a statement calling Guerra a “one man circus.”
Cheney spokeswoman Megan Mitchell said, “The vice president has not received an indictment.”

And from The Washington Post and AFP.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I've got your friggin' post

I'm in a foul mood and I am about to take it out on you.. or really on this blog. And before I even say why I'm pissy, I should first say that I am embarrassed about airing it all out in such a public venue. Apparently, though, I'm not embarrassed enough to not post it.

So I think I'm sick. This may or may not be a direct result of the flu shot I got on Saturday.

I think Jack is sick. I can't tell, exactly, other than to say he is CONSTANTLY fussy/crying, won't take naps, is arching his back when being held, won't play or smile or do anything except cry. And I am helpless. I can't fix it. He has no other symptoms except that he won't sleep and is constantly crying.

I am buried in homework. I can't get caught up. And the district wants to give me more to do. They decide on Thursday whether or not next year they will give me more students and take away a conference period.

We don't have enough funds to make our magazine in litmag right now. Unless the kids come up with some significant patrons, the mag is sunk.

I feel really bad for Rich at the moment. He gets to hold the screaming kid right now. He, too, is feeling helpless.

I have to go and help now.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Something I usually forget, but want to be better at remembering:

"When we start to meditate or work with any kind of spiritual discipline,we often think that somehow we're going to improve, which is a subtle aggression against who we really are. It's about like saying,"If I jog, I'll be a much better person."... But loving kindness - maitri - toward ourselves doesn't mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy, we can still be angry. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. Meditation practice isn't about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It's about befriending who we are already."

from Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I can't breathe

Teaching is too hard.

Recently, Christine and I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed with our jobs. Both of us have been playing with the idea that maybe we should be doing something else. We have been playing at "what if?" and have been looking at job opportunities and graduate programs. A new job is very appealing, especially now, at the end of the six weeks when the demands of our students, the parents, the administrators, and paperwork completely kick us in the gut with steel-toed boots.

This year I have been completely ineffective, as seen in my students' grades, in their attitudes, and even in the condition of my poor, abused and littered classroom. As Christine puts it, it's like we are water boarding beaten horses. We are dragging them to the water, shoving their heads under, and screaming at them, "Drink! Drink! Drink!" Afterwards, they blankly stare at us blinking and then make some ridiculous comment like, "Why do we have to be here? School sucks," and "This is boring,"and "Do we have to do anything today? I hate reading." I try to reply with a little bit of humor, saying things like, "Sorry I have to make you work IN SCHOOL." But the retorts are fairly consistent: "Well, if you were more _____(fill in the blank with your own word)___________ then maybe we would want to do something."

Yes. It is my fault.

And I say that with some sincerity. It is my fault if my kids are not learning. But at the same time, they have to at least care.. a little. And this year I am seeing an overwhelming majority of kids who would like to sleep through class, do no homework, and then expect to pass. They don't want to read, write, or even think. And you know what? They don't have to. This is where education is going in this country. We have completely lost the notion that getting a diploma is an important privilege. Instead it has become a required chore for all involved.

I hate that I sound so negative about my job and my students. I don't want to become one of those teachers and have vowed that if I were becoming that cantankerous soul, I would go and do something else. I do actually love and care about them.

But, this is me looking for something else to do.

The really sad thing is, most of my students would agree that I am a good teacher. I spend tons of time talking to them, working with them, making precise comments on and about their assignments. I meticulously mark their papers (Essays take 8 or so minutes to grade each. Multiply that times 150 students and you'll see how much extra time - outside of school- I spend working and that doesn't include daily assignments or planning). I work hard, and I really don't have to. I get paid the same amount as the person who shows "Dead Poets Society" everyday in class. I beat myself trying to be effective for my kids - to cater to their learning styles and their personalities. Their learning is my responsibility, and I take that very seriously.

A lot of people believe that to an extent teachers have it easy - they at least get the summers off. But as my good friend Jamie puts it (and sorry if I butcher this, Jamie), jobs are like cars. Some cars are year round cars; they steadily accumulate mileage and are fairly well maintained. And then you have race cars; they work for a season each year, but are driven into the ground, accumulating the same number of miles but with a lot more wear and tear. Teaching is like the race car, and the off season doesn't make the car any less worn and it doesn't change the mileage.

The summers no longer makeup for the wear and tear during the year. On top of the extreme workload and duties, our particular district would like to increase our class load by one class (30 more kids) by taking away a conference period. Because we are on a 4x4 block schedule, we would only have a conference period every other day. I will have more to do and less time to do it in, with NO extra pay. No other professional job would dare increase workload, decrease work time, and not compensate the employee for it.

I've already said I am having trouble working with apathy. It might be different if my kids were eager to learn or if they gave a shit about school. It might be different if I received some kind of respect from my kids, from the parents or from the district, or if what I do was valued in any way (other than being tossed the occasional societal platitude). But I'm not a miracle worker. I neither have the time or the energy to fight the good fight.

I think it may be time to move on.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm Of The Wonderland Persuasion

I’ve always been the hopeless romantic – in a Sibyl Vane sort of way – as in I am naively in love with art and poetry and Prince Charmings and all of the utter tragedy that is love and beauty and the loss of those, knowing full well that reality may suffocate them. Even as a child one might have seen me take some practice swoons onto a fainting couch so that when the time came for me to actually swoon, I would do it right and with the perfect and appropriate effect. Or I might have cried at the injustice of windblown plastic bag, the injustice being, of course, that the bag was plastic and not paper. I would often get trapped in the romantic and worked at staying in that dreamy state – I wanted to be Alice at the tea party.

Unfortunately, the transference of the romantic to reality never really worked since reality is composed of practicality - time management, check book balancing, and (what a majority deem) rationality. Morality also raises its eyebrows occasionally in the realm of the real, though I highly suspect that Guilt is guilty of using Morality as its lap dummy. But my imagination certainly didn’t fit into this world.

I coped (and still do to an extent) with this duality by living two separate lives: my romantic, idealistic side, the one that keeps me in daydreams, vs. practical, snarky reality. And in doing so, I have trouble reconciling myself to..um..myself. I envy people who tend to have a solid, “here I am, world, anchored and secure with who I am and there’s nothing you can do to break me” motto.

It isn’t that I am lacking as far as what I believe in – the universal truths and whatnot. It’s that I am unwilling to give up on the romantic. When I find myself being too practical and responsible, I run to the open arms of Whimsy. It is escapism, I suppose, from all the cold reality that seems to hold me down – responsibility, for example.

But I can’t be real unless I’m daydreaming.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

An Odd Encounter in Concrete and Heels

So the other night we were at a swanky coffee and wine bar where they were playing some live music. After having a glass or two of house Merlot, I excused myself to go to the ladies. To get there I had to wander through a cold concrete maze, following vague signs and arrows, similar to what you would see in a parking garage, usually in a scary movie. What made it bearable was that I passed several colorful people in glam gold spandex and platform shoes. Once I finally found my destination, I walked in to find that there was one other person in the restroom and she was at the mirror applying make-up.

Earlier in the evening I had noticed her. She seemed to know a lot of people in the crowded coffee house, and was constantly getting up and sitting down and hugging people, then kissing them - all European-like. I have to admit that I was a little annoyed since the room was so crowded that there was only an inch and a half space between us, and I was looking at the back of her head. I was sitting on a plush red church pew which was hard to scoot around on, and each time she got up and sat down, I had to scoot around to see the bands. She was very pretty, at least, and I envied her gorgeous, thick hair. Plus she was very at home in her skin. There's something really nice about that.

Anyway, I walked in and she was at the mirror, applying make-up and singing. I tried not to smile, as I found it amusing that she was singing to herself and I caught her. But then I remembered what I was there to do, and now it was quiet in that cold, concrete, now silent bathroom. I was acutely aware of the sound my sassy stilettos made as I walked into a stall - click clack clack clack - and closed the door, the sound echoing back and forth off of the walls. I unbuttoned, sat down and then waited.

Awkward silence.

For far too long.

Years maybe.

No noise, whatsoever.

And then she started singing again. And that's all it took. I took care of business and shyly came out of the stall to wash my hands. I was all prepared to wet my hands, grab a towel, and jet without looking up, because seriously, how embarrassing! Then she spoke to me.

"What color should I go with?"

"Huh?" I said.

"I'm really tired. What color of eyeshadow would help me look less tired: green, copper, or sparkly?"

"I'd go copper with what you're wearing," I said realizing that I- the least girliest girl in the world when it comes to wearing make up - was dishing out advice like Elizabeth Arden.

"Thanks" she said.

"Are you playing next?" I asked.

"Yeah. I'm just trying to look presentable which is really hard right now since I am so tired."

"What time are you going on?"

"Nine-thirty."

"I wish I could hear you play, but we only have the babysitter until 10, and we live a ways away from here." In my brain, as I said this sentence, I couldn't believe I was still talking. Maybe I should tell her that my baby is five months old and that it's my husband's birthday, and that I had a c-section, and my favorite month is October. Lamely I asked, "Do you have a Myspace or anything so that we can catch you at another event?" What? Shut up! I swear I'm not hitting on you, I thought, and I am also not a computer geek...no wait...

"Yeah, she said. Grab a sticker with our web information. Our band is called Inner Frequency."

"OK. Thanks."

And I left- click clack clack clack- feeling a little bit strange and a little bit cool, too.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Friday Night Salon

It's salon time again! If you have a comment/response to any of these, please feel free to write as little or as much as you want! Enjoy!

When was the last time you had a genuine conversation--an experience not of mere self-assertion but of speaking and listening as though you had something both to offer and to receive? Our habits of language define us, but the pace of our lives is such that the simple gestures of listening carefully and speaking prudently are amazingly rare. The Friday Night Salon aims at being an alternative to the urban rush that denies the civilizing graces of community. We begin with good food and drink, then take our places in a circle for discussion about a variety of relevant, substantial topics. It's a welcome way to end the Dallas workweek.

Discussion topics for November 14, 2008:
1. What happened on November 4th?
2. What is entertainment's place in a healthy culture?
3. Are homo sapiens intellectually curious by nature?
4. Chronos vs. kairos: can we control how we experience time?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

To the Looking-Glass world it was Alice that said

“I’ve a scepter in hand, I’ve a crown on my head.
Let the Looking-Glass creatures, whatever they be
Come and dine with the Red Queen, the White Queen, and me!”

Then fill up the glasses as quick as you can,
And sprinkle the table with buttons and bran:
Put cats in the coffee, and mice in the tea—
And welcome Queen Alice with thirty-times-three!

“O Looking-Glass creatures,” quoth Alice, “draw near!
’Tis an honour to see me, a favour to hear:
’Tis a privilege high to have dinner and tea
Along with the Red Queen, the White Queen, and me!”

Then fill up the glasses with treacle and ink.
Or anything else that is pleasant to drink:
Mix sand with the cider and wool with the wine—
And welcome Queen Alice with ninety-times-nine!
from Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Monday, November 10, 2008

Divine Intervention Interrupted by Divine Intervention

I was a bit worried this morning when I got to work and realized what I had planned for the day. It involved the students getting up and reading their free write reflections. I usually assign a specific topic for them to consider and write about, but last week I decided to let them free write, mostly because I had forgotten to prepare a topic for them with all of the billions of essays I had/have to grade. So this morning I panicked a little, especially since there have been countless instances of kids saying hateful things to each other in light of the election, racist things that seriously hurt my heart. I refuse to write these into existence on this blog.

I began the class with this caveat:

"I think before we begin, we need to remember to be mindful of our words and our reactions. We need to respect each others' opinions, but also only share that which is worthy of respect," or something like that. They grinned knowingly at me, as in, "Hey, we know you are talking about the election and the text messages and emails, and we hear you." But then, some of them looked like sabotage was on their minds.

I held my breath as I called on the first volunteer.

"My reflection is on taking things for granted," he began, and continued on about how athletes don't understand what a gift it is to have a talent and to be able to compete.

The second person talked about the fact that she, "can't believe [she] is grown-up." She spoke about her parents seeing her as an adult and the sacrifices they made for her, and the ones she will have to make in the future.

The next boy spoke about death and that he has attended far too many funerals for his peers. He ended with a poem to those friends he lost, a very unexpected response from this very large, O -line athlete.

One talked about synthetic ingredients in perfumes and soaps, another about wanting to play video games as a career, an so on and so forth.

Of all of those who volunteered only one was a bit scathing about the election, and the students, though they gasped collectively, held their breath, waited for her to finish, and exhaled were fairly supportive of her.

I was really proud of them today and felt like I had dodged a bullet of sorts. Unfortunately, I survived this only to realize that the next text I would introduce would be Dante's Inferno.

Hey kids, now that we're done working through being non confrontational about a very personal, passionate subject, let's talk about God and sin and hell! Weee!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Universal Conservation of "L"s

During our three hour window of baby-less transaction, we careened towards the great metro-wonderland of music and lights and dancing and sin, leaning forward to get there faster. And then this:

Him: So, yesterday my students noticed the way I say bolth. They were all like, "Mr. Haag, it's not pronounced boLth, it's both."

Her: See. They're smart.

Him: Well it's not bowwwth. Bowwwth sounds so.. so..

Her: Correct?

Him: Snobby. (lifting his nose in the air) Bowwwth. See? Uppity.

Her: (eye roll) Dude.

Him: Look. It has to do with the Universal Conservation of "L"s

Her: The wha..??

Him: The Universal Conservation of "L"s dictates that we sometimes conserve the L in words like "solder". Say it with me. "saw-der" See? No "L" is pronounced. You then take that L and move it where it is supposed to be - in words such as "boLth".

Her: Oh my God, it's a good thing this is your birthday week-end, the one time you get to say weird stuff and I nod and smile instead of explaining, using pie charts and graphs, why what you are saying is completely pulled out of your ass. (nodding and smiling)

Him: Precisely.

-And scene-

Happy Birthday, Love.

(p.s. I hope you are not too disappointed that we can't afford your midlife crisis Ferrari. At least you have a hot young trophy wife.. (wink))

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Advent Conspiracy - A Very Cool Idea



Go here for more information.

(and thanks to Carol for the heads-up!)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Freaky Friday

Hey, it's Friday! Here's a cat listening to music in a record store!

www.totalleh.com - click to visit

It's what you've always wanted.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gingerly Casting My Medal Aside In The Most Polite Way, So As Not To Cause A Ruckus

I suppose there are always “consequences” for our actions. I mean the wrestler who threw his Olympic bronze medal on the mat and walked away in disgust is now banned from participating in the sport for two years. That's a consequence. Most of us nod our heads and say, “Yes. He deserves that consequence for unsportsmanlike behavior, by God!” Maybe that is the correct reaction. But probably to the wrestler, it was worth making the statement – to fight what he judged as being an injustice - even though he has to endure the consequence.

My former boss, Mr. Adams (and I think I can now say his name since he has retired) always used to ask me a question when I felt like there was an injustice being “committed” in my vicinity. He used to say to me, “Ginger, is this the hill you want to die on?” I assume he said “hill” because, let’s face it, around these parts there are no mountains. The point, though, was clear. He wanted to know if it was worth risking my opinion, my reputation, my job in some cases, to fight for what I think is right. In most cases it was not worth engaging in battle; the injustice wasn't egregious enough to fight against.

I have to admit that I am a passionate, reactionary person and have for several years worked at trying to be more measured – to take a step back before I react, to breathe through emotions, and even “sleep on it” before I respond. In most cases this is a good thing. I suppose that this is some form of maturity training or pearl of wisdom that I seek. I fancy this quality - patience, we might call it or an attempt at understanding - a good one to possess.

But what happens when we decide that whatever we are facing is the battle we want to fight? What happens when we decide that this hill is THE hill?

This has happened to me before. I ended up changing jobs as a result; I couldn’t work for a woman who promoted injustice. I climbed the hill. I was proactive, made my statement, and moved forward. I didn't die.

I am at that point in my life again, standing at the base of a very personal hill. I have relatively little armor to put on, except the confidence to know that something needs to change for me. It is time to move forward. I think it’s time to climb a little, though I do feel afraid.

Maybe I’ll be surprised at the outcome.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Reflection

I knew today would be nuts at school. This election was huge to the students. Plus, most of them, my seniors, are eligible to vote. In their government classes and history classes, they were able to study the candidates' platforms. Student council held a mock election, and the journalism class polled students, passed out surveys, and reported statistics and observations.

Our school is very diverse. We don't really have a "majority" when looking at any demographic. Our school is made up of wonderfully colorful students who represent many cultures and religions. They are from all kinds of socio-economic circumstances and are involved in all kinds of different programs.
I love my school because of this diversity. Most of the time the kids get along really well - they date outside of their demographic, they are mostly tolerant of each other (though still somewhat self-segregated outside of the classroom), and are generally willing to listen to opposing viewpoints.

When it came to this election, however, the kids got lost in the chaos that they saw/heard on their televisions, in the rumor mills, and in their homes. Several of my students (who are quite easily influenced, as most teens are, and who are still very literal thinkers) feel like they have had the rug ripped out from under them. Some of them came into my classroom angry about their candidate - the one they had hope in and were confident about - not getting elected, vocally wondering things like, "how the anti-Christ" got elected. They walked through the halls yelling out things like, "Welcome to Communist America, people."

One of the boys sneered in a most hateful tone, "I can't believe that black Muslim got elected." The sweet little girl sitting next to him - who was wearing her hijab as she does proudly everyday- said in a deflated tone, "He isn't Muslim, first of all, and why do you say that, like it is such a horrible thing if he were?" The hateful boy ignored her, turned to me, and spat, "Would you want a Muslim president?"

I said in what I hoped would be an even, measured tone (though I was raging inside), "First of all, what you are saying is not OK. It is not truth and is completely out of line, so please stop talking."

His voice rising, the boy tried again. "So you don't care if the president is Muslim!"

Again, breathing slowly, fully aware of the Muslim students in my class listening in, I said, "No. I wouldn't mind if the president were Muslim. It is not a factor in my decision making."

And honestly it doesn't matter to me. I don't buy into that stigma, and frankly it pisses me off when people use a person's religious belief as an insult. I firmly told the boy who continued to belabor the point to stop talking, that his remarks were racist and therefore not welcome in my class, and that the topic of the election was off limits. Whispers continued. I tried to go about my lesson ignoring them, reminding them a few times to stop discussing the election.

I usually have fairly open discourse in my class. One of my goals as a teacher is to get our students to listen mindfully and speak prudently. This is extremely difficult for high school students to do since their whole world is divided into absolutes: black or white. This election defied that assertion. Somehow, passion overcame reason for a lot of people in this country, not just in high school students. I had to shut them down because there was no intelligent sharing of ideas, only illogical, truthless rants.

I am proud that a great majority of our country is color-blind enough to elect the first African American president in history. On the news, I am hearing that maybe there will be some unification of our partisans. I hope that the rest of the world sees that we Americans are coming together in an effort to elicit change.

But I am truly sad that as a casualty to these things, our kids have learned that hate speech is OK. And the worst part is, I am almost certain that they don't know what they are saying. In fact, the majority of people who fill their mouths with hate, don't really know what they are saying.

I hope.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Be Prepared

When I was a kid, I always had an exit strategy. I practiced every type of drill and every scenario. For example, I felt that conducting weekly fire drills was extremely important. I made my family go to separate rooms (except for one of my parents who was in charge of actually activating the fire alarm (that is, he or she lit a match and held it up to the alarm)) and wait for the signal. They were to exit the house according to the maps I had drawn out for them, all of which ended at our meeting place, the mailbox. I had alternate routes for them to consult if, for example, the fire was in front of their normal paths. We felt the door, but not the nobs, because that might burn our hands. We crawled on our hands and knees to the nearest exit, because smoke rises, of course, and we covered our mouths with our t-shirts so as not to be asphyxiated. And if anyone deviated from the required procedure, I insisted that we do the drill again. Correctly. And if they didn't, they would experience the wrath that was an eight year old girl.

I kept a baggie of things I would die without under my bed, except that I couldn't live without them, so the bag was generally empty, the items in my arms. I also kept a butter knife under my bed.. uh... in case a murderer came into my room .(?) It was never monsters - only murderers. And they were sure to come in through my window. But I was prepared. I had a knife.

And that kind of explains my whole personality, I think. I hate being blindsided by life, and I want to have a plan for every scenario. If I ever get trapped, I want to have a way out. I have a definite plan of action, but I allow for conditional diversions from the plan, especially for those things I hold dear to me. Also, I am constantly acutely aware that someone/something is going to "get" me. Hence the anxiety meds.

This OCD paranoia keeps me fairly prepared and organized, but also must be really annoying to my friends and spouse. Ask my mom, dad, and brother. Now that I'm a parent I can only imagine the irritation I caused my reluctant parents who all of a sudden were in a difficult dilemma. Should they encourage their daughter to do the "right" thing so that she is prepared in case of an emergency - the emergency that she knew was eminent, or do they tell her to calm down, go outside for some fresh air, and join the real world for once? Fortunately, my brother mocked me enough that I was reminded that perhaps my tactics were a little extreme. He kept me sober.

I don't know where I'm going with this except to say that I fight this tendency. I am so afraid that I will not experience "living" because of all of my rules and plans that I work at spontaneity. Planned spontaneity is what I call it.
I have a route mapped out for it. It involves moving to a different country for a while, eventually. I won't say it is a definite, just yet.

But we have moved from saying "if" to "when", which is a good thing considering the fact that poor Rich will experience the wrath that is a 33 year old woman, otherwise.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ecstatic or Horrified?

If he's ecstatic, it must be because he watched a kid called Crabtree fly across an end zone at the very last second, rekindling the hopes of a crestfallen underdog nation. Watch out boys and girls. He'll likely rush the field.

If he's horrified, it must be because because he just watched several of his burnt orange friends get whipped by a masked rider, cape flying, her cavalry leading the charge.

I personally vote for the former, his arms a signal to the world that what he just saw was, in fact, a touchdown.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I Saved Gilbert Flannigan

I am often cognizant of the (more than likely) fact that I am soul mates with author and comedian, David Sedaris. We are so close that we finish each other's sentences. Or really, he writes the sentences that I wish I could. I bought his new book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, and in it is a story called "April in Paris". In the story, Sedaris who joins the American Arachnological Society, studies and befriends a spider that lives on his window sill in France. He names her April and he ends up taking her to Paris and showing her the Eiffel Tower. Hence, we have the title, "April in Paris".

Just like Sedaris has, I have my own special relationships with some of the infestations in my home. I suppose I don't bond with many of them. Actually, I usually ask most of them to leave, politely of course. The sugar ants are by far the most uncooperative and intrusive, but the ones I really can't tolerate are the roaches. I rarely see them in the house, but if I do, then it's pretty much a scene - hardcore yelling and throwing things. But spiders, especially, are helpful creatures, for the most part, so I usually just ask if they wouldn't mind moving their homes for a few days while company visits.

Last night I befriended a very large fly. He has a striped black and grey body and red eyes, and he told me his name is Gilbert Flannigan. He was just passing through when some thoughtess person closed the door on him, keeping him stuck here until morning. That's what his travel agent implied, anyway, though she didn't come right out and say it. It turns out that Gilbert is very interested in me, and because I literally can't even harm a fly, I tolerated him last night as he watched me get ready for bed. This was mildly uncomfortable, and I have to admit, I felt a little self conscious. Once I turned off the lights to go to sleep, I heard Gilbert flying around, and I thought, "Rich is probably right. He probably is just looking for a place to die." And then I was a little sad for him.

This morning was typical. I got up when I heard our Baby Smuch stirring. I turned on the coffee pot and checked my email. Smuch and I played for a while, Rich got up eventually, and then I decided to bathe. I drew my bathwater and settled in to what I would call an "almost perfect" bath - a nice temperature, a recent New Yorker Magazine in hand. Right in the middle of an article about how McCain ruined a perfectly good Sunday afternoon by kicking a puppy (or something like that), Gilbert showed up.

"I thought you would be dead by now," I whispered to him.

"I'm not dead, yet" was the reply.
"OK," I thought, "that's a pretty resilient beastie, and who am I to end his life? Just because he eats poop and lands on stuff...stuff that my baby touches.."
And that's when it happened!
Gilbert flew directly into my bathwater! I started gagging. My brain was all confused. This was so gross, and yet, I felt horrible that he was struggling to swim. And then came this mental montage: "Flies can't swim, right? Well they sort of can. Look at Gilbert. He's swimming. No. He's flailing... Drowning.. If a fly's wings get wet can he fly? Then he can't eat. Or leave. Or do anything else that flies are wont to do. Why am I doing nothing? I'm complete shit!"

And just like that, I vowed to save Gilbert.

I looked around for something to help because God forbid I would actually touch Gilbert. I ripped out a page of my New Yorker, and fashioned a make-shift buoy for him to cling to. Like a good fly, Gilbert grabbed on. I flipped him out of the bath and after standing on the side of the tub for a pulse check, he flew away. I finished my bath and went about my day.

This afternoon (four hours after the event) Gilbert came to see me in the kitchen to say, I would assume, thank you. He must be pretty grateful, seeing as he let me take his picture, and on the David Sedaris book, no less.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Define "Baby"

I may move to Nebraska in 12 years. It turns out that they have a law that allows mothers to drop off their unwanted babies at the fire station, but the law is not specific about how old the "baby" can or, rather, cannot be. Because of this "loop hole", mothers across the state and beyond are dropping off their unruly teenagers.

"Clearly, clearly, this is not what the Legislature intended," Todd Landry, director of the Nebraska Division of Children and Family Services, said.

Are you sure Mr. Landry, or are you back pedalling now that you realize that teenagers are still classified as children? And teachers are the first to be completely aware of this fact. Just look at their fashion and you'll understand. For example, I was walking down the hall when I saw this:
And yes, skinny jeans (especially on boys) is slightly disturbing, more so, I'd say, than sagging, BUT what about a boy sagging in skinny jeans? Yes, folks, it can be done. And on top of looking HI-larious, the boy could hardly walk, just like in the picture. It was like watching a mix between an infant who is slowly and carefully learning to walk and peg legged pirate tripping down the hall. But he was cool, you know.
And further down the hall I saw the haircut in this picture, the one on the left:





I actually stopped and said,"Really?" Didn't anyone tell the younger generation that the 80's was a multi-track, multi-car train wreck with fatalities fashion wise? They apparently have no idea. But who am I to tell them? I had feathered bangs and leg warmers.

See, Mr. Landry? They're children. You are obligated to take them.

The fire stations will soon be packed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sass

In light of the tanking economy, I've gone a little nuts. Instead of taking all of my money out of the bank and stuffing the cash into pillow cases, medicine bottles, and/or fake hairspray cans, I have been a little bit (more) irresponsible. I'm like Nero who played his fiddle as Rome burned, only we are in America and instead of playing a fiddle, I went shoe shopping. Welcome home darlings:

At least I'll go out stilletto style. And Rich will be happy, too.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I know this makes me embarrassing to all demographics:

I admit it. I was caught loudly singing the following song at what apparently was a very quiet intersection. My car was sandwiched between two others and in each were people much younger than me and much more likely to thump the bass as they reclined at the wheel.. But whatever. You gotta live, yo. Plus, Madonna's hot, Justin helped to revive the beatbox (which we didn't know we missed until he brought it back to American music), and I pretty much like all of the music produced by Timbaland. So there you go..



The ones in the cars one either side of me just sort of grinned and shook their heads at me in shame. Yeah. That's right. That was me on the beatbox. What. You don't know me. Humph..

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Guess What We Did Yesterday..

We performed our civic duty...happily.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ulta - matum

I went to Ulta yesterday to get a foundation brush. This was the first makeup brush I've ever purchased, and I only bought one because I look and feel really tired these days and need some serious help. I figured that if my foundation was applied more evenly - in all the crevices of my face - then maybe I wouldn't look so much like a worn out 30 something high school teacher with a four month old baby at home. Did I mention I also have a cat? I do. I have a cat. I am a 30 something year old high school teaching cat lady with a baby. Not. So. Sexy.

Anyway, this was my first Ulta experience and I have to say that I was seriously taken aback by it. I was completely uncomfortable. I walked around and was acutely aware that I was the only one NOT made up completely. Every woman there was wearing makeup - perfectly applied - and even though their clothes indicated that some of them just rolled out of bed and ran to Ulta because they were out of shampoo and they needed it for their morning shower, they were all adorable. Also their hair was morning messy but in a cute way - as in NOT ratted yet still remarkably flat like mine is in the morning - a little tousled and still styled from a night of cosmopolitans and flirting at the trendy, Jason Mraz playing cocktail lounge.

In short, I am not that girl.

I've never been that girl.

So I grabbed my makeup brush, rushed towards the check out line with my head down, and ran out of the store to stand next to all of the husbands at Golf World so that I would feel a little more comfortable. GOLF WORLD, people!

And for better or worse, I have always been the one who went au naturale (before Niki Taylor made it fashionable in the 90's) when my friends were getting their hair and nails done, but that was mostly because I didn't really give a sh*t about my appearance. Or was it that I was afraid I wouldn't measure up? I can't remember. I do know that I was skinny when curves were in, I had a messy perm when strait and flippy hair was the fashion, and I wore t-shirts, flannels, and baggy jeans probably just to piss off my mom. Also I liked to climb trees.

I've never been girly. I never wore makeup either. In fact, when I actually tried to apply it for prom, my little brother told me I "looked like a whore" just as my date rang the doorbell. I was a little stung by his remark, but at the same time, he had a good point. Unless it was a special occasion, I only wore makeup (read stage makeup) for dance recitals. So that's what I was working with - bright red blush, blue eye shadow, and, yes, whore red lipstick. I didn't know the benefit of whore red lipstick until much later.

Needless to say, I didn't have many dates. Or rather, I had many first dates but was never girlfriend material. I was stuck between the boys I shunned- who loved me - had been in love with me since third grade - who always remembered me on Valentines day, or who sat outside on my front porch all night to prove his devotion(!), and the ones who didn't even notice me, except for the occasional "glad you're one of the guys - and don't get any ideas here," hand shakes etc. Honestly, that wasn't horrible. I had a whole hellovalotta fun with my guy friends who happened to talk to me about the girls they loved.

But back to Ulta. My Ulta encounter intimidated me enough that I immediately made a cut and color hair appointment for today, brushed on my foundation with my new foundation brush, and applied some serious eyeliner so that when all was said and done, I could model stomp into Ulta confidently with "These Boots Were Made for Walkin'" as my theme song.

Unfortunately, the very second I walked in today, that same intimidation seized me. I ran to the nearest stand which happened to be the lipstick display, grabbed the first tube my fingers could grasp -a shade more suitable for pig kissing - and ran like hell to the check out.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Comfortable With Uncertainty

Christine, one of the dearest people on the planet to me and who knows me better than just about everyone, gave me a lovely book for my birthday. It is Pema Chodron's Comfortable With Uncertainty. The book is a compilation of practical mahayana Buddhist teachings/meditation practices intended to "lead us out of the world of self-preoccupation into the greater world of fellowship with all human beings."

I need this.

I really appreciate Buddhism for its universality; one can apply Buddhist teachings to any religion or lifestyle. But I've always had a problem with what I call Buddhism's "selfish nature." In other words Buddhism, as I understand it (and in an extremely tiny nutshell), is about the self, or rather allowing the self to be part of the universe as one whole entity and finding peace therein; it's about transcending our humanness - the self becoming one with nature, with spirituality, with God - leaving worldliness behind, etc.. And I always asked myself where others fit in in all of this detachment. People are extremely important to me - more important than me, actually. I wondered how Buddhism and caring for others could coexist. This book seems to address this issue.

The first lesson in the book is about bodhichitta - the awakened heart of loving kindness and compassion that is inherent to our natural states as human beings. We are linked to everyone through the bodhichitta. But that is not enough. We must strive to be the 'warrior bodhichitta', which means having forward moving energy that is willing to enter into suffering for others' benefit.

One of my favorite statements so far has to be that many people use the 'climbing the mountain' metaphor to define their spiritual journeys, the peak being awakening. Chodron suggests that spiritual awakening is actually a path that goes down the mountain, "transcending the suffering of all creatures" one that "explore[s] reality."

In going down the mountain, we connect with others in the difficult parts of life (and learn compassion this way); therefore we find that "the awakened heart of bodhichitta is the basic goodness of all beings."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

From the Gut

Last night after Rich had sung Jack to sleep, he went out to the "little outside" (our backyard) to bring in Casey Cat for the night. I was in the other room getting ready for bed when I heard Rich come in, riffle through a drawer, and go back out.

I wasn't sure exactly what was happening, so I listened for a minute, heard nothing out of the ordinary, and then followed Rich outside because it was too quiet. That's when I saw an unusual sight:

Rich was standing remarkably still four feet away from the corner of our yard, steadily shining a flashlight where the fences meet. I stood there for a second or two trying to assess the situation. In those very brief seconds, my brain crawler went something like this: "What is he looking at? Is the cat OK? Should I call for help? Should we be on high alert? I have a golf club.. no a bat..Damn, I know I'm for gun control, but maybe I should rethink it. Is that a cadaver? Buried alive? An arm coming from the ground? Mexican mafia..." and so forth. And as my paranoia went from healthy fear to certain global doom, Rich looked over at me and said very mater-of-factly, "Look. A possum."

"Oh," I sighed, a little disappointed, I have to admit.

"No it is! Look. I've never seen a real possum before."

"Is the cat OK?" I asked, not so much impressed by the possum.

"Yeah," he said, "they're friends. They were smelling each other when I got out here. See look. Casey isn't even puffed up."

"Is the possum trapped? Do we need to call animal control?" I asked in hopes that the possum could find his way out of our yard so that it could share this Disney experience with someone else's cat.

Ignoring my crankitude, Rich declared, "Man. I can't wait for Jack to be big enough to come outside and see stuff like this. I'll say, 'Look Baby Jack! A possum!' and he'll be all, 'Cool Dad! That's awesome.'"

"Will you teach him that possums are marsupials?" I mocked.

"Oh. Are they?" he questioned, followed immediately by, "Oh right! The opossum is North America's only marsupial."

And then the laughter came. I realized at that moment that I hadn't laughed in a really, really long time. And I couldn't stop laughing because, damn, Rich is adorable and I'm delighted that he's such a great Dad, and because um, when did Rich apply for, get hired by, and make a documentary on North American Marsupials? I laughed hard. Outloud. From the gut.

And it felt so good.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Alarum Within

I really wish we could have internal warning alarms or some sort of trumpet fanfare - one of those buzzer sounds? - that would indicate to us when something is terribly wrong about our logic or understanding. Sometimes, I guess, we do have some warning- like when we get a heavy feeling in the pit of our stomach when something horrible is about to happen. But mostly I'm talking about having an internal, spiritual, or mental alarum that indicates when we ought to fight a legitimate fight for the good of our mental and spiritual well beings and/or for overall promotion of good in the world.

That being said, we would first need to tap in to that all encompassing "good" quintessence so that we understand that what we are fighting for is actually good.

I think most of us would agree that there are universal qualifiers that make up what we call "good". These are spiritual. They were here before there was a universe, nascent to the very earth that we walk on and to the air that we breathe. We inherently know what these are without being able to define them. They are components that make up qualities such as morality, kindness, helpfulness, gratitude, good stewardship, etc.. In fact, defining "good" as anything other than the components of qualities places a certain bias on the definition of "good". And that can be bad.

To clarify, good has nothing to do with religiosity or cause. I mean, religion and causes can work for (and with) the greater good, but neither of these are inherently good since they are man made. Both, without meaning to, can actually oppose goodness.

That being said, what happens when we perceive "good" to be threatened? To what extent is it our jobs as upholders of good to fight in the name of it?

For example, when someone makes a statement such as, "All Iraqis are terrorists" or "Americans are more deserving of (food, good health, happiness, wealth..) than everyone else" or "People who are poor deserve to be poor" or "If your religion isn't _____(fill in the blank with any dogma)_________, then you're going to hell" etc. and OH MY GOD, there are so many more that I've heard today alone. These statements do not, in any way, reflect the "good" as we should all understand it. In fact, even though the people making these statements perceive them as being good or being made in the name of what they think is good, they are completely bogus universally!

There should be alarum for that.

And that's what I mean in talking about alarum within. Why can't there be something internal that indicates either #1, the fact that what we are saying is ridiculous, illogical, uh.. bullshit and/or #2 a rational reaction is appropriate when dealing with others who say things that oppose goodness so that they can understand the fallacy of their statements, especially when they don't even recognize that what they are saying is harmful. And regarding the second, there are times when it is not OK to react.

I suppose I am sounding elitist here. I don't mean to be elitist. In fact there are plenty of times when someone has needed to blow a whistle on my thoughts and statements..actions, even. And if I were truly a good person, fighting for the universal good, then maybe I wouldn't be as afraid of confrontation.

But I wrestle with knowing when to fight and when to stand down, especially when dealing with people I love.. And that in iteself creates alarum within, but of a different nature.

Loud Logical Fallacies

All logic is gone in this country and not in a good way. At least it feels that way to me, and I happily include myself in this statement. Bluntly, I really don't care about the actual "logic" (or illogic, really) part of it, except to say that it is what's feeding this huge emotional, reactionary shitwad of unpleasantness.

It isn't new that we all have differing opinions. It isn't new that we are treating each other poorly. It isn't new that our stress levels are maxed out. What is new is that we are all so divided that instead of sweeping things under rugs, pretending that certain opinions don't exist so that we can get through Christmas dinner relatively unscathed or ignoring that proverbial elephant (or donkey) in the room to preserve some sort of mental stability, all we are doing is talking! And it isn't healthy talking. It is Jerry Springer talking. Good-hearted, moral people are acting two and are speaking over, pointing fingers, and loudly yelling at other good-hearted, moral people who have their fingers in their ears, who are yelling "lalalalalala I can't hear you lalalalala." And then a timer goes off and the (non)listeners become the talkers and the talkers insert fingers into their ears. Isn't what I've just described one of the circles of hell in the Inferno?

The worst part is that some of us are listening and it is making us so incredibly sad that we just want to crawl under rocks and die a little. Some of us are learning things about our loved ones that we didn't want to know. Some of us are being heinously mistreated by those loved ones. People we had higher hopes for are disappointing us left(wing) and right(wing).

Please understand that healthy talk is a good thing. Maybe not within families... But can't we all just shut the hell up for a minute? Imagine what the world would be like if everyone just shut their freaking pie holes for one. whole. minute. SHHHHHH!

But we can't do it.

And I think that really makes God sad.

(If you've neverread the Twilight Zone screen play, "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street", you should. That would give you a pretty accurate illustration of what's happening here.)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hello, Mam. May I hold your walker for you?

So, I'm another year older today. And don't I know it. I thought I was OK with this - you know - because age is only in the mind and all.. (sigh).
But DUDE. I got called "mam" four times this week! FOUR. And not by students who sometimes call me that. . The ones in ROTC do, anyway. And not by anyone who knows I am a year older today. Four perfect strangers called me mam this week - all unrelated.

I had to ask myself, "When did that happen? When did I become a mam?"

The first time it happened, I thought "How funny. What a weird-o! Mam is such an outdated word."

The second time, I actually looked down at my clothes. "OK, so I'm not wearing a teeny tank top and teeny shorts (which is strike one if you are my age and still wearing that - a clear indication of Mam status); my clothes aren't that 'last season', though I could use a trip to New York and Co. - no mom jeans or anything."

And then I realized, "Oh. It's my underwear.. (has to be!) cotton.. briefs...holes.." And I swore I would do better tomorrow. And yeah yeah, even though the culprit wasn't something others would notice, per se, I was obviously giving off the cotton brief vibe, a.k.a, the mam vibe!

The next day I wore a racy black thong.

It was horrible.

But I wore it anyway, just to try and get the mam off of me.

It didn't work.

Twice more I got called mam. Is it because I have a kid? Does that automatically give a girl mam status? I have noticed a few more things sagging.. Is it my laugh lines that give me my mamish-ness? Is this one of those things that I just have to accept as part of the aging process?

PLEASE someone,tell me.

Until then, I guess I'll go and watch the Sex in the City movie to feel better about myself.

p.s. I wonder which of my reactions to being called mam was the the worst. Was it when I stood there, mouth agape, in my local coffee establishment when the rather large man in a tutu called me mam? Or was it when the new hire colleague at work called me mam in the copy room?

p.p.s. Sucks to my asthmar!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A "Fringe" Candidate

Today I happened to wander my way over to Swindle Magazine's website in all of its hardcore, grunge-alicious brilliance. Well, actually, I sort of tripped over it.. on purpose. But in doing so, I found this tasty treat. Enjoy:


Vermin Supreme


By Simon Steinhardt
Photos by Adam Amengual

Graphics by Rad Mountain On the campaign trail, Vermin Supreme likes to start his sentences with “I am the only candidate who supports…” And it’s true: he is the only candidate who supports fully funding time-travel research in order to go back and kill Hitler before he was born. He’s also the only candidate who makes mandatory toothbrushing his signature issue. After all, as he says in his dental manifesto, “Proper dental hygiene is essential to proper social order.” If you’re worried about flying monkey tooth fairies enforcing the mandatory toothbrushing laws, fear not, since Vermin Supreme is also the only candidate who promises that such creatures will not be used to that end.

Plenty of people make a career out of making a mockery of politics—it’s not hard to ridicule something that, more often than not, borders on farce. But few of them go so far as to legally change their name and party affiliation and pony up the cash it takes to get on the presidential primary election ballot, as Vermin did in Washington, D.C., in 2004 (as a Democrat) and in New Hampshire this year (as a Republican).

Vermin runs for president of the United States because it’s the highest office on the ballot, but his real campaign (or “cam-pain,” as he spells it) is for Emperor of the New Millennium. It’s an important job, considering he won’t be up for re-election until the year 2999 if he wins. And if he does, we’ll gladly yield to his mighty authoritarian leadership, as long as it’s as much fun as he promises.

Tell us about your campaign operation.


Baby, I am nationwide. I am fucking nationwide. That’s all I can say. I have constituents across this great nation of ours. Their level of support is indeed varying and wavering, but I’ve never blamed any of my supporters—and I use the term loosely—who will not actually contribute to my campaign, either with time or financial contributions. I understand that they may have to operate in a whole other dimension of reality.

You seem very focused on domestic policy—toothbrushing laws, legalizing human meat and so forth.Yes, and free ponies for all Americans. But where do you stand on foreign policy issues?


Well, I do believe that we should give the Iraqi people the opportunity to become a part of this great nation of ours. I firmly believe that Iraq would truly make a wonderful 51st state. It’s been quite some time since we’ve actually added a state to the union, and I believe the flag-makers of America could certainly use a shot in the arm in that direction, not that it’s strictly pork for them of course.

Are there any other prospects for statehood in your plan?


It looks like Iran is fixing to want to become a state. I’ve been watching the news, and it looks like they just might want to be our 52nd state, after Iraq. Once they’re all paying taxes to Uncle Sam and they’ve got the American flag flying over there, they’ll be instilled with pride for our nation. It will be such a beautiful, peaceful thing. Then, and finally then, they will be greeting us with flowers and roses and roadside flower stands and things like that.
Well it sounds like a mission accomplished to me.Yes sir.

Now as far as I know, you’re the only candidate, at least in the Republican Party, who wears a clown nose. Why do you think John McCain doesn’t want to wear a clown nose?


Sir, I’d like to address that issue of the clown nose. That is a dirty trick, sir. That is a smear that my opponents have apparently tarred me with for some reason. If you look carefully, you will notice that I’m not wearing a clown nose, nobody has seen me wearing a clown nose, and it seems that it is being added after photos are taken and distributed to the media.

So what is your real nose apparel?


Occasionally sun block when it’s really hot out, man. I have a very fine nose, I’m not ashamed of my nose, and I’m not sure why all this censorship of my nose occurs in the media. It’s very strange. I think you’ll notice that sometimes it’s actually a blue dot that I think was on TV for a while. I think it originally came from the National Enquirer. I think they put it on the face of that rape victim of one of those Kennedy kids, and then they started using it on my nose. A lot.

So are you saying you refuse to wear a clown nose?


Once again, if that’s what the people want, if the focus groups indicate that I would gain a certain segment of the clown-loving audience, then I’m all for it. My own personal research has shown that more people tend to be afraid of clowns, and would not be likely to vote for an actual clown for the presidency of the United States of America, let alone any other office.

What sort of controversial figures are floating around your campaign that you’re trying to minimize contact with?


I believe for the sake of my campaign and trying to avoid scandals that may have occurred in my past, I’m going to say that I’ve never heard of the Church of Euthanasia. And let me also say further that I never appeared on The Jerry Springer Show with them. I hope I’m clear on that. If I’m seriously trying to avoid the biggest scandal from my past, once again, I deny it would be any affiliation with any suicide-abortion-promoting cannibal cult. Not me.

Now I’m going to give you a little fill-in-the-blank analogy here. Barack Obama is to hope as Vermin Supreme is to…


A big block of Velveeta-style cheese.

So would you say you’re running on a cheese-based campaign platform?


As they say, all hail the power of cheese, but only in a metaphorical sense I suppose.

Melted, in a block or powder?


Oh, it would certainly be a big block, a strong foundation for this country.

Do you have any pop artists working on Vermin-cheese posters or anything like that?


Well the contest is open. Did I mention the Vermin Supreme Presidential Library?

No—tell me about that.


What I have done, I have hijacked a portion of the New Hampshire Political Library, which is a part of the New Hampshire State Library. The New Hampshire Political Library exists to collect memorabilia from the New Hampshire primary, and what I have done is I have taken over a section of it, liberating a corner of it, and declaring it the Vermin Supreme Presidential Library.



That seems a little presumptuous, don’t you think? Declaring yourself “presidential” at this point?


Presidential is a word that, if you look it up in the dictionary, would be described as something that pertains to the presidency, and so in that definition of the term I believe I am perfectly justified in claiming that it’s a presidential library, since it does pertain to the presidency and my quest for it.

From your market research, what do you see as some hot-button issues this year that aren’t being addressed by the mainstream candidates?


Once again, my quadrennial issue of mandatory toothbrushing, the funding of time travel, the zombie preparedness issue—those are my three hot-button topics, and of course free ponies, which is just a fucking promise to get votes, quite frankly. I also want to lower the voting age to 6 and make Hannah Montana my running mate.

Now what do you see as the flaws in Barack Obama’s stance on the toothbrushing laws?


Soft on plaque.

What about McCain?


If you dig deep, it’s not explicitly labeled, but I have exclusive video documentation of Senator John McCain giving support to the mandatory toothbrushing law. The approximate quote goes something like this. I asked him, “Senator McCain, do you support mandatory toothbrushing?” And he responded as follows: “Why yes, as a matter of fact, my campaign staff has a lot of practice hiding in people’s bathrooms late at night in order to make sure they have brushed.” So I’d have to say that he did in fact give full-on support for it.


There have been rumors that John McCain has been trying to get you to drop out of the race and endorse him. What do you say to that?


Once again, they haven’t made me a serious offer yet for my consideration to do that.

So what would you consider a serious offer that you’d be willing to accept in return for your endorsement of Senator McCain?

I’d settle for a cabinet-level position or a large cash payoff to help retire my campaign debt.

What particular campaign post would you be looking for?


I’d have to go for agriculture.

John McCain seems to have moved towards the center on—


Well he did start to suck the fucking fundamentalists’ dicks for a little while there…

I was going to say he had shifted specifically on environmental policy, or has at least tried to market himself as “green.” Would you say you’re more connected to the party’s base on environmental issues?


Well you know I’ve always been a long-term advocate of weather dome technology. As the climate undergoes certain alterations—and it hasn’t been proven that it’s caused by humans, by any means—the technology of weather domes, ala Bucky Fuller, is a very important part of my thing. Or we could simply kick anyone who complains about the weather out of the country. Environmentally, yeah I would be the extreme—extreme—environmental president. You see what I’m saying? Because I know the kids like to use that word, “extreme,” so I’m trying to use that buzzword in my campaign as much as possible. If you could just insert “extreme” in between every other word in the interview, that would be very cool.
So I’m sort of the extreme environmental candidate, and I believe that we can solve the excess carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere if we carbonate every beverage drunk by every American. I think the carbonated soft drink industry is on the right track, but as president I would certainly increase the amount of carbonation in all beverages, and carbonate every beverage that is not carbonated yet. And that way, we can all share in the burden of consuming and dissipating these harmful CO2 gases that might do something at some point.

So you’re saying you would take the CO2 gases out of the air and put them into our water pipes?


And our milk, and our orange juice and all other juices, and we’d pump up the carbon dioxide content in beers and sodas and all that good stuff. It would be extra, like extreme I guess. That’s just my solution, although I haven’t run it by any scientists yet.


How do you feel about being labeled as a “fringe” candidate?


It’s a term I can live with. I accept it. I’d prefer “lesser-known,” but I’ve certainly been called worse than “fringe.”


Like what?


Well I’d rather not get into it. You might use these words against me.

Well they’re just coming out of your mouth, so they’ll be printed as such.


Yeah, well, I’m not falling into that trick. I’m smarter than that. I’ve been doing this for quite some time, sonny.


Go here for the article.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Carol

This isn't the first time I've promoted her blog, but if you want to be inspired, you really ought to read all of the advent meditations on Carol's blog, Join the Living. She and/or her partner, Kate, posted daily advent meditations - ones that are apt all the year round and that are spiritually relevant. Enjoy!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mark Twain on free speech:

'As an active privilege, it ranks with the privilege of committing murder: we may exercise it if we are willing to take the consequences. Murder is forbidden both in form and fact; free speech is granted in form but forbidden in fact. By the common estimate both are crimes, and are held in deep odium by all civilized peoples. Murder is sometimes punished, free speech always - when committed. Which is seldom... There is justification for this reluctance to utter unpopular opinions: the cost of utterance is too heavy...

'... I feel it every week or two when I want to print something that a fine discretion tells me I mustn't. Sometimes my feelings are so hot that I have to take to the pen and pour them out on paper to keep them from setting me afire inside..'

- from Mark Twin's "The Priviledge of the Grave"

Thanks to this week's The New Yorker for this reminder.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sometimes it's hard having a superpower.. You know?

It turns out that I have bionic hearing. Of all the superpowers one could acquire, this wouldn't be my first pick, but then one rarely chooses these things as he is being bitten by a radio active spider, as he is careening from his destroyed planet into a farm field in his infant sized space ship, or as he is being genetically modified into a weapon of mass destruction by the military who (generally) underestimates a person's emotional yearnings to do the right thing. Not that any of that happened to me. I don't think.

But I do have strong hearing as evidenced by the fact that I get angry when certain members of my household breathe too loudly. I try not to react when the person next to me sounds like the space shuttle throttling as he casually watches a movie turned up so loud that the Branch Davidians feel nervous. That confrontation always ends poorly, with a snippy comment by the breather that goes, "You seriously want me to die, don't you. Sorry I have to breathe in your space to survive."

Because of my extraordinary (ahem) gift, life can be fairly miserable. I can hear every conversation in my classroom and have to pretend not to hear most of them since some of them could ruin a person's faith in humanity. I hear every slight move the baby makes over the monitor. It wakes me up at night and I have to make sure he is Okay, even though I know that he probably just slightly moved his hand. Also, I hear a horrifically high pitched shrieking that comes from our cable box. So much so that I sometimes can't be in the same room with the TV.

And the last sound is a particular bitch.

We had satellite up until a month ago when fate would send a cable representative up our drive. Rich, in his usual hospitable manner, invited the guy in, made him a cup of cocoa, and asked him if he'd like to build a fort in the living room with the couch cushions and play Wii Mario Cart. Or that's how it sometimes happens in my mind when we invite a salesman into our house. It's always bad news because we "befriend" the person and feel obligated to buy whatever it is that he's selling. That's how we ended up with the most worthless vacuum known to man and a subscription to Cruising World Magazine.

Needless to say, we got cable and bundled some stuff, or something.

The problem was the cable box screamed. Loudly. Sometimes even Rich could hear it.

After the first week of enduring the sound, I demanded that Rich call the cable company. They remarked that sometimes the boxes squeal a little when the DVR is working and that they would come out and fix it right now. They did. I hardly had time to drag a comb through my hair when the man showed up with a shiny new cable box. And I was impressed. Until the shiny new box began squealing, too.

Once again we called. This time, At&t (the phone company/cable supplier) hung up on us twice and on the third attempt told us they would send someone between 12 noon and 4pm the following day. I tried not to be too snarky about the fact that noon to 4 is when all of the cool stuff happens in a day. I'm not sure exactly what, but I do know that I was most inconvenienced. And it was, after all, my fault, I suppose, that my super bionic military infused hearing from another planet was picking up the sound. I had already been a pain, and I was trying not to push it.

So we waited. Patiently. From 12 noon to 4pm. No calls. No doorbells. No new cable box.

Annoyed, Rich called again. They "checked on his account" for 20 minutes, and while doing so, hung up. We hung our heads, defeated.

As life moves along in it's own special time, or two hours later in this case, I forgot to be mad about the cable box. We were having dinner guests over to celebrate Christmas before all of us succumbed to family visits and the usual "holiday cheer". Around the time that the fist guest arrived, the phone, which hadn't rung all day, rang.

Me: "Hello?"

Him: "Yeah. This is Dennis. From At&t. I have a work order for you."

Me: (Annoyed)"Um. You guys were supposed to be here from noon to fou.."

Him: (Also annoyed and cutting me off)"Yeah and I just got the order."

Clearly he was having a bad day, so I tried to soften my tone.

Me: "Okay. Where are you, Dennis?"

Him: "Close."

Me: "Okay. But we're having a dinner party. I suppose you are welcome to come on in and install the new box.. and if you're hungry, there's plenty of spaghetti. Do you like spaghetti?"

Him: "Uh. Well. (sigh) Um. It's OK about the dinner part, but I'll come and install the box."

Me: "Okay. See you soon, Dennis."

And we disconnected.

The dinner guests arrived. And so did Dennis. He began installing the new box as we were toasting our evening. I again offered some dinner to Dennis, who was clearly amused at the proposition, and as the evening went on, I occasionally looked around dinner guest Jamie who was sitting directly across from me and who silently snickered with me, to check on Dennis. He was fine, his blue tooth ear piece blinking with importance. And we ate. And he watched.

Rich eventually showed Dennis out, inviting him back later for fort building, and everyone seemed content or at least amused.

That is until I was up with the baby in the middle of the night. While walking through the living room I sighed to myself, "Well. At least this one doesn't scream as loudly as the previous two." And I wasn't talking about the baby.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A New Kind Of Discipline


Oh, you better watch out You better not cry

Better not pout. I'm telling you why

Santa Claus is coming to town!


(Thanks for the magical Christmas for kids pics, Gagi!)


Dichotomy

Before Jack arrived and during the time I procrastinated about setting up his room until I was so pregnant I could hardly walk, I was somewhat cool. Okay. I use the term loosely.But I had the most awesome circumstance - that is getting to do what I wanted, when I wanted. But the day I was setting up the nursery, clearing out all of that junk clutter - the stuff that accumulates because you don't have the heart to throw it out just yet and that tells some interesting stories about who you are - I ran across something particularly intriguing. At the time, I threw that object in the "get it the hell out of the way, I don't care what you have to do to it to make it disappear" pile, but maybe it should have gone in the "hey look Rich, it's another trip to the attic for you; sorry, I can't take care of it myself since I'm 75 years pregnant and you did this to me (eat a bag of shit)" pile.

I wish I had put it in the latter pile, but alas, it is gone forever.

I'm talking, of course, about my Beef stick. I realize that that could be misconstrued, so I'll leave it to you to brave the link. But that's one of the things that I miss. Or really, it represents the lifestyle that I miss. Instead of saving sticks and bobble heads and all the ridiculous pre-baby chochkey, I'm saving onesies and pacis and booties. Not that those things are bad to save. I do love my kid more than any of that. But I miss me too.

I tried to salvage some part of my 'before Jack' identity, by moving from Viaggio to here and setting up the Bug Barn, for example. Also, without meaning to, I realized the other day that I'm only buying red things (underwear, outerwear, shoes). I'm trying to continue doing the things I used to do - like Salon. But Me as I knew me, is fading. And I think that's OK. I guess I should say that I'm evolving. I mean, Ani DiFranco did it. So can I, right? But it's hard.

My thoughts are flooded only with Jack - what he needs, if he's hungry or tired or bored. I no longer have time for The New Yorker or for reading anything heavier than Janet Evanovich and Stephanie Meyer. And I'm doing crafts, for the love of God- making ornaments out of Styrofoam and glitter! For example, a few days ago I was watching Martha Stewart glue glitter to Styrofoam bird asses. I then caught myself thinking, "Oooh. glittery bird ass; it's a good thing!"

And then I made one.

And then I started wretching at the realization.

Gah! And what the hell!?

I know it's supposed to be like this, and I'm sure there is some sort of genetic something that makes mommies blind to everything except to what their babies and Martha Stewart need. I think it starts with nesting - that whole throwing out the Beef sticks to get ready for the baby. But where does it end? Should it?

I'm probably loosing it. But in my defense, I already was. At least I have a semi-legitimate excuse.

(As you can see, the writing is suffering, too, as the brain is now one tracked.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's What's for Dinner

I'm having peppermint cookies and white Merlot for dinner tonight - part of the perks of being A) a "grown-up" B) too lazy to cook C) completely unconcerned at the moment about personal health and D) a selfish, indulgent girl.

Thanks for the cookies, Fougs!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Blahgy Blog

I didn't go to my faculty Christmas party this year.. because.. um. .. I suck. I have no excuse other than I flat out didn't want to go. I haven't been particularly social this year for a several reasons:

1. I am bad at idle chit chat and really don't have time for it. Be my friend, genuinely, or get out of the way so that I can get a cup of coffee and go home.

2. I am tired. And cranky. Because I have a 6 month old baby who is teething.

3. I have a ridiculous amount of homework all of the time, every. single. day. most of which stays packed in my school bag because

4. I have a ridiculous amount of housework to do, too.

5. I haven't felt "well" in a while, probably because of hormones.. or lack of exercise..or lack of vegetables.. or due to stress.. probably because I have 150 students, 3 preps, and some really demanding parents (as in one sent me a boldface list of demands, to which I raised my middle finger).

6. I'm balding.

7. I'm so so SO tired. I think I already mentioned it. But I can't remember because I'm SO so tired.

Ironically, I am actually in the holiday spirit, probably because I am so excited to make it special for Baby Jack. He is a relief to all of my cantankery.

I'm sorry for being all grumpy on my blog, or really, my "blah-g". It probably means I'll be getting a call or two from my family. But I promise to get better soon. I do have a break coming up. All I have to do is survive tomorrow and then I might be able to catch up and breathe.

And there is hope. I'm on a red kick lately and recently helped myself to some RED unmentionables from Victoria's Secret, and a red pea coat to match. I'll throw on my heels and it's a party... but not a faculty Christmas one.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

In Memoriam

Bettie Page 1923-2008
"She captured a generation of men and women with her free spirit and unabashed sensuality..."

On Being Left

There are so many things I need to write about today and I can't. My muse has packed her suitcase, left an ultimatum in the form of a tear-stained note on my pillow, and is currently hailing a cab. I don't have the energy to run after her, especially when it's raining. So this is me lethargically drooling across a keyboard, hoping that someday all will be resolved, though far be it for me to put any effort into it. She may never return. And that means neither will I. The trick is it's supposed to be this way for me - what's best for him is the "right" way for me, for us and this new life- for today, at least.

I'm such a bitch to let her go.

But then she could have had the decency to tell me she was leaving..

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Dream Cafe Revisited

Last night, after a few stems of Pinot Grigio and some contemplative conversation, I accidentally found myself at what used to be a whimsical restaurant, a bohemian veg mecca that unfortunately cowed to meat, therefore becoming appealing to those of us who are a little behind the curve, trend-wise, and a lot more safe. And there I sat among new friends and old, realizing that what happened to the restaurant was sort of a reflection of me.

Not the meat part.. I've always been a carnivore except for that one week when a friendly Uzbek challenged me to an all out veg-a-thon. That was a long week for me, especially as I only know how to steam veggies and toss salads.. Plus, I had jury duty that week. But that's a different story.

Anyway.

What I mean is that I'm past that age of trial and error, freedom wise, and have settled in to my age group - the one where we are fairly comfortable with the status quo- where we make decisions because we are responsible, and "it makes sense," rather than allowing for surprises, even if sometimes the surprises are uncomfortable. I've cowed to an expectation.

What's worse is during the time when it made sense for me to be most irresponsible, I was completely rational! Ugh. What a waste! OK, so not all was a waste. I did, you know, get an education and travel the (safe, Western) world, pretending to be irresponsible. I did wander down to Mexico City once in college, equipped with nothing but a backpack and curiosity, and then eventually Montezuma's revenge.. That was irresponsible, I suppose, and made the bus ride back close to unbearable. But now I'm all consumed by the fact that that part of my life - the part with those sorts of options - may be over for a while.

I have a mortgage. In suburbia. With a cat. And a kid.

Whatthehellhappened?!!

Can I find my way back to at least a little bit of spontaneity?

Some of my friends have gone back, and I envy them.

We did pack Jack's clothes in a Rick Steeves travel backpack for our Thanksgiving jaunt to the Flatlands, and that gave me some hope for our family's future. Also, I applied for a work visa abroad (and was told I am an unlikely candidate), and searched for teaching jobs abroad. I found one UK match that sounded perfect, except I would have to start January 9th - as in a month from now, if I were hired. No can do with all of my responsibility and mortgage..

I suppose, I'm just looking for a new adventure now. I want to dust off the comfort zone and do something else. And maybe looking is enough of a distraction for now, until I can actually make some life changing decisions.
But I am antsy..

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Friday Night Salon

When was the last time you had a genuine conversation--an experience not of mere self-assertion but of speaking and listening as though you had something both to offer and to receive? Our habits of language define us, but the pace of our lives is such that the simple gestures of listening carefully and speaking prudently are amazingly rare. The Friday Night Salon aims at being an alternative to the urban rush that denies the civilizing graces of community. We begin with good food and drink, then take our places in a circle for discussion about a variety of relevant, substantial topics. It's a welcome way to end the Dallas workweek.

Discussion topics for December 5, 2008:
1. The psychology of money
2. Is homo sapiens intellectually curious by nature?
3. Can we control how we experience time?

All responses to any and all of the questions are welcome!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cloudy and Confounded Philosophy

Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has fallen, we've got used to the ruins, and we start to build up new little habitats, new little hopes. If we can't make a road through the obstacles, we go round, or climb over the top. We've got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen. - Lady Chatterley's Lover, D.H. Lawrence, 1927

Sunday, November 30, 2008

"I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever be, like, whelmed?"

Thirty days of my life have just gone by, each one feebly chronicled here for NaBloPoMo. I feel glad that it is over because I didn't enjoy the days of posting what I call "fluff," but sad, too, because I really enjoyed reading what you all had to say. Also, I made new friends!!!

Actually, I enjoy the fluff - but only when I think it is valuable or funny in some way. When I didn't have something to say, I felt like NaBlo, in his zoot suit and matching fedora, would hold a gun to my ribs and with his cigar smoky breath whisper something like, "You see here, honey, you'll post the meaningless fluff or you'll be sleeping with the fishes. Capisce?"

And I would be all like, "OK. fine. Maybe I want to sleep with fishes. I mean they're not so bad, other than they smell, um, fishy. Plus, that would get me out of grading papers (which I can't NOT mention), and away from my sick husband and kid. Hell, I'll sleep with you, NaBlo, if you can work that kind of magic. But first, I've always wanted to go to a speakeasy. Do you know where one is? What's the password? Can I order a Cape Cod? Can I wear your hat?"

And then Nablo would sigh, drop the gun, turn around and walk away, mumbling something about it not being worth it and something about Vinnie not liking this a damn bit.

"Hey, where are you going? Come back! I'll wear my stilettos! Hey!" I'd call after him. "I'll sleep with the fishes if you want!" And then on the bank of the Hudson, I would mix two buckets of concrete, step into them while wet, wait for the mix to harden, and then throw myself into the river, through the fall yelling, "See! Look! Fluff fluff fluff fluff.. (splash)" All for Nablo: fluff for fluff's sake.

I really wanted to challenge myself to think this month. I rarely get a chance to have a thought these days. Unfortunately, life gets busy. And my life is insane at the moment. I realized this when I was sitting at my in-laws house wondering if I had time to do my homework AND put out the Christmas decorations. The answer was NO. Then I had to wonder about priorities. Among many similar circumstances (change the second activity to whatever you want, the first one (homework) always being the constant), I did have time to at least post something. That is something to be proud of, I suppose. And I will miss NaBlo.

At least I'm free now. I can post or not post as much as I want.

**Title quote from Ten Things I Hate About You

Saturday, November 29, 2008

At least we're home

This is just a quick note to say that we're home safe. We had to make a midnight drive back -- the baby (finally) asleep in his car seat, Rich hanging over a sick bucket for 6 hours. They both have a nasty stomach virus, and I'm doing my best to help, though helpless is exactly what I feel..

In related news, this morning I awoke to find a baby cricket in the kitchen sink. I tried to save it, using the ole paper under the bug relay. In the end, I got the cricket outside, but I think I broke two of its legs in the process.

I hope this doesn't reflect poorly on my nursing skills.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Shannon Doherty did you happen to meet my friend, Gloria?

Gloria Estefan is my nemesis. Many of you know this already. For those of you who don't, I'll briefly explain. When the Miami Sound Machine comes on the radio, it's like all of a sudden I'm under hypnosis and the mesmerist, in his calmest, most sedate voice says, "OK. Ginger, when you hear, 'One, two, three, four; Come on baby, say you'll love me; five, six, seven ti-imes...' I want you to grab that butcher knife, wave it in the air, and vow to assassinate the person who personally programmed that song into the play list. OK. You will wake up at the sound of 'eight, nine, ten, eleven...'" And then I do. I grab the nearest weapon, which is usually my big mouth and I verbally castrate the DJ. I can't help it. It's coded in my DNA. I mean it's nothing personal. I'm certain that Gloria is a wonderful human being. I just inexplicably loathe her voice. It makes me want to commit homicide.

The reason this came up today was I saw a preview for some Hallmark Thanksgiving special "starring Shannon Doherty" who apparently went from 90210 bitch-itude to "And I'm thankful for you, and you, and oh, yes, little Timmy, you too. Let's roast marshmallows and sing Christmas carols by the light of the warm, glowing hearth, and learn special lessons about giving thanks."

I didn't know it until I saw the preview, but I had a Gloria Estefan reaction to Shannon, too. Right then and there, I vowed NEVER to watch anything EVER with her in it.

Even though I'm not really sad about this recent development, I do blame Gloria for it. Thanks Gloria. Thanks a lot for limiting my Hallmark movie choice this holiday season. I hope you two are very happy together.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Obligatory Post

In Lubbock.
Smiling Baby.
Family.
Visiting friends.
First family "portraits".
Off schedule.
Smiling...No, wait. Screaming baby.
Rosa's Mexican Food.
No nap.
Movie.
Fussy time (me).
Tired.
Still no nap (me or baby).
Screaming baby again.
Spilled wine.
2 minutes to post.
G'night soon, I hope.

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's been a whole year, but we're back in the Flatlands

We made it to the Hub City, all in tact, and saw some really cool wind turbine farms - not the sort of farms we're used to seeing in these parts, I tell you what.

Other than cleaner energy, everything seems to be the same around here, except that the whole town is still recovering from the remarkable ass kickin' it received on Saturday. The folks are licking their wounds, guns in the air. We will survive. Yes. We will survive.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Between Loads..

Fulfilling NaBlo postal obligations between loads of laundry by saying these things:

* I miss going to the movies. There are so many I want to see. I missed Wall-E, and Ironman, and now I see that James Bond will not wait for me.. Plus, I miss the popcorn. For far too long I was "good" and either didn't get a tub OR I got a tub without butter. What was I thinking?! I wasted all of that buttery goodness! Maybe one or more grandparents will watch Jack for an evening over Thanksgiving so that we can catch a movie or two.. (hint hint).

*The TTU defeat last night was too painful to watch.. So I didn't. I sulked in my room while Rich endured the trauma. Call me a fair weather fan if you want, but there is something to be said for not bitch slapping yourself over and over again. And last nights game was the mother of all bitch slap parties to which I RSVP'd a resounding, "Aw, hell no! I won't go!"

* I should be grading papers. I have 40 Macbeth essays left to mark and 11 Dorian Gray character sketches. Only 4.25 hours of grading over Thanksgiving.. except for all of the stuff waiting for me when I get back: 130 Inferno projects, 130 SAT practice papers, and an entire literary magazine to edit. Oh, and planning the next units.. But no stress.. F*CK!

* At least my kid can sit up and play with toys for minutes at a time. And I mean it when I say I am thankful for that!

*Tomorrow we head to the Flatlands.. That will be fun!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hooray Beer...Goggles

The man with the snake brimmed ten gallon hat swaggered by our table at Buck n Loons. He paused, eyes piercing through my skin, and continued on around the corner. I mumbled something about that being an odd behavior - to walk by a person, stop for enough time for the observed to feel uncomfortable, and then continue on without a word - but then I realized that I was talking about a man who had a rattle snake wrapped around his hat, the head of said snake lying limply on the brim. Probably he was not very concerned with social norms or ordinary types of pleasantries. He certainly did make an impression, though.

I am not unaccustomed to West Texas eccentrics since many of them were members of my Texas Panhandle family. Those men would gather in Mimi’s kitchen, chug Keystones, and rehash old stories that usually involved pick-ups, dirt, and/or a shotgun. These yarns were endearingly woven and told of some idiot friend who got himself into some sort of scrape, one that the ______(fill in the blank with fire chief, preacher, or sheriff)____ had to get him out of. Many of the tales ended with the listeners braying, “Ah hell” in whatever inflection was appropriate to the story – as in “No shit?!” or “That’s too bad,” or “That’s the most hilarious thing I’ve ever heard!” As the evening progressed and the beer coolers emptied, some of the stories were reenacted with props – like with a dead rattlesnake, a weed whacker, or shot gun shells. Always there was a lot of laughter, though any city slicker would have been justifiably afraid. Even I was sometimes uncomfortable, though I felt a great love and admiration for those Flatlander good-ole-boys.

So the snake brimmed man at Buck n Loons didn’t scare me as much as he reminded me of my childhood.

I, being at the end of an extremely challenging work day, sat lethargically people watching and sipping on Texas tea when he sauntered back around. I was determined to speak, to at least say hello to this dusty cowboy who obviously had some fascinating stories to tell. Before I could take a breath for what would be hello, he again stopped at our table.

This time he tapped Rich on the shoulder and said, “You do know you’re with the prettiest woman in the room, dontcha?” But before I had the chance to puff up with any ounce of pride, before Rich could even respond to confirm or deny his observation, the man said, “You better realize it or else we’ll have to take you to Vegas.”

Being understandably thrown, Rich asked, “What?”

The man explained, “You know, Vegas.. Where you can easily bury a body without being caught.”

We paused for a moment, trying to determine whether or not the man was making a joke or being genuine. I glanced over at Baby Jack, wondering how I would grab him and make a speedy exit if necessary.

Then with a huge yawping guffaw, the man slapped Rich on the back and made his way back to the bar.

“He he..he,” we weakly tittered in return.

“Check, please!”

Thursday, November 20, 2008

An Escape from Reality

It took some resistance on my part and much begging on theirs, but I finally gave in. Thanks to my students, I am reading Twilight.

Here's the thing: The book isn't written particularly well, though I am appreciative of the fact that it uses some SAT vocabulary words and the main character, Bella, likes to read and do homework - a character trait that sets her apart from the other flighty girls in the story and is, therefore, part of what the dream boy/vampire Edward admires in her. It is not a unique story, by any means, and is, as everyone deems it, a teen ROMANCE novel.

The question is, is that OK?

Edward, the ideal, who (though he wants Bella in an instinctual, predatory way) must keep his distance, physically, except for the occasional flirtatious face stroking. And maybe this will change by the end of the novel, which, in my opinion, will kill the interest. In romance novels, the lovers can't give in too easily and must make the reader wait (sometimes agonizingly) for consummation. That's what keeps us reading. Edward has to be a gentleman otherwise he wouldn't be able to control himself and would 'devour' Bella.

In the past Vampire stories (especially in places like Victorian England where staunch religion suppressed basic human nature) were sort of a way to bypass religious dogma while still playing at morality. In reading the books, men, with the unquenchable thirst for delicate, pure women, were allowed to 'take' them in a primal way, without all of the messiness of the sinful affair. And women, in reading the books, could be quite willingly 'taken'. In the end, the vampires were 'monstrous' villains and the poor helpless, though alluring, women were victims, plain and simple.

So maybe this is what Twilight is, as are all romance novels, an escape from reality where the girl who represents those of us who are ordinary - brown haired, brown eyed semi intelligent girls who want to be special enough for the ideal man to want us so much that it pains him- to be innocently seduced without feeling guilty about the seduction.

And there's nothing wrong with that, I suppose, as long as we remember that it is fantasy. Edward is not real. But then, neither is Bella.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Texas grand Jury indicts Cheney, Gonzales

(CNN) — A grand jury in south Texas indicted Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney Geneneral Alberto Gonzales on separate charges related to alleged prisoner abuse in federal detention centers, Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra told CNN Tuesday.
On the southern tip of Texas, Willacy County is on the United States-Mexico border.
Democratic state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. is also charged in the indictment. Michael R. Cowen, an attorney for Lucio, issued a statement calling Guerra a “one man circus.”
Cheney spokeswoman Megan Mitchell said, “The vice president has not received an indictment.”

And from The Washington Post and AFP.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I've got your friggin' post

I'm in a foul mood and I am about to take it out on you.. or really on this blog. And before I even say why I'm pissy, I should first say that I am embarrassed about airing it all out in such a public venue. Apparently, though, I'm not embarrassed enough to not post it.

So I think I'm sick. This may or may not be a direct result of the flu shot I got on Saturday.

I think Jack is sick. I can't tell, exactly, other than to say he is CONSTANTLY fussy/crying, won't take naps, is arching his back when being held, won't play or smile or do anything except cry. And I am helpless. I can't fix it. He has no other symptoms except that he won't sleep and is constantly crying.

I am buried in homework. I can't get caught up. And the district wants to give me more to do. They decide on Thursday whether or not next year they will give me more students and take away a conference period.

We don't have enough funds to make our magazine in litmag right now. Unless the kids come up with some significant patrons, the mag is sunk.

I feel really bad for Rich at the moment. He gets to hold the screaming kid right now. He, too, is feeling helpless.

I have to go and help now.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Something I usually forget, but want to be better at remembering:

"When we start to meditate or work with any kind of spiritual discipline,we often think that somehow we're going to improve, which is a subtle aggression against who we really are. It's about like saying,"If I jog, I'll be a much better person."... But loving kindness - maitri - toward ourselves doesn't mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy, we can still be angry. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. Meditation practice isn't about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It's about befriending who we are already."

from Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I can't breathe

Teaching is too hard.

Recently, Christine and I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed with our jobs. Both of us have been playing with the idea that maybe we should be doing something else. We have been playing at "what if?" and have been looking at job opportunities and graduate programs. A new job is very appealing, especially now, at the end of the six weeks when the demands of our students, the parents, the administrators, and paperwork completely kick us in the gut with steel-toed boots.

This year I have been completely ineffective, as seen in my students' grades, in their attitudes, and even in the condition of my poor, abused and littered classroom. As Christine puts it, it's like we are water boarding beaten horses. We are dragging them to the water, shoving their heads under, and screaming at them, "Drink! Drink! Drink!" Afterwards, they blankly stare at us blinking and then make some ridiculous comment like, "Why do we have to be here? School sucks," and "This is boring,"and "Do we have to do anything today? I hate reading." I try to reply with a little bit of humor, saying things like, "Sorry I have to make you work IN SCHOOL." But the retorts are fairly consistent: "Well, if you were more _____(fill in the blank with your own word)___________ then maybe we would want to do something."

Yes. It is my fault.

And I say that with some sincerity. It is my fault if my kids are not learning. But at the same time, they have to at least care.. a little. And this year I am seeing an overwhelming majority of kids who would like to sleep through class, do no homework, and then expect to pass. They don't want to read, write, or even think. And you know what? They don't have to. This is where education is going in this country. We have completely lost the notion that getting a diploma is an important privilege. Instead it has become a required chore for all involved.

I hate that I sound so negative about my job and my students. I don't want to become one of those teachers and have vowed that if I were becoming that cantankerous soul, I would go and do something else. I do actually love and care about them.

But, this is me looking for something else to do.

The really sad thing is, most of my students would agree that I am a good teacher. I spend tons of time talking to them, working with them, making precise comments on and about their assignments. I meticulously mark their papers (Essays take 8 or so minutes to grade each. Multiply that times 150 students and you'll see how much extra time - outside of school- I spend working and that doesn't include daily assignments or planning). I work hard, and I really don't have to. I get paid the same amount as the person who shows "Dead Poets Society" everyday in class. I beat myself trying to be effective for my kids - to cater to their learning styles and their personalities. Their learning is my responsibility, and I take that very seriously.

A lot of people believe that to an extent teachers have it easy - they at least get the summers off. But as my good friend Jamie puts it (and sorry if I butcher this, Jamie), jobs are like cars. Some cars are year round cars; they steadily accumulate mileage and are fairly well maintained. And then you have race cars; they work for a season each year, but are driven into the ground, accumulating the same number of miles but with a lot more wear and tear. Teaching is like the race car, and the off season doesn't make the car any less worn and it doesn't change the mileage.

The summers no longer makeup for the wear and tear during the year. On top of the extreme workload and duties, our particular district would like to increase our class load by one class (30 more kids) by taking away a conference period. Because we are on a 4x4 block schedule, we would only have a conference period every other day. I will have more to do and less time to do it in, with NO extra pay. No other professional job would dare increase workload, decrease work time, and not compensate the employee for it.

I've already said I am having trouble working with apathy. It might be different if my kids were eager to learn or if they gave a shit about school. It might be different if I received some kind of respect from my kids, from the parents or from the district, or if what I do was valued in any way (other than being tossed the occasional societal platitude). But I'm not a miracle worker. I neither have the time or the energy to fight the good fight.

I think it may be time to move on.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm Of The Wonderland Persuasion

I’ve always been the hopeless romantic – in a Sibyl Vane sort of way – as in I am naively in love with art and poetry and Prince Charmings and all of the utter tragedy that is love and beauty and the loss of those, knowing full well that reality may suffocate them. Even as a child one might have seen me take some practice swoons onto a fainting couch so that when the time came for me to actually swoon, I would do it right and with the perfect and appropriate effect. Or I might have cried at the injustice of windblown plastic bag, the injustice being, of course, that the bag was plastic and not paper. I would often get trapped in the romantic and worked at staying in that dreamy state – I wanted to be Alice at the tea party.

Unfortunately, the transference of the romantic to reality never really worked since reality is composed of practicality - time management, check book balancing, and (what a majority deem) rationality. Morality also raises its eyebrows occasionally in the realm of the real, though I highly suspect that Guilt is guilty of using Morality as its lap dummy. But my imagination certainly didn’t fit into this world.

I coped (and still do to an extent) with this duality by living two separate lives: my romantic, idealistic side, the one that keeps me in daydreams, vs. practical, snarky reality. And in doing so, I have trouble reconciling myself to..um..myself. I envy people who tend to have a solid, “here I am, world, anchored and secure with who I am and there’s nothing you can do to break me” motto.

It isn’t that I am lacking as far as what I believe in – the universal truths and whatnot. It’s that I am unwilling to give up on the romantic. When I find myself being too practical and responsible, I run to the open arms of Whimsy. It is escapism, I suppose, from all the cold reality that seems to hold me down – responsibility, for example.

But I can’t be real unless I’m daydreaming.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

An Odd Encounter in Concrete and Heels

So the other night we were at a swanky coffee and wine bar where they were playing some live music. After having a glass or two of house Merlot, I excused myself to go to the ladies. To get there I had to wander through a cold concrete maze, following vague signs and arrows, similar to what you would see in a parking garage, usually in a scary movie. What made it bearable was that I passed several colorful people in glam gold spandex and platform shoes. Once I finally found my destination, I walked in to find that there was one other person in the restroom and she was at the mirror applying make-up.

Earlier in the evening I had noticed her. She seemed to know a lot of people in the crowded coffee house, and was constantly getting up and sitting down and hugging people, then kissing them - all European-like. I have to admit that I was a little annoyed since the room was so crowded that there was only an inch and a half space between us, and I was looking at the back of her head. I was sitting on a plush red church pew which was hard to scoot around on, and each time she got up and sat down, I had to scoot around to see the bands. She was very pretty, at least, and I envied her gorgeous, thick hair. Plus she was very at home in her skin. There's something really nice about that.

Anyway, I walked in and she was at the mirror, applying make-up and singing. I tried not to smile, as I found it amusing that she was singing to herself and I caught her. But then I remembered what I was there to do, and now it was quiet in that cold, concrete, now silent bathroom. I was acutely aware of the sound my sassy stilettos made as I walked into a stall - click clack clack clack - and closed the door, the sound echoing back and forth off of the walls. I unbuttoned, sat down and then waited.

Awkward silence.

For far too long.

Years maybe.

No noise, whatsoever.

And then she started singing again. And that's all it took. I took care of business and shyly came out of the stall to wash my hands. I was all prepared to wet my hands, grab a towel, and jet without looking up, because seriously, how embarrassing! Then she spoke to me.

"What color should I go with?"

"Huh?" I said.

"I'm really tired. What color of eyeshadow would help me look less tired: green, copper, or sparkly?"

"I'd go copper with what you're wearing," I said realizing that I- the least girliest girl in the world when it comes to wearing make up - was dishing out advice like Elizabeth Arden.

"Thanks" she said.

"Are you playing next?" I asked.

"Yeah. I'm just trying to look presentable which is really hard right now since I am so tired."

"What time are you going on?"

"Nine-thirty."

"I wish I could hear you play, but we only have the babysitter until 10, and we live a ways away from here." In my brain, as I said this sentence, I couldn't believe I was still talking. Maybe I should tell her that my baby is five months old and that it's my husband's birthday, and that I had a c-section, and my favorite month is October. Lamely I asked, "Do you have a Myspace or anything so that we can catch you at another event?" What? Shut up! I swear I'm not hitting on you, I thought, and I am also not a computer geek...no wait...

"Yeah, she said. Grab a sticker with our web information. Our band is called Inner Frequency."

"OK. Thanks."

And I left- click clack clack clack- feeling a little bit strange and a little bit cool, too.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Friday Night Salon

It's salon time again! If you have a comment/response to any of these, please feel free to write as little or as much as you want! Enjoy!

When was the last time you had a genuine conversation--an experience not of mere self-assertion but of speaking and listening as though you had something both to offer and to receive? Our habits of language define us, but the pace of our lives is such that the simple gestures of listening carefully and speaking prudently are amazingly rare. The Friday Night Salon aims at being an alternative to the urban rush that denies the civilizing graces of community. We begin with good food and drink, then take our places in a circle for discussion about a variety of relevant, substantial topics. It's a welcome way to end the Dallas workweek.

Discussion topics for November 14, 2008:
1. What happened on November 4th?
2. What is entertainment's place in a healthy culture?
3. Are homo sapiens intellectually curious by nature?
4. Chronos vs. kairos: can we control how we experience time?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

To the Looking-Glass world it was Alice that said

“I’ve a scepter in hand, I’ve a crown on my head.
Let the Looking-Glass creatures, whatever they be
Come and dine with the Red Queen, the White Queen, and me!”

Then fill up the glasses as quick as you can,
And sprinkle the table with buttons and bran:
Put cats in the coffee, and mice in the tea—
And welcome Queen Alice with thirty-times-three!

“O Looking-Glass creatures,” quoth Alice, “draw near!
’Tis an honour to see me, a favour to hear:
’Tis a privilege high to have dinner and tea
Along with the Red Queen, the White Queen, and me!”

Then fill up the glasses with treacle and ink.
Or anything else that is pleasant to drink:
Mix sand with the cider and wool with the wine—
And welcome Queen Alice with ninety-times-nine!
from Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Monday, November 10, 2008

Divine Intervention Interrupted by Divine Intervention

I was a bit worried this morning when I got to work and realized what I had planned for the day. It involved the students getting up and reading their free write reflections. I usually assign a specific topic for them to consider and write about, but last week I decided to let them free write, mostly because I had forgotten to prepare a topic for them with all of the billions of essays I had/have to grade. So this morning I panicked a little, especially since there have been countless instances of kids saying hateful things to each other in light of the election, racist things that seriously hurt my heart. I refuse to write these into existence on this blog.

I began the class with this caveat:

"I think before we begin, we need to remember to be mindful of our words and our reactions. We need to respect each others' opinions, but also only share that which is worthy of respect," or something like that. They grinned knowingly at me, as in, "Hey, we know you are talking about the election and the text messages and emails, and we hear you." But then, some of them looked like sabotage was on their minds.

I held my breath as I called on the first volunteer.

"My reflection is on taking things for granted," he began, and continued on about how athletes don't understand what a gift it is to have a talent and to be able to compete.

The second person talked about the fact that she, "can't believe [she] is grown-up." She spoke about her parents seeing her as an adult and the sacrifices they made for her, and the ones she will have to make in the future.

The next boy spoke about death and that he has attended far too many funerals for his peers. He ended with a poem to those friends he lost, a very unexpected response from this very large, O -line athlete.

One talked about synthetic ingredients in perfumes and soaps, another about wanting to play video games as a career, an so on and so forth.

Of all of those who volunteered only one was a bit scathing about the election, and the students, though they gasped collectively, held their breath, waited for her to finish, and exhaled were fairly supportive of her.

I was really proud of them today and felt like I had dodged a bullet of sorts. Unfortunately, I survived this only to realize that the next text I would introduce would be Dante's Inferno.

Hey kids, now that we're done working through being non confrontational about a very personal, passionate subject, let's talk about God and sin and hell! Weee!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Universal Conservation of "L"s

During our three hour window of baby-less transaction, we careened towards the great metro-wonderland of music and lights and dancing and sin, leaning forward to get there faster. And then this:

Him: So, yesterday my students noticed the way I say bolth. They were all like, "Mr. Haag, it's not pronounced boLth, it's both."

Her: See. They're smart.

Him: Well it's not bowwwth. Bowwwth sounds so.. so..

Her: Correct?

Him: Snobby. (lifting his nose in the air) Bowwwth. See? Uppity.

Her: (eye roll) Dude.

Him: Look. It has to do with the Universal Conservation of "L"s

Her: The wha..??

Him: The Universal Conservation of "L"s dictates that we sometimes conserve the L in words like "solder". Say it with me. "saw-der" See? No "L" is pronounced. You then take that L and move it where it is supposed to be - in words such as "boLth".

Her: Oh my God, it's a good thing this is your birthday week-end, the one time you get to say weird stuff and I nod and smile instead of explaining, using pie charts and graphs, why what you are saying is completely pulled out of your ass. (nodding and smiling)

Him: Precisely.

-And scene-

Happy Birthday, Love.

(p.s. I hope you are not too disappointed that we can't afford your midlife crisis Ferrari. At least you have a hot young trophy wife.. (wink))

Friday, November 7, 2008

Freaky Friday

Hey, it's Friday! Here's a cat listening to music in a record store!

www.totalleh.com - click to visit

It's what you've always wanted.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gingerly Casting My Medal Aside In The Most Polite Way, So As Not To Cause A Ruckus

I suppose there are always “consequences” for our actions. I mean the wrestler who threw his Olympic bronze medal on the mat and walked away in disgust is now banned from participating in the sport for two years. That's a consequence. Most of us nod our heads and say, “Yes. He deserves that consequence for unsportsmanlike behavior, by God!” Maybe that is the correct reaction. But probably to the wrestler, it was worth making the statement – to fight what he judged as being an injustice - even though he has to endure the consequence.

My former boss, Mr. Adams (and I think I can now say his name since he has retired) always used to ask me a question when I felt like there was an injustice being “committed” in my vicinity. He used to say to me, “Ginger, is this the hill you want to die on?” I assume he said “hill” because, let’s face it, around these parts there are no mountains. The point, though, was clear. He wanted to know if it was worth risking my opinion, my reputation, my job in some cases, to fight for what I think is right. In most cases it was not worth engaging in battle; the injustice wasn't egregious enough to fight against.

I have to admit that I am a passionate, reactionary person and have for several years worked at trying to be more measured – to take a step back before I react, to breathe through emotions, and even “sleep on it” before I respond. In most cases this is a good thing. I suppose that this is some form of maturity training or pearl of wisdom that I seek. I fancy this quality - patience, we might call it or an attempt at understanding - a good one to possess.

But what happens when we decide that whatever we are facing is the battle we want to fight? What happens when we decide that this hill is THE hill?

This has happened to me before. I ended up changing jobs as a result; I couldn’t work for a woman who promoted injustice. I climbed the hill. I was proactive, made my statement, and moved forward. I didn't die.

I am at that point in my life again, standing at the base of a very personal hill. I have relatively little armor to put on, except the confidence to know that something needs to change for me. It is time to move forward. I think it’s time to climb a little, though I do feel afraid.

Maybe I’ll be surprised at the outcome.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Reflection

I knew today would be nuts at school. This election was huge to the students. Plus, most of them, my seniors, are eligible to vote. In their government classes and history classes, they were able to study the candidates' platforms. Student council held a mock election, and the journalism class polled students, passed out surveys, and reported statistics and observations.

Our school is very diverse. We don't really have a "majority" when looking at any demographic. Our school is made up of wonderfully colorful students who represent many cultures and religions. They are from all kinds of socio-economic circumstances and are involved in all kinds of different programs.
I love my school because of this diversity. Most of the time the kids get along really well - they date outside of their demographic, they are mostly tolerant of each other (though still somewhat self-segregated outside of the classroom), and are generally willing to listen to opposing viewpoints.

When it came to this election, however, the kids got lost in the chaos that they saw/heard on their televisions, in the rumor mills, and in their homes. Several of my students (who are quite easily influenced, as most teens are, and who are still very literal thinkers) feel like they have had the rug ripped out from under them. Some of them came into my classroom angry about their candidate - the one they had hope in and were confident about - not getting elected, vocally wondering things like, "how the anti-Christ" got elected. They walked through the halls yelling out things like, "Welcome to Communist America, people."

One of the boys sneered in a most hateful tone, "I can't believe that black Muslim got elected." The sweet little girl sitting next to him - who was wearing her hijab as she does proudly everyday- said in a deflated tone, "He isn't Muslim, first of all, and why do you say that, like it is such a horrible thing if he were?" The hateful boy ignored her, turned to me, and spat, "Would you want a Muslim president?"

I said in what I hoped would be an even, measured tone (though I was raging inside), "First of all, what you are saying is not OK. It is not truth and is completely out of line, so please stop talking."

His voice rising, the boy tried again. "So you don't care if the president is Muslim!"

Again, breathing slowly, fully aware of the Muslim students in my class listening in, I said, "No. I wouldn't mind if the president were Muslim. It is not a factor in my decision making."

And honestly it doesn't matter to me. I don't buy into that stigma, and frankly it pisses me off when people use a person's religious belief as an insult. I firmly told the boy who continued to belabor the point to stop talking, that his remarks were racist and therefore not welcome in my class, and that the topic of the election was off limits. Whispers continued. I tried to go about my lesson ignoring them, reminding them a few times to stop discussing the election.

I usually have fairly open discourse in my class. One of my goals as a teacher is to get our students to listen mindfully and speak prudently. This is extremely difficult for high school students to do since their whole world is divided into absolutes: black or white. This election defied that assertion. Somehow, passion overcame reason for a lot of people in this country, not just in high school students. I had to shut them down because there was no intelligent sharing of ideas, only illogical, truthless rants.

I am proud that a great majority of our country is color-blind enough to elect the first African American president in history. On the news, I am hearing that maybe there will be some unification of our partisans. I hope that the rest of the world sees that we Americans are coming together in an effort to elicit change.

But I am truly sad that as a casualty to these things, our kids have learned that hate speech is OK. And the worst part is, I am almost certain that they don't know what they are saying. In fact, the majority of people who fill their mouths with hate, don't really know what they are saying.

I hope.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Be Prepared

When I was a kid, I always had an exit strategy. I practiced every type of drill and every scenario. For example, I felt that conducting weekly fire drills was extremely important. I made my family go to separate rooms (except for one of my parents who was in charge of actually activating the fire alarm (that is, he or she lit a match and held it up to the alarm)) and wait for the signal. They were to exit the house according to the maps I had drawn out for them, all of which ended at our meeting place, the mailbox. I had alternate routes for them to consult if, for example, the fire was in front of their normal paths. We felt the door, but not the nobs, because that might burn our hands. We crawled on our hands and knees to the nearest exit, because smoke rises, of course, and we covered our mouths with our t-shirts so as not to be asphyxiated. And if anyone deviated from the required procedure, I insisted that we do the drill again. Correctly. And if they didn't, they would experience the wrath that was an eight year old girl.

I kept a baggie of things I would die without under my bed, except that I couldn't live without them, so the bag was generally empty, the items in my arms. I also kept a butter knife under my bed.. uh... in case a murderer came into my room .(?) It was never monsters - only murderers. And they were sure to come in through my window. But I was prepared. I had a knife.

And that kind of explains my whole personality, I think. I hate being blindsided by life, and I want to have a plan for every scenario. If I ever get trapped, I want to have a way out. I have a definite plan of action, but I allow for conditional diversions from the plan, especially for those things I hold dear to me. Also, I am constantly acutely aware that someone/something is going to "get" me. Hence the anxiety meds.

This OCD paranoia keeps me fairly prepared and organized, but also must be really annoying to my friends and spouse. Ask my mom, dad, and brother. Now that I'm a parent I can only imagine the irritation I caused my reluctant parents who all of a sudden were in a difficult dilemma. Should they encourage their daughter to do the "right" thing so that she is prepared in case of an emergency - the emergency that she knew was eminent, or do they tell her to calm down, go outside for some fresh air, and join the real world for once? Fortunately, my brother mocked me enough that I was reminded that perhaps my tactics were a little extreme. He kept me sober.

I don't know where I'm going with this except to say that I fight this tendency. I am so afraid that I will not experience "living" because of all of my rules and plans that I work at spontaneity. Planned spontaneity is what I call it.
I have a route mapped out for it. It involves moving to a different country for a while, eventually. I won't say it is a definite, just yet.

But we have moved from saying "if" to "when", which is a good thing considering the fact that poor Rich will experience the wrath that is a 33 year old woman, otherwise.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ecstatic or Horrified?

If he's ecstatic, it must be because he watched a kid called Crabtree fly across an end zone at the very last second, rekindling the hopes of a crestfallen underdog nation. Watch out boys and girls. He'll likely rush the field.

If he's horrified, it must be because because he just watched several of his burnt orange friends get whipped by a masked rider, cape flying, her cavalry leading the charge.

I personally vote for the former, his arms a signal to the world that what he just saw was, in fact, a touchdown.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I Saved Gilbert Flannigan

I am often cognizant of the (more than likely) fact that I am soul mates with author and comedian, David Sedaris. We are so close that we finish each other's sentences. Or really, he writes the sentences that I wish I could. I bought his new book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, and in it is a story called "April in Paris". In the story, Sedaris who joins the American Arachnological Society, studies and befriends a spider that lives on his window sill in France. He names her April and he ends up taking her to Paris and showing her the Eiffel Tower. Hence, we have the title, "April in Paris".

Just like Sedaris has, I have my own special relationships with some of the infestations in my home. I suppose I don't bond with many of them. Actually, I usually ask most of them to leave, politely of course. The sugar ants are by far the most uncooperative and intrusive, but the ones I really can't tolerate are the roaches. I rarely see them in the house, but if I do, then it's pretty much a scene - hardcore yelling and throwing things. But spiders, especially, are helpful creatures, for the most part, so I usually just ask if they wouldn't mind moving their homes for a few days while company visits.

Last night I befriended a very large fly. He has a striped black and grey body and red eyes, and he told me his name is Gilbert Flannigan. He was just passing through when some thoughtess person closed the door on him, keeping him stuck here until morning. That's what his travel agent implied, anyway, though she didn't come right out and say it. It turns out that Gilbert is very interested in me, and because I literally can't even harm a fly, I tolerated him last night as he watched me get ready for bed. This was mildly uncomfortable, and I have to admit, I felt a little self conscious. Once I turned off the lights to go to sleep, I heard Gilbert flying around, and I thought, "Rich is probably right. He probably is just looking for a place to die." And then I was a little sad for him.

This morning was typical. I got up when I heard our Baby Smuch stirring. I turned on the coffee pot and checked my email. Smuch and I played for a while, Rich got up eventually, and then I decided to bathe. I drew my bathwater and settled in to what I would call an "almost perfect" bath - a nice temperature, a recent New Yorker Magazine in hand. Right in the middle of an article about how McCain ruined a perfectly good Sunday afternoon by kicking a puppy (or something like that), Gilbert showed up.

"I thought you would be dead by now," I whispered to him.

"I'm not dead, yet" was the reply.
"OK," I thought, "that's a pretty resilient beastie, and who am I to end his life? Just because he eats poop and lands on stuff...stuff that my baby touches.."
And that's when it happened!
Gilbert flew directly into my bathwater! I started gagging. My brain was all confused. This was so gross, and yet, I felt horrible that he was struggling to swim. And then came this mental montage: "Flies can't swim, right? Well they sort of can. Look at Gilbert. He's swimming. No. He's flailing... Drowning.. If a fly's wings get wet can he fly? Then he can't eat. Or leave. Or do anything else that flies are wont to do. Why am I doing nothing? I'm complete shit!"

And just like that, I vowed to save Gilbert.

I looked around for something to help because God forbid I would actually touch Gilbert. I ripped out a page of my New Yorker, and fashioned a make-shift buoy for him to cling to. Like a good fly, Gilbert grabbed on. I flipped him out of the bath and after standing on the side of the tub for a pulse check, he flew away. I finished my bath and went about my day.

This afternoon (four hours after the event) Gilbert came to see me in the kitchen to say, I would assume, thank you. He must be pretty grateful, seeing as he let me take his picture, and on the David Sedaris book, no less.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Define "Baby"

I may move to Nebraska in 12 years. It turns out that they have a law that allows mothers to drop off their unwanted babies at the fire station, but the law is not specific about how old the "baby" can or, rather, cannot be. Because of this "loop hole", mothers across the state and beyond are dropping off their unruly teenagers.

"Clearly, clearly, this is not what the Legislature intended," Todd Landry, director of the Nebraska Division of Children and Family Services, said.

Are you sure Mr. Landry, or are you back pedalling now that you realize that teenagers are still classified as children? And teachers are the first to be completely aware of this fact. Just look at their fashion and you'll understand. For example, I was walking down the hall when I saw this:
And yes, skinny jeans (especially on boys) is slightly disturbing, more so, I'd say, than sagging, BUT what about a boy sagging in skinny jeans? Yes, folks, it can be done. And on top of looking HI-larious, the boy could hardly walk, just like in the picture. It was like watching a mix between an infant who is slowly and carefully learning to walk and peg legged pirate tripping down the hall. But he was cool, you know.
And further down the hall I saw the haircut in this picture, the one on the left:





I actually stopped and said,"Really?" Didn't anyone tell the younger generation that the 80's was a multi-track, multi-car train wreck with fatalities fashion wise? They apparently have no idea. But who am I to tell them? I had feathered bangs and leg warmers.

See, Mr. Landry? They're children. You are obligated to take them.

The fire stations will soon be packed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sass

In light of the tanking economy, I've gone a little nuts. Instead of taking all of my money out of the bank and stuffing the cash into pillow cases, medicine bottles, and/or fake hairspray cans, I have been a little bit (more) irresponsible. I'm like Nero who played his fiddle as Rome burned, only we are in America and instead of playing a fiddle, I went shoe shopping. Welcome home darlings:

At least I'll go out stilletto style. And Rich will be happy, too.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I know this makes me embarrassing to all demographics:

I admit it. I was caught loudly singing the following song at what apparently was a very quiet intersection. My car was sandwiched between two others and in each were people much younger than me and much more likely to thump the bass as they reclined at the wheel.. But whatever. You gotta live, yo. Plus, Madonna's hot, Justin helped to revive the beatbox (which we didn't know we missed until he brought it back to American music), and I pretty much like all of the music produced by Timbaland. So there you go..



The ones in the cars one either side of me just sort of grinned and shook their heads at me in shame. Yeah. That's right. That was me on the beatbox. What. You don't know me. Humph..

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ulta - matum

I went to Ulta yesterday to get a foundation brush. This was the first makeup brush I've ever purchased, and I only bought one because I look and feel really tired these days and need some serious help. I figured that if my foundation was applied more evenly - in all the crevices of my face - then maybe I wouldn't look so much like a worn out 30 something high school teacher with a four month old baby at home. Did I mention I also have a cat? I do. I have a cat. I am a 30 something year old high school teaching cat lady with a baby. Not. So. Sexy.

Anyway, this was my first Ulta experience and I have to say that I was seriously taken aback by it. I was completely uncomfortable. I walked around and was acutely aware that I was the only one NOT made up completely. Every woman there was wearing makeup - perfectly applied - and even though their clothes indicated that some of them just rolled out of bed and ran to Ulta because they were out of shampoo and they needed it for their morning shower, they were all adorable. Also their hair was morning messy but in a cute way - as in NOT ratted yet still remarkably flat like mine is in the morning - a little tousled and still styled from a night of cosmopolitans and flirting at the trendy, Jason Mraz playing cocktail lounge.

In short, I am not that girl.

I've never been that girl.

So I grabbed my makeup brush, rushed towards the check out line with my head down, and ran out of the store to stand next to all of the husbands at Golf World so that I would feel a little more comfortable. GOLF WORLD, people!

And for better or worse, I have always been the one who went au naturale (before Niki Taylor made it fashionable in the 90's) when my friends were getting their hair and nails done, but that was mostly because I didn't really give a sh*t about my appearance. Or was it that I was afraid I wouldn't measure up? I can't remember. I do know that I was skinny when curves were in, I had a messy perm when strait and flippy hair was the fashion, and I wore t-shirts, flannels, and baggy jeans probably just to piss off my mom. Also I liked to climb trees.

I've never been girly. I never wore makeup either. In fact, when I actually tried to apply it for prom, my little brother told me I "looked like a whore" just as my date rang the doorbell. I was a little stung by his remark, but at the same time, he had a good point. Unless it was a special occasion, I only wore makeup (read stage makeup) for dance recitals. So that's what I was working with - bright red blush, blue eye shadow, and, yes, whore red lipstick. I didn't know the benefit of whore red lipstick until much later.

Needless to say, I didn't have many dates. Or rather, I had many first dates but was never girlfriend material. I was stuck between the boys I shunned- who loved me - had been in love with me since third grade - who always remembered me on Valentines day, or who sat outside on my front porch all night to prove his devotion(!), and the ones who didn't even notice me, except for the occasional "glad you're one of the guys - and don't get any ideas here," hand shakes etc. Honestly, that wasn't horrible. I had a whole hellovalotta fun with my guy friends who happened to talk to me about the girls they loved.

But back to Ulta. My Ulta encounter intimidated me enough that I immediately made a cut and color hair appointment for today, brushed on my foundation with my new foundation brush, and applied some serious eyeliner so that when all was said and done, I could model stomp into Ulta confidently with "These Boots Were Made for Walkin'" as my theme song.

Unfortunately, the very second I walked in today, that same intimidation seized me. I ran to the nearest stand which happened to be the lipstick display, grabbed the first tube my fingers could grasp -a shade more suitable for pig kissing - and ran like hell to the check out.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Comfortable With Uncertainty

Christine, one of the dearest people on the planet to me and who knows me better than just about everyone, gave me a lovely book for my birthday. It is Pema Chodron's Comfortable With Uncertainty. The book is a compilation of practical mahayana Buddhist teachings/meditation practices intended to "lead us out of the world of self-preoccupation into the greater world of fellowship with all human beings."

I need this.

I really appreciate Buddhism for its universality; one can apply Buddhist teachings to any religion or lifestyle. But I've always had a problem with what I call Buddhism's "selfish nature." In other words Buddhism, as I understand it (and in an extremely tiny nutshell), is about the self, or rather allowing the self to be part of the universe as one whole entity and finding peace therein; it's about transcending our humanness - the self becoming one with nature, with spirituality, with God - leaving worldliness behind, etc.. And I always asked myself where others fit in in all of this detachment. People are extremely important to me - more important than me, actually. I wondered how Buddhism and caring for others could coexist. This book seems to address this issue.

The first lesson in the book is about bodhichitta - the awakened heart of loving kindness and compassion that is inherent to our natural states as human beings. We are linked to everyone through the bodhichitta. But that is not enough. We must strive to be the 'warrior bodhichitta', which means having forward moving energy that is willing to enter into suffering for others' benefit.

One of my favorite statements so far has to be that many people use the 'climbing the mountain' metaphor to define their spiritual journeys, the peak being awakening. Chodron suggests that spiritual awakening is actually a path that goes down the mountain, "transcending the suffering of all creatures" one that "explore[s] reality."

In going down the mountain, we connect with others in the difficult parts of life (and learn compassion this way); therefore we find that "the awakened heart of bodhichitta is the basic goodness of all beings."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

From the Gut

Last night after Rich had sung Jack to sleep, he went out to the "little outside" (our backyard) to bring in Casey Cat for the night. I was in the other room getting ready for bed when I heard Rich come in, riffle through a drawer, and go back out.

I wasn't sure exactly what was happening, so I listened for a minute, heard nothing out of the ordinary, and then followed Rich outside because it was too quiet. That's when I saw an unusual sight:

Rich was standing remarkably still four feet away from the corner of our yard, steadily shining a flashlight where the fences meet. I stood there for a second or two trying to assess the situation. In those very brief seconds, my brain crawler went something like this: "What is he looking at? Is the cat OK? Should I call for help? Should we be on high alert? I have a golf club.. no a bat..Damn, I know I'm for gun control, but maybe I should rethink it. Is that a cadaver? Buried alive? An arm coming from the ground? Mexican mafia..." and so forth. And as my paranoia went from healthy fear to certain global doom, Rich looked over at me and said very mater-of-factly, "Look. A possum."

"Oh," I sighed, a little disappointed, I have to admit.

"No it is! Look. I've never seen a real possum before."

"Is the cat OK?" I asked, not so much impressed by the possum.

"Yeah," he said, "they're friends. They were smelling each other when I got out here. See look. Casey isn't even puffed up."

"Is the possum trapped? Do we need to call animal control?" I asked in hopes that the possum could find his way out of our yard so that it could share this Disney experience with someone else's cat.

Ignoring my crankitude, Rich declared, "Man. I can't wait for Jack to be big enough to come outside and see stuff like this. I'll say, 'Look Baby Jack! A possum!' and he'll be all, 'Cool Dad! That's awesome.'"

"Will you teach him that possums are marsupials?" I mocked.

"Oh. Are they?" he questioned, followed immediately by, "Oh right! The opossum is North America's only marsupial."

And then the laughter came. I realized at that moment that I hadn't laughed in a really, really long time. And I couldn't stop laughing because, damn, Rich is adorable and I'm delighted that he's such a great Dad, and because um, when did Rich apply for, get hired by, and make a documentary on North American Marsupials? I laughed hard. Outloud. From the gut.

And it felt so good.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Alarum Within

I really wish we could have internal warning alarms or some sort of trumpet fanfare - one of those buzzer sounds? - that would indicate to us when something is terribly wrong about our logic or understanding. Sometimes, I guess, we do have some warning- like when we get a heavy feeling in the pit of our stomach when something horrible is about to happen. But mostly I'm talking about having an internal, spiritual, or mental alarum that indicates when we ought to fight a legitimate fight for the good of our mental and spiritual well beings and/or for overall promotion of good in the world.

That being said, we would first need to tap in to that all encompassing "good" quintessence so that we understand that what we are fighting for is actually good.

I think most of us would agree that there are universal qualifiers that make up what we call "good". These are spiritual. They were here before there was a universe, nascent to the very earth that we walk on and to the air that we breathe. We inherently know what these are without being able to define them. They are components that make up qualities such as morality, kindness, helpfulness, gratitude, good stewardship, etc.. In fact, defining "good" as anything other than the components of qualities places a certain bias on the definition of "good". And that can be bad.

To clarify, good has nothing to do with religiosity or cause. I mean, religion and causes can work for (and with) the greater good, but neither of these are inherently good since they are man made. Both, without meaning to, can actually oppose goodness.

That being said, what happens when we perceive "good" to be threatened? To what extent is it our jobs as upholders of good to fight in the name of it?

For example, when someone makes a statement such as, "All Iraqis are terrorists" or "Americans are more deserving of (food, good health, happiness, wealth..) than everyone else" or "People who are poor deserve to be poor" or "If your religion isn't _____(fill in the blank with any dogma)_________, then you're going to hell" etc. and OH MY GOD, there are so many more that I've heard today alone. These statements do not, in any way, reflect the "good" as we should all understand it. In fact, even though the people making these statements perceive them as being good or being made in the name of what they think is good, they are completely bogus universally!

There should be alarum for that.

And that's what I mean in talking about alarum within. Why can't there be something internal that indicates either #1, the fact that what we are saying is ridiculous, illogical, uh.. bullshit and/or #2 a rational reaction is appropriate when dealing with others who say things that oppose goodness so that they can understand the fallacy of their statements, especially when they don't even recognize that what they are saying is harmful. And regarding the second, there are times when it is not OK to react.

I suppose I am sounding elitist here. I don't mean to be elitist. In fact there are plenty of times when someone has needed to blow a whistle on my thoughts and statements..actions, even. And if I were truly a good person, fighting for the universal good, then maybe I wouldn't be as afraid of confrontation.

But I wrestle with knowing when to fight and when to stand down, especially when dealing with people I love.. And that in iteself creates alarum within, but of a different nature.

Loud Logical Fallacies

All logic is gone in this country and not in a good way. At least it feels that way to me, and I happily include myself in this statement. Bluntly, I really don't care about the actual "logic" (or illogic, really) part of it, except to say that it is what's feeding this huge emotional, reactionary shitwad of unpleasantness.

It isn't new that we all have differing opinions. It isn't new that we are treating each other poorly. It isn't new that our stress levels are maxed out. What is new is that we are all so divided that instead of sweeping things under rugs, pretending that certain opinions don't exist so that we can get through Christmas dinner relatively unscathed or ignoring that proverbial elephant (or donkey) in the room to preserve some sort of mental stability, all we are doing is talking! And it isn't healthy talking. It is Jerry Springer talking. Good-hearted, moral people are acting two and are speaking over, pointing fingers, and loudly yelling at other good-hearted, moral people who have their fingers in their ears, who are yelling "lalalalalala I can't hear you lalalalala." And then a timer goes off and the (non)listeners become the talkers and the talkers insert fingers into their ears. Isn't what I've just described one of the circles of hell in the Inferno?

The worst part is that some of us are listening and it is making us so incredibly sad that we just want to crawl under rocks and die a little. Some of us are learning things about our loved ones that we didn't want to know. Some of us are being heinously mistreated by those loved ones. People we had higher hopes for are disappointing us left(wing) and right(wing).

Please understand that healthy talk is a good thing. Maybe not within families... But can't we all just shut the hell up for a minute? Imagine what the world would be like if everyone just shut their freaking pie holes for one. whole. minute. SHHHHHH!

But we can't do it.

And I think that really makes God sad.

(If you've neverread the Twilight Zone screen play, "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street", you should. That would give you a pretty accurate illustration of what's happening here.)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hello, Mam. May I hold your walker for you?

So, I'm another year older today. And don't I know it. I thought I was OK with this - you know - because age is only in the mind and all.. (sigh).
But DUDE. I got called "mam" four times this week! FOUR. And not by students who sometimes call me that. . The ones in ROTC do, anyway. And not by anyone who knows I am a year older today. Four perfect strangers called me mam this week - all unrelated.

I had to ask myself, "When did that happen? When did I become a mam?"

The first time it happened, I thought "How funny. What a weird-o! Mam is such an outdated word."

The second time, I actually looked down at my clothes. "OK, so I'm not wearing a teeny tank top and teeny shorts (which is strike one if you are my age and still wearing that - a clear indication of Mam status); my clothes aren't that 'last season', though I could use a trip to New York and Co. - no mom jeans or anything."

And then I realized, "Oh. It's my underwear.. (has to be!) cotton.. briefs...holes.." And I swore I would do better tomorrow. And yeah yeah, even though the culprit wasn't something others would notice, per se, I was obviously giving off the cotton brief vibe, a.k.a, the mam vibe!

The next day I wore a racy black thong.

It was horrible.

But I wore it anyway, just to try and get the mam off of me.

It didn't work.

Twice more I got called mam. Is it because I have a kid? Does that automatically give a girl mam status? I have noticed a few more things sagging.. Is it my laugh lines that give me my mamish-ness? Is this one of those things that I just have to accept as part of the aging process?

PLEASE someone,tell me.

Until then, I guess I'll go and watch the Sex in the City movie to feel better about myself.

p.s. I wonder which of my reactions to being called mam was the the worst. Was it when I stood there, mouth agape, in my local coffee establishment when the rather large man in a tutu called me mam? Or was it when the new hire colleague at work called me mam in the copy room?

p.p.s. Sucks to my asthmar!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A "Fringe" Candidate

Today I happened to wander my way over to Swindle Magazine's website in all of its hardcore, grunge-alicious brilliance. Well, actually, I sort of tripped over it.. on purpose. But in doing so, I found this tasty treat. Enjoy:


Vermin Supreme


By Simon Steinhardt
Photos by Adam Amengual

Graphics by Rad Mountain On the campaign trail, Vermin Supreme likes to start his sentences with “I am the only candidate who supports…” And it’s true: he is the only candidate who supports fully funding time-travel research in order to go back and kill Hitler before he was born. He’s also the only candidate who makes mandatory toothbrushing his signature issue. After all, as he says in his dental manifesto, “Proper dental hygiene is essential to proper social order.” If you’re worried about flying monkey tooth fairies enforcing the mandatory toothbrushing laws, fear not, since Vermin Supreme is also the only candidate who promises that such creatures will not be used to that end.

Plenty of people make a career out of making a mockery of politics—it’s not hard to ridicule something that, more often than not, borders on farce. But few of them go so far as to legally change their name and party affiliation and pony up the cash it takes to get on the presidential primary election ballot, as Vermin did in Washington, D.C., in 2004 (as a Democrat) and in New Hampshire this year (as a Republican).

Vermin runs for president of the United States because it’s the highest office on the ballot, but his real campaign (or “cam-pain,” as he spells it) is for Emperor of the New Millennium. It’s an important job, considering he won’t be up for re-election until the year 2999 if he wins. And if he does, we’ll gladly yield to his mighty authoritarian leadership, as long as it’s as much fun as he promises.

Tell us about your campaign operation.


Baby, I am nationwide. I am fucking nationwide. That’s all I can say. I have constituents across this great nation of ours. Their level of support is indeed varying and wavering, but I’ve never blamed any of my supporters—and I use the term loosely—who will not actually contribute to my campaign, either with time or financial contributions. I understand that they may have to operate in a whole other dimension of reality.

You seem very focused on domestic policy—toothbrushing laws, legalizing human meat and so forth.Yes, and free ponies for all Americans. But where do you stand on foreign policy issues?


Well, I do believe that we should give the Iraqi people the opportunity to become a part of this great nation of ours. I firmly believe that Iraq would truly make a wonderful 51st state. It’s been quite some time since we’ve actually added a state to the union, and I believe the flag-makers of America could certainly use a shot in the arm in that direction, not that it’s strictly pork for them of course.

Are there any other prospects for statehood in your plan?


It looks like Iran is fixing to want to become a state. I’ve been watching the news, and it looks like they just might want to be our 52nd state, after Iraq. Once they’re all paying taxes to Uncle Sam and they’ve got the American flag flying over there, they’ll be instilled with pride for our nation. It will be such a beautiful, peaceful thing. Then, and finally then, they will be greeting us with flowers and roses and roadside flower stands and things like that.
Well it sounds like a mission accomplished to me.Yes sir.

Now as far as I know, you’re the only candidate, at least in the Republican Party, who wears a clown nose. Why do you think John McCain doesn’t want to wear a clown nose?


Sir, I’d like to address that issue of the clown nose. That is a dirty trick, sir. That is a smear that my opponents have apparently tarred me with for some reason. If you look carefully, you will notice that I’m not wearing a clown nose, nobody has seen me wearing a clown nose, and it seems that it is being added after photos are taken and distributed to the media.

So what is your real nose apparel?


Occasionally sun block when it’s really hot out, man. I have a very fine nose, I’m not ashamed of my nose, and I’m not sure why all this censorship of my nose occurs in the media. It’s very strange. I think you’ll notice that sometimes it’s actually a blue dot that I think was on TV for a while. I think it originally came from the National Enquirer. I think they put it on the face of that rape victim of one of those Kennedy kids, and then they started using it on my nose. A lot.

So are you saying you refuse to wear a clown nose?


Once again, if that’s what the people want, if the focus groups indicate that I would gain a certain segment of the clown-loving audience, then I’m all for it. My own personal research has shown that more people tend to be afraid of clowns, and would not be likely to vote for an actual clown for the presidency of the United States of America, let alone any other office.

What sort of controversial figures are floating around your campaign that you’re trying to minimize contact with?


I believe for the sake of my campaign and trying to avoid scandals that may have occurred in my past, I’m going to say that I’ve never heard of the Church of Euthanasia. And let me also say further that I never appeared on The Jerry Springer Show with them. I hope I’m clear on that. If I’m seriously trying to avoid the biggest scandal from my past, once again, I deny it would be any affiliation with any suicide-abortion-promoting cannibal cult. Not me.

Now I’m going to give you a little fill-in-the-blank analogy here. Barack Obama is to hope as Vermin Supreme is to…


A big block of Velveeta-style cheese.

So would you say you’re running on a cheese-based campaign platform?


As they say, all hail the power of cheese, but only in a metaphorical sense I suppose.

Melted, in a block or powder?


Oh, it would certainly be a big block, a strong foundation for this country.

Do you have any pop artists working on Vermin-cheese posters or anything like that?


Well the contest is open. Did I mention the Vermin Supreme Presidential Library?

No—tell me about that.


What I have done, I have hijacked a portion of the New Hampshire Political Library, which is a part of the New Hampshire State Library. The New Hampshire Political Library exists to collect memorabilia from the New Hampshire primary, and what I have done is I have taken over a section of it, liberating a corner of it, and declaring it the Vermin Supreme Presidential Library.



That seems a little presumptuous, don’t you think? Declaring yourself “presidential” at this point?


Presidential is a word that, if you look it up in the dictionary, would be described as something that pertains to the presidency, and so in that definition of the term I believe I am perfectly justified in claiming that it’s a presidential library, since it does pertain to the presidency and my quest for it.

From your market research, what do you see as some hot-button issues this year that aren’t being addressed by the mainstream candidates?


Once again, my quadrennial issue of mandatory toothbrushing, the funding of time travel, the zombie preparedness issue—those are my three hot-button topics, and of course free ponies, which is just a fucking promise to get votes, quite frankly. I also want to lower the voting age to 6 and make Hannah Montana my running mate.

Now what do you see as the flaws in Barack Obama’s stance on the toothbrushing laws?


Soft on plaque.

What about McCain?


If you dig deep, it’s not explicitly labeled, but I have exclusive video documentation of Senator John McCain giving support to the mandatory toothbrushing law. The approximate quote goes something like this. I asked him, “Senator McCain, do you support mandatory toothbrushing?” And he responded as follows: “Why yes, as a matter of fact, my campaign staff has a lot of practice hiding in people’s bathrooms late at night in order to make sure they have brushed.” So I’d have to say that he did in fact give full-on support for it.


There have been rumors that John McCain has been trying to get you to drop out of the race and endorse him. What do you say to that?


Once again, they haven’t made me a serious offer yet for my consideration to do that.

So what would you consider a serious offer that you’d be willing to accept in return for your endorsement of Senator McCain?

I’d settle for a cabinet-level position or a large cash payoff to help retire my campaign debt.

What particular campaign post would you be looking for?


I’d have to go for agriculture.

John McCain seems to have moved towards the center on—


Well he did start to suck the fucking fundamentalists’ dicks for a little while there…

I was going to say he had shifted specifically on environmental policy, or has at least tried to market himself as “green.” Would you say you’re more connected to the party’s base on environmental issues?


Well you know I’ve always been a long-term advocate of weather dome technology. As the climate undergoes certain alterations—and it hasn’t been proven that it’s caused by humans, by any means—the technology of weather domes, ala Bucky Fuller, is a very important part of my thing. Or we could simply kick anyone who complains about the weather out of the country. Environmentally, yeah I would be the extreme—extreme—environmental president. You see what I’m saying? Because I know the kids like to use that word, “extreme,” so I’m trying to use that buzzword in my campaign as much as possible. If you could just insert “extreme” in between every other word in the interview, that would be very cool.
So I’m sort of the extreme environmental candidate, and I believe that we can solve the excess carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere if we carbonate every beverage drunk by every American. I think the carbonated soft drink industry is on the right track, but as president I would certainly increase the amount of carbonation in all beverages, and carbonate every beverage that is not carbonated yet. And that way, we can all share in the burden of consuming and dissipating these harmful CO2 gases that might do something at some point.

So you’re saying you would take the CO2 gases out of the air and put them into our water pipes?


And our milk, and our orange juice and all other juices, and we’d pump up the carbon dioxide content in beers and sodas and all that good stuff. It would be extra, like extreme I guess. That’s just my solution, although I haven’t run it by any scientists yet.


How do you feel about being labeled as a “fringe” candidate?


It’s a term I can live with. I accept it. I’d prefer “lesser-known,” but I’ve certainly been called worse than “fringe.”


Like what?


Well I’d rather not get into it. You might use these words against me.

Well they’re just coming out of your mouth, so they’ll be printed as such.


Yeah, well, I’m not falling into that trick. I’m smarter than that. I’ve been doing this for quite some time, sonny.


Go here for the article.