Monday, June 30, 2008

Come the Revolution (Or the Global Food Crisis), I'm Set

Dinner this evening: spinach salad from my garden. I have two plants left that are only slightly destroyed by the bunny! Also: chives, likewise from the garden. Deelish on both counts.

As a side note, but still related to vegetation in my yard, one of my weekend tasks was pruning the shit out of the bridal wreath (spirea) on the side of my stoop. Before, trimming involved a ladder and precarious climbing off the porch. Now . . .

. . . it's itty-bitty, twiggy, and manageable.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Returning to Normal Operations

Praise be. Time to plan that vacation.

However, as a result of the great wet-cat-food interlude, I now have ants.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I'm Seeing Why He's a Promising New Light in the Republican Party

Bobby Jindal, Louisiana governor, potential vice presidential candidate, exorcist (and how cool would it to be to have one of those in the White House? Could we have prevented the Iraq debacle? Could something be done with Cheney?), and now, proponent of some good old-fashioned law and order:

On the heels of today's SCOTUS decision in Kennedy v. Louisiana barring the death penalty for sex offenders, Gov. Bobby Jindal released a statement calling the ruling an "affront to the people of Louisiana" - and what's more, vowing to do whatever possible to amend the state's laws in order to maintain the death penalty for child rape.

But that's not all he did.

Today, Gov. Jindal signed the "Sex Offender Chemical Castration Bill," authorizing the castration of convicted sex offenders. They get a choice: physical or chemical. Oh, and they don't just get castrated and leave - they still have to serve out their sentence.

I don't know. It still seems a little weak and liberal-ish to me. Maybe if we took away the choice part.

Constitutional Clarification

The role of the vice president, sussed out:

But on the bright side Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), did manage to clarify a very important question. Just what branch of government is the Vice President in?

Cohen: Mr. Addington, what branch are we in?

Addington: Ah, sir, perhaps the best that can be said is that the Vice President belongs neither to the executive nor to the legislative branch, but is attached by the Constitution to the latter. That's from two legal opinions issued by the office of legal counsel to the Department of Justice dated March 9th, 1961, and April, I believe, it's 18th, 1961 by, I believe, Mr. Katzenbach if I remember. . .

Cohen: So he's a member of the legislative branch?

(cross talk)

Addington: No. I said attached by the Constitution to the latter. He is not a member of the legislative branch because the Constitution says that the Congress consists of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The Constitution further says that the Senate consists of Senators and the House of Representatives consists of Representatives and he is neither a Senator nor a Representative.

Cohen: But he is attached to the legislative branch?

Addington: That's the quote I read you.

Cohen: So he's kind of a barnacle.

(voice off camera): Kind of a what?!

Addington: He is attached. . . the word was attached by the Constitution to the latter. I don't consider the Constitution as a barnacle, Mr. Cohen.

Cohen: No, the Vice President. Since he's really not fish or fowl, he's just attached to something.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Another Dinosaur Gives Us Some Piercing Insights into the Proper Role of Race in This Election

Ralph Nader, arbiter of appropriate issues for candidates of color, savior of the people:

Nader was asked if Obama is any different than Democrats he has criticized in the past, considering Obama's pledge to reject campaign contributions from registered lobbyists.

"There's only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He's half African-American," Nader said. "Whether that will make any difference, I don't know. I haven't heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What's keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn't want to appear like Jesse Jackson? We'll see all that play out in the next few months and if he gets elected afterwards."

Possibly this tack has been inspired by recent polling showing Nader drawing more support away from McCain than Obama.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Abelard's Country Cousin

The carnage, my god, the carnage.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Ah, Sex and the City

I expected to find it kind of tedious, based on reviews I've read--shoehorning (no pun intended!) of the designer names, fixation on on the consumer goods, writing bloated up to movie length versus the tight thirty-minute format. Plus, do we really need more Big and Carrie drama? And don't get me started on Jennifer Hudson.

I liked it, though. It was a bit like visiting with old friends you haven't seen in a while. Sure, it was a bit long, with a few extraneous threads, but I've seen many worse movies. Which makes me think about this article I read about the critical hostility directed at it:
"Sex and the City" the TV series was a revolution, yadda yadda, because it was one of the rare forms of entertainment that showed women in the flesh (and flesh), with all their vulnerabilities, anxieties and intelligence. But when you listen to men talk about it (and this is coming from the perspective of a male writer), a strange thing happens. The talk turns hateful. Angry. Vengeful. Annoyed. It's not just that they don't want to accompany their significant others to the movie. How dare Carrie and her girls hijack the box office during a time when the Hulk, Iron Man, Indiana Jones and the good old boys of the summer usually rule?

Is this just poor sportsmanship? I can't help but wonder—cue the Carrie Bradshaw voiceover here—if it's not a case of "Sexism in the City." Men hated the movie before it even opened. They flooded, voting early and often, so that the movie would have a low rating of 3 out of 10 among users before Friday (although now that number is higher, at 4.8). Movie critics, an overwhelmingly male demographic, gave it such a nasty tongue lashing you would have thought they were talking about an ex-girlfriend. "Sex" mustered a 54 percent fresh rating on, compared to the 77 percent fresh for the snoozefest that was "Indiana Jones" (a boy's movie! Such harmless fun!).

Friday, June 20, 2008

I Can't Even Drink Wine Yet

Oh my god, this is hell.

UPDATE LATER IN THE WATER-INTAKE VIGIL: What helps: reading up on veterinary dental procedures and their outcomes. Damn, I'd need the morphine too if my gums were being sliced and reattached.

I'll take this opportunity to thank my parents, who gave me cavity resistant teeth, orthodonture, and a life-long obsession with preserving the investment.

STILL FURTHER UPDATE: Damn, they have feline orthodonture. Fascinating, although given what people do for their animals, not surprising. My approach on this would be along the lines of don't take the animal with the wonky teeth. But that's me.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

You're Gonna Go Home Missin' a Couple of . . . Teeth

And be doped to the gills, such that your pupils are the size of saucers, and you're aimlessly wandering around looking for . . . something . . . and who are you, again?

"Yo, bitch, let me out. There are some swirly
lights over there I need to, like, feel."

It seems cruel, and not just to her. If you all have a time machine such that I can skip past the next three days or so, I'd be much obliged. What kills me about this is that I expected this to be a one-shot, miserable mass tooth-yanking that would cure all future problems. However, they only pulled 4 teeth, and I'm told I need to brush the rest of them daily. Jesus.

More soothingly . . . bunny!

This is Abelard VI. He feasts on my garden and thinks I'm a right good neighbor for sharing.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

This Is What Happens When You Stop Following Political News for a Second

You miss some truly exquisite lunatics on parade, that's what happens when you spend your time focused on other things in the real world, like "career things." For example:
I blogged a few weeks back about a convicted criminal, Larry Sinclair, who'd been begging the media to cover his wild allegations about Barack Obama [ed.--that Sinclair and Obama had a hot man-on-man encounter in a limo circa 1999. In Gurnee, IL! No news on whether it was in the Ikea parking lot]. Today Sinclair trotted into the National Press Club to air the allegations before what can literally be described as an audience of international press, and can more accurately be described as an amused bunch of people taking in a circus act.

How did the press conference go, inquiring minds want to know? Less than stellar, since you ask. First, his slight criminal record raised awkward questions. Then his legal representation arrived.
It got worse when Sinclair's lawyer Montgomery Sibley—whose license is currently suspended in D.C. and Florida—showed up in a kilt and told reporters that his above-average endowment made slacks tight and uncomfortable.

Finally, follow-up questions were cut a bit short, as Sinclair was led away in handcuffs for an outstanding arrest warrant in Delaware (or possibly Colorado; it seems he's wanted in both states).

You know, it's sad. It's like they're not even trying anymore.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

And Certain Members of My Family Roar in Approval

He of the Laffer curve bestows his economic wisdom on certain of my relations and their fellow Ohioans:
Mr. Laffer said that Ohio's poor economy is a microcosm of the nation's. "Ohio is not in very good shape. Taxes have gotten totally out of control," he said. He criticized former Gov. Bob Taft, a Republican, by name for tax boosts that Mr. Laffer said have crippled the state economy. For 30 years, Mr. Laffer has endorsed the notion that if an economy is to grow, taxes must be eased. Only when taxes are lowered can businesses make greater profits and subsequently expand operations, provide cheaper products, and hire more employees, he contends.

If we only would loosen the yoke of taxation, we could experience the bounty of the trickle-down trickle! This certainty of vision and--dare I say, commitment to the course in spite of evidence and reality--is refreshing to see, especially in this day and age, isn't it? You just don't see it that often.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Well, This Is a Surprise

You mean to tell me that rounding up hundreds of people, to whom you provide no legal process, results in an operation that "often held the wrong men"? I'm stunned.

Next, you'll tell me that when you gather copious data for the sake of it, you end up with a lot of unuseful, inaccurate data.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I Realize This Says More About Me and the General Cloud I'm Working Under

Mark it, June 14: I'm officially sick to death of goddamned yard work. The sun is merciless, and you sweat and feel slightly nauseated. You get a tiny fragment of it looking somewhat nice, and a couple of days later, it's covered in weeds. You don't mulch, you get weeds. You mulch, you get weeds and fungi. I don't even care about my garden anymore. I want to, I just can't muster it.

Also, I pay good money for professional lawn people to control my weeds, and lo, the weeds persist and they are spreading.

I want a condo, far, far away, with only a tiny balcony on which I can do a couple of containers. I also want a tank of fish because fish never require hazmat suits and protective padding to handle, don't get the runs, and don't destroy my couch.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Another Reason Why Stress Is Bad

I'm getting sick. Again. Curses.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Yay! A Job I'm Eminently Qualified For! For Which I Must Apply!

Man, it's been a dry spell on the job front--nary a call or an interview for way longer than I care to think about. Have you seen these unemployment figures lately? It's demoralizing, since I'm feeling beat down and on the way to developing ulcers from the sheer stress and sublime dysfunction of my current environment. It's the Wild West, I tell you, and I spend a good part of each day detailing to the powers that be, such as they are, the structural problems in evidence since my boss left, oh, three years ago. No rush. Whenever you get around to it. I hear these things practically run themselves. And that's not including our resident certifiable person, our rather amorphous, possibly classified, organizational structure (seriously, we had to ask who the bosses were when review time rolled around), and the laughably inappropriate muckety muck/sub-minion relationships.

Hmmmm, now that I think about it, it may be time to do another movie in comic form about it. (Have you seen my previous episodes? They're clever and allusive, if I do say so myself.)

And the cat, in manner of Mr. Burns, continues--nay, adds to--her delicate stalemate of competing maladies, thus ensuring that she will outlive us all.

Monday, June 9, 2008

See, This Is Called Socialization

High-heel shoes for infants
. Start 'em young, I say!

I bow to no one in my quest for body-deforming high heels, but really, even I have been convinced by cold, hard experience of their ill effects. Only women would be trained to not only endure pain while walking around every day but to deform their feet or undergo bizarre therapies to allow them to continue adhering to some concept of "beauty."

Sunday, June 8, 2008

And, Going Forward

I'm fired up, and in fact wondering if I can't get a job. Remember the stakes.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

More Campaign Post-Mortem

As painful as this campaign has been to watch and endure (and endure and endure), it's provided some interesting views into the roles of gender and race in our society. As a feminist who supported Obama, I had a hard time understanding the intense identification of some feminist Clinton supporters with their candidate. So this article provided a really useful view into the intersection between Clinton's campaign and the hopes and perceptions of some of her second-wave feminist supporters. In short, among other things, there's a generational component, in which some women old enough to have a concept of Hillary Clinton that pre-dated 1992 (did you know, for example, that she was profiled in 1968 in Life magazine as an "icon" of her generation following her Wellesley commencement speech?) viewed her as a promising political talent who would one day make a historic and great president. I have a lot of sympathy for those smashed hopes.

And this really good article analyzes how Obama pulled it off. In short, he found really talented people who believed in what they were doing and were team players, he came up with a thoughtful plan that he patiently carried out, and he used his resources wisely. This all, I think, shows excellent management skills and strategic vision, which is exactly the sort of thing I want in a president.

Now, just to defeat GetOffaMyLawn Mavericky McStraightTalk. Have you heard that he's older than nachos?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

It's Been a Week.

Notwithstanding our excellent Obama nomination, I'm so glad it's almost over. I plan on spending some time this weekend in fetal position, just on principle. What we find out tomorrow on Miss Thing's hunger strike (I'm kind of with her on that for tonight) will determine how much wine will supplement.

Anyhoo, I hope next week is better.

Nomination Battle, Post-Mortem

The interactive graphic included with this article is fascinating. It shows where the candidates drew their support. Most amazingly, Cook County, IL accounts for the entire margin of Obama's popular-vote lead.* The upshot: we Cook Countians really really love Obama.

*Boilerplate explanation: Popular vote totals as arrived at by excluding Florida's and Michigan's unsanctioned primaries and including estimates from the caucuses that didn't release official vote totals.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Let Me Streamline

I've given variations on this speech to way too many people this week (which needs to stop; things need to get better for everyone tout suite). In summary, with different points applying more to different people (including myself):

1. I'm really sorry things suck right now. It is not your fault. Thinking of what you should have done differently is not only unhelpful, it's unfair to yourself. No one is all-perfect or omniscient. All you can do is deal with the situation the best you can moving forward.

2. You will deal with this. It may not seem like it now, but you will. Things will get better.

3. Worrying about the worst-case scenarios is unproductive and very hard on your body. As my mother points out, your body doesn't know the difference between what you're experiencing and what you're imagining experiencing. Stress can negatively affect your body in many, many ways.

4. Take time to take care of yourself. It will make you more productive and effective. Do something simple you enjoy, like read a book, go out with friends, garden, get a manicure, have a glass of splurgy wine, cuddle a pet, or play a game with your favorite kid.

5. Call me if you need anything.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

You Know What's Really Helpful?

When you avoid doing the following: practicing your yoga without closing off the kitchen yoga space and, during your sun salutations, throwing your feet back as you transition to plank pose, and as you do so, colliding with the cat as she innocently goes about her post-dinner business.

First thing, ouch: skinned knee, tweaked back. Second thing: the cat's level of freaked out has not been seen since 1999 (seriously, she won't let me touch her).

Okay, I promise to stop blogging about the goddamned high-maintenance cat. Anyone want a goddamned high-maintenance cat?

Monday, June 2, 2008

It Could Happen. Never Discount the Giant Pill Bugs

You think Clinton's chances at the nomination are up there with the likelihood of me winning the Next Top Supermodel? To you, I say, hah! Hah!

How cool would it be if it came down to a sudden-death spelling bee?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

It's Called Act-ing

My favorite girl-child munchkin gives us her dramatic interpretation of how she feels when you take her sunshine away.

I just spent a smashing long weekend with the family, enjoying a spate of relaxation and porch-sitting, leisurely country walks, tours of several local greenhouses, a dance recital, and a graduation party (my brother is a newly minted MBA, soon to be an even bigger Captain of Industry).

Notwithstanding my niece's excellent performance, I believe the recital is best described as tweeners accompanied by power ballads. It was three hours long. Otherwise, the weekend was endless fun and chock full of family bonding.