Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Rachel Zoe Project

Call me shallow; call me stupid--but I love this program. I love Rachel and I love Brad. They're so incredibly cute, so mini perfect and intently intense about fashion. Like what else would one be so intently intense about?

And I hate Taylor. She's a bitch, a shrew and, after tonight's show, I see why Tay has been badmouthing Brad. I thought maybe the producers weren't showing us what a fuckup he was that would justify Taylor's disdain. But no, she's just pissed off that her friend didn't get Brad's job. Petty, petty, bitchy bitchy--and due for a comeuppance, I hope, in the next week or two. That's what I like about reality shows; they're the 21st century Morality plays.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Carpet Cleaners and me, ByJane

As anyone who has ever lived with me can tell you, I'm not much for the cleaning of floors. When one roommate complained about it (I believe there were some aspersions made about my femininity), I told him that I simply had trained myself to not look below my ankles. This is true.

It is also true that when I had to select floor coverings for my brand-new, now worth(much)less house, I selected some surface that resembles the stone of ancient Jerusalem. Not that I've ever been there to actually see it, but I was at the Getty Museum in LA shortly before I made my flooring choice and I believe their sliced-deep-from-the-earth-stoneware is what influenced me. I had that tile or whatever it is put into almost every room in the house. It is an excellent floorcovering, able to go whole months without seeing the swipe of a Swiffer.

But then there are the bedrooms and office. They alone are carpeted, because the builder convinced me that no one could possibly want faux stone floors in their bedrooms. I did, but I caved, and thus these rooms are covered now in a mewling, puking beige carpet. It did not take long for said carpet to become stained with mewl and puke, among other things. I offer for your appraisal the following evidence:
This is the result of Molly throwing up in my office. I cleaned it with some carpet cleaner when it happened, but Molly's puke is mighty.
This is the result of an unfortunate accident with Bare Minerals Blush in "Lovely". It too has been the beneficiary of a carpet cleaner.
And this, I'm not sure what this is. I think maybe I stepped on a grape...several times, over several days.

I was resigned to my stains until recently when I was given the opportunity by MomCentral.com to Try A New Product. The FedEx man brought a box in which there was a quantity of blue excelsior, making me feel like I was getting a present,and underneath that, I unearthed this

Spot Shot is, according to the promo material that came with it, a New! NON-TOXIC Instant Stain & Odor Eliminator. Yeah, right. They sent it with a little carpet cleaning kit; that's it in the foreground. Swab on some of their bottled chocolate sauce, spray on Spot Shot, blot and voila! Chocolate stain a mere memory. Yeah, right again. Of course it worked; they set the stage and provided the props. But on my stains? My been-there-god-knows-how-long stains? My already-been-given-the-carpet-stain-remover-treatment stains? I don't think so.

But this stuff is made by WD-40 and they've already desqueaked all my doors, so I felt I must give it a try. Here are the results:
The Molly Puke
The Bare Minerals Blush
The squished grape.

This stuff works. In fact, it's obvious I need to clean the whole carpet with it, not just the individual stains. But that, alas, would be too much work for one who has trained herself to not look below her ankles. Still, I can give it a heartfelt recommendation. For those of you are green and zealous about your carpets--and I know you're out there; some of you have even been my best friends--Spot Shot is non-toxic, certified biodegradable and safe for use around child and pets. I give it the ByJane No-Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Telling the Truth

I'm searching for a quote by William Faulkner. You know, the one about memory and ways of looking at a blackbird and the past never really being past. Except I think I'm conflating at least three of Faulkner's most famous lines. I want to find it because today I wrote this:
Every family has their own story, the tale they tell the world about who they are and what they stand for and where they’re going or not. And every member of every family has their own version. As Faulkner said, “….” So too if you added up all the versions of each family member, you would get something perhaps approximating the truth.
This is my version of my family’s story. I call it “Washing Dirty Linen” because that is what my mother was zealous that we never do: wash our dirty linen in public. Bare our secrets. Tell our truths. But she’s gone now and so is my father, so there’s no one left who I care about protecting.
I've been thinking about this for a long time. But maybe not long enough to be able to actually write it. Maybe my mother hasn't been dead long enough, although it's now been nine years. The long arm of Libby Lee may, in fact, be capable of reaching far beyond the grave--and she would like that. That arm is doing what it did so often in the past, reaching under the table and squeezing my knee in a vise-like grip: Silence. Quiet. Don't wash your dirty linen.

Not that our linen was really very dirty. Nothing heinous happened in my family; no secrets that would shock the world. Still, I can't really get a grip on what I want to say. I'm writing and deleting line after line, trying to capture this sense I have of--of what?
Of smoke and mirrors.

Faulkner has always been my favorite author. If things had been different when I began my PhD studies, if the professor I had gone to work
with, the Faulkner scholar, hadn't taken early retirement, I might be teaching Southern Literature at some university. And then surely these Faulkner quotes would be tripping off my tongue, rather than lurking somewhere in the back recesses of my memory.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Survival of the Fittest, and Other Political Stuff

WARNING WARNING: if you don't like reading about the election, if my progressive views bother you, go away right now.

I had a conversation the other day with a woman who is supporting McCain, and I wondered what about his platform appealed to her. Turns out, it's his economic policies. Or rather, it's Obama's economic policies that are so reprehensible to her that she is voting against him. This thing of helping the less fortunate, of the wealthiest sector of America taking a tad less so that the working middle classes could stay above the poverty line--this bothers her. Not that she was unsympathetic to the plight of the less fortunate, she was quick to tell me.

"But really," she said, "why should my husband and I have to give up anything that we've achieved? To help out these other people who haven't been able to achieve what we have?"

And then she smiled and said, "After all, it is survival of the fittest, isn't it?"

Yes, indeedy. Let's just flush all them there low achievers down the toilet where they belong, gutter scum that they are. Meanwhile, we lofty ones who had the wisdom to be born to parents of privilege, we get to assume our rightful place up there in the pantheon of the gods. And by parents of privilege, I don't mean those who were born well or wealthy. No, just your average mom and dad, like mine, who stressed education and fostered my dreams.

Survival of the fittest as an ideological stance: somehow I don't think that's what Darwin had in mind. It is, quite frankly, a nauseating concept to me. I don't think I betrayed that to her, because I wasn't interested in a debate. But perhaps I blinked. Or maybe some part of her heard herself and she quickly said, "If you talk to my friends, they'll tell you what a good person I am and how much I care about the less fortunate."

Yes, indeedy. As long as they're not in my backyard. Or at my front door. Or anywhere near my piggy banks.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Newly Single Woman Flies Solo

Traveling by myself has never been a big deal to me. I know it is for lots of women; my sister, the inveterate world traveler, for one, cannot get on a plane by herself. But our mother liked me better, or well enough, that is, to pass on to me her zeal for meeting life's challenges as and when they came. So having company on a trip has never been an issue for me. I did Paris on my own and London, and New York more times than I can count. It isn't the doing of the destination that's new to me these days; it's getting to the airport by myself.

In the past, D would drive me, and pick me up: sort of my personal limo service, as it were. He would nag me (incessantly) about leaving on time and query me (querulously) about whether I had packed everything, YES EVERYTHING, I needed. He would then get me to the airport on time without getting lost and deliver me and my luggage to the curbside checkin of whatever airline I was flying. Coming home, the procedure played out in reverse. I would call him from the plane once it landed, and he would drive up to fetch me and my luggage from the same curb at which he'd left me. He hauled the luggage; I lounged in the front seat and regaled him with tales of my trip. Or not, depending on his level of interest. Which was most often, not.

That all changed on my trip to Las Vegas last weekend. It was the first time I've had to haul my luggage and my ass to and from the airport alone. Without any help. Just me and my laptop and my luggage and my purse left to our own devices in that complex known as the Sacramento International Airport (and no, that's not an oxymoron).

I researched and then assessed the cost of having a shuttle pick me up versus driving myself and parking at the airport. The former would certainly be easier, but the latter would be cheaper--by a relatively wide margin of dollars, I might add. So Friday morning, I dropped Molly off at Kritter Kamp, loaded my bags into the trunk and wended my way up Interstate 5 to the airport. I was, I must say, quite proud of myself. I noted that this was a first for me, and that I had handled it successfully. I did all the adult things: left when I said I would, didn't get lost, arrived on time, parked close to the tram stop and carefully marked my parking space number on the lot ticket. I so was proud of myself for having done that--so mature am I, considering that I regularly lose my car in the Target parking lot. Then, as the final mark of my maturity, I carefully placed said ticket in my wallet, so that it would be readily, easily, and handily available when I got back on Monday.

Which it was--readily, easily, and handily available, that is. I pulled it out of my wallet as I sat on the tram taking me back to the long term parking lot. God, I am so mature, so together, so--ready to see my dog and my own bed. I automatically reached into my bag to get my car keys. They were in there, of course, exactly where I had put them when I left the car on Friday. Except I couldn't actually remember which bag I'd put them in: my laptop bag...or my purse...or my suitcase. I started fishing around in each and every one of the twenty or so zippered compartments on the bags. Then I fished around some more. Then I emptied out my purse. Then I fished around some more. All this time, the tram is taking me closer and closer to the parking lot, and then suddenly we're at my spot. And there's my car, exactly where I left it. But my keys? I realize that I have absolutely no memory of them and I can't remember even seeing them during my time in Las Vegas.

This was going to be very interesting. Indeed.

My luggage and I descended from the tram and approached my car. I wasn't sure what I was going to do. In fact, I wasn't sure what I could do. There was a little burble of not-quite-panic, but let's call it discomfort. Then I noticed that--could it be? was my driver's side door really unlocked? Ohhhhnooooooo......... Ohhhhhhyyyeesssss...... I got to the car, opened the door and--

--there on the floor by the gas pedal were my keys. In a flash I knew what had happened: I was so intent on putting the parking lot ticket in a safe place and so proud of my having done the whole trip to the airport by myself, that after I got my luggage out of the trunk, I merely closed it and left. With my keys hanging in the lock of the trunk.

So, kind generous wonderful human being who came along later and saw them dangling there. Honorable person who did exactly the right thing by leaving them where I would easily see them. I don't know if you were a fellow traveler or a Lot C parking attendant, but you are, for me, the hero of Sacramento International Airport.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What Happens in Vegas?

Tell me; I wanna know. Besides people throwing coins--cha-chung--into machines? There was a time when I felt a frisson of something or other when travelling to Nevada. But it didn't last. I just don't have the constitution or something for serious gambling. I'm always sure I'm going to lose.

I was here last about four years ago, and: my my, how you have grown, Las Vegas. The building and the buildings are overwhelming. Bricks and mortar on steroids. But I can't help wondering who's crying now that the market has done its double-dip.

I'm waiting to go to a party. It starts about now and finishes about midnight. Then another party starts at nine and goes until.... I'm thinking I may be too old for this. That kind of partying works best, I've found, when one is on the hunt. Then it's exciting to see what quarry might be lurking. Alas, my guns are rusty and my moccasins are down at the heel.

Speaking of which, I left the major pieces for my carefully planned party clothes hanging in the closet at home. Freshly ironed. Waiting to be packed. Poor things, they're gonna have a long wait.

Okay, I must fluff my hair and kick up my heels--or whatever one does on a Friday night in Vegas.

The Best Laid Plans, etc. etc.

Tomorrow I leave for Blog Word Expo, a weekend of fun and frolic with other geeks in Las Vegas. I've done BlogHer three times now, but this feels different. For one--maybe for only--there are going to be boys there. Yeah! and yeah again!

My intention was to write an incredibly moving, erudite post that would showcase not only my swift brain, but my sterling writing talent as well. But--well, but whatever. This is all you get.

It's better than a T-shirt, don't you think?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We Shall Prevail....

In the wild and woolly world of the internet, democracy may finally be achievable. What follows is a YouTube ad, put up by someone who's clever with code. Didn't take any money; didn't need any sayso from the party.

I learned about it from this tweet on Twitter
Dave Winer davewiner Homebrew politics is the wave of the future. Mark my words. This is the year we the people get in on the fun. Ads on YouTube cost $0 to run. .

Now you're seeing it on my blog.


Go read about it on The Nation's site. Then do one of your own.

The power belongs to the people. At last.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pigs Have Rights Too...

Right around the time that a brouhaha on breastfeeding in public was brewing on BlogHer, I went to the California State Fair. And saw this poor pig. She can't move in this contraption they've got her in. She has to just lie there while the piglets roam over her body at will. That gets my dander up a tad more than whether or not humans breastfeeding in public is a godgiven right. How come humans get agency and pigs don't, I ask you. I'm of the mind that as you treat your animals, so you treat yourselves.

I tried to get a picture of her face while all this was going on, but the damn bars which prevent her from moving got in the way. Still, I couldn't resist giving her a bit of a boost--lipstick and eyeshadow. This wa purely for the pig's sake and should in no way be considered by anyone at all ever a political statement.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Someone's In The Kitchen...

and it ain't Dinah. Tis I, me, myself.

I love fiddling in the kitchen on Sunday afternoon, and I love it best of all in the fall and winter when I can use my oven without jacking up my air conditioning expenses. Last week I bought these cute multi-colored root vegetables: carrots and potatoes in several different hues, including blue (potatoes) and white (carrots). And yes, I do buy my crayons in the 64 color boxes.

I roasted the potatoes and carrots with some garlic cloves and cut up red onions (which are really, as you know, purple). I then cannily tossed them with several dribbles of the oil of the virgin organic olives, a grinding of four kinds of fresh peppercorns, a toss or two of sea salt and several sprigs of thyme plucked fresh from my garden.

I bet you're wondering what that yellowish cowpie is at the top of the pan. That, my dear friends, is fresh polenta that I made. For that, I had to first sift through a half cup of polenta, taking it out into the broad sunlight to try and ascertain what exactly those dark specks in it were. I was looking, of course, for movement, legs, feelers. I saw none, so I decided that either the black specks were a natural part of the polenta--or they were dead bugs. If the latter, I reassured myself (in the best Alton Brown mode) that they were merely protein to go with my veggies. For some reason, the meal was singing a siren song of lemon to me, so I used the juice of a lemon as part of the polenta's liquid. When the whole mess was nice and thick, I threw it into the pan with the veggies, which is as you see it here.

And here you see it as I've plated it. I recently learned the verb "to plate", but obviously I haven't learned to do it.

Never mind--the whole thing was exquisitely delicious. As it was again tonight. And will be again tomorrow night.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Women: a review

My gang of eight went to see The Women last night, and we liked it. We really liked it. It made us laugh and afterwards we discussed how our opinions could so differ from the critics, who panned it. I think it's the critics' problem. I wonder what they were expecting to see that the film so disappointed them: Anna Karenina set to music?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 - A Retrospective

There are people who I read every day, and today some of those people wrote about 9/11. And some of those posts were so very excellent that I'm passing them on to you.

Duchess of Omnium was an American in England on September 11.

Mad Madge knows she'll never forget but wonders what her young son's 9/11 will be.

I Never Signed Up For This had an old friend on one of the planes.

Rattling the Kettle was in New York.

Grace D's young daughter wrote a letter to Mayor Guiliani.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

See Me In a Goooooood Mood!

I just watched three hours of reality programming. Life in a microcosm. Competition on a small scale. Pettiness gets punished. That's my kind of reality.

America's Next Top Model: I want Isis to win. Why? Because she is so not your typical ANTM contestant. She's battling a bunch of negativity in the house, and it beat her down this time. She better get back on her high horse, flip the naysayers the bird and ride off into the sunset that she deserves.

Project Runway: I want Michael Kors to win. Oh, he's not a contestant. But he makes me laugh, and a man that makes you laugh is worth a fortune. Not to mention that he's Jewish.

Top Design: Is Andrea Schroder not the most gorgeous creature. And I sense that it's the producers that are reminding us again and again and again that--hey, she's married to Rick Schroder. And they're Mormon, which means that this is another arena of reality programming in which the Mormons excel.

And that's all I have to say about anything!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

As I Walked Out In The Streets of Laredo...

I am not the most productive person in the best of times. I seem to need stretches of time in which to get things done. And then of course sometimes I never do--get them done, I mean. But today was a complete washout, even for me. On my agenda: Pay bills. This is my most hated task. I don't know why. I used to think it had to do with never having enough money and that once I was solvent, I would pay them with aplomb. That has not been the case. So I must every month (or so) gird my loins, as it were, and write checks. Today was that day. Except--

This morning Molly and I went for our usual morning traipse around the neighborhood and half way through, that is one baggie down, Molly was accosted by another curly white dog. I didn't see where the dog came from; I only saw it standing at attention in the middle of the street, woofing away at Molly. She, of course, went into her who are you pose (the precursor to the I am in love pose), standing stock still and almost pointing as if she were a bird dog flushing out prey. I am not calm. There is a dog standing the middle of the street, at almost the same spot where one was killed last month. Somehow, and truthfully I can't remember, I got the little white dog onto the sidewalk with us.

I hate finding lost dogs. I feel absolutely and completely responsible for them, but I have no confidence in my ability to deal with them. Sometimes they scare me, and sometimes that seems warranted. But this one, this one I picked up and tucked it under my arm and walked right home with it. Frankly, it seemed quite happy to have me do that, and when I put it down at the front door, it just trotted after Molly into the house.

And then the fun began. They sniffed and woofed and ran circles around each other. They ate lunch--nicely--and then lay down at my feet and went to sleep. Meanwhile, I called Animal Control, answered a lost dog ad in the paper, posted a found dog ad on line and emailed a friend who works for the SPCA. My gut said not to let the dog go into The System, and my friend concurred.

It was obvious that I would keep the dog if I couldn't find the owner. Already I was thinking of names: Mamie? too close to Molly. Gwen? possibly. But first I would try to find where the dog lived. It was well groomed, so obviously came from A Good Home. It had a nice collar, but no tags. I decided to put it on a leash and walk it 'round the neighborhood and see if anything struck a chord with it. Twenty minutes later and that dog had sniffed at every pile of poop, even spot of pee for three blocks around. I was giving it its head, so where it wanted to go, I just followed. There wasn't anything different about one house that it stopped at, except that after sniffing away, it plopped itself down and stretched out to rest. I thought that was interesting enough to ring the doorbell--

Sugar is now back with her family. I glad and sorry. It was such a kick to have the two dogs here. I've often wondered if I should get another dog for Molly. I thought Sugar might have been the one.

Monday, September 08, 2008

A Magic Spell

Okay, I'm back to breathing...deeply and calmly...quietly and democratically--oops! strike that last one. I'm breathing in the zone...I am...I am...

Reminds me of an ancient spell I learned when I was a kid. These are magic words and if you say them, first slowly and then quickly, you will be awarded with your heart's desire. Ready?
Oh Wa Ta Goo Sy Am
Got it? Now repeat five times, saying it faster and faster each time.

Get it?????

As I recall, I learned that spell the summer I was twelve, at a sleepaway camp in upperstate New York (aren't all sleepaway camps in upperstate New York?). It was the same summer that all the girls in my tent were trying to find our inner Bridie Murphy by hyperventillating and then immediately holding our breath. We also snuck out of camp and bought baby ducklings which we then set afloat in the man-made lake that functioned as the camp swimming hole. The owners of the camp were not pleased, especially as those ducklings would keep shitting in the lake.

Don't you just wish that I'd flash back to that time and take you with me? The pine trees and the sumacs, the dragonflies and the bullfrogs. Flickering campfires. Faraway thunder.

Instead I give you duck poop in the lake. But that's what I remember. That's always the sort of thing I remember.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The High Road or the Low--Does It Matter How You Win?

These are excerpts from an email dialogue I've been having with one of my friends. It's all I can put out there about my state of mind with this election. I've said before: I don't have the temperament for political engagement because I GET SO FUCKING ANGRY I think my head is going to blow off. I try to be reasoned and calm and cool, but it doesn't last for long. I am walking around grinding my teeth and I have a mega-headache to boot. That can't be good for me.

SHE: I am so scared Palin might do the trick for McCain. But listened to Rachel Maddow last night and learned mucho. Palin didn't sell her governor's jet on e-bay. she sold it through a broker and didn't make a profit she had a loss of 6 million. She also has the state with the largest earmarks and pork barrel spending. She tried to get 51 million for a train from her town to Ted Stephens ski resort. And boy is she avoiding the press. I know you know about her affiliation with Jews For Jesus and on top of that she has some connection to a move to secede Alaska from the union. But I'm still very worried because it seems to be working. All these Republicans seem happy to have her in the VP so if this OLD OLD man dies they'll be real happy to have her run things. I'm beginning to think the president doesn't run much anyway. It's people like Karl Rove that are running this country.

ME: The reason I like/need to read a bunch of different sources is so I can get a metaview of what's happening in the campaign. It is true about Palin and the eBay jet but she didn't make the claim; McCain did. All she said was that she had "listed it on eBay." Which she did....As for the Jews for Jesus thing, I started to send that to you when I first came across it a couple of days ago, but I didn't because when I read further I saw that the story was a bit more and a bit less. She was at her church and a Jews for Jesus guy was speaking, but she was not aware that he was going to be there. So, unlike O. with the preacherman in Chicago, this was an unwitting attendance on Palin's part. The reason I'm bringing this up to you is that what you're picking up on is useless shit that the Dems are throwing out there to obfuscate the truth--which is that McCain and Palin are more of the same. It's very easy to get into a shitting (spitting?) contest, but it doesn't serve to do anything but inflame and put the emphasis on the wrong things. That's what the Reps are so brilliant at doing--and they are doing it now. But do we descend to their level knowing we can never be vile enough to beat them at their own game? Or do we maintain our integrity and insist they come up to our level?

SHE: Actually I knew the man just spoke at her church re: Jews for Jesus but her preacher has been quoted as saying "if you are against Bush you will go to hell and if you vote for Kerry I cannot guarantee your salvation." I know that is more of the crap that the Republicans are dishing out to us but I fell strongly that the Republicans are now lying about Obama's platforms-saying the he is a tax and spend liberal who will make Washington bigger--a totally inaccurate statement about his financial programs. Also I watched Karl Rove and his henchmen in 2004 lie and mislead the voters on so many issues and that crap wasn't addressed by Kerry quickly enough. I guess I am for throwing around some lies even if it is stretched a bit to sling at them. I'm not confident we can take the high road and win. And boy are Palin and McCain throwing crap around.
Here's some more sludge--she may have had an affair.
Saw Biden today and he was very good. So feeling a little more confident.
when I see a guttersnipe I want to make sure they stay in the gutter.

ME: Yeah, I hear you--and part of me agrees with you about throwing the crap back. I always think about the Pro-choice/Pro-Life debate in that context as well. The Pro-Lifers threw jars with aborted fetuses in them on legislators desks. The Pro-Choicers just talked and reasoned and explained. As a result, despite the majority of Americans being pro-choice, we are under the sway of the anti-choice minority--just because they are so effectively vocal. I saw Obama yesterday "answer" Palin by raising the issue of her pork votes. But really, he was so mild, there was little effect even among the audience. This whole thing does have me scared because it is so reminiscent of 2000...and 2004. This was one reason why I was so pro-Hillary: she could give the Republicans a run for their money. I'm just afraid Obama can't.

And that's where I am right now: jaw clenched, head aching, wishing I didn't think this is going to end up as a replay of 2000.

Friday, September 05, 2008

John McCain versus The GOP

John McCain gave a stirring speech last night, and if that was all I had to go by, then my vote might be in the 'undecided' column again. But it's not. He wasn't the cherry on top of the sundae so much as the strawberry on top of the gore. My allusions getting to you? A bit too allusive? Okay, let me clarify.

McCain promised last night to take on the people in his party who had failed the American people and betrayed Republican principles. That would be the people in his party who were speaking before him. Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina: Fat Cats One and Two, spewing the party line as if the economic state of our nation was a figment of Democrats imaginations. I had to laugh when Carly vowed to post every pro-people move that McCain made on the internet for every American to see. Well, every American who has ready access to computers--and that would be how many? and of what socio-economic class?

And Mitt Romney, who recited a litany of the sins of liberals in Washington, as if the Republicans were poor weak bystanders the past eight years. The Republicans, he said, "are the party of big ideas, not Big Brother." Obviously Mitt never read the book, 1984, because Big Brother was a spy system pretty damn close to the one the Republicans have been insisting we need to protect us from evil, so that comment of his is a bit of the pot calling the kettle black. As is this one: "We prefer straight talk to politically correct talk..." I call politically correct talk speech of any stripe that seeks to enforce a moral code. Like all of Romney's blather about Family Values, which are just his religious beliefs and not, he should know, mine or the Founders of our nation. I suppose I shouldn't be so hard on old Mitt and Carly and Meg. They are, after all, running for office. We don't have to wait till February 2009 for the next election cycle to begin; it's underway right now.

And then there was Mike Huckabee, the only Republican, save McCain, to have the balls to say something positive about Obama. But then he went off into some Cold War fantasy world. Obama went to Europe and "brought back European ideas, like big government." Whereas he, Huckabee, was raised in a place where "the three heroes were Jesus, Elvis, and FDR." FDR--wasn't he the guy who was the bete noire of the Republican party? Didn't he institute all those New Deal policies the Republicans hate?


Can you tell that I was taking notes when I listened to the speeches? It was the only way I could listen without exploding. And I was determined to listen: I believe it is my duty as an American citizen to have some background, not to mention integrity when I speak. Which is more than can be said for many of the speechifiers on Wednesday night. I gave up my note-taking soon after Rudy Guiliani began talking. Here's what I wrote when I quit: "This is all about appeasing the Republican base. There is so much bullshit in this speech, I can't listen." And Palin was just more of the same, although quite a bit better at delivery than any of the others at the podium. Someone asked me what I thought of her, and I said, "She gives good speech, and I mean that with all of the Hollywood implications intact."

So this is what I'm saying to John McCain. I like you. I think you're honest, as much as any of us are. I believe your intentions are honorable, as much as those of anyone who seeks political power are. I don't care that you're 72. I'm even willing to overlook that you're anti-choice and anti-gay marriage, since I believe that your honesty and integrity would lead you to protect our Constitution and not use it as a cudgel for your religious beliefs. What I cannot overlook is that you have surrounded yourself with the lowest of the low. They are the very "do-nothing, me-first, country-second Washington crowd" that you castigated in your speech. You cannot hope to build a bi-partisan consensus with people who think it is funny to mock those who don't agree with them. Watching your convention, the one at which you ostensibly took the reins of your party, I felt like I was in the stands at some Medieval blowout for the hoi polloi. When it was all over, I actually felt somewhat dirty, besmirched by the rabid crowd who were gulping down the red meat whole. Red meat--that's what is thrown to carnivores at feeding time.

So I will not be voting for you, John McCain. You lost your chance to win me over, and you did it not by what you said or didn't say, but by the company you keep. You may be honest and trustworthy, but the people surrounding you are anything but. You must know that, but you never trusted that you could actually win this thing on your own, did you? Watching you and Joe Lieberman up on the stage during your run-through, I couldn't help but think: an Independent party, the end of bi-partisanship. Too bad you didn't have the courage to try. And what I said the other day, I'll say again. In fact, I may have it printed on T-shirts and done up as buttons: John McCain--the Hanoi Hilton didn't break him; the Republican party did.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

On Palin and the RNC

There's no sense reinventing the wheel--or finding another way to say what Heather Armstrong has laid out so well. For those of you who love to diss Dooce, this is what intelligence and integrity look like: "And boom"

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Talking Points are for Empty Heads????

I'm tryin', guys, I'm really tryin' to give the Republican National Convention the same attention that I gave the Democrats. But man, those GOPeeps are making it really hard: they are so flippin' predictable. After just two days of the Convention, I could go on the air to give their talking points, that's how often I heard them repeated and repeated and repeated, ad nauseum. Why is this?
  1. They suffer from a scarcity of imagination.
  2. They suffer from a scarcity of actual things to say.
  3. They suffer from the assumption that repetition is the mother of belief.

Monday, September 01, 2008

A Lesson for Myself...and you too maybe

Last night when I went to bed, I had the feeling that Sarah Palin would become McCain's Harriet Miers. The allegations that Palin's youngest son, the four month old, was really her grandson--it all seemed familiar to me and I couldn't figure out why. Oh yeah, Desperate Housewives: didn't Bree banish her pregnant daughter to a home for unwed mothers, fake her own pregnancy and then palm her grandson off as her son. This is exactly the case that was being made about Sarah Palin. But Desperate Housewives, that's a comedy, isn't it? A satire in which Bree plays the most extreme of feminized women, the Stepford Wife. Was it really possible that the GOP didn't know that, that they were using the TV program's plot line as a model case? Then when I got up this morning, the story had changed. Now Palin's daughter, the one who rumor had it was the actual mother of the baby, was presented to the world as, yes, pregnant, five months alone, which seems to preclude any thought of the four month old being hers.

Whatever. My point isn't the state of Sarah Palin's uterus or her daughter's because, really, it's all a non-issue for me as far as considering Palin a viable candidate for Vice President. She's not, as far as I'm concerned, for reasons that have nothing to do with her children or her children's children. The story is significant to me, however, not for what it may say about Palin, but that it reveals the assumptions that I, that so many of us are ready to make about the Republicans: they will say or do anything to get what they want, so suspect everything.

Here's the lesson: I--we--must try to separate the candidate from the Party. The latter sucks; the former is human. The Party (either one, the Democrats are no angels either) is like some huge demonic being, and it swallows good people, chewing them up and regurgitating them in some new form, recognizable perhaps, but no longer human. That's what they've done to McCain; they've processed him like some soy-based sausage so that he is palatable to the Party. In so doing, though, he is lost to those of us who hoped he truly could be the maverick reaching across the aisles to create change. He withstood the Viet Cong and the Hanoi Hilton; the Republican Party, unfortunately, did him in.

It makes me sad to see McCain on TV now, because I like him. I do. And I think he is honest and well-intentioned and on his own, he might not have been that bad for America. On his own--without undue influence from the Party--I might have been able to trust him to do what was right for the country, rather than what was expedient to the GOP. But he's not on his own, is he, and therefore a good man is lost to us. I feel sad that Sarah Palin is taking the flack for the Party's choice. I'm sure she too is honest and well-intentioned, but she's a pawn now in the Republican playbook, and we all know that pawns never win the game.