Absolutely horrifying. If I believed in God, events like this earthquake would make me reject Him/Her out of hand. I prefer to believe it's just nature, which is neutral and functions without regard to those of us who inhabit this planet, than a deliberate action of a supposedly benevolent creator who loves us and has a plan.


Three times

I've tried to update three times from work, and failed. So I'm hoping the 4th times a charm. Quickly: Monkey is doing The Nutcracker this weekend, Sio (aka Sweetness) has decided she wants to major in Chemistry when she goes to college, Loki may be very sick but he won't go to the doctor, and I have my piano final tonight.

Don't forget to vote in the Koufax Awards!



I am sick today. I was feeling a little under the weather on Friday, so I decided to release myself from my work responsibilities. In a lovely display of karma, today I have a fever of 102F, and I'm so achy and feel so generally horrible that I'm balancing feeling like this with dying, and thinking that dying looks pretty good. Except since I'm a little behind at work, I came in anyway.


Novel update

I am now up to 10,715 words in my National Novel Writing Month novel, tentatively titled Off To A Bad Start. I hope to be at 30K by Thanksgiving, which will give me a long weekend to finish up.



The two funniest posts I've ever written were destroyed. I'm not holding Blogger responsible, it was due to a problem with my work computer, but I'm not happy that Blogger and my work computer hate each other so much.

One of the hilarious posts featured the details of a conversation I had with a friend who is a Bush supporter after the election - shorter version: when I tell her about Bush's flaws, she puts her fingers in her ears and says "na-na-na-na-na, I can't hear you!" which leads me to believe that reasonable discussion is no longer possible. But I get the last word, so it was a good conversation. For me, anyway.

I can't even remember what my second post was about, but it may have been about ethics vs. morality, a subject that's been on my mind lately. I promise that it was very funny and both of my regular readers should be sad theses two posts no longer exist.

Tonight, I'm going to send you over to Pandagon (where you probably already visit) and ask you to comment on their thread about what the Democrats should stand for.

In other news, I'm a year older, I had the crappiest birthday ever (and not just because I didn't get the item at the top of my list, a Democrat in the White House), I saw The Incredibles and I didn't like it anywhere near as much as everyone else in the entire world did. (It was okay, funny in some parts, but not as satisfying as Toy Story (I or II) or even Shrek. I even liked Finding Nemo better, and I didn't really like Finding Nemo, either.) The animation was terrific, though, so if that's important to you, you'll have a great time. Really, there was no part of it that I can call bad, I just didn't like it.


I'm feeling better now

Ohio is still up in the air, Florida early votes haven't been counted, and I still live in a beautiful blue state. And regardless of the final outcome, John Kerry is my president. I think I'm going to make a sign for my car, so when I drive to work tomorrow, everyone behind me will see my sign: John Kerry is My President 2004.

I swear to you that I am not drunk, I am simply experiencing some euphoria born of hope and sleep deprivation.

I don't think it's *entirely* over yet

But right now it looks like Bush has muscled his way to a second term.

I'm not too happy about it, but I do believe America can survive even this. Well, I'm trying to believe it. The problem is that the half of the country that supports Bush is completely irrational. Most of them are religious fanatics who have more in common with the Taliban than with the Jesus that they claim to follow. Many of them are vengeful, ugly people who through some sort of fantasy or delusion believe that they are entirely self-made people, unable to empathize with the plight of those who are less fortunate than they are, unable to see that it could have been them who was born to a drug addict, or an abusive parent, or an alcoholic, or with the wrong color skin.

Tomorrow morning, I'll get on the bus, and on my way to work I'll pass by Center Congregational Church, where the Connecticut Constitution was drafted (the first draft of the U.S. Constitution), and I'll hope for the best.

If things look like they're headed where I think they're headed, at the very least me and the girls are registered foreign born nationals of Ireland. We can always head to the saner shores of Europe.



For the last two weeks, I've been biting my nails over baseball.

Tonight, I have given up the nails and moved on to extreme nausea and high anxiety over the future of the country. Makes the playoffs and series seem like a day at the park.

I started the day in a spirit of high optimism. Loki and I arrived at our polling place about 7:45am, there were only Kerry supporters outside, and everyone was in high spirits.

Now that results are coming in, I'm too anxious to watch the coverage. S is flipping through all the channels but Fox, and she's been instructed to inform me if A)anything surprising happens or B) there is good news for Kerry. She just let me know that Kerry has won NY - certainly does not fulfill A, but I'll take an expected B.


Just One Thing

I happened to catch some of SNL's Presidential Bash tonight. It was like deja vu. Going back to Ford/Carter, there were accusations that the Democratic candidate is a flip-flopper.

So to the media, I ask, no, no, I fucking demand: DON'T EVER LEGITIMIZE THE STUPIDITY OF THIS ATTACK AGAIN!!!!

If I have learned anything from this campaign, I learned how incredibly lazy the press is. Republicans accuse the Democrats of flip-flopping, the press obediently asks "How do you, Mr. Democratic candidate, respond to the charges of flip-flopping?"

It's an illegitimate issue, and if I hear any so-called journalists ask about this in the future, I will know that the so-called journalist is a lazy-ass media whore.

It is not a weakness to change one's mind. When the situation changes, when the fucking facts change, it's fucking RETARDED to NOT change one's mind.


Sox in 4, Kerry in '04!!!!!

Damn, that was a beautiful ballgame. We stepped outside a few times when the Cards came to bat to check out the eclipse, which was gorgeous - the moon was a coppery red color - but other than that, we were tuned in to this history breaking moment. I can't help but engage in some magical thinking about how this is a sign, at least for tonight.


Because I don't have enough to do already

I have decided to sign up for National Novel Writing Month (www.nanowrimo.org) after my sister begged me to. It will be something to take my mind off the election mess that will probably occur, as well as get my 35th year off to a productive start. (Yes, I have a birthday coming up - my main request this year was for a Democrat in the White House, but unfortunately there are a bunch of people who don't want me to get my birthday present this year! Hopefully there are more people out there who want me to be happy as I enter my mid-30's than not.)


I Hate Musicals!

Actually, I love musicals, my title is simply a reference to a very funny song in a very funny musical, Ruthless! The Musical.

Last night, as I sat in my freezing cold house (we are trying to cut back on the heating bill by not turning the heat on...novel idea, I know), unable to watch the game for any stretch of time (because only a Red Sox fan is biting their nails at the bottom of the 9th when the team is up by 7), so I tuned into PBS, which was broadcasting their show Broadway: The American Musical.

It was great, although a pox on Kenneth Burns for popularizing that damn technique of having actors read letters written by actual people - it just bugs me.

Anyway, they played a film of Ethel Waters singing "Suppertime", which had me in absolute tears - the story is that the song is sung by a woman whose husband has been lynched, and it's time to get supper on the table, but it's so hard because she knows her man isn't coming home no more.

I cried again when they were talking about Oscar Hammerstein's final song - Edelweiss. I grew up in a house where we were always singing - my mother played piano by ear, and we used to play "Name That Tune" - if you guessed the tune you would get to move up a step, and whoever got to the top of the stairs first won. And we always, always sang in the car. My father used to have a list of requests that he liked us to sing for him, and Edelweiss was one of his favorites. It's such a sweet, simple tune, with such hopeful lyrics. What a lovely last song for Hammerstein to write.

Tonight they will be hitting my favorite era of Broadway, the Sondheim era. But I have a rehearsal tonight, so I'll have to catch the 1am showing...or maybe I'll have to get up at 4am. I can't tape it because our VCR is kaput, and I am sadly Tivo-less. Well, I suppose I could just wait - I'm sure it will either be repeated or available on DVD in time for Christmas.

I got to meet Mr. Sondheim once, by the way. He gave a talk at Fairfield University, and I ponied up the dough to attend a cocktail party fundraiser afterwards. He signed one of my Sondheim albums (that's one of those round black vinyl things, we used to play them on record players, oh, how I loved the crackle of the needle hitting the vinyl), and shook my hand. Nothing terribly memorable for him, but I will always remember it.


Sean the sheep and evil chickens

My mother drove to Massachusetts one day while I was at school and bought a lamb for me. I think this was shortly after a visit to the orthopedist, which usually left her feeling guilty about not catching my hip displaysia until it was too late to do anything productive about it. So she bought me a lamb.

There is very little in the world that is more adorable than a lamb. They leap around in a way that makes you feel joy in your heart. The problem is that lambs become sheep, and sheep are so boring and dull that it breaks your heart. Watching a lamb turn into a sheep is enough to make one want to die before they get old. We had Sean for about 8 years, and then one night he was mauled by either a coyote or an uncontained dog, and we had to put him to sleep.

Onto the evil chickens.

My sister hatched a bunch of eggs for the science fair when she was in 5th grade. We had a dozen eggs, and 5 of them turned out to be roosters. Chickens are fairly aggressive animals to begin with, but with that many males, these guys were the most ornery bunch of chickens ever. Instead of turning on each other, which roosters are well known to do, these guys banded together and took out their fierce aggression on us. They would hide under bushes, coming out to attack your ankles when you walked by. They would attack your hand when you went out to feed them. They were nasty little buggers.

Now, I respect vegetarians, but my experience with chickens taught me that chickens are inherently evil and deserve to be eaten.


My Pet Goat

You know, I've read these three words literally thousands of times, but did I ever tell you that I actually had a pet goat? His name was Caligula (my older sister was taking Western Civ at the time and thought that an appropriately goaty name), and he was so cool.

I got him when he was 5 days old. I had to get up in the very wee hours of the morning to feed him, but he was so cute and charming I loved every minute of it. When he got a little older, we bought him a dog collar and we would take walks with him. We would walk down the street to Cumberland Farms and he would wait outside for us.

We eventually sold him back to a farm, as he got very aggressive when he was older - but never to me, he was always a sweetheart to me.

Next time, I'll tell you about my sheep, Sean, and the evil chickens.


Possible way to approach stem cell research

I went to bed last night slightly dissatisfied with Kerry's answer on stem cell research. The questioner was, I believe, pretty clearly pro-life, but I thought it was a fair question - if we are already having success with non-embryonic stem cell research, why open up the moral and ethical can of worms of using embryos for stem cell research?

I thought it might be effective to approach embryonic stem cell research in the following way: compare it to organ donation. Right now, those embryos are either going to stay frozen until they are useless or be destroyed anyway. If we use the embryos for stem cell research and find ways to cure tragic diseases like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's, or to help someone with a damaged spinal cord walk again, it's like letting these embryos, embryos that would otherwise just be destroyed anyway, make life livable again for someone who is currently suffering. It's similar to those people whose families see their loved one live on through organ donation. I know if I were going to a fertility clinic and created more embryos than I could use, I would be happy to sign a card asking that the embryos created from my egg and my husband's sperm be used to advance science and help a suffering person be healed from their disease or affliction.


Fave debate moment

I'm torn between GWB being so out of touch he doesn't know that he owns a lumber company and GWB being so unable to take responsibility for anything that he had to blame Clinton for his bad job numbers.

He brought up the Clenis. Yes, Bush, let's remind us of a time when the economy was doing well, we had good jobs and we had hope for the future.

O'Reilly on The Daily Show

I didn't watch the whole interview, but O'Reilly told a couple of whoppers while I was tuned in:

1. We haven't been attacked since 9/11 - there's a family in Connecticut that buried their grandmother because she was killed when someone mailed anthrax to her house. I seem to recall that several Congresscritters received anthrax in the mail, too. Not a big showy attack like 9/11, but I don't think that means we can just claim victory against all U.S. based attacks. Oh, and like 9/11, the responsible party hasn't been caught or convicted yet.

2. The economy is doing well. While the worthless O'Reilly may be doing all right for himself (I've always been convinced it's easier to make money when you have no ethics), the Dow is not headed upwards, there are very few jobs, we have a huge deficit, and something like 164 economics professors signed a letter about how we need to replace our CEO president because things are bad and they're only going to get worse.

As an Irish-American, I am completely embarassed by asshats like O'Reilly and Hannity. I renounce them as fellow Irish-Americans.


Post-debate post

My musical engagement took less time than anticipated, so I made it home in time to catch most of the debate. I came in towards the end of the foreign policy portion of the debate.

There were a lot of arguments I wish Edwards had put forward that he didn't, but he was also countering a towering pile of bullshit - smoothly and competently delivered bullshit, which may hide the odor until the fact checkers get to it, but within the next 24 hours it's going to start smelling pretty bad in that undisclosed location.

As someone who is deeply, emotionally connected to this election, I tried to imagine how Edwards might be coming across to people who don't spend their days immersed in the details of the campaigns. I think that might be impossible. I suspect Edwards came across as a man who speaks clearly and reassuringly. But who can say. I've never even seen Star Wars, so who am I to act as arbiter for what the broad masses of people in this country like.

I'm sure the freepers are relieved that he didn't fuck up too badly (except for all the lies). Cheney's style of delivery was good even though the content was complete crap, so that will probably be worth something. (I should say I imagine his style of delivery will come across as solid and strong, because he only gives me the creeps.)

I for one am glad that the VP debate is not too important in the grand scheme of things. Edwards wasn't as brilliant as I'd hoped, but he wasn't Quayle, either.

ETA: I forgot to mention the ridiculous questions. Questions built to fit the story the press is trying to write, not questions that were actually worth answering. I look forward to hearing the questions my fellow Americans ask, because I'm sure they'll be more meaningful.


Luke Skywalker vs. The Emperor

I was 8 years old when Star Wars was released. My mother took us to the drive-in to see it (in a double feature with that classic Disney movie, Unidentified Flying Oddball), but I must confess that I fell asleep before Han Solo made his first appearance.

Since then, I've only seen bits and pieces of all the Star Wars movies, but I've never seen one all the way from start to finish - and I'm married to a man who owns a Darth Vader costume. I admit to a foolish pride in not seeing popular movies.

But Luke Skywalker vs. the Empire is an image I've been holding my mind ever since John Edwards accepted John Kerry's offer to run as his Vice-President. I just love the visual - good looking, warm, human John Edwards in a debate against evil cyborg Dick Cheney.

I think this is going to be a much tougher debate - there is no question that Dick Cheney is a smart man, and he is not constrained by any human morality (his baby eating habits have been well documented elsewhere). Once again, I have a musical engagement, so I will not see the debate, but if there is a God, and He is Good, John Edwards will get Cheney to expose his essential evil.


I know you've been eagerly awaiting this!

Finally, I am writing my post about the first debate! I know you have been waiting with breathless anticipation, and I shall extend my deepest sympathies to your families and loved ones who are surely mourning you following your death from asphyxiation.


I did not watch the debate Thursday night because I was singing Faure's exciting and dramatic Requiem, which I personally dedicated to George W. Bush's career as a public servant.

When I got home, I watched The Daily Show to see if my horse tripped on the track, so I was delighted to see that not only did Bush fuck up, but in such a humorous fashion, while there weren't too many jokes one could make about Kerry's performance - he was presidential.

I have been checking C-SPAN to see when they would rerun it, but I haven't caught it yet. My mother chastised me for it, because she said she wasn't going to watch it because she can't stand the sight of Bush, but changed her mind because she figured that's what the right-wingers also say, only of course about Kerry instead of Bush. And my momma won't let her babies grow up to be right-wingers.

There's no one quite like Mom

My mom stopped by tonight. She doesn't come to our house very often, and when she does, she usually just sits outside in the car and we have to go out to talk to her, with the car running the whole time. I talk to her almost everyday, and she lives about 15 minutes away, but she's just not the visiting type.

Tonight she stopped by and came inside, which happens perhaps once or twice a year. She wouldn't sit down, though, instead she did the dishes while I halfheartedly protested. She came to pick up some pictures of the girls, because my father is going to Ireland tomorrow and he wants to show off his grandkids.

When I was a kid, my mother was considered the crazy mom in the neighborhood - with fairly good reason, I suppose.* She was good crazy, not scary crazy, but crazy is crazy, and some kids weren't allowed to come over our house. She is a constant puzzle to my sisters and I, because this is a woman who I believe would kill someone who threatened her children, and would pulverize someone who would threaten her grandchildren, but I don't believe she's ever told any one of us that she loves us. I don't need to hear it - a mom who washes my dishes says it well enough for me.

One of the things that always makes me sad is when I think about how much my mother fights off happiness. She actively rejects anything that might bring her even a little bit of pleasure. She is a die-hard martyr, and I don't think that will ever change.

**One summer she spent a huge chunk of every day jumping on a pogo stick in the driveway. For several years of my childhood she refused to go into any establishment - she would drive my older sister and I to the grocery store and hand us money and we did all the shopping (this was probably from the time I was about 8 until I was 14). After a fight with my father (which nearly always resulted in many things being broken), she was known to creatively display the broken items - once I came home from school and there were broken lamps and dishes hanging by shoelaces that had been nailed to the living room ceiling.

She was also supremely cool sometimes. She took me to see David Bowie, she let me read anything I wanted to read, she used to pack the kids who were allowed to hang out with us into the van and take us all to the drive-in.

Places you probably already visit added to blogroll

Roger Ailes, Jesus' General and Sadly, No! added to blogroll.


Quick Post

Buy Nellie McKay's CD "Get Away From Me" right now, please.

Thank you.


Shaun of the Dead

Monkey is sleeping over a friend's house tonight, so Loki and I decided to do something we don't get to do with kids around - see an R rated movie. Loki was actually pushing for the new John Waters film, but a sexed up Tracy Ullman is not high on my list of things I want to see.

So we saw Shaun of the Dead. I hadn't heard much about it, but when I saw a promo, I thought it looked very funny, and since I like a good pun, I appreciated the title.

We went to a fairly early showing since Loki had plans for the night. The theater was not packed, maybe only 1/3rd full. Plus we live in New England, where people need someone to start off the clapping or the laughing, preferably someone from one of those places where people are comfortable expressing themselves. Even so, the movie got a huge response from the audience, lots of laughs and even applause at several points.

(Side note: My sister and my BIL both cannot understand any British accent other than the upper-crusty, American faking an English accent kind of accent. Loki usually does pretty well, but he said it took him about 15 minutes to get into the language and so he missed all the jokes in the first 15 minutes.)


At the start of the film, we meet Shaun and his girlfriend, Liz. They are at the pub, and they are having one of those State of the Relationship conversations (where Liz is delivering a speech to a Shaun whose mind is elsewhere). In a series of rather clever cuts, we also meet Shaun's flatmate Ed, who no one but Shaun seems to really like, and Liz's flatmates Dianne and David.

The movie plays like a classic buddy comedy until the zombies are introduced (although Shaun doesn't like the "zed word" - Loki leaned over and said "they prefer to be called living impaired" at that point) .

Loki's favorite scene in the movie was when Shaun visualizes his plans to rescue his mother and his girlfriend - everyone ending with a winking Shaun hoisting either a cup of tea or beer, surrounded by his laughing and grateful friends and family as they await the cavalry.

My favorite scene was Shaun's second walk to the convenience shop around the corner, when he is completely oblivious to the presence of zombies. Oh, and we both loved the scene where Shaun was sacrificing some of his records to kill some zombies - even in a matter of life and death, it's important to keep your original pressing of Blue Monday, apparently.

At one point in the movie, Shaun is leading his group (Liz, Dianne, David, his mother, and Ed) to the pub where they can wait out the zombie attack, and he meets up with his friend Yvonne, who is with a Seinfeldian Bizarro World group - same essential people, only more together than anyone hanging out with Shaun. They meet, wish each other luck and head off in separate directions.

At the end, when the cavalry finally arrives - along with Yvonne - Loki said that Yvonne's group had the story that a movie would usually tell - a ragtag group of people, in an almost impossible situation, who manage to figure out how to stop the scourge and bring in the big guns. I'm pretty happy that I got to see Shaun's story instead. I'm sure it was funnier.


Slacker + Slacker = Overachiever

I was a slacker in school. Some subjects (English, History, Biology) came very easily to me, and I found I could get an A without exerting anything resembling effort. I had to work a little bit in other classes (Earth Science, Chemistry), and I was hopeless in Math, so I didn't bother to work at all.

Loki was much more well rounded than me, but he put a similar amount of effort forward, i.e., very little.

Somehow our slacker genes came together and created the overachiever that is Sweetness (I really have to find her a new nickname, I hate that one...). She is not gifted, and no subjects came easily to her, so she learned how to work hard when she was little. Now she's a sophomore, and she's got the highest grade in her AP Chemistry class (she's the only sophomore in that class, btw), she's got the highest grade in her AP World History class, and she's in the top 10 in all her other classes (which are all honors level, because they don't have AP for any other classes when you're in 10th grade).

Monkey has inherited her parents slacking off when it comes to academics, but at least she's got gonzo talents to fall back on - the kid is going to be an amazing musician, she's a great athlete, and she is definitely one of the funniest kids I've ever met.

Of course, both my children are devastatingly beautiful, as well, which must be another recessive gene...Loki and I are both attractive enough, I guess (in my case, if you like the "oh my god, she's so Irish she could be a leprechaun" look), but we put together 2 reasonably-attractive-but-not-winning-any-beauty-contests parents, and we somehow ended up with these 2 amazing looking children. I know, I'm bragging, but heck, I made them, I have every right to be proud.


Who is Jesse Owens?

When I was in high school, my friend Greg and I would sometimes play Trivial Pursuit. Greg was one of the smartest people I knew, but I would routinely kill him at Trivial Pursuit. Sometimes I could answer questions correctly without having any idea of how I knew the answer. What always put Greg behind were the sports questions, because he was an asthmatic band geek, so if a question was about Who did something in sports, his automatic answer was Jesse Owens.

You might notice that I framed my answer in the form of a question, and that is because I just got notice that I have been randomly selected to audition for Jeopardy next month, when their contestant search comes to Boston.

Hey there!

I welcome any new visitors who are here after viewing the name of my blog on American Street (http://www.reachm.com/amstreet/states-writes.htm, since Blogger is bloggered and I can't remember the format for links). I was surprised by two things - one, that I was even listed as a progressive blog, since I started off with mainly political posts but have turned more towards the personal, but hey - Bush sucks, I'm more liberal than Kerry but I can't wait to vote for him, so there is my progressive commentary for the day) and two, that CT was a swing state in 2000. I think Nader did some damage to Gore here, since this is a state that will pretty safely vote for a Democratic president. I'm ashamed to admit that I voted for Nader in 2000 because I knew Gore would win CT. It will not happen again. Later that night I was actually physically ill over my vote, as I watched the fiasco unfurl.

Anyway, I appreciate the work that went into this progressive blog state by state round-up, and I look forward to visiting the blogs of my fellow Connecticutians.


The Blood Pressure Rises

Now that the Republican National Convention is over, and we're really into the campaign, I'm finding it difficult to make it through the day without feeling my rage enter the red zone. The letters to the editor page contains letters from the suckers who buy the Bush act, they're just on their knees in idol worship of this simple man who is so decisive and so free from any sort of human flaw, and I just cannot take it!

I would like to volunteer for the Kerry campaign, but between my jobs, my kids, their activities, my pets, my husband, it's hard to find time to do anything but write letters to the editor myself - which never seem to get published. But I keep writing. (Just not on my blog).

Depending on what happens on November 2, I'll either be funny and happy again or dead from multiple aneurisms.



I feel so blah today. I shouldn't even post when my head feels this fuzzy and bereft of thought, when I'm so tired and cranky, and fantasizing about moving out of my house and just living in a small room with a pillow, a blanket and a hotplate. It's taken every ounce of energy I have today to pretend that I'm mentally capable of doing my job today.

How can I shake myself out of this?


As long as I get SOMETHING

A phone conversation I had today:

Sister-in-law: Hey, I'm calling you from the Humane Society. We're here with dad, picking out a new dog, and there is a litter of Dachshund mix puppies here, and Monkey is dying to get one, she kept asking me and asking me to call you, and I figured I'd call you to put an end to the begging, so I'm putting her on the phone.

Monkey: Mom, oh, mom, please, please, please can I get a puppy?!?

Me: No

Monkey: Please, mommy, please, please, I really, really, really, really want a puppy! I promise I'll take care of it!

Me: No

Monkey: But why? Sweetness has her own dog, I want my own dog, please, mommy, they're so cute!

Me: No

Monkey: I promise I'll do everything, mommy, oh, please, please, please, please, please, pretty pretty please with a cherry on top?!? They're so cute, I have to have my own puppy!!! Please, please, please (etc.)

Me: Monkey, a dog is a lot of work. You're about to go back to school and you're going to be very busy, and you're not going to have time to take care of a dog. And it's not all cute and fun, you have to clean up their pee and poop and puke, and you have to train them to behave otherwise they are unpleasant to be around. So, no, you may not have a dog.

Monkey: Can I get a kitty instead?


President Obama

I tend to be extremely cynical about politics. Tonight, my hope was rekindled and my cyncism died, when I heard Barack Obama deliver the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention.

I have never felt so proud to be a Democrat, and so proud to be an American, and I've never felt so hopeful that our country will recover from this dark period under the rule of the guy who lost the last election.


Since the last update to Blogger, I find it difficult to post from work because we are on a Microsoft browser, and Blogger suggests a Mozilla browser for optimal functioning. I have Firefox on my home PC, but between me, Loki, and Sweetness, I find it difficult to have the time to post while at home. (Monkey is not interested in using the computer yet. It requires far too much sitting still.)

That's why I haven't posted very much lately.

I did watch some of the convention last night - I caught Carter's speech, and I must echo Jon Stewart - Carter was the Velvet Hammer. I did have to suffer through that pussy David Brooks whining that Carter didn't mention the boogeyman during his speech, because everyone knows that the most serious problem facing this country right now is Pussy-Ass Brooks' fear of Islamo-fascists who want to kill us, never mind the context, never mind the loss of allies, never mind the completely incompetent pursuit of the War on Terror under Bush.

Uh, Mr. Brooks? Ever occur to you that we might find more success fighting the war on terror when we bring in the rest of the world? Or are those glasses for myopia?

Sheesh - why do we have to have pundits to spin the speeches for us, anyway? Maybe they haven't taken a good look at the ratings, but the people paying attention to the convention are probably already pretty well informed, and we don't need anyone, even liberal pundits, to interpret the speeches for us.


What are you listening to?

A couple of weeks ago I saw Ben Folds, Rufus Wainwright and Guster in concert. Ben Folds is a longstanding love affair of mine, I never, ever tire of listening to any of his (both Ben Folds Five and solo) CDs, and with the exception of maybe one or two songs, I never skip a song on any of his CDs either. I missed him the last time he came around Connecticut because Monkey and I were at Disneyworld, so I was not going to miss him this time. He delivered, as usual - huge energy, very funny, gonzo piano playing, audience participation - he is definitely an artist who must be seen live to be fully appreciated.

I was only familiar with a couple of songs by Guster, and I had only heard Rufus Wainwright's cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.

Guster was a pretty tight band, with great vocals, but since I wasn't too familiar with their songs it was hard to get into it. Their drummer plays mostly hand drums, which was kind of cool.

Rufus Wainwright was sort of fascinating. He has massive stage presence, and he's very funny, but his music was so mellow it was like we were being lulled to sleep. He also mumbles, so I couldn't understand what he was singing. But the melodies were so beautiful I decided I would have to check him out.

So I bought his CD Want One, and there is a lot to like. The first song on the CD (I think it's called "What A World") is built on the melody from Ravel's Bolero. Right now, my other favorite song is "Vibrate"

My phone's on vibrate for you.
Electroclash is karaoke, too.
I tried to dance to Britney Spears,
I guess I'm getting on in years

The music underneath is similar to the bass line of that famous song from the opera Carmen (sorry, not hugely into opera so I have no idea what that is - for people from my era who are reading this, you would recognize the bass line from a filmed bit on Sesame Street where an orange gets all gussied up and sings "l'amour").

I will still listen to something more upbeat on my way into work (One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces makes for an uplifting start to my day), but I am intrigued by the work of Mr. Wainwright and would like to subscribe to his newsletter.



When I was a small child, I was afraid of a lot of things. I would curl into a ball on the couch when my mother vacuumed, afraid I would get sucked in; I had to be out of the bathtub before my mother could turn the drain on, for fear I would go spiraling through the tiny holes; I would lie on the floor of the car covering my head when we went through the car wash.

When I was a little older, I was afraid that Reagan was going to annihiliate the planet with nuclear weapons, that no one would ever notice that I was getting beat up at home, that I would never have my first kiss or sex.

As an adult, I have conquered these fears. (I don't fear GWB so much as get fucking pissed off by him). But I am currently grappling with a completely unexpected, throwback to my small childhood years kind of fear: I cannot jump into the pool at my swim lessons. Every time our teacher asks us to jump, I stand at the edge, sure that this time I will muster up the courage to just do it, and every time, I step back, holding my churning stomach. I can dive in, no problem, but I cannot step off the edge of the pool.


Back to School

My first attempt at post-high school education ended when I found myself broke and pregnant. All ended well, of course, I was pregnant with my dear Sweetness, and although I'm not well off or even comfortable, I can pay my bills every month.

So last night, more than 15 years after I graduated from high school, I signed up for college again - community college, this time, since it's all I can afford. Despite all the time I've spend thinking about it, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, so I decided to major in something I love dearly but have mostly pursued as an avocation - Music. My current plan is to get an Associate's in Music and then transfer to one of the Music Education programs at one of the 4 year colleges in this neck of the woods.

Sweetness and Monkey are thrilled that we will all go back to school together this fall. Loki is proud now, but I'm sure he'll complain a little when I'm actually in class for 3 hours or more a week.


New (temporary) additions to the family

We currently have two monarch caterpillars in full chrysalis construction mode sitting on a milkweed plant in our kitchen. We put netting over the plant to protect them from the cats. The caterpillars are more fascinating than I thought they would be. They basically ate for several days in a row - and that's all they did, all day long, and all night long, too. It was astonishing to see how much they ate. Then they both found a spot on the plan and compacted themselves (one of them was about 2 inches long, the other about 3 inches long, and they both compacted themselves to about 1 inch), and then curled into a "J" shape, and they seem to be secreting a substance from one end of their bodies.

When they emerge from their chrysali, we will bring them to Magic Wings butterfly conservatory in So. Deerfield, MA.


At least they live 3000 miles away

Loki and I took a week off from work because his mother came to town.

It was like spending a week with a Stepford Wife and her Lord and Master. Her husband picks out her clothes, chooses her meals, and makes all the decisions. She is allowed to make respectful input, but from what I saw, he always gets his way.

It was absolutely infuriating. At the end of every day, Loki and I and his sister would get together and contemplate the demise of the woman they used to know.

Did I mention that Stepford-in-law and her husband are die-hard Republicans? They are completely unable to see anything from anyone else's point of view. I'm a die hard Democrat, but I can see the point of view of many Republicans, and I can even see the appeal of the Republican philosophy, although I find it to be reprehensibly selfish. The first night they were here, the California gubernatorial election came up, and I questioned their support of the groping Austrian actor. Stepford-in-law mentioned that they were really voting against Bustamante, and she started to bring up his involvement with MECHA, and I slapped her down, hard. I ended my rant by asking why Bustamante's extracurricular activities in college were something to take seriously but she couldn't take Bush's activities when he was the same age (and older) seriously. No answer.

We went to Watch Hill for a day at the beach last week, and on the way home, I drifted off in the car, and when I awoke, I heard Burt railing about gay marriage, and how their church may have to split because of the issue. I couldn't hold my tongue, and I suggested that perhaps the church should heed the wisdom of Solomon: one one side, you have people who would rather tear the church asunder than not get their way, and on the other side you have people who simply want to be included and live their life. He didn't get it. In his mind, no reality can exist where gay people are not a problem.

Well, at least we only have to see them every other year.


Kerry/Edwards 2004

Kerry has announced his pick for the VP slot, and it is Edwards. I look forward to seeing the good looking, youthful, optimistic and intelligent Edwards in a debate against the cyborg of death Dick Cheney.


What took me so long?

Hullaballoo with the incomparable Digby added to the blogroll.



Every other year or so, I make a vow to get more fit. And every time I do, I wonder why I don't just keep it up rather than suffer through the pain of getting my nicely entropied muscles moving again.

Because of my hip, I'm fairly limited in the exercise I can do. I can't do all those high impact aerobics, and I can't even sit cross-legged, so I don't know if I could manage yoga. I do some weight training, but it gets so boring that I always give it up (I do this at home, since I lost my free gym membership when I lost my last job.)

I never learned how to swim as a child, so about 5 years ago I signed up for adult swimming lessons. I kept it up for 3 years straight, even over the winter, swimming at least 3 times a week. And then I just stopped going. It all happened when I took my current job - my hours changed and I suddenly couldn't fit everything in.

Anyway, I once again made my fitness vow, so I signed up for adult swimming again, and last night I had my first lesson. Oh, man, I am sore. We did laps - forward crawl, backstroke, elementary backstroke, and then we started to learn the breaststroke. I don't think there is a muscle in my body that wasn't jarred awake. My eyebrow muscles hurt.


Congratulations, you lucky 50,000 winners!

I just can't express what a brilliant way this is to run Medicare. It's almost like the reality show of administration policy. Why care about who needs the drugs the most! Hey, the wheel of fortune has already given you cancer, you're due for a change of luck, right?

I just love this quote:

The program will mirror the 2006 drug benefit, meaning that there will be a gap in coverage — known as a doughnut hole — in which patients will bear the entire cost of the medicines. People still will have to spend about $5,300 a year for Gleevec, but that represents nearly 90 percent off the annual average wholesale price of $45,952, Medicare said.

"Only a cynical pessimist can look at a doughnut and complain about the hole," Thompson said.

If you happen to be poor, or even lower middle class, and you grumble about having to pay $5,300 a year, why, you're just a cynical pessimist. It's only $450 a month!


I'm Still Here

Sorry about my lack of posts, I've been on an impromptu vacation with the extended family. We went to Storyland in New Hampshire on biker weekend, had a big marital spat that everyone agrees is 100% Loki's fault (except for Loki (/me shaking my fist in his general direction), and deciding to turn down the job offer after I did some math and realized that even though my happiness is worth taking a pay cut for, GMAC and Citimortgage don't give a rat's ass about my happiness and I have to pay them every month, which I can't afford to do if I take the pay cut the new job offered me.

I also went to see the movie Dodgeball with Sweetness - I thought it was stupid but hilarious, she just thought it was stupid - I had a brief pregnancy scare (which was only scary because I'm still mad at Loki), bought a new pet for Monkey*, did a ton of laundry (and that may actually be literally a ton), and felt powerless and pissed off about world events.

*Monkey is a very responsible pet owner. We have several pets in the maurinsky household: Spud the Basset Hound, Cas and Mad our kitties, Fee the goldfish, and Flippers the beta fish. Monkey just got a second beta fish, Rainbow. She feeds all the animals, cleans the litter box, takes the dog for walks and plays with him, and cleans the fish bowls out weekly without being asked. I know it's because she's angling for a pony, but it ain't gonna happen. Maybe a rabbit or a guinea pig, but our yard isn't big enough for a Labrador, let along a pony.



My 12 or so regular readers may know that I hate my job, and that I recently had a job interview. I got the job offer on Friday. It is less money than I make at the job that makes me dread waking up every morning, which didn't matter to me when I was being interviewed, but now that I've got the offer, I'm actually worried about making less.

I have another iron in the job fire as well, for a position at my previous place of employement, where I worked happily for 7 years before my department was relocated out of state. It's for a job I'm completely qualified for, but my old company is notorious for taking FOREVER to hire people, so I haven't heard anything yet.

I'm slightly reluctant to take the job offer because I would hate to pass up the potential job with my old company, but then I think about the bird in the hand being worth the two in the bush, and I wonder if I should just take the job and cut back on a few key areas.

Although the job offer is less money, my friend works there and says it's a great environment. There is also the potential for advancement, which does not exist at my current job. The benefits at my current job are extremely inexpensive (we piggyback on the state contract), so I'm sure there would be an increase in the cost of insurance. But I hate my current job so much.

I just don't know what to do.


The Clothes *HAD* No Emperor

We were so busy over the weekend that I didn't know Ronald Reagan was dead until late on Sunday. That prompts me to recommend a book I've enjoyed re-reading many, many times: The Clothes Have No Emperor by Paul Slansky.

While GWB might make Reagan seem like such a sweet old man in comparison, this book reminds me of the many reasons why I didn't like Reagan when he was president.


The church/porn connection

Seen at church yesterday: a regular attendee wearing a Penthouse magazine t-shirt.


Grinning like a fool

That was me on my way home from work tonight. There was a thunderstorm in the afternoon, and the sky was half sunny and half dark and stormy as I drove home. And every car on the road was kicking up rainbows. I may be cynical, but I'm not immune to the charms of rainbows!


The joys of owning your own business

Flea over at One Good Thing has a great post up that offers some insight into why someone would bother to open a small business in this world of big boxes and brand names.

I have my own dream of a small business. I took up knitting as a hobby when Sweetness was born (before it became the fad it is now, but certainly, I couldn't claim to be the first knitter, or probably even the millionth person to take up knitting.) I learned how to knit from a book, and thus I am a pretty poor knitter. Let me rephrase that...I'm actually a very good knitter, I'm just bad at making my knitting look like something that one would want to wear on their person. I could knit scarves and blankets all day long, but if the pattern requires counting, increasing, decreasing, or finishing, I can guarantee you it will never be completed by my hands.

Still, I love yarn, I love the actual act of knitting, and so I drew up some plans for my yarn shop, which I will call "Ripping Yarns", a name Loki really liked because it could be the same place where we could fulfill his small business dream of owning his own used Sci-Fi/Fantasy bookstore. (I realize it is also the name of a defunct BBC series that members of Monty Python wrote and performed on. More power to the name, I say.)

I am always scouting locations for the shop. I have drawn up floor plans, I designed some shelving that I want my father to build for the shop. I have lighting fixtures picked out. What I don't have is money, or any idea how one runs a retail business. I'm going to have to ask Flea how she ended up with her store.

Upcoming events

This Friday, Sweetness' drama group is doing an evening of one acts, although that is really a misnomer, since it's really an evening of 10 minute plays. Sweetness is directing "Funeral Parlor" by Christopher Durang, and she is appearing in a musical selection from the musical "Godspell". Next Monday is the Peforming Arts Awards ceremony, and we've already been notified that Sweetness will be receiving an award.

Next Tuesday, Monkey is going to perform "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"* at the first grade talent show. Loki and I were contemplating letting her perform Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" (after our Freaks & Geeks marathon), but we decided that enough people at the school already think poorly of us. Monkey is planning to be a rock star when she grows up, and I think she has more talent than required to do it, so I'm a supportive mom. We don't expose her to Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson, and she is a die-hard fan of The Clash at age 7, so I think we are off to a good start.

Next Friday, Sweetness and I will be singing the songs of George & Ira Gershwin at our church choir pops concert. Last year we did Andrew Lloyd Webber, so this is a big step up, but I'm pushing for Cole Porter or Stephen Sondheim next year - although one of our tenors has requested an evening of TV show theme songs, so who knows what will happen.

*I think this is the only Pat Benatar song I like.

Mean People

Last Friday, Loki dropped Monkey off at school, and he was standing outside the classroom talking to one of the moms when he heard the teacher screaming: "You had a month to do that project!!!! What is wrong with you!!!!"

Moments later, a little boy (J.) came running out of the classroom in tears. Loki took J.'s hand, brought him to the principal, told her that Mrs. Mean just destroyed J., and then he went back to the classroom, signed Monkey out, and they went out to breakfast and then saw Shrek 2. Only 10.5 more days and then Monkey's year with Mrs. Mean is over.


Dear New Alliance Bank;

To begin, I'd like to congratulate you on acquiring the Savings Bank of Manchester.

I was a faithful SBM customer for many years. One of the things I really loved about SBM, aside from their fine customer service, friendly and accurate tellers, and no-fee checking, was that every SBM branch had a clock on the outside of the building. I'm unable to wear a watch because of some sort of freak of electromagnetics - any watch I wear just stops working after a few weeks, from the cheapest digital to the most expensive Swiss manufacturing - so I loved that every time I passed an SBM branch (a not infrequent occurance), I could check the time.

Now, I know that you want people in this town to have the name "New Alliance Bank" branded into their brains, but did you have to cover up every single clock with a banner that says "New Alliance Bank"? Because now, every time I see or hear the name "New Alliance Bank", I think to myself "those are the fuckers who took time away from me."

Even my neighbors who can wear watches are unhappy about losing the clocks. I've heard people complaining about this without any prompting from me. Please, New Alliance Bank, give us our clocks back!




20 True Things About Me

1. The movie "Groundhog Day" moved me to tears.
2. I hate cleaning more than almost anything else - I once threw out a sinkful of dishes because I couldn't stand the thought of washing them.
3. I am ashamed now that I was so wasteful.
4. Approximately 1200 people (not counting medical professionals and relatives) have seen me completely naked.
5. I appear briefly in the Duran Duran concert movie "Sing Blue Silver".
6. My first job (other than babysitting) was as a meat wrapper in the grocery store.
7. I've been fired from 2 jobs.
8. I have never eaten a peanut butter & jelly (eww) sandwich.
9. I am extremely competitive, and I feel very pissed off when I don't win at card or board games.
10. I have learned how to be a good sport on the outside, even if I'm still a sore loser on the inside.
11. The only time I ever skipped school was in 8th grade, when I was reading what I then thought was the best book ever written "The World According to Garp", and I didn't want to put it down so I just went to homeroom and then slipped out to go read in the woods behind the school.
12. I met John Irving, the author of "Garp", and I was so excited and gushed so much that he couldn't understand a word I said.
13. I will always have a soft spot for Adam Sandler, because I met him once on a college campus, and he was so kind and sweet to Sweetness that I feel compelled to defend him and his movies.
14. The first time I got drunk in my life was 3 weeks ago, at my high school friend's wedding reception.
15. I keep a list of songs that I want to have played at my funeral.
16. "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC is on that list.
17. I love tattoo magazines even though I don't have any tattoos and I don't plan to get any tattoos.
18. In 16 years of driving, I've never gotten a ticket.
19. I have a job interview tomorrow and I have no idea what I'm going to wear.
20. I have freckles on 65% of my body.



We have a tough week this week - last night Sweetness and I had choir practice, tonight Sweetness had a school chorus concert (they are incredible, better than many professional choirs), tomorrow Monkey has a softball game, Thursday S & I have choir practice again, and Friday she has an orchestra concert. Saturday my in-laws are going to descend on my house to celebrate all the May birthdays in our family, and Sunday we have church. That means I have only Memorial Day with nothing scheduled, so I offer my thanks again to all those veterans who gave their lives for this great nation, because without their sacrifice, it would be just another workday under some fascist dictator or greedy monarch. Thanks!

Anyway, because we're so busy this week, I took my lunch hour today to do some grocery shopping. I had a quick drive to the store, but on my way back to work, I was behind a car being driven by a man with white hair and a hat. There were 4 white haired people in this car, and they were driving approximately 8 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone. I thought to myself "retired people should stay off the roads between 12-1, when those of us who have to work are out and about trying to do things we don't have enough time in our week to do", and then I was ashamed of myself for thinking like that. And then, the white haired person in the passenger seat tossed a fast food bag out the window. So I passed those littering motherfuckers and yelled at them to get off the road. Justified anger - it feels good.


Final Solution

Ezra at Pandagon wrote a pretty good post about the Iraqi wedding bombing. It reminded me of a conversation I once had with my right-wing brother-in-law.

A little history, first. My BIL absolutely despised me when he first met me. My husband's whole family was pretty skeptical to be honest (can you imagine? they were skeptical of this 19 year old pregnant chick who wanted to marry their 27 year old son/brother!), but BIL was the most overtly hostile of the bunch. I hated him, too. But over the years, I got to know him better, and he got to know me better, and now I would say that we are pretty fond of one another.

This conversation occurred when we Bush announced the war on terror. My BIL and I, who are nearly always at odds with each other when discussing politics, both agreed that there is only one way to stop terror, and even that is only a temporary measure - genocide. Kill everyone who stands against you. Everyone who is not on your side needs to be dead. Of course memories are long and span generations, and eventually, a new group of people who hate America will come along and use the same tactics again, because what other kind of tactics can a small, poor nation use against a wealthy powerful one? Even my BIL thought that would be wrong. It would change what America is, what America stands for. Maybe the torture and the murder of children at a wedding aren't as bad as what Stalin or Hitler or Pol Pot did, but it certainly doesn't make us any better.



If Bush had friends, I'm sure they wouldn't let him bike drunk.


I never said I was consistent

I just noticed that two consecutive posts of mine offer 2 very different opinions on eye patches. In my "Hip Tip" post, I admire eye patches, but in the "Carnivals" post, I express disdain for or perhaps fear of those who wear eye patches. Well, I never said I was consistent, but for the record: my admiration is for pirate style eye-patches. My fear is when I see someone who clearly got their eye patch because their cornea was scratched by a broken bottle in a bar fight. Either that or they have a severe lazy eye that probably should have been corrected years ago.

Pirates = Arrgh! (Yay!)
Carnies = Scary!

ETA: I also seem to have a lot of disagreement with myself over the phrase "eye patch", which I have written as "eye-patch", "eyepatch" and "eye patch". I'm guessing that the hyphen is the appropriate form, but I am far too lazy to find out by myself. I have heard that there are some people on the internet who are very particular about grammar. If you happen to be one and you've stopped in to read my blog, feel free to correct me.

Added to blogroll

There is a voice inside my head that keeps me amused all day long, and that voice sounds just like Finslippy. For some reason, when I try to transcribe that funny voice, it just comes out like me. So go read Finslippy, because as her tagline says, it's better to be Finslippy than to not be Finslippy.

Carnivals look better from a distance

Monkey had a great time at the carnival on Saturday evening. She did multiple backflips on the Eurojump, screamed with delight on the Tilt-A-Whirl, had a blast slamming into people on the Bumper Cars, and waved faithfully with each turn of the carousel.

Loki and I enjoyed watching her have so much fun, but we couldn't help but notice the puke under the bench, and the carnies who seemed to be universally missing a finger or wearing an eyepatch, all with a cigarette either dangling from their lip or tucked above their ear. We made a cycle through, letting Monkey and Sweetness go on the rides they wanted to go on, playing a couple of midway games (Monkey won a stuffed tiger; thankfully, no one won a live goldfish), buying one disgusting carnival food item apiece (fried dough for Sweetness, cotton candy for Monkey), and then heading home. When we got to our car, we turned back to look at the carnival. Yep, definitely looks better from a distance.


A Hip Tip for potential Orthopods

I went to my new orthopedist today. We discussed my "very sad, very sick" hip joint, as he called it, and while he wasn't quite as fast as previous orthopods to suggest we better yank that thing out of there and put in something shiny and new, a total hip replacement is in my not too distant future.

He also asked my permission to use my X-rays in the board tests he will be conducting in July. He said if the potential orthopods don't at least consider the pros and cons of fusion, they will fail. (The pros: no more pain; the cons: no movement, same lurching walk, no flexibility).

Oh, and if I would like to help stave off the operation for a little longer, I should get a cane! I always wanted to have some sort of affectation to make me stand apart from others - an eye patch, or a monocle, maybe a fashionable hat or a posh accent. Now I feel justified in buying a cool cane that will really help define me as the elegant and sexy woman I truly am. Of course, I'll probably be best served by the decidedly unsexy orthopedic cane.



Sweetness is going to the junior prom with her boyfriend in a couple of weeks. I missed both of my proms for a variety of reasons: A) no one asked me; B) the popular music of the late 80's was not good - Paula Abdul, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and lots of miscellaneous crappy dance music - I was a purist and I could not subject my precious ears to that kind of filth; C) I was deeply submerged in teen angst and the prom just seemed like something a tragic figure such as myself should avoid; D) I was grunge before that word existed, and as a low maintenance kind of woman, the thought of prettying myself up for a prom was alien to me.

Sweetness is not at all angsty, she has no music standards*, she loves prettying herself up, and of course, she has a boyfriend who asked her to the prom. We've already taken care of the gown (Sweetness and one of her best friends made her dress), the shoes, and the jewelry (a gift from her boyfriend), and now I'm told we must make a hair, manicure and pedicure appointment, and we must make them 2 weeks ago, because there are no appointments available now.

Yes, that's right - I could not find a single hairdresser within the Greater Hartford region who has an opening. This leaves me with the terrifying option of doing it myself. I only recently learned how to make a braid. When Monkey requests pigtails, it usually looks like they were made by an intoxicated person who is missing some fingers. I have one good hair trick, and that is a bun held in place with 2 pencils. I don't think Sweetness will want that for the prom. Still, I'm a firm believer that I can learn how to do anything, so I started practicing last night. I told Sweetness her head is mine for the next two weeks, and I'm going to practice making her hair beautiful every night until the prom.

*I shouldn't say *no* standards, but she is blissfully unaware of any music that exists outside the realm of original cast recordings of various musicals, themes from her favorite movies, oldies, and classical recordings, particularly anything played by Yo-Yo Ma (Sweetness is a cellist). And she doesn't care passionately about the music she does like. She gets this from Loki, who is a recovering Styx {shudder} fan.


Anything you can do, I can do better

American in Iraq beheaded in retaliation for the torture of Iraqi detainees.


70% to 90%

Kevin Drum has some screen shots of a report that says between 70% to 90% of the prisoners in Abu Ghraib are innocent of any wrongdoing.

I'm sure this won't make a difference to the evil bastards who are trying to justify torture.


The Road Not Traveled

I spent some time on Saturday with my old high school friend B. - she was in town because another high school friend of ours was getting married.

My relationship with B. was probably the most important relationship I had in high school. She was confrontational and rebellious, she was effortlessly brilliant in school, she drank, smoke, did drugs, and had lots of sex, with boys and girls. She was everything I wasn't, and I was in love with her.

Her mother was the first person I ever met who I thought of as evil. She told B. repeatedly that she was worthless. She was occasionally physically abusive. But worst of all was the simple fact that she just didn't care what happened to B. My mother welcomed B. when she first met her, but when she saw how B.s mother treated B., my mom told me she didn't want me to hang around with B. anymore. I didn't listen to my mom. B. and I did cut back on the time we spent together, but I would occasionally sneak out of the house to go to the movies or a show with her.

Much of the time, when B. and I hung around together, we were like pretty much any other pair of best friends. We listened to music, we talked about boys, we did each other's hair (although not in braids - she would Dippity-do and Aqua-Net my mohawk and I would help her dye her hair purple.) When she was with me, there was no smoking, or drinking, or drugs, although she did occasionally dump me in favor of a sexual liasion. But there were other times when she would drag me along on her ill-advised and often illegal adventures - shoplifting, lots of drinking, and I'm fairly certain that sometimes she was exchanging sexual favors for money and/or drugs. I never did any of these things, but I was there and I never stopped her.

I'm sure I was so attracted to her because of our differences, because the areas where I was most terrified were the same areas where she was absolutely fearless. She was always full of bravado, and I was a meek little mouse who followed her around.

One day, midway through our senior year, I wrote her a letter confessing to her how much I loved her. She told me she loved me too. But I was still too afraid to do anything about it. For the next 4 months, every minute we spent together was charged with sexual possibility, but my fear held me back. Not only was I afraid of the possibility of being a dyke (which I feared because an out and proud lesbian classmate got beat up on a daily basis), there was also the pragmatic concern about sexually transmitted diseases - she had been sexually active with probably well over 100 people by that time.

One day, shortly after we graduated but before she went away to college, we met, secretly, of course, in the parking lot of the school. I had decided that tonight was the night, I was just going to jump in with both feet, and I was going to make love to this woman I had ached for all year. I kissed B., and it was wonderful, sweet and soft and gentle, and terribly exciting. And then I looked at her and saw the pain and self-loathing under the bravado, and changed my mind about jumping in, said good-bye and walked home.

I have had occasion to wonder "what if" about that decision over the years. And when B. showed up at my front door, I realized that saying good-bye to B. was the right thing to do. I will probably never stop second guessing my choices, but this time I know I made the right decision.


Woke up this morning

at 6:30am to a newly seven year old Monkey singing "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" at the top of her lungs while she played "guitar" on a badminton racquet.

Seven years ago today, at this very moment, I was in labor, having back to back contractions - which means my contractions lasted for 2 minutes with a 30 second break in between. For those of you who have not or cannot give birth, contractions feel kind of like someone took a really bad cramp, poured gasoline on it and set it on fire. I got to feel the full effect of the contractions because I'm more afraid of having a needle poked into my spine than I am of pain.

We brought home a baby that refused to sleep, nursed constantly, and would not let anyone but me hold her without making a big stink. She also wouldn't gain weight, even though she was always eating. When she was a year old, she only weighed 14 lbs. To this day, though she looks like your average 6/7 year old kid, when you pick her up, she feels like she's hollow.

She makes life more interesting every day, sometimes in the Chinese curse kind of way, but mostly in good and funny ways.

I love you, Monkey - happy birthday!


Red Hot

This Saturday was softball opening day, and it couldn't have been more beautiful. High 70's and sunny, with a beautiful breeze. I can't tell who won the game because the rules at Rookie level are mysterious, but my baby hit the ball both times she got to bat, so she was happy.

When I got home from the game, though, I discovered that just because it's only in the 70's, that doesn't mean I'm exempt from sunburn. I look like a nicely boiled lobster. I actually felt ill for most of the rest of the day because of the sunburn.

Sunday did not get off to an auspicious start. It was dreary and raining, and at church, we sang like 15 songs that all had lyrics that came directly from the 23rd psalm. There was a guest minister who seemed to have a philosphy of "why say it in 10 words when you can say it in 450 words, with several analogies just in case you didn't catch the point the 5th time through". We were there for an extra hour.

But all was well when we got home, because Loki took the girls to visit their grandma (well, their substitute grandma since his mother is 3000 miles away - grandma Joan is the mother of Loki's college roommate who passed away 3 years ago). So it was me, the dog, the cats, and the DVD of Freaks & Geeks.

I never watched that show when it was on, because at the time I was working 60 or 70 hours a week. I would work from 7-4, go home to make dinner and tuck Monkey and Sweetness into bed, and then go back to work until 10 or 11, so I didn't watch much TV. But my sister was a huge fan, and when the DVD came out she bought it right away, and then she raved about it, so I borrowed her DVD and settled in for a day of laundry folding and TV watching.

I watched almost the whole series in one day, and I think I have a crush on Seth Rogan. It was a good show, it avoided a lot of cliches, and the kids all seemed real - except maybe James Franco, who looked like he was about 45. Still, the characters were well written and three dimensional. I think its human nature to categorize people - the jocks, the geeks, the burnouts, etc., but in reality, people are always more complicated.

When I was a senior in high school, we had a new student who had bleached blonde hair, and wore a ton of makeup and trendy clothes, and she acted like an airhead, and on top of that, her name was Echo! My friends and I used to mock her all the time. But later that year, Echo and I were both cast in the school musical (Pippin), and we got to be friends, and I found out that she had all kinds of pain of her own that she was dealing with - and she had better coping skills than me, because she was happy, where I was miserable most of the time.


Play Ball!

Monkey started playing softball this week, and I'm pretty impressed with the program and the coach. The program is very well designed to teach the fundamentals of the sport, and the coach is knowledgeable about the game and also very nurturing. At tonight's practice, they divided the team into thirds and each group practiced something different - throwing, hitting, and fielding.

I grew up in a rural town with a softball league of about 6 teams, each comprised of girls from age 7 to age 14. My father was thrilled with my softball team because our colors were maroon and white, which happen to be Galway's colors. We never learned any fundamentals - the coaches pointed out where the bases were and which direction we were supposed to run in if, in fact, we managed to hit the ball. They put us out at various positions and that was pretty much it. I played shortstop, and I was pretty good. My aunt Maureen sent me a book called Creative Visualization when I was about 10, and I used to go out on the field visualizing myself as an unscalable, unpassable wall. I was never a very graceful athlete (hip displaysia, osteoarthritis), but I always did surprisingly well. After my first year, I got picked for the All-Star and Traveling Teams every year.

Loki, on the other hand, is one of the most unathletic people I've ever met. He doesn't even watch sports (which is okay by me - I don't mind watching a game if I'm there, but I cannot fathom watching a game on TV). Sweetness tries hard, and she's a great swimmer, but other sports are a struggle for her. Monkey, though - Monkey is a natural athlete, she's strong and graceful and daring. I don't know if she'll enjoy softball as much as I did, but I'm pretty sure she'll be better at it than I was.


A Tale of Two Mothers

This morning on the way to school, Monkey asked me what a period was. I asked her if she knew how babies were made, and she was sort of fuzzy on that, so I told her that in order for a baby to be created, there has to be a cell from the mother, the egg, and a cell from the father, the sperm. If the sperm gets inside the egg, (and everything goes well for the gestation period), a baby will eventually be born.

I told her that when a young woman goes through puberty, her body gets ready to eventually make a baby, and one of the things that happens is that an egg gets released from your ovary (which she was astonished to learn already contained eggs, and did before she was born) and travels through the fallopian tubes to the uterus. And that the uterus tries to make itself a comfortable place for a fertilized egg to hang out.

But most of the time, I said, the egg doesn't get fertilized and then it has to leave your body, along with the lining in the uterus. So when you get older, you will eventually get your period, which is when all that leaves your body, and it comes out in blood. She asked me if it hurt like when you cut yourself. I said some people (like me) get cramps, but you can always take ibuprofen or something to make the cramps go away, and I also told her that my cramps aren't too bad, and they really ease up if I make sure to get some exercise during my period. She wasn't thrilled about it, but she asked and I told her, and we can talk about these things.

I know, you know all that already, right?

Now I'm going to share the period talk I had with my mother, circa 1983. I should preface this by saying I got my period when I was 11, in 1980. I didn't tell my mother when I got my period because we didn't talk about these kinds of things. We didn't talk about boys, about sex, about drugs, about anything.

So it's a few years after I've been dealing with my period (because lucky me never went through a time when my period didn't arrive every month right on schedule, right from the first month), and my mother grabs me one evening and pulls me into the kitchen. It's probably about 9 o'clock, the house is quiet, and the lights are low.

Mom: Do you know about your thing?
Me: My what?
Mom: Your *monthly* thing?
Me: What? Oh, yeah. I've had it for a couple of years.
Mom: Okay


That is the most in-depth conversation I've ever had with my mother about the way a woman's body works. From a woman who had 5 kids herself!

It's Raining Again

I didn't post much this weekend or spend much time online, either, because it was beautiful outside. As a fair skinned red-head, I used to hate going out in the sun, but the older I get, the more I appreciate a sunny day. I took Stinky to the dog park again while Sweetness was in NYC with her friend Devin and Devin's mom and Monkey was visiting her wild child cousins with Loki. Stinky met another Basset Hound this week, and he also ran around for hours with an Australian Shepherd named Luke.

I did spend a little time on the abortion issue, obviously, although I feel like my story has resulted in everyone who visits here taking a few steps back from the crazy woman. Maybe not, but if you stop in, please feel free to leave evidence that you did so.

I'll leave you a question that you can answer in comments: what is your favorite television show of all time and why? (It's TV turnoff week so I'm in withdrawal while I set a good example for my kids.) I'm not even certain what my answer is, but I'm going to say Firefly just because it was so great for the few episodes it existed.


It's the 2000 election all over again!

I don't watch American Idol, and I have nothing invested in any of the performers on the show, so this story (registration/daypass required) came as quite a shock to me. Yet another electoral outrage. I would suggest to Hudson that she inquire about procuring James Baker's services to help her win her rightful place at the head of the table of crappy pop music. I'm not sure if they can do a recount of votes placed over the phone, but Hudson should see if such a recount would help her. If so, she should insist upon one, if not, she could have Baker make sure no such a recount happens. It's worked for other crap peddlars.

Rhymes with liar

Roger Ailes (not the evil one) does a nice bit on Crazy Peggy Noonan. This is the second time Crazy Peggy has invoked the name that gives her shivers in her girly parts in regards to a fire. The first time she discussed Bush and fire was when she shared that Bush seemed like the kind of guy who would know all the kids in the neighborhood, and send the firefighters looking for poor Billy (although it seems to me Bush wouldn't know his name was Billy, he'd probably call him Shorty or Red or something like that). This is how you know that Crazy Peggy is, indeed, Crazy. She imagines these events and then imagines how her hunka hunka burning love Bush would react to these imaginary events. She lives in a world of her own making, where a frat-boy bully who engages in "youthful indiscretions" until he's 40 years old and never ever ever ever takes responsibility for anything he does and can't admit he's ever made a mistake and can't even walk on the ground like the rest of us poor suckers is a heroic righteous dude. It's just not so, Peggy, not here in the physical universe in which we actually exist. It's all in your head.

This time, a former POW who reacts calmly to a fire at a restaurant table, which is not an extraordinary act in and of itself, reminds Crazy Peggy of her imaginary world's throbbing hunk of manliness, George W. Bush. I'm not sure how anything Bush has ever done would even suggest he would even acknowledge that the table was on fire, let alone calmly put the fire out. The guy can't even answer an unscripted softball question!

I know that calmly putting out a small fire is not an extraordinary act, because I've done it myself. Several years ago, I was in a play and my costume caught on fire on stage. I calmly patted the fire out with my hands and went on with the show. I reacted in such a calm manner that not only did no one in the audience notice I caught on fire, neither did anyone who was on stage with me.


Feeling Low

I don't know if it's the sickness talking, or if it's seeing Bush's poll numbers go up, or reading about some schmuck named John O'Neill talking shit about Kerry's military service, or just the built-up anger and frustration about pretty much everything that has happened since November 2000 in the world of politics, but I am feeling low tonight.

I really think one of the problems the Democrats have to face this time around is that many people believe in Bush with a religious fervor. My MIL doesn't give a crap about the truth, she thinks George W. Bush was given to us by God to lead us. It's like we are living in different realities. It reminds me of "Angel" from last season, where everyone saw Jasmine as a beloved figure of true love and caring, but the truth was she was a rotting worm-laden corpse, here to take away free will (and eat people). In the episode "The Magic Bullet", we learned that Jasmine's blood would show you her true face. But what will it take for people bewitched by Bush to see his real face? I see it everytime I open the paper. He's a smirking, lying frat-boy bully who holds a grudge. What revelation about Bush will make the true believers start to doubt him?


It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

Spring and Autumn are my two favorite seasons. Naturally, they are incredibly short-lived. We usually get a good 6 weeks or so of Autumn, but Spring goes right from being gorgeous and pleasant one week to being sweaty and too hot the next. (For me, anyway - anything over 82 is too hot for me).

But today is a glistening and beautiful breezy spring day in Connecticut. And I'm sick as a dog. I have to thank my husband for bringing this particular virus into our home. He rarely gets sick, and unlike most men, he is not a big baby when he is sick. He goes about his business and usually doesn't say anything until he's feeling better. Thanks sweetie, I'm glad you're feeling better. Now could you run to the store and grab some Nyquil and a couple of boxes of Kleenex?

I'm not normally a big baby when I'm sick, but I couldn't take any time off from work because a whole bunch of meetings were rescheduled to this week, and I have to take minutes (which will later be found worthless because I misplaced a comma or didn't phrase something the way the Dictator would phrase it).


Dog Day Afternoon

We spent our day today at a dog park with our 6 month old Basset Hound, who responds to the name that best describes him, Stinky (although that is not his given name).

He played with a family of 4 Italian Greyhounds (it was quite a sight - Stinky can fly when he wants to, but he's sort of a goose compared to the darting hummingbirds that the IG resembles). He also played with several mutts, a Husky, and 2 Mastiffs, but he couldn't get anywhere near the Chihuahua even though he was desperate to play.

After a few hours at the park, we started getting ready to head home. Stinky was so tired I thought he might fall asleep on the way back to the car, but he simply dropped down completely flat and insisted we carry him the rest of the way.

He's surprisingly peppy tonight despite his busy day. On the other hand, I'm completely exhausted.


Blogger(tm) doesn't want you to know

that inspectors have indicated Iraqi nuclear sites have been looted. I posted a link several times, and it's published several times, and every time I come back to the site, it's gone, daddy, gone.

It's been posted on several more prominent blogs, so I won't bother to complain about the quality of my free service.


I think the world is TOO safe

So let's just do what we can to make it a little less safe, shall we?

Good job, American Occupiers of Iraq!

(registration or ad viewing required for link)

Necessity is the mother of invention

Or how desperation can drive new ideas...
Or how pathetic can Maurinsky be in her desire to eat lunch?

I didn't pack a lunch today because the Mr. (whom I shall call Loki after his favorite Norse deity) said he would come by and we
could go out together. At about 11:45, he called to say he was still
at his sister's house (she was reviewing our tax returns) and so I
should forget about him showing up.

No problem. I decided I would head over to the Berlin Turnpike, grab
a quick bite and fill my car up with the cheapest gas I know of
within 15 miles.

So I head out on the highway...and come to a complete stop. I spent
50 minutes sitting in traffic, caused by a horrific accident that
made me immediately stop feeling sorry for myself about being stuck
in traffic. But my lunch hour was over, so I only had time to go past
the accident, get off the highway and turn around and go back. No gas
for the car, no food for me (but gratitude that I was not part of the
accident, most definitely).

Anyway, I got back to the office, and as soon as my phone answering
time was over (3pm), I begin searching for food. Nothing in the
fridge, no snacks or goodies, no candy in any of the candy jars. But
then I spy a box of croutons sitting on top of the fridge. I figure a
few savory croutons will help ease my hunger. As I'm pouring a few
into a small cup, I realize that croutons aren't very much different
than stuffing, so I added some hot water and voila - impromptu
stuffing for lunch!

I'm feeling much less hungry now, and alternately proud that I solved
my problem and embarassed that I was that desperate to eat.

(edited to be better)

Today's Mob

My husband's company is run by a family that has ties to organized crime. I tend to forget that until something happens that reminds me that they don't really care about running a legitimate business. Yesterday as I was doing our taxes (nothing like waiting until the last minute), I thought the income reported on his W-2 seemed a little high. So I pulled out his pay stubs, and it turns out they reported paying him more than $9,000.00 than they actually paid him!

Things like this are the reason why you shouldn't wait until the last minute.


Slower thinking

(There was a time when I was sharp as a whip and fast as a cheetah in my thinking - I used to do improv and you have to be a quick thinker. This was before I had children and a job that sucks away my soul on a daily basis).

As I lay in bed last night, I was thinking that a better follow-up question to my "who attacked us on 9/11" question would be "how has the war in Iraq brought the ringleaders and financiers of 9/11 closer to justice?"


Slow thinking here

All day long I kept trying to think of a good question that someone should ask Bush at the press conference. And I finally thought of it:

Mr. President, who attacked us on 9/11? And what have you done to bring the ringleaders of that attack to justice?


My heartiest congratulations to Donald Rumsfeld on his promotion to Secretary of State.

Jeebus. Bush has succeeded in making me feel scared - but I'm not afraid of terrorists, I'm afraid of the possibility that people are actually going to choose to vote for Bush in November.

Who did a better job at preventing terrorist attacks?

MSNBC has a nice graphic up that shows terrorist attacks related to al Qaida from the late '80's to the present. (Scroll down to the "Time Line" graphic.)

Prior to Bush taking office, there were 22 successful or attempted attacks. More than 50%of these (12 of the 22) were thwarted. There were no attacks during at least one full year of Clinton's presidency.

Since Bush took office, there have been 22 successful or attempted attacks. Of these, only 4 were thwarted. So that's, what, a hair over 20%? (Math was always my weakest subject).

The numbers are not on Bush's side.

The state of the comics page

I read the daily comics page today, and I am deeply depressed. I suppose it's inevitable - when I started reading the comics, we had Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side, and my very favorite, Bloom County - a golden age of comic strips, really. But now - occasionally, Dilbert, The Boondocks and Foxtrot amuse, and Doonesbury will always be mildly satisfying, but there is no one strip that compels me to read the comics page.

Are there any good comic strip artists out there? Are there strips I should be asking my newspaper to carry (aside from Opus, which I ask for on a monthly basis)?

Sweetness takes on a new challenge

Sweetness has been tapped to direct a 10 minute play at a production of several 10 minute plays her school's drama department is doing early in June. She is going to direct Christopher Durang's "The Funeral", which was originally written as a teleplay for a Carol Burnett special. I'm very excited for her. I was (briefly) a Directing major in college, until I decided I liked acting much better. She'll do a great job - she is decisive and bossy, and I've checked her early notes about the characters and she's got a great start at what she needs from her actors.

I can't wait to start acting again. Later this year, the Mr. is switching to daytime hours, so I will have the opportunity to go to evening rehearsals. Here is my favorite local theater - they do a better job than many professional theaters I've been to.


Out of the park

Read this, please. Ezra done good.


Remembrance of a past Easter Sunday

When I was about 7 or 8 years old, my father came home, smelling of bar (beer & cigarettes), with a box in his arms. He set the box on the floor and we scooched close, and in the box were two black and white rabbits.

One rabbit was for my older sister, and she named him Snoopy. The other was for me, and I named him Bugs. (Very imaginative, no?) My father gave us a box of rabbit food, which came in the form of small pellets. After a little while, the rabbits pooped out those little round pellets of rabbit excrement. My mother, who grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and had only ever seen a stuffed rabbit at the Museum of Natural History, exclaimed: "Look! They're making their own food!"

The Easter Bunny, the Leprechaun and the Tooth Fairy

The Easter Bunny hit the house last night, leaving candy and plastic eggs all over the house, enabling Monkey to have a sugar high by 8 a.m. When I was getting dressed for church, I slipped my shoe on and found money in it - which is what my father always said Leprechauns do. And shortly after lunch, Monkey lost her tooth, which should summon the Tooth Fairy sometime tonight.

It's a trifecta of mythical givers-of-small-presents.


Light blogging this weekend

Probably. I have to get my house ready for an onslaught of visitors on Saturday. Just once, I would like to have my house already be in a state of readiness for visitors. (It will never happen - I hate cleaning so much. I like the house being clean, I just hate all the work that has to go into making it that way. I blame my mother for using cleaning as a punishment - when I got in trouble, I had to clean my room.) The thing I am most embarassed about is that early last year, I started painting my kitchen, and I still haven't finished yet. We will soon be celebrating the one year anniversary of painter's tape being on the trim in the kitchen. And my husband's aunt is a neat freak to the nth degree. Her house is pristine, you would never find a speck of dust anywhere. She will not express any judgement, but she will be thinking it.

We will be celebrating my better half's birthday on Saturday. So his family is coming over, and my sisters are coming over with their kids, and most notably, Sweetness' new boyfriend is coming over.

Yes, Sweetness has a new boyfriend. So far, he's used his influence over her to get her to join the Math and Chemistry teams. He is very keen to meet the Mr., because they both like the same sci-fi authors. My husband is not quite as keen to meet the boyfriend, because he's having a lot of trouble with being the father of a teenage daughter who has a boyfriend. I'm actually pretty relaxed about it, which surprises me.


Forgot to mention

Copious and very funny Air America advertisements all over the subway. When we were walking from the Times Square shuttle to Grand Central terminal, there was a gallery of right-wingers with funny little quotes over their faces. You could see Cheney's smirk, but his face was covered by a dialog balloon that said "Axis of Enron". Over Tom Delay's face, it said "The FCC wants a 10 second delay. We wish."

The Daily Show experience

It was snowing when we left our house at about 10am, but by the time we got to Grand Central, it was in the 50s, the sun was shining, and there was a lovely breeze. (Every time I go through Grand Central, I flashback to that scene in the movie "The Fisher King", that moment of magic when the chaos of people suddenly came together into order as everyone started waltzing.)

We stopped in at a bar (the generically named "The Irish Pub) to have a few drinks before we headed over to the studio. I do not usually drink because A)I'm cheap and booze is expensive, and B)my father is a raging alcoholic and I do not wish to find out whether that is one of the things I inherited from him. But I did have a Guinness with my husband. Now that smoking is banned inside bars, bars don't smell like bars anymore. I spent every Sunday of my childhood in a bar (chuch then bar - I think it's an Irish thing), and I guess that smell of beer and cigarettes will be something else my kids will never know about - I don't know why that makes me feel a little sad, but it does (even though I don't smoke, either).

It was recommended that we arrive at the studio an hour before the doors open, but we got there an hour and a half early, and we were 98th & 99th in line. Maybe 15 people behind us also made it in, so if you're going, get there earlier than they tell you to). Waiting in line was fine, for the most part, although we had lovely weather - I can't imagine it's much fun to wait in line outside in January. It is a little difficult for me to stand or really to be in any one position for an extended period of time, so I was quite stiff by the time the line got moving. Total waiting time in line: 90 minutes.

They ushered us (100+ of us) into a waiting room, where the VIP ticket-holders were seated. We waited, milled around, and waited some more. Bob the intern came out and gave a pep talk about how the audience has to provide the energy and excitement by applauding loudly and making a lot of noise. He had us practice. We did some more waiting - about 50 minutes worth. Then they ushered the VIP ticketholders into the studio. A little bit more waiting, then we got to go in.

The set looks much smaller in person than it does on TV. There are absolutely no bad seats in the studio, although as a short person, I'm glad we were in the second row, which meant we could see over the cameras. First the warm-up comic came out, his name was Paul Mercurio. He did a great job of connecting with the audience and reinforced that we needed to be loud and energetic. He told us that Jon was going to come out and that he liked to interact a little with the audience and we should feel free to speak to him and ask questions, but that we were not to stare in shock at how tiny Jon is.

When Jon came out (looking taller than he does on TV), there was huge applause and hooting and hollering, and Jon was doing his humble shtick "oh, you're too kind. I know you're entitled to your opinion, but I beg to differ". He went straight towards asking for questions. The first question was "Who do you think is going to win the election" and Jon said that one of the great things about having a fake news show is that he doesn't have to pretend he has any insight into questions like that. He asked the woman who she wanted to win the election, and she said "I just want Bush to lose", which got a huge positive reaction from the audience. Jon made a crack I've heard him make before, that Bush "couldn't get elected captain of the audience".

I kept raising my hand to ask a question, but he never picked me, which is good, because I couldn't think of a question, I just wanted the opportunity to give him the hat I knit for his yet to arrive baby (no, I did not finish the sweater or the booties - I'm a very slow knitter). One audience member did ask about Condi Rice's testimony, which, if you watched the show last night, you heard his response.

The show started, and it was just like watching the show on television except much more three dimensional and of course the energy of actually being there is different than watching it in your living room. During the breaks, Jon talked to crew members.

We had heard from Bob the intern that we were going to have 2 guests during our taping, but I didn't know who the second guest was. So the highlight of my evening was hearing Jon say "our guest tonight stars on the Fox comedy "Arrested Development" - I actually squealed. Jason Bateman was very funny (as you'll see tonight) and very, very sexy.

After the show was over, we made our way out - people walking out asked one of the staff for the stuff off the desk, and the woman who worked there gave one guy the papers Jon was writing on, and someone else got the pen he was writing with. I stopped and told her I didn't want to take anything (she said "good! we don't have anything left to give!"), but that I heard Jon & his wife were having a baby, which she confirmed, so I gave her the hat to give to Jon. She asked for my name and told me I was sweet (when really I'm just a suck-up), and we left. We met Bob the intern as we were walking away from the studio, and he walked a block with us as we talked about the show. My husband was all nervous about whether or not we were an energetic enough audience (I couldn't tell - the music was loud) and Bob told us we were a great audience.

It was a great way to spend the day, although I'm paying for all the walking today, and I'm paying in severe pain. (I'll be talking to my new orthopedist next month about when I'm getting a new hip).

So that's my update. I actually had written up all these notes to make a great post, but I left them at home and I didn't want to wait. I may update some of this later to add some of the thoughts I wrote down yesterday.


Last Post Before The Daily Show

The Mr. and I will be heading out shortly to catch the train to NYC, so we can go see The Daily Show. I wanted to bring a gift, so last night I knit a baby hat for Jon Stewart's yet-to-be-born child (I hear that he and his wife are expecting). I'm bringing the supplies with me for the sweater that goes with it, but my hopes are not high that I will actually finish it before we get there. But it gives me something to do on the train.

I'll update when we return.


Tonight on Air America

Janeane has improved exponentially since last week - she rocks. And one of my other sex symbols is her co-host tonight: Stephen Colbert. < swooon >

They were just talking about the myth of the liberal wimp, and how men who support women's issues are seen as feminine. As a woman, I would like to say that I would never sleep with a man who didn't support women's issues, and if all women would agree to do the same, then we could eliminate the macho assholes in a generation. I think it's something we need to consider.

Late Opinion on Kos

I didn't feel entirely qualified to weigh in on the situation Markos has been experiencing the past few days. I didn't see the original diary entry and have only caught up with the story after the fact.

But here's my oh-two: Even if I disagree with Kos' remarks, I recognize that he was expressing an honest opinion, fueled by anger. He was angry about the way the media was giving the deaths of these guns-for-hire so much weight, when our volunteer soliders were dying and being ignored (as they mostly have been for months now). And I don't want to impugn the dead guys, but my mama always told me contract killers are not nice boys. I'm going to assume that they were motivated by misplaced patriotism rather than by getting paid to kill people, just to help me sleep better at night.

But Kos is a good guy. He was angry, he expressed his honest opinion, he put it into context afterwards, and for me, that's the end of the story. I understand why politicians have to be sensitive for that kind of stuff, so I'll give them a pass.

But the pile on from the right, the ridiculous reaction to Kos' statements, has the whiff of eau de manufactured outrage. It's like Wellstone all over again. Frankly, I do not trust the character judgement of people who support the Bush administration, who haven't been honest with the American public since...well, ever, near as I can tell.

So Kos, I got your back, buddy. Solidarinose.