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.