It hasn't been just the girlies and me at the pool; a lot of thoughty-thoughts have been swimming around -- in my noggin. Like my revolutionary new Affirmative Action plan, where once every few random years, we switch the incoming Yale freshman class with an equal number of day laborers from around the country. (Hey, Einstein said "You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother." So if those professors really understand what they're talking about, they should have no problem explaining it to relative beginners, right? Although why Einstein singled out "grandmothers" is beyond me; most grandmas I know are pretty smart. I mean, how did they survive that long otherwise? But I am getting severely off-topic here.)
It bothers me as an American, that our country has become so accepting of guns or so afraid of the gun lobby that ... well, I'll let the NRA guy explain: “We have a very active agenda in all 50 states,” said Chris W. Cox, legislative director of the N.R.A., widely considered the country’s most powerful lobby. “We have right-to-carry laws in over 40 states; 20 years ago, it was in just six.”
I don't like people who instill fear in people, and then capitalize on it. Frankly, I believe they are doing evil. The gun lobby is a group of people who stoke and live off fear, the type of fear that leads people to believe they need a gun in a national park not to defend themselves against bears or mountain lions or wolves, but against assaults from other human beings.
So, you go on vacation to view the breathtaking, awe-inspiring nature, but in the back of your mind, you're thinking someone is going to attack at any moment? Is that any way to live? Do any facts or statistics bear out your paranoia?
And that's another thing that bothers me about this whole thing: facts. Logic. And the lack thereof. An entire swath of people in this country seems to feel that not only do facts and logic not apply when considering one's day to day actions and beliefs, but those who DO try to consider such things are enemies bent on attacking their way of life!
On this note, the last paragraph, using the pastor's very own words, chills me to the bone.
“When someone from within the church tells me that being a Christian and having firearms are contradictions, that they’re incompatible with the Gospel — baloney,” he said. “As soon as you start saying that it’s not something that Christians do, well, guns are just the foil. The issue now is the Gospel. So in a sense, it does become a crusade. Now the Gospel is at stake.”
When did "baloney" become a valid debate point? When the soldiers were coming for Jesus, and Peter took a sword and cut off one guard's ear in self-defense, did Jesus say, "You, go, Peter! Good job!" Or, did he heal the guard's ear and tell Peter he was on the wrong track? Isn't that a Gospel-based point AGAINST the use of weapons? But he doesn't even TRY to use some weirdo-logic to explain that away. He just says "Baloney" and leaves it at that.
And I've been trying to figure out what his last sentence means for two days now. Can someone explain how defending guns becomes defending the Gospel?
I've already kinda touched on why this bothers me from a religious standpoint. Clearly, the Gospel of Fox News has replaced the true Gospel for too many people. This is not news to me. Frankly, it's pretty much European history itself at this point -- a morphing of Jesus's words and philosophy into whatever you want them to be, to justify your viewpoint. I'm not shocked by it, but I am bothered by it.
But I'm not going to start shooting anyone over it.
I Will, I Will Blog You! (bum bum CRASH! bum bum CRASH!)
Let me take a moment for a slight musical interlude, where I change the words to popular songs, past and present, to match whatever happens to be going on in my pitiful little life currently.
For instance, take my dear Dilf's present difficulties, with an eye infection described by the opthamologist as a virus related to, but not, conjunctavitis. I enjoy singing "You Can't Hide Your Viral Eyes" and "Viral Eyes! They're Watching You!" to his delight.
Actually, he's not delighted at all. But I pretend he is. While I avoid touching his towel, pillowcase or anything else he might have contaminated.
Also, while making pancakes this morning, Dilf commented that the new brand of mix made the perfect amount of pancakes for us, unlike the kind we usually use which either makes too much or too little. I then began singing "Too Much Too Little Too Late" but Dilf had no idea what song I was singing.
But he didn't say anything. Which leads me to believe he often sits there, silently, thinking I am insane on a fairly regular basis. But it was, too a real song:
I am terrified of food because everything is deadly. Even formerly "healthy" stuff. It's not healthy! Oh, it's riddled with poisonous pesticides and rife with bacteria and/or viruses!
I wish I was as carefree as B.A. Look at him, peacefully eating his salad:
Tonight I will be serving salmon to my family, but from the moment I purchased it, to the time I took it out of the freezer to thaw, to right now, to when I will cook it, to when my family will be eating it, I was/will be thinking about the fact it is "farm-raised" salmon.
I am putting my family in jeopardy, aren't I? We're all going to die now.
The thing is, they had "wild-caught" salmon at the store, but it was $16.99 a pound.
Seventeen. Fucking. Dollars. A. Pound.
I also bought asparagus, and for the life of me, I can't remember if it's organic or not. But I can't bear to consider that right now. And don't even get me started on the baby potatoes.
But even the non-organic, non-optimally raised, yet still fresh food is damned expensive. And many economically-disadvantaged neighborhoods in cities don't even have actual grocery stores to sell the expensive food; they only have those small corner bodega-type stores that don't even have a freezer section.
In rural areas? Uh, what grocery store? What town? What job?
And that's why this woman is an idiot who should be forced to live like a real, actual poor person for awhile. Everything is so easy when... you have it so easy. Just ask Marie Antoinette.
Yes, I am blatantly stealing from Dr. Zaius, who already said this about her. Well, stealing is such a harsh word. It's really more of an homage.
Two things from Twitter made me laugh this morning. This picture, from B.A.:
You have to look at his feet to see why I laughed. Not only is he wearing Crocs, he's wearing them with socks bearing the presidential seal! I wonder what's on his underwear. (No, I don't. Gross.)
Also, this from Stephen Colbert:
StephenAtHometime: to step it up, north carolina governor. might i suggest an affair with a tranny in nicaragua
Also, I deleted a post I wrote last night, because I didn't feel I had written it particularly well.
It's just that as I was driving the girls home from one of the pools here last night, I saw a truck full of construction workers driving home from a new construction site as we were leaving.
They were all much browner than anyone I see living in my neighborhood, and it occurred to me that Dilf and I are now living the lifestyle my mom's mom hoped we would while she was cleaning motel rooms for a living, and my dad's dad hoped we would while he was driving a bus for a living.
They were the children of immigrants, and they worked their asses off so their children and their children's children could live like the "white" (yeah, they were white; they weren't white enough at the time, though) people did whose fancy homes they could see through the bus window.
But the thing is, emotionally I still identify with the guys in the truck. I don't feel like I should be living in the big fancy house; it feels weird to me. Don't misunderstand, I'm not complaining; it's just that I was happy before, and I'm just as happy now, only the neighborhood has nothing to do with it. In fact, it feels a little foreign.
Living in Downers Grove, we can afford an older raised ranch in a middle-class, not upper-middle-class neighborhood, and it feel normal to me. Here, we are living in an UPPER middle class neighborhood, with lawn services and big houses and everything reading "upscale," and I'm feeling like I'm borrowing someone else's life.
Are Dirty Hippies Still Dirty Hippies After Taking a Dip in the Lake?
I can't bear to actually discuss the unrest in Iran or our nation's medical system or Jon and Kate's painful divorce (actually, I could bear that; I just don't care.) Instead of these important topics, I'd think you need to know about this, which is near my current house in Austin. Don't click on that link if you don't like/shouldn't view nudity.
Am I the only one who finds it funny that Hippie Hollow is a habitat for the federally-protected Golden-cheeked Warbler?
Now, while I am rather 1950's in my own dress and behavior, I don't really care what other people do with their free time. But something bothers me about that picture. Namely -- what's with the porn poses of some of those people? I didn't think nudists were about that. Or is it just a pretense for a big ol' swingers party?
Regardless, I don't believe I shall be going to Hippie Hollow.
I wonder if the bathers bring some of this with them?
You Know What This World Needs AND What Job I'd Be Perfect For? Corporate Jester.
Back in the Feudal Days kings and queens and ruling courts had jesters -- people to mock them, bring them down to earth, and make them laugh.
Now that we serfs are owned by different entities, namely corporations, it's time they started acting like the lords and ladies they are by adding a new, sorely-needed position to their vaunted halls of power: the corporate jester. And, I'd like to add, I'm perfect for the job.
I'd attend meetings and cut boring speeches short. I'd make people who ask dumb questions shut up. I'd make witty insights and do impressions. People would pay attention for once, or maybe even look forward to meetings. It would be great for everyone!
Except for the people I make fun of. But they could take comfort in the millions of dollars they roll around in behind closed doors, sniffing and fondling each bill, rubbing them on their nipples. Really, they can handle it, I think.
Of course, I'd have to wear a mask. And park in an undisclosed location. But I'm willing to do it for the good of the workplace.
When meetings aren't in session (but let's face it: there's ALWAYS a meeting in session, somewhere) I could roam the halls making off-the-cuff smartass remarks. Think of how much fun that would be! For me. Mostly. But for others, too!
Someone should jump on this idea. I'll be waiting for the job offers to roll in.
A few weeks or perhaps months ago, I read an interview with Steve Martin where he said he doesn't use harmful stereotypes in jokes. It's not that he's trying to be "politically correct," it's just about empathy.
Above and beyond any feminist issues, that ad campaign is inhumane.
We've been going to the pool once or twice a day, and some of that time I have to spend in a lounge chair, lounging. I think it's a law or something. I'll look it up later. Also, I think I'm breaking another law that requires a piña colada or margarita or something to be in hand, but I'll have to look into that, too.
But sitting in a lounge chair poolside also requires something else (well, two something elses if you count a sexy pool boy, but I am not holding my breath for that one): a cheesy, juicy, non-taxing novel to read. Since I'm not a fan of traditional romance novels and I've never read any of the Sookie Stackhouse books, I decided to start there.
The only problem is, I loved it so much I devoured it in a day and a half. Now I need more.
I also decided to check out the HBO series based on the novels, True Blood. I couldn't wait to see if HBO could live up to the sexy vampire image embedded into popular culture by Count Floyd. I know people just rave about that show, so I had high expectations.
First, the good. I like the casting. The parts that followed the book were well done. I like the vampires, and the fangs are pretty realistic. I also like Chris Isaak.
But I don't like several things. For one, I don't like the fact they added that new "sassy black best friend" character, I don't like that she's a cliché, I don't like how much of the series is spent on her back story and story line trying to prove to us that she's not a cliché, and I especially don't like that she's having sex with Sam.
Part of the beauty of the novel was that sense that life isn't fair. Sookie's virtual friendlessness was part of that, as was Sam's involuntary celibacy as he worshiped Sookie from afar. You ruined that.
I also don't like the beating us over the head with the sex scenes. I get it, you're HBO, you can get away with stuff the networks can't. I also get there's eroticism involved with vampires. But give it a rest already. And Dawnette was supposed to be dumpy; what's the matter, HBO? Can't bear to show a dumpy person having sex? Most of the world is dumpy. And we have sex, believe it or not.
And, you made it seem more likely than not that Jason did it, when in the book it was always nebulous. But that's more of a quibble.
So I really like the books, and can't wait to get the second in the series. But I can do without the series. Sorry, fans.
(On the side topic of Count Floyd, I can't believe I never knew about this.)
Things that have happened in the three and three-quarters days I've been here
Owen Wilson served me a margarita. Well, it wasn't EXACTLY him; but he looked like he could be Owen Wilson if Owen Wilson was 15 years older and had less professional dental care. And he sounded like Owen Wilson. And he thought it was funny when I told him it was my first night in Texas, so state law required me to order a margarita. So I liked him, because I like people who think I'm funny. I'm narcissistic that way.
While I practiced sensible sun exposure management over most of my body, I do not know how to apply sunscreen to the part in my hair. That's the one sunburnt area on me. I've never had a sunburn there.
I've already told you about the potato masher.
Someone's tiny schnauzers keep escaping. They are constantly in my yard and have pooped on my driveway. Moxie needs a snack, I think. Only knowing her, she won't eat them, but will wag her tail and make friends. Dammit.
Girls have made friends with Eva, aged 8, who lives next door. According to her mom, Eva has been as eager for girls to arrive as they were to get here. I find that difficult to believe.
I have seen a cactus in the wild, not growing out of a pot.
I will attempt to leave the enclave to head into the city this afternoon. I hope I do not die/get lost/get tasered by a sheriff.
I cannot find a potato masher anywhere, and I intended to make meatloaf and mashed potatoes for dinner tonight. My family is quite fond of this dinner plan, and I fear they may not recover from their despair.
Now, don't get me wrong, I have alternate plans for those potatoes; I can steam them and bathe then in melted butter, minced garlic and dill. But that's not the point.
Why, Travis County, why? Why do you hate mashed potatoes? As you can see from his photo, you've made Mr. Potato very, very sad.
Speaking of emotional responses, please enjoy this iChat exchange on this mashed potato development:
3:20 PM Nick: any good food down there? (besides yours, I mean)
Me: the tex-mex and barbecue
Nick: I bet the BBQ is pretty good mmmm.... ribs
Me: yeah. Only I can't find a potato masher in Target.
Nick: you can make one out of an old refrigerator
Me: I could make one out of your face. Too bad it's not down here.
Nick: your aggression is misplaced You're mad at Target, not me
Me: If I didn't misdirect my anger at you on a regular basis, I'd be in jail right now
Nick: good point
And don't even ask if I have a hand mixer down here, because the answer is "no."
Well, never is too strong a word; I saw bits and pieces of it as a kid, but I never sat through a whole episode. That's because it was on toward the tail end of Saturday morning cartoons, and I was already outside playing by the time it came on.
Dear Fellow Consumers: I Fear for the Future of 5/3 Bank
I'm not financial insider, but I suspect that 5/3 Bank may be going under. I base this on the fact they had to call my house at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning because my $100 credit card payment is 6 days late.
I'm sorry; what with all the doctor's appointments and moving and last days of school and all that, it DID slip my mind. I had no idea that being 6 days late would put 5/3 Bank in such financial peril that they were forced to call me on a day that traditionally would be off-limits for such business.
I mean, why else would a bank so fragrantly violate commonly-held standards for such a paltry sum that was not even a full week late? They must be hanging on by a thread. My payment must be what stands between financial solidity and ruin for them. Because if I were a bank, I wouldn't bother someone who had consistently made payments month after month after month on a Sunday over so trivial a matter, and risk alienating them, unless it was an absolute emergency.
So, far be it for me to cause a run on a bank, but you might consider drawing your assets out of a bank so close to going under. Consider this a friendly tip.
As for me, my family and I will be taking action as quickly as possible.
Oh golden disk of perfection At once breakfast food, and confection Grace us with your filling presence Fit for king and court and peasants Your tiny squares hold butter, syrup Warm, not cold, like the gyno's stirrups You fill our tummies, with such ease You never fail our hearts to please Oh, frozen waffles, you're the best Thanks to Frank, in his eternal rest
It's true; would a coffee achiever lie? (I wish I was a coffee achiever. In fact, I wish I was ANY sort of achiever. But I digress...)
Yes, after all my three days of hard(ly) work(ing) on the topic of heroes, I am already disappointed in the results. I was hoping for something a little more meaningful than a sandwich. Although it is a pretty impressive sandwich.
My discouragement at finding a hero being nothing but a sandwich is understandable, but I can't fathom how anyone could be stunned, shocked or even faintly surprised by the Roland Burris tapes. "Stokes skepticism," you say? More like makes me stifle a yawn.
But what does surprise me is how a people, a nation of people in charge of electing representatives, can worship money and then be surprised when their elected officials do the same?
I am going to go on and on about this later. But I've already written more than the average blog reader likes to see in one post anyways.
Nabalabadingdong's June theme is "Heroes." (I'll get around to registering later.) I am taking a principled stand against using any lyrics from "Wind Beneath My Wings" while discussing this topic. Unless I find a hilarious cover version, which I may find myself unable to resist.
I am wary of thinking of or declaring anyone a "hero," because once you do, someone will come out of the woodwork to announce, "Oh, no he/she ISN'T! He/she stole my lunch money/didn't return a library book/killed someone in the Phillipines!"
So rather than pinpoint any one person today, I would like to salute a group of people today: comedians.
I recently watched Dawn French's Boys Who Do Comedy and Girls Who Do Comedy. Through this interview series, she does much more than simply showcase their talents; she delves into what inspires them, what affects them, a little about their personal lives, and their failures and weaknesses.
One thing that struck me is that none of these individuals has lived a pain-free, struggle-free life. In fact, more often than not, the ability to keenly feel tragedy and empathy has led them to adopt a comedic stance just as a coping mechanism for the suffering and injustice they see swirling around them. It's the "you laugh so you don't cry" kind of thing. And while the burlier underdogs of life might channel their feelings in a physical manner, like boxing or "Ultimate Fighting" or roller derby or something, these people use their brains to pummel "the man."
But comedians do more than simply soothe themselves, they help the rest of us, too. They help us see things in a new way. They give us "the best medicine." And the stand-up kinds go out there, completely vulnerable and alone, onto a stage to be either accepted or rejected. That takes bravery.