Monday, August 30, 2004

Fearful Thoughts

Ugh...I've been trying to give some thought to what will happen should His Fraudulency retain the White House after November, and I find myself unable to do so. Just incapable of imagining another four years under the wandering, blustery, incompetent guidance of this fool.

Iraq, on which we have spent tens of billions of dollars (at least) invading and subduing and rebuilding, is now sliding towards something that is certainly not democracy. We're cutting deals with religious fanatics who most certainly do not support American ideals to keep the peace in a nation we invaded based on questionable, stovepiped evidence. Even worse, given the paucity of evidence that links Iraq to the al-Qaeda terrorists, by invading Iraq we have struck a blow in the war on...nothing. Finally, in a fever of reckless endangerment, Bush has removed the necessity of terrorists traveling across thousands of miles of oceans to kill Americans, but instead has served them up an all-you-can-kill smorgasbard in the form of 150,000 US soldiers.

Once upon a time, it was said that Republicans supported fiscal prudence, but His Fraudulency has managed to send that myth by the wayside with giant tax cuts for the wealthy while expanding spending on the Iraq boondoggle referenced above. Speaking of myth-shattering, there's a story that Republicans support the military, but we see that "the military" refers not to soldiers and their families, but rather the giant corporations that manufacture weapons and other military accoutrement.

Finally, Bush, who promised to be "a uniter, not a divider", has managed to polarize this nation over social issues in a way I have never before seen. He's talking about amending the constitution to illegalize something that's legal almost nowhere. He's opposing funding for stem-cell research, even though a number of Republicans, including the widow of conservative icon Ronald Reagan support it.

This is probably very unkind of me, but I cannot imagine why anyone who's not rich, white, straight, and Christian would vote for this man. Just can't. If we keep this barking idiot around for another four years...well, we're getting exactly what we deserve.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Favorite lyrics

Ever have a lyric you really liked? I do, and here are some of 'em:

"You're like a winter without the flu.
You're the best exhibit in the boyfriend zoo.
In a Hardy Boy's mystery you're the greatest clue
Though I've always been partial to Nancy Drew."
- Bootlickers, "Sure of You"

"You're unforgiven, so go on living
Knowing that I've unforgiven you.
And my Thanksgiving came the day I saw it was OK to unforgive you."
- Go-Go's, "Unforgiven"

"If I had a dollar for every single time I fought her I'd buy a handgun,
But that couldn't shoot away the bullseye that she made on my heart."
- Jellyfish, "Baby's Coming Back"

"Everyone can see what's going on
They laugh 'cause they know they're untouchable,
And not because what I said was wrong."
- Sinead O'Connor, "The Emperor's New Clothes"

"Now I'm leaving, you can find out how much better things can get
And if it helps, I'd say I feel a little worse than I did when we met."
- Dar Williams, "As Cool As I Am"

You're thinking right now, "Wow...I could have vomited a more interesting post than this." Mission accomplished.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Cell out

That's what I feel like, because I recently got a cell phone.

Yes, it's true. Dan pointed out that such a device will be incredibly useful when we're in Boston in September, particularly because we may not be together all the time. We picked it out last week, and I've been carrying it around, feeling like the most trend-following, sellout corporate tool imaginable. I've also been manic about making sure the ringer is off during inappropriate periods (movies, at restaurants). I may not keep the damned thing, but I've got it. However, I pledge to follow these rules of cell phone etiquette:

- The person in front of me is more important than the person on the phone. When out with a friend, I will answer my cell phone only if the need is pressing, and after excusing myself for doing so. When I go out with friends it's because I want their company, not to answer the damned phone.

- Keep it quiet. Nobody wants to hear my phone ring, nor do they want to hear the intimacies of my conversations on it. I will make certain the ringer is just loud enough for me to hear it, and I will only conduct conversations in the most private nook or corner available.

- The phone is my slave, not the other way around. Just because I sometimes carry a phone with me does not mean I must always heed its call, and I will not bend to the expectations of others who feel differently. I got through 34 years of life without being on call 24-7, thank you very much, and that qualifies me to ignore the phone whenever I damn well please.

I still feel trendy, but in a principled way.

Friday, August 13, 2004

My Message to Our Leaders

I've been thinking about politics lately, and I've come up with a new philosophy. To those politicians who would like to represent me: Don't stand up for my values. My values are fine, and if they aren't, I'll take care of them myself. All I want you to do is to make government equitable, effective, and efficient. So, my specific advice to you is...

Stop reinforcing traditional values (or any values, for that matter), because you'll wind up doing nothing except wasting alot of time and tax dollars. Don't fight for God, please, because I think an omnipotent being is more than capable of fighting for himself without relying upon the democratic process. Don't strengthen families, because you'll just wind up misdefining them and alienating half the nation. Just collect fair taxes, spend them wisely, and don't blow up anything or anyone unless you really need to. That's all.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

No longer "no class"

I am starting a class in a few weeks, the first step in obtaining a graduate certificate in technical writing. Technical writing isn't an easy field to break into, but it pays pretty well if you do it right. Hopefully, I will fall into that category, and thus earn much money with which to keep the gold brocade coming.

The whole thing's gotten me thinking about the dumb things I hated about college, the foremost of which were instructors who required attendance and yet didn't give you positive credit for it. I had a history class in which you got only three excused absences; after that, you lost one letter grade for every three absences that followed. Showing up 100% got you nothing, of course. Well, I complained about this to a then-coworker (I worked part-time as a foot messenger), and she suggested that in retaliation I steal the class sign-in sheet.

Could I really do that? Sure, she said. When the sheet comes around to you, she told me, just stick it in your textbook and go on with class. When class is over, she advised, just leave immediately before you have to answer awkward questions. Now, you have to remember that I used to be very quiet and shy (a long time ago), so the idea of being this "rebellious" was pretty radical to me. However, I was so angry at the attendance policy that I decided to do it. Next class, I slipped the sign-in sheet quietly into my textbook, and then trembled for 50 minutes, waiting for someone to decry me in stentorian tones. It was like "The Telltale Heart", if the heart had been a piece of paper and the protaganist a lame-ass, nervous, petty thief.

As soon as class ended, I fled the room, and on my way out I heard the professor ask if anyone had the sign-in sheet. I immediately panicked and began formulating my strategy. I knew I couldn't safely leave the sheet in my backpack, lest he search it, so I folded up the sheet and stuffed it in my shoe. Of course, that wouldn't do, because he might order me to remove my shoes. (College professors often strip-search students, you see.) So I stuffed the folded-up sheet into my underwear, craftily deciding that if he checked my shoe he was OK, but if he checked my underwear it qualified as molestation. All this folding and stuffing was going on in a crowded hallway, mind you.

Needless to say, the professor did not track me down, so I endured a morning-full of that crotch-scratching sign-in sheet for nothing. He did, however, keep a tight eye on the sheet from then on out, which validated my view of the entire matter as some kind of Indiana Jones adventure. The point of this story is...well, I don't really know what it is, except that the next time I plan to steal a sign-in sheet, I am wearing boxers.

(BTW, when I said I was a foot messenger, I didn't mean that I delivered feet. I just walked on feet. My own.)

Monday, August 09, 2004

Artists to whom you should listen

Before I get started, let me say that I've lately become very averse to ending sentences with prepositions. I realize that, in the scheme of things, a post-sentence preposition ranks just above pink lint on the Things to Eradicate list, but for some reason it matters to me.

Anyway, I've decided to list a few of my favorite artists. Have at it.

Jill Sobule: If I were a singer-songwriter, I'd write songs just like Jill's. They tell these neat little stories that don't mean very much, but then it's been said that although the things we do don't matter very much, it's so very important that we do them. I glad Jill Sobule does them. Jill's downside is that her Web site is kind of annoying, but I guess no one's perfect.

Dar Williams: She's this I-majored-in-tofu-at-Vassar kind of lady, but her songs aren't the least bit froofy. Her lyrics are intelligent, and they make you think about the songs long after the CD has ended.

Jane Wiedlin: Former Go-Go's guitarist, I have always had a soft spot for Jane, who works so hard for so little. Her last album, Kissproof World, sold only about 1,000 copies, which means that after buying one CD, I own a significant portion of the print run. Ouch. JW's not everyone's cup of tea (she has a very pixie-ish voice), but I find her a quirky delight. Given the low circulation of her albums, I also find her a secret delight.

(In case you didn't get it from context, "froofy" can be defined as snobbish, artsy, or otherwise high-falutin'.)

Friday, August 06, 2004

The Dreaded Political Rant

What the fuck is wrong with this country?!? A man with a questionable military record, a history of failing upwards in business, and a well-documented alcohol problem is actually sitting in the Oval Office and acting like he won 50 states when he needed the help of the Supreme Court to squeak into office. It's a credit to the Republican spin machine that a long-time U.S. senator who won three Purple Hearts in active combat duty is actually on the defensive in the military service debate against this man, who leapfrogged over thousands of applicants to get into the Texas Air National Guard, and whose service to that organization has yet to be satisfactorily proven.

I could go on and on, but I'll cut to the point, which is that it's all our fault. That's right. Bush may have sleazed into office via the Supreme Court, but if the voters hadn't had their heads up their asses he wouldn't even have gotten past the GOP primaries by shamelessly slandering John McCain. Bush couldn't have won Florida if every poor, black, female, and gay Floridian had realized that the GOP hates them and registered that realization at the polls. Sure, the politicians suck, but let's keep in mind who votes for them. We do. I'm not sure if that's really subtle masochism or really obvious foolishness, but there you have it.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Viva la Montreal!

It's 11:30 and I am eating biscuits in my room whilst blogging. One of the nice things about being an adult is that there's no one to tell me I can't eat biscuits a) late at night; and b) in my bedroom.

But I digress. Montreal rocks! It's very walkable (always a hit with me), its sun sets in the north, and it's filled with openminded, friendly people who become even friendlier when you make an attempt at communicating in French. I relied on a few stock phrases to get me through:

Quel est le prix? (What is the price?)
Si vou plait donne moi... (Please give me...)
Je me suis perdu. (I am lost.)

When all else failed:
Je ne comprends pas. (I don't understand)

People there are better dressed than those in the States, particularly the men. Apparently, male Montrealers understand that straight men are not emasculated by clothes that are a) well-fitted and not three times too baggy; and b) dyed colors other than black, gray, or dark blue. I saw men in pants that were pink, red, peach and even bright blue. Of course, this fashion adeptness threw off my gaydar, but I am sure that after a few weeks or months I could reset to the Montreal frequency.

The only downside to this vacation was the fact that I forgot things on a regular basis. So remarkable was this memory shutdown that I thought I'd memorialize it in song as follows. (Sing to the tune of "My Favorite Things.")

A novel for passing the time on the airplane
One brush for taming my hair when it's insane
An email reminding me what I should bring
These are a few of my forgotten things

One map of Montreal marked with hot places
Two terry washcloths for cleaning our faces
Lastly, my MAC card, left in the machine
These are a few of my forgotten things

Fortunately, I did not forget my passport, so I was at least able to get into and out of the country without too much hassle. Note to self: Next time, make a list and tape it to your forehead a week before getting on the plane.

BTW, I did indeed find a pair of leather pants that will look great with the maroon Londo-Mollari vest I got last month. Yay me!