Monday, November 20, 2006

Labor begets labor

I just got back yesterday from a trip to upstate New York where I was connection-less. So now I'm catching up.

I was staying at my sister's cabin in the woods, a place so remote that when you search for the nearest Starbuck's, you find there isn't one within a fifty mile radius. (By contrast, there are twenty-four within five miles of my zipcode.) It is, in fact, so remote that when we left (at 4am) to drive to the airport, we didn't pass another car for forty-five minutes.

So I'm glad to be back to the traffic, the smog, and the fake boobs. Gosh I love LA.

But I didn't post just to talk about my trip. Really I just wanted to let out a superior chuckle about this, the report produced by Missouri's Special Committee on Immigration Reform that argues abortion is one of the root causes of illegal immigration. It seems we are aborting our labor force and so we must look south for more workers:
There's a lot of editorial comment there that I couldn't really stomach," Rep. Trent Skaggs said Monday. "To be honest, I think it's a little delusional."

All 10 Republican committee members signed the report, though one of them, Rep. Billy Pat Wright, said Monday he didn't recall it connecting abortion and illegal immigration.

Emery, who equates abortion to murder, defended the assertions.

"We hear a lot of arguments today that the reason that we can't get serious about our borders is that we are desperate for all these workers," Emery said. "You don't have to think too long. If you kill 44 million of your potential workers, it's not too surprising we would be desperate for workers."
These anti-choice folks really do have an "if the only tool you have is a hammer" way of thinking about anything that's going on in the country. It's pretty astounding.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Some things should be regarded as "givens"

Shakespeare's Sister calls our attention to this gem from shrub's Saturday radio address: "[A]ll Americans can take pride in the example our democracy sets for the world by holding elections even in a time of war."

Just how low can we set the national pride bar, do you think? Gee, I'm so proud that we don't suspend Constitutional democracy and institute martial law. And you know what else? I'm really proud we let women vote here (and drive cars!). We rock!

Friday, November 10, 2006

More good news

It seems John Bolton is back on the job market.

Everything old is new again

In yet another demonstration of the US's astounding ability to back the wrong horse, Daniel Ortega was elected president of Nicaragua this week. The Independent's coverage of the campaign reads like a near-parody:
His campaign flag and theme tune, he insists, said it all. The old red-and-black flag and silk scarves of the Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional (FSLN) were still on show, but alongside them were flags and banners in Ortega's new favoured colour--shocking pink--chosen by his wife and meant to symbolise the new Ortega's softer, gentler side.

The old FSLN anthem, which included the words "let us fight the yanqui, enemy of humanity", could still be heard during his campaign, but it played second fiddle to Ortega's latest theme tune--a Spanish version of John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance", which calls for reconciliation and whose refrain is "We all want to live in peace". It also gave a Washington Post headline writer the chance to come up with "Daniel Ortega, from Lenin to Lennon".
Something about fuschia-clad Sandanistas singing Lennon songs really seems like a moment right out of Delillo to me.

And if the Independent's coverage reads like a postmodern novel, the BBC's is like the political equivalent of the musical reunion tour:
So who has become the principle agitator-in-chief for those opposed to Mr Ortega?

None other than Lieutenant-Colonel Oliver North, the public face of the Iran-Contra scandal in the days of Ronald Reagan's presidency.

"If Ortega wins," he said on a two-day visit here. "He will have key regional allies... who together could create problems aplenty for the US and its democratic Latin American allies."

"Today, Nicaragua looks like a case of back to the future," Mr North added.
Wow. The eighties revival is clearly far, far more pervasive than I had imagined.


Via After School Snack comes the video of the day.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Read of the day

Garrison Keillor's piece for the Chicago Tribune yesterday.

This paragraph almost made me cry:
People still care deeply about our government, despite every invitation to disillusionment. This is the astonishment. For my generation, the first big blow was the failure of Washington to get to the truth about the assassination of John F. Kennedy and then its inability to change a disastrous course in Vietnam. You stand at the majestic polished wall with the 57,000 names on it, and you look across the river to Arlington, and here, within one mile, are two enormous aching sorrows, and a mile behind you is the U.S. Supreme Court, which threw the election of 2000. Some people killed our president and got away with it; men were shipped off to die in a lousy war promulgated by Democrats afraid to be called weak on communism; and an election was stolen, no protest. And yet we still stroll down to the church and cast our ballots. We live on hope.


The Dems have the Senate. It's official. Allen conceded.

My favorite part of the article is this bit:
Allen was comfortably ahead in polls until August, when he mockingly referred to a Webb campaign volunteer of Indian descent as "Macaca," regarded by some as a racial slur. The incident, caught on videotape, became international news. Some former football teammates from the University of Virginia also charged that Allen had commonly used a slur for blacks--something he denied.
I guess we're talking about the word "nigger" here, a term that is apparently so sensitive the paper cannot print it even when printing it to make reference to its use as a word (what the Chicago Manual refers to as "words and phrases used as words" (7.62). What I wonder about is how exactly he was accused or able to deny the accusation when the word itself can't actually be used. "No, I never used that word, which I cannot use here to deny that I used it."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out

From SL comes this collection of Rummy classics. Ah the passing of an era:

"As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns - that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know.”

"I'm not into this detail stuff. I'm more concepty." In an interview with the Washington Post

"It is unknowable how long [the war in Iraq] will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months." To U.S. troops in Aviano, Italy

"Needless to say, the President is correct. Whatever it was he said."

"We do know of certain knowledge that [Osama bin Laden] is either in Afghanistan, or in some other country, or dead. And we know of certain knowledge that we don't know which of those happens to be the case."

"Well, you know, something's neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so, I suppose, as Shakespeare said."

"That's all you guys do is read these books. You ought to get a life." To reporters during a press briefing

"I have never painted a rosy picture. I have been very measured in my words, and you'll have a dickens of a time trying to find instances where I have been excessively optimistic. I understand this is tough stuff." At Senate hearings, in an exchange with Sen. Hillary Clinton

"I don't do quagmires."

"I would not say that the future is necessarily less predictable than the past. I think the past was not predictable when it started."

For my california friends

Complete election results including ballot measures are here.

And while we're on the subject of gays

I'm really thinking someone needs to rerecord National Brotherhood Week with an "everyone hates the queers" slant. The dems won the House. It looks like they may win the Senate. The anti-choice people lost their battle in South Dakota. We won minimum wage battles in six states. But we'll be damned if we let them homos get married. This much we can at least agree on. (To my Arizonan friends, congratulations on somehow avoiding this stripe of insanity.)

For god's sake, people.

Why my optimism is tempered

The Onion put it best back in February:
"We are entirely capable of bungling this opportunity to regain control of the House and Senate and the trust of the American people," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said to scattered applause. "It will take some doing, but we're in this for the long and pointless haul."

"We can lose this," Reid added. "All it takes is a little lack of backbone."
I know I blogged the story before but I was reminded of it again today. If the dems win the executive in two years, they just better fucking do something with it. I mean, let's not start out with guns blazing about gays in the military, for example. Could we agree to that?

Observations upon listening to the preznit's press conference

Has anyone else noticed that Bush pronounces "I-DE-Ology" the same way some people pronounce "eye-talian"?

And let me say another thing: If we never have another president again ever that is capable of uttering the sentence "This isn't my first rodeo," that will really, really be okay with me.

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy

Rumsfeld is resigning. If I still drank you better believe I'd be pouring out a glass of champagne right about now. The only better news would be if he got hit by a bus.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Okay, I'm back. I thought for a while there about posting a "Blog Dark" notice like they do in theaters when there's nothing playing. I don't know why the cat had my tongue for so long except for a couple of obvious factors:

1. I got to the point where the news became so depressing that I just took an ostrich approach for a while.


2. There was that series of catastrophes--K's accident and hospitalization(s), my accident and hospitalization, his bone graft, my crushing work deadline...and so on. Since I last blogged, he ended up in the hospital one more time for an infection in his arm. He got sent home with a picc line and at-home antibiotics. That's all cleared up now. I made my huge work deadline (without wanting to talk about my work in detail, I'll say that September marked one of the most significant professional accomplishments in my life). It has now been more than six weeks since anyone has been hospitalized, had a surgery, had a biopsy, or any other similar calamity. Work is also settling down to its usual level of stress.

And then there's the whole "balancing work, romance, and writing" equation that is just ridiculous and will not be elaborated on at present.

But here it is, Election Day, and what better time to re-enter the blog-o-sphere? I had to re-acquaint myself with the political public sphere for at least one day so maybe if I weigh in quickly while I'm above-sand it will stick.

Though here's the truth, as I said, I've been assiduously avoiding anything that smacks of the news or current events, and given the mammoth size of the ballot here in LA, I've had to do a lot of homework. Just trying to figure out how to vote on the judges alone is quite an endeavor. And what I've realized is I really am a knee-jerk leftist. If, for instance, a ballot measure is supported by any organization that has "taxpayers" in its name, I'm against it. I don't need to read further.

And here, let me digress and say I am pro-taxes. In fact, I am pro-taxes and pro-big government. I'm a fan of good roads, clean water, public education, health care on demand, care for the elderly, and even public art. I'm all for paying for such things publicly and hiring lots of people and structuring offices to execute those services. Let's hear it for taxes and government.

Which brings me to the issue of voting itself. I used to really like voting. True enough, my first election was Reagan's second term, which was a really, really depressing election for any left-leaning first-time voter. So yes, that one was pretty depressing. But in general, voting itself has always felt really good to me. I'm a sucker for all of that ritualistic citizen stuff anyway (pretty funny for someone with such an allergy to patriotism). Shit, I wrote a whole dissertation on nation-making and representation.

This year though, it just feels pretty depressing to me. It feels like going to a viewing. "Doesn't he look so lifelike?" Or as Andrea said, a birthday party disguised as a viewing [I stand corrected, Andrea actually said a viewing disguised as a birthday party, which makes much more sense. See comment below.] I just can't shake the feeling that our great social experiment is dead and we're just making funeral arrangements at this point. Maybe I'll feel less that way as I re-enter the polis and leave my ostrich ways behind.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Why I was never good at science

I have been accused of "thinking too much" on more than one occasion, and without taking on the inherent value judgment of such a claim, I will say it's not a new phenomenon. When I was a kid in grade school and they taught us about the atomic theory and matter and molecules, I became so fixated on the notion that the vast majority of any object is actually space (this was how I heard what they were saying) that I couldn't move past that notion to whatever was next on the syllabus. Everyone else was talking about molecular structures and I was still thinking "shit, my chair is 90% space!"

Here it is something like 30 years later and I still find it all jaw-droppingly fascinating in a "goll-ee" kind of way.

And now it seems that scientists have found proof that dark matter does exist. Dark matter is like the Racer X to regular matter's Speed. It is almost invisible and it doesn't absorb or give off light. This week's National Geographic reports:

Scientists calculate that dark matter makes up about 25 percent of the universe.

By contrast, ordinary matter—the stuff that makes up stars, planets, and everything on Earth—makes up no more than about 5 percent of the universe.

The other 70 percent of the universe, scientists believe, is made of dark energy, an even more elusive force that is pushing the universe apart at an ever increasing rate.
That is some cool shit, folks.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

In context

Okay, Ed sent me the link for the Forbes article on marriage and prostitution and it appears that Salon quoted Noer out of context. The substance of that particular article (the one with the stellar wife/whore coke/pepsi analogy) was a summary of someone else's economic argument. I'm not saying Noer is a bra-burner or anything, just trying to be accurate here.

Who says we want to marry you?

Colin sent me a copy of this story. Normally I don't link to salon articles because of the extended hassle to actually read anything on their site, but this one is worth the trouble. Apparently Forbes published an article online called "Don't Marry Career Women" that, despite what you may think, was actually not a parody. The article has since been removed due to pressure from the blogosphere:
Sometime around 5:30 on Wednesday, Aug. 23, two days after its publication, "Don't Marry Career Women" disappeared from the Web site, along with an earlier story by Noer, titled "The Economics of Prostitution," in which he compared "wives" to "whores" and wrote that "the implication remains that wives and whores are -- if not exactly like Coke and Pepsi -- something akin to champagne and beer. The same sort of thing."
I mean, I don't even know what to say. Forbes and Gibson--the boycott list is growing. Really I just keep expecting to wake up to find this whole period of history was a bad, bad dream.

Here's another choice paragraph:
Noer's list went on. Rosie, your riveting bride, will be less likely to bear you children. If she does, she'll be unhappy because wealthier women are "used to 'a professional life, a fun, active, entertaining life,'" and will therefore be dismayed at the un-fun and un-entertaining responsibilities of child-rearing. If you marry one of these witches, "Your house will be dirtier," since studies show that a woman who makes more than $15 an hour "will do 1.9 hours less housework a week." Perhaps the saddest result of your careerist heterosexual union is that "You're more likely to fall ill." That because according to research he's unearthed, wives who work more than 40 hours a week "do not have adequate time to monitor their husband's [sic] health and healthy behavior, to manage their husband's [sic] emotional well-being or buffer his workplace stress."
Okay, I'll grant you the dirty house got me there.

Seriously, what the fuck is going on culturally that it's suddenly okay to say these outlandish things? It's not like I didn't know people still thought them but I thought we were past the point where it was okay to think them out loud. What do I know?

We are all refugee children

I know I've been living under a rock, but I only just heard of Gunter Grass' confession that he was a Waffen SS member as a teen. You know, I so want the world to be more black and white than it is. This news makes me really sad.


My biopsy results came back negative. I've never been so happy to fail a test in my life.

Barbie's dream tank

Here's something to entertain yourself with for at least a few minutes at work--make your own McDonalds sign. And while you're there, you can fill out the petition for McD's to drop their promotional with Hummer happy meals. (Though it does seem like a why-stop-there sort of issue to me. The girl happy meals are Barbies right now. I'm not really with that either. And then there's just the whole fact of McDonalds...but I digress.)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

When the rapture comes... don't even have to get out of your pjs.

Christianity is so freaking weird.

I mean, I know that's not a news flash or anything, but sometimes it just bears repeating. Thanks to C for the forward.

Friday, August 18, 2006

National Brotherhood Week

Here's one of those stories that has a sort of exponential bile-producing effect for me--Wal-mart and antisemitism. As if I needed more reasons to hate Wal-mart, they go and hire a bigoted Black as their PR manager. It reminds me of the infamous Hymietown comment that has made me forever wary of Jessie Jackson. It just makes no sense to be antisemetic if you're Black. You know, if you do a little research on the civil rights movement in the United States, you'll find that Jews were pretty much on the front lines. Not that it makes any more sense to be a racist Jews. Come on folks--we're all mud people in some folks eyes. Sigh.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

How it's been lately

Andrea just sent me this in an email with the subject line "Someone else with your schedule."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Don't ask me to be rational

About this. Even though I know that something as asinine as a cartoon contest about the holocaust is pretty much designed to piss off the Jews and I'm only playing my part by getting enraged--oh well. This Jew is pissed off. "Why should questioning the Holocaust be a taboo?" they ask. And I'm brought back to the qotd below: Poor taste is nothing compared to immorality.

It's all so frustrating. It's such a scripted drama. This sort of shit is intended to make people like me say, "Gee we should just bomb the fuck out of those folks." All the better martyr-fodder, don't you know...

Red cape-bull-and so on.

(NB: The holocust may not have actually happened. The holocaust on the other hand...)

Pack up your troubles and smile, smile, smile

Via Shakespeare's Sister comes the news that Walmart's profits declined this quarter--first time in a decade. Not that America is wising up, mind you. It's the Germans. They didn't bite.

On the less jolly side of things is the news that there are as many Wal-mart employees in the US as high school teachers.

And rounding up the Wal-mart olio is the quote of the day, complements of Public Citizen's Wal-ocaust site: Poor taste is nothing compared to immorality.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Photo of the day

So Dell is recalling a zillion laptop batteries because they catch on fire. (And here let me say I am superstitious enough that if my laptop caught on fire I would totally take it as a sign from the god I don't believe in that it's time for a career change.)

The NYT has the story and this is the photo they ran this morning:

And this is the caption: A Dell notebook computer in Thomas Forqueran’s pickup truck caught fire in July, igniting ammunition in the glove box and then the gas tanks.

I know I'm going to hell but I found it amusing on so many levels.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Learning how to live right

So my life, as I've noted frequently recently, has been really event-filled of late--event-filled in the Chinese curse "may you live in interesting times" sort of way. I am really hoping things are mellowing. This week is totally groundhog week. Either K gets his cast off and I get happy biopsy results and the board approves my big project or we head into another who-knows-how-long of work and medical angst.

In the meantime, the Elbow and I rewarded ourselves for prevailing thus far with massages this weekend. He had Lucy Liu's little sister doing the honors, apparently--she danced a jig on his spine, or in his words, "she opened a can of whoop ass" on his back. Anyway, yeah--massages. If I can get out of work early enough tomorrow (and I'm still here right now at 8pm, so that tells you something), I'm going to get a pedicure before my evening meeting. And tonight after I do some more work from home, I plan to install myself in the tub and watch Shaun of the Dead on my Vaio.

In other news, my new car makes me way more ridiculously happy than a thing should. I have never had a new car and not only does it have that smell (who really cares about that smell honestly) it's zippy. Zoom zoom. And it's cute as hell. It looks like this.

All of which is to say, I guess, that I have now been pretty thoroughly corrupted by LA. And it feels pretty good.

Finding your way here

I don't think I've noted it before, but the two most frequent search terms, week in and week out, that people use to find this blog are "pronounce hegemony" and "Brazilian wax."

I really love that.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

How you know it's a California election

When Reuters' article about the candidates begins with a line like "Sporting new breasts..."

Which is to say, Mary Carey is running for governor again. She only managed to get 40 signatures on her petition to run as an independent (just 163,960 shy of the required number), so she's mounting a write-in campaign.

Have I mentioned that I love California? I do.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ill conceived

Some things just shouldn't be regarded as tee shirt fodder. That's all.

Joe quoted

From This Week on ABC: "I am not George Bush. I have been against George Bush on most things."

From today's "I'm a Loser" speech: "I went into public service to find solutions, not to point fingers. To unite, not to divide."

First, let's recognize that it's a really bad sign when you have to tell people "I am not George Bush." Second, if you don't want to be mistaken for GB, maybe you should think about hiring a different speechwriter. And third, when are the hawks going to stop labeling anyone who disagrees with the war--or who runs against them in an election "divisive." Fascism is the system you're looking for if you want national unification. Democracy is about debate.


In sum, I'm glad he lost. But then, I hate freedom, so what do I know?

Monday, August 07, 2006

First thing we do is kill all the yuppies

Picture taken at the Wolfgang Puck's counter today at lunch. I do love California. I really do.

Best Dilbert ever

Monday, July 31, 2006

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The limitations of the algorithym

Today I got this email from Amazon:
Dear Customer,

We've noticed that customers who have purchased The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster also purchased books by Marian Macsai. For this reason, you might like to know that Marian Macsai's Ophthalmic Microsurgical Suturing Techniques will be released soon.

(For those who don't know it, The Phantom Tollbooth is described here.)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Those crazy open source people

In the course of looking up something tonight, I came across this file not found page. It really did make me laugh out loud (not that I would be caught dead typing "lol").

Friday, July 28, 2006

The word for the day is


That hour in the life of a man when first the help of humanity fails him, and he learns that in his obscurity and indigence humanity holds him a dog and no man: that hour is a hard one, but not the hardest. There is still another hour which follows, when he learns that in his infinite comparative minuteness and abjectness, the gods do likewise despise him, and own him not of their clan.
Herman Melville Pierre

Never mind global warming and ongoing war...

...what's really important is making sure that young women don't have control over their own reproductive choices. Which is to say the Senate continues to chip away at reproductive rights; this week they passed S 403, which makes it a crime to take a minor over state lines to get an abortion. The House and Senate still have to iron out the details of the bill, but the gist of the thing is as the bill sponsors describe it: the bill supports what a majority of the public believes: "that a parent's right to know takes precedence over a young woman's right to have an abortion." I can't even tell you how much this shit enrages me.

And what crazy logic governs this--if I'm understanding it properly, in Mississippi you can get married at 15 without parental consent, but you can't terminate a pregnancy without both parents' consent. What the fuck is that? So you can be married for years but have to get mom and dad's permission for family planning choices? That's totally insane folks. Completely loony.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Headline of the day

"Bush acknowledges racism still exists"

What I love best about the story is this passage:
Most of the president's remarks were greeted with smatterings of applause, but many in the convention center stood up to clap when he urged the Senate to renew a landmark civil rights law passed in the 1960s to stop racist voting practices in the South.

"President Johnson called the right to vote the lifeblood of our democracy. That was true then and it remains true today," Bush said.
He goes on to elaborate:
"For nearly 200 years, our nation failed the test of extending the blessings of liberty to African-Americans. Slavery was legal for nearly 100 years, and discrimination legal in many places for nearly 100 years more."
So let me get this straight, Bush made this appearance because he was characterized as indifferent to Black suffering and racial injustice--particularly given the great job Brownie did dealing with Katrina. And so to raise his stock he comes out with a rousing speech on suffrage??? And for this he gets a standing ovation? For fuck's sake people, can we possibly set the bar any lower for President Monkey Boy? Sheesh.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Site of the day

Well, it's been another one of those days where my head has felt like it's going to explode like scanners and I am yearning to bend the laws of time and space. But...I can still laugh. Yes I can.

Phone photo from this morning

In answer to the questions:
Yes those are the twin towers in the left-hand corner.
No I did not rear end him.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

And just to prove my point

That I haven't lost my sense of humor, I want to share this with everyone because it's fucking hilarious.

I'm in love with the real world

Okay, I've now had three different people ask me if I'm okay simply on the basis of my online invisibility. I've started to post here several times explaining what's going on with me, but then I sort of questioned my motivations in doing so and didn't finish. Nonetheless, the third time's the charm--so, in a nutshell....

You will recall that at the end of March I posted about my new boyfriend crashing his motorcycle and breaking nearly a dozen bones, having his elbow reconstructed, casts on both arms, yada yada... Then there was that week long work conference of mine and this project I am coordinating, which has a major league deadline looming. That started picking up steam. Then of course, the more recent accident of mine where things that were supposed to hold air (tires and lungs, in particular) did not. In the course of taking care of me, said boyfriend (aka The Elbow) broke a metal plate in his reconstructed elbow and had to go in for more surgery including a bone graft on the fourth. So we have the bone graft, off the charts intense work situation, accident recovery, insurance, need new car, blah blah blah my-head-is-exploding kind of stress. When I went for my follow-up doctor's appointment, the guy wouldn't see me because of my hmo coverage. Then I found out my primary doctor is gone--moved away. When I did get in to see someone new, she told me the medical center discovered a lesion on my thyroid and I need a follow-up scan (which happens Monday). And while I am certain it is nothing, the news had me weeping into my cell phone on the little grass strip in front of the medical offices. Me: "Sob...sob...I'm sure it's nothing...sob..." It's like that. To top it all off, the workgroup for my project is in town, and my body has determined to menstruate fiercely through every conference and workgroup meeting I attend. My kingdom for the red tent.

But, as I wrote to C earlier today, let me not give the wrong impression. Truly I am not feeling sorry for myself. I am seriously contemplating taking up a career change as a country western pop singer, but "collapsed lung" doesn't scan very well and, shucks, I was driving a Toyota.

Really I have lost neither my sense of humor nor my perspective. I'm so very aware that things could be so much worse. I could have easily not walked away from my accident--when you hit a concrete wall at 70 and don't break a bone, you're a lucky girl. I have great peeps in my life who have been helping me in so many ways. My job is amazingly great even if it feels so stressful sometimes it amazes me I don't just spontaneously combust. And then there's The Elbow. (Did I mention below he's calling us a "match made in hospital"? Anyway, any guy who calls you the day after his bone graft from the hospital bed because he's "worried about you" and your stress level pretty much rocks even if he does have bad politics.

All of that said, this has been one of the most stressful periods in a long time. I cannot remember being this stressed out since lo those many years ago when I was married to a complete nutter. At least these days I'm not getting ambulance bills that say "Reason for conveyance: Head in natural gas oven."

So that's where I've been. I'm not sure when I'll be back on a regular basis, but probably pretty soon. I do miss blogistan.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What do tires and lungs have in common?

Both need to stay inflated to be effective, and when they do deflate suddenly, it's a very bad thing. Friday night, I blew a tire on the 405 and completely lost control of my car. I was going 75 or so and I remember thinking, "Okay you're going to crash your car now, so just relax. They say the worst injuries happen because people tense up before the impact." And sure enough, I plowed into the concrete retaining median wall, smooshing my car, my glasses, my phone, and my lung, though I didn't realize the latter for a night. In short, this past weekend things that are supposed to hold air, did not.

I was pretty banged up but nothing seemed broken except possibly a rib, and I know from my experience with my guy, aka "The Elbow," that they don't do anything for a broken rib. I was pretty clear-headed and the EMT guy said I seemed fine to him, but he could take me to a hospital if I wanted. What I now realize is that when you crash into a concrete retaining wall at full speed and pass out--even if it's only for a second--there shouldn't really be a decision-making process about this. You're going to the hospital. But sometimes I'm too stoic for my own good I guess. One of my father's favorite sayings was always, "I cried because I had no shoes, but then I met a man who had no feet," which always made me protest that meeting that man would only make me cry more. It's sad enough to have no shoes but clearly it is worse that there are people with no feet. But I digress. The point is that if you feel like someone threw you down stairs, you should go have medical professionals check you out because when you get thrown down stairs sometimes the insides of you don't fare so well.

So Saturday we went by K's folks. His dad's a doctor and took a look at me and speculated that I had a fractured rib perhaps. He said I should go in and have a chest x-ray taken at an urgent care place. We came home and napped, went out for some dinner and finally Saturday night went by a medical center to get a chest x-ray. They did a chest x-ray and a brain scan and took blood and then the doctor came in with something of a furrowed brow and said they wanted to do a CT scan of my chest because the x-ray was unclear. It could just the angle of the thing, she said, but she was concerned. Of course, it was Saturday night, so as the hours progressed, the ER was filling up with all of the other auto accidents taking place on LA's westside. Eventually they did another chest scan and--what do you know--turns out my left lung is in the process of collapsing. Go figure.

It's a pretty interesting thing really. I didn't know anything about collapsed lungs before this experience. I guess what happens is that your lung gets a little rip in it and when you breath some of the air that you exhale (carbon dioxide, I guess) escapes through that rip and collects in the chest cavity. But it has nowhere to go because the chest cavity is a closed container so it just accumulates there and the more it accumulates the more it displaces the lung itself--thus the collapsing aspect. The particularly pernicious thing about it all is that as the left lung collapses, the heart also starts a-roving, and begins to travel over to the right side of the chest. Hearts are really supposed to stay put. They are not nomadic organs, and when they ramble the aorta and stuff get all messed up (I'm sure there's a good Yiddish word I should use here).

So what they have to do is suck all the bad air out of your chest and reinflate your lung. After a while of being reinflated it reattaches itself to the chest cavity and, Bob's your uncle, you're ready to go.

Interesting stuff.

The long and short of it is that before I knew it they were punching a little hole in my chest and attaching me to a "pleurovac" which sounds like an aquarium or a bong depending on who you ask. I spent a few days fearing the tube would somehow come out and I'd go flying around the room like an inflating balloon when you let go of its neck, but it went fine and I apparently heal more quickly than most people.

I am now at K's, which has become quite the clinic of late, being cared for quite well. (For those of you who are keeping track of such things--yes, this does make the second trauma unit and second totalled vehicle in four months) I have very little energy which is why it's taken me two days to write this and I'm not adding any more even though I have more to say. I'm tired and I need to go lay down for a while. I'm pretty much of a weakling right now.

But it's a good day. I'm wearing pants and I can go to the bathroom unassisted. Oh the simple pleasures.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The sit-com possibilities are endless

Stephen Hawking appears to be the latest in the growing list of Al Gore-esque doomsayers who are looking to global warming as the sort of liberal rapture. He's arguing that we should be looking for homes in space somewhere because a disaster of some kind (global warming, nuclear war, genetically engineered virus...) may destroy earth:
"We won't find anywhere as nice as Earth unless we go to another star system," added Hawking, who came to Hong Kong to a rock star's welcome Monday. . . . Hawking said that if humans can avoid killing themselves in the next 100 years, they should have space settlements that can continue without support from Earth.
And we wonder why reality TV is so popular.

Things that should make you worry

If your office-mate buys one of these.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Public transportation

From the side of a DC bus.

Everyone needs a role model

It just so happens that my latest is a hamster.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

And on the seventh day, god rested

Okay, I know the blognoscenti are all over this one, but I can't help but post it here as well. Apparently, this past Sunday, some overly zealous wanna-be Daniel figure, upon crawling into a lion's cage in Kiev and shouting "God will save me, if he exists," became lunchmeat. Reuters reports, "A lioness went straight for him, knocked him down and severed his carotid artery."

Um yeah. And if he doesn't,'re meat. So much for Pascal's wager, huh?

(Thanks to Shakespeare's Sis for the story)

Friday, June 02, 2006

You know it's going to be one of those days...

...when you can't get out of your own parking lot because the batteries in your clicker have died overnight.


Leaving tonight for DC with my squeeze. He's never been there; I haven't been there in over a year. Yay for cheap airfares.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A sign of how things are going at work.

I'm not sure I'd have the surgery, honestly. Maybe after my big September deadline.

But does she shave her legs?

That's what I want to know.

Making bold new political headway in the arena of male fantasy--DC comics has announced that the latest incarnation of Batwoman is a dyke.

DC is describing her as a "lesbian socialite by night and a crime fighter by later in the night." Yeah.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

It's like this

That's all I'm saying. Just that.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I have the coolest boyfriend ever

He just sent me an email saying he read my blog and bought me a blunderbuss domain. I think that may qualify as the second greatest present I've ever gotten.

Here's George Jetson

You know that moment at the beginning of the Jetsons when George Jetson is taking Astro for a walk on the automatic sidewalk and he can't keep up with the conveyer belt and starts spinning around and around?

That's exactly how I feel today. Like I'm trying to fit a size twelve life into a size eight dress.

But you know what? I've got Mission of Burma playing, and I'll be damned if it's not making me feel better. Academy Fight Song has lost nothing in the more than twenty years since it came out.

And I bought tickets to see the Walkmen in a couple of weeks yesterday. And that makes me feel better too.

And it's Friday.

And I look cute today. (I maintain just because someone has sucked all of the oxygen out of the room is no reason not to wear lipstick.)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The things I think about at work

I know I used to be a political blogger once upon a time. And someday I will return to that in a more serious way (in the meantime, just be aware that I haven't forgotten the world is still going to hell). But it's all I can do to blog these ridiculous orts while I'm as busy as I've been.

Today was one of those days at work where everyone was just in my hair and I couldn't seem to dispense with anything (task or person) easily. Last week when I was having a day like this, K sent me an email with this picture:

18th Cent. flintlock Blunderbuss that scatters shot, nails, rocks, ceramic fragments or whatever through a crowd.

And now when I get frustrated I think about how great it would be to have a blunderbuss. And then I think "blunderbuss...hee hee...blunderbuss..." and before I know it, I've been cheered up.

(As an aside, I got to thinking today that Blunderbuss would be a great name for a literary magazine or a blog. It's a sort of goulash shrapnel idea. Think about it for a minute--it's like scrapbooking for arsonists or something.)

But today the blunderbuss fantasy wasn't enough. As more and more people kept popping into my doorway, the fantasy today began taking on a Godzilla-ish cast. I so totally wish I could blow lethal fire through my nostrils. Never mind killing people by pelting them with tiny pieces of fiestaware, I want to be able to incinerate them without taking my hands off the keyboard.

So that's where I'm at. Oh, and Ken Lay is going to jail. So it's not all bad.

Quote of the day

From Nick:

"Here's an interesting fact: If you wish to become a resident of this country, you must find an elderly doctor to touch you just behind the testicals while you cough."

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

My friends are all brilliant

Okay, I suppose it's a cop-out that all I seem to do is repost emails I get from my friends lately. But it's not just because I'm drowning in work. It's also that my friends are damn funny. This comes from an email C sent me yesterday, and it's just a great paragraph:

i've been checking your blog sporadically enough to have heard about k (hooray for great companionship!), his wreck (boo for fear and stress and anxiety) and his new elbow (hooray for medical science!). it's funny to me to realize that i don't really know anything about your life, but to feel like i do. blogs are so great. almost as great as faulkner, with whom i am having some kind of post-graduate-school love affair. why did i never realize that his writing is really, truly beautiful? (perhaps because i was always so busy being grateful that at least southerners are more fucked up than mormons. thank god somebody is.)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Just click your heels together...

The man on the left, the one wearing a fabulous vintage chiffon-lined Dior gold lame gown over a silk Vera Wang empire waist tulle cocktail dress, accessorized with a 3-foot beaded peaked House of Whoville hat, and the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in the Wizard of Oz, is worried that The Da Vinci Code might make the Roman Catholic Church look foolish.

(I got the above from my friend SK and in my opinion, the shoes really make it.)

Monday, May 22, 2006


From Master Kim comes word of Newsweek's latest feature--celebrity haiku (you have to scroll down to the bottom of the page):

Ashlee Nose Best
That bump on my schnoz,
like my sister's spouse, is gone.
Nose job? I am coy.

Clean-Plate Club
Like a waterfall,
my confession tumbles forth:
I don't eat, like, ever.

Dawn of the Spawn
Out, out, damned K-Fed!
Wait, don't go: impregnate me,
baby, one more time.
I like it.

Friday, May 19, 2006

W stands for "the worm turns"

President Bush . . . has a positive job approval in just three of the 50 United States. This according to 50 separate but concurrent statewide public opinion polls conducted by SurveyUSA for its media clients across the country. Only residents of Utah, Wyoming and Idaho view the president favorably.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dog dag

So K is collecting daguerreotypes, and like any good collector, surfing e-bay daily for the pickings. (Dags, I only found out from him, are not reproducible. The image is the plate. And they take two minutes to expose, so the subjects have to stay still for the whole time. Thus some people used braces to hold people in place, and you rarely see a picture with an animal.)

Today he sends me the below.

Which apparently comes with this explanatory note

"Sylvester Beardsley, Louise Beardsley, Grandma Ann Beardsley's dog. When she went away, she missed him just like she did the kids. When he died, they had his skin tanned and Aunt Nettie Hogan's feet were wrapped in (it) the skin when she was buried."

How fantastic is that?

We'll always have Paris

Those bunnies are at it again. This time Angry Alien gives us Casablanca. (This and the surrounding posts brought to you by my favorite retoucher.)

Quote of the day

"Quality is not for everyone."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program

of lamentation and gnashing of teeth for a truly silly video of talking cats.

One tough bitch

Via Boing Boing comes the story of the 80-year-old woman who got this tattooed on her chest. And yes, she did get a senior discount at the tattoo parlor.

More on swoops and swoopers

Below I parenthetically muse "what is a fell swoop anyway?" and of course, given who my friends are, I immediately got two answers to my question. I rather like the idea that a fell swoop is a speedy and fatal thing.

Then today, I came across this description of writers as swoopers and bashers, which seemed worth sharing.

And yes, my work life continues in a "the beatings will continue until morale improves" sort of fashion. Next week will be better. Tomorrow, I descend into a conference room for three days because, god knows, I haven't spent enough time in meetings lately. Sigh.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I always knew he was French

From Frat Boy's "but who will we get to do the yard work" speech last night:

Americans are bound together by our shared ideals, an appreciation of our history, respect for the flag we fly, and an ability to speak and write the English language. you're president. If you're president, you only need to respect the flag; you get a pass on the other two.

The full text of the speech is available on WorldNetDaily, whose fantastically xenophobic perspective reveals itself in the very first line--the title "Invasion USA." I can't even bring myself to paste in their "is that the sound of jackboots I hear" public opinion poll everyone is citing today.

Can you hear me sighing over here?

Anyway I am too busy at work to really climb up on my soap box for a harangue of any duration. Let me just extract this section of the speech. It's worth reading all the way through even though it's long:
By the end of 2008, we will increase the number of Border Patrol officers by an additional 6,000. When these new agents are deployed, we will have more than doubled the size of the Border Patrol during my presidency.

At the same time, we are launching the most technologically advanced border security initiative in American history. We will construct high-tech fences in urban corridors, and build new patrol roads and barriers in rural areas. We will employ motion sensors infrared cameras and unmanned aerial vehicles to prevent illegal crossings. America has the best technology in the world and we will ensure that the Border Patrol has the technology they need to do their job and secure our border.

Training thousands of new Border Patrol agents and bringing the most advanced technology to the border will take time. Yet the need to secure our border is urgent. So I am announcing several immediate steps to strengthen border enforcement during this period of transition:

One way to help during this transition is to use the National Guard. So in coordination with governors, up to 6,000 Guard members will be deployed to our southern border. The Border Patrol will remain in the lead. The Guard will assist the Border Patrol by operating surveillance systems analyzing intelligence installing fences and vehicle barriers building patrol roads and providing training. Guard units will not be involved in direct law enforcement activities that duty will be done by the Border Patrol. This initial commitment of Guard members would last for a period of one year. After that, the number of Guard forces will be reduced as new Border Patrol agents and new technologies come online. It is important for Americans to know that we have enough Guard forces to win the war on terror, respond to natural disasters, and help secure our border.

The United States is not going to militarize the southern border. Mexico is our neighbor, and our friend.
Help me! I'm trapped in a dystopic novel! War is peace. Freedom is slavery. (And it's not "militarization" if we're not actively dropping bombs on people, or something.)

As for me, work will set me free, so I'm getting back to it.

Failure at transnational culture

That's what Andrea is calling it. Me--I'm in a meeting most of the day, so that's what I've got for you right now.

Monday, May 15, 2006

From our Albuquerque correspondent

I just read Shane's quote at NMTE and spat my drink @ the screen. Actually just got back from the mechanic myself but was not so fabulously appointed. If, however, I had two buttholes, I would be getting f*d in both of them, trying to score a new fan in the desert heat. Popular item out here, I see.

Getting fucked--Sometimes a good thing. Sometimes not so good.

Film at eleven

Okay, I was going to add this link under an "update" header below, but White Bear inspired me to give it it's own post. More about K's crash and K himself can be found here. Everyone go say hello to my boyfriend and boost his hits for the day.

And Carrie--yes, he's good with a screwdriver--though he's better with a camera. My one-line review is, "How can you not like a guy who owns guns and reads Dwell magazine?" He's smart as hell but not an academic, and given my own temperament, that's probably good (I once ground a seminar discussion to a screeching halt when, in the middle of a discussion about whether or not we understand everything through language, I asked, "Am I the only one who's had good sex in here? Describe an orgasm in language." Yeah.)

Anyway, I have a huge crush on him, and so far, so good.

Line of the day

Shane on finding out his car repair is relatively minor:

"Can I tell you how happy I am? I'm as happy as a sissy with two butt holes that it's my thermostat and not my head gasket that needs repairing."

The elbow

Below I make reference to what an outstanding investment good motorcycle gear is, and I am inspired to explain myself a bit more clearly if only to properly make sense of these photographs. They are taken with a phone and don't do the hardware complete justice, but they're worth sharing nonetheless.

What you see here is my boyfriend's arm. It didn't always look like that. Yes, always one to favor the dramatic, I managed to obtain a boyfriend and a patient almost at one fell swoop. (What is a "fell swoop" anyway?) For his part, he picked up some swell hardware on his way to my apartment.

(Those who know me, know that I am no stranger to visiting lovers in the trauma unit. I'm calling it progress that K ended up there because of an accident rather than a "head in natural gas oven" type of incident.) In any case, said bf is quite on the mend, thanks in part I do believe, to my excellent nursing skills (which happily are no longer needed).
You can't really see the full Steve Austin glory of the thing here, but it does look like someone threw down a handful of stuff from a bargain bin at Home Depot. Being a retoucher, he annotated the x-rays for you. Myself, my text would have read more like "can you believe that shit?"

We have determined that if he were in a Dick Tracy story line, he would be called "the elbow."

"How shall the heart be reconciled... its feast of losses?"

Stanley Kunitz died yesterday at 100.

Here is one of his for you:

Hornworm: Autumn Lamentation

Since that first morning when I crawled
into the world, a naked grubby thing,
and found the world unkind,
my dearest faith has been that this
is but a trial: I shall be changed.
In my imaginings I have already spent
my brooding winter underground,
unfolded silky powdered wings, and climbed
into the air, free as a puff of cloud
to sail over the steaming fields,
alighting anywhere I pleased,
thrusting into deep tubular flowers.

It is not so: there may be nectar
in those cups, but not for me.
All day, all night, I carry on my back
embedded in my flesh, two rows
of little white cocoons,
so neatly stacked
they look like eggs in a crate.
And I am eaten half away.

If I can gather strength enough
I'll try to burrow under a stone
and spin myself a purse
in which to sleep away the cold;
though when the sun kisses the earth
again, I know I won't be there.
Instead, out of my chrysalis
will break, like robbers from a tomb,
a swarm of parasitic flies,
leaving my wasted husk behind.

Sir, you with the red snippers
in your hand, hovering over me,
casting your shadow, I greet you,
whether you come as an angel of death
or of mercy. But tell me,
before you choose to slice me in two:
Who can understand the ways
of the Great Worm in the Sky?

(Thanks to Kim for the email.)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Continuing in the gustatory theme

I don't subscribe the The Atlantic, and I have precious little extra reading time these days--nonetheless, I plan to pick up the latest issue because any article titled "Horsemen of the Esophagus" (about "competitive eating") deserves to be read. (Thanks to B for the tip.)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum

The story isn't necessarily one I want to tell right here except to say we can draw two conclusions from the past few weeks: 1. it's worth spending lots of money on good motorcycle gear, and 2. there's not a lot you can do for yourself without thumbs. (Let me further explain, lest I give any of my friends the wrong impression, my part in the drama has been that of the sexy nurse, not the Russian "it's only a flesh wound" daredevil.)

This does also happen to be the busiest month of the two year cycle at my job on top of that, and next week is our biennial conference which basically means I'll be locked in a big room at the Marriott for eight days, after which time, regular blogging will recommence.

In the meantime, I was inspired to finally come back from the dead by the entry I just read over at Deep End Dining about the Weird Food Fest in Van Nuys.

Beef pizzle--yes, it is what you think it is.

P.S. Said Russian observes, "It's better to have two half hands than one full hand," which I would say means basically a half hand in the hand is worth one in the bush. Oh no, scratch that. I think I'm off base there.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Best email paragraph all week

From B:
Jakarta was incredible--never seen such crowded streets--just walking is terrifying--it smells like shit and jasmine and there are dogs and horribly poverty-stricken people everywhere--an average block goes like this: Gucci flagship store, tin shack, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Mosque, tin food stall, Chanel, pile of poop, beautifully painted food stall, brocade umbrellas, tropical flowers, pile of poop, dogs, dogs, dogs....

What do you mean, "we," white man?

Dr. Bitch brings us the inspiring news that Cecilia Fire Thunder of the Oglala Sioux says she is going to open a Planned Parenthood clinic on Pine Ridge Reservation. You go, Ms. Fire Thunder!

If you're inspired to donate, Prof. B has the info:
The mailing address is:

Oglala Sioux Tribe
ATTN: President Fire Thunder
P. O. Box 2070
Pine Ridge, SD 57770


PO BOX 990
Martin, SD 57751

For donations specifically for the Planned Parenthood clinic, make checks out to OST Planned Parenthood Cecelia Fire Thunder. General donations may be made out to the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
(On a related note, all of the sudden it seems like half the women I know are having babies. Odd. I would say it's something in the water, except they're nation-wide. Congrats to all you mommies-to-be.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

What people say about blogging

If you're a blogger, you know that one of the things people often remark when first seeing your blog (and understand here that while I seem to have become the sometime-blogger lately, there was a time when I was more consistent and blogged at a greater volume)--anyway, one of the things people say is "Gee, you must have a lot of time on your hands" or "I wish I had that much time on my hands" or the like. (Nevermind that these same folks watch several hours of TV a night.)

Well, I just want to set the record straight. Relative to some other people, we really don't have that much time on our hands.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Grief bacon

Vidlit has a new piece for The Meaning of Tingo, one of those books that talks about extraordinary words in all different languages. As tends to be the case, my favorite is from German. The last time such a book was being promoted, my favorite word was korinthenkacker, which means "raisin shitter." I only wish I'd learned the word before I was done with my PhD (read "committee"). My favorite from this piece is kummerspeck, a word that means the weight you gain during times of emotional stress, it translates to "grief bacon."

Monday, March 20, 2006

Looks like a solar system; acts like a supernova

Marc sent me this cool link illustrating where our taxes go. I mean, just in case you were feeling cheerful or something.

I do believe this is the leather anniversary

Today is the third anniversary of the war in Iraq. Survey says:

An overwhelming majority of 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year, and more than one in four say the troops should leave immediately, a new Le Moyne College/Zogby International survey shows.

The poll, conducted in conjunction with Le Moyne College’s Center for Peace and Global Studies, showed that 29% of the respondents, serving in various branches of the armed forces, said the U.S. should leave Iraq "immediately," while another 22% said they should leave in the next six months. Another 21% said troops should be out between six and 12 months, while 23% said they should stay "as long as they are needed."

Different branches had quite different sentiments on the question, the poll shows. While 89% of reserves and 82% of those in the National Guard said the U.S. should leave Iraq within a year, 58% of Marines think so. Seven in ten of those in the regular Army thought the U.S. should leave Iraq in the next year. Moreover, about three-quarters of those in National Guard and Reserve units favor withdrawal within six months, just 15% of Marines felt that way. About half of those in the regular Army favored withdrawal from Iraq in the next six months.
If it were a marriage, well, we'd be divorced by now, I'm thinking.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Humor that is so very not funny

So they just had the annual Gridiron Dinner where reporters and politicians get together and yuk it up. Here are some excerpts:
From young Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, making fun of his fellow Democrats: "Some say Democrats don't stand for anything. That's unfair; we DO stand for anything." And ending with a joke about himself and his own soaring, but unsubstantiated ratings: "Most of all, I want to thank you for your coverage in anticipation of a great career. When I actually DO something, I'll let you know."

From President George W. Bush, saying he told huntsman Dick Cheney, "Dick, I've got an approval rating of 38 percent and you shoot the only trial lawyer in the country who likes me."

. . .

Then, on stage, there were the musical and sometimes dancing skits -- all with original words written by the 65 journalist club members and sung by members and a few semi-pro singers. In one touching, dark and foreboding satire, a Polish peasant comes out wondering, "An American prison in Poland. Sounds crazy, no? But here it is, in our own little shtetl, our own little village." The answer is "Rendition!" one of the many secretive acts of this administration in which prisoners are taken to other countries where they can be tortured or mistreated without American fingerprints.
I wish so much I were making this up folks; I really do. Truly I am flabbergasted.

Myself I've always favored "dumbfuck"

Pew's latest poll has Bush's "approval rating" (a funny thing to call it at this point, really) at 33%, a number that has this citizen smiling. That's pretty damn low, folks. I mean, if the presidency were a golf game, he'd be in pretty good shape because he's coming in well below par, I'd say.

Even better--how can you not be cheered by a report on public perceptions of Bush (and Congress) that has a section titled "In a Word...Incompetent"?:
Until now, the most frequently offered word to describe the president was "honest," but this comes up far less often today than in the past. Other positive traits such as "integrity" are also cited less, and virtually no respondent used superlatives such as "excellent" or "great" ­ terms that came up fairly often in previous surveys.

The single word most frequently associated with George W. Bush today is "incompetent,"and close behind are two other increasingly mentioned descriptors: "idiot" and "liar."
Hee hee.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Why people think Hollywood is filled with commies

Because of moments like this one on Boston Legal. I don't watch the show (or really honestly much of any TV these days) but I may have to start.

Documenting the atrocities

Salon has the entire collection of Abu Ghraib photos online along with the rest of their coverage. I have neither the time nor the stomach to go through all of it. I began to and just couldn't do it.

A metaphor for so much

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

We all came from somewhere else

Tomorrow you should call Arlen Specter's Judiciary Committee Office ((202) 224-5225) and tell him you are opposed to his proposed "gold card" immigration legislation. NAOC has more on the legislation itself and what to say. Among other things, the legislation proposes to give immigrants a "gold card" enabling them to stay in the country as long as they are working but not putting them on any kind of path to obtain a green card.

My friends in the know say this: "Specter is still mainly hearing from rabid anti-immigrant zealots, and he's actually movable if he hears enough from level-headed folks. Everything we're hearing from our DC allies is that personal calls are making a significant difference."

More on my job

So I just got forwarded a super-serious email thread where one of my coworkers is responding to an upset person about a very serious issue (I'd call the upset person's tone acrid). The upset person was using this sig line "Actus non facit reum nisi mens est rea," which I asked about (since my Latin teacher died in the middle of the school year), and was sent this explanatory URL. Yeah.

Why I love my job

My conversation with a coworker just now:

Me: So when is she due?
S: June.
Me: Are you excited?
S: Oh yes.
Me: Are you afraid?
S: Afraid? Afraid of what?
Me: You're so pragmatic. Just afraid. I'd be afraid.
S: Well, sure. The first time you do anything you're afraid, right?
Me: I guess.
S: I mean the first time I went to jail I was afraid. But after a few times, it got easier.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

You know you live in LA when...

You find yourself saying "stupid Armenian drivers."

One thing about this city--you'll fight prejudices you didn't even know existed before you moved here.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Since I already know I'm going to hell...

I wasn't going to blog this one because it seemed too sick even for me. But I do love it and so I sent it to a couple people and Andrea says I really should so here.

Those crazy Norwegians

Courtesy of After School Snack comes the video of the week. If last week belonged to those crazy VW people (thanks to Yelladog), this week belongs to Hurra Torpedo. What joy really.

On a personal note

I think it's got to be a really bad sign that I'm listening to Godsmack this morning on the headphones. What's up with that? I hope I'm not turning into some kind of death metal girl.

Non sequitor:
And another thing--this weekend it occured to me that the older I get the more I become easy to please. Most of my life I kind of prided myself on being hard to please (like that somehow distinguished me from the oh-so-easy-to-please hoi polloi). And this weekend I realized, I'm not that girl anymore. I mean, why not be easily pleased? Perhaps it's the creeping corrupting influence of the west coast--I don't know.

Update: Okay, the moment passed. Back to PJ Harvey. No one needs to worry.

Smack on

The Onion has the most cogent story covering the Dems I've seen in some time (it's from last week)--"Democrats Vow Not To Give Up Hopelessness":
In a press conference on the steps of the Capitol Monday, Congressional Democrats announced that, despite the scandals plaguing the Republican Party and widespread calls for change in Washington, their party will remain true to its hopeless direction.

. . .

"We can lose this," Reid added. "All it takes is a little lack of backbone."
It's a thin line between reality and parody sometimes, that's all I'm sayin'.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Hee hee

Someone found my blog by googling "best location to hunt feral pigs in wisconsin"

A gradual, noxious creeping

Is how Robert Byrd described the erosion of freedom on the occasion of today's passing of the Diminishment of Civil Liberties Act. Ten Senators, just ten, voted nay. Of course, that's ten times the one (Feingold) who voted against the Patriot Act at its inception. So let's thank:

Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Robert Byrd (D-WV)
Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Jim Jeffords (I-VT)
Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Carl Levin (D-MI)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)

If only it weren't so cold in Vermont.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

What is it about Florida?

First Celebration, now Tom Monaghan has plans to build a 35,000-person Catholic city--no porn on TV, no contraception in the pharmacy. No fun, my babe, no fun.

Words to live by

So one of my friends (oh let me lament the paucity of the English language) told me his ten life mantras, and it got me to thinking about mine. Which got me thinking about the things we say to ourselves in general through the years.

Here are some of my mantras:
Nature abhors a vacuum.
There's no wrong reason to do the right thing.
It's never as good as you hoped or as bad as you feared.
If you can't change your life, you can at least change your hair.
I could get hit by a bus tomorrow.
And said friend's:
1. It's great to be alive and in the city.
2. If you're careful enough, nothing good or bad will happen to you.
3. The journey is the destination.
4. Nothing makes sense anymore except for art.
5. Panic is not an option.
6. Stay free as long as you can.
7. This area is as safe as the fears you possess.
8. Hesitation is the enemy of spontaneity.
9. What would you attempt to do if you know you could not fail?
10. Be audacious.
Once upon a time I dated a guy whose mantra was "Do it until it doesn't feel good anymore...And then do it one more time just to make sure it doesn't feel good." Fun times.

So what about y'all? What are some of your life mantras? I've become sort of interested in this. I'm thinking it could make a good book. Sort of like postsecret only for inspiration. (I mean, if you're the kind of person who gets how "I could get hit by a bus tomorrow" is actually quite inspiring.)

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Even I am not that much of a policy wonk

I'm wishing I had a copy of the whole article though.

Pirates and Emperors

As Jon, who sent me the link, says, it's Schoolhouse Rock for the 21st century (inspired by Chomsky, no less).

I know I resist change, but


Monday, February 27, 2006

The sort of story that makes my head explode

I can't even muster a commentary for this one. The leader from an AP story today:
Wal-Mart's chief executive told America's governors on Sunday that he needs their help to make health care more affordable and accessible for the retail giant's 1.3 million U.S. employees because the company can't do it alone.

Lee Scott said Wal-Mart's health care costs have risen 19 percent in each of the last three years and that it's only a matter of time before it, along with other businesses, cannot sustain rising costs.

"We know our benefits at Wal-Mart stores are not perfect," Scott told the National Governors Association. "Do we want more of our associates' kids on our health plans? Of course we do."
Later on in the story Scott talks about the bills passed in more than 20 states that require a certain percentage of payroll be paid on benefits saying, "I believe what we're seeing is a little too much politics." I really think people should just be summarily slapped across the face when they use the word "politics" to describe the motives or actions of anyone they disagree with. Greedy fucker.

So far, so good

I've recently adopted the colloquialism "so far, so good" from somewhere. So the other day I'm talking to my coworker about something and I say, "so far, so good" and she asks if I've ever seen the movie La Haine. From the movie:

Heard about the guy who fell off a skyscraper? On his way down past each floor, he kept saying to reassure himself: So far so good... so far so good... so far so good. How you fall doesn't matter. It's how you land!

Why I love my job

So there’s something wrong with our smoke alarm system, such that the smoke detector at the top of the stairs (adjacent to my office) emits a high pitched, highly annoying beeping noise at regular intervals. I just went downstairs to ask Tom about it. Tom is our comptroller but he also deals with physical plant stuff. He is old as dirt and one of the biggest curmudgeons I’ve ever met--as in, he can say "Bah humbug" and it sounds perfectly natural. He also adores me.

Me: Tom, at the top of the stairs…

Tom: Yes Travis. We know.

Me: It’s just that it’s annoying.

Tom: Yes Travis. We know.

Me: Do we have any idea of when it will be fixed?

Tom: The guy is coming out tomorrow.

Me: Well, thank god.

Tom: Of course, there’s no telling if he’ll be able to fix it tomorrow.

Me: Tom, it’s so fucking annoying.

Tom stares at me.

Me: It’s fucking annoying Tom!! I swear to you—I’m gonna blow my brains out if I have to work with that for much longer.

Tom: Oh Travis. You’re always saying that. One day I’m just going to bring you the gun.

Me: Sigh.

Tom: At least you should feel protected. If there’s a fire, you know it’s working.

Me: Okay, I’ll try to look at the bright side. You know that doesn’t come naturally to me.

Tom: You’re a jewel Travis.

Me, having not heard: Huh?

Tom: You’re just a jewel.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Why DVDs are so popular

People who know me know that one of the things I consider symptomatic of the decline of civilization in general is the fact that (at least in LA) people seem to think it's okay to get their cell phones in a movie theater. It's bad enough that there are these eerie blue glows from time to time in your peripheral vision as someone or another texts their friends, but then the stage whisper calls ("I'm in a movie. Can I call you back..."). For fuck's sake. Is it the pope or something? Are you the president? Jesus. Just turn the damn thing off for two hours.

But I love seeing movies on the big screen and I persist.

So last night, it's not a phone call. Oh no. Nothing so low key as that. I'm watching the Pink Panther (yeah, it was pretty lame) and there's this guy coughing. Not really coughing like a cough you might expect--coughing like wild animal noises coughing--I really shouldn't be out in public, code blue, here comes a chunk of my esophagus coughing. Outside of critical care units in hospital I don't know if I've ever heard such noises.

Call it a measure of the poorness of the movie or the fine-ness of the company, but rather than bugging me, it amused the hell out of me. In fact, my own laughter must have been at least as disruptive as the esophagus-cougher. I'm going to hell, I know (but I have connections down there, so I think I'll be alright.)

In honor of the South Dakota decision

I'm learning to shoot a gun on Saturday.

Yella says, "Any Jew who doesn't know how to shoot is living in denial of history," and with him on that. (As an aside, I just popped over there, and ran into the post linked to right there. Y and I are totally psychic blogging today.)

(Maybe I'll rent Badlands Sunday just to round out the experience.)

Friday advice blogging

Via yakcat--Penelope Dullaghan's advice project.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Pick of the week

First let me say, we are all benefiting from Andrea's jobless period. It's like having my own personal odd Internet feed. The best of this week's offerings by far is the series of cat paintings by Louis Wain, an illustrator who suffered from late-onset schizophrenia. Go look. I'm with Andrea on this one, I like them so much it makes me nervous too.

(And people wonder why I've ended up with so many off the charts crazy guys.)

For my sisters in South Dakota

From Popgadget comes the link to the Emergency Contraception website. The site is run by Princeton's Office of Population Research. Here's a blurb:
In many countries, but not the United States, emergency contraceptive pills ("morning after pills") are available from a pharmacy without a prescription. For the United States, we maintain a directory of providers who have informed our office that they are willing to provide information about and prescribe emergency contraceptives. We also maintain a directory of emergency contraceptive pills available in each country.
That's about as positive as I can be on the whole subject of reproductive rights today.

Fucking South Dakota

So my dad was from South Dakota. A strange thing for a Russian Jew, I know, but maybe it reminded his dad of Siberia or something. Something about the desolate cold. Today, of course, I am feeling nothing but grateful that my father moved from SD to DC.

Andrea, too, is feeling grateful as she turned down a job offer in Vermilion, South Dakota just recently. From her email to me: "Jews belong near a border. I have to keep reminding myself of that. And in the desert is also good for jews. Not Vermilion. Not lands named 'bad.' And definitely not where you have to open an abortion clinic in your own basement."

My dad used to say: I don't know if people live longer in the midwest or it just feels that way (with apologies to my Madison and Chi-town buddies out there).

Thursday nudist blogging

Hee hee hee!

We can rebuild them...

It seems that the first two US workers have had chips implanted transdermally so that they can be identified to enter the company's strong room. The Guardian has an editorial on the story (thank you Jeff).

Monbiot paints a fairly decent picture of the creeping machine of the state, but he's too optimistic by far when he says stuff like:
I don't believe that you or I or most comfortable, mentally competent people will be forced to wear a tag. But it will become an increasingly acceptable means of tracking and identifying people who could be a danger to themselves, or who could be at risk of sudden illness or disappearance, or who are otherwise hard for companies or governments to control. They will, on the whole, be people whose political voice is muted.
As I wrote in January when confronted with the security clusterfuck at Orlando airport, the fact is that enough people don't give a crap about their privacy and civil liberties that it gives them a toehold to press everyone else to get a chip or an eyeprint or whatever.

It's late and I'm too tired to say much more except--Could this be creepier?


Fuck, fuck, fuck. Fucking South Dakota.

Almost as good as the crazy cat lady

From Andrea comes news of the Super Mom action figure.
For sure a gift item for some of the folks I know.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The line of the month

From a conversation with Andrea tonight: "Well sure. I mean, you get vulnerable and then they rip your heart out like a tampon string."

God I love that girl.

But how do you really feel, Henry?

Call it nostalgia for my old hometown, but I've always had a soft spot for Henry Rollins (he's a DC boy, dontcha know). Conor sent me a story about Rollins getting reported to the Australian government for reading Jihad on a flight. It seems the man sitting next to him called a National Security hotline and reported Rollins as a potential terrorist threat. Rollins' journal entry about it is pretty funny. First of all, the government woman who wrote him was oddly wry about it:
I hope this finds you before you leave Australia as I think its something that won't surprise you but might give you a smile when you are sitting in a hotel room. I work in one of those Government areas that deals with anti terrorism matters. A fine service is provided but unfortunately we get to read a lot of things submitted by lunatics. The Australian Government set up the National Security Hotline to report terrorists.

The person who sat next to you on the flight from New Zealand does not agree with your politics or choice of reading and so nominated you as a possible threat. As they were too cowardly or stupid to leave their details I can'’t call them to discuss their idiocy with them.
Can you fathom getting such a letter in the US. And then there's Rollins' response to her:

I was reading a book called Jihad by Ahmed Rashid which is a history of Central Asia. I didn't speak to the man next to me past how do you do. I think Ahmed Rashid is published by Yale University Press. Bush's alma mater. Please tell your government and everyone in your office to go fuck themselves. Tell them twice. If your boss is looking for something to do, you can tell him I suggest he go fuck himself. Baghdad's safer than my hometown and your PM is a sissy. You have a nice night.
I mean, I would say, "Henry, lighten up," but then, he wouldn't be Henry Rollins would he?

A is for AMY who fell down some stairs

I've been the laziest blogger even as the news has been poring in faster than a motivated one could post it. There was that workgroup meeting last week and then the three-day weekend. But here I am. I hope to get some time today to post a "don't let the door hit you in the ass" comment about Lawrence Summers (among other things), but in the meantime, let me just wish everyone a happy Edward Gorey's birthday.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger

I'm in the middle of another one of those three-day workgroup meetings. Day one down; two to go. I have that vise-like head feeling.

Not enough sleep, too much coffee, too much thinking. I feel jet lagged but without the benefit of a trip.

All of which is to say, if one of my friends sends me something fun, I'll blog it; otherwise, you're getting bupkis from me until the onslaught of work lets up.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Regret is for pussies

From the Daily Show (via Colin via WSJ):
Jon Stewart: "I'm joined now by our own vice-presidential firearms mishap analyst, Rob Corddry. Rob, obviously a very unfortunate situation. How is the vice president handling it?

Rob Corddry: "Jon, tonight the vice president is standing by his decision to shoot Harry Wittington. According to the best intelligence available, there were quail hidden in the brush. Everyone believed at the time there were quail in the brush.

"And while the quail turned out to be a 78-year-old man, even knowing that today, Mr. Cheney insists he still would have shot Mr. Whittington in the face. He believes the world is a better place for his spreading buckshot throughout the entire region of Mr. Whittington's face."

Jon Stewart: "But why, Rob? If he had known Mr. Whittington was not a bird, why would he still have shot him?"

Rob Corddry: "Jon, in a post-9-11 world, the American people expect their leaders to be decisive. To not have shot his friend in the face would have sent a message to the quail that America is weak."

Jon Stewart: "That's horrible."

Rob Corddry: "Look, the mere fact that we're even talking about how the vice president drives up with his rich friends in cars to shoot farm-raised wingless quail-tards is letting the quail know 'how' we're hunting them. I'm sure right now those birds are laughing at us in that little 'covey' of theirs.

Jon Stewart: "I'm not sure birds can laugh, Rob."

Rob Corddry: "Well, whatever it is they do … coo .. they're cooing at us right now, Jon, because here we are talking openly about our plans to hunt them. Jig is up. Quails one, America zero.

Jon Stewart: "Okay, well, on a purely human level, is the vice president at least sorry?"

Rob Corddry: "Jon, what difference does it make? The bullets are already in this man's face. Let's move forward across party lines as a people … to get him some sort of mask."

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Hearts are trump

Happy Valentine's Day everybody. Perhaps appropriately enough I feel pretty queasy this morning. Something I ate for sure. Pho? Chicken shwarma? Yesterday much as I wanted to join the Cheney roast festival, stupid Blogger wouldn't let me post. Today promises to be a ridiculously busy day (I am in another of those three-day meetings Thursday, Friday, Saturday), but...if I post nothing else today, I must post zefrank's valentine, which is the best valentine ever.

(Picture courtesy of toothpaste for dinner.)