Monday, September 29, 2008

things I did this weekend...

1. On Friday, I worked from home, and because I was home I had Home Depot come to measure the countertop I've ordered for the guest bathroom. This means I need to get my act together and start tiling those walls.
2. Friday afternoon I went to the dentist. It turns out he's a former Chicagoan like myself. We bored the hygienist silly reminiscing about the near north side, Lincoln Park, the Lincoln Park Zoo, and places like the now defunct Belden Deli, where I tasted my first lox.
3. Friday night I watched the Obama/McCain debate.
4. Saturday afternoon I met an old friend for a burger and a beer at Jake's, in Addison, and we spent an hour or so catching up on each other's lives.
5. Sunday morning I went to Home Depot, where I bought a plain white porcelain undermount sink for the guest bathroom.
6. Sunday afternoon I saw an excellent movie at the Inwood, Frozen River, starring Melissa Leo, of the gritty 90's series, Homicide. The movie is about two women working for minimum wage who get involved in smuggling people across the Canadian border into the United States. It's a real sleeper; well worth seeing.
7. After the movie, I went to Dodie's, where I had a cup of shrimp bisque, some deep fried crawfish, and a Shiner.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

what's wrong with this country...

Like many Americans, I listened to the news this week about the economy with a growing sense of dread and then, hearing the bailout plan, disgust. How could we have gotten into such a mess? How could this happen in America in the twenty-first century? I know that we can thank Phil Gramm and deregulation for a lot of it, but on Friday I got a really good glimpse, up close and personal, of another reason we end up in such messes.

My department at work is chronically under staffed. It was that way a little over two years ago, when I was hired as a contractor, and although I’m now a permanent employee and we’ve hired one additional person, the volume of work has increased, so the overall situation hasn’t changed.

Earlier this summer, my boss posted two permanent positions for which we’ve been interviewing candidates. Shortly after the posts went up, we interviewed a candidate whom all of us liked and who seemed well qualified for the position (i.e., she was personable, genuinely interested in the job, and had a master’s degree in a medical field as well as extensive clinical experience). A verbal offer was extended via voicemail on her phone, but before she could accept it, it was retracted by HR because new Company Policy is to hire only MD’s and nurses for these positions (I’m not kidding about this), and this candidate was neither. For what it’s worth, no one currently or historically handling cases in our group is a nurse or doctor.

And then, in true Office Space fashion…shortly after being told she could not hire that candidate because she wasn’t a nurse or MD, my boss was told there was someone she had to hire who is not only neither a nurse nor a doctor, but who has absolutely no clinical experience. Of course, this person has something much more important than the newly announced requisite requirements for the job…this person has An Important Daddy. But that’s not all this person has. Since this person has started working with us, it’s become obvious to everyone that in addition to An Important Daddy, this person has…ahem…how shall I put this delicately? a substance abuse problem…ensuring that this person will never get within a hundred feet of actually doing the job that the rest of us are doing, which requires some public contact. On the plus side, this hire doesn’t count against our two positions posted (ain’t corporate America grand?).

The candidate we had lunch with on Friday will, though (count against those positions). We didn’t actually get to interview this guy formally “because he doesn’t need to be asked any tough questions”. Uh-huh. This guy is an FMG (foreign medical graduate). He doesn’t have An Important Daddy, but he has a comparable card to play: he is A Friend of Someone With Power, which is why he gets onto the playing field with some of the thinnest credentials I’ve ever seen.

For starters, there are typos on his resume, which is badly written and filled with fluff phrases like: “Track actions. Reply to regulatory requests. Give expert advice.” Reviewing it, I decided to track a few actions myself, and in doing so, I couldn’t help but notice that his time line doesn’t work. Either there are 5 years unaccounted for or he’s not only a bad speller, but also bad at math, or it’s an old resume that he didn’t bother updating. He has a generic name and didn’t provide a middle initial, making it difficult to check his credentials, but I’m a fairly good internet sleuth, and with only a little work, I found his middle initial and his birth date (he’s 62), enabling me to check to see if he is, as he claims, a licensed MD. From what I can find, he’s not.

As I said, we didn’t get to formally interview him, but we had lunch with him. Talk about a tarantula on a wedding cake…this guy looked like a skid row bum who’d been given a shower and a suit. I don’t know what his story is, but having worked both inpatient and outpatient adult psychiatry, I know a squirrel when I see one, and this guy is a total squirrel. My boss asked why the guy has to come to our group; under the New Regime, there’s a plan for a whole division of doctor consultants, why not place him there? The answer was that he’s not qualified for those positions (probably the only honest statement that we’ve received regarding this guy). In short, he’s an MD (maybe) who’ll theoretically be doing exactly what I do, except of course he won’t, and his salary requirement, which will probably be met, is so high that he’ll have to be a higher grade than my boss…and the guy has typos on his resume.

Welcome to America! Land of Opportunity!

Friday, September 19, 2008

me 'n Dave...

So tonight being Friday, after leaving work at 7:30, once I was on the road, headed for home, I picked up my cell phone and called Dave, my younger brother, for what has become our weekly talk. We usually talk for the little more than hour it takes me to drive home, and tonight, as we often do, we continued our conversation for a little over an hour after that.

I love that we are close again. We were very close as kids, but we fought like siblings do in adolescence. In our teens we grew close again, then in our twenties we drifted apart, and lived for years with very little contact. There was no conscious rift, but we were living far apart and each of us was busy with our own lives.

That all changed a little over two years ago. We still lived far apart, but one day Dave called, and we began to talk, and all those years of no contact just fell away. I don't remember exactly when I started calling Dave on Friday nights, as I'm driving home, but now it's a habit and I look forward to that call all week.

These days we talk a lot about politics, but we also talk about family and friends, books and religion, and pets, including Dave's hilarious dog, Jack, whom I’ll write about another time. Tonight I’ve been thinking about when we were in our teens. I remember summer nights when we'd sneak out of the house together. Our rooms were upstairs, and we'd open a window and tiptoe across the roof over the kitchen before dropping down into the neighbor's yard. From there, we could go anywhere. If it was hot (unusual in Minnesota at night, even in the summertime) we'd go for cones, although I don't remember where we got them. But more often, for the sheer joy of being young and free on a summer night, we'd run a couple of blocks to Shorty's Bar, Cafe & Hiawatha Room where we'd find a booth, and we'd sit talking and drinking cokes until Shorty's closed; then we'd walk back home and come back into the house through the kitchen door.

In 1968, when I was 18 and he was 15, Dave came to live with me in Chicago. I had an efficiency apartment (meaning, one large room with a kitchen and a bathroom) on Sheridan Road on the far north side. I had lots of books but no furniture. Dave and I slept in sleeping bags on air mattresses. I was working as a secretary in the federal courts, and I got Dave enrolled in Senn High School, a public high school within walking distance of my apartment. We were happy to be living together in The Big City, but money was very tight. I had exactly enough money for bus fare to and from work each day (forty cents each way), but I didn’t have enough money for lunch, and skipped lunch the entire first year I worked, until I got my first raise. I'm not revealing that fact to elicit sympathy, but as a concrete measure of how sparely we were living.

And yet, at 18 and 15, we were kids, and kids don't always have great sense and we were no exception. One beautiful Saturday in September, shortly after Dave had come to live with me, I suggested we go to Old Town, a counterculture, hippie, folk music area on the west side of Lincoln Park. It was a crisp, sunny day. The air smelled slightly of smoke, and there were leaves drifting down onto the sidewalks. We had a terrific time, talking and enjoying each other's company as we wandered up and down Wells Street. I think we visited every one of the myriad head shops, boutiques and stores that were found there. Eventually, it was late afternoon and both of us were hungry. Tantalizing scents wafted in the air.

I looked at Dave. "Let's go have dinner!"

He knew money was tight, and asked, "Are you sure? I'd love to eat down here, but can we afford it?"

"Let's see if we can," I said.

We read the menus posted in the windows at a couple of burger places.

"Well, we'll be broke for the week if we do," I said, "but I'd really like to. What do you think? What do you want to do?"

"What do you mean, we'll be broke for the week?"

"We can't eat all you think you can do that? I have some crackers and stuff in the apartment, but not much more than that..."

"I can totally do that!", Dave said innocently. Neither of us had a clue how not doable that would be. "Let's do it!"

And so we went into a burger place. We were seated in a booth, and for an hour or more we sat across from each other, feeling flush and rosy with happiness as we gorged ourselves on cheeseburgers, coleslaw, and fries, washed down by shakes or cokes, I no longer remember which. And then we went back out on Wells Street, where we caught a bus that took us back north, to our apartment.

Sunday morning was fine. We were still stuffed from the night before. We walked over to the beach and threw a frisbee around. That evening, as we finished off the box of crackers for dinner, I remember thinking it was really no big deal to go without food.

We fasted all day Monday and Tuesday, and by Tuesday night, we were both really hungry. We scrounged through the cupboards where we found flour and salt, and I had some catsup and half an onion in the refrigerator. I mixed the flour and salt with water and formed a sort of crust onto which I poured the catsup. I chopped up the onion and put it on the top, and baked it. It was a poor excuse for a pizza, but we devoured it.

Wednesday was the worst day. In retrospect, I realize any number of people at work, including my boss, would have been happy to lend me $20 until payday. But I couldn't bring myself to ask anyone for help. Wednesday night, Dave and I sat on the floor (we had no chairs) trying to figure out what we were going to do.

"I'm REALLY REALLY hungry," Dave said.

"I am too."

"What can we do?"

"I dunno...let's go for a walk. I can't stand sitting around feeling hungry."

Dave agreed, and we got up to leave. The weather had turned cool, and we grabbed jackets as we left the apartment. I don't remember why we decided to go down the alley, but we did, and I don't remember who spotted the first pop bottle. It doesn't matter. We looked at each other and began to laugh. We ran up and down that alley, picking up pop bottles. Dave found a box, and we put them into that. I don't remember what the refund per bottle was. Maybe a nickel? I also don't remember how many bottles we found, but it was enough to get close to a dollar at the grocery store, where we spent some time trying to decide what to buy. In the end, we decided on eggs, reasoning that they were the food we could most easily divvy up and stretch out for breakfast and dinner until Friday night, when I'd have money again.

We bought a dozen eggs and hurried home. The plan was for each of us to have two eggs for dinner Wednesday night, one egg each for breakfast Thursday morning and another two eggs each for dinner Thursday night, and then one each for breakfast Friday morning, with some real food for dinner Friday night.

In the apartment, I soft cooked four eggs. I took two and gave two to Dave. We cracked them open and sprinkled them with salt and pepper before we inhaled them.

We looked at each other. "I'm still hungry," Dave said.

"Me too."

I cooked four more and we devoured those, and then, we were still so incredibly hungry, I cooked the last four eggs and we finished them up.

Having devoured our cache of food, we fasted again, without complaint, all day Thursday and Friday, but we feasted Friday night. That weekend, I bought a lot of groceries, including a case of Campbell's soup. We can laugh about it now, but we never told anyone about that week. The things that don’t kill you make you stronger…

Thursday, September 18, 2008

this 'n that...

I checked my email tonight and found I had a big, unsolicited, color invitation to buy Term Life Insurance from...ta da! AIG! Yep, that's the same AIG that the federal government has just agreed to bail out with an $85 billion dollar loan.

Thanks but no thanks. I don't need Term Life Insurance, and if I did, I wouldn't consider buying it from AIG, no matter what rate they offered. One of the auto divisions of AIG tried to get my business a couple of months ago, when I was looking into switching carriers. They offered a really competitive rate, but when I went to the Texas Department of Insurance website to check them out, the A.M. Best rating gave me pause...and so I stayed with Nationwide for now, in spite of the fact that I loathe their "Life comes at you fast" commercials, especially the one where an open can of yellow paint falls off the window washers' scaffold onto a small red car, several stories below. Why do the window washers have an open can of yellow paint on their scaffold? And why does the "friend" not say anything as the car is being destroyed? It's yet another stupid ad, but television is filled with stupid ads. C'est la vie.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ricki don't lose that number...

As I was leaving work today, I stopped to see a friend. I placed my cell phone on her desk so I’d have my hands free to get my keys out of my purse. We chatted for a moment and I got ready to go.

“Don’t forget this!” she said, handing me my cell phone.

I laughed. “I’d miss it in the car!” I exclaimed.

“Yeah,” she said, “I don’t know what we ever did without them!”

That gave me pause. Being 59, I do know what we did without them, and yet I freely admit I’d be lost without my cell phone, and it’s not because I’m having great phone conversations as I drive home....well, with the exception of Friday nights, when I often put my Bluetooth headset in my ear, head for the longer, slower route, and call Dave, my baby brother. But that’s once a week. The rest of the time, my cell phone provides security by simply being there, unused, within easy reach. I commute over a hundred miles a day, and thanks to cell phones, if there’s a problem, help is just a phone call away. I find that incredibly reassuring.

It wasn’t always like this. In July, 1984 I drove across the country with my girls, who were then 8 and 5. Not only did I not have a cell phone, but I was driving a rather battered VW Diesel Rabbit with a zillion miles on the engine, old tires, no AC and no radio. As I remember, we drove with the windows down and sang every song we knew, and we managed to have a good time in spite of everything, but if the car had broken down at any point in that trip, we’d have been dependent on the kindness of strangers.

And yet as much as I love my cell phone for the security it provides, I have sympathy for those who complain that cell phones are responsible for, or at the very least have contributed to the growth of, all sorts of new boorish behaviors, including the idea that it’s perfectly alright to call anyone, anytime, anywhere…

But wait a minute…wasn’t that the idea in the first place? After all, the first words uttered into a telephone were, "Mr. Watson, come here, I want you."

Ah, well...the more things change, and all that...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

beautiful nights and radio nostalgia...

The weather in Dallas is absolutely gorgeous right now. Today was clear and sunny, with the temperature in the low 80’s, and tonight the sky is filled with stars, and the temperature in the 60’s. I’ve opened all the windows upstairs and the house smells great, with the wonderful scent of fresh air.

Tonight as I drove home, I listened to Bill McGlaughlin’s program, Exploring Music, on WFMT out of Chicago. McGlaughlin’s playing Mahler this week. Last night I listened to Songs of a Wayfarer, and tonight Mahler’s first symphony, Titan. I love Mahler, and I also love WFMT. This was the station I listened to, pretty much nonstop, when I was a sweet young thing living in one room in an apartment hotel on Clark Street in Chicago in the late 60’s and early 70’s. I didn’t have a kitchen or a television, but I had a decent radio, and an AR turntable with a Shure cartridge. This is the place where I learned about music, mostly classical and folk. In those days, and in fact until 1990, there were no recorded ads on WFMT. All advertising copy was read live on the air by WFMT's announcers, who were wonderfully unpredictable. I remember one night when an announcer said, “And in the news tonight…” pause…”There’s nothing actually worth reading here, let’s just go back to the music”. I believe there were actually some problems with the FCC over his taking that liberty, but you get the idea. And the same guys who weren’t above skipping the news weren’t above reading zany ads as if they were The Real Thing. I remember they ran a series of ads for Brute Force Cybernetics, Inc., whose slogan was, if I remember correctly, “We create a need, then fill it”. My favorite Brute Force ad was The Neutral Dog, for people who need therapy but for various reasons don’t want to go to the time, trouble and expense of having it. The Neutral Dog would be placed in your home for a week, at the end of which the dog would be analyzed, and based on his behavior, you’d be diagnosed, e.g., if at the end of the week the dog cringed a lot and jumped at loud noises, you might be diagnosed as aggressive, a bully, etc. And…here’s the coup de grace…after each placement the dog was lobotomized until, well…nevermind. I loved those ads! Great Art of the World ran a close second though. That was a subscription series in which, each week, one could purchase a copy of the best parts of great art, e.g., the Mona Lisa’s smile; the fingers touching on The Creation, etc. These could be assembled in a sort of mosaic on your wall. They had to stop running that ad, because people were trying to subscribe.

And as if that weren’t enough…on Saturday nights there was The Midnight Special, described by WFMT as a “weekly aberration of folk music and farce, show tunes and satire, odds and ends, madness and escape”. The Midnight Special (which has never begun at midnight) was started in 1953 by Mike Nichols, who named it after Leadbelly’s song of the same name, about a mythical train that ran past Sugarland Prison in Texas. In the 60’s and 70’s, it was hosted by Ray Nordstrand and Norm Pellegrini, two wonderfully zany, intellectual, off the wall announcers.

My addiction to WFMT was well known among my friends, and I once spent an afternoon with a young man who’d memorized an entire day’s programs in the hope of impressing me. He didn’t announce that he’d done this; he took a more subtle approach; as we tooled around in his Austin Healey, the radio turned to WFMT, he’d say, “I really like this piece, I wonder what they’ll play next? Hmmmmmm…not Bach, not Bruckner…maybe a little Satie? There’s something about this music…the best next thing they could play, really, would be Gymnopedie Trois …” And to my amazement, in a couple of minutes the next announced piece was…voila! Gymnopedie Trois! Of course, after only a little of this, I’d figured out what he’d done. He didn’t score any points; I wrote him off as a hopeless nerd, albeit with a great memory. Ah, callow youth (me, not him).

When we moved from Chicago to Dallas in 1983, one of the hardest things to leave behind was WFMT. There was absolutely nothing like it any place else. These days, I guess I could listen again, all the time, if I subscribed to satellite radio. I haven’t done it yet though. I just don’t think it would be the same, and not just because I’m no longer tooling around in an Austin Healey with a guy who so wants to impress me that he spends time memorizing program guides…although that might be nice…

Monday, September 15, 2008

from the mouths of babes, or ONE of these things is not like the other...

Kath & Xander stopped by to see me on my birthday, but I wasn't home, so I missed them. My front door has two windows that look into the front hall. As Katharine stood outside, ringing the bell, Xander said, "Hey Mom, you can stop ringing the bell, Judi's not here!"
"Xander, you don't know that!" Kath said. "Judi parks in the garage, so just because her car's not out front doesn't mean she's not here!"
"Mom, I KNOW she's not here!" Xander said, smiling slyly.
"OK, how do you KNOW she's not here," Kath said.
Beaming, Xander exclaimed, "'Cause her keys & phone aren't on the table!"

He was absolutely right. When I come home, Virgo that I am, I place my keys & cellphone in a dish on the front hall table. I got a kick out of that story when Kath told me, and I thought how smart and observant Xander is. Then this morning, as I was getting ready to leave for work and grabbed my phone and keys off that table, I thought of something else. If Xander can look through my front door and make that observation, so can anyone. And that gave me pause. Call me paranoid, but from now on, I'm leaving an old cellphone and a set of keys on that tray all the time, so that anyone looking through the windows of my front door won't know if I'm home or not. Guess I'm getting old after all.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

time in a bottle...

This little mini-break I took for my birthday, taking Thursday and Friday off, which gave me a 4 day weekend, has been TERRIFIC. I’m going to make it an annual event, maybe even when my birthday falls on a weekend. It’s true that I didn’t get all the things done I’d like to have gotten done, but that’s OK. To have time to putter around doing whatever one wants is truly luxurious, and the more so when it’s the exception rather than the rule. Tomorrow I’ll get up early and face the dreaded commute, but today I slept in, and ate a leisurely breakfast, enjoying my freshly squeezed orange juice and ripe cantaloupe.

I did manage to go to Home Depot and order the counter top for the guest bath. Now I have to hustle and tile the walls. I also went to Lowe's and picked up one tread and riser for the stairs. They're 48" wide so I'll have to cut them down to see how they look, but I'm thinking it would be hard to prefer carpet.

This evening I saw an excellent film, Elegy. It's about a love affair between a successful, aging professor, played by Ben Kingsley, and a beautiful, young student, played by Penelope Cruz. She's certainly very beautiful, but I've never been a fan of Penelope Cruz before, however, she was very good in this film. In addition to Cruz & Kingsley, Dennis Hopper, Patricia Clarkson and Debbie Harry have roles as Kingsley's best friend, his long time lover, and his best friend's wife (just a cameo for Debbie Harry). And Peter Sarsgaard has sort of a throw-away role as Kingsley's estranged son. I don't know that everyone would enjoy this film, but if you're middle aged it's well worth seeing, especially if you're a woman. Sad to say, the world is filled with men like the characters portrayed by Kingsley and Hopper: accomplished, outwardly successful men who have somehow managed to grow old without making much of an emotional connection to anyone. But the film is not that simple, and so it's worth seeing.

After the movie, dinner at a new restaurant, Rise No. 1, a souffle and wine bistro with outdoor seating and good food and wine. It's a beautiful, clear night and it was a pleasure to eat there. When I was a bride, I mastered the art of souffles, both main course and dessert, and tonight I was reminded that it's been way too long since I've made my own Grand Marnier souffle. Mmmmmmmmmm....

Saturday, September 13, 2008

birthday afterglow...

Ah, nothing is too late
Till the tired heart shall cease to palpitate.
Chaucer, at Woodstock with the nightingales
At Sixty wrote the Canterbury Tales
Goethe, at Weimer, toiling to the last,
Completed Faust when eighty years were past.
What then? Shall we sit idly down and say
The night hath come; it is no longer day?

The night hath not yet come; we are not quite

Cut off from labor by failing light;

For age is opportunity no less

Than youth itself, though in another dress,

And as the evening twilight fades away

The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.


I had a great birthday. For starters, I took the day off, so I didn’t have the horrendous commute. Next, because it falls on September 11th, I didn’t turn on the television all day, as watching reruns of what happened in 2001 is always too depressing. As it was, the day began with my spending three and a half hours up close and personal with my dentist, something I hadn’t anticipated, but the upside (in addition to the dental work now completed) is that when his staff found out it was my birthday, they gave me a bottle of champagne (“special mouth wash” - actually Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin) which is chilling in my fridge as I type. I loved that!

After the rather grueling trip to the dentist, mouth still numb, I drove a few blocks to The Crescent, where Tuan worked his magic and gave me a decent haircut.
At home there were cards, emails, voice mails and phone calls with birthday greetings from friends and family, including all 4 kids and recently turned 6-Alexander, who thinks I’m 38 (thank you, Kath!). In the evening, a terrific present, and one I hadn’t anticipated: Chris came over and hung out for a couple of hours. We curled up on opposite couches in the living room, he with a beer and I with a glass of wine, and we talked books, politics and religion, non-stop, until midnight. Then on Friday night, A, Kath, Chris, Stephanie & I had dinner together at a small neighborhood Italian restaurant, where we sat around talking and laughing until we realized we were the last ones there, and we needed to leave because the staff, who was being very gracious about it, needed to close.

It doesn't get much better than that, and so I'm taking a moment to write about it. I have such a great safety net of friends and family; people I love and who love me, and the older I get, the more I appreciate that. It's one of the best things about getting older: gaining perspective and learning to appreciate things I didn't see or took for granted when I was younger.

Life is good.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thoughts on turning 59...

Today is my 59th birthday.

It's not quite 6 AM & I'm sitting here writing, listening to a favorite CD Alex gave me a couple of years ago, Madeleine Peyroux's Careless Love. I'm taking today & tomorrow off. I worked almost 16 hours Tuesday, because I had a report due next Monday that I wanted to finish, (which I did - I always deliver), so I'll still have clocked almost 40 hours this week (yep, this is me, whining about the long hours). All of which is my verbose way of saying I'm really looking forward to my couple of days off. I'm not doing anything major: this morning I'm going to the dentist, and this afternoon I'm going for a long overdue visit to Tuan, my hairdresser. I'm looking forward to that. I know how it'll go. Tuan will give me a hug and lead me to his work station. I'll sit down, and he'll ask if I'd like anything to drink. I usally have coffee, but since it's my birthday, maybe I'll have a glass of wine. He'll bring that to me, and then he'll stand behind me and run his fingers through my hair before he sighs and says, "Ah, Zhoodeee, you do not geev me much to work weeth!" And that said, he'll proceed to perform his magic and give me a great haircut.

I'm having dinner with my family one of these nights, although nothing's in place yet. I'm going to clean my house and do a little laundry. I may start tiling the guest bath, and I may go visit a couple of fabricators to see if I can find a piece of travertine for the countertop in there, because I want to finish that bath before Christmas. I'm going to Lowe's to pick up a tread and riser as I'm toying with the idea of tackling the stairs myself, and I'm back to thinking hardwood is a better option than carpet. I figure I'll start with one step, to see whether I can do it. It's not as if the stairs aren't built, after all, and if it seems like more than I can handle, well, at least I'll know that.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Attention Sarah Palin:


Isn't this one of the best campaign buttons you've seen for this election? I got it from my friend Pam.

Thanks, Pam!

As Mayor Daley used to say: vote early & vote often!

Also, if you're so inclined (and I am) there's an amazing website called Women Against Sarah Palin, started by a couple of women on Blogspot who object to Palin. This is from their masthead: "On Wednesday, September 3, we sent out an email to 40 friends and colleagues asking them to respond to Sarah Palin’s candidacy as Vice President of the United States. They forwarded the letter to their friends across America. By Tuesday, we had received more than 40,000 responses from women of all ages and backgrounds." Check out the site. I've sent my objections.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Wheel of Fortune...

Vanna Palin...errrrr...Sarah White...errr...SARAH ready to step into the White House but NOT ready for prime time, according to the McCain camp. In case you've missed it, the schedule for the Sunday morning talk shows tomorrow is:
Barack Obama will be on
This Week;
Joe Biden will be on
Meet the Press;
John McCain will be on
Face the Nation;
and Sarah Palin, Girl Wonder, Ms. Alaska runner-up, VP hopeful,
Governor Extraordinaire will be...out aerial shooting polar bears? breast
feeding Trig? dressing a moose? putting on her lipstick? Inquiring minds
would like to know...for what it's worth, t
he official line is "she needs to
spend more time with the voters."


time out...

A friend in the blogosphere has suffered an unthinkable loss.

I don't know her, except through her writing. But because of her eloquent writing, which I read faithfully, I feel as if I know her. Maybe that's presumptuous, but that's how it is. And so when I heard this awful news...something that is never, never supposed to happen...even though I've never met her, I felt like curling up and howling. And whether she eventually reads this or not, I wish there were some way that she could know how sorry I am for her terrible loss.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

a pit bull with lipstick...

Note: the photo above was provided by Sarah's mother to the Republican party. It shows Sarah with Bristol on a hunting trip, and Sarah being the saint mother that she is and all, I'd guess she was probably teaching little Bristol family values and something about the sacredness of life; the photo at the bottom is of Sarah in her Alaskan office with a bearskin in the background.

See, for all the Republicans highly touted spiel, "Sarah Palin is just an American gal everyone can relate to", I can't relate to her. For starters, I have to admit I'd have trouble relating to anyone who named their kids Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper and Trig (and call me mean spirited, but it leaves me wondering what the grandbaby will be named...Tundra? Calc?)

But I digress. I don't want to underestimate her. That would be a very bad mistake. I've spent a fair amount of time the past few days reading about her on the web, and watching YouTube videos of speeches she's made. She doesn't speak as well when someone else isn't supplying the words, by the way. I wouldn't call her intellectually nimble; not by a long shot. Nevertheless, she's nothing if not formidable. Here's a smattering of what I've found: She's anti sex ed; anti abortion, even in cases of rape and incest; anti stem cell research; anti same-sex marriage; anti spousal benefits for same sex couples (of course); anti-drug...mmmmmmmm, let me clarify that: she opposes legalizing marijuana, because of the message it might send to her kids, (there's that family values thing again) BUT she admits she smoked it: "I can't claim a Bill Clinton and say that I never inhaled" while it was legal in Alaska, but not in the US (I guess that's that separation of Alaska from the lower 48 thing); pro-life...well, pro human life...well, pro human life if you aren't yet born...she supports the death penalty and supports aerial hunting of bears and wolves and she's in the process of suing the United States to remove polar bears from the endangered species list (see Governor's Office press release, "Polar Bear", dated August 4, 2008); she's in favor of teaching creationism in schools; was initially in favor of The Bridge to Nowhere but is now against it; is in favor of teacher led prayers in public schools; in favor of absolute right to gun ownership...

Sarah Palin scares the hell out of me.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

go read this

Go read this article by Seth Grahame-Smith. It's a HOOT, and he makes some excellent points, too.

8 reasons Sarah Palin is more qualified than Barack Obama

Monday, September 01, 2008

family values and all that jazz...

I almost never write about politics, but I'm going to make an exception. I'll admit that initially I couldn't decide whether I thought McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate was a gift to Obama or a joke...but then today, Palin announced that her 17-year-old daughter Bristol (the one you see holding 3 month old baby Trig) is herself 5 months pregnant and has "decided" to keep the baby and get married...

Uh-huh. McCain supposedly knew about this before asking Palin to join him on the ticket. If that's true, he's even more of an idiot than I thought. And Palin supposedly knew that Bristol was pregnant before accepting the number two spot on the ticket. If that's true, what was she thinking? Didn't she know the media would have a field day with this, at her daughter's expense? Or didn't she care? She says she's supportive. In fact, in case, somehow, you managed to miss it, here's the statement she issued regarding Bristol's pregnancy:

"We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our heart and mean everything to us. Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support. Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family. We ask the media to respect our daughter and Levi's privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates."

When's the last time the media respected anyone's privacy? That sentiment is right up there with "size doesn't matter" and "the check is in the mail". But conservatives are not, overall, known for their compassion or ability to empathize. So if Palin did indeed know about Bristol's pregnancy before she accepted McCain's invitation, did she do so thinking Bristol had made her own bed and now could lie in it (no pun intended)? Or is Palin so incredibly ambitious, politically, that she didn't care about throwing her own teen-age daughter under the bus?

This whole mess raises a slew of questions that McCain and Palin will have to field in the days ahead. And Palin, a big proponent of abstinence only education, might want to re-think her views on that topic, since she now has irrefutable evidence that even her own daughter clearly doesn't believe in it...