Tuesday, October 31, 2006

You're Everywhere That I'm Not

Here's the story: Dude One, pictured left, molests and kills a ten-year-old girl, is convicted and sent to prison. Dude Two (not pictured) corners Dude One in a locked prison cell and offers Dude One a choice: death or tattoo. Seems simple to me, other than the obvious aesthetics. I mean, there are certain things I want in my tattoo artist: I want to see a history of good work, I want personal recommendations and a certain minimum of murderous history between us. However, Dude One seems to have chosen correctly, even if he is plagued with a bit of buyer's remorse.
Jared Harris, 22, is a cousin of Katlyn "Katie" Collman, family friend and spokesman Terry Gray told The Republic newspaper. He said he did not believe they knew each other well.

Harris, 22, who is serving time on a burglary conviction at Wabash Valley state prison in Carlisle, has been charged with battery and accused of tattooing "KATIE'S REVENGE" across Anthony Ray Stockelman's forehead.

Harris told prison officials the attack was in revenge, according to an affidavit.

I KNOW! My ribs hurt! Dude Two spelled and punctuated correctly and everything.

Now, let's be clear. I'm not saying revenge is the way to go, because I don't believe that for a second, but we're talking about men in prison here, where we expect - well - very, very bad behavior by men with documented temper problems. If Dude Two had shanked Dude One, that killing would have been so ordinary we would never have heard about it. Instead, we have threats, new ink, an excellent Snow Crash reference, and here at PIC, we feel curiously relevant.

I'm sure there's a moral to this story other than "Hey...kids, don't...um, flunk penmanship."

The Footsteps Of a Rag Doll Dance

We finished the very end. Let's start at the very beginning.

The Constitution of the United States of America
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Speaking of domestic tranquility, Miss Sasha offers us her prescription:

Apple Cider Chicken
Yield: one peaceful fall moment.

Two medium sweet potatoes cut into two-inch pieces.
Two medium baking potatoes cut into two inch pieces.
One acorn squash cut into one inch pieces.

Place in a roasting pan about two inches deep. Roasted vegetables always bring back comforting memories of Thanksgiving, warmth and strength around me, plus the smell of sweet potatoes is awesome on a crisp day.

One chicken, mine is small because my family is small but someday it will be big and I will say one large chicken. So for now, one small chicken. Bathed, as we should all be; buttered, salt and peppered (which I don’t suggest trying on yourself). Careful with the salt because after this moment of peace you don’t want to be concerned about your new need for new clothes. Place a rack in pan on top of the veggies, put your chicken on the rack. At this point you may notice you have put WAY too much butter on your chicken when it slips off the pan and on to the floor. (If this happens don’t feel guilty about your love of butter, just repeat the previous step especially the bathing part.) Sprinkle with your favorite spices, this time I figured Chinese Five Spice (which is anise, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, ginger and other stuff. It is like mulled cider and licorice), oregano, garlic, bay leaves (2 one for each breast like pasties, stop laughing). I cut one large white onion in half and stuck about 4 cloves into each side and placed them in the cavity of the bird. Then I pour a cup of apple cider and fill a syringe type of baster and randomly assault this perfectly innocent chicken. I heated my oven to 450 to start with because I have NO patience when I am hungry. I place my now dizzy apple cidered chicken on the middle rack of my oven. I baked it at this temperature for 35 minutes, but keep an eye on it, when it starts to brown turn it to 375 until you smell yummy smells coming from that side of your house. Check with a thermometer until the thickest part of your chicken is above 165 degrees.

*Please do not take the chicken out and slice off cooked pieces and put the chicken carcass back into the oven to finish cooking the rest. This will only be fun for bulimics and those who feel they are not getting enough out of their health insurance providers! Once our chicken is finished take him or her out and place somewhere to rest before cutting. This is prime time for those who like to steal pieces (dogs, small children, husbands) prepare camera for footage of theft to later support your defense at your trial for manslaughter. Slice chicken, place veggies on plate and enjoy!

Far be it from me to criticize when someone else is doing the cooking but - darling! Cook the big chicken and enjoy the delicious leftovers!

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Feel the Devil Walking Next To Me

Well, sometimes you read a story, whistle to yourself and say, "Paint me red and call me Mortimer. That fella's lost the plot." School Safety Drill Upsets Some Parents is such a story and David Britten is that dim fella.
WYOMING, Mich. (AP) - A school safety drill that included police officers in riot gear with weapons has caused concern among some parents who say it was too realistic and frightened some students. Police in the western Michigan community of Wyoming entered two classrooms at Lee Middle and High School on Thursday and announced there was a threat to the school, The Grand Rapids Press reported. Students, who were unaware police were conducting a drill, were taken from the classroom into the halls, patted down by officers and asked what they had in their pockets, the newspaper said.

"Some of these kids were so scared, they just about wet their pants," said Marge Bradshaw, a parent with four children in Godfrey-Lee Schools. "I think it's pure wrong that the students and parents were not informed of this." Officers wore protective gear, including vests and helmets, and carried rifles that were unloaded and marked with colored tape to indicate they were not live weapons, the newspaper said. Diana Silva, a parent of an eighth-grade student, said the drill went too far.

"My child was with his face to the wall in the hallway of the high school," Silva said. "I certainly don't want anything like this happening to my child."

I've written a handful of times about stupid grownups acting more childishly than children, but I can only find one at the moment. Plus, during the search I read July and August 2005, when my miserable life was especially hilarious. But let's meet our new Special Friend.
Principal David Britten said students weren't told ahead of time to make the drill as realistic as possible. Teachers were informed moments before it took place, he said.

"I think this is the best way to do it," Britten said. "We're not looking to scare anyone, but we want a sense of urgency."

David, David, David! You have a problem with verbs. For instance, when you say, "I think this is the best way to do it," the people on the outside of your head understand you're thinking this was a riot - the funny kind - and you're going to do it again. That's not all, David, because you use more verbs. "We're not looking to scare anyone, but we want a sense of urgency" indicates to the people - again, the ones outside your head - that you have a common problem: you can't tell the difference between your intentions and your actions. On TV, people say to one another all the time "I didn't mean to hurt you" or "I didn't mean to drive your car off the train bridge" or "I didn't mean to imply by marrying you that I like you any less" when what they mean is, "Shut up. I do what I want." And that's exactly what those of us who aren't tinhorn despots like you hear now: Shut up. I do what I want.
But Wyoming Police Chief James Carmody said his officers were not aware students and parents were not told. He said his department will mandate that parents be notified ahead of time in the future.

"The purpose was to show how we will evacuate the classroom, not to assault the classroom," Carmody said.

I'd consider evacuating my children, were they in David Britten's care, because armed men terrorizing my children are armed men terrorizing my children, no matter what their intentions. There's no excuse for it, and there's no excuse for refusing to see that this damages children. The kids have learned that they cannot trust the stupid adults to protect them, especially not from the other stupid, armed adults. So what was the point? It was for David Britten to play toy soldiers with real guns, to establish dominance over the chimera in his head.

Were I a member of the school board on the outside of this guy's head, I'd make sure David Britten heard my call for his immediate dismissal.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

We May See Murder Yet!

John Adams: This is a revolution, dammit! We're going to have to offend SOMEbody!

Yesterday, a troll at Shakespeare's Sister called me insecure and said I had terrible taste in music. I know! My face still hurts from laughing, especially since we were talking about the Dixie Chicks' recent album, which is solid musically and lyrically. You can take my word for it or take my opinion for what it is: the thoughts and experiences of a person who is not you, and whose feeling are not yours, whether or not our hearts skip beats when we think back to that hot-and-heavy weekend we didn't answer the phone and couldn't tell whose body parts were whose after a while and we took turns shouting, "Ride 'em, cowgirl!" and, "The workers control the means of production!" and man, I hope Dad's not reading this.

Hi, Dad. How's...um...stuff?

I grew up with musicians, though I am not one myself. This means that when my stepfather Tom played John Adams in 1776 in some giant Bicentennial Central Jersey Plays in the Park jazz, Daria, Todd, Anya, Corinne and I learned the dialog, sang every word, knew every bit of blocking, read the play's book-form notes by the authors. In 1976, I'm not sure I uttered a single unscripted word. A lot of what I'm reading online at CNN sounds familiar. Where have I heard it before?

John Adams: I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace; that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress! And by God, I have had this Congress! For ten years, King George and his Parliament have gulled, cullied, and diddled these colonies with their illegal taxes! Stamp Acts, Townshend Acts, Sugar Acts, Tea Acts! And when we dared stand up like men, they have stopped our trade, seized our ships, blockaded our ports, burned our towns, and spilled our BLOOD! And still, this Congress refuses to grant ANY of my proposals on independence, even so much as the courtesty of open debate! Good God, what in hell are you waiting for?

I have a crappy memory, but this is ridiculous.

[John Adams volunteers to visit New Brunswick after a report is given of Washington's soldiers being afflicted with venereal disease and alcoholism]
John Adams: Wake up, Franklin, you're going to New Brunswick!
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: [Half asleep] Like hell I am. What for?
Hopkins: The whoring and the drinking!
[Franklin gets up and marches off right behind Adams]

It was already a college town when they arrived, but it took another 194 years to get here -

Amendment XXVI
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are 18 years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

- and who knows what lit this fire -

Amendment XXVII
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

Last night, I had dinner with Lala. I used to appear with her art band, and by appear, I mean I was completely visible. We managed to never get arrested, even when the cops were already in the audience. We're free speech fans but we also graduated high school before Ronald Reagan started bringing on the full-blown Eeeeeeeevil. The other day, she was in a big-name gallery in New York and went to its store for an artist's book. At the register, she took out cash.

Clueless: We don't take cash.
Lala: What?
Clueless: We don't take cash, only credit cards.
Lala: That's illegal.
Clueless: It's what?
Lala: It's illegal for you to refuse U.S. legal tender. I have a credit card but you have to accept cash.

At the dinner table, I laugh so hard the restaurant goes silent. When I can think again, I'm grateful I wasn't chewing or sipping anything and for the rest of the meal, each time she inhales to speak I swallow fast and put down my fork.

Lala: How can you not know that? I grew up knowing that. I learned it in civics class.
Tata: Credit cards haven't been around for all that long. Most people, if you ask them, don't know where credit cards came from. That's why Congress is still re-writing the laws about bankruptcy to favor credit card companies. I mean, think about it. When I was in my twenties, everyone didn't have credit cards. People who owned houses had credit cards. I sure didn't.
Lala: ...That's right!
Tata: School districts that decided to include personal finance into required classes would be doing America a huge favor.

Actually, school districts that decided to teach fucking American history would be doing America a huge favor in a time when the Founding Fathers, in all their courageous, violent, surly glory are reduced to faces on diner placemats. If I had a handful of teenagers who could hold a tune, I'd be producing 1776 anywhere I wouldn't be arrested trespassing. I might start with men's prisons and juvenile facilities, where boys caught holding are incarcerated with men who killed children. But why fuss?

Well, this week, we've reached a new low. A documentary about free speech in America won't be advertised on NBC. Why? Possibly because NBC is owned by General Electric, your basic weapons contractor to the stars.
NEW YORK — The Dixie Chicks are again at the center of a controversy over the limits of opinionated talk. A film company said Friday that NBC wouldn't accept an advertisement for Shut Up & Sing, a movie about the fuss created by Dixie Chick Natalie Maines' comment that she was ashamed President Bush was a fellow Texan. The network suggested the complaint may be a publicity stunt.

The problem arose when the Weinstein Co. began conversations with networks about buying ads to be shown nationally, in anticipation of later wider release of the film. The ad includes footage of the Iraq War, gives a brief background on Maines' 2003 comment made onstage in London, and shows Maines dismissing as "dumb" a comment made by Bush about the Dixie Chicks. CBS has agreed to air the ad, a spokeswoman for the Weinstein Co. said. ABC and Fox have not given an answer while the CW and NBC rejected it. The film distributors said NBC explained it was because the ad disparaged President Bush.

I was surprised to read this because I've seen the ad a bunch of times, possibly during the ten minutes of Oprah I watch every day before my nap. That's ABC. What the hell is NBC thinking?

Let's go back to our Founding Fathers and 1776 again:

Hopkins: Well, in all my years I ain't never heard, seen nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn't be talked about. Hell yeah! I'm for debating anything. Rhode Island says yea!

The freer the speech, the freer the people. I too am for debating anything, and I will never be convinced otherwise. I mean, unless you'd prefer to sing.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

We Always Liked Picasso Anyway

It can be difficult to tell the difference between fiction and fact, fantasy and reality. Wait, that's backward. When I saw that even the third time, I screamed a little. Somewhere, that this is real. So let's fantasize a little.

Amendment XXV
Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Section 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

I saw it, as if in a (cue: harp players - strum! strum!) dweam... except this happened last night.

Tata: I'm WHAT?
Anya: Wearing a costume. We're wearing costumes. We'll be handing out samples of this stuff and at the toy store, we're having an event with Mr. Ray* and...
Tata: I'm WHAT?
Anya: Dressing up. My mother decided to come as Annie Hall. I have a witch costume. The kids are all dressed up anyway. It's going to be a blast!

This morning, I emailed Siobhan. She could hear the growling sixty miles away.

Tata: Guess what?
Siobhan: Monkeys are actually flying out of your butt?
Tata: Close! Anya told me I'm wearing a costume to the store on Saturday and you know what? I'm going to. Know why? Because MY LITTLE SISTER IS THE BOSS OF ME.

As she had recently worked for her own family and made a similar discovery, it was quite some time before Siobhan could breathe.

*UPDATE: Mary called in a panic.

Mary: Is Mr. Ray coming to the store this weekend?
Tata: DON'T YOU KNOW BETTER THAN TO TAKE THE WORD OF A MORON LIKE ME? You should call the store and ask a grownup!
Mary: What's the number?

I Googled it, because I don't actually work there and even though it's my family and all I can't remember phone numbers for 50% of my sisters. Mary emailed back immediately. This is merely a step below the two-tin-cans-and-string arrangement to which we aspire.

Mary: Alrighty Madge, here's the scoop, Mr. Ray will be hangin' at [the toy store] on Black Friday for a CD signing. I remained anonymous throughout the phone call so I can neither confirm nor deny your need for a costume.
Tata: I have GOT to try paying attention when people are talking!

Huh! What is my sister up to?

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rather Buy Me A New Carburetor

Yesterday, I drove to work so I could later drive to the orthodontist, where after two and a half years my good humor is wearing thin but the quality of my antics is improving.

Tata: I had a tough time getting here today!
Office Lady: You did? Why?
Tata: Traffic is terrible! And you know those bushes outside that used to need trimming? I didn't exactly fall in them but we've each redefined our personal space needs.

I really missed my walk to work, which is wonderful despite the autumnal temperatures. It is surprising I haven't thrown a tantrum and caught it, since I hate any and all weather occurring below 75 degrees Fahrenheit unless it delivers a snow day. I love snow days. You can shovel, you winter weather lover! I'll wait right here, indoors. I might bake something, if the mood takes me, but it ain't taking me outside except kicking and screaming. So. That I love walking to work is a surprise.

Here, try on this amendment. It's so peculiar I might've knitted it myself.

Amendment XXIII
Section 1. The District constituting the seat of government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct:

A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a state, but in no event more than the least populous state; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the states, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a state; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

We at Poor Impulse Control interrupt this Constitutional convocation to open the time capsule sent here to the Fuuuuuuuutuuuuuuuure (oooh, echo!) by prophets EBN and Josh Pearson in the mid-1990s.

Oooh! Bell bottoms and pet rocks!

Amendment XXIV
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


It's never too late to get the zeitgeist - not if you can imagine what might happen a scant ten years from right now.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Proof Is the Bottom Line For Everyone

As a thrifty person in a room full of thrifty persons, I flip through the weekly common coupon collection at my desk every Monday, then I pass the collection to the next person. Since our situations are different and tastes couldn't be more so, our savings needs seldom conflict. Yesterday, something in the flier caught my eye. I finished clipping what I needed, then went back. I put the flier on Lupe's desk. I went back and retrieved it. After I left work, I tried for hours to find this picture on the website in copy - but no dice. So here it is, the image that made me sit in my cubicle and cluck like a chicken for TWO HOURS.
Click to to enlarge, I beg of you.

Because I love you and could not deny you the full-on, bloated horror that is the tasteless collection of figurines, I perused that site for hours last night. At no time did I feel the slightest urge to grab my wallet and spend like I found a shoe sale at Nordstrom. Hell, no. In fact, next time I decide, 'You know, bulimia was a great diet plan,' I'm headed straight for the Ashton-Drake Galleries online so I can bask in all the nauseating ways Native American princess figurines can alleviate our Trail of Tears guilt with the heady thought that we helped whole peoples depart from this miserable, impovershed and violence-ridden earthly existence to the glamorous afterlife and pretty, pretty conversion van fantasies. I'll puke to that, friend!

As an added bonus, the site is filled with charming reminders that Jesus was a Jew, and Jews don't make graven images, and in the second century I think it was someone else decided that wasn't true anymore. So please. Get Jesus an Excedrin.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Slave To the Rhythm

Part I., Part II.

Part III. I sit down at the table next to Theresa, Dom's girlfriend. Dom, Sharkey, Dom's housemate and a high school friend all troop upstairs to smoke after dinner. By the time I arrive, I couldn't care less about food. Theresa's still eating. I got myself a small bowl of rice and pork.

Theresa: You're not hungry? You must be hungry.
Tata: No, no, thanks, this is plenty! I was getting ready to leave the house when my sister called because she's got some hideous conglomeration of plagues in Flemington and the baby's stranded in Somerset.
Theresa: You can't overlook that. What did you do?
Tata: I spent three weeks in the store, delivered bags of groceries to the babysitter's house and looked at the baby. I thought she was going to take out the pacifier and shout, "IT SURE TOOK YOU LONG ENOUGH!" They are raising a princess, they are.
Theresa: You only called about an hour ago, maybe a little more.
Tata: What? It seems like weeks. And I look awful!
Theresa: You do not!
Tata: You shameless flatterer! My horoscope says I get someone new and significant this week. Last time it said that, I got Sharkey.
Theresa: Wow, he's really important.
Tata: Absolutely, I couldn't live without him. And I figured out what I've been doing wrong with men. I dress nicely and gussy up and then they meet the tired, overworked me later, which is backwards. If they like me this way, they'll LOVE me later. There's no place to go from here but UP.
Theresa: Omigod, I never thought of it that way.
Tata: Exactly. I don't want to go around looking better than I do first thing in the morning. Ooh, and I'm only going to date men with bad eyesight. Because I'm only going to age, and they'll think I'm glamorously backlit.

After about 45 minutes, I went home before 8, having explained the yogurt and fruit. The broccoli and cauliflower were not, in fact, overdone, which was a fucking miracle. I was so exhausted I went to bed early.

Amendment XXII
Section 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

Section 2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states within seven years from the date of its submission to the states by the Congress.

This morning, the alarm clock was blinking. I called work and said I was on my way. As I walked under the old trees, I laughed and felt the green leaves, the yellow leaves, the red leaves, the brown leaves and wind-broken branches as if each were mine and mine alone.

Everything amuses me today.

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That Girl Running Around With You

Part I.

II. A raspy baritone I didn't recognize called.

Daria: I need a big favor.
Daria: Shut up, it's me.
Tata: Oh. Whaddya need?
Daria: I have strep, an ear infection, and two pink eyes. My sons are sick, my husband is sick. I am crawling around my house with rubber gloves and a spray bottle of bleach.
Tata: Crap! What could you need from me?
Daria: Fifi was with Mom last night but she went to New York. Fifi's with the babysitter and she's out of food.
Tata: ...and the babysitter doesn't drive or speak English, got it. Let my wash the olive oil off my hands and make a grocery list.

Daria called at an intriguing moment. Twenty minutes later and I probably would've been gone. I'd showered and laid out clothes. I was as primped for Dom's dinner party as I was going to get. The yogurt was ready, the fruit was packed. I was seasoning vegetables and roasting them briefly so they wouldn't turn into babyfood in transit to Dom's house. I made a grocery list, looked around and realized I wasn't wearing any pants. With my friends, this wouldn't be much of a problem. I've spent a lot of time nekkid in public as an artist and a model, and every last one of my friends has seen my birthday suit, with and without body makeup, but Stop & Shop would not view my arriving sans pantalons with the same sang-froid. So I put on a pair of khakis I used to paint my bedroom and drove to the grocery store in my hometown, where I was immediately lost in the store's gigantic yuppie splendor.

Amendment XXI
Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2. The transportation or importation into any state, territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several states, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the states by the Congress.

Miss Sasha is 23, so it's been awhile since I shopped for baby stuff. In that time, all kinds of crap has changed. Now: diapers come in sizes and genders. When Miss Sasha was a baby, they came in relative baby weights. Now: babies must eat designer chicken nuggets in amusing shapes. When Miss Sasha was a baby, we cooked chicken and cut it up into little hunks she could pick up with her little paws. Now: babies must have macaroni and cheese with every meal and nobody calls DYFS. When Miss Sasha was a baby, you felt underdressed without a caseworker. It was the eighties. I didn't wear the shoulder pad styles, either. So I stood in the diaper aisle trying to figure out how the small packages could possibly contain 35 or 52 of these twenty-first century, super-absorbent, garbage-dump clogging, engineering wonders that would be the right size, shape, color and tensile strength to keep the indefatigable and relentless Miss Fifi from a lifetime of out-patient therapy, and while I was standing there, I started laughing. Suddenly, this was as funny as life gets. A man graying at the temples and teenaged boy stood next to me, staring at baby foods. The man was on the phone. This baby stuff has become so complicated nobody can do it without consulting other interested parties.

Tata: I haven't shopped for diapers in twenty years! Did you know there are now six sizes of babies - and that's it?
Man: Bffft! I can't pick oatmeal!

In the next aisle, they passed me.

Tata: Did you know there are chlorine-free diapers?
Man: Is this your baby?
Tata: She's my niece!

The organic yogurt brands were the only ones Daria specifically warned me Fifi wouldn't eat. I circled the store, reading the overhead signs and bashing into canned goods displays.

Good thing I was wearing pants.

I walked up and down the pasta aisle in a naive attempt to find macaroni and cheese. No, no, it was in the next aisle with Prepared Dinners, where I found the man and the boy.

Tata: Did you know every child must eat this crap? Some sort of local ordinance.
Man: What some parents feed their kids!
Tata: And I'm enabling!

I don't even want to talk about the sugar-filled nonsense that is yogurt for kids in colors and flavors. Even my skull is too soft to bash against that rock. In the produce section, I found Trout waiting to get her deli order filled. I picked melon, bananas and apples. She picked ham. The man took a number and Trout will talk to anybody so I know know the boy was his nephew and he prefers turkey. I paid someone quite a lot of money to let me leave without an arrest record and drove to the babysitter's house. I handed her bags of groceries. The TV blared news in Spanish. I looked around for the vivacious Miss Fifi and found her reclining in the living room. I patted her hand. We had a whole sub-verbal conversation.

Tata: Hey, Pumpkinpuss. What's shakin'?
Miss Fifi: Oh. It's you. I won't get up.
Tata: I'll...be going, then...

So I drove to Dom's house.

Part III.

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Even the Orchestra Was Beautiful

I. My friend Dom was having the usual suspects over for dinner last night, and I was very perky about it. He was planning stewed pork and Spanish rice. I volunteered to bring vegetables. Saturday evening, I cut up cauliflower and two broccoli trees. Then I mascerated fruit and set up luxurious dessert yogurt with heavy cream to warm over night. By the time I went to bed I felt like I'd prep-cooked for an army of persnickety produce managers.

Amendment XX
Section 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

Section 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

Section 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

Section 4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

Section 5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.

Section 6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states within seven years from the date of its submission.

When I first looked at this amendment my head hurt. Then I thought, 'No, that's sinus pain caused by falling barometric pressure or sudden shifts in reality.' Blah blah blah live and dead presidents, succession, Congress shall assemble. We're good here.

Sunday, I wanted to do a whole lot of nothing - and succeeded, when I should have been doing yoga or cycling around town or rewiring Kansas. To placate me, I cut open the box and started assembling a wall-mounted cabinet matching the armoire in the bathroom. As much as I love puzzles that yield furniture-y results, each now comes with a vexing rediscovery that 'right' and 'left' aren't as natural for me as for the righthanded puzzle-solvers, and at some point in one of these exercises, I will find myself holding a screwdriver and trying to determine whether I am upside-down or right-side-up, and which way must I turn this screwdriver to secure the locking nut? And don't think it's so easy any fool can do it because this fool has to figure it out fresh on every go-round. My brain works differently than yours does. Quit growling. I adapt to your screwy righthanded, differently tall and otherly right-side-up world! Ooh, watch this little health film starring me, and my sister Daria's tall, Republican, former Marine husband, whom I love to pieces:

Tata: Thank you for giving me the car. It's great to step on a gas pedal and have something, you know, happen.
Tyler: Everything's good?
Tata: I moved the seat all the way forward, tilted the steering wheel downward and lifted the seat up. I've never had a car that did that before. It's fantastic. I can almost see over the dashboard.
Tyler: Almost? How do you drive?
Tata: I guess. Most people do. They call it 'spatial awareness' but they're guessing.
Tyler: Why don't you lift the seat higher?
Tata: Conflict with the solid object called the steering wheel.
Tyler: That's just not possible.
Tata: Welcome to the World of Ta. I'll be your host as we journey through life with a torso so short boobs and a belly look redundant...

I was pouring olive oil on herbed vegetables when the phone rang.

Part II.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Send Their Battered Dreams To Heaven

The Cool, Cool River

Moves like a fist through the traffic
Anger and no one can heal it
Shoves a little bump into the momentum
It's just a little lump
But you feel it
In the creases and the shadows
With a rattling deep emotion
The cool, cool river
Sweeps the wild, white ocean

Yes boss. the government handshake
Yes boss. the crusher of language
Yes boss. mr. stillwater,
The face at the edge of the banquet
The cool, the cool river
The cool, the cool river

I believe in the future
I may live in my car
My radio tuned to
The voice of a star
Song dogs barking at the break of dawn
Lightning pushes the edge of a thunderstorm
And these old hopes and fears
Still at my side

Anger and no one can heal it
Slides through the metal detector
Lives like a mole in a motel
A slide in a slide projector
The cool, cool river
Sweeps the wild, white ocean
The rage of love turns inward
To prayers of devotion
And these prayers are
The constant road across the wilderness
These prayers are
These prayers are the memory of god
The memory of god

And I believe in the future
We shall suffer no more
Maybe not in my lifetime
But in yours I feel sure
Song dogs barking at the break of dawn
Lightning pushes the edges of a thunderstorm
And these streets
Quiet as a sleeping army
Send their battered dreams to heaven, to heaven
For the mothers restless son
Who is a witness to, who is a warrior
Who denies his urge to break and run

Who says: hard times?
I'm used to them
The speeding planet burns
I'm used to that
My life's so common it disappears
And sometimes even music
Cannot substitute for tears

We are out of time to equivocate.

Please register and vote your conscience.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Nothing To Do Today But Smile

Johnny, whose co-workers call him Bobby Boucher, takes his charisma to the bank, baby:
Bidness, bidness, bidness. I sold a Tribeca today to one of the principals of a European solar energy firm expanding into the US. It's my first bidness to bidness, uh, bidness. I let him Christian me down as far as he wanted to on the price. I think my commission per se was a hundred twenty five dollars. However, my client, being European, didn't know that in Santa Fe you drive an Outback or you drive a Forester, unless you drive an Outback or perhaps a Forester. You don't under any circumstances drive a Tribeca. That in mind, management placed a bonus on every one of those bad boys. One thousand dollars cash to The Waterboy. Because that's what I do.

Johnny and I have known one another since the summer of 1977, when when I was fourteen and we were both in love with him. For those of you just joining Poor Impulse Control: Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, and possibly the most interesting Johnny. Here's the one that brought us hate mail in 2005: Johnny. Yesterday:

After what, a year, finally the gigs are coming out of the woodwork. I play with an old-timey country trio on Sunday night, which with me I guess would be a quatro, then I have to get to work learning two albums' worth of tunes for some gigs with an accordion player who sings in English and French about the glories of Paris and the joys of homosexual love. He's putting the gay in gay Paree, and yes, that is one of his song titles.

Amendment XVIII
Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

Section 2. The Congress and the several states shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several states, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the states by the Congress.

I'll drink to that! And speaking of time-wasting:
A Cool, Dry Place is a sappy little piece of trash starring Vince Vaughn. Both of our minds were so destroyed by commerce that we sat last night and watched it straight through without even groaning. Remember in Beavis and Butthead, when they would flash back to B&B's aghast faces in the middle of some horrifying video clip? You get the picture. If Vince wants to sue somebody, he should sue the agent who convinced him to take this awful role. I hope he at least fucked the luscious little piece of cornfed cheesecake who played his romantic interest. That would help even the score.

We scoped chicks together up and down the East Coast, and sometimes we scoped boys. It depended on who and what we were doing that season. Judging by IMDB, and without reading more than a few words about Vince was and wasn't doing, I guess the cornfed cheesecake Johnny's referring to is Monica Potter. I bet she'd appreciate our Constitutional spotlight dance.

Amendment XIX
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

I'm just curious. Maybe someone knows this: why do some amendments have these little post-its tacked on, hinting Congress is IT in this game of tag?

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Friday, October 20, 2006

I Close My Eyes And I See

Gorgeous blurry pictures of blue things that upon closer examination turn out to be Chuan and his friend at Evil Dead: the Musical.

Chuan propped himself against a filing cabinet in my cubicle and explained the new addition to his wardrobe: a cheap plastic poncho. He described gooey stage blood flying everywhere, drenched audience members, a song and dance number called What the Fuck Is That? I asked if, by any tiny, tiny chance, there were camera phone photos of this excellent mayhem?

Oh yes. An usher came running to scold them, but blue plastic history was made. Chuan said the play was an absolute panic, and everyone non-water-soluble should see it in clothing they don't mind subsequently dyeing red in someone else's washing machines.

I suspect a Crayola 64 box of Tide pens would solve the problem.

Friday Cat Blogging: The Stars Are Falling Edition

Last night, I got home from the family store just before 9:30, which is to say that every month or two months, the town holds an event on the street for a few hours. Children run through the store filled with lovely breakable objects until 9. My sisters and their partners in the toy store go all out. Last night, they put up a super cool yoga tent and blinky lights, and bluegrass musicians sang right outside the door. We knew all the songs because we grew up with a bluegrass band rehearsing in the rec room. Also: my 14-year-old niece Lois was singing two blocks down the street with her church group. I encouraged her.

Tata: So, ya nervous?
Lois: I wasn't.
Tata: Don't worry. No one will notice you. You'll be fine. Unless you puke.
Lois: You're making me nervous!
Tata: I didn't have really bad stage fright until I was in my thirties except when I was in gymnastics. That was really bad. Woo! But I could dance anywhere, that was fine. Later, I found tequila. Hey, you want some?
Lois: I'm leaving now!
Tata: Don't suck, sweetie!

An hour later, Lois returned. My sister and I were supportive aunties.

Tata: Hey, sweetie! Did you choke?
Lois: What?
Tata: Did you choke or did you sing like the birdies?
Anya: Yeah yeah, thrill of victory or agony of defeat?
Lois: It went great.
Tata: You're not sure? Did you hork?
Lois: I didn't! And my brother suddenly appeared.
Anya: Tippecanoe "suddenly appeared"?
Lois: With Dad. Poof! There he was.
Tata: If we're distributing magical powers, I'd like to levitate, please.
Lois: Please do. We have ceiling fans.

Isn't she FANTASTIC? Daughters in my family deliver the cutting one-liners. Miss Sasha is also an expert with ten words or less. The girls, they're brainy and beautiful. And speaking of beautiful, this is Lili, kitty friend of Mr. blogenfreude.

Though I've never met Lili in the feline flesh, she talks to me on the phone as if we backpacked across Europe together. While PIC was broken, Mr. blogenfreude was kind enough to let me blither at AgitProp and too kind to observe that while he and I are concerned with many of the same developments in the news, his readers are accustomed to a certain incisive brevity I can't mimic - not without tequila, anyway.

Tata: Lili?
Lili: MEW!
Tata: Really? Ashcroft's appearance on the Daily Show was a disaster! For whom? I sure don't know.
Lili: MEW!
Tata: I don't see how that'll help book sales.
Lili: MEW!
Tata: Thanks. I wasn't sure I could wear the new, fashionable cocoas. But you've set me straight!

Her views on physics are equally startling.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Always In the Arms of Somebody Else

I. Two Sundays ago, I walked through Costco, turned a corner and was shocked speechless. Since I was there alone nobody noticed, but that's immaterial. On a long rack, dozens of children's Halloween costumes hung from their hoods. To my eye, it looked like someone had killed and skinned dozens of Poohs, Tiggers and Eeyores. Two aisles later, cat food was extra-cheap.

II. The circle, most circle-like.
Tata: Say it: we have no future together. Say it!
Raymond: No. I don't know what's going to happen. I can't say anything other than what I've already said.
Tata: That you pay no attention has me utterly indignant. The one thing of which I can be unshakeably certain is that I am entirely fascinating. So this is your problem, crazy person, and if it goes on much longer we will have adjoining suites at Bellevue.
Raymond: If circumstances were different -
Tata: Nope. I am fascinating. You're not adoring me properly. We have no future together. Say it!
Raymond: ...Yes...
Tata: Fine!
Raymond: But a year from now -

IV. Amendment XVII
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any state in the Senate, the executive authority of such state shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, that the legislature of any state may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

IV. I love celery. I often forget this and neglect to buy it for myself, or I buy it for mirepois, which is as good as not buying it at all. This is a sad state of affairs, I think. Celery is subtly salty, crunchy, and when eaten early in its shelf life, has a lovely, distinctive flavor. The leaves are fragrant and when eaten deliver an exciting bite. Like most gentle sensations, like the feel of water pouring from the kitchen faucet onto splayed fingers, like a change in air pressure before a storm, eating celery as a sensual experience can be overlooked or savored. I realized I was denying myself this simple pleasure when my kitchen smelled like cilantro and I was overjoyed.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It Breaks When You Don't Try

Everyone has moments of doubt. Mine always come with a soundtrack; this afternoon, you can hear them, too. The last 1:30 of this song is killing me.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

You've Grown So Tired Of Your Fellow Man

Perhaps you've noticed I'm a bit temperamental. You're not alone, my pet. During one stretch when I regarded the dating scene - don't bother, I'm already writing myself a stern reprimand for using the words dating and scene consecutively - as less of an dessert bar and more of barbecue pit, my friend Ivan decided to call me KaliTata, Destroyer of Men, which was so endearing! Not familiar with KaliMa? Off to Wikipedia with you, and we'll wait.

Tap tap tap. Hey! Nice to see you again! I wore that outfit to a party once, only the skirt was ironically Barbie Pink, and let's put behind us the scrubbing-spirit-gum-off-my-epidermis incident. Ow! Anyway, the Fabulous Ex-Husband(tm) described mine as "the sprint temper" - as in I went from zero to sixty in "DID YOU HEAR WHAT I SAID?" but that was awhile ago. Even a goddess of destruction likes to think she's matured since the eighties. Here's your musical interlude.

Amendment XV
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

God knows I hate the jazz flute. Yes, time passes and we arrive at yesterday. Stuff this into your socks for safekeeping.

Amendment XVI
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

Yesterday, I was trying to move posts I'd written to Running Scared while Poor Impulse Control was dead as a doornail, when Blogger quit publishing. I emailed Siobhan, who does all the heavy lifting here, and blurted out, um, something.

Tata: ^&)@$^*!$^!@^!$%@?
Siobhan: I'll look.
Tata: ^&)@^%^% thank you.

I had not yet begun to swear. Just after I left work, Siobhan reported back.

Siobhan: I pointed the blah-blah-blah to blah-blah and now I can't publish anything after October 4th.

This news, when I arrived at home, caused me to hyperventilate. This was no time for rational thinking!

Tata: Puff puff cough puff hack hack wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze!

My first, second and third impulses were exactly the same. I gripped my head. There was screaming. I felt tragic. Only a person who'd just discovered their entire village had been wiped out in an improbable clown car-pile up could know my terrible sorrow. Since Siobhan was working on it, I forced myself to quit screaming and take a nap.

Tata: Zzzzzzwhat about my needszzzzzz...

Siobhan, meanwhile, had a life of her own to lead, which was so inconvenient for Me. This gave me time to think about things. Morgan used to tell me early and often that I was one of those people who felt too much, to which I responded by throwing ashtrays, skillets and knives. Only his excellent reflexes explain his continued good looks, and though he deserved a good beating he was right. That was ten years ago. Yesterday, I paced my living room floor, trying to imagine being able to restrain myself long enough to ask Siobhan questions.

Yeah, I didn't get far with that.

After seven, I called.

Tata: MMM What do I have to MMMMM do to MMMM get PIC back up and MMMM running tonight?
Siobhan: It's not? And what the hell is wrong with you?
Tata: Before I say anything else, please know that I appreciate your help with these tasks I cannot do myself, and I am grateful you understand and do these things for me. That's important.
Siobhan: Yep. Absolutely.

Twenty minutes later, we determined that something might've gone wrong at Paulie Gonzalez' end of this host server moving dealie, and that I would call him. My hair was standing on end. Cartoon steam clouds poured from my ears. My blog was still a wreck and I was still helpless. I called Paulie to throw a weather-changing hissyfit.

Tata: Where are you? What are you doing?
Paulie: I'm at the hospital, picking up my dad.
Tata: What?
Paulie: He's been here since Wednesday. I'm taking him home. I didn't tell you?
Tata: No.

Huh. Look, I unexpectedly returned to human form. Small and covered with fur - see? I am not at all coughing up furballs.

Tata: Hack! Hack! Sweetie, call me later, okay?

It's my work. It's my identity. It's just a blog. Thank your favorite deity I've fucking matured.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

26 Reds And a Bottle of Wine

If I understand things I read online correctly - stop laughing! - CBGBs is either toast or about to be toast, and Hilly's taking the place apart brick by brick to reassemble in Vegas. In theory, that is fantastic, and one day I'll be able to revisit my personal Mecca. By the time I'm ready to be Polyester Edna on permanent Vegas vacation, the mosh pit would be filled with surviving junkies - too mean to die; will be found sunning themselves on rocks after our impending nuclear winter - and tank top-clad, leathery retirees. Don't break a hip!

Let's hope no one touches the bathrooms without hazmat suits and the thought of reassembling them in all their indescribably filthy glory occurs to no one outside the Centers for Disease Control. If Scrubbing Bubbles could clean that we'd see a glimmer of hope for the Lincoln Tunnel. Speaking of strange and improbable, this amendment covers more stinking turf than sod on McMansion-infested former farmland.

Amendment XIV
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

I like the sound of that, baby! Whether or not the framers intended to, these words assert firmly we are all the same stuff, legally. Now it's Miller Time! Oh, wait -

Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a state, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such state.

Crap, I hate it when we get into this fractions of whole people nonsense, let alone counting frat boys for House seats. Moving on, then -

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Can't be elected Dogcatcher after joining an armed insurrection against Dogcatchers. Got it.

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

That explains why the Civil War Reconstruction went, um, so well and people speak of it glowingly. Damned Dogcatchers!

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Well, yeah. Otherwise, Congress is like the Mom that says, "You kids! Sit down and eat. Sit down and eat your dinner. Sit down and eat your dinner or tomorrow you're not having your play dates with you cousins Wednesday and Pugsley. Sit down and eat! I mean it, sit down and eat your dinner or I'm calling Uncle Gomez and you're not blowing up any trains. I mean it this time! Aw, what the hell, I'll clean up."

But we're lucky to live now, when that never happens.

Added: Mr. Wolcott, I love you.

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Let the Past Remind Us Of What We Are Not Now

Yesterday was Friday the 13th, which makes lots of people nervous. They don't know why, but if you ask they will speculate. There were 13 people around the table at the Last Supper, some will tell you. Numerologically speaking, 1 + 3 = 4, a feminine number, weak, not lucky, others will say. I don't know about yours, but my eyes glaze over when numbers and luck turn up in the same premise, which is why in casinos I'm a squawking mess - we'll talk about that someday, when you're older, no matter how old you are now. Are you near death? Then we're close. A strong contender for the source of paraskavedekatriaphobia or fear of Friday the thirteenth is Friday, 13 October, 1307, the day Philip the Fair had Jacques de Molay and the Knights Templar in France arrested. Subsequently, the knights were tortured and burned at the stake, which to the modern American mind is so far out of the range of possibilities as to be laughable. Philip did what? And what happened? And nobody jumped out shouting, "Just kidding!" at the last moment and passed out hotdogs and marshmallows?

The reason we can afford to be horrified and not terrified is that our Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. We can equivocate until the cows come home about the words punishment, cruel, unusual and, um, cows, but the fact remains that in our time, it is hugely unlikely that American felons will be burned at the stake in the public square. You can say what you like about whatever threat we face from abroad, our founding fathers knew our worst enemy will always be ourselves.

Amendment XIII
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

A Section 1. implies a Section 2., but either I'm too harried to find it or someone flunked Outlines 101. Yesterday, Siobhan weighed in on the Constitution in general.

Siobhan: You know, Ben Franklin was only doing this to get laid.
Tata: I respect that. In fact, that may be my plan, too.
Siobhan: I couldn't make out what the wording of Amendment XI meant but I am reminded that opium played a big part in the Constitutional process.
Tata: Oooh! If we legalize that, virtually everyone can be a Constitutional scholar!

Until a few years ago, I read history, which is essentially the struggle of human beings against their most barbaric impulses, and consoled myself with the thought that at least no one was burned during the Salem Witch Trials. Unfortunately, history is also often written by people who have the most to gain by controlling posterity's image of past events, so what most Americans know about things like eighteenth and nineteenth century slave rebellions is exactly zip. So in reality that may take hundreds of years to establish, sometimes there is no consolation to be had.
New York Burning is a well-told tale of a once-notorious episode that took place in Manhattan in 1741. Though, as Jill Lepore writes, New York's "slave past has long been buried," for most of the 18th century one in five inhabitants of Manhattan were enslaved, making it second only to Charleston, South Carolina, "in a wretched calculus of urban unfreedom." Over the course of a few weeks in 1741, ten fires burned across Manhattan, sparking hysteria and numerous conspiracy rumors. Initially, rival politicians blamed each other for the blazes, but they soon found a common enemy. Based solely on the testimony of one white woman, some 200 slaves were accused of conspiring to burn down the city, murder the resident whites, and take over the local government. Under duress, 80 slaves confessed to the crimes and were forced to implicate others. When the trial was over, 13 black men were burned at the stake, 17 more were hanged (along with four whites accused of working with them), and 70 others were shipped off to the Caribbean where slavery conditions were even worse.

By necessity, Jill Lepore bases much of her research on a journal written in 1744 by New York Supreme Court Justice Daniel Horsmanden, which she describes as "one of the most startling and vexing documents in early American history" and "a diary, a mystery, a history, and maybe one of English literature's first detective stories." Adding cultural and political context to the available evidence, Lepore questions whether there was a conspiracy at all, or if it was blind fear run amok that led to the guilty verdicts for so many slaves. As she points out, fear of slave revolt was a real and consistent theme throughout the early days of the colonies. Crisply written and meticulously researched (the book includes several detailed appendices), New York Burning is a gripping narrative of events that led to what one colonist referred to as the "bonfires of the Negroes." -Shawn Carkonen

Book review aside, we have a terrifying truth to face: inside us all exist the fear and the germ that grew into this horror. We say it doesn't and if it does, we will not cultivate its growth, but there is no other excuse for our submission to the Patriot Act, to wiretapping and warrantless searches. We are seeing now the growth of this same horror in slow motion, perhaps. The elements are the same: fear, brown-skinned people, a supposed threat to our way of life. If you slow down and think, you can see where the monster is growing and what it will destroy.

I don't have to tell you. You already know.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Love, Sister, It's Just A Kiss Away

I was standing in the store last night when in walked exactly what I needed: a tai chi teacher with a studio within walking distance of my apartment, and when I said, "It's as if I summoned you," he stuttered a lot. I understood. He was shocked by my great beauty, as so many are. For instance, my orthodontist loves me so much he says I need braces for another ten years. If he weren't absolutely adorable, I might cut his brake lines.

This morning, I walked to work but it was different because today I walked to work - for SCIENCE! Our story so far: summer and early autumn temperatures have permitted me to toss everything into a beachbag then slung across my back, and I've been walking about a mile or a mile and a half to the library. The bonus: a return trip eight hours later means I get some exercise twice a day. Joy! On today's episode: temperatures dropped overnight into the forties and what you may not know is I am a tremendous temperature coward. I hate the cold with a fiery passion; I fight the Frozen Menace with tenacious indoor coziness, preferably with marshmallows. So it was only with the greatest courage that I donned a scarf, mittens, my Sunday Go Ta Protest Anarak and furry vermillion ear muffs. I knew the terrors of Arctic exploration! I thought of Shackleton's harrowing ordeal in the polar pack ice. Then I walked to work. I was surprisingly comfortable. I don't know what all those dead sailors were complaining about.

Here, hold this -

Amendment XI
The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state.

That one was digging into spleen. I might need a real backpack soon, if I find out - for SCIENCE! - that temperatures in the thirties and forties are no impediment to walking to work. This one -

Amendment XII
The electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;--The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;--the person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

- might've been a bit much for my back. I should've left that one at home, maybe. Oh, who are we kidding? I love any Constitutional amendment using the word devolve. Which reminds me: it's Eighties Friday on Altrok Radio, and sometimes a raving beauty like myself skips the rave and makes for the beautiful noise.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

All I Can See Is the Fire In Your Eyes

I. Two mornings ago, crossing the Albany Street Bridge: a brown slick two or three yards wide winding slightly off-center with the currents and eddies of the Raritan River. The river at that bridge is shallow. Fifteen or so years ago, a professor tried to commit suicide by leaping off the bridge, but the river was too shallow to drown in. I think he died of cartoon embarrassment. Or he lived, which might be worse. The river is filthy and contact with it should be avoided at all cost, especially if you are a fish. Or a person who eats fish. The greenish water is not a good kind of green but this time of year, falling leaves dance in the currents. That is kind of pretty. Two mornings ago, I was startled by a strong smell of gasoline.

II. I see the big picture.
Tata: Remember that time twelve years ago I wanted you to leave your wife?
Him: Yes.
Tata: Remember that time you didn't leave your wife and it broke my heart?
Him: And mine, and hers.
Tata: You were right.

III. The first time we saw him or her, Daria said, "A groundchuck!" Her son said, "Doggy!" Outside my bedroom window lives a groundhog or woodchuck of exceptional taste and intelligence. Monday afternoon, the sunshine was glorious, the air was warm and perfect. I walked home, staring at the heartrending blue sky between the green, gold and maroon leaves; if I'd thought about it I probably would have tripped over nothing and broken my jaw but I was elated. At home, I threw open every window. The groundchuck of exceptional intelligence happened to be standing in the courtyard about ten feet from my bedroom window, pretending not to see me. I spoke to him - let's suppose the groundchuck's a him - gently. I told him he had nothing to fear from me and I thought he was oh so handsome. Wasn't he handsome? He was very handsome, and had excellent taste in fallen apples from the tree. And wouldn't he like to just have a lovely chat with me?

The groundchuck followed the sound of my voice and came to the edge of the concrete steps below my window, and he walked to the spot closest to me, turned and walked around to the other side, where he put his paws up on a pipe about six feet below me, and stared into my eyes. I told him I could see he was special, and he should remember not to be afraid of me. I was certain if I pushed up the screen, doves would land on my fingertips. I used to be the fairest of them all but my magic mirror is a fickle bitch.

IV. This man is a New Yorker.
He: A plane or helicopter hit a building on E 72nd Street. We can see the smoke. Internet is way slow, just like on 9/11 - probably just an accident.

I saw this just before I left my office and, pressed for time, didn't answer his email. A few hours later, I felt uneasy. Even before I knew the plane crash was an accident, I was afraid for him. He watched the towers burn and fall from another office window. He calls after dinner.

He: Are you okay?
Tata: Yes, of course I was frightened but not for myself. I was never in any danger - I'm forty miles away. I worried about you, about the responders, the poor people who must've been killed. Are you okay?
He: What do you mean?
Tata: You sound a quart low to me.
He: What? I guess I am.
Tata: Quit it with the soda. No starches. Are you eating fresh fruit?
He: I ate an apple today.
Tata: So did the groundchuck. That turned out well. What're you watching tonight?
He: Episodes 3 and 4 of The Six Wives of Henry VIII.
Tata: Hey! You know how that turned out, too!

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby, Right Round

...And we're back. That was a whole week of misery and funny disguises for me. Paulie Gonzalez moved PIC to a new host-whatsis, which is great news for everyone but the poor beleaguered photo editor. I have learned enough that my giant brain is threatening a Tokyo rampage. Run, beloved main characters, run! The giant brain is lumbering this way!

Thank you for your patience. After about - I guess - a day of restoring, fixing and relearning stuff, I bet we can resume our bad behavior in a bathtub full of bechemel sauce. That's where we left off, right?

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Flesh And Blood That Makes Me Whole

When I say to you, "Hey there, you, I'd really like the pain in my right hip to stop, say on a par with my wanting the crane digging by the Route 18 overpass to quit before it reaches that load-bearing concrete pillar I treasure more with each passing day I cross the Albany Street Bridge and am not smooshed" I really mean that I want pain in my right hip to stop, but I'm not going to the doctor. That's a huge waste of time. I am so special medical science insists I don't exist, and since I refuse to work with that existential nightmare, I went to Costco to stock up on chicken soup.

Now, I am not saying these bulk shopping warehouses wear the tights and cape in the fight against budgetary Eeeeeeeeeeeeeevil, but I'm me and you're you, and you're probably just as amused as I am when you turn a corner and see bales of toilet paper. I don't buy them since I switched to bales of recycled toilet paper and Costco doesn't carry recycled brands, yet I am amused! In the Improbable Cures aisle, I found Joint Juice. Months ago, Georg urged me to start taking a Glucosamine/Chondroitin complex and I tried. I bought tablets. I stare at the bottle. I don't take them. I looked at this case of 24 cans intended for once-daily consumption. I stood there. I thought about whining online about exercise and pain. I thought about whether or not I'd have the nerve to mention this lenghty interval on the blog. Then I thought about whether or not I planned to spend the rest of my life deliberating so I put the thing in my cart and decided I'd own up: if I feel better in 24 days, I'll buy it again and try another 24, and we'll see if this is the method that works for me. In the meantime, if I locate the case strategically in my apartment I can use it as a drying rack for my socks.

The other find was flannel sheets. Recently, I scoped KMart for flannel sheets and discovered I'd rather slit my wrists than install those drab, lifeless colors in my bedroom, because if I didn't, I surely would afterward. I shopped online and was gravely disappointed in even sale prices and patterns that made me wish someone would dig up the Dadas and take notes. And I really almost walked away when I saw sets of queen size flannel sheets with repeating pine trees like a table runner with an inflated sense of tasteful importance. I stuck to the hunting and found simple, cream-colored flannel sheets, which I would never have picked for any other room I've ever slept in but for my current bedroom, cream-color isn't the worst idea if lovely, verdant greens aren't possible, and before you even think it, you can just forget about those damn pine trees. I looked at the price. I thought about what I'd seen in other places, at other prices. I hesitated, then put the sheets into the cart.

I shop to solve problems. Today, I bought light bulbs for the nightlight in the bathroom that before it burned out kept me from accidentally kicking my little black cat in the dark. Yep. That episode was so unpleasant the cat now runs from me after sunset since I am a dumb monkey, though I hope we can put that behind us now. Interesting to note that by 11:30 Sunday morning, I had spent the Gross National Product of Uraguay for chicken soup - don't forget winter is coming and you'll need broth once the vaccine hawkers lose their minds again, as they do every November - and juice, and at a reunion picnic of my erstwhile drinking buddies in Johnson Park that afternoon where people who've known each other for twenty inebriate years and never seen each other's beloved faces in daylight, most of what I said was, "I love you but I bought flannel sheets and I can't wait to walk home, washer/dryer 'em, and put yummy flannel sheets on my bed! I believe this will help my invigorating arthritis pain."

For once, I was right.

Crossposted at Running Scared.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch Whatsamatta With You, Boy?

Poor Impulse Control is still a doorstop but Paulie Gonzalez has offered to help. We might have to switch host servers, which sounds to me like our Maitre d' has developed a Continental attitude, but I'm no Tech Princess. No, I'm Princess Please Explain That Again It's Only 2006.

Broken blog aside, I've got other problems. Yesterday in the morning, Mr. DBK and I met on the street in front of the train station, which used to be the kind of thing people said in quotes. "Yes," you'd say to your wife, "I met her in front of the train station. Please don't divorce me" is how it went, " - for an affair I had in the parking deck stairwell." But no, Mr. DBK was waiting for me next to the ticket machine he knows frustrates me, and he knows this because I spent the week prior whining about my frustration with the ticket machine. To spare himself early morning ear trauma, Mr. DBK bought our tickets before I arrived. Even so, I glared at the machine, for all the trouble it would give me another day. I am wary!

Our train arrived ten or so minutes later and we walked to the front of a car where we could sit next to or facing each other because comedy is much harder without facial expressions. I realized I'd left my charming umbrella on the platform and couldn't figure out how I could've done it. I outsmarted me! Price: One umbrella. Mr. DBK and I amuse each other very much, and I suspect my cackling annoyed people all along the Northeast Corridor, at least in part because Mr. DBK bought tickets to Newark Penn Station, and we were waiting for the conductor to describe the joys of hitchhiking outside the Holland Tunnel, which is punishable by a wardrobe made entirely of secondhand Spandex. When this did not happen, we took a cab to the Carnegie Deli, during which Mr. DBK held on to the door handle for dear life and I squealed, "Wheeeeeeeeeeee!" I gave the driver a few extra dollars for letting us live.

We were expected at 10. We were early. The waiters regarded us with snarling suspicion when we said, "We're here for a party." Smiling sweetly didn't help. The waiters opened a door I hadn't seen until one grabbed it by the handle and the other pointed through, as if to say, "This way, monkeys." Every square inch of wall space was covered by autographed celebrity headshots. I cringed, but followed Mr. DBK into an unnervingly narrow hall that opened to a dining room without another apparent fire exit. Feeling very flammable, I looked back to our waiter who wanted to sit us at a table for two. It was at this significant juncture that Mr. DBK forgot he was not with his wife, the single most capable woman in the world. Interrupting the waiter, Mr. DBK said, "I'm going to the men's room," and disappeared. And I said, "Oh, no. Our party is at least six." The waiter moved to a four top.

Tata: At least six.
Waiter: This one?
Tata: That is still six. Listen, it's not my party. I'm a guest. There will be more people, all of whom will be twice my size.

The waiter gave up and walked to the back of the room. He put menus on a table with eight chairs packed very close together. I sat down alone and pretended I could read the menu without my glasses. Then Mr. DBK returned from the Little DBKs' Room, a strange man in a Skippy the Bush Kangaroo t-shirt walked right through the middle of the room and pulled up a chair. A few minutes later, Blogenfreude of AgitProp plunked down next to me. We were joined by three other charming people I could barely see and definitely couldn't hear. The only thing missing was Tami, the One True. LaGuardia Airport called and asked us to keep it down. I felt like a genius!

Moral of the story: take opportunities to meet your fellow bloggers. Bring them presents. Admire their pets. This also reminds me I should go visit Casa JazzGeorg soon soon soon!

A few hours later at the family store, I opened a box and stabbed myself in the finger with a pair of dull scissors and I was so mortified I pretended I wasn't bleeding on the December seasonal merchandise. So: all is back to horrifying normal.

Crossposted Running Scared; on PIC Monday, 16 October.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Come On Out In This Light

This is really a test post to find out if PIC is still hosed. I am standing in the fine-smelling family store, where seductive Lyle Lovett's on the CD player and the weather ouside the glass wall is so fantastic I can barely breathe.

This morning, Mr. DBK and I took the train to New York. This afternoon, we took the train back to New Brunswick. In between, we ate breakfast.

I am still overjoyed!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Every Song That Driver Knew

Dad's wife Darla offers exciting news.
Against all expectations, we have adopted another cat. I had been resisting the idea because I couldn't bear to feel as though I were trying to replace Squidge. But this was a special circumstance.

Someone posted to our local freecycle list about a cat that was going to be put down if it wasn't adopted. I held off for two days, then emailed, just to ask whether the cat had found a home. I was hoping he had, of course, but as luck would have it, he hadn't, and the poster was desperate to find a good home for him.

I have a big red S on my forehead, which all cats can instantly identify, and which stands for Sucker When It Comes To Cats. I talked to Dominic and Dara and once they said they didn't mind, the deal was done.

I picked him up from a small town about 80 miles away last Friday. His name (he was already named) is Atticus, and he's about 10 years old. He's a golden-yellow longhair (see pictures) and possibly the most friendly and mellow cat I've ever met. Bobcat was incredibly friendly, but this cat not only approaches any person with a rub and a purr, he doesn't fuss when stuffed into a cat carrier, and he sits and looks bored when other cats hiss at him.

Which our other cats have, of course. We kept Atticus in the spare room for the first few days (I slept in there with him for company), then started letting him wander around the house. He's explored everywhere and encountered each of the other three cats, all of whom have hissed, growled and called Atticus dirty names. He just looked at them as though he didn't speak their dialect. Nobody tried to hit anybody else, so I'm hopeful that peace will eventually reign.

Atticus isn't Squidge, but he doesn't have to be. I still miss her every day, but he's a darling cat and I feel good that we could save him.

The loss of Squidge was traumatic for Darla, so this is a felicitous turn of events, made even more interesting by the timing of Georg's comment on the previous entry.
Have you heard of freecycle?

Last week, I read something connected to something connected to something else, then I had a customer in the family store and forgot everything less pressing than "in with the good air, out with the bad..." So wait, wait! This good news comes with more good news. Freecycle! There are rules for my local group:
The Six Big'uns:
1. EVERYTHING must be completely free. Remember to keep it relevant to the group - use http://newjersey.craigslist.org or a similar service if you're not providing a good or other object free of charge to the first taker. PLEASE DO NOT REQUEST SERVICES!! Use Craigslist!! We do, however, allow the request of material objects. One of the purposes of Freecycle is to reduce excessive consumerism - please keep it that way.

2. No living animals, guns, booze, p0rn0graphy, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, anything involving U.S. currency, etc, etc. People have tried to do cat exchanges, but this is NOT allowed. Please use the SPCA for that.

3. Yes furniture bikes plants tools weights lawnchairs grills etc etc.

4. No spam. Do I really have to say it? This means that you cannot be sending links to free coupons or home refinancing or some such - you will be biggity-banned!

5. Multiple requests - Please consolidate your multiple emails into one so that your fellow Freecylers' Inboxes aren't flooded. Sometimes people send multiple requests in one day or for the same item, or request really absurd things like items that cost hundreds of dollars new that almost nobody would give away (i.e. an Xbox, flat-panel LCDs that work, camera phones). Don't be offended if your message gets deleted because it falls in this category...just wait until somebody posts a free Xbox.

6. New users generally have a 2-week grace period on posting ability. This means a moderator has to clear your messages from the day you join until 14 days later. That being said, if you post a desirable item then you may get inundated with emails before your "Taken" post is made public. FYI.

I joined, so I've already had plenty of time to forget any passwords. That's always thrilling. Anyway, the rules may differ from place to place or Darla's in trouble. No living animals, it says. Oooooooooooooooooh!

Anwyay, though I have few real material needs, I shall never run out of reading material. Well, except for booze-soaked, gun-related p0rn0graphy. I still have to shop around for that.

Crossposted at Running Scared.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Breathe In the Open Wind

I still hab a cod ib bi dose ad lugs.

At work, everytime I blew my nose, I felt my co-workers cringe. They're awfully nice about my sneezing and coughing. Tomorrow, I expect them to launch eucalyptus drops over the cubicle wall from desktop trebuchets, their battle cry: "Riiiiiiiiiiicola!" echoing over the ramparts. Someone will drop a cow, signalling the end of the sketch. CBGBs closes this month. I think I should feel that in my bones like the coming of winter, and a junkie bass player.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

I'm no scholar, but that sounds to me like the defense privacy rights ought to get but doesn't. You know, the amicus brief version of: Nanny nanny boo boo, it says we have the rights we say we have! I call no backsies!

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Hey look! We read the Bill of Rights and never broke a sweat. Things are looking up - not me, of course, my neck's still a little stiff. But look at you go! Let's all rest up and since it's October, I'll keep trying to make a the sukkos is in town! joke, but never mind that, we're reading the Constitution. This is a very optimistic endeavor in which we are engaged. Like origami and breadbaking. I've decided this winter I'd like to learn how to bake good, crusty, rustic bread. Between now and when I succeed I will bake lots of terrible, inedible, insulation-like loaves.


It is my great fortune to have turned a corner in life where I can pursue learning things I've always wanted to learn. I am curious about everything! The mysteries of origami. The basics and beauty of breadbaking. American Sign Language. Tai Chi (Scout insists I will love Qi Gong). Why I can't find bedroom curtains that don't make me gag.

I think there are also other places where people have stuff they don't need and people who need that stuff. Do you have wild ideas? I am an open book, a blank page, one thousand cranes.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Holding On, Holding It In

I'm feeling much better today than yesterday, by which I mean that when I sneeze I don't leap around like Baryshnikov, moaning, "...ow ow ow ow fuck." Larry, the little black cat bent on stealing your soul, expressed a desire to see me knock off the acrobatics and quit falling asleep when I could be scratching him. What the pussycat wants, the pussycat gets. There's one downside to my renewed vigor: I smell everything again, my apartment needs a thorough scouring and Mr. Cat is - pardon me! - stinky.

Here, hold this for a second while I consider my problem -
Amendment VII
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

- and my options.
Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

See, as Siobhan blurts at every drunken opportunity, "Cats aren't clean. They're covered with cat spit." Our friends with feline leukemia develop oral infections that rot their teeth and prevent them from eating. Larry, the little black cat bent on stealing your soul, must be watched as addicts watch spinning roulette wheels. He must eat, and as to what he must eat, all bets are off. I put out anything and everything in little bowls all the time, and pray I find him rubbing his belly and making AlkaSeltzer commercials. The kitty in question is about a 13 lb. roaster when he's eating well, which he is at the moment. Even so, if you think following, overstuffing and sniffing your cat feels like normal behavior even when you've been doing it for years, then you, sir or madam, are really, really mistaken.

In a way, all things boil down to compassion and empathy. Do we chose to experience the discomforts of others or do we not? Some situations cause us to reconsider our black and white worldviews, when our impulse is to clutch that unforgiving knot below our ribs. Providing such a stretch is AbortionClinicDays.
this past saturday included a nearly homeless 15 year old who had to be rescheduled so that we could seek funding for her to have sedation since she was too scared to have the procedure awake. one of her parents died when she was 7, the other a year later. four years after that, the relative who took her in died so this young woman has not had a lot of stability and parental protection in her life. the support person accompanying her was also 15. in another situation, we had been working with the police to collect the tissue for DNA testing since the pregnancy was a result of rape and the police were determined to prosecute even though the young woman did not want the stress of having to testify. two other young women, both under 21, each with three children, had tried to get their tubes tied but were refused because they were underage. so, rather than have a fourth child, each chose abortion.

outside on the sidewalk were nearly 150 protesters, mostly silent in prayer; still, in a crowd that large there are always the pushy, obnoxious, arrogant demonstators. luckily the police came to keep them in line. as you can imagine, we are too busy inside the clinic to pay any attention to the picketers.

Reading this, it is as if I awoke from a long, crazy dream where everyone was screaming and you, and you, and you were there. Every story is different and human and the reasons to honor each decision come to the reader only through a strenuous walk in another woman's shoes.
a 41 year old woman with 5 kids said that she was done, no matter what, that she was tired, could not start over. she stated that when she was younger, she would never imagined herself feeling that way because she was strongly prolife. but, she said, when you are older, you come to realize that you do have limits, that you can't punish the kids you already have. when there is not enough time, energy, money to go around, all of them suffer.

increasingly an emerging factor that leads to abortion is that the cost of birth control pills has jumped up so high, women who do not have either medical assistance from the government or else private insurance, are having difficulty paying for their birth control pills every month. some pills cost as much as $75 per month. not many women without insurance can afford that much so have stopped taking the pill. they revert to more affordable, but perhaps less effective methods.

while we allow room for the sadness some women and men feel with abortion, we also feel the sense of togetherness that many women develop while they are here. the media leads women who choose abortion to feel that they are a tiny minority, that they should feel terrible about their choice. but knowing that many many others also conclude that abortion is best for their families, for their futures, women can walk out of here with their heads held high. they are ready to deal with whatever emotional or spiritual issues that come up, but can move on with their lives knowing that their abortion was safe, that they did the right thing regardless of what anti abortion protesters might say or think. we value women; we trust them make the wisest decision for their own lives.

Cool heads can prevail, if we let them, but compassion doesn't come cheap: we have to actually listen to the people affected by our actions - 1.3 million women every year since 1973. Our assumptions about who they are and why they choose this course of action help no one. We fail everyone when we refuse to humble ourselves before the difficult truths that lead women to the clinic. Most women my age have had some experience standing at that crossroads, but there's always another, and another.

As for Larry, the little black cat bent on stealing your soul: he has an infection, and the vet prescribed the same antibiotic as last month. I will feed it to him or dose him, if he won't eat it disguised in cat food. Someday, he will be too sick to save, and I accept that in love and humility I will have to decide when to give him an easier end. In the meantime, he is snoring, and dreaming of delicious drumsticks, I hope and believe.

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Then You Exploded Into My Heart

Saturday, my sinuses opened like a dam burst, flooding a tiny desert town with moist hankies and snot. Oh, the humidity! I thought allergies were my problem and acted accordingly: I sneezed a lot and apologized. Yesterday, when the sneezing stopped, the aches, the sore throat and fatigue began. About 4 this morning, I woke up and couldn't swallow. I hardly know what to say about that, sports fans. Most of the time, I prefer natural cures to medicines, but when my throat was so sore I was trying not to use it to breathe, I nearly hacked the childproof cap off the NyQuil. Here, while I doze a bit, read this intriguing bedtime story.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

zzzzzzzzzzzZZZZ snort! Cough cough! What? I should wake up and watch daytime TV. There some folk wisdom suggesting I have no hope of feeling better without fluids and hours of daytime television to combat this plague. My co-worker took pity on me and sent this.
Watch out for this scam! READ CAREFULLY!

I don't how many of you shop at Sam's Club or Costco, but this may be useful to know. I became a victim of a clever scam while out shopping, and I am sure it could happen to you! Here's how the scam works:

Two seriously good-looking 23-year-old well-built guys come over to your car as you are packing your shopping in the trunk. They both are shirtless and start wiping your windshield with a rag and Windex, with their highly-defined chest muscles and rock-hard abs exposed. It's impossible not to look. When you thank them and offer them a tip, they say 'No' and instead ask you for a ride to another Sam's Club or Costco.

You agree and they get in the back seat. On the way, they start talking dirty about what they want to do to you. Then one of them climbs over into the front seat and begins kissing your neck and begs you to pull over so he can make love to you! While this is going on the other guy steals your purse!

I had my purse stolen last Tuesday, Wednesday, twice on Thursday, again on Saturday and also yesterday and most likely again tomorrow!

It's got to be the NyQuil straight up in a festive martini glass, but my heart feels light for the first time in a long time. Either I have a fever or it must be love.

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