Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Way They Walk

For some people, politics is a game. Winning, spiking the ball and doing a victory dance on one's opponent is the goal. In my opinion, that is pathetic and the hallmark of arrested adolescence. This is behavior adults should strive to outgrow.

Political discourse has moved far to the right over the last thirty years. The Republican Party has become the province of anti-woman pluto-theocrats, but the Democratic Party has also shown its true misogynist colors since the beginning of the primary season. What are they? I suspect black and blue: an absolutely shocking array of intelligent followers of politics feel wedged into choosing one major party candidate or another.

Really? That reminds me of this.

See, the Beasties weren't actually expressing their desire for female company. They were looking for maid service with benefits. Once you see through that - which is Seeing Through Stuff 101 - you can see through the Republican nomination of an anti-choice, anti-green, pro-oil company woman, and the lackluster Democratic nomination of two pro-business centrists. No one there speaks for working people, for the poor, for women's rights to bodily integrity, to same-sex marriage, GLBTQ rights, for a Supreme Court that won't fuck us over for generations, for national security that doesn't trample everyone's rights to privacy, for those who always knew the war in Iraq was a fool's errand. So: if these things are important to you there's no reason to vote for those people, and if those people want your vote, they're going to have to change their positions.

It's not true that Roe v. Wade is a reason to vote for either candidate anymore. The religious right has chipped away and hollowed out the decision so that in several states an abortion is nearly unobtainable, and the right has recently taken bold steps to eliminate even simple access to birth control. This interference with and withholding of* basic health care is truly unacceptable in a modern industrialized nation, but even NARAL - that's the National Abortion Rights Action League, for those in the cheap seats - doesn't have much to say about it for reasons of political expediency.

Well, then. This is not a game. Women are going to die. I am not going to vote for a candidate who doesn't understand that, and believes that I have no place to go. I do - though that isn't quite precise enough: I'll be where I've been all along, watching politicians rush to court people who will never vote for them. Believe it or not, there are candidates for high office who are genuinely progressive. I may not win, but I don't expect to win. If, however, a politician needs me or he'll lose, perhaps we'll talk.

Dear Candidate: If you need my vote, you know where to find me.

Updated to include, you know, words. Shaaaaa! I was tired.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Don't Pretend That You Want

Paint fumes - can't quite flubbity bok bok - oooh! black light posters are awesome!

This always reminds me of Dad. He and the Muppeteers probably did the same drugs.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Chasing Waterfalls

Oh, for crying out loud! There are lots of things I don't want to talk about, like the oil stain on the driveway and my nearly empty checking account, but this commercial takes the upside-down cake.

The first few times I saw this commercial, Mother Nature said, "I don't see any liners," and the giddy vacationers scoffed, "Liners?" After a week or two, the commercial replaced liners with backup. Maybe I'm seeing this commercial on different networks with different policies about cooties and icky physiological goo and wacky wahinis. In other commercials, Sarah Chalke solves her wedgie problems with architecturally interesting undergarments on every channel that values a frivolous femme, meaning we're not above discussing the fact that women - you know - wear those, and Heaven forbid we avoid having the "Detrol discussion" with our physicians and international symbols or skip pads to keep our Poise. So what the fuck is wrong with us that we can't bear to talk about goddamn pantyliners?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Alabama's Trying For None

h/t MW.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I Can't Be Left To My Imagination

Pete's house is wonderful, and I am happy to wake up here in the morning - provided I fall asleep at night. In places to which I am unaccustomed, I lie awake and think terrible thoughts: I'm so tired breathing hurts, and What the fuck is wrong with those mouthbreathers at CNN? So: once again, I'm a bleary wreck.

We're off to Home Depot to rent a spray-painting machine and five gallons of white paint. What could possible go wrong?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Right Here, Right Now

I'm not much for swiping images. This spa is from the Grand Hyatt in Dubai, where I will never, ever find myself. At this point in the moving, where menfolk will move large objects in larger vehicles, when one wishes one were anywhere else in the whole world one notes: this spa is, in fact, an anywhere and it looks pretty good. After a week or two in such a setting, one might be able to stand upright again.

Hey! Nice shoes. By the way.

Friday, August 22, 2008

When I'll Be Back Again

Pack that for me, will you, darling?

This weekend, we'll work our shapely rears off getting into the house and out of the apartment. No one said it would be easy but with Almanzo out on the prairie, my sisters scattered across the Northeast, and my friends perfecting their dog-days ennui, someone should have said moving would be diamond-hard, though my ex-husband is lending me a truck so I can move in with my boyfriend.

But far be it from me to disappoint you! If it will positively ruin your weekend if you can't help me walk a couch six blocks, email me. It's going to be some parade.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Joker Laughs At You

I am me, and as mes go, I'm pretty much as me as mes get. Even so, there can be controversy.

Tata: I am giving you homework! Follow Grandpa around and record his voice.
Daria: You are not the boss of me, but yesterday, I was sitting in the third row of my truck, recording voices as Mom drove around and Grandpa told her where she was taking wrong turns.
Tata: That's exciting, since he's blind. And I am the boss of you!
Daria: You are not the boss of me, and I haven't checked the sound quality yet.
Tata: I am the ringleader! There's a ring! I am leading it!
Daria: Pipe down, you!
Tata: That reminds me: I still need a plumber.

This morning, I've called half a dozen of my closest creditors and service providers to tell them I'm moving. My car insurance company wants to know the license and policy numbers of everyone living on the premises, which may have something to do with state law but violates everyone's privacy. Yesterday, the US Postal Service wanted me to provide a credit card in order to change my address online, at which point I decided my government could kiss my fabulous ass. Today, several of both creditors and service providers either refused to change my address unless I provided a phone number or would only change my address if it sent verification - and I laughed out loud when the rep said this - to the old address.

Obviously, I've got my hands full with the Stooopit and my cup overfloweth with vitriol. Naturally, I thought of you, and your needs. Isn't that just like me?

- Watch more free videos

It really is!

h/t: Wintle.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Sudden Sun Discloses

One, two, three, four -
tell the people what she wore!

What we are, what we aren't, who and how that happened. A turned ankle, a border incursion. The waving of the spear and the crashing of the wave. You are nothing, you are nothing, you dance with the Devil in the pale moonlight, which you forget when you wear the red shoes. The snap of bone as the machine rolls this way. All that is important and serious in this world arrives, brighter than a thousand suns. All she wanted was the quiet of the shoe store, or so you believed. But it's too late now.

The bomb will not start a chain-reaction in the water converting it all to gas and letting the ships on all the oceans drop down to the bottom. It will not blow out the bottom of the sea and let all the water run down the hole. It will not destroy gravity. I am not an atomic playboy, as one of my critics labeled me, exploding these bombs to satisfy my personal whim.

- Vice Admiral William "Spike" Blandy

That’s "Atomic Playboy" Vice Admiral William "Spike" Blandy, his wife (in the matching hat!), and Rear Admiral F.J. Lowry, celebrating the end of Operation Crossroads in 1946 with an ominously shaped cake. The photograph, titled "Atomic Age Angel Food" drew heavy criticism from around the world, presumably not because it wasn’t delicious.

Operation Crossroads [wiki] was a series of nuclear weapon tests, conducted by the United States in the Bikini Atoll, to study the effects of thermonuclear
explosion on warships.

Two weeks later, French fashion designer Louis Réard trademarked the name "bikini" for his latest swimwear collection. Bikini became famous shortly afterwards, because "like the bomb, the bikini is small and devastating" and the realization that "atom bombs reduce everybody to primitive costume."

This guy in my office who is young enough to say something stupid to me now and then just said that the Olympic medal count was important because it gives us bragging rights. "It doesn't," I said, "I'm pretty sure I have nothing to say because I didn't get up early and run a single lap."

He said, "It's the sports mentality! Aren't you proud of your country?"

I said, "I come from a different sport. Every pushup I did I did for me. Not you."

He said again, "It's the sports mentality!" like it wasn't stupid the first time. "What sport?"

I said, "I spent most of my athletic life involved with gymnastics, which teaches you you act for yourself." What I didn't say is that gymnastics schools talk big talk about team sports but they don't really give a shit so long as their stars are going great guns, which means they'll win anyway. Mostly. It's complicated -

"Don't you want to see your team win?"

"No." I took a breath because I knew he wouldn't understand: "I want to see each gymnast performing the best routines of his or her life and I don't care who wins."

So we talked about the mysteries of scoring, some of which I grasp. He walked away thinking, I'm sure, that professional sports with tribal identities are the only ones, and that I just don't get it. I do get it, and I know that he is invested in his tribal identity to such a degree that he claims credit for the work of others.

Once, I visited friends in Wisconsin. We did what people do: we sat in a bar, talking. One guy said, "So, you're from New Jersey. A Jets fan!"

"No," I said. I was trying really hard to be nice. "I'm from New Jersey."

"A Giants fan?" he asked, wide-eyed.

"No," I said again. "I'm just from New Jersey." When I refused to identify with a tribal structure he understood he didn't understand. I felt a little bad about it. I was wearing a red sequinned dress, fishnets and combat boots and his wife was nice to me anyhow.

It's tempting to remind the Guy With Guy Friends in my office that I was the only girl in the weight room in the seventies before he was born, that women athletes are real athletes, that individual accomplishments are seldom achieved without Mom and Dad getting up at 4 a.m. for long drives to the rink, the pool or the gym for decades on end and WE had nothing to do with it. In fact, if we had any contact with that kind of dedication, WE would probably regard it with scorn, because in real life, WE don't believe anyone is that special and that person is not being realistic. So WE say, and I would tell him all this if I thought he would hear it, but I know better.

I know better because WE think that, even at 45, even in 2008, I am just a girl and girls don't get sports.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Get Up And Run Away With It

Yesterday, I climbed up and down a ladder to put up temporary paper shades in the kitchen and living room. If you haven't seen these wonderful things, you should know that they soften light and create tranquility. I needed tranquility because climbing up and down the ladder caused my right hip to kick my ass from the inside. It would not be accurate to suggest I have a Home Decorating Injury, but I certainly sprained my mojo.

While we sit back and contemplate carefully sitting back and contemplating, let's also consider how sometimes things take turns we might've seen coming. For instance: Zou Kai won the Men's Floor Exercise with a routine that should have embarrassed him. Don't get me wrong: it was crisply executed and stacked with difficult elements. He is a remarkable athlete, no doubt about it. But - and I know there are people ready to argue with me - it wasn't a floor routine.

Yes, according to the code of points, it was. But no, it wasn't. A floor routine is supposed to place into a harmonious and exciting whole an athlete's skill and technique. By this stage of competition, with luck and good television coverage, we've seen the routines a few times. Twice during Zou Kai's floor exercise he did this half-hearted leap for which his feet barely left the ground. For a man who can almost fly, he barely hopped, and the first time I saw him do it, I nearly dropped my refreshing adult beverage. I mean, really. Won't anyone think of Me?

Besides the safety of my drink, there's something else - if you believe that: many routines by both the male and female athletes have become little more than tumbling passes set end to end, with pauses and twitching to mark beginnings and endings. Zou Kai provided a particularly egregious example of this, and by egregious I mean that his tumbling passes were astounding, then he stopped, and then he would do another stratospheric tumbling pass. And astounding it would be, but that's not a floor routine. In fact, there's a whole sport dedicated to this called power tumbling, and that way lies Zou Kai's destiny. Go with my blessing, Zou Kai!

The Danes are apparently monsters with the power tumbling. I admit: there's something about a blond man in black tights doing a series of somesaults that makes me want to do handsprings.

Thing is: this is what the audience wants and the code of points now rewards athletes for pandering. So since we're pandering, why not pander BIG? Let's get rid of pommel horse which almost no one loves*, ditch floor ex and replace it with long, gorgeous, swooping tumbling runs. We can send Cirque du Soleil and TV talent shows perfumed thank-you notes for showing us the way. Because, in truth, we're never going back.

*Kurt Thomas, you know I love you. Thanks for carrying my sister with the broken foot to the truck at gymnastics camp all those years ago. But that can't make up for giving us the only reason to keep pommel horse in the lineup: the often vain hope that it might - if only for a moment - be interesting to look at, and let's never again speak of GymKata. It can only open old wounds...


Sunday, August 17, 2008

And Still My Light's On

Recently, two people I like very much and who were not addressing me at the time, said they didn't want to be lectured about dietary differences around the world or green matters, also around the world. They - you - read PIC. Buckle up, pets, because I am going to heap compost upon you, not to mention cha cha cha all over your arguments. This is going to leave a mark.

Nobody's perfect. Almost no one leaves this planet without leaving a trash pile, though there are people who do not. Few people consume less than their fair share of this planet's resources, but some do. You, however, and I and everyone reading this are making a big, slimy, toxic mess. No matter how much you don't want to hear about that mess, you're soaking in it. Your children are soaking in it. Nature is on you like white on rice, so sooner or later you're going to have to stop howling and listen. It's not even hard to do - listening and living a little greener - and nobody is demanding perfection. Besides, your argument seems to be If I don't want to think about that then I don't have to think about that. Which as circular logic goes is genius but as good ideas go: not so much.

Your children are watching you. The little devils learn from the way you respond to life's little pressures and big squeezes. Your children, who will live with the mess we're making now, will remember whether you shut off lights when you left the room or cranked the air conditioning. You already know this. So what's your job, here? Do you teach them to think clearly and act, or do you teach them that denial's a fine bet until what's undeniable comes knocking on the door?

You can make small changes now that will add up, both for that mess we're making and for the children who observe your quirky behavior. Don't believe me? How about a simple example: your morning coffee. I drink enough coffee that somewhere on a Colombian mountainside there should be a plaque with my name on it, and if there is a plaque with my name on it, that's not going to change anytime soon. But I never, never walk into a Starbuck's and drop $10 on one cup of coffee containing double my daily calorie limit, and if I march through a Dunkin' Donuts it's because I'm on a road trip and the caffeine patch is wearing off. I have a travel mug.

We are a technologically advanced society in which devices now exist to make coffee in your very own home. It's true! You can make your own coffee. Should you be one of those people in a 10' by 10' apartment without counter space, there are devices you could probably suspend from the ceiling that could double as soothing water features. For most of us, there's no reason why we can obtain one of these devices and teach those impressionable children that thrift is good. Not only that, but once you step out of line at the coffee joint and find money in your pocket, you will wonder why you were ever there in the first place.

How, you may finally be asking yourself, does making my own coffee count as going greener when it creates garbage in the form of coffee filters and grounds? This is an excellent question, and the answer is: it doesn't have to. Coffee grounds can be dumped directly onto lawns, gardens or empty lots. Got a tree in front of your apartment building? Toss down the grounds!

Some coffeemakers use filters. You're used to seeing those white ones but you can pick up unbleached filters instead. They're right there on the shelf, they don't affect the flavor of the coffee and less toxic goo was used in their creation. A small but important step, eh? You can take another one by buying these filters here made of hemp, if you can find them without incurring a misdemeanor. Or pick up a gold coffee filter and eliminate the paper filters entirely. Plus, you'd have the ruby slippers of coffeemaking devices.

A lot of people say they're trying to save the planet. That is a crucial misstatement of what is at stake here and now. The planet itself is not in any danger. The planet doesn't care, and will go on spinning. We, however, cannot say the planet's natural resources will stretch to meet our needs. It's not a matter of economics. Even if you can afford to cushion yourself against lectures, waste and the vagaries of the markets, you can't protect yourself from air, water and toxins. You know it, your lungs know it, your family's medical history shows it and your children take all this in.

So, what's it going to be: do you teach your children to think clearly and cleverly adapt or teach them that you wouldn't?


Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Cat Blogging: Step Away, Walk Away Edition

The other day, I was reading around the Blogosphere, as I am wont to do, and this made me spit my Joint Juice:
I’m going to guess that "men" (and by men, Gallagher also means several women, none of whom count because hey look ocelots. [sic]

Long story short, men have a culturally bred higher tolerance for risk which has a lot more to do with generations of expectations that men go out and risk themselves to provide while women stay home and tend to what’s provided. Except when women do it, which again doesn’t count because jungle cats!

Naturally, I resented this because Resentment is my middle name. Also: Frances. See how those go together? Anyway, the thing I learned was that we're not looking at enough adorable ocelots, so here is one.

I feel smarter already.

Yesterday, I stayed home from work, where they get very distressed when I lie on my cubicle floor and complain about my back, not to mention my shoulders, my neck and that I'm not allowed to drink delicious, painkilling scotch on company time. But that's not important. What is important is that I was at home, trying to hold very still when the doorbell buzzed. Sharkey hates my doorbell. He says it sounds like Dad got the wrong answer and here come Richard Dawson's lips. Anyway, I grabbed a kimono because it was Grandma's and who was more modest than Grandma and answered the door. My hair was standing up straight. The super asked if he could show my apartment so he could, you know, rent it. I looked at him. I looked at me in foundation garments, a cotton nightgown and my grandmother's kimono and said, "Gimme ten minutes" knowing full well that if I hadn't been there, he would've marched the people waiting on the sidewalk right through my door.

After the people left, I could not find Topaz and Drusy. Hang on, then -

Ocelots are the cutest thing since pink noses. Sometimes they have those! Anyway, I hunted for the invisible pussycats all over the one bedroom apartment. I searched the bathroom and the litter boxes. I searched the kitchen near the food. Nobody came running! I searched the carpet-covered cat-scratchy pillar o' cat fun thing. I searched the top of the curtain rods, the laundry shelves and the dryer. I searched windowsills for inflatable stairs like for plane emergency exits. No dice! Topaz and Drusy had gone Full Kitty Invisible. There was nothing to do but wait for my darlings to reappear.

As I've moved things out of the apartment, new kitty resting spots reveal themselves - to the cats, anyhow. Drusy's new favorite place to nap is the top shelf in my closet. I looked there. You'll note this closet, pictured, is empty of anyone resembling Drusy or Topaz, but this is not my closet so that's not really a surprise. I'm at work, where I don't have digital images of my closet. Do you? Duh!

Anyway, after about half an hour, the Invisibility wore off and there was Drusy at my feet, making that adorable bugling sound that refers to me. I believe the cats all call me "Shep" but it's a family name so I don't mind. And there was Topaz, reflecting light again. I didn't even ask where they'd gone. I was just glad to have them back.

Also: I called the super and told him to make an appointment next time. If I'm surprised I might be wearing something very high risk.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

She Was Dark At the Top of the Stairs

During the Men's Individual All-Around last night, Elfi Schlegel said that little girls admired Olga Korbut because she was cute. That was true - to a degree.

Some of us admired her because she kicked a whole lot of stale, ladylike ass.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

He's Got A Red And Black Tuxedo

Thirty awful, accidentally hilarious seconds. Tough it out.

Never have I seen better revenge on the White Man for stealing someone's land. I mean, the Mohegan People could have just taken the money and run, but no. It's Toto Karaoke time, motherfuckers.

Monday, August 11, 2008

His Hair Was Perfect

Pete took these beautiful pictures of my family being herded like cats on a beach in Cape Cod. Grandpa turned 96 and Miss Sasha's baby Panky being seven months old meant Mom hired a photographer, issued a dress code order and refused to hear complaints from anyone. I do mean anyone. When Grandpa was done for the day, we got in the car and drove off while Mom was still threatening to cut off our inheritances. We weren't fooled. While most people have some intention of dying and leaving their children something, if it means parting with her stuff Mom's going to live forever.

Pete, lifelong observer of my family's politics, dressed according to the dress code and appears in some pictures. This is because nobody ever gets to leave my family without getting a restraining against half the town, so he's stuck with us. Mom had lots of pictures planned: Grandpa's direct descendants, Mom's and Tom's children and grandchildren, smaller family units. So Pete had plenty of time to take pictures of the beleaguered yet cheerful photographer herding us like cats. By the time the little boys were bored, throwing rocks and digging for China seemed like an awesomely awesome idea. Pete loves Cape Cod. Plus: throwing rocks and digging for China - ya hunh!

Before the photographer arrived, we parked and wandered around on the beach rocks. I handed Pete the camera and asked him to take pictures of the chaos, and they are fantastically quirky. The beach, Tom told us, is one of the few spots on the East Coast where the sun sets over the ocean. Since the place was so special, we were all surprised when the photographer moved us across the street to a spot next to the salt marsh. The path was rocky and we all worried about Grandpa's footing, but he managed with a cane and four nervous helpers. The spot where we stopped lay between two banks of rose hip bushes, all the more amusing because Daria's wildly allergic to rose hips. So, you know, it's not just a mildly hostile and odd image, it's a brush with brushy death.

Mom wanted a picture of her grandchildren and great-grandson before the photographer arrived. They all sat on the rocks and Pete caught this wild image of babies crying, grandchildren arguing, children laughing, spectators like myself gasping for breath as the sun bobbed above the horizon behind them. My brother Todd's little son was hysterical so Todd scooped him up and dropped him back down for the pictures my sisters frantically snapped off to Pete's right. Here, Todd's still trying to comfort the inconsolable toddler.

We spent two days with much of my family during which the screaming of children was pretty much to be expected. It was the incessant screaming of their parents that took Pete and me by surprise. Tonight, we watch the Olympics in near silence and listen for the padding footsteps of perplexed pussycats. For the moment, we are at home.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Rise Up In the Sweat And Smoke Like Mercury

Sometimes you feel like a nut; sometimes you make a movie with Rula Lenska.

Fortunately, my stepmommy Darla is looking out for my best interests. The word cinematic doesn't quite cover this career opportunity.
(London, but planned worldwide expansion)

Turtleneck sweaters! Oh goody!
20-30 henchmen needed for moderately-sized supervillain organisation with large expansion potential (fortresses built into geological structures, corruption of government officials, possible genesis of 'nemesis' vigilante). Electrical theme.

Applicants must be willing to learn new skills, including but not limited to operation of specialised 'lightning guns'. Applicants will also be required to wear specialised uniform when at work (functional rubber suits with my logo on front), except in cases where deception is required (posing as hostages in order to ambush vigilantes, etc).

Desired (but not necessarily required) in applicants:

-interesting deformations/obsessions/powers(?) giving rise to interesting nicknames (e.g. Claws, Pyro, Buzzsaw, and similar)
-unwavering loyalty
-being a corruptible government official
-ability to work as part of a close-knit team (unless interesting obsession is of the 'lone wolf' variety)
-grudge against any well-known vigilante
-flexible moral code

This seems ambitious. Can I apply for entry level Minion?
Equal opportunies employer. Both henchmen and femmes fatales absolutely welcome.

Great promotion opportunities - right-hand-man position constantly being unexpectedly opened. Would look good on any future supervillain resume/CV.

Send an email with details of any prior henchman work, or details of what is driving you to join the ranks of a supervillain organisation. Will reply to all serious applicants. Hope to hear from you, and with luck, welcome you into a rewarding and promising career!

- Jacque (The Zapper) Zerapi

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I just read the words prior henchman work!
* Location: London, but planned worldwide expansion
* Compensation: £20,000pa starting salary, with added commissions based around success of supervillain operations. Contracts negotiable depending on applicant's personal skills/powers.
* Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
* Please, no phone calls about this job!
* Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

Well, of course not! Creating a supervillain organization is going to take up your whole day. Thus, we still have all night to puzzle over this vomity vomitrociousness:

Hat tip: the guy who sits next to me in the library.

Ephesians? You read your kid Ephesians and wonder why she can't fucking sleep? How about something a little more secular and age appropriate like those lovely Bronte Sisters: "It was the only house on the moors and it was creepy. Beautiful and creepy. Cathy and I fell in love, which was beautiful and creepy. One day, she was annoyed and the next day she was dead of fever, which made her beautiful, though no less creepy. I mourned her as only I, Heathcliff, could mourn her, beautifully and creepily. And in death she hounded me to mine. Which is, you guessed it..." I suppose Goodnight Moon is out of the question because it might interest the little darling in science or bears or something - but listen, I have one important word for the maker of these terrifying pajamas: headbands.

A bazillion years ago, headbands became an overnight sensation. I can't recall seeing them on the street, but I can't remember if I'm wearing shoes, so that's no certain indicator. Anyway, suddenly, everywhere a person turned, there floated the smiling face of Olivia Newton John sporting a headband and warbling Let's Get Physical, which was hugely mortifying. If you had a pulse. I immediately understood what had happened: a small group of people in a closed environment had one stupid thought and because of the pressurized environment it blew up and made a giant, fashionable mess. Headbands would not have happened if even one person - one person! - had said in a stern voice, "You all look stupid. Cut that shit out and get back to work. Those thighs aren't going to firm themselves."

This has got to be said: Crazy person - and I mean that in the nicest, least judgmental and not at all spitting-mad manner - Crazy person, despite your best intentions and despite what you think you see, your children look like the best dressed Klansmen on the whole fashionably doomed Templar crusade. Burn these terrible costumes - not on Iman's front lawn, mind you, no matter what she's peddling at Target. Resist the impulse. I can tell you feel it! Get rid of these hateful things, plunk your kids into some soft, pastel footie pajamas and read them some motherfucking Winnie the Pooh. Save your children a lifetime of wishing YOU would get therapy.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

When I Was A Boy Everything Was Right

Jimmy Kimmel is a disgusting fuckpig - and yet, he's got a point.

Unnecessary Censorship Sesame Street Edition


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Bottom of the Bottomless Blue Blue

Comedienne Paula Poundstone had an excellent bit about kittens. I can't do it justice myself, so I'll humbly paraphrase: Sometimes we're proud of the wrong thing. My cat climbs the curtains. I don't want her to do that, but she's way up at the top. When she's way up there, what does she say? "Mom! Mom! I'm up sooooo high!"

This protester, whose zen-like white middle class obliviousness has been disrupted by high oil prices, an uppity Negro with the gall to run for high office and Italian lettuce, is digging her adorable kitty claws into the curtain rod.

Via Dependable Renegade.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Stumble, You Might Fall

It's not often you see stone crazy self-loathing and bona fide eeeeeevil homophobia in one creepy package, but this one is starting to ooze.
'God Hates Fags' pastor blames gays, judges for Saturday church fire

Oh. This pasty fucker. Again.
"No doubt the work of fags or fag sympathizers," Rev. Fred Phelps said in a recent YouTube message of the Saturday morning fire that broke out at Westboro Baptist Church.

"This is the latest in a long line of criminal acts perpetrated against us by the mean-spirited citizens of this evil, hellbound nation." Also to blame, according to Phelps, are "unfaithful, oath-breaking judges," law enforcement, the media and the "filthy, fag-riddled military" in a perceived declaration of "open season" on Westboro and its property.

"Shame on you, black-robed monsters," Phelps tells the aforementioned members of the judiciary, "you are going to Hell."

While earlier reports estimated damages to Westboro property at $10,000, Phelps himself put the figure as high as $30,000.

You're thinking to yourself, 'Self, nobody could be that believe that shit, right? That guy's gotta be doing some utterly righteous performance art.' Well, get a load of these traumatized people who're watching their church burn down and their first thought is far from Christian love.

But wait, these terrible people are so terrible they're horribly funny - by which I mean they're HILARIOUS. They've made an unpleasant media splash protesting at the funerals of veterans, sparking responses from bikers and transvestites, a plot twist I didn't see coming. Frankly. But few things are funnier than to hear Fred Phelps describe his philosophical differences with designers and design-impaired Americans in his own words. I couldn't get past the cheery spinning God Hates Fags satellite before spitting coffee at my monitor, but the blinking Fag Media Shame is just the living end!

Truly, Fred Phelps is one of our finest young comedy writers. For instance, the logo. I thought it said Fag Court 14 as created by a really really straight graphic designer, but no. The upside down flag is like a duvet sewn by a gay, presbiotic Betsy Ross! Oooh! That's a stick figure, sticking out its rump for a sticking, and another stick figure sticking around to do it! Get it? Get it? They're gonna have - can you believe it?! - yucky GAY BUTT SEX! Omigod omigod omigod! I can't look but I can't NOT look! Wait, you look for me! Are they DOING IT YET?

Honestly, when you're that upset that men love men - which is also to say that women who love women may be of some passing, scandalized, prurient, not at all vicarious interest - you don't need a pulpit. You need a date with a musclebound libertine who charges by the hour and - and I can't emphasize this strongly enough - EVERYONE KNOWS IT, MISS PHELPS.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Don't Go Out the Back Door

Some months ago.

Miss Sasha: We're having 'Panky christened in August.
Tata: In a church? Like, splashy-splashy, scrub off the original sin?
Miss Sasha: Yes, and then we're having a luau at Dad's house.
Tata: You're serving roast pig to old Jews on a Catholic occasion and setting it to soothing hula music?
Miss Sasha: When you put it that way...
Tata: Lightning's bound to strike. I'll go roller skate under an antenna in some other town.


Daria: You're going.
Tata: I'm not going.
Daria: You're going.
Tata: Nope. Not going!


Tata: Dude, I can't go.
Minstrel Boy: It ain't about you. Zip yer lip and go.
Tata: Thanks for setting me straight, cowboy - as straight as I get, anyhow.
MB: Well, gotta mosey off into the sunset, fight crime and mix metaphors. Burr whisk, away!


Daria: You're going.
Tata: Maybe.
Daria: You're going.
Tata: Maybe. Man, I'm sick of talking about this.

After that.

Tata: I cannot in good conscience spend my whole week fighting the homophobic and anti-choice rhetoric and violence of the church and show up on Sunday in a grass skirt. Hey, did you know I could say the words in good conscience without laughing hysterically?
Miss Sasha: Fine. Wear your coconut bra to the party. I know you have one.


Miss Sasha: I have potentially upsetting news.
Tata: I'm still the black sheep of an increasingly angry family?
Miss Sasha: My biological father's coming on Sunday.
Tata: Who knew that black sheep came blacker? Because there's one now.


Tata: I thought you were staying in Cape Cod and coping with a plumbing disaster.
Mom: If he goes to the christening tomorrow I'm not going.
Tata: Have you made this declaration to Miss Sasha?
Mom: Not yet. If I call now it'll ruin dinner.
Tata: ...Whereas if you wait, you can wreck her entire evening! I'll have to try that next time.

You will no doubt be pleased to hear that no one was killed in the baptizing of this baby.


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Time To Let It Grow

If I hadn't recently started taking bellydancing lessons I might not have noticed this right away. The teacher lives in the house directly behind me as I pointed my camera toward the town's main drag. Many streets in this town look just like this: large, old houses and snug, old Cape Cods, surrounded by trees and plants. A large number of the houses were built by the same builders in the early twentieth century. My great-grandfather bought a house for his wife and seven children eight blocks away in 1917. The trees are an important part of the character of the town, which prides itself on being a walking community: you can walk to the store, to a restaurant, to buy a snow shovel. A few years ago, the Department of Public Works began doing something mysterious: cutting off the tops of healthy trees and leaving fifteen or twenty foot stumps. Two avenues over, there's a block that looks like totem pole training school.

One day, I drove past the teacher's house and saw a Department of Public Works crew had taken the treetop of the tree on the corner and started hacking asymetrically at the next one. I was horrified but not as horrified as the teacher and her family, who were traumatized. After some thought, I proposed the homeowners turn that one tall stump on the corner into art supplies by inviting woodworking sculptors to make something of it. They'd have to wait a year for the wood to dry, but it could be done. As you can see, surprises were in store.

If this story sounds confused time-wise, there might be a good reason for that: I was frantically working on other things. Each time a treetop came off it was after crews departed, apparently finished, but returned. On Thursday as I drove home from work I saw five crew trucks and a large crew taking down the second and third trees. I had my digital camera with me but I was so busy fighting the urge to turn a chainsaw on a chainsaw-wielding lunkhead it didn't occur to me to menace same with a camera. So: that's totally my fault. I'll try to remember next time to calmly threaten cobags with Kodaks, their natural enemies. The moment passed, but there's one important thing to remember: the trucks weren't from the Department of Public Works. They were from a private contractor, the trees were on town land and were town property.

Sometimes the town takes down a tree when it interferes with the electric lines, but these were no different from trees anywhere in town in that the had grown up around the wires. So what's to stop Public Works from deforesting the entire town? This drives my brother-in-law Dan crazy. He's a landscape architect. Every time I tell him the Department of Public Works is up to something he gets a weary look in his eye like he's retired from crimefighting, hung up his tights and it's someone else's turn. He says the last tree the crews cut has a hollow, round spot, which made me wonder if they'd started with the wrong tree and kept going. He says, "The trees must have been a hazard of some kind, right?" I'm so mad about this Dan's in grave danger of explaining to a judge why I should be denied bail.

When I took these pictures yesterday the sunlight was so bright I couldn't see the pictures I took. I was guessing. The teacher turned into her driveway as I stood there, staring at electrical wires and wondering what the camera saw. She was shocked to see the fourth tree apparently cut in half after she left the house that morning. My sister says a consultant working for the Department of Public Works gets paid to decide to take down trees and if there's no deciding there's no job. That may or may not be the case. The town has a committee that makes decisions about trees. Yesterday, that group's website was down.

There may be a perfectly rational explanation for what's happened here. I'd like to hear it. The homeowners would like to hear it, too.


Friday, August 01, 2008

Friday Cat Blogging: Roof Rusted Edition

Pretty Princess Drusy cannot let a goblet of water go un-gobbed. We must share! It's like a Greek wedding with somewhat fewer assaults around here! Thus, at Casa Rococo, we've gone unbreakable - though just this morning an unwary ancestral demitasse cup took a header off the sideboard while lovely Topaz said, "Who, me?" The demitasse cup miraculously survived its swan dive with but a mild splash and the carpet rippled coyly. I blame the East German judge, who remains annoyed that she's an anachronism.

What, your cat doesn't play with her trebuchet?

We're packing and moving my things a little at a time. My landlord seems to know this, since no new lease arrived last month for me to fret over and send back. It seems symbolic, but I'm not sure how. If there's nothing to worry over I shouldn't worry, right? But with my landlord it's not like that and I keep waiting for another shoe to drop. I could save myself some worry, I guess, by packing and moving my shoes.

Making lovey-dovey, not war, Madame Topaz blinks her eyes slowly, which cat afficionados assure us is the kitty version of blowing kisses. Wherever Pete sits, Topaz's lavish lip-prints fly by and stick to the wall. As you can see from this glamorous shot, Topaz has white lips. I'd buy her white patent leather go-go boots to work this look but she doesn't have the legs for it. Which I'm not going to tell her. Noooo. I tell her I'm still catalog-shopping for just the right pair.