“I cannot walk through the suburbs in the solitude of the night without thinking that the night pleases us because it suppresses idle details, just as our memory does.” ~ Jorge Luis Borges

I wrote this last night, but decided to mull it over and come back to it in the morning. Still feel the same way. Apologize for the disjointedness (is that even a word?)………..

President Jimmy Carter Signing an Extension of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) Ratification (1978)
(Wikimedia Commons)

                   

“I could as easily bail out the Potomac River with a teaspoon as attend to all the details of the army.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Friday night. Cloudy and humid, high 60’s.

I’d never heard that Lincoln quote before, about using a teaspoon to bail out the Potomac River. Isn’t it wonderful? Reminds me of Eliot. I still feel that I’m measuring out my life in coffee spoons, and now I can add teaspoons to my list of metaphors for not being able to get things done.

So I’ve spent a lot of this week amassing a bizarre list of things that I’ve noticed that perplex me, but I have to warn you, this post is all over the place. Here are a few:

Suffragettes (1908)
Wikimedia Commons
  • Why, when there is a clearly marked turn lane, must there always be the one person who pulls into it diagonally, thereby blocking at least one lane?
  • How do I always manage to park in a puddle, and why do I only find out this reality once I have stepped into said puddle?
  • Why do the cars in front of me always seem to be in a conspiracy to keep traffic moving at least three miles below the speed limit?
  • Why do defoggers only work on the magical setting, you know, the one that comes from moving the different settings several times until you reach that nirvana that can never be duplicated?
  • Why are there no Obama signs in my neighborhood except for mine? Did the Dems just decide to concede Virginia’s swing state classification to the Mittens and concentrate on Ohio? It would appear so . . .

“Men who wish to know about the world must learn about it in its particular details.” ~ Heraclitus

And then there is this (true story): While driving Brett to campus the other day, I asked him what that window decal on the car ahead of us was supposed to be. I assumed that he would know because it looked like some kind of character out of a game.  It was pink, and smiling, and cartoony. To wit, he replied, “It’s a uterus.”

Demand Equal Rights

Now, let me pause here as I am certain that you are pausing also. “A uterus?” I asked. “But why?”

Brett replied that the uterus has become the new pink, the new breast cancer, the cause de célèbre, if you will.

Okay. I need to say a few things about this one. First, I am a firm believer that what goes on in my uterus is my business and no one else’s. I find it to be a very personal relationship, one that I do not particularly care to share with the whole world. Second, I also believe that I am a pretty radical thinker, open to new concepts and ideas, welcoming a steady stream of new data into my hard drive, as it were. But a uterus?

Seriously?

Apparently so. The uterus decal is a woman’s way of saying something along the lines of this is mine, or perhaps, I’m female and I’m proud of my lady parts, or maybe, This is how I look on the inside. Yes, yes. Don’t get testy. I know that it’s a political statement, but still, I think that I’m almost offended—a pink, smiley uterus with eyes. I think it’s the eyes that creep me out. I’m going to have to ponder this little detail some more and perhaps come back to it later.

“It is in the treatment of trifles that a person shows what they are.” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Other things I’ve been mulling over:

  • Why are Republicans so caught up in having fake tans? They’re kind of like the Real Housewives of Orange County in that vein.

    Equal Rights Conference (1922)
    Wikimedia Commons
  • Will there be any paper magazines in a decade? Newsweek will no longer be in traditional print. That saddens me probably way more than it does them.
  • Why do people in Hampton Roads act totally insane when there is news of a tropical storm or hurricane somewhere in the Atlantic. There was a run on water in the Wal Mart Market this afternoon. You would have thought those jugs contained gold.
  • Did you know that I also have accidents with shopping carts? Just thought I’d mention that.
  • I can’t find a decent ringtone for UB40’s “Red, Red Wine” on any reputable sites. This is not earth-shattering, but I’ve been wondering about it.

“I prefer to explore the most intimate moments, the smaller, crystallized details we all hinge our lives on.” ~ Rita Dove

Getting back to that whole uterus decal thing—and yes, I am, sooner than expected—I can’t help but think that these same women who are displaying their female reproductive organs on their rear windows would be highly offended if they pulled up behind a truck with a big old decal of a penis and accompanying testes. I mean, wouldn’t that cause an uproar? Bad taste! Offensive! ya da ya da ya da . . .

A Bumper Sticker I Could Live With

Look, I understand militant feminism. I stopped wearing a bra when I was young (truthfully, I didn’t really need one, but that’s beside the point) because I heard that’s what real feminists did. I was on the forefront of fighting for equal pay for the same job before most of you were born. I adopted the Ms. moniker proudly, declaring to all within shouting distance that my marital status did not need to be indicated in a formal title, after all, Mr. did not indicate marital status. I mean folks, I still have an ERA NOW button. I understand that women are taking back their uteri (is that the correct plural for uteruses?), demanding that men-folk stop sticking their noses where they don’t belong. I completely agree.

But a smile? Eyes? Just ewwwwww all over the place.

“After all it is those who have a deep and real inner life who are best able to deal with the irritating details of outer life.” ~ Evelyn Underhill

So, I’ve also been considering a few other things:

March for the Equal Rights Amendment
  • I wonder what would happen if one night I crept into the yard of the guy in Lex’s neighborhood who has 20 Romney/Ryan yard signs in his teeny, tiny front yard, and swapped one out for an Obama/Biden sign? Not in the front, but somewhere in the middle . . . how apoplectic do you think he’d get?
  • Is it really sad that I can’t wait for December so that I can go see Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movie?
  • Is it pathetic that I wish there were going to be more Harry Potter movies?
  • Should that last question really have been more along the lines of how pathetic would it be?
  • Does anyone want to sew Brett’s costume for me?

“The devil is in the details.” ~ unknown

Okay, back to this.

2011 Reintroduction of the ERA
by Rebecca Koenig

People, please. Feminism came about because women wanted to be treated as equals, you know, that whole equal rights thing? It’s a pretty basic concept, but somehow it’s morphed into something I don’t recognize, something that promotes misandry, something that contends that the owner of the vagina is better than the owner of the penis. If I’m making you squirm, good. Misandry is no better than misogyny. And let me pause here—I am not talking about sexual orientation. Unfortunately, at some point, the Rush Limbaughs of the world began to pair the words feminist and lesbian. The first can be the second, and the second can be the first, but not necessarily so.

Who you share your uterus with is none of my business. What you do with it is none of my business. Do you really need to shout to the world that you have a uterus? If this makes me old fashioned, then I guess I am, but I’m still a feminist, in the truest sense of the word because I do not believe for one second that one gender is better equipped (no pun intended) to perform a job or hold an office or make a decision than the other gender.

And by the way, if you are so inclined to try to turn this into a debate about rape culture, don’t bother. This is definitely not about that and that is not about this. It’s essentially this: I’m for human rights, equality for all. It doesn’t get much more basic than that.

Oh, whatever. As Bukowski said,

“I decide that the only definition of
Truth (which changes)
is that it is that thing or act or
belief which the crowd
rejects.” (from “The People Look Like Flowers”)

More later. Peace.

Music by The Chromatics, “Into the Black”

                   

The Strongest Of The Strange

you won’t see them often
for wherever the crowd is
they
are not.
those odd ones, not
many
but from them
come
the few
good paintings
the few
good symphonies
the few
good books
and other
works.
and from the
best of the
strange ones
perhaps
nothing.
they are
their own
paintings
their own
books
their own
music
their own
work.
sometimes I think
I see
them – say
a certain old
man
sitting on a
certain bench
in a certain
way
or
a quick face
going the other
way
in a passing
automobile
or
there’s a certain motion
of the hands
of a bag-boy or a bag-
girl
while packing
supermarket
groceries.
sometimes
it is even somebody
you have been
living with
for some
time –
you will notice
a
lightning quick
glance
never seen
from them
before.
sometimes
you will only note
their
existence
suddenly
in
vivid
recall
some months
some years
after they are
gone.
I remember
such a
one –
he was about
20 years old
drunk at
10 a.m.
staring into
a cracked
New Orleans
mirror
facing dreaming
against the
walls of
the world
where
did I
go?

~ Charles Bukowski

We’re Down to Hours, and the Silliness Begins

Mommies, Don’t Let Your Daughters Grow Up to Be Rebels

Pepé Le Pew Couldn’t Have Done It Better

When I was a child, I loved that French skunk Pepé Le Pew: “Ah, chérie. Where are you? It is I. Pepé. I am looking for you.” And poor Pepé. He could never quite understand why the female cat would run away from him, why people would faint when he came around. And so, when the governator received a call from French President Nicolas Sarkozy, of course she was all aflutter when that accent came through le telefone pour le governor Sarah P.

What she didn’t know was that she was being punked, on air, by the Quebec comedy duo, “The Masked Avengers.” Now I do have to give them props, they gave her several clues along the way that she was not speaking with the real president, aside from the Pepé Le Pew accent. For example, the shooting the animals from the helicopter comment? Or how about his special American advisor Johnny Halladay (French singer)? Too remote? Okay, I’ll let her pass for not knowing the translation for lipstick on a pig (de rouge a levre sur un cochon).

But really, she didn’t get an inkling something was up when he said, “the prime minister of Canada Stef Carse” ? I mean, she’s the one who is always bragging about being next door neighbors with Canada, but she didn’t know Stephen Harper’s name . . . and then the Prime Minister of Quebec versus the Premiere of Quebec (okay, maybe splitting hairs, but she still didn’t recognize that the name was wrong). And come on, did she really think that a head of state was going to tell her that his wife was “hot in bed”? But worse than that, she said to “give her a big hug for me.” Omigawd. You do not tell a head of state to give his wife a big hug from you. Jeez-o-pete. Were you raised in a barn?

Moving on. Marcel the guy with bread under his armpit? Okay, I snorted out loud with that one. To which she replied: “Right, that’s what it’s all about, the middle class and government needing to work for them.” I think that it was at this point that the guys on the other end decided that they probably couldn’t go on much longer or they might pee in their pants.

To which I have to ask, who are her handlers? What numbskull handed her the phone? Don’t they know anything about protocol? Are they for real? Is this aide now looking for other meaningful employment at a nearby McDonald’s as she should be for allowing the Republican VP candidate to be embarrassed for seven minutes on international radio and television, even more than usual? Good golly miss molly.

Who We Are is What We Put on Our Walls

I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but my new masthead is actually an inset of a picture of one of my collages. I kept trying to find the right picture for my masthead, something that would reflect the real me, and then it dawned on me: nothing would reflect me better than a piece of me. So I took a picture of my last bulletin board at work, and I cropped a piece of it. I really wish that I could have put more of the whole picture up there, but there is only so much space allowed for the image, so I took what I could get, and I really wanted to get my ERA NOW pin in the shot.

My offices have always been very, very cluttered, by choice. I have always reasoned that if I am going to spend over one third of my life in some place, then I need to feel comfortable in that place, and so I nest there. I bring in books, mostly reference books, but a few philosophy books, lots and lots of pictures of my family, but also pictures that I have taken of various landscapes, and then my little collection of minutiae that I have built up over the years—an ashtray from Paris, a running gnome with chipped feet, a Waterford business card holder, a clay fish that my son made in Bible school, a German knife letter holder that I traded an old Volkswagen for (long stupid story), and then my collage collection, which has taken many years to amass, and I have to tailor to fit my office size.

I mention all of this because I just read an article by Bill Bishop in “Slate Magazine” that talks about a very interesting theory: Republicans tend to be neater than Democrats. Really? Apparently, Sam Gosling, a psychology professor at the University of Texas, and three other colleagues, have posited In an unpublished paper that liberals and conservatives differ in “two major personality dimensions.” Their paper, which is titled “The Secret Lives of Liberals and Conservatives,” looked for the underlying personality traits that defined left and right.

It seems that we liberals are more open to experiences, and more motivated by the curiosity and diversity of the experiences. Whereas conservatives are conscientious, follow the rules, have self-control, and like order. The professors used college students as their test subjects, and took polls, asked questions, and looked at the students’ rooms for information. Conservative subjects had more cleaning products!

Now there is just one thing wrong with the professors’ study. They didn’t break it down by gender. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be stereotypical here, but I think that gender, in a study about neatness, would make a difference, regardless of political leanings. For example, when I was in college, my OCD was rampant. I not only cleaned my apartment, I cleaned friends’ apartments. No kidding. One of my best male friends happened to be very, very Republican. He was a complete slob. His apartment was filthy. I cleaned it—when he let me. However, the reverse can also be true. My oldest son and daughter for example, are both liberals, and when my daughter was 16, my father asked if someone had robbed her room (I don’t think that he was kidding). My son, who has since moved on from his neat phase, used to keep his room impeccably clean. You just never know who will be neat and who won’t.

Now as to the other part of their study on carrying over to work life and offices, the professors claim that conservatives’ offices “tended to be more conventional, less stylish, and less comfortable compared with liberal offices. Liberals’ offices were more colorful and contained more CDs and a greater variety of books.” I would have to agree with them on this point. Not just because of my own track record with offices, but because of my observations of other people’s offices. At ODU, for example, in the English Department, most professors’ offices were filled with wonderful, eclectic things. Whereas at the government contractor where I worked in Northern Virginia, it was predominantly rigid, and boring. The most exciting thing in one of my boss’s offices was a Porsche magazine.

And then there was the time in which I was stuck in a cubicle. Omigawd. Just send me into the circles of hell, why don’t you. But, hundreds of push pins and a lot of tape, and voila. It was just like a cubicle covered with as much crap as I could fit into a 10’x10′ space without the walls falling down. And boy did my boss hate it . . .

A Little Ironic Night Music

Found this little tidbit on the web, and while it happened months ago, I just had to share:

Rupert Murdoch must have been gnashing his big teeth. Apparently, the owner of Fox News and The New York Post, has no control over daughter Elisabeth’s guest lists. It seems that since Elisabeth Murdoch left her father’s employ to run her own television production company, Shine, Ltd., she has definitely formed her own alliances, and one of them is Barack Obama.

Perhaps daughter Elisabeth’s fondness for Obama comes from her first marriage to Elkin Kwesi Pianim, who is Ghanian, and with whom she has two children. Murdoch is currently married to public relations guru Matthew Freud, the great-grandson of Sigmund Freud.

Murdoch, a citizen of both the U.S. and Great Britain, is herself known as a shrewd businesswoman. She grew up primarily in New York. In April, she hosted a Notting Hill fundraiser for Barack Obama with co-sponsors that included Gwyneth Paltrow.

Can’t you just imagine daddy Rupert’s delight? Gnash, gnash, snarl, snarl.

Whoo, boy. Two days to go. Be prepared to stand in line. You’ll be part of history, whether you are a neat Republican, or an expressive Democrat.

More later. Peace.