Had Olivia last night and today.
Here, have this . . .
P.S. Had “Dora, Dora, the ex—plorer” running through my head until about midnight . . .
Had Olivia last night and today.
Here, have this . . .
P.S. Had “Dora, Dora, the ex—plorer” running through my head until about midnight . . .
If it’s Friday, it must mean leftovers . . .
Sitting in Eamonn’s room on Friday afternoon. A few days ago, I began the task of trying to clean this room, which means going through all of the various piles of crap that Eamonn has left here since moving to his Dad’s house.
I’ve only managed to clean the desk so far. We’re talking about countless binders, notebooks, and piles of paper from high school. Dead pens and broken pencils. Permanent markers that have completely dried up from having no cap. and all kinds of other unidentifiable stuff. Oh, and I also found the title to his Explorer, which Eamonn swore up and down that he had given me. Yep, that title, the one that he had to go to DMV to get a duplicate of so that he could junk the Explorer.
What possessed me to begin this cleaning project? Well, several things, the main one being that I’m using his computer while mine is dead, and I just couldn’t stand not having one clear space on which to place my Pepsi. That and the fact that if I continued to wait for Eamonn to come over and start to de-junk, I’d be waiting until 2020.
Corey and I are thinking about turning this bedroom into an office with a futon for guests, not that we ever have guests, nor do we have the money to purchase a futon, but one thing at a time.
Brett made it through his first week of college. Today’s classes were cancelled because of the hurricane. Although, all we’ve seen is rain. I know that schools and businesses try to be more proactive ever since that hurricane about five years ago that took out everything, and few people were prepared.
Our hurricane preparation? Flashlights and bottled water. I mean, there really isn’t anything else that we can do. We don’t have a generator, nor do we have anything else in the way of emergency equipment. Next year, though, I want to be sure to have flood insurance in place. In this area, homeowners cannot get a flood policy written once the first hurricane enters the Atlantic, so we’re out of luck for 2010, and even though we don’t live in a flood area, we are close enough to water that we should have it. Besides, regular homeowner’s insurance covers very little in the way of water damage, which means that if there is a massive storm surge, and our home becomes a wading pool, we may well be SOL.
So back to the whole college preparation thing: We finally got Brett a workable schedule. I ordered his books, only to have two of them kick back from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I mean I searched high and low to find the lowest possible prices on textbooks. One book is on backorder, with no projected shipment date. Another book is no longer available from the vendor from whom I originally ordered, which meant finding an alternative source, which (of course) was much more expensive.
Things that make a person scream ARGH.
So an update on the various things that aren’t working:
My computer: The motherboard arrived, and Corey took my CPU and the motherboard to the Geeks, who then quoted him $99 after initially quoting him $49. Then the person with whom Corey was speaking uttered those horrible words (the words that IsaacMak had already prophesied): There’s a good chance that the computer will need to be reloaded with Vista, which means that you will lose everything on the hard drive . . .
It seems that Windows has implemented a new hitch with Vista and all subsequent windows versions: If the motherboard needs to be replaced, then the operating system has to be reloaded. This news, although not entirely unexpected, is more painful than I can express. The last time I did a total system backup was three years ago. Since then, I have approximately twice the data I had at that time. I won’t bother to mention (so, of course, I shall) how I pointed out to Corey months ago that we needed to get some kind of external hard drive so that all of the systems in the house could be backed up, you know, just in case . . .
Options for recovering and transferring my data include paying the Geeks to do it, which of course would be expensive. Or we can try to plug the computer in and download as much as possible onto the home network. That option depends on whether or not the computer will even boot.
Then there is the small problem with the home network, which isn’t working. As I’m typing this a guy from the local cable company is here checking our connections to see why the router/modem will not stay on. I mean, it’s cable, not FIOS. It’s not weather dependent.
Things just keep getting better and better.
A few final tidbits:
Former Senator Alan Simpson, Republican co-chair of President Obama’s Deficit Commission has been in the news lately with his off-the-wall comments; most recently Simpson complained that Viet Nam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange are adding too much to the deficit. Simpson complained that these benefits run “contrary to efforts to control federal spending,” and even went as far as to say that “the irony” is that “the veterans who saved this country are now, in a way, not helping us to save the country in this fiscal mess. My contention: Simpson is using too much air to fuel his waning grey cells.
After President Obama’s speech this past Tuesday acknowledging the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, the usual Republican/Tea Party talking heads lined up to criticize the president for not giving enough credit to W. For once, I am in almost complete agreement with McConnell, McCain, Palin, et al, with one teenie tiny exception: exchange the word blame for credit.
Yep. It’s all on W., but as usual, the right has been drinking the Kool-Ade. According to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, more credit should be given to W., who had the “determination and will to carry out the plan that made [this] announcement possible.”
Uh . . . sorry, just threw up a little in my throat . . .
W. had determination and will all right: the determination to circumvent the Constitution, the will to do more to impede basic freedoms in the name of anti-terrorism. And we are supposed to praise W. for making possibly the worst foreign policy decision in the history of the country? We are supposed to laud him for dragging our country into an unwinnable war based on a faulty premise that had nothing to do with the original post-September 11 mission to capture Osama bin Laden and wipe out the Taliban?
Don’t make me gag. Again.
Keith Olbermann did a better job on calling out the talking heads on the right on this particular issue:Vodpod videos no longer available.
All images by German photographer Max Baur.
More later. Peace.
Music by Eva Cassidy, her version of “American Tune”
Flower Shop in Paris
On Saturday, I finally made it into the pool. The dogs have been swimming for a few days, but I wanted sun. The air was filled with the sweet smell of my gardenia bush in bloom, and there was just enough breeze to fool me into thinking that it wasn’t that hot. I was lulled into a wonderful feeling of comfort, arms flung wide, staring up into the clear blue sky, just a few cumulus puffs dotting the sky here and there.
Silly me. I didn’t even think about putting on sunscreen except for my face. I really don’t know what I was thinking. I stayed out for hours, just enjoying the water, the breeze, the dogs . . . I got sunburned on my arms and chest.
I never used to get sunburned. Ever. I would give my friends a hard time whenever they burned, taunting them with my olive skin. I suppose this is payback. The other thing that I got from the sun was a migraine, a killer migraine, one that has only this afternoon subsided into a tightness in my forehead. Poor, poor, pitiful me.
I remember endless summer days spent in the sun, lying on the beach with my friends, or on the catamaran with my friend John, or water skiing with the guys. Good times. Never burned, just browned. When I worked at the newspaper, I finished at 3:30, still early enough to catch some afternoon rays. The summer before I got married to my ex, I worked and sunned. Last summer of my life in which I was able to be carefree and careless with time and money.
So today, it’s 75 degrees, almost 20 degrees cooler than this weekend. There were a few thunder boomers last night, but nothing major.
Last night I watched the movie Memento, with Guy Pearce, Joe Pantoliano, and Carrie-Ann Moss. Wow. What a puzzle, but very deftly done. Directed by Christopher Nolan, the movie combined two different timelines, one ongoing and one flashback. Lots of visual clues, riddles, a few red herrings. The plot revolved around memory, what is real, what is thought to be real, what is imagined. The main character, Leonard (Pearce), suffers from anterograde amnesia: he cannot make new memories.
I would highly recommend this movie if you liked The Usual Suspects or The Sixth Sense. That being said, Memento is not as easy to discern as either of those two, not that either of those films were straightforward in any way. Nolan directed the movie in 2000, followed by a few movies with which you may be familiar: the two new Batman movies, The Prestige. If you are interested in an analysis of the movie, Andy Klein wrote a thorough deconstruction for Salon.com.
Memento had been on my list of movies to see, and I find it very rewarding when I finally see something I’ve had on that list and it turns out to be worthwhile. The other movie that I watched was Valkyrie, with Tom Cruise. This was another one that has been on my list, and unlike many people, I liked it. No, Cruise does not attempt a German accent, but that didn’t bother me, better no accent than a poorly executed accent.
The plot, in case you don’t know, is based on the July 20 plot to kill Adolf Hitler and real-life Operation Valkryie, which was a plan to call up the German reserve army to maintain order in the case of an emergency. The historical drama depicts the plot, led by Claus von Stauffenberg, the last of 15 failed plots to assassinate Hitler.
The 2008 movie had quite a cast; aside from Cruise as von Stauffenberg, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Eddie Izzard, Terence Stamp, and Tom Wilkinson all had roles in the Bryan Singer (X-Men) film. I remember that there was a big controversy in casting Cruise because of his scientology beliefs.
Flower Shop in Bath, England
Alexis came by on her way home from work today. I helped her to find some information on patient assistance with some of the medications that she takes. Having filled out numerous forms for myself, I am fairly familiar with the process. She will not be able to get health insurance at the thrift store as they do not offer it to their employees, even the full-time people. Yet another reason to hope for some kind of healthcare reform.
I know that I’ve been featuring more political posts than usual, but it seems that every time I sit down to read the daily news, I come across yet more inanity, something that I find very hard to ignore. Ignorance, racism, sexism, hate-mongering—it’s all so disconcerting.
What is happening to us, to American society? Has the election of a man of color caused so much unrest among those who oppose him—or liberals, or Democrats, or blacks, or whatever it is—that seeing conspiracies and promoting fear have become the societal norm? Has the so-called American way-0f-life been imperiled by putting a black man in the Oval Office, in the same way that electing a Catholic in the 1960s threatened the very fiber of our being?
I see a lot of similarities to the 1960s, and that’s not a good thing. Yes, the unrest of the 1960s caused major social changes, changes that were desperately needed. But the 60’s also saw discord elevated to levels unparalleled, discord that morphed into senseless violence (race riots, Ohio State), attempts at oppression (Hoover’s FBI). Chillingly, the war in Iraq has now surpassed the Viet Nam War as the longest American war (eight years, eight months, and counting). And the country had a young, idealistic president who many feared just because of who and what he was.
Remember, the 60’s led to the election of Richard Nixon, gave power to men of questionable scruples, such as Henry Kissinger, and led to a political climate that fostered the events of Watergate. Remember?
I know. I am still a starry-eyed idealist in many ways, but that is balanced by my stark realist side. I believe in equality for all peoples, regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, or creed. I don’t understand why that is such a hard concept. I also believe that children should not die of hunger or dysentery, that there is no difference in the capabilities of the sexes, and that there is no such thing as a good war. At the same time, I know that people like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Steve Blair—who thrive on discontent, who cultivate a fear of otherness, who opine loudly as if the tone and timber of a voice is all that is needed to make it right—people such as these have millions of followers.
And quite frankly, that scares the hell out of me. It also frightens me that I sometimes self-censor on this blog because I do not want the crazies to find me. In essence, I am allowing myself to be repressed out of my own unwillingness to cater to confrontation. Bearing that in mind, I do not apologize for my political posts, even though this is not a political blog. I do not apologize for who I am, for what I believe, or for where I stand on the issues that are important to me.
I’m certain that I will continue to have political posts because people will continue to amaze me with their brazen bigotry. People will continue to astound me with their asinine declarations. As long as events continue to occur that make me stop and say WTF, I will continue to opine, and if you find my posts offensive, then exercise your Constitutional freedom not to read me.
I won’t hold it against you.
More later. Peace.
Music by Mazzy Star, “Take Everything”
While perusing the blogroll on blogsurfer.us, I came across a blog that made the following statement: “Understand the Green Movement has always been, among other things, a front for the Eugenics Movement.” Wow. Really? I mean, are you serious?
The post concluded with the following completely inane statement: “Please turn on every light on in your home on March 2th – Earth Hour. Show them you are on to their lies and deceptions.”
I actually had to go back and read the short post from the beginning to make sure that it wasn’t written tongue-in-cheek. Sadly, the poster was serious. I certainly know that my efforts to recycle, conserve water, avoid styrofoam, and other earth-conscious efforts are all done because I believe in eugenics. You know, eugenics, that Hitler-esque concept in which the human population engages in selective breeding to improve the race? Yessiree, I am a whole-hearted proponent of the very policy that would have me cast aside as a mongrel because of my mixed blood. Self-preservation be damned. Let’s clean up the gene pool.
I girded my loins and perused a few other posts on this blog and came across blanket statements such as the following: ” . . . global warming’ is both real and a threat to the very survival of the human race. Global warming is neither real nor a threat . . . Environmentalism (for their purposes) has nothing to do with the environment and the sooner people understand this the better.”
How could I have been so stupid all of these years, not to realize that the U.N. is a front for Eugenics? Not to understand that there is no such thing as global warming, which should have been obvious to me because we still have winters? Melting ice caps, pshaw. No such thing . . . How could I not know that the “Green Movement is after our children”? By god, I’m going to turn on every light in my house. That will show them, whoever them is. And that huge power bill that I’ll get will really show them . . .
Color me green with nausea over the rampant ignorance of the misinformed. I’m trying to be gentle here . . .
Along those same lines, I was reading a post that was mentioned by someone in my blogroll (Seeing Eye Chick), and I came across some images and videos that made my hair straighten (can’t curl as it already is). I thought that I’d share. There is this obviously racist one which deserves no explanation:
Or this lovely one promoting the use of gun violence:
Or this one which is not big on subtlety:
And finally, let’s close with this wonderful video in which the woman featured is simply giddy over her message. . .
Lovely. Simply lovely. Free speech is a wonderful thing. Too bad the Constitution didn’t include an ignorance caveat.
Seriously, though, all of this might actually be funny, entertaining even, if it were not true, if the people yelling, carrying signs, and posting rants did not believe what they are saying. Listen. I never claimed to have all of the answers, nor have I ever said that my way of thinking is the only way of thinking, and that’s what separates my flaming liberal, left-wing feminist sensibilities from the Tea Baggers, and birthers, and conspiracy theorists: They are so certain that theirs is the real truth, the only truth, and anyone who opposes them is damned for all eternity.
I mean consider: I did not like George Bush as POTUS. I think that he was inept and power-hungry. That being said, I would have stood up when he entered the room, and given the chance, I would have addressed him as Mr. President because that is the courtesy that is is due the President of the United States. It’s called respect for the office, common courtesy, manners. What we are seeing now is a social conflagration that is being fueled and perpetuated by hatred, unmasked hatred for President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Congressional Democrats . . . insert the name of anyone who opposes.
The New Deal was called socialism: Did anyone turn down the opportunities afforded by it? Medicare was called socialism: How many Tea Baggers (a large number of whom are over 65) turn down their right to Medicare? Healthcare reform is now being labeled as socialism: How many people will refuse coverage on principle?
I would weep and gnash my teeth if I had not already been rendered emotionally bereft of feeling over the current furor.
More later. Peace.
Red House Painters, “All Mixed Up”
The following article was in today’s Huffington Post:
Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay called Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) “brave” on Sunday for launching a one-man filibuster of unemployment benefits, arguing that they dissuaded people from going out and finding work.
Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the Texas Republican said that Bunning’s fiscal responsibility was commendable, even if his shenanigans (refusing to allow unemployment benefits to be considered by unanimous consent) nearly brought the Senate to a halt.
“Nothing would have happened if the Democrats had just paid for [the benefits],” Delay said. “People would have gotten their unemployment compensation. I think Bunning was brave in standing up there and taking it on by himself.”
Asked whether it was bad strategy to make a budget stand on a $10 billion extension of unemployment (as opposed to, say, the Bush’s $720 billion prescription drug package), Delay insisted that if the PR had been done right, Bunning would have been applauded. Helping the unemployed with federal assistance, he said, was unsound policy.
“You know,” Delay said, “there is an argument to be made that these extensions, the unemployment benefits keeps (sic) people from going and finding jobs. In fact there are some studies that have been done that show people stay on unemployment compensation and they don’t look for a job until two or three weeks before they know the benefits are going to run out.
Host Candy Crowley: Congressman, that’s a hard sell, isn’t it?
Delay: it’s the truth.
Crowley: People are unemployed because they want to be?
Delay: well, it is the truth. and people in the real world know it. And they have friends and they know it. Sure, we ought to be helping people that are unemployed find a job, but we also have budget considerations that are incredibly important, especially now that Obama is spending monies that we don’t have.’
I am also including a section from the full transcript that was not part of the Huffington Post article.
Where do I begin to respond to such crap? May I just inject the term sweeping generalization? Or circular logic? Non sequitur, anyone? Or how about a good old verbal fallacy of composition (people are unemployed because they want to be, and people in the real world know it). Okay, maybe not a true fallacy of composition, but you get my point.
Delay is a douchebag, a dirtball, a divisive so-and-so. It is so easy to cast stones from that glass house, isn’t it Mr. Indictment? I know that you said that you wish you were in the middle of the healthcare reform fight right now, but wait, you lost your seat because of a little thing called ethics, wasn’t it? Never mind. Capitalizing on that former Senate seat as a political consultant keeps you off the unemployment rolls, especially since everyone turns a blind eye to the $190,000 in illegal campaign contributions. What’s a couple of hundred grand between friends?
I know that Corey has been sitting around on his butt for the past two years and that our family has been living the high life with a combined income of disability and unemployment because we like it like this. Yes sir. Boy oh boy, do we. I’m thinking of hiring a personal trainer next week because we are so flush.
I want to know who these people in the real world are of whom Delay speaks and where I can find them. I mean, let’s just use the facts for a moment, shall we? Unemployment statistics are hovering at around 10 percent, and as I’ve pointed out, that is not including the underemployed, the full-time employees who have been cut to part-time, or those whose unemployment has been exhausted. Go to the grocery store. If there are 20 people in line in total at all of the registers, at least two of them are unemployed, and it would be hard to say how many of them fall into the second category.
When you are walking down the street, look around you. At least two of the people near you are unemployed or underemployed. Look at their faces. Do they look happy to you? Content? At peace with the status quo? Take it a step further: Look at all twenty of those people in line at the grocery store. How many of them actually look happy? This is not a happy country right now. People as a whole are not happy. People who are lucky enough to have jobs know that they should be happy, but that doesn’t stop them from worrying about the next round of cuts at their factory, or store, or university.
No One Is Safe. It’s not a matter of the haves (with the exception of a top tier that has remained untouched), and the have-nots. What you have today could be taken away tomorrow, or next week, or next month.
And please. Before you get on your roll and try to blame it on Obama or Congress, let’s try to be a bit realistic. Democrats have had power for 15 months. George Bush was in the White House for eight years or 96 months, which means that President Obama has had roughly 15.6 percent of the time in office that Bush had. And with obstructionist Republicans like Bunning and former Senator Delay sticking their feet out in the aisles so as to prevent any forward volition, it’s a miracle that anything has been done.
In the words of the inimitable Andy Rooney:
“Republicans . . . are conservatives who think it would be best if we faced the fact that people are no damned good. They think that if we admit that we have selfish, acquisitive natures and then set out to get all we can for ourselves by working hard for it, that things will be better for everyone. They are not insensitive to the poor, but tend to think the poor are impoverished because they won’t work. They think there would be fewer of them to feel sorry for if the government did not encourage the proliferation of the least fit among us with welfare programs.”
Bah, I say. Bah.
More later. Peace.
Sheryl Crow, “Murder in My Heart”
It was snowing earlier today—big, fat flakes. But it was also raining, so none of the snow stuck. It’s not that I’m eager for the area to be locked in again as a result of snow, but more that this snow was so beautiful. Oh well . . . Now, it’s just very windy and wet outside, and cold, of course. The forecast is calling for record accumulations in the D.C./Northern Virginia area, up to 2.5 feet. Glad I don’t need to travel to Northern Virginia for anything.
Apparently, it’s already pretty bad out there. Over 200 accidents have been reported, and flights have been cancelled. Even the Smithsonian closed early. No idea what will happen in Hampton Roads, but I’m just hoping that we don’t lose power. The forecast is calling for freezing rain, which means that the dogs will stick their heads out the back door but will not venture outside.
Not much else happening here. As I told Corey, I am so sick and tired of being sick and tired. Sinuses. Pressure. Headache. Yuck. Advil Cold & Sinus is my friend.
Tomorrow I need to drive Brett downtown so that he can drop off his piece for the student art show at Selden Arcade. That gives me something to look forward to as I have not seen this piece yet, and it is always nice to look at what the students have been creating.
When I worked at the museum, the annual Irene Leache student art show was hung in the community gallery each spring. I don’t know if that contest still exists. I loved looking at all of the different works in the different media. Some of the students were tremendously talented. I have always been envious of people who are natural artists. I am hopeless when it comes to drawing.
Other than those tidbits, not a lot to report. I don’t feel inspired enough to write anything of consequence. The world news is too depressing to comment on: Even though the unemployment rate dropped from 10 to 9.7 percent, 8.4 million people are jobless. Just not a club I in which I would seek membership.
Yesterday, Corey was pretty down about the whole job thing. Apparently, one of his former boat mates was giving him a hard time, telling Corey that he isn’t really looking for a job. Who says that to someone who is out of work, not by choice? I reminded Corey that once this position with Vane Brothers comes through, he’ll be working for a really good company, a company that has a good reputation in the industry, which is more than can be said for his former employer.
The waiting is hard for all of us, but I really think that it will be worth it. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself and Corey.
A few parting thoughts:
Told you I didn’t have much to say. Even my ponderables are mediocre at best.
Images are by Wilson Bentley, a Vermont farmer who was the first person to photograph a snow crystal in 1885. Bentley photographed more than 5,000 snowflakes during his lifetime but did not copyright any of his images.
More (with any luck better) later. Peace.
Happened upon this video of “And Winter Came” by Enya.