Monday, March 31, 2008

Experience: Wife, Mother, First Lady, US Senator, BJ Profiteer

I love Bill Maher. He’s an atheist, PETA board member, member of NORML and outspoken advocate for marijuana and drug legalization. He’s also an environmentalist, and critic of big agribusiness.

What’s not to love?

Except sometimes, the “I’m a playboy!” act wears a bit thin, such as when he decided that naked boobs are great when they are merely boner fodder for dudes, but when they are bared for their natural purpose of feeding children, they suddenly make him nauseous.

Jeez. Mommy issues much, Bill?

I had another feminist head-smacking moment while watching this week’s show after Maher suggested that Hillary Clinton “profited from her husband’s philandering.”

I am so fucking sick and tired of this ignorant, piece-of-shit, peckerheaded premise. Whenever I hear it I feel my fists clench involuntarily and I experience an intense urge to euthanize my television, Elvis-style.

And if you do not experience the same reaction, I invite you right now to just think about it for one goddamned minute!

Hillary “profited” from Bill’s infidelity?? Don’t you mean that Hillary “behaved in such a way so as to salvage as much of her personal dignity and reputation as she could in the wake of what could only be described as any wife’s worst fucking nightmare on wheels?”

Isn’t that what you meant?

And here’s the part that might not have even occurred to you:

How much more would Hillary have profited, if the Clinton administration had not ended in recriminations and ignominy, but instead ended basking in the success of having guided one of the most prosperous economic periods this country has ever seen?

Doncha think she might have profited from that? Huh?

Ya dick.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Matching bodkins now 50% off!

But soft, what shorts from yonder online catalogue breaks?

Why verily, it be these voluminous pantaloons from Urban Outfitters!

I vouchsafe that if thou dost yearn to make thy loins look like two mighty capons that battle within in a burlap sack, then shop no more, I pray you. Thou hast found the shorts that would be thine.

Even the most lean amongst you shall look like a very collosus when adorned with this great cunning swath of fabric.

And at $48, they are too cheap by half. Do not hesitate a moment more, but navigate they way toward this merchant's shining beacon of commerce.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Death by gotcha

Oh, Hillary.

If only you’d resisted the temptation to jump on the Reverend Wright faux scandal bandwagon. With your extensive campaign experience, surely you must’ve known that the ritual denunciation of various left-leaning and/or crazy religion-adjacent types by Democrats is a political trap. Every four years the press, frequently aided by RNC talking points, have trotted out yer Farrakhans, yer Jacksons, yer Sharptons, etc., and demanded that Democratic candidates denounce their opinions, their associations, their donations, their track suits, their hairdos, etc.

Senator Obama does not support the use of lye for chemical "relaxing."

Never mind that the Republicans are not really held to the same standard. Understand, they also are endorsed and affiliated with religious nutjobs that have, for instance, blamed 9/11 on America. It’s just that while the Wrights of this world have blamed powerful white America, the right-wingers blame homo feminist abortionist ACLU-card-carrying America.

Interesting, what it says about the press, isn’t it, that when the right-wingers launch their screeds, they are mostly laughed off by campaign reporters, while the ranting of the black left-wing clergy is taken very seriously by that same press, even when it is committed by figures as similarly pathetic when compared to their right-wing counterparts as Farrakhan is.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Farrakhan isn’t powerful. I’m just saying he’s fucking nuts. And so not worthy of the attention. Just like Falwell and his ilk on the right. They’re all paranoid whackjobs. The Farrakhans of this world are paranoid because they’ve been fucked over too many times. The Falwells are paranoid because they’re afraid that if the white man loses his monopoly on power, then they are going to start getting fucked over - and fucked over in front of the people that they used to fuck over themselves.

If you don’t understand how scary that idea is to those people, then you are, no matter what Jeff Foxworthy says, definitely NOT a redneck. Rednecks have a powerful, powerful fear of “losing” this country, folks. And if you ask me, that is zackly why they have mostly deserted their own economic interest and left the Democratic party. Fear makes people do funny things, like support John “Expert on Foreign Policy” McCain, even though after 5 years and 4ooo soldiers dead he still cannot get it straight who are the fucking Sunnis and who are the fucking Shiites.

Look, at a minimum, a presidential candidate ought to be able to point to a map of the Middle East and go “Sunni, Sunni, Shiite, Sunni, Shiite, REALLY Shiite…”

I can do it. Spooney can do it. Hell, my fucking cat could do it, and she’s not even particularly interested in foreign policy.

"meow meow Bernanke lowering interest rates again?? meow meow"

Where was I going? Oh, yeah. It would have been so nice if Hillary had refused to take the bait on Rev. Wright, if she had refused to utter pious claptrap such as “he would not have been my pastor,” and “you don't choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend.”

Because what else happens when you do that, is that inevitably, someone digs out something like this:

Yeah, that’s Bill and the Rev at one of those post-Monica “forgive this poor sinner” prayer breakfasts he used to host.

Not that it proves a damn thing about Hillary. It’s meaningless that her husband once shook that dude’s hand. And yet it feeds the beast, don’t it, Hills? It feeds the beast. And if you hadn’t gotten up on your high horse about Wright, then the Obama campaign wouldn’t have called “I’m rubber, you’re glue” and released the above photo, and America would not have just died a teeny tiny little wee bit.

Monday, March 24, 2008

We make her paint her face and dance

It’s when I read stories like this that I really wish Clinton still had a chance at getting the presidential nomination.

Lest we forget, it still is, as the late James Brown was wont to remind us, a man’s world. And in cases where discrimination against other minorities would be unthinkable, it is still A-okay in this country to tell women to fuck the fuck off.

In this case, a federal judge dismissed a suit brought by a female professor who was fired by the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary because she was, well, female. The church of course cited your favorite bigot and mine, the Apostle Paul, or, as I like to call him, “the Apostle who totally wasn’t listening when Jesus opened his mouth and, like, said things.”

Why? Because in Timothy I (SO much better than Timothy II, by the way) Paul says that he does not permit women to teach or have authority over a man.

And by jiminy, that’s not only good enough for the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, it’s also good enough for U.S. Federal Judge John McBryde, who cited First Amendment freedom of religion-y type concerns in his decision to dismiss the suit.

Okay, you might say, if some religious institution believes that women cannot have authority over men, why not just let them be? Shouldn’t they be free to practice what they preach, as it were?

Except how would it be if that same institution denied employment to a member of another sect of Christianity? What if they fired a Pentecostal? Wait, better to use a non-crazy sect for that example. What if they fired a Methodist?

What if they fired a Jew? I believe some very sternly-worded press releases from the ADL would follow in very short order.

What if the Mormons had not foreseen the PR disaster ahead of them and had decided to keep with their former doctrine of “no nasty black people allowed”? I mean, you know, officially.

And while we’re tripping through the land of hypotheticals, would we feel quite so tolerant of rules about women from various sects being told to cover up their bodies, if those rules applied not to women, but to another group? What if some Islamic University in the US had forced a Christian professor to cover his body and to wear a veil while he taught his students, in order that they not be tempted by the sight of an infidel? How do you think that federal judge would have ruled then?

Before you answer, I should perhaps tell you that in a past case, that same judge ruled against a Santerian priest, whose religion is a Cuban offshoot of Catholicism. The priest wanted to kill a goat as part of a religious ceremony, and Judge McBryde cited health concerns in upholding a lower court decision that forbade the ritual within city limits.

Or, in other words, Goats: 1, Women: 0.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Be more equal. NOW.

Wow, Obama’s not even the nominee and we already find ourselves hip-deep in some pretty tough muddles over the whole race thing.

It’s funny. Whenever people talk about “race,” the first thing I always think of is that it doesn’t exist. Scientifically, that is. I mean, strictly speaking, there are no such things as different “races” of humans. We are all the same underneath except for those teeny tiny little twists of our DNA that make us genetically disposed, as are others who share our genealogy, to a certain skin, eye, and hair color.

Did I say that was funny? I didn’t mean funny “ha-ha,” I meant funny “I am kind of embarrassed by the pretentiousness of my own inner dialogue sometimes.”

In fact, it is with severe trepidation that I venture into this issue at all. Hey, I learned my lesson in Junior High School, when I found out that going to the Snowball Dance (I swear, that’s what it was called) with a black dude in a small town in Indiana was A VERY BIG DEAL. In the wake of the harassment I received afterward, (he did not go to my school and so was spared harassment, at least as far as I knew) I resolved that I was going to singlehandedly solve the racial problems of my hometown. I was going to be the 15-year-old white girl version of MLK, y’all.

How was I going to accomplish this? Why, by using my superior powers of persuasion to make racist people see the errors of their ways, of course. In hindsight, there was only one problem with my plan:

I was a completely delusional dorkenheimer.

But I’ve changed! I have! I so rarely now even try to explain to racists how totally unfair slavery was!

Oh, who am I kidding? I still haven’t changed at all. Witness this blog, steeped as it is in that peculiarly adolescent mixture of earnestness and cynicism. No, I haven’t changed, and as embarrassing as it is to admit this, I think that the whole “growing out of the self-righteous dorkenheimer phase” ship has sailed, my friends. I fear that when I’m an old lady I will be embroidering peace signs on my colostomy bag – because it will make a difference!

Sooooo, before I slip into self-loathing portion of my adolescent spiral, I would just like to say that everyone is not equal yet.

We’re not equal yet. And when one group is not yet equal, in the collective eye, to another, then different behaviors are expected, maybe even called for, from those two groups. Someday it will be different, yes, but not today. And certainly not before November 4, 2008.

Look, do we really not understand this? I think we do. I think we practice this double-standard all the time, in a thousand different ways.

C’mon, we all know that, for instance, rich people making fun of poor people is mean, while poor people making fun of rich people is as American as apple pie!

Also, white people telling jokes about blacks = racist.

Whereas, black people telling jokes about whites = hilarious!

Men hating on women = creepy.

Women hating on men = Democrats!

Am I wrong, people? Is this not human nature, to root for those who have had it collectively rough, and to require those who are perceived as being of an advantaged group to take it on the chin every now and then from those less advantaged?

When I was a kid, my mom used to play cards with a woman who was pure white trash. She was white trash in the day when it wasn’t funny or cute or ironic to use that term, and you didn’t call people that to their face. This woman had several kids about the same age as my sister and me, and so sometimes we would have to go and play with them in the yard of their ramshackle little house while our mother sat at the woman’s kitchen table and played euchre and drank coffee.

One day, one of the girls admired a baby doll I had brought over with me. Overhearing this, my mother told me to give it to her. I did as I was told because my mother had that look on her face which meant not to argue with her in front of other people if I knew what was good for me, but when we got in the car to go home, I demanded justice.

“Why did I have to give her my doll?”


“Because why?”

“Because they do not have what we have. Her mother cannot afford to buy her that doll. You have so many nice things. I’m ashamed of you for not wanting to share with that little girl. You can always get another doll.”

“Well, can I have another doll, then?”

“No, we can’t afford it.”

And so it has ever been, yes?

I have to admit that people who rail on about things like affirmative action have always struck me as the same kind of people who complain about handicapped parking spaces. My position is that you should thank your lucky fucking stars that you don’t need it.

But you know, I feel kinda bad for Geraldine Ferraro. What she said should not have been said, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. If Obama were not exactly who he is, would he be getting the same amount of attention? I would say, probably not. But see, that doesn’t diminish him. Ferraro herself has said that she would never have been picked to be Mondale’s VP if she were not a woman. Nevertheless, Ferraro has just ventured into Jimmy the Greek land.

Remember Jimmy the Greek? An oddsmaker turned sports commentator, he was fired because he once remarked that black athletes were "bred to be the better athlete because, this goes all the way to the Civil War when ... the slave owner would breed his big woman so that he would have a big black kid."

Is it ouchy? Hells yeah. Is it untrue? Well? Is it?

As far as Obama’s Reverend Wright goes, it is sad, but hardly surprising, that he believes that black people have been the victims of a white conspiracy to inflict illegal drugs and deadly sickness upon their communities. It’s not like nothing like that has ever happened before.

Look, I lived in LA when OJ was acquitted. I was as astounded by the cheering that took place all around me as every other white person was. But you know what’s more astounding? The deep and completely justified mistrust of the LAPD by many black communities in this city. If the police in Los Angeles were distressed by that verdict, and the implication that OJ had been framed, they had no one to blame but themselves.

Or, to quote another man accused of some whitey-hating in his day, what we got here is some “chickens come home to roost.”

Have a good weekend, readers. Don't take any wooden bunnies.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

This is a revolution dammit! We're going to have to offend SOMEBODY!

Last night I finally got around to watching the first two TiVoed episodes of the John Adams biography miniseries that aired on HBO. Very good. If you don’t have HBO, definitely watch for it on DVD.

I thought Paul Giamatti was excellent, and so I was puzzled by this review of the series in the NYTimes, which criticizes the casting of Giamatti, saying that his range is limited, and with his “cuddly, rubbery looks,” he is more evocative of Shrek than our 2nd president.

The reviewer, Alessandra Stanley, holds up the admittedly short but exceedingly preppy/patrician William Daniels, who played Adams in the stage and movie versions of the musical “1776,” as the actor most successful at capturing the essence of the politician that his most famous biographer described as “high-spirited and affectionate, vain, cranky, impetuous, self-absorbed and fiercely stubborn.”


Look, Alessandra, sweetie. Let me assure you, I love me some “1776.” I really do. My parents had the cast album, and I know all the songs by heart. By. Heart. I wanted to be Abigail Adams. My dad was in a local production of the musical. I memorized one of Adams’s speeches from the script and performed what was basically a bad William Daniels impression at a drama club event. I thought I was the shit, too. You know I did.

In fact, I will even admit to crushing on William Daniels just a little bit. Hey, what do you want? Even at that age, I was a politics geek.

But sweetie. You cannot. You can NOT seriously call upon Daniels as the quintessential Adams while also eschewing Giamatti as being too unlike the real John Adams. First of all, because, “1776” was A FREAKING BROADWAY MUSICAL VERSION OF HISTORY.

And secondly, because here is a picture of William Daniels (front) playing John Adams:

Hm. Still cute. My girl crush is still flickering, although less enthusiastically now, probably because of watching him in the 80s play second fiddle to that mustache with a SAG card.

Here is Giamatti playing John Adams:

Ew. Schlubby.

And here, folks, is the real John freakin’ Adams:

Now, which one of these things is not like the other? If you guessed the guy with the mailbox full of talking car residuals, you have a fine eye and are probably not qualified to wax incomprehensible in the pages of the NYTimes.

I suspect Ms. Stanley is guilty, although I’m sure a reviewer for the "paper of record" would insist otherwise, of romanticizing our founding fathers.

She’s not alone.

When Samuel Adams Beer first came out, the portrait of him on the front of the bottle at least vaguely resembled Sam Adams. I couldn’t find a picture of the old label, but here’s a picture of Sam Adams:

Now, thanks to the Boston Brewing Company, Sam Adams looks more like Liam Neeson:

Ah, remember the good old days, when politicians didn’t have to be devastatingly handsome? I’m sorry, I mean Democratic politicians. The Republicans, of course, still welcome all comers.
I guess there must be something about being a miserly old killjoy that fucks with one’s looks.

It’s just a theory.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Excerpt from Obama's speech today on racial issues in the US. READ:

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle -- as we did in the O.J. trial -- or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina -- or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day, and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that. But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

I really have to recommend that you read the whole speech, because I think it is in a small way fairly remarkable for a major presidential candidate to say the things he is saying here.

Like this:

The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience -- as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

I got to say folks - wow. Oh, and holy fucking shit as well.

To me, my friends, this is out of the freaking park. This goes way beyond the platitudes about justice and equality and opportunity that have comprised most Democratic campaign rhetoric. Obama here is actually tackling complex truths - like, successfully and shit.

Wait a minute. What the fuck?? --- We don't want complex truths!

We want big bad black minister talking smack about Americuh. Never mind that right-wing ministers have been blaming the citizens of this nation for everything from Hurricane Katrina to 9/11. Never mind that
their endorsements of candidates appear on the front page of the candidate's website, not spinning in some endless loop of shame between YouTube and Fox News. We want to find a reason why this inspirational and smart and talented young man is not worthy of our vote, and it matters not whether he's unworthy because he's black, or a Democrat, or a man, or a secret Muslim. It matters not. The point is, we need him taken down, because nothing is more scary to a country founded by Puritans than when someone washes our dirty knickers in public. As long as McCain is elected, then we never have to admit that anything is wrong with us, and that's exactly why people will vote for him.

But something is wrong with us, and once every four years, we come face-to-face with the most blatant manifestations of that wrongitude.

Small case in point: Michelle Obama. A couple of weeks ago, she said something that people who are inclined to misconstrue, misconstrued. For a couple of days the babbling heads babbled about how she'd said, while speaking of her husband's campaign, that
"for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country."

What an explosion of gaseous, noxious fumes exploded over our nation's airwaves in the wake of that remark! It was a classic election year feeding frenzy. And presto! - thus was born the narrative of Michelle Obama, unpatriotic harpy, until either election day, or they find out something worse about her, whichever comes first.

What could be worse than lax patriotism, you ask?

Well, let's see. Let me think for a minute.

Maybe...okay, how about - you're the wife of a successful senator whose career you financed with family money after he left his first wife and kids for you. You have four small children of your own. You run a prestigious medical charity. Life is good.

Well, except of course, that you pop pills. In fact, you pressure the physicians associated with your charity to write prescriptions for you, and then you fill those prescriptions using your employees' names. This is a crime for which many people go to jail, but you use your husband's influence to avoid prosecution.

You are, in fact, Mrs. John Sidney McCain. The woman about whom CNN recently posed this question "Can Cindy McCain really be that perfect?"

Now, before you go apoplectic on me, readers, let me just say that I have a great deal of sympathy for Mrs. McCain. Addiction is tough. Hey, I watched Celebrity Rehab. I'm not willing to say that she should have gone to jail. In fact, I could give a shit about the whole sordid business, except for one small point:

If Michelle Obama had done it.

What if Michelle Obama had done it, friends? You tell me. You tell me what would've happened if a sister had done it. The outspoken black sister, caught in a web of drugs, prescription shopping, and fraud.

Can you imagine the hatefest that would have ensued? A hatefest that would have made the vicious misogyny of the pre-Monica Hillary era look like Lillith Fair in comparison.

And yet Cindy gets a pass, pretty much. Why? Is it because that as the eyes-forward, mouth-shut wife of a Republican, she is understood to be off-limits?

And why is that, exactly?

Blame the election year wrongitude, I guess. Hey, if Laura Bush gets a pass on vehicular homicide, why not avert your eyes from the broke-down Stepford wife with the Turtle-Waxed hair?

Because Hillary never got a pass, fuckers. And Michelle won't either. Because reporters and their ilk are only human, and somewhere deep down a whole lot of them believe that women like Hillary and Michelle deserve what they get.

Hell, I think that way sometimes, and I'm a woman.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Democrats gone wild!

House Democrats today refused to capitulate to W's threats to start singing "Democrats and terrorists sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g," and approved the new FISA legislation without a provision for immunity from lawsuits for the telecoms!

Fuck yeah!

This morning, W stood on the lawn of the WH, and said this: "voting for this bill would make our country less safe. . . . The American people understand the stakes in this struggle. They want their children to be safe from terror."

And instead of pissing themselves and hiding under their desks, the Democrats voted for their own version of the bill anyway!

Fuck yeah!

In fact, Speaker Pelosi had this kind of awesome comment to make in return: "The president says Democrats in Congress should not be deceived. They are not deceived. They know the law. They know the Constitution. We understand our responsibility to protect the American people. What the president is trying to do is something that we think should be stopped," she said, adding, "I am stating a fact. The president is wrong, and he knows it."

Fuck yeah!

But you know the best part? After they passed the bill that W warned would make puppies cry and children get abortions, the House...went on Spring Break!!

Fuck!!! Yeah!!!

That makes me so happy, in an I-wouldn't-mind-watching-Animal-House-right-now kind of way.

Oh, plus, speaking of abortions, I heard this way insane story this morning on NPR about how the geniuses in the so-called "pro-life" movement are, in the wake of the movie opening, attempting to co-opt that famous line from Horton Hears a Who.

No, not "An elephant's faithful 100 per cent."

Even with the Spitzer story still dominating the headlines, Republicans know better than to try to spin themselves as the party of fidelity.

No, the line that the so-called "pro-life" geniuses want you to think of them when you hear it, is "a person's a person, no matter how small."

Yeah, because that's what they believe.

You know, of all the evil hypocritical repressive woman-hating no-fun-having small-minded dunderheaded liars there are in the world, I think that group is my least fav. Go ahead and misunderstand a children's book, you fucking simpletons. Pelosi just told W to kiss her skinny white ass, and nothing's going to bother me until Monday.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Why do they do it?

Eliot Spitzer was the new Eliot Ness, the untouchable DA turned Governor who was going to clean up Albany, who was going to sweep Wall Street clean, who was going to re-write the corrupt and broke-down political history of New York. Eliot Spitzer was predicted to be the first Jewish President.

Now that’s all gone.

Bill Clinton, one of the brightest and most engaged leaders this country ever had, squandered his legacy on the D.C. version of a groupie.

And JFK. And RFK. And that’s just Democrats we like.

Bush Sr. risked it all to keep his mistress close to him. McCain paid enough attention to his favorite lobbyist that his aides started ditching her at events. Reagan apparently didn’t mess around, at least not so anyone noticed, but then, he called his wife “mother,” so I think we can safely say there were other issues at work.

And what about MLK? Would it taint his legacy if we knew him to be a moral hypocrite, which I assume is what you call a preacher who cheats on his wife?

In other words, why do they have to be so damn human?

Power begets sexiness, my friends, at least for the mens. Even ugly-ass Kissinger enjoyed the perks enough to pronounce power the “ultimate aphrodisiac,” which is pretty much what it would have to be with him. Blech.

Yes, our leaders are all too human. They all are.

Even Obama.

Look, friends, I appreciate your enthusiasm for one candidate over another, believe me I do, but if you don’t mind, I would like to get a couple of things straight between us:

1. Hillary, if elected, would make a fine president. She is smart and capable and willing to bust ass.

2. Obama would also make a fine president. He has a powerful vision, and the determination to see that vision through.

They’re both human. They’re both dirty. They’ve both voted for some stinko legislation in the name of political expediency. And both of their campaigns have leaked some nasty shit about the other.

Can we please not pretend otherwise?

Don’t idolize Obama, my friends. Your heart will only get broken when you find out dirt like, oh, that some guy who wanted political favors did a little sweetheart real-estate deal for him.

See? It hurts, doesn’t it? You feel your heart growing just a tad bit colder toward him, don’t you? You take it personally. And if you ever found out, for instance, that Obama had done what Spitzer did, it would devastate you.

That’s because you believe in political unicorns. Pure, unsullied creatures that act only out of motivation for others, never for themselves. They feel no lust, or greed, or hatred. They have never done anything shameful when they thought no one was looking. Ever. And you believe in them, you continue to believe in them, even though you are not a unicorn, and no one you know is a unicorn, and you’ve never known anyone to be a unicorn. Never. No one has ever turned out to be one, and yet you still think they’re out there.

But they don’t exist. They don’t exist. And the sooner you stop believing in them, the better.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Thanks! I'll be here all week.

Hillary's new campaign theme is that "she's been tested."

That's good, because anyone married to Bill Clinton should definitely be tested. Often.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Check out Mr. Businessman, he bought some wild, wild life.

So this is weird.

I met this morning with a representative from the company that handles my company’s benefits administration. Because our lot was full she had to park on the street, which meant that after an hour she had to go out and move her car.

As soon as she left, my little squirrel friend showed up at the front door, wanting to be fed.

“My little squirrel friend” is not a euphemism. I really do have a squirrel...ah, familiar I guess is the word, that lives in the tree outside my office. And I have trained him to take walnuts from my hand. So, he usually rolls up once or twice a week, and I open the front door, and he stands on the threshold and takes a walnut piece from my hand. Then, because I don’t have time to hand-feed him each piece, I toss a handful of walnuts next to the door, under the full-length glass window, where he can eat them at his leisure. Well, as much leisure as a squirrel is capable of, I guess, what with the whole darting to and fro thing they all seem to got going on. Sometimes, he will stand on his hind legs and scratch at the door for a second handful, which is really fucking cute.

Once, while I was feeding him by hand, the door slipped a bit and this startled the squirrel, and he jumped. And seeing him jump startled me. And when I started, he made a move as if to run and hide inside. And I, seeing him feint toward the inside of the threshold, let out a high-pitched “Oh!” and motioned with my hand to block him from coming in, except that I then immediately withdrew my hand, because a scared squirrel is a likely-to-bite squirrel, anyway, the squirrel, who I call Tony, figured out that he didn’t really want to go inside, and he took off and spent a week or two regaining his l’il squirrel composure before coming back.

That is the only weird thing that has happened until today.

So Tony shows up while the rep is parking, and I feed him a walnut, and then I throw a handful of nuts as usual, only I toss them further away from the door, out on the sidewalk, so that Tony wouldn’t get too freaked out when the rep returned.

After several minutes, when the rep has not returned, I look out my window, and I see her standing in the street next to her car, waving her hands over her head and mouthing the word “Help!” She then points to the squirrel. Then she mouths, even more emphatically, “Help!”

Well, when I walk outside, she starts explaining to me, in a very excited way, that this crow on the telephone wire above her head was cawing and wanted to possibly get the squirrel, and the squirrel wouldn’t move, and she has a terrible fear of squirrels. A terrible terrible fear of squirrels. In fact, I think she said a deathly fear of squirrels.

Now, I can understand not liking squirrels, because in a way they kind of are rats with a better wardrobe, but to be afraid of squirrels? Really?

So when I escort her inside, she starts telling me, a little breathlessly, what is basically a traumatic squirrel incident from her childhood, to wit: that when she was a little girl, they had chickens, and goats, and dogs and cats, and she loved all the animals. And also that she was a tomboy, and her grandfather bought her a BB gun and taught her to shoot tin cans off a fence. But then one day, a neighborhood boy convinced her that what they should really be shooting at, is squirrels. So, she goes along with him, and takes a shot at a squirrel, but when she does, the squirrel rears up on his hind legs and looks at her, and then starts chasing her. She drops the rifle, screams and runs, and blah blah blah, ever since that day, voila! Irrational fear of squirrels.

Now, growing up in the rurals of the Hoosier state, I’m quite familiar with your lesser varmits: your squirrels, your raccoons, your badgers. But I hadn’t heard such an interesting critter-related story since a friend from Tennessee had related the tale of how his M.D. dad had accidently run over a pregnant opossum, then taken it home and delivered the babies and raised them up as pets until they were big enough to be let go. And when I doubted the veracity of his story, he produced a picture of his little brother, sitting in the living room watching television quite casually while 6 baby possums, with their tales wrapped around locks of his hair, hung off the sides of his head.

I shit you not.

So, the point is, the rep lady’s squirrel story made me curious about this childhood of hers.

“That’s quite a story,” I said. “Where did you grow up?”

Berkeley,” she says.

Berkeley, California?

“Yes. Um hm.”

“I thought you might say someplace in the south.”

“No, northern California.”

Okay, so, about 20 minutes later she has to leave to make her next appointment, and she wants me to escort her back out, because Tony hasn’t left yet, because I have only given him one handful of nuts, and he wants more. So the rep stays inside, and I try to shoo Tony away from the door. Except he doesn’t know that’s what I’m doing. I’ve never tried to shoo him before, I’ve only ever tried to coax him toward me, so when I try to shoo him, he keeps jumping to the left or right and looking at me as if to say “Stand here to get the nuts? No? Okay, stand here to get the nuts? No? Alright, how about here to get the nuts?”

Eventually, I back him toward the curb, and finally, he shoots me a look of complete squirrel exasperation, and turns away and runs…right under the rep’s car. And that’s where he stays for the next ten minutes, while I escort her slowly out the door, and across the sidewalk. Before she would approach her car, I have to get down on my knees in the street and assure her that the squirrel was not near her driver’s door. I told her that as soon as she started her car, that the squirrel would run away, and in fact that is exactly what happened. And all the while I was doing this, she was admonishing me not to laugh at her, which I did not. I did not. I assured her that we all have our fears, and that lots of people do not like squirrels, and that I myself do not care for snails at all. At all.

I saved the laughing for after she left, at which point I went into the lunchroom and told the entire story to anyone who would listen. With large gestures.

Have a good weekend, readers. And for chrissakes, watch out for the wildlife.

Hedwig and the Angry Chihuahua

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria

Apocalypse - just one of the many features of the first 100 days of an Obama presidency?

Citing Obama’s pledge to "pay any price, bear any burden, fly any distance to meet with our enemies," Michael Gerson, former 43 speechwriter and self-declared author of “the axis of evil,” has taken it upon himself to fill in Obama’s schedule for the first 100 days of the his possible future presidency.

Not surprisingly, Gerson imagines the worst for the Democratic nomination frontrunner. First of all, because he characterizes the statement as a stone-cast commitment to meet with Ahmadinejad, like, 5 minutes after being sworn in, when in truth Obama’s statement is more of a pledge not to rule out meeting with anyone solely on the basis of being the head of an enemy state.

Among the calamities that would ensue from this meeting, Gerson predicts the following:

1. “The New York Post runs a front-page picture of the Obama-Ahmadinejad handshake under the headline ‘Surrender Summit!’”

2. “The story notes another of Obama's historic firsts: the first American president to meet with a Holocaust denier.”

3. “The Israeli prime minister publicly asks, ‘Why is the American president meeting with a leader who calls us 'filthy bacteria' and threatens to wipe us 'off the map?'’”

4. “Tens of thousands protest in Tel Aviv, carrying signs reading ‘Chamberlain Lives!’”

To which I say:

1. Who cares?

2. Yes, by all means, let’s define our agenda on THAT criteria.

3. So that we can maybe stop him from doing that, douchewipe.

4. I find the fact that Gerson envisions the furious, Obama-chastising-intent, citizens of Tel Aviv invoking the name of the 1937-1940 Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, (no matter what he ceded to Hitler during his term), quite frankly, hilarious. What an amazing little Ivy-league-covered world this guy lives in. I’m surprised he doesn’t also have the Tel Avivians kidnapping the Obama administration’s team mascot and holding him ransom until after the big game.

Next on Obama’s agenda, according to Gerson, is a meeting with Raul Castro. Oooooooh. Gerson-style chaos ensues in the wake, namely:

1. Cubans in Miami protest.

2. Hugo Chavez praises Obama’s visit as a "public apology for generations of American imperialism and militarism."

3. Mexico and Canada, who resent being arm-twisted on NAFTA, complain that he is courting our enemies and punished our friends.

To which I say:

1. Fuck the Cubans in Miami. In case they haven’t noticed, 50 years of “punishing” Castro has done fuck all for the people of Cuba. Except give them better health coverage than us, of course.

2. Who cares? I mean, I know that the Right has pants-pissing nightmares about being taunted by South America’s biggest left-wing kook, but seriously…who cares?

3. Canada – shut up. I know Mexico put you up to this. Mexico – why don’t you try calling us back when you’ve established a police force that takes fewer bribes and terrorizes its citizens just a tiny bit less than do the drug cartels you purport to protect the citizens against, mkay?

And, finally, there is Gerson’s vision of Obama’s announcement of our withdrawal from Iraq:

1. The military is shocked and demoralized.

2. Our Sunni allies, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, panic and retreat from the area.

3. Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis prepare for a resumption of conflict.

And last, but certainly not least:

4. “An intercepted al-Qaeda communication talks of ‘so much defeat, exhaustion and death -- and then, praise be, this unexpected victory!’”

To which you know I’m gonna say:

1. And then, as soon as the reporters leave, the military jumps up and down with joy and yells “Fuck yeah!”

2. Really? They wait that long? I thought they would’ve been gone after the meeting with Ahmadinejad.

3. Resumption? Resumption?

And of course:

4. Priceless. Absolutely fucking priceless. You know, no matter what day we finally end up pulling out of Iraq, to guys like Gerson it will forever be known as “the day before we won.”

Bells On Recommends: BSG 4.Over

If you haven't yet figured out that Battlestar Gallactica is the best drama that is on tv (albeit that it's on tv with the frequency of a solar eclipse), then you have another chance before it's too late. The new, and unfortunately last, season begins Friday, April 4.

You can rent the previous 3 seasons from Netflix. Or, you can watch this 8 1/2 minute recap. Notice the total absence of Lorne Greenes, and Muffits.

Monday, March 03, 2008

How about “Charlotte Allen dumb”?

Holy fucking shit, dudes. Did you guys SEE that completely pointless and revolting essay in WaPo about, ahem, how dumb women are?

The essay is called “We Scream, We Swoon. How Dumb Can We Get?” The author, Charlotte Allen, uses as her starting-off point her disgust that women are screaming and fainting at Obama rallies. “What,” you say, “women are screaming and fainting at Obama rallies? Why didn’t I know this?”

Well, you didn’t know it because it’s not really so true. The author cites some talk show host who has “tracked” five women who have fainted at Obama rallies since September. Now, bear in mind that these rallies commonly have over 10,000 people in attendance, so I’m not really sure why five women fainting is such a big deal that one must twist one’s drawers in print, but hey, I don’t write for the Washington Post. I just point and laugh at the people who do.

I suspect that starting off with Obama is really just a ploy to make her look neutral when she digs in with relish on the topic of her hatred of Hillary. But first, let’s watch her establish her premise that even outside of Obama rallies, women are dumb:

I'm not the only woman who's dumbfounded (as it were) by our sex, or rather, as we prefer to put it, by other members of our sex besides us. It's a frequent topic of lunch, phone and water-cooler conversations; even some feminists can't believe that there's this thing called "The Oprah Winfrey Show" or that Celine Dion actually sells CDs. A female friend of mine plans to write a horror novel titled "Office of Women," in which nothing ever gets done and everyone spends the day talking about Botox.

Well, there’s also a thing called “professional wrestling,” sweetheart. And for every Celine Dion CD you got, I raise you two Toby Keiths. Plus, as far as the Botox comment goes, I think maybe you might do well to broaden your friend horizons a bit. Maybe rub elbows with the hoi polloi every now and then. Because when I socialize with the gals I work with, we don’t talk about Botox. We talk about the stupid things our husbands/boyfriends do.

We exaggerate, of course. And obviously men do dumb things, too, although my husband has perfectly good explanations for why he eats standing up at the stove (when I'm not around) or pulls down all the blinds so the house looks like a cave (also when I'm not around): It has to do with the aggressive male nature and an instinctive fear of danger from other aggressive men. When men do dumb things, though, they tend to be catastrophically dumb, such as blowing the paycheck on booze or much, much worse (think "postal"). Women's foolishness is usually harmless. But it can be so . . . embarrassing.

Huh? What the hell kind of essay writing is this, anyway? It’s just so contradictory and random and lame and…do you think maybe she’s trying to demonstrate how stupid women are by being a woman and writing a really stupid essay?

And if eating standing up at the stove and pulling down the blinds in the daytime are the two best examples of her husband’s stupid behavior, then that guy has got to be some kind of graceful, all-seeing god. I don’t know about you, but I would be scared to live with a guy who didn’t try to stuff too much garbage into the garbage bag and then have it break on the stairs so that he slips in the coffee grounds and falls and chips his tooth. I mean, if the guy you’re living with doesn’t waste about $300 bucks and about 1500 hours every year playing fantasy football, then yeah, I would start to feel like maybe I was the stupid one, too.

But okay, let’s get to the part where she rips Hillary:

Take Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign. By all measures, she has run one of the worst -- and, yes, stupidest -- presidential races in recent history, marred by every stereotypical flaw of the female sex.

Wow. Quite a charge. I can’t wait for her thoughtful and well-reasoned examples.

As far as I'm concerned, she has proved that she can't debate -- viz. her televised one-on-one against Obama last Tuesday, which consisted largely of complaining that she had to answer questions first and putting the audience to sleep with minutiae about her health-coverage mandate.

She’s going to take one comment out of 20 debates and use that as the proof that Hillary can’t debate? And where does boring people with the minutiae of health-care plans fall in the range of stereotypical female behavior, anyway? Somewhere in between buying shoes and asking people if you look fat?

She has whined (via her aides) like the teacher's pet in grade school that the boys are ganging up on her when she's bested by male rivals. She has wept on the campaign trail, even though everyone knows that tears are the last refuge of losers.

Tears are the last refuge of losers? Readers, sister Allen has some issues.

And she is tellingly dependent on her husband.

She is? Because, see, I thought the whole joke about the Clintons was that they didn’t ever sleep together or talk, or fuck each other, or, well, do anything other than work for each other’s campaigns. Now Hillary’s too dependent on Bill? Dang, sweetheart, I’m not a big fan of the Hills, but give the bitch a break one damn time, will you? Her husband was PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FOR EIGHT MOTHERFUCKING YEARS. He might have a good idea every once in a while.

Then there's Clinton's nearly all-female staff, chosen for loyalty rather than, say, brains or political savvy. Clinton finally fired her daytime-soap-watching, self-styled "Latina queena" campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle, known for burning through campaign money and for her open contempt for the "white boys" in the Clinton camp. But stupidly, she did it just in time to alienate the Hispanic voters she now desperately needs to win in Texas or Ohio to have any shot at the Democratic nomination.

So, which stereotypical female flaw was Hillary exhibiting there? Firing someone incompetent? I don’t get it. Did she do it while wearing big fluffy slippers and curlers in her hair?

What is it about us women? Why do we always fall for the hysterical, the superficial and the gooily sentimental?

We do?

Take a look at the New York Times bestseller list. At the top of the paperback nonfiction chart and pitched to an exclusively female readership is Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love." Here's the book's autobiographical plot: Gilbert gets bored with her perfectly okay husband, so she has an affair behind his back. Then, when that doesn't pan out, she goes to Italy and gains 23 pounds forking pasta so she has to buy a whole new wardrobe, goes to India to meditate (that's the snooze part), and finally, at an Indonesian beach, finds fulfillment by -- get this -- picking up a Latin lover!...

....Then there's the chick doctor television show "Grey's Anatomy" (reportedly one of Hillary Clinton's favorites)….I swear no man watches "Grey's Anatomy" unless his girlfriend forces him to. No man bakes cookies for his dog. No man feels blue and takes off work to spend the day in bed with a copy of "The Friday Night Knitting Club."…At least no man I know. Of course, not all women do these things, either -- although enough do to make one wonder whether there isn't some genetic aspect of the female brain, something evolutionarily connected to the fact that we live longer than men or go through childbirth, that turns the pre-frontal cortex into Cream of Wheat.

Wow, then there must be something evolutionarily connected to the fact that men don’t live as long as we do or go through childbirth, that makes them watch NASCAR.

Depressing as it is, several of the supposed misogynist myths about female inferiority have been proven true. Women really are worse drivers than men, for example. A study published in 1998 by the Johns Hopkins schools of medicine and public health revealed that women clocked 5.7 auto accidents per million miles driven, in contrast to men's 5.1, even though men drive about 74 percent more miles a year than women.

See, I would look at that statistic and say, despite the fact that women have 74% less driving experience than men, their accident ratio only varies by six tenths of one per cent.

The only good news was that women tended to take fewer driving risks than men, so their crashes were only a third as likely to be fatal.

And yet we’re the stupid ones.

Those statistics were reinforced by a study released by the University of London in January showing that women and gay men perform more poorly than heterosexual men at tasks involving navigation and spatial awareness, both crucial to good driving.

Do you hear that, gay men? You’re dumb too!

The theory that women are the dumber sex -- or at least the sex that gets into more car accidents -- is amply supported by neurological and standardized-testing evidence. Men's and women's brains not only look different, but men's brains are bigger than women's (even adjusting for men's generally bigger body size). The important difference is in the parietal cortex, which is associated with space perception. Visuospatial skills, the capacity to rotate three-dimensional objects in the mind, at which men tend to excel over women, are in turn related to a capacity for abstract thinking and reasoning, the grounding for mathematics, science and philosophy. While the two sexes seem to have the same IQ on average (although even here, at least one recent study gives males a slight edge), there are proportionally more men than women at the extremes of very, very smart and very, very stupid.

So…women have almost exactly the same IQ average men, and yet they are dumb?

I am perfectly willing to admit that I myself am a classic case of female mental deficiencies. I can't add 2 and 2 (well, I can, but then what?).

Yes, then what? Use that knowledge to buy chocolate and driving lessons?

I have coasted through life and academia on the basis of an excellent memory and superior verbal skills, two areas where, researchers agree, women consistently outpace men.

Whoa, there, sister. Not so fast with the “I have superior verbal skills.” Some people, namely those who have made it this far into your sorry-ass excuse for a controversial diatribe, would beg to differ.

…So I don't understand why more women don't relax, enjoy the innate abilities most of us possess (as well as the ones fewer of us possess) and revel in the things most important to life at which nearly all of us excel: tenderness toward children and men and the weak and the ability to make a house a home.

Well, sweetie, I’m not sure how keen the job market is right now for tender-hearted interior decorators. Not that it doesn’t sound like fun.

Then we could shriek and swoon and gossip and read chick lit to our hearts' content and not mind the fact that way down deep, we are . . . kind of dim.

I was going to say something flip here, and call that bitch the “c” word (cunt), and end with a pow! You know? Like I do.

And then I started thinking about this story that I heard on the news recently about an Afghan woman who was killed for teaching little girls to read. And then I thought about all the teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District, and what a trial it must be to work for that bag of nutsacks.

See, I guess, the basic reason why these things make me so mad is not that they’re full of flawed logic and idiotic points, although they are. They make me mad because women like Ms. Allen, before she goes quipping about our driving and our tv shows, and painting us all with her big dumb brush, might do well to try to understand how real women live everyday. And then, the next time one of us sits down after work at night and puts up our feet with a Lean Cuisine and a romance novel, she won’t be so quick to call us dim.

Plus, she’s a cunt.