Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hey, wait a minute...

Remember when Obama, speaking about how unemployment and economic hardship affects some blue collar voters, and why they would likely NOT be inspired by it to vote Democratic, said:
"And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people toward people who aren't like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
Oh, and how everyone crowed about how ELITIST the comments were, and how OUT OF TOUCH Obama was with the real people, and how INSULTING the mere idea was, that bitterness over economic misfortune might motivate anyone to think in such a way. It was a scandalous, unforgivable SMEAR.

Well, someone forgot to tell this guy:

Yeah, that guy who lost his job and his foodstamps and decided that homo-loving liberals were to blame and so took one of his guns and shot up a church. That guy. How come he didn't get the message about how out of touch Obama is?

I guess he doesn't watch Fox News.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Some day, everything east of California is going to slide into the Atlantic Ocean

So at around 11:50am today, there was a jolt, and I thought that our old HVAC system where I work had finally shit the bed, because it was like that shudder when the AC switches on, only magnified about a thousand times. Then I thought, wait, did someone on the second floor drop something really heavy on the ceiling above my head? And then I thought, you idiot, it's a motherfucking earthquake.

I was on the phone with corporate HR at the time, and the person on the other end of the line, I think in Denver, was rattling on about new hire paperwork procedures when I finally realized what was happening:

HR: So I'll forward to you the form, which requires a Social Security number...
Me: I'm sorry to interrupt, but I've got to go. We're having an earthquake.
HR: What?

A 5.4 no less, the strongest earthquake I've felt since living in LA (I moved here right after the 1994 Northridge 6.7). I did feel some pretty strong aftershocks in the months following the Northridge quake, but my tendency was always to misinterpret them. I was watching tv, and after my very first LA aftershock, my ex grabbed my hand and said "Are you okay? Are you scared?" I said "What do you mean?" He gave me a significant look. I said "What? That wasn't a truck driving by?" In Chicago, the city I had just come from, when the earth moves it's because there's a semi barreling down your street.

One time at work, after feeling my chair pitch, I called the Facilities Manager and asked him if the Space Shuttle had just flown by on its way to land at Edwards, and the Facilites Manager was all "What are you talking about? That was an earthquake. You don't know what an earthquake feels like?"

In my own defense, if you've never felt a sonic boom, it's definitely jolting. The last time the Shuttle flew by on its way to land at Edwards, it woke me out of a sound sleep. I had to go outside to make sure my neighbor's gas line hadn't exploded, which I was pretty sure it had. In the early dawn light, as I looked down the block, I saw another neighbor standing in the street in his PJs, looking similarly unnerved. We waved.

One thing about living in a big city, especially one as, um, accident-prone as LA, is that relatives and friends are frequently calling me or emailing because they heard something terrible is happening in my general vicinity. My sister made a joke this morning about quake season starting before fire season was over, which of course reminded me of the old joke about LA. People who don't live in LA think we don't have any seasons here, they think it's just 78 degrees and sunny all the time. But we do have four seasons. They are:


Thanks, folks! I'll be here all week! Under my desk! Cowering!

Good night!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Get Well Soon

It’s getting dangerous to be a liberal in America. Cripes, they’re even gunning for Unitarians. What’s more harmless than a Unitarian, I wonder? Sure, one could examine their sect for oppressive homophobic woman-hating paranoid dogma and find them wanting, no doubt, but what’s the worst a Unitarian could do to you, bore you over coffee in the church basement following the service?

I shouldn’t joke, I suppose, because two people are dead and more are wounded, but I hope that guy, a self-confessed conservative who opened up on a group of Unitarians as they gathered to watch a group of children perform “Annie,” gets charged with terrorism rather than murder. If a killing spree is motivated by a political agenda, doesn’t it seem like that should be the charge?

The shooter was apparently despondent over being unemployed. Also, he had recently received notice that his food stamps were being cut back.

Hold on. An unemployed man on food stamps?

What’s the matter, Mr. Shooter, couldn’t pull yourself up by your own bootstraps?

See, that’s the extent to which liberals are being demonized in this country. We are being blamed for unemployment, and social program cutbacks, which are, as everyone knows, key features of the Republicans’ agenda for America.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should reveal that I was myself baptized Unitarian, or whatever you call baptism when it’s performed by the Unitarian church. But even the Unis failed to make anything stick to me, and I ended up just a lonesome ole atheist, doomed to spend eternity in solitary limbo, with only that chick from “The Rapture” for company, what’s her name? Mimi Rogers? Yeah, that’s her, although…wait, wasn’t she the Scientologist who converted husband Tom Cruise?

Fucking great fun that’ll be. In fact, that Unitarian basement is starting to sound pretty good to me right now.

Oh, but I kid the Unitarians. The truth is, their church is pretty cool. Thomas Jefferson was one. So were Franklin, Thomas Paine, Paul Revere, Daniel Webster, John & Abigail Adams, and that furniture guy, Ethan Allen. Our founding fathers were lousy with Unitarians, in fact. Part of the appeal to those brainy, independent types was that Unitarians believe that while the Bible was inspired by God, it was written and edited by humans, and so therefore fallible and open to interpretation. They also believe that humans must exercise free will, and that no religion has a monopoly on theological truth.

I know, it’s a wonder they’ve made it this far.

Also damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t this week is Barack Obama, who cancelled an appearance visiting wounded servicemen in Germany because the Pentagon, an absolutely politics-free institution, by the way, asked him to. Their reasoning was that they didn’t want the soldiers used as political pawns.

Wait a minute. They are familiar with Iraq, right?

So Obama acquiesced, only to find himself being criticized by McCampaign for choosing not to visit the troops. As if Obama, or any politician, would pass up the opportunity willingly. And then Pentagon spokespeople, never known for their backbone under fire, released a statement saying that while they told him not to visit the troops, it was because Obama didn’t say “Mother may I?”, or something, and if he had, they totally would’ve let him.

Speaking of McCampaign, rumors are flying about a Romney VP slot. To which I say, “oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please.” Seriously, please. Please put Romney on the ticket. Please. Because then it’s just two rich white dudes and we can finally put to rest all the news stories about the Hillary-didn’t-get-the-nomination whiners and how, if he picks a woman to run with, they’re going to vote for the old guy who wants to overturn Roe v. Wade out of, you know, spite. But not just any kind of spite. Feminist spite. And as we all know, that’s the best kind of spite.

But what the hell do I know? I was hoping that W would win over McCain in 2000, because I thought NO WAY would people not see through that asshole’s cowboy act, and then Gore would win. Turns out I figured wrong. So you can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.

BTW, Hillary-didn’t-get-the-nomination whiners, my nominee didn’t get picked either, okay? In fact, my nominee is such a has-been, no one cares that he not only cheated on his wife while she has CANCER, but that he might be a baby daddy as well. Although I will say in his defense that if Edwards was really running from a pack of tabloid reporters in the middle of the night at the Beverly Hills Hilton, don’t you think that someone would’ve GOTTEN A PICTURE?

But who knows, stranger things have happened. And no doubt will.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Driving Misnomer - UPDATED

Apparently, it's not enough that the Prime Minister of Iraq said that Obama's withdrawal timetable was the right one. Al-Maliki was either misquoted, or is lying because he's up for re-election, depending on which BushCo sycophant you listen to.

The press has latched onto a narrative that McCain is more trustworthy on foreign policy issues, and they're not going to give it up, even in the face of, um, well, evidence to the contrary.

Even if you don't care that, in an area of the world where which sect you belong to is a matter of life and death, McCain can't be bothered to get it straight which dudes are the Sunnis, and which are the Shi'ites, there is now the little matter of McCain babbling on national television about trouble along the Pakistan-Iraq border:

Um, wait a minute. The which border?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

But listen to this story from Morning Edition, in which there is a rather uncomfortable exchange between reporter Juan Williams and host Steve Inskeep. Williams attempts to tip-toe around the issue of exactly who thinks that McCain is more capable than Obama on foreign policy, calling them "blue-collar voters in swing states," who expressed during the primary process that they have trouble "trusting" Obama when it comes to representing their interests abroad. And Inskeep says, "do you mean white working-class voters, as it was often put during the campaign?" And Williams responds "You're so blunt, Steve."

He doesn't know from blunt.

I would say that according to certain redneck portions of the voting population, Obama might be good enough to clean the house, but they're certainly not going to give him the keys to car. He can't be trusted with it, and besides, the neighbors might see.

How's that? Blunt enough for ya?


Holy shit, readers, I can't hardly believe it myself, but it appears that John "voters trust me on national security" McCain has once again proven his ignorance about the war in Iraq, and this one definitely cannot be explained away as any kind of misstatement.

McCain has stated that he believes that Iraq is the central front in the war on terrror, and yet in a CBS interview with Katie Couric, he attributed the Anbar Awakening (in which Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar Province turned against the insurgency and began to fight al-Qaeda instead), to "the surge" of US troops, when in fact the Awakening began, and was reported in the press, months before the surge was even proposed.

Holy fucking balls, readers. Even I knew that. Even I knew that the Awakening began before the surge. And you'd think that someone who believed that Iraq was the central front of the war on terror would've known it too.

But wait, there's more.

The Sunni sheik, Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, that McCain said was successfully protected by the surge and then went on to lead the Awakening, actually was killed during the surge because he had been a leader in the Awakening. McCain said "Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening."


And then some genius McCain campaign spokesperson, refusing to back down from the senator's mistaken assertion, said "If Barack Obama had had his way, the Sheiks who started the Awakening would have been murdered at the hands of al Qaeda."

Wow, so the McCain campaign is blaming the possible future Obama administration for a murder that took place in September of 2007? That's a unique strategy. I wonder if the press will go for it?

Ah, but the best part is that, in the original airing of the interview with Couric, her question to McCain that prompted his wrongity-wrong-wrong response was left in, but McCain's response itself was edited out by CBS and the answer to another question was substituted in its place.

Odd behavior for a press supposedly in love with Obama, ain't it?

So what is the response today from the McCain campaign? They boldly and unflinchingly canceled their weekly press conference, pulled down the shutters, and pretended to not be at home.

Awesome. Way to go, Maverick.

How you like me now?

What's that you're saying about my pussy-ass bowling score? I can't hear you!

Friday, July 18, 2008


So I was sitting on the couch yesterday, thinking that if the recent decision by Israel to trade two dead bodies to Lebanon in exchange for 12 dead jihadists, 5 pretty dangerous live incarcerated dudes, and some players to be named later, doesn’t forever lay to rest the stereotype of Jews as shrewd dealmakers, then nothing will. Spooney was sitting beside me, engaged in the rebuilding of some SS Camero engine on TLC’s Overhaulin’. Yeah, Spooney’s got the car gene. Me, I have a rule about watching television shows whose titles end in apostrophes.

Oh, don’t get me started on the whole punctuation thing. Readers, you don’t know how many times I’ve contemplated posting a rant just about people who don’t understand the difference between the plural and the singular possessive. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around this country’s propensity for squeezing apostrophes into any available public space. Witness this picture I took at my local pet store:

Please do not touch the puppy’s WHAT? It’s too disturbing to even think about. I mean, are they warning off potential puppy molesters with this sign? Ew. And jinkies, even the puppy seems depressed at his chances of making it out of that bullshit enclosure and into the home of some normal, none-puppy-molesting family. Christ.

But, seriously, Israel, WTF? I know you have some strong religious/political-face-saving traditions regarding the recovery of the bodies of your soldiers, but you traded to Lebanon some asshole serving a life sentence for offing, among others, a 4-year-old girl. With a rock. He beat a four-year-old to death with a rock, apparently merely because she had the audacity to be, you know, Jewish, and you let that guy return to Lebanon to some kind of fucking hero’s welcome, and by the way Lebanon, WHAT THE FUCK on that, but it just goes to show you that religion, and the defense of religion, will make you do some fucking crazy-ass shit.

Witness the pending ballot initiative in Colorado, the not-self-righteously-at-all-named Human Life Amendment, which, if passed, will of course be challenged as unconstitutional by normal, non-hatefully-narrow-minded people, and will create a court battle that might be taken to the SCOTUS, and might then be used as the basis for overturning Roe v. Wade. No doubt this is the objective of the anti-choice group that is pushing this crap presidential campaign year let's-get-out-the-idiot-vote albatross, which attempts to make law the concept that life begins as soon as you agree with them.

Along the way, the law, if passed, would make the following types of birth control illegal in CO, because it might terminate the existence of a fertilized egg:

  1. morning-after pill
  2. IUD

This is the list I have seen every article on the initiative use. What they do not list, are normal birth control pills. But the morning-after pill, besides being really appallingly monikered, and is by the way commonly given to women who are seeking treatment in emergency rooms after being raped – wait – did I forget to say except in Catholic hospitals, where women can apparently go fuck themselves, because when it comes to a choice between religious dogma, and a woman forced to carry a rapist’s baby, we all know whose side the Catholics are coming down on – eh? The moral side, of course. The deeply, deeply moral side of forcing women to carry the babies of their rapists. Hallelujah.

Okay, so I never finished my sentence above, which was meant to point out that the morning-after pill is merely a super dose of normal birth control pills, so it seems unlikely that one would become illegal and not the other. So why are regular birth control pills, taken by hundreds of thousands of women in Colorado, not being discussed in these articles as being in danger of becoming illegal under this initiative? I DON’T KNOW. I AM NOT A CONSPIRACY THEORIST.

And what other fun times could be had by the women of Colorado if this piece of shit legislation gets the thumbs up by the geniuses of the Centennial State? (Sorry Sis and SV, but y’all did elect Senator Wayne Allard – twice!) Well, of course in-vitro fertilization will become a thing of the past, since fertilizing eggs that are not then implanted in a uterus will be tantamount to murder. Also, not only could pregnant women be prosecuted for drinking or smoking (aka having fun like a normal human being) while pregnant, they could also be prosecuted later if it turned out they engaged in the fetus-unfriendly behavior while pregnant, but before they were aware they were pregnant.

C’mon folks, ignorance of the zygote is no defense.

So, if you’re getting the idea that this bill is one hot mess of Very Bad Things, you’d be right. Which makes me wonder, what exactly is the process of getting initiatives on the ballot in Colorado, anyway? Do they have to gather a certain number of signatures, or does it just have to be spelled correctly, or do they just do what California does and throw anything on there that their governor can pronounce?

If the worst comes to pass, don’t expect any help from President McCain, who apparently thinks birth control is too icky to even talk about, let alone recognize as a fundamental healthcare right that should not be subject to the repressive tactics of the cooch a-fearin’ douchehats of the Jesus and Mary chain.

And before you go calling me a hater, please explain to me where all the pro-choice Catholic organizations are? Oh, that’s right, there aren’t any. Because if they were to use the words “Catholic” and “pro-choice” in the same breath, they’d be excommunicated.

Don’t believe me? Ask John Kerry.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The night mares

As a little girl I was, as many girls are, preoccupied with horses. I suppose Freud would attribute the tendency to- surprise! - penis envy, but to me it’s quite normal that a girl who is just coming to understand the many ways in which she is not considered equal to little boys would fall in love with a beautiful and powerful animal.

I suppose it’s small wonder then, that as a little girl I came to associate the concept of nightmares with a thundering herd of coal-black mares with flashing white teeth and foaming mouths and wild black eyes that rolled over white. The night mares would come and gallop across my consciousness as I lay in my bed, keeping me from sleep and the release that it would bring from those myriad childhood anxieties, like passing the math test, or getting through gym class without Rosa Garland using the dodge ball as a means to send my glasses flying across the room, which I believe is what she lived for.

Of course, creatures with that much power never really entirely go away. The night mares have remained a fixture in my life.

And they came again last night. I fidgeted in bed for hours as they roared past me over and over and over again. They brought with them fears about job security, and my paltry savings, and my sub-prime mortgage, and my health, and my declining looks, and even irrational thoughts such as at that very moment, my house might be on fire. Have I planned a way to escape? And what about the animals? Where are the cat carriers, anyway? And I never finished that earthquake kit, either. The big one is coming. The big one is coming. Holy shit, do I know how to TURN OFF THE GAS?

When I was a child, I would chase the night mares with Christmas. “Think about Christmas,” I would whisper to myself. “Think about the tree.”

Oh, if it were only that simple now. There is no more magic that can chase the night mares. Christmas these days is an event entirely of my own making, like Dog Washing Day. It’s become a list of things to be accomplished, and so is more likely to be fodder for the night mares than a touchstone to keep them at bay.

Beer is a good chaser for the night mares, but too much beer brings on the mare named “What If You’re an Alcoholic?” and let me tell you, that nag is a bitch. I also sometimes chase away the mares with good old fashioned exhaustion, but exhaustion has an unfortunate tendency to bring on various heretofore unknown aches and pains, which of course is just daring that old mare called “You Haven’t Got Many Years Left,” and her sister “It Might Be Cancer,” to make an unwelcome appearance.

For a while I chased the mares pretty successfully with a little miracle called Tylenol PM. Ah, the blissfully deep and uninterrupted sleep of TPM! TPM, you’re an angel sent down from heaven! You’re a demigod in bottle! If Athena really did split Zeus’s skull and spring fully formed from out of his forehead, then TPM is what Zeus would’ve kept on his nightstand on Mt. Olympus to make it all better.

Ah, but every drug has its curse, and the curse of TPM is dreams so endlessly and vividly strange and elaborate that I wondered if I hadn’t been possessed by Tim Burton. You know, a younger, still creepy, still talented Tim Burton. Pre-Planet of the Apes Tim Burton. For instance, the other night, I dreamt that I was forced to become a doctor, and the emergency room in which I worked seemed to be peopled entirely by patients whose innards had been forcibly removed from their bodies, but were still attached. They would walk up to me and shove their shockingly colorful and still-moving entrails in my face and demand that I see them next. Of course, I had no idea how to help them, but in the dream I labored most of the night on an endless line of patients, each one more fucked-up and demanding than the last. And that’s just the last dream I remember. They were all, as I only vaguely recall, marathon weirdfests of gore and expectation. Eventually, each morning after a solid eight hours of TPM-induced slumber, I ended up more exhausted than I was when I went to bed.

I say this all, sweet readers, not to invite your pity, or even your suggestions of hot milk or snuggly kittens or watching CNN. I guess I just wanted to say to you that it’s all been getting to me recently, and I don’t know what’s going to happen. I feel like this country is about to get laid off, but we haven’t figured it out yet, and we’re still going out every night and spending our paycheck on hookers and blow. But last night, in the midst of the mares, and just when I had turned over for the 400th time, and let out my millionth sigh, Spooney, deep in sleep, let his arm fall across my hip and gently, just briefly, tugged me toward him. Just like that. Just one small flinch of wanting. Even through the fog of dreams. Just there. And that’s all it was.

And it so hit me, readers, that I think it is good to be with someone who is not so like yourself. Spooney is by no measure any kind of cock-eyed optimist, but having rolled with so much over the years, he seems to have mastered it a bit, and I want to learn how to do that. I really must learn how to do that.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Happy Birthday, America! Hope you like lies!

A lot of people in this country like to pass the time by presuming to define what patriotism is, even though patriotism, like competence, or humility, or honor, is pretty much a moveable feast.

Recently, many people have said that it is not patriotic to criticize men who have served in the military. Fortunately for me, this leaves almost all of BushCo wide open for criticism. General Wesley Clark has found himself on the receiving end of some criticism for criticizing a military man, although, as he is himself a military man who rose through the ranks of the infantry, then…wouldn’t it not be okay to criticize Clark, even if he criticizes McCain? I’m so confused. How can you say that he can’t criticize a military man, except if he is a military man who criticizes a military man, and then it’s okay?

Oh, it was so much simpler in 2004, when it was open season on military men, or at least one in particular. Back then it was all “Medals, schmedals, you’re a traitor!” Now you can’t call a member of the military a traitor even if his name rhymes with it.

Speaking of McCain, I hope he uses the upcoming 3-day weekend to, I don’t know, like, prepare to run for president or something. After all the flap about Clark saying that flying a plane for the Navy and being a prisoner of war didn’t necessarily prepare you to be president of the United States, (I know, Clark is tough! He has some high motherfuckin standards!) you’d think that McCain would’ve spent a minute or two, or at least paid someone else to spend a minute or two, thinking about how it DID prepare him.

But he didn’t. He just got mad at the reporter who asked him about it. And did that vein-popping, boiled-lobster-face thing that he does.

Guys, I am so not looking forward to seeing that face in the White House. I mean, what if they put it on a fucking coin or something? Or a stamp? Ew. Good thing you don’t have to lick stamps anymore. And way to telegraph to the whole world that we are so not the sexy hot power country we used to be. We’re going to be like the cranky old “get off our lawn!” country, the “you kids and your jungle music!” country, the “how much for this jumbo size package of Depends?” country. No wonder Coldplay’s got the number one album in the U.S. right now, we’re only 20 electoral votes away from being lulled into nationwide senility.

And as for me, the last seven years, five months and twelve days have got me so turned around that I can’t even tell you what patriotism is anymore. I can only tell you what it isn’t.

#1 on my list of isn’t, is treason. Selling out your country for a buck. Or for your own personal power surge.

Yes, you were wondering when I was going to get around to George W, weren’t you?

Because it turns out that there is, at least for people who don’t delude themselves in order to be able to sleep at night, no longer any question at all about why we invaded Iraq. And no, I’m not saying that it was merely to make money for U.S. oil companies. That’s a perk, to be sure, but I think it’s clear that the real reason is that America no longer found it acceptable to not have a major source of oil under our control. To them, it’s a question of national security.

Ah, yes, national security, that great trumper of all things moral and decent and human-rightsy and Constitution-ish.

So the next time you ask yourself when Iraq is going to be able to stand on its own two feet, you should answer yourself “Never. Because we never intended them to.” They’re going to need our money, and our might, to make Iraq pass for livable for a nice long time. We are in there for good, if those now in power have any say about it.

And they intend to have their say. McCain’s old campaign staff, full of long-time lobbying buds, are slowly being replaced by sleek, shiny, seasoned BushCo-tested cyborgs. The Republicans are not going to go down easy, my dear gentle citizens. Prepare yourselves.

Because you know, they say the first casualty of war is truth.

I say the second one, is patriotism.

Have a great holiday weekend, citizens. I’ll be back next week.

Creativity? She does know this is standard Blogger template #7, right?

Fabulous blogger D Guzman gave me an award! For creativity!

It's from Arte de Pico, which means Art & Peak, whatever that means, and it's pretty awesome, although it does seem to have a lot of posting rules. There's always some kind of goddamn string attached, eh?

But seriously, franks, I think DGuz is a way courageous and awesomely outspoken gal, and I love her blog, and if you haven't checked it out already, you should go. Go now.

Bells On Recommends: The Long Winters

Yes, again!

If you live in San Francisco, Los Angeles, or New York City, may I suggest you spend an evening with the best band you've never heard of?

San Francisco 7/17 - The Independent
Los Angeles 7/19 - Spaceland
New York City 7/31 - Castle Clinton

If you show up at the LA show, wave to me and Spooney!