Friday, October 31, 2008

Prop 8 again.

I wouldn't have put it quite this way, myself, but I do like to obey a meme:

Copy this sentence into your blog if you're in a heterosexual marriage, and you don't want it "protected" by the bigots who think that gay marriage hurts it somehow.

I did put it this way, though, as a facebook status a little while back:
Lauren 's marriage's core is threatened by DENYING loving, committed couples the right to marry, NOT by recognizing it. Please help defeat Prop 8.

I also put this there, trying to address some of the misinformation on what people are putting out about why-they-need-prop-8:
Chris and I were in the closet for two years, about our marriage. We only felt proud enough of it to admit to having it at all when CA finally overturned its ban on same-sex couples being allowed to join us. While marriage was a segregated, inequitable institution, we didn't want any part of it. "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire" creates legally recognized bonds--if my friends who've been together for 6 years (or 10 years or 20 years), taking care of one another, loving one another, respecting and committing, are not allowed at least the same rights as those marrying for money, convenience, or insurance, then THAT is a threat to the real core of marriage. Prop 8 has nothing to do with what children will be taught in schools--they cannot be forced to learn anything their parents don't want them to learn. And Prop 8 has nothing to do with what a preacher can say in church--there's a separation of church and state and protection for free speech, and unless he's inciting to riot, any minister is safe, regardless of the government's stance on marriage--just like now. And Prop 8 will not protect a church from being forced to marry same sex couples--because they can't be forced to marry anyone, regardless, as it is. All Prop 8 does is take away a precious right from one minority of the population. It wasn't right when loving, different-raced couples weren't allowed to marry, and it's not right that loving, same-gendered couples aren't--it's just segregation being run on a different line. Separate is inherently unequal, when did we forget that?

...And today, after getting the link to a new No on 8 ad which is good, so you should watch it, I linked it with this:

So, some of the public thought it was wrong or unnatural for certain people to get married. Then some activist judges on the CA Supreme Court decided that perhaps they knew better than everyone else, and that tradition shouldn't be the strongest determination of what new laws were enacted or which old laws were removed, so they blatantly ignored the will of the public--when IN 1948 they repealed California's anti-miscegenation laws. Afterwards, preachers didn't get sued for saying racist things in church, unless they incited to riot. No preacher was forced to marry a couple they didn't think should be married. And there are still schools that are de facto segregated, where images of happy, well-adjusted mixed-race families are not shown, and it is never mentioned.

...Which I thought was kinda' clever.

I haven't been posting too much here, because I figure most of you are probably already sympathetic. And facebook people I'm not so sure about (plus, more Californians). But, still. I'm starting to get pretty scared. I can't do much, but I'm doing what I can.

It's really close. It could still go either way. I keep thinking of printing up a flyer to put in every mailbox of houses with a "Yes on 8" sign in the yard. Or to tape over their signs... ....but it seems a little futile. Just got an email from my man Carl, who helps keep me connected to the real world (that is, non-Turlock), who said there were a lot of pro-8 signs down near my old neighborhood. I'm hoping it was concerted protest, but I'm still pretty appalled. And I keep crying.

Please, California... we're better than this. We don't need to be like this. (This goes for you, too, nation.)

P.S. Hopefully later, I will tell you happier things, about Halloweening, fairy wings, and Fred, my new mascot.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

They found it, they found it!!!

Okay, seriously, anonymous Wilco informants for the win!

The Song #1 link, for 10/25, is the one I heard. It doesn't sound quite as good as having been there (there can be something very permeating about live music, and the rhythm came through more in person) but the sound quality's still really good! You can play it with Quicktime on the website or open it through iTunes, though it remains streaming, so I can't imagine this'll be a permanent download--might want to jump on it if you're interested!

It eats my brain. I love it. It can be my special brain-eating friend. I want to eat it.

...nnnhungry. Breakfast didn't take the first time. Nauseableh.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bridge School Concert!

So I have some of the worst blisters on my feet I've ever had. I strained my knees badly, and my left one may have Something Wrong with it (I'm not sure if it's all because of my shoes, the way we were sitting on the ground, or the little spill I took off the curb in the dark on the walk back to the hotel). I either caught a bug or so upset my body with my food habits for the weekend that it was behaving like it's been poisoned, so I'm weak as a kitten, more dehydrated than I can ever recall being (incl. when I've had real live food poisoning), and very food wary. I can't walk without listing to port or starboard, and I'm spending my day sipping bubblegum flavored generic pedialyte and cuddling my cats.

But I had an absolutely amazing time. (Copious links to lyrics and youtube to follow.)

I spent a lot of time bawling, first of all (but that usually tends to constitute a good time, for me): Death Cab for Cutie did one called "I Will Follow You Into the Dark." Lyrics. Video/music. I'd never heard it before, but that didn't stop me completely melting down. And Sarah McLachlan did "Adia" (lyrics, video, only she played her own piano) and "Angel" (lyrics, video). Adia is one of my favorite songs, and Angel is on the ASPCA ad that always turns me into a sobbing wreck. So, weeping.

This concert is almost always entirely acoustic (well, amplified, but with no electric instruments), and live, and no session musicians, etc, so it really shows a very raw, sincere version of what's going on. If someone was mostly the result of sound engineering and multiple tracks and so on, it would be evident. But everyone was amazing.

I didn't take notes the whole time, this time, since I figured it'd be better to just relax and enjoy, though I did scribble down a bit of lyric if I wanted to be able to find the song again. Everyone did several songs. Neil Young did Sugar Mountain and one or two others at the beginning, as per usual, which was great. Then Band of Horses, whom I enjoyed, and Cat Power and the Dirty Delta Blues Band (she did one that was "Lord, Help the Poor and the Needy" video) that was quite good and even funkier than in that link, as well as CCR's "Fortunate Son" *with* Neil Young). Then Death Cab for Cutie, who did several, incl. "Brothers on a Hotel Bed" (lyrics, video), "Grapevine Fires" (lyrics) which pleased the apocalypse-lover in my soul, and the one I mentioned before.

Wilco was amazing, and started our politics for the night (other than the frequent admonitions from the video screens to vote). Jeff Tweedy, their lead (who's starting to look like a cross between Ewan McGregor-circa-Velvet Goldmine and Harvey Keitel--EDIT: this is a good thing, btw), said, "I'm wearing a flag pin," very gruffly. The audience mixed giggles and cheers for this, and the close-up showed he was, indeed, wearing one. "I know you people in this Anti-American state can't understand that, but I'm proud of my country." It wasn't entirely clear whether he was scolding the Bay Area for real or spoofing the recent rhetoric (though we were guessing the former). And then he amended, "...Especially this state. No on 8!" So we screamed ourselves silly while he started playing "California Stars" (lyrics, video). (EDIT: 8 is the appalling constitutional amendment on our ballot this year, trying to remove the rights of same-sex couples to marry. So Tweedy = win.) They also did "War on War," "Forget the Flowers" (<3), and a new one that I really liked, and if I find out what it's called once it's out, I'll mention. And he did another one I don't know, and said, "Take that, Norah." More on that came out later.

EDIT!: Got a note saying that the one they were feuding over was "Jesus Etc." from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and (intriguingly) that the new one didn't have a name yet. Hmmm. Also, I gotta' say, they kinda' got the short stick in this entry--I really, really loved their set. We've got a couple of their albums, but other than Mermaid Avenue (which was them with Billy Bragg doing Woody Guthrie stuff), which I do love, I didn't really know any of their music, hadn't pursued it. I'd heard California Stars in the car on the way to the concert, and I enjoyed it a lot, but I'm going to have to start listening to them more, now. They absolutely won me over. (Seeing people live can be the very thing.) The new untitled song they did was actually what pushed me over from enjoying my night to having a blast, and I was probably bugging my blanket mates by dancing pretty wildly in place. And singing along. (What? I sing along to songs I don't know. And I'm good at it.) It had a kind of.. almost early Beatles-ish sensibility, but with this great drive and momentum and menace. WE WANTS IT, PRECIOUS.

They were followed by Sarah McLachlan.

I didn't know much Sarah McLachlan, but I hoped she'd do Adia (one of my absolute favorite songs), Better than Ice Cream, and Angel (all of which she did--plus Building a Mystery, two brand new ones, and a few more I didn't know but that were good--one is "World on Fire"). She called for a singalong to Better Than Ice Cream, and I was the only one near me who joined in (Come on, people! SING, DAMNIT!). I wasn't looking to be impressed, but she was incredible--emotional and intense and sincere, and better--better--than in studio recordings. I was really wowed. She played solo, her own guitar and piano, with only occasion simplified changes in the piano for Adia. I have a whole lot more respect for her, now. (And, like I said before, she made me cry a whole lot.)

Norah Jones I sacrificed a lot of because I didn't think I'd safely be able to pick my way across hundreds of bodies in the dark on the lawn back to our spot, and I got scolded away from hanging around on walkways. But she was playing guitar and piano, and had a banjo player and an upright bass player (both women), and they did a really wonderful, funky set with some old, old covers. It was really cool, and I'm sorry I missed so much of it. I did catch enough to know she did "Sinkin' Soon" and "Sunrise." And I caught her explaining her feud with Wilco--she and hers had been planning to do their favorite Wilco song at the concert, and Wilco went ahead and did it themselves (hence "Take that, Norah!"). And she said, "But we've been practicing and practicing and practicing, so we're going to do it anyway." Afterwards she said, "Take that, Tweedy!" She got a lot of catcalls. She is really, really cute.

Jack Johnson was the same way as McLachlan--incredibly talented, clearly not suffering from being away from a studio, playing his own instruments, etc, and really, really mellow (he told us he hadn't played in a few months because he'd been with his kids, and that one of them peed on him yesterday--that, in fact, the jeans he was wearing still had pee on them). He got razzed by his pianist for that. They were all really excellent musicians, very together, very clean. It was absolutely lovely. He did my favorite of his, too, "Breakdown." (Lyrics, video.) He also did "Better When We're Together," "Banana Pancakes," "Times Like These," "Brushfire Fairytales," "Flake," "Go On," "Upside Down," "Mudfootball," and one more that might have been a Neil Young song, actually. He got a random big cheer, because the camera did a closeup of the soundhole on his guitar. There was one of the red white and blue drawn portraits of Obama's face.

And then Neil Young closed things off. (He got extra love for his "Hippies for Obama" pin.) He did "Lonesome Me," "Mother Earth," "The Needle and the Damage Done" (a favorite!!), "Heart of Gold" (ditto), "Old Man" (also ditto), and an amazing cover of the Beatles' "Day in the Life". Then everyone came out for "Comes a Time." I might be forgetting a couple, too.

* A lot of these people are way better than I realized.
* Acoustic does fantastic by some normally non-acoustic people.
* I love hippie musicians.
* Mountainview wants to kill me.
* I love it anyway.

(If you're curious, this was last year's post.)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mountain View, here we come!

We're going to the Bridge School Concert, again, this year!

So what's that?

It's a concert whose proceeds go to the Bridge School, a school that works with severely disabled children. For $40, we can sit on the grass a mile away, but the screens and speakers are good, and it's an FT of music. The line up this time (since ZZ Top backed out, and Josh Groban and Smashing Pumpkins'll only be there Sunday) is this (copied from the Bridge School site):

• Neil Young
• Wilco
• Jack Johnson
• Death Cab for Cutie
• Norah Jones
• Cat Power
• Sarah McLachlan (Saturday only)
• Band of Horses (Saturday only)

Last year, the concert started mid-afternoon, and went until after 1 am. Neil Young and his wife, Tom Waits with the Kronos Quartet, My Morning Jacket, Jerry Lee Lewis, Regina Spektor, Tegan and Sara, Metallica, and John Mayer all played (and Eddie Vedder and Flea had backed out). Everyone did about a half dozen songs each, very little downtime, and it was really, really fantastic. So we're looking forward to this year much!

I'll let you know how it was when we get back. :)


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oh, please do this.. I'd do it for you...

I love this game. My galpal Raechel and I started playing a version of this long distance through media mail. (There's an increasingly elaborate story about a goat in Mexico, my missing toes, and being framed for crimes that keeps developing every time we send a cheapy notebook back and forth. Good times.) So I about had a happy conniption when I saw this meme.


If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, (even if we don't speak often or ever) please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL memory of you and me.

It can be anything you want - good or bad - BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE.

When you're finished, post this little paragraph in your blog and see what your friends come up with.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Chinese Guitar

I've got a certain fascination with the apocalyptic. Urban decay, destruction of populations, reclamation by nature... Anything that suggests it has a hold on me. Neighborhoods in Detroit, where trees grow through abandoned houses, gardens gone feral... I tell my ficus, have always told it, stories about other ficus trees that grew so big and so strong that they pushed down walls and broke open rooves, stories about forests eating cities and birds nesting in office buildings. I tell it to help it grow.

This isn't necessarily healthy, but it's calming, in its way. When we're all gone, or much reduced, it'll all get on without us.

Is it horrible to be so soothed by these images? To take so much comfort in the quiet of them?

Models I've seen even say we couldn't actually reverse the path our planet is on--that we've passed tipping points, or that we'll at best be beyond all hope of return within a handful of years. The best we can hope for is to slow it down, soften the blow a little, but our hope as a species is fairly marginal, certainly here, certainly in the long term. I try not to get too alarmist about it, and I try to raise false hope, because being nihilist tends to put a damper on potentially-helpful action (models have been wrong before), but with every disaster, I feel like the planet has just had enough and is trying to shake us off. Wonder if maybe we should stop trying and let it. We overcame the carrying capacity, so now we have severe overpopulation, where hordes of people are just starving more slowly, starving longer, rather than perishing outright. Plagues knocked us back, and we came up with vaccines, or at least preventative care. All of our innovation "revolutions" that have saved so many individuals--none of whom I could have picked out to give back to the earth, none of whom I could deny this chance at living--have pushed us further and further beyond the point of hope as a species. Now we have wasting, slow, incurable things, stronger things, demons of easy momentum that have crept up so gently that we pretend we couldn't have known.

It's very strange to think about.

It's been coming up a lot, lately. Minor disasters (like the collapse of the American or World economy) have been a frequent topic around the homestead--what will we feed the cats on? Will we be able to stake out a piece of earth sufficient to feed us? How much rainwater could we collect, if irrigation fails, how much capacity do we need to be able to get through summer? Seeds?--but the larger ones, too, the looming unfathomable.

Strangely enough, getting to talk about it at the conference was very bracing. Most people don't want to think about it, so we don't get much chance, and maybe it just served to focus the attention. I'm not sure.

Everything else seems a little trivial, comparatively, I have to say. Saddling up and working, or even going to choir tonight, seem like strangely over-normal activities, so they're hard to comprehend just now. (Maybe it's a good sign that I'm at least keeping up with the more mindless activities, like doing memes.) But maybe I'm just tired.

I don't want it to happen. Of course I don't. But I feel... pretty good. Calm, and as prepared as I might be to give it a good try, and if I fail, then I made that good try.

I try to trick myself into thinking Chris and I have got a better chance than we might--we have some previous skill with growing food without petroleum, with making clothing, with salvaging old and ruined things into useful things, with living with very little, and I just have to work on making fire without Implements to get the basics covered. I even fancy myself having a better immune system, from not beating it back with antibiotics, not overwashing, courting minor illness for the sake of antibodies. But I know things are a lot more random than that. And what we have helps after the fall, not during.

Maybe other people make it and I don't. Maybe I make it, and others I love don't. Maybe everyone but the already disadvantaged do, as is often the case in disasters. Maybe no one makes it at all.

But at that point, I don't suppose anyone will much mind.


I'm preempting Chris here and posting one of our songs from the most recent set we put together. It was too big to load on our soundclick page, because it's some six and a half minutes, but I got a file sharing account. It can be downloaded here: Paper Cats, "Chinese Guitar." It's for one of these kinds of images, and it's very sweet and gentle. Chris wrote the guitar part, and I started humming an old kind of melody over it. He asked for the image, and I wrote him the lyrics for it, with a little input. That's my flute in the beginning, trying to sound much older than it actually is (...come to think, it's actually 16 or 17 years old, but that's still not much). And it's his Chinese-made Ibanez arch-top, Rosebud, playing the lead.

Here are the lyrics.

I've still got this old Chinese guitar
from the days long, long before
the breakers all gave, and swept all away
the ways of long before

Oh, a chinese guitar
my old chinese guitar.

I sat alone on a cliff 'bove the waves
'til the day that you found me
I was play'n' something old, something sweet, something low,
looking down over the sea

past my chinese guitar
my old chinese guitar.

You had this banged up old flute in your hand
And said, "Who could ask for more?
She's tired but she's fine, and the sound's pretty full
though she sticks at six and four

Maybe she'd sing with your guitar
with your old chinese guitar."

"Old man," I said, "you sure come a long way,
'cause I ha'n't seen you before.
Been watching for years, but what else would I do?
Been waiting by this shore,

with my chinese guitar.
Playing chinese guitar."

So I took you down where the town used to be
and we found an old lawnchair
Put it up next to mine 'neath that sweet twisting tree
with shade for us to share


Now we play up here, to the sea, to the birds,
but I don't think they much listen
But maybe there's someone else out there somewhere
with a nine-string mandolin

who'll hear my old guitar
my old chinese guitar.

See, I've still got this old Chinese guitar
From the days long before
The wood's cherry red, there's a dent in the side,
but the sound carries pretty far...


(Pretty picture of a tree growing through the rotted paper of an abandoned book depository.)



Now with more self-promotion! (Yes, there is an upload of *us* doing a song, crazy times, people.)

I forgot to point out that at the time of last night's posting, we'd been up and moving for 24 hours, on three hours bad sleep. Our flight left Pittsburgh 6 am EDT, so we had to leave the hotel at 4 am EDT, so we were going to wake up at 3:30 am EDT. Except neither of us slept well, and after going to bed at midnight, we woke up at more like 2:40 am. That is, we got up at 11:40 pm the night before, California time.

One decent night's sleep was not adequate to fix that. But at least it's a start. I can at least, now, meme.

Put the iPod/iTunes/whatever on random, and answer these questions in order with the titles of the songs that come up.

I did this twice, so I'm adding a couple from the second time around if they were fun, too. Trying to give you most of the youtube links, at least, and (as I said) one real live download.

1. IF SOMEONE SAYS "IS THIS OKAY?" YOU SAY? "Somewhere, A Place for Us," Tom Waits. (..Hm.)
Alt: "Send in the Clowns," Judy Collins

2. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF? "Entr'Acte," Cabaret. (Heeeee, okay, I really like that.)
Alt: "Loser," Beck (as part of "The Alternative Polka," Weird Al Yancovic) - both fun.

3. WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL? "Come on, Eileen," Dexy's Midnight Runners. (Not sure what that even means. "You in that dress" is fun.)

4. HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY? "Friday Night," Lily Allen. (Actually, I guess this works--I still feel the weekend.)
Alt: "I Love L.A.," Randy Newman - which is actually perfect, too--I'm so disoriented I don't know where I am.

5. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE'S PURPOSE? "Hallelujah," Jeff Buckley. (?)

6. WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO? "Listen to the Band," Meredith Ochs (but I linked the original Monkees).
(!!! This is actually true! This song is something I've clung to since I was about 13.)

7. WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU? "24," Jem. (But.. but I'm 25.)
Alt: "She's Electric," Oasis (Yay!)

8. WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU? "Michigan Blackhawk," the Monkees. (Is that like a black sheep?)
Alt: "Natural One," Folk Implosion (Awesome.)

9. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT OFTEN? "Straight Shooter," the Mamas and the Papas. (..okay, I don't drink *that* much.)

10. WHAT IS 2 + 2? "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." (I love this question. Why couldn't "24" have come up for this one?)

11. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND? "Dreams," Fleetwood Mac

12. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE? "Step Into My Office, Baby," Belle and Sebastian. (I don't use acronyms online. If I did, I would say LOL! OMFG!)

13. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY? "Ben," Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5. (That's... really pathetic. ::cries:: )

14. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? "Take on Me," the A-Has. (Not sure what that means.)
Alt: "Jealous Guy," Youssou N'Dour (but linked John Lennon) (Ooooh, kinky)

15. WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE? "Little Boxes," Malvina Reynolds (with the opener to Weeds, since it's all I could find). (This doesn't work, either.)

16. WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING? "Nobody in Town Can Bake a Sweet Jelly Roll Like Mine," Bessie Smith (Dirty. <3) href="">"On the Radio," Regina Spektor (That would be fantastic. I sang this song all the time, in Pittsburgh, and it was wonderful live.)

17. WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL? "Sheep Go to Heaven (Goats Go to Hell)," Cake (I SWEAR TO THE MOOSE.)

18. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS? "Like the Weather," 10,000 Maniacs
Alt: "Honey, Honey," ABBA (That's more like it!)

19. WHAT IS YOUR SECRET VICE? "Purple People Eater" Sheb Wooley (Yay, eating people!) (...this was the least typo'd video I could find that had the right version of the song.)

20. WHAT DOES THIS MEME MEAN TO YOU? "It's a Small World," Paper Cats Okay, I think this is genius, and I even uploaded the file. We performed at a staff picnic on campus that was themed "it's a small world," last year, and thought, it would be fucking funny to sing that song, but in such a way that no one knew what it was at first. Hoping for that perfect groan moment, you know?  And also so it wouldn't eat their brains for the rest of the day. And I think it's actually very pretty. Pretty enough to share. First verse Spanish, first chorus French, then to English.

Alt: "Dig It," from Holes. (...I really love this, too, actually. <3>

Sunday, October 19, 2008


1) Back home safe and sound. Exhausted, but generally good.
2) I love Pittsburgh.
3) I love academics. Kind of like how I love politics. ...Pretty much just like that, actually. Further: Academic conferences follow the same general rules of behavior as online fan communities do, only with less hugging (unless I'm involved), and more--yes, more--wankery. Perhaps more on this later. They're also like Stealer's Wheel's "Stuck in the Middle With You," at least if you're prone to social anxiety and taking open bars up on their offers.
4) I got to meet Chris's oldest friend, Bob--34 years worth--and re-meet one of his best friends from grad school, Dave. And it was really, really fucking nice. I had a fantastic time. (Maybe more on this, too.) I've been facebook bingeing and blog-trawling for most of the night,* actually, since that, broken up only by fitful naps I didn't mean to take and consequent nightmares, and a compulsive playing and re-playing of an IQ-y brain game. And wine.
5) I got to meet an online Hockey Friend, and that was fantastic, too! When we saw the game with Dave, we met up with her first, and I got to get my fangirl-meets-actual-sport-interest on, which was great. It was a good game, despite the loss, and I have a face/voice to put to the blog!
6) Between the flights (San Jose -> Atlanta -> Pittsburgh and back the same route) and the conference sessions (wherein I need to run interference to keep my brain roughly on the task at hand), I knit a long, wide, ribbed scarf for an xmas present, drew two sketches of scenes in Pittsburgh (one w/ Mellon arena and conference-goer's silhouettes I'm actually quite pleased with, for what it is--may post this), scribbled on things I'm writing/plotted, and read a novel. Consequently, I felt very productive, and seem to have sustained a minor shoulder injury from the above abuse (as they were performed in very cramped quarters, and I am me). Also, speaking of Chris's college pals: the book was "Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break," by Steve Sherrill, and it filled me with this sad, diffuse warmth. It was really lovely.

Overall, I have a sense of health and thriving, despite the bone-deep tired.

So goodnight, and LOVE.

*Bob's blog turned up this quote from The Long Emergency and it'll give you a sense of the way conversation went while we were there, but it's also gorgeous, and strangely soothing in the face of collapse, so I had to repost it:

If it happens that the human race doesn't make it [through the Long Emergency], then the fact that we were here once will not be altered, that once upon a time we peopled this astonishing blue planet, and wondered intelligently at everything about it and the other things who lived here with us on it, and that we celebrated the beauty of it in music and art, architecture, literature, and dance, and that there were times when we approached something godlike in our abilities and aspirations. We emerged out of a depthless mystery, and back into mystery we returned, and in the end the mystery is all there is.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you, oo-oo-oo

To paraphrase Greenspan: As goes California, so goes the nation, bitches! Could you guess that the part he didn't say was "bitches?"

So Connecticut has joined my illustrious motherland in overturning its ban on gay marriage.

Can we get a domino effect on this, please?

(Now CA just needs to crush Prop 8--proposed constitutional amendment "hereby defining marriage in the state of California as between one man and one woman." It won't stop any other state from trying to write over their own decisions with their own ballot measures, but it'd sure be a discouraging start!)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Precious Right

I'll post this back up at the beginning of November, I'm sure, but for now I'm just so happy I managed to capture it on my little iSight camera.

Brief closer to a 1950's game show, one night.

(...yes, we've been watching a lot of What's My Line?, DVRd from the Game Show Network. It's... really sweet, actually.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Well, I can't stop now...

I thought this was supposed to be Economics, tonight? We have to listen to Questions From the Gallery?

...This is going to diminish the ability for a successful drinking game. However, the need will probably arise more than before. So, anyway, here's a short set.


*Any time the phrase "Main Street" is used.
*If Keating Five comes up (Kudos, Obama, for finally mentioning it!)
*If Ayers or the Weathermen come up.
*Any time McCain says "Miss Congeniality" or "Maverick."
*Any time McCain actually looks at Obama.

EDIT: The audience questions are bust, they've all been vetted. Still drink for "What are you going to do for me?" But here're a few added ones:

McCain mentioning suspending his campaign.
If any candidate shakes the hand of a questioner during the course of an answer.
If a candidate asks a questioner a question.
Any outright lies.

EDIT: Oh, good, John, that's true. You HAVE voted against a lot of spending. Including spending on the veterans and troops you support so much. Things like body armor.

E2: I love Obama's "Are you fucking kidding me?" look in response to McCain's OUTRIGHT LIES ABOUT HIS TAX PLANS. McCain, I have insurance--it's better than what I could get with a $5000 tax credit if the insurance was cut. And I don't have kids. LEAVE ME ALONE.


Friday, October 3, 2008

I can think of a better reason.

Okay, Time author. Your description of woman-on-woman hate was pretty funny. But I could barely have managed to be more disappointed by this article. (Why Some Women Hate Sarah Palin)

I actually love that she's attractive, and confident. If I knew nothing about her politics, I'd think she was adorable. I still kind of do. Embarrassment isn't really an issue, either. A small part of me actually deeply loves Sarah Palin.

So you know what? It really is just a matter of hating on the policies.

Oh, it takes other forms out of a kind of defensiveness. There might even be a degree of repressed misogyny in the way I want to get into a dogfight-cum-grudgefuck with her. But then again, maybe it's just the way my brain, overloaded with anger and insult, is choosing to combine "she's attractive, confident, and with the potential for fragility underneath" with "that's the most appalling set of politics I've come across in a long time." Plus, me = dog.

I respect approximately two things she's ever done. I'm all in on closing loopholes on oil company tax policy, for instance.

...okay, one thing she's done.

Otherwise? She's a menace on just about every issue I hold dear. And even on ones about which I just have Views. I don't think I even have to get into that, here, do I? (Though, Times author, I was impressed with the way in which you so readily dismissed the impact of actual politics on my political views! Well done!) Now I will admit that I am insulted, too, and that that's probably ramping up the level of disdain--the choice to appoint her as running mate was a pretty weak pander. If there wasn't the buzz (hopefully overblown) about displaced Hillary supporters looking to McCain, would he have chosen her? There would have been plenty of other options for people who would have roused the Base for him. Although I suppose choosing a woman with anything that actually looks like a record of defending women's rights wouldn't have worked in McCain's favor with said Base. In the end, she's the political equivalent of a trophy wife, and that really doesn't do anything to resonate with my feminism.

And now supposing she did become leader of the nation. The executive record she suggests is so important is terrifying. It's full of grudges being played out in politics, friendships being the primary decider on who gets what post (as opposed to competence), general corruption and calculated secrecy checked against legal loopholes--in short, a good replica of the Bush White House. That's not something I'm looking forward to repeating.

And as for competence: I understand that she's having to do a lot of learning very quickly, and she's making leaps. I can forgive misspeaking, and I thought she did very well in the debate, especially compared to Everything Else She's Said So Far. But while experience isn't the be all and end all for me, having a solid grasp of the political situations around you is pretty fucking crucial. Demonstrating a capacity to think critically about them--and to not rely on (more Bush-esque ploys) appealing to "the American people's common sense" or "common values" or anything else that is a stand in in today's rhetoric for Not Actually Thinking--is pretty fucking crucial.

So, while I'm delighted at your attempt to dumb down my political feelings to that classic Petty Woman-y Getting-My-Hate-On, I think in the end that--in this case-I'm still going to want to "just elect a man" into office, "like we've always done." You know, the man with the policies I support, the most similar sense of values, the capacity to improve our country's standing in the view of the rest of the world, the ability to potentially inspire us to live up to higher standards rather than down to pettiness and populism-for-its-own-sake, the one with better record on women's issues...

On second thought, you must be right. My girly anger machine must just be getting in the way of my ability to be loyal to the sex, and look past how perfect she is to the leader underneath. I just hate her because she's pretty.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

So there's a VP debate, tonight...

I know it's Thursday. And don't think that by my doing this I mean to suggest that the whole thing is risible--I certainly didn't mean that last time. It's really just a way of expressing frustration/snark with the rhetoric in a way that doesn't necessarily result in wallowing/hair-tearing, and provides a road to soothe said frustration at that.

That said, here's another drinking game.

See, I think the problem with the debate game for the last time was that I'd been thinking of it in terms of two separate speeches, as opposed to a debate. It's hard not to. That may be a problem with this set of rules, too, but I'm hoping I'll have gotten a little closer.


Any time Biden mixes a metaphor--big drink if there are at least three things that don't go together in the sentence.

Any time Palin uses job interview level stalling tactics (e.g. "In what way?" "That's a good question..." "That's a very important question." "You know, I've been thinking about that a lot..." "Excuse me, could you repeat the question?") or defers from answering a question entirely.

Any time either of them says something unequivocally, factually false.

If either of them says flat out, "That is a lie."

Any time either of them uses an insultingly cliche aphorism or a painfully folksy metaphor.

If Biden slams his fist on the podium or extends it for emphasis, or if Palin raises her arm and points very high.

If Biden says something that could be (fairly or unfairly) construed as sexist, or Palin says something that could be (fairly or unfairly) construed as racist.

If Palin uses the phrases "tax and spend" or "cut and run, or Biden uses the phrases "four more years" or "out of touch."

If Palin suggests Obama doesn't have enough experience. If Biden suggests Palin HAS enough experience (extra points if it's backhanded--e.g. refers to her history of croneyism, jingoist rhetoric, or excessive secrecy in comparison to behavior of Cheney or Bush).

Any time the following phrases are used: "What ______ doesn't seem to understand..." "Bridge to Nowhere," "pork barrel," "pet project," "your tax dollars," "irresponsible spending," "Main Street," "Corporate Welfare," "Socialized _____," "what America needs."

...Besides, when there's pineapple in the house, there needs to be an excuse for Piña Coladas.

EDIT: Wish I'd mentioned referencing the suspension of McCain's campaign, the "woman in Kansas" story, and "bringing people to the table"/"bipartisan efforts." And excessive references to Alaska--that one I'd intended to and left out. EDIT again: "Gosh darn it," "doggone it"...

And I'm actually drinking something called a Mixed Metaphor, instead of a boat drink. Chris suggested I make one up--it's vanilla vodka, pastis (like absinthe or an anisette), and lemon/lime.

EDIT 2: "referred to raping the outer coast" -- Hey, Sarah, what about your stance on how to treat rape victims?
And she didn't have her "noo-klee-ur" phonetic card.

EDIT 3: Gwen Ifill, oh my God, you actually asked a hot-button issue. I love you.

EDIT 4: Sarah Palin doesn't understand that "two state policy" means giving Palestine its own country. I think she thought that meant multinational effort. (I'm nearly certain of this.)

EDIT 5: From my mother: "She's Dolores Umbridge. She's smarmy and she's scary--she's Dolores Umbridge."

EDIT 6: I'm sorry, Palin, as far as emotional impact and pulling on heartstrings are concerned, that answer had nothing on "my wife and daughter are dead and I had to take care of my children alone." (Me = kinda' crying a little.)

McCain's support of troops and veterans.

His most unimpeachable stance, right? How could a veteran--a POW--be anything but sympathetic and supportive? Especially after this statement during the first debate:

"I know the veterans, I know them well, and I know that they know that I'll take care of them, and I have been proud of their support and their recognition of my service to the veterans, and I love them, and I'll take care of them, and they know that I'll take care of them."

..and his suggestion that if he started a spending freeze, it would cover everything *but* defense and veterans' programs.

Well, non-partisan veterans' groups are looking at this claim of support. It apparently upset a lot of troops and vets.

So someone compiled a thorough list for his voting record and statements on troops and vets issues.

Please look at that. Even if it's not your hot-button issue. Even if you just skim it. It's pretty incredible.