Home

The Black Friday Sales I’m Not Shopping

6 Comments

Well, of course I’m not shopping the Black Friday sales today.  Black Friday was last Friday. The Thanksgiving week lingers on in my mind; having K and Belle home from school threw off my calendar sense. When all else fails, blame the fruit of your loins.

On the actual Black Friday Day (BFD?), we observed our traditional ode to consumerism:  Buy Nothing Day. Getting lunch at a local sports pub doesn’t count, because…well, because.  I hadn’t pledged to observe Eat Nothing But Leftovers Day.

*   *   *

I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.
(Jon Stewart)

pilgrims

Even as a child I was skeptical toward the Disney-fied version of what my school taught about The Pilgrims. The idea that, to this day, there are still people who celebrate the survival of the Plymouth colonists trespassers by thanking a god who supposedly protected and championed the European offensive makes my mouth feel as if I’ve been sucking on a cotton ball.[1]  Nevertheless, faced with the mythical vs. factual scenarios –

☺ Pilgrims invited the locals to a feast after surviving their first year in New England.

☺Indigenous Americans broke bread with the invaders they’d saved from starvation, those who later stole their land and decimated their numbers via murder and disease.

– which image would your grandparents favor for their Hallmark holiday greeting card?

*   *   *

Ah, but I’ve mellowed in my dotage. I am pleased that the observance of the third Thursday of November has evolved into a special day set aside for gluttony gratitude. There was much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving, including last week’s politics/world affairs-free blog from moi.

It even seemed as if there were several days (as in, maybe two) that were rant-free. Silence from the Repugnicans – what gives?  I began to wonder if the sore losers of the election finally decided to just go away.  But, nooooooo. Like a recurrent arse pimple or a psychotic, spurned lover, the acumen-free, neo(lithic) cons are not going to be ignored.

But the latest rightwing hysteria cause caught me by surprise. I’d thought the kind of minds attracted to the secession twaddle would have so many other things on their agenda. After all, they’ve got crosses to burn, mayo-on-white bread sandwiches to eat, pro-wrestling matches to watch, and there are sheep out there, somewhere, in desperate need of lovin.’

But really, some of them sound like they’re serious.  And the loudest-sounding seem to be (surprise!) from Texas.

Now, I acknowledge the majority of the whining comes from fringy-wingnut element of politics and punditry. There are many decent, rational, realistic, intelligent and compassionate people from Texas, even some political and media figures I admire, including Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Walter Cronkite,[2]  Molly Ivins [3] ….

Oh yeah, they’re all dead. Anyway….

Memo to Texas Nationalist Movement President Daniel Miller and like-minded loonies: Stop holding your breath and kicking your feet and otherwise throwing the political equivalent of a marginally potty-trained toddler’s tantrum.

tantrum

And, hey you — any state claiming to be serious in your girly-man threat to secede: go ahead, make my day. After your residents have ponied up for their share of the national debt[4], don’t let the information highway[5] hit you in the ass on your way out.

Cleverer minds than mine® have taken the secession speechifying seriously enough to come up with about twenty Declarations on the matter.  I’ve seen so many variations I can only offer attribution to the version[6] brought to my attention by my alert Swednadian friends.   Here it is, with just a bit o- tweaking from yours truly.

~~~~ * ~~~~

The Declaration of Oh please, are you serious? November 2012

From: Red/Slave State Secession Support Group, aka The E.S.A.

To: the Red States Threatening Secession

Dear Red States:

We’re sick of your Neanderthal beliefs and 47% politics. We who support your secession intended to form our own country anyway, and we’re taking all the Blue States with us. In case you aren’t aware, that includes Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, New York, and all of the Mid Atlantic and Northeast states (as per the most recent election, Florida and Virginia have a two-year probationary status).

We believe this split will be beneficial to the hopelessly polarized nation, and especially to the people of our E.S.A., The Enlightened States of America.

You wanna secede?  Go for it. A brief summation of the results of your departure:

  • You get Texas, Oklahoma and almost all of the other slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches.
  • We get Barack Obama and Joe Biden. You get Bobby Jindal,  Richard Murdock, and Todd Akin.
  • We get the Statue of Liberty. You get OpryLand.
  • We get Harvard. You get Ole’ Miss.
  • We get Tahoe and Vail and Aspen. You get Utah.
  • We get Intel, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft. You get Chic-fil-A.
  • We get 85 percent of America’s venture  capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama.
  • We get two-thirds of the tax revenue. You get to make your states pay their fair share.
  • We get science. You get myth and fantasy.

With the Blue States in hand we will have:

  • firm control of 80% of the country’s fresh water,
  • more than 90% of the pineapple[8]  and lettuce,
  • 92% of the nation’s fresh fruit,
  • 95% of America’s finest wines (y’all can serve French wines at your state dinners)
  • 90% of all cheese,
  • 90% of the high tech industry,
  • most of the US low sulfur coal,
  • all living redwoods, sequoias and condors,[9]
  • all the Ivy League and Seven Sisters schools, plus Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT,
  • the Rose Bowl

With the Red States you will have:

  • 88% of obese Americans and their projected health care costs,
  • 92% of US mosquitoes,
  • nearly 100% of the tornadoes,
  • 90% of the hurricanes,
  • 99% of Southern Baptists (without counting our provisional states),
  • virtually 100% of televangelists,
  • the philosophers Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilley, and Sean Hannity
  • Bob Jones University, Liberty University, ‘Bama, and the University of Georgia.
  • 90% of all deep fat fried foods.

We get Hollywood and Yosemite – jackpot! Thank you!

Here’s just a sampling of the cheap entertainment provided by y’all; in other words, what we may actually miss about you when you go:

  • the 38% of you who believe there was an actual dude name Jonah who was actually swallowed by a whale,
  • the 62% of you who believe life is “sacred,” except in cases of war, the death penalty, and shoot-first laws,
  • the whopping 5% of you Republicans (according to Gallup Polls, really) who even partially understand the scientific theory of evolution.
  • the 61% of you crazies who believe that you have higher morals than we lefties.

Oh, and BTW, we’re taking the good weed from Oregon, too. You can have that crap from Mexico.

~~~~ * ~~~~

Revisiting the subject of gratitude, I am thankful to be able to confer a Pretty Purple Toe award this week, to my most deserving friend and blogging mentrix,[10] SCM.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve always loathed “ess” or “ette” or other attachments to what should be gender-neutral nouns. Such suffixes add a diminutive/diminishing effect, and presume – and teach, IMHO – that there are male “defaults” for certain occupations. If I act in a play I call myself an actor, not an actress. My family (MH, K, Belle and I) has a family practitioner who sees us for our respective medical concerns;[11] when we have our annual exams we see our doctor, not our doctress or doctrette.  When I had friends over for Thanksgiving dinner I was their host, not their hostess.

However….

A day or so before I was to host the Tday dinner I e-queried one of our dinner guests, SCM (also an attorney), re questions I had about updating MH’s and my wills.  I mildly tweaked SCM for using the term “executrix” in her reply.  She was, as always, succinctly witty in her own defense:

I like executrix instead of a gender-neutral executor, or administratrix instead of g-n administrator. It just sounds faintly naughty and it’s more precise. Maybe you should be a hostrix?

Hostrix.  I think I could get used to the sound of that.

Hijinks ensue.

*   *   *

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] Or on a piece of overcooked turkey breast. I was the cook. The legs & thigh portions were fine. Sound familiar?

[2] Beloved by most Americans for his “most trusted man in America” journalism, and by moi because I was able to get the traffic court judge to drastically reduce  my one-and-only speeding fine when I explained how, mesmerized by an Uncle Walter radio interview, I failed to notice the lowered speed limit and thus was driving “under the influence of Water Cronkite.”

[3] One of my fave MI witticisms: “I have been attacked by Rush Limbaugh on the air, an experience somewhat akin to being gummed by a newt. It doesn’t actually hurt, but it leaves you with slimy stuff on your ankle.”

[4] A whopping portion of it run up by the war now pay later policies of a president from Texass

[5] As well as those pesky Federal $$  paying for your Social Security, Medicare, Johnson Space Center and other defense contract businesses, highway improvements and fee-free interstate travel, the defense of your borders from illegal immigrants….

[6] Paul Magnusson, Spokesman for the Red/Slave State Secession Support Group, The Enlightened States of America (E.S.A.)

[7] Swedish-Canadian

[8] I like pineapple

[9] I like condors, too, but wish they smelled more like pineapple

[10] Not mentor or “mentoress”

[11] It’s a good thing our good Dr. MM can write her own Xanex prescriptions.

The Turkey Day I’m Not Lamenting

2 Comments

“I hope they do the traditional costumes.”

The old man seated to my right directed his comment to his daughter, who was seated on his left. He turned to face me and repeated his wish, adding, “I remember, from years ago, how beautiful the costumes were.”

When you are season subscribers to a regional theatre, as are MH and I, you get to know your row. I know which seats are held by fellow subscribers to the same first-Sunday-matinee-of-a-new-play’s-run, and which seats are not held by subscribers and are thus occupied by different people for every performance. The two seats next to “my” seat are open, and during last Sunday’s matinee showing of A Midsummer Night’s Dream they were occupied by a woman my age (I’m guessing) and her father.

The father was handsome and well-dressed, with a mostly full if thinning head of snow white hair.  His posture was slightly stooped; he moved with the cautious deliberateness of the declining elderly, and needed help getting in and out of his seat. He had clear, radiant blue-green eyes, a quick smile, and a mental sharpness that belied his physical frailty, as I discovered when we exchanged small talk before the show and during the intermission.[1]

His daughter had brought a quilted cushion with her, which she carefully arranged on the chair’s pad and back before helping her father lower himself into his seat. I was touched by her loving and lively attentiveness to him. Her eyes literally sparkled when she looked at him; she was on a date with her dad. I was happy to see the obvious delight they took in the play, and joined them in giving the cast a standing ovation. As I helped the father on with his coat and bid them both a wonderful evening, I managed to suppress the wistful tears that are freely flowing now, as I type this.

Oh, for one more date [2] with my dad, my beloved Chet the Jet.

Chester Bryan Parnell, August 8, 1924 – February 11, 2009.

Chet on “Stardust,” ca. July 1952. Picture taken by his soon-to-be-wife, Marion. Chet sold his beloved Palomino stallion to buy Marion’s engagement & wedding rings. He kept the saddle, and later sold it for $35 (to pay the rent on their apartment). My sisters and I ( ages ~ 3, 7, & 9) were aghast when we first heard this story: “You sold your horse? We could have had a horse?!?!”

 If you have an elderly parent or two still around, do me a favor. Help them on with their coat, next time you see them.  I don’t care if its 90º – make ‘em put on the damn coat.

*   *   *

Reminds me of my favorite Boy Scout joke. Okay; it’s my only Boy Scout Joke.

Billy, to his to Scoutmaster:  “Sir, Bobby and I completed the final requirement for our Community Service merit badge.”

Scoutmaster:  “And what was that?”

Bobby: “We helped an old lady cross the street!”

Scoutmaster: “It took both of you to help an old lady cross the street?”

Billy: “Well, she didn’t want to go.”

*   *   *

Today’s blog title, yes.  I am not lamenting Thanksgiving, although it seems to be somewhat vogue to do so.  Perhaps if I wrote this entry after the event (which we are hosting) I’d be singing a different tune…but I doubt it.  We have a brilliant group of 10 friends who will be share the day with us, and they are all excellent and creative cooks and, most importantly, gracious and fun-loving. A special bonus in hosting our Swenadian[3] friends is that although they’ve lived here for many years, they have no expectations of What A Thanksgiving Meal Must Be, and so they take joy in the feast and are never disappointed that there ain’t no foo-foo marshmallow yam casserole (not at my table, no sireee Bob).  Plus, their two sons tell really good fart and penis jokes, which add that certain festive. je ne sai quois to any holiday gathering.

Belle and K got up early to run in the Oregon Zoo’s 4 Mile Turkey Trot with their father.  MH proudly and efficiently performed his Your Children Are Never Too Old To Be Embarrassed By Their Dad duty with the alacrity and accoutrements appropriate to the day. Read: he ran the race wearing a homemade turkey feather tutu and turkey goo-goo-eyes-and-beak cap. It’s amazing, what one man and a glue gun can accomplish.

Picture taken by K, who jumped at the chance not to be included

Aman’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do (half of K is captured on the right)

*   *   *

Leftover cranberry relish in the ‘frig and the pop-up, Plan Ladie’s Lefse Party [4] task reminder on my computer add to my anticipation of the upcoming holiday season.  Yes, we Freethinkin’ folk celebrate all kinds of festivities at this time of the year. Those questioning why will be subject to a lecture (see 11-2-12 post) on the secular origins of so-called religious holidays.  Be afraid; be very afraid.

In honor of the upcoming Solstice season I’ll share the following old gem.

҉

Fruitcake for the Holidays:  A Special Recipe

one cup water
one cup sugar
four large eggs
two cups of dried fruit
one teaspoon baking soda
one teaspoon salt
one cup brown sugar
lemon juice
nuts
one bottle of whisky

Sample the whisky to check for quality.  Get a large mixing bowl.  Check whisky again – to be sure it is the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.  Repeat. Turn on the electric mixer, beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.  Add one teaspoon of sugar and beat again.

Make sure the whisky is still okay.  Cry another tup.  Turn off the mixer.  Break two leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried furit.   Mix on the turner.  If the fried druit gets tuck in the beaterers pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the whisky to check for tonsisticity. Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Who cares?  Check the whisky.  Now sift the lemon juice and strain the nuts.  Add one table. Spoon.  Of sugar or something. Whatever you can find.

Grease the oven.  Turn the cake tin to 350 degrees.  Don’t Forget to beat off the turner.  Throw the bowl out of the window, check the whisky again and go to bed.

*   *   *

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] I am not one of those people who talks during a play or movie (unless it’s to snort, “Yeah, like THAT’S gonna happen,” during a particularly ludicrous scenario).

[2] Truth be told, Chet would have fallen asleep at any date that involved a theatrical performance.

[3] a Canadian-Swede couple and their children.

[4] Yes, of course I’m going to write about that. Eventually.

The Weekends I’m Not Narrating

2 Comments

In an effort to protect the privacy of friends, family and acquaintances from the torrents of attention likely to befall anyone who has the dreadful misfortune coveted windfall of being mentioned by name in this blog, I’ve been using pseudonyms and/or first and last initials instead of names. Clever moi, until attentive reader MH (my husband) pointed out that last Friday’s blog post referenced two different people who were both “initialized” as LH.

Mistakes were made.  Initial usage will be more carefully monitored, with (are you sitting down for this?) middle name initials added for clarity. Better yet, humiliating nicknames may be assigned.

*   *   *

The 2012 election is history and the MR [1] whine-rate about why he lost has trickled down to about one per day. Isn’t it a relief to realize we can stop perusing the news sites for the latest political shenanigans and get back – to using the internet in ways more productive to our intellects and overall mental well-being? Yes, I refer to watching cute cat videos:

Mea kitty culpa.  Not what I’d intended as the exemplar. However.  A kitten de-fooding in time to “Wannabe” – how cute is that?

*   *   *

~ Things I didn’t know until yesterday ~

 Your car’s emissions control system has something called a purge valve, a device I until now associated with snorkels and body-image-obsessed teenagers. If your bulimic automobile’s purge valve malfunctions and needs to be replaced, the service bill may make you want to, well, do a purge of your own.

*   *   *

Two barfing references in a row – that was unintentional.  (Really, Mom).

As today’s title suggests, I was going to write about two recent weekend getaways MH and I had. Both were in October. Trip 1 qualifies as such only if you consider staying at a hotel a mere eleven miles from your house to be a getaway[2]. This outing was to attend the Freedom From Religion Foundation‘s annual convention, which this year was oh-so-conveniently-for-us held in Portland. Trip 2 involved a drive up to Tacoma, to visit our son, the lovely and talented K, during the University of Puget Sound‘s Homecoming/Parents weekend.

About our excursions I tried to write, but distracted I got.[3]

The past week, quelle fromage! So many award-worthy characters and incidents…I thought I was safe from such diversions, what with the election finished. Silly moi. I tried, and failed, to skim past the Yahoo/Google news headlines or the front pages of the four (yes, four) dead tree newspapers[4] to which our household subscribes. The stories I read reminded me of the plots of movies – really bad and/or surreal movies. It seemed as if an Academy Awards Ceremony of human folly was parading on a red carpet before my eyes, begging for the chance to practice their bogus heartfelt, it’s-an-honor-just-to-be-nominated speeches.

In consideration of the audience’s attention span and sanity, the Academy shall whittle down the number of awards presented, cut the opening monologue, memorial montages, nominated song performances and winners’ acceptance speeches – oh hell, we’ll skip all the nominees and go directly to the awards in three categories. The ceremony director promises to instantly cut to a SNL adult diaper commercial spoof should any of the winners attempt to thank their agents, accountants or parole officers.

~ Best/Worst Foreign Documentary ~

Asshat of the week isn’t nearly a…sufficient…moniker for those who caused the death of Savita Halappanavar.

Halappanavar, a 31-year-old, 17-weeks pregnant dentist, presented with severe back pain at Galway University Hospital in late October. After doctors confirmed she was miscarrying, Ms. Halappanavar asked for a medical termination. Savita’s husband, Praveen Halappanavar, an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, says his wife asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated, but her request was refused because the fetal heartbeat was still detected (“This is a Catholic country,”[5] Savita and Praveen were told). Savita spent a further three days “in agony” until the fetal heartbeat stopped, after which the doctors removed the dead fetus and took Savita to the intensive care unit, where she died of septicemia.

Heart-wrenching, scandalous, deplorable, merciless, primitive, callous – of the many dreadful descriptions  that can be applied to this travesty of medical “care,” surprising isn’t one of them. This is what happens, outrageously but totally predictably, when governments allow interpretations of Iron Age mythologies to influence and even dictate 21st century medical decisions.  As Irish Parliament member Clare Daly pointed out, “An unviable fetus…was given priority over a women’s life.”

And so the Academy regretfully but appropriately decrees that the Hated Abyss Foe[6] Award be shared among:

* the Galway University Hospital staff
* the entirety of RC hierarchy; the incense-huffing/pederast-protecting/mackerel-snapping swarm of Men Who Dress Like Women But Refuse to Ordain Them
* the Irish government – nay, the whole damn adult population of servile, papist-toadying citizens of the country responsible for  50% of my genetic material[7].

*   *   *

~ Most Superfluous Supporting Performance in An Increasingly Silly Scandal ~

There are many deserving nominees among the dramatis personae of the General Petraeus dramedy, and the cast is increasing daily. The nominations must be closed at some point; thus, The Anthony Weiner Memorial Man Boob Award goes to Shirtless FBI Agent [8], with honorable mention to all other  XY chromosome holders who just can’t seem to help themselves when it comes to sending pictures of their amazing man parts to their (allegedly) awestruck lady friends and rent boys.

*   *   *

Pardon the Academy’s digression, but if you’ve paid the slightest amount of attention to the convoluted shenanigans of General P and his wacky sidekicks (bankrupt/deadbeat mother/military-soiree-throwing socialites are the latest addition), you may understand yet another of the 200+ WhyamIdoingthis? reasons that cause me, every day of my working life, to consider taking down my Fiction Writer shingle. Nothing I could dream up would be as entertaining as the flapdoodle follies of What Goes On In Real Life. ®

Nevertheless, the Academy soldiers on. The last award category:

~ Most Pathetic Adapted or Original Screenplay ~

WhyamIdoingthis? reason # 124 is receiving a note like the following, from the lovely editor of a respected, long-established[9] university literary press. Years ago this editor reviewed stories of mine from my first book of short fiction, and asked to see more of my work when I had a second collection ready. The brevity of her gracious response to my query belies the extent of the troubles afflicting literary publishers.[10] 

Hi, Robyn—
Unfortunately, the ___ Press is out of business.  I’m sorry, because your collection sounds appealing. I wish you all the best in your search for a publisher.
Sincerely, _____

The Academy, in a rare moment of self-awareness, is rethinking its position, and admits that any award bestowed in this category could only be a blatant exercise in self-pity. The woes of writers are nowhere near as noteworthy to humanity as, say, disfiguring genital cancers, or fecaluria,[11] or the recent reminders of how Lee Atwater, the notorious GOP political strategist, refined and promoted[12] the Southern Strategy. Thus the Academy in its infinite wisdom is suspending the ceremony, and suggests for your continuing entertainment that you imagine having the cinematic ability to inflict integrity-free political strategists with disfiguring genital cancers and poo-pissing.

Hilarity ensues.  Or not.

*   *   *

Smarter People than Us Said This

Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.  (Susan B. Anthony)

Wishing you all a week filled with memorable, stray-dog-sniffing incidents.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] Speaking of initials, how appropriate, if not PC.

[2] Anyone with teenagers and pets knows the answer is a resounding, Yessss!

[3] “Do or do not. There is no try.” But somebody, please, DO TRY to get this Yoda voice out of my head. Help me Obi-wan; you’re my only hope.

[4] Epithet courtesy of attorney/writer/blogger SCM. Shelley, here’s your citation!

[5] Halappanavar told the hospital staff, “I am neither Irish nor Catholic,” but they said they couldn’t do anything.

[6] Scrambled acronym: Eat Shit And Die You Festering Excuse of a Sentient Human Being

[7] I’m half Irish, from both my parents. There is no escape.

[8] Makes me wonder, what are the qualifications to join our nation’s “intelligence” services?  I’m guessing when this particular agent filled out his FBI application, at the bottom of the form where it says “sign here,” he wrote, “Aquarius.”

[9] publishing works in the humanities, medicine and literary fiction since the 1930s.

[10] the editorial assistant of the press’ parent company was not even aware that the imprint had suspended operations.

[11] The passing of feces through the urethra due to an intestinal-bladder fistula.

[12] The Nation dug up an interview with infamous GOP strategist Lee Atwater, who explained how Republicans can win the vote of racists without sounding racist themselves:  “You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that…backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites…. ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Nigger, nigger.'”

The Political Wedgie I’m Not Giving

3 Comments

It just ain’t right :

I tweaked my wrist while setting up my new ergonomic computer stand.

*   *   *

Not even one paragraph into the post, and I digress.

Last Sunday, during my family’s customary dinner at the BCC, [1] friend LH mentioned that, in anticipation of Tuesday’s election results, she’d purchased a bottle of champagne and a bottle of tequila.  Bubbly = good news, tequila = ay yi yi.

As Election Day approached I shuddered to think of a Mitt Romney presidency ay-yi-yi outcome, but forced myself to consider the possibility. The only way I could do that sober was to fantasize about distracting Romney’s Secret Service detail[2] and hoisting his magic undies into a wedgie of presidential proportions.

I never asked LH about what kind of tequila she’d purchased. Shots of any rotgut (“mixtos”) brand, or even your best reposado, would do for a toast to misfortune.  But the following margarita is too good too good to waste on sorrow.  This is not your Applebee’s bar blender/slurpee-style margarita. The key is using the best ingredients:  the proper tequila, ditching the triple sec, and only fresh lime juice.

La Margarita Que yummers – makes 2
-2 margarita glasses prepped w/kosher salt and  lime slices or wedges
cocktail shaker (do not even think of using a blender)
-1/2 c tequila blanco **
-1/4 c agave syrup or nectar
-1/4 c freshly squeezed lime juice. Not frozen, nor from a plastic jar.  Fresh.[3]

Combine ingredients in cocktail shaker, fill shaker with ice & shake well while singing your favorite variation of Guantanamera.  Strain into prepared glasses.  What do you mean, how do you prepare a glass for a margarita?  Do they let you out without a chaperone?

** Always use tequila made from 100 % blue agave. Use only blanco (silver or white) tequila in this recipe.

*   *   *

On Tuesday I gave a good deal of thought towhich bottle LH might be tipping later that night.  It was better than thinking about the news, which I tried to ignore all day, which means I had to stay off my computer.  The three advance dinners in our refrigerator offer silent but yummers testimony as to which room in the house became my safe haven.

*   *   *

What, me worry? Well…yeah.

To those who might call me cynical I have four words:  Look around. Pay attention.

Cynical? Try realistic.  Or, observant:

- millions of viewers make “reality” TV (Jersey Shore & Here Comes Honey’s  Booby… whatever) a rating success

- the past four years have seen a buttload of Republicans who support (or refuse to refute, which is the same as supporting in my book. Silence = acquiescence, y’all) the thinly disguised racial slur/code word rhetoric of the tea party/birther barfbags, and just as many GOP gorps muster little more than a lame, “Golly, that was a poor choice of words,” when their candidates launch their latest, mind-numbingly ignorant attacks on women’s private[4] medical issues

- there are an exasperating number of media outlets that pay attention when Donald Trump’s facial orifice moves, as though there could be anything other than self-promoting trollery in his blatherings, which regularly, cacophonously, emerge via the festering conduit linking his mouth and the brain tissue allegedly residing under his shag carpet cranium.

I could go on, but it’s too damn depressing. Oh, and any one person in any of those categories, guess what? They get to vote. And their vote counts, the same as yours or mine.

As a country, intellectually and culturally, we’re not the brightest bulb in the planet’s chandelier.[5]  My dear friend, expat-Oregonian and temporary[6] Coloradoan LH nailed it: I just have to hope and believe that tomorrow we won’t read a version of the UK Guardian headline, circa 2004:  “How can 35 million people be so stupid?”  Peggy Noonan predicted that Romney would win because she has seen an increase in Republican yard signs.  Two things that should never be mixed together:  Republicans and scientific methodology. 

And then, late Tuesday eve, I discovered that although you still cannot lawfully partake of non-medicinal marijuana in Oregon, LH’s fellow Coloradoans were celebrating their legalization measure, along with our northern neighbors in Washington.

Yep, I finally dared to heed the Big Talking Rectangle.  Although I missed Diane Sawyer’s feeling no pain reportage and Karl Rove’s losing his loo biscuits on Fox News, there was plenty o’ else to love.

I loved that marriage equality measures looked to be passing in Maryland, Minnesota, Washington and Maine. I loved that so many of the Republican slime-fests came to naught; I loved that Colleen Lachowicz, the Maine Democrat who was slammed by the GOP for her online gaming activity, won her seat in the Maine state senate, and that Tammy Baldwin won her senate race in Wisconsin despite the She’s a commie lesbo!  smears from conservative pundits[7].  And I really, really, really – and did I mention, really? – loved learning that those “Life Begins at Rape” GOP caveman, those walking, talking, human peshas [8] Richard Mourdock, Allen West,  Joe Walsh and Todd Akin , all lost their respective, disrespectful campaigns.

Loveliest of all, as astute friend and Brown Dwarf expert MM observed, was that, apparently and ultimately, Mitt Romney forgot his binders full of concession speeches.[9]

*   *   *

Yo, future candidates.  Behold grace, and a dose of humility and pragmatism, in action:

“You always have two speeches prepared, because you can’t take anything for granted.”
(President Obama, 11-6-12)

It is a political tradition, like ass- and baby-kissing, for the winning side to praise the loser’s “gracious” concession.  And from late Tuesday-early Wednesday, the talking heads did that, with varying degrees of enthusiasm. However, I think they were remiss in applying that adjective to Romney’s five-minute, teeth-clenching, whine concession speech.

Romney bragging about how he hadn’t written a concession speech was condescending and naïve, not gracious. Making the nation wait until early Wednesday morning, nearly two hours after the AP, CNN et al had called the election, was stubborn and petulant, not gracious.

I heard no grace in Romney’s mercifully brief but nonetheless arrogant, clueless and sexist recognition – phrasing expected from the most stereotypical 1950s corporate CEO  but cringe-worthy when coming from a 2012 candidate for LOTEFC[11] –  of his sons “for their tireless work on behalf of the campaign, and… their wives and children for taking up their slack as their husbands and dads have spent so many weeks away from home.”

Romney’s mopey wish, “that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction,” was a thinly veiled tantrum.  I wanted it to be different – waaa! As for what followed, those of us who are religion-free know well the creepy, patronizing, presumptuous and sinister threats that are often disguised with an ostensibly innocuous, I’ll pray for you.

“Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for (Obama) and for this great nation.”

Yeah, cause you’re gonna need it!  Ick.

In Romney’s insular world, his ethnicity and gender give him power as per his religion.[10] Add that to his birthright of wealth and social and political prominence – it’s obvious the dude is used to having it his way, and not having to do much on his own to get it. His the other guy won so let’s all pull together now speech had all the sincerity of a hostage reading a ransom note at gunpoint.

I wasn’t the only one who noticed.  I think the reliably more-articulate (and less profane)-than-moi  salon.com columnist Mary Elizabeth Williams put it best:

He wanted it to be “different,” and he’s praying for you, America. That is not “gracious.” What it is instead is a pretty typical Romney, a man who would arrogantly refuse to entertain the notion of defeat and then grind in his heels and refuse to accept it for as long as possible. A man who…thanks men for their tireless work and “wives” for picking up the slack. That was your glimpse, Tuesday night, of what your President Romney would have looked like. And maybe it doesn’t sound gracious to say so, but thank God that’s the last look we’ll have.

*   *   *

MH, like me, is sick of the years of political mindfuckery, and wants it to fade away.  For the record, for what it’s worth, MH does not agree with my interpretation of Romney’s speech. He thinks I’m reading/hearing too much into it; he thinks I should let it go.  Perhaps, unlike MH and very much like the Dixie Chicks, I’m not ready to make nice.

*   *   *

Thanks…I think:

Every Wednesday, after my Tai Chi class, I have lunch at a local pasta café. This week the café’s cute, chatty, mildly spacey and abundantly tattooed counter-girl squirmed with excitement when she brought my Caesar salad to my table.

“Harry Potter!  You’ve seen Harry Potter?”

“Have I seen Harry Potter?” I doffed my reading glasses and brushed a crouton off of my NY Times crossword puzzle.  “You mean, the movies?”

She giggled her affirmation.

“Every one,” I confessed.  “And read all the books.”

“I finally figured it out, who you remind me of,” she gushed. “Especially when you put on your glasses – you look like the professor who reads the tea leaves…I can’t remember her name, but isn’t that great?!”

Me:  “Uh, yeah…the flaky one [12] Professor of Divination, Sybill Trelawny.”

*   *   *

Sometimes, you just have to crank up the volume and dance.  As Professor of Divination, I see a Go-Gos song in my future.   Hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] The Black Cat Café, aka our dining room

[2] I KNEW I shouldn’t have thrown out my Columbian prostitute Halloween costume

[3] This gadget makes light word of juicing limes, or lemons.

[4]  Or what should be private. As in, “Did I invite you to share my uterine functions?  No?  Then grow one of your own or STFU.”

[5] Sorry.

[6] I can hope, can’t I, Lu?

[7]  “Barney Frank in a dress” is my favorite of the histrionics flung by conservative spewmeister pundit/columnist Jeffrey Kuhner.

[8]  A wet fart (Worthington family lingo). AKA Brewer’s Farts, Fudgies, Playing Misty….

[9] Awesome bit of Schadenfreude from a person who, unlike me, rarely exhibits taking pleasure in such a petty but satisfying emotion.

[10] Damn right I’m whacking on the Mormon thing. And so should you. All aspects of a politician’s belief system should be on the table for evaluation, religion included. No exceptions. Future blog posts shall deal with this issue – be forewarned.

[11] Leader Of The Entire Fucking Country

[12] As opposed to being a professor of Potions, Charms, Muggle Studies, Transfiguration, or the other un-flaky wizard disciplines.

The Halloween Costume I’m Not Wearing

4 Comments

What I am not wearing in this picture is the full alligator costume.  Leaving the (admittedly cute) head behind and substituting a certain distinctive black helmet, I became…I’m sorry, but there’s no turning back now…Darth Gator.

But you knew that, didn’t you?  Obi-Wan has taught you well.

You’re never too old for a good (or silly) costume. As you see, this year MH bought himself a Star Trek red shirt. What you can’t see is that he chickened out on wearing it to work.

Last year he was a pirate. My 2011 costume began with Belle doing an impressive zombie makeup job on my face and hair. With a severed limb for a prop and with notes reading Thank you,  Much obliged and I appreciate it fastened all over my blood-stained shirt and pants, I was, of course, The Grateful Undead.

MH is one handy dude with the sewing machine, and made our kids’ costumes when they were young (the itsy-bitsy spider outfit, worn by K & then Belle on their first Halloweens, was a favorite).  As the years passed Belle got into the costume-making aspect of Halloween, and used her artistic and engineering skills to collaborate with MH in producing arguably her finest costume: an ATM machine.  Belle still attends costume parties with her friends, and her fellow Oregon Zoo Teens Leadership corps throw themselves a great Halloween bash every year.  Serious Sophomore that he is, I don’t know if K participated in any of his college’s Halloween activities (and what happens in Tacoma stays in Tacoma).

Halloween, along with the Fourth of July,[1] was one of my favorite holidays when I was a child, for a simple reason. It was fun!  I eagerly awaited Wilson Elementary School’s annual Halloween carnival, even though I never won the cakewalk nor ever managed to lob the ping pong ball into one of the miniature glass bowls which housed those poor, fated-to-be-flushed goldfish. I was three times cast in key roles in the Haunted House play, won prizes for tossing the most bean bags through the ghoul’s mouth, and was awarded the Best Grade Four Costume blue ribbon when I was…wait for it…in the fourth grade.

Planning/making your costume;[2] haunted houses; trick-or-treating; feigning fondness for Butterfingers or other candy you loathed[3] so you could “reluctantly” agree to do your sister a favor and swap her in a one-for-two ratio for M & Ms…. What’s not to like?

Our neighborhood trick-or-treating was a pack affair, and traditionally began with an argument over who had to include “the little kids” (the collective pejorative for younger siblings and their posse) on their rounds.  My trick-or-treating years were way-back-when enough that you could accept homemade goods without a thought of poison candy or razor blades.  I earnestly thanked the elderly couple who gave out candy apples and the young mother who doled out popcorn balls, treats I did not care for but which made great bargaining chips for the Sweetarts I adored.  By age seven I knew who had the best candy (the people on the corner gave whole M & M bags, not the mini-size!), who had the lamest (one neighbor’s treats were orange & black pencils – okay, she was a teacher, but, pencils!?), and which house to avoid because despite the bright porch light and beckoning Jack o’ lanterns by the door, the prune-faced occupants’ response to Trick or treat! was to thrust a basket of Halloween=devil worship! Chick religious tracts in your face.

Confession: we didn’t avoid that house.  Far from it.  My T & T gang saved it for the end of our circuit, when we were tired and well-laden with candy.  Reading the unintentionally hilarious tracts — comics which looked like a collaboration between the Hagar the Horrible and Family Circus cartoonists after they’d dropped acid at a Pat Robertson rally — gave us a metabolic boost unrivaled by the most potent chocolate covered espresso bean.[4]

I don’t recall K or Belle ever receiving a religious pamphlet along with their candy; still, the barking-mad practice apparently continues.  Chick tracts are the granddaddy of religious pamphlets; you must have run across them at some point. Never had them dumped in your goody bag along with a Snickers bar? You might have noticed a pile of ‘em left at a bus stop, or by the change machine in a laundromat, or planted on a dentist’s waiting room reading table, snuck in between the six months old copies of Newsweek and Good Housekeeping by a stealthy patient.

(From the Chick Tracts website) Make Halloween a Soul-winning event
While Christians should not celebrate Halloween, if you drop a Chick tract (and some candy) into their Trick-or-Treat bags, you can easily give hundreds of kids...

 It goes on. I kid you not.  An excerpt from one The Devil’s Night tract (their emphases):

 

-Yuk!  Is that how Halloween got started?
-Yes, Buffy.[5] It wasn’t a fun time.  It was a night of horror!  Teens everywhere are going into both white and black witchcraft, and both really serve the devil.  You know God hates witchcraft…but witches don’t care. And when they die, they’ll end up in hell. Thank God my grandpa told me about Jesus, so I won’t be in hell with them.

*   *   *

Halloween is not the only target of the tracts’ rabid-dog wrath. There are dozens if not hundreds of pamphlets, arguing all manner of evangelical whackadoodledoodery, including the belief that Catholics are not Christians , “the papacy helped start Islam” and the Holocaust was in fact an Inquisition sled by Jesuits. In the World According to Chick, starting in the 1950s a (gasp) “beat” was introduced into popular music by The Devil ® : all rock ‘n roll acts, from Elvis to the Beatles to Motley Crue to contemporary Christian Rock, are Satan®’s tools to “destroy country, home and education.” So, you’re not a Jew, Muslim, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, Catholic, or even a rock ‘n roll fan? If you read a Harry Potter book, if you’re an Orthodox or  liberal or moderate Christian, even a conservative one who’s in favor of ecumenism, if you’re any kind of liberal or libertarian, or support gay/women’s/civil rights or have a basic understanding of science – if you are anything other than a card-carrying fundamentalist/young-earth creationist Christian, God has a plan for your life Chick has a condemnation tract, especially for you.

Trick or tract? The Halloween edition of Asshat of the Week goes to Jack Chick and all the would you like some candy, little girl? purveyors of inanity, fear and prejudice.

*   *   *

My Lutheran parents would have had a WTF?[6] response to people who trash-talked Halloween.  I say would have had, because, except for a Jehovah’s Witness friend of mine, we didn’t know any such folk.  It seems to the grown up, religion-free moi that a number of evangelical/conservative Christians consider the October 31 goings-on to be a celebration of evil. Although in my experience there is ultimately no comprehending the incomprehensible, several years ago I was curious about the origins of this myth-understanding of the day, and did an internet search on the subject.  Perusing several why-true-Christians-should-not-observe-Halloween websites, I saw that a common belief among fundamentalists is that Halloween originated from the worship of Samhain, the “Celtic God of the Dead.”

Minor major sticking point, fundies:  there ain’t never been no Celtic god named Samhain.

Samhain (“summer’s end”) was the name of the Celtic month equivalent to November. The “Feast of Samhain” on October 31 marked the end of summer and celebrated the last harvest of the year. The veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was said to become thinner on that day, and thus the spirits of the departed – those beloved to you, as well as the cranky neighbor who’d screamed, YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN PEATBOG!– could cross that boundary and walk among the living. The Celts left food at their doors to encourage good spirits and donned masks to scare away yucky ones.

I’ll take Holiday Histories for 500 dollars, Alex

The more fundamentalist the believer, the more ignorant they seem to be re a fundamental truth behind their religious observances: “Christian” holidays, in particular the biggies, Christmas and Easter, began as pagan festivals.

When the Roman Catholics came to power and spread north from Rome, they met pagan practices that had gone on for thousands of years before the Popes decided to claim divine authority and subdue the illiterate masses by dressing like the bastard spawn of Elton John and Lady Gaga.

 Early Catholic missionaries tried to convert northern Europeans to the RC brand of Christianity, and part of the conversion process was to alter existing religious festivals. The indigenous folk, whom the church labeled “barbarians,” quickly discovered that when it came to dealing with the missionaries, resistance is futile. The pagans intuitively grasped the concept of natural selection and converted to Christianity to avoid the pesky price of staying true to their original beliefs.[7] But they refused to totally relinquish their old celebrations, and so the church, eventually and quite effectively, simply renamed most of them.[8]

Pagan practices were given a Christian meaning to wipe out “heathen” revelry.  This was made official church policy in 601 A.D., when Pope Gregory the First issued the now infamous edict to his missionaries regarding the traditions of the peoples they wanted to convert. Rather than try to banish native customs and beliefs, missionaries were directed to assimilate them. You find a group of people decorating and/or worshipping a tree? Don’t chop it down or burn it; rather, bless it in the name of the Church.  Allow its continued worship, only tell the people that, instead of celebrating the return of the sun-god in the spring, they are now worshipping the rising from the dead of the Son of God.

In the case of what is now called Halloween, ancestor veneration had been going on with the Celt’s Samhain festival for as long as anyone could remember, and so RC missionaries incorporated a Christian connection. The day was set aside by the church: All Hallows’ Eve, to honor the dead Saints.

Sweet baby Jeeeeysus and Isis[9] sittin’ on a Ritz® !  I am, like, so having a major duh moment.  The basic intent and result of any “successful” religious missionary endeavor is in succinctly expressed by the Borg manifesto. Ya think I’m kidding? Just swap “Borg” for “Missionaries for Christ/Yaweh/Allah.”

 We are the Borg.
Lower your shields and surrender your ships.
We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own.
Your culture will adapt to service us.

*   *   *

Yet again, I digress. Time to flip the page on my Demotivators calendar.  The picture for November was, I’d wager, taken at the annual Running of the Bulls (Pamplona, Spain). Its caption has become a motto of sorts for K and I.

*   *   *

But wait, there’s more!  Just when I thought Asshat of the Week was a slamdunk….

Sliding in at the last moment, leaving skidmarks on his tighty whities, we have Washington[10] state congressional candidate John Koster.  Yet another festering turd of ignorant misogyny conservative politician running on what seems to have become the hottest Republican platform: Life Begins At Rape.  This week, in response to questions asked by a liberal activist, Koster said he does not oppose abortion when the life of the mother is in danger, but would oppose it when it involves incest or “the rape thing.”

Such astonishing crap-wipery is deserving of…oh, but really. Two Asshats of the Week, in one week?  I can’t do that. Instead, a newly-created award, Bite Me, You Horseradish-and-Batshit Crazy Yap Flapper,[11] is conferred on John “the Dickhead Thing” Koster.

*   *   *

This is too depressing — an Asshat of the Week and a Bite Me, You Horseradish-and-Batshit Crazy Yap Flapper? I haven’t even mentioned the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, nor the devastatingly dim-witted pastor who blamed gays for causing the storm. There have been, of course, many good things the past seven days have brought, including encounters with intelligent, decent, witty and kind people, the crisp air and brilliant foliage of autumn, and the simple yet profound pleasure derived from watching your daughter turn a really big pumpkin into a really awesome angler fish jack o’lantern, complete with lure:

*   *   *

And so the season marches on. I’m sorry if you couldn’t find the right naughty nuclear scientist outfit for Halloween.  There’s always next year.  And there’s always some celebration going on, somewhere.  If you’re anticipating the aftermath of Election Day and looking for levity, you might want to:

- remember This Stupid Day in History, Nov. 2 1960, when a not-so-well-hung British jury determined that Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence was not obscene.[12]
– grill a BLT on Nov. 3 to mark the 1718 birthday of John Montague, Earl of Sandwich
– walk like an Egyptian on King Tut Day , Nov. 4
– do whatever is done (turn on the fan, please) on Nov. 5 to mark Panama’s Colon Day
– ditch your GPS, find your way to Nov. 6 and observe Marooned Without a Compass Day
– remember you’ve got until Nov. 7 to celebrate National Fig Week
– smack your favorite Romney supporter knucklehead on Nov. 8 for Dunce Day
– nothing.  There is nothing else to do.

Yet another reason to live: next Friday, Nov. 9, is Chaos Never Dies day.  Hilarity ensues.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] Only a history geek would call it, “Independence Day.”

[2] Store-bought costumes were considered “cheating.”

[3] I prided myself for my poker face but couldn’t bring myself to pretend I liked candy corn, even if I could have gotten a barf bag load of Milky Way bars from the ruse.

[4]  At the time yet to be invented. Not much of a footnote, is it?

[5] Not making that up, either.  Buffy.  Holy mother of fornication.

[6] If they thought in those acronyms, which they didn’t. My mother would probably think it’s shorthand for, “Where’s the fire?”

[7]  Persecution, torture, death.

[8] Except, oddly enough Easter, a word found nowhere in the Bible. It comes from the many variants (Eostra, Ester, Eastra, Eastur….) of a Roman deity, goddess of the dawn “Eos” or “Easter,” whose festival was in the Spring.

[9] This Egyptian deity was queen of the multi-taskers — patron of nature, magic, slaves, sinners, artisans, the oppressed….

[10] What — mouth breathers running for office in my beloved Pacific Northwest?

[11] The horseradish is authentic (and kosher). Alas, no bats in our ‘hood. Fresh-from-the-litter contributions (thanks, Nova and/or Crow) are the stunt poo.

[12] Unless you consider “being boring” an obscenity.  Which I so fucking do.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 262 other followers