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The Addiction I’m Not Kicking

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Department Of There’s A Rehab Facility For That

I am going through withdrawal. The tremors have set in; my arm shakily reaches for the remote; I howl with delirium when I  realize that I can no longer turn on the TV at any time of day and see a volleyball match or a kayak slalom race, or that heretofore unknown cultural treasure, the Mongolian Pants Removing Snit, nor any of the other Olympic Games I so enjoy watching.

 

sob

Life is misery wrapped in torment smothered in agony.

 

 

Perhaps, you think, I over-exaggerate?

Except that I don’t, and won’t. Because to over-exaggerate is not a thing – except for grammatically boorish jockstrap-for-brains athletes attempting to excuse their bald-faced, bare-assed lies. And also because I

(a) understand the difference between evident embellishment and imminent perjury, and

(b) trust that The Grammar Cop ®  would slap me sideways into a Rio de Janeiro drunk tank for using such an inanely redundant expression.

 

grammar

Would you like fries with that slap, ma’am?

 

 

Yes, I am of course referring to the criminal and just plain asshat behavior of American Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte.

Lochte (the surname originates from an obscure Mongolian term for privileged frat-brained douchebag) has hired a public relations firm to rescue him from his own weasel-worded, mendacious non-apology craft a contrition strategy and mitigate the social, reputational and financial damage resulting from his character-revealing attempt to cover his own crimes by claiming that he was actually a crime victim. And although I like the idea of him having to pay to enlist others to help him deal with the consequences of his cover-up, I certainly hope it wasn’t a professional  promotion hack  genius who came up with the idea for Lochte (which translates into Old Norse as chlorine-shriveled-testicles-for-wits) to use the phrase over-exaggerated.

Brazilian authorities were, eventually, not as gullible as Lochte (which is Bulgarian slang for over-exaggerated sense of self-entitlement) and his buddies evidently thought or hoped: the evidence showed that he repeatedly lied about being the victim of an armed robbery after he and three of his fellow swimmers played Ugly American at a Rio gas station after a night of proudly representing their country’s Olympic Spirit drunken debauchery. Thus, the swimmer was prompted to make a series of defensive, not-quite-apology statements, including the now infamous claim that instead of just pulling the story out of his ass, he was merely guilty of having over-exaggerated.

Now, I am not totally without sympathy for any person who has to face the consequences of his bad behavior. It seems that his actions and lies have cost Lochte (which is Ukranian for would you buy a used pair of swim goggles from this man?) at least four major endorsement deals, including those with Speedo and Gentle Hair Removal.

Thus, I find myself weeping for yet another inconceivable loss for humanity: that we shall be deprived of an athlete’s manscaping and ding-a-ling sling  [1] shilling skills.

Once again, I over-exaggerate.

 

 

WORD

*   *   *

Speaking Of Bloated Egos, Self Entitlement, And Lying Sacks Of Shit

I’m on the fence re whether knowing a political candidate’s medical history/status is or should be of major importance to the electorate. [2]  I don’t care to peruse either candidate’s medical file, and don’t have to concern myself with that since neither Clinton nor Trump have released their medical records. But both parties have released statements from their respective candidate’s personal physicians, statements which attest to the candidates’ respective, robust health. The statement from Trump’s “doctor” was – SURPRISE! –  rather mind-boggling, to put it mildly, and, IMHO, calls for an investigative reporter to figure a few things out.

Namely, what kind of doctor, except for perhaps one who adheres to the PT Barnum philosophy of Showmanship Medicine, releases a statement like the following, in which the alleged physician claims, without substantiation or definition, that Trump’s lab results are “astonishingly excellent,” that “his physical strength and stamina are extraordinary,” and that

“If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”

 

 

REALLY

 

 

I can only surmise that Trumpdoc got his medical degree from an ad in the back of Soldier of Fortune magazine and/or did his residency at the  Donald Trump College Of Speculative Real Estate And Hyperbolic Medical Transcription.

I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever…Real Doctors ®  do not talk that way, nor do they write that way. Also, Real Doctors can be in danger of losing their medical license for making pronouncements on/diagnoses for patients they have not examined (Trumpdoc has examined all past presidents and so he can claim that Trump would be the fittest of the lot?).

Also also, Real Doctors, including neurosurgeon and media medical reporter Dr. Sanjay Gupta, have pointed out the absurdity and questioned the veracity of the claims made in the trumpdoc statement  [3]  (which can be read in its barking-mad entirety here).

Did anybody notice, when that statement was first read aloud to the media, was the increasingly-wearing-the-expression-of-a-lonely-basset-hound Governor Chris “why doesn’t anybody like me?” Christie present, and were his lips moving?

 

christie

I’m not a medical doctor but y’all know where my head’s been since the primaries, and I can testify that Trump has the most astonishingly clean colon ever!

*   *   *

Department Of Non Sequitur Segue

 

What is water?

Describe/define it to me, or yourself. Yeah yeah, we all  know the H-2-O formula…but…what is it, really? How do we define this thing that literally defines our lives?

Please use the honor system here – no cheating. That is, no Wiki-ing or Googling or even dictionary-ing. How would you explain water, to, say, an alien from the water-free planet Tiddledick[4]

 

water

Ah, sweet mystery of life….

*   *   *

Department Of Happy Birthday Month

MH and I celebrated his birthday Saturday by attending a concert given by the Punch Brothers, held at the Penner-Ash Winery. Although pleased to hear MH declare it the best concert he’d ever been to, I was somewhat chagrined in that I held a similar opinion…and now I feel like I’ve been spoiled for any other venue.

A tree-studded hilltop overlooking the scenic Yamhill Valley, a simple stage under a magnificent, beautiful, starry summer’s sky…extraordinary music [5] and food and wine. I feel silly using adjectives like magical, but the evening truly was exquisite. I wish the grounds of the winery would be used on a regular basis for concerts (at least during the non-rainy months), but apparently ’tis for special-events-only (this one a benefit for the Children’s Cancer Association).  MH put us the winery’s mailing list, and I have vowed to attend any other benefit concert [6] held at that venue.

 

 

pennerash

 

 

To continue the celebration of MH’s birthday, and of the fact that Belle is home for a few days before college starts up again and thus both his offspring are within hugging distance, MH invited friends to join us as our guests for dinner at what has become our Wednesday night hangout, McMenamin’s Rock Creek Tavern a brewpub in the hills north of us, which on Wednesdays is home to singer-songwriter-guitarist Billy D.

I’m glad that MH is continuing the celebration of his birthday month. He thanked me for introducing him to that concept; I in turn must thank friend LAH for the same. If you haven’t yet run across this idea, you may then thank me for passing it along to you.

It’s like this: people over age 40 are entitled to an entire birthday month. You may choose your birthday month as being the entire month in which the date of your birthday falls (e.g., MH’s birthday month would be August), or you may say that your birthday month will consist of a month from the date of your birthday (in this example, MH’s birthday month would be August 20 – September 20).

Ever had a friend or colleague wish you a belated birthday and wistfully or sheepishly go on to tell how they wanted to take you out to lunch but you were already booked on your special day? Now you can call birthday month! and assuage their guilt as you explain how you are in fact available to attend lunches and parties in your honor for the next three weeks.  They’ll thank you for it…when their birthday rolls around.

 

birthday

She’s gonna come back every day for a month and expect us to serenade her? Señora mayor loca.

*   *   *

 

May you tell the truth so as not to have to over-exaggerate your cover story;
May you be able to legitimately claim to be the healthiest individual in the history of history;
May you remember that you are entitled to an entire birthday month;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

 

*   *   *

 

 

[1] Insert your favorite euphemism for speedo.  I am also partial to, Scrot Tote.

[2] Although I’d pay good money to have been a fly on the wall in the audio-animatronics lab that put the final touches on the realistic flesh tone covering for the Dick Cheney android.

[3] Why, do tell, would a man with “astonishingly excellent” lab results be taking a statin?

[4] Yes, SCM, that name is for you.

[5] First time either MH or I have hung around after a concert to compliment the sound crew. Five musicians sharing one microphone, and the sound quality was excellent.

[6] Within reason. I mean, if it’s a benefit concert to raise money for Ryan Lochte’s humility transplant…I’m not down with the idea of supporting hopeless causes.

The Choice I’m Not Applauding

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Trigger Warning

This blog contains content.

 

 

Trigger

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of Damning With Faint Praise

From a NY Times review of the movie Indignation:

But despite its faults, “Indignation” is easily the best film made of a Roth novel, which is saying a lot.

To the Co-founders and Co-presidents [1]  of the I Loathe Philip Roth And Other Overrated Sexually Regressive Hipster Wannabe Misogynist White Male Writers Club, [2] that is, indeed, saying a lot…but not a lot of what the reviewer imagines.

Indignation, indeed.

 

 

 

sexism

*   *   *

Department of Missing The Point

I am an admirer of Palestinian-American, Muslim-identified, comedian-actor Masoon Zayid, and follow her FB page[3]  I am not a fan of her August 14 FB comment on the recent burkini brouhaha (re the mayor of Cannes banning full-body swimsuits, or “burkinis”, from the French city’s beaches):

I dress like the lost Kardashian AND support a woman’s right to choose to sport a burkini. Your body your rules.

Zayid’s (totally understandable) instinct to support her Muslim sisters is commendable but also, IMHO, naïve and misses a larger point. Translation: I was moved to open my big mouth (or…uh…type with my big fingers?) via FB comment:

“Your body your rules” – if only. That laudable sentiment only works in societies/cultures where women have true autonomy. If a woman is raised with the reality that she can be accosted, threatened, shamed and even assaulted and murdered by boys and men if she is not “properly” covered…gee, I wonder what kind of “choice” she will be “free” to make?

 

"How embarrassing - I chose the same prom dress as Fatima...and Zara...and Aisha...and Sobia...."

“How embarrassing – I chose the same prom dress as Fatima…and Zara…and Aisha…and Sobia….”

 

Some Muslim activists tout the ideal of Muslim women who freely choose “the veil” in some form, be it hijab, niqab, even burqa. Other Muslim women activits are asking Muslim women not to wear hijab, which they feel is “…an interpretation of Islam we reject that believes that women are a sexual distraction to men…(an) ideology promotes a social attitude that absolves men of sexually harassing women and puts the onus on the victim to protect herself by covering up.”

I see those coverings [4] – particularly the suffocating, dehumanizing burqas – as glorified burial shrouds, and signs of social, sexual, intellectual (and certainly sartorial) slavery.

As for the idea that people freely choose to don such cloaking devices, of course all sentient beings like to tell themselves that they freely choose their lot. But when Muslim women can be attacked in a public park for wearing a swimsuitstoned to death for not wearing a veil, subjected to an Iman’s declaration that you are asking to be raped if you don’t wear a hijba, or be harassed and beaten for wearing a veil but not the right way, and suffer other persecutions ranging from absurdities to horrific atrocities…[5] how can there be anything resembling honest choice in the matter? Those who declare otherwise have a very different – and I would argue, dangerous – idea of what constitutes “freedom.”

 

*   *   *

Oh And By The Way While We’re On The Subject

Aka Department Of Sometimes You Just Can’t Win

Aka Department Of Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t….

 

So, not only can Muslim women and girls be assaulted by fellow Muslims – even in this country – for not wearing a hijab, it seems there’s a growing problem of Muslim women and girls who live in Western countries, including England and  Canada and the USA , being targeted for harassment when they do wear one.

WTF is wrong with people?

No, folks. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

shame

*   *   *

Department Of Must Change Subject To Something Less Disheartening

One afternoon about a year and a half ago, MH told me that, in case I hadn’t noticed, he’d stopped wearing his wedding ring…and in case I had noticed, he wanted to assure me as to why. A combination of The Aging Process © and decades of tapping digits on keyboards had given him arthritis-like symptoms, specifically pain and swelling in his fingers. He removed his ring, hoping that doing so might alleviate the pain, and fearing that if the swelling increased and he left it on, he might have to have the ring cut off.

I hadn’t noticed his wedding band-less finger. After his revelation I decided to commiserate with his situation in the only way that seemed logical to me: by removing my own ring. This has caused just a wee bit o’ eyebrow-raising from people who’ve noticed. I assuage such concerns thusly: my removing my wedding band is not a harbinger of marital discord; rather, it’s a reinforcement of its importance and mutuality.

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I spent many years working in women’s reproductive health care, wherein I encountered several married couples who did not wear wedding rings. The no-ring-thing was sometimes for job-related reasons (rings can be safety hazards for jewelers, mechanics and others who work with their hands), sometimes due to dermatologic allergies, and for women, sometimes due to pregnancy-induced swelling (which occasionally led to a permanent change in ring size).
(from The Ring I’m Not Wearing blog post earlier this year)

Excusez-moi, but I must confess that I love to quote moiself. Not only does it make me feel…well, quotable…it adds that certain, je ne sais quoi to my conversation. Or, in cases when I’m talking about indescribable pastries, would that be, je ne sais croissant?

 

croissantjpg

 

 

Once again, I digress. This was supposed to be a segue into MH finding a solution to his/our wedding ring dilemma, [6]  courtesy of man MH works with who recently lost a good deal of weight and thus found himself with an ill-fitting wedding ring, and came upon these (and these and these) companies who make silicon rings. Apparently, it – the market for more functional, versatile alternatives to traditional metal wedding bands  – is a thing, now.

And if it’s a thing that ends up on my and MH’s fingers, you’ll hear about it, here.  [7]

 

 

ring

*   *   *

Department of Olympic Games Haiku

 

Synchronized Swimming;
Synchronized diving – both are
Olympic events.

This is a big world,
And so I wonder: why no
Synchronized croquet?

Yet again, the Russian team is accused of doping.

Once again, the Russian team is accused of doping.

*   *   *

May you appreciate having true freedom to make honest choices;
may you be wary of burdens disguised as choices;
May you take trigger warnings with a grain of salt and croissants with chocolate icing;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

 

 

 

 

[1] Which would be moiself and fellow writer SCM…and innumerable others.

[2] We need an appropriately cool acronym.

[3] My favorite of her lines, which she uses to introduce herself to new audiences who might be unnerved by her continual body tremors: “My name is Masoon Zayid, and I am not drunk, but the doctor who delivered me was.” (Zayid has cerebral palsy due to the oxygen deprivation that occurred during her delivery.)

[4] Whether on a Muslim woman or a Benedictine nun.

[5] Go ahead, google “Muslim woman beaten for not wearing ___,” but not right before bedtime or meal time.  And FFS, don’t watch the videos.

[6] MH nixed the solution posed by daughter Belle, that we have wedding rings tattooed on our respective fingers.

[7] No more footnotes, as is noted in this footnote.

The Bridge I’m Not Building

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Department of Snarkosity and Sarcasm

Aka, Religion Is Such A Rational Reaction to Reality

Dateline: last Friday afternoon: To driver of the Grand Caravan minivan with the California license plates, you who made a concerted effort to pass me on the right and then cut me off in traffic  [1]  on that very busy road in Beaverton where two lanes narrow down to one:

I assume you placed the Bloody Praying Hands Of Jesus ® decal on your rear window for a reason.  Do you really want your “witness” to be that which provokes a reaction like mine –

Jesus F. Christ You Drive Like A Dick!

stigmata

*   *   *

Department Of Missed Opportunities

 

Neither MH nor I have ever owned a gun. MH fired a gun a few times in his childhood, on a trip to Montana with a friend to visit the friend’s uncle (uncle had a backyard target range or something). I have fired a gun twice. Once was during my grade school years, when a neighborhood kid was showing off his BB gun. [2]  My second Annie Oakley moment took place the summer after my sophomore year in college, when I fired a shotgun for the first (and so far, last) time, giving me my first (and so far, only) Shotgun Story © .

A college friend APRIATT [3] and I were visiting the friend’s brother, who lived in a cabin in the mountains in Northern California. Friend’s Brother was a logger who looked like he’d applied for a job as a Jeremiah Johnson [4] stand-in.

 

 

Kinda like this, sans bear hat.

Kinda like this, sans bear hat.

 

 

 

Friend’s Logger Brother aspired to live the life of a Mountain Man. ®    FLB liked to fire his shotgun out in the woods behind his cabin, to keep his aim sharp in case he ever needed to protect himself from, say, a marauding tin of Spam (or so I assumed, as his target practice consisted of firing at cans placed on a tree stump). FLB took us to his makeshift firing range, set some cans on a log and shot at them, knocking all but one off the log. He then winked at his brother, held out the shotgun to me, and asked me if I’d like to give it a try.

I did not hit the can. I also did not get knocked tit-over-ass, or even sideways, by the shotgun’s recoil, which is what happens to most novices, or so I was later told (in an abashedly admiring tone) by FLB. Somehow I’d managed – totally without any kind of instruction, mind you  [5] – to instinctively brace the barrel properly and tuck the gun stock into my shoulder before squeezing the trigger.

Firing once was enough, for me. It was neither traumatizing nor titillating; it was very, very LOUD. It sounded, I told my friend, as if three Led Zeppelin concerts had just been performed in my right ear.

*   *   *

Time warp with me, if you will, to many years later – early 1990’s, is my guess. I was walking to downtown Hillsboro one afternoon, and on my way to Someplace Else I passed the only local gun store in town (which is no longer there). Apropos of nothing, I realized I’d  never set foot in a gun shop. And so I did.

I was the only customer. There was one employee, a smiling, genial man in his late-30s-to-early40s-I-reckon. He introduced himself as the shop owner and asked if I needed any assistance. I told him my story, such as it was: I was passing by, realized I’d never been in a gun store, and spur-of-the-moment decided to see what one looked like. While relating this thrilling tale I did a quick visual survey of the shop, noting the glass display cases filled with ammunition and the variety of firearms hanging on the walls, seemingly organized into categories: shotguns on the east wall, handguns on the south wall, rifles on the west wall.

Friendly Gun Shop Owner invited me to look around and said he’d gladly show me any “piece” that caught my interest.  Oh, alrighty. And, since you mentioned it, when you get a customer who is a potential first-time buyer, what is the first “piece” you show them?

Immediately after posing that question I realized the answer it would depend on if the customer had express interested in taking up hunting or target shooting or felt paranoid every time an iota of progress was made in civil rights that they needed a gun for personal protection. But before I could add this follow, FGSO whirled about and grabbed a shiny black pistol from the wall behind him. He set it on the counter in front of me and asked me to pick it up (It’s okay, it’s not loaded) and admire it.

The gun felt lighter than I’d expected. What is it that I am holding? FGSO said it was a 9 millimeter Smith & Wesson. This prompted me to ask about a gun’s designation: did the caliber size refer to the size of the bullet, or the dimension of the gun’s barrel, and if the latter was that an external or internal measurement, and either way, diameter or radius – diameter, I’d always assumed, but I didn’t know for sure and wondered…

Don’t really know. FGSO shrugged his shoulders, and seemed almost perplexed by my question. I found that odd – did he, a gun shop owner, actually not know, or did he think it something I shouldn’t bother knowing? Before I could ask a follow-up question, he began talking about the beauty of the piece he’d shown me. Yes, I said, I can see the attraction of it – of  admiring the construction of any kind of mechanism, and appreciating the craft…although I had to admit that even just holding that gun made me a wee bit nervous. You see, I hadn’t been around guns much and, considering their purpose…

No, don’t think like that.

There was an infinitesimal yet noticeable shift in FGSO’s demeanor.  It’s like what you first said; it’s just a mechanism – a machine. It’s a tool. A gun is just a tool. People who don’t like guns or are afraid of them don’t understand that.

His tone became insistent, and although the corners of his mouth remained his smile had transformed, from genuine to forced.  A gun is just a tool, like a car is a tool. Every year thousands of people are killed and injured in car accidents, but no one tries to ban people from owning cars.

Uh, gee…how do you figure? I donned what I thought was my most disarming, wide-eyed, smile, [6] and gently pointed out that the auto analogy didn’t quite hold up.  Injuries and deaths due to auto accidents are just that – accidental, and while certainly tragic, are also incidental to an automobile’s purpose – which is to transport people and/or cargo. A gun’s purpose, what it is in fact designed for, is to shoot (at) some thing or some one.

 

 

Oops.

Oops…versus….

 

Mission accomplished.

Mission accomplished.

 

And he just lost it. When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns!

“Uh….?” I looked around the store; it was still just me and FGSO. “Who said anything about outlawing guns?”

 

 

Ok, Chucky, just hold still....

Ok, Chucky, just hold still….

 

 

Guns don’t kill people; people kill people!  There are no dangerous weapons; only dangerous men! The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun!

The clichés rolled off out of FGSO’s soon-to-be-frothing mouth. I thought, oh, this is great – a gun nut is going into rhetorical seizure mode, he’s likely packing some serious heat, and here is little ole moiself holding the unarmed “piece.”

Just for a moment, I thought to tell FGSO of the small but ultimately significant bridge he could be building…the opportunity he was missing – to show a non-gun owner that not all gun folk were irrational, hot-tempered zealots. Instead, I laid the pistol on the counter and thanked him for his time. He continued to spout slogans at my back as I slowly headed for the exit, shaking my head with can-you-believe-this? wistfulness.

I left the store, and left FGSO with the impression he’d likely/already held – that people who don’t own guns are fearful, naive do-gooders. In turn, he had done his best to reinforce my own stereotype of the wild-eyed, paranoid, slavering, gun nut. Not exactly an outstanding moment in the history of cultural diplomacy.

 

 

gunworld

*   *   *

May you speak your piece without fear;
May you work for peace without regret;
May you watch out for who’s packing a piece;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

 

 

[1] Yeah, so you got ahead of me, and then stayed just ahead of me for another five miles, making me wonder what was the point to your machinations, which got you to your destination …what, twenty feet/two seconds earlier than had you not cut me off?

[2] A birthday present which was confiscated by his parents when they realized he was letting other kids fire the gun without adult supervision.

[3] And Possible Romantic Interest At The Time.

[4] And who spoke highly of what he saw as the ideals espoused in that iconic Robert Redford film.

[5] I can only assume FLB was playing a joke on me, and thought he’d amuse his brother by having his brother’s potential girlfriend mishandle a firearm – and who doesn’t enjoy seeing that?

[6] The one I heretofore privately thought of as my blonde smile. All appropriate apologies to you melanin-deficient ladies and gents.

The Butt I’m Not Holding Onto

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Department Of Message Received

 

Hold on to your butts, indeed. Apparently, the DOTUS [1] is running for POTUS.

Trump is a racist demagogue, a narcissistic pathological liar, a treason-baiting mocker of other’s sacrifices, a tin-plated orangutan-haired would-be autocrat with delusions of personhood….

Yep. Gotcha.

Message received.  Over and over and over.

Y’all are cheering to the pep squad in this matter. I really don’t think critical votes in the upcoming presidential election will be swayed, one way or another, by someone reading the latest

YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT TRUMP SAID!!!

HAS TRUMP GONE TOO FAR !?!?!?!?!?!

link on your Facebook page.

If you think that The Donald is a Dick is breaking news, you might want to brace yourself for the following alert:

 Cigarette smoking linked to lung disease !!!!!

Can we go back to cat videos and sloth pix, please?

More of me is good for you!

More of me is good for you!

 

*   *   *

Department Of I Should Have Stopped Watching Right After Her Acceptance Speech.

Dateline: last week, Democratic National Convention, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s acceptance speech. In the space of 20 minutes I went from cautious/cynical optimism to being won over by the power of the moment. I couldn’t believe, after all the excellent speakers she had to follow (Michelle Obama, Corey Booker, the POTUS, Joe Biden, her own daughter….), that HRC, know for policy fine points rather than rhetorical charisma, would rise to the occasion.  But she did. She made her case, confidently, powerfully, compassionately.  And then…

I should have known better. After watching the rousing 7th game of the World Series in which the team you’re rooting for wins in the bottom of the ninth when the team’s catcher, not known for his speed, hits a triple and then steals home…you do your version of the Happy Dance ® and then turn off the TV. You don’t need [2] to hear overpaid and under-educated color commentators explaining that you just saw an amazing play…or trying to convince you that it wasn’t as exciting as you thought.

I forgot. I left the TV on. MH was still watching… I puttered around the kitchen, and couldn’t help but hear the background noise of the talking heads of the media. Even those on NPR who Should Have Known Better ®  had to weigh in:

* But still, what does the most unknown known person have to tell the American people?

* How can voters get to know “the real” Hillary, as her friends do, etc., how can the real, personal candidate be portrayed….

And I find moiself screaming to moiself,

WHAT THE FUCK DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?!?!?

I guess this – me resorting to the all-caps mode – is evidence that The Terrorists Have Won ® . But when – oh, like NEVER – is this asked of any other (read: male) candidate?  Why do we need to know the “real, personal” Hillary? She’s running for POTUS, not for your junior high school BFF.

 

 

you like me

 

 

 

 

So much for history. Yeah, we’ve finally [3]  nominated a female person for head of state, but it is pathetically obvious that our country is still, sadly but resolutely, shackled to antiquated/sexist expectations of the past. Hillary Clinton has got to be “known,” and “likeable,” and “personal,” whereas our male candidates…well, we just want to know that, maybe, they aren’t (currently active) serial killers.

One friend [4] responded thusly to my tirade, with wise concepts I shall try to put into practice:

I know. I share that rant big time. But now a big deep breath and I will do my best to be thankful for progress. No matter how absurd the inequalities are that remain. Ohmmmm.

 

*   *   *

Department Of Yeah What She Said

 

 “When I look at the idea that life sucks and I have to deal with it as best I can, and compare it with the idea that an immensely powerful being is fucking with me on purpose and won’t tell me why, I find the first idea far more comforting.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen

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Department Of Dealing With Things The Best You Can

If you don’t know about the Foundation Beyond Belief,  you should. FBB is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation created to focus, encourage and demonstrate humanist generosity and compassion through charitable donation programs, sponsoring volunteer programs and disaster recovery programs.

By making one time or regular donations, I am able to set up a donor profile indicating how I would like my contribution spread among beneficiary organizations in each of the following “cause” areas:

*Education
*Poverty and Health
*Human Rights
*The Natural World
* Challenge the Gap (charities based in other worldviews)

 

 

 

foundationpng

 

 

Each quarter the FBB’s Humanist Giving staff selects five charitable organizations to serve as Quarterly Beneficiaries, one for each of the cause areas. Donors such as moiself can then review the organizations and decide how we’d like to distribute our donation (e.g. 20% to each, or 100% to one…) however we choose, depending on our interest in the specific causes and organizations. [5]

FBB’s featured beneficiaries are “…carefully selected for impact and efficiency,” and are all secular organizations (with the exception of Challenge the Gap, which features non-proselytizing organizations based in other worldviews). At the end of each quarter, all donations designated for FBB’s featured charities are forwarded to those charities (no percentage is retained for administrative costs), and a new slate of beneficiaries is selected.

 

*   *   *

invasion force

 

Our neighbors should be on the lookout for a drive-by fruiting, since we need to get rid of distribute what MH refers to as “the invasion force.”

Translation: The pear tree Belle bought with her own allowance and birthday money, all those many years ago, is in full, bloomin’ swing. Like our raspberries and blueberries, and like most fruits around here, the harvest is coming much earlier this year .

 

 

Can you say global warming, boys and girls? I knew you could.

Can you say global warming, boys and girls? I knew you could.

 

 

 

 

*   *   *

Yet Another Important Detail

I must make an addendum to Robyn and MH Have Left the Building [6] , our notebook of what-to-do-when-we-die instructions for our family. I recently realized that I’d neglected to document an important aspect of my memorial service:  I want the first all whoopee cushion funeral. Every seat in the memorial hall/auditorium/junior high girls’ locker room or whatever venue is to be outfitted with a whoopee cushion, hopefully of varying sizes and, uh, tonal quality. Attendees will be given instructions as to how to end the service with a rousing cheer for the dearly departed.

 

 

 

why settle for this...

why settle for this…

 

 

 

...when you can have this instead?

…when you can have this instead?

 

 

 

*   *   *

May you enjoy the fruits of summer;
May the talking heads leave you in peace;
May you deal with things the best you can;
May you plan your own whoopee-worthy memorial service;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

 

*   *   *

 

 

[1] Demagogue of The United States.

[2] Well, maybe you do, but I don’t.

[3] After over 40 other countries beat us to it. So much for our “Leader of the Free World” braggadocio.

[4] ¡Muchisimas gracias, mi amiga, CC!

[5] I’m currently doing an even distribution, although my interests tend toward the Human Rights and Natural World categories and, in the past, have tended to “skew upwards” as per my donation percentages, to those causes.

[6] since plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery, I proudly note that I stole that title from the lovely and talented Karl Wiegers).

The Name I’m Not Misspelling

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Department of It’s About…This

 

stellashirtjpg

 

The above shirt was worn by Stella McCartney, upon the occasion of her father Paul’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s also the sentiment of Some Of Us Who Are Embarrassed For Our Country Being This Late To The Game. ®

No matter whom you supported in the presidential primaries or will support in this upcoming election, let us pause for a moment to think of history being made. We congratulate ourselves for, for the first time, nominating a woman as a major party candidate for president.

After we’re done patting ourselves on our collective backs, let us also consider the fact that we who often refer to ourselves as leaders of the free world are trailing behind Australia, Bolivia, China, Great Britain, Haiti, Iceland, Malta, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Norway, Germany, India, Ireland, The Philippines, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Burundi, Liberia, Guyana, Ecuador, Finland, Chile, Israel, Austria, Lithuania, Costa Rica, Kyrgyzstan, Brazil, Serbia, Malawi, Croatia, Central Africa Republic, Nepal, and a dozen other countries who currently have or had have elected or appointed female heads of state.

 

 

...that it took you Yanks so bloody long.

…that it took you Yanks so bloody long.

 

 

*   *   *

A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Discombobulate

Which is why I am re-reading Elie Wiesel’s Night, and tempering that with Philip Norman’s new biography of Paul McCartney, and also You’ll Grow Out of It,  a collection of essays by Jessi Klein, the standup comic and writer for Inside Amy Schumer.

I chose the latter book mainly for the chapter titled Get the Epidural, upon which a hilarious sketch  (It’s Better For the Baby)  from Schumer’s show  [1]  was based.  That chapter was indeed delightful, but it was near the end of the book.  I had to skip from the chapter about watching The Bachelor, [2] which I could not stomach; thus, I had to punish the author [3]  by not reading the intervening eleven chapters between The Bachelor and Get The Epidural. And then, I just didn’t want to read the rest of the book. The author’s style and humor…I got it. Didn’t need to get anymore.

One of the Truly Great Things About Being An Adult ® is that it doesn’t matter whether I paid $12.99 for the Kindle book or $500 for a season theatre subscription – if I decide I am no longer interested in the book or the play, then I stop reading/leave at intermission. That money and time is gone and cannot be retrieved; I understand the Sunken Costs Fallacy and I get to decide at what point it just isn’t worth it to me anymore.

Once again, I digress.

Get The Epidural, as you may surmise by the title, is about the expectation and pressure pregnant women experience re choosing their birth “experiences.”

 

I'm planning on having a sea turtle birth.

“I’m planning on having a sea turtle birth.”

 

 

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, in my job as a health educator in a family-oriented OB/GYN practice, I tried to steer away women from using the term “natural” re childbirth sans drugs.

“The more accurate term,” my spiel went, “is medicated or un-medicated childbirth. It is natural to seek relief from agonizing pain. No one asks your husband if he’s going to have his broken leg set ‘naturally,’ right? If the pregnancy is housed in your uterus and exits via your vagina, regardless of how much or how little pharmaceutical intervention took place in between, that’s a natural birth.”

Thus, I did my “Preach it, sistuh Jessi!” dance when I read Klein’s rumination on this irony: that women are pressured to do this one thing “naturally,” yet during the rest of their lives they are told that everything which is in fact natural about their bodies (e.g. the existence of leg, underarm and pubic hair; their womanly body shape, their normal hair color and texture and skin tone and complexion) is either annoying and/or gross and/or deficient and must be eliminated or altered.

It’s interesting that no one cares very much about women doing anything “naturally” until it involves them being in excruciating pain.
No one ever asks a man if he’s having a “natural root canal.” No one ever asks if a man is having a “natural vasectomy.”
(Jessi Klein,  You’ll Get Over It)

*   *   *

Department Of What’s In A Name?

From birthing to naming – how did I get on the baby thing? Coincident with my reading the afore-mention essay I also read an anecdote about baby naming, which reminded me of my e-versation with friend KW in which he teased me for insisting on spelling my name “…in some bizarro way.”  In return, I felt obliged to relay the story of my naming:

 

record

 

Actually, ‘twere my parents who insisted on spelling my name Robyn (for my father, whose middle name is Bryan).  Here is what they told me about how I got my name.  [4]

I was born in Santa Ana Hospital. The day after my birth the Nurse Who Was In Charge Of Such Things ® brought the birth certificate form and other discharge documents into my mother’s hospital room. She asked my parents, “What name do you want on the birth certificate?”

“Robyn Gwen Parnell,” my parents replied, and relayed the spelling of each name.

“That’s not how you spell Robin,” the nurse huffed. “It’s spelled with an i.”

My parents said Nurse Jackboots seemed pretty disgusted with them, but they insisted that, no, they were spelling it Robyn with a y.  Nurse Nazi-nose actually continued to argue with them about it. My parents held firm.  Nurse Poopypants rolled her eyes, completed her paperwork, and told them they’d receive a copy of the birth certificate in the mail, eventually.  When my parents received the copy of my birth certificate they put it on a pile of papers on my father’s desk, and it wasn’t until a few months later, when they got to organizing things, that they actually looked at the certificate and discovered that Nurse Ratchet had taken it upon herself to give a bureaucratic fuck you to my parents [5] and had spelled my name with an i !

 

 

 I know what's best. Trust me.

I know what’s best. Trust me.

 

 

Chet and Marion [6] Parnell were furious, but Chet consulted a lawyer friend who told him not to worry, you can spell the name however you like, it’s no problem. A few years after my college graduation, when I asked for a copy of my birth certificate, my father found a judge who put some kind of amendment to the document, to note the initial clerical “mistake.” Santa Ana Hospital burned to the ground not long after that. Karma, I sez.

Friend KW said he found it somewhat scary, that a nurse would decide to override the parents’ choice for a baby’s name. He did also advocate for judicious selection in naming – “proofreading and gentle questioning might not be inadvisable in certain cases.”  He cited the story of a young pregnant woman who came into the hospital where KW’s SIL worked at a nurse and who insisted on naming her new baby boy Gonorrhea. (“She just liked the way it rolled off the tongue [ew!] No amount of gentle persuasion dissuaded her.”)

Anyone who would give their baby such a name (“And let me introduce you to her older sister, Chlamydia, and her twin brothers, Herpes and Simplex.”) – that’s grounds for instant, mandatory sterilization, IMHO. It almost makes the heretofore odd (to me) fact that certain countries (like Iceland) have “naming laws” seem reasonable.

 

 

There oughta be a law.

There oughta be a law.

 

 

And then, when it comes to names, there is the issue of unsolicited feedback.

I’ve shared the Ultimate Baby Naming Advice ® [7] to many a prospective parent – advice which I mistakenly forgot when I was expecting my firstborn.

My mother was the first person to ask what names MH and were considering. This was early in my second trimester of pregnancy, when I’d telephoned my parents to talk about planning a visit to see them. We didn’t yet have the amniocentesis results, and so all (gendered) names were in the running. I told my mother that we’d barely started to consider names, but for a girl, I was thinking about “Aurora” – as in Aurura Borealis, a groovy Natural Phenomenon ® , and also as in the name of the 19th century French author whose pen name was George Sand. We’d call her Rory.

“Oh. That’s…interesting,” my mother mumbled.

Most people like things to be interesting, because interesting is, you know, interesting. When my mother uses that word, she means the opposite. I hung up the phone, knowing there would be fallout feedback.

The next day my mother telephoned me and said that I might want to consider a different name, seeing as how “R’s are the most difficult of the consonants for people, especially children, to pronounce.”

This, from the woman who gave three of her four children R-names.

Yep, I replied, I’m fully aware of that, having grown up being called “Wobyn” by my younger sister and her friends – and now my nieces and nephews – until they could pronounce the R sound. It didn’t bother me then and it doesn’t bother me now. I even find it rather endearing.

But really, you should see it when little children, even older people, struggle to pronounce a name with more than one difficult sound….

Still doesn’t bother me, Mom.

She wouldn’t drop it.  “Now, I want you to go stand in front of a mirror and look what happens to your face when you say, ‘Aurora.’

Her point was…?   [8]  My response was, “I want you to go stand in front of a mirror and look at your face when you say, Buttinsky.”

She changed the subject.

Six months later I had my son, K.

 

 

Look what happens to your face when you say, awesome.

Look what happens to your face when you say, awesome.

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of Because This Is A Classy Space, That’s Why

 

Aka, The Joys of Owning Cats, Chapter CDMXVII

Banana slug, or hairball? You be the judge.

 

 

NovaBarf

*   *   *

And One More Thing ©

 

Banana Slug or Hairball? was the title of the game show pitch I submitted to the leading game show production company in America. I got no callback, imagine that.

 

 

 

 "I'll take Mollusks for $1000, Alex."

“I’ll take Mollusks for $1000, Alex.”

*   *   *

May you have an entertaining naming story;
May you in turn provide an entertaining naming story for others;
May you be as natural or medicated as the situation merits;
May you celebrate whatever when it’s about fucking time;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

 

 

[1] You must see that sketch, if you’ve ever been pregnant, or have ever known or seen a pregnant woman talking about her “birth plan.”

[2] Yeah I know it’s supposed to cheeky fun showing how confident you are in your own intellect to admit to being happy you are to watch a brain sucking show…still, ICK. It creeped me out to even read about someone else watching it, and I couldn’t make it through the essay. 

[3] I’m sure she’d lose several nights of sleep/gain a few stress pounds if she knew about my opinion.

[4] So, perhaps my name should be Rabyn?

[5] Not my parents’ phrasing.

[6] Not spelled Maryon, for some reason.

[7] “Do not tell your family the name you have chosen for your child until you’ve given birth and the name is on the birth certificate, for if someone thinks they have a chance of changing your mind, they will try to do so.”

[8] I’m still not sure. I only know that she must have done that herself, and thought saying the name made her…look funny? 

The Culture I’m Not Relativizing

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Content warning: content, much of it cranky. If you’re not cranky, you’re not paying attention.

*   *   *

Here is the understated headline of the article MH alerted me to, in Tuesday’s NY Times:

Clash of Values Emerges After Afghan Child Bride Burns to Death

I find the passive voice repugnant – burns to death? The girl didn’t just spontaneously combust. She was beaten and set on fire, after being bartered away as a 6th grader to settle a family dispute – treated and discarded as the piece of dispensable property women ultimately are in such brutal and backward cultures.

Clash of values. What an obscenity it becomes, being put so mildly. And how many times have I read variations of this grotesque play out of cultural values?

* Afghan woman, whose genitalia was severed by her husband, fights for justice amid rising violence against women

* Banished or battered at home, Afghan women share stories of surviving abuse.

*  … the images show an Afghan woman beaten to death by a mob…savagely beaten not by bearded Taliban but by very young men, wielding sticks and carrying mobile phones.

Go ahead, do the search yourself. You can Google until you gag with this subject, and also with the knowledge that for every story of the barbarous treatment of women and girls that makes the news, thousands more are not headline grabbers; rather, it’s just Life Goes On in Afghanistan and other Islamist cultures.

Back to the shiny happy first story. In the final paragraphs of the NY Times article, the story tells of how a relative of the family suspected in the girl’s torture and murder was questioned, by a criminal investigator and local activists, as to whether the girl was even old enough to consent (to the bartered marriage) in the first place.

“Why are you asking me? Go ask the Prophet,” (the relative) said, explaining that they were merely following traditions from the Prophet Muhammad’s time.

 

 

warning

 

 

As I have no doubt noted before in this space, I am not a cultural relativist. I abhor the fact that there is even such a concept as cultural relativism. And if you support it or defend it and I find out about it, I am going to go all medieval judgmental on your ass. Because the idea that people’s backwards and bigoted beliefs and cruel behaviors should be understood in terms of their culture leads to backwards and bigoted beliefs and cruel behaviors being defended or even excused…because it’s their culture.

You bet your ecumenical ass I’m gonna judge that. Judging cultures – any and all cultures – is what we all should be doing.

Discerning differences and making choices are good and necessary practices. It is wise to judge a tree by the fruit it produces. If your pear tree consistently produces sour-tasting, parasitic-ridden pears that rot before they ripen despite your best horticultural and pest control efforts, you’d best leave it to the bees and get your Anjous elsewhere.

 

 

bees

 

 

Don’t let any mush-brained cultural apologist fool you into thinking there are not valid criteria for testing or judging beliefs, world-views or practices, whether religious or non-religious. There are criteria, and they focus on the centrality of that most humanist value, compassion.  Analyze a belief, worldview or practice – does it lead to compassion and loving kindness?  Or does it produce in its adherents certainty, self-righteousness, belligerence, and the domination of the powerful us over the vulnerable them? [1]  

A worldview that teaches humility, gratitude, love and compassion and fosters equal responsibility and equal justice for all, is “better” than one that justifies or permits slavery and/or inequality and/or values (or even demands) incuriosity and ignorance re the natural world and/or preaches fear and guilt or the domination of the majority by a plutocracy.

Way back in the ’60s and ’70s I heard the argument that the ideology of Apartheid was part of the Afrikaaner culture; thus, who are we, as non South Africans, to understand or judge South African society? When enough of us worldwide stopped accepting that excuse, Apartheid was ended.

As a brown-skinned person with a Muslim name, I can get away with a lot more than you’d think. I can publicly parade my wife or daughters around in head-to-toe burqas and be excused out of “respect” for my culture and/or religion, thanks to the racism of lowered expectations.
( Pakistani-Canadian writer and physician and self-described “Atheist Muslim” Ali A. Rizvi )

 

allah says

 

  

“Go ask the prophet.”

Fuck your prophet.  Fuck anyone’s prophet. Fuck your shitty prophet’s shitty, primitive, ignorant, Iron Age, intellectually dysenteric misogyny still practiced as “traditions” by the various prophets’ blinkered, small-minded, ignorant followers Find some kind of shield, place it over prophet-following countries, and remove it when there’s nothing left but the cockroaches. [2]

Some days, that’s how I feel. Which is one reason I so love Bruce Cockburn’s song,  If I Had a Rocket Launcher …because it reminds me why it is a good thing I don’t have a rocket launcher. [3]

So. On my good days, I try to remember the individual women living in such cultures. I try to think of the almost 500,000 women sponsored via an organization I’ve supported for many years, an international organization which works directly with “marginalized women in 8 countries  [4]  affected by war and conflict…to offer support, tools, and access to life-changing skills to move from crisis and poverty to stability and economic self-sufficiency,” via offering these women  “job training, business and life skills, access to opportunity and more.”

On my bad days, [5]  I consider the email I got from said organization informing me of the new “sponsored sister” I’ll be supporting for the next 18 months and think, What’s the point? I think about the fact that this woman lives in Afghanistan, and I am sponsoring her…for what? To “access opportunity” in a culture of this?

 

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of I Tried, I Really Tried…

…to force myself to watch a live telecast of the Republican Convention.

 

 

REALLY

 

 

Yes, really. Civic Duty ®  and/or Informed Citizen ® , and all that.

Five minutes into it, I thought it would be more intellectual stimulating [6] to enjoy re-watching one of my favorite Star Trek TNG episodes, appropriately titled, Disaster.

 

 

Has there ever been a larger assemblage of metaphorical Number Twos, Number One?

Has there ever been a larger assemblage of metaphorical Number Twos, Number One?

*   *   *

 

Speaking of disasters,

Department Of This Should Come As Little Surprise, But Still…

I’m shocked – shocked! – that anyone associated with the self-anointed Law and Order candidate would engage in such bald-face, bare-assed thievery.

Please tell me someone is planning to sue for plagiarism, after many journalists and bloggers pointed out that portions of Melania Trump’s convention speech contained “striking similarities” – i.e., word for word pilfering – of Michelle Obama’s address at the 2008 Democratic convention.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Oh – cynical moiself. Who am I to judge? [7] It was difficult for Melania, growing up as a black woman in Chicago. Just ask her daughters, Sasha and Malia.

*   *   *

Department Of Yes It’s True I Live To Burst Your Bubble

In our over-stressed and under-thought society, we esteem the concept of taking time out from our busy lives to notice, admire and appreciate the simple pleasures in life. We even have an advisory adage for it:

Remember to stop and smell the roses.

I am someone who stops to smell the roses, whenever I’m out walking and come across a particularly alluring one. Thus, I feel entitled to add a cautionary addendum to that adage.

 

 

How quaint; she's going to bollix it up for us, isn't she?

How quaint; she’s going to bollix it up for the rest of us, isn’t she?

 

 

If we (claim to) appreciate taking the time to seek the beauty in the everyday world, I hope we also appreciate telling the truth about performing such acts. Because the thing about stopping to smell the roses is that if you do so you will, at times, feel sorely disappointed – even betrayed.

As MH can testify, many is the time I’ve paused on our walks or hikes to sniff a beautiful flower, only to indignantly exhale, What is this – they call this a rose!?

Not every rose smells like a rose, or like any blooming thing at all, for that matter.

Not every visually enticing flower has a fragrance worthy of its name. Some of the most visually stunning roses seem to have no scent at all, as if they’ve had their monoterpenes bred out of them. The beautiful grandiflora salmonie that caught your eye may not have a whiff of anything remotely floral  [8]  emanating from its delicate, salmon-colored petals.

 

 

 

Keep Calm and pretend you relish the aroma reminiscent of your grandmother's mothballed woolen stockings.

Keep Calm and pretend you relish the aroma of your grandmother’s mothballed woolen stockings.

 

 

*   *   *

May you, like Trump Missus #3 in a series,
have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood and call bullshit (and plagiarism) when they hear it;
May you beware of trees producing rotten fruit;
May you take the risk and stop to sniff the blossoms anyway;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

 

[1] Be it men over women, true believers over infidels….

[2] I would like to find a shield that would let the innocent flora and fauna survive, but the people, I’m not so sure are worth preserving. Even the “victims” of such cultures go on to victimize others, as that is how they are raised.

[3] Ah, but if Trump were president, a rocket launcher in every garage!

[4] Afghanistan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Sudan.

[5] Or perhaps, realistically, those are also good days?

[6] And less psychologically disturbing.

[7] Oh, that’s right – I settled the judgy thing in the previous rant.

[8] Or remotely salmon…for which you may be grateful.

The Slough I’m Not Kayaking

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Department Of Not To Be Disrespectful Toward
Our Brave Men And Women In Uniform ®

… but every time I walk past The Tacoma Fallen Firefighters Memorial I imagine that the second guy in the sculpture – the one tapping the first guy (pointing the hose) on the shoulder, is calmly but insistently saying, “Dude, put down the hose – nothing’s on fire.”

 

 

tacomafirefighters

*   *   *

 

I had yet another opportunity to pass by the above pictured sculpture during MH’s and my last minute/last weekend trip to Tacoma. Because when your 20 year old daughter hints and hints and hints again that she’d like to see you, you drop everything and go.

In late August Belle will start her junior year at the University of Puget Sound. She’s staying in Tacoma for the summer, working fulltime as a Zoo Camp Counselor at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium.  We’ve enjoyed hearing her talk about the camps, and comparing them with her stories from last summer, when she was a camp counselor for the Oregon Zoo. [1]

When we drove up last Saturday, Belle said she wanted to show us around the zoo. We’ve been to the PDZ & A several times over the past few years when visiting our offspring.  [2]  This time we got a brief “backstage” tour, courtesy of Belle, which consisted of being able to step inside one staff-only area:  the marine wildlife food preparation facility, which included a huge, walk-in freezer filled floor-to-ceiling with cases of various fish and shellfish (read: more frozen herring [3] than you can shake a walrus’s tusk at).

As a five year Oregon Zoo volunteer, a biology major, and a volunteer docent at her school’s Natural History Museum, Belle has amassed a good deal of information about fauna and flora. Still, as our daughter led us from exhibit to exhibit, MH and I were impressed by how much she knew about the animals in every habitat . [4]  I guess that’s what happens when you’re leading two camps per day, five days a week – you have to know your stuff.

And then there are the moments you just have to strut your stuff, as when Belle eagerly donned my Convertible Survival Kit ®  [5] when MH and I took her for a spin around town.

 

 

sadieconvertible7-16tacoma

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of Screw The Slough

Because his company is weird that way, MH had July 5 off as a vacation day.  [6]  What shall we do, he asked? I suggested we take our kayaks out for the first paddle of the season. I wanted to try out one of the entry points along the Columbia River Slough, and so, with our Paddler’s Access Guide in hand we loaded up the car, drove to what looked to be the optimum entry point…and then on to the next, and the next, and the next….

The first entry point was strewn with trash and had other signs of being used as a homeless camping/partying area. It was devoid of bipedal presence save for one Sketchy Looking Man ® sitting on a bench by the camp/party area. We parked our vehicle and walked down to the slough’s boat dock, SLM watching us every step of the way.

The slough was…well, we knew it was a slough, but it was really in full slough mode (low water depth and tepid-to-nonexistent flow). Probably good for winter and spring paddling, but already too late in the season, at this particular entry point (~ 17 miles upstream), for a decent paddle. That, plus the area’s vibe, which was if you-leave-your-car-you-will-return-to-find-it-broken-into, led us into checking out other slough access points downstream.

 

 

columbiaslough_general

 

By the time we’d reached access point four or five MH said, “I suppose we can look at this as a scouting excursion for future trips.” As time went on it became imperative, first for MH and then also moiself, for us to find something resembling a bathroom.  Ninety minutes after we’d arrived at the first access point and were still not in the water, I said “Screw the slough.” I knew there were pit stop facilities at Smith and Bybee Lakes Wetlands, so we ditched the last slough entry point [7] and headed there.

I’d been kayaking at Smith & Bybee several times, including once with MH. I’d give it a solid 3 on the 1 – 10 whoopee scale; I wanted to try somewhere new, but our plans hadn’t worked out and it was getting late, so what the heck. After The Pause That Refreshes © we checked out the canoe launch ramp.  Ay yi yi. I’d never seen the water level so low. How dare they call it Smith and Bybee Lakes?

 

 

yeahright

 

 

We hiked around the S & B Lake wetlands for an hour before returning to our car and heading off to find lunch. At least the birds seemed happy with the conditions in the boggy-wetlands-which-no-self-respecting-limnologist-would-call-a-lake – we saw an astounding number of Great Egrets wading about in the muck.

It turned out to be a good, low key day, capped off by a delightful evening at downtown Hillsboro’s Tuesday Marketplace. MH and I got dinner and a bottle of wine from the various food venders, found a spot on the courthouse lawn which was close enough to see the music stage but far enough away to be safe from the blaring amps and pissing pugs, [8] and staked our claim with folding chairs.

 

I really wish I could say I was joking about this.

I really wish I was joking about this.

 

 

It was a perfect evening for being outside – that temperature where you don’t know where your skin ends and the air begins. We enjoyed listening to the classic and original rock provided by Hippie Love Slave, a band that, besides having an awesome name, has a guitarist/singer whose vocal stylings reminded me of Grace Slick. I encountered said vocalist between sets, and shared my opinion with her. She took it as the compliment I intended, and then I complemented us both on being old and wise enough to understand.

 

 

 

 

Whaddya mean, old enough to understand?

Whaddya mean, old enough to understand?

*   *   *

Department Of I’ll Be Happy To Explain It To You

In the wake/midst of the Thunderswampfuckton of Crap ® that our country is experiencing (and will, no doubt ,keep on slogging through), in particular the shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge followed by the allegedly retaliatory shootings in Dallas, I’ve been hearing and reading about (what I take to be) a misunderstanding of the activist movement known as Black Lives Matter.

 

 

SOAPBOX

 

 

The very phrase or concept itself seems to be, IMHO, misconstrued. So, attention, critics – be you well-intended or closeted/overt racists – I’m about to clear it up for y’all.

It’s like this: You don’t walk into an Nike footwear store and criticize them for not carrying dress shoes.

But what about the Florsheims!

 

 

Wingtips Matter

Wingtips Matter

 

 

I’ll try again.

My city has a veterinary clinic named All About Cats . The clinic’s founding veterinarian had a multiple animal practice (dogs, cats, rodents, reptiles, birds) for over two decades; now he has one specializing in felines. One of the reasons he got the idea of establishing a felines-only clinic was his observation, during his years of practice, that cats were more stressed in a vet clinic by the smell and presence of dogs than vice-versa.

When I first saw the clinic’s sign I did not feel obligated to point out to the clinic’s staff, “I appreciate your intentions, but, All About Cats – life is not all about cats!” But I do know someone who, when they were informed that there was a new veterinary clinic in town that sees only cats, had that kind of reaction:

Oh, yeah, well, what about dogs?
What about budgies, and hamsters – other pets need veterinary care, too!”

All About Cats does not equal And other animals don’t need/aren’t worthy of veterinary care. Establishing a feline-only clinic does not mean you dismiss or dislike other animals. It merely denotes a special area of concern or concentration, for which there is a reason.

Black Lives Matter is a special interest civil rights/activist group. It exists because…well, because there are, unfortunately, fucking good and sad/pathetic reasons for it to exist. Including the fact that when my son K told me, many months ago, about being pulled over by a cop because K’s car had a non-functioning tail light, I had the privilege to not think that K might have been in danger.

I’d had The Talk with both of my offspring about how to behave if, while driving, they were ever pulled over by a cop. Still, it never occurred to me to ask K if he’d been overly respectful to the police officer no matter how the officer had treated him; it did not occur to me to ask/remind K if he’d remembered to move very slowly, always keeping his hands in sight, when the officer asked him to product his license and registration….

 

 

 

privelegejpg

 

 

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May you have the privilege of assuming your children will be safe;
May you be able to enjoy the moments that arise and screw the slough when called for;
May you stop and smell the roses (or the frozen herring – whatever is handy);
..and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

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[1] What the stories have in common: she remains mystified by the immaturity and moodiness of the younger kids (in particular, five year old boys), who “…don’t listen to what you say and have a meltdown when they spill a cup of water.”

[2] K, Belle’s brother, also attended UPS.

[3] And herring doesn’t smell any better the colder it is.

[4] Including their names. I mean, two gorgeous tigers lying side by side (“The one on the right is Kirani and the other is her sister, Dari”), they looked identical, to me.

[5] Which I keep in our new car, for those top down moments. The kit consists of a choice of three Glamorous Sunglasses ® , a scarf, and a tube of bright red lipstick to complete the ensemble.

[6] Other holidays which most people get as vacation days, Like MLK day or Memorial Day, he won’t.

[7] Kelly Point Park, which might be a good entry point for future kayaking on the slough but which also had signs of sketchy-ickiness and people-camping-who-shouldn’t-be (including two recently burned-out cars –  as in completely torched, parked side by side, — in the parking lot. Yet another omen).

[8] Yo, dog owners: when you bring your dogs to the various Farmer’s Markets – and you seem to think there is a city ordinance which requires you to do so – please mind where they “go.”

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