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The Next Year I’m Not Waiting For

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Belated Happy 4th of July/Independence Day wishes to y’all.

As I  threatened promised last year, I walked in Manzanita’s July 4th parade yesterday.  Here’s what I wrote about the parade in last year‘s log post:

Department Of Saved By The Spirit Of America

I am a notorious parade-loather. I find parades, at both the conceptual and practical levels, to be…absurd, at best. Thus, unless a parade’s entrants and/or organizers acknowledge the inanity of it all  [1]  and try to be deliberately silly – anyone seen Pasadena’s Doo Dah Parade?   [2]  – you can count me out, as either a spectator or participant.

However….

The Oregon beach town of my dreams and my heart, Manzanita, has a yearly July 4th parade, which, I have been told, is just so low tech and small-town cutesy that even a parade-hater such as moiself would find it adorable (or at least tolerable).  So, I had an idea for my participation in this year’s parade. I had a banner made, and began gathering the beginnings of my parade “uniform,” much to the consternation of MH, who wondered aloud if he would attend the parade (or need to leave town afterward), should I be a participant, wearing and doing…whatever it was I would wear and do.

Moiself got herself to the Manzanita City hall website where, I was told, parade entry info would be posted the first week in June. And it was, and…

Damn you, Foul Crushers of Aspirations!

Manzanita’s parade apparently has a theme, which varies from year to year. This year’s theme is, The Spirit of America. My planned getup could be – very, very, verrrrrrrrry loosely – attributed to a certain, uh, independence of spirit, but it definitely ain’t yer red white and blue/flag-waving, lovin’ that good ole country of mine. What I have in mind holds no disparagement toward my country nor toward the concept of patriotism, but it would be a non sequitur, given the theme, as per this description from the parade’s participant registration form (which has a picture of a very serious-looking bald eagle, ready to pluck the eyes out of anyone who would mock its usage as a symbol of American Greatness ® ) :

Decorations required: All entries including autos must be decorated in a patriotic theme and/or in the theme of the parade. The theme is “The Spirit of America”.

I tried to clarify the parade registration form information. The city clerk told me she thought that the requirement to dress as per the theme might be only for entrants “who want to be judged.”

“Trust me,” I replied, “I’m judged all the time, whether or not I’m an official entrant of anything.”

Later that day, when I returned home (to Hillsboro), I reassured MH that he’d been saved by the (Liberty) bell, so to speak. My parade accoutrements will remain in my closet, in a bag protected by a sentiment dear to the heart of every perennial loser underdog sports team’s fans:

Flash forward, 2019: I confirmed with City Hall that parade entrants need not dress as per the parade’s theme unless they are “official” entrants – non-officials may simply show up at the parade’s starting area and be assigned a marching spot. Which I did.

As my blog deadline is actually the night before publication (when friends and I were doing our 4th of July celebrating), I shall have a brief recount plus Photographic Evidence ® of my public shame parade participation in next week’s blog.

*   *   *

Department Of Secret Identities Revealed

As per last week’s review of the first of the Democratic candidates’ debates:

…there was just one candidate (whom I shall not name) who disappointed me: it was the guy who, although an experienced and seasoned politician, when the camera was first turned on him looked as if he were trying to remain calm despite knowing that a weasel was crawling up his pant leg.

It was Rep. Tim Ryan.  Doubt me? Watch the debate again, and look at Ryan’s face, the first time a question is posed to him – this was long before he got schooled on Taliban v. Al-Qaeda by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

She let the damn weasels in; I just know it.

*   *   *

Department Of Pathetic Justifications
Aka, That’s My Story And I’m Sticking To It

“Welcome to Walmart!”

No one greeted me thusly. Nevertheless, I kept my sunglasses on when I entered in the store, as if I were afraid of being recognized:

“That’s her – the woman who swore she’d never set foot inside a Walmart!”

Indeed, it was my first time, ever, in a Walmart. I’ve boycotted them because of their history of sexism and discriminatory employment practices, and decimating small town retail businesses … But no other local business had what I needed.  I knew I could order it online, but if Walmart had it, at least that would keep a bit of the money locally (I was on the Oregon coast) vs. putting more dollars in Amazon’s pocket.… Yeah, that’s the ticket.

*   *   *

Department Of Apparently This Also Happens In Other Artistic Professions

“Would you please donate _______ (your mentoring time; your expertise; a photo shoot, pottery lessons, original oil painting; five copies of your book)  to our worthy cause?  We can’t pay you, but you’ll get plenty of exposure….”
(Requests heard and loathed by every artist/artisan, ever)

I saw a posting on Facebook from a photographer who, fed up with people asking for free photo shoots, decided to turn the tables, so to speak, by composing his own ad seeking free services from professionals. Like others working in a “creative” field, I am all-too familiar with the situation he lampooned, to the point that, many years ago, I had composed (but never sent to anyone, or posted) my own “employment ad.” Inspired by the FB post, I searched my files and dug up my fantasy employment ad. With all attribution/apologies to the photographer:

Writer Seeks Professionals Willing To Do Their Jobs For Free

I am a writer. All kinds of people ask me for my products and services, for free. They request that I:

* provide them or their group free copies of my books

* travel to their school or community group to speak about writing, and/or /give writing workshops, sans remuneration

* edit their or their children’s resumes, job applications, term papers….

I therefore assume that all kinds of people must also do their jobs and offer their services without expecting payment.

I need all kinds of people to provide all kinds of services for me.  Doctors; dentists, yard maintenance; grocery shopping and deliver; massage; auto repair; computer chip design; tax preparation; restaurant chefs and waitstaff; plumbers; college professors to educate my children – I will gladly and gratefully accept these and other services as long as I don’t have to pay for them.

What’s in it for you, you may ask?  Why, you’ll gain even more experience in your chosen field, and although you can’t take gratitude to the bank, you can bank on my gratitude: I’ll tell everyone I know how appreciative I am and what wonderful work you do. That’s, like, free publicity! This will likely bring you innumerable offers for unpaid work but also plenty of goodwill, and who can put a price on exposure?

So, if you have a job or service you provide, and will do it for free, let me know and I’ll gladly hire you!

 

(Don’t read The Oatmeal? You should.)

*   *   *

 

Department Of Honey, You *So* Did Not Have To Do That To Make Me Feel Better

MH texted me with the picture he took for his passport renewal, with the message:

“Here’s the guy that will accompany you on international trips.”

Moiself‘s response:

“We are so going to get pulled out of line for additional screening.”

This is highly unusual. Moiself is the one who takes the atrocious pictures, from family snapshots to passport, Costco, and other ID cards.  You know how at the DMV, when you go to the line for your driver’s license picture they hurry you through and you get one shot only because there are six people in line behind you? The last time I had my license renewed the DMV employee who took my picture looked at her camera screen, frowned, and called her supervisor over. The supervisor looked at the screen, then at me, back at the screen again, then said to me, “Oh, you really don’t want this one.” And they redid my photo. TWICE.

But, really, this passport photo of MH’s is…uh….oh, dear.  [3]

MH’s tresses are shoulder length, and he has a beard – both are dark and were apparently having a Bad Hair Day ® when the picture was taken.  He’s a friendly-looking guy, but they don’t want you to smile in a passport photo, and you can tell he wants to…but the overall effect…  Well, he looks like he’s about to scream, “Death to America!”

Also, I think the choice to wear a bistro napkin on his head was a poor one.

*   *   *

Department of Epicurean Excursion   [4]

Featuring this week’s cookbook, author and recipe:

Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking by Julie Sahni.

Recipes: Muttakos Sambaar (Hearty Blue Mountain Cabbage and Tomato Stew), and
Pachadi Vallerika  (Zucchini and Yogurt Salad)

My rating: for the Muttakos Sambaar:

for the Pachadi Vallerika

 

 

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

Recipe Rating Refresher  [5]     

*   *   *

May your most hideous ID photo not cause you to get additional screening;
May you think twice, and twice again, before asking someone to “donate” their services;
May you never run for political office if you can’t control your weasel face;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

 

*   *   *

[1] A bunch of people sitting on street curbs, watching another bunch of people walk past them, or watching cars drive by slowly and horses poop while they are walking and then other people following behind scooping the poop.

[2] How could I not love a parade which introduced the world to the following Drill Teams:

* Synchronized Precision Marching Briefcase Drill Team
* Lawn Mower Drill Team
* The BBQ & Hibachi Marching Grill Team
* The Shopping Cart Drill Team
* The Men of Leisure Synchronized Nap Team
* Claude Rains & the 20-Man Memorial Invisible Man Marching Drill Team
* The Committee for the Right to Bear Arms, which marches while carrying mannequin arms.

[3] On the bright side, seeing it made me realize it is way past time for me to get my own shaggy hair trimmed.

[4] A recurring feature of this blog, since week 2 of April 2019, wherein moiself decided that moiself would go through my cookbooks alphabetically and, one day a week, cook (at least) one recipe from one book.

[5]

* Two Thumbs up:  Liked it

* Two Hamster Thumbs Up :  Loved it

* Thumbs Down – Not even Kevin ( a character on The Office who would eat anything) would like this.  

* Twiddling Thumbs: I was, in due course, bored by this recipe.

* Thumbscrew: It was torture to make this recipe.

* All Thumbs: Good recipe, but I somehow mucked it up .

* Thumby McThumb Face: This recipe was fun to make.

* Thumbing my nose: Yeah, I made this recipe, but I did not respect it.

The (made-in-China) Flag I’m Not Waving

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Release the piccolos!

Release the piccolos!

 

There’s nothing like hearing the classic obbligato from arguably the best patriotic march ever composed [1] to set the mood for Independence Day.

*   *   *

 Happy 4th of July!

 Do these fireworks make my butt look big?

Do these fireworks make my butt look big?

 

*   *   *

Yet Another Sign of the Times

berrychickenJPGBERRY

During raspberry-picking season I look like a cowardly and/or incompetent self-cutter.

*   *   *

I can think of few better ways to celebrate our nation’s independence from hierarchical hegemony than to kick a hallowed institution.  But, first….

 *   *   *

White People Problems – #568 in an unending series
The Warning That Ruins Lives

Don’t you, kinda yeah maybe well sure, want to know things?  As in, when a certain variation of A Good Thing to Do has a deleterious or dangerous side effect, and there is a better version of or way to do The Good Thing ®, wouldn’t you want to know about it?

It's too much to handle! Let the little #$&!s get melanoma!

Another helpful hint – it’s too much to handle! Let the little #$&!s get melanoma!

Dateline: A Sunday morning, at the Oregon Zoo’s Cascade Grill.  Two Mommy Friends ©, each accompanied by one ambulatory toddler and one infant in a stroller, are chatting outside the entrance doors to the café.  One of the women is pregnant.  Preggers Woman reaches into her stroller’s storage bag for an aerosol can of sunscreen and begins to spray her toddler’s legs.  As the sunscreen mist envelops her child from toes to torso she complains to her friend about how she just read somewhere that pediatricians are advising parents to refrain from using spray sunscreen on their children, because

(a) spray-on sunscreens are not effective as the rub-in lotions, and
(b) children can inhale the sunscreen mist, which is harmful to their lungs.

“And I thought, really?” PW rolls her eyes and snorts with disgust as she snaps the cap back on the spray bottle and tosses it in the stroller bag. “I mean, really – it’s just so frustrating!  So now what else can’t I give my kids?!

What else can’t you give your kids?

How about lead paint? Or an overdose of Tylenol, or….?

*   *   *

And now, let the kicking begin.

The honeymoon is over

Although the relationship was doomed from the start, I’m surprised more friends didn’t intervene and say, “He’s just not that into you.”

I refer to the liberal religiositati’s [2] high hopes for the latest head of the Catholic church, Pope Francis.  He threw them a few bones about caring more about the poor than about divisive social issues and they were practically tripping all over themselves, using their ACLU membership cards to mop up their deferential drool.

It may be true that, as one friend put it, P. Francis is “better than the Nazi,” [3] but talk about damning with faint praise.

PF has consistently dodged questions about raising the status of women in his church, and last week responded to a journalist’s query about the underlying misogyny in the Catholic church by making a “joke” :

Francis replied: “The fact is that woman was taken from a rib.” PF then laughed “heartily” before saying: “I’m joking. That was a joke.”

That’s one wacky dude!  Hard to believe he traded in a promising stand-up comedy career for vows of celibacy and poverty.

Living the vow of poverty, gold-plated Vatican-style.

Living the vow of poverty, Vatican-style.

Not only is the latest high priestess of Isis RC witch doctor holy chicken bone mumbler pope maintaining his church’s separate and unequal gender wall, he seems prone to reinforcing it, as when he spoke a few weeks back about, the need for “… fertility in maintaining a Christian marriage.”

Frankie baby blamed a “culture of well-being” and comfort for convincing married couples that a carefree life of world travel and summer homes was better than having children. He said married couples should look at how Jesus loves his church to learn how to be faithful, perseverant and fruitful in their vocation.

REALLY

Pay attention to whatever the man in the dunce cap pointy hat – surely a signifier of supreme intellectual aptitude if there ever was one – tells y’all.

pointyhat

Yo, Catholic married couples. Your Jesus (according to RC doctrine) never married and was childless; therefore; it logically follows that to be faithful to this Jesus and his church you should marry and must have children.  If it breeds, it leads! Or…something. [4]

Why anyone heeds the admonitions of a childless celibate who presumes to lecture other people on the supposed virtues – and strictures – of a breeding marriage….  RCs, get your heads out of those orifices.

HEAD   Head_up_ass

Or perhaps Francis the talking mule O’Pope was trying to divert attention from the latest Catholic business as usual scandal. “Our own little Holocaust,” is what an Irish Mirror writer called the discovery of the bodies of ~ 800 toddlers and babies who died of disease and malnutrition in the Irish institutions that housed their unmarried mothers, who were shamed and damned by the cultural stigma against sexually active females and “bastard” babies – a stigma invented, promoted and implemented by the church.

On the really, really dim bright side, will yet another set of these latest revelations finally help to break the RC stranglehold on Irish culture, law and politics?

“After the revelations that Irish priests raped countless little boys and Irish nuns beat and starved countless little girls forced to work in the Magdalene laundries, we can’t take any more. The children in the homes were even used as guinea pigs for pharmaceutical companies to test vaccines. .. Never again should the Catholic Church dare to point the finger at any young woman contemplating abortion, or lecture on the sanctity of human life.”
The Week (6-20-2014)

 *   *   *

That was fun, wasn’t it?

And now for something completely different.

 So Glad I’ve Lived to Experience This Breakthrough For Humankind

Last week I had my annual mammogram. [5]Tuality Hospital’s Breast Health Services center is quite proud to be up on the latest technology for diagnostic screening, and instead of the usual titty in the wringer mammogram they offered me Tomosynthesis.

Tomosynthesis is better known as 3D mammography – you know, where it seems like the breasts just come flying off the screen at you.  The mammography technologist looked at me blankly when I asked her if I could wear the special glasses.

They're too scary, Mommy – make them go away!

Too scary, Mommy – make them go away!

 *   *   *

Where liberty dwells, there is my country.
~ Benjamin Franklin ~

Happy Independence Day!

Let us all proudly wave our American flags and light our fireworks (both made in China) and then stare at our computer screens, comparing Facebook pictures of other people’s celebrations.

And may the red white and blue hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

 

 

 

[1] John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever.

[2] Yeah, not an OED-recognized word. But it should be.

[3] The always observant SCM was referring to Joseph Ratzinger, better known by his slave name, Pope Benedict.

[4] No footnote here. Move along folks; there’s nothing to see.

[5] Insert your favorite/paranoid grumblings about the wisdom and costs of routine medical testing.

The Year I’m Not Being Modest

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“The idea for my modesty experiment began when I worked in New York City….Every morning I would shoehorn myself onto the train with thousands of expensive-smelling, coiffed women….  It was an army of ladies sporting fitted waistlines, toned arms, blown-out hair, full faces of makeup, and heels….Everyone looked good and we were all stylish…. I hated every second of it. It felt like putting on a costume…..Still, given where I worked, I had to look like that. Every. Damn. Day.
(Lauren Shields, My Year of Modesty)

The title of the article on salon.com piqued my curiosity. I had to read it, if only to validate my kneejerk suspicion that the article would essentially be a trailer for yet another My Year of book in the making.  You know the kind of book I’m talking about. You may even have read one of them.  They’ve practically become a genre unto themselves (and one writer in particular has made a career of it):

“My ______ (year, month, or some other arbitrary and extended period of time) of ______:

– trying to obey certain religious scriptures as literally as possible, including the orders to avoid wearing clothes made of mixed fibers; to play a ten-string harp; to stone adulterers…[1]
– reading the entire ENCYLOPEDIA BRITANNICA [2]
– following the advice of every health, nutrition and exercise “expert” on the market [3]
-trying to outsource every aspect of my personal life as an experiment  [4]
-eating fast food for every meal [5]
– living sans car, utilities, running water, and any modern/electrical technologies [6]

…which I did with the guarantee of a book and/or movie deal which would allow me to present the surprising (to me, you see, I was such a cynic, going in!) spiritual journey [7]of the endeavor in a manner both comical and profound, reverent and irreverent, personal and universal, which will enable you, the reader, to see

– arguably the most influential bronze age scriptures ever written
-really big reference materials
-the all tater tot diet

with new eyes!”

My suspicions were correct. Behold, My Year of Modesty, wherein the author “…swore off makeup and covered my hair, arms and legs for nine months.”

And – surprise! – the author found the experience of doing so to be ____

(1) compliant and odiferous
(2) truculent yet bovine
(3) frightening and liberating
(4) mellifluous and stomach-turning

It’s (3), DUH. Haven’t you been paying attention?

Anyway…. The author designed what she calls The Modesty Project (which, as she admits in her blog, she hopes will be a hook to attract an agent). She decided to be the project’s first participant :

“I took my cues from Jewish, Muslim and some Christian modesty practices in order to loosen my death grip on the idea that youth and beauty were prerequisites to relevance.…I gave away more than a third of my clothes….And for nine months, I covered all of my hair, wore nothing that was so fitted that I felt like I had to sit or stand funny to look good, and never exposed my knees or my shoulders, except at home. With rare exceptions, I wore no makeup or nail polish.” 

I agreed with many of the points the author made in the article, including how important it is to realize that “…the beauty industry is a ploy to keep us from thinking about how to break into the boys’ club of corporate America,” and that  “obsession with your appearance is frivolous and time-consuming!” and that it can be a good thing to decline to “…endorse Western Imperialism and the sexualization of (women’s) bodies,” and that women should resist “… the pressure to be scrutinized against Western standards of beauty. ”

But when the author whined, “How nice would it be not to have to think about stupid crap like the latest accessories and whether my hair had gone limp?”, this cranky middle age feminist felt like having her sit down on a comfy cushion while I used my there-there, it’ll get better voice to give her some basic advice:

Well then, why don’t you just choose to stop thinking about stupid crap like that?

Many of the points she makes in the article are oh-so-valid.  Then, there is the “choice” she speaks of, wherein she takes cues from culture and religions that require “modest” dress.  Choice, schmoice — it is is simply another standard by which women will be judged. She’s just choosing a different trap into which she’ll be pushed (or, in this case, into which she’ll enter voluntarily).

Attributing any characteristic (modesty, sexuality) to your attire and/or appearance ironically causes you to focus upon the very characteristic (e.g. Western beauty standards) you supposedly want to counteract. Also, it leads to just plain silly and arbitrary boundaries and “standards.”  Are uncovered shoulders “immodest,” and if so, in whose eyes?  Are your elbows allowed breathing room, or your earlobes, ankles, wrists, knees….?

By following any standard uniform, whether that of the Fashionista-I’d-Like-to-F*** or the Modest Muslim, you are inviting the judgments and expectations that people associate with that uniform.

hijab

You can refuse to buy into Western (or any compass direction’s) standards by…wait for it… refusing to buy into the standards.  Forgo makeup, or just don’t wear as much.  Have one pair of sensible “dress” shoes.  Wear comfortable, practical, durable, weather-and-work-appropriate clothing.

Why go from one extreme (the “costume” she decries) to another?  Oh yeah, that’s right – because there’s a book and/or movie deal waiting for you if you go to an extreme and then tell everyone about it.

IMHO, articles such as the one in question perpetuate, even if unintentionally, this perception of extreme options for women:

(1) We’re either obsessed with fashion/our bodies/our appearance, or we must be in order to play The Game and have any kind of power, credibility or visibility in this society, or
(2) We must veil our physical attributes entirely to escape or subvert The Game.

To me, [8] both options seem equally and ultimately powerless.

Were you consulted when the rules of The Game were written?  No? Me neither. Then they don’t apply to us.  We can choose to help rewrite them and/or not to give a shit about them.  Wear whatever you want, and deal with the consequences.[9]

*  *  *

Smile!  You’re:

-on Candid Camera
-on massive amounts of Happy Pills
-a blithering idiot

fresksmile

In Honor of the anniversary of Declaration of Independence, it seems that this is turning into the Feminist Rant Blog Post.

But, I digress.

Dateline: a couple of weeks ago.  Riding in the car, returning from a friend’s dance recital in Portland.  Five of us are in MH’s Honda Fit, thus the Biggest People (MH and our son K) are in the front, while Belle, a Visiting Relative and moiself sit tush-to-tush in the back seat.

Belle wasexhausted from a long day of working at the zoo, followed by this social event which she seemed to enjoy but was in all likelihood doing for the family/social obligation.  She sat, peacefully, quietly, holding on to window the arm strap. She was not smiling.  She was not frowning or looking unhappy, but she was not smiling.  VR began to pester Belle, teasing her about why she wasn’t smiling and repeatedly asking (commanding) her to smile….

For what reason?

This has happened before — VR and the teasing/smiling thing, and with both of the kids, but particularly (as in, waaaay more often) with Belle.  I could see Belle getting annoyed, but since she is seventeen and not seven I gritted my teeth…and said nothing…and let Belle handle it… even as I wanted to say to VR, “With all due respect, WTF?!”

Silly me.  I forgot about The Law of Non Threatening Female Countenance, which Belle was clearly violating. It is mandatory for women to always have an idiot grin a smile, or at least a friendly expression on their faces, lest people think they are…I don’t know:

– tired (which is why they are looking tired)
– reflecting on the problems in the Middle East (thus the contemplative/hopeless frown)
– thinking about the latest Neo-Con male spouting nonsense about women’s reproductive health issues (thus the threatening, get me a red hot suppository poker grimace).

What is it about a serious-looking woman, or one whose expression is merely that of repose, that so many people find unnerving?

One of the myriad of reasons a former boyfriend of mine achieved Former Boyfriend © status involves an argument we had about the TV show Hill Street Blues.  FB and I were both fans of the show, and were discussing it one evening when he mentioned how he liked all of the characters…except for Joyce Davenport.

JD was one of my favorite of the show’s characters; thus, I had to ask why he didn’t like the intelligent, witty, crusading public defender.  His less-than-illuminating answer:  Because she was “a bitch.”

Mind you, this was a man who would have accepted and even embraced the moniker “feminist man.”  Yet he repeated the term, twice more, when I asked for and then demanded clarification.  I pointed out to him that if he didn’t like a male character he would state specifically what about the character he found offensive, rather than merely name call. Ok, you find Joyce Davenport a “bitch” – is it because you think she is nasty and/or vindictive toward her colleagues or criticizes her peers without reason or provocation or blames others for her mistakes or….what?  Specify, please.

No. It was none of the above. None of anything, really. Here’s what it came down to:  He found Joyce Davenport to be a bitch because “She never smiles.”

joyce davenport

Really, truly, at first I thought he was joking.  He was serious. He wanted to see her display a more sunny attitude. Joyce Davenport was such a downer.  Joyce Davenport needed to smile more often.

The character of Joyce Davenport was a public defender serving an urban war zone of city. She defended thieves, rapists, drug dealers, child abusers and murders.  She also had to contend with the police officers, detectives and District Attorneys who cared not one whit for the supposed innocence of her clients and who were determined to convict the rare clients she had who were actually innocent of theft, rape, drug dealing, child abuse and murder. Imagine a man in that position, with that job, walking around with a grin on his face. Imagine anyone admonishing a man in that position, with that job, that he should smile more often.

Excuse me, Capt. Furillo, you're doing a fine job managing this crime-ridden, gang-infested, shithole of a precinct, but we'd all feel better if you'd flash your pearly whites more often

Excuse me, Capt. Furillo, you’re doing a fine job managing this crime-ridden, gang-infested, shithole of a precinct, but we’d all feel better if you’d flash your pearly whites more often

*   *   *

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.
(Barbara Ehrenreich )

atheist flag

“I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
(James Baldwin)

fireworks

Happy Independence Day Weekend to us all, and may the truly patriotic hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[5] Supersize Me by someone who is not A. J. Jacobs

[6] Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology by someone who said, hey, I better write about this before A. J. Jacobs does.

[7] and of course there will be a spiritual journey.

[8] Me, whose idea of fashionable grooming is to remember to brush my hair before 3 pm…you can guess which sides of this issue get my sympathies.

[9] Unless what you really want to wear are those homie gangsta clown pants with the magical gravity band that keeps them perpetually hovering mid butt crack.