Postings are in chronological order, with the most recent entry at the top.
We're wishing the folks in Iraq all the luck in the world tomorrow, and a big dose of safety besides.
It's not like we live in Buffalo, New York, where two feet of snow is considered a light dusting. So when I looked out of the window the other morning and saw that it was snowing... again - on top of the two feet of snow we got last weekend, I sighed. More snow. Ooh-la-la.
I'd like to "give 'em the the ooh-la-la", but I can't find 'em to deliver it. Blossom Dearie fans will know what I'm talking about - only I'm changing the connotation here... slightly.
It wouldn't be such a trial if people weren't made instantly stupid by the snow. Snow seems to effect the thinking portion of the New England mind. People's first reaction appears to be - "Let's drive in it!" And so there are people merrily fish-tailing and spinning about the streets. They've got no clue how to drive in it, or that it might be a good idea if they didn't. You'd think we lived in a rural village with nary a public bus or train for miles... not a sizeable city with a fairly respectable public transit system. You may have to wait two hours for the bus this week (due to buses stuck behind cars that have slid into snow banks and don't have the traction to get out), but it'll come eventually...
I've dug the car out, but I refuse to move it. Go ahead, ticket me - not movin', no how. We're walking and waiting for the bus to show up. The snow banks to either side of the street are four to six feet high - from the snow that was cleared off the street, sidewalks and from around the cars.
I'd like to send a big friendly shout out to my neighbor and his son who shoveled the snow from around their car in front of mine - you're just sweet as pie! Hope you don't mind that I've shoveled it back behind you - because, you never know, I may just need to move my car some day and that five foot high pile in front of my left front wheel, which will turn into ice one day soon, was kinda in my way.
In case you were wondering, I didn't cover their tail pipe - I'm not malicious, just annoyed by people who don't even pretend to give a shit about their neighbors - that's not playing nice.
They went to a different nursery school than I did, that's for sure. In my nursery school we had to sit in "the thinking chair" when we'd trespassed against a neighbor. There were hearty Baptist ladies running my nursery school and you didn't mess with those ladies unless you wanted to sit in the thinking chair". And it was a pain to sit in that thing, because your feet dangled and you had to watch all of the other kids having fun and you had to think, and well, it got dull kinda quick.
But somehow, that didn't cure me of having to sit there the next time. I think they had it in for me, those Baptist ladies, because they knew I was going to be a heathen when I grew up and they were going to get their licks in while they were able.
Ah, the good old days...
Speaking to kids about the snow helps temper the adult perspective. The possibilities for this kind of snowfall are endless to them. And they get days off from school! How cool is that? I know I appreciated a break from the Baptist ladies when I was a kid - and I'm sure they sat home missing me the whole day.
I've been super prickly all week. I mentioned my run-in with the "frantic to park in front of her house" neighbor to the therapist I'm currently test driving. Her response was, "You moved?"
An honest enough question, but she looked worried as she asked it - kind of had an "Oh dear..." tone in her voice.
So I've been prickly. Ume's response to my mood was, "Don't get all nudgy with me, because your therapist thinks you're a wimp."
I could see Ume wasn't going to be an easy target for my impotent rage, but I narrowed my eyes at her anyway. She narrowed hers right back at me. She has beautiful, melt-me eyes, so I narrowed mine further and well... we didn't get in a fight.
So later, I had to find another target, someone I could pick a fight with and report back to my therapist that I was, indeed, a bitch on wheels... even though I'm not moving my wheels at present, because I refuse to drive in this absurd icescape.
Let's see, what were my options... there's the encrusted Portuguese geezer up the street who was probably a general during the dictatorship. He's a darling and a half, I could walk by his house and when he greets me with that nasty glare he saves just for me, I could say something pithy like, "Your Momma!"
But then he'd just probably wait until I'd gone, then go key our car - again. Okay, okay, I shouldn't suspect that he's the one who keyed our car simply because that long scratch showed up the day after an awkward interaction I had with him (how was I supposed to know that you oughtn't speak to elderly Portuguese men like they're anybody else - he retreated into his home without answering me - and all I was trying to do was ask if he knew if his neighbors were at home, because I wanted to ask them a question and I'd knocked a few times that week). But it could have been a coincidence... Most likely was... He still glares at me every time I go by his house. I could probably get in a fight easy with him, but I do enjoy waving and smiling at him each time he glares at me...
So maybe I'll pick someone else... Hmm... There are the folks across the street who throw parties where people get knifed, I could go over there, I suppose. Knock on their door and shout, "Yo Momma!" at whoever answers the door. But it might be one of the kids who answers and they'd just probably trot off and get their Momma and I wouldn't have the heart to pick a fight with her, because I think she's probably got enough on her plate (cooking for knife throwing guests is a tough enough job, to be sure).
There's the recovering crack addict across the street, she's got a temper we can't help but hear about - often. But she's been doing well for a while and if I caused a relapse I'd feel too guilty. Her son might be a good bet! He's a flaming asshole! But no... he'd probably mistake aggressive behavior for a mating display of some sort - best skip that one...
I know! The pesky neighbor who I had the interaction with that started this whole thing off! I'll go pick a fight with her! Awesome! I'll just go over there and stick my nose in her face and shout, "Yo Momma!" And she'd just stare at me, then there'd be a slight, ever so subtle glimmer at the corner of her eye, maybe a little waver of the lip, then a sniffed back tear... And I'd say, "Oh no, don't you dare!" But it would be too late, she'd have started crying already.
And she'd say, "My mother died fifteen years ago... today."
And I'd feel wretched.
So there's just nothing for it, I'm going to have to pick a fight with my therapist. I mean, what the hell do I pay her for anyway? Not to sit there and point out the obvious, that's for sure. I'll show her (for not quite sayin' I'm small and wimpy)! I'll just march right up into that office and lay it on the line, put it out there - "Okay lady, you said, kinda-sorta, in therapist speak, that I'm small and wimpy and so now I'm gonna call you to the carpet and we're gonna settle this Brulee style. Choose your weapons!"
And she'd give it a little thought, smile smugly, and say, "Feelings."
"Aw, come on! Get real. I'm talking pistols at nine paces... maybe ten. Or perhaps swords or something else pointy like that!"
"No, I've chosen feelings."
Typical sneaky therapist tactic! "But they're all messy and I want something neat and clean and over with fast in a burst of gore and glory!"
"I'm not sure that swords will be anything like neat and clean and gun wounds are not tidy," she'd sniff.
"Yeah, but you'd be dead and so someone else would have to clean up..." I'd trail off.
"What is it?" she'd ask.
"Well, I wouldn't want someone to be stuck cleaning up my gore. I mean, don't get me wrong, I intend to win this duel, but on the off chance I didn't..."
"And that makes you feel uncomfortable? Inconveniencing someone else?"
"Well, of course, it's not their fault that I got pissed, because you said I was a small wuss."
"I didn't say you were a small wuss," she'd say.
"Oh please, I've challenged you to a duel - let's drop the polite facade."
"But I didn't!" She'd insist.
"Yes you did, too," I'd say.
"No, I did not."
"Are those pistols still an option?"
But by then I might like her too much to kill her (I've got excellent hand-eye coordination) - so I'd sit and annoy her the best way I know how - by regurgitating the minutia of my contrarian mind.
The homosexual agenda suffered another setback this week - from the new secretary of education. By now you may have heard about the "Buster" dust up. Seems that PBS's cartoon rabbit show is promoting the lesbian lifestyle in an episode titled - I kid you not - "Sugartime".
So, Madam Secretary is all a-twitter and wants PBS to refund any government money that may have been spent in the creation of such subversive and objectionable subject matter.
Seems there's a scene where Buster is visiting some kids (in Vermont) and while homosexuality is not addressed directly, at one point you see that there are two women in the kitchen... "OH MY GOOD GOD - hide the children!!! Lesbian parents! We didn't know lesbians were parents! We just thought they were naughty girls who posed in porn magazines. No one told us they actually had children too! Good heavens, what if little Johnnie asks what those women do for a living? What an awkward conversation that would be! I don't think PBS should be promoting pornography with tax payer money! This is just like that filthy Mapplethorpe business!"
Pathetic how easily threatened these people are - any opportunity to impede what they call the "normalization" of homosexuality, they hop on it (sorry).
And here's G. Bush in his innaugural address, threatening the world with freedom and liberty American style, while pushing to write discriminatory language against gays into the national constitution!
And yet, they fail to see the irony...
WGBH delays show featuring lesbians by Suzanne C. Ryan (Boston Globe, 01.22.05)
Ed Secretary Blasts PBS Cartoon by Bob Oakes (WBUR, 01.25.05)
GLAAD Condemns Education Secretary's Attempt to Promote Ignorance of Same-Sex Families (GLAAD, 01.25.05)
I bet they'll be after this little guy next. At least he's a tougher customer than a kid bunny. He was in the window of a toy store - I couldn't resist a photo.
I regret to inform you that the echidna and the platypus are not marsupials. No, no - not bepouched mammals they. It's a nasty rumor, which we feel ought to be nipped in the bud - pronto. The echidna and the platypus are monotremes, an overachieving subclass of egg-laying mammals.
I'm glad we've got that all cleared up. Only, it's not at all cleared up for the thousands of folks who've read Bill Bryson's, "A Short History of Nearly Everything". To them, or to those among them who wouldn't know a monotreme from a half-baked biscuit, it's still t'other way round.
And since Ume looked up from reading that book at breakfast one morning and exclaimed, "They are not!" - she's not so sure that "A Short History of Nearly Everything" shouldn't be called, "A Slap-dash History of Nearly Everything That Wasn't Proofread Especially Well". Because he says they're marsupials, and Ume knows that to be, not to put too fine a point on it - wrong.
"Most of this book deals with physics - how am I supposed to know if the guy's blowing smoke out of his hat, or he's got his facts straight? I know zilch about physics." Ume's really cute when she's grumbling about someone that's not me.
When I went in for breakfast today, Ume looked up from her book and asked, "Do you know what would happen if we got hit by an asteroid?"
In my semi-dream state that sometimes lingers a good half hour after I get up, I considered it. "We'd be flat? Maybe a smear?"
"No!" She said, genuinely excited. "We'd vaporize! The asteroid would be pushing so much hot air in front of it as it came through the atmosphere, that the hot air would vaporize us before impact... I feel oddly reassured by that."
"Can I eat my breakfast now?" I asked.
"Of course," she smiled. "But doesn't that make you feel better? I mean, why worry about stuff if something like that can happen - at any time - and there's not a thing we could do about it?"
"Um, okay," I said, beginning to wake up. "I think I'll eat breakfast anyway."
I didn't have the heart to remind her that the book she was getting her facts on asteroids from was the same one that'd got the facts on the mammals wrong - she seemed so, bubbly about a possible collision with a heavenly body... Should I have been jealous?
Speaking of knowing nothing about physics. I'm embarking on James Gleick's biography of Richard Feynman, "Genius". A while back I read, "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character" and found it thoroughly engaging - in a 1950's male kind of way. Quite a fascinating guy - with a mind that crackled and sparked.
If you live some place other than here, you probably haven't heard the news - it's gonna SNOW. It's gonna snow, and so everyone and their great aunt twice removed is at the store grabbing all manner of whatnot to build up the larder. And everyone is all a-twitter emotional-wise, or at least I assume they are, because I had two incidents with nervous people in a two hour period of being outside of the house.
The first was with a man who assumed, even though I was in the correct lane, minding my own business, that I should have stopped and let him drive around the person who was double parked and blocking his lane... So he drove around that lady and found me in my lane facing him as he might have suspected from way back when he saw me approaching from the other direction.
He stopped his car in front of me, and instead of backing up, opened his door as if to get out, then he thought better of it, and like in a cartoon, he puffed up his chest and crossed his arms over it while glaring at me over the dashboard of his SUV - as if to say - "Me, I'm a North going Zax and I'm not going nowhere bitch." (Dr. Seuss characters never used that kind of language, but I think this guy might.)
So I thought, okay, he's not getting out of the car to bend me into a pretzel - possibly because he'd realized we were next to the court house and there were likely to be police in shouting distance, though Ume says this is unlikely as she's seen men open their doors when they're in confrontational mode in traffic, simply to alert their opponent that they're willing to fight. She says it's part of an aggressive display signalling behavior or some such.
I wasn't going to back up, no, I'd played too far into the game... As if sensing danger to its bright finish, the double parked car next to us crept out of the way, making room for one of us to move. I took the opening. Yes, I know, I should have waited for him to take it, as it was an opening in his proper lane, but frankly, I like getting on with my day and I'd wasted enough of my time on him and his puffed chest.
Which was the conclusion I came to after playing "move an inch" with my next door neighbor. You see, she thought if I'd just move my car up one inch, another car (her car, for instance...) could park behind mine. "We're going to have two feet of snow," she said. "So if you could move closer to that next car, we could get more cars here..." Her internal logic did not compute in my head.
"If I move up to the bumper of that car, where am I going to put the snow?" I asked.
Ignoring my question, she pressed on. "Well, if you'd just move up another inch, another car could fit behind you."
Being the neighborly type, I moved up a notch. This did not appease her. So she walked to the front of the car and motioned me to move farther. I moved a bit farther and when she motioned again I got out of the car. I looked behind my spot - "Another car won't fit in that space," I noted. "They'd be too close to the crosswalk, they'd get ticketed."
"No," she said. "You can park right up to a crosswalk."
Have I mentioned that I was hungry? I was really hungry. I needed food. I had cheese, crackers and soppressota in the car. I wanted to eat them. Ume told the lady that the spot was too small even if we pulled all the way up to the bumper of the car in front of us, which we weren't going to do. I was thinking, "Didn't I once get a ticket for parking within three feet of a crosswalk?"
She went and stood in the spot as if to prove her case. "It is large enough."
I shook my head and said, "This isn't worth my time, I'm moving the car to another spot."
I got in the car and drove up the street where I could park, unharrassed, and leave more than 5 inches to either side of the car for snow, and get to my crackers and cheese maybe sometime this month. (She really doesn't care where the snow goes - she pays someone to dig her car out and doesn't give a tick if they have to haul the snow to Timbuktu. Instead of being focused on food, I wish I'd had my wits about me - I would simply have backed up to the crosswalk, parked a legal distance from it and left it at that.)
She, feeling she'd fulfilled her duty of promoting neighborly disharmony, drove away. Where she was going and why, I didn't care.
"What is that woman's problem?!" I asked Ume as we went into the house (I was close, so close, to my crackers and cheese! Gimme, gimme.).
"She's neurotic, and she wants to park in front of her house when she gets back."
"I've had exactly two conversations with her in the five years she's lived there. Both of them were about parking. The first time she was just as obnoxious."
But maybe she felt she wasn't obnoxious enough, as the first time I didn't do what she asked me to do, and so this time she thought she should pour it on thick. She's simply an unpleasant woman. I've only seen her behave in a friendly manner one time, and that was to a young man from our building. She smiled and introduced herself - then asked him if he'd lift her bike onto her car's bike rack.
I comfort myself with the knowledge that being her has got to be way more uncomfortable than living across the street from her.
To my satisfaction, I note that someone has parked in "her" spot. (One car, taking up, yes, one spot...) It's a small world... filled with tiny people...
Who are about to be buried in snow.
I won't believe we're getting the 30in of snow they're forecasting until I'm buried up to my eyeballs in it.
The cheese, crackers and soppressota were excellent, by the way. But they ended up being, cheese, good bread and soppressota, which is better still! Ume remembered that we had a rockin' loaf of bread in the freezer (there's no mystery why I love this woman), and even though it was once frozen, it was twice good.
I've been studiously avoiding the national news. Whatever went on in Washington, DC this week, I'm in denial. I mean, why bother, it's not like they called a terror alert - even though they announced that they were looking for four people headed to Boston in connection with a dirty bomb plot. Why raise the terror alert for that? The last two alerts were, let's see... one after John Edwards was announced as John Kerry's running mate and the Democrats were surging in the polls... And the other was after the Democratic convention when the Democrats were gaining in the polls again... Hmm... Guess the real danger is past, now that Bush has been re-elected we don't want to cause unnecessary anxiety or anything. I wonder why it is that these folks were being sought for questioning just a couple of days before the inauguration... Hmm... Guess no one wanted to risk any nasty pictures of eggs and such hitting the presidential limo leaking into the press like during the last inauguration.
But there's been pleanty of local news to preoccupy me. Like the president of Harvard sticking his foot in it, big time. I'm not crying for you Argentina.
Summers' remarks on women draw fire by Marcella Bombardieri (Boston Globe, 01.17.05)
It's not like the old days Larry, when you could have said that and got lots of knowing nods of approval (from all of the men in the room). And so...
Summers calls for initiative on women by Marcella Bombardieri (Boston Globe, 01.22.05)
I can save them all a bunch of time - women still do the lion's share of child-rearing duties and are still expected to do most of the domestic duties. How the hell is a woman going to be able to move into a high-pressure job while held chiefly responsible for the greater portion of the domestic realm (do NOT write to me if you're a guy who has washed a floor once and feel hurt by my remarks, I will not respond - and please note, I leave room for the exception to the general rule)? If she wants "a family" she has to compromise, if he wants "a family" he expects her to compromise - in general. And having a family is a big-time commitment and if you can't afford quality child care and a cleaning service or don't have parents who will do it for you - you're up shit's creek. And then, oh yeah, lest we forget, sexism is REAL. Happily, it's not as bad as it was not so very long ago. Here's a page with a blurb about Betsy Ancker-Johnson, an accomplished physicist - scroll down to the "Additional Information/Comments" section, where she waxes poetic about the crap she had to put up with while at work.
Hey they finally decided the Washington state governor's race - what a wild one that's been!: Democrat Gets Wash Governor Post; Challenge Looms by Reed Stevenson (Reuters, 01.13.05)
Love this story! UK Scientists Find Natural Human Mosquito Repellent (Reuters, 01.20.05)
Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the people who are dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake in the Indian Ocean. The devastation is beyond comprehension.
A friend, struggling to understand the magnitude of the death toll, told me that she was driving along through her town and realized that it would have been wiped out - everyone in it she'd ever known - dead. It boggles the mind, it's too large a concept to be grasped. And I suppose grasping that aspect of it is entirely beside the point, a luxury for those of us who aren't struggling through the largest natural disaster on record. We wish them the very best in their efforts to recover and rebuild.
And so we plod on - the big questions looming - our minds concerned with core themes - death, disease, hope, misery, triumph, suffering, surviving, giving, grasping, surrendering, birth.
Sleet has been rattling up against the window all day. Lovely weather we're having here in the Northeast... <insert appropriate sarcastic remark here>
Lying in bed one morning this week, I knew, without propping myself up on the old elbow and craning my neck to have a bleary-eyed look out the window, what kind of snowfall we'd had overnight. It was the shoveling, you see - snow that doesn't stick, but still needs shoveling, well, you can hear the shovel scraping on the asphalt - and people wouldn't bother shoveling had it been less than four or so inches. Had it stuck, had ice formed, well - I would have woken to a whole different shoveling music. So there you have it, I'm that attuned to my environment.
And the other day, while out trotting in the snow, I passed an elderly man also out for a stroll. He was a megalith of a man, took up a goodly portion of the sidewalk, had to have been six foot four, and he walked with two canes. As I gained on him from behind, I noted that on the bottom of the canes, he'd got little cane-bottom sized crampons clipped on there! Cane spikes for the snow - now there's Yankee ingenuity for you.
Speaking of New Year's resolutions, Ume and I had a visit out west to see the Hancock Shaker Village. By 'west' I mean western Massachusetts - where the Shakers did their thing for ages until they didn't anymore and now the place is a museum. Filled with the most superbly crafted Shaker whatnots. I'm a fan of things Shaker. It's the simplicity, order and beauty in functionality. And those Shakers were a cunning lot, had to be, couldn't have sex, so they couldn't multiply their numbers the old fashioned way - they had to recruit. I guess I feel kinship with them, because they preyed on innocent christian folk, much like we homosexuals do. <insert whatever comment you feel appropriate here>
Anyhoo, the Shakers were all manner of industrious, innovative, into education, and mercantile - I think that's what really kept them afloat. Or maybe it's that they considered Ann Lee the second incarnation of Jesus and shook and were moved by the Lord a whole lot... Hmm, dunno. Of the communal utopian societies that came out of the religious 'revival' of the eighteenth and nineteenth century (American), the Shakers were/are said to be the most successful. And when you take a look up close, there's no big mystery to why. They developed an excellent system for agrarian-based collective living (ooh, communists!) and were able to sustain it through practical means.
Here's a group of people living together, having sworn off sex - how's that practical? How'd they make it work? Why weren't they biting off one another's heads all of the time? Let's see, they worked from dawn until dusk ("Hands to work, hearts to God." aka "Busy, busy, busy.") - and they ate really, really well. I'm not saying that eating well and being exhausted is going to replace the sexual urge, but it doesn't hurt - apparently. How's it practical? You got me there, but I'm thinking it might have made the communal bit of their living experience easier overall (I can think of a few roommate situations that would have benefitted from the same practice).
They believed that God created all people equally and gave women leadership positions - they were against slavery - they were pacifists. Interesting lot, that I'm sure you could find all manner of dysfunction about if you wanted to - they were/are a cult with a covenant to sign, after all... For me, that's all interesting, but... but... it's the stuff they built, the furniture, the architecture, the systems - those things really draw me in. Sublimated sexual energy put to good use - that's Shaker craftsmanship! All form as function and excellent use of pattern - beauty in simplicity - and gorgeous wood.
So what's this bunch of shakin' celibates got to do with my New Year's resolutions? I was wondering when you'd ask that. Simplicity, that's what. I'm attempting an overhaul of the crowded Brulee environment. Simplification is my new buzzword. I'm going to be a model of cleanliness and tidy living. Or at least I'm going to get rid of two, maybe three piles of crap from around the floor of my desk... I'm resolved and whatnot.
Anyone got a shovel? May be a while before I hit hardwood.
Also in the news:
Countries effected by the tsunamis:
Countries hit (BBCNews)
Clean Water (NPR, 01.10.05)
Water Wars (The Connection, 01.05.05)
It's looking a bit grim medication wise - even ibuprophen's problematic!
Painkillers Damage Intestine, U.S. Expert Says by Maggie Fox (Reuters, 01.03.05)
Ooh, now it's getting interesting!
What the rule reversal on Capitol Hill means for DeLay By Gail Russell Chaddock (CSMonitor, 01.06.05)
President Bush assembles the most diverse cabinet in history by Bennet (CSMonitor)
Staying Active Keeps Mind Sharp in Old Age (Reuters, 12.27.04)
And keep moving!
Walking link to low dementia risk (BBC News, 09.22.04)
Just when you thought life had robbed you of your best opportunity to practice becoming a zen master (in case you missed it, my landlord got rid of the pigeons on the porch) - it affords you an even better one! The cosmos is truly generous. And so, it's challenged me with four more years of George Bush and Republican majorities of the House, the Senate - and we'll also have a majority conservative supreme court as well.
You can safely say that the electorate, 51% of it anyway, has rejected the authentic populist, liberal/progressive world-view and wholeheartedly adopted and affirmed the authoritarian, neo-conservative, fundamentalist agenda. This is what I'd call a bleak moment.
A moment I thought hilarious, though, during the speculative (fill-the-airtime-until-we-actually-know-something) moments of election night, was when Jim Lehrer of PBS's NewsHour asked commentators David Brooks and Mark Shields why there was such a huge swath of states across the middle and south of the country that had already been counted definitely in George Bush's favor - why were these states so overwhelmingly Republican?
David Brooks, the conservative, said it's about traditional values and the Republican party is the party of morals and traditional values and those red states are strong on traditional values.
Mark Shields, the liberal, answered rather tactfully, I thought. He said that the coastal states, which voted predominantly Democratic for president, were traditionally more... um... open states. Because places on the coast tend to be more... uh... diverse - less homogenous (because they have lots of foreign trade, tourism, immigration, etc.) - so people there tend to be more... um... open... to change (progress, modernity) and new ideas...
Social justice is a new idea? Environmental sustainability is a new idea? Accountability is a new idea? A government that looks after the well-being of the citizenry, not just the wallets of the affluent - that's a new idea?
Here's a chart that extends yet another opinion...
As usual, someone forgot to send me the memo that 51% of the voting public obviously got. The memo that explains how it is that George Bush embodies the kind of quality leadership that will pull us out of the mess in which his stellar management of the country's affairs has dumped us.
After Kerry's concession speech, Bush came out grinning about "unity". How is this social conservative extremist going to reach out to someone like me? I fail to understand how he and his ilk think I'd ever buy his pabulum about unity - when they've made it abundantly clear over the past four years that, to them, unity means bending over and kissing their collective ass? (I have a more graphic image in mind, but will refrain from using it...) If George Bush thinks that campaigning with turncoat Democrat nutjobs like Zell Miller is a way to reach out to Democrats - then ooie! has he got a shock in store for him.
Anyone surprised that Rehnquist found a way to inject himself into this election too (kind of like he did in 2000)? Not me. Their full-court press (excuse the pun) - terrorize the Christian fundamentalist voter drive - was a real success. Democrats, don't despair, take note - regroup.
Happily, I live in New England, which is a lovely uniform blue (voted Democrat for President) this election season. Even New Hampshire. New Hampshire had a lot of help from it's friends here in Massachusetts. I think half the state was in NH pleading with the electorate to vote for Kerry. I know Ume and I were up there - doing what we could to get folks to vote against Bush. And they did. And the Republican governor, Benson, was the first New Hampshire governor to lose re-election since forever - so that was nice. Nationally, of course, the picture's a bit more grim for Democrats - but it's these little things that one hangs onto...
Like the conversation I had with a self-described "lifelong Republican" who told me that even though he voted for Bush in 2000, he'd become a Democrat. When I asked him why, he told me that the Bush crowd had ruined the Republican party - that Bush was a psychopathic liar who mislead us into a war and was bent on destroying the environment (this guy is big into fishing, used to be a hunter as well) and leading the country down the tubes economically. And he said that if I was having trouble convincing people to vote Bush out of office, I should tell them about him.
It's the little victories that will sustain us...
Because we will need sustenance - I'm sure Bush and his people will see this win as the mandate they didn't get in 2000 - when he was appointed, not elected. And we all know that when he lost the popular vote in 2000, he governed as though he'd won a landslide.
Hilariously, I helped someone vote for Bush. I hand delivered the guy to his polling place. Ah well, I thought, at least he voted... And after Ume and I had voted and left our polling place we strolled home. Along the way, an elderly lady stopped us and asked where the polling place was. We tried to give her directions, but she was somewhat confused and disoriented. Her daughter had called her and insisted that she go out and vote - so she was wandering around the neighborhood in the dark, looking for the polling place... We offered to get our car and give her a ride, but she was determined to walk (and who the hell were we anyway? a couple of axe murderers probably). We walked her to the polling place, where she thanked us, sincerely, and insisted she didn't need a ride home - so we left her to do her thing - and decided we'd probably helped another person vote for Bush! But what the hell, Massachusetts was safe as far as votes for Kerry went and helping someone feel a wee bit more enfranchised ain't such a bad thing.
So we live in a Republican country now people, nationally speaking - it's all about morals, or so they tell us. Let's see where we go from here. Can't say I'm terribly optimistic. Ume and I will just sit tight in our little Democratic stronghold, here in Massachusetts, where our Republican governor is looking more and more isolated by the minute (as all of the Republican challengers he backed in the election got flushed). Now this is a state that I can live in!
Oh, and the legislators in Massachusetts who voted to defend the constitution against the anti-gay amendment? They did really well in the election! So there's another small consolation for ya. Ought to save you one, maybe two, doses of heartburn medication this week.
PS. I prefer winning.