Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ma Bell -becoming more like big brother everyday.

AT&T, the company that is being sued by the Electronic Frontier Foundation over its spying on its customers at the behest of Bushco, has a clause in its terms of service that says it will terminate your service if you criticize them.

I wrote this only after making sure we don't have any AT&T accounts. Hey, iPhone owners - talk nice about yer Ma!

Here's the clause:
5.1 Suspension/Termination. Your Service may be suspended or terminated if your payment is past due and such condition continues un-remedied for thirty (30) days. In addition, AT&T may immediately terminate or suspend all or a portion of your Service, any Member ID, electronic mail address, IP address, Universal Resource Locator or domain name used by you, without notice, for conduct that AT&T believes (a) violates the Acceptable Use Policy; (b) constitutes a violation of any law, regulation or tariff (including, without limitation, copyright and intellectual property laws) or a violation of these TOS, or any applicable policies or guidelines, or (c) tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries. Termination or suspension by AT&T of Service also constitutes termination or suspension (as applicable) of your license to use any Software. AT&T may also terminate or suspend your Service if you provide false or inaccurate information that is required for the provision of Service or is necessary to allow AT&T to bill you for Service

So, AT&T can spy on you, but you cannot complain about it! Eat it, little people. The corporate boot is on your neck.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The B-Listers Debate

I saw exactly three minutes of the Tavis Smiley debate last night. The first question put to the debaters was something like "No one in the black community can name something good a republican president since Lincoln has done for us. If you become president what will be your legacy to the black community"

Huckabee had a great answer. He said (paraphrasing) "It is too bad they don't remember Eisenhower, who put the National Guard in Arkansas over the objections of a democratic governor...." (Yes, it conveniently forgets that the racist democrats of the 50's now go by another name: Republican. Still, a very cohesive answer that talked about civil rights.)

Ron Paul was next. His answer? Drugs. Change drug laws. Too many guys in jail 'cuz of drugs.

The next white guy republican candidate? Also drugs. And if I'm not mistaken, sickle-cell anemia.

{Click. changing channel}

Okay. Our draconian drug laws are horrendous. Our misapplication of justice regarding blacks, whites, hispanics is shameful. But is that really the first thing that comes to your mind when you are asked about the black community? Drugs?

Hint hint: It's not like the Jena 6 protests happened last year.

Jesuschristonapopsiclestick are these people out of touch.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

We don't really see you in food...

...said judge Tom Calicchio to Chef Hung on last night's Top Chef penultimate episode.

He probably didn't see this guy 'in art' either.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Who Are Today's Saints?

I always love a twofer. And today we get feudin' twins. Feudin' arabic twins who are the patron saints of hairdressers! How inclusive is that?

Today is the Feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian. They are barber-surgeon martyrs from the year 300.

Patrons of barbers, candy makers, chemical workers, doctors, druggists, hairstylists, surgeons. Invoke them against bladder disease, blindness, hernia and pestilence. (Dick Cheney, you've got problems in all these areas. Invoke away).

Here's the story, according to my Saint-A-Day Guide:

Twin brothers born in Arabia, Cosmas and Damian were doctors who never charged a fee and subsequently became known as the "moneyless ones." When a grateful patient forced three eggs on Damian as payment, Cosmas became indignant and announced that he would not be buried with his greedy twin. After their martyrdom their followers, complying with Cosmas' request, started to bury the twins separately. A camel (the Saints were veterinarians as well) trotted over and begged the mourners, in the name of all four-legged creatures, to bury them together. The Saints' most famous feat was transplanting a healthy white leg onto a black patient (or vice versa). At their martyrdom Cosmas and Damian caused arrows and stones to boomerang back to the executioners [blogger's note: 'I'm rubber you're glue'protective mantra favored by schoolchildren originated here] until they succumbed to the usually fail-safe method of beheading. In Rome the Medicis (whose name means "doctors" in Italian)were devotees of these Saints and named a number of their offspring Cosmo. Saint Damian, on his own, cures bladder problems.

If Cosmas and Damian were alive today, they would not be saints, they would be those guys from 'Shear Genius'. And that one guy from 'Grey's Anatomy'.

The Kids Are All Right. (Do ya got 30 grand, tho?)

The editor of the student newspaper at Colorado State University has written a concise editorial prompted by the recent tasering of a student in Florida.

It reads:

Taser this. Fuck Bush.

J. David McSwane, the student editor along with the editorial staff said they believe CSU students are apathetic about their freedom of speech and other rights.

"We thought the best way to illustrate that point was to use our freedoms," he said.

However, in just hours after publication of the pointed editorial, the paper lost over $30,000 in ad revenue. That money will have to come out of the pockets of the student staffers.

I am thinking I could help out by taking out a personal ad in the paper. Maybe you could too. Mine would say 'thankyou CSU college students for being shiny hopesticks in a big fat field of stinkin' asstwigs.'

Maybe I'll work on that wording.

UPDATE: Taking dguzman's advice, I did not change my wording and I did place an ad at the Rocky Mountain Collegian website in the Classifieds section under "Notices". I was expecting to pay via paypal or a credit card but I was not charged that way, apparently I will be contacted by a staffer about payment options. I chose to run a 24 word ad for 3 days. I guess my charge will be about 18 bucks. Not exactly 30 grand, but if all 1,666.666666666666666666666667 of my readers pony up the same dough, they will make up the 30 big lickety-split.

You're not really going to pay the pledge you made to Jerry Lewis, so cough up the dough for the Rocky Mountain Collegian. Now!

You can do the same by following this link:


Is this supposed to make Americans feel better about the dipshit the dipshit is married to?

Heard on the other end of the line "........If you would like to make a call please hang up and dial again......."

P.S. Does anyone else see the irony in the guy who failed to set up decent communications systems in NY (which led to the deaths of all those firefighters) touting the amazing ability of the modern age to keep us all in constant contact?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Two Gay Today Tuesday

Fundies of all stripes need to get over teh gays. Just sayin'.

Thank God for Big Tax Breaks

It is very important that we don't go spending tax dollars on things like infrastructure because that's not fair to rich folks who really deserve to keep all of their money because naturally they were smart enough to make it in the first place so thusly they will use their money for the best and highest purpose. Zing bang! all of society prospers! Trickle Down Trickle Down Siss Boom Bah!

Case in point:

To own one Hermes Birkin is a feat in and of itself. To have a collection of over one hundred Hermes Bags is mind blowing. This is said to be accomplished by Victoria Beckham, as if it is even an accomplishment, who has spent over $2 million dollars at Hermes. Most recently, Victoria sported one of her most casual looks, of course paired with a White Hermes Birkin. Her outfit is made up of white skinny jeans, a blue tank, a blue and white striped cropped jacket, Christian Louboutin pumps, and of course her must-have designer handbag. I must admit I am partial to the white Hermes leathers (pictures of my beautiful new addition to come later), which are stark stunning and crisp on their intricately crafted bags, but worry about any spec of dirt getting on the bag. The very light shades, especially white, must be sent to the mother ship, in Paris, and will take 6 months to be cleaned. Lucky for Victoria, she has about 99 other Hermes bags to tote while waiting
From Purse Blog, Number 20 on sitemeter's list of blogs. *sigh*

Monday, September 24, 2007

The most important post I'll ever wr

Let him speak.

I see that the knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing, hate-mongering neo's are swinging their sabres again. Ahmadinejad will be speaking at the United Nations and is scheduled to speak at Columbia University.

The president of Columbia University said "That such a forum could not take place on a university campus in Iran today sharpens the point of what we do here."

Well said. Letting the man speak shows which is the better society. Silencing him shows we are afraid. Some say he will be sure to utter some nonsense that will further incite our war passions. Possible, but I doubt it.

Juan Cole tried his best to straighten out the constantly quoted 'wipe Israel off the map' line but nobody listened and thus, this weekend it was nearly all you heard about Ahmadinejad. (According to Cole what Ahmadinejad had said was more akin to that the Zionist regime would collapse - as had the once formidable Soviet Union and the regime of Saddam Hussein. In addition, Ahmadinejad was quoting the Ayatollah Khomeini who originally made the statement in the early 1980's - when we were actively trading arms for hostages, recall?)

In addition, if there were fines issued for violations of 'Godwin's Law' (a warning against invoking a comparison to Hitler) then righties would need even greater tax cuts to pay for all the penalties. Is Ahmadinejad Hitler? Yes, if it means he wants to see Iran as the middle eastern super power. But he doesn't have the ability to make this fantasy reality. He has the ability to mobilize terrorists, true - so how would nuclear strikes against him solve our terrorism dilemma? It wouldn't.

Bring him here. Let him speak. As reported at Huffpo "As leading campus free speech and first amendment scholar Robert O'Neil rightly notes: "If you suppress a viewpoint by disallowing or barring a controversial speaker, you make the speaker a martyr."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Playdates are ruining our country

Over at Zaius Nation there is a discussion going on about Andrew Meyer, the kid who got tasered during a speech by John Kerry. One of Zaius' readers echoes something Stephen Colbert said, which was: "some guy is being hassled by the cops and those kids just sat around? Maybe I'm just too old. I see someone being used and abused by authorities, I get involved." - Dee Loralei.

Here's my half-assed theory: Too many play dates. Here's where I sound like an old fogey holding forth on a long list of yoostabees: Used to be kids had to find their own fun. Used to be kids could make their own mistakes. Used to be we didn't organize the curiosity and rebellion out of them.

When I was thirteen years old you could leave high school, walk down to the local PDQ (like a 7-11) buy a pack of smokes and hang out with your friends until lunch was over. Am I advocating this for kids now? No. I'm pointing out how much has changed. Since today's college kids were babies they have been in daycare with a fully structured day, then school, obvs. Nature is a field trip, and play is arranged in phone calls between mothers. "We will play 'fort' from 9 to 10. From 10 to 10:30 we will draw on the sidewalk with chalk. 10:30 we break for a nutritious snack." They haven't been allowed to walk alone to school or go to the park by themselves for fear of a child abduction, though the statistics confirm that stranger danger is no more pronounced today than it was in the 50's, 60's or 70's. (Abductions by family member are often included in the statistics which inflates the number). In twenty years from now many college kids will actually be equipped with a computer tracking chip put there by their parents so that they would be found if they were abducted.

Those college students that sat by and watched Meyer get tasered were 12-14 years old when the terrorists attacked on 9-11. Video surveillance, airport strip searches, 'free speech zones' and fear fear fear has been their diet through their formative years. We are actively trying to change school textbooks so that kids won't think, won't question dogma, won't be able to reason their way out of a paper sack. But they should test okay. So the cops rip a kid asking a question of authority from the microphone and taser him. The kid screams and his proteges look on like it's just an unfortunate alley turned down in 'Resident Evil'. No big.

I am not saying that I have any answers. I was talking to a mom the other day who told me she always escorts her 9 year old son into the women's room because a male friend of hers told her that when he was young he was propositioned three different times in a public men's room. "Was it a Senator?" I asked (but you knew I would). If I give my children the freedom that I think they need and the bad thing happens, what then? On the other hand, children are four times more likely to drown in a neighborhood swimming pool under adult supervision than to be the victim of a non-stranger abduction leading to kidnapping or murder.

As in so many other things we seem to have lost our balance. Caution is good. Closing off is bad. And as with so many other things, I wonder if the pendulum can ever swing back to were it needs to be.

Friday, September 21, 2007

This is too funny not to share.

If you've ever wanted to post at Townhall (why would you I don't know) you'll find that you need to register. And then you get lots and lots of paranoid schizophrenic e-mail messages and daily updates. The daily updates are like Huffpo but with lots and lots of misogyny, bigotry and good old-fashioned hate. They also send their loyal readers hokey get rich scams. So much for sharing the love. We know frightwingers would eat their own pondering only the choice of bar-b-Q sauce.

So today I got this e-mailed to me:

So I voted in the poll. I voted to support illegal alien amnesty. The results from the big group of mouth breathing next door neighbor neocons and hate mongerers?


Nice of them to provide links to such great organizations, too! Maybe I'll stop by and chuck some money the ACLU's way. (I am a card carrying member, but you guessed that!)

Went back to yoga

After a brief absence of two and a half years I went back to yoga class yesterday. I was worried that I'd forgotten the poses but I did remember to just copy the guy in front of me when I couldn't see the teacher.

Fortunately the guy in front of me wasn't this guy.

During class I remembered just how much I had liked yoga in the past and wondered why I ever stopped going.

Particularly because what other exercise class can you take that ends like this:

That's right folks. I may be too old and fat to do a decent downward dog any more, but I can take the 15 minute nap at the end of the class better than anyone! If there is a savasana competition let me know - I am in!!!

Free All the Mandelas

Dance, Chimpy McStagger, Dance!

(Are you so dumb that you cannot speak?)

h/t DistributorcapNY

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My new get rich quick scheme

I've been thinking that the fastest way to fame, fortune and incredible riches would be to write a 1200 page book that completely assuages rat bastards nagging feelings that maybe they shouldn't be so fucking greedy and should maybe reach out to help their brother now and then.

But Jess, you say, 1200 pages is a bunch of feckin' work.

No problem. It is only work if it is coherent.

Yes, I will write this book without providing the least semblence of actual human interaction. I will make the dialogue down right silly and the plot? Oh, don't make me laugh.

And all y'all will say you knew me when. I'd like to share my future wealth with you but my very first principle will be that ALTRUISM IS BAD, VERY, VERY, VERY BAD.

Oh, and nice guys are both suckers and not really nice at all!

Heh heh heh. My mediocrity will climb the book charts by claiming that I hate hate mediocrity. There's my genius!!!!

Unpaid Promotion for a Favorite Product

When the pet food scare was gripping the nation I checked my dog food manufacturer's website and found this reassuring message:

Our commitment to You.

At CANIDAE® Pet Foods we are committed to providing you, our valued customer, and your pets the highest standard of excellence for product quality, palatability, and customer satisfaction. We pride ourselves on making only the highest quality, all natural pet foods using the finest ingredients available that meet or exceed the nutrient profiles as established by the AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles.

All CANIDAE and FELIDAE ingredients are of U.S. origin, proudly raised and produced within the United States of America, and all formulations are produced in U.S.D.A. and F.D.A. approved facilities. We stand behind the guaranteed analysis of each and everyone of our products and invite you to discover for yourself and your pets the benefits of feeding CANIDAE® and FELIDAE® All Natural Pet

All of our products are made the “CANIDAE Way” with superior quality in every bag and can with NO corn, wheat, soy, grain fractions or fillers – and naturally preserved!

In addition to being produced entirely in the US of US ingredients, I can tell you that our shedding fur dog now sheds about 70% less than he did when we had him on Science Diet.

Another lead contaminated product - but no recall

Vinyl school lunch boxes may contain unacceptably high levels of lead. The Consumer Product Safety Commission knows this and doesn't seem to really care.

A few states have put recalls into place in the last two years, among them California, Illinois, Connecticut and New York. But as of last year there was still no movement by the federal government on the issue.

The FDA issued a warning, but the CPSC did its best to negate it. The difference of opinion between the two agencies depended upon testing methods. The FDA, using more strident methods discovered some childrens lunch boxes contained as much as 9600 part per million of lead. To be LEGAL they are not supposed to exceed 600. Connecticut places the limit at 100 ppm. As opposed to tearing open the lunch box and dissolving it in solution, which was the FDA's method, the CPSC did a simple swab test of the questionable lunchboxes. They repeatedly swabbed the same area so that as they tested lead levels actually decreased.

In addition, some children's lunch boxes contain a tag that may say "tested lead free" or something similar. There are reports that the methodology behind these claims could not be reproduced or backed up, so that in essence if you have such a tag you shouldn't believe it.

For more information see:

and to find out how to test your child's lunch box see:

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Welcome Back to the Senate, Mr. Craig

David Vitter says you can have his leftovers to spare yourself those inevitable awkward moments in the Senate washroom:

I think he's being treated unfairly due to his celebrity.

Don't you?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Update: The State Department Also Doesn't Know Blackwater's Status.

From Yahoo News:

The workings of security contractors in Iraq are so unclear that the State Department, whom Blackwater protects in Iraq, was still unable to say more than 48 hours after Sunday's incident whether the company holds a legitimate license.

The U.S. embassy also could not answer questions about the legal status of security contractors, and whether any possible proceedings would be prosecuted under Iraqi or U.S. law

Blackwater Has Been Banned From Iraq? Not so fast, says Condi.

From The Guardian

The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, apologised to the Iraqi government yesterday in an attempt to prevent the expulsion of all employees of the security firm Blackwater USA.


The apology offers a face-saving exercise for both the Iraqi and the US governments. The US would find it temporarily awkward if Blackwater was expelled. At the same time, it does not want to be seen to be undermining the decisions of the Iraqi government, which the Bush administration repeatedly insists is autonomous.

There are tens of thousands of mercenaries - or private security operators - in Iraq, including British firms as well as American. Jeremy Scahill, author of a book about Blackwater, put the figure at about 180,000 and described them as "unaccountable". Blackwater has 1,000 employees in Iraq.

So today we have a new number to chew on: There are 180,000 contractors (if not more), 25,000 are security operators,(if not more) and 1,000 of those are Blackwater, um yeah.

How can we demand to bring the troops (in line with considering private troops to be 'troops') home if Iraq makes a legal demand for the same and the US won't comply? And when we do bring the troops home, what of the mercenaries? What are the Constitutional ramifications?

Update: Please see News Sophisticate for more on this. They've been covering this story for a long time. Here's the link:
which also is listed pretty high up on the boards at Buzzflash today. Way to go, guys.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Blackwater has been banned from Iraq

From CNN:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq's Interior Ministry has revoked the license of Blackwater USA, an American security firm whose contractors are blamed for a Sunday gunbattle in Baghdad that left eight civilians dead.

Sunday's firefight took place near Nusoor Square, an area that straddles the predominantly Sunni Arab neighborhoods of Mansour and Yarmouk.

In addition to the fatalities, 14 people were wounded, most of them civilians, the official said.

"We have revoked Blackwater's license to operate in Iraq. As of now they are not allowed to operate anywhere in the Republic of Iraq," Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Abdul Kareem Khalaf said Monday. "The investigation is ongoing, and all those responsible for Sunday's killing will be referred to Iraqi justice."

Blackwater is one of many security firms contracted by the U.S. government during the Iraq war. An estimated 25,000-plus employees of private security firms are working in Iraq, guarding diplomats, reconstruction workers and government officials. As many as 200 are believed to have been killed on the job, according to U.S. congressional reports
Iraqi authorities have issued previous complaints about shootings by private military contractors, but Iraqi courts do not have the authority to bring contractors to trial, according to a July report from the Congressional Research Service.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee estimated in February that nearly $4 billion had been spent on security contracts amid the insurgency that followed the U.S. invasion in 2003 -- costs that have forced the delay, cancellation or scaling back of some reconstruction projects.

Note that the number given of 25,000 contractors are for those involved in security functions only. The rest of the 180,000 contractors in Iraq are the food service workers, the sanitation workers, the truck drivers and the like.

It will be interesting to follow this development. I somehow doubt that Blackwater will in the end actually leave Iraq. But I am a pessimist when it comes to Christian Fundamentalist whack-jobs, accountability and this administration. (Blackwater is owned by a fundie with 'loofah my back, please George' closeness to the president).

If they should leave, I would think that things would be better for our own troops and for the Iraqi people.

Friday, September 14, 2007

What say we say this instead?

We have 168,000 troops in Iraq.

There are more than 180,000 "contractors" in Iraq.

Contractors are not volunteer Peace Corps workers. They are paid more in a month than a soldier makes in a year. We pay for them. So we must count them. They cannot be Bush's invisible army anymore. (Factoid: we paid private contractors -Blackwater, specifically- $21 million to guard one guy, L. Paul Bremer. Remember how well our 'public' troops were being armed at the time?)

To correctly discuss the situation say: "There are at least 350,000 combat professionals in Iraq."

I didn't see it but I gather that...

...It is all the fault of the dems.

I couldn't watch the speech last night. But this morning on the Today show I heard a little bit of Tim Russert's round up. What I gathered was: there will still be 100,000 troops in Iraq in 2009 when the new president is sworn in. The problem is not that this administration created this bogus war, killing hundreds of thousands of innocents and bankrupting our country, failing to find a coherent strategy to end the thing - no, the problem here is that the democrats haven't really formulated a good response.

And they accuse the dems of being too political.

Mr. Russert-you won't spontaneously combust if you deign to criticize the idiot in charge of this country.

(Without the least trace of irony, he went on to criticize those who are more concerned about the MoveOn ad than they are about Petraeus' testimony. Though in essence that is what he had just done.)


(Image from Bartcop)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Love Song for Nine One One Part Two

After we got our picture taken together, Ben and I started to chat each other up. He knew words that had even more than two syllables and could put coherent sentences together. Ones that utilized a subject and a verb with clauses thrown in for good measure. He looked like a guy who wore his shirts with sleeves. This was an improvement from the last two people that I had dated. We had loads of things in common. He told me that he once asked my sister (who never once mentioned him to me, by the way!) if she had a sister. She said she did, but that I was married to a prick.

My brand new brother-in-law and his buddies, Ben included, had a strange tradition of dancing in their boxer shorts at each other's weddings. While this might sound kind of stupid, in my family the tradition was to dance the "Polka Slam". The rules are: polka around the dance floor as fast as you can, gaining enough centrifugal force to knock other dancers (your cousins) down. At my own wedding I ripped my dress during the Polka Slam. So who was I to judge? I knew about the boxer shorts dance in advance because under my bridesmaid's dress, I was wearing my own pair of boxer shorts over my garter belt and stockings. My sister wanted the girls to beat the guys to it by going out on the dance floor and pulling up our dresses for the big --yes, it's true-- Packer boxer shorts reveal. *sigh* Do I have to tell the rest?

Ben caught a flash of the garter belt and wanted it when it was the guys' turn to do the boxer shorts dance. He came up to me and asked me for my underwear. Being a demure, well-bred midwestern girl raised by an imaginary television mother, I said "sure!"

We found the coat room and locked ourselves in for the underwear exchange. Having given him my underwear, and he having put it on, there was nothing else to do but kiss. and kiss. and kiss.


The next day we were at my folks house for the gift opening. I offered to take him to the airport so he could catch his flight home to Richmond, Virginia. I waited with him for his plane in the airport coffee shop. Sitting there, I knew I was in love. But still, there had to be a hang up. Secretly gay? Not a chance. Violent streak? Psycho killer? Those are the charming ones.

After a week of long phone calls and hours of instant messaging I hadn't discovered anything seriously wrong. I told him that my plans were to move somewhere after Thanksgiving. I was seriously considering: Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; or London, England. In fact, I had a plane ticket and hotel room all set for a trip to London set for the third week in September. The first thing that Ben said to this was that Richmond was much nicer than Charlotte (he later admitted this lie, sorry Richmond) and suggested that I come there for a visit. If I liked it, I could move in with him after Thanksgiving. Remember my demure, conservative side? So you know my answer: I immediately said "sure!" and cancelled my trip to London, choosing instead to drive to Richmond with the vacation time I had already requested.

I had known him a week.

I thought I should call my brand new brother-in-law and get the goods on him before I drove down there and got myself killed and thrown in a landfill or down a mountain. "What," I asked my b-i-l, "is this guy's problem? He seems perfect - so why isn't he married already?"

"He doesn't want to commit," said b-i-l.

Odd. He had already asked me to move in with him, in less than a week. That did not sound like commitment issues.

I made the trip to Virginia. The trip meter in my car showed that in the fourteen hour drive I had stopped for only thirty minutes total to buy gas. If your guess was that I did this feat on an incredible amount of Tab and cigarettes you would be correct. I must have stunk like an exhaust pipe by the time I got to his house. Eeewww.

During that week I made up my mind to move there. Ben took me to an Oktoberfest celebration at Fort Belvoir. We sat at long tables with guys from the German Luftwaffe. They barely spoke english and we spoke no German but we all had a great time. We hoisted those big dimpled glass beer steins and sang 'ein prosit'. I taught the Germans the polka slam. They needed to know.

Ben, laughing at me for being such a dork, said "will you marry me?" I answered (say it with me:) "sure!"

So much for commitment issues.

I moved in with Ben in November. We bought a house and got married in April at a friend's place in Jamaica. We flew to Jamaica as two and came home three. The following October Ben was transferred back to Wisconsin and we moved home, me seven months pregnant.

The End.


I should tell you a little about my alcohol issues, as a kind of a post-script. Obviously, I drove around under the influence. After I met Ben I did tone down my drinking. I didn't need to pass out every night just to shut up ugly thoughts in my head anymore. But in the time between meeting Ben and going to Virginia, I went to a bar where our mutual friend was bartending. I didn't have that much to drink (for me, I thought) and drove home. I got my second DUI that night. Ah, irony.

A second DUI means either house arrest with a Lindsey Lohan anklet or a week's jail time. Since I was already moving out of the state and had no home to be house arrested in, I chose the week in jail.

Can you imagine Ben's choosing me with all of that? Do you find it ironic that me, Ms. Flaming Flaws, would be so quick to dig for his imperfections? To this day I don't quite get how he managed that. In fact, while I was in Wisconsin doing a week in lock up, my dad was busily trying to contact me in Richmond, where he thought I was. Ben was so obtruse that my dad had figured Ben had killed me and dumped me in a landfill or threw me down a mountain and was about to go to Virginia to find out what was going on. Dad would call Ben and demand that he put me on the phone or else! My dad was saved the trip to Richmond to find me when one of the county deputies at jail, who happened to be his friend, told dad he saw me in the jail. Small world. Uggh.

Anyway, a week in jail in January followed a few months later by a pregnancy, went a long way toward fixing the cigarettes and alcohol situation. It's not a method I'd write a how-to book about, but it did work for me. Just this summer something reminded me that I used to be a person who smoked. The thought was a little like a friend telling you something about someone that you can't really believe. I did it for nearly twenty years, by the way. I can't drink and drive. If I did, I would get six months in jail. I don't think my babies would go for that. I know this sounds stupid, but I do actually like the smell of cigarette smoke (outdoors, like at a baseball game or festival) and have no problem with smoking - all smokers know how stupid it is, they don't need to be told by me. So while I am fine with smoking, I am zealous on the topic of drinking and driving. I am horrified by the fact that I did it in the past, and can't truck with people I know doing it now.

So it is eight years on. Two kids, two dogs, two fish. Most days I would say are 'happily ever after'. The other ones I'll just blog about.

Oh, and we still like to sneak into the cloakroom at weddings and make out, which is how we commemorate September 11th, 1999.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Love Song for Nine One One

Today marks a tragic day. I carry it in my heart like a stone. So do you. So does the world. Even those who don't like us as much today as they did six years ago carry it like a weight. When others like Fran and the Monkey and Pygalgia and Dr. Zaius, who speaks to us in just a photo, tell the story of that terrible day, I don't feel I've much to add.

But I can tell you a love story about 9-11.

September 11th, occurring on our calendars every year since we humans made up this calendar, marks other events for people. Birthdays. Anniversaries. My own sister got married September, 11th, 1999. She made alot of jokes that her husband would remember the date: it is a cry for help. Hee hee.

But it is not my sister's love story that I want to talk about. It is my own.

But to tell the story properly, I need to go back to October 18th, 1998. That was the day that I came home from work to find my husband sitting in the chair in the bedroom (one of those chairs for 'retreat' in the bedroom that nobody actually ever sits in) waiting for me. To Talk. He had been gone for the weekend, a business trip to Kansas City. I wanted to go along. He said no, he wanted to drive his new Dodge Viper on the trip. Kick it up. Blow out the carbon. There wouldn't be room in the two seater, he said.

So he was back and he wanted to talk. "So talk," I said.

"I want a divorce."

We had been married for eighteen months. I was in the middle of building, as the general contractor, mind you, our dream McMansion in the exurbs. It was then a half million dollar house. What it is worth now is your guess. And he wasn't alone on his business trip because his two seater did have room in it for two. But not three. Her name was Laura. And in small town land it turned out she was my brother's neighbor. Ugh.

My response was to get rip-roaring drunk. That night. And the next three hundred and some.

Shortly after we separated, I told my boss-who happened to be my dad-that I wanted to work for him for another year. Then I was going to move somewhere and start over. In the between year I signed up for classes in graphic design at a local school and shelled out big dollars to learn virtually nothing because, for the most part, I was drunk all the time.

Because my social life got taken from me in the separation, I went back to the old fall back: bartending. Not a great choice for a girl flexing her muscles as an alcoholic, but what can I say? The rug had been pulled from beneath me. Getting out of bed sober and feeling the same pain I felt drunk seemed like a rip-off to the night before. I expanded my tolerance for alcohol in ways I didn't think possible. You know the girl in the first Indiana Jones movie? I'd have drank her ass under the table. Plus I was thin. Very very thin. But that's because, in my mood, I could puke up any dinner, or skip food altogether and live on Tab and cigarettes for three days at a time. I was in trouble.

Our divorce was scheduled for May. I clung to that day as the day of my salvation for months. That would be the day that all would fall in to place. Closure. Fini. Get on with it.

What I never could have dreamed was that was the day that I fell off the cliff. The actual divorce proceeding was a bit like a game show or a poker game. Dollar amounts were suggested. Contributions to the marriage were considered. In the end, the amount of money I made was the money we would have paid an outside general contractor to build our house. It seems that in Wisconsin, a no-fault state, that marriages under three years bearing no children are summarily disposed of. As my husband said to me "I could have fucked some broad on our kitchen counter while you were making dinner and it wouldn't matter one bit in our divorce".

Thanks for that.

Anyway, once the divorce was final and my blame totem was gone, right at the time I thought I would prevail was the time I fell through the looking glass.

By the end of the summer of 1999 I had decided that I really didn't have much will to carry on. I had dated a few people and found them so incomprehensibly stupid that I really began to wonder what happened to the normal people. I determined that they were the normal people and that I was the one with the problem.

Then I hatched a plan. Have I mentioned yet how much I could drink? I realized, sometime near the end of August, that I would be able to drink myself to death. Not everyone can do this. I think you need to build a level of alcohol tolerance in your system that allows you to put in enough poison to kill you. I wouldn't be able to do it today. I'd puke first. But back then I could put a full bottle of any liquour down my gullet and then put more down after that. My thought was that if I really tried, I'd get enough down to cause poisoning and then I'd go out like Hendrix.

Problem: My sister was getting married at the end of the summer. I was the maid of honor. I would not be so impolite as to cast a pall on her happy day, one that she came through hell and back to get to, as well.

What's a few weeks. In fact, I actually drove around to different liquor stores buying 1.75l bottles to stock up. I didn't want to buy the lethal dose at one spot. I don't know why. They'd have just thought I was having a party for forty.

On September 10th I went home from work, showered, put up my hair and dressed in a brand new pretty dress I bought for my sister's rehearsal dinner and drank two bottles of wine. Only a little drunk, I realized I was running late and hopped in my car to get to my sister's wedding rehearsal about three towns over.

I was the maid of honor and I was fucking up by being late. Damn. I roared into the parking lot, ran up the stairs, into the sanctuary and whoa- wait - what's this?

There was a striking, I kid you not, tall/dark/handsome man standing in one of the last pews of the church. His cuffs were rolled up three-quarters and he leaned on the back of the pew like he had been asked to by.....well, me.

A beautiful, beautiful man. My very first reaction, upon looking at him, was to feel like my breath had been stolen from me. Or that I had been gut-punched.

But then, my second reaction, upon finding out that he was the same age as me and had never been married, was to reject him on the basis that he had to be carrying around a psychosis or failing that had gotten him rejected for the last fifteen or so years. At the rehearsal dinner he was kindness and chivalry. I told him flat out that I didn't really find him interesting and that he should probably just leave me alone instead of trying to spend any more wasted minutes flirting. I really did.

Plus, I was making moves on one of the other groomsmen. Ben was hedging his bet with the girl who was singing in the ceremony. I let him know I thought he was - I don't know - not it.

But he was.

During the wedding reception the photographer asked me if I would like my picture taken, as the maid of honor, with my date. I had no date. So, perfectly coiffed, manicured and trussed I said "listen, cheesedick! I don't have a date. I don't have anyone to take my picture with. Take my fucking picture if you want, why do I have to have someone else in it?"

The photographer, unabashed saw Ben Wundrun across the bar and said "that guy will pretend to be your date in the picture".

Fine. Bring him on.

Ben laughed his ass off that I had called the photographer 'cheesedick'. We were friends in that instant.

Oh. But it's late. I'll tell the rest tomorrow.

You know, I thought I had been talking to a little prick

Monday, September 10, 2007

Why did they pick this word for today?

Word of the Day for Monday, September 10, 2007

cozen \KUZ-un\, transitive verb:

1. To cheat; to defraud; to deceive, usually by petty tricks.
2. To obtain by deceit.
3. To act deceitfully.

You would naturally not think so flat a rogue could cozen you. But have a care! These half idiots have a sort of cunning, as the skunk has its stench.
-- Robert Louis Stevenson, The Master of Ballantrae

Just wondering.

How is it "Success" if the goal is to get us back to where we were?

General Petreaus is saying that because things have been going so remarkably well in Iraq that by next spring we will be able to draw down troops to the level they were at before the surge.

We are traveling from point A to point B with the goal of getting to point A.

I guess I thought that was called wandering in circles.

The Toughness of Babies

Sometimes I confess that I look at my children, sigh, and wonder why they are such whiny babies. I imagine that the answer to that question is that: They are babies. I can't feel their pain for them and sometimes, exasperated, will say to a crying child 'shake it off'. I have a nephew who used to literally stand up after falling down and shake whatever body part got the boo boo. He's nearly ten now and still hates for anyone to see him experience pain. Like a cat he wanders off to find a place to be alone and hurt. I'm thinking that someday he will not be a fun person to be married to.

You may have heard that areas of southern Wisconsin experienced some pretty bad flooding. Somehow my notoriously soggy basement did manage to stay dry through it, but we exceeded the one month average rainfall record set in any month in history by several inches last month. Things have dried out now, though it is raining right this minute, but that drying up brought us the most macho, steroided and fierce mosquitos I think I have ever been stung by. What has happened is that mosquito eggs that may have been laid several years ago never hatched because they didn't get wet enough. Rising floodwaters hydrated these little eggs and blamm-o. Worst mosquitos evah.

Scientists are saying that these uber-mosquitos can travel really long distances, too. I read that they were detecting Spring Green, Wisconsin Mosquitos in the suburbs of Chicago. (Sorry Splotchy and Bubs). I relayed this little anecdote to a friend who quipped "how can they tell? Is there a special Spring Green brand of DNA?" The answer to that question, for anyone familiar with Spring Green is yes. And I mean that in a good way). This means that even if we didn't get flooded enough to awaken the dawn of the dead genus of mosquitos, these mosquitos may have been awakened a hundred miles away. Coming across the state like valkyries with the singular intention of sucking my blood.


On Labor Day when we returned from our vacation at dusk we had to unload the car and that meant keeping the doors open for too long. All night we got bit by mosquitos in our beds. What an insult. And these bites sting. One bite and I am pissing and moaning like Paris in a jail cell. Which leads me back to the babies.

This morning I put the 4yo in the tub. Aside from a very apparent bug bite right between the eyes, when she took her pj's off I saw at least a dozen red welty angry bug bites on her belly and her back. Holy shit. She hadn't said a word.

The little ones are stronger than we know. Ben Wundrun is tearing up those 'mother of the year' nominating papers as we speak.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

How She Spent a Tuesday in September

Because it is Saturday or maybe Sunday, I'm hoping you have a little time to head over to FranIam's blog this weekend to read her triptych on how she experienced 9/11. Scroll down to her post from Tuesday and read it straight through.

FranIam's blogspot address is "". The reason that I spell it out here is that she explains that 'festina lente' is a term taken from her stone soup of a religious background that means 'to make haste slowly'. She tells us in so many ways how she made haste very slowly on that day and the days that followed. Very real questions of staying put in midtown Manhattan or following the refugees north into uptown and beyond: Harlem. Worrying and then not worrying about whether she would die that day, both telling friends and co-workers that she loved them in case the world did end and arguing fiercely for peace in the midst of chaos in case it did not.

Fran writes so eloquently of her own experiences that she brought to me so many of my own on those days. Some that I haven't thought about for quite some time. I was amazed at how, though so close to the action that day - she reports that though no traffic sounds were ever heard inside her office high up in a midtown tower, that day they could hear sirens heading to Ground Zero - much of what she experienced was the same as those of us who were thousands of miles away.

Ack. Get out of here. Go read. Now.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Fantastical Freedoms Museum

Mr Bush says when his time in office is up, he will be only 62 and "really young". Apart from the joy of getting bored, he is looking forward to setting up a "fantastic freedom institute in Dallas" for young democratic leaders around the world.

For some reason this strikes me as a place not unlike the Natural History Museum where you can go to see things that have long gone extinct.

"Lookie, there honey - the Fourth Amendment! How quaint! Protections against searches and seizures. Sweet, really"

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Would you like to talk about outrage?

You know, over at Zaius Nation there is a post about outrage overload. We all seem to be struck with it.

On the one hand, we wait for things to get worse before we take to the streets with our pitchforks, and on the other, we say 'if we didn't rise up before, why should we start now?'

Perhaps I am only speaking for myself. And it is not an accusation of apathy. Mostly it is a question of effectiveness.

Where is the tipping point?

Some days I am so angry I don't know how to channel it. And I go outside and I take my kids to the pool or to preschool or usher the world around in typically suburban mom ways. It all makes sense to me, it follows an order - something pre-ordained in the American spirit of well-being.

Who the fuck am I to kvetch when I have it so good? Is my life better than it was seven years ago? Hellz yes. My life is.

But then I remember that my life is much better only because in the last seven years I married a wonderful man and started a family. These were extra-governmental incidents. What if one of us, any of us but particularly my husband, got sick? Wouldn't that end it all for us? And how happy can we be knowing that our perch here in the middle of the American Idyll is but a pebble balanced on a rock and we can be knocked from our foundation by the slightest of breezes?

I walk around my neighborhood thinking these exact thoughts. I can ruin a damn fine blue sky sunny day by wondering by what right have I to take it for granted. All of it. And I what I don't know - and can't know, thanks to the slow, steady erosion of our rights - is how much of our America is gone already. I also think a lot about what little German hausfraus of the early 1930's thought to themselves, too. What comforts did they use to assuage their unease? How different are we women, them from me? How much am I willing to overlook to assure myself that all is well for my family, hence all is well for the world?

I mean, I put my personal well-being chit on a place that is marked with my own economic stability. But why should that matter? Though he's not succeeding, in anyone's esteem but his own and those few oil and mercenary exec's who are making out well, what if George W. Bush were able to run a decent economy? What if we were all getting richer instead of sliding backwards as we really are? What outrage could we summon then? I believe the history books will place a date sometime previous to today as the point at which America ceased to be a superpower. Certainly there are liberals who have always felt an unease with that mantle. I never have. One can use power wisely, and for good. Though far far too much on the side of the corporatists, I do believe that Bill Clinton understood and used American power with beneficent aims. So if we were still a superpower today, would that make the senseless slaughter of Iraqis okay? Could we summon the outrage then? But it's true we are no longer a super power, and I feel that very soon our economy will slide into an abyss. Will that bring back the dead Iraqis? What I mean is - if we remained an economic and political power house, would that give us the right to destroy millions of human beings?

Ask the Cambodians, I guess.

I am beginning to feel a shame that I never would have believed possible. Whenever republicans are in control of the country, their minions cry out the mantra: "America, love it or leave it". This was always a taunt. But why would I ever leave? Though now I think about what it will take me to go. Why did my ancestors leave Germany and come here? Why does anyone leave anything they love to go somewhere else. What, again, is the tipping point?

My ancestors left Germany/Prussia in the years just after the American Civil War. They were liberal. It is in my genes. But it has been said that the mass exodus of liberal Germans in the late 19th century made possible the heinous crimes of the archly conservative Germany of the 20th century. What if liberals all left America today?

I am an alarmist. My husband doesn't see things the way I do. He is a 'trees' person, and I am a 'forest'. He believes the forest-fire burning in the east will be put out long before it reaches us. I like to believe we should live outside the threat of fires.

The book "The Tipping Point" has as its jacket illustration an unlit match. So right for us. Is our own forest going to catch fire and burn so badly we'll evacuate? Is the responsible thing for us to leave early?

I don't know.

I don't know.

We're Kicking Ass!

George W. Bush reported to the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia yesterday that "we are kicking ass" in Iraq.

I imagine there are some who wish he'd have put it a little more delicately. Or aside from that, at least told the truth.

Some six hundred thousand people. Or their loved ones.

Grazie Signore Pavarotti - 1935-2007

I am one of those schmucks of the hoi polloi who probably never would have experienced opera much if it weren't for you.

Here Bono shows just how hard what you did was, by not being able to do it!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

True Tales of Unrequited Love

Heartbroken Bush Runs After Departing Roves Car

The Onion

Heartbroken Bush Runs After Departing Rove's Car

WASHINGTON, DC—"Why can't I go with him? When is he coming back?" a tearful President Bush asked advisers as Karl Rove's sedan disappeared over the horizon.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Safe things to say about Senator Craig

So I'm a little late on the Craig um, circle jerk and from the um, reams of info at all t'other blogs I see that there is really not much to add.

Except that we can be pretty sure that Craig isn't going to be er, fingered as one of the senatorial clientele of the DC madame on that list Larry Flynt is carrying around.