Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Recent Headlines

Today Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) “respectfully” reminded the President that he is not, in fact, the sole “decider” as he claims.
Yeah, no kidding, there’s Dick Cheney too!

Run Democrats Run!
We need a strong democratic candidate to run and win the presidency in ’08 so that after his or her successful run he or she can get us out of IRAN.

President Bush pushing for a troop surge of 21,000 soldiers, eager to move forward with his impossible "plan" for insanely costly Iraqi free-dumb.

Bush Administration having always objected to the blame game is particularly irked by the “escalated” version, the Plame blame game. Looks like I. “Scooter” Libby will be taking the fall for Cheney and Rove. We shouldn’t be surprised; it’s not a stab in the back really. After all, Cheney and Rove have always openly despised, expressed the utmost contempt for, and railed against Libbyrals.

The Boy who Cried: Wolf
In an interview with Cheney on Monday, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked the VP how he felt about Focus on the Family (an evangelical group that has given great financial and public support to Bush/Cheney) having publicly condemned the pregnancy of Cheney’s lesbian daughter, Mary. Cheney objected to such an “inappropriate” question, calling it "out of line." Rather than challenging Cheney’s moral hypocrisy and standing by the legitimacy of his question, Wolf Blitzer practically whimpered and nearly peed his pants. Looks like The Situation Room may be planning to merge with Romper Room.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Miracle of Motherhood

When I first became a mother it took a little while for the reality of my situation to set in. I would find myself on the couch, scratching my head and wondering what was this odd creature that kept gnawing and slurping at my bosom? Furthermore, from whence came said bosom for which I had once so ardently prayed and then lost all hope of ever acquiring more than a decade past? I suppose that my previous lackluster track record at making plans and following through had managed to somehow make me completely skeptical that my nine-month pregnancy was indeed going to result in my having a baby.

During my pregnancy, my daily ritual had become waking up in the morning to an unexpectedly swollen belly and thinking that I had yet again irresponsibly rendered myself shamefully flatulent. I would then begin to berate myself for having so pigishly indulged the previous night in a glut-fest whose quantities of corndogs, lemon meringue and pickles would be sure to make the most desperate of reality show contestants bow their heads in shame. But then I would remember that I had always detested corndogs, lemon meringue and pickles in any quantities whatsoever and would recall that the unexpected was due, in fact, to the fact that I was expecting.

The defining moment that made me realize that I really was a mother came a week before my birthday when my husband asked me what I wanted. “A diaper genie!” I emphatically exclaimed before a microsecond had passed. By what miracle had a desperate desire for an odor-restricting excrement receptacle vainquished my lifelong fantasies of diamond pendants and designer footwear? Then it hit me: it was the miracle of motherhood.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Things Aren't Always Black and White

After pledging to his constituents, the majority of whom are African American, that he would seek to become the first white member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Democratic Representative Stephen Cohen of Tennessee has now withdrawn his bid. Apparently outraged that an elected representative in a predominantly black district should seek to represent his constituents and to place himself in a position to be as informed as possible about their needs, the all-black members of the Black Congressional Caucus made it clear to Cohen that he was not welcome, that the Congressional Black Caucus must remain black and that it is not to be “taken lightly.”

This should come as no surprise as members of the caucus have traditionally been staunch conservatives, very satisfied with and eager to sustain the status quo. One can only speculate that their tacit blackballing of Caucasian Cohen is based on a fear that fair representation would interfere with their goal of achieving fair representation.

Furthermore, one can only surmise that they are concerned that the Jewish representative from Tennessee, (regardless of the purity of his intentions) would not be in a position to fully comprehend what it means to be a member of a minority population and would denigrate and blacken the integrity of the Black Caucus.

Monday, January 22, 2007


This Sunday “morning,” when I woke up at the crack of noon, my husband, who is far less of a lazy schlub than I am, informed me that our best friends had called to say that they were attending an event near our home and could therefore stop by to see us when it was over. He said something that sounded like “they can come after the baby-wearing convention.” Thrilled at the chance to see them, I shrugged off this baby-wearing thing. Since my husband is not a native English speaker I assumed that he had misunderstood what they told him or that I, not yet doped up on coffee, had surely misunderstood him.

Holy shit! My best friends actually did spend their Sunday afternoon at a baby-wearing convention! I suppose that an avid interest in baby-wearing is a positive sign that for Dana and Drew having a baby hasn’t become too wearing. But a f**king BABY-WEARING CONVENTION?!

I still love them dearly, but not too long ago Dana and Drew were very sane people. Then, naturally, Dana became a total whackadoodle when Emma was born. This, however, is not cause for alarm. Psychologists say that it is actually very healthy for the mother of a newborn to establish a relationship with her child that under any other circumstances would be considered clinically psychotic—it’s true, I checked this with my shrink, my back-up shrink, my ex-shrink and his back-up shrink and they were all in perfect accord on this point.

But "what’s Drew’s excuse?" I can’t help but wonder. Safety belts, buckles, adjustable straps—he arrived all bound up in what, were it not for the duckies and bunnies motif and the adorable baby inside, would have resembled some sort of sadomasochistic restraining device purchasable only in Las Vegas. They say that in an insane world, insanity is sanity—or Sean Hannity, I forget. Yes, insanity—Sean Hannity, that sounds right (and I have long since had my “morning” coffee).

It took us a few minutes to excavate baby Emma but she came out all smiley and happy—a positive sign that she enjoys playing the role of a non-traditional body accessory. Since she is but a few months old, I will not allow myself to be disturbed by her apparent strange, fetishistic form of pleasure.

It’s quite fortunate that she does like it actually since the first time Drew finds himself without a three-person crew to help him extract himself from the device Emma might very well be worn for far longer. With any luck she’ll match his shoes. This is not something that I usually wish on my friends, but when that fateful day does arrive, for the sake of all involved I sincerely hope that Drew will find himself constipated.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Judgmental Gym Equipment

For many years I was one of those people who would repeatedly make going to the gym my primary new year’s resolution (right behind things like read War and Peace, cure cancer and floss regularly). Naturally, I kept falling off the wagon, or in the case of War and Peace the turnip truck. Then a few years ago I had the genius idea of joining the gym in the gay neighborhood. As a heterosexual female, I thought this was the perfect solution to feeling self-conscious. I was tired of feeling overwhelmed by the throng of smiley, pony-tailed stick figures who inspired an inferiority complex that inevitably sent me straight from the gym to the Ben and Jerry’s. Low and behold, good golly, it actually worked!

Today, however, I had a most disconcerting experience. You see, I have grown quite accustomed at my gay gym to the immeasurable luxury of being invisible. Today indeed started off like any other exercise day. I self-scanned my membership card and the desk attendant didn’t so much as lift his eyes away from People. Hurray, yet another victory for the rat’s nest, scrunchy-cum-sweat-band coiffure of stealth!

And then I saw it, my new enemy. Like most enemies it had a deceptively innocuous appearance. In fact, it even hypocritically masqueraded as not just benign but welcoming and friendly. It was the new Precor stepping machine, shiny and new, no doubt financed by the flux of membership fees from this year’s batch of early-January-only gym-goers who have been rapidly flaking out one by one.

When I stepped onto the machine it asked me to select a program. Fat-burner, of course! Honestly, I don’t know why the other five buttons even exist. Then it asked me to enter my age. As invisible me, I was able to enter it without the slightest flinch or twitch in regular people years, not marine turtle years, not botox years. And the machine replied, “age accepted.” Age accepted?! What, had it scanned me and decided that my entry was credible? Was this machine judging me? Before I could even recover my balance (which it is always a good idea to maintain on this kind of contraption) it was asking me my weight.

When the judgmental exercise machine asked me my weight I got a little nervous and my heart rate began to rise. It had surely already seen many a body more fit than mine. With the slight increase in heart rate, I briefly entertained the idea that the machine had thus already done its job and that I was free to go—but alas, my moment of panic had lasted but a few seconds, not a half hour. So I began to calculate. This morning when I stepped on the scale it was after drinking a large (enormous, huge!) coffee and before I had pooped. Surely I could subtract a pound or two. But would the machine buy it, or after my entry would it refuse to flash “weight accepted”? And what if this shiny, new, alluring piece of equipment were feeding my stats directly to the NSA? Should I “disappear” another pound or two from my record or would I be running the risk of this potentially being used against me as evidence impugning my credibility in a court of law? Great sigh of relief when “weight accepted” appeared on the screen. The gullible chump! Good thing too or I may very well have relapsed into the annual early-January-only crowd.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Headlines 1/17/07

Here are some of today’s headlines:

War and Piece

American and NATO commanders have requested that new troops be sent to Afghanistan. The country has seen a surge in attacks ever since Pakistan’s September 5 signing of a peace deal with Taliban leaders in North Waziristan. Critics of the Administration blame the President's great concentration on efforts to increase troop levels in Iraq for the neglect of the situation in Afghanistan, an accusation the Bush administration emphatically denies. According to White House sources, when local media reported on the agreement, one paper accidentally wrote “piece” instead of “peace.” This, explained White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow, led local Taliban commanders to believe that they could justifiably blow things to pieces across the Afghan border without violating the agreement. He went on to lament that such an error could have been made, asserting that President Bush was very disappointed that major players in the world political arena did not have a better command of English.

Schoolhouse Rocks

At least 70 are dead and another 170 wounded after three bombs exploded at a university in Baghdad.

Are you Syria’s?

Private Israeli and Syrian citizens co-drafted a proposal recommending that Israel return the Golan Heights to Syria. The document was disavowed by both governments.

In other news, The New York Times breaks into human trafficking:

The New York Times Store

Afghan Girl, 1985

Buy Now

The New York Times Store

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Behanging

As everyone knows, under Saddam’s regime torture was rampant. So entrenched in the reigning leadership’s culture, torture had become rather stale, codified—you could hardly tell one rape room from another.

Today, with the advent of the behanging, the newly liberated Iraqi nation has reached another high point in its path to rebuilding a new society. Although in their characteristic modesty Bush, Cheney and other senior administration officials have denied deserving any of the credit, sources say that Iraqis are grateful to have finally been blessed with the spirit of American innovation.

Says one gleeful member of the new Iraqi government: "were it not for the creativity exhibited in American torture workshops such as those held at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, the behanging may never have seen the light of day." It looks as though good old American know-how is finally beginning to get a stronghold in this roadside a'bombin' nation.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Why I Go to the Gym

There are many clinically sound reasons to go to the gym—to look good, feel healthy, have more energy, fight stress, blah, blah, blah. There are also socially sound reasons to go to the gym, the most common one probably being to pick up dates and to have the opportunity, after seeing them in their tank tops and fitted sports attire, to get a good idea of what they’ll probably look like naked, thus avoiding those oh so fun surprises that suddenly make you remember that you have an early meeting in the morning or that you have a spouse and kids.

My reasons for going to the gym are clinical but mostly social. But I suspect that they differ from most social reasons. You see, it is very, very important to me that I outlive everyone in my family, especially my mom, and even some of my friends. The thing is, I’m generally a nice person and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Especially if they had to throw up every morning for a month and then push all seven pounds of me out of their vagina in a gory blood bath, pooping and peeing on themselves along the way just to give me life. The fact that she was simultaneously screaming about how she hated my dad and never wanted to see him again and that he had better have his things packed and be out the door before she got home and about how I was already turning her life into a living hell, once again forcing her to admit that grandma was right, dealing yet another lethal blow to her ego I consider completely understandable given the mitigating circumstances. So, as reasonable, kind, generous and lovable as such a person might sound, you can understand that I would never want to hurt her. And yet, she has left me with so many things that I feel I need to express, to get out on paper, but don’t ever want her to have the possibility of finding out about lest the things she said about me at my birth (devil’s spawn etc.) seem justified to the outside world.

I need her dead, but love her too much to actually murder her and don’t much care for the idea of facing life in prison or the death penalty. So instead, I like to send her little packages containing DVDs and transfatty baked goods that I made in my own oven. And I always enclose a little note saying how much I’m thinking about her and how I thought she’d adore the movie and deserves to relax on the couch and have a treat. Then I do indeed think of her and imagine myself accumulating these “brownie points” as I pedal away at the elliptical trainer.

These measures may be extreme, it’s true. Biologically speaking, it is already very likely that I will outlive my mother without any form of intervention. But the thing is that I need to outlive her by A LOT. Unfortunately, I can’t really begin to explain why until about 2040, maybe 2035 with the help of Pillsbury’s roll-out dough, maybe 2050 if Congress ever gets scientists back on track with stem cell research. And to think of all of the scientists pining away at the thought of all the lives they could save if only. Probably among them is some genius in eugenics named Eugene. Eugene, you genius! Have you ever met a Eugene who wasn’t really smart? It’s a little bit freaky that they’re always so geeky--and that I’m sounding like Dr. Seuss on drugs. I kept some of the special brownies for myself. No, not the ones you're thinking of, the ones made with transfat-free oil.

Between Iraq and a Hard Place

Apparently says pres. now it’s really time to Iraq and roll. How droll. We (the good guys) are going after the bad guys. Don’t know how foreign policy got to be a Marvel comic. What a marvel. So much we’ve marred so many evils, so vile, so violent.

My capacity to be stupid stupefies me. Vicious circle, although I find most circles to be well-rounded. Humdrum conundrum that’s not a drum at all. But a drum is nothing to beat oneself up about; rather beat around the drum, not the bush. Let’s not beat around the bush just beat Bush. Everyone knows he’s really a Dick.

Dick is an ass (is an Asscroft is a Rumpsfeld, they’re all the same.) Daughter’s a lesbian, but freaks out if dick is in ass. (Hey young man, watch those Roveing hands!) He does love a good Snow job though; special place in his (mechanical) heart for performances worthy of a Tony. Who ass k(iss)ed him anyway? He may have shot his friend but nobody axed him. I’ve gotten so embarrassed about my country. Does the word “embarrass” have anything to do with a fear of seeing or having someone see your bare ass? If so, another reason why homophobes are embarrassing!

I wish there were somewhere else I could go. Time for a quick brain storm on ideal places:

For writing: best seller. For wine: best cellar. For Native American capital: bet seller. For phone company: best cellular. For Mercedes: Benz seller. For mattress: bed seller. For marine chiropractor: bent sailor.

Looks like for now I’m staying put.

Arts and Craffs

I’ve come to the point where I need to craff. “Craffing”, a compound word of my fancy that combines “cry” and “laugh,” is what I try to do when I am so frustrated that I want to cry but I either can’t or just plain don’t want to. In those situations where you feel like your only options for response are to laugh or cry, in an amazing consistency with my inability to make a choice once and for all and stick by it I choose to craff. I choose to craff because I feel like crap.

Craffing article #1: How do I waste so much time and energy? HOW? My inefficiency, indecisiveness and inability to make a plan and stick to it are driving me insane(r). Why can’t I be less craffy and more crafty?

Addendum to craffing article #1: F**K!

Craffing article #2: I’m hungry and absolutely no food appeals to me. And I’m not just talking about the slender pickin’s left over in my kitchen from the last time I went grocery shopping (a faint and distant memory) but all of the theoretical food in the world. If I could just name a food, any food, and have it magically appear I still wouldn’t feel any desire or preference for any one thing more than another. Okay, true, maybe this is normal since my attention would naturally be focused on just having had my mind blown by this freakish, new supernatural superpower. But still, I think you get my point.

Craffing article 2.1: Metaphor. This eating situation is both literally true and the perfect metaphor for my current attitude toward all food, material or “spiritual.” There is nothing that I really want in life. The light bulb at the end of my current tunnel must have burnt out because the only “goal” I’m working toward (if 80% craffing about work and 20% actual working may be so called) seems only to be leading me to a swirling vortex that leads to a black hole. (No perverted interpretations of “black hole” allowed. I’m being serious in my craffing here). This sucks! (here you are invited to smoan [smile and groan] at the combo of “swirling vortex” and “this sucks!” but still no perversions please).

Crafffing article #3: I really do need to get back to work, figure-of-speech-God-because-I-am-a-staunch-atheist help me! If I don’t get to work my boss (my superego) is going to kill me. I’m just going to indulge in one or two more minutes of craffing before I do: [craff] [craff] [craff] [craff] [craff] [craff] [craff] [craff] [craff] [craff] [craff] [craff] [craff] [craff] [craff]…fin.

Addendum to craffing article #3: F**K!

The Meaninglessness of Life

Nothing in the world will convince you more quickly of the meaninglessness of life than listening to humanities professors. The following is their job in a nutshell (yes they are all nuts and yes, they do in fact live in a shell and I report it to you after years of shell-dwelling which means that when I say the following I mean the following, that is, following after a lot of other preceding things, i.e. lots of reading.)

Consider this a meta-example. And by the way, any time you wish to be taken seriously by any of these creatures, simply paste the word “meta” in front of any noun. (A noun is a word that is a person place or thing. This is a gentle reminder in case you were too busy making fruit loop necklaces to watch the particular episode of Sesame Street in which nouns were discussed. Disc…ussed. Discussed. Discussed! Discussed!!) “Meta” This is the secret recipe for an A. For an A+, simply sprinkle in 1 “ostensibly,” 2 or 3 “putativelies,” and an occasional “epistemological” for garnishing. They fall for it almost all of the time. Warning, a typo such as “mega” in the intended up-sucking place of “meta” will invariably backfire and get you a bad grade. If your early years resemble in any way those of the shell-dweller (The early years: Step one: have the fortune to be born into a family that has a reasonable fortune. Otherwise you will never have the time to contemplate those essential quandaries of life that are the humanities, questions which, though essential you may not happen to ponder if your family is not bourgeois and you have the chronic habit of activities such as, say, eating. Step two: Have the misfortune of having neurotic parents) As I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself with such an impolitely long parenthesis, if your early years resemble in any way those of the shell-dweller, you may find yourself at an ivy-league school, a first-tier state school or a small, private liberal arts college which means your bad grade would be a B. (C’s are reserved for retarded future presidents). If you do not fulfill virtual prerequisites one and two (see obnoxiously long parentheses above), you may be at a second-tier state school or a community college in which case your bad grade will be a D or an F. If you have not attended college, there is no chance you will have kept reading this far.

The adolescent shell-dweller gets struck at an early age by the meaninglessness of life. Once put into contact with a course in philosophy 101 the natural shell-dweller finds him or herself spouting sophistry in no time. Put him or her into anthropology 101 and she or he will begin systematically writing him or her, himself or herself, he or she (or any variant such as s/he) or, simply putting all pronouns in the feminine. This last tendency is particularly pronounced in the sub- shell category of the white male. If you have ever indulged in the idea that men in the humanities are generally a bit girly, indulge away! This is an inevitable side effect of working in the humanities. Incidentally, this is the ideal habitat for the straight but girly male or the smart but only marginally attractive female with the exception of the members of the French department (not for the girly men of course. To say girly male and French professor is practically redundant). Female professors in the French Department however are always hot. Ou la la!

After future shell dwellers have read a bit of Kant, Nietzsche, Derrida, Kristeva and the cliff notes to Aristotle, Plato and Aeschylus they begin to become intolerable. This is the period during which they are known as “graduate students,” otherwise known as that TA from hell with the stick up his (or her) posterior for whose sustainable wage and benefit package you will nonetheless go out to protest provided the protest coincides with your writing seminar/snormenar.

A shell dweller has reached the peak of his (or her) maturity when he (or she or s/he) has managed to have gone through the process of being struck by the meaninglessness of life, converted it into an enormously self-righteous ego and begun to take everything that surface dwellers find boring and assert its incontrovertible significance after having forgotten the meaninglessness of all but the most glaringly obvious of meaninglessnesses. Yes. I am talking about your comparative literature professor. Your anthropology professor’s ego got so big that he or she got wedged in a cave in the Congo between the rocks with traces of what appear to be either the markings of the ancient Igbo tribe or the Ekiko tribe (a controversy of hot debate! Run for your life if you ever find yourself alone in a room with an Igobist and an Ekikotist, things are gonna get ugly). The secret to getting tenure, my dear esteemed colleagues, is to take yourselves far too seriously. Master this one essential principle and the very mention of your name will sear fearful awe into the soul of all graduate students and you will never have to grade a stupid undergrad’s paper again!

In short, the career of a humanities professor is a sado-masochistic war dance that pits self against self, then any monotheistic God, then student then graduate student then colleague of the latest up and coming school of thought respectively. R-E-S-P-E-C-T, get me some philosophy (and Madame Poulet’s phone number s’il vous plaĆ®t)!