Tuesday, September 30, 2008

1992 vs 2008

I've been thinking a lot about the 1992 election of late. Probably everyone who knows me has heard this story - that November night (I'd voted via absentee ballot days before) a friend of mine threw a big party. About fifty of us crammed into a dorm room that might have comfortably fit ten. The host (who could afford it) had a keg of Corona in the shower. We watched the election returns in a spirit of immense jubilation that had nothing to do with the beer - we believed that this was right, this was good, and that we were headed into a golden age.

What strikes me now is that while none of us (at least openly) had supported George H.W. Bush, none of us doubted that he would give 110% to running the country, down to the very last moments, regardless of what happened. I'd argue that he did. It's od to be sentimental about the GHWB days -

I do not have the same faith in GWB. I think he's been treading water for a while now, and I firmly believe that the nation, in large part, has let him get away with it.

Not for the first time, I am struck by my next door neighbors. They are good, kind, decent, caring people, and they genuinely believe that GWB is and has been doing a terrific job. Yesterday one of them said he's even better than Reagan. It might be easier to understand them if I still had a bit of that Corona, but I've got to try. To borrow a line from 1776 "Either we all walk together, or together we stay where we are."

Enough of politics.

P.S. I confess to having blown off a paper so that I could attend that party, but I did stay up late and I did get it in, and I did earn an A, and it actually stands up as not too bad to my teacher eyes years later. Was it the Corona? Clinton? Panic? I'll never know.

Friday, September 26, 2008

will you won't you, will you won't you, will you come and join the dance?

I decided a few months back to skip the debates. Four years ago I just about made it through by removing heavy objects from the room so that I would only be tempted to throw pillows and such at the television. (Yes, I did end up throwing a pillow at one point, but that's another saga for another post.) Whether I switched on a rerun of Scrubs or just went to bed early, I really hadn't decided, but I wanted no part of anything having to do with the debates.

McCain has now done the impossible. By adding the "will he/ won't he" element to simply showing up (!!!) I'm now actually interested in the debate tonight.

A good friend treats presidential debates on a points system. In 2004, points were awarded for everything from having the better tie to making a stronger point, and deducted for every time the candidate mentioned their family's sufferings and their personal relationship with you know who. Every candidate, and the moderator, always started off with 50 points for simply having shown up. I am intrigued to see how this year shapes up.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

brave warrior (no, not Trig)

While on break yesterday, I stretched out on the sofa. A light breeze blew in through the window (yes, it was open at the time), the sun shone - and then I heard a squirrel make a noise the likes of which I have never heard any squirrel make before - any animal make before, for that matter.

Drawing on my skills as a liberal arts major, I looked out the window. The squirrel in question had tensed every muscle and devoted its whole body to this sound. Seconds later, a second squirrel dashed across the yard, praying that it would make its tree. Hot on the tail of the second squirrel? A hawk.

Sam barreled out the door, full speed, full defense bark, full alert and the hawk decided to go elsewhere for lunch.

Probably Sam had chosen to protect me, but I prefer to think that he charged out to protect his squirrels.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

there's a time and a place for jargon

I've begun to fantasize about forcing Economists and economic experts interviewed to be forced to use words of three syllables or less at all times. By now it should be obvious to them that the American people, in the main, simply do not understand why various areas of the economy have fallen apart and must (or must not) be resurrected by our tax dollars. Listening to a call-in program yesterday, three people asked roughly the same question in the same way, and callers #2 and #3 indicated that they had heard the previous explanation and did not understand it.

This might make the economists feel demeaned or belittled. Tough. Most academics are forced to perform intellectually demeaning tasks on a regular basis. It wouldn't kill the economists to break matters down into short bits. Perhaps, it would encourage them to make better decisions in future.

Then, of course, force the various folks who will make money out of the bail-outs to justify their actions in very small words...

There's a time and a place for jargon. I can confidently use plenty of it, and fake teh use of still more. Graduate School certainly does a good job at teaching us how to pretend we know all sorts of long words - but we use them with each other. I would no more tell a freshman in college that the Twentieth century of American history "represents the declension of the Protestant hegemony" than I would expect them to perform brain surgery on a llama.

Sam leaped into the car this morning in a single bound, and became thoroughly excited when we got to the park. As I keep saying, hurrah for drugs!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

mediocre meme

Harriet has tagged me. According to her, this meme is to celebrate five utterly mediocre aspects of yourself. Since Harriet almost certainly has blackmail-worthy material on me stored away somewhere, I dare not disregard her tag.

This actually strikes me as kind of funny - I strongly suspect that my five mediocre aspects would be highly interesting to someone else, and boring to another. Anyway, here goes -

1) As Harriet once observed, very kindly, I cannot read music. I wish that I could.

2) I go out of my way to avoid using pink post-it notes.

3) Without post-it notes, I would never get anything done.

4) I really hate it when people use "it's" thinking that it's the possessive tense. "Its" is possessive and "it's" means "it is."

5) Purple is my favorite color.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

of dogs and lipstick

I want to thank everyone who has expressed concern about Sam - it has meant a lot to me that people understand how much he means to me and what joy I take in his return to "being himself." When my previous dog was hit by a car, a couple of people said, "oh, get over it, he was just a dog." I now know that the meds have really kicked in, because Sam is back to taking up 90% of any surface upon which I try to sleep.

I am slowly reconciling myself to the great likelihood that Sarah Palin will be the factor which pushes McCain over the top and into the White House. Being a liberal in Indiana means a certain amount of steeling yourself every time you enter the voting booth, and I have always known that my Obama vote would not be enough for him to carry this state. I had hoped that the rest of the nation would correct for this.

P.S. There's nothing like losing electricity for 36 hours to make me really grateful for it. Then I think of Galveston and Houston and I feel like a coward.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

if only...

I've been thinking a lot today about the three year girl who was on the first plane to crash into the Twin Towers. She died with her parents, which must have been both agonizing and comforting for the whole family.

Who was she? I mean, almost all three year olds are cute, even the ones with horrible manners who bully their playmates. Did she have Downs' Syndrome? Autism? Did she long to be a ballerina or Disney Princess, or was she a tomboy who wanted nothing more than to climb trees and chase frogs?

I know that the 9/11 hijackers wanted to kill as many Americans as possible, but what went through their minds when they saw a small child, traveling with her parents? Glee? Or did they have a moment in which they needed to steel themselves?

With all of the politicking and contradictions which have surrounded the post-9/11 world, I do think we've lost track of the fact that everyone - the passengers, the fire-fighters, the people at the Pentagon - they were all people.

Speaking of people - Track Palin deploys today along with I cannot imagine how many other sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, wives and husbands. He is a celebrity, but they are all people.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

hurrah for modern meds!

Sam is rolling away in the backyard. This is probably the only undignified activity he is capable of performing. He's rolling around, paws waving in the air - then he stops, rests for a moment on his stomach, gazing about, soaking up the sun, then flings himself back onto his back and abandoning himself to another good long wriggle.

It's been a long, long time since he has gone for a long roll in the sun.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Mistress - mistress, I do not like this place. We will now leave the room, get back in the car and go home.
Good dog, Sam, good dog.
Mistress, you're not paying attention. We will now leave the room, get in the car and go home.
Good dog, Sam, good dog.

Mistress, you do not seem to understand who that lady is. We will now leave this room, get in the car and go home.
I think Sam may have arthritis - could you give him an exam and see if we can help him?
Mistress, do you see what she's doing? Ouch! Ouch! Hey, don't touch me there! Mistress! Do something!
You'd like me to leave the room while you draw some blood? OK.
Mistress! Take me with you! We can get in the car and -

Official diagnosis of arthritis - and the very kind vet assured me that everything else looks good, so pain meds may be all that Sam needs to continue herding squirrels and protecting me from the vicious cat next door. I started Sam on his pills last night and as soon as his bloodwork comes back, the vet will send me a three month supply. Thus far he's taking the pills without problems: fingers crossed. Now to see if they help.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Favorite line thus far of the Republican National Convention:

In discussing the pregnancy of Sarah Palin's daughter, a delegate observed, "of course, abstinence-only sex education is the only kind that should be offered, but, kids will be kids!

I enjoy waking up with a belly laugh.

Monday, September 01, 2008

just a casual little dinner

Unless one dines exclusively at little bistros, or only at places where the staff know you by name, everyone occasionally goes through the wonderful process of trying to find the person whom you've arranged to meet for a meal.

This dinner meeting lends new meaning to the idea of meeting for drinks and a quick bite - and it's a lovely story.

Sam stopped halfway through his breakfast on Friday and employed his "stare of death" out the window. I opened the door and he went barreling out across the yard, all the way to the far corner of the fence at top speed. The threat merited only one bark, but required a good ten minutes of solid staring before he came back in to finish breakfast. Terrific to see him barrel again - it's been a while.