Monday, April 30, 2007


I heard from my mom during her lunch break today that there were reports of a student shooting a teacher at the county high school. All schools and apparently daycares/preschools in the county were put on lockdown. I checked into the local news periodically but there was no mention, so I assumed at the time it was a hoax. Thankfully, I was right. Someone apparently made a prank call to 911. Reports at this time are sketchy, but the initial report from a local station can be found here.

But Think of the Chiiiiiildren!

Lord. There's going to be a full length Simpson's movie...of course I figure most of you know that. Apparently, there's a brief bit where quelle horreur Bart Simpson is naked! Right wing folks are upset about this. See more here. Americablog has video as well.

Can we bring Dan Quayle back to discuss how naked cartoon boys are setting a bad example?

Poem for the Day

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Today's poem is from Elizabeth Spires' Worldling.

Good Friday, Driving Westward

…being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a yeare their naturall forme obey:
Pleasure or businesse , so, our Soules admit
For their first mover, and are whirld by it.

*John Donne

The rain. Rain that will not end.
The daily errands. Daily bread.
No letting up. No pause
as I steer blindly, circling
the great city. City of tears and blood.
I woke this morning to the ringing phone.
To the last days of the twentieth century.
Hello. Hello. But the line was dead.
The phone in my hand heavy.
My mind whirling. Numb. Taken
against my will closer to oblivion.
At the mall, a man in rags begging
for a coin. My God, only a coin!
I turned my back. Turned back.
But he was gone. Daily, I turn my back.
The suffering of others more and more
like television. Do I drive East? West?
Do I suffer? Shall anger be divine?
Uncorrected, I steer. Swerve
on a slick patch. Lose control.
The rain letting up now. Clouds torn.
The setting sun a brilliant bloody globe.
As if a nailed hand had violently
raked the sky. And then withdrawn.
Past anger or mercy. Leaving me
more distanced. Alone. Driving
this endless road with all the others.
Night and night’s eternity coming on.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Queen Must be Soooo Proud.

Her granddaughter, Princess Beatrice Drinks William and Harry Under the Table.

Truly, truly tragic. WTF is on her face.

Hat tip to Brian.

Poem for the Day

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When I first read Wallace Stevens' work as an undergrad it was in an American Lit. Survey. I was underwhelmed. It didn't work for me; didn't move me; didn't resonate in any serious way. I went back this week and reread some of his work. I get it now. I see what the fuss is.

Nomad Exquisite
As the immense dew of Florida

Brings forth

The big-finned palm

And green vine angering for life,

As the immense dew of Florida

Brings forth hymn and hymn

From the beholder,

Beholding all these green sides

And gold sides of green sides,

And blessed mornings,

Meet for the eye of the young alligator,

And lightning colors

So, in me, come flinging

Forms, flames, and the flakes of flames.

Because it's Sunday, the My Humps Mix

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I bet he called him Spittles.
The 10,000 year old bones of a camel were found in Mesa, AZ during excavation for a future Wal-Mart. This camel is older than the earth itself (if you ask the right people.) So have we found evidence that God had a pre-Creation pet camel? And here's a fascinating insight into the camel from Conservapedia that Wikipedia somehow missed in its information-heavy, liberal bias.

Camels are brown and have 1 or 2 humps on their backs. In Muslim countries camels may be used to buy wives.

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Haven't we heard this before?

The recently resigned Bush appointee Randall "Randy" Tobias claims that even though he ordered the services of prostitutes that there was no sex, just "massages." Of course, the fact that this is the guy in charge of AIDS policy who didn't believe in condoms as a means of preventing HIV transmission and who introduced a policy"that required any US-based group receiving anti-AIDS funds to take an anti-prostitution 'loyalty oath'" is busted for using the services of said working girls is delish. My favorite quote from Randy Tobias (wink wink)?
There had been "no sex," Ross quoted Tobias as saying, and that recently he has used another service, "with Central American gals," for massages.

Update: Somehow I managed to miss this appalling bit of info earlier:

[ABC reporter Brian]Ross added new details to that story tonight, recounting how he asked Tobias in a telephone interview “if he knew any of the young women, their names. He said he didn’t remember them at all. He said it was like ordering pizza.” Under President Bush, Tobias oversaw a program helping men in poor countries “develop healthy relationships with women.”

BTW--am I the
only one who thinks he looks startlingly like Karl Malden?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Poem For the Day

I've always loved prose poems and catalog poems. I've moved away from catalogs as a mode in the last couple of years, but I always get all tingly when I read a good one. So I thought I'd share one today. Here's Catherine Bowman's "No Sorry" from the 1997 Best American Poetry, edited by James Tate.

No Sorry

Do you have any scissors I could borrow? No, I’m sorry I don’t. What about a knife? Do you have any knives? A good paring knife would do or a simple butcher knife or maybe a cleaver? No, sorry all I have is this old bread knife my grandfather used to butter his bread with every morning. Well then, how about a hand drill or a hammer, a bike chain, or some barbed wire? You got any rusty razor-edged barbed wire? You got a chain saw? No sorry I don’t. Well then maybe you have some sticks? I’m sorry, I don’t have any sticks. How about some stones? No I don’t have any sticks or stones. Well how about a stone tied to a stick? You mean a club? Yeah a club. You got a club? No, sorry, I don’t have any clubs. What about some fighting picks, war axes, military forks, or tomahawks? No, sorry, I don’t have any kind of war fork, axe, or tomahawk. What about a morning star? A morning Star? Yeah, you know, those spiked ball and chains they sell for riot control. No, nothing like that. Sorry. Now, I know you said you don’t have a knife except for that dull old thing your grandfather used to butter his bread with every morning and he passed down to you but I thought maybe you just might have an Australian dagger with a quartz blade and a wood handle, or a bone dagger, or a Bowie, you know it doesn’t hurt to ask? O perhaps one of those lethal multipurpose stilettos? No, sorry. Or maybe you have a simple blow pipe? Or a complex airgun? No, I don’t have a simple blow pipe or a complex airgun. Well then maybe you have a jungle carbine, a Colt, a revolver, a Ruger, an axis bolt-action repeating rifle with telescopic sight for sniping, a sawed-off shotgun? Or better yet, a gas-operated self-loading fully automatic assault weapon? No, sorry I don’t. How about a hand grenade? No. How about a tank? No. Shrapnel? No. Napalm? No. Napalm 2? No, sorry I don’t. Let me ask you this. Do you have any inter-Continental ballistic missiles? Or submarine-Launched cruise missiles? Or Multiple independently targeted reentry missiles? Or terminally guided anti-tank shells or projectiles? Let me ask you this. Do you have any fission bombs or hydrogen bombs? Do you have any thermonuclear warheads? Got any electronic measures or electronic counter-measures or electronic counter-counter-measures? Got any biological weapons or germ warfare, preferably in aerosol form? Got any enhanced tactical neutron lasers emitting massive doses of whole-body gamma radiation? Wait a minute. Got any plutonium? Got any chemical agency, nerve agents, blister agents, you know, like mustard gas, any choking agents or incapacitating agents or toxin agents? Well I’m not sure. What do they look like? Liquid vapor powder colorless gas. Invisible. I’m not sure. What do they smell like? They smell like fruit, garlic, fish or soap, new-mown hay, apple blossoms, or like those little green peppers that your grandfather probably would tend to in his garden every morning after he buttered his bread with that old bread knife that he passed down to you.

I'm Afraid of Americans

Next time you're out in a sizeable crowd, look around and consider:

According to a 2006 CNN Poll: 43% of Americans believe Iraq was connected to 9-11
According to a 2005 Gallup Poll: 42% of Americans believe in possession by the Devil.
According to a 2005 Harris Poll: 40% of Americans believe in ghosts.
According to a 2005 Harris Poll: 28% of Americans believe in witches.
According to a 2005 Harris Poll: 25% of Americans believe in astrology
According to a 2005 Harris Poll: 22% of Americans believe in the evolution of man.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Panty Day

Mere moments after posting the "I Feel Pretty" post I see two underwear-related links on AOL.

The New York Times reports that mens' novelty knit undies are big business.

And Page Six reports that the oh-so-secretive Anderson Cooper showers in his underwear so that no au naturel photos get out. Boxer briefs, apparently.

I Feel Pretty

Occasionally I get bored so I do those Tickle Tests online to pass the time. I also end up getting some delightful mass market emails out of it. Like today's gem: GUIDE TO LOVE: The Art of Lingerie. Yes yes yes. I now know how to coordinate my day/evening lingerie options with my zodiac sign. Thank you god. I've always wondered. The great thing is, I'm born on the cusp of Leo and Virgo, so I have double the shiny panty options. Sadly, this week's installment only goes Aries to Virgo...I have to wait until next Friday to find out what everyone from Libra to Pisces needs.

From the website:

The Art of Lingerie by Sign (Part 1)
Express yourself by day and night

Pretty lingerie is highly underestimated when it comes to the power it has to spice up your life. Make your fantasies come true with one of life's great pleasures, by exploring the universe of lingerie - astrologically. Your sun sign can predict the looks that will help you feel good all under, all day. Plus, it can bring you compliments and kisses in your boudoir at night.


Leo: Flaunt It
Hi-end designer to-die-for-lingerie is always next to your skin both day and night.You won't spare any expense to look rich and sexy under your clothes, even if you're the only one who knows it. For the boudoir, be daring in anything tastefully sexy, from a bustier set that's elegant, not trashy, to a flamboyant little costume that shows off your best assets, in your favorite theatrical color - gold.

Virgo: Sexy to Perfection
Neat, classic and unfussy, Virgo's prefer to be perfectly pulled together with the most stylishly functional lingerie underneath - but remember matched sets can come in some perfectly yummy under-things, too. Confident Virgo gals also understand the magic of layering as a tactic to get a lover to dig for her buried passions. Leave your dressing room in a new silk robe and lace chemise in one of your feel-good shades of navy, sable or black, and he'll be undressing you layer, by layer in no time.

So lessee: bustier, flashy little costume, layering, sable/black/gold...that leaves me with this:

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Poem for the Day

This is from Gerald Stern's Bread Without Sugar.

The First Lewd Offering

I am one of the squirrels--I have a dogwood
in my breast pocket, I am smitten, I squeeze
the four red corners back together, I make
a purse to hold the seeds again. I tried
to pluck the flower, to snap it off, but there was
rage in the branches, there was glue, I had to
pull the wood loose, there is such brute strength
in a blossom. I had no idea the mouth
was in those leaves or there was a yellow brain
half buried under ground. I walk with greed
up every mountain, there is always a mark
of courtesy between us, I could turn it
to love if I wanted, the ground is so soft, the branches
are all so careful. There were thorns getting here,
there was water--at first--up to my ankles,
there was a wire fence. I lean my head
against a hemlock. There is no loyalty.
The honeysuckle will come, then the catalpa.
I will drink the nectar, I will study
the magic prints, one out of four is crimson--
it is the blood, I guess. If there was a tree
that kept me sane I know it was that one; if there
was a life it was that life. I first got the blossoms
in a brown envelope, the blossoms were brown--
and dry--I put them on my dashboard; that was
the first lewd offering; I was forgiven.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

If You're So Inclined

MSNBC is running the first Democratic debate tonight at 7:00 pm.

I'll admit it. I'm a politics junky and I'm slavering for this. I know not much is going to come of it, but I'm anxious to see it, to see who's going to call HRC out first and who's going to make some ridiculous gaffe.

I've no clue on who'll call out HRC, but I'm pretty sure that in their desperation to be viable and get attention, Joe Biden or Dennis Kucinich will end up embarrassing themselves.

You can always count on Kucinich to bring the crazy.

Update: So Kucinich and Biden were remarkably restrained. Biden even managed a funny.

Nothing prepared me for the full frontal crazy of Mike Gravel. He's like the uncle you avoid at holidays. Jeebus.

Iceberg Life

I've been fighting a headcold the past day and a half. It's been lovely outside and I keep playing the "if I felt better I could" game. It's down to just a stuffy nose now, so I guess it's just a short-term bug. I'm feeling dreadfully unmotivated--not interested in much of anything really. I just want to sleep; I think I've slept more since Tuesday than I do in three or four "normal" days. Hopefully I can get everything planted this weekend like I've planned for the past month.

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Helleborus 'Walhelivor' Ivory Prince Hybrid

I picked up some of these while I was out nursery shopping the other day. I love hellebores. I love the idea of things flowering in winter/snow. Especially because of the colors. Sadly, they're not easy to find here. I got a couple of Nigeri a year or so ago from a nursery owner I trade cuttings and plants with, but they've not bloomed yet. I love this Ivory Prince. Although the description says it's got cream colored flowers, they're actually a pistachio green color. I love green flowers, so I hope they stay a greenish color and don't turn cream as they age. I grabbed some various bulbs to fill in with and picked up some nifty columbines and two weigelia (pink and red.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Apparently I was wrong about my hideous neighbors. The've already recaptured the cow. Pity. I was ready to name it Pixie and make garlands of flowers and bells to drape about its thick thick neck. It would have made mine look slender by comparison.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Well I Guess We Can Say It's Genetic

Proving that the inarticulate apple doesn't fall far from the inarticulate tree, Ma and Pa Bush had a sit down with Larry King.

Here's what Babs had to say about Mitt Romney's electibility vis a vis his Mormonism:
"I mean it was in 1897 that bigamy was outlawed in that church," she said. "You know we have a lot of Christian wild people too, and a lot of Jewish wild people and a lot of Muslim wild people. The Mormon religion takes care of it's [sic] own, they don't have people on welfare.
I think I'ma just let all that wrongness sink in. Didn't she learn anything after her Hurricane Katrina statements came to light?

The funniest thing to come out the whole damned mess? Pappy Bush saying that we, the people might be suffering from "Bush fatigue."

Boils on the Ass of Humanity

I loathe my nearest neighbors. Some day I'll go into a full and proper psycho rant about why I would like them all chemically castrated for at least 3 generations to prevent their boorish dumbassery from further polluting the world.

They keep cattle. Fine. They have acreage; it's the country; I don't care what you decide to raise. But for the love of god, at least maintain your fences so they stay in.

Every year there are numerous escapes. As a kid, this would amuse me. Watching three or four paunchy guys running after a cow or cows trying to herd them back in? Fun fun stuff if you're 10. Twenty-odd years later? Not so much fun.

The first bovine gulag escape of 2007 is today. I've got this shit spattered black cow roaming my property. And there's no sign of its mouth-breathing throwback owners anywhere. I've tried to call, no answer. No sign of them or anyone at their place. I wonder how long I'm gonna have a displaced cow?

I'm betting they don't get around to capturing it til Wednesday; of course, by then it could be joined by a few of its revolutionary brothers and sisters in a brief taste of freedom.

Poem for the Day

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Since I'm poppy obsessed, here's a poem from Louise Gluck's The Wild Iris.

The Red Poppy
Louise Gluck
The great thing

is not having

a mind. Feelings:

oh, I have those; they

govern me. I have

a lord in heaven

called the sun, and open

for him, showing him

the fire of my own heart, fire

like his presence.

What could such glory be

if not a heart? Oh my brothers and sisters,

were you like me once, long ago,

before you were human? Did you

permit yourselves

to open once, who would never

open again? Because in truth

I am speaking now

the way you do. I speak

because I am shattered.

Poppies, Poppies, Poppies

Some gardeners can grow anything.

My uncle is one of those. He seems to have an innate sense of just what to do with a plant, a seedling, a graft. It's stunning.

I'm not one of those. I do okay--and I can get certain finnicky plants to thrive. But there are certain plants that take me a while to figure out and get a handle on that are supposedly easy to grow. Columbine, common thyme and poppies all took several years and abortive plantings to get going. And now they're doing beautifully: reseeding and spreading to the point I can dig up and transplant some to other areas. I have a neighbor I trade plants with each spring/summer. She saw the ice poppies last year and said she wanted some. I gave her some pods for seed, but that didn't do well. I have about two dozen plants in all now, they've tripled since last year. I need to dig up about a half dozen small poppy starts to take her before they get too big and settled.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

And on the Seventh Day...

I'm bushed.

Most of the sodbusting is done. I've been attacking it in short shifts then resting. Another hour's work and it'll be ready for amending then planting. Huzzah. I think once this is all done I'll have rescaped about 1500 square feet. Half was done last year and seems to be thriving, though I need to get in and weed and remulch some areas.

Is there some Twilight Zone that books go into, akin to the limbo of lost socks? I've had a couple of books in hand within the last 72 hours and I cannot find them. At all. I've checked everywhere and they're gone. Maybe the cats have decided to cart them off by the spine to nurture and brood in some little den.

I've got a new book order in the works: J Allyn Rosser's Misery Prefigured, Peter Pereira's What's Written on the Body, Geri Doran's Resin, and Janet Sylvester's The Mark of Flesh.

Went last night to hear my friends Boyd and Eric perform. Highlights included: "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man," "Let's Get It On" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog." Good times, though I begged off about 12:30. Sigh. 3 drinks and tired by 12:30. Positively embarrassing. The company was grand. It was nice to just unleash the snark. I really need to go out more.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


So I logged into my site counter account, just to see what's going on with visitors to the site, mainly because I'm just not ready to go out and work in the yard yet.

I hit the keyword activity button and found this: "directions for nancy grace haircut."

I'm at a loss.

Happy Birthday Iggy

Iggy Pop is 60 today.

Just let that sink in a second. Iggy Pop. 60.

This is something that seemingly defies the natural order: like bumblebees flying despite the laws of physics; lightning occurring in a snowstorm; the duck-billed platypus. Given the sheer amount of abuse he heaped upon himself, he should've expired years ago. But he's still kicking, still performing and still singing about his dick.

God Bless You, Mr. Osterberg.

Here he is in 1987, performing "I Wanna Be Your Dog" with Sonic Youth.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Jots and Tittles

Apparently I do need to discuss ethics with Fletcher, per today's poem. Tho' he doesn't kill birds, I found some hairy something he left for me.
I've always found this phrasing from the Gluck poem evocative:
in this house
we do not experience
will in this manner.

"Experience will." Not exercise. Not exert. But experience.

Tomorrow I get to bust sod and see just how well my arm's recovered. Yay. I have a load of bulbs to plant. Aliums, siberian iris, crocosmia.

Been thinking of quatrains and terza rima. I'm itching to write an abecedarian. I bought one of those cheapie marbled black and white composition notebooks that make me think of dalmatians. Maybe this weekend I'll crack it and deface it.
Here's the first single from the new Tori Amos album, "Big Wheel." It's awfully different for her. She seems to be >big gay inhale< having fun. I still think "Fat Slut" should've been the first single, but whaddo I know.

Poem for the Day

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is probably page for page my favorite Louise Gluck collection. Most likely it's because I feel a stronger thematic connection to this material than some of her others. I saw my orange/white tabby Fletcher out hunting in the meadow this morning and thought of this poem.

Parable of the Beast

The cat circles the kitchen
with the dead bird,
its new posession.

Someone should discuss
ethics with the cat as it
inquires into the limp bird:

in this house
we do not experience
will in this manner.

Tell that to the animal,
its teeth already
deep in the flesh of another animal.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Poem for the Day

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From Yusef Komunyakaa's Talking Dirty to the Gods


A jeweled wasp stuns
A cockroach & plants an egg
Inside. In no time, easy
As fear eats into someone,

The translucent larva grows
Beneath its host's burnished
Shell. The premature stinger
Waits like a bad idea, almost

Hidden. Summertime
Breathes on a thorny leaf.
Before the new wasp breaks
Free, they are one. No longer

Fat on death's fugacity,
By tomorrow afternoon
It will cling to a windowscreen
Bright as Satan's lost tiepin.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Thrilled for a Friend

My friend Minda, who honestly is more of a little sister than anything, just emailed me with some fantabulous news from Pittsburgh. She's okayed the sharing, so here goes.

She just finished a 12-hour shoot on the new John Leguizamo/Donnie Wahlberg tv series, The Kill Point. Here's her dispatch from the set:

Unfortunately, I only saw John L. for a couple seconds as he was getting into his car. Donnie (New Kids On The Block) Wahlberg played the old 'tap on the shoulder and walk away' game with me on set...the first time I looked at the person I was talking to and asked, 'Did Donnie Wahlberg just tap my shoulder?" And the guy smiled and said no...then a minute later he did it again and I replied, 'What? Are you 5?" and everyone laughed. (I'd like to point out that Donnie and I had NOT been introduced and he did NOT play this tapping game with anyone else...HOWEVER, he is losing his hair...painfully.)

The guy from The Brothers McMullen, Mike McGlone, was very nice as well and remembered EVERYONE'S name.
The big fun here is that I got paid...minimum wage. It doesn't matter!! I'm a WORKING ACTRESS!!!
Big ups baby.


As I've noted, the NaPoWriMo poem a day project has suffered. So I'm modifying the assignment. I'm actually going back to the cannibal file and culling all these little drafts and lines of poems that never really seemed to fit what I was doing at the time. I've come to realize that they're all part of a single larger project. It's only taken about 2 years to make the connections (sometimes I'm a bit slow.)

All of the pieces are printed out and I'm going to start tackling them today with a pen. I don't think the entire thing will be done by the end of April; who knows, I could surprise myself. But this is definitely, potentially, the longest/largest poem I've ever written.

I know there are a few of you poetical types who check in now and then, so I'd like to throw a question out to you (okay, two questions): 1. What is the longest poem you've written? and 2. How was that process different than your normal process?

Two Poems for the Day

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I've been re-reading DA Powell's Lunch and Cocktails (sadly, my copy of Tea has been lost to someone who is now somewhere else and I keep forgetting to replace it until I want to reread it.) Here's a couple from Lunch. I love the poem [triptych] on page seven of the book, but because of the formatting I didn't want to try to reproduce it here.

[the sad part of living is eating and dying]

the sad part of living is eating and dying
our dialogue breaks off mid-sentence

the bill arrives as a eulogy: itemized
everyone swallows a breathmint. repression

nevermind the cost: I'll pick up your tab
you got the cab. these days green and folding

[the rain deliberately falls: as an older boy's hand]

the rain deliberately falls: as an older boy's hand

would drop into my lap. I did like the wet

let trickle against my soft: disturbingly

precious the way I caught it. mouth stretched wide

now I rush to cover up. even the telling

clouds: frightening. I wear my slicker outside

don't want to catch my death: feel its grip

Come on up to the House

Been listening to Tom Waits' Mule Variations a lot this weekend, the track "Come on up to the House" in particular.

Friday, April 13, 2007


So it's soon to be the 200th anniversary of Wordsworth's "Daffodils." So to honor that, Cumbria has created a tourist video featuring the poem. A rap version of the poem. Featuring a guy in a squirrel suit. Happy National Poetry Month.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Mistah Christ, He Dead.

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Sometimes the conservative pundit Andrew Sullivan just pisses me off. Even when I disagree with him, I can at least respect the intellectual honesty of the position he espouses. This is not one of those times. He has a post on his site, Dean on Easter, taking to task DNC Chairman Howard Dean's recent Easter message. Below is Sullivan's post in full:

As readers know, I'm a secularist, which is not the same as being an atheist. (Yes, Mr O'Reilly, I'm talking to you.) But even I'm alarmed by the ways in which many politicians on the left go out of their way not to accord Christianity the same kind of respect they would accord any other faith. Howard Dean's DNC Easter message is a classic. Easter is not about redemption for people of all faiths. It's about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Between the Christianism of much of the GOP and religious cluelessness of many Democrats, it's no wonder cultural polarization continues.

I shot him an email about this earlier this evening (after having Brian vet it...I can be a little over-the top sometimes and he's good at telling me when I need to rein in) but I really doubt Sullivan will post the email. And I want my reaction out there.

Why? Maybe because his post and the one he links to just strike me as intellectually lacking and dishonest. Currently, he doesn't allow comments on his blog or I'd post this there--his justification for that is here--that's his prerogative. I'm sure it would change the tenor of his blog if he had people commenting and posting and questioning his posts. The internets can be dangerous territory, especially when people point out you're wrong.

So here's my problem with the post on a simply surface matter: it's essentially misleading. See that hyperlink that says Easter message? It falls in the sentence right after Howard Dean's DNC? Now, logically, you would assume due to simple proximity that that link would lead you to a text of Howard Dean's Easter Message, right? No! That's crazy thinking! You get routed instead to a post at the Rothenberg Political Report by someone named Nathan L. Gonzales (I'll get back to this post and him further down; really, it's a doozey.)

So, Sullivan is dismayed by the fact that Democrats don't extend Christianity the same kind of respect they do other religions? Here's the full text of Dean's offending, clueless message:

“Easter Sunday is a joyful celebration. The holiday represents peace, redemption and renewal, a theme which brings hope to people of all faiths. During this time Christians are called to remember who they are as people of faith, and that even the greatest of evils will not have the last word. It is also a time to reflect upon and be in solidarity with those who are persecuted and suffering among us. We should also use this time to honor those who continue to make incredible sacrifices for us, including our brave men and women in the armed forces serving overseas during this holiday. I would like to wish all those celebrating around the world this Sunday, a joyous Easter.”

Where is this message not extending Christianity the same respect it extends other religions? Granted, it's a broad, ecumenical message. But it is essentially sound. Do we specifically need to explicitly name-check Jesus and his suffering on the cross? Is it clueless that Dean also manages to acknowledge Easter's non-christian roots? Is it clueless that he reminds us of Christ's own basic admonishments in just a couple of sentences? If Sullivan has a problem with the DNC message in toto shouldn't he provide a link to his readers, allowing them the opportunity to read the short paragraph and make their own judgement call?

I am surprised (and disappointed) that he baldly asserts "Easter is not about redemption for people of all faiths. It's about the resurrection of Jesus Christ." He is someone who often discusses his own Catholicism and religious beliefs with eloquence, nuance and grace (if occasionally being self-congratulatory while doing it.) And frankly, that statement is just too blunt to do his other writing service. He misses completely (purposefully?) the phrase Dean uses: "The holiday represents peace, redemption and renewal, a theme which brings hope to people of all faiths." Notice Dean does NOT say that Easter is about redemption for all faiths. He notes that the themes we celebrate at Easter bring hope to people of all faiths. Two very different things. A woefully sloppy reading job on Sullivan's part. Technically, Easter is, on its face, about the resurrection of Jesus. But the ressurection is only part of the entire story. He seems to be evading a simple matter I remember hearing in church: why did Christ come to Earth as a man and die? And why should only Christians appreciate or be reminded of those virtues at Easter? Last I checked, Christians didn't hold a monopoly on them.

Onto my issues with his linking to the Rothenberg Report post. Fundamentally, it's a shoddy piece of writing. By citing it, Sullivan's own intellectual rigor is diminished. Truly, the piece is just bad writing. It's riddled with errors (formatting, misspellings and possessive pronoun problems) that are just embarrassing in what I take to be a professional opinion piece. I'd also argue about the intellectual validity of the piece's essential argument:

Frankly, Webster's New World Dictionary [sic] , which is not regarded as a particularly spiritual or political source, has a better definition of Easter: "an annual Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Jesus."

Students of rhetoric take note: if you want to be taken seriously, don't qualify or impeach your own source's credibility. And for the love of Strunk and Wagnall, at the very least spellcheck. And if you're using a phrase like "en masse" don't rely solely on spellcheck to make sure it's right...too many of these mistakes can (and obviously do in this case) slip through. Once that happens, and you have a body of errors, you forfeit all credibility. And honestly, relying on a dictionary definition as your support? That's a trope straight out of a mediocre English 101 assignment. And he uses Webster's New World to boot (Mr. Gonzales, titles should be italicized.) Did the other dictionaries offer too much nuance for your liking? (I'm not going to get into that sort of pedantry...but I'll allude to it. You can click the link and read the definitions from a variety of sources.) I won't quibble overmuch, it's the closest thing to objective fact in the piece and the source supports his limited defining aims (while his own rhetoric torpedoes it.) Actually, the dictionary citation isn't too bad, considering that his only other supporting source is this quote:

"This press release, absent any reference to Jesus, without whom the Easter resurrection story is meaningless, is apparently a sad reflection of a 'lowest common denominator' religious outreach of the Democratic party," said Richard Cizik, Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, "Wake up and smell the Easter lillies [sic]! This kind of outreach will not pass the smell test of any evangelical."
They use "whom" properly, but they can't spell "lilies"? I'm wondering what Mr. Cizik's damage is here. I suppose Dean's referencing "Christians" in the original post isn't explicit enough? After all, who do Christians follow?

Well howsabout this? Dean writes: "During this time Christians are called to remember who they are as people of faith, and that even the greatest of evils will not have the last word." Isn't the greatest of evils he's referring to Death? And Death doesn't have the last word? And Easter is the time that we remember that? Ergo, Jesus' resurrection trumps the greatest evil? Or is all of this too esoteric? I know some in the conservative movement are not into "nuance." But really, you three dissenting gentlemen all have advanced degrees (according to your bios.) Surely you can unpack that simple phrasing. It's pretty basic English.

Am I wrong in thinking that the roots of Christianity are well-established enough that we know the basic story of Easter? And that essential knowledge begs the explicit recitation of "the story of Easter?" Apparently, I give our culture too much credit; I'll be sure not to do that in the future. Ultimately though, this message according to Mr. Gonzales fails because:

Dean and the DNC simply missed the target this Easter. The press release was astonishing because it's [sic] sole purpose was to acknowledge a religious holiday, yet it was painfully-worded to avoid being religious. If this press release was part of the Democratic Party's outreach to evangelicals, they probably would have been better off just skipping it altogether.

Actually Mr. Gonzales, what's astonishing is that you don't understand the difference between possessive pronouns and contractions. And equally astonishing--no one else responsible for your work seeing the light of day caught it (or any of your other errors), in both the Rothenberg Post or Political Wire, either. And you used to work at CNN, ABC, and the White House?

Anyway, here's my email to Andrew Sullivan:

Correct me if I'm wrong, I am a protestant after all, but wasn't the point of Christ's passion and crucifixion ultimately redemption for mankind? At least that's what my Methodist clergy relatives and friends seem to think. Are you quibbling over the ecumenical nature of his statement? Why can't the actual message of Easter be presented as valuable to people of all faiths? The notion of sacrifice and devotion to others is to be solely the provenance of Christian(ist)s? I also find it interesting you don't link Dean's own statement so we can read and evaluate for ourselves. Especially notable are the grammatical errors and the reliance on a dictionary for evidentiary support (which the author himself slams as an ill-regarded source) in the link you did provide. I expected better from my Freshman Composition students. I expect better from you. I'd think you would as well.

Apparently all that matters is that Jesus died and resurrected. Not what that death is supposed to mean. Nor Christ's own call for his apostles to be fishers of men and to evangelize. Nor the acts of conversion and grace that are held up as exemplary. Nor his admonishments on how we are to treat one another. Part of the appeal of Christianity is the mystery and message; by reducing Easter to this one base facet, they rob that day of its grace and its liturgical standing. In truth, they rob Christianity of its most basic tenets: Christ was the son of God; He came to Earth; He suffered and died upon the cross for the sins of men and was resurrected. His example, apparently, can only be appreciated by Christians.

But, ultimately, according to these gentleman: nope, none of that matters. Just rent Passion of the Christ and shut up, cause here comes the scourging and the dying. All that matters is Jesus died and resurrected for Christians, no greater meaning beyond that. And how dare anyone try to be inclusive. How dare we clueless Democrats mention the fact that other faith systems value some of the same things.

Kitty Blogging

Brian sent me some good photos of Jaxper, the kitten he adopted from the Humane Society. So here he is, my step-cat.

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I don't think that this makes me technically a lesbian blog poseur, since he's not my cat.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


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Kurt Vonnegut has died at 84, from brain injuries sustained in a recent fall. The New York Times has more here.


I MUST See This

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My friend Karl, who has decamped from West Virginny to Old Virginny, sent me an email the other day about this movie. Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter. That's just brilliant. This strikes me as the perfect anodyne to our current dearth of Christploitation flicks. There are a few, just not enough.

Although not the biggest Jesus movie fan, I do love me some Vampire slaying. And while I doubt there's any reference to "Mr. Pointy," I think the movie's two tag lines are solid: "The Power of Christ Impales You" and "The first testament says "an eye for an eye." - The second testament says "love thy neighbour." - The third testament ... Kicks Ass!!!"

According to this review at, this movie is a trifecta for me. Masked luchador? Check. Skinning lesbians to provide the vampires skin grafts? Check. Atheists attacking our lord and savior? Check.

Thank you Karl!

The Energizer Crazy

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AP Photo

So, the winsome Larry Birkhead is the Baby Daddy. And in unrelated news, water is wet.

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Thrifty abductors shop at Target! Nowak's wig and stun gun.
Orlando State Attorney's Office/AP Photo

According to this AP story by Jim Ellis, there's new news from the Lisa Nowak debacle. The court has unsealed some documents. Yay!

According to the documents officials found bondage photos in her car on a computer disk. "Nearly all of the 16 images found on the disk depicted bondage scenes, according to a forensic examination report by the Orlando Police Department. Some of the images showed a nude woman while others were drawings. "

"Also found were nearly $600, 41 British pounds and four brown paper towels with 69 orange pills. State law enforcement are testing the pills to determine what they are, authorities said. "

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Orlando State Attorney's Office/AP Photo

The Spin I'm In

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What a pleasant surprise to wake up this morning without pain in my left arm and shoulder. It took a couple of hours to pin down what was different and then I realized. Hopefully I can be sensible and not mess this up.

The last couple of weeks have been rough. Not just because I've been sick and hurt. I've also been awfully emotional. Not in the ways I usually am, either. It's been quick little crying bursts and feeling restless. At first I chalked it up to the bronchitis and arm thing. But now, I'm not sure. Maybe I've just been manstruating. Lord knows. I will say this. The
Sarah McLachlan /ASPCA ad has sent me off on crying jags every time I've seen it. I don't know why. I hate the song "Angel." She's awfully bronze in the ad. But those sad little animals, they get me.

NaPoWriMo has been a bust so far. Not being able to type for long has been a big part of it--I do a lot of my early drafting at the keyboard. Fixating on the pains and limitations of my body has been another non-starter. I've done some editing and rearranging. But no composing. I'm hoping to sit myself down and get some new stuff done by the end of the week.

The covered plants have made it through the freeze. I might have to cut back the bleeding hearts. The weight of the snow and ice on the plastic have them bent pretty badly. I'm not sure if the stems and stalks will totally recover. Compared to the flowering shrubs though, they had it easy. The lilac, mock orange and weigelia foliage are in hideous shape. Not sure if any of them were setting buds...but I suspect that they won't flower much this year.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Here's some YouTubeage of the new Bjork/Timbaland collabo "We Are the Earth Intruders." It has a very Post feel, industrial-lite and dancey. It's also available now at iTunes.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Slow Burn

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I went back Friday to have another back adjustment. That one, overall, went better than my earlier visit. However, there were a few things that bothered me...."bothered" isn't right...properly pissed me off might be more accurate. I actually had a pretty nuclear rant worked up by Friday evening, but decided not to post it. Partly because sitting and typing has been unpleasant. Partly because I didn't want to come across as some sort of frothing psycho.

Let me backtrack juuuuust a little. Thursday, I ran errands. Nothing major, just took my mom to her tax preparers' place, did some light shopping. About a half hour in, my left arm started hurting and soon after that, so did my shoulder. It was bad. I couldn't lift and load a 20 pound bag of cat food. By the time I was home, the knots in my shoulder were back and I was ready to cry. All in all, the entire trip took about two hours. Once I got home, I took some otc painkillers and tried to relax on the couch.

Friday, I get to the clinic office and sign in. Based on my wait time for my previous visit, I tried to be there about 10 minutes before my scheduled time. I sat down and started flipping through an issue of Consumer Reports which ironically, had a section on people's experience with doctors. It discussed aspects of what a consumer can do to make the most of their visits, what bothered patients about their interactions with doctors and what bothered doctors most about interactions with patients. There was also a sub-section about how to discuss 10 embarrassing medical conditions with your doctor (everything from jock itch, to yeast infections, to other sorts of itching.) It was about seven or eight pages of material, all told. I'd finished the article and was skimming back through it when I was finally called back. By now, it was after 3:00 (my scheduled appointment time.)

The nurse ran me through the preliminaries: bp, temp, heart rate, weight. She took me to an exam room and we did the "why are you here today" routine. She made some notes and left, leaving my file in a little holder on the outside of the door. And I waited. And waited. And waited. At some point there was a knock at the door--sooner than I expected--and I was pleasantly surprised, expecting it to be the doctor.

But nooooo, it was a nurse making sure they had the right patient file for that exam room. That struck me as a little odd, because I've been going to this clinic since I was 11 or 12 and nothing like that had ever happened before. But it was a little interaction that kept me from pacing around the room, reading the BMI charts ( I seriously need to lose about 15 pounds), the big allergy poster, the listing of codes for common symptoms and treatments (it amused me to see that they'd handwritten codes for gonorrhea and chlamydia in the margin.) Seriously--I don't know how long I waited. I don't wear a watch anymore and I've stopped taking my cell phone in with me because if I can see the time and know how long I'm waiting it just makes me angry.

Finally, the doctor comes. He asks how my shoulder/back feel and I tell him. I tell him about the previous day's problem while running errands. He says "Well maybe you should've walked." Ha ha. Funny, funny doctor. My visit earlier in the week, I'd told him about the problem and not being sure what range of motion set off the pain. I mentioned it acting up when I drove and then being set off by washing my hair the previous day. "Well stop washing your hair." Hardee har har. Now, tell me to try the veal. If he does this or something like this again I'm remarkably tempted to ask him if he intends to be dismissive. If you want to engage with your patients in some way, fine. You sure as hell need to do something if they're going to be waiting for more than a half-an-hour to see you. But this is not the way to do it.

I asked him about what I could do for pain management (knowing that the answer would be pretty conservative; the clinic has a policy of not prescribing more than necessary, which I whole-heartedly agree with.) He said (as I knew he would) "Ibuprofen." I explained that I'd taken ibuprofen the day before and it hadn't really done anything. He said something about a muscle relaxer and had me get on the table to put the heating pad on. Now--let me be clear. I am not/was not angling for heavy duty painkillers or muscle relaxers. A muscle relaxer would've been nice, more than I would have hoped for, but I was actually seeing if I could get a small scrip of prescription strength ibuprofen for the pain.

We got through the adjustment with much less popping and cracking than my earlier visit. He provided me a sheet with a series of stretches on it for my spine, neck and shoulders. All of which I've been doing. But no scrip. Fine, that's his prerogative. It's all sort of dulled down to a throb that I can live with.

There is one more thing that he's done that I want to comment on. It's about the smoking thing. Yes, I should stop smoking. I know this. Smoking is bad bad, dirty dirty. I get it. But, as I told him during my first visit--I have tried to stop smoking. Hypnosis, nicotine replacement (a few times), cold turkey (more than a few times.) Done it. Read my file. It's in there. I've gone through your frigging clinic to do it. There's a paper trail. I've asked about (and been shot down on) Welbutrin. What exactly would you like me to do? Give me an option that I've not tried. I'll do it. But don't scold me two or three times in the minutes you spend with me like some bad parent with a kid who's wet his pants.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Firefighters for Rudy

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If this guy isn't associated with the Firefighters for Rudy organization, I really really really think he should be. Go to the smoking gun for 14 more pages of booking photos. Apparently the local police did a thorough (and unnerving) cataloging of Steven Cole's arrest. My favorite photo is the one showing a 40 ounce of Budweiser on the station table.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Run for Cover

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It's getting colder. Blech. Apparently we're in for about five days of cold and ick. I went around and covered as many of the young plants and fresh growth as I could. Hopefully things won't be too badly damaged. It's a shame because the lungwort, bleeding hearts and trilliums in the shade bed are doing beautifully so far.


The Alanis "My Humps" cover is startling. I'm sure by now you've seen it or heard it--according to YouTube, more than 1.5 million people have viewed it. It also made me think of my favorite cover songs. So here, in no particular order, are some of my favorites.

Tori Amos, "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
David Bowie, "Wild is the Wind"
Talking Heads, "Take Me to the River"
Eurythmics, "Come Together"
Johnny Cash, "Hurt"
PJ Harvey and Bjork, "Satisfaction"
Nydia Rojas, "The Tide is High"
Sinead O'Connor, "Success Has Made a Failure of Our Home"
Bono, "Hallelujah"
The Vines, "Miss Jackson"
Cyndi Lauper, "Carey"
Madonna & Massive Attack, "I Want You"
Scissor Sisters, "Comfortably Numb"
Syd Straw, "These Boots are Made For Walkin"

And just to be fair, execrable versions that should never be played again.

Britney Spears, "My Prerogative"
Rod Stewart, "Downtown Train"
Jessica Simpson, "Angel"/"These Boots are Made for Walkin"/"You Spin Me Round"
Madonna, "American Pie"
Annie Lennox, "Train in Vain"
10,000 Maniacs, "Because the Night"
Marilyn Manson, "Sweet Dreams"/"Tainted Love"
Counting Crows, "Big Yellow Taxi"
Gloria Estefan, "Everlasting Love"/"Turn the Beat Around"
Johnny Cash, "Bridge Over Troubled Water"/ "Danny Boy"
Celine Dion, "You Shook Me All Night Long"
Hillary Duff, "My Generation"
Sheryl Crow, "The First Cut is the Deepest"/"Sweet Child O' Mine"


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Yesterday's adventure in realignment wasn't nearly as pleasant as I hoped. He was readjusting my neck and kept telling me to relax. This isn't easy for me. It's safe to say that I'm what they used to call "high strung." Even when I'm just schlumping around watching television or reading, I'm not really relaxed. It's just not what I do. It's even harder when someone is holding my chin and the back of my neck, ready to twist it until it pops like bubble wrap. Telling me to relax doesn't help; in fact it turns out to be contraindicative. Those heavy heating pads are divine though. I wonder if there's a home version.

In unrelated, equally craptastic news, I can expect to cough and expectorate phlegm for up to six weeks. Huzzah.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Thank God It's Monday

I can't believe I said that, but I did. I spent most of the weekend with my friend Jenny, who I've not seen for several weeks. I think the last time was when we were supposed to go to Charleston but ended up in the median. The visit was nothing exciting really--we ran out and grabbed some movies and I fixed dinner. We ate like pigs, changed into our jammies and had a movie marathon. The only thing missing was doing one another's hair and prank calling that dreamy boy from Geometry class.

There were, however, a couple of things that made this a truly Jenny experience. Saturday night her little shelter rescue schnauzer got incredibly sick all over the place and we had to clean that up. Sunday morning, as I was gearing up to leave, the light fixture/ceiling fan combo in her kitchen blew up. Each light exploded sequentially and it started smoking. We turned off the breakers to the kitchen and I had her call the fire department to find out what to do since we couldn't get her landlord or the building's handy man on the phone. That's part of the fun of seeing her--something always happens. You don't know if it's going to be benign (blitz attack by pooping birds) or potentially fatal (car in the median), but something happens that makes a good story later. She's like a magnet.

I've got an appointment to see the chiropractor tomorrow. I wanted an appointment today, but he's booked. I've got a pinched nerve that is totally screwing up my left arm if I move it the wrong way. The sad thing is, I'm not sure what "the wrong way" is just yet. So far it's been set off by washing my hair in the shower and driving (I drive a stick so my left arm/hand is the dominant steering hand) so I'm trying to avoid holding it straight out or raising it to head level. My mother, lord love her, asked me "Well how did you do that?" Honestly, I don't know. I suspect it happened because of sleeping on my left side, curled up. I'm looking forward to the alignment/adjustment though. I wrenched my back a couple of years ago and he had me fixed in less than an hour.

I got my machete. And I've learned that to get the herbicide and stump killer I need, I'm going to have to make a trip to a tractor supply store. I've never been to one. I'm looking at it as an anthropological experience.