Monday, December 31, 2007
Today I have the barest glimmer of understanding. It's New Year's Eve, and while the rest of the world is cranking out Best of 2007 lists and chilling the champagne and making resolutions and party plans, well, I'm sitting here at work with maybe six other people, fighting a nasty cold that's been hanging on since Wednesday, and wondering what to have for dinner.
Never been a big New Year's kind of person; flipping the calendar over really hasn't felt like a big deal since I was maybe twelve. The lone exception to that was the turn of the millenium--hey, how many times does that happen in your lifetime--although the anticipation was deadened a bit by the fact that I was camping outside Patagonia and was thus unable to ascertain whether the post-midnight silence heralded the spontaneous annihiliation of civilization or was simply an effect of being way out in the boonies.
So while I'm glad for the paid day off tomorrow, no major revelries are planned. I'm old and cranky. I may glance at a few bowl games tomorrow, may go for a walk, or may just come in to work since nothing else is going on. Is it the equivalent of Christmas Eve dinner at a Chinese restaurant? Hmmm. Now that I think of it, that's sounding pretty good.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
The upshot is that while I haven't believed in any type of god for quite some time, I found at the close of this holiday season that I still believe in hope and take delight in total crap-ass situations improbably reversing themselves. When a week-long family gathering that had been a prickly incubator for arguments and general bad behavior resolved into four generations, at the close of an amazing meal, sing carols together to the squawky accompaniment of the youngest member of the cohort's electric guitar, well, hell, it gave me hope that everything just might turn out okay after all.
Friday, December 21, 2007
When someone says "Happy Holidays" to me, I take it as an expression of friendliness, a wish that I might enjoy whatever I celebrate, however I do it, and that is the wish I return when I reply "Happy Holidays" myself. Despite being a recovering Catholic who is far enough along in the process to be certifiably atheist, I still call my own celebration "Christmas" and do it up with all the trimmings and traditions from my childhood, just minus any belief in Baby Jesus. If somebody else calls it Solstice and someone else simply "Holiday," it doesn't diminish the season or insult anyone any more than does my retaining the name and trappings of Christmas without what would seem to be a pretty requisite underlying faith. For Chrissakes, it's all about kicking back with friends and family to celebrate generosity and a little bit of peace. The name slapped on the substance of the celebration is irrelevant. Besides, the fucking Puritans conservatives so love to invoke would have put us all in stocks in the town square for participating in modern American-style Christmas revelry anyway, since they thought Christmas celebrations were unbiblical and paganistic and--even worse--Papist, so don't give me that "traditional Christmas is under attack" bullshit.
Speaking of kicking back and promoting peace and Jameson-spiked hot beverages, it simply isn't Winter Holiday Time at Boltgirl's house without gallons and gallons of wassail. For your consumption:
Brew in large stockpot or cauldron:
1.5 quarts strong black tea, such as Irish Breakfast
1 gallon apple cider (unfiltered Gravenstein juice from Trader Joe's works well)
slightly more than half of a large can of frozen OJ concentrate
~2 pints cranberry juice cocktail
~2.5 pints grapefruit juice
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water (truly spitting in a hurricane, but it's in the recipe, so...)
handful of cinnamon sticks
handful of cloves
Bring to a simmer and adjust juices to taste, simmer for hours but don't bring to a boil. Fantabulous on its own, more so with the addition of some Irish whiskey, bourbon, or rum. Keep the pot on the stove until it's gone for continuous wassailing pleasure; it won't go bad on you in just a couple of weeks.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Thanks to seven day weeks, it really was exactly seven years ago, another Thursday night. Another lifetime. Waiting. Wondering if she'd show up and meet me like we'd planned. Wondering what it would bring. Knowing nothing would ever be quite the same, no matter the outcome.
She did eventually show up, if two hours late. We embarked on 48 hours of pure fantasyland on Lopez Island to a soundtrack of Christmas music, fueled by wine and chai, surrounded by seagulls and sea lions, cut off from the mainland and the greater reality awaiting us there on our return by the green waters of Puget Sound, kept warm by a wood-burning stove and a flame that had to burn out sooner rather than later.
The rest of it, of course, was a disaster.
Seven years safely removed from that particular edition of the epic drama that only lesbians can bring to a breakup, happy and secure in my relationship with the woman I love, the night before the solstice still takes me back to that singular place after which there has been no turning back, as if Billy Pilgrim was right and we do exist in all moments simultaneously, forever. As if part of me will always be sitting alone in that parking lot at the end of a two thousand mile drive, bundled inside my truck against the cold, looking at the stars, watching my solitary breath fog the windows, quietly wondering, now that I have kept my part of the bargain, how the rest will unfold.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Yes. It does say Milf. Maternity wear.
I just had to go to the website. Just to see if maybe they don't actually know what MILF means, although the logo strongly suggests they do. Maybe...
This bold belly baring tank top say’s pregnant or not…I am hot! You will never want to take it off. This staple white tank will last you into post pardum.
Logo: “B2 Bare the Belly”
Or maybe not.
The proud mom of two who started this company claims MILF only means "Mothers In Love with Fashion," but rather disingenuously follows that up with
I hope you love my clothing line and you wear the Milf label with pride. Remember, you are "Always Hot... Pregnant or Not!"
“A woman who personally considers being called a 'Milf' a compliment. You should too!"
Because nothing says pride like tying your self-worth to how you rate on a man's fuckability index, even--especially--if you've given birth or are on your way to the delivery room! Why settle for compliments like "nice" or "smart" or "stylish" when guys can--and should!--just cut to the chase and pronounce you someone they would Like To Fuck?
You can either let the world know you are "S2 Seriously Sexy" or declare yourself a "Knocked Up Knockout"! Can’t decide if you want to "Countdown to Cosmo's" or let your little belly be highlighted with the "My Pod" logo? Go for it and get one of everything. Isn't that what we women do when we can't decide?
Ha ha ha, we women are so darn incapable of making decisions, we better just grab up everything within our field of vision! Why, you'd almost think we didn't have brains! Would you Like To Fuck us now?
Lots of shops have maternity lines now that look like actual clothing rather than tents. I'm all for it. But Jesus Haploid Christ, can we do it because the women involved like the clothes on their own merits, rather than echoing the message that women need to define and maintain themselves in service of male sexual desire at all times?I feel like vomiting a little, and it ain't morning sickness talking.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
The companion volume, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Maybe Not Being Quite So Much of a Total Fuckup, All the Fucking Time, But We're Not Holding Our Breath Where You're Concerned, I Mean, Seriously Now, is apparently out of print.
"Today we have scored a victory for American civil liberties and sent a message to President Bush that we will not tolerate his abuse of power and veil of secrecy," Dodd said in a statement released after Reid pulled the bill. "The President should not be above the rule of law, nor should the telecom companies who supported his quest to spy on American citizens. I want to thank the thousands of Americans throughout the country that stood with me to get this done for our country."
The 64-year-old Connecticut senator indicated he would have been willing to keep the floor all night if needed to prevent the immunity provision from moving through the senate.
"I rarely come to the floor with this much anger," Dodd said. "I've never seen contempt of the rule of law such as this."
And good on him for it. AT&T may have jumped into bed--aw, who we crappin'--rather, hit its knees for Bush within two weeks of his inauguration, (h/t Top!Secret G-woman) setting up a system for combing all the phone and e-mail traffic routed through its New Jersey hub. Qwest, bless their crappy customer-servicing, rate-hiking souls, apparently told Bush to bugger off.
Reid is claiming Dodd's filibuster threats had nothing to do with him pullng the bill, saying instead that the year-end crunch caught up with him and left too little time to get the bill properly gift-wrapped and packed in peanuts. I mean, have you tried getting anywhere close to the post office this late in December?
Whatever, Harry. Thanks, Chris. Sorry for you that your presidential campaign never really got off the blocks, but glad for the rest of us since that allows you to have the courage to prove that, occasionally, Democrats can show some spine and challenge the administration in the service of what is right.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
All the pre-planning and swearing up and down that this would not be like previous years went completely by the wayside, of course, as I was still scurrying around like a madwoman as the first guest arrived. Next year, goddammit, it will all be done a week ahead of time. A. Week. Ahead. During the course of the evening, I managed to forget one couple's names and so was a less than stellar host for not introducing them around. I also made an unconscionably sober pact with another friend to acquire, and learn to passably play, a set of bagpipes.
Yee hah. If you were there I hope you had a good time. Nothing caught on fire and nobody died, so a success all the way around.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Rainbow (snowbow?) across the Catalina Mountains.
I particularly like the broken clouds and fog because they reveal the intricacies of the mountains, turning them from the usual sunny day's monolithic horizon to a much more interesting landscape with relief and depth.
Clouds, rainbow, mountain: mystery and majesty! Angel choirs!
Winter's second act opened this morning. Namely, thick thick fog. My office sits down in the cold-air drainage of Rillito Creek; driving in I could see the fog thicken with each declining temperature gradient.
Same view as rainbow/snowbow shot above, only slightly obscured by fog.
The sun may be making an appearance this morning. Hopefully there's still a nice snowcap up there somewhere.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Sundhage preaches a European-style "total football" approach, where Greg Ryan, her predecessor as U.S. coach, emphasized defense first... Finesse and tactical awareness will replace brute strength and strategic naivete.
I have seen soccer dads with more tactical awareness than Ryan showed in the Cup. And having the defenders, midfielders, and forwards practice separately from each other? Wow. Very America, circa 1976. Had he survived as coach, I'm certain the vintage 3-3-4 would have made an appearance. If you played as a kid in the late '70s anywhere east of the Mississippi, you have a frame of reference for the regrettable "left inside forward." C'mon, you can cop to it--that was a long time ago, and it really wasn't your fault. Try explaining it to your kids, though, and watch them fall down laughing. Anyway, where were we? Oh yeah.
"The World Cup exploited our weaknesses," said Kate Markgraf, who played for Sundhage in Boston. "Brazil tore us apart."
"We were just trying to do the best we could, but we didn't know how to solve defenses and formations other teams were throwing at us," Wambach said.
Ya think? Well, if the first step is recognizing the problems that exist, I'd say they're on their way. Now that the College Cup is over on the women's side, I'm very interested to see what collegiate players might show up to be evaluated prior to the Algarve Cup in March.
It's odd that I should remember my pivotal moment, the fulcrum of my life, with such clarity, given the combination of how innocuous it seemed at the time and my tender age. It was an evening at my dad's parents' house, summer of 1973. I was six. Maybe I remember it because it was heralded by Grandpa's front doorbell, a low, grating rumble that always made me look up in surprise because no one ever came to the front door and its treacherous, moss-slicked brick sidewalk. The kitchen door, through the screened porch at the back of the house near the end of the long gravel driveway, was the real entryway, the door anybody who knew anything knew to come through. Knocking optional. So the doorbell rumbled, and Grandma opened the door, and in walked the new band/choir director Grandpa had hired for the high school. Grandpa and Grandma had run the music program at the school (the only high school for the entire eastern half of the county) since the late '40s, and at this point Grandpa had retired from teaching and moved on to an administrative position. My mom was already a music teacher and assistant choir director there.
The rest is, well, yeah. I never asked Grandpa if he felt weird later for bringing the new guy to town. That would have been poor form. Because mom and dad split up two years later, the new guy took a job at Saint Mary's and Notre Dame, and mom followed him to South Bend, with me in tow. And that's where the rest of my life took shape. Mom was sufficiently freaked out by the teeming metropolis we now found ourselves in (coming from a tiny farm-and-oil town surrounded by the cornfields of southern Illinois, South Bend was intimidatingly large) to put me in a private school, where good teaching and a challenging curriculum gave me a leg up in the subsequent Catholic high school, which in turn opened the door to a near-full scholarship to college in Chicago, where I met the guy I ended up marrying, but who, more relevant for this discussion, also suggested an archaeology class when I was casting about for electives, which was taught by the professor I ended up taking as academic advisor, who then took me Peru, where I learned archaeological fieldwork, and who recommended both the university and supervising professor for my graduate work and gave me enough probably undeserved A grades to sufficiently boost my GPA for a graduate fellowship, which taught me a specialization and introduced me to a classmate who came to Arizona for his doctorate and took a job in Tucson that he ultimately didn't have time to fulfill, and so suggested I give it a shot since I was having no luck finding a job in the midwestern town I really wanted to live in, and the guy who was hiring here couldn't find any better candidates and took me on a single-project trial basis in 1994... and here I am.
All because a guy with a music degree walked through my Grandpa's front door in 1973. I resented it when I was younger and filled with the self-righteousness of adolescence. Now, hell, whatever. Life unfolds no matter what. It's somewhat comforting to trace it back and recognize that balancing point. What is yours?
Monday, December 10, 2007
This weekend's offering:
Hey, wanna have some fun this CHRISTMAS? Send the ACLU a CHRISTMAS CARD! As they are working so very hard to get rid of the CHRISTMAS part of this holiday, we should all send them a nice, CHRISTIAN, card to brighten up their dark, sad, little world.
Two tons of Christmas cards would freeze their operations because they wouldn't know if any were regular mail containing contributions.. So spend 37 cents and tell the ACLU to leave Christmas alone.
Here's the Address.
"Wishing You Merry Christmas"
125 Broad Street
New York, NY 10004
I briefly mulled whether to slap him for uncritically forwarding something so out of date that it references the old 37-cent stamp rate--but hey, at least it means he's recycling--then ultimately settled on just because you get something from our uncle doesn't make it any less completely fucking retarded. He wrote back to say
The ACLU is filled with a bunch of sissies who get hysterical about meaningless things. Worthless organization.
What can I say in the face of that compelling logic? Boy, the family Christmas is going to be extra good fun this year.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Hell, to see the full force of vitriol I don't even need to leave the state, but merely trundle up the interstate a couple of hours. The city of Scottsdale (quite upscale suburb of Phoenix) recently added gender identity and expression to their nondiscrimination policy, and the howling nutjobs predictably came out of the woodwork to glom onto the comment section following the Arizona Republic's online story.
Several people apparently confused this employment nondiscrimination ordinance with a hate crime statute, but most managed to stay on-topic. The comments run about 2 to 1 for the anti-gay camp. The anti comments fall into the usual categories we've come to expect. As always, spelling and grammar take heavy hits.
Learning Someone is Gay = Having Their Sexuality Shoved Down Your Throat!
Look, for the most part, most people just don't like gays. But if you folks would just take it back to the closet, no one would know, nor would anyone care, and you wouldn't be chastised for it.
For God sakes, get a life and quit whining....if you love being gay, no one cares as long as you don't put it in other people's faces. Personally, I don't want anything to do with any of you and if you come into a bathroom when I'm there, I'll make sure you're removed.
Gay = Pedophilia! And Stealing!
how about N.A.M.B.L.A. are they the next protected group. I know, I know. It's not a choice, the nambla people where born that way, yeah, uh huh.
I wonder when equal rights and special protections will be granted to pedophiles also.
What is next, are you going to give thiefs special gights because they like to rob people??
Gay = Perverted! And Mentally Ill!
Gays don't have anymore rights than any human being. The only rights they should have is to be imprisoned for being perverts. Gays don't have any specific Constitutional rights. I don't think anyone except for the perverts (gays) would fight for this country if there was.
I have no sympathy for them. If they want to be treated like normal human beings than they need to act and live like normal human beings. They are deviant and to deserve to be treated as such.
There is nothing natural about being a homosexual. If you are a homo or "Gay" as they like to call themselves, you have something seriously wrong with the wiring in your skull!
It's Only About Anal Sex!
Equal rights are fine but why give the wierdos special rights. I like kinky sex myself once in awhile but I don't expect anything special because of it.
How can a guy look at another guy's smelly hairy butt and fall in love?
Equal Rights = Special Rights!
The fact is, the laws like the one passed in Scottsdale open the door for "hate crime" laws, which are nothing more than justification to silence the masses and impose harsher punishment on "gay bias" crimes than on those involving the average Joe. That is WRONG.
What a joke. The privileges of protection under so-called hate crime laws have NEVER extended to: whites, straight males or Christian.
It's a Choice!
I believe that sexual orientation is a choice one makes. There's no proof that genetics dictate sexual preference.
I choose every day not to be gay. So being straight must be a choice.
Maybe you don't choose your orientation but you still choose your sexual partners.
The Children! Think of the Children!
this presents a danger to everyone in Scottsdale. Imagine your child having to share a bathroom, a school locker room or some other restricted area with a person of the opposite gender?
We will not accept this disease and should eradicate it before it affects our children.
But Not the Suicidal Gay Ones!
33% of gay youth will attempt suicide? The natural "thinning of the herd process" in action.
Thanks for the reality check, Phoenix. Merry Christmas to you too.
Meanwhile, the state of Arizona appears to be on the brink of offering DP benefits to state employees, which would be very good for many reasons. One of them is pre-emptively loading the ammunition against the next inevitable push for a constitutional amendment reserving all of the rights, responsibilities, and incidences of marriage for male-female pairings, up to and quite possibly including the possession of a tiered cake and monogrammed bath towels. It's also sure to set off another round of refreshing comment-posting by our fellow Arizonans. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Favored by surly archaeologists throughout Tucson... and the world!
Don't forget the lovely holiday ornaments while you're there, cuz nuthin' sez XMAS like an oversized Basketmaker point on an oval plaque dangling from a fir tree. Ah, just do me a favor if you happen to work at my company, and if you're not sure if you do, please ask--be a love and and wear the stuff someplace other than the office (at least not to staff meetings) for the next couple of months, m'kay?
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Not surprisingly, the host of murky legal ramifications are being dismissed with a sniff by the pro-blastocyst contingent.
Any contraceptive that interfered with the ability of a fertilized egg to implant in the womb could be considered person-destroying and banned, reproductive rights groups suggested. Examples include intrauterine devices and birth-control pills, which may affect implantation in some cases.
Also, the entire enterprise of in-vitro fertilization — which involves creating embryos in laboratories for couples trying to conceive — could be brought to a halt if these embryos were deemed to be persons with legal rights, others suggest.
In Colorado, Kristi Burton, the driving force behind the proposed “personhood” initiative, shrugs off questions about these potential impacts, calling them “pretty much scare tactics.” Referring to critics of her initiative, she says that “they realize this issue is simple and they don’t have an answer for it. They cannot say when this (embryo) becomes a person. We do.”
Hmmm. The cautions sounded by reasonable people following the proposed legislation to its logical conclusion are being pooh-poohed as "scare tactics" designed to discourage support for the referendum. Where have I heard that before? Ah, yes, I heard it in the runup to the 2006 ballot measures intended to ban same-sex marriage. When the reality-based community pointed out that the proposed constitutional amendments would prevent state, county, and municipal governments and institutions from extending healthcare benefits to the domestic partners of their employees (and any children in those relationships not legally related to the employees), the conservatives accused them of engaging in, yes, scare tactics to erode support for the anti-gay amendments. It's just about the sanctity of marriage, they tutted, and nothing else.
Except that it wasn't.
Shortly after the amendments passed, conservative groups filed lawsuits forcing states to rescind benefits to the domestic partners of state employees. The ink was barely dry on the freaking paper. Well, they said, after looking at it a little closer the new law really doesn't leave us any choice but to bring these suits. Who knew? Sorry.
And they expect us to believe that this will be any different? Learn to love condoms, y'all, since that's just about all you'll have left. Until, that is, sperm and unfertilized eggs are declared full persons too, which will put condoms squarely in dutch with the First Amendment's right to free association.
Monday, December 03, 2007
But, alas, as central Arizona increasingly adopts the guise of California del Este with the freeways and monstrous cookie-cutter red-tile-roofed tract houses of greater Los Angeles--only with even less available water--developers have eyed the big expanse of desolate, hot saltbush flats between Phoenix and Tucson and thought, naturally... Theme Park!
Not just any theme park. A rock 'n' roll theme park! In Eloy!
The question for Arizonans, as lawmakers consider creating a taxing district to pave the way for a large-scale theme park in Eloy, is whether Southern Arizona's extreme summer temperatures — which can climb as high as 115 degrees — are too hot for tourists to handle.It's an issue that skeptics and critics of the park — called Decades and based around a rock 'n' roll concept — have raised since its developers rolled out plans early this month.
Because I-10 just isn't crowded enough. Of course, no one in their right minds would venture outduring daylight hours to a blacktopped venue anytime between May and... oh, let's be generous and say September in the oven that is central Arizona, so maybe traffic won't be an issue at all. Not that it would make things any better for the people who are stuck in the proposed 9 percent tax district that would be created to fund this bogglingly stupid idea.
But since even the prospect of acres of asphalt + 115-degree daytime highs doesn't provide enough stupid for some people, Glenna, a "writer" from Tucson, dials it up to eleven in this letter to the Daily Star this morning:
A theme park in Arizona is a great idea as long as it is a water park. Why not build something that makes sense, that will not only attract tourists but will also provide relief from the heat for natives. They have enclosed beaches in Japan, so why not here? We already have a theme song for the park: "Ocean Front Property" in Arizona.When it's cold in the rest of the world, people can come play on the beach when it's hot here. People can surf in the indoor ocean. And don't say we don't have enough water. If we have enough for the golf courses, we have enough for a water park.
In the immortal words of the Scalzi LOLCreashun Contest winner,
Logic: You're Doing It Wrong.
We don't have enough for the golf courses, sweet cheeks. The 100-year water plan that allows new houses to spring up by the tens of thousands is predicated on increasing draws from the Colorado River, which supplies three other states on its way here and is in crisis already. And you want a surfable indoor ocean in Eloy? Please.
Meanwhile, the evil empire to the north is moving forward with plans for a monstrous, 125-acre water park that would suck up 100 million gallons of groundwater per year. Unclear on the Concept of a Fucking Desert Developer Richard Mladick offers up his unassailable reasoning:
Mladick, 39, said he wanted to create the kind of lush environment he remembers from growing up in Virginia Beach, Va., and surfing in Morocco, Indonesia, Hawaii and Brazil.
"I couldn't imagine raising my kids in an environment where they wouldn't have the opportunity to grow up being passionate about the same sports that I grew up being passionate about," he said.
Here's a thought. If you want to raise your kids in an environment where they will have the opportunity to grow up being passionate about surfing and snorkling, raise them in Virginia Beach. Arizona has an unbelievable number of settings for amazing outdoor activities--hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, fishing, skiing, snowboarding, hunting--but surfing just isn't one of them. Too many more asshole developers with far more money than brains might ultimately end up curtailing much more mundane activities, such as drinking water that isn't treated effluent. Tempe Town Lake is already the state's biggest evaporative cooler. With Mesa poised to take over the top spot, the aquifer doesn't need an additional assault from Eloy.