Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Flap Flap Tweet Shriek Munch Munch Oh Noes

Sigh. I can’t deny it any longer. I’m a classist.

Most days over the past two weeks, I have caught, out of the corner of my eye, a larger-than-usual swoop of motion outside my office window. I look up and see a hawk arranging its wings and shaking out its feathers on the fencepost, sometimes two hawks in tandem, as the finches scatter and the lizards try to melt into the shadows.

Sometimes the hawks hop along the fence, craning their necks front and back to find the occasional bad-luck squirrel that is now trapped under the bottom rail, sprinting back and forth from post to post in a very existential game of hotbox, hoping that the hawk will be distracted by an easier-to-reach potential snack just long enough for the squirrel to make a final mad dash across the road, either to the sanctuary of the brushpile or into talon-ushered eternity.

When the hawk drops out of nowhere to explode a dove into a cloud of feathers and retreats to the fence or a tree with whatever scraps of meat might be left under all that fluff, I cheer for the hawk. When it alights with a drooping, bepawed slip of a ground squirrel, I am chagrined. When both hawks flap ever closer and finally take swipes at the terrified squirrel, I cringe and hope the birds go hungry.

I am fascinated by raptors. I love watching them, even when they’re not doing much of anything. But they force me to acknowledge a hole in my otherwise reliably rational perspective on the natural world. Rampant classism. Mammalian solidarity. It's not just because the little mammals are usually cute; if we're arguing aesthetics, the hawks are very handsome and elegant. It's simply that I don’t want to be eaten by a bird, or a komodo dragon, or--definitely not--by a flippin’ fish, not even during Shark Week, and so don't wish a similar Aves-Mammalia mashup on the rodents.

Coyotes noshing on squirrels? Aw, look at the puppy! Birds doing the same? Stop that!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

En Fuego! Oh...

Remember when Arizona was burning down, way back at the start of the summer, and Walnuts went on television to tell the nation it was probably the illegals’ fault?

"We are concerned about, particularly, areas down on the border where there is substantial evidence that some of these fires are caused by people who have crossed our border illegally," McCain said Saturday at a press conference, according to CNN.
Yeah, not so much.

A Tucson man and his cousin have been charged with causing the largest wildfire in Arizona history.

David Wayne Malboeuf, 24, of Tucson, and Caleb Joshua Malboeuf, 26, of Benson, were charged in connection with the Wallow Fire, which started May 29 in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest.

The blaze scorched more than 538,000 acres in Eastern Arizona and part of Western New Mexico and destroyed 32 homes, four commercial buildings and 36 outbuildings before it was contained July 8.

A Forest Service investigation found the fire started when a campfire, left unattended by the Malboeufs in the Bear Wallow area, spread out of the fire ring and quickly spread in high winds.

Umm, yay Tucson? McCain supporters are rushing to the comments to remind us that the senator didn’t specify the Wallow fire, despite his statement coming when that particular biggest, craziest fire in Arizona history was full-on raging, not just in the woods but in the national news, and everyone was talking about God having finally decided to just torch the place because we’re kinda stupid out here (see: Pearce, Russell; Brewer, Jan; Underpants, Sheriff Pink).

But some illegal immigrant somewhere in Arizona started some fire sometime, probably, which means all fires are ultimately the Mexicans' fault anyway, also. QED. Or something.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Aaaaaaaand the other dog had to be put down yesterday. Happy fucking birthday, yo.

This summer has been the absolute singularity and event horizon of suck. Stress, strife, sadness piled on sadness. Fall's coming. Let's fucking go.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Me Eve

My birthday is tomorrow. This used to be an exciting event.

Number three was an absolutely killer train party, for which my parents made little cardboard train cars for the guest to chug themselves around in from pin the tail on the donkey to the beanbag toss to whatever other games were going on. Number nine fell in 1976, so my parents threw an Olympic-themed party complete with various events and homemade medals. Not surprisingly, I got the overall bronze; my best friends Stephanie and Cindy could run like gazelles, although my shotputting whipped everyone by a mile. Number twelve involved a neighborhood scavenger hunt. Number sixteen did not bring a car, not that I was expecting one, but I did get my own set of keys to my mom's VW Beetle, on a brass pig keychain that I still have tucked in a drawer somewhere, plus a soccer ball a friend brought back from a trip to Germany. Number eighteen came the day before I left South Bend for good, after a summer spent crashing with various friends and high school teachers after my mom moved away. I had cake and deliciously wicked wine coolers with two of those friends--no tents or Levi Johnstons were involved, so no pregnancies ensued--and the next morning hopped the bus and took off for the future.

Number twenty came on a 20-hour layover in the Lima, Peru airport, toasted by friends with cold Pilsens. Number twenty-five came a few weeks after delivering the boy; everything hurt, the Giordano's delivery got screwed up and instead of ravioli I got some questionable lasagna, and nobody in my family except my mom remembered to call. Number twenty-six came as a surprise since I had somehow spent the previous year thinking I was 26 already, so I was distressed to realize I'd completely missed out on being 25 (see: first year of parenthood brain malfunction). Number thirty saw me dropping the boy off for his first day of kindergarten, which told me I was officially maybe not exactly old, but definitely in a different stage of life. After number thirty-three, things got even more interesting, not always in a particularly savory way, but I suppose I am more or less back on track now.

My grandma used to make me a butter cake with marshmallow cream frosting. I never got the recipe from her. After the boy came along and I was purportedly grown up, there were no more cakes because I demanded birthday chocolate chip cookies instead. Sometimes now it's just a Twinkie. I do not know what baked good will be involved this year, if any.

The absolute best birthday phone call I ever got was... I don't know, probably 15 years ago, my grandparents and favorite aunt and uncle on speakerphone (which I normally loathe, but this was awesome), singing a wine-fueled rendition of Happy Birthday in joyous four-part harmony.

I still have two grandparents left (the non-singing, non-butter cake set), which is pretty good for someone of my advanced years. My all-grown-up son plans on spending the day with me, working on the carpentry project we started at the beginning of the summer but let tail away from us. We will probably have some decent snacks and a beer or two.

No more gauzy Illinois late-summer evenings with the approaching candles heralded by cicadas. Time to firmly focus on what's ahead.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Up, up, up! Here we go, come on, up, okay, yes, there it goes off on its own, will ya look at that, yeeeee-hah... wait a minute.

And the ship arcs gracefully away, and the solid rocket booster is at first perplexed and then increasingly alarmed to find itself sputtering, veering, and finally plunging back down to earth, spent.

But wait, it whispers on traces of hydrogen breath, the friction of the upper atmosphere introducing it to aches and pains it never noticed before, is that it? That can't be it. I wanted to go with him a little farther. Uh, hello?

Whoomp, flash, pop, splash.

I am bobbing in the ocean now, parachute silks draped over my head, waiting for the boat to come along and fish me out and point me to whatever is supposed to come next, hoping something will light the fire again, wondering what can overcome my current waterlogged state. That was the last shuttle.

What now?

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Important Bits

Want some more arm porn to go along with your Abby Wambach girlfriend research? Fine, here.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Pew Pew

Offered without comment.Yay Arizona.
A 26-year-old man accidentally shot himself in the penis with a pink handgun at a grocery store in Chandler last week, the Arizona Republic reported.

The Republic’s story said Joshua Seto and his fiancĂ©e, Cara Christopher, walked to a Fry’s Food Store for refreshments Tuesday night. Once there he tried to put away Christopher’s pink handgun in the front waistband of his pants when it fired.

Yay Arizona.

Friday, August 05, 2011

A Bright Spot

Today's entry in the Never Let It Be Said department starts like this: Never let it be said that I do not recognize the rare occasions upon which a conservative politician does something that pleasantly surprises me. In a rare flash of rational thinking, Gov. Jan Brewer has vetoed Arizona's birther bill.
"I never imagined being presented with a bill that could require candidates for president of the greatest and most powerful nation on Earth to submit their 'early baptismal or circumcision certificates,' among other records, to the Arizona Secretary of State," Brewer said in her letter. "This is a bridge too far."
Because "circumcision" means she would have to think about Rick Santorum's wang and possibly John McCain's withered member as well, so, yeah, eww. The Republican-dominated legislature won't try to override her, which ends this particular chapter in the Big Book o' Arizona Stupid but still leaves us with building the dang fence, ending public education, and the gun-of-the-month club or whatever.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

She did not believe in heaven, hell, karma, or fate, or that things happen for a reason. She believed even less in the deities and spirit worlds that were necessary preconditions for these things. In fact, she had so little patience any more for magical thinking of any stripe that she turned the stinkeye on fellow World Cup watchers who moaned oh no don't jinx us to announcers trumpeting a team's success before the final whistle.

But then the summer of strife hit her in the chops, and gut, and kneecaps for good measure, and she remembered why people fall back on supernatural explanations for crap. It was the only narrative that would allow her to handle shit without completely falling apart.

How much longer, she wondered, until the bill is stamped Paid in Full? I mean, shouldn't it have been six months ago? How far back does the fucking karmic clock that I do not even believe in, except for the fact that it is the sole thing keeping me sane, rewind?

The calendar kept flipping, far too slowly for her tastes but resolutely nonetheless. Fall beckoned. She wondered if this meant it was going to get better or worse.