20 September 2006

The Idiot At the United Nations

Didja SEE President Idiot speechifying at the United Nations? I like Madeleine Albright's assertion that the middle east is destabilized due to the war in Iraq, not Islamic extremists, as the president insists. He's an idiot.

Cheers on a Wednesday morn.

19 September 2006

Some basic rules

My sister sent this to me in an e-mail. She got it from the Progressive Librarian's Guild Listserv. Used with permission.

What You Need to Believe to be a Republican

Just a quick 17 rules to bring you up to speed on what you need to believe
to be a Republican.

1. Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.
2. Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.
3. Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade
with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.
4. The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our
highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.
5. A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but
multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without
6. The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in
speeches, while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.
7. If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.
8. A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies,
then demand their cooperation and money.
9. Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing
health care to all Americans is socialism. HMOs and insurance companies have
the best interests of the public at heart.
10. Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but
creationism should be taught in schools.
11. A president lying about an extramarital affair is a impeachable
offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which
thousands die is solid defense policy.
12. Government should limit itself to the powers named in the
Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.
13. The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but
George Bush's driving record is none of our business.
14. Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a
conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for
your recovery.
15. Supporting "Executive Privilege" for every Republican ever born, who
will be born or who might be born (in perpetuity.)
16. What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but
what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.
17. Support for hunters who shoot their friends and blame them for wearing
orange vests similar to those worn by the quail.

Friends don't let friends vote Republican.

I've been as sick as can be over the past few days and haven't felt up to writing. Took some Oregano oil today and am hoping for the best. Some sort of horrible creeping crud is making the rounds...everyone I know has it.

Soundtrack for the day: When the World Ends, Dave Matthews.

06 September 2006

What I'm Reading these days

So many things that I pick up to read have been because I heard a book review on NPR about the book in question. I’ve learned over the years that I don’t always like the “Oprah’s Book Club” selections, so I rarely pick them up; The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver is a great example of that….HATED IT. There are in fact a few NPR book reviewers who I always end up disagreeing with too. Or a commentator will have a new book out, and while I love their commentaries, I don’t love their books. Sandra Tsing Loh was a great example of this….she did commentary on Morning Edition years ago, and I loved everything she did on the radio. So I picked up her book, “If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home By Now”, which is a really well written story that I just didn’t like. Her characters were really well formed, but I spent the whole time that I was reading the book wanting to beat Bronwyn, the main character. She needed more backbone. Maybe that was the point; but I’ve never picked up anything else by Tsing Loh.

I heard an interview with Julie Powell, author of Julie and Julia : 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen, more than a year ago. Wow, I thought. A blogger who turned her blogging into a real live book. Cool. But it has taken me more than a year to get to the book. The cover is hopelessly cute; in an endearing, giggle-out-loud-in-the-bookstore kind of way. There’s a little whisk that has an egg character as its base; the egg is frowning. Anyone who has ever suffered a kitchen disaster can relate; no matter how much you whip the egg whites, they refuse to froth beautifully, and you’re left with a runny mess and a big frown on your face. (not that I would know. No. Really.)

I read the book in about 3 hours; I tend to get engrossed in things that I enjoy and have trouble putting them down. The premise of the project is really simple; crazy, perhaps, but simple. Cook your way through the entire massive volume of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1, in one year. There are things in that book that I would never ever eat. (Eggs in a beef aspic…yuk.) And things that I would never ever bother to make. (Julia Child’s French bread recipe apparently runs to some 17 pages. No thanks.) But I like the spirit of perseverance that Powell shows, making things that she wouldn’t eat either, and she does try them and finds out that she likes (some of) them. Her Julie/Julia project blog, which she hasn’t updated since the death of Julia Child in 2004, was apparently wildly popular. I am late come to the blog-osphere, so I didn’t follow her yearlong project, which really makes me sad. Most of the bloggers that I follow aren’t undertaking any such ambitious projects (helllllllloooooo, neither am I!!) and it is a great idea to “DO SOMETHING” other than blog randomly about whatever.

She’s a great writer; her voice is that of a friend gossiping happily in your ear while she’s cooking an amazing meal. She curses nearly as often as I do IRL so I think that’s funny too. She also shares my annoyance/complete lack of understanding when it comes to the fanatically religious, so that was another point in her favor. She has a new blog (here on blogger, will wonders never cease) where you can get a taste of her wit, style and spirit, http://juliapowell.blogspot.com. Which is a wonderful thing, because I have not yet heard enough of her voice. She narrates a few things that are linked to her page too, which is a real hoot, because I love her voice. And the narration of the marrow steak passage in the book is not to be missed.

I’m also making my way through George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, and not really enjoying it. Lately, I’ve been disappointed in almost everything I’ve picked up in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre. Is it possible that I’ve read everything interesting? In my short 31 years? I don’t think so; I just think that I’ve been picking up a lot of dreck lately. Martin writes with fiery passion, and manages to write well from a female perspective from time to time. I admire the characterization of the horrible Queen Cersei, even as I want to smack her. And the lush landscape, which isn’t overly described, is interesting. Not sure I understand the stuff about the seasons (summers which last a generation?) but well written. And yet, I’m annoyed with the whole series. Not enough of Arya and Sansa Stark, and I can’t believe (PLOT SPOILER ALERT) that he killed off Rob Stark, or Breinne, Maid of Tarth. After checking his website, I am surprised to learn that he was a writer on an 80s television series that I (as an 11-13 year-old child) really liked, Beauty and The Beast. I know, I know, I had ghastly taste. But I’m annoyed with the series for a few reasons; mostly because the latest installment isn’t out, but also because the characters refuse to do what I think they ought to be doing. Silly, no? I’ve not liked a lot of other stuff I’ve picked up lately, and can’t help but wonder if I’ve outgrown the genre. Lord, I hope not. I’d like to think that I can still escape to fantasy land with the best of them.

While IM-ing a young friend, I told her that I was annoyed with the fantasy genre because each book I pick up seems to have similar themes…there’s an unlikely hero, a maiden fair, a quest, some magic items such as a sword or two, and then they’re questing forever and ever, and the boy wins the girl in the end, they get married, and everyone lives happily ever after. My precocious 17-year old friend essentially said, yeah, so? And I complained that it seems as if no one in author land seems to have any original ideas; Beowulf reborn, and Greek mythologies told over and over. And she said, “There is no such thing as an original idea.” Yikes. I told her that she and I are both too young to be so cynical.

In the airport last week on my way home, I picked up Wicked, by Gregory Maguire . Through the first chapters, it is barely holding my attention. Too much background info…maybe. I’ll be on an airplane again this week (for a bit of a vaca this time) and instead of any of Martin’s super-heavy hardbacks from the library, I’ve got a trade size paperback of Wicked to schlep around. Thank goodness, the two installments of A Song of Ice and Fire that I had with me last week weighed a ton.

I’ve also made some ventures into the non-fiction world. I picked up a handful of things at a recent visit to Barnes & Noble. I got 21 Dirty Tricks which, gutter mind, is about politics in the world of business. I read it in about 30 minutes and it wasn’t what I was looking for. I avoid serious mentions of my work, but I was hoping to get some ideas about playing politics because I am not so good at that. And I also picked up The Girl's Guide to Being a Boss (Without Being a Bitch) because I am the boss, and I’d like to be a good one. Even a great one, maybe. Yes, I have a management degree; but even with that, there are many things that the good ol’ Uni doesn’t teach you. So I have high hopes for A girl’s guide. Guess we’ll see.

I have a funny story to tell about books. One book, in particular…one that I’m going to review for Growers and Grocers. The title is Eat Here; and at the moment, I can’t even remember right now where I heard about the book. I looked for it at my local library; then B&N, then Borders. No luck locally, so then in Chicago, at some bookstore down the street from my hotel. No luck there either. So I called a B&N closest to my hotel, found from the phone book. They didn’t have it; but they offered to order it and have it shipped. I could have it shipped to my house (no, I’m not giving you my credit card number from my cel phone in a hotel room, sorry) or they offered to send it to the local B&N here in Ohio, where I could pick it up. Sweet. Sounds so simple. I stopped in the local store yesterday and checked on the order. They didn’t have it and didn’t know when it would be in. Today, I get a phone call from the B&N in Chicago; they’ve got the book and will hold it for me for 2 weeks. About an hour later, I get a phone call from the B&N here in O-hi-ia and they’ve got the book and will hold it for 2 weeks. An embarrassment of an abundance of riches. So what’s a girl to do? Well, I’ll pick up the one in Chicago on Friday. The one here? If I like it enough, I’ll buy the second copy for a friend who has been instrumental in opening my eyes to the dismal state of food production in America.

I've been thinking about changing my blogger template; what do you think?

That’s all for today.

Soundtrack: Leaving On A Jet Plane (yes, again. Flying to Chicago again tomorrow.)

President Idiot

W said in speeches yesterday leading up to the 5th anniversary of September 11, 2001, that America is more protected from terrorists than it was 5 years ago. Really? Cause I gotta tell ya, I don't feel safer. Do you?

02 September 2006

Chillin on a Saturday morn

Back from travelling for a few days. Went to Chicago for work, home for 1 week, then back to Chicago for a few days off. NOT MY PLAN, I must tell you. DH has a convention to attend in Chicago, and I'm along to play on Michigan Avenue, something I didn't have very much time to do whilst I was working in Chicago. No worries, still managed to spend about $100 in Sephora, Origins and at a Levenger store, couldn't have been any more pleased about that.

I'm still trying to recover from the 3 days of nonstop classes and then the flight home...so jet-lagged.

On to events political, then. There's been so much happening that I wanted to comment on, but let's start with my friend Mischa's post about the drunkest cities in America, because it is way too funny to not comment about. (Linky direct to original story on MSNBC here) Our own Columbus, Ohio is on the list. That really shouldn't be any shock to anyone who has ever watched Ohio State play any football game at home. And besides OSU, there's a bunch of colleges in Columbus, and we alllll know that college students drink lots.

Then there was President Idiot in Salt Lake City this week....check out his moron-ness here.

Next, the bright boys at the Pentagon are telling the even brighter boys at Congress that Iraq is ripe for civil war. Wow, who'da thunk that? Funny, though, this link is from the Toronto Star.

Two quick other things then. Heard an interesting interview on NPR, and I'm going to get this book today. Ray Suarez has written a book about religion in America, called The Holy Vote. Sounds really interesting, and leads into my last thing.

While wandering around a local festival yesterday, I was struck at how many Christian T-Shirts I saw. Seems like a great reminder that I'm living in the reddest of the red states, and that the conservatives may yet take over the world. I think that everyone should be free to practice whatever religion they'd like, but I don't like having it pushed in my face; I don't like being "witnessed" to while I'm trying to enjoy deep-fried everything. And no, it wasn't a church festival. If it had been, I would say serves me right. But it wasn't.

Today's Soundtrack: Madonna's "Rain"