30 December 2006

On the death of Saddam Hussein.

Scaryduck has already said most of what I think about this over on Duck News, but since I can never resist adding my own two cents worth, here's my take.

Is the world a better place without Saddam in power? You bet. Even those who hold the most strident anti-American views can't really argue with that fact. The guy gassed the Kurds, and made life a living hell for most of the citizens of Iraq. So it is a good thing that he's not the ruler of any nation. But I think his execution might go down in history as an act carried out by one of the biggest puppet governments in the history of the world, rather than justice served.

I count myself among those who are really surprised by the super-quick carrying out of the death sentence. When the rumblings began in the news a few days ago, I was kind of shocked. In my ever so humble opinion, of course, this has a lot more to do with W trying to improve his tarnished poll numbers than anything else. How could it? The democrats are really busy announcing who is going to run for president in 2008, and all the feel-good press they're getting over that results in daily pounding of the president's popularity. Remember the hoopla over the "we can't find Osama" distractions?

History is written by the victors; so in twenty years time, I wonder what the history books in countries who opposed the war will say versus here in the US.

27 December 2006

The Wisdom of Bumper Stickers (Yes, Again)

From time to time, I see a bumper sticker that makes me laugh out loud. I've shared these once or twice before, mostly because there just isn't enough funny in the world. Ready?

I'm not anti-Bush; I'm pro-intelligence.


21 December 2006

Something IS out there

I heard a very quick blurb on NPR as part of the hourly news update yesterday about gamma radiation coming from space, which scientists first discovered during cold war times. Short gamma bursts are credited with being colliding stars, but these longer bursts seem to indicate that they are maybe from intelligent life far away in the galaxy. I couldn't find a link to the story, on NPR or on space.com, but conspiracy theorists will no doubt delight in this news.

19 December 2006


I heard a story on NPR this evening that's got me bothered. Seems that the US crime stats are in for the first half of 2006, and there's a disturbing increase in violent crimes. Why? You may well ask. Personally, I believe the assertion made by a commenter in the story, who implies that the super-increase in spending by the idiot administration on homeland security and cuts in spending on basic on-the-ground policing combine to make for a dangerous combination.

I am not one of those folks who dislikes saying "I told you so"; I love saying that. Locally, I had noted that our murder rate is up....the highest homicide rate here in my hometown was in the mid-nineties, and we're on par with that year for the homicide rate for 2006. Scary. But unmistakable, because every time there is another homicide, the local news goes ape-shit and points out that this is the xxx number murder in the city. And I've wondered if the city's inability to hire more cops has anything to do with the fact that the city's budget is being spent for things other than policing.

I intensely dislike the term, "Homeland Security", coined in the days after September 11th to describe the activities related to protecting the country from terrorism. All I can think every time I hear it is about Nazi Germany, and endless references to the Fatherland. I just can't get past that connection in my head, and therefore also I hear only mass paranoia in the voices of the administration when they talk about Homeland Security. Why on earth couldn't they have chosen another term? Something that says anti-terrorism more sanely than a term that conjures up visions of marching SS troopers? Oh, right, that's because we have a village in Texas that is missing its idiot as our president. I forgot for a sec.

Something else that is truly disturbing to me, and on a much lighter note, is the use of a song by The Soup Dragons, re-worked to sound more contemporary, in a Chase credit card commercial. This bothers my punk ideals. Rather a lot, actually. The song is "I'm Free" and I loved the whole album.

PS, this is my 101st post. Yay me!

18 December 2006

On Heartbreak

Someone close to me is going through a terrible break-up. I'm thinking about the times when my own heart has been broken, and how I dealt. Never well, I can tell you that. Since I'm in the mood to share a story of woe, (a la Scaryduck) I thought I'd tell a story of a break-up of mine, but not a single one is funny or even particularly memorable.

There's the Swede named Johan who really broke my heart, but here's what I remember about how and why we broke up: nothing. This happened in 1991, so that has a lot to do with why I don't remember, it has been 15 years ago. I think he stopped calling and I asked why and he totally just blew me off and I was crushed. I kept a pretty extensive journal at the time, but re-reading it kinda confirms that yeah, it just fell apart. There are a bunch of references in the journal over about a 2 month period about what an asshole I thought he was, but nothing about why it ended. Re-reading the journal was fun, though.

Then the Canadian named.....yeah, I'm not giving his name, I don't harbor any vague feelings of dislike to him in the same way that I still do, for heaven only knows what reason, towards Johan. Anyway. The Canadian boy; we broke up because we were both going home to our respective countries after spending a year in Sweden as exchange students. His hometown in Ontario and mine in Ohio aren't really that far apart, but for once, practicality and reason won out over hormones. Of all of the ex-s in my past (and there aren't really all that many) The Canadian Boy is the ONLY one who I wonder what he's up to and what he became when he grew up. Not because I want him back (hellllllooooo, happily married for 6 years now) but because I'm genuinely curious as to what he decided on as a career and what he is doing with his life. Most of my other ex-s, I know what they're doing or where they are. You'd think I'd Google The Canadian Boy to find out, and I have Googled him, but I've never found him and I've taken that as a sign that I really am not meant to know.

Finally, there was a fella with a very odd name, that according to him had some deep meaning to do with faerie, and he was a deep and dark mysterious writer. This is actually funny, now that I'm thinking back on it. He had written an unpublished vampire novel, it was about 1992 or 1993 and Anne Rice's "The Vampire Lestat" and goth culture were huge, huge, huge. So dark and mysterious writer guy made a big deal of "letting" you read his novel. He let me read it, and at the time, I thought it was awesome. Now, I think it is better than some of the dreck that I've read lately and if he'd made any effort whatsoever, he probably could have published it. But I digress. Dark and Mysterious writer man really swept me off my feet. He was older, gorgeous, and soooo intellectual. We spent hours sitting in Perkins, smoking, drinking coffee, and discussing everything under the sun. We were soooooooooo cool. Then, after about 3 months, he broke it off, telling me that I was destined to be alone for my whole life, and that when I was 45 and alone and bitter, he would laugh at my sad life. Isn't that evil and mean and now more than ten years later very funny? I was a mess for about a month, lost about 10 pounds and was a recluse from my friends that whole time. I managed to win him back for a brief week or two several months later, and then I broke it off because I began to realize what a fucking idiot he was. Last I heard....he was arrested for shoplifting a pack of batteries and was working construction in southern Ohio. Who is the bitter one? Who? Imagine my surprise, then, when I googled him just now to see if I could confirm or deny the fact that he spent some time in jail and I discovered that he's a grad student in Nebraska and has won a teaching award. Wonder if he's hitting on cute young co-eds, that was so his style once upon a time. His bio on the university's website does not mention his marital status, but I can't imagine anyone on this planet putting up with his insanity for long enough to live with him, let alone marry him. His bio is full of the pseudo-intellectual doublespeak he once accused me of writing in a college term paper. It doesn't translate well to the written word here, but I find this really funny. If I wasn't sure that he'd vindictively try to out my secret identity, I'd link his bio here to share a laugh with y'all.

To me, the only way to deal with heartbreak is to take time. And to laugh when you can. I'm hoping to be able to help the person in my life who is hurting. What's your best advice for dealing with heartbreak?

13 December 2006

Ten Things I'd Never Do

I read a bunch of Brit and European boggers and various folks linked to said Brit and Euro bloggers, and The Wrath of Dawn had this posted recently. I had to look up the definition of meme, b/c I'm not really hip to those cool terms, but for the uninformed, please read the very scientific definition here. A very interesting theory, actually. I wouldn't normally do something like this, but it struck me as really fun. The point here is not to be uber-serious, and list the ten commandments, but things like skydiving and eating puffer-fish, more lighthearted things you wouldn't do. So without further ado, here's my list.
  1. Get a tattoo. I am a big, big wimp when it comes to pain, and can't sit still for long so I don't think I'm the ideal candidate. I love tats, and love the stories connected to people's tats, (hence the obsessive watching of Inked and Miami Ink Hello Ami James, you're hot) but I don't think I would get one. I wanted one when I was 18, of a Grateful Dead dancing bear, and now, at 31, I'm thankful that I didn't.
  2. Rock climb without the appropriate gear. I'm terrified of heights. Yes, I would like to climb a mountain someday, but have ya ever seen those nuts who climb rock faces without any protective gear? Yikes.
  3. Attempt to make my living being a roofer. Same fear-of-heights problem.
  4. Telemarket. Ugh, what a miserable job.
  5. Drink mass quantities of tequila. Bad, bad things happen when you do.
  6. Volunteer for psychological experimentation. I've got enough going on in my own head without any help from any mind-fuckers.
  7. Go back to school to study mathematics. No, thanks. I had to take calculus twice to get my degree....couldn't pass the dumbed-down version that they teach business majors, so not high on my list of things to do. Higher mathematics are so not my thing.
  8. Work for any member of the Bush family or the present or any possible future Bush administration. (Yeah, I had to squeeze in a mention of W. I know.)
  9. Watch a Survivor marathon on TV. Actually, that goes for almost ANY contest-driven reality show. I don't get the fascination with The Bachelor, Fear Factor, The Amazing Race.....
  10. And finally....I'll probably never stop being a bitch. My Mama always said, "Don't let anybody walk all over you," and I don't. If that gets me tagged with the bitch appellation, that's OK with me.
So consider yourself tagged with this meme, and feel free to pass it on. I had fun reading a bunch of other folks' memes, and some fun writing my own. And a change from my of-late usual bitching about how miserable I've been, so a good change of pace. Happy Thursday!

12 December 2006

Tuesday and the weather is....

unbelievable for December. The high today was in the 50s. I live in northern Ohio. In December, it ought to be cold, really cold. And global warming, y'all, is junk science, according to President Idiot. So I'm wondering what the environment will be like for my great-grand nieces and nephews. Will they be able to breath our air? Will they know what snow is? Happy Thoughts for a Happy Tuesday.

11 December 2006


Yes, it is Monday. Here's the list of things not going right today.

  1. I had a flat tire on my car. The ever-so-helpful fella at the tire place informed me that it looks like someone put a knife to the tire's sidewall, so that's something to worry about, who dislikes me that much?
  2. The 'puter at work wasn't working right.
  3. An overdrawn bank account
  4. work is still sucking.
  5. I somehow managed to hurt my back while decorating my house for the holiday over the weekend. I have never in my life had back trouble, and now that I'm working out 6 days a week it decides that now's the time?
WTF, dude? Hope the rest of the week is better.

06 December 2006

The United States of Jesus-Land

Well, really. What did I expect? I am working out at the YMCA, after all. The Young Men's Christian Association, for those not in the know. And what does that get me? Well, for one, it means that I don't have to look at people working out in hotpants and or super-small muscle t's, which is a good thing, but it also means that when I sign up for one-on-one time with a personal trainer the person is likely to be an evangelical, seeing as they work at the YMCA. And when I say "people" working out in hotpants, I mean you super-skinny 17 year olds who whine about being fat when you weigh less than 100 pounds.

Yes, ladies and gents, I had my session with my new trainer yesterday, and she's a lovely woman (who has 5 kids ranging in age from kindergarten to 21, yikes, that's gotta be with the crazy-making) and she told me that God loves me and that I am worth it. "I am an agnostic", I told her, with a perfectly straight face. She actually visibly twitched. Which is really funny in a very mean-spirited way, and reminds me all over again that I am indeed living in the midst of the USJ, the United States of Jeeeeeesus Land.

Friend J reminds me all the time that the freedom of religion that the US Constitution grants us is not freedom FROM religion. True, true. But I dislike having YOUR religion shoved down MY throat at every opportunity. If this woman twitched when I told her about my agnostic leanings, d'ya think her head would explode if I told her about my activism for abortion rights? I suppose all that begs the question that if I feel this way, why am I using the YMCA's facilities to tone up my fat ass? Honestly, because it is the nicest, newest, cleanest and best-run facility in my suburban hell. The locker rooms don't stink, there is a very nice sauna (which is VERY important to me), the cardio and weightlifting equipment is new, well-maintained, and the group exercise classes offered run the gamut from simple aerobics to Tai-Chi and Pilates. My other options are small facilities without nice saunas, Curves (shudder), or meat-markets where you can't spend 5 minutes on a treadmill without leisure-suit Larry coming on to you. One local gym actually has a bar in the gym. Not a juice bar, a real booze and do-you-come-here-often kind of bar. Nice. So yes, I continue to use the YMCA and then complain about the Christian contingent in the YMCA. I know, I know.

The trainer and I spent some time talking about my frustration about the fact that I've lost six fucking pounds since I started working out 6 days a week. She suggested some changes that I am going to implement, and she and I used all the resistance machines and figured out proper weight settings for me for each of them. What I wanted from the session was to have a program designed for me to follow that is going to get me some results, and hopefully that's what I got. She suggested upping my daily cardio from 30 to 45 minutes, gradually, and upping the resistance on the elliptical machine that I've been using. She also told me that the other cardio machines in the cardio studio don't bite, and that I should change up my regimen all the time to continue to get results. So I have to stop avoiding the steppers and try the rowing machines. I didn't this morning, but I will. I did up the time I did cardio to 35 minutes, so that's a start. She suggested a schedule for working each muscle group that I plan to follow, and showed me the right way to fill out the forms for tracking your progress. All that is good. She also claims that the weight will begin to fall, that I need to stick with it and I will see results. At the moment, I'm feeling like that is utter bullshit, but I am not going to walk away from it now. I'm at a crossroads when it comes to my health. I can give up, and be an overweight American for the rest of my life and in all likelihood be an insulin-dependent diabetic within the next 3 years, or I can get off my ass and get moving, be the sexy skinny thing I used to be. I was so inspired by watching my Swedish friends run the NYC marathon, and I want to be THAT girl again, the one that people whisper, "she's sooo pretty" when I come into a room, and that does not happen at my current weight. So I'm up off my ass and moving.

The religion thing really bugs me because I want to have freedom FROM religion, and living where I do, that's just not possible. I think about trying to explain the religion/politics connection to someone from another planet, and come up empty every time. The separation of church and state is a fantastic idea, but in reality, religion and politics are so tied together that there is no separating them here in the US. I want to make some broad sweeping statement here that all conservatives are religious nuts, but that simply isn't true. And some liberals have deep faith. The fact that organized religion permeates nearly every facet of our Judeo-Christian society is something that is simply inescapable. Annoying, but inescapable.

On to something else. I saw the most beautiful sunrise this morning. I tried so hard to look at that and let my spirit soar, but I've had tears in my eyes most of the day. The sister that's moving to St. Louis leaves tomorrow, and I'm both angry and sad about it. Angry because that is easier than being sad. Stupid, I know, but there it is. I'm having trouble breathing again, and this time it has nothing to do with my asthma. I'd rather feel nothing at all than feel this unruly sea of emotions that run the gamut from really pissed off to hysterical sobbing. Not that I think that's really a solution, but it is a thought.

05 December 2006

No Time

There's an old pop song, maybe by The Byrds, about "Got No Time" that is running through my head. I feel like I have no time. I used to say all the time that I didn't have time to work out, and my dad used to say to me, (very irritatingly, I might add) "You have the same amount of time as everyone else, 24 hours a day. You have to make time." OK, so I did. I've made time to work out every day, or at least every weekday, taking most Sundays off.

Now I feel like I have no time to finish everything that needs done for the upcoming Christmas holiday. Add to my insanity the fact that my family celebrates the holiday on Christmas Eve, as all good Scandinavians do, and that means that I have one less day than everyone else does to get ready. Or at least one less day than most Yankees, anyway. Here's the number of Christmas presents that are wrapped: 0. The number that are purchased: about 5. One sister, the niece and nephew, a girlfriend, and another girlfriend's kids. Number left to purchase: about 30. Cookies baked as of today: 0. Number left to bake: about 20 dozen. Decorations put up: 0. Decorations left to put up: thousands. I have two Christmas trees, innumerable knick-knacks and doo-dads, and hundreds of tree ornaments. The current plan is to do all of that on Friday, which I have taken off just in order to have some time to do these sorts of things. ARRRRGGH. Number of days left until Christmas: 20. Nineteen until Julafton. (Christmas Eve)

I've got almost nothing to say on the political front; the lame duck session of congress may or may not vote to give Washington, DC a congressional rep, in exchange for another rep in Utah. Utah, apparently, was annoyed that the missionaries were not counted in the last census, and feel that they are owed another congressional rep, and are willing to give DC one in exchange. The fact that Washington, DC does not have any representation in congress is, excuse the pun, REP-rehensible. When we were at Rocky Gap for the Thanksgiving holiday, I noted the DC license plates, which have the cute tag line "taxation without representation" which was maybe Patrick Henry's battle cry, "No taxation without representation" about the way the Brits taxed the colonists waaaay back when we were still "the colonies"

There just isn't too much going on politically that I feel like making waves about; the confirmation or not of Gates for Rummy's old job, the stepping down of UN Ambassador Michael Bolton (yay, he's an idiot), and the fact that Rummy stepped down all are interesting, but I'm not up to thinking about it.

Scary wrote a great post about World Aids Day a few days ago on Duck News, which is definitely worth a read. Go check it out.