Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Pregnant pause

Yes, yes. I know the election is over and those of us who gave McCain's Vagina a good pounding will miss all the material she provided, from her ties to that witch-hunting preacher to her inability to name one single magazine or newspaper she reads on a daily basis.

Yes, Sarah Palin was good for a laugh. But underneath the expensive frocks and inability to form a coherent sentence were some serious questions surrounding a woman who managed to both become a governor and the potential Number Two person in our nation's government.

Troopergate was one. Did Sarah Palin fire the government official who refused to fire her brother-in-law during his messy divorce to Palin's sister? Travelgate was another. Did she stick Alaska with the cost of dragging her kids along on state business?  

The media did a good job of covering these stories. But it ignored the biggest story of all -whether or not Sarah Palin faked a pregnancy and passed that story off to the public. There seems to be mounting evidence that Sarah did not give birth to Trig. And if she lied, it was a lie aided, it would seem, by a male-dominated media too squeamish to really examine the biological discrepancies of a story which never quite added up to many women who know a thing or three about giving birth.

The most dogged in pursuit of this truth is Audrey over at the Palin Deception blog. A mother,  former childbirth educator and lactation counselor married to a physician, Audrey was immediately suspicious when she heard Palin's account of how she began leaking amniotic fluid at a Texas governor's conference and still waited eight hours to fly back to Alaska, where she bypassed a major medical center to drive to a small community hospital to deliver a child she allegedly knew would be born with special needs. The special needs was Downs Syndrome, supposedly diagnosed via an amnio administered far earlier than medical professionals allow.

These discrepancies, combined with conflicting photographs of Sarah looking not all pregnant and then suddenly very pregnant shortly before Trig's arrival - and her refusal to ever provide medical records -  sent Audrey on a quest to find the truth, not because she hates Sarah Palin but because she believes - as many of us do - that no politician should get away with telling a lie of this magnitude.

Since the election, traffic on Audrey's blog has only increased as she and others continue to look for evidence to prove their suspicion that Sarah Palin - for whatever reason - lied about giving birth to Trig.

A couple of days ago, she was provided with a photo that many of us think proves her point. This shot was taken in March, around the time Sarah Palin would have been 32 weeks pregnant:


Looks like a normal shot, right? There's Sarah, with a bit of a "bump." But enlarge it. Is that really a bump? Or a pad?



If you enlarge this you can clearly see a rectangular pad and not a baby bump. The fabric is lose below the pad, and any woman who's had a baby and who is familiar with the distinctive shape of a pregnant belly will recognize that something is very, very, very wrong with this picture.

I'm not going to rehash Audrey's entire post here. She does an excellent job of providing more photos on her page for juxtaposition, both of how pregnant bellies really are shaped as well as a photo of how Sarah Palin suddenly looked eighteen days after this picture was taken.

If you want to get freaked out even more, check out what Jack Bog posted on his blog today. Please take particular note of the revealing screen grab taken from a documentary in which Sarah Palin pats her "pregnant" belly.

For those of us who have long thought this was a story, the biggest disappointment has been the dismissive attitude of  the people who run about calling themselves "journalists." The only ones who have been brave enough to stay on the trail of this story is Audrey and a handful of other dedicated bloggers who  deserve the word far more than those guys sitting in their offices ironically ringed with J-school diplomas. Too bad those degrees didn't come with backbones; when questions like these loom large, the public deserves a press brave enough to answer them.

It's a sad commentary on the state of modern journalism when private citizens are more interested in uncovering the truth than the press. Something's rotten in Denmark, folks, and our nation's media is sitting there with a clothes pin on its nose.

So good work, Audrey. Hopefully someone, somewhere with a louder voice will take a second look at what you've found.

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's not as easy as it looks

From the UK Guardian comes this wonderful piece on How Not To Write A Sex Scene.

Try not to wake the neighbors with your passionate screams. Of laughter.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ready, set, COLD...

My readers to the north - especially my Canadian readers - will probably find my idea of "cold" amusing. But here in North Carolina, lows in the 20's and highs in the 40's Officially Qualifies. 

At least we got some advance warning of the icy air that's settled over our area, so we had time to prepare. 

Here are some of the lessons on Preparing for Winter from our creatures - two legged and four-legged alike, as illustrated through pictures I've taken over the past three days:

1. Stock up on stuff(ing) for the house


2. Make sure there's plenty of food


3. Find a good book to read


4. Curl up with a friend


5. Put on your winter woolies


6. Break out the blankets


7. Make sure the quilts still work.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Posting lull..

Sorry for the prolonged absence from the blogosphere, guys. And thanks to all of you who've sent emails checking in to see if I was all right.

I am doing fine, thank you. But given that during election season I was posting once - or sometimes twice - a day I decided a break was in order. It's been a working break mostly. Just because I'm not writing here doesn't mean I'm not writing. But I've also been taking some time to catch up on reading and am enjoying Spook by Mary Roach and reading Inskspell aloud to Larry and the kids. (If you don't read aloud or get read to, I highly recommend both. And I'm not talking about audiobooks. Go to a reading if you must. And thank me later.)

We had a lot of rain, so I spent much of the end of last week and this weekend slogging around in the much to care for the horses, sheep and goats. Tonight some bitter cold comes in. So today we're putting up a front wall on the sheep shed, dragging the pony blankets out for the mare and foal, putting heated water buckets in the stalls, and throwing in extra bedding so
 everyone can be comfy. 

Animals are occupying a large portion of my time as winter approaches. We've bred one dariy goat and will soon be taking one more to Hampstead to breed soon. We added a ram to our pair of ewes and while he's a smaller breed he's making an attempt to get it on with the taller ladies. My non-fiction reading these days runs to primers on lambing and kidding. This weekend I moved a cabinet into the kitchen just for the veterinary supplies I've accumulated and was surprised at how quickly I filled it with my store of antibiotics, vaccines, wormers, bloat and hoof rot remedies, syringes, tubing, IV fluids and bandages. When you keep livestock you quickly learn to do a lot of your own work yourself and save the veterinarian for emergencies. Trust me, there will still be plenty of those.

So that's what I've been up to when I'm not blogging.

I've had a few posts kicking around in my head for when I finally get time to blog. One regards the rather amusing meltdown of conservatives post-Obama victory. Another analyzes why I now realize why the Bible refers to followers of Christ as sheep and sinners as goats. A third is a rather personal perspective on Time and the importance of valuing it, especially as we get older.

Just bear with me until I get back to you. I promise it won't be too much longer.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

How to have fun with the losing side

The beauty of this is that most McCain supporters would totally fall for this...



More such awesome stuff at www.236.com, which is now in my sidebar.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Weekend mood music

Wishing Well, by Terence Trent D'Arby. Love this song. Love this guy. Wanted to share.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Carolina Blue!!!

Yeah, baby! We did it! It's official!  North Carolina went for Obama! We're a blue state now!
OK, so maybe we're just light blue. And maybe my backwards-ass county still voted Republican. 
But I'm not going to let that rain on my parade. Being the resident of a New Blue State has put a spring in my step. 

Alabama and Mississippi - you still suck. 

Sorry, but so do you, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. We're only touching you because we have to. When you look away we rub sanitizer on the part of the border we're forced share with you.

Virginia, you are awesome. It's an honor to be your neighbor.

I. am. so. PROUD.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Justice Gets Doled Out



From the woman who brought us "Godless" comes "Classless."

Her mama and daddy must be rolling in their graves to hear her give them credit for her "values." I can't believe she's standing up there offering to pray for Kay Hagan.

Ugh.

Elizabeth Dole was worse than ineffective; she became a colossal embarrassment to North Carolina by exemplifying the worst of Tar Heel politics.

Good bye and good riddance, Mrs. Dole. Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Sarah Palin was right

Last month, one of the knuckle-dragging Right's favorite preachers, Dr. James Dobson, interviewed Sarah Palin about puzzling poll numbers that showed The Christian Crusade was losing to the Unholy Obama Insurgency.

But Bible Spice said she wasn't concerned because as a Prayer Warrior (her words) she was sure that God would Do the Right Thing:

To me, it motivates us, makes us work that much harder. And it also strengthens my faith, because I'm going to know, at the end of the day, putting this in God's hands, that the right thing for America will be done at the end of the day on Nov. 4. So I'm not discouraged at all.

For the first time I find myself agreeing with Palin. The right thing was indeed done for America, even if it has left McCain's Vagina wondering why in the heck God didn't deliver the anointing she was expecting.



It's got to be a tough pill to swallow, but I can't feel sorry for her. She should have known she was way out of her league. 

I'd rather feel more sympathy for McCain, who likely realized too late that his pandering to right wingers who pressured him to pick a blatantly unqualified clothes horse for a running mate also attracted the kind of trash who couldn't control themselves long enough to let an old war hero give a speech that may have bridged the gap his low-brow handlers widened with their tactics.


There are a lot of  "ifs" in the wake of this campaign. What if McCain had been a true maverick, the kind who stood up to the Karl Roves of his party and said, "No, this country is too good for the kind of campaign you want to run."? What if he had bucked the conventional wisdom that says the only way to achieve the high road is by taking the low one? What if he'd continued to be the man he really is, rather than let himself be shaped by the most hateful elements of the GOP into someone he probably no longer recognized himself?

But he did not. Instead he let the very people who profess to follow a God of Love sow the seeds of hate in his name. And last night - if you believe in Divine Providence - a miracle occurred when God did just what Sarah Palin trusted him to do and blessed America with a true leader. 

And that's no small thing.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Difference

This afternoon around 4:30 I was sitting here at my computer being a good little pornographer and writing a dirty story when I decided to take a break and check my email. And there among my usual messages from the Obama campaign was an urgent one about the need for people to make last minute phone calls in North Carolina, which hasn't voted Democrat since we helped send Jimmy Carter to the White House.

But don't hold that against us. This time is different and the Obama campaign realizes it, which is why - up until the last minute - they concentrated on their ground game.

I've already given and volunteered, but I thought, "Why not do a little more." So I folded up the sultry little yarn I was working on, retrieved the call list from the Obama Web site and hit the phones.

I'm so glad I did, because talking to other Obama supporters reaffirms what I've known all along. We are so much cooler, more interesting and down-to-earth than the Republicans. I bet we're cuter, too.

Not one person was rude to me. Not one. Not even the guy who said I was the fifth Obama campaign volunteer who'd called him this week. Or the 87-year-old woman who had to limp to the phone to talk to me because she'd fallen earlier in the day and hurt her hip. She cried when she admitted she'd been unable to go to vote because her doctor didn't want her to leave the house, but she said with pride that she'd called her sons and they'd all voted for Obama.

I was able to talk three college students into going out to vote. Having three college age kids, I'm experienced in shaming young people into doing the right thing. 

"Yeah," said one. "My mom said the same thing and I know she's right. The polling station is right down the street. I'll walk there now."

Awesome.

But some people were way ahead of me. My favorite as a 50-year-old woman who said she was so excited about voting that she couldn't get to sleep until about three in the morning and then woke up abruptly at four from a nightmare in which she'd forgotten to vote. 


She said she was so upset by the dream that she got up, pulled on her robe, grabbed a bag of chips and a lawn chair and headed down to the polling station to camp out until the polls opened. She was the first one in line and ended up on the news, much to the horror of her mother, who called to ask her if she realized she had been interviewed still wearing her pajamas.

Dedicated, lively, caring, committed and diverse. The people I spoke to ranged from 18 up to 94 and were black, white, Hispanic and Indian. They were all positive about the Obama campaign and hopeful for a brighter future for this nation.

After a campaign that has brought us innuendo about Obama's religion, distractions about his non-existent ties to terrorists and a myriad other shameful tactics it is 
good to see an electorate that mirrors the fine character of the candidate they support.

One of the men I talked to tonight summed it up well. He said while he supported Obama, he couldn't help but feel sorry for McCain. 


"He's a good man, I think," he said. "But he allowed some bad people to hijack his campaign and mold him into the image of someone he never wanted to be. The right wing may have taken this hero and destroyed his legacy for good."

So true.

And now? Well, we sit back and wait. And hope. Because at this point that's all we can do. At this point, Hope is what it's all about.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Horsing Around, Part V



On Sunday we went riding, and Alex's usually unmotivated pony, Oliver, found enough motivation to kick up his heels trying to catch up with Lumos. It wasn't a big buck, but it was enough to unseat Alex. She hit the ground at a roll and by the time I had stopped Lumos and turned around she was back up on her feet. Larry, who was filming, was more frightened than any of us.

This first fall off of Oliver wasn't her worst. She's taken far more harrowing falls from her Shetland pony, Lyric. And oddly, Alex is as proud of her falls as she is her riding skills and was thrilled that her dad had taped this one. That's why it's on YouTube; she couldn't wait to show her friends. 

And of course, she got right back on because that's what you have to do. Afterwards she jumped a couple more fences and rounds of cantering before we called it a day. As you can see from the photo, Lumos thought he deserved a treat after the ride and turned my pocket inside out looking for one.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hey, Christopher...

...don't forget to vote!! Or you could wake up Nov. 5th to this:



Don't let this happen. ;-)

Oh, and Happy Halloween everybody. I wanted to post something scary and I couldn't think of anything more frightening than being praised by Bill O'Reilly or George Bush.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween on the farm



This video may piss some people off, but the only thing that makes me mad about this is that I didn't think of it first. We have three sheep and while I adore them they are hopelessly stupid animals. This video makes me laugh till my sides hurt. I wonder if - once the mask was off - the other sheep were like, "Oh, geesh. It's only Gus!"

Tagged


So I've been tagged by Christopher and now must submit seven facts about myself. Furthermore, I must "tag" and link to seven other blogs or else something horrible may happen to me. For instance, I could wake up to find I've turned into a Republican Baptist who prefers the Rush Limbaugh podcast to my morning Writer's Almanac fix. 

Normally I don't care for chain letter-style memes, but why take the risk when so much is at stake? So here goes.

1. I never had morning sickness when I was pregnant. But I if I sat down and really thought about the fact that I had another person growing inside of me I'd get so sick I'd throw up.

2. I'm fascinated by old graveyards and love to take pictures of tombstones. I blame my childhood for my obsession with Things Morbid; I grew up on a haunted farm.

3. I can mimic a Barred Owl call so well that I can get them to answer or even fly close to me in the wild.

4. I enjoy sewing and have made my own clothes in the past. I also love to knit and make little felt dolls.

5. I used to think I could be friends with anyone despite philosophical differences. I recently found out that's not true. Some differences just can't be overcome.

6. I believe in magic and the supernatural. I've seen proof of both.

7. I shattered my ankle over a year ago. It turned out to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

So here are the seven bloggers I am "tagging":

Assorted Misgivings and Trepidations - Home of Bobb Citizen of the Earth. My daily online stress-reliever and Moment of Zen.

Sea Scribes - Grace is beautiful and brilliant. Her writing leaves me breathless.

Pagreenery - Musings, wordplay, rabbits and more! Oh, and Lu' is a really nice person, too.

Mouthing Off With Micky-T - If you can get past that scary bird, this is a wonderful little political blog.

Fluffiest Blog in the West - Shrub is an awesome guy. He doesn't update that often anymore so I don't know if he'll participate, but his blog is worth reading for his Testicle Tuesday archives alone.

Jana the Caring Cleaning Lady - So technically her blog is called "Get Off the Phone," but Jana the Caring Cleaning Lady is what I call her. Super sweet gal who just adopted a kitten that looks a lot like my new kitty!

Entropic Doom - Don't let the blue hair fool you. She's a hip young chick and a damn good writer!

Halloween fun


My sister Carla sent me this interesting variation of tic-tac-toe. Try it. It's pretty cool or at least it might be if I could ever finish it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The empty Valentino suit



Thanks to Jim for sending me this link to a wonderful commentary on the makeover of McCain's Vagina, which turned out to be so financially and politically costly. Take special note of how the blunder has so thoroughly backfired against their claims of Obama Elitism.

Sometimes hypocrisy can be a beautiful thing.

Also note the campaign's weak arguments in defending the makeover. And if you are tempted to feel sorry for the party or their candidate, just remember: they brought this whole thing on themselves. Try as they might, they couldn't put enough lipstick on this Political Pig to get the public to take her seriously.

Friday, October 24, 2008

McCain's black eye

When the story of an alleged attack on McCain campaign volunteer Ashley Todd broke in huge red letters on the Drudge Report, I was instantly suspicious.

Todd - did I mention she's a McCain volunteer? - claimed she was attacked by a 6'4" black man who beat her up before sitting on her chest and carving a "B" on her face to "teach her a lesson." Why? Because the big, mean black man saw her McCain bumper sticker and got mad.

But the photo, which the increasingly desperate Drudge probably posted one handed while gleefully masturbating with the other, made me instantly suspicious.

Todd - she's a McCain volunteer, by the way - sports a black eye in the photo, but not the bruising one would expect a punch in the face delivered by a guy as large and mentally unhinged as Bill O'Reilly.

And then there's that "B," which looks more like it was scratched than carved. And the position of the letter shows it was put there by someone too ignorant to realize if she's going to carve a "B" into her face doing it in the mirror it would show up backwards to anyone facing her.

I don't know what the "B" was supposed to stand for. It can't stand for McCain, although that's the guy she's volunteering for. Did I mention that? I suppose she meant it to stand for "Barack" or "Black." But we know it stands for "bitch." Too bad she forgot to put an "S" in front of it, since "SB" stands for Stupid Bitch.

The best part of this story is that McCain apparently researched this story as well as he researched is pick for VP. Because if he had, instead of calling his volunteer Ashley Todd and offering support, he would have called his opponent to apologize for running the kind of campaign that has attracted such racist white trash.

I'm going this weekend to volunteer for the Obama campaign. Perhaps to even this out I'll put on a Neiman Marcus suit, scratch the word "Unqualified" across my forehead and claim I was attacked by a Palin supporter.

To you McCain enthusiasts - take a good look at that picture. That's the face of what your campaign has become. Hope you're proud.

Here's something almost as funny as the McCain campaigns continued implosion:




For the absolute funniest take on this whole story, though, go read what Blognigger has to say.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Blondes have more fun

I'm seriously in love with Lumos. He's such an awesome little horse and so pretty. I'm pleased with how well he's coming along. He's very smart, very willing to please. 

There's nothing like a few hours of riding to mellow me out and today I was ready for some Equestrian Therapy. Regular readers of my blog know I've had a rough couple of weeks what with my kitty dying. The new one I adopted came with a virus - not a serious one - but serious enough to set me back another $200 at the vet yesterday afternoon. By late today a nice ride had risen to the level of Necessity.

The last time I wrote about the horses was when Alex and I had the instructor out. We'd been working on our jumping and Alex's quarter pony, Oliver, had done much better than my Lumos. 

Lumos is a Haflinger. He's built like a tank and while he has the ability to jump he has yet to refine it, and it's a challenge getting into a two-point (the position riders get in when a horse jumps) because he's so short and stout. 

We both did much better today. Today he actually jumped. It wasn't consistent; he still plodded through several fences but if I cue him hard enough he tucks up pretty well. 


Like all green hunters, Lumos has a tendency to over-jump and will go over a two-foot fence like it's much bigger. Or he'll just barely jump them. Experience will solve both those problems. 




Oliver did that today, too, even though he was trained as a hunter and knows better. I love Alex's pony but he can be a little shit when he wants to be. He did the same thing today that he did when the instructor was here; even though he can jump he plowed through them with Alex several times because he thought he could get away with it.

So today - again - I got on him and made him do the course. He jumped this one so ridiculously big that he looks like he's rearing. It didn't help that Alex's stirrups were about four inches too short so whenever he came down I felt like I was going to get pitched off. 


Eventually, though, he did like he was supposed to do. So next time he has no excuse to act like a complete jackass. 



I ended the ride with a sense of accomplishment. Small gains, after all, are better than no gains at all. And for me any ride that doesn't end with me falling on my ass is a good one.

It's supposed to rain this weekend. Again. So our plans to ride Saturday will probably be scuttled. Hopefully it will be drive by Sunday. Alex and I are trying to vary our routine so next time we're not going to jump. Instead we're going to play some games that should be fun for both us and our ponies.

On a final note, you may notice that one of us isn't wearing her helmet. That would be the dumb one. Really, you should always, always, always wear a helmet when you ride. I usually do. Usually.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fashionably hypocritical



Do you remember a week or so back when McCain's Vagina waltzed into an Ohio Wal-Mart under the pretense of buying some diapers for her baby-prop, Trapdoor or Pygmallion or whatever the hell his name is*?

Remember how some conservatives gushed that this proved that she was an average, everyday mom because she got off the Straight Talk Express to buy store-brand? The implication was that name-brand nappies were too extravagant to catch the poops of a baby whose mom was so frugal as Alaskan governor that she fired her chef and put her her plane on eBay.

"She's a regular person," McCain has insisted. But this morning the news is telling a different story.

Apparently, Palin's clothing and personal stylist have set the GOP back a cool $150,000. That's right. One hundred fifty followed by three zeros. I know a lot of truly average people who'd like to have that kind of money; if they did I bet they wouldn't spend it on over-priced make-up and clothes, either. I know I wouldn't. That's enough to pay for a year of insurance coverage, buy a modest house or fund two years at a state college for two students.

I was genuinely surprised to see a female anchor on MSNBC defend Palin this morning. "It cost a lot of money for a woman in the public eye to look good!" she protested.

It's a good thing the kids weren't awake, because I was up and out of my chair when I heard that.

"Not that much, you stupid bitch!" I yelled, gesticulating at the television as I did. And then I cursed some more when I realized I'd managed to spill my coffee while attempting to flip off some news anchor who couldn't even see me.

The anchor pointed out that Obama's suits aren't cheap and on that point I agree. But I bet it hasn't cost that much. And the McCain campaign is showing its true colors by selling Palin as an average hockey mom while spending more on five weeks worth of clothes than most working mothers make in a year.

If Palin was able to turn down a plane and a chef because they were too extravagant, why has she suddenly become unable to turn down nearly $4,7000 of hair and make-up services - nearly $1,000 each week of the campaign - on the grounds that it was excessive? The MSNBC anchor complained that its the handlers fault. They're making her do this. So why not go all Super-Maverick on them and Just Say No? If Palin can't stand up to her campaign handlers, how is she going to stand up to Congress?

The McCain campaign is in a snit over the criticism. They contend that they were going to donate the clothes to a charity after the campaign, but it seems to me that given the depreciation of their purchases, a wiser route would have been for Palin to put that GOP money where her mouth is, pick up something from Wal-Mart or Target and donate what the campaign handlers wanted to spend to a children's charity.

Is this how a fiscal watchdog behaves? Or is this pitbull with lipstick only satisfied with lipstick that's part of an over-priced makeover? If her past record is any indication, the answer is 'yes.' As mayor of Wasilla, she spent $50,000 in unauthorized city funds to redecorate her office.

Of course, there's an upside to all of this. For me. With each passing day, a little more information comes out that raises Palin's negatives and broadens Obama's lead in the polls. McCain deserves a defeat for hanging this bimbo-shaped millstone around his wrinkled neck. Maybe he should let her keep the clothes. I'm all for Palin getting some lovely parting gifts so long as we never have to see her again.


*I refer to the baby as a prop because many of us still doubt it's hers.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More mouth-breathers for McCain



Watch this video, and the next time some wing-nut tells you that he or she likes Palin because Palin is an average person, remember that this is their idea of an average person.

Why? Because with the GOP, Stupid has become the new Black. And I don't mean black as a skin color, because the only thing that scares a conservative Republican more than a black person is a black person with a book. No, I mean 'black' as in fashionable.

McCain's Vagina has made knuckle-dragging vogue. Thanks to Palin, it's not only considered elitist for someone to be schooled in constitutional law, but to be schooled at all. It's equally elitist to speak proper English, reject the notion that humans once had pet dinosaurs or believe anything other than what Fox News tells you to.

 When did Willful Ignorance become the new litmus test for GOP leadership? And don't say, "Since Bush," because this crowd makes W. look like a Rhodes Scholar.

Seriously, people. This is some scary White Trash. 

Monday, October 20, 2008

Drifting


I’m over the top, impossible, unfocused and erratic
I’m silly, childish, dirty-minded and overly dramatic

And I know you think I never listen to a goddamned thing you say
But that’s not true. I really do. I just do not obey.

And I’ve got this knack for disappearing and going off somewhere
inside my head while I’m still sitting right here in this chair.

Or sometimes I really leave and walk off in the woods
for hours. And I wish you’d hush, for it does me worlds of good.

It helps me focus and reflect on what you hate in me
when I’m off by myself like that, in my own company

And I have found when I’m alone that I like myself just fine
so just because I don’t list your faults the way that you list mine
does not mean they are absent because, lover, they are there.
It’s just that petty criticisms aren’t what I care to share.

So back off, man, time is short. The years have no respect.
We can fight if you want, but I’d just as soon have sex.

--Morgan

Onward, Christian cheerleader

If this doesn't scare you, you aren't paying attention.

For my eldest

My oldest daughter Jessica is a first year elementary school teacher. She works in a rural, underfunded district a couple of counties away from her home. She loves her job, loves her students and calls me every afternoon during her one-hour commute to tell me about her day.

These conversations sometimes make me angry. They sometimes make me sad. But they always make me proud. We're homeschoolers, and Jessica began her academic life at our kitchen table learning to read from stories I wrote about the adventures of her doll, Cupcake. She was four then. 
I loved homeschooling, and we still homeschool her two younger siblings. 

But I could not do what she does. I couldn't teach the masses. I know I couldn't. I couldn't deal with the bureaucracy or the politics of teaching with her aplomb. I couldn't face parents I knew to be abusiv
e or neglectful without asking, "Now tell me again why it was you chose to breed?" I couldn't stare into the eyes of some of my students, knowing that I was probably the only person in their lives who even gave a damn, without breaking down. 

Jessica does this day after day. And despite the hardships and aggravations of her job,  she truly loves it. 

"Do what you love." That's what I've told all my kids. And she is.

So when I was looking for another audiobook to put on my iPod and came across this poem by educator/poet Taylor Mali I had to share it with Jessica. And with you. It's a wonderful message that should be heard by anyone who judges a teacher - or any other person's worth - by their paycheck.



Mali isn't just inspirational; he's damn funny, too. I came across this clip on proofreading vs. Spell Check over the weekend and couldn't stop laughing. 

Friday, October 17, 2008

International Dispute

Hans, who hails from France, apparently thinks I'm being condescending.

His issue is with me is that I referred to a Palin supporter as "trash." Let me put this in context. This week I posted a video of a Palin rally, where a Palin supporter said she didn't support Obama because he thought white people were trash.

"I don't like the fact that he thinks us white people are trash," she said. "We're not trash."

I disagreed. She sounds just like every other white trash person I know who trash-talks Obama with statements so obviously rooted in prejudice. And I said so. If it smells like a piece of white trash and rolls like white trash then it's white trash.

Hans thought that was mean. He said I had no business calling anyone trash.

This sparked an exchange between us, during which I chalked his confusion up to cultural differences. Unless you've been around white trash, then don't be so quick to take things out of context, I told him.

His response sought to prove that he did, indeed, understand:

ook here: the mentality you describe exists anywhere, in any ethnos. Including parts of France. What I do not agree with is describing people as trash because of it.

I've had people, whom otherwise I would had trusted on grounds of religious sympathy, distrust me, whether it is because I am from a Protestant country, or because I speak fluent English and can converse with English speaking tourists, or because I fled my country, or because I live on the streets and beg rather than work hard with my fists and arms. I am "frog lover" as that lady would probably call me, but the "frogs" distrust me because I am also "ami des rosbîf" (yup, Frenchies call English roastbeefs=rednecks), and because my folksong repertoir is more anglophone than francophone. I can sing (or could before the colds strained my voice) things like Waltzing Matilda or In Dublin's Fair City or Scotland the Brave: but if I cannot sing either Brel or Brassens, I do not count as a real street singer around here. Especially since I do not play the guitar.

I am a composer, but since this has so far not landed me with success or money, some people will just give me no credit for it.

Wow, I thought. Good point. And then he went and ruined it by going all French Fundamentalist on me:

God decides ultimately who is trash and goes to Gehenna. Yup, the Hebrew word for hell also is the name of the refuse heap outside Jerusalem. Which is reason enough, knowing as we do NOT beforehand who goes there, not to describe people who are alive like that.


Huh?

Well, here's my response to that:

Hans, you're quite welcome to come here on my blog and disagree with me. But again you simply do not understand.

There is a term used called "white trash" to describe ignorant people who remain uneducated by choice. They're generally a hateful lot, and the only way to elevate themselves is to look down on those they believe God created as Lesser Beings, i.e., the blacks, Muslims or even other Christians who don't hold their narrow interpretation of the Bible.

It's an expression, Hans.

But even so, I find it sadly ironic that you express indignation over an expression while admitting belief in a God you say will one day throw nonbelievers into some burn pile. And for what, Hans? For rejecting Him? For being of a faith other than Christianity? For being born into circumstances so brutal that they were never able to muster belief that there was some Benevolent Watcher who loved them or cared one whit about their lives?

For the life of me I can't understand why you are upset that I refer to someone as trash when you admit to worshipping a being who has deemed a large part of humanity disposable.

What would you call those people got cast into your Gehenna, Hans? They were born as innocent as you, but somewhere between innocence and death they lost their way. Would you call them trash? No? Your God does.

And if you really, truly believe that - and it's baffling that an intelligent person would - then you're condoning an injustice that goes far beyond some perceived verbal insult.

What's the French word for "irony?"




Thursday, October 16, 2008

Charmed, I'm sure...


Who says kids can't give good advice? When Alex suggested I keep one of the kittens we've been fostering to ease the pain of losing Jingles, I initially refused to consider it. But when I couldn't face the thought of an empty pillow on my first catless night, I went and fetched the little black kitten that had mysteriously appeared in our ditch just three days before Jingles died.

Right away she settled into Jingles' familiar spot on my pillow, and when I awoke that first night and felt the stab of pain that comes with remembering something Terrible that happened before you went to sleep, the kitty purred in my ear and kneaded my hair with her tiny claws. Jingles used to make cat biscuits on me, too. The new kitty even seems to have a sense of humor. This morning I missed her and after some looking found her asleep in the terra cotta pumpkin I use for a doorstop.

Alex's friend Hannah was sad to hear of Jingles' death. When Alex told her over the phone, Hannah asked to speak to me. 

"I'm so sorry," Hannah said in the voice kids use when they feel the need to sound more formal and grown up. Then she grew quiet. "Did she leave a will?"

If you know our family, and the personalities and voices we give our pets then that wouldn't seem like an odd question. It turns out that Jingles did leave a will, and it will be formally read this week to friends and family who knew her. So far I only know of two things she bequeathed: she left the litter spoon and the can opener to me. And she left me to the new cat. 

I promise to try to be as good a human to this kitty as I was to Jingles, who always knew how to take such good care of me, her most prized possession. It's a good feeling to know that while this new cat will never completely replace the one I lost, that I will nonetheless be able to love again.


Update: I'd be remiss if I didn't share this very touching poem authored and sent to me by Christopher. I can't read it without getting choked up and think it is really a fitting tribute to Jingles, who really was one of those cats that probably comes along once in a lifetime. When I close my eyes, I can still feel her in my arms and know I will always remember. Even if I can no longer hold her in my arms, I will forever hold her in my heart.

Animals will do what they do.
It's just the way they're made, you see,
Like that grizzled old cat who
Slept on your face and ate brie.
His last meow meant, "Remember me."
Animals will do what they do.
It's just the way they're made, you see.

Jingles
1993 - 2008

Election homestretch humor

Finally, the last of the debates is over. I think it was a good one - the best one yet. But even so I didn't really hear anything new from either man. McCain tried to distill everyone down to one person - a man named Joe the Plumber who wants to buy his own business - when Americans and their problems are much more diverse than that. Obama understood that and showed confidence and competence on a wider range of issues, which kept McCain plumbing the plumber line when he wasn't trying to tie Obama to Bill Ayers.

Unless something dramatic happens, it's curtains for McCain. He'll lose to the man who was too gracious last night to address Palin's staggering lack of qualifications should McCain become president and then die in office.

But that doesn't mean the rest of us can't continue to enjoy the low brow humor she seems to spawn at every turn. Check this awesome site out for the one of the funniest Palin parodies I've seen yet. Just scroll over the screen for hidden goodies. Scroll over everything, or else you might miss something.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sometimes it's best to step aside and let conservatives be conservatives



Really, do I need to add anything? Except to the woman who said she wasn't trash. Uh, sorry, but yes you are.

The really scary thing is that these mouth-breathers represent much of what lives in my community amid the forest of McCain-Palin signs. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Death of my cat

Jingles just last month, in her favorite place - my lap.

I don’t think there’s any way you can really prepare yourself for the passing of a loved one. When the loved one is a cat, folks may say things like, “She had a good life. She was one of the lucky ones.” They mean well and they’re usually right. But that doesn’t make it any easier.

Last night was the first night in years that my cat Jingles didn’t sleep on my pillow. That’s been her preferred spot since I brought her home twelve years ago as an injured stray. Even in those early days when she was thumping around the house in her purple cast, she managed to hop up on my bed then and curl up on my pillow as if to say, “This is My Spot. And you are mine.”

Larry had told me I could keep her until she was healed, but I think we both knew she wasn’t going anywhere.

I woke up about 2 a.m. this morning to find Jingles missing from Her Spot. I groped around for her and then got up to look for her. I finally found her in the bathroom cabinet. Sometimes she goes in there to get away from things, and normally I just haul her out. I don’t know why I didn’t this time. It was as if she were putting out “leave me be” vibes. So I did.

When the alarm clock went off at about 5:30 Larry got up as usual. About three minutes later, just as I was about to doze back off I heard a horrible cry. Alex came running in obvious panic.

 “Mom, I hear an animal crying! What is it?” 

We thought something was attacking the goats; that’s how loud it was. Then I realized it was coming from Alex’s room, from under her desk.

I found Jingles in a full seizure and I knew right away she was dying. My sister’s cat, Ivan, died of a stroke several years ago and what I saw was a lot like she described.

I cried out and picked Jingles up. She was cold and drooling. Her pupils were fixed and dilated. I kept telling her I was there, that I wouldn’t let her die alone. Alex started crying and Larry came running in.

I took Jingles into the living room and sat down on the couch. She cried out and seized a few more times, and while I’m not a religious person I summoned whatever connection I have with the Divine and communicated just one thought: "Don't let her suffer. I can accept that she has to leave, but I can't accept seeing her hurt like this."

And then, just like that, she kind of relaxed.

“I’m going to take her to our chair,” I said, referring to the recliner where I start each day working on my laptop. Jingles always sits in my lap when I do. Recently, after she jumped on my keyboard, got her claw hung under the “B” key and pulled it off (I still need to get that fixed) I learned to type with the cat in my lap and the Mac balanced on the arm of the chair. Jingles was all about being accommodated.

She had a purr like a motorboat, and this morning that was all that was missing. She didn’t look like a dying cat. She just looked like she was sleeping. After a few minutes the labored breathing slowed to become deep sighs. I think she knew we were there, all of us, because by this time – one by one – our other cats came in to sit at different points around the room as if paying respect to their friend.

And then she died.

It was about six o’clock, and shortly afterwards Lucas came in. He cried and cried when we told him, and came over to give Jingles a few posthumous “dot-to-dot rubs” (what he calls head-to-tail strokes) as Alex scratched her around the ears and above her little bob tail. Jingles especially liked those "butt scratches." The base of her spine was her sweet spot, and she’d throw back her head in ecstasy when we did that.

We spent some time comforting each other; it was especially hard for Lucas. He’s never known life without Jingles, and this was his first experience with Death.

We talked for a bit about what to do with the body. Jingles was still on my lap, looking – and still feeling – like she was just asleep. Larry offered to have her cremated and I considered that - having Jingles forever interred in a little cat urn on my shelf.  But I'm frugal, and ultimately decided that I preferred to bury her in the flower bed by the front door, beside the Lady Banks Rose.

I told Larry I’d just hold her while he dug the grave. While he did, the kids made farewell cards for Jingles. Alex drew three little portraits of Jingles and Lucas drew one. His rendering gave Jingles a long, giraffe-like neck. I don’t now how she would have felt about that one. We tucked the cards between her paws.

Alex offered to take a few pictures. She's turning into quite the little historian. Like me, she feels that everything needs to be documented, even the sad stuff.

"You can delete them later if you don't want them," she said. But I never will. Jingles death, like her life, is now part of our family's tapestry.

Last time going to sleep in my lap.


Farewell cards. Farewell, cat.

My 18-year-old son, John, is blessedly not here today. He’s autistic and Jingles is one of the living  things in his life that he truly loves. I don’t look forward to telling him that she’s gone. I don’t really know how I’m going to do it, in fact. There’s more to think about when a cat dies than you realize.
John and Jingles on Sunday, two days before she died. John, who is autistic, adored Jingles. 

Years ago I heard Garrison Keillor recite a poem called “In Memory of our Cat, Ralph,” in which he recounted the passing of his own beloved feline friend. The line I remember most was something about “that warm weight missing from our laps.” As I sat there holding my recently departed kitty, the dread of burying her grew exponentially with each passing moment. Because once she was off my lap I’d never feel that sensation again. Only cat people understand that every cat feels different, and Jingles felt the best of all. Her fur was warm and dense, and she purred so deeply that she practically vibrated. Sometimes I swear she'd purr so hard her whiskers would shake. And more often than not when I looked down at her she’d be staring at me through half-opened lids, her blue eyes telegraphing the message, “This is nice.”

And it was. It was so nice.

Larry came back in before I was ready, but even if he’d spent the day digging no time would have really been right for what I now had to do.

“OK,” he said and I stood, cradling Jinges with those homemade cards still stuck between her paws. My legs felt shaky and my stomach hurt from grief as I walked outside.

Alex had lined the grave with a piece of pink netting that she'd found. The dark of the soil was visible through the netting, and when I laid Jingles down the light parts of her fur looked so bright against the darkness of the hole. For a moment I wanted to pick her up, to hold her just one more time. But I didn’t. I'd had my goodbye, had been able to hold her and comfort her as she slipped away. She'd given me that, and I was grateful.

So I knelt, crying, and scattered soil over her body until I couldn’t see her any more. Larry finished filling the grave, tears running down his face as he finished burying the cat he’d joked would never die.

I won’t go into all the other things I’ll miss about Jingles. We give our pets voices and personalities and Jingles talked to us – or through us – so much that it’s going to be hard to get out of character. Or to get the character of her out of us. Last year I even made her an ordained minister.

It’s almost nine o’clock now, Jingles has been dead a full three hours and I’m sitting here watching this litter of farm cats we took in rip around the living room. There are four of them, and last week we added a fifth kitten someone had dumped in our ditch – a coal black kitty we dubbed Pookah. Today is the day I’ll put them all on Craigslist so they’ll get a chance to become beloved pets, to hopefully bring someone the joy that Jingles gave me.

“You could keep one,” Alex suggested this morning when I was asking myself out loud what the hell I was going to do now that Jingles was gone. “You could find the one that likes to sit in your lap and keep that one.”

If it could only be that simple, but cats are like people. They just can’t be replaced and I’m quite sure I’ll never find another one like Jingles. But that’s OK. Having just one Jingles in my life was probably more than I deserved anyway.

So now, with an empty lap and a heavy heart, I move ahead. Because that’s really all I can do.

Update: It's occurred to me that this may be my Most Depressing Post Ever. My beloved Andrea has informed me that it made her cry, which was not my intention. I'm sure the Dead Kitty pictures didn't help. So for balance here are some awesome pictures from when Jingles was alive and doing what she did best - terrifying Frodo the Dachshund and then Making Nice with him.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

For Andrea...

...in response to her post pondering why someone would let Obama hold their babies.

Yeah, he looks old enough to send to Iraq!


Friday, October 10, 2008

Slogans to stick with

Election Day may be less than a month away, but it's still not too late for you to support your candidate with a bumper stickers. The Landover Baptist store has some awesome ones, and I've selected a few to show you here. 

Now, I know that you McCain-Palin supporters are probably too busy preparing for the rapture to shop for bumper stickers, which is why I went ahead and selected some that I think will appeal to you, the true GOP base:





Sometimes, when Sarah Palin is winking at the camera and I get the feeling that the wink was just for me, or when McCain says, "My friend," and I believe that that's just for me, too, I fancy switching sides. If I do, then I'm considering these bumper stickers.




No matter which candidate you support, this one is one-size-fits-all.

And finally, I like this one so much that I almost which McCain had picked Romney just so I could put it on my car:

But then I see McCain's poll numbers and think, "No, actually I'm glad he picked Sarah." 

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Pot, meet kettle



Hmmm. If Sarah Palin loves America so darn much then why do she and her husband support a group that can't wait to get the hell out of it?

Maybe Todd thinks that if Alaskans secede, they'll make Sarah their queen. Then he can be king and they can name their next baby Prince Moosekill Beyond-the-Palin.

Oh, irony, thy name is McCain's Vagina.

Spanking New Blog



Today I'm announcing a new blog.

It won't supplant this one; the Token Hippie isn't going anywhere. No, this one is quite different. It's an erotic blog entitled Naughty Bits and will feature short, erotic stories, select soft-core photos and artwork book reviews and even some literary challenges from time to time.

I just put up my first post called "Cherry." No, it's probably not what you think. But with me things rarely are.

Oh, and to those of you scandalized by the photo? That's an orchid. Damn you and our dirty mind.

For perfectly understandable reasons, it will be by invitation only. So if you want to become a reader just email me at thetokenhippie@gmail.com and ask.

For understandable reasons, I'm going to make it by invitation only, so if you want to become a reader, you'll have to email me and ask. Just drop me a line at thetokenhippie@gmail.com


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Horsing Around, Part IV


Our instructor Stephanie came to us today for our first lessons on Lumos and Oliver. When your instructor tells you that you've bought a Good Horse you know you chose well. Lumos was on his best behavior today. We did walk, trot canter and Stephanie was impressed not only with his willingness but the fact that he also knows his leads. 

Lumos' former owner had him jumping small cavalettis, but it's been awhile. Today Stephanie had me try taking him some ground poles and cross rails. If you're wondering why there are no pictures, it's because they were all embarrassing. We think Lumos has the potential to do some jumping, but as far as he's concerned if barreling through the jumps gets you to the other side as effectively as jumping, why leave the ground?

I finally did get him to do a short course, but it was kind of sloppy. He's much more graceful at the trot and canter. I really think he'd make a better dressage horse, but we're going to work on a little jumping as well, just to see how he does. 

Alex's pony Oliver is a hunter and has shown competitively. He can jump, but his problem is that he is lazy. Today he plodded along and plowed through jumps to the point that Alex was close to tears. When I decided I couldn't stand it anymore, I put her up on Lumos, hopped on Oliver and made him do the course. After he'd jumped two fences like he was supposed to, I put Alex back on him and he did this for her:


Oliver is a sweetheart; you couldn't ask for a nicer pony with better ground manners. But he's a pony and will get away with what you let him. Stephanie thinks I should ride him at the beginning of each lesson to send the message that he has to work by the time Alex gets on him.

Tomorrow it's supposed to rain. Ugh. Hopefully it'll be out of here by the weekend and we can do a bit more flatwork with the boys. In the meantime, they're getting a well-deserved break. They both did well this week, and we're pleased.

Hippie vs. Cowboy

Over at Digital Cowboy’s place, he’s taken me to task for a comment I made about Obama. I mean, he’s really taken me to task. In fact, he’s all but gone McCain on me, not that I mind.

Digital Cowboy is a nice guy. I like him. But he’s really typical of the conservatives I deal with on a daily basis. So I’ve posted his assertions below along with my responses for those of you who may be interested.

Cowboy Assertion #1: The media is “fixing this election” for Obama.


Is Fox news included in there? Before Palin even made the ridiculous point that living next door to Russia gave her foreign policy experience, Steve Doocy said it. If she’s taking her talking points from that clown then that is Reason 4,560 not to vote for her.
Fox has done everything to prop McCain up besides roll out a walker for him to hold onto.


And Fox needs to get off the “We’re-Not-The-Mainstream-Media” line. How can they crow about record viewership and then claim not to be mainstream? Pffft.
There’s plenty of bias out there, but it cuts both ways.


Cowboy Assertion #2: Obama is unqualified to be president and is only where he is because he’s only good at public speaking...

…and yet Palin, while being more unqualified to be president, is where she is despite the fact that she can hardly speak at all. Wow. Jesus must really love her.


Cowboy Assertion #3: Obama is not American.


I assume you’ve fallen for the line that being Truly American means being a cheerleader for every blundering, heavy-handed, meddlesome foray we’ve made into the affairs of other nations. If that’s what it takes to be an American, then I’m not American, either.


Over and over the McCain-Palin crowd say, “They hate us because we’re free.” No they don’t. They hate us because we don’t know enough to keep our nose out of everyone else’s business.


And as far as being un-American, if Obama is, then he should go out drinking with Todd Palin. I mean, we need to get those two together. Todd was affiliated with the Alaskan Independence Party, which favored the state’s secession from the union. I’m not sure how you square loving America with wanting to get the fuck out of it. 

Who knows, maybe Todd though that if Alaska broke away they’d make his wife queen. And then he could be king. And their next kid could be called Prince Moosekill Beyond The Palin or something like that.


Cowboy Assertion #4: Obama loves abortion and it’s the only thing he’s ever taken a stand for.

Ahem. Um. I love it when you guys do this because I don’t see conservatives as pro-life so much as “pro-birth.” Conservatives love to see babies born. They love it so much that conservatives like Palin oppose sex-ed being taught in schools, although she did favor firearms courses being taught. So while they can learn how to handle the urge to hunt, they remain ignorant about how to handle the urge to hump. The result: Bristol Palin.


McCain favored insurance companies covering Viagra but not birth control for women. Nope, no inconsistencies there.
Obama has said numerous times that he wants to see the number of abortions go down. That doesn’t sound like a man who wants to bathe in the blood of dead babies. But the only way to reduce the abortion rate is for there to be fewer unplanned pregnancies.


I have to wonder too, if you pro-birthers love babies so much then why do most of you favor reductions in programs that provide prenantal care and medical care for young families that can’t afford it? Obama favors both. McCain wants to give each infant born a tiny pair of bootstraps to pull itself up by. 


Cowboy Assertion #5: Barack Obama has no experience, while Sarah Palin has actually done, uh, stuff.

OK, I admit it. When it comes to playing the flute and working as a sportscaster, my homey Barack got nothing on your peep Sarah.
Let’s see if I can find any other contrasts. Here’s one: before spending eight years in his state’s senate before being voted into the US sentate, Obama practiced civil rights law. That probably required him to have some awareness of the constitution, which Palin probably doesn’t include in her “vast” list of reading materials. I kind of get the impression that she might be the type who thinks her interpretation of God’s law supercedes man’s. I prefer my presidents not to think that way when it comes to running the U.S.


Obama also happened to work as a community organizer, which I personally applaud. Somehow, Palin’s work on the PTA is seen as more significant, although I can’t see how.


Cowboy Assertion #6: Sarah Palin is a setback for women the way Reagan was a setback for actors.


Are you serious? Really? If Reagan championed policies most actors found damaging or regressive to actor’s rights and was so ill-spoken, clichéd and dim that other actors cringed at having him represent them, then I could buy your argument. But even conservative women in the GOP like National Review columnist Kathleen Parker have suggested that Palin is a disaster. When McCain had real choices like Christie Todd-Whitman or Meg Whitman, for him to choose someone like Palin is puzzling at best and disturbing at worst.


Cowboy Assertion #7: McCain was in the military, so he must love his country more.

So was Jack Murtha, and I’ve seen that man called everything but the anti-Christ for opposing the war.

 The truth is, Cowboy, both McCain and Obama love their country. No one runs for president and puts themselves through what the race entails unless they do. But Obama loves this country enough to realize that the middle class is being left in the dust by these corporate robber barons and that our intrusive, heavy-handed, inflexible foreign policy decisions have brought trouble to our door.

McCain is old guard. People are tired of that, and that is why Obama will win the election. 
If he does, we’ll see whether the people who claim to love this country will love it enough to get behind him. If something happens and McCain wins, despite my threats to move to Canada, I’ll get behind him and will stay behind him unless he fucks up W-style.

I don’t think you can really love your country and want the president who takes over to fail, especially in time of crisis.


Do you?