Wednesday, March 31
Has everyone seen this?
It's been going around for a while, and I believe it is not a doctored photo, but really exists in the April 2004 issue of Details Magazine.
What kind of bullsh*t is this? If someone had written a spoof about "Drunk or Irish" or "Drugdealer or Black," what the heck kind of uproar would our nation be in? There are fewer of us than there are of the rest of you minority groups, but that doesn't mean that inaccurate stereotypes and hurtful stupidity doesn't affect us all, minority or majority, and that we shouldn't stand up against it, together.
Thankfully, someone is covering this minor (hopefully to be major) brou-ha-ha. Check this out, from today's New York Daily News' Daily Dish column:
GLAAD TO BE UNHAPPY
The devil is in the new issue of Details, according to some angry gay and Asian groups.
The magazine contains a tongue-in-cheek feature inviting readers to discern whether the man pictured is "Gay or Asian."
The Details piece plays on such terms as "chicken," "entering the dragon" and finding "the plumpest eel."
The Asian-American Journalists' Association has demanded an apology from Details editor Dan Peres, citing the article's "leering sexual innuendo and a litany of the most tired cliches about both Asian and gay culture with no goal other than to ridicule both groups."
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation also protested and an online petition condemning the feature attracted over 15,000 names.
A rep for Details said the magazine will print a statement of "regret" next month.
#41 (that would be Shrub, Sr.) is whining about how people are being too hard on his son, #43 (that would be Shrub, Jr.).
OH NO! The United States President has CRITICS? People are QUESTIONING the President's ACTIONS? The media is asking for ANSWERS? There is PARTISAN SNIPING? American citizens are wondering about the WISDOM of being in this WAR?
FIRST OF ALL, Shrub, Jr. is the President of this country (for better, but mostly for worse), and welcome to America, but that kind of opens him up to being watched and criticized. Silly me, I thought that was part of the beauty of being an American. MOREOVER, #41 needs to pipe down because frankly, it's just embarrassing to be over the age of, say, SIX, and still have your father defending you against your critics. And FINALLY ... well, there is no finally. I'm just counting down the days to the Election.
Tuesday, March 30
I'm still reading Philip Yancey's "Soul Survivor." Sooo interesting and so varied. I am utterly sucked in. I have been lifting from the book like you wouldn't even believe. But this, I could not relegate to my other site ...
with Dr. Robert Coles,
"Soul Survivor," by Philip Yancey
A reminder that in all things, in all ways, in all circumstances, in all responses, in all actions, in all thoughts, in all service, in all of life, I need to look at myself first, that we all need to look at ourselves first before we start to even lift our eyes to anything or anyone else ...
Sometimes I don't like being busy, having a schedule that is jam-packed with very little wiggle or breathing room. But other times, like now, I like looking ahead to the coming days, weeks and months, and seeing that I have little highlights here and there to look forward to and to keep me motoring on through life ...
... Jaime and his company, Masheta Group, are opening another Minado Restaurant, this time in Morris Plains, NJ, on Thursday ... GO EAT THERE!
... on Friday, a bunch of us are going downtown to see wAve about a family living a Korean American experience. It features C's friend and my co-godparent Ron Domingo ... GO SEE IT!
... on Saturday, the women are heading up to Canada (oh alright, it's just WappFalls) to fete Mrs.G before she pops out her Melon. Hey, she promised challah French toast, and who are we to say "no"...
... later on in April, some cronies and I will take in Missy Elliott, Alicia Keys and Beyonce at the Garden. We don't really care that we might be the only six, preppy, slightly dorky Asians in the entire arena. Represent! ...
... then I start attending some baseball games ...
... then I gussy myself up to help out APEX, Inc. at their 12th Annual Benefit Gala Dinner. I probably won't be blowing any cash on useless but fun auction items, but I must show up to show I care ...
... then I go to The Wedding of The Year I, courtesy of Wonger and her love. It's outdoors (don't forget the Claritin) and I'm doing a reading (don't forget my Bible) and it's black-tie, I think (don't forget to take a shower and put on some makeup)...
... then I go to see Madonna at the Garden. My first Madonna concert EVAH. She better dance. Dance, I say! Dance! ...
... more baseball games ...
... a trip to L.A., I hope, to see my 'nieces', who I'm sure will be little tyrants by then, and I'll go broke buying them educational toys and books. I'm such a buzzkill! ...
That takes me to August, and even that is a bit dizzying for my type-A bad-ass self. I should sleep now to prepare ...
Monday, March 29
Got bored again.
This kind of thing would only happen to me: my stinky piece o' crap white rental car got a FLAT TIRE.
As if it wasn't bad enough that the crappy thing has been made fun of constantly for being dirty, backwards and lacking three of its four hubcaps. As of this morning, it also had a big fat nail stuck in one of its hubcap-less tires. Sigh.
But I am pleased to inform you that the piece of crap has been returned to its home, and I now have a silver less crappy piece of crap. It doesn't stink like cigarette smoke AND it has power windows!
Saturday, March 27
The NHF Praise Team's 24-hour retreat is over and I'm home now ... home, sweet home. (Incidentally, there really IS no place like home. Even if it's home with your parents and Gran, even if it's home that still has the furniture from 4th grade and wallpaper from 10th grade, even if it's home with the crazy loud squirrels playing tag outside your window at 5:00 a.m. again.)
My mind is spinning. My heart is in an uproar. My ears are ringing. My brain is moving too fast for me to catch it and slow it down. My eyes are droopy and tired. My shoulders are both weary and tightly cramped.
Of course, the first thing I do when I get home and am settled is turn on Bob, my trusty computer. Although I've only been away for twenty-four hours, I feel as though I have been out of touch with the world for weeks on end. What could have possibly happened in the last day that would be so momentous that I had to read about it? Goodness, anything. Only a quick review of the news will give me the small measure of peace that will allow me to move on with the rest of my night, allow me to believe that the world is right (or as right as it will ever be), allow me to understand that I haven't missed anything, that everything is rolling right along, as it should. I spoke with C about how I marvel at people who don't follow the news, who don't read newspapers or at least browse the headlines, who don't care or don't want to care because it's just too much, or it's not interesting enough. I sometimes wonder, though, if those people don't have the right idea ... but that's a tangent for another day.
Trying to organize my thoughts at this moment is impossible ... I can only now manage jottings, ramblings, small thought bubbles that pop up now and then unannounced ...
Thought Bubble: the retreat theme was Ultra-Violet. One can't see UV rays, but we know they exist. One can't see God, but we should know He exists. One can't see a spirit of worship, but we should know it exists and can be created and can be mysteriously, crazily awesome.
Thought Bubble: we have something inside us, soooo deep we don't even recognize (or won't even recognize) that it's there, but when it's released, it will come roaring forth with a vengeance in proportion to how long, how much, how strongly it has been suppressed. That is what we are made to do, to crave the ability and opportunity to express ourselves, to worship He who created us, in Whose very IMAGE we are created.
Thought Bubble: just because we are a church band, does not nullify the fact that we are also a musical organization; we need to practice and rehearse. It is in expending the time and energy and sweat and even tears, that God will reward us and bless us. We can't just say "we're a church band, the Spirit will work in us" or "we're a church band, we can only rely on the Spirit." Yes, we CAN only rely on the Spirit, but if we don't practice, we just aren't going to sound good.
Thought Bubble: listening to each other, being in tune with each other musically and mentally and emotionally ... is counter-intuitive and hard, especially for us, who are all friends, who all "know" each other, who all can make musical assumptions about each other. We need to bust out of this comfort zone. We need to start over. We need to work on it. I'm ready to work on it.
Thought Bubble: people don't like change. But change is necessary.
Thought Bubble: our team is going to have to grow up awfully fast, awfully soon. It's going to be all about honesty, sensitivity, rebuking, listening, compromise, learning even if you think you already know everything, changing, and leaving our egos at the door ... nay, not even bringing them to the threshold. Yikes ... and yay!
Alright ... I have more thought bubbles but they are going to have to wait until morning when I can remember everything that was tossed my way today ... but for now, she sleeps.
Friday, March 26
It's simply beautiful outside ... and Shrub is making jokes about finding WMD's under the furniture in his office.
VERY F*CKING FUNNY, you jerk.
You are sending men and women to DIE in a WAR that should NEVER have even STARTED because you don't know WHAT the HELL you are DOING.
And now you're making jokes about it.
Get out of the Oval Office.
You are an insult to this country and the venerable institution known as the United States Presidency.
COUNTRY ROADS . . .
NHF's PT is heading to the countryside, a/k/a Canada, this weekend for ... I don't really know for what. We're calling it a retreat, but PEK, who has planned the whole thing under the most secretive wrap ever, has revealed no details to us, other than "bring toiletries and here are the directions." It might be a spiritual retreat, it might be a practicing retreat, it might be a technical training retreat. Who the heck knows? We certainly don't.
As JA put it, we kind of feel like an all-Asian, Christian cast of "The Real World." "This is the story of 10 non-strangers, spending a night together in the wilds of upstate New York, blah blah blah."
As you might imagine, this not knowing anything is driving me quite nuts. I don't know nuthin'. I hate that!
My only solace: riding with Mrs. R's eggrolls and JKA's dark chocolate chip cookies in the car. Those should last me till Canada.
Thursday, March 25
The Olympic torch was lit today in Olympia, Greece.
It is going to relay for 48,000 miles across five continents.
11,000 people across these continents will participate in the relay, each person carrying the torch for a quarter of a mile.
The torch will ride bikes, cars, buses and trains, an elephant in India, and a camel in Egypt.
It will make return visits to all the cities which have previously hosted the Olympic Games.
Latin America and Africa will see the Olympic torch for the first time.
It will land back in Athens, Greece on August 13, 2004.
The torch's flame is supposed to symbolize peace and life, and the Olympic Games represent a short period in which people are to lay down their arms and compete peacefully with only their talents instead.
Dare to dream.
DUMMIES . . .
These knucklehead terrorists in France sent letters to President Chirac and Interior Minister Sarkozy, telling them that they won't be putting anymore bombs on the French rail network until they resolve some technological and logistical issues that would enable them to better carry out terrorist acts.
'TIS THE SEASON . . .
Thanks to ESPN and Cheech-o-rama for this gem ...
Center of the Yankee Universe
By Eric Neel, Page 2 columnist
Most fans are single-minded when it comes to their favorite teams. They can quote you chapter and verse on the home team, but they don't know snot about the other clubs.
Yankee fans are different. A Yankee fan's devotion to the game is so deep and so true that the word "fan" doesn't do him justice. He's more than a fan. He's an historian.
Because he doesn't just know the Yanks. He's got the deep background, the straight baseball-aficionado dope, on every team in the Bigs.
Go ahead. Test him.
Who cares where the Buck stopped -- bring on Torre!
What's he most significant moment in Arizona Diamondback history?
You're thinking it's Luis Gonzalez's single up the middle in 2001, but forget it. The biggest D-Back moment? No brainer. Steinbrenner forcing out Showalter to make room for Torre.
The true starting point for Colorado baseball? Your typical Rockies fan says it was the Larry Walker signing on April 8, 1995.
The Yankees fan says, Pleeease. The Rockies' story begins and ends on Nov. 20, 1995, the day they gave up Joe Girardi to New York for Mike DeJean and Steve "I'm No Willie" Shoemaker. Do people still throw themselves out of windows over that one? Cuz they should.
In Los Angeles, the faithful wax eloquent about the big four of Jackie, Campy, Big D, and Sandy.
In New York it's one, two, three: As in Reggie going deep off Hooten, Sosa, and then Hough. Three rubber-armed mugs, three swings, and the three sweetest chapters in the Dodger story.
Padres fans point to Steve Garvey's walk-off homer in the 1984 NLCS, and to any one of Tony Gwynn's 3,141 hits.
Yanks fan knows better. He knows a guy named Scott Brosius, and he knows Trevor Hoffman knows him too.
In San Francisco, folks are obsessed with Barry's 73-dinger season.
In New York, the fan says that's nice, but it pales in comparison to the day Bobby Richardson snagged Willie McCovey's ninth-inning line drive in Game 7 of the 1962 Series.
Ask a Yanks fan about the greatest moment in Cubs history and he'll say, "you mean other than Ruth's called shot off Charlie Root?!"
When it comes to the Reds, the Yanks fan won't say it all boils down to Charlie Keller knocking Ernie Lombardi senseless at the plate in the 10th inning of the decisive Game 4 of the 1939 World Series. Though that was some funny s--t, you gotta admit. And he won't harp on the Paul O'Neill-for-Roberto Kelly deal back in '92, either. Though that was some seriously funny s--t. Nah, he won't go back that far. He'll just keep it fresh and explain to you how the Cincinnati baseball sun rises and sets with Aaron Boone's extra-inning dinger in the ALCS last fall. Because that was hee-larious.
Riddle me this, he says. What's bigger than The Mick hitting the first-ever home run at the Astrodome? Maybe only Ricky Ledee popping the first one at Minute Maid. Yes sir, I do loves me some tradition.
Yeah, O'Neill played for the Reds, but let's forget about that.
As for the Brewers, well, once upon a time the Brewers were the Seattle Pilots. And once upon a time, the Seattle Pilots traded a rookie named Lou Piniella to the Kansas City Royals. And the next thing you know, Lou's the AL Rookie of the Year and the Pilots cease to exist.
That's right: without a Yankee, the Brewers wouldn't even have a history.
Screw the Mazeroski homer. Pittsburgh just signed Mondesi, right? That's the beginning of the end of Pirate history right there.
In St. Louis, fans want to talk about Bob Gibson and Big Mac.
In New York, the man says, Yeah, yeah, but you got the rusted-out Tino and we got the prime-time Torre.
And Yankees fan knows the beginning of the modern Braves era goes a little something like this: "Wohlers from the stretch, delivers ... Leyritz swings .. deep to left field ... outta here!"
Shut up about the Marlins. They've got two deals with the devil and nine years worth of crap. What's to talk about?
(The wound is still fresh on that one.)
Expos fans figure maybe their biggest moment was losing Pedro to the Sox.
The Yankees fan figures, That used to be your biggest moment ... until you lost Vasquez, Suckahs!
Miracle Mets ... yadda, yadda, yadda. Doc and Straw ... yadda, yadda, yadda.
All of Met history boils down to one crucial crumbling: Piazza crying like a baby when Roger threw a little splintered bat his way. Be a man, Mikey!
You can't win every year. Wait ... why not?
Philadelphia: They had Dallas Green, didn't they?
Some people say the Yankee fans are cocky and self-absorbed, but that ain't right. They're students of the game. They know ...
Anaheim fans talk about winning the Series in 2002, but that what they oughtta be talking about is the freak luck storm that got 'em by New York in the ALDS in the first place.
And they understand that you better spell the history of the A's in Oakland, J-E-R-E-M-Y.
A Seattle fan is still smitten with Junior's taters in the '95 division series.
Yankees fans say wake up and smell Soriano going yard off Sasaki in '01, and get a whiff of 116 wins rotting on the vine, baby.
To Texas, they just say "Thank You."
The White Sox won the pennant in 1959, which was nice, especially since the Yanks won it in '55, '56, '57, '58, '60, '61, '62, '63 and '64.
Oh, and if you want something more recent on the Sox, the Yankees fans say remember Dec. 17, 2005, the day New York signs Magglio Ordonez away from Chicago.
Cleveland, by the way, once had Graig Nettles and Chris Chambliss. Before they got good.
There is one blind spot: If pressed, Yanks fans will admit they don't know much of anything about the Tigers. Except that Fidrych kid, they liked him all right, even though he wasn't a Yankee.
All Royals fans, of course, remember George Brett's glory.
Yankee fans remember Chambliss making Mark Littell immortal one year, Freddie Patek sobbing in the dugout the next, and George and his glory going home empty handed three years running.
The most heralded rule breaker in NYC since Bernard Goetz.
Minnesota's claim to fame is a tough one. If we go way back, to the days when the Twins were the Senators, we'll see that there was once a nice Broadway musical about the team called, naturally enough, "Damn Yankees." Not that the Bombers have been in the team's heads for very long or anything ... not that they're obsessed with the Yanks or anything like that ...
Baltimore? Ladies and gentlemen, meet Jeffrey Maier. Take a bow, Jeff.
Tampa Bay's a young club without much to celebrate. The Yankees fans do want folks to know, however, that New York is bringing its major league team to town on April 6 and 7, 2004.
People in Toronto still get misty over Joe Carter's walk-off. But what makes the Yankee fans cry is David Cone's perfect game. In The House That Ruth Built, if you know what they're saying, and they think that you do.
Which brings us finally to Boston, which brings us finally to two thoughts: The first is, Dude, where do you begin?! And the second is, with Babe of course.
The Yankee faithful know all about it.
I hope that I never become jaded to the news I read and hear daily, and that my heart never stops rejoicing or breaking accordingly ... because stories like this should never be overlooked.
I know a little bit about the conflict in the Middle East, between Israel and the Palestinians. I should probably read more about it, study it a little more, follow the news stories more carefully and diligently. But no matter how much I learn, I don't think I will ever be able to get over the reality of someone -- anyone -- using teenagers -- still simple children, in my eyes -- as human sacrifices, as mere vessels with which to make a violent point. It just makes ZERO SENSE to me.
It's one thing if you, a grown adult, are willing to blow yourself for whatever cause you believe in. But leave the kids alone.
Wednesday, March 24
New photos of my "nieces" ...
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour'd of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,--
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me--
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads--you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Before I go forth to complain about my RENTAL CAR, first things first: CONGRATULATIONS TO HA, DR.Y AND ABBY!!!!
The fourth member of their family arrived on Sunday evening: a healthy, plump little girl with quite an appetite, apparently. Sarah Robin Binna Yuhan, welcome to the family ...
I can't wait to go more broke on your behalf!
BACKWARDS DAY . . .
I hate my rental car. It's a white Ford Focus and it's TINY. They say they upgraded me from a compact to a midsize ... I shudder to think how many times I would have had to fold myself to fit into the compact vehicle, and I'm only 5'2", remember.
First of all, I hate white cars. There's just something about white vehicles that makes them look ... plastic-y. And when they get dirty, BOY, do they get dirty. Secondly, it has that rental car smell. That "I don't care if I smoke in the car and the stank gets into the upholstery because it's not my vehicle" smell. And it has that rental car acceleration sound; you know, it kind of rattles, even though it only has 6,000 miles on it. And it's so strangely sterile, despite the rental car stank. No one has made the car a home: there are no tissue boxes or CD's in the compartment, no wireless earpieces hanging off the rearview mirror, no EZ-Pass stuck to the window, no random maps and books and other assorted items cluttering the back seat and the trunk.
But the worst part about my rental car is that it's SMALL and it's BACKWARDS and it's SLOW. Each side mirror is smaller than my hand ... and they have to be manipulated manually, with little knobs which jut into the interior of the vehicle (not that the manipulation is worthwhile because I can't see anything reflected in them anyway). The rearview mirror is small and its reflection barely extends beyond the back seat. The rear window is small and I can barely see anything behind me. The steering wheel is small and I feel like a little blue-haired granny gripping it. The driver's seat is small and I imagine that is what it feels like to be wedged into a baby carseat as a fat infant who isn't quite tall enough to sit in a booster seat.
Everything in the car is manual, including the door locks and the windows. The door locks, I can live with, save for the fact that I probably looked like a fool opening, locking and closing each of the four doors this morning once I parked in the courthouse lot. But the windows ... the windows screwed me up and almost made me run into the police barriers near the parking lot entrance today. You have to roll the handle BACKWARDS to open them. Yes, BACKWARDS, as in TOWARDS your own body. Sigh. Moreover, the handle and the window are not completely aligned, so you can turn turn turn the handle several times, and the window will only roll down about two centimeters. I didn't realize this until I had turned the handle several times without watching, then reached my hand and security card out to swipe into the parking lot, and hit my hand HARD against the still-half-closed window. Thank God for tempered glass. I finally entered the lot, parked and moved to turn off the ignition, only to find that I almost broke my wrist in the process (ok, slight dramatization here). The ON position for the ignition is in a normal car's OFF position. And to turn the car OFF, I have to rotate the key back towards me about 180-degrees. I'm sorry, but my wrist just does not move this far back. I started laughing at myself, because I had to let go of the key after turning it once, then re-adjust my hand to keep turning it until the ignition turned off. Sigh, sigh and sigh. I could barely look at the vehicle as I left it and proceeded into work. Ugh.
Okay, okay, I know there are starving people in Africa who don't even have cars and have to walk miles and miles to their jobs, so I'll quit my whining now. But I just have to say, I really really miss Good Girl. She's the best. I hope she comes out of surgery alright ... and when she does, I'll wash her and feed her some tasty Premium gas with a high octane rating and tell her I love her over and over again.
Tuesday, March 23
I'm glued to the television tonight: it's "American Idol 3" after all -- where else did you expect I'd be? Sheesh.
Tonight is country night -- all the contestants must sing songs originally created and delivered by country musicians. The songs have been great ... the singers have been eh. And the all-cast music videos are just hideous, in a "it's so bad, it's good" sort of way.
But I just have to say ...
Little Diana: I guess I just have a prejudice against teeny-bopper singers, even though Britney and Christina and Debbie and Tiffany all started out in that category, and at one point or another, I enjoyed them all. But she too should be allowed to go home, go to high school and grow up a little. Look what happened to Britney and Christina. Ew.
George: what is there not to love? I didn't think it was appropriate to compare him to last year's Ruben, just because he's another black man with a hot voice. But his hot voice is certainly one that I could listen to for-evah! And by the way ... he's just adorable!
Fantasia: she kind of scares me, although she was funny tonight. Her voice, when great, is great. When not great, can break tempered glass. She was also mean to my honey, Simon.
Redhead John: someone please vote him out. He forgot the words. He is NOT adorable. He is NOT charming. He can only sing in one kind of style. He is NOT the new Clay Aiken. Please send him home, let him hit puberty, and then let's see where he can go ...
Camille: I just don't like her. I don't like her voice. I don't like her performances. I don't like how she dresses. I don't like her video montages. Kick her off.
Jennifer Hudson: could we PLEASE stop talking about her weight? She is beautiful. She is talented. She is confident. She has the coolest hair! (Which, disappointingly, she straightened this week. Wah.) Oh, and by the way, she's still waaaay smaller than the average American woman. So y'all should get off her case! Jeez.
The Pen Salesman: I do not think he's that great a singer. But he's sooo entertaining! I mean, he's a middle child, for crying out loud, and a total spazz to boot! I relate to spazzes ... even untalented ones. I would not be offended if he went to the top six ... but then he really WOULD have to go, just to preserve the facade of the integrity of this competition.
Jasmine With the Flower: Uh-oh ... I normally like her, but she is SO out of TUNE tonight. Ew. I can't listen. I might actually have to mute her. But her dress is cute. Too bad the dress can't sing.
Rose Bowl Matt: Hmm. The new improved sweet mellow Matt. Interesting. And occasionally out of tune. Very out of tune. But I think I like him because he's not like anyone that one would expect to be on "American Idol." And I find it very ironical (I know that's not a word) that this big ol' Rose Bowl winning football player is now on "American Idol." That just makes me laugh.
LaToya: in all the time this season has been on, I have never heard LaToya sing. Tonight, I heard her sing. First of all, she memorized all those lyrics. Dang. And allow me to just say ... THAT GIRL CAN SING. And Paula put it most accurately: she's a young Gladys Knight (with some good ol' Tina Turner mixed in). And Lord knows the music industry could use more Gladys and Tina ... Plus, she's graceful, gracious and well put-together. That's it. The competition is over for me.
Pink-Hair Amy: first of all, her hair scares me. Secondly, I LOVE the song she sang ("Sin Wagon," by Dixie Chicks). And I have to say ... she sang it pretty damn well. But forget the singing. Did she suddenly lose, like, 15 pounds? Did they overdo the body bronzer? Did they chisel her cheeks? Did someone suck out her normal body fat? This isn't Amy; this is someone else. I don't want Amy sticking around till the end, but please, bring the real Amy back!
And that's all she wrote.
And now for her commercial commentary ... I saw, for the first time, the new Verizon ad featuring a family called The Elliotts. The mother is apparently Hispanic, the father is white. They have four children and an enormously cute dog, all apparently bright, cute, funny and loving. The mother speaks Spanish on the phone, apparently speaking to a relative, while also trying to manage her adorably chaotic household. The father, though dressed uptightly in a buttoned-down business shirt and necktie, still manages to geekily connect with his slightly hip-hop-but-respectful teenage son. It is the ultimate in politically correct, socially conscious, "look, we are trying to reach all segments of American culture" advertising. And I love it.
The ad makes me gag slightly for its cheeze-factor and the picture-perfectness of it all. But ... after all the other junk on television, in programming and advertising alike, a little cheeeeeez and picture-perfection is kind of encouraging and uplifting and heart-warming. My heart doesn't get too warmed by television lately ... Verizon did me good. (And I'm proud to say I own a Verizon phone!)
I just started tearing up at a Coca-Cola commercial. You know what I'm talking about: black woman walking down a sidewalk, handing out bottles of Coca-Cola to strangers and passers-by, singing about how she wishes she could change the world one person at a time. Weep, weep. My heartstrings have been duly tugged, and yes I AM craving an ice-cold bottle of Coke. Isn't it amazing how that happens?
Going through some old papers, I discovered an old yellow piece of legal paper with song lyrics written on it. I recognize the words as from a song that I loved in college and in the years immediately following. I remember the feeling I got whenever I heard or sang this song. But for the life of me, I can't recall the title of the song, or even the precise tune. If you know it, if you love it as much as I did and still do, tell me!
And more that shines in the night than just the moon
It's more than just this fire here that keeps me warm
In a shelter that is larger than this room
And a music higher than the songs that I can sing
The stuff of earth competes for the allegiance
I owe only to the Giver of all good things
That you will pull me through
And if I can't, let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to You
And if I sing, let me sing for the joy
That has borne in me these songs
And if I weep, let it be as a man
Who is longing for his home
And more that pulses in the ocean than the tide
There's a love that is fiercer than the love between friends
More gentle than a mother's when her baby's by her side
That you will pull me through
And if I can't, let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to You
And if I sing, let me sing for the joy
That has borne in me these songs
And if I weep, let it be as a man
Who is longing for his home
Monday, March 22
I don't know what it is -- everyone I know either hates or or loves her -- but you have to hand it to her: Margaret Cho sure can tell a story ...
AN INNOCENT QUESTION . . .
What would our world be like if we didn't go around promising vengeance on each other for every thing?
I think it would be pretty damn cool, but that's just my little self's humble opinion ...
Saturday, March 20
I didn't talk that much in the last eight hours even though I was constantly around friends, so I feel the need to express myself. However, I have nothing of earth-shattering interest to say, so I'll just tell you what I did today and you can continue reading if so inclined. Otherwise, you don't have to. =)
8:15am = meet Nance, the L'il Alien and JWu at Camp Capio before heading out with M&C and the Noodles to Teatown Reservation for their annual Pancake Breakfast. I am not normally a big fan of bread products, or breakfast bread products in particular, but this was quite fun (and good sausages!). It was like being at sleepaway camp. Although, if you believe what Nance says, camp is bad. Very very bad. So bad that M resolved never to send her children to sleepaway camp.
9:00am = embark on a leisurely hike/walk around Teatown Lake, hauling one of the Noodles in a Baby Bjorn. Oh, I'm sorry, allow me to clarify: wearing the HEAVIER Noodle in a Baby Bjorn. I didn't feel it then, but I'm feeling it now. As I mentioned to the gang earlier, I'm taking my massage costs out of MJ's college fund.
10:30am = head back to Camp Capio and watch the L'il Alien and the Noodles "play" with each other. It was more like they just kind of drooled in each others' general directions, although the Alien was getting QUITE grabby ... in a nice way, of course. We tried to spur him to crawl FORWARD this time, but neither JWu nor I are as great motivators as Jaime.
12:00pm = start a game of Scrabble, then urge C to make us food. Incidentally, I played very badly, but so did M's brother who insisted that "retap" was a word. It is not a word. It is less of a word than "untaco" or "lammo" could ever be.
1:15pm = the painful game of Scrabble over, we each find our spots in the ever-comfortable Camp Capio living room ... and fall asleep.
2:40pm = I reluctantly depart, grumpily rubbing the sleep from my eyes and trying to get my contact lenses to re-wet themselves. (I think re-wet is actually a word, or at least it is according to Bausch & Lomb). I had to do some errands, as well as run Good Girl to the body shop, for our snow-plowers negligently RAN their snowplow into Good Girl the other morning, pushing in her front right bumper so much that every time I make a left turn, the tire scrapes against the inside of the bumper, making a horrific (and embarrassing) noise. As C would say, Good Girl is now like Zoolander: she can't turn left. Sigh.
3:20pm = of course the auto body shop is closed. Of course this means I have to stop there at 6:30 in the morning on Monday before I head to work. Of course I'm going to sigh again.
And now I'm home, relaxing, trying to stretch my over-Noodled back before hopping in the shower and gussying up for Grand-Uncle's 70th birthday soiree. Family, friends and a bunch of old Korean cronies. THIS is going to be a good time ...
Friday, March 19
Cheech and I, I dare say, have a pretty damn phenomenal relationship with our parents. As far as first-generation parents go, our set is waaaay cool and even - gasp! - progressive. They minimize racist comments, they are Democrats, they actually develop relationships with the Hispanic and African-American customers they serve, they freely donate money to good causes, they use American-made products that don't smell weirdly like your great-grandmother back in the Motherland. And you know our parents are cool because really, what other parents do you know would sit you down and say "People don't like to say so, but a good sex life IS important in a marriage, and might be MORE important than what people like to call 'communication' and 'listening skills.'" ?! For crying out loud ... if you could've SEEN the look on my face after THAT comment came forth ... What other Korean dads do you know, who will grab you in the hallway and make you do the cha-cha-cha (no pun intended) into the kitchen?! What other Korean parents will tell you "don't wait up, we're going on a date and we're going to be home reeeeal late"?! What other Korean mom will tell you the whole sordid and fantastic tale of her and dad's meeting and (prolonged, agonizing) courtship while chowing down on C's homemade ice cream and interspersing her story with "ooh, this is good, you have to tell C to make me more"?!
But as great as my parents are, as much as I would give them an A+ for their parenting and the life they gave me and Cheech, and as much as I would NEVER EVER EVER trade them or make them unwitting participants in a "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance" for however many millions of dollars, there are definitely times when they just make me want to stomp my feet and scream my big head off.
For as much as the past thirty years in this adopted motherland has served them well, that time has not succeeded in removing the last vestiges of Confucian, traditional Asian reserve and passive-aggressivism from the very bone marrow of my mom and dad. It is still the case that when something doesn't go their way (read: when I don't do something they want), they -- or mom, in particular -- shut down. Silent treatment. A refusal to graciously acknowledge your presence. A denial, when confronted, that anything is "wrong."
Now, this doesn't happen so much. And it's not as awful as it sounds -- I don't know anyone who is NOT passive-aggressive, or who doesn't know how to effectively lay on the silent treatment, or who doesn't hold SOME little bit of a grudge. (Actually, that's not true. JKA doesn't hold grudges, and I wish I could be like her. But that's a project for another day.) And it usually blows over in a day or so. And I have learned to confront my parents in the last couple of years, metaphorically pinning them to the wall and becoming unafraid to say to them "if you're MAD at me, you have to TELL me because the silent treatment doesn't inform me what, if any, behavior of mine must be changed and/or why." (At this point, one or both will continue to insist that "nothing is wrong, hmph!" and walk out of the room, only to return within the next thirty minutes to say "you're right, something is wrong and you're right, I should tell you about it if I want you to behave a certain way because I know you can't read my mind." See, an old -- or older -- dog can still learn new tricks!)
But it's still annoying. It still breaks my heart to be on tense terms with my parents, whom I love so deeply, for even an hour, much less a whole day. It still makes me sad when we can't talk about something freely until we've stewed about it for a while. It still frustrates me to be the object of resentment and not know why. It still angers me that I can't live my life with a little less unreasonable scrutiny; that even though I'm an adult, my parents still regress into viewing me as a child simply because I live at home. And of course, my ego still roars "I didn't do anything wrooooong!" Even if I did. Hee, hee, she chuckles sheepishly.
So ... I have rebuffed my parents' latest effort to interfere in my soon-to-be-bubbling love life (right, Mrs. G and JaYcEe?), and mom is miffed. The initial confrontation has happened, with me using all the "I-language" skills I learned in IVCF and all the logic and rational speaking skills I learned at law school. The initial denial has come forth. I'm just gonna sleep on it because I'm too tired to not. And tomorrow, it shall blow over and all will be well at Chez ChaEsq once more. Sigh.
Anyone out there feel me?
WAH! Dr. Wu is leaving us! My fellow Buffy fanatic has matched at UC San Francisco and will shortly be wreaking all manner of medical mayhem on the Wrong Coast.
BUT, praises be to our God for giving Dr. Wu a home and a job (and for giving the rest of us a place to crash when we visit lovely San-Fran).
Should we send a warning ahead to the Bay Area? After all, was it not just last night that Dr. Wu himself declared, "I better start studying now"?!?!?!?!?!
I've been pretty honest on my little journal here in the past ... even though I know there are, like, five people reading this on a consistent basis, plus some unknowns who don't even care, I've essentially bared myself here for both yours and my benefit. There is some value to "hiding" behind the computer keyboard: sometimes I get so heated about issues and so angry and vehement that my throat closes up and I can't speak; sometimes my brain moves too fast and I have too many things I want to say and the words don't come out of my mouth coherently; and of course, sometimes, I am feeling timid and afraid of speaking face-to-face, even to my closest and dearest, so I'd rather vent or complain or whine or be me via computer, rather than via live personal feed. So I'm not afraid of being honest, whether it's by typing to you or speaking to you ... which is why I'm not afraid to say now (or babble about the fact) that I think I'm ready to start looking to meet someone I could freely spend the rest of my life with.
There IS context to that statement, but it's a long ugly story that you don't need to hear, but probably will anyway if you see me at all on a regular basis. In a nutshell (incidentally, thanks to JaYcEe for the lovely demonstration of "I'm in a nutshell! This is me in a nutshell!"), my parents really want me to spend eternity with someone I find quite boring and unscintillating, so in order to get them off my back, I need to either (1) start dating around, or (2) meet someone else, like, RIGHT NOW, and start seeing him seriously. Sigh.
This hairy situation is compounded by the fully-conceded reality that, according to a Korean idiom, "my eyes are too high." That is, I have high standards (gasp -- as if that's a BAD thing): I want a Korean man, a Christian man, a man who is older than myself, an athletic (but not meat-heady) man, an interesting and learned man, a man who reads books but also watches bad television, a man who likes to go for hikes and play outside, a man who will patiently and lovingly teach me to do new things and to explore and handle my fears of falling and injuring myself without laughing too much, a man who will play nice with my friends and loved ones, a man who embraces the things and people that are important to me, a man who is respected by everyone he meets, an ethical man, a man who loves children, a man who will treat my family like his own, a man who pays attention to me but also likes to hang with his boys (or boyz, as the case may be), a man who isn't lazy and never will be, a man who isn't complacent with what he already knows but constantly strives to learn more, a curious man, a man with a crazy and weird sense of humor, a steady and consistent man, a man who isn't afraid to cry but doesn't weep like a baby either, a man who knows things I don't, a man who reads the newspaper, a man with whom I'll have a great sex life, a man with whom I will share an eternal and never-flagging passion and love. Sigh. My high and apparently un-meetable standards are why, according to my mother and some other people, I am 28 years old and unmarried. (God forbid I get any "older" and stay single!)
Now, to digress for a moment ... some of my dearest lady friends are turning 30 this year. Several other of my dear lady friends are way past 30. Some of them are or have freaked out about this, some don't care. I, personally, don't care. In my view, today's 30 is like yesterday's 20, especially given our prolonged life spans. But more importantly, I was such a slug in my 20's -- apathetic, lazy, unskilled, ungrown, unpolished, unthinking, selfish, insecure, etc. -- that leaving them behind would be, for me, an absolute TRIUMPH. I will BLESS the day I turn 30 because that will signify for me the first day of a new decade in which I might actually be able to DO something WORTHWHILE with my life, given the skills I will have accumulated, the realities I will have learned, the financial stability I will have gained, and the true realization of the meanings of important things, like belief, faith, friendship and love. I hope that right now, I can be an encouragement to my friends who ARE turning 30 before me, and not use age 30 as a "oh my God, I haven't done anything with my life yet and I'm still not married!" ...
Back to the topic at hand ... I'm not bothered by the fact that I have high standards -- I don't want to spend my life with someone I don't love, or with whom I will fall out of love, or who I cannot and/or do not respect. I'm not bothered by the fact that I'm 28 and unmarried -- age means less to me than other things. And besides, people still ask me for photo identification when I go to see R-rated movies. The only two things that bother me right now about being single are:
(1) almost all of my friends are married, and that makes social situations ... interesting and sometimes a source of minor agita. Is it okay that I'm the only single woman here? Is it okay that I'm having a serious and private conversation with a friend's husband? Is it okay that because of me, the seating at the dinner table is an odd number? Do my friends pity me? Do they even think about me being a single woman, or is it all in my head? (Don't answer the last question. I think I know the answer); and
(2) my parents. Ick.
I confess that today, I possess a sort of double motive. On the one hand, of course I want to meet someone I can freely love, someone I can show off to the world and for whom I can loudly proclaim my affection and devotion, someone with whom I can concretely and securely and adventuresomely build a life. If I could meet him today and start on that crazy trip together, that would be just peachy. But on the other hand, I just want to get my parents off my back. They are soooo disappointed in me that I won't fall in love with the one they want me to fall in love with. (You should see them moping around the house. It's pathetic actually.) So frankly, I just need to throw them a bone, something to distract them. A little "see, I'm going out and playing the field, so if you'll just relax a bit, I'll bring someone nice home for you and you'll eventually have grandchildren" tidbit.
So ... half-facetiously (errrr ... refraining from a well-worn but inappropriate joke here) and half-seriously, I call upon my trusty friends out there (if you don't know who I am, don't bother) to FIND ME MR. PERFECT (or at least someone I can pass off to my parents as such). I trust you guys right now more than I trust my blinded and single-minded parents, who know me only as they WANT to know me. The rest of you know me as I am and as I can be, when I drink, when I'm sober, when I cry, when I laugh and snort loudly, when I sing off-key, when I road-rage, when I pray outloud, when I am mean to my neighbor, when I put up my wall, when I let my wall be chipped away, when I sneer at someone, when I pull out my elitist bullsh*t, when I am humble, when I am moved, when I am amused, when I am extremely and disgustingly lazy, when I am righteously indignant, when I snore in my sleep, when I drop babies on their heads, when I drop myself on my head, etc.
And if it works out, you'll get a special honorable mention in my wedding programs! (After I recruit you to help me fold them, of course.)
Thursday, March 18
Wednesday, March 17
Tuesday, March 16
Monday, March 15
The thought just occurred to me: if I am abstaining from pasta and noodle products for the length of Lent, does that mean I can't play with M&C's Noodles either?
I came home this evening and opened up the fridge to put away some of the groceries I had just purchased. Damned if the plastic Ziploc bag FULL OF PASTA left over from the Gs' shower doesn't FALL OUT and LAND ON MY FOOT.
STOP TAUNTING MEEEEEEE!!!!!!
SPEAKING OF . . .
Starting tomorrow, I am going to brown-bag as many lunches as I possibly can. At some point, I am going to be oozing sandwiches and mini-pretzels out of my pores, but hopefully by then, Lent will be over and I can bring my beloved Kraft macaroni n' cheese with onions and peas and cracked black pepper to work instead of turkey, prosciutto, Muenster, baby spinach and mustard on a toasted roll.
And then I will be rich! Riiiiight.
BUT THE WORST PART IS . . .
... as I asked my fellow Dwarves for prayer two Thursdays ago, so that I will be disciplined with my finances with an eye towards the future, Jaime posed the cruel and inhumane question:
"Does this mean no more spas and massages for you?"
Like a dagger through the heart, Jaime. Like a dagger through the heart.
Sunday, March 14
For what seems like eighteen Sundays in a row now, the people in charge of that week's fellowship meal have served PASTA or NOODLES. Enough already! I'm dying over here!
THE NEVER-ENDING JOKE . . .
I hope they don't mind being identified, but ... we have friends, The Jees, who are having a baby soon. And yes, their last name is pronounced just like it's spelled: "jee." Of course, this makes for a never-ending list of potential baby names. Our top choices, in no particular order:
Cash Money Jee
Melon E. Jee
And for you Ko-Reans out there, go phonetic with:
Song-Ah Jee (calf)
Do-Rah Jee (Korean root)
Kang-Ah Jee (puppy)
Suhl-Guh Jee (dishwashing)
Muhn Jee (dust)
Dweh Jee (pig)
Hyoo Jee (tissue)
Suh Tae Jee (Korean rap/singing group)
Sigh. We're so stupid.
Calls out to me in a loud, clear, persistent voice, and I will give in soon, but first, a quick rundown of the day's successes:
... the G's baby shower preparations completed early! I was sitting in the direct path of sunlight beaming through my bedroom window, getting warm and relaxed and playing Word Mojo online when the first guests rolled in!
... plentiful food, excellent decorations, an abundance of helpful hands, games that perfectly suited our slightly-lazy-but-highly-intelligent-and witty selves, friends-who-are-like-family who don't mind making my home their home (so I don't have to babysit them! Yay!), and a clean-up crew to rival any crew out there (I think I owe Soybean a year's worth of lotion to make up for all the dishes she washed. Eep.)
... an SUV-load of gifts which included the all-important New Dad outfit (if someone out there has a digi-photo of it, please send it to me because it MUST be posted for the public to see), including sound-proof earphones and a most imaginative all-purpose apron.
... people who were actually willing to take leftovers! Praise the Lord! (Note to future guests: don't be shy; you KNOW you want it.)
... a fresh sound system at NHF that mostly works, but of course, the coolest thing is the industrial-strength, foam-padded, multi-compartmentalized microphone case. That thing is AWESOME. And our new monitors, now named Matthew, Caleigh and Derek. Don't ask.
... a newly implemented church prayer meeting that had a small but intimate first turnout, and which rejuvenated even my aching feet, sore back, stiff shoulders, droopy eyelids and hoarse voice. God is good. All the time.
... a perfectly perfect time of winding down at JWu's, gorging on vegetable tempura (random!) and exchanging random bits of information that none of us knew the other person knew that we knew that they knew. Well, you get the idea. Bottom line is, we all watch waaaaay too much television.
And now, she sleeps.
Friday, March 12
1. What was the last song you heard? The guitar accompaniment for "Hear Our Praises" as we tested out our crazy new sound system at NHF. It's just crazy.
2. What were the last two movies you saw? "Runaway Jury" (I LOVE JOHN CUSACK) and "Drumline" (one band, one sound! Ahhh, it gives me shivers.)
3. What were the last three things you purchased? Dinner at a Mexican restaurant; a tenor saxophone mouthpiece; a grilled vegetable wrap and fruit smoothie.
4. What four things do you need to do this weekend? Co-throw a baby shower at my place; work out; make a banana-bourbon cake; buckle down for an intense NHF-focused several hours.
5. Who are the last five people you talked to? D, Hooch, Gran, Soy, Jaime.
Thursday, March 11
I reached a milestone this morning: I discovered the first full-length white hair on my head.
It actually made me laugh out loud. It was SO prominent and SO thick; not at all what I imagined a dead, bleached, non-pigmented hair shaft to be. And it just stuck out, glistening brightly under the lights as I blow-dried the rest of my dark brown hairs. I grabbed onto it and ran to my mother: "Omma, Omma! Look! My first white hair!" I shouted in triumph. Omma looked at me like I was nuts.
As I returned to my morning routine, I got to thinking ... from where did this robust white hair come? And, as is the American way, I have concluded that it's everyone else's fault but mine, naturally.
-- Everyone involved with the home-buying process -- realtors, sellers, lawyers, bankers, inspectors: you all are stressing me out! Why can't it all just move smoothly like buttah, and why can't there exist a perfect home in which nothing has gone awry?
-- My parents: relaaaaax. My job is fine, my friends are fine and my family is fine, so don't worry about me getting married! I'll get married when I WANT and when I'm READY, and no amount of nosing around by you is going to move the event any closer.
-- Incompetent attorneys: go back to law school. Stop submitting incoherent, mispelled, grammatically incorrect and WHINY papers. Stop calling to ask stupid questions whose answers you might discover if you read our rules or the Federal Rules or the Local Rules ... or used common sense.
-- People who don't respond to invitations: we rely upon your RSVP to make an adequate amount of food, to prepare sufficient games, to ascertain that the location of an event is neither too big nor too small. You show an inordinate amount of disrespect when you fail to RSVP. And I KNOW that you received the invitation and I KNOW that you check it repeatedly because I am the one who sent the Evite and I can tell when you've looked at it!
-- Bad drivers: you give me agita every morning by zipping in front of me without using your signals, or tailgating me when I'm already going well above the posted speed limit. Plus, some of your exhaust stinks, so get your systems checked out. You're giving me cancer.
Hmmm. I think I'm done whining for the morning. I think I shall now go admire the white hair that you all gave me.
Wednesday, March 10
Hmmm ... I always thought I had Spanish or Puerto-Rican blood in me ...
Most people think you're snobby, but it's really just that
you're better than everyone else. At least you're more loyal to the real
language, the fine arts, and the fine wines than anyone else. You aren't
worth beans in a fight, unless you're really short, but you're so good at other
things that it usually doesn't matter. Some of your finest works were
intended to be short-term projects.
Take the Country Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid
One book I just could never get through ...
by Joseph Heller
Incredibly witty and funny, you have a taste for irony in all that you
see. It seems that life has put you in perpetually untenable situations, and your sense
of humor is all that gets you through them. These experiences have also made you an
ardent pacifist, though you present your message with tongue sewn into cheek. You
could coin a phrase that replaces the word "paradox" for millions of
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
I'm such a jerk.
Yesterday at lunchtime, I wasn't very hungry, so I ordered just whole wheat bread, toasted with butter, and a large chicken noodle soup from the local deli.
It wasn't until I opened up the soup cup and ladled out the first spoonful did I realize: I CAN'T EAT PASTA UNTIL EASTER. I peered at the contents of my spoon: a sizable chunk of chicken, a slice of celery, a small hunk of carrot and three big plump chewy homemade noodles. I spent the rest of my lunch maneuvering my spoon around the ubiquitous noodles. Hooch spent her lunch gazing sympathetically at me sipping the broth and vainly searching for the bits of chicken and vegetables.
SIGH SIGH and SIGH.
I'm such a jerk.
Now that Martha, Martha, Martha is a convicted felon ... does that mean I have to unsubscribe from her magazine? Assuming that her company doesn't implode and her magazine doesn't fold ... will I be supporting a convicted felon and being a bad person myself if I continue to pay for and receive "Martha Stewart Living"?
(Please say no, because as utterly evil and annoying as Martha, Martha, Martha is, her magazine is SO FUN.)
Far be it from ME to not present a fair view of the 2004 Presidential Election.
SO. I have put up a link to the official Bush/Cheney re-election site. Even though both of them REALLY NEED TO NOT BE IN THE WHITE HOUSE ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh right, I said I was going to be fair.
Tuesday, March 9
create your own visited country map
or write about it on the open travel guide
NOTE: I have driven THROUGH Delaware, Idaho, Nebraska and Michigan, but Hooch says that that does not qualify as "visiting." Visiting requires at least an overnight stay and/or some roaming of the streets for a purpose other than or in addition to looking for a hotel or a place to eat.
create your own personalized map of the USA
or write about it on the open travel guide
You're entitled to disagree with me, and I hope you do so we can talk about it, and I promise I won't gloat if Shrub is booted in November. But whether you agree or disagree, or can't decide -- which is fine, too, as long as you're thinking about it -- read on ...
"WARNING: BUSH IS HAZARDOUS TO WOMEN'S HEALTH
By Beth Quinn
OK, girls, start your engines. After taking a three-year beating from Bush, the counterattack begins.
It starts April 25 in Washington, D.C., as hundreds of thousands of women (and the men who love them) converge on the capital to participate in the March for Women's Lives.
This march is many things. It's a pro-choice rally at a time when reproductive rights are under attack. It's a peace march at a time when our children are dying in a war being fought for the Big WMD Lie. It's a grass-roots effort to take a stand against everything this administration is for.
What it's not, though, is an end in itself. April 25 marks the beginning of a fight that will culminate in November when we vote Bush out of the White House.
Bush declared this war on Jan. 22, 2001, when his very first public act was to impose a gag rule on international family planning agencies. Two months later, on March 29, 2001, he thumbed his nose at the women of America by closing the White House Office for Women's Initiatives and Outreach. Since then, he has systematically attacked women's rights. He has stripped contraceptive coverage from federal employees; appointed anti-choice zealots to the federal courts; signed into law the first ban on an abortion procedure since 1973. And he, along with his fellow right-wing ideologues in Congress, keeps chipping away. Just two weeks ago, the House passed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which would treat attacks on a pregnant woman as separate crimes against both the mother and fetus. That has an emotional appeal, but it would give a fetus legal status and put women in the back seat. It should be more accurately named the Adult Female Victims of the Bush Administration Act.
To see the long list of his attacks on women, go to www.ppfa.org and click search for "War on Women." It should be required reading for anyone who menstruates.
But you know what? Bush is scared of us. He knows how powerful we can be. After all, women outnumber men and a greater proportion of us turn out to vote.
That's why he trotted out his wife, Laura, last week to kick off a campaign to fight heart disease in women. The White House e-mailed 2 million women to let them know that the first lady was launching a "campaign to fight women and heart disease."
It was an unintended miswording on their part, I'm sure. No doubt they meant to say "a campaign to fight heart disease in women," but the slip contained more than an element of truth.
Healthy hearts are good, no question about that. But it's our uteruses that are in graver danger right now.
The April 25 march also signifies a passing of the torch to a younger generation of women who now have to take up the fight for reproductive freedom. Those who've been fighting to hold on for the past 30 years are getting tired. They need to pass on the leadership.
And it's happening. Colleges all over the country are sending demonstrators. Locally, buses are going from SUNY New Paltz, Vassar, Bard and Marist. They've hooked up with women's groups from throughout the region to get everyone to Washington who wants to go.
I'm going. And you're invited.
Here's who to contact for information about bus reservations and other details. It's first come, first served.
Planned Parenthood of the Mid Hudson Valley: Has 10 buses leaving from Newburgh, Poughkeepsie and New Paltz. $25. Register at www.ppmhv.org or call Willa Freiband at 471-1530, Ext. 14 or Ext. 16.
Orange County NOW: Has one bus leaving from Middletown. $25. Call Marianne Woodward at 343-6559.
SUNY New Paltz: Has one bus leaving from campus. $15, students; $25, non-students. E-mail Wazina Zondon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women in Black, Ulster County: Has one bus leaving from Kingston with a stop in New Paltz. $40. Will be marching under a peace banner. Call Jane VanDeBogart at 679-7502.
Women of Reformed Judaism at the Monroe Temple: No bus but is organizing people to march under their banner. Call Elora Kalish at 928-9235.
Spread the word. I'll see you there."
Friday, March 5
I am watching a videotape of last week's "The Apprentice." Three members of the winning team received the opportunity to take a ride in Donald Trump's private helicopter and soar over the island of Manhattan. Troy, one of the three passengers, was basically seeing the sights of New York for the first time, and something he said regarding a particularly famous site brought tears to my eyes. Let us put aside for a moment the fact that I got teary during an episode of A REALITY SHOW.
Flying past and around the Statue of Liberty, Troy states: "I just got to see the most beautiful woman in the world."
It's such a cliche statement. Cheesy. Melodramatic. Corny.
But isn't it true? It has been centuries since any immigrant passed through Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty has just always been there. Rain or shine, heat or chill, she's just there. 9/11 came and went and she was threatened, but she's still there. In this day and age, people seeking a new life, a change of pace, a better future, a desire to fulfill a hope or a dream, a need to flee or escape still flock to the United States of America, and most of them never see her. Not when they enter, some not ever.
But isn't it true? Think about it. I did ... and I feel humble on behalf of our nation.
I want to reform public education in this country.
Okay, I'll start small, and say I want to reform public education in New York City.
I want to pay public school teachers in New York City the salary they deserve, not the salary that causes them to bleed out by the end of the month. In the alternative, I want to make the wealthy, or at least the famous actors and athletes, donate half of their absurd salaries to New York City public school teachers. I want to stock all New York City public schools chock-full of new instruments, plentiful supplies, updated and crackling new textbooks, unbroken crayons, sharpened pencils, new computers and printers, new and tuned instruments, lockers that open and close properly, fully-inflated balls and new sports equipment. I want to install modern filing systems, phones, copy machines, faxes, modems and safety measures. I want to implement accurate but unobtrusive security systems so that students will know they are NOT entering a jail, but WILL know they are safe for the eight hours they are in their building. I want the City to support teachers above and beyond almost any other industry it supports, and to root for them no matter what.
I want to employ security guards who don't molest the students. I want to hire administrators who administrate on behalf of the children, not on behalf of the Mayor or the bottom line. I want there to be no bottom line; instead, I want to create a bottomless pit of funding and resources. I want to lure the best and brightest and most motivated and most energetic and most ambitious and most creative and most altruistic and most generous and most humble teachers this Earth has to offer. I want the students to be surrounded by adults and authority who love them unconditionally.
I want social workers and guidance counselors and health-caregivers on campus who can provide succor and comfort and Kleenex and bandages and advice and professionalism to students who find none of these things at home. I want free breakfast, lunch and dinner if necessary to be provided to students who find none of these things at home. I want a reliable system of teachers and administrators who will generously pour out love and firmness and ambition to students who find none of these things at home. I want drug abuse prevention counseling and comprehensive sex education and peer counseling to be available to students who find none of these things at home. I want sports and arts and music and theater and volunteer opportunities to be open to those students who find none of these things at home.
I want structures that withstand mold and infestation. I want doors and windows that lock, and glass that never breaks. I want clean air vents, adequate heating and cooling, toilets that flush and never clog, faucets that don't drip, water fountains that don't peter out. I want basketball nets that don't sag, music rooms that are soundproof, bright and airy art rooms filtering endless molecules of natural light. I want asphalt that isn't cracked and playground equipment that isn't missing chain links.
I want the citizens of New York City to take responsibility for its children, ALL of them. I want parents who review homework and assist with science projects. I want adult authority figures who do not discriminate against their students and children based on gender or race, size or appearance. I want neighbors who watch over the kids playing in the street so no child gets kidnapped, molested, touched by drugs, run over by speeding cars. I want parents to stop abusing their children so that the kids can go to school in the morning with their heads held high, sure of their self-worth and confident of their abilities.
I want it all.
Here we go with the Friday Five:
1. ...your first grade teacher's name? Mrs. Grady. Tall, white-haired, with a shaky granny voice. She was the best, and I would kick the shins of any boy who called her "Mrs. Gravy."
2. ...your favorite Saturday morning cartoon? I don't think I had a favorite, but I do believe I watched them all: "The Mon-chee-chee's;" "Care Bears;" "The Smurfs;" "M.A.S.K.;" and then later on, "Jem." Yes, I watched "Jem," and I loved it!
3. ...the name of your very first best friend? Caroline, but she was a family friend, and we never went to school together.
4. ...your favorite breakfast cereal? Rice Krispies ... with a spoonful of sugar, no kidding.
5. ...your favorite thing to do after school? Run into the house, dump my bookbag in my room, throw on sneakers, run outside, grab my bicycle, speed down the street to where all my friends were gathered, and spend hours doing ... well, nothing much.
Thursday, March 4
Something Hooch said this morning stuck with me all day long ... after I leave the courthouse here, I might want to go into something that will allow me to ... REFORM THE PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM IN AMERICA. Hmmm ... will have to speak with JKA and Mrs.G about this ...
Uh-oh, I might get scolded again, for not blogging, and if you're not interested in this subject matter, you might scold me some more, but here goes ...
Check out this interesting article about the late Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun.
NEXT UP . . .
I finished "The Teammates" by David Halberstam and "Living History" by Hillary Rodham Clinton. I am now moving onto "Schoolgirls: Young Women, Self-Esteem, and the Confidence Gap" by Peggy Orenstein. Ironically, I borrowed this book from Jaime, who has never read it and acquired the book for some reason from his sister.
I've read a few books about young girls, junior high school, peer pressure, social pressure, confidence, etc. I don't think I suffered overly from any of these issues when I was a young girl, but I find the subject fascinating anyway. It's kind of like how I enjoy reading some medical journals: I can only understand about a third of what is written (and I skip all the incomprehensible footnotes), but some of the crazy research going on out there fascinates me. If someone could pay me to read random things professionally ... I'd be awfully wealthy.
Monday, March 1
After church, during the fellowship hour, the food prepared was ... PASTA.
DELICIOUS, AROMATIC, PLENTIFUL PASTA.
It was TAUNTING me, I swear!
All of it was prepared just the way I love it too:
There was baked ziti in meat sauce, the meat clinging to each tube by just the barest amount of thick tomato sauce.
There was spaghetti noodles with vegetables and meat, almost dry, but smelling so so so flavorful.
There was macaroni and cheese, baked just enough so that the macaroni didn't dry out, and with just enough cheese so that it wasn't overly gooey.
I was dying.
And the worst part was that I got recruited to help pack up the leftovers (and of course, there were POUNDS and POUNDS of leftovers). Each noodle that got stuck to my finger, each noodle that I dropped on the table by mistake, each noodle that I plopped into the styrofoam containers, was like a dagger in my heart. Or stomach. Or taste buds.
But I persevered. I turned my nose up against the temptation, and proceeded to pathetically pick the vegetables and meat out of the dishes, savoring the eau de pasta as much as I could, second-hand. Ahhhh, for it to be Easter already ...
PASSION-LESS . . .
NHF is going to see "The Passion of the Christ" this Wednesday evening. I don't know yet if I'll go or not. I expect I'll know when I find myself parking Good Girl in the cineplex parking lot.
My resistance to this movie is manifold. First of all, I don't believe the hype. No, actually, I do believe the hype, but I hate it. The hype is why I did not and still have not seen "Titanic." Perhaps it's a subconscious desire to be 'different', not one of the madding crowd, not another sheep to be lassoed in by heavy advertising and overbearing word of mouth. Perhaps it's a subversive disbelief that any movie that is SO popular can really be that good. Although ... "Legally Blonde" was pretty damn good. Whatever it is, I am turned off by everyone and anyone talking about "The Passion of the Christ." Quite frankly, I'm sick of hearing about it, and everyone talking about the story like it's something new; slinging accusations of anti-Semitism as if those accusations were never made before; expressing shock at the violence of Christ's crucifixion as if the blood and gore and flogging and punishment was unexpected. I suppose some might think it a wretched thing to say, especially about my Lord who died for my sins, but ... I find the hubbub to be tedious.
Secondly, I am resistant to the idea of seeing this movie with my church, with other Christians. I don't want to be the only one who might not like it, who might not think it's a good film, who might not be affected by it, who might be bored by it, who might consider my evening better spent watching "The West Wing." What if the movie ends, and it has had no meaning for me as a film or as a narrative, and I have to endure hordes and hordes of my friends and family weeping or walking somberly in silence because they cannot fathom conversation post facto? What if I'm the only one who wants to go out for a bite to eat afterwards, unaware that people around me can't stomach food at the moment?
I also have a tendency to be reactionary, no matter what my actual stance is. I am awfully good at turning into the devil's advocate, even if I completely and utterly agree with the opinion or belief against which I am reacting. So I fear that I will go into the movie theater and sit through the film with my arms crossed, determined not to like it and not to find value in it just because I know everyone else WILL. Surrounded by a bunch of weeping believers, I have a tendency not to weep. Surrounded by "Jesus freaks," I have a tendency to swing to the religious left. Surrounded by people who want serious discussion and to conduct an autopsy of the movie, I have a tendency to want to talk about baseball. Not because I don't believe Christ died for my sins; not because I don't understand the enormity of what that means and how great the Father's love for me is; not because I am not overwhelmed by Jesus's sacrifice; not because I am frivolous and vacuous. Just because.
And that's a terrible thing ... I am trying to change, and trying to go with the flow when necessary. I know cerebrally that "The Passion of the Christ" is an important film for a variety of reasons. I know it is significant to believers and non-believers alike, and I do believe that the message, regardless of whether it's espoused by Mel Gibson's "Traditionalist" Catholic movement or evangelical Christians, or opposed by Jews or liberals, speaks to us all and has the potential to positively affect millions. Perhaps I even know that I can stomach the gore and embrace the movie for all of its values.
But ... I am yet undecided. Do I head out on Wednesday evening stocked with Kleenex? Do I storm into the theater with my arms crossed and my jaw clenched in reactionary reaction? Do I sit this one out and be proud that I survived the hype?