In the Dark, You Know Where

Governor Bobby Jindal
State of Louisiana

Dear Governor Jindal,

I was delighted to learn that SB 733, the LA Science Education Act passed votes in both houses of the Louisiana legislature, and that you intend to sign it. Your determination in the face of logic has always impressed me, like that time in college you exorcised demons from a woman. When I was in college, that’s not what we called it, but hey, go you!

SB 733 is an attempt to introduce intelligent design into the schools, though it’s a very thinly disguised attempt, like if everyone at the hilarious Discovery Institute wore mustaches on False Witness Fridays. But let’s not get picky. Sign that bill and you do the residents of every other state a tremendous favor. Even Guam might send you a thank-you note. See: once you’ve taken the science out of science education in Louisiana, everyone else stands a better chance at getting into college. Once again: go you!

As a resident of New Jersey and the daughter of a science teacher, I had to thank you for doing your very best to elevate real science education by undermining it for your youngest constituents. I thank you, polytechnic institutes around the world taking fewer American students thank you and the job market thanks you. Too bad about those trusting little children you’re condemning to a life of frustration, poverty and amusing righteous indignation. Isn’t WalMart hiring?

Best wishes in your future endeavors. I look forward to the next thing you do to make American public life sillier and more dangerous for the rest of us.

Princess Tata

Crossposted at Agitprop.

The Stars Already Crossed

I need to catch my breath. This is not the song I went looking for, but I couldn’t resist the dreadful eighties hair and makeup.

I love Thomas Dolby with my whole black heart. The other song: maybe I’ll get to that later.

Is Wrong With You Is Wrong With Me

Yesterday, through an absolutely unreproducible series of circumstances, Daria and I missed the funeral. Auntie InExcelsisDeo and her daughter Monday drove like Jehu and skidded to a halt in the Jewish Cemetery, dressed like they were going to the beach. Monday was wearing her sister Sandy’s clothes, so I hope the word JUICY wasn’t printed across her butt. We were all caught flat-footed by the timing of the ceremony. I tried to remain calm in the face of this potentially disastrous morning, but Daria took a somewhat different approach, and by approach, I mean she approached a few drive-thrus.

Yesterday, Daria called me six times that I know of because checking my messages seems a little perilous right now. I’m not so great with the phone, while Daria’s will one day graft itself to her ear. Anyway, after lunch, Daria called to tell me she’d gathered her wits and her recycling, her drycleaning and her children, and rolled out the giant Ford Excoriator. First, she stopped at Taco Bell for her middle child Sandro. There, she couldn’t decide what she wanted, if she wanted anything, so she ordered a Mexican pizza, a crunchy gordito and something else shiny. After letting go of the drycleaning and the recycling, Daria hit the McDonald’s to pick up chicken nuggets for tiny Fifi and couldn’t decide between an Angus Third Pounder and a chicken sandwich. Because, you know, because!

Tata: Put three of those things in your freezer immediately and throw one away.
Daria: I’ll eat something and Tyler will eat the rest when he gets home.
Tata: I do not have to tell you that some things do not improve with age, and hello! Didn’t you two just spend about a year on NutriSystem?
Daria: Well, yes. But three more and I can start my Ph.Diet. So yeah, I’m not good with the letting go of stuff.

Sometimes, the subconscious serves it up piping hot, with pickles, to go. If I hadn’t been at work I might’ve been wandering around a parking lot at Wendy’s.

All the Dues I Want To Pay

This afternoon, I walked around and around a store until I forced myself to pick something unobtrusive and in normal colors like gentle brown and quiet tan. I tried it on and was only moderately horrified. Even so, I hesitated. Finally, I took this monstrously overpriced gunnysack to the cashier, a woman of some taste and – judging by her blouse – terrible eyesight. I bit my lip.

Tata: If I were your former daughter-in-law and I showed up at your funeral in this dress, would you haunt me?
Cashier: Wh…what? No! [Confidentially:] Is she really dead?

Obviously, my lack of deeply inculcated religious belief of any kind is showing. I’m not reflexively as fearful of God as I am of wrath. But who doesn’t fear wrath? Thus, I watched the first half-hour of Planet Green’s Greensburg with the trepidation of the tornado-fearful and the impatience of a person whose imaginary friends might be symptoms. I almost changed the channel when the high school student said God sent twelve men to lift a truck off Grandpa, but Pete and I simultaneously grabbed at the remote when a whole town full of white people standing in front of huge piles of matchsticks said God was with them. Guess who was a carpenter!

I had high hopes for this show, but I can’t stand all this talk about blue-eyed Jesus. After they’re done being traumatized, I’ll have a look at the green rebuilding efforts. Generally speaking, I might be a little cranky about greenovating. Years ago, I was part of a college radio comedy troupe comprised of 40-odd odd people, mostly musical technophiles and dancing computer nerds. Recently, I asked the erstwhile comedians to help me choose a composting technology to cope with some tricky conditions. As a line of inquiry, it seemed like a fantastic fit: a complex problem that happened to be both hilariously smelly and potentially puke-inducing. Almost no one gave it much thought. I considered throwing a hissy when I didn’t catch on, but then I took a step back. Finally, I asked the group a question: without implying any judgment, I’d like to know why a group of homeowning nerds, most of whom have children and therefore a vested interest in the future, demonstrates little interest in green tech?

I’ve read a few answers and I still don’t know. If plugged-in ubernerds aren’t interested and buy SUVs, that has meaning. I have to think about this more. In the meantime, my sister Daria is full of crazy.

Daria: I didn’t even know the Marcal came from recycled paper until you told me. I turned over the package and there it was!
Tata: So look at you go!
Daria: Yeah, I had a coupon. I bet that store you’re haunting doesn’t have any recycled paper products unless you’re there.
Tata: What?
Daria: They see you coming and they all run to the back. “Here she comes! Get the paper towels!”
Tata: An entire grocery store chain is now humoring me?
Daria: Yup. They’ve got you on radar.
Tata: That explains this exotic and blinking ankle bracelet I don’t remember buying.
Daria: Did you think there was a jewelry maker named COURT ORDERED. DO NOT REMOVE?

She Is Dancing Away From You Now

I’ve been a little distracted, for which I apologize. Let’s revisit this moment from Miss Sasha’s wedding.

In the lobby, we line up and march in. Sharkey’s got me by one arm and good thing because I keep trying to sprint in silver brocade slippers with an adorable kitten heel. I sit down next to my former Mother-In-Law, who couldn’t be more marvelous if she were dipped in gold. Sharkey slides in next to me. My five-year-old nephews Tippycanoe and Tyler Two march to the priest with all the dignity ring-bearing little boys in suits can muster just before they need cookies and naps. The Fabulous Ex-Husband(tm) delivers the bride to her groom in an arcane series of steps. Yesterday, I described this to my sister Daria.

Tata: This. That. This. That. This. That. I said to the priest, “We will never, never remember all this.”
Daria: It’s that complicated?
Tata: This Virginia Reel had better have a really good caller.

He sits down next to his mother. The bride and groom turn to face the priest and then it happens. Simultaneously, every member of my family sits up straight and starts twitching. The priest talks. The choir sings. The priest talks. The choir sings. The priest talks and talks. The back of Miss Sasha’s wedding dress has my complete and undivided attention. A bow in the middle of her back appears to have unsnapped and it dangles. I whisper to Sharkey, “The whole left side of the church is trying to fix that bow telepathically.” Meanwhile, my former Mother-In-Law is narrating in the way only older people get away with.

fMIL: That is a lovely dress. Of course, she’s a beautiful girl. It’s too bad about the rain. Your cousins look marvelous in their gowns. Which one is your sister? Have you ever been in this church before? That’s your mother’s choir, isn’t it? They’re not with the church. What beautiful voices! Isn’t that Tom with the choir too? Is he singing? I’m so glad, that makes it special…

I am not at all encouraging her by asking questions. That would be rude.

A year later, the best man comes to escort me to the altar, where I am inexplicably trusted with something ON FIRE. Up the steps, off to the left and my wrist corsage gets caught on a flower arrangement behind me. The assembled gasp. I yank my arm free, though I fail to break anything. I light the candle and CLOP CLOP CLOP back to my seat. Everyone laughs.

fMIL: That really lightened the mood!
Tata: Thank you, darling!

This morning, my former mother-in-law passed away in Florida, on her own terms and at peace. My family, which never separated itself from the Fabulous Ex-Husband’s ™ after the divorce, will turn out for services in the coming days. We admired her greatly. This story illustrates why:

When Isabel and Ray fell in love in New York, it probably didn’t seem like it could work out. Isabel was from the wrong side of the tracks and Ray’s small family revolved around his mother, who wanted things just so. When Ray brought Isabel to meet his mother, they sat in the cramped kitchen until Isabel could stand it no more. She walked to the closed parlor were everything was covered in plastic slipcovers, pushed open the doors and said, “Why don’t we talk in here?”

From then on, the parlor doors were never closed again.

* * *

Travel in light, Poor Impulsives.

And Shouting Out Rude Names

After a brief vacation, hiking in the Great Outdoors, Johnny, our Southwest Bureau Chief reports:

Unintended side effect of trip: work feels like an unforgivably criminal waste of human potential. I’m positive that I am the only person who has ever felt this way. Really. You betcha.

Image: Johnny, used courtesy of the artist, who has a great future ahead of him illustrating staff meetings.

Less than an hour later, Johnny wrote to say that since the hospital in which he labored was bought yesterday by a Christian healthcare conglomerate anxious to remove abortion from the list of possible services, perhaps updating the old resume was an excellent use of time.

“Don’t worry,” I said, “Art therapy is on the way!”

From Sharkey, who shares the Poor Impulsive’s need to entertain himself with art and fast, comes Today and Tomorrowmolto interesante! – and this wild idea:

‘Passive Aggressive Anger Release Machine’ is an interactive sculpture by Yarisal and Kublitz. Experience the most satisfying feeling when a piece of China breaks into million pieces . All you have to do is insert a coin, and a piece of China will Slowly move forwards and fall into the bottom of the machine, breaking, and leaving you happy and relieved of anger.

[Sic, sic, sic.] My favorite thing about that image is the chalkboard to the right and the words Canadian food.

You see, art school is not just for dirty hippies. No, it takes real talent and insight into human nature to divine that somewhere a Christian healthcare conglomerate is buying up hospitals and women are going to die, which might create just a little stress on the staff. Inserting a coin and smashing a Chinese kitty into a million easily contained pieces might help, but I’d go for the positively tragic romantic couple figurine. Hope the condom didn’t break for the little lovers! Just add money and schadenfreude and someone’s going to crash.

You Know I’ll Be There

It’s Tuesday, 100 degrees and Sharkey is predictable.

Tata: Golfing?
Sharkey: Tonight, after work.
Tata: Daria says your going to play golf is the funniest thing she’s heard in years.
Sharkey: What can I say, I’m a funny guy. Tell her I appreciate her concern for my wellbeing.
Tata: She’s got pneumonia so you’ll be pleased to hear the laughter almost killed her.
Sharkey: You’re right, that IS funny.

As Close As Three-Part Harmony

I love this gorgeous image. I love the expression on his face. I love the determination in her jaw. I love the unity of purpose. I love the vivid purple of her dress. I love that they’re approximately the same height. I love the simplicity of We. I love the confidence. I love their belief in one another. I love their handsomeness. I love the firmness of trust. I love this image. I love this image of boundless love.

Of the Lip Or Another

Pete and I have been working up to tiling the bathroom. I’ve never tiled before but after some instruction, I did the simple stuff while Pete cut tiles. We worked like a dog team for hours and tiled two-thirds of the shower in bright white with one slim, light gray stripe. The improvement over what we’re replacing is vast. Also today: I cut our lettuce down and tomorrow, I’ll plant three kinds of lettuces for the coming weeks.

Flying Spaghetti Monster! I can’t lift my arms!