Chasing Waterfalls

Oh, for crying out loud! There are lots of things I don’t want to talk about, like the oil stain on the driveway and my nearly empty checking account, but this commercial takes the upside-down cake.

The first few times I saw this commercial, Mother Nature said, “I don’t see any liners,” and the giddy vacationers scoffed, “Liners?” After a week or two, the commercial replaced liners with backup. Maybe I’m seeing this commercial on different networks with different policies about cooties and icky physiological goo and wacky wahinis. In other commercials, Sarah Chalke solves her wedgie problems with architecturally interesting undergarments on every channel that values a frivolous femme, meaning we’re not above discussing the fact that women – you know – wear those, and Heaven forbid we avoid having the “Detrol discussion” with our physicians and international symbols or skip pads to keep our Poise. So what the fuck is wrong with us that we can’t bear to talk about goddamn pantyliners?

I Can’t Be Left To My Imagination

Pete’s house is wonderful, and I am happy to wake up here in the morning – provided I fall asleep at night. In places to which I am unaccustomed, I lie awake and think terrible thoughts: I’m so tired breathing hurts, and What the fuck is wrong with those mouthbreathers at CNN? So: once again, I’m a bleary wreck.

We’re off to Home Depot to rent a spray-painting machine and five gallons of white paint. What could possible go wrong?

Right Here, Right Now

I’m not much for swiping images. This spa is from the Grand Hyatt in Dubai, where I will never, ever find myself. At this point in the moving, where menfolk will move large objects in larger vehicles, when one wishes one were anywhere else in the whole world one notes: this spa is, in fact, an anywhere and it looks pretty good. After a week or two in such a setting, one might be able to stand upright again.

Hey! Nice shoes. By the way.

When I’ll Be Back Again

Pack that for me, will you, darling?

This weekend, we’ll work our shapely rears off getting into the house and out of the apartment. No one said it would be easy but with Almanzo out on the prairie, my sisters scattered across the Northeast, and my friends perfecting their dog-days ennui, someone should have said moving would be diamond-hard, though my ex-husband is lending me a truck so I can move in with my boyfriend.

But far be it from me to disappoint you! If it will positively ruin your weekend if you can’t help me walk a couch six blocks, email me. It’s going to be some parade.

The Joker Laughs At You

I am me, and as mes go, I’m pretty much as me as mes get. Even so, there can be controversy.

Tata: I am giving you homework! Follow Grandpa around and record his voice.
Daria: You are not the boss of me, but yesterday, I was sitting in the third row of my truck, recording voices as Mom drove around and Grandpa told her where she was taking wrong turns.
Tata: That’s exciting, since he’s blind. And I am the boss of you!
Daria: You are not the boss of me, and I haven’t checked the sound quality yet.
Tata: I am the ringleader! There’s a ring! I am leading it!
Daria: Pipe down, you!
Tata: That reminds me: I still need a plumber.

This morning, I’ve called half a dozen of my closest creditors and service providers to tell them I’m moving. My car insurance company wants to know the license and policy numbers of everyone living on the premises, which may have something to do with state law but violates everyone’s privacy. Yesterday, the US Postal Service wanted me to provide a credit card in order to change my address online, at which point I decided my government could kiss my fabulous ass. Today, several of both creditors and service providers either refused to change my address unless I provided a phone number or would only change my address if it sent verification – and I laughed out loud when the rep said this – to the old address.

Obviously, I’ve got my hands full with the Stooopit and my cup overfloweth with vitriol. Naturally, I thought of you, and your needs. Isn’t that just like me?

– Watch more free videos

It really is!

h/t: Wintle.

A Sudden Sun Discloses

One, two, three, four –
tell the people what she wore!

What we are, what we aren’t, who and how that happened. A turned ankle, a border incursion. The waving of the spear and the crashing of the wave. You are nothing, you are nothing, you dance with the Devil in the pale moonlight, which you forget when you wear the red shoes. The snap of bone as the machine rolls this way. All that is important and serious in this world arrives, brighter than a thousand suns. All she wanted was the quiet of the shoe store, or so you believed. But it’s too late now.


The bomb will not start a chain-reaction in the water converting it all to gas and letting the ships on all the oceans drop down to the bottom. It will not blow out the bottom of the sea and let all the water run down the hole. It will not destroy gravity. I am not an atomic playboy, as one of my critics labeled me, exploding these bombs to satisfy my personal whim.

– Vice Admiral William “Spike” Blandy

That’s “Atomic Playboy” Vice Admiral William “Spike” Blandy, his wife (in the matching hat!), and Rear Admiral F.J. Lowry, celebrating the end of Operation Crossroads in 1946 with an ominously shaped cake. The photograph, titled “Atomic Age Angel Food” drew heavy criticism from around the world, presumably not because it wasn’t delicious.

Operation Crossroads [wiki] was a series of nuclear weapon tests, conducted by the United States in the Bikini Atoll, to study the effects of thermonuclear
explosion on warships.

Two weeks later, French fashion designer Louis Réard trademarked the name “bikini” for his latest swimwear collection. Bikini became famous shortly afterwards, because “like the bomb, the bikini is small and devastating” and the realization that “atom bombs reduce everybody to primitive costume.”

This guy in my office who is young enough to say something stupid to me now and then just said that the Olympic medal count was important because it gives us bragging rights. “It doesn’t,” I said, “I’m pretty sure I have nothing to say because I didn’t get up early and run a single lap.”

He said, “It’s the sports mentality! Aren’t you proud of your country?”

I said, “I come from a different sport. Every pushup I did I did for me. Not you.”

He said again, “It’s the sports mentality!” like it wasn’t stupid the first time. “What sport?”

I said, “I spent most of my athletic life involved with gymnastics, which teaches you you act for yourself.” What I didn’t say is that gymnastics schools talk big talk about team sports but they don’t really give a shit so long as their stars are going great guns, which means they’ll win anyway. Mostly. It’s complicated –

“Don’t you want to see your team win?”

“No.” I took a breath because I knew he wouldn’t understand: “I want to see each gymnast performing the best routines of his or her life and I don’t care who wins.”

So we talked about the mysteries of scoring, some of which I grasp. He walked away thinking, I’m sure, that professional sports with tribal identities are the only ones, and that I just don’t get it. I do get it, and I know that he is invested in his tribal identity to such a degree that he claims credit for the work of others.

Once, I visited friends in Wisconsin. We did what people do: we sat in a bar, talking. One guy said, “So, you’re from New Jersey. A Jets fan!”

“No,” I said. I was trying really hard to be nice. “I’m from New Jersey.”

“A Giants fan?” he asked, wide-eyed.

“No,” I said again. “I’m just from New Jersey.” When I refused to identify with a tribal structure he understood he didn’t understand. I felt a little bad about it. I was wearing a red sequinned dress, fishnets and combat boots and his wife was nice to me anyhow.

It’s tempting to remind the Guy With Guy Friends in my office that I was the only girl in the weight room in the seventies before he was born, that women athletes are real athletes, that individual accomplishments are seldom achieved without Mom and Dad getting up at 4 a.m. for long drives to the rink, the pool or the gym for decades on end and WE had nothing to do with it. In fact, if we had any contact with that kind of dedication, WE would probably regard it with scorn, because in real life, WE don’t believe anyone is that special and that person is not being realistic. So WE say, and I would tell him all this if I thought he would hear it, but I know better.

I know better because WE think that, even at 45, even in 2008, I am just a girl and girls don’t get sports.

Get Up And Run Away With It

Yesterday, I climbed up and down a ladder to put up temporary paper shades in the kitchen and living room. If you haven’t seen these wonderful things, you should know that they soften light and create tranquility. I needed tranquility because climbing up and down the ladder caused my right hip to kick my ass from the inside. It would not be accurate to suggest I have a Home Decorating Injury, but I certainly sprained my mojo.

While we sit back and contemplate carefully sitting back and contemplating, let’s also consider how sometimes things take turns we might’ve seen coming. For instance: Zou Kai won the Men’s Floor Exercise with a routine that should have embarrassed him. Don’t get me wrong: it was crisply executed and stacked with difficult elements. He is a remarkable athlete, no doubt about it. But – and I know there are people ready to argue with me – it wasn’t a floor routine.

Yes, according to the code of points, it was. But no, it wasn’t. A floor routine is supposed to place into a harmonious and exciting whole an athlete’s skill and technique. By this stage of competition, with luck and good television coverage, we’ve seen the routines a few times. Twice during Zou Kai’s floor exercise he did this half-hearted leap for which his feet barely left the ground. For a man who can almost fly, he barely hopped, and the first time I saw him do it, I nearly dropped my refreshing adult beverage. I mean, really. Won’t anyone think of Me?

Besides the safety of my drink, there’s something else – if you believe that: many routines by both the male and female athletes have become little more than tumbling passes set end to end, with pauses and twitching to mark beginnings and endings. Zou Kai provided a particularly egregious example of this, and by egregious I mean that his tumbling passes were astounding, then he stopped, and then he would do another stratospheric tumbling pass. And astounding it would be, but that’s not a floor routine. In fact, there’s a whole sport dedicated to this called power tumbling, and that way lies Zou Kai’s destiny. Go with my blessing, Zou Kai!

The Danes are apparently monsters with the power tumbling. I admit: there’s something about a blond man in black tights doing a series of somesaults that makes me want to do handsprings.

Thing is: this is what the audience wants and the code of points now rewards athletes for pandering. So since we’re pandering, why not pander BIG? Let’s get rid of pommel horse which almost no one loves*, ditch floor ex and replace it with long, gorgeous, swooping tumbling runs. We can send Cirque du Soleil and TV talent shows perfumed thank-you notes for showing us the way. Because, in truth, we’re never going back.

*Kurt Thomas, you know I love you. Thanks for carrying my sister with the broken foot to the truck at gymnastics camp all those years ago. But that can’t make up for giving us the only reason to keep pommel horse in the lineup: the often vain hope that it might – if only for a moment – be interesting to look at, and let’s never again speak of GymKata. It can only open old wounds…

And Still My Light’s On

Recently, two people I like very much and who were not addressing me at the time, said they didn’t want to be lectured about dietary differences around the world or green matters, also around the world. They – you – read PIC. Buckle up, pets, because I am going to heap compost upon you, not to mention cha cha cha all over your arguments. This is going to leave a mark.

Nobody’s perfect. Almost no one leaves this planet without leaving a trash pile, though there are people who do not. Few people consume less than their fair share of this planet’s resources, but some do. You, however, and I and everyone reading this are making a big, slimy, toxic mess. No matter how much you don’t want to hear about that mess, you’re soaking in it. Your children are soaking in it. Nature is on you like white on rice, so sooner or later you’re going to have to stop howling and listen. It’s not even hard to do – listening and living a little greener – and nobody is demanding perfection. Besides, your argument seems to be If I don’t want to think about that then I don’t have to think about that. Which as circular logic goes is genius but as good ideas go: not so much.

Your children are watching you. The little devils learn from the way you respond to life’s little pressures and big squeezes. Your children, who will live with the mess we’re making now, will remember whether you shut off lights when you left the room or cranked the air conditioning. You already know this. So what’s your job, here? Do you teach them to think clearly and act, or do you teach them that denial’s a fine bet until what’s undeniable comes knocking on the door?

You can make small changes now that will add up, both for that mess we’re making and for the children who observe your quirky behavior. Don’t believe me? How about a simple example: your morning coffee. I drink enough coffee that somewhere on a Colombian mountainside there should be a plaque with my name on it, and if there is a plaque with my name on it, that’s not going to change anytime soon. But I never, never walk into a Starbuck’s and drop $10 on one cup of coffee containing double my daily calorie limit, and if I march through a Dunkin’ Donuts it’s because I’m on a road trip and the caffeine patch is wearing off. I have a travel mug.

We are a technologically advanced society in which devices now exist to make coffee in your very own home. It’s true! You can make your own coffee. Should you be one of those people in a 10′ by 10′ apartment without counter space, there are devices you could probably suspend from the ceiling that could double as soothing water features. For most of us, there’s no reason why we can obtain one of these devices and teach those impressionable children that thrift is good. Not only that, but once you step out of line at the coffee joint and find money in your pocket, you will wonder why you were ever there in the first place.

How, you may finally be asking yourself, does making my own coffee count as going greener when it creates garbage in the form of coffee filters and grounds? This is an excellent question, and the answer is: it doesn’t have to. Coffee grounds can be dumped directly onto lawns, gardens or empty lots. Got a tree in front of your apartment building? Toss down the grounds!

Some coffeemakers use filters. You’re used to seeing those white ones but you can pick up unbleached filters instead. They’re right there on the shelf, they don’t affect the flavor of the coffee and less toxic goo was used in their creation. A small but important step, eh? You can take another one by buying these filters here made of hemp, if you can find them without incurring a misdemeanor. Or pick up a gold coffee filter and eliminate the paper filters entirely. Plus, you’d have the ruby slippers of coffeemaking devices.

A lot of people say they’re trying to save the planet. That is a crucial misstatement of what is at stake here and now. The planet itself is not in any danger. The planet doesn’t care, and will go on spinning. We, however, cannot say the planet’s natural resources will stretch to meet our needs. It’s not a matter of economics. Even if you can afford to cushion yourself against lectures, waste and the vagaries of the markets, you can’t protect yourself from air, water and toxins. You know it, your lungs know it, your family’s medical history shows it and your children take all this in.

So, what’s it going to be: do you teach your children to think clearly and cleverly adapt or teach them that you wouldn’t?