When You Love Me Love Me Right

Yesterday, I’d just trundled in from the library where I destroy the dreams of publishers around the world when General Hospital was interrupted by a plane crash in the Hudson River. Now, I know what you’re thinking: putting a plane down in the water is not excellent flying technique, what with the crashing and so forth, but there really can be a variety of opinions on that. For instance, I was trying to make dinner at 3:30 because it was Thursday and Pete and I both work Thursday nights at the family stores and you should not at all attempt to marinate pork chops while watching a marine rescue, my friend. Nope. Anyway, this plane in the water is surrounded by ferries, which are bigass boats, tugs, which are not, and these inflatable hoohaas called Zodiacs, which on my TV look like zippy specks. And somehow I boiled chicken stock and a can of chick peas which I’ve never called chick peas in my life because my family calls them ceci beans and that means we’re saying beans beans and I don’t know why. I spiced this up – whew! – turned off the heat and tossed in couscous, though things happen quickly and we only like to hope they’re for a reason. We can’t know. So we start seeing the same six people climbing up gangways wearing life preservers and you and I both know everyone watching wonders if those are the six survivors but yes and no because yes, they survived but no, it turns out everyone survived – everyone! So I sear the pork chops on both sides for four minutes each while tugboats and the current take the plane south on what is certainly the ride of someone’s life and while the NYPD is full of arrogant armed fucks who’d make Mother Theresa fantacize about wood chippers New York City’s first responders are brilliant, fucking brilliant. The pilot brought the plane down without cracking the fusillage to pieces, which I wouldn’t have imagined in a million years and at a reduced heat, four more minutes on each side before I tossed the chops and the couscous into one of those meal-size Ziploc containers and drove like Jehu to the store, where Pete met me at the door and I said, “This is everyone’s lucky day.”

No Sense In War But Perfect Sense

What in glamorous tarnation?

The Bush Administration’s Department of Justice announced Monday that they are suing the city of Gary, Indiana for discriminating against white people.

Seven more days…seven more days…

On Monday, the Justice Department announced a lawsuit against the Indiana city, alleging that six EMT technicians appear to have been hired on the basis of race alone in violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act — which was passed to combat discrimination against African Americans.

The suit alleges that the city told applicants that offers of employment would be based on the order they were ranked. But the city seems to have ignored their own ordering and instead hired several African American applicants who placed lower than the white applicants.

Each of the six who were hired ranked lower than the highest-ranking white applicant, the Justice Department wrote.

“Federal law guarantees equal access to employment opportunities without regard to race,” said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a release. “The Department is committed to enforcing all the federal civil rights laws, including Title VII, under its jurisdiction.”

Something about this doesn’t feel quite right, but what is it? What’s missing? What’s…?

Gary’s corporate counsel, Hamilton Carmouche, told a local paper the list was prepared by the city’s previous mayor, and gave preference to applicants who lived in Gary.

“We hire not on the basis of any race, but on the basis of residency,” Carmouche said.

Ah! There it is; logic. You want your EMTs to feel connected to the community. Got it. So, the administration’s doing what, now?

Use of the Civil Rights Act to protect against discrimination against whites is not unprecedented, but it is a novel tactic by the Bush Administration’s lawyers.

Ironically, the Administration hasn’t been a big fan of expanding civil rights law.

Earlier this year, the White House fought efforts to elimination[sic] a statute of limitations measure that prevents employees from suing their employers for hiring discrimination if they don’t file suit with 180 days from the date of the discriminatory activity.

With one week left of this unabashed oligarchy, I can say with a clear conscience I wish we’d elected a lime Jell-O mold to the Presidency in 2000 because even if the squiggly dessert wouldn’t talk about its policies at least it wouldn’t have fucked with the American people like this. And sliced pears.

I assume this kind of racist bullshit will stop Tuesday morning, just before lunchtime, so what was the point? What could possibly have been the point? The point has always been to be a really big dick about everything. As jaw-dropping as every day of the last eight years has been, this final press conference is still shocking. At 7:54 in this video, even now, you will not believe your eyes and ears.

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At least when desserts fail, no one fucking starves.

Next Time I’ll See You There

Have you ever in your entire life seen an action photo of tulips? Sunday afternoon, I walked by this color combination, backed up a few steps and said, “Pete, get the camera.” Though the flowers appeared still they of course weren’t. Nothing is. We are all always in motion, faster than we know and not at all where we appear to be. When Darla was down from Canada for a visit, I opened a jar of Tang to amuse her. “We can pretend we’re in space!” she exclaimed. And, of course, we are.

A few weeks ago, out of the blue, I remembered that our landlord for the house we lived in when I was five had a wooden leg, and I remembered his name, too. Things may be starting to drift out from behind the wall of my memory loss. An example: this obscure Australian song I had on a 1993 NACB sampler and never heard anywhere else. Until yesterday, I hadn’t seen this embarrassing video, but somehow that makes it better.
I love this happy, happy song and its drive and energy. I can’t figure out why the singer dances about a half a beat off the rhythm but there’s no accounting for counting. For all we know, she hears her own distant drummer, as we do at our house, and late at night we call the cops because we are old now, and resent the presence of a bad Portishead cover band next door. I mean, what?

Lovely Princess Drusy likes face-to-face interaction, so when Pete sat down to take pictures, Drusy leapt onto the table and licked his face. Pete grumbled, but he wasn’t really angry. How can you be angry when the tiny, beautiful pussycat openly adores you? You cannot. So Pete grumbled, took this one picture including Drusy and she scampered off to play. That stripe of pink skin under black fur looks like Topaz and not Drusy, whose face is all black. It was Drusy, disguised as Topaz, I think. Perhaps this photo provides proof for someone’s Unified Cat Theory, but space makes it hard to be certain.

And If I Start A Commotion

The full moon is passing, and yet, I am in SUCH A MOOD. My hair is pinned down because otherwise it’d stand up straight. Last week, one of my co-workers told me I’d have to wait for her help until after a big presentation. While there is never a good time for someone to test my theory that I am the Creamy Nougat Center of the Universe, there are also few times when shooting off one’s mouth in the workplace work in one’s favor. Today, I’m going to spend most of my workday trying not to utter any variation of the words, “Why don’t you WAIT FOR ME to feel like kissing your ass?”

I Gotta Straighten My Face

Life has changed a great deal since Daria and I were rugrats hiding under the appointment desk in our grandmother’s beauty salon. For instance, at the time, Gram said, “Get up off the carpet. You’ll get hair splinters,” so we’d go play in the basement with mousetraps and bait. Now you can’t get your nails done without wearing a bicycle helmet. For real peculiarity, few things beat the mental image of the family hair salon in which half the stylists are smoking and the other half are delicately nibbling patty melts between appointments and some of them are punching holes in the ozone layer with the thick cloud of Aquanet they’re using to cement Mrs. Becker’s coif into place for the coming week. Mom, the pretty daughter-in-law, washes hair with a cigarette in the ashtray next to the sink. Auntie InExcelsisDeo is a star. Everyone loves her daring and glamorous haircuts, her architectural roller sets and dramatic comb outs. She is in demand, week after week. Everyone talks, but Gram forbids gossip. East Brunswick, even along Route 18, is still a small town and people could get hurt. Gram’s brothers have salons of their own, and some of her nieces and nephews have salons, too. Since I cannot deny my high-hair heritage, I am grateful that ‘burpless’ grass may reduce the environmental impact of that patty melt.

Back Here To Repeat Until You Learn, Learn, Learn

Dick Cheney is truly the Source of All Evil. By now, everyone’s read about this:

If you don’t get punished, you didn’t go anything wrong, right?

That’s the message Vice President Dick Cheney gave in an interview with CBS’ Bob Schieffer on Sunday, suggesting that a president’s actions are legal if those actions didn’t result in his impeachment.

Asked by Schieffer if he believed that anything the president does in time of war is legal, Cheney said there is “historic precedent of taking action that you wouldn’t take in peacetime.”

Cheney referenced Abraham Lincoln as an example of another president who “suspended the writ of habeus corpus” during a war, prompting this exchange:

SCHIEFFER: But nobody thinks that was legal.

CHENEY: Well, no. It certainly was in the sense he wasn’t impeached. And it was a wartime measure that he took that I think history says today, yeah, that was probably a good thing to do.

Right now everyone who’s ever spent time with a four-year-old is seeing stars, because this sounds like nothing so much as –

Mommy: Who broke this lamp?
Finster: Not me.
Mommy: There’s no one else here and the dog has gone to Heaven.
Finster: Why?
Mommy: What?
Finster: Why?
Mommy: The dog has gone to Heaven because his little heart gave out. And you need a spanking.
Finster: Why?
Mommy: Because otherwise you won’t learn to tell the truth.
Finster: Why?
Mommy: So I can spank you sooner, obviously.
Finster: Can I have a cookie?
Mommy: After my nervous breakdown, sure.

Mr. Lincoln may or may not have done the right thing when he did what he did but he didn’t “[suspend] the writ of habeas corpus” he suspended the writ of habeas corpus. There’s no equivocating about it. We can’t spin it. It happened. And to play semantic games about the violence Cheney and his ilk have done to the Constitution, this country and the world is to make ourselves complicit. Mr. Schieffer’s relatively passive acceptance of these vile assertions makes him part of the problem, whether he believes it or not.

Day after day, week after week, for the last eight years, I have heard story after story of monstrous, unimaginable atrocity from this administration. Every single day I heard a story I would not have believed even the day before. While the incoming administration gives me every reason to think the outrageous bullshit will be curtailed, House and Senate Republicans show no sign of stopping theirs. In addition, we have every reason to believe that as time passes, we are going to hear the backstories of the crimes these soulless fucks perpetrated and for which they will probably never be prosecuted. I try not to wish ill on anyone, but in Cheney’s case, nothing would give me greater joy than to see him in chains at the International Court in the Hague.

The Rude Pundit makes an important point.

Let’s face it: back in 2000, most of us were pussies. We knew, fucking knew, that the presidential election was being stolen as we watched. And we didn’t riot – we didn’t explode into the streets in a flare of anger and righteousness and shut shit down, demanding that the Supreme Court and the Republican Party back the fuck off. We didn’t head to Miami to block the right wing thugs who were stopping the recount at the canvassing board. We didn’t go on a general strike to say, “Count the votes.”

And Al Gore fucked it up, too. He didn’t tell us to do it. He didn’t lead a movement. He could have said that, at the end of the day, democracy fails when you say that voting is just an exercise, not a right that people were killed for. Instead, we behaved like end of the millenium Americans, going about our business, thinking, in the long run, it wouldn’t matter, anyways. (And to any conservative wad of fuck that thinks we need to get over 2000, look at your granny’s retirement account.)

Jump to 2004, and second verse, mostly the same with slight variations: the Johns, Kerry and Edwards, promise to count all the votes, yet, when Ohio is a clusterfuck of irregularities that’d make Boss Tweed go, “What the fuck?” and walk away, they throw in the towel for the good of the nation or some such shit, when, all they did was consign us to our own degradation for the next four plus years (’cause Obama’s inauguration ain’t gonna make it all shiny and good for a long time).

Yep, I hate thinking about how powerless I have felt every day for the last eight years. It’s all bad. I remember sitting in someone’s kitchen after the invasions, feeling like shit about bombs falling on the heads of human beings, and having someone at the table ask, “Are we safe to talk here?” Because it was dangerous in the fucking United States of America to say, “Bombs shouldn’t fall on the heads of human beings, no matter who they are – or in this case, were.” While we can attribute the bullshit hysteria to bedwetters who felt violated by 9/11, the public discourse was poisoned, and it wasn’t until Olbermann started shooting off his mouth on television that people felt they could fight back and not get a visit from the FBI. He may be an atrocious sexist ass, but he behaved creditably.

But what about me? Did I do enough? Did I say enough? Did I write enough letters and blog posts? Did I call my Congresspersons often enough? I doubt it. I doubt many of us will think so in the days to come. Bombs are falling on the heads of human beings again. Still.

How about a cookie?

You Pour Yourself Over Me Like the Sun

La la la going along la la doing stuff la la la – what the hell?

“I’m shaking my head at the irony of Joy of Cooking frozen food products.”
—Lisa Fain

Christ on a Triscuit, what’s this mess, then?

Evidently, you can use the Joy of Cooking to learn, like, joyful cooking, or you can skip the joy and the cooking, and yet you will eat. It’s genius, really. I wish I’d thought of it myself and called them up, “Hello? It’s Ta. No, we’ve never met. Yes, I’ve got your book. No, it’s a couple of editions back. Yes, I’ve got this great idea. It’s so great it’s almost diabolical. You know how you teach people to cook? Right, right. You can also teach them they can’t by selling them frozen foods they can’t duplicate at home without a degree in chemistry. Well, you never? I should kiss your what – ?”

Tenderly She Talks On the Phone

Commercials tell us a lot about what people are not talking about, too.  These ladies, for instance.

The commercials allude to what They say. You know Them, They talk a lot. Shitty of Them, doncha think, and who are They, anyhow?

According to a commentary in the April 2004 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, between 1970 and 1990, the consumption of HFCS increased over 1,000 percent.

“HFCS now represents more than 40 percent of caloric sweeteners added to foods and beverages and is the sole caloric sweetener in soft drinks in the United States,” write George A. Bray, Samara Joy Nielsen and Barry M. Popkin, the authors of the commentary.

Well, that is shitty. What else?

Fructose requires a different metabolic pathway than other carbohydrates because it basically skips glycolysis (normal carbohydrate metabolism). Because of this, fructose is an unregulated source of “acetyl CoA,” or the starting material for fatty acid synthesis. This, coupled with unstimulated leptin levels, is like opening the flood gates of fat deposition.

So They say high fructose corn syrup is in everything and constitutes a 8.0 earthquake halfway up the Hoover Dam? Fair enough. Can we get another source?

Our experts weigh in: “A number of recent studies … have convinced me that HFCS does not affect weight gain,” says Barry Popkin of the University of North Carolina, who was an early proponent of the HFCS-obesity hypothesis. “At the same time, there is a new body of research that suggested HFCS might be linked with higher triglyceride levels and other health effects. This research is too preliminary to make any conclusion.”

Adds Dr. Julie Lumeng of the University of Michigan: “By exposing children to more sweet foods … you may be inducing a long-term preference for sweets that leads to excessive caloric consumption.”

Okay then. They haven’t made up their minds, but we’ve fattened up societally. When we sit around the house, we sit around the house. Back at the picnic in the commercial, where one mommy says to another mommy, “You don’t care what the kids eat, huh?” Though them’s fightin’ words, there’s this bon mot:

The Food and Drug Administration stated, referring to a process commonly used by the corn refining industry, that it “would not object to the use of the term ‘natural’ on a product containing the HFCS produced by [that] manufacturing process….”

Geraldine A. June, Supervisor
Product Evaluation and Labeling Team
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
(Letter to Corn Refiners Association, July 3, 2008)

Folks, radon is natural but you don’t want it in your pantry, either. The Corn Refiners get other love letters, but the all seem kind of desperate and fragmented.

“To pretend that a product sweetened with sugar is healthier than a product sweetened by high-fructose corn syrup is totally misguided,”

Michael Jacobson, Ph.D., Executive Director, Center for Science in Public Interest
(Associated Press, September 10, 2008)

Is it possible that neither one is good for you? I mean, does it matter if Ho Hos are sugary or corn syrupy? It’s just possible it doesn’t. But not everything sweetened with anything rots your teeth, adds to your waistline or sends you into sugar shock. Last week, I bought a package of Thomas’ Hearty Grains English Muffins because they’re quite tasty and something’s got to sit between my plate and melting cream cheese. I didn’t look closely at the package because I rely on things to be the same as they were the week before for, you know, ever. Anyway, I read packages at home when I’m avoiding doing something else like going to work, and this package says: “Now with no high fructose corn syrup.”

Yes, that’s what They say: It’s in everything, including products that don’t need it.

They should probably say that a little louder.

That’s Like Hypnotizing Chickens

Man oh Manischewitz, tomorrow I go back to work. It’s too soon. I’d like to hibernate and return to my desk at the unnamed university in April, though even bears check their voicemail in March. I don’t know. It’s hard for me to feel motivated to increase the Gross National Product without hand sanitizer, but go back I will. At the moment, a little black cat snores beside me and another claws the house’s architectural details. I will miss this tranquility as I do battle with the Parking Department, law unto itself and bane of everyone’s existence. Still, it’ll be fun to don my armor and wind up the trebuchet again. After all, those cows don’t lob themselves over castle walls!