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Archive for the ‘the Kat’ll all have brucellosis’ Category

I heard back from Cambridge this morning.

The minute I got the email story parts bounced down from my brain like streamers of curly ribbon.

Sadly I cannot write today. I am making up for it by reading novels with an eye toward study and thinking up mischief for my people while I sleep.

And this blog entry is hunt and peck on my phone. Or, accurately, peck. I do know where to find all the letters. Thank you, Doris Miller.

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I fully expect this post to get me forever kicked out of the Showtunes Geek Club. Even though I met 99% of the requirements, I can’t write this post and stay a member in good standing. Sure I’ve sung the entire Andrew Lloyd Weber/Tim Rice repertoire into a knitting-needle faux mic. Of course I made the pilgrimage to the West End. Yes, I had one of those wonderful souveneir mugs from Phantom of the Opera where the mask appears when filled to the brim with hot liquid. And of course I can name pretty much any musical to have played on Broadway during the years 1935 to 1991.

But I don’t think Glee is all that. I’ve made it through the first three episodes; three more await, green-dotted in the TiVo queue for that day when I can again deal with lipsynced hip-hop and low-flying freak flags.

I first saw the Pilot back when it aired in June. It felt fresh and funny and different. Then I saw it a couple more times when it was replayed as often as that one guy’s 90-yard run for the touchdown during the Superbowl. That’s when I started to fall out of love. Why? Because every fresh, fun “It’s great to be different and to be good at something” moment is followed by a lot of mean-spirited and cruel jabs at “normal”. There isn’t a traditional marriage that isn’t played for snide laughs. The glee-club director’s wife is a nagging, self-centered gold digger. His mother is an overweight booze floozy. His sister-in-law is a nag stuck with a hen-pecked milquetoast. The only other married couple we’ve glimpsed are the gay fathers of the lead chorine. They’re not mocked, because it’s apparently not cool to run down gay marriage yet.

Abstinence is derided as an impossibility; the abstinence club is portrayed as a joke. Christians are shown as using Jesus for manipulation and further gold-digging. Lupus is–as in 30 Rock–treated as a punchline; a hypochondriacal excuse for getting out of real work. Apparently we can only Not Stop Believing if the thing we are believing in is that the very best thing in the world is bad lipsyncing to hip hop songs that treat women as vile objects to be avoided for every purpose except sexual release. Tonight’s shows treated me to the ideas that a woman who wants child support is a gold digger, that a woman who wants love from a man is poison, that a woman is good only if she pushes it real good and lets you sex her up.

Here’s the thing. I dig non-traditional. I live in a largely non-traditional universe. In this wild side that is my life I’ve often encountered the school of thought that says it’s okay to mock traditionalists because they’ve mocked the rest of us for years. That strikes me as a really immature “he hit me first” way of thinking and I don’t like it. I also don’t like how often misogyny shows up as the flip side of that coin. I don’t know if it’s because of Phyllis Schlafly or because you can’t have straight marriage without a wife or because a lot of people don’t get along with their moms. But honestly. Everyone–no matter who you are–has times when they feel inadequate. When they feel lonely and scared. The decent way to treat people is the way you WANT to be treated, not the way you FEAR to be treated. That’s why I just can’t get behind Glee as the best idea for a fun TV evening.

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Just for the record, I’m not an Obama supporter at all. At all. Yet for some strange reason I find myself defending him more often than not.

I saw the headlines late yesterday trumpeting Obama’s resignation from the church he’s attended for years. I was immediately horrified.

Yes, I know that reports are of some questionable things being said in that pulpit, but I’ll be honest. From what I’ve glimpsed on the fringe of this election cycle, this race has been so very nasty that people will do and say anything to discredit their opponents. That leaves me taking all reports of “he said she said” with several grains of salt. I don’t know–nor does it much matter to me–whether or not Obama’s pastor said those things.

What does matter to me is that a man is giving up his church home under extreme outside pressure of a political nature. This, as an American, sickens me beyond belief. We have allowed politics to interfere with a man’s free exercise of religion. Some of us are even happy about it. Happy! About an America where we can coerce someone into going or not going to a church because we don’t agree with the message of that church.

Think about it, then go vomit and then come back and read the rest of this if you like.

I hear the arguments against my point and they’re all valid to a degree. Yes, Obama made the final choice (under extreme duress). Yes, Obama chose to run for office–against a Clinton, no less–and is not in any way a naif. Yes, the things this pastor is reported to have said can be offensive.

Well, I’ve gone to plenty of churches where what is said from the pulpit is offensive to someone. I’ve gone to churches that actively preach against divorce, alcoholism, obesity, homosexuality, gambling, drug addiction, cheating on your taxes, driving over the speed limit, women working outside the home, women in the pulpit…the list is endless. Even now my pastor says things from time to time with which I take issue. There have been a few things about which we have to agree to disagree. For instance, as a libertarian I’m offended by having our children forced to say the Pledge Of Allegiance in VBS. But I’m not leaving my church because of it.

The free exercise of religion is the reason for this country. It’s the first thing we put in the Bill Of Rights–before we even get to talking about guns or voting or soldiers living in the basement.

And we’re happy about a man being coerced into changing his religious habits?! I’m sorry. It’s just not my America.

Hat Tip: Aunt B.

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Back in 8th or 9th grade, one of our teachers  handed out a pop quiz. The first thing listed was “Read all the instructions thoroughly before beginning, and read the entire page before answering any questions. Since I’d had it drummed into my head to always follow instructions, I read clear through to the end of the page. The last ‘question’ read something along the lines of

This was a test about following directions. Once you reach this question you don’t have to do anything else. You don’t have to answer any of the other questions.

The basic gist was that if you followed the instructions you would actually not have to answer any of the quiz questions. I was one of about three people who sat silently in front of the page while the rest of the class scratched away with their answers. You’d periodically hear groans and laughs from other people when they got to the last entry and realised their entire work was in vain. (I particularly loved it when the Class Brainiac–so arrogantly sure she knew all the answers–was the last to finish.)

I think of that often when I am tempted to not follow instructions, but there are times lately that I just can’t be bothered.  That makes this more of a confessional, I guess.

  • I never hand wash anything that says “Hand Wash”.  I throw it in my washer on “Gentle”.   I figure that’s what technology is for.  Moon Schmoon.  Science means I don’t have to futz with delicate laundry.
  • When my microwave lunch  says that I’m to stop halfway through cooking to stir the pasta I sometimes don’t.  I mean, really.  The whole point of microwaved food is “fast and simple”.  If I wanted to be stirring, I’d actually cook something.
  • I rarely trim a candle wick to .5 inches before lighting.  I like it when the flame starts out all tall and skinny.
  • A lot of my medicine says “do not operate heavy machinery while taking this medication.”  A lot of times though, I’ll get something out of the refrigerator or watch tv while I’m doped up.  Both my TV and my refrigerator are really heavy.   And they’re machinery.  So there.

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It’s really hard being a libertarian sometimes. My parents were down here a couple of weekends ago and we had a long sort-of talk about how I’m wrong to be so, well, libertarian. It makes me feel bad because I like to please my parents and yet I like also to be intellectually and spiritually consistent. Libertarianism is the only way I can do that.

There are times I fantasise about going back to Republicanism, but then I think of how the Republicans in office are in many ways indistinguishable from the Democrats in office. As far as spending goes, that is. I’d also like to say there are times when I flirt with Liberalism and then I realise that, well, it just cannot happen. I can’t condone Forcing Your Way To Doing Good.

I suppose “libertarianism” is the best way I can think of to say “look, we’re all adults here.”

I’m not a pot smoker. Whether or not I’m a gun nut remains to be seen. But there are some other things about me on my mind tonight.

  • I have to have two procedures where they snake cameras down your throat and up your bum. I don’t mind the idea of that so much, as I’ll be asleep for the whole thing. Or so they’ve promised. What I AM dreading is that apparently I have to buy this nasty beverage stuff and drink it by the gallon. I’m quite terrified of that. I plan to spend the next 10 days dreading the thought of drinking that ooze. The doctor has promised I may take my phenergan, so there’s that anyway.
  • I’m supposed to be writing a 50K word novel for this National Novel Writing Month challenge. I’ve hardly written anything because I am just petrified and I don’t know why. In case you haven’t noticed I haven’t even been blogging. I’m like one of those guys who tells everyone he’s a poet but has never written a poem. It’s shameful.
  • I’m almost irrationally angry at the striking writers in Hwood. Intellectually I see their point, but functionally I’m just seething. I don’t ask much from these people. Just give me a couple hours two or three nights a week of something I can look forward to. Something which takes my mind of my world and transports me someplace else. We have an agreement. I’ll put my books down and step away from Age Of Mythology on the Mac [blast them for not releasing the Titans expansion pack for this platform]. You’ll churn out something at least PASSABLE. How hard is that? I know everyone’s fighting over what they think is right and that’s okay, but here’s the deal. I can just as easily go back to my books and my games and my knitting to Books on CD or whatever. Those few hours I gave you each week can become filled with something else pretty easily. It’s like how when I went to Florida my boyfriend took another girl to the Beach Boys concert with the tickets I bought him. I wasn’t there so he found something else to amuse him. If you all aren’t careful I’ll go to the Beach Boys with Civilization IV. That’s all I’m saying.

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As you may have guessed from the wholly stupid title, I’m having the worst trouble trying to write this blog entry. I want desperately to recap my Young Writers seminar from Tuesday, but the more I try to write about writers and writing the more I sound like somebody who would be kicked off the school newspaper for sheer writerly ineptitude.

I love writing. I love almost anything to do with writing. I never feel more at ease than when I’m writing or discussing writing with other writers. That’s why it was a total slice of heaven to participate in this group. 48 middle schoolers from Williamson County met at the Franklin Ag Expo to talk about their writing. I got to meet with 18 of them in groups of six; each student read his or her work aloud and we all complimented and constructively criticised the papers.

Going into it I was nervous about the “constructive criticism” part. Writing is such a personal exercise, and middle-schoolers are at a vulnerable age. I went into the day deciding that we’d first go around the circle with everyone saying something they liked about the piece. I then asked if anyone had anything they would “add or change to make the piece stronger.” In groups that hadn’t yet built up the trust level to enable heavy editing and criticism I figured that was the most reasonable way to approach it. At the end of the day I was amused by several students who said they thought the “writers were too nice and didn’t criticise them enough so their work wouldn’t get better.”

I am rarely called “too nice” by anyone. Rarely. Almost never. Don’t get me wrong; I’m nice. But I’m also your classic INTJ. If there’s a way to fix something–even that which isn’t broken–I feel compelled to suggest it.

Really though, most of the work was excellent. There was only one piece which felt at all substandard to me. But the young person who presented it was so enthusastic about both the work and the process that I felt any harsher criticism about the work–especially in front of that young person’s peers–would be more devastating than constructive.

I found all of the pieces fascinating from a psychological perspective. There was a lot of wish-fulfillment…family homes turned into mansions, little girls owned ponies and flew to Paris to live for years. Depressed fathers who made their daughters sad were killed by the Nazis(!).

I saved one paper for nm to read, now that I think of it. One student wrote about the Holocaust, and in quite vivid detail. It even has a poem in conclusion.

The more I think about it the more I think I would enjoy being a middle school english teacher. If I could get out of bed every day at 6:00am. Since that’ll never happen, I suppose I’ll just hope they ask me back next year. One day a year getting up that early shouldn’t be too bad.

Funny bits throughout the day:

  • I got there early, and so I volunteered to pitch in with some of the set-up work. I got designated to make the coffee and followed the coordinator around the building looking for a sink. When she couldn’t find the kitchen she suggested to me that I fill the coffee pots in the bathroom. Those of you who know me realise that just about gave me a heart attack. I expected to find out that there would then be a clown for morning assembly. None of you will be surprised to hear that I filled both coffee urns from the water fountains.
  • Each table had a colour and a symbol in order to make it “funner”, I guess. There were 7 tables–instead of being numbered 1-7 or labelled A-whatever the 7th letter of the alphabet is I’m not gonna sing the song to myself to count it out, we were purple ferns or red stars or, in my case, brown paws. I was already wearing my James Thurber Dog reading a book shirt, so I figured I’d go with the paw print. It reminded me of my sister and “Brian’s Table.” (inside joke…)
  • Each table also had a basket filled with souvenier writing utensils. I think somebody’s husband is a doctor or pharmaceutical rep, because all of them were advertising a drug. I’m sure there were parents all over Williamson County on Tuesday night who were wondering why their 11 and 12 year old daughters brought home Ortho Tricyclen pens.

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Ivy tagged me for a meme. Seeing as how I’m awake at 1:00am even though I shouldn’t be, I figure a nice, rambly sort of post about my baggage would be a lot of fun. For one of us.

The rules, as I understand them, are that I’m to write about three things I should have let go but haven’t.

Blogging

I probably should have aborted this little exercise in exhibitionism a long time ago. I’ve run out of good stories to tell and the arthritis in my fingers makes typing only slightly less fun than having my hair gnawed on by mice. As more and more of my church, school and family members find out about it I feel less and less able to say “pissed” and “gendarme” and other naughty or pretentious words.

I started the blog as a daily truth-writing exercise to hone my chops and make my book better. Now that my blog is a cranky toddler it bothers me as much as any other 2.5 year old child. It’s noisy and requires a lot more attention than I want to give it right now. But I love it. I’ve birthed it and we’ve had great memories together. We’ve made new friends and new enemies. I’m addicted to this blog like a scrawny meth-head with brown and cracking teeth. I’m mixing my metaphors to a ridiculous degree now, too. That’s perhaps a further indicator that I should abandon blogging the same way I treated piano lessons, lace crocheting, Grey’s Anatomy and Jim Warren. But I guess it’s here to stay for the time being.

(more…)

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