Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Surreal Life


Does President Bush have it in for the press corps? Touring a Caterpillar factory in Peoria, Ill., the Commander in Chief got behind the wheel of a giant tractor and played chicken with a few wayward reporters. Wearing a pair of stylish safety glasses--at least more stylish than most safety glasses--Bush got a mini-tour of the factory before delivering remarks on the economy. "I would suggest moving back," Bush said as he climbed into the cab of a massive D-10 tractor. "I'm about to crank this sucker up." As the engine roared to life, White House staffers tried to steer the press corps to safety, but when the tractor lurched forward, they too were forced to scramble for safety."Get out of the way!" a news photographer yelled. "I think he might run us over!" said another. White House aides tried to herd the reporters the right way without getting run over themselves. Even the Secret Service got involved, as one agent began yelling at reporters to get clear of the tractor. Watching the chaos below, Bush looked out the tractor's window and laughed, steering the massive machine into the spot where most of the press corps had been positioned. The episode lasted about a minute, and Bush was still laughing when he pulled to a stop. He gave reporters a thumbs-up. "If you've never driven a D-10, it's the coolest experience," Bush said afterward. Yeah, almost as much fun as seeing your life flash before your eyes.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Suffer the little children

We just watched one of the most horrifying movies I’ve ever seen. It’s called Jesus Camp. If you don’t mind sleeping with the lights on a few nights you might want to check it out.

The documentarians follow a group of children as they head to an evangelical summer camp full of scary preachers, exultations to evil leaders, and prayers to destroy the American way of life.

It’s frightening to watch the parents and spiritual leaders misleading their children and quashing any type of critical thinking. The homeschooling scene is particularly appalling as the mother illustrates her dark ages creationism-centered curriculum. I wonder if we’re rushing to a grand mayan cultural implosion sacrificing all who are different as the religious zealots capture more and more of our governmental offices. The threat won't come from overseas but from the Fox-fueled middle America.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I could be your hero, baby

A little Friday candy to celebrate the return of the best action show on tv:

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The String Cheese Incident

We had a strange walk yesterday evening. The temperature had climbed into the 40’s so I thought it was warm enough for the dog, the boy and me to brave the cold for a few blocks.

I grabbed a snack (this time a cheese stick) to keep E somewhat amused while Nemo stopped to sniff every few feet. We got to the last piece of cheese and E was holding it then giving it back to me. “Here. Here.” That’s his new phrase when he wants to hand you something. I’d hold the cheese then give it back. “Here. Here.” After about 4 exchanges I’m standing there with this quickly becoming disgusting piece and he’s not asking for it so I ate it.

A few beats later and you know what happened. “Cheese! Cheese!” Uh-oh. Let the wailing commence. For block after block after block, he was crying and crying for his cheese. People were walking by and you just have to give that ha ha what are you going to do look. Parents understand but others give you that you’re a mean daddy look. It’s not my fault you wouldn’t eat the damn cheese when I gave it to you. Neighbors are looking out their window to see what the hullabaloo is all about.

A block out from the house on the way back and he finally stops crying. I'm a little frazzled when a cyclist slows down as he's passing us. He stops and says “Whoa for a second there I thought you were John Roberts from the Supreme Court.” I manage a polite laugh. Well it could have been worse. He could have said Dick Cheney.

Finally back in the house and the bounty of a full package of cheese, Grommit.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Don't cry for me Argentina, really, I mean it.

I didn’t get the showtunes gene. I have very little interest in seeing Dreamgirls. OK, I’d like to see Jennifer Hudson’s performance but they probably charge you for the whole movie and not on a per-actor basis.

I can’t get my head around the artificiality of musicals. I’m perfectly happy watching robots and spacecraft zip across the screen but when an actress jumps on a table and starts belting out how she’s going to wash that man right out of her hair I lose interest. There have been a few exceptions, but I think they started with the music and then back-filled the dancing and a little bit of plot. Grease comes to mind but that’s more camp than theater or musical.

I can watch a big broadway show and be wow’ed by the sheer spectacle of it all but somehow it doesn’t move me. I’ll Cover You did manage to peek through and pierce the noisy clutter of Rent but the rest has faded away.

Music should be swelling in the background. I can only of one exception that truly worked. There’s a scene in Magnolia when the characters begin to sing along to Aimee Mann’s soundtrack. It was an odd, jarring moment but somehow appropriate. I liked the moments of reflection with each character pausing and sighing to her melancholy notes. It was unnatural and edgy and surreal enough to cap the movie.

Maybe that’s the issue for me, musicals don’t acknowledge the fact that if you were to sing out loud on a crowded subway platform everyone else would slowly back away from you.

Friday, January 19, 2007

and you see your gypsy

I am a vagabond, forced to wander the streets of DC begging for entertainment. Without a home or a place to call my own I move through the city alone and cold. (OK, it’s because the contractors are still in the house and it feels awkward to ask them to keep it down in there while I’m trying to watch TV. Still, it's tragic and moving no?)

I’m just answering a few emails here at the local cafĂ© before I head out into the winter. So dear reader if you see a forlorn individual standing behind a news anchor, think of me.

What movie to see today….

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Pop goes the world!

American Idol is like this pop-tart I’m eating for breakfast. I know I probably shouldn’t have it and there are any number of healthier items I could be eating but I’m enjoying the sugary, artificial goodness of the tart de pop. The artificial wood of my desk probably has more nutritional value.

The humiliation rounds of the early part of the season are my least favorite. Do these kids deserve the judge’s scorn even though they ask to be evaluated and for many the goal is simply to BE FAMOUS. As a parent I admit I tut-tutted the parents who comforted their sobbing boy as he wailed about his need to BE FAMOUS! I probably would have done the same thing at that moment but did they warn him that his singing, dancing, juggling ability was more hobby than vocation. I hope they sat him down to talk about the reality based community and where he might fit in.

I wish they would raise the age limit. What kind of psychological damage are they doing to these kids? I feel sorry for the misfits too. They try to be different and push the boundaries but they’re all just grease in the AI machine.

My pop-tart is done but my stomach feels a little upset. I know I'll still crave that sucker next time I see it.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Don't leave me licking on the telephone

There’s been much ado in DC blogland about Blowoff and the Men in Beards and Leather gathering, check out various links over there to learn more.

Warning! Parental and general complaining to follow!

Meanwhile the turtle’s household was struck by a mysterious illness. We’d all been fighting something off last week and then Sunday after church E’s fever appeared after his afternoon nap. Now, I don’t want to blame anyone but it may have been caused in part by when I picked him up from the daycare he was practicing his decidedly unhygienic proclivities. He was showing me the various toy phones they have, picking one up, saying “Hello” and then I catch him licking the receiver. Argh! And Blech! What new disgusting horror awaits? Couple that with the piece of drywall I picked from his mouth Saturday and it’s no wonder he fell ill.

I’m quite proud that my usual fever hysterics were minimal and I took the lack of sleep and crabbiness in stride. His fever broke yesterday morning and then this energetic banshee struck. The cute and helpful child who asked for a tissue when his nose was running now asked for a tissue and then raced away as I approached him. I was forced to set up tissue traps of nonchalance as I waited for the snotty nose to wander by so I could pounce on it.

There was some work done on the kitchen, I saw the men in there but what they accomplished I’m not quite sure except that the microwave wasn’t working last night. The large holes in the kitchen wall were kind of pleasant during another 60plus weekend but the forecast tonight calls for lows in the 20s.

****** Complaining over *******

The windows looking out on the backyard are going to be lovely. The painting was finished upstairs so it looks like we’ll be able to move back into the bedroom soon.

Democrats still control Congress.

Patty Griffin and Tracey Thorn have new albums coming out.

I lost a bit of weight but it may have been drywall dust shaking loose during my workout.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Drifting off

…And now for something completely different for the weekend. I just discovered gay country artist Waylon Payne. Waylon Payne is the son of country singer Sammi Smith ("Help Me Make It Through the Night") and longtime Willie Nelson guitarist Jody Payne, as well as the godson and namesake of Waylon Jennings.

I just ordered his cd The Drifter you can pick it up pretty cheap on ebay if you look. It’s worth a listen in its bluesy alt-country groove.

If you saw Walk the Line he played Jerry Lee Lewis.

I admit I was first attracted to him for that stare but listening to snippets from his website there is real talent there.

Check it out.

all photos pulled from his website

Thursday, January 11, 2007

21,500 troops plus one

Additional troops being sent to Iraq…. It’s just a number for lots of people but for my family it’s a son, a husband, a father, and my brother.

This will be his 3rd tour in Iraq.

It’s hard not to be angry and disgusted and helpless. I’m going to draft a letter to write to my congresspeoples (living in MD I finally have representation!), but it seems so ineffectual. I didn’t vote for this president. I’ve never supported this war and never got the need for the invasion even in those unsettling days right after the pentagon/wtc attack.

With family over there I have to pay attention to the daily bombings and attacks, it’s like a constant rock in my gut. I wish there was some sort of hope. I wish the magical democracy that the president speaks of that could settle upon the land quelling the violence like pixie dust.

I’ll write a letter and hope for some sort of closure… I doubt it will come.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bad words

Ah the joys of toddler parroting.... things I've gotten E to say:



"I'm cranky."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


I happily trotted home on Friday only to realize that gasp we are rewiring the bedrooms. So, the cable that provided the internets to the office has vanished. I was able to check some emails thanks to my handy-dandy wonderphone the treo 650 but mostly we were on electronic blackout.

The worse thing about remodeling is the feeling of restlessness. Usually one retires to a home for rest and relaxation. I come home and wonder what new hole or dirt pile will be waiting for me. The contractors left 2 large holes in the kitchen wall and the cold is pouring in. I tried to tape the plastic up as best I could but still it rattles away in the wind. (By the way if you need to distract a toddler for a few minutes a piece of scotch tape is an excellent resource.)


I was off work yesterday and ended up at the theaters and to watch Children of Men. I thought it was amazing. I’m still processing all of it. The camera work and cinematography are stunning. It hurtles along with tension upon tension multiplying to an almost unbearable limit. I bought the book some 10 years ago and put off reading it… now may be the time to pick it up again. Go see it!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Dance this mess around!

I’m not sure where this idea of renovating our house right after the holidays came from. I believe the logic was we hate this kitchen and we know we need to replace the appliances soon so let’s rip the whole thing out. While we’re at it, let’s add a huge closet to our bedroom just so we have construction on all levels! Yaaaay!

One of E’s newest words is “mess” so he is very helpful in pointing out the plastic strung up everywhere as “mess” and the dust settling in all over the bedrooms and bathrooms is indeed a “mess.” It’s raining periodically today too and the workers will be going in and out of the house. I have no doubt that tonight there will be an even bigger mess.