Saturday, January 30, 2010

must-see tv

there isn't much on tv worth watching these days.

come to think of it, you could make a pretty good case that there never has been.

and yet somehow, to a very great degree, television has come to define america and americans (which is a frightening and comical indictment of our little experiment in democracy).

that said...once in a great while tv does offer up something worth seeing. and the fact that it's so rare makes the occasional aberration all the more compelling.

that's what happened yesterday. live. in the middle of the day. almost by accident.

to set the stage, barack obama paid a visit to the house republican caucus friday, exchanged some pleasantries, then engaged in an hour-long Q&A. prior to the event, gop officials at first resisted letting the cameras roll, but relented at the urging of the white house.

the results, above, were riveting.

unlike the latest very special episode of blossom---or whatever now fills that very special time slot---this really is must-see tv.

no matter which side of the aisle you sit on, shirely we can agree that more of this kind of drama would do the country a world of good.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

monkey business

in light of recent events, i'd like to share a little gem that i meditate on nearly every day...

"no matter how responsible he seems, never give your gun to a monkey."

i don't know what it means, but it sounds profound. and it applies to so many of life's little adventures.

the people of massachusetts just gave their gun to a monkey.

the supreme court just blew a big hole in our democracy by giving its gun to a bunch of multinational corporate monkeys. the court is now a wholly owned subsidiary of r.j. reynolds and exxon-mobil, and will wear the appropriate logo patches on their robes.

john edwards gave his gun to a loon. and now he has a new daughter to show for it. meanwhile, mrs. edwards is quietly loading her gun.

jesus doesn't endorse guns.

barack obama entrusted healthcare to a bunch of monkeys. they tossed it around like american tourister luggage.

air america broadcasting has been disarmed.

in alaska it's bad form to bring a gun to a food fight. there's a sarah palin joke here somewhere.

children shouldn't play with guns. or commit armed robbery. that's just not funny.

coyotes don't carry guns. which means they'll not fare well in the coming confrontation with humans in our neighborhood. farewell, coyotes.

play it out any way you like, guns and monkeys don't play nicely together. and yet somehow that's the combination we get over and over (and over) again. it's like the adults have left the room and left bonzo in charge. it's like lord of the flies meets jungle book. it's like we hit the evolutionary glass ceiling and now we're headed the other direction.

"no matter how responsible he seems, never give your gun to a monkey."


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

mass hysteria

thanks, massachusetts. hope you need healthcare sometime soon and can't get it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

house arrest

our house is like a u.s. marine.

it's been broken down and built back up again.

if you had seen it 6 years ago, you wouldn't recognize it today.

and yet, we're still not done. oh, no. there is much money to be spent before we move.

that's right. all the work, all the hours, all the resources poured into this place...all so we can sell it and move on to the next reclamation project.

it is to weep.

mrs. spaceneedl has never liked the house. since before we moved in, she's been twitching to change it from the inside-out and the outside-in. often at the same time. and no matter how much change that's occurred, no matter how recently, it's never been enough. more is always required, immediately if not yesterday. it's been a breathless race to see how many improvement projects we can line up like dominoes, in an unbroken line from the day we moved in up to right this second.

{for those who like to read between the lines, let's be clear---i'm talking about the house, not me. i'm pretty sure.}

updated bath upstairs. new bath downstairs. new laundry room. new french door walkout from the master bedroom to a new patio area in front. new walkways front and back. new fence(s) front and back. a new staircase to the basement (it goes up AND down---we paid extra for that). built-in cabinetry upstairs and down. and soon...a fully updated kitchen.

these are the biggies, but be advised, there's more. lots more. but it'll all be worth it, because one day we can sit back and enjoy the results of the toil, the turmoil and tumult for years to come. right?

pfft. wrong. someone else will get to do that. as soon as the kitchen is done, we're bailing. as quickly as the market will allow.

some observers might reasonably take a look around and ask "why?" the missus takes a look around and says, "why not?"

to be fair, the house was never supposed to be a 10-year solution. it's too small (particularly with two children and nowhere to hide from them). and, call us crazy, but we want a water view. we live within splashing distance of puget sound, but we can't see it. it's like moving cross-country to live in a forest and not being able to see the trees. what's the point of that?

and yet, somehow, in june we'll have been living in this house for 6 years. my, how time flies when there's sawdust in the air.

so, all the work notwithstanding, we're gearing up to move on.

to the poor house, in all likelihood.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

carrion, wayward dogs

this neighborhood ain't safe.

little dogs suddenly find themselves a few rungs low on the food chain -- carried off like canapes at a carnivore cotillion.

hoo boy, that's a lot of alliteration that could've included the word "coyote".

"The coyote that has been living in Magnolia for the past two months attacked and killed a small dog this afternoon. The dog and its owner were waiting for the school bus after school at 23rd AVe West and West Armour. The owner says the dog likes to meet the kids as they get off the bus. While they were waiting, the coyote came down from a hill nearby and grabbed the dog. The dog was in the coyote’s mouth and the coyote took the dog back into nearby brush."

most of the time i'm not too troubled by these wildlife forays into our civilization thought-bubble. and i'm not prepared to get all riled up just because a little dog (or two) ends up on the short end of the evolutionary stick.

the trouble starts when people do dumb things. like letting their teeny-tiny dogs run loose into the woods when there are coyotes in the vicinity. the dogs might as well have "kill and devour me" signs taped to their backs.

next thing you know, people with guns get involved, and the fun is pretty much over. especially for the wildlife. whose lives, let's face it, aren't that much fun to begin with, what with all the unpleasant killing and dying and survival of the fittest business.

despite our place at the top of the food chain (how'd we ever manage that feat?), people are historically not very smart. we look at a wild carnivore in our very midst and say, "omg, loooook how cuuuute!!!" we get all disney-eyed and stay that way right up to the instant that the carnivore does what it was designed to do. then we act all surprised and indignant.

"did you see what that beast did to my darling little foo-foo? that was horrible and totally unexpected! and right here in front of the children! somebody call someone with a gun, there's killing to be done!"

meanwhile the children are thinking, "yeah, well, wild animals have to make a living, too. haven't you people ever watched 'animal planet'?"

bring in the stunt coyote, roll the cameras, cue the gunshots, and we'll wrap this up.

what? there are no stunt coyotes?

oh, well. carrion.

* * * * *

breaking update: walked the dogs tonight with mrs. spaceneedl. we took advantage of a break in the rain, and got in a good 25 minutes of leg-stretching. a block from home we came nose to nose with a coyote.

s/he parked herself right in the middle of the sidewalk, not more than 20 steps in front of us. we slowly walked toward her, expecting her to turn tail, but she stood her ground. that was unexpected.

before things could get really uncomfortable, a car drove by, scaring her off. the rest of the walk home was uneventful.

except for the raptors.

* * * * *

next-day breaking update: we're on a roll. we saw the coyote again tonight. this time from the car, near lawton elementary. two nights in a row? that's a personal coyote record.

shooting off his mouth

george bush to appear at the safari club? yay!

it's a shame we won't all get to share the former president's intellect and humor.

p.s. note the safari club logo...wouldn't cheney be a better guy for this gig? or do club members prefer speakers who haven't shot people in the face?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

what a week i'm having...

"i am so happy to have survived the devastating attack on hiroshima. thank goodness i'm back home in nagasaki."

Saturday, January 02, 2010

sign of time

from the "estate sale" sign in front of her house, i'm guessing winnifred has died.

there was a time when her twice-daily treks around the neighborhood ranged far and wide. she would walk and stop, observe and inspect, chat and move on. for a long while she was accompanied by her little dachshund, who she always regarded with a look of love in her eyes.

but eventually he got old, and too frail to go along, so she went without him. i remember how sad she was when he died.

her routine continued, never wavering until the day she fell. it was just a misstep off the curb, but of course at her age the ground is far and unforgiving. she broke a couple teeth, and had a black eye, but it was her dignity that seemed the most bruised. she was completely affronted by the notion she could fall -- and be injured! -- on a simple walk.

still, she wasn't deterred. she added a cane to her rounds, and a cell phone, for just-in-case. it wasn't long, though, before the cane was replaced by a walker. it was like her wheeled dais, from which she would tell tales of bootleggers and complicit cops and basement shooting ranges and secret nighttime escapes. all right here in our little neighborhood.

recently her meanderings got shorter, and less frequent. i'm not really sure when they stopped altogether. i knew i hadn't seen her in a while, but that's not surprising given the scarcity of winter daylight. i fully expected to see her come spring, moving slower, maybe, but always forging ahead.

instead, there's an estate sale going on at winnifred's house today. lots of cars are parked along the street, and people scurrying in and out. i don't think she'd like the commotion, nor the thought of perfect strangers pawing over her things.

it makes me sad, so i'm staying far away.