Sunday, September 25, 2011
In a 1954 interview, George Plimpton asked Ernest Hemingway what was the best training for an aspiring writer. Hemingway replied, "Let’s say that he should go out and hang himself, because he finds that writing well is impossibly difficult. Then he should be cut down without mercy and forced to write as well as he can for the rest of his life. At least he will have the story of the hanging to commence with."
admit it: you get tired of setting a good example sometimes.
but you've got kids looking up to you or people reporting to you or the fate of the free world relying on you, so you do what you've been conditioned to do.
the right thing, that is. or your best impression of it, anyway.
but oooh, how good would it be to get all up in some unacceptable behavior every now and again? it's okay, you can say it. we know already.
you'd start with the alarm clock. it goes off in the morning (or worse, in the late afternoon), and instead of shutting it off and rolling out of bed, you pick the thing up, gently unplug it, and throw it into the nearest brick wall. where it explodes into a confusion of disconnected pieces.
there. didn't that feel good?
but your bad example day is just beginning.
instead of your usual healthy breakfast (the most important meal of the day!), you go to the bakery and pick up a cinnamon roll dripping cream cheese frosting. you bring it home, heat it in a 325-degree oven for five minutes or so...then throw it in the trash and pour yourself half a bottle of really expensive syrah. and go back to bed for five hours.
when you wake up, you do a quick assessment and realize you're not feeling at the top of your game. so you slam down a couple e*mergency's and advil and fish oil capsules and go for a run.
it takes twenty minutes before your neck and knees and hips stop complaining, and by that time you're long past the point where you wonder what the hell you were thinking by setting out in the first place. so you go on for another two minutes. then you puke.
after walking home the rest of the way (in the rain), you think maybe food would've been a good idea. fish is out of the question, but a leftover chicken enchilada with extra cheese sounds pretty good. with guacamole. and chips with a hint of lime.
nom nom nom nom.
you look up and realize it's been raining pretty steadily for the last hour. you notice the sunroof on your car is open. you nod and say, "fuck it," and leave it open.
by now the dogs need to be fed. you feed them. because it's one thing to set a bad example, it's another thing entirely not to feed the dogs. then you're just an asshole. they seem to appreciate the difference.
someone's calling. who is it? doesn't matter. you don't pick up. they leave a message. you delete it. if it's important, they'll call back. and leave another message. which you'll delete. because, you know, fuck 'em.
you realize you have a headache. since you threw up the advil, you take some aspirin, just in case you're actually having a stroke. you wash them down with the rest of the syrah. soon thereafter you understand why this combination is not recommended by healthcare providers.
you turn on the weather channel to see how much rain your car will be filling up with. quite a bit, it turns out. you still refuse to close the sunroof. it's a SUNroof, dammit.
looking around the kitchen, it occurs to you that some things go bad if they're not refrigerated. you throw the bananas into a ziplock bag, and throw the bag in the freezer. it doesn't seem to help. they remain black. you notice they closely resemble the leftover fish you threw in previously. you close the freezer and walk away quickly.
it's time for bed.
the bed is covered with clean laundry, which you sweep onto the floor.
you don't brush your teeth. but you do floss, for some reason.
the dogs settle onto the clean laundry.
tomorrow is another day. you think maybe you should go back to setting a good example.
this seems like a good idea.
you sleep, and dream of sandra bullock and a werewolf.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
i can't find my belts.
this is starting to be a problem.
i distinctly remember packing them at the bottom of a box...a wardrobe or some other nondescript cardboard container. and since i personally moved said boxes, i know the belts are here...somewhere.
but all the likely candidate boxes have been searched. apparently i'll have to move on to the, "no, they couldn't possibly be in there" candidates.
coinciding with our move, summer arrived in the pacific northwest. this brief barometric bacchanalia is too rare, too fleeting to go uncelebrated. once our eyes adjust to what in other parts of the world is called "sunlight," we get a little crazy here. we go outside in "shorts" and "t-shirts," completely uncovered by fleece and gore-tex. if you can imagine such a thing.
i confess, i participated in the blasphemy. i wore summer-type shirts (untucked! at work!), conveniently covering my lack of a belt. also, i ran at lunch (outdoors! not on a treadmill!), soaking up the free vitamin D. it was glorious.
and apparently in the interim i lost a little weight. because my pants are now too loose in the waist. i actually need my belts for something other than decoration. despite this, they remain stubbornly missing.
and now summer is missing, too. fall has descended like a dark-ages castle gate. one day it was 80 and sunny, the next it was 60 and medieval.
the hawaiian shirts are re-relegated to their sad little corner of the closet. and i seem to have a choice. buy new belts or, you know, put the weight back on.
but as some anorexic runway model once said, "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." and while i'm nowhere near skinny, i like the way i'm feeling. which is to say, lighter.
time to shop.
* * * * *
update: according to weather.com, we may get indian summer this year. they're predicting three days of sun and 70s this week. the shopping trip will be delayed until winter's inevitable arrival next weekend.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
he can't figure out how he came to be associated with "conservative christians."
like the people responsible for the latest gop debate (if by "debate" you mean human-looking creatures throwing feces at one another, each toss applauded by the fox news crowd).
the audience (and by "audience" we mean bloodlusting zombies ravening for human flesh) at one point cheered like coliseum romans over texas governor rick perry's affinity for executions.
perry, a self-acclaimed christian, characterized the 234 executions during his governorship as "justice."
jesus, however, would like gop christians to know that he is not down with the executions.
nowhere in the bible does it say, "...and the lord jesus saw the multitudes on death row and proclaimed, 'father, these sinners have trespassed against us. you have said we are to forgive them, but we've decided instead to flay the flesh from their bones, nail them to a cross, and call it ultimate justice. hope you're okay with that.'"
perry the pious and his merry minions must be reading from a different bible.
"I think Americans are clearly in the vast majority of cases, supportive of capital punishment, "Perry said. "When you have committed heinous crimes against our citizens, and it’s a state-by-state issue, but in the state of Texas, our citizens have made that decision, and they made it clear, and they don’t want you to commit those crimes against our citizens, and if you do, you will face the ultimate justice.”
it's justice, perry insists, even when those who haven't committed heinous crimes are among the dispatched. he tried to hide one such case by disbanding the investigation and burying the findings. just as jesus no doubt would've done.
if we're being honest here, and we are, let's just call capital punishment what it is: revenge killing. a primal reaction hard-wired into human DNA to perpetuate the survival of the individual and the tribe.
and since we are being honest, let's acknowledge that this instinct isn't reconcilable with the finer sensibilities of jesus's philosophies.
the point here, to state the obvious, is that there's no having it both ways. you can howl with delight over 234 executions in texas, but you can't simultaneously call yourself a christian.
you can't love your crucifixions and love you some jesus, too.
that said, let's try to give these folks the benefit of the doubt: maybe they rationalize this revenge business another way, say, as a matter of fiscal policy. that's not really a moral foundation for state-sponsored killing, but perhaps it's enough for some.
and...durn it all. it actually costs more to kill someone than to put them away for life.
moving on, maybe some believe the prospect of ultimate justice prevents the kind of crime perry was referring to. and...wouldn't you know it? turns out capital punishment doesn't deter crime, either.
interesting note: the same people who think government is completely incompetent still trust said government with the power to execute people.
another interesting note: the death penalty is disproportionately applied to non-white people. that's probably just coincidence.
so, upon further review, it appears that today's "conservative christians" cheer for execution by the hundreds simply because...they like executions.
and we've come full circle, to a place where jesus, a well-known social and fiscal liberal, finds his face on banners waved by people who thoroughly despise those ideals.
and lo, as a matter of intellectual and spiritual integrity...jesus is not amused.
Monday, September 05, 2011
for most people, these would be a ticket to prison.
for dick cheney, they're source material for a book tour.
which demonstrates that justice in america is little more than a child's fairy tale.
the time has passed when we could sit here in our comfy chairs and still believe the myth. and unless we agree that cheney should at least stand trial for his assorted transgressions, we really can't complain about anybody else's criminal activity.
we can't, for example, howl about michael vick killing dogs. or bewail the fat cats of wall street killing the economy. we can't get steamed over (insert your most outrageous injustice here), unless we agree cheney should, at minimum, be forced to answer for the crimes he has confessed to in his book and his many fox news promotional confabs.
also, he should give back the taxpayer-funded medical hardware keeping him alive.
where were we?
oh, yes, the false premise that the USA is a nation of laws. what we are, at the highest levels, is more like a band of pirates. and not the charming, funny, johnny depp kind, either. more like the kind that cuts off your hands and throws you into shark-frequented waters. take what you can, give nothing back.
or, put another way: kill one, you're a murderer, kill thousands, you're dick cheney.
"Waterboarding is a war crime, unwarranted surveillance... all of which are crimes. I don't care whether the president authorized him to do it or not, they are crimes." ~~lawrence wilkerson
wilkerson knows of which he speaks. as chief of staff to secretary of state colin powell, he was privy to and even complicit in many of the crimes of the bush administration.
like a war ginned up under false pretenses. authorizing torture. disappearing people into secret prisons for the purpose of committing torture. outing a CIA agent in a time of war (that's treason, for those of you scoring at home). if you or i committed these acts, it's safe to say we would be doing something other than peddling a book on fox news.
and yet cheney is doing exactly that, with a sneering smile on his face, and barely a whisper of protest from most americans.
why is that, do you suppose?
are we really that apathetic? or are we now okay with activities that we
prosecuted, many times, when they were perpetrated against us?
question for christians: does it offend you that these crimes were committed whilst george bush waved the jesus banner? that he very publicly proclaimed islam to be a religion of peace, then turned around and killed hundreds of thousands of muslims for no good reason?
and really, what reason would suffice for such a slaughter? so halliburton could make its annual numbers ten years straight? well, then...mission accomplished.
did you know: throughout his years as veep, cheney had a little-reported, very profitable stake in halliburton? the company raked in uncounted billions from no-bid/no-audit government contracts in iraq and afghanistan, as well as on the u.s. gulf coast, post-katrina. but, you know, oh well.
these days, death, destruction, and botched reconstruction apparently are what we're willing to accept.
and if you're dick cheney, they're just good business.