Thursday, December 30, 2010

Roses in December

Fasten your seat belts, folks; I think this is going to be a long one!

As you probably know, the very last place to develop Kodachrome film is processing it's very last roll today, and retiring the special Kodachrome machine that uses the special Kodachrome chemicals that give the film it's unique warmth and richness.
Kodak gave the final canister of film ever manufactured to a photographer named Steve McCurry, whom they thought had done an outstanding job of using the film to its best advantage. He is the man who took the iconic photograph "Afghan Girl", of a young green-eyed girl named Gula in a Pakistani refugee camp, for National Geographic. (Thirty years later he found her again and took another photo; she looks like she's had a rough life. Even her once bottomless eyes look faded and colder, like sand worn beach glass instead of tiny, twin planets.)
If you're interested, here are some images of from that ultimate roll:
He's quite the photographer, right?
Anyway, for some reason, the end of Kodachrome really bothered me. I heard about it on CBS Sunday Morning News, and couldn't stop thinking about it all week.
This is the season for reflection, and I am kind of obsessed with memory anyway, because I am always so astonished when reminded of all that I have forgotten. Not remembering distresses me, because, as some famous but completely forgotten person once said, "we are our memories." In a never-ending quest towards self-improvement, I find it imperative to be able to define who I am, in order to figure out who I want to be, and that involves analyzing what the elements of me are, so in addition to being fascinated by all things memory/perception-related, I have a personal stake in the subject. Perhaps that's why I write this blog - to remember what I think. (Here's a paraphrase of a really nice memory quote from J.M. Barrie: "[We have memories] so that we might have roses in December.")
The thing is, often, I am not sure if my memories are my own, or if they are manipulated mutations of memories. In other words, are memories organic, or are they products of external suggestions? The answer, of course, is "Yes." They are both. And many of my favorite memories are in Kodachrome. I can no longer distinguish the moment from the image that captured it, and the intensity or import of those moments is enhanced by the density and dynamism of, as it turns out, a unique developmental process and a slew of chemicals. Which came first: the picture or the memory?
My first camera was a Kodak X-15 Instamatic. I had it for years. I took pictures of my grandfather driving what I will always think of as a Cadillac, whether it was or not. Never much concerned with details like what's in the frame, I have a picture of his legs, from his white leather belt and polyester, maroon pants against the green leather seat, down to his matching white loafers on the pedals. On the floor is an orange golf tee. From the picture comes a cloud of sensation and factoids: the smell of his pipe; the way he ate so slowly, always the last up from the table on Friday nights; the strength of his arms when he let me feel his muscles; the taste of the peaches he grew; the songs that crooned from the radio of that car as it purred down Central Expressway, passed the drive-in that is no longer there, on our way to the now-demolished Luby's, where I could order anything I wanted, so long as I ate everything that I put on my plate. Holding that slightly blurry photo - a word that itself is giving way to the more popular "image"- I am transported to a world in which my grandmother is still living, and I can almost feel her hands in my hair, smell her soup on the stove, hear her whispering to me, as I'm sure she did to all of my cousins, that really, I am her favorite. I see the dress I get to pick out on my first day of third grade and remember how proud I was. I see my sister as a tiny golden sundrop, with a shag hair cut in a little fringed jacket, smiling up at me, posing for the camera, and my mother, beautiful and radiant, and my handsome beatnik father, a perfect family before I knew that families are never perfect. That one picture brings back an entire era that is forever bathed in a certain glow...a Kodak glow. The era is gone forever, as are high school, and leaving home, and my first love, and life-changing travels to astounding locales, and groups of friends that are long dispersed, and people, now, quite a few, who I will only ever see again in the photos in my albums or the snapshots in my head. In those pictures we are smiling and laughing, or walking and talking, sharing holidays and road trips and afternoons on the porch. I miss those people. Part of me is gone with them, and I have phantom pain in the part that remains.

It's not just that.

There are photos of our collective consciousness. I recently saw Paul McCartney on SNL and the again on the Kennedy Center Awards. At the awards, there was a retrospective of his professional life. There were the early black and white Beatles; funny to think that those well-tailored young men were considered radical and threatening. Pictures showed them growing up, growing into a phenomenon, growing apart. Cynthia on John's arm, Yoko on John's arm, Sean in John's arm and then no John at all. Later, there will be no George. At least Ringo is still out there, preaching peace and love.

Back to the show. Paul and Linda. Linda Eastman McCartney, herself a photographer, but not a member of the Eastman-Kodak family, maybe the love of Paul's life. There they are in a flowered, verdant field, on brown and white spotted horses, there they are making wings of their fingers, there she is, blonde curtain of hair obscuring her face as she leans over the piano. The camera at the Kennedy Center pans on Paul, looking a bit wistful and lost, slightly hollow. I am struck by how sad it is that these oft-viewed photos and film clips are all he has left of what must seem like another lifetime. Of course, there are also the memories one carries in the mind, but it is the double-edged blessing and curse that they fade. To me, it seems like McCartney himself is fading, and it is hard to watch.

On the tv, the light has changed. The retrospective has moved from technicolor to video to digital, and then the stage lights come up and instead of McCartney desperately attempting to channel himself when he was more vivid and in-focus, Gwen Stefani, looking bloodless and sounding soulless, minces on 6 inch stilettos through "Hello Goodbye" and "Penny Lane." Then Dave Grohl and Norah Jones, then Steven Tyler. The Beatles, once so powerful and revolutionary, so seminal and inventive, are now represented by others who are like the spark of a Zippo to an inferno. They were the big daddies, the memory makers of a generation, the song of growing up for so many, and in such different ways, from the teenyboppers to the Manson family. As a kid, I was a huge Aerosmith fan, but really, is sell-out Steven Tyler now elder statesman of music that once made a statement? Are grandparents and grandchildren going to dance together to "Big Ten Inch Record" or "A Lick and A Promise" in the same way they do to "All You Need Is Love" or "Let It Be"?
The thing about this is, as our touchstones crumble, we lose ways to communicate with each other. We lose our collective memory.
Ah, the times they are a'changin'. The final gasp of film - it's been dying for a pretty long time now-has left me nostalgic. I understand progress, and that those who can not adapt, and who cling to the obsolete will be left behind. I've always known this, but I am beginning to understand how easily it can happen, and how a person can get stuck in time, swallowed by memories. I myself have a fabulous new camera, a Canon with a lens that goes in and out - fancy!- and I love the fact that I can delete and edit my snapshots at will. Life is too short for a bad picture, especially one of me! But I think that's the heart of my feeling of loss right now. There was a time when thing in life were not so clear, sharp and harsh. There was a time when life itself seemed brighter, deeper, richer, warmer. Then, there was no deleting, no Photoshopping, no taking out the red eye. It's not so much that we saw things how they really were in the past; it's just that then, the imperfections seemed to add to the value, like the patina on an antique. We saw things in washes of color - "the greens of summer" - and comforting generalities - "makes me feel all the world is a sunny day."* I guess the past always seems more innocent, but now at a time in my life when I might enjoy a little delusion, the writing is stark on the wall: People get older, then old, then die, and others mourn, and then forget, and what seemed so important, so pivotal and monumental, is forgotten. I am not immortal, and everything ends.

That was a whole lot of words to tell you something you've already learned and probably remember, huh?

That being said, here are some digital images I have captured with my great camera in the final weeks of 2010.
* These words, of course, were written by Paul Simon, who has a new album coming out in 2011, So Beautiful Or So What.







(You'd think that in 2011, people would be more sensitive than to call those kids slow, right? I believe the correct term is 'Street Traversing Challenged'.)


Are you still here? Good! This is a really interesting story about what people want to be remembered and how they want to remember it: http://www.theworld.org/2010/12/30/gay-holocaust-memorial-controversy/
See you in 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sick TV


Urrgh. I've been sick, and not just allergy sick; I'm talking can-I-make-it-to-the-bathroom sick. I hear it's going around, which only adds to a raging case of misanthropy I've been cultivating. Stupid people with their breath and fluids. One of those disease spreaders recently said that at least I was lucky enough to be on vacation when the dreaded stomach virus hit. It's a well-intentioned comment I know, but really people, THINK! Who wants to be sick on vacation! I would gladly miss school to lay on the couch all day watching bad tv than waste a day of vacation laying around on the couch watching bad tv.
Which, as it turns out, is all I have been doing for the past two days. While I am beginning to feel better in my tum-tum, the low-level, chronic hatred of human-kind that I suffer from is getting much, much worse. I watched the Ladies of The View (Oh, so shrill! Please, ladies, let the stupid-ass guest finish answering the stupid-ass question you just asked!) Maury Povich, Dr. Oz, Regis and Kelly, and Rachael Ray. Twice I woke up to the Today Show; not the part that has the news, but the part that has crazy, drunken Kathie Lee Gifford ("Welcome to the Today Show! It's Booze Tuesday! It's Wine Wednesday!") I also checked out Sesame Street; it's different from back in the day, but still good. I especially enjoyed a riveting segment on "Things that Open and Close," hosted by Elmo.
All parodies of daytime tv are true. It is inane, ridiculous, and actually destroys brain cells and independent thought. I know things now that are clogging my brain like a shellacking, a phrase I swear I hear every time I turn on any Fox station. I feel my synapses shattering, and those are some hard bridges to rebuild, I tell you what. Here are some things I have learned:
1. Erica Kane is still alive. She's still a pretty crappy actress, and still looks exactly the same as she has for the last 30 years. Now there's a shellacking for ya!
2. That guy who plays the Spanish teacher on Community and the crazy gangster guy in The Hangover is really a doctor. An MD. Really. Go figure.
3. Men are dicks and women are bitches. (I learned this on Maury. Hard to believe that show ever went off the air, huh? It was always so healing and uplifting...)
4. Some girl on a teenage mother show on MTV beat the crap out of her big, dough boy baby daddy on an episode and then got arrested for it.
5. Justin Bieber's girlfriend, who is two years older than he is - scandal!- and who is also apparently some kind of star, is no longer wearing her Promise ring, so that means they are doing it!
6. The first manned untethered hot air balloon ride covered 5.5 miles over Paris, France. (Jeopardy is not always as interesting as I remembered it.)
7. There is a big bed bug infestation, it's cold in the winter, and placebos can be effective. (I filed these in an ever-growing mind folder labelled "Things in the News I Thought Everyone Already Knew, But are Reported as if they had Just Been Discovered.")
8. "Blue carpet is killing me." This is from Nate Berkus. I am not sure who Nate Berkus is, but he has a show.
9. I am smarter than a 5th grader. Mostly.
10. Cable is 20,000 channels of crap.

I hope I feel better soon.

P.S. I would be remiss if I didn't mention two really good things that happened during "mah layin'-in spell": My friend sent me a FABULOUS New Year's present that was left on my front step in fancy-pants gift bag, which I found when, huddled up in my flannel pj's, robe, sweater and bedspread, I went outside to dump the water out of a big bucket I had just rinsed. I LOVE gifties, and there is nothing better than a happy surprise! Thank you, E.D.!

Also, my mom made me delicious soup and then came out, in the cold and rain to deliver it. When she got here she called me a "Poor Baby!" about thirty times and told me I was being brave.

Even when I am sick, I remain the Luckiest Girl In the World! Yay, me!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Coming Down

Santaski, the Polish Santas, take the hill. Merry Christmas Eve to all of you ho, ho, hos!
Photo by Joel Page, AP
"The Year Kenny Loggins Ruined Christmas"

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On Death, Without Exaggeration

On Death, Without Exaggeration

by Wislawa Szymborska

It can't take a joke,
find a star, make a bridge.
It knows nothing about weaving, mining, farming,
building ships, or baking cakes.

In our planning for tomorrow
it has the final word,
which is always beside the point.

It can't even get the things done
that are part of its trade:
dig a grave,
make a coffin,
clean up after itself.

Preoccupied with killing
it does the job awkwardly,
without system or skill.
As though each of us were its very first kill.

Oh, it has its triumphs,
but look at its countless defeats,
missed blows,
and repeat attempts!

Sometimes it isn't strong enough
to swat a fly from the air
Many are the caterpillars
that have outcrawled it.

All those bulbs, pods,
tentacles, fins, tracheae,
nuptial plumage, and winter furs
show that it has fallen behind
with its halfhearted work.

Ill will won't help
and even our lending a hand with wars and coups d'etat
is not so far enough.

Hearts beat inside eggs.
Babies' skeletons grow.
Seeds, hard at work, sprout their first tiny pair of leaves
and sometimes even tall trees fall away.

Whoever claims that it's omnipotent
is himself living proof
that it's not.

There's no life that couldn't be immortal
if only for a moment.
Death
always arrives by that very moment too late.

In vain it tugs at the knob
of the invisible door.
As far as you've come
can't be undone.


Translated from the Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh

Monday, December 13, 2010

Alan

I moved to the place I live now when I was in the sixth grade. I didn't know anyone, and this plastic city was worlds away from the canopy of trees that framed my view of the forever kid's sky of the place I called home.

I made some new friends in the city. They were my everything, and they whisked me away from turmoil, fear and loneliness on Mongoose bikes, our black concert t-shirts fluttering out behind us as we flew down alleys, asphalt and adolescence.

We were an odd little group. There was a fat kid with glasses and acne, a short smart-ass guy, a scrawny chick, a dork, a tall, skinny brainiac, a nerd-girl, a depressed dude and a cheerleader. We loved each other.

We grew up and became a family. I have never forgotten them, and I will always be indebted to them. They changed me, and will always be part of me. They were my family, and I loved them. I still do.

Today, the leader of our gang died. It was unexpected. It always is. The atheists in our group said, "See, this proves it. There is no God." The believers spoke of how blessed we were to know him. We are all right. He was a great man. He was smart - really smart - and funny and so, so generous. He adopted us all, and brought us together, and even though we drifted from each other, none of us drifted from him.

Now we are all going to gather together again. I can't believe he won't be with us.

I just can't believe it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Brian Has Left the Building

I had to go to a meeting at school the other day, in which my 'learning community', which is our new term for 'department', meets to discuss our 'learning objectives' which means 'test scores', and our 'content objectives', which means 'things on which we are to be evaluated', which means, really, 'word walls and foldables'. You may recall that word walls are a complex intellectual stimulatory tactic, wherein the educator puts words on walls, and foldables prompt cognitive retention sparked when the learner folds things, particularly if said things are very colorful. For a low performing high school like ours, these 'teaching strategies' are non-negotiable, and educators must be constantly reminded of their importance and application. That is why we have staff development training and learning communities; if we all understand how to comply with non-negotiables like these, if we believe, we will achieve, and failure is not an option!

These meetings just kill me. I used to bring a book, but then I felt guilty about being openly rude, even though apparently texting during a meeting, especially if one is an administrator, is considered acceptable etiquette. I have tried to participate in the 'dialogue', but I found out that 'dialogue' really means monologue, and too many questions will get you a room out in the portables, where fire alarms don't ring and metal detectors don't matter. Now I just sit quietly and draw, singing show tunes in my head from musicals featuring transvestites. (I call them my tranny tunes, and I can't tell you how many times they have been the only positive elements in otherwise unbearable situations. I have worked up a very impressive mash-up from Rocky Horror and Hedwig songs, if you want to hear it later.)

As if the actual attending of the meeting wasn't bad enough - I could be more detailed about how totally excruciating they truly are, but I don't want to appear bitter - they start well before school begins, at the crack of dawn. Perhaps you don't know this about me, but I am not so much of a morning person. I wake up like the Blob, morph into Young Crankenstein, and eventually become enraged, like the Incredible Hulk, by the very fact of morning...what I'm trying to say is that waking up, for me, is a monstrous experience. (Like how I did that?) So, because I don't like to be told to get up and go to work (see the last several posts on my you're-not-the-boss-of-me attitude), I am always late, no matter how early I get up, and my clothes are always mismatched, because on meeting days I tend to get dressed in the dark.

When I got to the meeting, they had just finished discussing new innovations in word walls (your rooms can be even more print-rich and stimulating if your word walls are colorful, graphic, and in fun shapes and sizes!), and about how our evaluations would hinge on important teaching strategies like how often we changed or added to our word walls, or if our lesson plans made note of how we were incorporating foldables into our instruction on test taking for success, which is basically all that we teach.

I was happy that I missed that part.

I am then chided for being late, and told that a note will be made of my tardy and it will go into my file for my evaluator. We have to be constantly reminded that our evaluations, on which our future employment in the glorious BSISD depends, can and will be used against us if we don't 'buy into and comply' with the 'data-driven best practices', because it has become clear to our administrators that if left to their own devices, teachers would just do what they thought was effective and meaningful, as opposed to what the district's highly paid consultants decree is effective and meaningful.

As I thought about that, I began to get cranky.

The meeting culminated with our learning community's administrator, a former English teacher who often seems to struggle with subject-verb agreement, sharply reminding us that we had to add more rigor to our lessons about word walls, foldables and test-taking. While we would be asked to defend anything over a 10% failure rate (a good teacher motivates kids to pass and does whatever he/she can to make sure that students are successful in learning! Remember, failure is not an option!), it is imperative that our classes are not easy, blow-off classes. We want our students to have a high degree of 'college-readiness', and according to the data, we have not yet reached that goal. (Last year, 3% of our graduating students were deemed to be college ready in an independent survey conducted by our town's newspaper. This year, our goal is 80%.) The reason we have not reached our goals (or is it 'our objectives'?) is because teachers are not completing the mountains of paperwork we must fill out in order for us to truly know our students and meet their needs, because teachers are not using the best practices the highly paid consultants have been recommending for the past 15 years (I wish I could be highly paid to recommend the exact same stupid strategies year after year!), and because teachers just refuse to make their classes appropriately rigorous, mostly on account of - here, the administrator winked and said, "You all know who you is!" - laziness.

Buttons popped off of my blue and red plaid shirt. My purple (they looked blue in the dark) pants frayed above the knees as my rock-hard calves ripped through the flimsy fabric. I was pissed, David Banner-style, and I needed to kill.

Unfortunately, I didn't have time to satiate my blood lust because the bell rang. Today, I was going over the concept of the journey motif, as evidenced by the archetypal epic poem, The Odyssey, and revisited in the movie Cast Away. Today we were discussing how Odysseus had to recognize and overcome hubris, just as Chuck Noland, the hero in the movie, had to give up the need to control, in order to discover what Maslow calls "self-actualization', or what occurs when a human being's highest level of needs are met: morality, creativity, spontaneity, adaptability, a lack of prejudice and an acceptance and understanding of fact. I didn't have time to do a foldable on this stuff, so my students probably weren't learning anything, and the notes I have been desperately trying to teach them to take and use most likely won't add to their college readiness, on account of I forgot to put key words up on the wall. Worse still, I did not make a lesson plan this week, for the fifth year in a row, so it is impossible for me to have any idea of what I am doing and, worse still, if I get evaluated today, my administrator will not be able to see that what I am teaching is what I said I would be teaching - with foldables!- in the weekly lesson plan I am supposed to turn in by 8:00 every Monday. Crap.

At lunch, the Sign Language teacher came into my room, all sweaty and wild eyed. Seems he'd been upset by the rigor talk, and in order to be in compliance, had attempted to make meaningful connections for his students with the real world by focusing on a topic in current events, having his students research and write about it, and then debating the topic in sign language. I had suggested the use of current events to him previously, because, even though I had not seen any data to prove it, I suspected that our students didn't know anything about what was going on in the world. I came to this conclusion by talking to them. Obtaining information in this way is generally frowned upon, for it has many variables and is difficult to standardize and thus measure effectively.

The teacher - I'll call him Fraidy Fraiderton- was worried because he couldn't understand one of his student's opinions as it was stated, and so he didn't know how to grade it, and, even though it was nonsensical to him, he wanted to give it a high grade, because the student "tried so hard." Since I was an English teacher, could I read it and tell him what the student was trying to say, so that he could give the kid 100 points? He already had three students in that period who he had to fail, because they didn't ever come to class, and his passing rate was beginning to look suspicious. Students LIKE to go to GOOD teachers classes, and so they show up. Absence rates go in teacher's evaluations also.

Before you read the kid's paper, let me remind you that I teach in a high school. The topic, the debate over "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," had been discussed for a week in class, and students had 15 minutes to write their opinion. The student is a general education student in the 10th grade, has never failed a class, and is liked by all of her teachers, because she always turns in her work and pays attention. She is by no means the weakest student in the class. What follows is exactly what was written.

I think we should keep Dont ask dont tell, because if you dont ask you cant tell somebody what you want to say Cause all you couldnt do is not saying anything just stare at the person that you were going to talk too. That would be soo boring! but if you cant tell by talking you could always finger spell to the person if not than you could just write it down I mean if we don't do does things than I guess we don't have a Brian. We just can't ask somebody What there talking about cause they might be talking about your friend that you talk too. Don't you agree????

I feel sorry for Mr. Fraiderton. He loves his students. He knows that they have been undereducated for their entire academic careers, because the system that is in charge of educating them is totally and irreparably damaged, and has lost focus of what it means to teach and learn. He understands that many of his students, while perhaps illiterate, are smart, and eager to learn new things. They come from a different world, one in which harmful, hopeless cycles are seldom broken or altered, and where problems are more dire and pressing than those encountered in algebra class. Sometimes, their parents die, or go crazy, or are deported, or locked up. Sometimes they just split, or they stay, and do absolutely everything in their power to give their children any available opportunity or luxury. They look for answers not on word walls, but in the advice of others, and often, that advice is incorrect, poorly thought out, not applicable to their situations, or in a language they can't understand. They cut themselves and sniff air freshener, glue and heroin, join gangs and have sex in alleys behind dumpsters. They have babies. They look for comfort. And they come to school.

The teachers take them in, and do the best that they can. They cajole, joke, scold, suffer abuse, lash out, wheedle, persuade, compromise, give second chances, aim high, and go low in order to meet the students at a common ground. They call CPS and buy pizza for parties they aren't supposed to have. They stay after the bells ring and come early, and buy gifts and coats and binders and books. Sometimes they cheat for the kid, and sometimes they don't and risk being hated and turned upon. They are highly educated or downright stupid. They love the students, and the students follow them around like loyal puppies, sometimes, and other times, the students break the teachers' hearts or steal their wallets. Some kids soar with wings that have had the feathers plucked one by one, and inspire everyone lucky enough to have watched them take off. These kids never give up, and refuse to succumb to the gravity pull of despair or doubt. They are amazing. Some kids never stand a chance, and some just don't care.

Little by little, the daily drama gets to be so much. It's overwhelming. Some teachers like Mr. Fraiderton cave in to the pressures from above and feel like if they just follow the rules, if they just do what they're told, everything will be all right. Some teachers think the data has meaning, and is pure and factual, above manipulation and agendas, and others don't even look at it, but mindlessly copy and paste numbers into columns because that is what they are asked to do.Some take up drinking, or become obese, or get prescription pills, or have nervous breakdowns. Some do become lazy and ineffective, or stubborn and mean-spirited. It does happen. But not that often.

I have started to think that if I teach anything, pretty much anything at all, and if I can connect with a kid, and show them that the world is big and life can be wide and crammed with possibility, I am doing good. Maybe not a good job, but doing good, and that has become the most important thing to me. The lessons don't fit on the plans I no longer make. The "teaching" part is getting harder and more ridiculous. I'm frustrated and beaten down. I am out of sync with the pedagogy of my field, and I am resentful of authority. I want to give up, but something in me keeps me from finding something else. I want to scream and wish I would just shut up. It's been this way for along time now.

TGIF, right?


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How do you make a hormone?

I got a lot of very positive response regarding my blog on faith, and by "a lot", I mean "some", but of course not near as much as on my post about how eggs make me queasy. Still and all, this leaves me to believe that you out there in the blogosphere are hungering for an opportunity to take a bite out of a topic you can chew on, something with a little substance, like a Christmas goose (has anyone ever even had a Christmas goose?), or some hefty, Palin-hardy moose jerky. Because of that, because I really listen to what the people want, because I honestly aim to please, here is something else you might like to consider:
I have lived - in sin, cuz I'm real alternative sassy!- with several gentlemen associates. One, in particular, used to cock his head at me quizzically whenever I complained about things like the fact that he just left his dishes piled up in the sink, or never thought to take out the trash , or help with dinner. "Oh," he'd say, a look of beatific epiphany descending over his face, "I get it! Whose time of the month is it? Is your little friend here?"
Of course, that is some infuriating douchebaggery right there! What guy doesn't know the dangers of saying something like that to a woman? Though perhaps hormonally deluged, women are as rationally sound as men at ANY time of the month! We are able to set aside the constant, somewhat traumatic glut of estrogen that flows thickly through are brains and veins and be as quietly calm and logical as any man, right ladies?! Can I get an "Amen!"? He was very tall, so I remember standing on the coffee table to look into his beady little eye and explain to him that, whether the moon was howling in my hoo-hoo or not, it ALWAYS pissed me off when he expected me to come home after working all day and clean up after him as if he was a child, and that his actions made me feel disrespected and taken for granted. I felt like I was always trying to make his load lighter, because that's the way I roll, but that he thought more of himself than he did of me, and that was the basic, irreconcilable difference between us. I felt that way each and every time, but sometimes, perhaps when the moon and my uterus were full, sometimes I wanted to suffocate him in his sleep, or sneak soap under his Fred Flintstone feet when he took a shower, or pepper his stupid, non-nausea causing Sunday breakfast omelet with broken glass and shaved doo doo. I ask you, does that have anything to do with my natural cycle? I think not! Of course not! Anyone would react the same way, right, gentle reader?

I bring this up only in light of a teensy, insignificant happening, one that I am inclined to ignore, but still gives me slight pause. Today I watched an episode of an anti-climactic, dull show called "Strange Days with Bob Saget." That's right, the Full House guy, and I'm not talking about uber-hottie John Stamos. It's bad enough that I recorded it, to watch at my leisure, but here's the thing...I almost cried a little. Just a little, and no tears actually formed, but still...

I checked the calendar. The full moon is right around the corner.

That doesn't mean anything, right? People still take advantage of the perceived weaknesses of others whether I am on my period or not. Reasonable people can go nutso for seemingly no reason, but that doesn't mean there really is no reason, right? And a good man can still be a good man, even if the differences really were irreconcilable; that's just the way that life is. John Lennon, in his recently discovered last interview said, "All you need is love. I believe in it. It's damn hard, but I believe in it absolutely." I agree with him, even though I know that sometimes love doesn't seem like near enough, and sometimes, no matter how much you love another person, things get away from you, they blind you, and suddenly you dream of serving up a deadly Sunday poopelet.

But getting a lump of any kind over Bob Saget? Even I gotta blame that on ol' Aunt Flo. Menstruation is a bitch.



Saturday, December 4, 2010

Not just for breakfast - or ever again!


Here is another example of how stubborn I am, and how I hate to be told what to do:

Almost every weekend, I want a big egg breakfast. I like breakfast tacos, migas, Huevos Rancheros, scrambled eggs, an omelet, soft boiled eggs or, if I wake up feeling posh, Eggs Benedict or Florentine. Because this is what I want, this is what I have. The problem is, eggs make me sick. They upset my stomach and make me feel like puking all day. All eggs are devilish, to me, and it's been this way for years. Still, I eat them. This makes me hate myself. I wish it made me hate eggs. I think I only want them more, because every Friday night, I forbid myself to eat eggs on Saturday morning, and every Saturday morning, I ask myself who the hell I think I am, forbidding me to do ANYTHING, let alone telling me what to eat?

I just wish I didn't want them. I need an eggsorcism.

Get it?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Keep the Faith

I have a cousin who is very religious. She came over the other night and we talked about this and that, until the chit chat grew serious and we set off down the path of what's-really-going-on, at first with some trepidation, but then running headlong, really digging in to race to the bottom of what-ails-ya. My poor cousin has been beset by problems - challenging kids, unemployment, an ugly divorce - and she is sad and feeling defeated and hopeless. I asked her if she had ever been happy. A fat tear dropped from her eye. I asked her if her faith helped her, if it comforted her or gave her strength. She said no, and that's not the way it worked, 'it' being faith, I guess, or maybe religion.
This baffled me.
If faith doesn't give a person comfort or hope, what's the point? How can faith not steer someone towards benefit, good or a raison d'etre? I guess some people have faith in disaster, doom, and the forces of evil, but really, who? I don't have faith in too much, so the concept is not something I think about often, and I didn't want to push it with my cousin. I didn't ask her, but I'll bet she'd say that faith had to do with accepting the word and instruction of God, because God said, and you, the human, exercised your free will to follow the word of God by pledging your obedience, in the faith of the righteousness of the Lord. In others words, yours is not to question why. Still, I question. Is that all there is? Because God says, "I said so?"
To me, faith is belief that is so strong that it defies logic. It is difficult for me to understand the concept, unless it is put into very humanistic terms. For example, despite the voluminous evidence to the contrary, I believe in the good of humanity, even -dare I admit my brazen naivete?- that human beings have a basic inclination towards good as opposed to evil. Really, I can think of so many weighty, monstrous examples that negate such fond, fruitless thought that the very idea that I propose, when looked at rationally, seems ridiculous and downright childish. But, still and all, I believe. I look logic in the eye and say, "Huh? Are you talkin' to me? I'm sorry, can ya speak up? I can't hear ya! Whad you say?" I become rationally challenged, and quickly hail the short bus to get a ride to my crafts class. That's faith.
But, I get something out of that faith. It's not just a moral high ground, though I do feel like the benefit of the doubt is just and right, and that I would rather die optimistically and deluded than live hopelessly and paranoid. I get comfort from my world view. Where there is faith in good, there is possibility and redemption. There is hope and joie de vivre, regardless of the dismal reality. Of course that very spirit often skips happily hand in hand with denial and delusion, and I do realize that; I guess I'm just not strong enough to face the alternative and embrace the over powering forces of evil, entropy and defeat. I know this about myself, and I can live with it. It may be a tad shallow, but I'm a happy pappy; that's where my natural outlook falls. Can't help it. I'm a believer.
How can you have faith without the expectation of personal satisfaction? It's a mystery to me. If faith means to obey now, and later to get your reward in the afterlife, even if that means you will accept misery in the present life, count me out. I'm greedy and impatient. Also, I'm disobedient. I'm a people pleaser, yes, but I hardly ever do what I'm told, and frankly, I resent being told. Lots of times, I will do dumbass things just to prove that I can't be told what to do. I am stubborn and foolish, but at least it was my idea to be that way. My freshman year of college my parents told me I had to maintain a "B" average at the third rate state school I got into. Rather than being told what to do, I dropped out. This pattern continues today; I recently took a creative writing class, because I wanted to learn new things and see what I could do, and I paid out the wazoo to do it, but refused to do any of the exercises as they were assigned, on account of I didn't like the teacher trying to make me do anything his way. Also, whenever he made suggestions for improvement, I thought, "You are a buttface. I don't like your name and your eyes are squinty and you're not the boss of me. Blah diddy blah, blah diddy bloo, you are dumb and your breath smells like poo." That is what I thought every time.
Second, I don't care about the afterlife. I don't believe in Hell, and if I did, I don't think I would go there, because I TRY to be good. If I'm just deaddeaddead, and weasels rip my flesh and worms eat me (Good luck with that, weasels and worms! I'm getting cremated, suckahs! How you like that mouth full of ash, foolz?), so be it. I'm dead, so what do I care? If I get reincarnated, that could suck, because maybe I'll come back as a pigeon, and then I will hate myself and may be eaten by a homeless person, who, instead of taking consolation in a meal, despises his lot in life even more because he had stoop to such a vile, unprecedented low. That would be bad, but pigeons have brains the size of black-eyed peas, so I probably wouldn't be thinking about that then.
So...faith? I dunno. It's a weird game. I guess I'll play it, but the only rules I'll play by are the ones I make up.


Pigeons: Unbelievably stupid, or diabolically clever? You be the judge!


BONUS: People who are smarter than I have thought about faith. Here are some of their opinions.
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." Freidrich Nieztsche
"Skepticism is the beginning of faith." Oscar Wilde
"You want it all, but you can't have it." Faith No More
"Be faithful in small things, because it is in them that your strength lies. " Mother Teresa
"To follow by faith alone is to follow blindly. " Benjamin Franklin
"Faith isn't faith until it's all you're holding on to." Anonymous smart person
"Fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one smart pillow." Anonymous poetic smart person
"I sit and watch, as tears go by." Marianne Faithfull


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Baby Snakes (and adults, too)

The other day I was walking, and I tripped over nothing, which is not unusual. What is unusual is that when my foot came down hard, it landed right on a baby snake. Normally, this would send me into paroxysms of terror, but for some reason - perhaps because the little bugger was skinny as a worm and about three inches long - I had a different reaction. I felt sorry for it. This feeling was immediately enhanced when it contorted itself into a tiny reptile pretzel and flipped onto it's back. Then it had a snakey seizure. Then, nothing. I killed it. With my Converse-clad needle foot. Dead. That helpless little guy -or gal- didn't stand a chance, didn't even see me coming, and then: lights out, Lefty. The fat lady sang. And then stepped on your head.

I tried to cheer myself up by remembering that I hate snakes and also any kind of nature that gets close to me, and I tried to tell myself that baby snakes grow into big snakes, with hideous, dripping fangs and an unquenchable drive to squeeze the life out of you, crushing your ribs like toothpicks before they eat you by swallowing you whole. I tried to envision the townspeople rushing out of their homes to hoist me above their shoulders and prepare a celebratory feast for me, the brave heroine who saved the village from the enormous, hypnotic serpent, who chased the innocent, like a mindless, rippling, merciless muscle, terrorizing them with it's relentless appetite and remarkable force. (Who among us hasn't had that dream, Sigmund?!) It didn't work. I felt so sad at the injustice and randomness of it all. Poor baby snake.

I felt badly for another snake once, but the feeling passed pretty quickly. One time, I was driving with McAdams - or, well, since McAdams was there, of course she was driving me- and I looked up at the sky, which was easy to do since McAdams has a way-cool convertible, and it was a thousand degrees, so the top was down, and guess what I saw? Clouds, you say? A bug? An overpass? All reasonable guesses, but WRONG! I saw a hawk, struggling ever higher, but laboring, because in his (or her) talons was a writhing Copperhead about the size and girth of a tree limb, which I realize is not the best visual, because tree limbs come in lots of sizes. Also, I'm not sure if it was a Copperhead, because I don't know what a Copperhead looks like and it was far away, but I am positive it was very poisonous. Mayhaps it was an Anaconda. Doesn't matter. It was curling in on itself and undulating in the air, trying to get a piece of it's feathered nemesis. Anyway, I was just amazed, because even though you hear about stuff like that happening, when have you actually seen it? I just happened to look up at that moment - I had been watching in the rear view mirror the way my hair blew prettily around my face - and got to see the primordial life and death struggle that played out up in the sky and heading towards the sun, above a flat, endless highway on a blazing Texas day.
Damn! That's pretty awesome, right!
I felt sorry for the snake for a minute, but that's how nature does, and besides, it suddenly dawned on me that if the snake proved too strong for the hawk, it could fall, heavy like a stone, and land right in the car, on my head. Afraid and enraged, it would no doubt stab me in the eyeball with it's poison fang and then eat my face off, as those Black Mambas are wont to do. And even if it didn't happen right then and there, now I knew that it could happen at virtually any time, for I had seen it with my own eyes, and so I screamed for McAdams to raise the roof, but literally and not in a 'woot-woot" kind of way, and she did, but that is why, now, because I know what could happen, I look up a lot when I'm walking, which is what I was doing when I tripped and crushed the poor little baby snake the other day.

Probably, the only thing I hate more than scary, creepy things like snakes, bears, nutria and pigeons are scary, creepy things that adapt or evolve. So you can imagine my horror when I saw this article from the Scientific American. http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=flying-ophidians-physicists-uncover-2010-11-24 It has a lot of technical things in it, like the phrases "six meters per second to four meters per second", and the word "ophidian", if that is even a real word. The article talks about this Asian snake that "jumps" or "leaps" out of these really tall trees and then "takes its whole body and makes it into a wing" so that it can fly up to 800 feet. It doesn't just fall or glide; it oscillates it's body specifically to create a "vortex-induced lift." Bastards! I don't even know what that means and they have figured out how to do it! Watch the video! Those assholes totally know what they are doing! 800 feet, people! I don't really know how far that is, but I know that's is too long for a damned snake to be airborne!

Horrifying, right?
The world is too small for me and snakes. Except for little ones that are kind of cute. When they are alive, that is. Not so cute, dead. Rest In Peace, Lefty. Sorry.
Photograph by !Shot By Scott!
BONUS: Look at these pictures by Guido Mocafico. They are frightening, but fantastic!

Sarahs, Get Out of My Head!

Sometimes I wake up with that Sarah Silverman song about Matt Damon song in my head and then that's pretty much it for the rest of the day. You can't go anywhere because you're bound to burst into the chorus - it's just so joyfully exuberant! - in the produce aisle or at a playground full of children. I like Matt Damon, because he hates Sarah Palin and can talk like Matthew McConaughey, two of my "Must Haves" in a man. Or a woman, really.

Don't you think it's weird that in that last paragraph, I spoke about four people, but between them they only had two names? Coincidence? Perhaps...

Speaking of Her Shrillness, Palin has a new book out. Don't buy it. Instead, go buy Steve Martin's new book, Object of Beauty. It was released yesterday, which was my friend Jono's birthday - Holla, Jono! - and here is an article about it from the NYT, which was published on my mom's birthday. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/18/books/18martin.html Oh, the coinkeedinks! Crazy, right?

Watch this. It's still funny. Just be careful... once it's in yo head, it'll be comin' out yo mouf.



Are you still here? Great! Then you deserve a BONUS! I love this song, and I especially like this video, because Hall (or is that Oates?) looks like Freddie Mercury, and Oates (maybe that's Hall) looks kind of like a cross between Patrick Swayze and how I imagine Pony Boy from The Outsiders.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hip Hip Hooray for Thanksgiving Vacay!

Yesterday, when I started my usual downward trending spiral into malaise for Monday, I remembered something rare and magnificent - I'm on vacation!

Oh, vacation! How you thrill me! Vacation makes me adorable and sexy, like a kitten-cougar! Me-ROAR! Here are some of the many fabulous things I will do:
1. Perfect my shower tap dance routine
2. Make soup and apple sauce - It's getting to be Fall out there, peeps! Time for warm yum in a bowl!
3. Take lots of pictures of things like leaves, my shadow, birds on wires, soup, and how the light glows in the windows of strangers on my way home from the lake. Invasion of what?
4. Ride my bike while wearing a poncho that has red and white fringe - WHEEEE!!!!!
5. Go for long walks and wave at the ducks
6. Get a mani/pedi: Shiny au natural with little white tips on my fingers, classy like Audrey Hepburn, and trash-glam, skank-black on my toes like Courtney Love
7. Read my new book. It's called Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Stroud, and so far I give it double thumbs up!
8. Take naps
9. Laugh
10. Go to the movies - there's nothing I really want to see, but what the hell! I like a good communal experience in the dark with strangers! How bad can it be, right?
11. Shop! I love this season! I can shop like I'm insane and say I'm doing it for others. Man, I love that! Spirit of giving and such, what what?! So far I have picked out all of my brother-in-laws-stuff, bought McAdams a trinket, and got myself a necklace with a tiny, delicate sparrow on it that hangs right in the hollow space where my clavicles begin. So cute! I keep running to the mirror to look at it again. Really, it's better to give and to receive! Thank you, me! It's just what I wanted!
12. Read the Sunday NYT! I love the NYT, but so many words, so little time! Now I have all week to become even more supercilious and condescending about all of the things about which I know better than you! I'm so clevah!!!!
13. Sleep. I've had wicked insomnia lately. I think that's all about to change...
14. Spend time with people I love.
And then, as if all that weren't enough, it's Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday! Yay, Gratitude! Hip, hip, hooray for taking stock of all the things that make life so damned sweet! What a great week this is! What a great season! Woohooo! Happy Happy, Peeps!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Write!

OK, Losers! How come ONLY ONE of you has even tried to submit something from the last Writer's Challenge! Get on the stick!
Here are the topics and instructions again:
Shall we have Tell it In Ten Again? OK! We will! Writer's Challenge #5 is to sum up thoughts about the following three topics or themes:
Lullabye

The First Time

Nervous Habit

or...

Another Thing

If you know me, email your submissions. If you don't know me, post in the comment box and then I'll delete them and publish them officially at a later date. Whoever you are, be sure to let me know how you would like to be credited.

Maybe this will inspire you:

Re:WORDS from Everynone on Vimeo. It's made up completely from clips found on YouTube.

The Everynone site has a lot of things I like on it.

And now, here is a bonus video, which is OUTSTANDING, and stolen from a very cool new website called geekadelic.com. You should check it out. Oddly, I have a friend who has a band called pervadelic. Pervadelic, meet Geekadelic.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Before I Get Up...

Good Morning! It's 11:00 a.m. on a magnificent November day. The sky is an almost unbearably piercing blue, the grass is getting crunchy under my feet, and there is a crisp sense of clarity and possibility riding on the wind. I'm still in bed under a cloud of covers, drinking my coffee, enjoying the promise of a big, wide-open day. I love this feeling!
Some of my students forced me into having a book club, and the first one I made them read was one that McAdams turned me onto about five years ago. It was classified as a young adult book at the time, but evidently someone read it and decided that even though it deals with all of things that make young adulthood such a surreal, confusing time, those types of themes are too mature for that age group, so bookstores have moved it to the adult literature section. This is all fine with me, as I am well past adolescence, and would prefer to read only big girl books at this point, so I need Border's to remind me what is appropriate for me. Anyway, I remember really liking the book, but I forgot why, on account of I dismissed it because I am an adult and it was for kids, so now that it is an adult book and I, too, am adult, I am re-reading it and can proudly tell you why I like it so much.
The book is called the perks of being a wallflower, and it's by Stephen Chbosky, who doesn't believe in capitalizing titles. (You grammar goons got all excited, thinking you had caught me! Ha ha! Foiled again, suckahs!) It's a classic, and it's going to be a movie with Emma Watson and Logan Lerman, next year, I think.
By the by, I hear Colum Mcann's Let the Great World Spin is going to be made into a film, with J.J. Abrams of Lost fame producing. You heard it here first! Finger on the pulse, right?

Anyhow, so this wallflower book is really good, and my students love it, and it just adds to their growing realization that I am the coolest teacher ever. I am enjoying the re-read, and I am finding elements of great beauty and resonance that I probably missed the first time. For example, today I read page 33. Here is a portion of it, reprinted without permission. If Mr. Chbosky asks me to, I'll remove it, but if you don't tell him, I won't either. By the way, for those who are purists, the ellipses are mine.

There is a feeling that I had Friday night after the homecoming game that I don't know if I will ever be able to describe except to say that it is warm. Sam and Patrick drove me to the party that night, and I sat in the middle of Sam's pickup truck ... the feeling I had happened when Sam told Patrick to find a station on the radio. And he kept getting commercials... and a really bad song about love that had the word "baby" in it... and finally he found this really amazing song about this boy, and we all got quiet.
Sam tapped her hand on the steering wheel. Patrick held his hand outside the car and made air waves. And I just sat between them. After the song finished, I said something.
"I feel infinite."
And Sam and Patrick looked at me like I said the greatest thing they ever heard. Because the song was that great and because we all really paid attention to it. Five minutes of a lifetime were truly spent, and we felt young in a good way. I have since bought the record, and I would tell you what it was, but truthfully, it's not the same unless your driving to your first real party, and your sitting in the middle of a pickup truck between two nice people when it starts to rain.

And that's just part of page 33. Pretty deep for a young adult. Do you think they get it?

One time, when I was in high school, a group of us broke out of our teenage apathy and went to this apartment complex called "The Bluffs", so named because it was built next to this big, rocky, cliff-like formation. We live in one of those cities where there's not all that much real nature, so we were drawn to the fake nature, and it seemed good enough to us. We stood in a circle at the foot of the bluffs reading the sign that forbid us from entering, and got high. Then, like a bunch of ants, we climbed over the fence and swarmed the bluffs. I remember a blur of high tops and denim, and hands reaching down to me, and me pushing someone up from behind, and the long, straight, blond hair and Pepsodent smile of the head cheerleader, as she clapped when the fat, pimply-faced, funny kid looked over the rim of his glasses and said, incredulously, "I made it!" I was a freshman and they were all seniors and I couldn't believe how lucky I was. We sat at the top of the chalk hill on a cool night and looked at the cars on the highway and the lights of the city. I was cold, and the boy who was my first true love held my skinny hand in his big, warm one. We all sat there, boys and girls with different stories, suspended for a moment between the present and the future, before my friends graduated and went off to real life, and I flunked out of that school and was transferred to a new one, and The Bluffs were torn down to make the parking lot bigger for the shitty apartments that would soon be torn down, also.
We climbed down, slowly this time, and sat in the car with the heat on, and silently passed around another joint, and listened to Pink Floyd's "Time" from Dark Side of the Moon for the billionth time, and were so simultaneously alone and together in our thoughts that we all jumped when the bells go off at the end of the song, truly surprised, yet again. We laughed and poked each other in the ribs and decided to go get something to eat.
And then, I felt infinite, because I had shared time and been young and grown up and scared and cold and proud and warm, and had seen that maybe there was and would be sadness around, but also, great joy. There was the fierce pain and indescribable beauty of "fleeting", and also, I knew even as the moment sparked, burned, and fizzled out, that it would be with me forever. I knew that things were going to change, and that they always would, and that glimpses of perfection were flukes, impossible to produce or replicate, but that there is great security in the knowledge that perfection is out there, and every once in awhile, it will find you. It was too much to fully take in, and I'm glad I saw it then through a bit of a cloud, but now, it's sharp, and focused, because memory has diluted it to the purest essence.

Time in a lifetime truly spent. Who doesn't get it?

Today I have a big, wide day ahead of me. The sky is blueblueblue and life is bigbigbig and I am sososo happy to be living mine.
BONUS: Let the Great World Spin combines stories that converge, if only momentarily, when Philip Petit walked across the Twin Towers on a tight rope in 1974. This picture is a still from the documentary Man On A Wire by James Marsh. Isn't it amazing?P.S. To B.A. - I will never be able to thank you enough for all that you have done for me, and I don't think I will ever be able to put into words all that you mean to me. I hardly ever see you and we don't talk much, but I think about you.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bar Exam


Congratulations to Alisa for passing a bar! You had your doubts, but I always knew you could do it!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween and Election Day!

Ghosts are scary...

Zombies are scary...

Cerberus, devil-eyed, three-headed hound from Hell, is definitely scary...

1. Jim McMillan - The rent is too damn high, and apparently his furry, white balls are, too!
2.Christine O'Donnell - Shown here denying the possibility that masturbation relieves tension.
3. Carl Paladino - just a sweet, little, love bug, shown here reasonably considering a different point of view
4. Sarah Palin - Common sense, logic and reason personified.
Crazy, radical, violent, shrewish, mean-spirited, mad-as-hell, close-minded, misinformed-but-unconcerned, ranting, my-way-or-the-highway, wack-a-doos deciding what is good for the "real Americans" in this "nation under God" is truly frightening.

Vote. We can't just give up.

By the way, am I the only person who finds the following picture really funny?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Enigma Returned!

So, yeah. I took a little hiatus. Didja notice? See, I've been busy. For one thing, I'm taking a writing class, and all the thinking and writing, and writing about thinking, and not writing and thinking about that has been eating away at my time. Also, it's the season when the students at school are angst-ridden and crisis-laden, so there's that. They think I'm wise, because I tell them I am, but that comes with a price; I'm always having to nod knowingly and answer their questions with still more evocative questions or meaningful quotes that I mostly have to make up real quick-like, and which I usually attribute to Martin Luther King of Jesus.
The real reason I haven't been posting is that I like it when people wonder what I'm up to. It adds to my persona of mystery and exoticism. Exoticness. Exoticnicity. Anyway, I like to remind you every once in awhile that you don't know me like that and you can't even imagine all the crazy shizz that's going on up in here, on account of I'm an enigma, and I am also magically delicious. (Bet you didn't expect me to say that, didja now!)

Here are some things I have seen lately:
This one is an army of parrots. Parrot-troopers. They are in camouflage, because they are on maneuvers. They might be terrorists, but I can't be sure. I'll keep an eye on them...
Sunset in Bluffdale, Texas.
$10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000! You don't see that every day! Unless of course if you live in Zimbabwe, where it's pretty common, on account of it's only worth about 30 U.S. dollars. By the way, I have no idea what a ten trillion dollars looks like, so I just kept typing zeros until I grew bored.
I like this picture because it looks like a painting. Or I like this painting because it looks like a picture.
I love these beetles because they have such iridescence. Not so much this particular one, because he is mortally wounded and soon will be an ex-beetle, like Pete Best, who has pretty much just faded away into obscurity. He is a fading bug on a fading leaf, trapped in a sentence that has no point, but just slowly fades away...

Who doesn't love the spotlight, right?

This last one was the start of an ugly girl fight...
Fortunately, true gnarliness was averted when the bigger one leaned over and swallowed the skinny one whole. Yum.

P.S. HEY! YOU! Don't steal my photos!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Guest Request

And now, a timely word from political activist and concerned citizen, John White of San Angelo, Texas:

i voted today


everyone i voted for will lose


there were no local races that were even contested, all those offices are held by long time republican incumbents


where i live the democrats are right wing, the republicans are teabaggers, and the tea partiers are militia members


even though my vote is pointless from the standpoint of who will win the election i like to make my voice heard...

i hope you do to, and that you take advantage of the opportunities you have to vote whenever you can
go vote... you owe it to us....