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Friday, September 30, 2011

An Actual Rant



Ronald Reagan did not compare the Mujahideen (Afghan Freedom Fighters who morphed into the Taliban) to our Founding Fathers. He compared the Contras (Nicaraguan Freedom Fighters who beheaded nuns) to our Founding Fathers. I am SO TIRED of this nonsense. I even posted the photo someone ELSE put on my Facebook wall, with the FLIPPING correct information, and what happens? Someone shared just the photo, not the CORRECT information. Holy shit! Aren't liberals supposed to be smarter than this? I'm a liberal, and I knew who he was talking about 20 FLIPPING YEARS AGO! I've had this happen with articles I write-people read the title, and comment on that. I'm sorry, are you SOOO busy that you can't bother reading the whole thing? Are you so tired that you can't verify a QUOTE? Am I pissed? YES! I dealt with this exact same stupid photo a week or so ago, and now it's back. Try this: Google Reagan Quote About Contras Founding Fathers. Actually, here:

{Battling the Cuban-backed Sandinistas, the Contras were, according to Reagan, "the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers." Under the so-called Reagan Doctrine, the CIA trained and assisted this and other anti-Communist insurgencies worldwide.}

From pbs.org.

Clear? We good? We done with that photo now? I hope so, because it would really cramp my writing style if I had to throw my computer out onto the lawn.

Thank you. AUGH!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ever Have A Moment Of Absolute Joy?

I just received an email from Stephen King's executive assistant (THAT Stephen King) letting me know he would be happy to donate a book to Operation "Boo One, You Boo Them All". So, three of my favorite authors on Earth-Kona Lowell, Christopher Moore and Stephen King-are in. OH MY GOD. Now, if Wayne Brady hadn't become so gosh darn famous since we were friends in Florida, I could round this sucker OUT. I emailed United Talent, trying to get in touch with Adam (Shankman-friend from high school), but so far, no response. Oh well, I know all the amazing people I know on Facebook are jazzed, so as soon as I get the info from the Pentagon, we are good to go. HOORAH!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Rants and Raves: Two Deaths

My Rants and Raves: Two Deaths: Two men were excuted yesterday, Troy Davis and Lawrence Brewer. Brewer was a white supremecist who, along with two other men, picked up Jame...

Two Deaths

Two men were excuted yesterday, Troy Davis and Lawrence Brewer. Brewer was a white supremecist who, along with two other men, picked up James Byrd, urinated on him, chained him to the back of a truck and dragged him to his death. Byrd's limbs were torn apart and he was decapitated when the truck hit a culvert. Brewer never claimed innocence, in fact, he reveled in the crime. Members of James Byrd's family begged the state of Texas not to execute Lawrence Brewer. The state of Texas ignored the wishes of the victim's family and carried out the revenge killing yesterday, with Brewer being pronounced dead at 6:21 PM. There were not a lot of protestors at that execution.

Troy Davis was convicted of shooting an off duty police officer, Mark MacPhail. MacPhail's family never doubted that Troy Davis was guilty, and never strayed from their support of his execution. Seven of the nine original witnesses for the prosecution recanted their testimony, citing coercion from the Georgia police as the reason for their original statements. No physical evidence linking Davis to the crime was ever found, and Davis maintains his innocence. The Supreme Court rejected Troy Davis's stay and his revenge killing was carried out by the state of Georgia yesterday. Time of death was 11:08 PM. There were a lot of protestors at that execution.

I attended a virtual candlelight vigil for Troy Davis. There wasn't one for Lawrence Brewer. I signed petitions on behalf of Troy Davis, but not for Lawrence Brewer. I changed my Facebook profile picture to Troy Davis's photo. No one that I know changed their profile picture to Lawrence Brewer's photo. I watched live coverage from Democracy Now, streamed from a patch of lawn outside the Georgia prison where Troy Davis awaited execution. I don't think anyone was on hand in Texas for Lawrence Brewer's execution. James Byrd's family prayed and continued their plea that Lawrence Brewer be spared the death penalty because, in the words of Byrd's son, "You can't fight murder with murder". Mark MacPhail's widow attended Troy Davis's execution, with her children. Mark MacPhail's mother stated "That's what we wanted, and that's what we got. We wanted to get it over with, and for him to get his punishment." MacPhail's son, Mark MacPhail, Jr. said "Justice was finally served for my father".

Two deaths. Two families, approaching the execution of two men in very different ways. James Byrd's family believes in forgiveness, healing and making peace. Mark MacPhail's family believes that Troy Davis's murder will bring closure and was "justice". Troy Davis may have been innocent; at the very least, there was too much reasonable doubt in his case for a revenge killing by the state. Lawrence Brewer never said he was innocent, he bragged about the crime.

As much as the next statement is going to anger a lot of people, I am going to make it anyway, because the events of yesterday opened up my eyes. The lack of attention given to Lawrence Brewer's execution makes me wonder if liberals and death penalty opponents don't pick and choose which executions really bother them, and which ones are "okay". Troy Davis may have been innocent, yes, and innocent people are executed every year in America. Lawrence Brewer was not innocent, and never claimed to be, and guilty people are executed every year in America. But, where were the celebrities calling for a stay for Lawrence Brewer? Where was the Pope? Where was Jimmy Carter? If we oppose the death penalty, we oppose the death penalty across the board, not just for certain people.

I received more than 20 petitions via email from Change.org and Amnesty International over the past two weeks, begging me to sign, protest, share via Facebook and Twitter, the unjust execution of Troy Davis. I should have received at least a few on behalf of Lawrence Brewer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How to tell when your husband is REALLY ill

Email at about 10 am: I'm coming home at noon. Now, my husband would not leave work if he was bleeding from an artery, so I knew this must be bad. And it is. He took some Theraflu Warming Daytime Severe Cold and Flu medicine and passed out. Daytime medicine that renders you unconscious. The nighttime version must just kill you. I want to know how it "warms". Does it release little nanobots into your system, armed with microscopic space heaters? Or mess with your brain, making you THINK you're warm while you are really the same temperature you were before you took the medication? How do two capsules warm you. Inquiring minds want to know, but not enough to take the medicine.

It's been a pretty depressing day. Troy Davis was denied access to a polygraph, and will be executed, barring a flipping miracle. Jamey Rodemyer, the 14 year old boy from Buffalo who made an "It Gets Better" video committed suicide. There is only so much grief a heart can take, so I am going to grab my almost healthy child in a bit and go buy some teenage clothing-like items. Spending time with him makes me happy.

OH! One Million Moms, which is some right wing conservative group aligned with NOM, has a Facebook page, and on said page, they are all up in arms over Ben and Jerry's soon to be newest ice cream named "Schweddy Balls" after the uproarious SNL skit. These "moms" are terrified that this ICE CREAM will destroy the American family, corrupt their children and poison the minds of all humanity. And honey badgers. You don't even have to like the page to reply to comments under the Schweddy Balls whining. (hint hint) Thanks Beth and Tom for the heads up on that charming group :D

Have a good hump day, I'll be spraying every surface of my house with Lysol. Bazinga.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Tenth Anniversary of 9/11

It was such a gorgeous day. My son and I were living in Sterling, Virginia, and I was working at The Town and Country School of Vienna. A spot had opened up in the pre-kindergarten class, and the principal had offered it to us, so I was able to wander down to Josh's class at lunch and watch him. We left our condo at 7:00 AM to make the drive to Vienna. The sun was bright, the sky was clear, and we sang songs in the car to make the drive less monotonous. All in all, another fantastic day.

I was in charge of drop off that morning, and chatted with parents as they drove around the circle. Students waved and shouted "Hi, Miss Erin", laden down with backpacks, anxious to start the day. A few of my favorite parents stopped to talk-Colonel Tom Grant, who worked at the Pentagon, Congressman Tim Roemer, the wife of a Washington Redskins player and Lady Elizabeth, actual royalty and one of the nicest women I have ever met. This was a private school in Northern Virginia, after all. Children safely delivered to their classes, I looked up into the clear sky again, and walked into the front office, entering administrative assistant mode. It was a little after 8:00 AM.

At about ten minutes to nine, the phone rang. I answered it as I usually do, but I was cut off in the middle by my mother's voice saying "A plane just flew into the World Trade Center". I flinched. We chatted for a few minutes, and the call ended. My God, I thought, those poor people. Something must have gone wrong with the plane. I said a quick prayer, and went back to work. The phone rang a few times after that, and I scheduled tours, answered questions, took messages for Barbara, our principal, all the while typing and putting together brochures. My mom called back, again interrupting my normal spiel. "Another plane flew into the other World Trade Center tower" she whispered, shock in her voice. "What?!" I responded. "That's not an accident, what is going on?" "I don't know", she said, her words clipped as she watched the news. I debated silently whether to interrupt Barbara's parent meeting, and decided that I needed to. It seemed we were under attack, and I had no idea what to do.

Our office manager, Sue, was listening to the radio in her office, and I was desperately searching for information online. At 9:37 AM, a third airplane crashed into the Pentagon, and we went into madness mode. Lock down codes I had never memorized were yanked from drawers, and the phone began ringing hysterically. Phones ring differently at times like this. Parents were beginning to arrive, first a few, then in droves. Those who could not get to the school were sending nannies and assistants, and I was having to check identification, call parents to confirm who, what, where, how. It was a nightmare. Then Colonel Grant's children ran into my office, and I realized that I had no idea where he was. Jim called, making sure we were okay (he was still in Michigan) and in the middle of our conversation, I heard Colonel Grant's voice in my office. I hung up on Jim, and sprinted into the lobby. He was there. Congressman Roemer's wife came to pick up their kids, and I learned that he was alright as well. Langley School evacuated as we were evacuating, Friends School evacuated, every school in the area was in lock down and closing immediately, and when our last child was picked up, we locked the doors, hugged each other, and Josh and I drove home.

I tried to keep Josh from the news. We watched "Sesame Street" and played with his Thomas the Train set. I cooked dinner. Across the street from our condo, I noticed a small group of people gathering, some holding candles, some holding American flags. I lit a candle, and, taking my son's small hand in mine, walked over to the group. We stood there for over an hour, crying and singing, cars honking as they drove by. Groups like this were gathered on street corners all over America that evening, as we struggled to understand what had just happened. For one evening, we were all family, joined together by unthinkable tragedy.

On Sunday, to mark the tenth anniversary of the attacks of 9/11, my son and I will probably light another candle. We won't watch the replays of the coverage of that day-it's too difficult. One of the students at T&C lost a cousin in the World Trade Center, and we organized a teddy bear drive. We were a staff of mostly women, mostly mothers, and we knew that sometimes, nothing helps better than a teddy bear. Maybe I will dig out one of my old teddy bears, and hold him for an evening. I refuse to politicize this day. At 12:01 am Saturday, I stop being a political writer, and I become just one person among millions who watched horror unfold on a gorgeous day in September. And I will weep, not only for the loss of life but for the loss of innocence.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Who Won? Depends How Crazy You Want Your Republican Candidate

September 7th, 2011, the clown car of Republican presidential candidates gathered under the big top of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for some questions from NBC, Politico, and some poor guy from Telemundo. Oddly enough, the gentleman from Telemundo was there to ask the candidates about immigration. Thanks, NBC, for playing along. Nancy Reagan was there, and she looked a little frail but adorable, and I wonder what was going through her mind as she gazed upon this less than stellar group.

The candidates looked, for the most part, tan, calm and in control. Rick Santorum suddenly had a neck that was too long for the rest of him, Mitt Romney should have used a little "Just For Men" on his sideburns, John Huntsman looked and sounded like a game show host, Ron Paul looked like a garden gnome but oh my goodness, Rick Perry. His body language was just bizarre. He didn't move very much, his face looked plastic, and his back and neck were at strange angles to one another. He looked very calm, but his eyes were always narrowed, as though braced for an attack. Michele Bachmann's hair was larger than usual, her nails were long and perfectly manicured, and she made the same hand movements she always makes-palms open and up, arms outstretched, like a statue of a saint.

I was surprised to see Newt Gingrich up there, as I was unaware he was still running. As I listened to him praise the other candidates, I wrote on Facebook that he is NOT running for president, he is running for bestest friend ever. Herman Cain tried, bless his little, tiny, cold heart, but he didn't sound bat shit crazy enough. He came close, but people are having a hard time forgetting he used to be a BANKER. Much like they are having a hard time forgetting that John Huntsman used to work for President Obama, or that Newt Gingrich is basically a failure, trying to use his career as Speaker of the House during the Clinton administration to claim success for job creation and the extra cash we had laying around. He left out the whole "I wanted Clinton impeached while I was screwing around on my wife who was ill, but I am not a hypocrite, I have a patriotic penis".

I had a few favorite, crazy moments during the debate, all thanks to Perry and Paul. Sounds like a comedy act, doesn't it? Except these Southern boys are dead serious. Perry called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme", thus endearing him to millions of seniors, stood up a little taller when the PSYCHOTIC audience clapped and cheered at the fact that Texas ranks numero uno in executions in America, yet never went into how that jives with being "pro-life", and Ron Paul wants to get rid of the FAA and the FDA to privatize them. Oh yes, that would work well. Privatize the FAA. Hell, let Boeing run it! Let Pfizer and Bayer monitor their own drugs' safety. Oh, and Paul, using the good old "Fear the government" angle, said that the border fence/wall/moat filled with alligators everyone wants to build could be used to keep US IN. Newt used fear as well to defend the Department of Homeland Security, using "weapons of mass destruction" and "nuclear" to describe what America is in for if we lower our paranoia level. Herman Cain did not, as I was expecting, yell out "Muslims!" when the Newter used this tactic.

All in all, the debate reminded me that we cannot let any of these people into the White House, not even as visitors. They are crass, ignorant, dishonest, and they have no clue how to manage this amazing country. Some of them want a theocracy (Perry, Bachmann), some of them want to tear the government down and privatize it (Perry, Paul) and all of them will never, ever cut taxes for the rich, they will never support any regulations and all of them believe in charter schools. This is a dangerous bunch of people, Huntsman being the most sane, thus guaranteeing he will never see the Republican convention unless he's a color commentator for CNN. I had a splitting headache by the time I stopped watching, which it turns out was just a tad to early, because one of my friends told me Ron Paul made a very weird statement about starving children. Darn it. At least I got to see that, from my little computer screen, the ones who made such a HUGE deal of President Obama not wearing a flag pin during some of his debates were not wearing theirs either. Santorum was wearing what looked like a dolphin, Huntsman was wearing Batman wings, and I think Bachmann was wearing a Girl Scout medal.

The good news? Rick Santorum wants to help the poor by getting rid of food stamps, Medicaid and welfare. Doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy? It does me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Satirical Excerpt from Michele Bachmann's Diary (SATIRE!!)

September 7, 2011

Dear Diary,

For 6 days, I slept like a baby. Six days. No blood, no squirrels, no axes, nothing. THEN Ed decides oh I had a stroke a year and a half ago and I’ve been FINE but now that you’re in third place I have to quit and I’m taking David with me but I have great affection for you. AFFECTION?!?!?!?! YOU SUCK!!! I am the chosen one, I am the next President of Godlandia, and you QUIT? Leaving me with KEITH? Jesus will punish you, and He will punish David, for abandoning me and making me work for this stupid JOB. I hate you, and so does God. You’re both probably HOMOS. Dicks.

Rick Perry’s whole state is on fire. I love it. He prayed to Jesus for rain, but instead he got fires. I bet if I prayed for rain, I’d get RAIN. More proof that I am the chosen one, and Rick and Mitt and all the rest of those bastar…other candidates are heathens and false Christians. I bet if you asked Rick what the Seven Mountains are, he’d start naming actual mountains. Idiot.

I spoke at an event hosted by the wonderful Jim DeMint the other evening, and finally got a chance to reveal my plans for the corrupt and stupid Department of Education. Marcus said I should be careful, because some of the people who will vote for me actually went to school, but I told him that if they love me, they never went to a real school-they were home schooled or attended God fearing Christian schools, where they learned what’s TRUE. None of this liberal, socialist, HOMO loving “education” for people who love ME! I will get rid of the DOE. (That’s what it’s called in politics, Diary, I’m already learning the lingo!) The Constitution, which everyone knows I know better than all the other stupid candidates put together, does not give the government the right to educate people. Even Ronald Reagan, my personal hero and mentor, wanted to get rid of the DOE, and he should have. Stupid Commie…Democrats wouldn’t LET HIM. Ronald Reagan believed that the government should not subsidize intellectual curiosity, and I agree. I take it further-there should be no intellectual curiosity. Curiosity killed the cat, and it’s killing our children!

My kids were all home schooled. My actual kids, not the 467...541...783 terminally ill foster girls we raised from birth until the state removed th…death. Those pests…angels were forced to attend public school because we couldn’t afford to keep all those moocher…sick little girls in the house and teach them the right way to live. Luckily, when they would get home, Marcus and I would read the Bible and Mein Kampf and we taught them the important things: Jesus and the master ra…betterment of humanity through breeding…abstinence. I hate public schools, and I hate the government, which is why I will be THE BEST President of Godlandia ever. I will reduce the government until it fits into a bathtub and drown it. Hey! I made that up! Then I can be Queen of Godlandia, and everyone will have to be Christian and white and NOT A HOMO and there will be no poor, because I will have them all sterilized and put into camps.

The debate is tomorrow. I am getting my hair highlighted (subtly, of course, I don’t want to look like Palin) and my nails filled. Marcus is giving me a facial. OH! His cell phone rang at 1 am this morning! Luckily, I was already up, chopping animal corpses in the back yard, and he ran out and told me one of his clients, Marcel, was in CRISIS! I guess Marcel was outside a super popular GAY BAR and was resisting the urge to go in. Marcus rushed to his side, and it took almost 3 hours, but when Marcus came home, he told me that he and Marcel had dealt with the temptation, and everything was fine. Marcel is some sort of male model, and Marcus has had to help him through these moments a lot. God bless Marcus and his work! Oh, geez, the debate! I am SO prepared. I have my notes, and even though Ed and David abandoned me, I know Jesus will be at my side, whispering in my ear the way He always does in times of stress. I will be calm, I will be succinct (that’s my word of the day!) and I will prove that the other DICKS…candidates have nothing to offer the citizens of America but more of the same big government, same tax tax tax ideas and they will not defend the unborn (22 days my ASS) or kill…jail…deal with the HOMOS. I will get rid of all regulations and let businesses run themselves however they want. But no illegals. Well. That might be tough, so I’ll have to think about that one. Maybe only illegals that look white. Better idea. I am so smart!

Well, time to get even prettier! Diary, I am so excited about the debate! Steve sent me an email and wished me “good luck”, and said he knows I’ll be great. I have not seen him since the NOM bus tour, and it’s hard to get through this without him. Marcus is always supportive, but still so busy. I have a secret-I sprayed a handkerchief with Old Spice and I have it locked in my jewelry case. When Marcus goes out, I take it out and rest my head on it. I would NEVER disavow my friendsh…marriage to Marcus, but it’s okay to have a little crush!

Xoxoxoxoxoxo-Queen Michele, Ruler of Godlandia.

PS-Obummmer is giving a speech this week, and most of us (the better people) are skipping it. More lies from the Kenyan Muslim commie, who cares. He only has until next summer, then I will be…darn it, next fall. OOPS! haha

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

TeaPublicans Can Dish It But They Sure Can't Take It

President Obama spoke in Detroit yesterday, and a few speakers came on first to warm up the crowd. Jimmy Hoffa, Jr., was one of those speakers, and he had a few choice words for the conservatives who have labeled unions as evil and are continuing to fight to eliminate them. Using fiery speech, Hoffa called for Democrats to "take the sons of bitches out" of office in 2012. The right wing, especially Fixed News, went nuts. Fixed News edited the video, removing their OWN reporter's commentary that clarified Hoffa's language was referring to voting conservatives out of office. But, as usual, Fixed News had to scramble backwards when it was revealed that they had edited out portions of Hoffa's speech and their own reporter's comments. Andrew Breibart, or as I call him, the worst thing on earth, edited the video as well, adding to the rabid screaming by the right that Democrats are violent thugs, and President Obama should force Hoffa to resign. You know, because President Obama has nothing BETTER to do.

Joyce Kauffman, who was Allen West's choice for chief of staff, gave a little speech at a tea party rally in Florida earlier this year. During this historic speech, she said "If ballots don't work, bullets will." In other words, if the candidate you as a conservative want does not get elected, shoot the one who does. Ms. Kauffman was adamant that she did not care if the video of her speech showed up on You Tube. Since she resigned less than a week later, perhaps she should have cared just a little. BUT Ms. Kauffman was hired to be the chief of staff for a presidential candidate-she is not a Teamster.

Sarah Palin used a map with gun sights to target congressmen and women who had voted for, or were supporting, universal healthcare, one of whom was Gabby Giffords. Giffords, a gun owner herself, gave interviews where she stated that Palin had put them in her sights. After the tragic events in Tuscon, Palin, sitting in front of a teleprompter with the American flag on the wrong side, accused the "liberal media" of creating a BLOOD LIBEL against her, and insisted those were "surveyor marks". No. They were gun sights. Sharron Angle called for "Second Amendment solutions". Michele Bachmann wanted all Minnesotans "armed and dangerous". I've seen shirts with the words "Liberal Hunting Permit" emblazoned on the front. But WE'RE the violent ones. I have yet to see a liberal holding up a sign that reads "We came unarmed, THIS TIME".

Jimmy Hoffa, Jr., is at his very core, a blue collar guy. He's a little rough around the edges, and he has fought hard to distance himself from the legacy of his father. Does he use the right words when he is witnessing the systematic destruction of the unions that brought us a 40 hour work week, paid vacations, sick days and bargaining rights? Probably not, but lest we forget, these are the Teamsters. If they're going to kill you, they're not going to announce it right before the President of the United States gives a speech. Joyce Kauffman, Angle, Palin-I wouldn't trust any farther than I can throw them. Bachmann later said she meant armed with votes, and I bet she actually did. But where was all the outrage toward Kauffman? Crickets. As to the Palin map, when the media and bloggers and pretty much every liberal in the country cried "FOUL!", her loyal minions brought up a map used in 2004 by the Democratic party. Yes, that map used similar graphics, but there were no names, just portions of the country. Palin put gun sights on PEOPLE, not states. She crossed a line, as did Kauffman and Angle, but not one peep from the TeaPublicans.

So the party that brings guns to President Obama's speeches, makes signs that call him a "niggAr" (not my spelling error), faxes death threats to Democrats, throws rocks through Democratic politicians' office windows, calls for "Second Amendment remedies" and believes that "if ballots don't work, bullets will" is bitching that a Teamster used strong language to encourage Democrats to vote the bastards who are ruining this country out of office? Oh you poor babies. I feel so BAD for you. No, I don't. But if the TeaPublicans and their minions want to continue to use threats of violence and ACTUAL violence against liberals, why are they so shocked and hurt and angry when someone uses less violent rhetoric to fire up the Democratic party? Oh, I remember. Rachel Maddow put it so nicely: It's Okay If You're A Republican. It's okay to put gun sights over people's names, and incite people to violent uprisings if their pet politicians don't get elected, and bring loaded guns to President Obama's speeches and muse about poisoning Nancy Pelosi and murdering Michael Moore. That's all OKAY. But if you're a Democrat, and you use strong language to get a point across (we DO need to take the SOB's out...of office), you're a thug, and the president is a thug, and liberals are all thugs and we're all violence loving, hateful traitors.

Pot, meet kettle.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

State of Fear at the State Fair

Holy shit. We left our house at 8 am to travel 2 1/2 hours to a much anticipated day at the state fair with my dad and stepmother. Yes, 8 am, on a Sunday. Poor Jim, but we'll get into that later. We arrived at a mall, jumped on a bus as my dad waved us to go FASTER (we were on time, just saying) and began the commute to the fair. We were all excited: Josh was thrilled to be going on rides, as were Jim and I. Okay, me not so much. I'm more of a "I'll wait down here with the camera while you two climb on board something run by two guys with prison tattoos and the vocabulary of a 9 year old, and pray" gal. I was excited about the food. Fried Kool-Aid, cream puffs, pick the meat on a stick. Oh yeah. Jim threatened to eat fried butter, but I put a stop to that.

We disembarked the bus and followed the herd to the ticket booth, where my dad said he would pay for the tickets. As he had already paid for the bus, we were pleasantly surprised, and thank you's abounded. Jim noticed that there seemed to be A LOT of people, but we were confident that the lay out of the fair would ensure freedom of movement, and we would not be trampled. Boy, were we wrong. It was a madhouse. There were more people at this fair, this day, then at Walt Disney World over Thanksgiving. The whole holiday. I was jostled, hit, pushed, shoved and had a man in a wheelchair drive over my toe. My son was almost punched in the face by what I can only assume was a drunk asshole, who chose a very awkward moment to begin gesticulating wildly while holding onto his beer for dear life. Josh told us later he was sorely tempted on many occasions to just haul off and hit people. I understand the sentiment.

We separated, since I wanted an Australian Potato Patty (fried, covered in cheese and ranch dressing oh my GOD) and my dad and stepmom did not. Nor did Josh, which was odd, but they wandered away to parts unknown and Jim and I began our foray into the world of artery clogging. It turns out that "parts unknown" was about 30 feet from where we originally began this trek into Hell, but no one told Jim or myself, so we meandered about. Luckily we had cell phones, which we used to communicate. Well, we answered ours, my dad let his go to voice mail. In hindsight, I wonder if that means something...

It was at this point that I noticed my pulse rate increasing ever so slightly. I don't handle crowds well. I do all my holiday shopping online, because I would rather drink goat urine than go to a mall during the holidays. I refuse to go to the grocery store on the weekends, and you won't catch me anywhere NEAR a theme park with which I am unfamiliar. I am not agoraphobic, I just don't like being injured by strangers. So, being trapped at the state fair with what Jim later estimated were about 150,000 strangers was a tad bit stressful for me. Then we found The Slingshot. The Slingshot is a ride that claims to recreate some of the same sensations air force pilots experience like g-force. It also claims speeds up to 70 MPH and spins you upside down. Josh desperately wanted to go on The Slingshot, and Jim was pretty interested in it as well. We all said okay, and walked to the entrance line, where I saw the price to ride The Slingshot. 11 tickets, OR $55. FIFTY FIVE DOLLARS. For a ride. That, it turns out, lasted less than two minutes. Pissed? Nah. Furious, raging, violent.

We had not seen my father or stepmother since we grabbed Josh from them earlier, and we called my dad's phone, and left a message. And the phone tag began. We walked the midway, saw Skee Ball, realized that none of the prizes were worth the price of the balls, found another ticket booth where things were a bit more reasonable, but Josh no longer wanted to go on rides. He wanted to go through the Haunted House! I love haunted houses-the screaming, the masked characters, the weird music, I love 'em! And off we went to the very well priced (four bucks per person) Haunted House. Jim kept poking the costumed characters, who then took their revenge on me. I screamed so loudly at one point that the teenagers behind screamed just for good measure. It was a blast, and the best part of the whole day. We exited and it seemed that the crowd had tripled in the 15 minutes we had been inside. You could not see across the street, and as we began walking, we were stopped dead in our tracks by a pedestrian jam of epic proportions. Wheel chairs, strollers and walkers all met in the middle of the narrow walkway and that was it. No one moved for about 10 minutes. My pulse rate increased, and I began to hyperventilate. Jim pulled me onto a corner, and held me against his chest until my breathing regulated. We decided it was time to go. Josh expressed his deep disdain for the fair, and off we went.

My dad wanted us to meet them at the horse exhibit, and I could have SWORN that Jim told him we were leaving to go back to the car. I was mistaken, and the 4 voice mails left by my father proved how mistaken I was. I made Jim call him-this was not my SNAFU. We collapsed onto the bus, full of junk food, my Prairie Home Companion Powdermilk Biscuits tee shirt rolled up in my purse, and Jim called my dad, apologizing profusely for the misunderstanding. Staggering to the car, we unlocked the doors, opened the windows, and began the almost 3 hour drive back home.

About an hour and a half into the drive, we came upon a Kia minivan driving 54 MPH in the left hand lane. Jim usually can "convince" a driver going exquisitely slow to move OVER, but in this case, we had a little problem. The van was being driven by a teenage girl, and the Nissan sedan keeping pace with her was being driven by a teenage boy. Van filled with girls, car filled with boys, flirting on the highway. What could possibly go wrong? Jim pulled into the right hand lane, because these girls would neither speed up or pull into the slow lane, and wound up behind the boys. Now these charmers slowly increased their speed, then WHAM, they slammed on their breaks and sped up again. Now my son is in the car, asleep in the backseat. If Jim had been following any closer, we would have driven right into the back of their car. We finally get around the assholes in the Nissan, pull in front of the morons in the Kia, and we are on our way.

About 20 minutes later, we get pulled over by the local constabulary, who inform us that "someone" called 911 and reported Jim for unsafe driving. Someone? Let me take a wild guess: a bunch of bitches in a Kia? That took almost half an hour, and we were back on the road, driving the speed limit, and twitching. On an up note, I now how to get back at people who cut me off or don't use their turn signal.

That was our day at the fair. We're never going to the fair again, and may not even travel into the city until 2014. Tomorrow, hopefully the cops won't show up and arrest my husband for tailgating.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Gray

I was born during the Vietnam war. Not literally IN Vietnam, but 1966 was a pretty heavy year, war wise. (Is it called a war now, or are we still referring to it as a "conflict"?) Young men were dying in a jungle thousands of miles away and no one really knew why, but the young men who managed to make it home were sometimes greeted with hostility and anger. It was a weird time for America. The country was divided into sections, even factions, if you will: if you protested against the war you were a traitor, and if you supported the war, you were a fascist. Unlike now, there was no "I support the troops, but not the war" bumper sticker to put on the back of your Datsun. Remember Datsuns? My mom had one, I think it was red. Republicans were fiscal conservatives, Democrats were, for the most part, for the Civil Rights Act, and America was struggling to get out of the 1950's, often unsuccessfully.

I read a lot of conservative drivel and I read a lot of liberal drivel. I read that liberals are traitors because we question the validity of the Patriot Act, or want higher taxes on the richest rich in the land, or we don't want to dissolve the EPA and the Department of Education, defund Planned Parenthood, and we're not huge fans of convicted felons wandering into gun shows and purchasing weapons. I read that President Obama is no longer "MY" president (on both sides), that he is a sellout, that Bernie Sanders (I-VT), registered Socialist, should primary him, thus ensuring a Rick Perry theocracy, the poor are ruining America, we were founded on Christian doctrine, Muslims are all terrorists, Christians are all terrorists, corporations are evil, socialism is evil, liberals are stupid, conservatives are insane. Everything is black or white.

The world is made up of shades of gray. President Obama does (A) because, in the long run, it will ensure (B) and possibly (C). Gray. Both sides have a knee jerk reaction to everything-yelling, TYPING ALL IN CAPS, pouting, whining, bitching, moaning. But no solutions, just more drivel. Black or white. Living like that is, in fact, insane. I know because I used to see the world, and relationships, in black or white. Either I loved you or I hated you, there was no tolerance, no room for forgiveness, patience or understanding, just all or nothing. It was very taxing on my psyche, and eventually, I stopped seeing things as black or white, and began to see the gray. It was very peaceful. Then I got involved in politics.

In eight days, America will stop and remember a moment of sheer madness 10 years ago, when people who used religion to justify hate murdered 3,000 Americans. How will we use this anniversary? Will we use it to justify our own hatred of each other? Will we buy flags made in China or Taiwan and fly them in a cheap attempt at patriotism all the while muttering that unions are evil and are contributing to the destruction of our economy? Will we write poetry, while in the background, we read articles slamming President Obama for not being "MY" president? Will conservatives continue to fuss about a lack of clergy at a memorial event that is not supposed to have religious overtones? Will liberals continue to fuss about the fact that we are still in Afghanistan, even though we all know what happened the LAST time we left too early? Will we see the world in black or white?

In eight days, I won't fly a flag, I won't write a poem, I won't whine or moan. I will do exactly what I did 10 years ago-I will light a candle and I will cry. I won't use this anniversary to further some twisted agenda that rewrites the Constitution and turns our republic into a theocracy. I won't use this anniversary as a platform to bellow from the rooftops that Gitmo should have been closed and why doesn't Obama just act like a king and force through everything liberals want, the rest of the country be damned? I'll remember the kids crowded around my desk, some crying, because their parents worked at the Pentagon. I'll remember the silence, broken only by military jets and sirens. And I will remember how gorgeous a day it was; the clear sky, the crisp air, the leaves just starting to turn. Then I will remember the gray. Even September 11th, 2001, was not black or white, as much as people want it to be. It was not about Christianity, or Islam, or democracy, or capitalism. It was about a relationship that began in the Reagan administration, a relationship that was so Faustian in its nature, it's perverse. A gray relationship that resulted in the worst act of terror on American soil.

If you want to look at the world in black or white, it's up to you. Trust me when I say that understanding the nuances, the different shades of gray, is much more calming, much less stressful, and, in the end, more fulfilling. It's mature to see the world not in extremes or absolutes, but as a series of compromises and discussions, experiences that teach and situations that encourage growth. Yell, scream, type ALL IN CAPS, but in the end, the only person you are truly frustrating is yourself.