June 30, 2007

In the Mail:

A review copy of Mine Your Own Business, which I've been dying to see.

I'll let you know if the finished work is as good as the trailer, and the excerpts most of us have come across here and there.

Special thanks to The Moving Picture Institute, for giving me the opportunity to review the film.

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June 29, 2007

Ready for Some Good, Clean Fun?

Excellent; go read about the history of children's television programming:

Comrade Kangarooski

Sponsored by The Daily Worker and the Tuboretski Tractor Works, Comrade Kangarooski was famous for his lengthy monologues on the ultimate triumph of socialism, reading accounts of soviet party congresses and defending the Rosenbergs. He encouraged kids to facilitate the work of their collectives, report their parents for revisionist thinking, and shoot Kulaks.

He generated viewer participation by holding contests. One, in which he invited children to take a picture of themselves in front of experimental American aircraft, drew over thirty thousand responses. Others included:
• The best-drawn map of a defense installation,
• Denounce your favorite FBI Stool Pigeon, and
• A scavenger hunt for CIA one time cipher pads.

His success was also short-lived, however: At the height of his popularity, Stalin recalled him to Moscow and had him shot.

UPDATE: Once again, I've bowed to my readers' unreasonable requests for functioning links.

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Overheard, 8

"Whatup, mah shiksa homey?"

"Not much. How's it hangin', Heeb?"

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Maybe He's Too Demanding . . .

or maybe the record companies are run by idiots.

I love the approach of pulling Prince albums off the record-store shelves. That way, those of us whose interest is piqued by his newest album will have to buy the CD online.

And won't TAFKAP be sorry then? Un-freakin'-believable, the death wish the music business has.

Via Insty.

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June 28, 2007

Queen Ann Strikes Again.

Hm. From a reader:

Do you think Ann Coulter was talking about you on Good Morning America when she said the denouncement that "hurt me the most was on IAmaLittleGirlinaPinkPartyDress.com; very upsetting!" ???

For the record, I don't think Coulter was singling me out—just using the name of my blog to make fun of the entire 'sphere. Kind of an interesting thing to do.

In a sense, she's saying "who are you, Little Miss Attila, to criticize me?" Well, I'm just part of a group—a cultural phenomenon—that got Dan Rather kicked off the air, defeated the amnesty bill and changed political discourse permanently. Part of an Army of Davids. We fight the Goliaths of Big Media, Big Goverment, and Big Firebrandresses (tall ones, anyway).

In a sense, Queen Ann is saying to bloggers—all bloggers—the question The Who put out there: "Who the fuck are you?" Well, who is she, for that matter? A woman who uses her legs to sell books. (Not that there's anything wrong with that. I should do the same, especially since my legs are a good deal nicer than hers are. If you like your girls curvy, that is. If willowy is your thing, stick with Queen Ann.)

I think comediennes who do actual comedy—e.g., Sarah Silverman (hotter than Coulter and I put together, BTW)—are cool. The ones like Coulter and Margaret Cho who try to combine standup with political analysis are simply lame. Politics plus humor can be a difficult balancing act, and only a handful of people of any sex really pull it off.

Ann Coulter isn't one of those who successfully combine comedy and political commentary. Had she only stuck with analysis, it would be a different matter, but implying that Edwards is a "faggot," and then parsing out the phrasing in a fashion that would make Bill Clinton blush? Very lawyerly. I of course mean "lawyerly" in the sense of "stupid." (Full disclaimer: some of my best friends, yadda yadda yadda.)

"It was clearly a schoolyard taunt," she said in the days following that incident. "No one seriously thought I meant to suggest Edwards was gay." Well, that's not how I heard it. And I never really thought—from the first moment I heard that lame stunt at CPAC 2007—that I would have taken it too kindly if I had been Elizabeth Edwards.

What if I'd implied that Halle Barry was a "nigger," and then defended myself by saying I hadn't stated it outright? And what if I'd then reminded people that everyone knows one of her parents is white, so there's no possible reason anyone could confuse her with an actual nigger?

Well, then I'd be a publicity whore. And I could go on Good Morning America and make fun of people whose websites sport really creative names. AnnCoulter.com: it must have taken her weeks to think of that one.

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June 26, 2007

Attila the Hub Went to Two Pitch Meetings Today.

Plus a pre-meeting meeting, wherein he, Dr. Cult Figure, and the head of the production company agreed on a strategy for selling the project.

Personally, I suspect that they nailed it, and partly because the husbandly acting background lent him an edge: participating in a meeting of this complexity is playing a role. But I also pointed out that this would be a great time for the Hub to take other projects to the same studio: he'll still have that Dr. Cult aura.

"It was weird," he told me. "Even with Spielberg, it wasn't like this: people kept coming up with excuses just to pass by our table in the Starbucks."

Yeah, but with Spielberg, people got out-and-out rude. And the divine Mr. S never had the temerity to go to a Starbucks where the hoi polloi hang out. Kudos to Dr. Cult.

It's been a good week: the husband's productive, I'm productive. And, should we ever get on our feet financially again due to his creative projects—or even mine—I've got some furniture picked out from a prop/artifacts store downtown that could dispose of our disposable income in a hot Los Angeles minute.

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You Know Those People Whom You Envy, Because They Have Everything You Think You Want, and More?

It's not true: they usually don't.

It takes class to cut your own hair before the cancer treatments take it away from you.

And it takes guts to create a blog like this. Love and Kisses, Peter and Rosina. Give 'em hell.

(And, to my readers: please send your prayers. I've already lost too many good people to cancer. It makes me angry, but I realize the anger does no good either. More on this later.)

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How Can One City Have Two Courthouses in It?

I found the courthouse today, and parked nearby, adjacent to the Queen of Angels Cathedral. I walked over, and was told that, no, it wasn't the correct place at all, but Hill Street was only a few blocks away.

Once I got onto Hill Street I realized that the security guard had spoken the truth, but failed to mention that Courthouse #2 was actually at the far end of downtown—beyond the jewelry district, beyond Staples Center. So I ended up walking miles to get where I needed to go; there was a point beyond which I figured it would take just as long to go retreive the car, and then I'd have to pay twice to park it.

Yeah. I was tempted to take a cab back the thirty blocks or whatever, but we don't really have cabs in L.A. So that saved me money, too. And I got a terrific workout, some fabulous pics of Los Angeles landmarks, a few story ideas, a large blister, and a slight sunburn.

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You Know, I Have a Friend.

She once downed her multi-vitamin with a sip from her martini.

I was appalled, of course.

Mmmm. Nothing quite as dry as Wet. So far.

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June 24, 2007

I'm Here.

But all I want to do this weekend is sleep. I'm not depressed; I'm just tired. Though I do intend to do a bit of laundry tonight, and we will be going to church.

One of my supervisors at work asked me specifically whether I'd be reading this weekend, to unwind, and I laughed and said "no." The truth, of course, is much sicker: of course I read myself to sleep last night.

Though I didn't analyze the grammar, or look for typos.

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Some Questions for the Democrats . . .

. . . over at The Tygrr Express. Most of these queries are things I'd ask those people personally, and all of them would put 'em through a head trip I'd like to watch.

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June 22, 2007

Actually, I'm Not Naked.

Blog Nekkid Day notwithstanding.

However, I feel that a bra, panties, and a thin T-shirt is close enough. Oddly enough, I'm more comfortable this way.

But here's something strange about bloggers with sensitive skin: most upholstery fabrics are way too harsh, so in the summer when my bare legs will be in contact with the chair, I cover it with a terry towel so there's only cotton against my thighs as I key away.

Also, I once thought there was a pea between my mattress and the box springs, but it turned out to be a long-lost earring back. It was 18-karat gold, so I pawned it.

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"Oh, Right. That's Where N. and B. Live," I Mentioned to Scanman One Day When We Passed by Their House.

"Cool," he responded. "Are they artistic? Are they gay? Are they high-tech?"

The questions came in a quick rapid-fire, and I answered, just as swiftly, "yes, yes, and no."

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Happy Birthday, Gregory.

You'll never see this. But if I make a note of it now, I might remember it next year.

If I write it down on a piece of paper? Not a chance.

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Would Someone Please Turn the Heat Down?

It's after 9:00 p.m., and the garage has just cooled down to 80 degrees or so.

I'd sleep on the balcony tonight, but there are lots of bugs in the air out there. And some of them are very, very big. They're, like, the size of mice. They'd hurt me, for sure.

I seem to remember sleeping on the balcony at my grandparents' place in Whittier, California on hot summer nights when the air was still clean enough that one could see Catalina during the daytime.

This would have been back in the 1960s, before they got air-conditioning at the family homestead on that hill. (Yes. It's still in the family; it's the only structure left from my early childhood, ever since my aunt-on-my-mother's-side burned her house down. The Whittier place has been in the family since the 1930s, and my other grandparents' house is still intact, and down the hill from it. Though now strangers own it, and someone chopped down one of the lemon trees in the front yard. Fascists.)

Hey, bro—are you reading this today? Didn't they have us crash on the balcony sometimes in the summer, on those outdoor chaises? Or am I making that part up?

Now someone is going to ask me why I don't just turn on the AC. Because I don't do that until it hits 100 around here: I may be a hedonist, but I'm not wasteful.

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June 21, 2007

Still Overworked.

But happy. You know me: I seem to do a bit better when there's slightly too much to do, versus too little.

I'm so behind on housework that my husband folded laundry today, which is this sort of cute/sweet thing he does when he sees that I'm under stress.

It's actually rather brave of him: would you want to fold the laundry of an obsessive-compulsive proofreader? I mean, everything's fine and wonderful until she discovers that you put a dish towel that had a bleach stain on it back into the dishtowel drawer instead of one of those strategic "rag stashes" that lurk in the kitchen and bathrooms for quick clean-up jobs.

Then her perfectionism comes out, and all hell breaks loose.

I'm so glad I don't have to live with me. Oh, wait . . .

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June 20, 2007

Wow. No Traffic.

What's a girl to do?—must I threaten to publish a bust shot to get my readers back?

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I Dunno.

The client who's signed me up for three weeks in the fall wants eight hours of proofreading a day. As in, that number that's about equidistant between seven and nine. Yipes.

At about Hour Seven today my eyeballs threatened to secede from the rest of my body (actually, it was those little muscles that control pupil size that hurt the most). But the fall gig will make me solvent, at least for a time, and that's a pretty sexy idea.

As I walked out the door of the pub house the fact-checker was still there, and I found myself very thankful I'm no longer trying to do that job and be a backup copyeditor: one cannot handle research and proofreading at the same time. Someone has to concentrate on dates, prices, and proper nouns, and someone else has to look for grammatical errors, typos, unintended double entendres, graphics that don't line up, and excessive word repetition.

So I finally understood today that my getting laid off from the fact-checking end of things was a blessing in disguise. It's better for the organization this way, and a lot better for me. Presumably, I bill at a higher rate than the woman who was looking up arcane facts about refrigerators at 7:00 p.m. tonight. And that's fine, too: after all, I'm older.

And more evil, I suspect.

Darrell, thanks for the care package. I might not be able to pick it up until tomorrow, or perhaps even Friday. But knowiing that it's there makes me feel all warm and gooey inside.

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Yeah. That Thing About the Want Ads.

It was not a happy discovery.

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Hi-Fidelity—to Fidel

Hackbarth has a bite-size snippet from Kyle Smith's brutal review of the Michael Moore fantasy Sicko. Can't wait to read the whole thing.

Is it me, or is Moore becoming slightly more insane with each book he writes, and with each faux-documentary he makes? Or was his mind always this much of a mess?

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So What Do You Call It When You See Wet, by Beefeater, Priced Lower Than Beefeater Itself?

Divine intervention, of course. And a clear indication that the Lord will provide.

I'm glad we got away from those early Old Testament practices, in which I would have had to destroy a bottle of good gin on an altar in the hopes that the Lord would be pleased enough to send me more of the same. New Testament: I drink it, thank God, and ask for more, please.

A more efficient system, for sure: better all around.

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Another Two-Job Tuesday.

Or, three jobs, if you count the fact that I have two separate accounts at one establishment, and they are "sharing" me right now. Naturally, I avoid that situation like the plague, but Dept B is having an emergency, and needs me. So Dept. A (which had dibs for the day) is being a good sport about it. (Reminder to self: acquire some diplomatic balm, since I may well need it before the week is up. Do they sell that stuff at Office Depot?)

And now I need to wind down, since they'd like me in the office at a normal time tomorrow. The faster I lose consciousness, the better. Would someone come over here and bang me on the head, please? Thank you.

In the meantime, my head is filled with brilliant insights into the human conditions that may never get written down—much less read by anyone. So I shall simply assure you that it's Really Good Stuff.

Ogden Nash:
"Oh, Duty, Duty—why hast thou not the visage
Of a Sweetie, or a cutie?"

Why not, indeed?

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June 17, 2007

Okay, Just Kidding.

No one ever stops blogging, unless they go on methadone.

Just ask Rachel Lucas.

Yeah, I was depressed last night, and earlier today. Utterly, utterly depressed. And I didn't want to admit that, so I sort of vamped.

But now I've cleared the air with the other individual involved in my emotional tailspin, and I think I'll go to bed early.

Nope; I didn't drive up to Shell Beach today, either: that got put off a few weeks, due to 1) the fact that I had a slight sore throat, which is a no-no when you're going to visit a 95-year-old woman, and 2) my suspicion that I'll be able to afford the gasoline a bit better at that point as well.

So all is well, here, but I'm taking one more night off from internet society.

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Apparently, he's "ignorant" when it comes to immigration.

Well, okay.

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We're all about the tough love at this blog. Other bloggers have the attitude that "if you build it, they will come."

But not me. I'm more of the mindset that if my traffic falters, I might well stop providing content, which would of course lead to mass suicide among my readership.

It would be a shame if that were to happen.

I'm driving the Cruiser up to Shell Beach late this afternoon to see my father, my uncle and aunt, and my grandmother.

So I'll be checking my SiteMeter stats on late today (Sunday) or early on Monday.

If I like what I see, I'll post some more. If not, well . . .

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June 14, 2007

Fred Thompson with Peter Robinson.

They discuss taxes, Fred's political/philosophical development, the stakes involved in when/how we leave Iraq, military spending, abortion and the Supremes—and why a guy with a happy home life and a new family would want to run the horrific gauntlet of a Presidential primary/campaign.

Best quotes:

"Having one more good man in the primaries isn't going to hurt."

And: "I've told John [McCain] that we were friends before this, and we'll be friends after it's over—unless he beats me." (Note to my other proofreader friends: it was a joke.)

One of the most interesting moments in the video was when Robinson suggested, "so, you have a gut feeling that you're the most electable, but you'll let the voters decide that." Thompson agreed, remarking that he simply didn't think this was the moment for someone from "the other side of the aisle" to take the reins.

I was impressed by his assertion that it was time for average Americans to make some sacrifices in order to win the War on Terror—and to face our other upcoming security challenges. To me, this suggests that he may plan on actually communicating with the country—keeping the American people in the loop. I think the country is ready for that. Ready for some communicating, Great or otherwise. [/obligatory Reagan reference; how tiresome to make it—and yet, this issue of communication/PR has been a non-trivial deficiency in the Bush '43 administration]

So an announcement will be formality at this point. Fred's in. And, yes, James: as a matter of fact, I am excited about it.

Via Insty.

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June 13, 2007

James Tiptree, Jr.

She's just the best; apparently there's a new biography out about her rather compelling life. Can't wait to read it!

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And More on That Fat Issue . . .

I dunno, Jane/Megan.

I believe in almost all of it: I believe that most of us are programmed to eat, and being surrounded by plentiful food—some of it quite calorie-dense—has made us fatter.

I believe that for a lot of people carbs are the drug of choice.

I believe that some people like to act out around food.

I believe that some people gain weight so they can "check out" of the romance game.

I believe that some people have so many fat cells that for them a "normal" weight requires the sensation of starving.

I believe that for some people food is the prude's alternative to sex.

I believe that some people have medical conditions that make them look fat, and we don't know by looking at them which ones are in that predicament.

I believe that some of the fattest people I know are some of the brightest.

I believe that I'd prefer that my vices be slightly private, and I'd rather not carry them on my belly, if I can avoid it.

I believe that people like me (most dudes and some chicks) who gain weight on their tummies run more risks when they gain weight than the hips-and-thighs people.

So I think—all things being equal—I'd rather not get fat. But there are worse things, and there is no way that one can tell what caused the appearance of fatness. I like to give any individual the benefit of a doubt.

But it's truly a fascinating discussion. Personally, I can't imagine eating a bunch of ice cream in one sitting. But I could probably eat two chocolate croissants in a sitting—and do that twice a day. So I could fall over that precipice in a heartbeat, if I lived in a French bakery or something.

So, no "set weight" theory for me: that's the one thing I don't believe. But individual situations vary wildly—as with everything. And people who are hungry and angry can generally put a lot away, if they put their minds to it.

Via Glenn.

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"Anyhoo, Thanks for Turning Me on To the Ritalin."

"You're being careful with it, aren't you, Honey? That stuff is speed."

"Just the tiny doses you suggested: much less than you take. Really, a very marginal amount, and I'll get a shrink to sign off on it in July when my insurance kicks in. I'm not snorting it or anything."

"It's funny, because you're such a classic case of ADD."

"Say what?"

"Even as a child."

"Mom, I specifically asked you a year ago whether you thought I'd had ADD as a kid, and you told me I didn't fit the profile, but my brother did."

"Oh, yes. Well, apparently there are two types of ADD personalities. My psychiatrist explained it to me: you were the other type: dreamy, seemingly out of it. You know."

"Okay. I guess I do know. Thanks for the drugz. Looks like the guys in the family are sticking with Prozac, so far."

"So far. Though I really think your brother should try Ritalin."

Parents. Can't live with 'em, and can't ship 'em off to Mars. Can't get 'em away from the "better living through chemistry" idea.

My mom raised me not to even take an aspirin when I had a headache: there was tremendous emphasis on the virtue of suffering and whatnot. We got extra moral points for going to school when we were sick. So much for that Anglo-Saxon stoicism.

I've decided there's little virtue in suffering, and even less in being an insufferable bitch. Still, The Mom could have said something: most people in Debtor's Anonymous do have some form of ADD—it makes us allergic to paperwork, you know.

This autumn my mother turns the age at which her own mother died. I anticipate that my mom will be around into her nineties, though, as long as she maintains a good attitude and keeps her blood pressure down. (Yes, her internist signed off on the Ritalin: do you think we're idiots?)

And my grandmother could well reach 100. That's the new 30, isn't it?

I plan to hang out as long as I have internet access, or at least my books and the ability to write; after that's gone, I'll ask the Lord to take me.

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June 12, 2007

The Case for DDT

Sam Zaramba, the Director General of Health Services for the Republic of Uganda, explains why the West must support effective anti-malarial programs in his country, and in all of Africa:

Although Uganda's National Environmental Management Authority has approved DDT for malaria control, Western environmentalists continue to undermine our efforts and discourage G-8 governments from supporting us. The EU has acknowledged our right to use DDT, but some consumer and agricultural groups repeat myths and lies about the chemical. They should instead help us use it strictly to control malaria.

Environmental leaders must join the 21st century, acknowledge the mistakes [Rachel] Carson made, and balance the hypothetical risks of DDT with the real and devastating consequences of malaria. Uganda has demonstrated that, with the proper support, we can conduct model indoor spraying programs and ensure that money is spent wisely, chemicals are handled properly, our program responds promptly to changing conditions, and malaria is brought under control.

Africa is determined to rise above the contemporary colonialism that keeps us impoverished. We expect strong leadership in G-8 countries to stop paying lip service to African self-determination and start supporting solutions that are already working.

Via Insty.

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"And When I Get Out, There's No Doubt"

. . . "I'll be sex-offensive to you."

Is there anything better than early Blondie? I mean, other than premium gin?

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Twenty-Seven Days

. . . until I turn thirty-fifteen (the person from whom I stole this numbering system may drop by and claim credit, if she wishes).

I do, of course, have an Amazon wish list, as every good subscriber-supported chick must. (If you do decide to check that out, please adjust the list to display my desired presents in order of priority. It seems to want to default to a date-based "stack system," which is not helpful to any of us.)

Money always works, of course (see my PayPal button on the left sidebar): that helps me to go to blogging conferences, market my proofreading/writing, and fill in a few business wardrobe gaps before the Big Assignment this September/October. Or, you know: I might buy gin and get a birthday tattoo. Those aren't really business expenses, but they are fun.

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June 11, 2007

Yes. I Guess We Can All Get Along.

Ace points out that there's plenty of overlap between what straight men like and what lesbians find attractive. No surprise there.

When I was in high school my best friend was a lesbian. After she came out in an alternative publication (althernative, that is, to the Santa Monica High newspaper), one male jock went up to her—someone she'd previously dismissed as an airhead—and suggested they "go out clitting sometime."

After that, of course, she knew he was an enlightened airhead.

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It Was Bound To Happen Sometime.

Senator Byrd's Grand Kleagle hood finally got in a good line in a discussion with Jeff Goldstein on the anniversary of the State of Virginia v. Loving Supreme Court decision, which legalized interracial marriage:

me: “ . . . . The decision was hailed by certain overly-optimistic civil rights advocates of the time as a way toward physical integration of the races—the idea being that the commingling of ‘bloods’ would make the idea of racial distinctions hopelessly antiquated, and that as a result, social and policy considerations determined on the basis of race would eventually peter out of their own irrelevance . . ."


me:“—that is, until the academic left began its campaign to save the distinctions by way of the feel-good ‘celebrating the differences’ imperative. Which, as a part of an identity politics paradigm made manifest in the social and political philosophy of multiculturalism, has done its best to keep alive the separate but equal spirit of Jim Crow—dividing the country up into competing and often hostile identity blocs whose self-segregating practices, born of a move away from assimilation and nationalism, do very little to honor the memory of [the] Loving [decision]."


me: “In fact, if anything, such identity politics as are now practiced and exulted as ‘enlightened’ by many on the left—and by the progressive wing of the Democratic party—are really nothing more than the culturally sanctioned stoking of racial grievances. It has, in effect, saved segregation by renaming it and taking it away from the racist state, where the Constitution could not allow it to survive—except in instances where a benevolent government has granted itself the right to dole out permission for discriminatory practices under the ‘ameliorative’ guise of race-based affirmative action.”


me: “So I guess you’ve got that going for you . . . ”

hood: “Yeah, we’re pretty proud of that one, I must admit. And the best part? We’ve trained a whole new generation of liberals to actually defend the practices."


hood: “—which, I bet your people didn’t see that one coming while they were marching alongside the darkies and singing ‘we will overcome,’ did they, Jewboy?"

Well. I'll bet they didn't. Nor did my parents and my three non-racist grandparents, for that matter.

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Dennis Miller on Harry Reid

Insty links the Hot Air clip of Dennis Miller having his way with Harry Reid. Back in the 1990s my husband—who used to do stand-up a couple of decades ago—noted that Miller was a great comedian whose biggest flaw/virtue was a habit of being "too hip for the room." He admires Miller's propensity to just keep on firing. The guy doesn't even stop to reload, or to take a breath. I like it, too: either you got the joke, or you didn't. Dennis ain't waiting around for you.

Glenn points out that Reid's numbers are low—like, Bush-low:

The public seems to regard the entire government, regardless of party, unfavorably. Which suggests that people have been paying attention.


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"So. Have You Seen That CD?"

"Which CD, Dear?"

"The one your sister burned for us for Christmas."

"You have it."

"You let me have it? You're sure?"

"I'm sure."

"But I want to listen to it."

"So maybe you should find it."

"But why didn't you hang on to it?"

"Because I didn't care if it got lost for a while."

Now that's patriarchy.

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June 10, 2007


Being a closet liberal, I'm faced with the temptation so see gray areas. To say, "maybe, if the sandal completely covers the junction between the nylons and the bare toes."

But what's next?—advocating the custom among Japanese tourists of wearing knee-high nylons with shorts?

Look: stockings are one thing, and are fine between consenting adults. But panty hose of any type are not sexy. They are meant for one purpose, and one purpose only: to attenuate one's lack of tan/unevenness of skin tone.

If the environment you are going into is so casual that you can wave your bare toes around, you have no business wearing panty hose of any sort.

Or, if the environment requires panty hose, you shouldn't be showing off your pedicure—no matter how cute it is.

Get a spray-on tan, or buy some leg makeup, or suck it up and wear linen slacks. But come on, now, Girls: let's not bring about the utter collapse of civilization, just because it's summer.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:13 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Gin Palace: Hendrick's Gin

Most gins fall roughly into two categories: the full-flavored Dutch styles, and the "clean" (some say bland) English gins exemplified by Beefeater and Tanqueray (though there are certainly some more refined gins of this type).

Hendrick's, made in Scotland, is part of what I call the "third way" in gin: it doesn't have the heaviness of Dutch gins, some of which are reminiscent of good tequilas (um, if tequila were made with juniper—well, never mind about that). But it has a good deal more flavor than most of the "London Drys," and it's sipping gin, for sure: to add vermouth to Hendrick's would be a crime.

Hendrick's is a recent invention, but its marketing people love to play off the fact that their still—by the Scottish seaside—was fashioned during the Victorian era; Nineteenth-Century images adorn all its labels and bottles. Even the airplane-sized Hendrick's comes in a teensy cardboard tube like the one its daddy is shipped in. (The 50-ML size sports a twist-off cap, rather than the cork on the full-sized bottle. From a marketing perspective, it's interesting that Sarticious appears to serve the same quirky-but-light market niche, and also sports a cork on its full-size vessel. Sarticious is more classically citrusy, but is also a balanced "third way" gin—not quite Dutch, and not quite English in its lineage.)

Most of these alterna-gins are citrusy, but Hendrick's contains—aside from the usual juniper/"secret sauce" botanical combo—cucumber extract and essence of rose. Despite being very flavorful, the final result is still extremely light, and the flavor combination is crazy and brilliant. In fact, Hendrick's works fine in a gin-and-tonic, as with most of these third-way concoctions, because the flavors don't clash with the quinine in the tonic. But I've only done it once, because the distinctive flavor gets buried in tonic water, and that's a crime.

By definition, third-way gins work in most cocktails—though not martinis, as a general rule—and yet I can't get myself to drink them that way. I pour them over ice, wait a moment, and then fish the ice out of the glass.

They are that good.

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:27 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 09, 2007

The Trade Deficit

. . . is narrowing, though the U.S.-China balance is still out of whack. This weak dollar thing is very helpful overall, though of course one feels sorry for the college kids who are doing their summer-in-Europe this year (mine was during the 1980s, so our dollars bought oodles of extras).

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed more than forecast in April as a weaker dollar pushed exports to a record and demand for imports waned.

The deficit fell 6.2 percent, the most in six months, to $58.5 billion, from a revised $62.4 billion in March, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The gap declined even as the shortfall with China widened.

The dollar's drop and expanding economies in Europe and Asia are fueling demand for American-made goods and the deficit is retreating from a record $67.6 billion in August. The gain in exports may also help economic growth accelerate after the slowest quarter in more than four years.

``The trade imbalance seems to be permanently on the mend,'' said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in New York. ``Certainly, trade is going to contribute to growth in the second quarter.''

Rupkey predicted a deficit of $60.2 billion, the lowest among 74 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before the report was published.

In April, exports rose 0.2 percent to a record $129.5 billion, as sales of foods, plastics and consumer goods such as jewelry improved. Imports slipped 1.9 percent.

``The rest of the world is growing,'' said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial Inc. in Chicago. ``With the tailwind of a weak dollar, that's good news to keep our factories humming. This will probably easily throw GDP growth over the 3 percent range for the second quarter.''

Via Reynolds, who remarks, "good news, I think. Am I wrong?"

Well, it looks more good than bad to me, especially when coupled with this tantalizing little detail:

Oil imports fell to $24.9 billion, from $25 billion a month earlier, as a drop in volume offset higher prices.

Hackbarth? Verdon? What do you think?

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:35 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

So, Is the Insta-Wife a Trophy Wife?

Or is Glenn Dr. Helen's trophy husband?

Likewise, I'm ready to come clean: Attila the Hub is actually my trophy spouse.

Posted by Attila Girl at 01:18 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 08, 2007

Iowahawk for Prez!

Dave is in da race!

I have not taken this decision lightly. When considering a run for public office, the first thing a candidate must ask himself is: what can I, as newly elected public servant, expect to get out of this deal? I have researched this question thoroughly, and believe me: being President is a pretty sweet gig. Not only does it pay 400 large, it has plenty of perks including "three hots and a cot," and the world's most fearsome military force at my disposal.

The second thing a candidate must ask is: am I qualified for the position? Let's look at the facts. First, I am a native-born citizen of the United States. Second, I am over 35 years old. Third, I have never had a felony conviction stick beyond the appeals court. And Mister, if that's good enough for the Constitution of the United States, then that's good enough for me. Google it.

We aren't worthy!

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Watch Out for Colored Index Cards.

They are very dangerous. The husband and I have learned to be careful about what affirmations we place on our bulletin boards and bathroom mirrors, because they all come true. Even the ones that say "I weigh X (X being 15 pounds lighter than what my husband weighs, or five pounds lighter than what I weigh).

Even my car came about as the result of an affirmation: After I'd decided that it was too impractical to get a PT Cruiser, I bought a tiny one on a keychain, and it lived on my bulletin board for months. I saw it there every day. I think it worked on my unconscious, which in turn appealed to my Higher Power.

We become what we surround ourselves with, so those things have to speak a positive message about our aspirations.

My current affirmations:

• I show up on-time or five minutes early for all my business and social engagements. [My tendancy to multi-task sometimes wreaks havoc with this aspect of time-management, so I need to make it important.]

• I weigh 120 pounds. [This figure is just south of the truth. I don't actually care that much, but the older we get the more most of us seem to acquire around the middle, and a round belly is a health risk I don't need.]

• We own a second property, up the coast from here.

• My freelancing brings in $55K a year.

• I keep scrupulous track of my business expenses.

• People find the puzzles I write to be deliciously entertaining. [So far, so good on that score. But the positive affirmation will help me to send my babies out into the world, and given all the time I put into them, they may as well bring in some money.]

Posted by Attila Girl at 07:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 07, 2007

On "TrophyGate"

The fact is, my husband is my senior by nine-and-a-half years.

One of my employees once referred to me as John's "trophy wife." Not being particularly intellectually insecure, I assumed this guy was kissing up to me, so I just thanked him, and that was that.

Question: If Woody Allen had married a woman the age of his current wife who was not, by cultural convention, his stepdaughter, how would people have reacted to that? I suspect they would have found it acceptable: it was the quasi-incestuous angle that bothered people.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:52 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Anyone Want To Place This Quote?

Any way, we cut a hit and we toured a bit
With a song he said he couldn't use.
And now he calls, and begs and crawls
—It's telephone deja vu!
We've got percentage points, some lousy joints
And all the glitter we can use, Mama,
So—huh—don't call us now. We'll call you.

Translation: I just got a major client. It dropped out of the sky, more or less.

So. You know.

But can someone just a few years older tell me whether that Beatles riff is, indeed, from "Day Tripper"? I totally missed that in the 70s, due to certain deficiencies in my education that I really don't want to discuss right now.

Please continue to send me money and gin. Because I like gin. And money.

Posted by Attila Girl at 02:06 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

So . . . Am I Hawt?

Or nawt?

Personally, I suspect that I'm overvalued. Which means that I should probably sell me, but I'm really a buy-and-hold sort of gal. Except when I'm in debt.

This probably explains my passionate involvement in real estate.

Posted by Attila Girl at 01:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

As of Now,

there is no reason to go anywhere else for your news. We've got you covered like a black fishnet burqa.

Posted by Attila Girl at 01:10 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 06, 2007

Ace on the Republican Debate.

Apparently, CNN is in rare form:

CNN supposedly picked "likely Republican voters" -- both actual Republicans and right-leaning indepedents -- to ask the candidates questions.

Let's see how scorchingly liberal the questions are.

Off to a good start -- a woman who lost her husband brother to the war wants to know how to get us out of Iraq.

I'm so surprised CNN found this questioner!

Why, you'd think liberals had some sort of premeditated strategy to put forward victims to push their policies or something!

More! Environmentalism, prescription drug subsidies, and now, from the affiliate's handpicked (liberal) blogger, a question as to whether or not to install a Canadian style single-payer national health care system!

Wow! These "likely Republican voters" sure are reflecting my concerns and interests!

I'm glad I skipped the debate. Maybe someone will bait Fred! into another mini video tomorrow, which would at least liven things up a bit.

Posted by Attila Girl at 03:20 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 05, 2007

Back to Basics on Iraq

Senator McCain reminds us what the stakes are.

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cuba's Revolution Wasn't Televised.

At least, not very well. Bella Thomas gives us a window into the post-Fidel future, and concludes that it does not look very different:

There were a few signs of change. I heard of some market experiments in certain villages, and that Raúl Castro was quieter and more pragmatic than his brother. I noted the sophisticated restoration of old Havana under the dedicated eye of the official historian, Eusebio Leal, making use of international funds and hotel developments. (The architectural legacy of the enemies of the revolution—the Spanish empire and the high days of the capitalist era—are now, more than ever, keeping Cuba's revolution afloat.)

But there was no real sense of a transition. And I was told that levels of control were, if anything, stronger. Fewer journalists were being allowed into the country, only a few of the 75 political prisoners who had been jailed in 2003 had been released, and at least another 200 were still in prison. Some private restaurants were still open, but two thirds of those in Havana had been closed in recent years because the government did not want to see too much competition with the state-run restaurants and hotels.

Read the whole thing.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

And So

. . . it begins.

The "I'm With Fred" slogan/identifier is very clever, reminiscent of "Join Arnold," or "I Like Ike." And using it as the site's URL is another way of separating F. Thompson from the rest of the pack.

Hackbarth is concerned about how the Fred! strategy will affect the primaries:

If Thompson goes the “travel little but make up for it with big gulps of the internet” he won’t win the nomination. Iowa and New Hampshire voters are spoiled. They expect and demand candidates suck up to them in person in private homes and at town hall meetings. How can a candidate have a good ground game when the he doesn’t bother covering much ground?

The question becomes: how addicted are voters in Iowa and New Hampshire to having their asses kissed? Or, to put it less bluntly, will they get enough hard data on where Fred stands to feel comfortable voting for him without a lot of hand-holding? And if they are accustomed to acting as the presidential gatekeepers, can they set their egos aside and vote for a man on his merits, rather than based on how much time he spends in their states?

Fred!'s advantage here is the fact that he doesn't necessarily want the job of President: he's being drafted. So an unorthodox campaign might just work. The danger, as I see it, lies in the fact that most people still get their news from the mainstream media rather than the web. And the producers of segments for television like soundbites. They like to send reporters to cover the news on the ground. So people like my mother won't have much of a sense that Fred! is really running, unless he makes a splash despite being physically absent.

The whole thing is a huge gamble, but if Thompson wins, he wins big. A strong showing in the first few primaries despite the "travel little" strategy will be big, big news.

And then the MSM will come to Fred!

Posted by Attila Girl at 05:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Not Content to Simply Oppress His Own Wife,

Dennis is oppressing Amanda Marcotte on the side.

"Knock-knock jokes." What a strange, fascinating creature Dennis is.

Posted by Attila Girl at 09:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 04, 2007

Well, Scott Has It Partly Right.

If we don't want the "forced pregnancy lobby" to get its way, then we must have utter reproductive freedom, with the lowest possible risk to the woman's life. I'd suggest that we simply legalize infanticide: allow the woman to give birth, and then give her four weeks or so to decide whether she wants the child to live or die.

Anything less is misogyny, you know.

Geez, Louise. I swear—some of these male "feminists" think we're made out of crepe paper.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:34 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Dearie Me.

I'm feeling quite a bit bitchier than usual tonight. I wonder what it is. Let's consider the possibilities:

1) Joy, it's just that you're tired. Go to bed. Like, now.

2) Either give up volunteering, or go somewhere where it'll be appreciated, rather than working with those slack-jawed, dimwitted ingrates you're hanging out with these days.

3) Men. It's their doing. All of them. They collude.

4) Welcome to menopause.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Popular Mechanics Editors vs. the Loose Screws at Loose Change.

Start here.

UPDATE: Okay, it looks like I've got a few readers who like them a Kool-Aid cocktail every now and then. So, one question: if the damage at the Pentagon and the crash site/"crash site" in Pennsylvania weren't caused by planes, then what happened to the two missing planes that day that didn't hit the WTC?

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:02 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

June 03, 2007

The Grilling Report.

Week Two of The Kabob Project. The thing that both A the H and I noticed this week was how much pleasure we derived from eating last week's leftover kabobs. He heated his back up, but I ate mine cold over at work on Tuesday night in Culver City (20 miles away—but 45 minutes to an hour to get out there, given L.A. traffic).

Even unheated, rare grilled steak and grilled veggies with charred edges were great eating on the other side of town, particularly when washed down with a luscious ripe peach.

So back to the grill again, this weekend. Saturday night we had turkey steaks. I would have bought chicken breasts, but who has time to pound them down to the right thinness for grilling? [Insert joke here.] The turkey was cheaper, and it was easier to freeze the extras for next weekend. A little Asian-style marinade, rice, and a salad—and dinner was done. I boiled the marinade to use again as a sauce; I'm thrifty that way.

Tonight I continued with the kabobs, but I got a thinner type of steak, rather than the Top Sirloin my local market uses on its pre-assembled kabobs (the husband likes his meat well-done, which doesn't really happen when the meat chunks are the size of small aircraft). The unit price was acceptable-but-not-great; however, I figured being able to freeze the last few small steaks meant I'd get at least three meals/six servings out of that package. Not bad.

This was beef loin tri-tip, and thin enough that I knew I could cut it into tiny chunks, so the first few kabobs to make it onto the grill would definitely be well-done, in accordance with husbandly preferences. I used Spanish onions, instead of the red onions the market employed last weekend, and in addition to green bell pepper I added some red bell pepper. I also threw in some mushrooms. The last few skewers were only peppers/mushrooms, and spent much less time over the fire than the meat/onion kabobs had.

Most of all, I decided that all these flavors would probably be just fine on their own, and I forewent a marinade—just threw the suckers over the fire. We ate them with small amounts of salt and pepper, and a butter lettuce salad with cherry tomatoes on the side. We drank Trader Joe's blueberry soda; it was truly a royal meal. And not a bad belated anniversary celebration, considering we were able to fit it into our budget constraints and our respective diets.

Next, week, though, the plot thickens: we're going to add pineapple, and go Polynesian. (But, no: no wooden skewers. I'm not going to soak those suckers for 30 minutes before dinner. Metal is fine for us. I might get kabob baskets for the veggies, though, depending on what the casualty rates are there-among.)

But for Polynesian, I'll definitely want to marinade the kabobs. Suggestions?

And, of course, I will create a dessert using grilled peaches at some point this summer. After all, grilled desserts are the Final Frontier on my balcony.

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 02, 2007

Carbon Footprints

. . . in the sand.

UPDATE: Link fixed. I blame society at large for the error.

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:15 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

More on Traditional Male Skills.

From Glenn, who mentions once again the Popular Mechanics work on recapturing handiness for males (and interested females), and points out that even Rush Limbaugh is aware of the trend toward males being Distinctly Unhandy.

I've been wanting to get The Dangerous Book for Boys for one of my nephews. But the very title could get me kicked out of my family: my sister-in-law is a safety nut—to a pathological degree. I'm not sure either of my nephews has ever skinned a knee.

The loophole: I could get it for my brother, their father. You know—as an Item of Cultural Interest.

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic "Let the issues be the issue.

About Joy W. McCann: I've been interviewed for Le Monde and mentioned on Fox News. I once did a segment for CNN on "Women and Guns," and this blog is periodically featured on the New York Times' blog list. My writing here has been quoted in California Lawyer. I've appeared on The Glenn and Helen Show. Oh—and Tammy Bruce once bought me breakfast.
My writing has appeared in
The Noise, Handguns, Sports Afield, The American Spectator, and (it's a long story) L.A. Parent. This is my main blog, though I'm also an alumnus of Dean's World, and I help out on the weekends at Right Wing News.
My political philosophy is quite simple: I'm a classical liberal. In our Orwellian times, that makes me a conservative, though one of a decidedly libertarian bent.

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