July 31, 2007

There's No Such Thing

as "too pro-gun."

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Professor Purkinje:

"Aw, come on. Everyone knows that liberals are best at licking pussy."

I don't buy it. But I do believe someone (some lucky young unmarried thing, slumming in Academe) should do a study.

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July 30, 2007

Nerdiness = Whiteness

I don't buy it. I agree with the commenter who remarked on the notion's racist overtones: associating high levels of education (even the supposedly narrow educations that nerds supposedly enjoy) with whiteness is simply another excuse to accuse those who actually want to read/study of "acting white."

Of course, one could point out the fact that Asians aren't usually considered "white" or "European-American," but that would be too freakin' easy.

Me? I think race is pretty much a cultural construct: very few people are purebred anything any more, so I wish we could stop spotlighting race in some of the very silly ways that we presently do.

But then, I'm a [classical] liberal.

Via Insty.

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July 27, 2007

The Debate Issue

Sean is into it.

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Last Night . . .

I dreamt that as a sort of surprise, my husband had decided to create another funny little indie movie.

The problem was, I could not decide whether or not I was dreaming, and I did feel that if it were the real thing, I ought to be on my best behavior. After all, his friends were around—and one was never certain when the cameras were rolling.

Certainly there were things that appeared dreamlike about the experience, but I just wasn't certain. I kept trying to reason it out, though I believe I was aware that one's analytical abilities are never quite up to snuff in these situations.

But I tried. For instance, I looked at my watch, and was able to determine that we had been shooting all day. Dreams, I knew, are over very quickly, so that seemed to argue for it being real. Also, who thinks to check their watch in a dream? It had to be real, which was a shame, because I was having a good time, and there were all kinds of things I could have done (besides taking a bath, on-camera, with people coming in and talking to me as part of the setup) that I could have done, had I known for sure.

I was a tad skeptical about the trip to Ireland, because I rather doubted we could afford that right now, but who knows? It hardly seemed like a deal-breaker: perhaps A the H had made a calculated risk, and felt that the income from the film would make it worth the investment. After all, there's a lot of free publicity available in The Age of YouTube. Also, the fact that we were going to the Emerald Isle cut in the other direction: if this were my brainchild to begin with, it would have been England.

Above all, the whole thing was terribly funny, and my dreams never feature humor. So it seemed authentic.

I tried to smile a lot, be pleasant, do something funny when it was my turn, and take it easy on the gin. (Gin was available in those fountains one gets Coca-Cola from in fast-food joints. In retrospect, this strikes me as a bit suspicious, but it felt natural enough at the time.)

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July 26, 2007

The Nine Tailors, in Real Life.

Shit. After the frosts in California, floods in East Anglia.

Most of the "buy locally" movement is pure silliness, and comes from living in an area/country/state with varied terrain, wherein a balanced diet can be produced by local farmers. It also sort of assumes that no one ever gets a hankering for tropical fruit, unless they in fact live in the tropics.

The politics of scurvy. And, in cases of flooding or frost, the politics of "let them eat, well . . . nothing. Honey, do you have the crossword puzzle from today's New York Times?"

To some degree I like to buy locally, but that has a lot to do with the fact that I'm cheap, and I therefore look for the best deals on produce. That means I tend to buy fruit from California or Mexico. But if the New Zealand apples look good and are reasonably priced, they jump into my shopping cart with some alacrity.

And of course as a Person with Allergies, I'm supposed to eat local honey when I can. Instead, I take a crapload of Clariton and get a hydrocortisone shot every few years. These procedures are a lot less messy than the honey thing.

Via Insty.

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I Feel Like a Teenager

. . . on the last day of school. It turns out that Client A won't need me tomorrow during the day, and Client B didn't pin me to my computer tonight. So I want to my mom's for a few hours to make sure she was okay—and to hang out a bit. I nursed a beer, ate half of a turkey sandwich, giggled at stupid things, threatened to take a nap on her couch, and threw a tennis ball for the dog to fetch.

I was unable to locate my cell phone, so every half an hour I'd get up, look on the counters and the mantel for the phone, rummage through my purse, and then announce I'd gotten over this obsessive-compulsive silliness, that I expected the phone to show up, and that I wasn't going to worry about it.

So I'd sit down for another ten minutes, and then grab my keys, toss the dog a treat (she has to be bribed to let me leave the house), and go out to search my car again.

It isn't altogether clear to me why my mother didn't either (a) kill me, or (b) have me committed.

The cell phone was under the cassette tape of Aladdin Sane on the passenger seat, by the way. I'm so glad my phone is so compact that it can hide under a cassette like that.

I need to go to sleep soon, as I still have plenty to do tomorrow. I did want, however, to announce that I'm on the verge of Having a Life Again, and that I would hang around online a bit longer if I didn't have a hot date.

But, you know: I do.

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So I'm Waiting for a Girlfriend to Show Up for Lunch.

And I can hear the couple at the next table talking. They are talking low, but my hearing is good.

"When you do that," he says, "I feel ike it's a giant 'fuck you.'"

"We've got to work on our communication," she replies. "I didn't mean it as a big 'fuck you' at all. Just a little one."

I hope they work it out: it's more art than science, no?

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July 25, 2007

Shamelessly Autobiographical

It's a long story, involving some blogging business, a respectable amount of housework that probably should have been put off a few more days, an interesting twist in my mother's condition, a lesson on QuickBooks for my Tuesday night job that went on until 10:45, late-night shopping for two households (separately, but in the same two-hour span, and on two different sides of town), and juggling clients.

But I've been up for 22 hours at this point, and that will probably do for now. Unless, you know—I'm about to see the face of G-d.

(Never fear, Jer—I'll still meet my deadlines. What a nasty business, though, when clients read one's blog.

Hm. Of course, it could be worse. Though not by much. Hi, Dad.)

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July 24, 2007


They get to see penises?

h/t: Professor Purkinje

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July 22, 2007

With Goldstein on the Ticket,

I'll be waiting at the polls when they open. It's just too good to be true.

Re-elect Iowahawk 2012!

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July 21, 2007

Look on the Bright Side.

What if you were mildly allergic to your own sweat, and it was over 95 degrees in the shade outside?

That would be annoying, no?

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Thanks, Darrell!

You're the best stalker a girl could ever have.

The last component of my birthday gift arrived a few days ago: a small martini shaker, a light-up pen, a few bottle openers that didn't sport the names of gins on them (vodka and rum respectively), and could well have been thrown in by the packager.

And when I misplaced my shades the other day I wore the Tanqueray Arnold-style wraparounds.

I looked beyond cool.

For both of you who still read this blog, I'd just like to announce that Hell Week is over on the volunteer front, and I can go back to the more normal insanity of juggling clients.

That means that I might blog again someday soon.

Especially if I am able to make it out to Siggraph. I hope I can: I missed it last year. Wrong coast, and all that.

Of course, this year may require that I be in two places at once: Los Angeles, working at a magazine client's digs, and San Diego, celebrating pop culture and the fusing of art with technology.

It can't be that hard. Lesser people do shit like that all the time. Or so I hear.

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"For a breath of ecstasy"

". . . give all you are, or can be."

Robert Bidinotto points out that the world has enriched J.K. Rowling a good deal less than she has enriched it.

Fuckin' A.

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July 19, 2007

Oh, Fun!

Darrell—my very favoritest stalker—send me his final birthday shipment. It contained a lovely gin pen that LIGHTS UP! And a mini-martini shaker, and a few bottle openers (though these actually featured vodka and rum brands on them).

All in all, quite a lovely birthday haul. I wore the big scary wraparound Tanqueray shades to work today: it turns out that although the Terminator look doesn't do too much for me, these were very useful sunglasses.

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It's Always So Interesting

. . . when Hell Week in my volunteer life corresponds with paid assignments from my clients. Because I'm not in a position to turn down paying jobs, but of course I can't let my brethren down in the nonprofit.

So sleep is sometimes the first thing to go.

Thank goodness my mother is starting to feel capable of taking on little tasks around the house: I'll stay there tomorrow night, but I'm not going to be much good around the house. I'll probably arrive late, and then leave early Saturday morning for double-meeting day.

Please remember the take-home lessons, here: 1) don't have mothers; their backs may give out on them at some point. If this approach to life is unwieldy, then 2) don't have volunteer commitments. You'll just end up working your butt off, and people will be there to "helpfully" tell you how you could have done everything so much better.

Stick with clients. We like clients, because we send them these things called "invoices," and then later on they give us "checks," which make life better.

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July 16, 2007

Aw, Come On.

Let's not make it sound worse than it is. One swaps out the tanktops for long-sleeved T-shirts, and switches to jeans from shorts. And one starts wearing socks again.

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I Remain Alive.

But just barely. It isn't just maintaining a household along with 2-3 jobs. It's also this business with my mother.

One doesn't just go over and fetch her mail and do her shopping. One also hears sort of a lot of, um, verbalizing. It's more or less nonstop, except when she's in so much pain she can't speak, which is even more stressful, though in a different way.

In between muscle spasms, though, there's this wall of advice. And anecdotes. And specific directions on how to do the things I'm doing for her. And helpful guidance when I'm doing it incorrectly. And admonitions that I shouldn't do more than is absolutely necessary. And polite requests to do one more teensy little thing, please.

I was all set to come home and eat my gun, but it turns out my check showed up from the premier client today, so I'll leave the firearms alone and read myself to sleep instead. Because what's more full of good cheer than money?

At some point, however, I do plan to once more become an Actual Blogger. I (almost) promise.

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July 15, 2007

Where Would One Even Start?

My mother still needs lots of help, so I'll have to stop over there tomorrow and at least walk the dog.

Federal Express and/or our landlords messed up a shipment, so there's nothing to sell in my nonprofit/retail/office management job. And the Treasurer there is creating various pressures that I don't think I need.

My cousins were nice about staying here in Paper City, but one always feels icky about having been a poor hostess. They're young, though: they might not have noticed.

Someone damaged my car very slightly yesterday, and I went off on him. Very thoroughly. I know this person, so I probably owe him an amends, but . . . it can probably wait a bit. It was my car.

I remain imperfect.

There's a lot to be said for food and sleep.

I've decided that I should probably balance my checking account and work on my budget about as often as I do laundry—which means almost every day. Therefore, having just performed this grisly task, I am now aware that (my clients being late with my payments), I have $70 to get through next week with.

So: who votes for food? And who thinks it should be gasoline?

But I have plenty of leftovers in the fridge, and two billable assignments to get through the week. And for my birthday the husband got me books and copper pearl earrings.

I got myself two Ellery Queen mysteries and a John Coltrane album. All in all, quite a good haul.

So, you know: nothing to complain about, really.

I've decided that I deserve an iTunes binge. And—possibly a little gin.

I need external speakers for my Mac notebook, though. (I have ex-boyfriend who used to maintain that I blur the want/need distinction. This is not correct: I simply do not admit that it exists whatsoever.)

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July 14, 2007

Upon Reflection,

I realize I've been wrong about the Shanksville memorial. Sure: some people think semicircles are simply semicircles. But even a circle, now that I've had a chance to cogitate on the matter, is made up of semicircles.

And any curved line is part of a circle—hence, potentially evocative of a crescent.

From now on, I demand that no memorial to any of the events on 9/11—or any memorial tied in any way to the War on Terror in this decade—contain any curved lines at all.

I expect everything to be grid-like, or at least Cubist in its execution. Otherwise, I will abstain from voting entirely in 2008, and let the Democrats have the White House!

Ha! Take that!

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July 13, 2007

The Good News Is, My Mom's Okay.

The bad news:

1) Urgent Care was closed last night, and we couldn't get an appointment with her regular doctor until after 2:00 p.m. today. I went ahead and crashed there last night, not knowing when she'd be able to go—and wanting to make sure she got a ride there.

2) Because she's unable to host our out-of-town cousins due to this illness, I'm doing it;

3) I have the messiest, dirtiest house in the history of cluttered houses, and only had about an hour today to try to fix that;

4) I only slept 2-3 hours last night, and got in maybe a 45-minute nap today;

5) Did I mention that our house is dirty and messy?

The adrenaline is wearing off (or maybe the tranqs are kicking in). And yet I'm almost afraid to go to sleep: there's this fear that I won't wake up for days.

Also, I need to go clean some spoons off; what if everyone wants cereal for breakfast this morning? Jeez; I must be insane.

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July 11, 2007

Oh, Those Brits.


Initially police had specifically asked the public for information relating to doctors driving automobiles, but that initial warning brought angry denunciations from the British Medical Association and the UK Automobile Association.

"This directive unfairly singles out and targets British medical professionals, a great many of whom are loyal and patriotic citizens," complained Dr. Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the BMA. "The fact that some of the people involved in the recent unfortunate events may have been doctors is totally coincidental, just as if they had been accountants, plumbers, or random members of a deranged apocalyptic religious cult."

Sir Trevor Chinn, Chairman of the UKAA, warned that the earlier directive would "spark a backlash against the British motoring community and promote a climate of fear and carophobia."

On Tuesday, new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown met with representatives of the medical and car communities and announced that the government would henceforth prohibit occupational and transportational profiling by public officials. Brown said further government communications would prohibit the use of certain prejudicial words like "doctor," "Vauxhall," "podiatrist," "propane," "Asia," "drive," "ticking noises," "panic," and "the."

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Come On, Now. Chrysler Still Rulz.

Every brand that wants to survive this decade has to produce at least one econo-box. The question is, what will the American variant of this one do? My Cotillion sisters tell me that even a Neon—provided it was made by Chrysler, rather than a distant-cousin manufacturer—had that same immediate power I've become addicted to in the Cruiser: everything the car had available was right there, right now. She was able to out-accelerate much more expensive cars, such as Porsches.

And, of course, so am I. I can hold my own against a beamer these days, unless he or she is an awfully good driver.

But I really like fucking with the college-age youts—I let the kids in their souped up Jap imports show me up on the interchanges, and then when we hit the open freeway, I sort of ignore them, move left, and slide by. Their tattoos and whatnot don't help them. They still get to watch the girl spurt off to their left with in a 2.4 four-banger that seems to perform like a V-6 on speed. The driver—invariably a 22-year-old with an oversized black earring in his left ear—generally seems chagrined.

I still think the Daimler thing was a bad fit, so I have high hopes for the new owners. After all, they might just let a MoPar be a MoPar. What could be better than that?

I'm trying to move A the H in the direction of the Chrysler 300, rather than the Lexus he's flirting with. I'm really terrifically subtle, though, so I doubt that he's noticed the working of my gentle mind-rays . . .

My ex used to tell me that "Subtlety" was my "first, last, and middle name." You can see immediately that it would take terrific mental discipline to resist my benificent, yet persistent, will.

Aw, come on, Honey: I'm right about this one. It had to happen sometime, you know.

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July 10, 2007

Are You Trying To Tell Me . . .

that some high schools don't feature an open-air ampitheater? Well, then—where are the double-size steps that sadistic gym teachers make you run up and down, until you switch over to dance class, or "Run for Fun" (also known as "Walk for the Hell of It)?

It isn't that we were spoiled at Samohi; keep in mind that there was only one building on the entire campus that featured a decent view of the ocean. (Santa Monica High is built on a hill, and it's only from the top of that hill that one gets a full-on seascape.)

Also, Samohi was right in the middle of Dogtown, quite near Venice. On the South Side of Santa Monica, I'll have you know. There were students there who were neither blond nor Jewish. Really. Oodles of them.

Hat tip: Harry in the Night.

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I Dunno, Ace.

I adore you—you know that. You're, like, my primary blog-crush and all, and I'm not just telling you that because that's why I say to all the boy-bloggers.

However, my dear sweet Master of Spadeossitude . . .

don't you think you might be getting a little black helicoptor, here?

Sometimes landscape architects work with the site, and use universal design elements (they call them "thingies," in AIA literature). Therefore, we have an obelisk commemorating George Washington in the National Mall. Did you hear that? We have a thingie at the National Mall, that is of Egyptian origin, and probably casts a shadow when the sun is shining. It casts a shadow. What could be more unpatriotic than that?

And arcs can look like crescents, and they are partial circles.

And there are pre-WWII houses of worship that feature swastikas, and the Iron Cross has been used in our military.

And some people regard the Confederate Flag as a symbol of rebellion, rather than being emblematic of racism.

Can't we all just calm down and let the landscape architects do their jobs? When the memorial is completed, I want to go there to pray, and thank the citizens who stepped up to the plate on 9/11, rather than contemplating how the Trilateralist Commission probably screwed things up.

Come on, Sweetie. Have some gin or something: it's good for you. At least, it's good for me, and that's the next best thing.

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July 09, 2007

"I've Never Rejected Sullivan."

So it looks like Glenn and Andrew are still an item.

Good for Andrew; not so good for Glenn (or Helen, for that matter) . . .

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Led Zepp?

One more, and then I'll leave you guys alone. The younger nephews are into Green Day, and I've been told that L.Z. is the name of the game. But of course, I'd rather sneak in some Queen, because . . . because it's better music.

My primary musical advisor recommends that I send them LZ IV. But SURELY a person coud do better . . .?

Okay. I have prejudices: I'd rather pay homage to Freddie vs. get the Led out.

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Somehow, I Don't Think Darleen Is in Love with Mr. Jerry Brown.

Now, as a former hard-core liberal, I find this rather difficult to accept.

After all, didn't Linda Ronstadt's Livin' in the USA persuade us that Governor Moonbean was, um, sort of—part of—the zeitgeist? I mean, I didn't really go to high school, but I remember them both being discussed in rather hallowed tones in the coffee shop across the street, and "Blue Bayou" getting rather heavy play on the jukebox, along with the Bowie version of "Knock on Wood, and "Fight the Power," by the Isley Brothers.

How about we lay it on the line: no urban denizen has the right to tell us what the capabilities of our fireplaces ought to be—particularly here in California, wherein we are subject to rather extreme seismic activity, and may want to stay warm when a Big One—or even a medium-size one—hits?

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I'm Thinking of Adding a Belfry to the House.

It used to be that if I were late in making a grilled meal, we might resort to dining by candlelight, or end up dodging moths and various insects—some of them larger than I am.

But I was late with dinner a week ago, when my mom was over to enjoy grilled kabobs, and we lingered well into the dusk. As a matter of fact, A the H turned on the patio lights (all of them white—he hadn't gotten around to switching them to yelllow/bug-rsistant) for the summer.

We were kind of wondering why everything was going so swimmingly, and then I remembered (or maybe my husband did) that over the past two years we've been acquiring a lot of bats. Even the painting of the exterior didn't really unseat them: they merely went away, and then came back.

Bats are much better than lizards, for a whole bunch of reason, including (1) the fact that lizards don't fly. They just don't. They sort of whirl around on the pavement, suddenly, as if trying to induce cardiac arrest in human beings, but to no good avail, and (2) bats are great. Sure: they do sort of fly by at dusk, in a manner vaguely reminiscent of mice with wings. But they aren't startling in the way that lizards are, and they make balcony dining about a gaziliion times more pleasant.

So: Lizard are inept. Bats rawk. And owls positively rule, but that's a story for another day.

By the way, Baby—whose idea was this Green Acres lifestyle, anyway? It must have been yours: "Darling, I love you, but give me Park Avenue."

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Am I Wrong?

Or does Chris somehow manage to make pregnant women look just as sexy as unpregnant ones?

It almost makes me want to go out and do something high-tech. Almost.

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So, I'm 45 Years Old Now.

I find that it does not make me want to acquire a 1911. Although, of course, there is that Commander that I've had my eye on for a decade and a half . . . but I'll get it myself this fall after the Big Gig for the Important Client.

I feel that most of my problems over the past decade relate to the fact that I haven't gone shooting quite enough. I shall fix that over the next 12 months.

Mostly, of course, I need to learn to use that sweet little scattergun I acquired seven years ago. One illustrious personage in the shotgun industry insists that if I learn conventional methods, it will spoil me for good old-fashioned Native American "point-and-shoot" techniques, which he is certain I ought to employ.

Hard to argue with that: instinct shooting sounds right on a scattergun.

This one is a Franchi. A nice little shotgun. Advice, my SoCal friends? Desert Cat: Does Daisy have any any thoughts? She's a one-woman Chick Shooting Bible, that one. Hold onto her.

I feel old. And dangerous. And wicked. Can any of you relate?

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July 07, 2007

So You Think You're Having

. . . a bad day? Think again.

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July 06, 2007

The Evangelical Mafia

. . . is arguing about what their favorite Beatles albums are.

That's a tough one, but what can't figure out is what Bowie album tops my own personal list. I'm thinking of Ziggy Stardust, or Aladdin Sane, but it's a very, very tough question. I even like Young Americans, but that's mostly top-up music. A sort of guilty pleasure, like when there are Tull fans in the house and you find yourself hidden in a tiny room, listening to "Bungle in the Jungle" via that boombox you keep hidden under the bed. (Favorite Tull: Whatever I'm listening to at that moment, or Minstrel in the Gallery.)

One cannot, however, argue with the Young Americans album art. Can one? The cigarette, the flash of red in the hair—it's Bowie at his most glamorous. (Oh, heck—he's British. Let's make that "glamourous.")

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On the Third, When I "Encouraged" My Employee To Take a Leave of Absence

. . . until some of her housing and mental health challenges had been met, I gave her $80 out of my own pocket that I didn't really have. But I was fairly sure that she had slept at the office the previous night, and it was late in the evening, so I wanted to make sure that if worse came to worst, she could get a hotel room that night, and go to an emergency shelter the next day. (We printed her out a list of the local ones.)

I told my husband what I'd done. The next day&msash;Independence Day—when I opened my laptop there were two twenty-dollar bills resting on the keyboard.

A the H denies all responsibility: He suggests that perhaps the "Liberty Fairy" dropped in. Supposedly every fourth of July, the Liberty Fairy distributes money onto the keyboards of those who promote responsible capitalistic development and free-market solutions to global and regional problems.

Posted by Attila Girl at 11:37 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 05, 2007

Saying What Needs to Be Said.

Agreed, Sean.

The conservatives who are getting a bunch of schadenfreude out of Al Gore III's arrest should grow the fuck up.

When A the H was working at a Large Production Company in Southern California as a television writer/producer, a memo came down from the Division Head specificying that although the writers and story editors made fun of public figures from time to time, they should avoid making fun of Chelsea Clinton. He wasn't especially happy about it.

"What about all the things that people said about Amy Carter?" he asked.

"Yeah," I replied. "And the ripping on Reagan's family, too. But here's the Big Question: if Hillary hadn't handled it in such a high-handed fashion [calling all the industry bigwigs to tell them 'hands off of Chelsea, or else] wouldn't you have considered it a good policy?"

I'd love to see a "hands off the kids" custom instituted in the press. And if it has to start lopsidedly, then maybe it will expand eventually to cover Republicans as well as Democrats. In any event, I'm not going to get my hands dirty. Who among us wants to be held for the weird things our parents (or our kids, or our nieces and nephews) have done, or did?

Al Gore III is just a guy trying to make his way in the world, in a rather pathetic industry (last I knew, he was involved in print publishing, may G-d have mercy on his soul). And he may or may not have a problem with drugs—one can never tell with the young: they're always doing weird, awkward things in any event.

Now can we all, please, shut up? Please?

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Review: Mine Your Own Business

What an amazing film.

This begins as an intensely personal story: Mine Your Own Business starts with a mini-autobiography on the part of former Financial Times reporter Phelim McAleer, who discusses why he originally went into journalism. Growing up Roman Catholic in Northern Ireland, he saw enough of man's inhumanity to man that he wanted to write, to serve as a witness, to speak for human rights. (He doesn't put it quite that way, of course, but that's how I interpreted his statements.)

While he was working for the FT in Romania, McAleer was approached by a beleaguered Canadian company that wanted to bring modern, environmentally responsible mining techniques to the Transylvanian town of Rosia Montanâ—which has been in the mining business for approximately 2000 years (yes, since Roman times). The company,Gabriel Resources, wanted him to do a promotional piece on their planned mine in Rosia Montanâ. McAleer had a better idea: Why don't you help me make a documentary? he asked. He had one proviso: The company would have zero editorial control. Zero.

Either they felt lucky, or they were very secure in their thinking that someone who looked at the actual environmental impact of the project—and spoke with the townspeople in Rosia Montanâ—would come to the conclusion that the mining project was a good idea, or at least the least-bad idea for saving the town. Perhaps, however, the company just likes writing checks to no particular end, which is unusual among big businesses. In any event, they agreed: No editorial control. And they forked over the cash.

They backed McAleer through some very unorthodox filmmaking methods: Not only does McAleer speak with a lot of the actual residents of Rosia Montanâ about the proposed mine, but he develops a bond with one of the locals, an unemployed young miner named George Lucian, who speaks some English (his linguistic skills gets better as the film progresses) and takes on an unexpectedly huge role in the documentary.

Lucian takes McAleer on a tour of the less picturesque parts of Rosia Montanâ, such as the rusty-looking hyper-polluted river that now runs on the outskirts of town, and the rather, um, geometrical piles of dirt that adorn the surrounding landscape as a result of old-fashioned mining techniques (in fact, it looks like strip mining). Eventually, the two begin researching other controversial mining projects that have also been in environmentalist extremists' cross-hairs.

Then McAleer talks George Lucian—who has never even travelled to Bucharest, much less boarded a plane—into visiting towns on other continents where mining projects are desired by the citizenry, but opposed by environmentalist activists.

They look at a project in Fort Dauphin, Madagascar, and together get to know one of the "local" opponents, who lives quite far away from the town, and is in the process of building a seaside villa on the far coast of the island. The most hilarious part of the whole movie takes place on the grounds of his estate-in-progress, where he shows his visitors his $35,000 yacht, and then explains that the villagers in Fort Dauphin are rich in things other than trifles such as material possession and "nutrition" (I kid you not: he really said that—and with the camera rolling!). In any event, he assures his guests, if any of the locals in Madagascar ever came into money, they'd squander it on beer; they certainly won't use it to educate their children. (Ever-thorough, McAleer asks Ft. Daupin residents what they would do with any money they might make by working in the mine. With few exceptions, they express a desire to send their kids to school.)

During the hilarious-but-scary discussion with the high-roller watermelon, the camera pans to the horrified look on George's face as he listens to the rich guy who opposes development and claims that he doesn't think money is really that important. We have already been told that many of the villagers in Rosia Montanâ don't have indoor plumbing, and we've seen pictures of the outhouses its denizens must use in sub-zero weather. For the first-time viewer of Mine Your Own Business, poverty has lost any allure it might once have had—and for good.

I found myself wondering why the unemployed Transylvanian miner didn't go after the rich, self-satisfied environmentalist with a knife, but young George is better-bred than I am, and it shows.

Next, Phelim McAleer heads to London, to discuss the history of ecosystems with a few of the academics there. One points out that Kew Gardens wouldn't exist if the forest that preceeded it had been "saved" by the forbears of those who now want to save poor Africans and Eastern Europeans from the horrors of human progress; another asks who, exactly, we are to tell them that development will create long-range problems for them, and that we consider them incapable of solving such problems? After all, the industrialized world has managed to mitigate a lot of the side-effects of development, while enjoying its unarguable benefits. (Back to that indoor toilet issue. I feel that an outhouse would be inconvenient here, in Southern California—much less in an environment that plunges 20 degrees below zero every winter. And just several generations ago, I'd be at the end of the average human life expectancy.)

Finally, George and Phelim head off to Chile, where a mining project is being planned high in the Andes, on the border with Argentina. The locals desperately want this project, and the money it will bring into the community, but this one, also, is opposed by environmentalists and some NGOs (non-governmental organizations). The enviros and the NGOs are also allied with local agribusiness, which has grown accustomed to using the locals as sources of cheap labor who are willing to work under unsafe conditions (for example, wearing no protective gear when they spray with pesticides) because the big landowners are, right now, the only game in town. With a mine nearby, the landowners would have to improve working conditions—and possibly raise pay—to attract labor. It seems they prefer having serfs—and, really, who wouldn't?

The altitude in Chile kicks McAleer's ass; he ends up in a clinic breathing oxygen out of a mask. It is left to his young Romanian friend George—the guy who knows high-altitude mining—to visit the site of the proposed mine, and interview the developer about what this might do for the community, and what is being done to preserve the glaciers in the area, and relocate them to neighboring mountaintops (these are not glaciers like those that live in Alaska's water: the looked small, as if they were each the size of furniture, or a fraction of a "calf" of an Alaskan glacier).

Then we get to listen to the enviros again, and it's the same old story: Those who are financially comfortable would like the world's poor to remain that way, as if they were exhibits in a sort of global zoo. All humans are equal, sure. But some are more equal than others. And tiny glaciers, of course, are more equal than people. But you knew that too, right?

If there were a real hierarchy among politically independent filmmakers, I'd be afraid that Phelim McAleer would topple the mighty Even Coyne Maloney right off his throne. (Though it may get interesting this fall at the Liberty Film Festival's main extravaganza in West Hollywood, with Indoctrinate U having to compete with Mine Your Own Business. I'm just glad I'm not on the voting panel; it would be hard to choose between those two.)

* * * * Here Beginneth the Serious Snark * * * *
[UPDATE 2: I'm not editing, exactly, but the participants in my Writers' Group suggested to me rather gently that at this point I begin to, um, preach to the choir. Ethics forbid that I cut the offending section this late in the day, but my lefty friends might want to wander off right around now. Didn't you leave something boiling on the stove? Or oughtn't you to pluck your eyebrows? You know, it's earthquake weather; go find that flashlight!]

Oh, and by the way—there's been some opposition to MYOB by environmental groups and NGOs. What a sir-prize! But I didn't see a rebuttal to the allegations in MYOB; just mushy indignation. The images of environmental damage from the existing mining operation in Rosia Montanâ (put in place under the environmentally aware Soviets) were awfully hard for me to ignore—as were the pictures from a neighboring town, where mining has been abandoned entirely, and the villagers who remain are reduced to picking through the rubble, looking for scrap metal they can sell in order to survive.

Poverty is not picturesque. It is time for us to get out of the way, and let developing countries . . . you know: develop.

UPDATE 1: And here's a bonus! A discussion of the film by environmental extremists who clearly haven't seen it, and think the filmmaker is "British," and the Romanian woman quoted therein must be "Russian."

Can we at least pool our resources and get some of these far-left greenies a few atlases? Just a thought.

Posted by Attila Girl at 03:41 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Please Buy This Movie: Mine Your Own Business.

If you're conservative, buy it for your liberal friends. If you're liberal, buy it for your libertarian friends. If you're libertarian, buy it for your social-conservative friends. If you're a social-conservative, buy it for your environmentalist friends.

If you're an environmentalist, buy it for yourself.

Posted by Attila Girl at 12:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 04, 2007

A Chance to Help Returning Vets!

A friend of a friend has developed an idea for making sure men and women who return from Iraq and Afghanistan after serving their country don't fall into abject poverty. If you're an American Express cardholder, you can go here to register and vote for Rachel's project. Here's her personal message about this brainstorm, and how to help secure funding for it via AmEx's contest:

FROM: Rachel Feldstein
RE: American Express Members Project

I want to alert all of you about a wonderful project that I have submitted to the American Express Members' Project. It is called Homeless Prevention for Vets from Iraq/Afghanistan. My personal project, it needs all cardmembers' help. If we win, I will be able to work with New Directions, a local nonprofit agency with a proven track record working with homeless veterans in Los Angeles, to develop a new program (and they will give us between $2 million and $5 million) to create a new program that will prevent homelessness among men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

If you have an American Express card, go to the Members' Project (link above), and register. Each registration puts one more dollar in the purse that they will donate to the winning cause. But more importantly, it allows you to vote. Please cast your vote for this project (number 1850) BEFORE July 13th, when the initial voting closes. Once we make the final 25, voting will again open up, and I will ask you to vote once more, so we can enter the top five. Eventually, you'll want to vote one last time so Homeless Prevention for Vets can win.

I need your help. PLEASE register and vote for my project, and pass this email along to everyone you know; ask them to do the same. Log on and vote for Project 1850, Homelessness Prevention for Vets from Iraq and Afghanistan. Your voice can help us keep veterans from "falling through the cracks" of society and becoming vulnerable to poverty.

Thank you for helping me make a difference.


Posted by Attila Girl at 06:16 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Happy Birthday, America.

Tonight I'll be lifting a glass of premium gin to those madmen, those geniuses, who thought they could build a new set of States based on Enlightenment thinking. Jefferson, Washington, Paine, Revere, Arnold [for a few years, until things went terribly wrong with him], Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Morgan, Adams [both of 'em], Henry, and Hancock.

It was absurd. It was ridiculous. It was clear for years that this silly effort—so costly in terms of treasure, and human lives—would fail, and fail miserably.

And yet, it didn't.

I'm sure there's a lesson in there somewhere, if one cared to look for it.

Posted by Attila Girl at 05:20 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 03, 2007

Nothing Like Disciplining an Employee

. . . on the eve of Independence Day. Especially when part of the deal is an involuntary suspension for 30 days.

And since we're a nonprofit corporation directly linked to a 12-step group, the people I had there as witnesses saw it more as an intervention than an HR issue. But that was part of the point, too: it was a good cop, bad cop routine.

I was the bad cop.

I do not like being the bad cop. On the way home I wished that I could cry; I was sure I would feel better if I could only do that. But my eyes were dry, and there was no release to be found.

On the other hand, every advisor I had—personal, spiritual, and business-related—told me I was doing the right thing.

"Wow," one person remarked as we left the interview. "That was a tough intervention. I could really use a drink."

"Yeah, me too," I told her. I'm having it now.

Posted by Attila Girl at 10:58 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 01, 2007

Another Way of Looking at Things

Once upon a time in a land far away, a beautiful, independent, self-assured princess happened upon a frog as she sat on the shore of a pond in a meadow near her castle.

The frog hopped into the princess' lap and said: "Elegant Lady, I was once a handsome prince, until an evil witch cast a spell upon me. One kiss from you, however, and I will turn back into the dapper young prince that I am--and then, my Sweet, we can marry and set up housekeeping in your castle with my mother--where you can prepare my meals, clean my clothes, bear my children, and forever feel grateful and happy doing so."

That night, as the princess dined sumptuously on lightly sauteed frog legs seasoned in a white wine and onion cream sauce, she chuckled and thought to herself: I don't freakin' think so.

Hat tip: the Evangelical Mafia.

Posted by Attila Girl at 02:36 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Hurry Up, Menopause.

My boobs ache, so I figure I'm in for a week or so of being super-bitchy, followed by a week of being super-inconvenienced. Until some week or months in the future, when it happens all over again.

Faster, please.

Posted by Attila Girl at 01:52 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Well, You Know.

Whatever works.

Hope it's workin' for you, Mr. Demanding and Impulsive.

Posted by Attila Girl at 01:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Queen Ann Ain't David Brock.

Hey, Darrell. I knew you'd weigh in on my latest diatribe against Ann Coulter, just as you knew that I'd write it.

You're aware, of course, that I love Queen Ann's mind—it's the use to which she puts it that troubles me sometimes. And this sort of Jon Stewart-esque business of putting analysis out there, and then hiding behind humor when challenged, is unimpressive.

But she isn't really anti-gay, which is another thing that infuriated me about her using the word "faggot," of course. I've heard her as a guest on Al Rantel's Show on KABC [an L.A. station] enough to know that. And I do believe that she has enough integrity to avoid pulling a Brock-esque political conversion, though I agree with you, D, that she could really clean up financially by doing so.

Speaking of David Brock, the divine Christopher Hitchens is one of perhaps five socialists whom I still respect intellectually—notwithstanding his radical atheism, which I've decided is yet another one of his endearing blind spots. He penned a rather marvelous review of Brock's Blinded by the Right for The Nation five years ago:

Brock masks his deep-seated mendacity from others and (perhaps) from himself by a simple if contemptible device of rhetoric. He switches between passive and active. Thus of one conservative smear-op, he tells us that "I allowed myself to get mixed up" in it. His masochism even permits him to say, at a reactionary award ceremony in far-off St. Louis, at which he somehow found himself, that "I was miserable. Yet this was how I made my living and it was who I had become. The conservatives had bought my brain." And paid well over the odds for it, I should say. Never mind, he always cheers up by letting himself be drawn in to another bad business. And here we get the same paltry narcissism in its opposite form: "I was a full-scale combatant, I had war-wounds to show for it, and I needed the thrill of another round of battle."

He finds it difficult to refer to himself--when he isn't crippled by self-loathing--without using the words "icon" and "poster boy." There are actually very few revelations in the book, unless you are surprised to learn that a cabal of right-wingers tried to frame the Clintons for killing Vince Foster. (Brock now prefers the even more far-out view that Foster was murdered by The Wall Street Journal.) Referring to the anti-Semitism of a famous conservative, he cites what might be a joke in poor taste and says it was "one of her gentler remarks." What, couldn't he have cited a more damning one? There are countless silly mistakes, including the date of Theodore and Barbara Olson's wedding, and many innuendoes, such as the (unsupported) suggestion that it is Richard Mellon Scaife who has committed not one but two murders.

In his coarse attack on Juanita Broaddrick, whose allegation of rape was supported by several contemporaneous witnesses and has not yet been denied by Clinton himself, Brock does not even do the elementary work of stating the case he is trying to rebut. Instead, he inserts a completely gratuitous slander against a decent woman, all of whose independent assertions have survived meticulous fact-checking. The defamation game is still all that this creep knows.

Etiquette requires that I mention a very rude description of myself, concentrating on the grossly physical, which includes the assertion that I am unwashed as well as unkempt. Those who know me will confirm that while I may not be tidy, I am so clean you could eat your dinner off me. Perhaps I did not want to put Mr. Brock to the labor of proving this. At any rate, I am relieved to find I am not his type. However, I forgive him this sophomoric passage because its empty hatred was so obviously feigned after the event, and because it describes me as five years younger than I am.

The reason Hitchens has gotten himself into so much trouble with the extreme Left over the years is that he cannot lie, any more than Brock can tell the truth. Any more than Coulter can preach to anyone but the choir. Memo to Coulter: You get a lot of "amens" that way, but you never win over any souls. I'm sorry if this fact is "distressing" to you.

Despite the ideological divide, I'm as passionate about Hitchens' writing as I am about Mark Steyn's (their website designers?—that's a bit less of an even contest). And yet Ann—despite the impressive research in a few of her books, her towering intellect and her fluency when speaking extempore—continues largely to leave me cold.

Why? Because I'm tired of going to parties and being confronted with the latest outrageous remark she's made, and expected to defend them. Because I'm offended by the cross on her chest in her promotional photo for Godless, because I doubt that the Lord was pleased by that cheap display. Because I prefer my writers to be snipers, rather than point-and-shoot wielders of twelve-gauge scatterguns.

Your mileage may vary. And I rather suspect that it does.

Happy Birthday, Darrell! I compensated for your being early by being late, myself. (And, yes—I am sending you something, since you're my biggest supporter. Just a small token of my appreciation. No, it ain't a picture of me in that Beefeater baseball cap. Though I ought to publish one, for I love it. And it's time to start wearing it, Baby: I've been walking around too much. I'm courting skin cancer.)

Posted by Attila Girl at 01:14 AM | 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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