Down in Kitty's Bassment

A flag-wavin', Earth-lovin', independent Pagan-in-a-giant-red-cornfield point of view. Believe it or not, there are some open minds in Nebraska. Oh, and I love NFL football too.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

US returns to sanity

CNN just predicted that the total abortion ban in SD will fail. Maybe SD is strongly pro-life, but I have a feeling that most of those farmers and ranchers either thought a) if my beloved daughter is a victim of rape, she ought to have a choice in whether to have the baby or b) it's none of the government's damn business what people do in their personal sexual lives.

Which leads to the other tidbit of refreshing news: Rick Santorum will have to find a new job. My husband can confirm that I did a Snoopy Dance of Great and Profound Joy when I heard this. Then some of the people on CNN began eulogizing his reign of ignorance and abuse. Great man, loved the AIDS victims in Africa, blah blah blah. (I yelled at the TV during this.) But remember folks, this is a man who thinks that loving a member of the same sex is exactly the same as screwing a barnyard animal. And many many other things, with which I won't dirty up my blog. Click here if you want to read it.

And most importantly, the Constitution will work as designed, with the legislative branch checking the executive. Republican or Democrat (or Independent like me), I think everyone* can agree that this is a GIANT step forward.

*Everyone except George Bush, Dick Cheney, Dennis Hastert, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, etc.

Read another blog please

I won't link to a specific post because they are all really enlightening. PLEASE click the link to the New Nebraska Network blog on my blogroll to the right. You'll learn a lot. I promise. Then come back to mine. Thanks.

Election 2006

I haven't written anything yet about the local general election (or the national election for that matter) because I thought there was WAAAAAY too much political BS going on and I was tired of it. In Nebraska it was Ben Nelson v. Pete Ricketts on TV every two minutes. Mostly it was "Vote for me because the other guy sucks donkey balls." Pete Ricketts, after buying the Republican primary for $3-4 million of his own money, spent another $13 million or so to try and buy the senate seat. How are you feeling about your investment now, Pete? Oh, and don't forget your hat tonight when you close your campaign office.

As I watch CNN, I think of Karl Rove, sinister boy genius of the Republican party. He has got to be in tears right now. It would seem that Republicans are becoming an endangered species in Congress. People are finally saying, "Why the FUCK are we spending billions of dollars overseas to overtake little piss-poor nations with stable legitimate (if evil) governments when people in THIS country are losing jobs every flippin' day?" Bush says "The economy is totally awesome!" Yeah, if you're one of that small minority of people with a portfolio and a country club membership. Lemme clue you in on a little secret, George: for the rest of us (that is, the majority of your subjects) it sucks. We can't pay our rent because we've lost our good manufacturing jobs and it now takes twice as much money to fill our gas tanks to get to our two $6.00 an hour jobs we took to try to make up for the good salary. We're tired of begging the utilities not to shut us off, trying to make a little paycheck stretch to give everyone a little something. And it would be nice if we could see a doctor or a dentist for a checkup, rather than only seeing a doctor when we cut off a limb with a chainsaw (and not being able to pay that bill either.) We want to be able to send our kids to college so they at least have a remote chance of being able to pay THEIR bills someday. That tax cut, which amounted to less than a month's rent annually for normal people, doesn't do a shitload of good when you're so broke you can't PAY the tax bill and the IRS does something nasty to you anyway. This was not so much a referendum on gay marriage or abortion, or even Iraq or terrorism. This was a shout from the great American people that WE'RE MAD AS HELL (AND BROKE) AND WE'RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!

Someone wanna get Karl a bottle of Ripple? I think he's gonna need it, and that's all the rest of us can afford.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Some Pet Peeves

I am a 99% extremely tolerant person, but there are a few things in this world even I cannot stand. These are my "pet peeves" (who came up with that term, anyway?)

1. People who shit in public restrooms. What about entering a store makes you immediately feel the need to take a dump? Do you not realize that other people have to use the same restroom? Maybe even the employees? I have to walk past the restrooms to go to the breakroom and eat my lunch, and lemme tell you that whatever crawled out of your ass and into the hall does NOT make that task easy. If ya gotta dump, that means it's time to leave the store. I WORK there and I can hold it for a few hours until I can go home! GEEZ!

2. People who cannot read speed limit signs. If the sign says 40, and I am doing 40, you have no right to whip past me doing 60 with your left middle finger out the window and your right hand clutching your cell phone to your ear. (How do you drive like this?)

3. People who impose their brand of morality on everyone else. If you don't like something a store sells, don't buy it. Also, don't put other things in front of it, hide it behind a shelf, or turn it around. (Can you guess how many times in Nebraska we had to flip the Bill Clinton bio back to its rightful, face out position?) Or how many days in a row I've had to remove Midwest Living from in front of Heavy Metal this week? You can complain to the manager, if you like. But it won't help. I like our Constitution.

4. People who blame others for their problems. Reading Harry Potter books turned someone's kid into a witch, which took a lot of expensive counseling to fix and made the parents look bad to their buddies at church. Reeeeeally? Mark Foley was allegedly molested by a clergyperson as a teen. So? Some guy dreamed of molesting kids so he shoots a bunch of Amish girls. HUH? No one is powerless. Do your homework, make your decisions, and then accept and own the consequences, good or bad. And don't hurt other people because you can't stand yourself anymore.

I am sure there are more. There have to be. But as it's late, and #1 was the big one (or or the big #2, as it seems to be) I'll quite griping about humanity now and let you sleep.

A Point about that Over-zealous Mother

The point was to be: what is this mother teaching her children? That there are some evil books in this world? (I believe there are no evil books - the evil comes from what people do after reading them.)

How about "Stand up for what you believe in." That's noble, and I cannot disagree with it. "Even when you are ridiculed and persecuted for it." Yep, even then.

Or is she really teaching them this: "If you don't like the answer one authority gives you, then you ask the other one, and then another, and then another; until you get the answer you want. Do not accept no as an answer." Can't wait till those kids grow up, Mom. Remember, if you tell 'em no, they can always ask Dad. And if he says no, they can run away or sue for emancipation. All because you provided them with the example that no doesn't have to be final so long as there is another person to ask.

Harry Potter and the Over-zealous Mother

One mother in Georgia has made it her mission to remove Harry Potter from all the school and public libraries in her county because it promotes the practice of witchcraft. No kidding. Stop laughing.

I have not read the Harry Potter books. They started coming out when my kids were at the "Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "Thomas the Tank Engine" stage of life, and as they aged they never showed interest. We have seen a few of the movies though, which were OK. I never saw them as promoting witchcraft, though. I saw them as portraying the struggle of good vs. evil, much the same way as "The Lord of the Rings" did (though not nearly as well, in my opinion).

Why do I say the books do not promote witchcraft, when they portray children going to a school to learn to cast spells and tamper with the universe? Because that's not witchcraft, really. That's wannabe fluffy "witchcraft", just like the TV series "Charmed". If casting a spell makes you a witch, then surely eating a flat tasteless wafer and drinking wine makes you a Catholic. It doesn't, obviously. It's just one teensy part of the whole.

What is witchcraft? It is a pagan religion, often referred to as the "old religion". Why? Because paganism predates all the other religions. Long before there were "God" and "Jesus" and "Allah" there were other deities. Which ones you worshipped mostly depended on location. Egyptians had a set of gods/goddesses (Bast, Ra, Osiris, etc.), Greeks had a set of gods/goddesses (Zeus, Demeter, Athena, Dionysus, etc.), Romans had them (Neptune, Venus, Mars, etc.). The Norse had Odin, Thor and Freya among others and the Celts had Cerridwen, Brighid and many others. Even those on this continent could have been considered Pagan, when you think that their gods are all things you find in nature, such as the Sky Father, Earth Mother, and their many brothers and sisters in the animal kingdom. Many people think "heathen" or "atheist" are interchangeable with "Pagan". They are not. Pagans of old (and the Pagans of today) simply believe in deities other than "God." Some people, especially Christians, equate "Pagan" with "Satanist", which is also extremely inaccurate. Satan belongs in that God, Jesus and Mary set, and most Pagans do not believe in him. How can we worship a being who does not exist to us? Witches simply worship other gods and goddesses in much the same way as other major modern religions do.

Do witches cast spells all the time? I would say that less than 1% of my religion the way I practice it is spellcraft, at least in a ritualized format. Do I cast spells more often than that? Yes, in the same way that most other people do. It's called a wish. You see a need, you focus on it and direct energy towards it, and work toward resolving it. Much more of my time, in fact the bulk of it, is spent in something I like to call "passive worship". Serving others, taking care of my Earth Mother by recycling and reducing my own personal consumption, noticing all the beauty around me: these are how I worship.

Now if I have a minor illness or discomfort, I have learned enough about the substances Mother Earth has provided in order to take care of it. I don't go running for a pill bottle. If my cure doesn't work, I go to a professional healer (doctor). I have had no need of a doctor for four years, so I must be doing something right. (This also goes to show that most people could also apply a little common sense and nature wisdom to many of their ills and maybe make all of our health insurance premiums go down a little.) Could someone who isn't a witch make menstrual cramps go away with a simple tea? Yes, probably; but would they believe that Earth's solution would work as well as Midol? Probably not.

Wow, I got WAY off Harry Potter. Anyway, in my experiences I have not seen Harry, Hermoine and the other dude invoke a deity to cast a spell. I have not seen them worship other deities. In fact, from the movies I cannot discern what religion they are. Which means they AREN'T witches, because I could easily discern that. They are just spell casters in a fantasy fiction world. You remember "Fantasia"? There was a part where Mickey grabs his boss' pointy hat and floods the whole room with water. That's Harry Potter. It's not really witchcraft. Witchcraft is an entire lifestyle, a mindset, a way of being. I remember when I was really into Jesus. All day long I thought about Jesus. Jesus this and Jesus that, what would Jesus do, etc. I was consumed by it. Or it sure felt like I was. I think many hardcore Christians can relate to that. That, I believe, is the best way to describe the Wiccan faith. It's not something you do for an hour on Sundays, it IS you. Anyway, Harry and friends do not seem to be all about the Craft. They are regular teens sometimes, enjoying sports and cars (OK, it flies) and the attentions of the opposite sex occasionally. And sometimes they get into a spot, say a few Latin-sounding words while pointing a stick and POOF! The problem is solved (or worse, depending on which kid cast the spell). That's not witchcraft. It's just a story.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Critters of Habit

Humans are critters of habit. Take me, for example. My life was as predictable as it could be and I loved it that way. I woke up, watched Good Morning America, and went to work on the appropriate days. Then I came home at 4:43, let the dog out, did one quick Neopets thing, and watched the channel 8 news. This was followed by the ABC news and, if I was feeling froggy, the channel 8 news again. This was followed by my DVR-d episodes of "The Young and the Restless" and "The Bold and the Beautiful" recorded earlier that very same day. Then it was on to CNN for Larry King and Anderson Cooper, unless it was a football night (Thursday, Friday, Sunday or Monday). Then I'd go to bed and watch Larry King, Anderson Cooper or ESPN until I fell asleep, having set my sleep timer for 2 hours.

I now have a roommate, whose habits are quite different and apparantly taking precedence over mine. First of all, she does not watch the correct news station. She's hooked on NBC for some reason. I have had no reason at all to watch anything on NBC until just this fall when ABC made the most gigantic mistake of dumping Monday Night Football and John Madden and Al Michaels had to move over to NBC. Before that I think it's been at least 10 years since I had watched NBC at all. In fact, I think Cheers was the last show I liked on NBC.

I didn't know until this last month that there were still game shows on TV. I knew "The Price is Right" was still on because a) it's on right before Y&R and b) Bob Barker is immortal. But I figured that all those other game shows had run their course. Not true. In fact today I found three game shows on my TV: "Jeopardy!" (I guess Alex Trebek is also immortal), "Wheel of Fortune" (so is Pat Sajak), and that one show that Regis used to do 9 nights a week with the final answer thing (which is now hosted by a woman. In fact "Jeopardy!" is on every flippin' day when I get home. You know, before this month it had been probably 10 or 12 years since I had seen "Jeopardy!". I could happily live another 12 years before I watch it again. Betcha I don't get that lucky.

And finally I watched 6 episodes of Y&R this morning. I'm not caught up to this weeks episodes, but I am getting closer. I also have about 6 or 10 episodes of B&B recorded. Since I cannot watch them every night any more, I have to have these marathon viewing sessions. So DO NOT tell me what happened today in the comments section.

I never thought that at my age I would have anything in common with the college kids with whom I work. But I do. I'm learning to live around a roommate. I missed out on that in college. I guess it's karma coming back around to bite me.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

My Cultural Illiteracy / Emmy Awards

I mentioned in an earlier post that I don't follow the same TV shows as everyone else. I thought I would give everyone a good laugh and prove it.

I've compiled a list of some of the major nominees and made comments for your pleasure:

Grey's Anatomy - Watched the season premiere. Was terribly disappointed when it turned out to be a two parter. Did not watch 2nd part. Or any other episodes.
House - I think it's another hospital show. Never watched. I miss St. Elsewhere.
Sopranos - Mafia show on a spendy channel. Never watched.
24 - a show about terrorists and the people (ok the guy) that finds 'em. Watched about 3 episodes (or parts thereof) at beginning of last season.
West Wing - Watched 3 or 4 episodes 3 or 4 years ago. I much preferred Commander-in-Chief.
PREDICTED WINNER: West Wing because it's over and they'll honor the whole run like they did Return of the King for all the LOTR movies.

Arrested Development - Never watched.
Curb Your Enthusiasm - Spendy channel. No clue what it's about.
The Office - Never watched - wonder if it's as good as Office Space (the movie)
Scrubs - Another hospital show - see comments for House above.
Two and a Half Men - watched five or six episodes in total since it's been on. It's OK, but conflicted with Monday Night Football.
PREDICTED WINNER: Arrested Development because I heard grousing it never gets noticed.

The Colbert Report - watched twice. Kinda smug, isn't he?
The Daily Show w/ Jon Stewart - watched three times. I like a man with the juevos to take on Bill O'Reilly, especially about something so dumb as an invented holiday in the winter which was originally designed to make an easy transition to Christianity for European Pagans who already celebrated the birth of a Sun in late December.
Late Night w/ Conan O'Brian - watched once or twice back when he was on that falsetto "In the year 2000" kick.
Late Show w/ David Letterman - I actually do watch this show in spurts... or rather I did several years ago before I discovered Anderson Cooper (and Aaron Brown before him).
Real Time w/ Bill Maher - He had another TV show? Who knew? I did read his book though, and it was funny as hell.
PREDICTED WINNER: David Letterman. Who wouldn't love a wholesome guy from Indiana?

It only gets worse getting into actor/actress and supporting categories. And to top it all off NBC got this contract which said they would show football every Sunday night for a long time, and tonight they are NOT having a football game. I have to make due with a game I recorded last night. BREACH OF CONTRACT! If you want to show the football games then by all that is good and holy DO IT! Put the Emmys on some other night, like Tuesday nights. There is no first-run football on any network on Tuesdays. Or move 'em to spring like the Golden Globes and Oscars. No football conflicts there. (Note: the last couple of Sunday night football games are the first time I have watched NBC in years and years. Nothing else worth watching there.

A BIG thank you to Katherine Harris!!!

I would just like to publicly thank Katherine Harris for setting the record straight as to the true intent of the extreme X-tian right. The not-so-secret agenda has finally been exposed in all it's glory. And the Democrats are guaranteed to win that seat she's running for. I would say I love you, Ms. Harris; but a) it would be a lie and b) you might assume I am one of those evil lesbian people.

For those who missed it, I've posted some of the highlights of her lovely little interview:

Separation of church and state is "a lie we have been told," Harris said in the interview, published Thursday, saying separating religion and politics is "wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers." (Reeeally. This explains all those provisional ballots from heavily Democratic districts in Ohio getting thrown away and all those dysfunctional voting machines in Native American precincts in New Mexico. GOD HIMSELF willed it.)


"If you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin," Harris said. (I guess X-tians have the monopoly on morality. That's a relief, now I won't have to try so hard anymore.)

When called out on those particular comments, Ms. Harris made the excuse that she was talking to a bunch of Christians, so DUH! she was gonna say stuff like that. Here's the exact quote:

Harris' campaign released a statement Saturday saying she had been "speaking to a Christian audience, addressing a common misperception that people of faith should not be actively involved in government." (So, judging from that - she has proved that politicians will say absolutely ANYTHING to pander to a particular group, whether it is true or not, inflammatory or not, acceptable or not. And that they (politicians) whore themselves out for votes.)

Just so there will be no wondering, I am not a X-tian. I will not say anything bad about their religion specifically because I believe it is forbidden by my Pagan faith. Up until about 3 1/2 years ago I was a very confused but still Jesus-lovin' evangelical X-tian. Up until two or three years ago I was a registered Republican but am now independent. Not Democrat. I support some conservative positions and some liberal positions. I do believe that the Founding Fathers were Christians, but that they understood that government has absolutely no business making religious decisions in anyone's life. That's why they put that whole bit about Congress shall make no laws regarding establishing religion right there in the Constitution. (It's an interesting document, Ms. Harris. Trot yourself down to your local Barnes & Noble's law section and pick one up. Or better yet, click here. Read it.)

Here's the secret agenda: everyone needs to vote for X-tians. If they accidentally don't, or vote for the wrong one, the elections officials can help with that (see election 2000, 2004). Then we can have a government filled with people who never lie, steal, cheat, drink, or have sex with the lights on or in anything other than missionary position (however, raping of the Earth is encouraged). They will then rewrite all the laws in the great United States of America (founded on the principle of freedom) so that no citizen can do any of that stuff either. And they will make certain that we are all behaving like good little X-tians, because they will tap our phones and internet to find out (presumably under the guise of national security). Finally we'll all have to go to church every Sunday in order to get a mark that allows us to buy and sell goods in the common market. No mark, you're a fugitive. Theocracy at its finest (reminds me of the Taliban.) This is what happens when you allow any one group to gain an overwhelming controlling interest in government. Suddenly all the rules change to fit the rules of THEIR church and THEIR god. To me, that is as good as government establishment of a state religion. They may not come out and SAY "The Official Religion of the United States of America is Hardcore Evangelical Christianity" (because as of this writing that is still illegal - but the GOP is probably working on that). But they CAN establish all the tenets of a certain faith to the letter as the law of the land. And that is what they want to do.

This is dangerous ground upon which the evangelicals are treading. And as a freedom-loving, Earth-loving Wiccan "libero-conservative" independent white American female voter, I will not stand for it. I can't imagine that anyone else who loves freedom would stand for it, either. Use your MIND when you vote (and you had better VOTE DAMMIT) this November.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Brats in Public

I am going to admit here in a public forum that I have a problem with OPK (Other People's Kids). I don't think all OPK are bad, but the ones who are certainly cast a negative light on all of them.

Once upon a time there used to be standards your children had to meet while out in public: Use indoor voices, don't touch, no whining, stay with Mom and Dad. Now it seems that Mom and Dad think it is perfectly reasonable to drop children off in the kids section of a store so they can browse the rest of the store at their leisure. They have no second thoughts about it. They do not care if their children are destroying merchandise or if a friendly stranger has struck up a conversation with their vulnerable child. (I have seen videos of adult men coming up to children in the toy section of the store and exposing themselves.) Many times I have had a crying child come up to me because she cannot find Mommy and she's scared. Occasionally the parents are looking for their child as well, but mostly they do not notice when you return their child to them, and they go back to ignoring the kid and doing whatever it was they were doing when you bothered them to return their child. But have no fear, it is quite easy to make the parent of a destructive child show up in two seconds flat: tell their little angel it is not OK for them to pull everything off the shelves, or climb on the fixtures, or rip up the store's goods. The parent suddenly materializes out of nowhere, screaming at you not to speak to their little darling that way. You learn quickly: the child is never wrong. Just ask any teacher who has trouble controlling a kid. If you call the parents to get them involved, you just might end up on the losing end of the situation.

I have seen other kids who are just plain obnoxious. Sometimes it isn't their fault: it's three in the afternoon, their parents have been dragging them around from store to store for hours, they're hungry and tired. Sometimes the parents just ignore the child, continuing to browse at their leisure. Sometimes the parent yells at the kid for acting up. The solution is easy: take the kid home and back to their normal routine. Why is that so difficult for some people? Sometimes there is a bribe involved: be good and I'll buy you something. The kid learns (with amazing speed) that if they are naughty, they will get a toy/book/candy bar. HUH??? All I can say about these kids is they are going to be really really suprised when they bust up a store as a teenager and they get to go to the police station instead of getting a video game!

I had three kids by the time I was 23. My ex-husband worked in many upscale clubs, and our children were always welcome in these environments. At first they were just an amusement for the bridge club ladies. After that they went to various dinners and always behaved well. They knew what was expected of them. We went to many restaurants when they were little - nice ones and regular ones. We had no problem with spanking the kids in public. We brought them things to do. And we always did two things religiously: before we entered we told them exactly how we expected them to behave, and we praised them regularly when they met those expectations. Our kids knew it was good for us to tall them they were being good, but it was even better when the staff or other patrons praised them. I still praise OPK when they are good. I'll say something like "I'll bet your Mommy is really proud of you for being so good." The kid feels good about himself, the parents feel good about themselves.

In stores my children always had to hold hands with me and each other. If hands are in other hands they cannot be touching things. They asked for things of course, and 99% of the time I said no. (If it was something reasonable, like "Mommy can we get some orange juice?" I'd go along.) But there were no toys in the toy aisle and no candy bars at the check out. They knew that, and eventually stopped asking. It DOES take a while to train a child that they will not get something in every store. And it isn't easy. But they do learn. And then, when you DO choose to buy them something out of the blue, it is a special treat. It's not just a toy they play with for ten minutes and forget for eternity. It's not about the toy - it never is. It's about the power. I never let my children have the power.

I wasn't a perfect parent, and I'm still not. But I think I've done OK so far. The oldest starts driving soon, so we'll see how that goes. I trust him, and I don't think there will be many problems. I think if parents just establish a LOT of boundaries with their kids, they can be reasonably sure that their kids will be welcome in any store or restaurant. If you're offended by a business banning fussy children or by nasty glares from other people, YOU need to work hard to make certain that your kids exceed expectations.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The three month absence make-up post

I've been gone for a long time. Not gone from the internet, just taking a break from a lot of it. Of course my brain hasn't been shut off, and I have been thinking a lot.

#1 - It's football time baby! I eagerly watched the first preseason game between the Oakland Raiders and the Philadelphia Eagles. I know, preseason doesn't count, right? Well I always watch preseason games because of my fantasy football addiction. I'm "scouting" for my teams, looking for that breakout sleeper I can draft in late rounds and expect miracles from. I have 4 fantasy teams this season (one more than last year) and I have to admit it feels overwhelming at this point. But I know that as the drafts happen the bulk of my attention will fall to one or two of those teams, either because there's a lot of good active players in that league or because I drafted a team with the potential to kick some major booty. (If I am lucky enough to snag Larry Johnson, I will most definately pay close attention to that team.) I have never drafted higher than 4th pick though, which requires study and creativity. And that's where preseason comes in.

#2 - Nebraska's Senate race. I watched the debate eagerly yesterday (since they preempted my second-favorite soap to show it). Like a horny sailor on shore leave for the first time in months, it went ugly early. Imagine two millionaires slugging it out on TV. Ricketts compares Ben Nelson to Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton, which is laughable because while Nelson is listed as a Democrat, he is the most Republican Democrat in the Senate. And everyone in Nebraska knows it, including Pete Ricketts. Ricketts bought the primary, and he is trying to buy the regular election. But I think it's going to take some Ohio or New Mexico type shenanigans for him to win. (Read "Armed Madhouse" by Greg Palast to see what that's all about.) But for now, the contest is fun to watch. ** Note - the author of this blog is neither Republican nor Democrat, neither fully conservative nor liberal. They don't make a political party that represents all my positions.

It's not like there's much choice anyway. They are both in favor of eliminating the "death tax" so that folks like Paris Hilton (or their children) don't have to pay taxes when their parents kick off. (Since this tax only kicks in when the estate is over $1.5 MILLION, tell me how eliminating it benefits the "average" Nebraskan?) They are both pro-life even to the point of denying federal funding for stem cell research. (Yep, they want to protect the medical waste that no one wants but couldn't care less about those of us already born and struggling to make it in the world right this second.) They are both rich white Christian men (only the second description fits me). And if elected each would disappear into the beltway, only to be heard from again in six years when it's time to campaign again.

I have some errands to do now but will attempt to write more later before work.

It IS good to be back though.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Might-coulds and Shoulda-beens

Sometimes when you are still engrossed in the folly of youth, you have an idea of exactly how your life will turn out. You will have such and such a career and marry a certain (or a certain sort of) person, live in a nice house in a great neighborhood with wonderful friends and neighbors and you cannot imagine having to want for anything your whole life. All you have to do is turn 18 so you can get away from your folks, get out there and make it happen.

I had that life planned too. I thought I'd be living in New York City in a "Dharma and Greg" sort of apartment. I would be walking to work in the theatre everyday and come home to my two cats named Mephisto and Marguerite. I might have a serious relationship, but more than likely not. I would just have a few close guy friends (with benefits) because I would be independent and successful and completely fulfilled in my career. Besides, with touring productions I'd need to crew or supervise I wouldn't really be able to tie myself down with my family. That's my might-could. But is it my shoulda-been?

I wonder that sometimes. I can point to one pivitol event in my life that changed everything for me. It was the conception of my oldest son in the summer of my senior year. I really love all my kids but sometimes I really wish I had waited. Once you have children, you effectively have no life of your own (if you are parenting correctly in my opinion). I've been through half my life now and still have not really achieved anything which was in my original might-could. I tell myself that I might have gotten into a lot more trouble in New York than just getting knocked up and that I am happier here. I have to tell myself that because I have no other reality. I am one of those fortunate people who can convince herself she is mostly happy in the reality that has come about, but that isn't always easy. I ended up with an unfinished college degree and divorced. Remarried but alone. And broke.

Right now there are lots of kids turning 18 and getting ready to go out and do something. They're sitting through lots of commencement speeches telling them to "Go boldly forth and make all your dreams come true." That's kind of daunting isn't it? And, for most of us, nearly impossible. So here is my commencement address to the class of 2006. Figure out what you absolutely do NOT want to do with your life. Where do you NOT want to be in ten years? If you got busted for smoking dope and had to trade college for prison, would you still go to your high school reunion? If you had six kids with four different fathers, would you be embarrassed to see your old friends again? Figure out what you want to be able to tell the preppies and cheerleaders and jocks and then set about to making that reality true. Picture what exactly (in minute detail) what you want your life to look like in 10 years and avoid anything that will screw that reality up for you. You may not always have the power to make your dreams come true due to lack of money, influence, pure dumb luck, etc. But you DO have the power to avoid things that will take you farther from your ideal reality. Never assume it won't happen to you. Assume it will happen and you will get caught ALWAYS and then evaluate if that is an activity in which you want to engage. Other people tell you to make something great of your life. I'm telling you just don't screw it up.

Sometimes, you can never get your might-coulds and shoulda-beens back.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Big TV Night?

Apparantly tonight was a momentous night on the television. I have had mine on since about 5:30 pm (ABC World News Tonight) and I didn't notice anything.

I believe I am the most culturally illiterate person in America. I don't know who is in the running for American Idol. I don't know what stinkin' island the Survivor castaways got dropped on this time. I don't know which Desperate Housewife is the slut (or which one isn't?) And I don't know who the latest plane crash victim to die on that other island (north shore of Hawaii I heard) is. So what DOES this completely out-of-touch chick watch on TV?

Anderson Cooper (AC360) - CNN 9 to 11 pm and midnight-2 am weeknights - I LOVE Anderson Cooper. Besides the fact that he is a beautiful man who can also put together a coherent sentence, he is a passionate journalist. I have only watched him come up through CNN, and to be honest I was kinda pissed when he started encroaching on Aaron Brown's Newsnight time. And then some hurricanes hit (don't remember if it was Katrina or the year before) and Aaron disappeared. What was left was the most amazing broadcast journalism I have ever seen. As a once-prospective print journalist I didn't hold many TV pretty boy anchors in high regard. But there is so much more to Anderson than his (adorable) appearance. He FEELS his stories. And he conveys his feelings and makes you feel something too. I've never seen anything like it, except perhaps the clip of Cronkite announcing the death of President Kennedy.

NFL Football - I am a football junkie. I watch any NFL football game any time. I prefer the Vikings, but any NFL football will do. I follow the draft in May, and I carefully study many different sources before I draft my own fantasy football teams in September. I closely watch all the injury reports throughout the year and make adjustments accordingly. I was in an NFL for women FFL last season and it was a blast. And I won the playoffs. I am looking forward to an even better season, both for the Vikes and myself, this year.

Boston Legal - ABC Tuesday nights 9 pm - This is a sometimes show for me if Anderson's got nothing amazing on and if I remember. It's my one prime time drama. I enjoy the funny banter between William Shatner, James Spader, Candace Bergan and Rene Auberjonois (and many others). It has been a nice diversion.

Dancing with the Stars - ABC - How can you NOT love this show? I watched it from the very first episode of the first season. It's elegant and graceful and classy. The second season in my opinion was not as good as the first as they showbizzed it up more with backstories and had more of that nasty contentious banter between the judges (a la that other show). To make the show even better I think they need to make the audience vote count for way way less because then you have a situation like in the first season where someone who could barely dance her way out of a paper bag had all these soap fans voting for her and kicking off better dancers. In the second season one contestant who obviously did not give a crap about dancing and put forth almost no effort (which showed) ended up staying more weeks than he should have because of a certain bloc of voters. If you know nothing about dance, don't vote. Vote on technique, not on who you personally like.

The Young and the Restless - this is one of my two guilty pleasures. It is one consistent thing I can count on in my life every day. If I miss one or two, it's ok because it is easy to follow. I tape on DVR and watch every night. And I think Nick should end up with Phyllis. Redheads are FAR more fun.

The Bachelor - My other guilty pleasure. I think it's great fun to watch 25 high maintenance women fighting over one guy they've known for less than ten minutes, just to break up less than a month after the proposal. Catfights galore. It's much better than the Bachelorette (although the Bachelorette has married off a couple successfully and I expect ABC to fully exploit them as they have children). Somehow 25 men grovelling over one high maintenance woman is not nearly as entertaining. It's just gross. Don't ever grovel, men, especially over a woman you aren't married to yet.

There are a few other things I watch occasionnally because my husband is into them (Stargates, Battlestar Galactica, and anything on History Channel), but this is pretty much a complete list of the shows I love.

Who won American Idol anyway? (Even if they make it in the music business, they won't get played on my radio station so it doesn't matter.) I just want to know what people will be talking about tomorrow.

Absence Explanation

I haven't written a lot lately because I have been writing in my blog journal. I get the bluntest of my feelings out in that book. There are many thoughts, especially lately, which shouldn't be expressed here. The others will get edited for content and added here over time.

Practical Plural Marriage

Warren Jeffs hitting the big time of crime, the FBI's ten most wanted list, has brought a heightened awareness of polygamy to everyday Americans. Note that I am not in any way endorsing this man, his teachings or polygamy in general. I thought, however, that I would explore the issue on my own.

Warren Jeffs has got it all wrong. In his sect, teenage boys are run out of town in order to make the competition for the teenaged brides a little less stiff. These older men marry 5 or 10 young women and (as far as I can tell) keep 'em knocked up for most of their childbearing years. This results in tens and sometimes hundreds of children per family. Also (as far as I can tell) these girls and women are pretty much interchangeable. They cook, they clean, they submit to sex and raise babies to do the same. If the hubby gets a rebellious thought in his head, his little wives can be given to some other guy to treat the same way. HOW inefficient (and expensive) is this??? The way I see it, if you're going to practice polygamy to its full potential, you need to make it a better life system.

This will assume all parties are of the minimum age I think people should marry, which is 25. No person under 19 ever under any circumstances whould be roping themselves to another person for all eternity (presumably) for reasons I think I have probably already stated in previous entries. Give people a chance to get educated, get established, figure out who they are and what they want in a similarly mature partner (or in this case, partners).

Next, allow for equal opportunity. What's good for the gander is good (and perhaps even better) for the goose. If some guy can have multiple wives, then women should be allowed to have multiple husbands. This solves the problem of what to do with the surplus males. It does create problems in the old family tree, but I have not met too many guys who really wanted babies before their partners (or nagging mothers) told them it was either time to do so or was immininently going to happen. So you can either let it go, keep very good records, use one guy a cycle, or choose your breeders and get the rest fixed. This also reduces the number of offspring and therefore the expense of maintaining a large family.

Finally, choose your spouses by skill set. Why have a bunch of wives who just cook, clean and raise babies? Why not diversify your talent pool? Large families require a lot of cash coming in and make large bills. Marry an accountant. Polygamy is illegal, so the next wife you'll need will be a lawyer. Why feed your brood spaghetti ever night? A classically-trained chef could keep your palate satisfied. A professional organizer would come in handy, as well as an interior decorator. A teacher would be useful to help with all the schoolwork those kids will be doing. And then for those special occasions when you really want to impress your old school buddies, you need a trophy wife.

Similarly a woman could certainly get herself a useful group of husbands. A mechanic is absolutely necessary, as is a computer/electronics geek. An handyman would make an excellent choice, and you could always add guys with plumbing and wiring skills if handyman Hank was lacking. Again the accountant and lawyer would be a good idea. And those women who feel the need to splurge on luxuries could get their own hairdresser and fashion designer husbands, though these last two might be more interested in each other than in the wife. And a chef would be great. A personal trainer would be able to help you lose baby weight and burn off those chef-created calories. At least one of the men ought to be 6'5" or taller to change the lightbulbs and reach things in the top cupboards. (I have 10 or 12' ceilings and had to stack three books on top of my stepstool in order to change my kitchen lightbulb.) And finally, with all these guys, there is a far better than average chance that a woman will fall asleep satisfied. If one or two guys says they are tired or have a headache or just don't get the job done to your satisfaction (pun intended) you can always call in a back-up (or three). Notice I didn't add this on the men's list of wives because men are fairly simple creatures to entertain in the bedroom and are generally one-and-done.

Hopefully this Jeffs guy will get caught and his sect will be returned to normal civilization. When that happens, will plural marriage again be hidden from the public consciousness? Or has a "new" way of life firmly taken root in American society? If you are going to allow plural marriage, do it right. (Again, not an endorsement of that lifestyle, just playing with the idea.)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Election Day in Nebraska

That's right folks! If you live in the great state of Nebraska, today you get to choose which wealthy white pro-life anti-gay Christian male you want to represent the Republican party for governor, senator, congressman, unicameral, etc. I'll let you know a little secret in advance: it doesn't matter who you pick. They are ALL virtually the SAME guy. Nothing will change, whether it's candidate A or candidate B who makes it to the general election in November. Taxes will STILL be the 8th highest in the nation. Know why? Because they cannot possibly cut the things in the budget that they like to cut (education, health care, food programs, elderly services, roads, etc.) any more without it being EXTREMELY noticable. They will not cut the things they CAN cut (salaries for the "leadership" in the University of Nebraska system, salaries for various state officials, superfluous positions in state government, money for gardens and statues and crap like that, and many many other projects). End game: nothing changes.

I can't change the way things are here but I can provide you with inner peace. I am running as an alternative candidate for EVERY race. Don't want to vote for any of the white anti-choice males running for governor? Vote for me. None of the white anti-gay rich men running for senator appeal to you? Vote for me. You can even write me in for NRD board if you like. If I win I will have the opportunity to finally learn what the heck the NRD board is and why people want to get elected to it.

My candidate bio is short: I am white (can't change that), married (some of the time at least), working class, non-landed (and I am short on the rent so campaign contributions are welcome). I have a full-time job which requires me to be on my feet all day, not a cushy desk job. I have three kids (some of the time). I am extremely broke (95% of the time) so I know what being hungry and not being able to buy new shoes (even when yours have holes) feels like. I live that every day of my life.

My stand on the issues. #1 - I am both pro-choice and pro-life. That means that I think abortion ought to be safe and legal for every woman in the state but also that the state needs to work to make abortions extremely rare. Let's prevent the accidental and unwanted pregnancies. Since kids are gonna do it anyway (yes, they are) we need to keep them from getting pregnant. We need to provide mandatory long-term birth control for everyone under the age of 19 and strongly encourage that the woman continue use until at least marriage. And marriage would be delayed at least until the age of 25. I would prefer 28, but that might be a little extreme. This gives women the opportunity to finish at least a bachelor's degree and get established in a successful career before getting entangled with a man and all the bills that come with them. She learns to negotiate, balance her checkbook, reseach investments, and run her own life. I'm tired of seeing dewey-eyed brides spending tens of thousands of their parent's dollars getting married to some guy (that also doesn't matter because it's the wedding that counts, not the marriage). They have a kid or maybe two and then they fall in love with someone else, take the kids, screw the dad over for child support and call it good.

#2 - Allow gay marriage. They are human, not less than human. It does not need to be a religious ceremony because "religion" as it is today is just a bunch of rules that the Romans designed in order to bring their ever-growing empire under control. Both partners do need to be all the guaranteed legal rights that straight couples enjoy. It's the right thing to do. Besides, if they are marrying each other, they won't be marrying straights under false pretenses and then ruining many many lives down the road. (And if you think this is NOT a problem go look at the number and size of support groups for straight spouses. At least hundreds of thousands of people marry someone who turns out to be gay or lesbian later, and most do not take it as well as I did.)

#3 - Cut taxes for anyone who makes under $25,000 for singles, $50,000 for married couples no children or singles with children, $75,000 for families with children. NO taxes for these groups. And eliminate ANY and ALL loopholes for people who are better off. Picture this: you are married and even with two full-time incomes you cannot pay rent, have various utilities shut off every month, can't afford food except for when the kids visit, can't afford clothes even when they wear out. There simply is no money. You become extremely good at begging off creditors. And you owe more than $3000 in federal income tax. The vice president (who presumably does not pay rent or utilities for his official residence, obviously gets plenty of food, owns half of Wyoming and can buy off anyone he accidentally shoots on a hunting trip) gets almost $2 million in refund! Why does the government want to take $3000 we do not have and give it to the vice president, who could easily wipe his ass with it, flush it, and not blink? I do not understand America.

#4 - Concealed carry would be the law of the state and there would be NOTHING any individual city could do to curtail that right. Period. Why should the criminals be the only ones who get to carry guns?

#5 - Keep the small schools - They have proven time and again that they are far more efficient at both using their limited resources and at education students. I LOVE the idea of breaking up Omaha Public Schools as the legislature wants. OPS did not want the burden of educating more students - they do a crappy job of educating the ones they have now. They just wanted the money that would have come with swallowing up all those smaller school districts. There's a reason parents put their kids in smaller school districts. THEY LEARN SOMETHING THERE! Almost ALL of the money goes directly to educating the student, not paying a hundred or more bureaucrats to run the school system.

There are more stands on more issues, but this is getting long. It boils down to this: you can vote for one of the well-to-do WASP men who want to spend your money and curtail your rights. Or you can write in "BASSKITTY." We won't win, but we will be able to sleep tonight.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Profound Emptiness

I am feeling profound emptiness, for reasons I cannot get into here because of readership. I like being alone but sometimes I do not handle it well for the first few days. The question is "what do I do with this empty feeling?"

Since the feeling has a lot to do with a person upon whom I am basing a character in my book, I should write. But I am not yet up to that part where that person would be introduced. I can't really skip forward.

I feel a little ridiculous about this actually. I haven't got any right to be experiencing this, but I do.

On the upside, though; it would seem that quite a bit of my anger has dissipated. I have been writing my blog entries in a notebook so that I wouldn't sound like an Extremely Angry Person on the verge of doing Something Stupid. And it took a while to get that all taken care of, hence the almost-month between entries. Perhaps at some point I will be able to go through my notebook and edit those posts into something that sounds less anti-social.

I am silly.