Friday, July 30, 2010

Selfish Love

Like industrialists extracting materials
Used to power the world,
I happily exploit your potential.

Like settlers working the land,
Laying claims on their efforts,
I eagerly seek to possess you.

Like single-minded pursuit of purpose
Indelibly marks its pursuer,
Your life is inscribed on mine.

As deliciously entwined as we choose to live,
We are distinct: Each defined by his values.
For in as long as we remain true to our selves,
It is our virtue which sustains this perfect love.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Someone Told Me

That this week's Objective Round Up is posted at Musing Aloud.

And while I was there, I was poking around and saw that a commenter here recommended this romantic song.  Now I can be that quelqu'un qui t'a dit the same.


The guitar tune is simple enough, so I just have to learn the words, en français, bien sûr!


Barney Frank Rolls the Dice

"Some adults will spend their money foolishly, but it is not the purpose of the federal government to prevent them legally from doing it."

Yes.  Massachusetts Representative Frank actually said this. He’s right, of course, but since when did he not think that the purpose of government was to regulate every financial aspect of our lives? 

That’s certainly what he’s trying to do.

Here, however, he was not talking about those who gambled with their credit and took out loans they had no way to repay because they were enticed by the low standards of loan approval created by government mandated lending practices. No, this is regarding internet gambling, an apparently uncaptured resource, some might classify as wasted resource, oozing into the hands of internet gambling proprietors!

Mr. Frank is animated by the thought that if the government lifts its regulatory ban on internet gambling (which should never have been put in place to begin with) they could not only regulate the flow of funds now leaking out across the internet, but also, they could totally tap that funding resource! After all, Mr. Frank is not interested in using the government to prevent people from making bad decisions.  He’s only interested in using the government to help people after the government has encouraged them to make bad decisions.

Do you see the pattern here? 

We must feed the government so it can feed us.  Personal freedom and responsibility be damned!

I thought the following exchange from a puff piece interview of Mr. Frank by Leslie Stahl in December 2008 on CBS 60 Minutes might be of interest for several reasons. 

"What about the idea that in capitalism, if a company doesn't cut it, they die?" Stahl asks.

"That's what Herbert Hoover said. And Franklin Roosevelt said no," Frank says.

"It's what Darwin said," Stahl points out.

"Yes, it's true," Frank acknowledges. "And Darwin was a very good biologist. I don't think he was much of an economist."

"What we're now faced is with all the taxpayers having to prop up companies that made terrible decisions consistently," Stahl remarks.

"No, we're not propping up companies," Frank insists. "That's your mistake. We're propping up individuals. The world doesn't consist of companies. The world are people. The country is people. And yes, it is possible to argue that the government..."

"But then you're talking about welfare," Stahl says.

"Yeah, I'm for welfare," Frank replies. "You're not? Are you for letting people starve?"


He acknowledges that companies are simply made up of individuals.  Contrast that with his reaction to the Citizens United decision (WSJ 1/2010, bold mine):

Still others professing outrage at Citizens United, such as Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.), talk of using securities regulation to hamstring corporations that dare to speak.
And that if you’re not for forced redistribution of wealth, you’re for letting people die (see false dichotomy).

Why do the voters of Massachusetts continue to gamble on this loser's bet?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

French Women Don’t Get Fat: I’m not French

At the recommendation of my husband, who will listen to virtually anything he can get his hands on in the library for his commute to work, I am listening to the audio book written and read by Mireille Guiliano.  [If you listened to WCRB, the classical music Boston radio station, before it became “listener supported,” you would probably recognize her voice from the popular Veuve Clicquot commercials.] Ms. Guilliano was the spokeswoman and CEO of the French Champagne House, Veuve Clicquot.

Her book, French Women Don’t Get Fat, is simply a series of ways she enjoys her food, drink, and life and she imparts the lee-tul tricks she has learned so she can eat anything she wants and not get fat.  While her common sense approach to mindful eating is rather run-of-the-mill, her enthusiasm for celebrating life everyday is infectious; I’m actually really enjoying her guilt-free gastronomique ravings as well as listening to her silly accent (Monty Python reference – not that French accents are necessarily silly).
She’s obviously a big proponent of drinking wine--champagne being the best--and emphasizes that wine was meant to be enjoyed with food. “Always, always, always, with food.” She waxes on about chocolate, real chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate that is made in the finest chocolate houses in France, and, okay, maybe Switzerland.  But not American mass-produced chocolate!  She even throws a zinger at Mr. Hershey and how mass-production was the worst thing to ever happen to chocolate!  (This got my twelve year-old all riled up.  Because she requested that I move the sound to the front of the car, I didn’t even know she could hear the book, let alone was listening.)
Despite her slam of our American chocolate industrialist, Ms. Guiliano makes a compelling case for me to eat every good thing that feeds my soul, in moderation. This is the eating plan my husband subscribes to, so I can see why he recommended the book.  After he listened to it, we bought and drank a bottle of Veuve Clicquot because, you know, it was Tuesday and we’re in love.  (However, we ignored Ms. Guiliano’s advice on drinking more water at our own peril.) After I listened to it for an hour or two, I had to have some good chocolate. And wine, and butter, and crispy, crunchy, deeply soul-satisfying bread.  
Alas, despite the series of last names I've had, and except in only the most round-about Canadian way, I am not French. Moderation is not exactly in my wheelhouse, so to speak.
So while the cashier at Trader Joe’s lauded my grocery selection which was limited to dark chocolate covered pomegranate seeds, dark chocolate dipped butter cookies, dark chocolate peanut butter cups, and a quart of 2% milk (they didn’t have full fat), I suspect that my downing the quart of milk and half of the box of cookies in the ten minute ride home is not what Ms. Guiliano had in mind.
Frankly, after all that celebrate life with good food and good wine talk, I was just happy that Trader Joe’s didn’t sell champagne.

Monday, July 26, 2010

In Which I am Completely Disagreeable

Being a fan of the fun that ensues from the testing and discovery of one’s psychological preferences  boiled down to four dichotomous traits, I was interested in this article, Our Blog Vocabulary, Our Selves,  in yesterday’s edition of The Boston Globe.  What struck me most was not that we reveal our personalities through our word choices, but that modern psychology has developed a model of human personality reduced to the Big Five personality traits. 

Bloggers who scored high on the trait of “agreeableness” seldom swore and referred often to the notion of community.
I HAD to find out more about this so-called “agreeableness” trait.  (Not being a psychologist, I went to Wikipedia for a quick overview.)
People scoring low on agreeableness place self-interest above getting along with others.
Um. Dur. Then who doesn’t score low?

If you don’t place self-interest first, who will be there to get along with the others?  A bunch of doormats?

Since, in order to exist I must place my self-interest far above any incidental getting along, I am, according to this classification, completely disagreeable. 
A central feature of agreeableness is its positive association with altruism and helping behavior.
Altruism is NOT the same as benevolence or self-interested charity. It is selflessness. I reject altruism in all its forms. 

But wait, it gets better.  It’s not misleading enough to be labeled “disagreeable” because you prioritize your self-interest far above getting along and the interest of others; it seems that if you are low on the “agreeable” scale, you’re likely to be considered Machiavellian.

This personality classificiation system, hidden inside a model within one of the social sciences, is indicative of a much greater problem: the mistaken evaluation of “social harmony” as a value in itself rather than as a by-product of shared values (e.g. civility).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Orphan Wrangler

It’s that time of year when my youngest goes on a performance juggernaut in which my time is generally part of the sacrifice.  This weekend she‘s in three performances of Annie: The Musical. If you ask her what part she’s playing, you get the same, deadpan answer: “a named orphan.”  Being the seemingly impossible parent of that named orphan, I volunteered to wrangle the other orphans when they were not on stage. 

I hate kid wrangling. And yet, I continue to volunteer.

Two years ago I wrangled singing nuns—let me tell you, they were no saints. Last year, I wrangled the boys, Winkies and Ozians—with no yellow brick road to follow or broomstick with which to help me keep them in line! This year, I'm wrangling the little girl orphans—some named and, sadly, some unnamed which makes it harder to get their attention.

There’s also some interesting politics in Annie, including the character of Daddy Warbucks, the self-made billionare, a staunch Republican, and friends with FDR.  The Hooverville street folk and the FDR cabinet including Harold Ickes who is forced by the Commander in Chief to sing about Tomorrow, as FDR thinks all they need is some hope, round out the ideologies. Ultimately, everyone feels better because they’re getting a New Deal for Christmas!

My named orphan, constantly on the alert for political stumping, particularly by her parents, finds the entire play quite a boatload.

So while kid wrangling is not my central purpose in life, it’s a job, albeit one that doesn’t pay except in bouts of extreme irritation and conspicuously loud shushing. But still, I do it for the kids. Okay, I do it just for mine, but it’s not so bad because it’ll all be over tomorrow.

And as we all know, tomorrow’s only a day away 
[Hey! I heard that groan. Oh . . . that’s because it was me.]

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Big 25000

Yesterday during the flurry of the Objectivist Round Up visits, my blog had its 25000th visitor! Why this is more important than its 24000th or 21932nd visitor, I can’t say – but it seemed a momentous occasion worthy of taking note.

So to mark the occasion, I took a screen shot of my site meter summary page:

Then, knowing what would be the obvious draw, I went to check the referral source of my momentous occasion visitor.

Imagine my surprise to find not the Objectivist Round Up, any recent post, or even any of the dog week eye candy series as the reason for the 25000th visitor! My momentous occasion visitor was looking for a “giraffe print binder” (for the record, visitor 25001 was looking for a "zebra print binder") and it all started with this one little 3 Good Things post.
I’m telling you, people, animal print stationery is big!

(On that zebra print binder PSA I wanted to tell commenter Kim that perhaps using her new zebra binder for her English class would help her focus more, but my soft animal-print-loving heart wouldn't let me do it.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

3000 Individuals for Individual Rights

There are two things that make living in Massachusetts bearable: 1) Wicked awesome history, and 2) A relative dearth of extreme religiosity.  Because of #1, we’d actually consider moving to Virginia, but then #2 is destroyed by things like this and this (taken in Virginia on our recent return trip from Georgia).

You can therefore imagine my shock when only moments ago (in what could best be described as a WTF? moment) I saw my first “Choose Life” license plate – IN MASSACHUSETTS!

What? The? Heck?

Fair is fair, so this article goes on to explain, “Specialty plates in Massachusetts do not need legislative approval, so abortion advocates could start an effort to have their own plates.

According to the same article, in order to get a state of Massachusetts specialty license plate with any damn non-profit cause desired, all one needs is 3000 Massachusetts residents to complete the registration form and to pay the $40 fee. 

Here is the list of specialty plates currently available in Massachusetts.  It appears that a two letter designation is most desirable.  So I think that rational minded Massachusetts folks should get together and combat this nasty anti-choice, anti-life, anti-man message masquerading as maternal love with our own message.

Individual Rights (IR)

Rights = Freedom to Act (FA)

Laissez-Faire Capitalism (LC)

Despite the contradiction bound in the very instrument of support, I’d definitely pay forty bucks for a “CR: Capitalism Rocks” license plate.

What do you think?  Are there 3000 folks in Massachusetts who would like to support Individual Rights or the system that supports them, Capitalism?

Objectivist Round Up #158

Welcome to this 158th edition of the Objectivist Round Up,blog carnival of posts written by individuals who are advocates of Objectivism: the philosophy developed and defined by Ayn Rand.

If you are new to Ayn Rand and would like to discover more about her "philosophy for living on earth", I recommend you read her two great novels,
Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. If you enjoy her novels, I recommend her essays Man’s Rights, and The Nature of Government. The Ayn Rand Institute and the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights provide relevant information and commentary.

Following, in the order in which they were received*, are the posts for this Objectivist Round Up.

Khartoum presents The Ambani’s Fiasco posted at Reddie Reasons., saying, "My commentary on the feud between the Indian government and the multi-billion dollar Ambani's over natural gas extracted from off-shore property."

Rachel Miner presents Tooth Fairy Musings posted at The Playful Spirit, saying, "Sharing the experience of the first three lost teeth. (Well, it's really four, but one disappeared.) I was a little nervous about the mixing of real/pretend, but it's been solid fun!"

Paul Hsieh presents Should You Be Allowed To Know What's In Your DNA? posted at NoodleFood, saying, "PajamasMedia published my latest OpEd on the new FDA rules restricting direct-to-consumer genetic testing."

Flibbert presents Arthur Sales: My New Boyfriend posted at Trey Givens, saying, "I'm submitting this one just because I can't stop looking at this guy. He is so smokin' hot!! Including that grubby thing growing on his chin.You should check him out. By the way, have you joined OHomos yet? You should. It's totally OSSUM!"

Paul Hsieh presents Chest Pain in an 80-Year Old Woman posted at NoodleFood, saying, "A real-life story from the Emergency Room"

Rational Jenn presents My Official State Homeschooling Packet posted at Rational Jenn, saying, "In which I notice which documents and requests for information sent to me by the state are, and are not, in compliance with the law."

Zip presents Peace at any Cost posted at UNCOMMMON SENSE, saying, "Let's get back to work and fight this war like it really matters, because you know what... it does."

Jenn Casey and Kelly Elmore presents Are You a Fan Yet? posted at Cultivating the Virtues, saying, "CtV has a Facebook Fan Page! As of this writing, we have 75 fans (thanks!). Can we make it an even hundred?"

Kelly Elmore presents Mini-Con and Real Life posted at Reepicheep's Coracle, saying, "This post is my thoughts about our Atlanta Objectivist Mini-Con. I've included a picture that sums up the whole experience."

Amy Mossoff presents Mossoff Montessori posted at The Little Things, saying, "Here is a pretty extensive report on my first week of Montessori homeschooling."

Mike Zemack presents The Coming Collision Between the Doctors and the State posted at Principled Perspectives, saying, "My 6/1/10 post reported on how government's licensure powers were being used against doctors resisting participation in 'universal healthcare'. In this post, antitrust as the statists' weapon of choice against the doctors is the subject. In both cases, illegitimate powers granted to government decades ago in defiance of the principles of a free society are shown to have proceeded to their logical result – instruments of naked tyranny."

Diana Hsieh presents New OList: OHomos posted at NoodleFood, saying, "I've created a new OList: OHomos. It's for GLBT Objectivists, although others are welcome to lurk. It's managed by Trey Peden."

Doug Reich presents How the Government is Causing Unemployment posted at The Rational Capitalist, saying, "Are stifling regulations, minimum wage laws, stimulus, and higher taxes the cause or the cure for chronic unemployment?"

Doug Reich presents The Government's War on Internet Freedom: Kill Switch Edition posted at The Rational Capitalist, saying, "How Western government's are using the threat of 'terrorism' both to create a Leviathan intelligence apparatus and justify throttling internet freedom."

Doug Reich presents Is "Obamanomics" Working? posted at The Rational Capitalist, saying, "Is 'Obamanomics' working? Only if you believe, like modern economists, that destruction is a value."

Ari Armstrong presents Harry Potter Series Maligned by Media Article posted at Values of Harry Potter, saying, "In 2008, a paper in the American Communication Journal claimed that the Potter series presents an 'extremely negative depiction of journalism that could have an adverse effect on child readers.' I reply that the paper ignores critical context and key passages from the novels."

That concludes this week's edition of the Objectivist Round Up. Past round ups and future hosts may be found here, and submittals may be made here for next's week Round Up hosted by Benpercent.

*As a last minute host, I received the html insta-carnival full of incredibly messy automated code. If I made mistakes, I apologize, and ask that you let me know (as a comment that will go unpublished) and I will fix it if possible. (I changed all of the internal double quotation marks, which are automatically generated by putting comments in quotation marks, to single quotation marks, but don't want to change the intent of anyone's words. If you want the words originally in double quotations to be italicized, or retain the double marks, let me know). Thanks.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What Will Be Left to Protect?

”To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, and for other purposes.”
Introduced in the United States House of Representatives, July 15, 2010

"Of all the statist violations of individual rights in a mixed economy, the military draft is the worst. It is an abrogation of rights. It negates man's fundamental right--the right to life--and establishes the fundamental principle of statism: that a man's life belongs to the state, and the state may claim it by compelling him to sacrifice it in battle. If the state may force a man to risk death or hideous maiming and crippling, in a war declared at the state's discretion, for a cause he may neither approve of nor even understand, if his consent is not required to send him into unspeakable martyrdom--then, in principle, all rights are negated in that state, and its government is not man's protector any longer. What is there left to protect?"
Ayn Rand in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

Mostly For the Birds

This morning my daughter and I went kayaking on the Concord River.  There we saw 30 geese a-swimming (blech); 18 mallards quacking (meh); 17 turtles sunning (my daughter kept saying, "I like tourdous" like a zombie); 6 robins wading (didn’t know they were water birds); 5. . . Golden . . . Dragonflies; 2 baby beavers! 1 great blue heron! 1 Peregrine falcon! And a duck that looked like a cow.
Not bad for a brief, 60 minute outing!
I have seriously never seen such an odd looking duck in my life!  Or baby beavers!  At least I’m guessing they were babies because I’ve seen adult beavers before and they were huge compared to these little guys. Actually, I don’t know if what we saw was a Peregrine falcon or some other bird of prey, either. If a falcon, it was a first year (brown and white, less defined mask), but it was loud. 
Here’s a cool beans video of a Peregrine falcon diving in air and a goshawk doing the speeder bike thing through the forests of Endor.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Hairshirt of Blogs

For all my talk of never accepting unearned guilt or punishing myself for living, I can’t really explain my attraction to this blog other than it seems to be some type of self-flagellation for not being more active—no, more effective—in the fight against the tyranny of our ever-expanding government.   It is filled with ostensibly sunny ideas from our paternalistically benevolent government written with hopeful enthusiasm by some of the top bureaucrats in our nation. 

Introduction to the Middle Class Task Force (Or The Voice of Collectivism)

“A strong middle class equals a strong America. We can’t have one without the other.  This Task Force will be an important vehicle to assess new and existing policies across the board and determine if they are helping or hurting the middle class.  It is our charge to get the middle class – the backbone of this country – up and running again.” 
Vice President Joe Biden

“This investigation answers the President’s call for accountability, but his call for action is equally important. Addressing modern workplace hazards means equipping MSHA, as well as the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with modern tools to enforce every employer’s obligation for the safety and health of their workers.”
Joseph Main, Assistant Secretary for the Mine Safety and Health Administration

“Importantly, it’s not just government officials who recognize the importance of subsidized jobs right now.   Back in May, we heard first-hand how this program is helping small businesses to take advantage of new opportunities while making a difference in the lives of workers.  With many businesses still struggling, these subsidies for new employees can make the crucial difference between small business owners hunkering down or deciding to expand their businesses and create new jobs.”
Jared Bernstein, Chief Economic Advisor to the Vice President

“Vice President Biden was in Louisville today to visit a General Electric facility called Appliance Park, where GE is investing $600 million to expand their manufacturing of energy-efficient appliances. But they’re not doing it alone – their investment is being supported by $24.8 million in Recovery Act funds through a program called the Section 48C Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit, or “48C” for short.

We’ve written about this program before, because it’s one of our favorite programs here at the Middle Class Task Force – it uses Recovery Act dollars to spur private-sector investments in the clean energy and energy efficiency technologies we need to tackle our energy challenges. And those investments create good jobs now, while planting the seeds for vibrant new industries in the future.”
Tobin Marcus, Deputy Economic Policy Advisor in the Office of the Vice President

Contrast these pols’ statements regarding the role of government with these other elected officials:

“A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government.”
New President, Thomas Jefferson, in his first inaugural address

“. . . I venture to declare it as my opinion, that were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundation and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America; and what inferences might be drawn, or what consequences ensue from such a step, it is incumbent on us all well to consider.”
Representative James Madison, to Congress regarding a bounty to Cod Fisheries

How much further can we remove ourselves from the principle of individual rights before we realize all talk of government fixes as anathema to the very purpose of our once rights-respecting government, and, as such, a contemptuous disregard for unique foundational success of our country?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

His, Mine, and Ours

After fifteen years of cohabitational bliss, my husband recently acknowledged the near-complete integration of our lives. I choked. I laughed.  I shook him by the shoulders to make certain that he meant it.  He had indeed, purposely, referred to one of the CDs I brought to the relationship as “ours.” 
In order to have my reaction make sense, you should know that only within the last two years have I been able to convince him that packing and using the same suitcase, as well as allowing his individually encased toothbrush to co-mingle with mine in the drug bag (we call it the HBA bag when flying) was a more efficient than each of us carrying our own stuff separately. Even with these recent concessions toward couple-hood, he left me ill-prepared for the unsolicited acceptance of any part of my lesser—in both quantity and quality, according to him—music collection. (OK. Given that I think I may still have a Milli Vanilli CD kicking around somewhere, I’m willing to concede the quality issue.) But for me to actually have purchased music worthy of inclusion in my big audiophile’s big audio files is completely unprecedented!
And yet, he said it. And it was big.
He’s no Dummy.  The music is more typical of his than mine, but now it’s ours. I tell you, that kind of bold pronouncement makes a girl feel all oogy inside.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The End of Days

First the fly invasion, then the chickens cavorting with wild animals. What’s next? Boiling seas?
Since I’m not into human sacrifice, and given that the temperature will exceed 90°F for the next four days in a row, I tell you where I’ll be ending my days: sequestered in the East Wing with the quieter, more efficient AC, my books, and all the wine I can drink! Who knows? Maybe I’ll even let the rest of my family join me. 
If I can get a good wireless signal up there, I may never leave.
Note to self: Must bring pepperoni and cheese.  And toothbrush.

Stay cool, friends.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Writing: Style and Substance

Based on some paragraphs of personal fiction writing,

I write like
Vladimir Nabokov
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Based on some paragraphs from a blog post.

I write like
Raymond Chandler
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Apparently I also write like David Foster Wallace, Johathan (not to be confused with Jonathan) Swift, Margaret Mitchell, and Charles Dickens, so this is clearly a very scientific and conclusive test.
For some actual substance, head on over to The Playful Spirit where Rachel is hosting the third anniversary edition of the Objectivist Round Up.

3 Good Things (Frederick Childe Hassam edition)

Yesterday, July 14, I received this timely piece of art via email from the Metropolitan Museum.  It looked remarkably like a Christmas card we sent out years ago – from the painting style right down to the Mansard roof buildings—but the flags were American, the city was New York, and it was winter!  I had to find out if the artist had created that particular image as well.
I’m sorry to say, although I found Childe Hassam's interesting flag series, the Christmas card image was not among them. The sorry part comes from the time I spent searching for it for naught; however I did come across some of his other paintings that I found noteworthy (as well as information about his contributions to American art in general).
Here are three of them: The first is a favorite from my youth, the second cements my fascination with his use of light in transforming urban life, and the third is reminiscent of another long-time favorite.
While I’m not a big fan of his human figures, the man sure can paint an evocative street scene!
Boston Common at Twilight, 1886

A City Fairyland, 1886

July Night, 1898

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Business of Being Me

Our doorbell rang early this morning.  Although I was expecting a FedEx delivery from our wine club sometime this week, I wasn’t prepared for the 8:00 AM delivery time!  I threw on some clothes and ran downstairs to answer the door.

After exchanging pleasantries with the delivery peopleguy and turning toward the package he had put down in the mudroom to briefly inspect it, I gave my electronic signature and a smile of thanks to the exiting young man who made apologies about the early hour.  Cavalierly adding, “No problem,” and thinking how clever I am to don my wrinkled but bold CAPITALIST t-shirt, and, because I was so quick to dress, I was able to get the wine and not another thing on my to-do list, I returned to the kitchen quite self-satisfied with my being able to pull it all together in an instant. 

That lasted all of .2 seconds before my youngest dashed my illusion saying, “Nice jammies.”

Oh well. 

In addition to the jammie tail and wrinkles, my shirt has some stains on it from my over-enthusiastic opening a wide-mouth jar of coconut oil days earlier.  In my defense, the oil was solid the previous time I had opened it (well before the series of over 95 degree days we’ve been having). 
It’s always something.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Learning by Heart

While I am unfamiliar with the work of this cartoonist, Lynda Barry, I do like what she says about the potential function of memorizing poetry and its subsequent availability in the subconscious.
(via Twitter PRSatran)
For a few years, I tended to learn the poems that my daughter was learning to recite by heart, but even that’s been a while.  I need to memorize some more.
I’ve decided on this as my first:
The Coming American
By Sam Walter Foss
    Bring me men to match my mountains;
    Bring me men to match my plains, --
    Men with empires in their purpose,
    And new eras in their brains.
    Bring me men to match my prairies,
    Men to match my inland seas,
    Men whose thought shall pave a highway
    Up to ampler destinies;
    Pioneers to clear Thought's marshlands,
    And to cleanse old Error's fen;
    Bring me men to match my mountains --
    Bring me men!

    Bring me men to match my forests,
    Strong to fight the storm and blast,
    Branching toward the skyey future,
    Rooted in the fertile past.
    Bring me men to match my valleys,
    Tolerant of sun and snow,
    Men within whose fruitful purpose
    Time's consummate blooms shall grow.
    Men to tame the tigerish instincts
    Of the lair and cave and den,
    Cleans the dragon slime of Nature --
    Bring me men!
    Bring me men to match my rivers,
    Continent cleavers, flowing free,
    Drawn by the eternal madness
    To be mingled with the sea;
    Men of oceanic impulse,
    Men whose moral currents sweep
    Toward the wide-enfolding ocean
    Of an undiscovered deep;
    Men who feel the strong pulsation
    Of the Central Sea, and then
    Time their currents to its earth throb --
    Bring me men!

What do you think?  When is the last time you memorized a poem?  Is it about time to do it again?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

GNO: A Night in Jail

I suspected early on in our relationship that it might come to this. After twenty-five years of hijinks, what else could a policeman, a librarian, a health agent, an artist, a journalist, and a homeschool mother expect from our midsummer Girls Night Out?  Sadly, our night in jail was not for any form of civil disobedience, but rather spent at the Liberty Hotel, formerly the old Charles St. jail in Boston. Happily.
Beginning at the spectacular 90 foot rotunda and ending at the dungeon-like bar, Alibi, we thoroughly enjoyed our romp through the erstwhile jail which, in its day, played host to notables such as James Michael Curley, Malcolm X, and Sacco and Vanzetti. The dinner was excellent, and my drink, the Charles St., was divine (gin, lavender bitters, and cucumber water).  The patrons milling about seemed to cover an impressive range of ages, and everyone seemed right at home there.  If you’re ever in the area, I recommend stopping by at least for a drink.
The Charles St., with Patrick's naan with prosciutto, white truffle oil, arugula, and a hint of cinnamon, in the background. Yum.

So how does one possibly cap off such a terrific evening with old friends?  Why, by singing to ‘til your throat hurts at the Grease sing-a-long, of course!

It seems the older I get, the more I am delighted with the young John Travolta's dancing.
There are worse things I could do.

Friday, July 9, 2010

No Pony for Me

My dreams of owning a Mustang convertible are over for now.  When faced with the reality of stuffing my children into a small car cavity, I lost my enthusiasm for that particular mode of transportation.
Since I would not buy any government motors vehicles, I had decided on Ford or Toyota, and ended up buying a 2009 Toyota Highlander. I had really good luck with my used Volvo wagon years ago (I ended up putting over 225K additional miles on it). Even as a single college kid, I loved the utility of wagons.  I don’t know what my problem with practicality is, but I needed to feed it this one last time. 
It’s been twelve days since we brought Rosalita-san MacIntosh home and so far, I love her! [She’s named in honor of her color, Salsa Red Pearl, with a nod to her country of origin and Scottish-sounding model name. Automatic transmission = girl. Dur.] She seats seven so I can drive around with my husband, all of my children (even though two of the three of them now have their own cars), and a set of grandparents as well! Now that makes for some good times! At least it does in my crazy, singing, fun, fun, fun, car-trip world.  
After owning a series of 4-cylinder cars, Stephen loves her pick-up and the power of her 3.5 L engine  (I have no idea what that really means, but since it seems to make him happy, it makes me happy).
We, and by we, here I mean he, drove her all the way down to Georgia and back and it worked out quite well. We actually averaged 26 mpg for the entire trip, which included some city miles (not to mention an accidental late-night, backwoods detour where we thought we heard the faint sound of banjoes playing) which is pretty good for such a beast. When configured with four comfy individual seats and plenty of room for all of our unnecessary shoes, Rosie really made our trip that much more enjoyable as our new lifestyle assistant.
Here she is, resting at home, after the successful completion of that journey. Oh yeah. Since we always back our cars into the garage, I've been letting Stephen do the parking while I get used to her increased dimensions. I'd hate to dent her or take out some structural member of the garage! Other than that, though, I'm an excellent driver.