Friday, October 31, 2008

Random thoughts for October...

It's Halloween ! The day the veil between the living and dead is the thinnest, muhahahhahah, something to think about when you feel a chill in the room !

It seems nowadays children are being raised in families with less strict rules and expectations than general society. When the reverse was true people just did better. No wonder our prisons are packed. I'm damn proud to be a strict mom and telling my kids what they don't want to hear sometimes.

Whenever I hear rich conservatives talk about pulling up the proverbial bootstrap, poverty breeds enterpreneurism/innovation and handouts encourage sloth, I wonder why they don't just encourage their children to marry poor people and then disown them more often?

Why don't more well off liberals just admit welfare benefits keep crime down and it's a great reason to help the less fortunate and be self serving at the same time. Sometimes it's just not all about altruism.

October is my favorite month of the year and it flew by ! I feel like I've been robbed by all this election hoopla, we should move the election to the dog days of August.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Between me and God...

David Sedaris wrote an excellent piece in the New Yorker about voting, well it was actually about undecided voters but he had a great anecdotal paragraph about his mother and the voting booth.

Shouts & Murmurs: Undecided: Humor: The New Yorker

I don't remember the first time I voted with my mom. And she may have let me switch the levers and pull the curtain handle but she sure as heck didn't let me make her choice. If it was my mom voting, it was for a Republican, just like her doting father served as in our city. Now, in hindsight, I think voting for her was like a cemetery visit or a trip through well worn photos. And despite being the least private person I've ever know, the woman made a public hallway announcement when my sister had her first period, she wouldn't tell anyone who got her vote. We'd get home and my dad would ask and every single time my mom would reply, "none of your business Joe, my vote is between me and God." I'd like to think the word damn was in there but I'm probably projecting.
As I did with my mom in my youth, until I was old enough to understand what each lever meant hence no longer welcome to share the moment with her, my children have accompanied me to the booth. And like Sedaris' mom in moments of utter ignorance about certain candidates I've let my kids play pick the lever. Terrible I know. And it may well be the case this coming Tuesday. But one thing for sure, God willing, my children will know that on that day we'll be pushing one little lever for Barack Obama. They'll know after centuries of non-citizenship for blacks to hard fought second class citizenship and finally a U.S. Presidential nominee, they shared a piece of history to hopefully elect a fine citizen and the first African-American President of the United States of America.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Absolute power corrupts absolutely, or...

How Gore won the popular vote but lost the election, or...

Why Obama needs to win by a blatant, obvious landslide, or...

Why those silly exit polls claimed Kerry won the election, or...

Why a minority, yes a minority, of voters in this country would rather have our voting system entirely corrupted than pay a few more dollars in taxes.

How we got George Bush

Monday, October 27, 2008

When I grow up...

I want to be Margaret or Helen :)

Margaret and Helen

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ron Rocks :)

OK, would I share this if they were plugging McCain/Palin? Probably !

Ron Howard's Call To Action from Ron Howard and Henry Winkler

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Old Generals Never Die...

they endorse Obama. It looked for a while like Colin Powell was going to "just fade away" into obscurity and philanthropy, but nope, he's come back into the public forefront with a sound, ringing endorsement of Barak Obama. Would that we see more of these shifts between parties in the future. I could live with a future United States for my children with two strong, healthy, intelligent, dueling parties. Maybe three or four ! During the Clinton administration I once had a rather sharp exchange with another student regarding Powell. His argument was that there are people in government above reproach, unlike Clinton. I presented the side of human frailty and the ridiculousness of expecting perfect integrity from anyone, especially politicians.My argument fell apart when he threw in the lofty name, Colin Powell. He challenged me to tell him who doesn't like Powell. Well, needless to say, my brain fogged up, my tongue slipped around in there and came out with, I swear this is humiliating but true, "I don't know, I'm sure there's something, maybe he insulted someone's mother." I know, right, wish I had a camera for the professor's face, he'd been enjoying himself until that point. I was a fan, a huge fan. Until pre-Iraq war, until a UN speech that made me say maybe we should go into Iraq. Maybe leveling Baghdad is the right thing to do. But it wasn't of course and Powell's incredible integrity took a huge hit. One truly hopes Colin Powell is dead on target this time and Obama will lead us into our global future radiating intellect and innovation.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Currently reading...

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. Well to be honest I'm currently reading the much later added epilogue , and finished reading the part published in 1962. That's right, 1962. So is it relevant today? Well for sheer thought provoking fun it's most certainly relevant. And to be honest, I don't think anyone can claim the slightest comprehension of the feminist movement without at the very least perusing some Cliff Notes. Many of her theories and opinions could easily be written for today's 21st century woman. And I have to say, as I sit here typing with the four year old screaming out about the injustice of her 14 year old brother being a hell of a lot stronger than she is, I can't help but wonder, WHERE THE HELL was this book when I was 18 ! Or 5 !

One of the major criticisms of this book, besides the obvious anti-feminist jibes of course, is that Friedan focused mainly on upper middle class, privileged white women. And I have to agree, Friedan just blows right by the simple fact that most Americans, male or female, just didn't have the means or weren't qualified to pursue her assumption that self actualization, hence contentment, hence sexual fulfillment hinged on having a socially acceptable, highly admired, professional career. Nope, a job just wouldn't cut it. So if you were/are a blue collar wage slave who managed a great family you were a stunted, ignorant hack wallowing in the misery of unrealized potential. Yea, you know who you are !
It's a fantastic journey through 20th century feminism, although the Freud chapter dragged , like I'd imagine psychotherapy would, it felt like I was reading that one chapter for weeks. She is dead on about the onslaught of marketing tools herding girls into the housewife role. Shop mommy shop ! I'd already read how prescient her theory was on consumerism and the happy housewife and that woman had a crystal ball. I won't quote but the gist is a housewife's main role is to buy stuff for the house. And since I, and this is a major deep, dark secret I rarely share, am a non-sorter of laundry ( that's right, mix those whites with colors baby ! tattle gray is going to be big one day I tell you), I loved the parts about how women tend to over complicate housework. And totally agree. This answers the age old mystery why men seem to take two minutes to do something that takes the wife an hour. I think you get the idea where this book goes, housewives just biding time uselessly until we die versus the career woman earning her self respect and leaving us in the dust, literally. Do I agree? Nope, but only because the world has evolved to accommodate the late female bloomer. I could see how much more depressed I'd be if it was 1962.

So why is a 40 year old lover of bras suddenly taking an interest in feminism? Well for the most obvious of reasons, her 4 year old daughter. I already have a 14 year old who delights in telling me my Italian pronunciation sucks and gee mom, we ARE trying to get my math grade to go up, right? So I'll be darned if my daughter is looking at me with contempt someday because not only am I lacking a JD or MD but don't even know why. "Mom? Really? Like, you just what, met daddy and decided to wait for the grim reaper at home?" Seriously, I'm really lacking in some basic textbook knowledge of this stuff. I read Reviving Ophelia around my eighth month of pregnancy and then stopped cold and bought a sewing machine right after her birth. Let me tell you, that sewing machine is lucky it survived chapter 5.

The best thing about reading this book? I lost my grandmother when I was 13. I wouldn't lose my mother for another 20 years but my grandmother was a much bigger influence than my mother in many ways. Reading this book gave her to me in a way that I'd never had before. She was a product of the roaring 20's, the nurse, turned wife, turned mother, turned army nurse, turned political wife, turned widow, turned frustrated grandma of three who dreamed of moving on but got stuck helping to raise three grandchildren. This book was like reading the trajectory of her life. And, despite my misgivings regarding some of her theories, for that I thank Betty Friedan with all my heart.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Why Obama?

Politician worship, in my book, is the ultimate blasphemy. Bush using the religious right to further his own agenda, and vice versa, was probably the most galling result of his administration. Obama's campaign has also been tainted by the perversion of obviously religious, holier than thou, support unable to transcend politics to preach the bigger picture. No one needs to see small children chanting Bush, Obama or Hannah Montana for that matter. So I say this knowing full well I'm on a slippery slope with this post. When Bush was elected I initially took the position I'd have to have faith that so many decent people I knew had faith in his agendas. I do admire and support Obama for his intellect and determination, but refuse to consider some Godly support or approval from the heavens. As my mother always insisted, we do not presume to know God or God's business, that simple. But when I see something like this video YouTube - Israelis For Obama inspired by a politician, a POLITICIAN !, I can't help but again have faith that so many decent people have faith in his agendas. Admittedly it's much easier this time.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Mixed Blessings

I have a diverse group of friends and family. Just like Palin, only I don't want to crush the rights out of them. Since I get emails from both sides of the aisle, OBAMA'S THE ANTICHRIST, PALIN'S AFFAIR, I usually don't respond since I think that stuff is stupid. That's right, I may not like her but if she got jiggy with the family friend it's her business. But the mortgage crisis is ugly, damn ugly and hurts every single one of us. So after weeks of information and misinformation here's my humble little take on it.

The 90's were all about community reinvestment, this is why you can walk around in NYC again and admire well kept neighborhoods, gentrification was just forcing all the poor people into the street. Interest rates were 11-14% when Clinton took office. NO ONE could afford that. So true, privatized FNMA and Freddie Mac were encouraged to take on subprime credit, and they did back a bunch of crappy loans knowing full well the loans were being sold like whores, over and over again. It got crazy and when more honest representatives and the states cried foul (look up Georgia Fair Lending Act), enough, BUSH made sure he blocked any attempt to rein it in so he could crow about his "ownership society". Under Clinton rates dropped to something normal, communities were revitalized and we all prospered, the Republicans get plenty credit and blame for the policies that got us there too. When Bush took office, checks and balances went right out the door and the greed took over. Look up "derivatives" not that it matters if you do because no one can f***ing understand them.

I was fine with McCain, just thrilled Bush was outta there. I didn't vote in the primaries, I wasn't thrilled with the blood letting that would ensue with either Obama or Clinton and my kid had a fever so it was easy to stay home that day. So I'm not some die hard Democrat who touts party lines. But then Bush, I mean McCain (oopsie), picked Palin. Drill baby drill, super secret media hating, Russian like propagandist, political iron curtain promoting Palin. She's Cheney without the Satan worship. I really hope there comes a day when Palin is in a primary election. She's a great politician, that's it. There's nothing else there people. Just like Bush. So no matter how you slice it McCain is nothing but a Bush lover (get your head out of the gutter). The odds favor McCain becoming at the least incapacitated during his presidency, the thought of Palin and Pelosi running things is the stuff of nightmares.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My View

The View has been around so long it's hard to remember a time when my TV didn't start blaring out shouts, shrill screams and laughter at 11Am. I don't even have to watch the clock, just stick the TV on channel 7 at some point after 10:30 AM and no problem, the whole neighborhood knows The View has begun. I admit it, nowadays I just watch to hear the political rants. Barbara Walters has obviously bet the farm on keeping that stuff as sensational as possible for ratings. It seems like The View may actually have "jumped the shark" with Sherrie Shepard, yea that could be spelled wrong, I don't care. Anyway here's what I got out of a decade of The View.

Meredith- miss you miss you miss you

Debbie- OK, Greek girls often scare me, especially now that I'm raising one, and Debbie was clueless, but they wanted young and they got it.

Lisa Ling- Obliterated the youth excuse applied to Debbie.

Joy - Cracks me up but actually reading up on a topic before trying to defend it might help.

Rosie- Never liked her on her own show, and at first thought "Ok, maybe I was wrong". Nope.

Barbara- A national treasure.

Star Jones- Definitely read up on EVERY topic, most intelligent View host ever, but holy cow, her ego was bigger than she was.

Elizabeth- Great for fitness tips, highlights and makeup advice, her fashion sense is way off, leave Joy and Whoopi the hell alone already with those stupid outfits, but politics? She's really the comedian, not Joy, right?

and Whoopi- there are no words. Loved this woman since first catching her one woman show a lifetime ago. "I'm, like, pg like Mary, except my baby, like, has a father." Please Whoopi, get off the sinking ship before barnacles start sticking.

Update= Whoopi you're still funny as hell and I guess mean well but that mortage bailout idea has got to be one of the most divisive, economy crushing, and misguided ideas I have ever heard in my life. However if you're so intent on it perhaps you could personally bail out some of them with your money. Maybe the other View ladies and Cindy McCain can chip in with their millions.