Monday, August 31, 2009

For Better or For Worse

I've been to a lot of weddings in my time but Ree and Jerry's, on Saturday, lands in the Top Ten of Fantastickness. It wasn't just that it was a beautiful day or a beautiful Mass. It wasn't just that everyone in the wedding party (including The Child) looked terrific. It wasn't just that I didn't lose it and weep all the way through my readings. It wasn't just that the reception was, in the words of Nick Lowe, "an unqualified success" with excellent food and drink, lots of dancing and plenty of karaoke. It wasn't just that the father of the bride (who is an asshat) behaved himself for once or that the bride and groom looked so radiant.

It was all those things and more.

But the best part was simply that we were witness to the vows of a couple who so completely and totally belong together, who model so beautifully what it is to truly love and appreciate the person he or she is with, for good and for ill.

I've known Ree for nearly half of my life. We've been through an awful lot together. I have seen her in other relationships where she was the one who did all the work. I've seen her not in a relationship and felt the pain of being alone it caused her. Ree is one of those people, so full of love, who is meant to share her life with another person. Not just give and give and give to everyone around her (which she does with a self-less generosity) but to be with someone who can give back to her and more, someone who gives in such a way that it gets past the walls she'd built around her heart. (Sometimes, you see, her giving has been a distraction from her loneliness).

The moment we met Jerry we knew the two of them were destined for greatness. We were right. Celebrating all of that with them on Saturday was sheer, unmitigated joy.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Who Wants Some Breakfast?

We begin with the obligatory designers-back-at-the-ranch-rehashing-the-show montage during which Mitchell realizes that he's with people who are bringing their A game to this competition so he'd best step it up and not send anymore semi-nude models down the runway. He's "ready to rekindle his dream". Someone hand him a match.

Heidi introduces the guest client, Rebecca Romijn who is, as always, luscious and also pregnant with twins. Her challenge is for the designers to create a chic maternity look that she could wear for any occasion. She notes that she wants something that celebrates her shape and that she'll be looking for "a beautiful silhouette". Allow me to note that Rebecca is one of the funniest women in America. (Have you ever seen her in an interview? OMG, she's hysterical.) Also, despite the fact that she's now happily married to Jerry "the fat kid from 'Stand By Me'" O'Connell, I've never quite gotten over her divorce from John Stamos. They were impossibly beautiful.

Anyplacenta, the designers make for the workspace where they encounter tie-on pregger bellies for their models. Most of the guys don't even know where the thing goes and there is discomfort and twittering. Ra'mon says something about designing for a woman in her "second semester" and Logan flat out admits that he's "scared" by babies. One gets the sense that the women have the advantage here, if only because they aren't completely skeeved out by the concept of reproduction.

With 30 minutes to sketch, $100 to spend and 2 days to execute they make like a baby and head out to Mood for a little shopping, where Tim has to do deep breathing exercises with Qristyl. (She will from now on be referred to as Q because I can't get over the silly spelling of her name).

Shirin has decided to reject the distinction between preggers and not preggers while Malvin is engrossed in his "concepts of fertility" and latches on to an egg-and-chicken theme. The Neighbor thinks this is a delightful idea. I think that, much as I adore both chickens and eggs (and also don't care which came first), something about swathing a belly to look all eggy and necessarily transforming mom into a chicken sounds just icky. There is such a thing as thinking too much.

Althea is walking around the room lending love, compliments and support to all the other designers. She's very nice.

Mitchell, meanwhile, has decided to go for something hip and sporty which involves shorts. Mommy's "uh-oh" reflex kicks in, particularly when he displays his gigantic granny panties. They are so huge that two people can fit in them. Which they do. Then they dance around.

Tim's Check In
The Gunn suggests to Althea that she not write a scenario for her garment and tells Louise that her look is "very nice". Louise is going to great lengths to create lovely details (like hand-dying lace) but worries that the dress itself might be a little nightgown-y. Tim wisely advises that "if your viscera says 'uh oh'" one should listen.

Mitchell pledges that this week his model will be fully covered, which The Gunn endorses and TG notes that he loves the criss cross detail of Shirin's dress but is taken aback by her plans to do a lined jacket as well. "It has to be the right jacket", he warns.

Reviewing Malvin's chicken-and-the-egg concept Tim asks about the plans for jodphurs. "They support the concept," tweets Malvin, "like chicken thighs". Tim notes that women, as a group, are not fond of having big thighs. (Word up, TG!) "Be mindful," he adds, "to not go into Costume Land". The Gunn similarly advises Ra'mon that there is a distinction between not playing it safe and being too "koo koo".

I believe one could compile a list of The Gunn's advice to designers and therein create a philosophic tome of great wisdom that would serve in all areas of life.

Interlude

Mitchell and Ra'mon's Gay Boy Theater
Mitchell (a little bitchy): "Your dress looks like a bowling ball".

Ra'mon: "OMG".

Mitchell: "No, it looks good".

Ra'mon: (pacing) "OMG!"

Mitchell: "It looks good".

Ra'mon: (burying head in hands) "O.M.G.!"

Mitchell: "No, it looks really good".

Ra'mon: (running to the other room) "O.M.G!!!!!"

Mitchell: (following him) "NO! It looks really streamlined!"

End scene.

The models come in for their fittings. Rehab Johnny shows his model (quite effectively, I might add) how to walk. Malvin discourses on how literal his egg concept needs to be. Personally, I think literal eggs make very delicious omelets.

The Runway

Heidi, Nina and Rebecca are joined by guest judge Monique Lhuiller. All of them, Heidi notes, have been pregnant so they'll be judging from that unique perspective. (And I guess this is why Kors is MIA this week. He wouldn't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies).

The Neighbor, The Neighbor's Mother and I are generally agreed on the runway looks. Logan's is "cute", we lovelovelove Shirin's dress and jacket, we hatehatehate Mitchell's hideous shorts. The looks range from elegantly beautiful (Althea) to eeewww (Malvin) with a couple shots of horrible execution (Nicholas and Mitchell) to balance the overall cuteness of other looks (Irina and Johnny). We couldn't be more in agreement with the judges' top and bottom three (which is, I think, a first).

Ra'mon tries to defend his dress (despite his realization when he saw it walk that it was "an effing bowling ball") but Monique tells him it is "busy and sloppy" and Heidi notes that he might as well have made big arrows flashing "Baby! Baby!"

Rebecca notes that Louise's dress looks "a little like lingerie but I like it". Monique agrees that the design is good and Nina likes that the dress would accommodate all stages of pregnancy.

Althea's dress is more suited to evening (as opposed to being all-purpose) but the judges are captivated by the beautiful lines, yummy color and effective use of a jersey knit to provide room for a growing baby.

Nina likes the feather detailing that Malvin has worked into his design but find the "egg" analogous to a baby sling and notes that it is "disturbing". Mal admits that he may have been "too attached" to his concept.

Mitchell's ensemble is a steaming pile of badly stitched slag and the judges concurred. Nina found the shorts too short, the shirt too tight and declared it a "pregnant mess". Rebecca politely noted that the execution "didn't work out".

Balancing that was Shirin's fantastic look which focused on beauty and comfort. Rebecca liked the waistband, Monique noted that it was terrific from every angle and Nina declared that Shirin had delivered something "versatile with good details".

Please note that my "eeew-pregnancy-is-icky" theory held up. The bottom three were men, the top three were women. The judges hated Ra'mon's "bowling bag" dress, Malvin's "bizarre" concept and Mitchell's shoddy execution. They conversely deemed Shirin's dress "the most wearable" and beautiful, loved the draping, slimming elegance and color of Althea's gown and the well-executed details of Louise's dress. Sure, it was lingerie but as Monique noted, "That's the reason you got pregnant" in the first place.

The Neighbor's Mom and I voted for Shirin for the win with The Neighbor siding with Althea. We similarly split on the loser, with NM and I voting for Mitchell to take his shoddy workmanship elsewhere and The Neighb voting to boot the bowling ball. The win was given to Shirin, for creating something "any of us would wear, pregnant or not". Surprisingly, Mitchell survived to frak it up another day and sweet, ethereal Malvin got the auf for being "overly complicated, and not in a good way".

Backstage Malvin announced his loss with a "I'm too conceptual for America!" but he also noted that he has learned how strongly grounded he is "as a designer, as a philosopher and as a person". He added, in his very soft, Michael Jackson-esque voice that his "voice just keeps getting stronger" with every challenge life presents him. One can safely assume that this isn't the last we'll hear of Mal. He'll either emerge with a career making intellectually challenging couture or sitting under a sacred baobab tree teaching philosophy to a group of eager
followers. And they shall call themselves Malvinists and eat nothing but scrambled eggs.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Have an Apple

One of these days I'll get around to downloading my pictures from Forks. Mostly, they are pictures of The Child standing if front of Twilight related stuff in Forks. The weather was gorgeous so there were no vampire sitings. Which is just as well.

Forks is a very small town. They only have 3 traffic lights and one of those is a 4-way stop. And it is not a pretty town. It nearly burned down back in the 50s so the rebuilding efforts were all mid-century and without inspiration. You can't even use the phrase "faded elegance" to describe Forks. It is po.dunk. But for The Child it couldn't have been more magical than if we'd been in Paris. And that's all that mattered. She had a blast and I had a blast being with her having a blast.

And now we're back to real life with a vengeance. I hit the ground running at work yesterday (after assuring MAB and the housekeepers that I was not "turned" while I was there). And today is the first day of school. When, btw, did it become acceptable to start school before Labor Day? Whose bright idea was that? August is still summer and it just does not sound right to say "I start school on August 27". Not right at all.

On the other hand, The Child is very excited to go back so there it is. It hit me this morning that, counting today, I only have 3 more mornings of saying, "Time to get up for the first day of school!" Only 3 more mornings of taking the obligatory back-to-school photos in front of her tree. It's crazy because it seems like yesterday that she was starting kindergarten. But I guess it wasn't.

Tonight Sandra and I will have our traditional back-to-school Bloody Marys, plus she's taking us all out to dinner. Then we'll watch "Project Runway". Then there's wedding stuff all weekend.

I need a vacation!

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Under a Near Constant Cover of Clouds

I am in a room painted blood red and black.  The duvet cover and pillows are red, embossed with black velvet filigree.  There is a poster of Edward Cullen over my bed.  The curtains are black and when the sun hits them they...wait for it....sparkle.

Yep, we're in Forks, Washington or, as one motel sign aptly puts it, the Twilight Zone.  

Forks is a very ugly little town.  It has none of the elegance of, say, Port Gamble or Port Townsend.  It is a logging town where the logging industry has virtually died.  If it weren't for the series by Stephanie Meyer, people might still live here but no one would come on vacation.   But those little books about a human girl in love with a vampire created a whole new industry.  It has, you'll pardon the pun, become the lifeblood of this sucky little town.  

Even the locksmith tauts "Twilight" souvenirs.

Very soon we will be leaving on our 3 hour tour (a 3 hour tour) of all the major sites in the books.  (Except Italy).  I know.  You're feeling very, very jealous right about now.   

But you know what?  The Child can't stop herself from thanking me for bringing her here.  That makes every penny, every minute more than worth it. 

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Opening Night

I am not interested in the Weinstein kerfuffle which kept PR away for a year, nor a discussion of the relative merits or demerits of the show moving to LA. I wasn't particularly concerned about the show airing on "Lifetime" because those of us without DVRs can't get enough commercials about upcoming "original features" starring Joan Cusak or Lea Thompson. But unfortunately I must get a little pissy about the fact that, despite prior research on both the Web and the local paper which indicated otherwise, Lifetime did not program the evening as stated, at least not here on the Left Coast. Consequently, thinking the premiere wasn't until 10pm and having little interest in the "All Star Challenge", MAB and I were still enjoying chicken enchiladas and very tart lemon tart at a restaurant with my family when the show actually premiered. In fact, by the time we sauntered into The Neighbor's house we'd already missed one "premiere" and they'd reached the runway of the second. (Note to the folks at Lifetime, I do not think "premiere" means what you think it means).

But we will put all that behind us because, hello?, "Project Runway" is BACK, baby!

The first show is always makes me feel a little like my brain has been put in a veg-o-matic. Too many designers to keep track of and not enough time devoted to designing. But let's slice & dice our way through the contestants for this season:

Ra'mon is from Chi-town and made the dramatic decision to abandon something at which he was "great" (neurosurgery) for that about which he was passionate (designing). (And I'm sure his parents were just bustin' with pride when he told them that).

Logan is from Seattle (shout out!) and Cake, The Neighbor's daughter, knows him. He's straight and a "strong patternmaker".

Johnny is a former crystal meth addict who just wants to do his best and Gordana is a big Easter European girl who wants to design for "all the girls with big dreams". I think she could hurt me and I'm a little frightened.

Malvin is an androgynous freak chap who "doesn't want to exclude anyone" from his "art". The Neighbor says he reminds her of Christian. I'm like, "Yeah, without the sass or talent". Divining a point of view from someone from such an amorphous position could be interesting.

Carol Hannah (and that just does not roll off the tongue) describes her POV as "pixie meets cocktail party" and just as she is about to give us a dissertation on how no one takes a blond from Texas seriously she, ummm, loses her train of thought.

Qristyl, whose parents were very bad at spelling, is into "plus sexy"...pretty clothes for big girls.

Shirin is an adorable thing whose name in Farsi means "sweet" and who enjoys making clothes that are like Transformers.

Nichol describes himself as the "Feather Prince" and the hand on my ick-o-meter fell off and had to be reattached during the commercial break.

Mitchell is an arrogant so and so who claims to "know what fits, know what women like and know what sells" & Ari is the token freak-o-rama who enjoys conversing with fabric to ascertain what it wants to be.

Althea has a dog named "Princess". 'Nuff said.

Louise looks like Louise Brooks and, not surprisingly, represents a look that is inspired by the 20s, 30s & 40s. Your grandma's retro.

Epperson is a big, tall family man who belongs on the cover of a Bob Marley album.

Christopher has no schoolin' and never learned design but his personal motto is "someday you'll be amazing". I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Phew. That was exhausting. Let's all go up to the roof and have champagn-ya with Heidi & Tim!!!

Next morning our designers meet with Tim, who announces that the first challenge is to design a red carpet look that shows "innovation and your Point of View". Everyone has 30 minutes to sketch, $200 to spend, 30 minutes to shop and a day and a half to create.

Malvin notes that he does not differentiate between colors of carpet and simply wants to make something that will make the wearer feel "treasured". I throw up a little in my mouth.

Ari doesn't sketch. She meditates, flits and stands on her head.

Mitchell has to explain smocking to Christopher. Meanwhile, Johnny the former meth head, is already succumbing to the pressure and puts himself in timeout where The Gunn finds him weeping and biting his pillow. While the melt-down makes us squirm, The Gunn is superfantastic in his display of compassion and encouragement. He kisses Johnny on the cheek and gives us our first "make it work" of the season. Awww. We love The Gunn.

Additional highlights in the work room: The Gunn telling Ari that her work tends toward being a "halter diaper" that risks doing unflattering things to a woman's backside: "the big butt factor is a big but", he says and Mitchell, who you'll remember "knows what fits", is all a twitter because the model he has apparently does not possess the proportions given him and hence must remake his entire (horrible) gown.

Then it's time for the runway! Don't forget the Bluefly Macy's accessory wall! And we get what I can only hope is a new Gunnism: "10 minutes and it's a hard out!" He sounds so forceful when he says that. Makes me shiver.

The Runway
Heidi welcomes the designers and introduces our first guest judge of the season, Lindsay Lohan, who is fit for this judging owing to her vast experience face down on the red carpet. "She's tiny," says The Neighbor. "Anorexia will do that for you," says Moi.

Nina is back, of course, with a new job. Now she's with Marie Claire and there's Michael Kors being Kors-y. (I tried on some eye glass frames by him the other day, btw. Had a complete PTSD moment and was back in 4th grade for a while. They were quite awful).

Malvin's dress was something MAB said she'd wear to work but not on the red carpet. Mitchell tries to justify his too sheer negligee of a "dress" by saying that people have walked the red carpet "half naked" before, to which I say, "Perhaps, but you're no Bob Mackie".

The girl with the name that means "sweet" sends down a dress that has a cape like structure that folds down into an awesome bustle-y thing at the back of a very hot dress. We liked it a lot.

Ari sent down some sort of hideous mess that wouldn't even play at the Nickolodean Kid's Choice Awards and while Nic opines in voice over that the judges "seem to be liking" his dress all we see are very quizzical looks.

Overall, a number of very pretty dresses went down the runway (you can see them all here) with a couple of head scratchers and just enough awful to keep things interesting. And of course, given that we have 16 designers, the vast majority, for good or ill, are safe.

Left on the runway are Qristyl, Christopher, Ra'mon, Ari, Johnny & Mitchell. The judges like the back of Qristyl's dress but Heidi declares the front "a mess" and Kors cautions that the wearer would be "hammered by the tabloids". Christopher's short, two-toned ruffle confection (which he said could be on the VMA red carpet) is praised for being "hard and soft", "cute and edgy", although Heidi isn't wild about the color and LiLo would like it with fewer ruffles.

Ra'mon's dress is deemed Oscars worthy but he is told by Kors to "pump up" and not be afraid and LiLo agreed that it was "safe" but certainly pretty.

Ari declared that her mess outfit's wearer would go first to the VMA's and then on to receive her Nobel Prize. Uh, sure. Kors tells her it looks like a "disco soccer ball" and that it's fine to be avant garde but you still have to "find beauty".

Johnny has constructed some sort of weird red thing that looks like an origami tent but the judges, maybe afraid of a relapse, are kind. They find it "seductive but not overly sexy" (Nina) and Kors said it was "so interesting it didn't need an interesting color" (I don't know what he meant either; he'd have skewered the boy if the dress had been in black - which is the color they all said it should have been).

Some of the most scathing critique was reserved for Mitchell, who couldn't wait to complain that he'd been given wrong measurements for his model and had to rework everything. Somehow, that didn't excuse the inappropriately diaphanous look which Nina declared "completely sheer and completely unwearable". MK did suggest it would make a "kinda cool nightgown"

The Judging

Q's dress is a "nightmare" that makes the judges question her overall taste level. They can't figure out if Ari was being serious or if her design is the sort of thing that makes you wonder if the problem isn't with the designer but your own intelligence. Trust me, even Kors is smart enough to know bad when bad is staring him in the face. Mitchell doesn't come off much better with his "nightgown caftan that no one could wear".

Christopher is declared the winner for his "nice balance of edgy and pretty". While it was not a horrible dress, I briefly considered the last 5 winners of the Best Female Actor Oscar and couldn't imagine any of them wearing that dress on the red carpet. The Vanity Fair after-party, maybe, but not the red carpet. Perhaps LiLo was generously sharing her stash.

As for the loser, while Heidi gave Mitchell the German-school-marm smack down for both making excuses and also creating a dress that was "not great", it was airy fairy Ari who was auf'ed because, as Heidi said, "It is one thing to aim outside of the box and another to miss it completely". Words to live by.

Now go look at all the pretty pictures while I spend the next 7 days trying to figure out when the show will actually air. Kiss kiss.




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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Programming Changes

Very little else is on my mind today other than the fact that "Project Runway", after a long hiatus, is returning to the airwaves tonight. I. Love. Tim. Gunn. When I first see him tonight I may just pee a little. Squeeeee!

I was telling MAB that I didn't think I'd be blogging recaps this year, what with the whole having-a-job thing. Those recaps may look effortless as a little black dress with pearls but I work hard on those suckers, people. It usually took me a couple hours to craft one recap and I just couldn't see gittin' 'er done, especially since the show will be airing at 10pm. When I told her this MAB gave me a look, a look you don't want to see. A look so rich with both disappointment and loathing that it turns your heart to stone.

"What?" she asked, her tones measured but loaded with menace.

"I don't think I can recap the show. There's not enough..."

She held up her hand and shook her head. "No, you WILL recap 'Project Runway' and you will recap it on Friday."

"But I..."

"I said you will recap PR on Friday. You will come in late to work. It is more important that you recap the show than get here at 8".

See why I call her My Awesome Boss? It's not just that she is giving me time to write the recap, it's that she understands the importance of PR in a young woman's life. How much do we love MAB?

That said, what I won't be doing is Friday Videos. And I dunno, I think I've sorta run out on that little franchise anyway. Our programming director thinks we'll still play the occasional video but the feature will definitely be retired until the end of "Project Runway". Priorities, people. Plus, ad revenues are down.

In other news, after work last night I drove The Child down to school to buy her books for the new year. They didn't have any of the texts she needed. Great. I fought traffic to drive 20 miles south and they didn't have her books. But since school is starting and we're veryvery busy, we had to accomplish this task. So we drove all the way back into the city and north to the U District to go to the U bookstore.

They had the required books AND we only needed to buy 3. We got 2 of them used so I was pretty happy as I sauntered up to the checkout stand. The total? 200 plus dollars. WHAT? Are these things printed on? Platinum? What a damn racket. Somebody had better get As and Bs this year. Just sayin'.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Why Blogging May be at a Premium for the Rest of the Month

Please note this list does not include the fact that I will be working, preparing my resume (it's getting to be time to apply to keep my job on a permanent basis), cleaning the house, or, you know, sleeping.

August 19 - Eye appointment, buy school books and finish back-to-school clothes shopping with The Child.

August 20 - Hello? Project Runway is back!

August 21 - 50th birthday bash for The Child's god-mother

August 22 - Dinner with Jane Austen & Mr. Darcy

August 23 - Begin pilgrimage to Forks, Washington in search of all things Twilight

August 24 - Forks

August 25 - Forks

August 26 - Take Child to registration then run back to work to prepare for a big ass tour of D.C. mucky mucks without MAB present

August 27 - Bloody Mary Thursday and Hello? Project Runway.

August 28 - Rehearsal for Big Wedding

August 29 - Ree & Jerry's Big Wedding ("big" in importance, not size - but The Child is in the wedding party so you see how it is)

August 30 - Get my bangs trimmed and recover from Big Wedding

August 31 - Baptism seminar with Kiki's parents

On another note, my 4th blogoversary has come and gone. Whoo hoo.

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Friday, August 14, 2009


Les Paul died yesterday. I think Sling is planning an appropriate tribute. I, on the other hand, found myself thinking randomly about Les Paul and guitars and then I was thinking about one of my favorite punk bands and then I started thinking about this song. Here's what I said about it when I played it back in the club:

As the 80s rolled along, John Doe & Exene, imho, demonstrated the depth of their musicianship. Always a little bit punk, their sound trended more toward roots music, a little rock-a-billy, a little country, certainly sometimes a little softer but still with that raw edge that is X. Or at least that's what I hear.

This song is almost something John Cougar Mellencamp could have done. Only he wouldn't have sounded like this. Because it's still X.


You'd have to work to make a connection between Les Paul and X and I shan't try. Except to note this: Most people think of him as either a country player or the guy who made guitars. But he brilliantly did far more then that, including figuring out how to record layers of sound. And while his musical talents were applied to country and jazz, he did things with and on guitars that had never been done before and along the way he inspired a generation of rockers.

Rest in peace, Les.



X "See How We Are"




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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Silly Thing

I have a friend named Celia.
I have a friend named Cecile.
I have a friend named Cecilia.

I can keep them straight.

The Spouse can't.

Hilarity ensues.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Town Hall Ruckus

It's time to weigh in on the haters. I wasn't going to give them the ink but now I realize I'm too ticked off.

Last night The Spouse made a very good point. "This never would have happened in W's America," he said. It's true. Bush orchestrated all his events. They were invitation only. If you had the "wrong" politics or the wrong look or the wrong T-shirt, you didn't get in. That way, he was always preaching to the choir and got his tidy, we-all-agree-and-ain't-I-just-the-best photo ops. But the Democrats, who apparently still care more about the actual process of democracy than their counterparts, aren't doing that. They're letting anyone in to these health care town halls, even though they know that the GOP is sending in clowns for the express purpose of disrupting the meetings. (Historical footnote: The Nazis enjoyed doing that, too).

I granted The Spouse his "celebrate the democracy" point but it still ticks me off. And here's why: it's not about health care; it's all about politics.

A few nights ago one of our reps held a town hall, sponsored by the American Legion, for the purpose of discuss Veteran's issues. The meeting was high jacked by haters, who insulted the VA reps, accusing them of eating up time with their presentations (the ones they were asked to give) instead of letting the "people" air their grievances. It was, according to reports, pretty ugly. And the irony in this particular situation is that the people who were raving about not wanting government health care are largely receiving Medicaid and VA benefits. (Hi, those are government programs. Just sayin').

You see, these ruckus people aren't interested in democracy or in having legitimate questions answered. They are just interested in disrupting the process. They don't want to listen. They don't want misinformation corrected. They're just there to hate.

And hate is the issue. You see, the GOP knows that Barack Obama cannot be "allowed" to win on health care. If he is successful in getting any legislation passed, they will suffer. They have to defeat Obama on this so they can congratulate themselves on having him under their boot. It's not a secret. The success of Barack Obama, on any level, is a defeat for the GOP. They still can't believe he got elected, they're still pissed about it and the only strategy left for them at the moment is bringing him down. If they can't do it with the "birther" kerfuffle (which is in itself so ridiculous that I really cannot bring myself to give it any more space than I just have), they'll do it by derailing an ambitious effort to do something about the catastrophe that is health care in America.

The thing that bugs me the most about it is this: out of all the plans before Congress, none of them came from the Republicans. Obama said at the outset that he didn't care where good ideas came from; if there were good ideas or plans put forward they would be taken under advisement. All the current plans came from the Democratic side of the aisle or are bi-partisan. (We will continue to give snaps to those Republicans who are still interested in doing their real job). There is no major, comprehensive reform legislation from the Republicans. Why? They don't want to play. They don't have any desire to reform health care. Let's say there was a Republican plan to be debated. Let's say it was a good plan. Let's say that it passed. In the narrow, twisted view of the current GOP leadership that would still be a bad thing. Not only might it cut into the profits of their friends at the health insurance and drug companies, it would still, in their minds, be equated as a win for Obama. Because he's the one who wanted reform. And they just can't give him that. Screw the millions of Americans without insurance. Screw the millions who go into bankruptcy every year because of their medical bills. Screw the folks who happily pay their premiums only to lose their insurance the second they actually become ill. Hey! That's worked for 20, 30 years. Right?

Wrong. No, if the GOP leadership had a nit in their heads they would have crafted a decent proposal, tried to push it through and then run with that success to the mid-term elections. But they don't want to boast about reforming health care. They want to boast that they've kept Barack Obama from effectively leading. "He tried to reform health care but he couldn't do it. What a loser". That's what they want to be able to say.

Despite all the noise (and the perception it creates that no one wants health care reform), I don't think this is the strategy that will allow the GOP to regain the majority in the mid-terms. I just don't. Until they understand the motivations of the voters who swept them out of power, until they understand the thirst for true leadership that most Americas still feel, they are not going to get their power back. And if they are successful in scuttling health care legislation, they'd best not crow too much. I'll bet the DNC is already working on the ads: show clips of angry posers in town hall meetings, show a picture of the Republican candidate and end with "This is the guy that saw to it you don't have health care". End scene.

Sometimes I wish I was a Republican so that I could be on the inside screaming, "You guys! Wake up! People are tired of the status quo. We want to win, we have to start leading! Remember Eisenhower!" Or something like that. But I'd just be shouted down. It seems that's all the GOP is capable of right now. And that's really, really sad.

On another note, Sarah Palin should be institutionalized. The woman is delusional and it's scary. Poor thing.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dancing in the Street

It's raining.

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Friday, August 07, 2009


"At the time I came along, Hollywood's idea of teen movies meant there had to be a lot of nudity, usually involving boys in pursuit of sex, and pretty gross overall. Either that or a horror movie. And the last thing Hollywood wanted in their teen movies was teenagers!"

-John Hughes

All this summer The Spouse and I have been educating The Child as to the pop cultural significance of '80's movies, which is largely comprise of the work of the as-of-yesterday-late John Hughes.

Funny, just the other night, after we finished watching "Some Kind of Wonderful", The Spouse and I began a discussion (among ourselves...we didn't subject The Child to it) of the importance of Mr. Hughes' work in the history of cinema. The Spouse used the word "oeuvre and I quickly and snobbishly corrected him, as the word pertains to the totality of one's life work. Turns out, he was only about 18 hours short of using the word correctly.

We've watched a lot of classic (and some not so) movies this summer. Some, like "Footloose", "Dirty Dancing" and "Say Anything" were not written or directed or produced by Mr. Hughes. But most of them have been. And a few important things stand out.

John Hughes did advance a genre which had, theretofore, been comprised of beach party movies, slasher films or Porkyesque treatments of the teenage experience. Then Hughes came along and made movies about real kids dealing with the real stuff of being a teenager. Parents who didn't get it (excepting Harry Dean Stanton's role as the dad in "Pretty in Pink"...but he had other issues). Cliques. Class. Social standing. Choices. Sex. The future. Friendship. Love. Sex. And he did it wit humor and honesty and excellent soundtracks. He worked with some kids who were going to go on to do some pretty good work over the years and not all of them went off the rails in the process.

Some of Hughes' movies are terrible. Some of the films in his legacy make my throat small. But not the teen films. I love them. Love them all. I love them all for different reasons but I love them.

Hughes didn't start a revolution in teen films. The fact remains that movies about teens and marketed to teens still are largely fluff at best, insulting at worst. But Hughes did open, if not a door than at least a window that would allow someone like Diablo Cody to come along and make a film like "Juno".

Hughes was one of the first film makers to treat teenagers authentically. (Cameron Crowe did it in "Say Anything", too). His characters weren't perfect but they were real. They were mixed up, funny, sad and by the end of the film they usually managed to learn a little something along the way.

His films are replete with unforgettable images and scenes; images & scenes which have become icons of the genre. (Ferris and his friends in the Chicago Art Institute & the Breakfast Clubbers dancing in the library spring immediately to mind). His movies were good stories that 20 years later don't feel dated. They have been as captivating to The Child now as they were to us when they first came out. And that's saying something. And did I mention the excellent soundtracks?

video
Simple Minds "Don't You Forget About Me"

Thanks, John. Good work. Rest in peace.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

How I'll Spend My Summer Vacation

Forks, Washington is a little, tiny, podunk town on the Olympic Pennisula. It is notable for not much of anything except being very, very wet and podunk.

That was before Twilight and the rest of Stephanie Meyers' ouevre. (OK, it's not yet accurate to call it her ouevre. But it would be if she were, God forbid, hit by a bus tomorrow. I just like saying ouevre).

You people don't even want to know how much I just paid to book a 3 day, 2 night excursion - including a 3 hour tour* of all the locations mentioned in the books - for The Child and meself.

Of course, I did pay to stay in a "Twilight" room (black and red decor, posters from the movie on the walls) and the tour includes sandwiches.

You know what? I am so NOT the worst mother in the world.

*("A three hour tour...")

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Bedside Manner

I grew up with people whose general attitude toward health care went like this: why go to the doctor? You're either going to find out you're fine, in which case you spent money for nothing or you're going to find out you're dying, in which case you spent money for nothing. So while I have transcended that attitude somewhat, it still takes me a while to get around to making my regular appointments for the things one should regularly have checked out. Consequently, I went to an eye appointment yesterday that was only about a year over due but more to the point, I was motivated not so much by caring for my eyes as the fact that I was out of contact lenses.

Eye appointments are very low on the list of "doctor visits about which one gets nervous". The worst thing they do to you is dilate your eyes. I did flunk my peripheral vision test but that's just because my right eye is so dominant it made my left eye want to blank out but now that I know the work around for that we'll try again and all will be well. So we're going along and it's all, "your eyesight is actually improving...you still have astigmatism (which, btw, isn't anywhere near as exciting as stigmata)...do you want to try multifocal lenses so you don't have to use readers...and then all a sudden the doc is all freaked out.

"You have a very large floater in your left eye. Does it bother you?"

"A what?"

"A floater". Which she then had to explain to me. (I still don't understand it; I came away with the impression that I have a jelly fish behind my eye). "How often do you notice it?"

"Um, never?"

"Ever see flashes of light?"

"No."

She looked at me like I'd just declared Sarah Palin the brain trust of our time. "You don't notice anything? It's pretty big".

"No. I remember the doc last time mentioning I had one but I haven't noticed anything".

The doc was still bemused. She told me that typically they aren't a problem for people, that they aren't treated, etc. etc. but...

"You think it needs to be treated?"

"Well, there are risks with the procedure but this one is so big..."

"But if I don't even notice it what's the big deal?"

"Well, if they are big enough they can tug at the retina, sometimes causing it to detach".

WTH???????

We can all agree a detached retina would be a bad thing. But holy hell. Here I go, blithely along, doot doot doot di doot, not noticing the behemoth in my eye and all a sudden not only is it supposed to be impairing my vision, it could make me blind!


Who tells a person these things? Why couldn't she have just said something like, "Now when people get older their eyes change. Here are some things to look for. If you notice anything, especially, oh, say, flashes of light, you give me a call, 'k?" You know, just sort of lay it out there in a quiet, non-panicky way and see what happens.

But no.

So of course last night I was completely obsessed with my eye: "Oh, there it is again. I can see my little Floaty". And I'm pretty sure I saw one of those flashes she was talking about this morning. Freaked me the hell out.

Doctors just shouldn't tell me things like that. They just shouldn't.

Now I'm just saying lots of prayers to St. Lucy and looking on line for designer eye patches. Just in case.