ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.

Yearly Archive: 2008



October 2008



We’re off the see the Wizard . . .

Written by , Posted in Adventures

Today I took the Halloween tour of Green-Wood Cemetery. It’s a great, one-square-mile cemetery just about a mile from my apartment. It is 170 years old this year, and is the final resting place for about 560,000. Yup, that’s not a typo.

There were probably about 150 of us on the tour, and it was a perfect day for it. It was sunny, and actually a bit warm (I think almost 65). We met at the 5th avenue entrance, and spent about 2 1/2 hours going through the gorgeous cemetery. We saw a few interesting graves, including that of “Bill the Butcher” – the man on whom the Daniel Day Lewis Character in “Gangs of New York” was loosely based. We saw one of a man who was murdered by a jilted lover, and one of a woman who was buried in a dress that was bequeathed to a friend, who then had to sue the estate to get the value paid to her (the executor wanted to make her exhume the body and physically take the dress).

We also saw where the man who played the Wizard of Oz is buried, as well Jean-Paul Basquiat. Finally, we ended the tour with a special trip into the catacombs. They only open them once a year, I believe. They are just downright creepy.

I took a few pictures – I plan to go back. It’s so close, and unlike Prospect or Central Park, it’s not packed with children. And it’s just lovely and quiet.



October 2008



Psst. I’m an American Too

Written by , Posted in Feminism

I’m tired. It’s 11 on a Monday night. I’m still getting over a cold, and I should really be in bed with my book, getting in one last chapter before drifting off. But I can’t sleep until I get this off of my chest. I could probably say this more eloquently, but for now, here it is.

I’m tired of the claim that I am not a real American. I’m tired of turning on the TV to hear someone, in front of a crowd of (white) people in a (small) town that THEY are the true, real Americans.

Because guess what? I am an American, too. I am a ‘real’ American. I am also “pro-America” (so long, of course, as that doesn’t mean I have to be “anti-everyone else”). That’s right. Even if we don’t agree with you, Sarah Palin, John McCain, and Michelle Bachmann, we are still American, and we are still rooting for things in this country to turn around.

Some of us are straight. Some of us are gay. But our sexuality doesn’t make us Pro-America or Anti-America. Me being attracted to members of the opposite sex doesn’t make me more of an American, or a better American, than the fact that one of my best friend’s is attracted to members of the same sex.

Some of us are Catholic. Some are Jewish. Some are Muslim, and some are Quaker. Some are agnostic. Some are Protestant. But our religion doesn’t make us Pro-America or Anti-America, or less of an American than you. You don’t get a larger claim on the right to call yourself American just because you make a big show of sitting in a pew on Sundays. 

Some of us live in small towns. Some of us live in big cities. Some of us live in neighborhoods that feel like small towns in the middle of big cities. But our zip codes don’t make us Pro-America or Anti-America. You don’t get to call yourself more of a citizen because you live in a zip code with fewer than 6,000 residents and I live in a zip code with over 62,000. 

I own a passport. I’d love to spend more time exploring the world. Never wanting to leave America is fine if that’s your choice. But it is ridiculous to suggest that people who want to see the world, or who go and talk to other people in the world, or who care about the other 5.7 BILLION people who share the earth with us are less American than you. What we do in this country has a direct impact on the rest of the world, and it is preposterous to suggest that we should ignore them all.

I like knowing that if I call 911, police, fire and EMS will show up. I like knowing that I can get to my job without having to pay for a car, because I take the subway. I like knowing that if something happens to me and, for awhile, I can’t find another job, I might be able to ask the government for some assistance. So yeah, I do think it is patriotic to pay taxes, because even if I don’t ever need those emergency services, I accept that because you and I pay those taxes, someone else’s life might be saved. It’s not “Pro-America” to suggest that paying taxes is a bad thing, and it’s not “Anti-America” to be able to see the bigger picture on this issue.

I’m tired of hearing about how the real Americans come from the states between the coasts. How, because my path in life involved getting a master’s degree, and not going straight to work in a factory, I’m less of an American. It’s ridiculous to suggest that working hard to educated yourself and move up in life is somehow not American. And it’s bull to suggest that because I have a degree I someone look down upon people who don’t.

I’m tired of the hypocrisy of those who claim to treasure the “American Dream” and with their next breath tear down those who not only fulfilled that dream but want to make it available to others. 

I love small towns and big cities. I love mountains and the ocean and snow and sun and rain. I love that in America in February you can fly from a blizzard in NYC to the beach in Miami and still be in the same country. I love that on the train to work I can hear different languages and see people who don’t look like me all living and working and loving together. 

One reason this is a place so many people want to come to is BECAUSE there are so many different people here. Not everyone is white, works at the local diner and has three or four kids. Not everyone goes to a Baptist church. Not everyone thinks that Beverly Hills Chihuahua is the greatest movie of the year. But if they do? That doesn’t make them less of an American either.

You know what? I think it is patriotic to have the courage and the strength and the honesty to recognize that there are some areas at which America ISN’T the greatest. The fact that we even have to discuss the possibility that there could be a ‘Bradley Effect’ on the election disgusts me. There are still plenty of racists and bigots in this country, and that does not make me proud. The fact that the one thing that the candidates seem to agree on is their dislike of gay marriage – that does not make me proud. 

If, as a parent, you point out that your child could improve in an area, maybe work a little harder, does that mean you don’t love your child? OF COURSE NOT. It means you care enough about your child to try to correct him or her so that he or she can grow and be even better than he or she already is. Criticizing the government, asking for change, and pointing out the problems we have in this country doesn’t mean we love it any less than you do – it just means that we care enough to be honest so that maybe, just maybe, it will become a better place.

Protesting the government and seeking change? THAT is  American, damn it.

And so am I.



October 2008



Live Musings – Presidential Debate #3 (30 minutes anyway)

Written by , Posted in Reviews

I tried to resist. I failed. Bob, please bring it home.

9:02 PM – Obama – red tie. McCain – Blue tie. Way to mix it up boys! Rachel Maddow thinks McCain won the tie contest.

9:03 PM – McCain, for the second time, starts his debate with bad news about an elderly person being ill. Seriously, he fulfills old man stereotypes. I don’t know about you, but one of my grandmother’s favorite things was telling us about her friends who were sick. I associate that need to share bad tiding with old and cranky. Point? Obama.

9:06 PM – Obama has a bit of a chill tone. AND – first reference to the middle class. Side note – he’s looking right at me. Hi Obama! Sorry I’m not wearing your shirt – but it’s going to walk away on it’s own accord if I don’t wash it soon.

9:07 PM – McCain got a posture lecture, methinks. He looks like he has a stick up his rear, quite literally.

9:08 PM – Wait, is McCain telling a story from Obama’s campaign rally? Smooth! Very smooth. Point? McCain. He’s finally attempting to connect with people. (arg . . . )

9:09 PM – First chuckle goes to Obama. Hee.

9:10 PM – God, I love the fact that if you make less than $250,000, under Obama’s plan, your capital gains taxes don’t go up. My mother did not like the idea of capital gains increases.

9:11 PM – Oooh, Obama is not going to stand for this. He looks kind of annoyed – like “Really, McCain? Really?”

Rachel Maddow cracks my stuff up. Comment from her live blog – Obama “wants to personally take Joe the plumber’s money away?! Like in an alley or something?” Ha. Ha Ha.

9:14 PM – I like that Obama explained that $750 billion could theoretically come back to us taxpayers if it’s managed well. Under him.

Side note – can you hear McCain sighing over to the side there? Is this going to be like the Gore sighing from 2000?

9:15 PM – Obama is making sense to the rational person . . . but in reality, let’s think about it. It is REALLY hard to make the kind of cuts he’s suggesting. Hmm.

9:17 PM – Oh, McCain got a bit of a slap from Bob also. Obama is looking at McCain. Love it. AND McCain brings up  the spending freeze. Yeesh. A hatchet FOLLOWED by a scalpel? Hmm. And he said “We’ve presided.” I hope Obama jumps on that and point out that “we” indeed – we=McCain and Bush.

9:18 PM – Obama, please talk about how an overhead projector is actually a GOOD thing. I like education. I think it’s a good thing. Also, isn’t this like the EXACT SAME discuss we had last time? I may need to switch to project runway now.

9:20 PM – McCain – nice one. “I am not President Bush.” Although, frankly, you have to act that way, not just say it.

9:21 PM – I’ve switched to CNN. Interesting – women are usually more positive overall. But when McCain talks, women actually drop BELOW the neutral line. They don’t so much seem to agree with McCain, but McCain is definitely doing better on some things.

9:23 PM – Ha. Obama mentions that Fox news even agrees with him. Obama keeps things so calm. He did, I think, a great job in pointing out how McCain has differed AND how he is the same. 

9:24 PM – I love this part of the debate, where Obama says that he’s kind of conservative! And McCain says he’s kind of liberal.

9:25 PM – OOH! Bob went there. Sweet!

9:26 PM – Are you FREAKING KIDDING ME! McCain is blaming OBAMA for the tone because Obama did not want to do town hall meetings? Oh that is so ABSURD.

9:27 PM – OH YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FREAKING KIDDING ME. I’m waiting for Obama’s response and then I am turning the channel. McCain is acting in such an evil way. It’s ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous.

9:29 PM – Go Obama! Interesting – CNN – men are neutral, women are positive on what Obama is saying. 

9:30 PM – And I’m out. I tried folks. I tried.



October 2008



Live Musings – Presidential Debate #2

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Third debate of the general election, third location. First was my apartment, all alone. Second was thundering through the air in a tube with like-minded strangers. Now I’m with my good friends in Seattle, watching it while waiting for pizza. Should be a good one…

(this time the times posted will be Pacific, since that’s where I am)

5:55 PM – Oh CNN. Thank you for getting into a room a whole bunch of people who can’t make up their minds. I’m intrigued by these people.

6:02 PM – Brokaw made a funny!

6:03 PM – Obama has a purple tie. And he’s chosen to wear it. Is that a subtle nod to the fact that there are no red or blue states – just purple?

6:06 PM – Nice specifics Obama. Of course McCain comes out with a bit of a jab . . . and OF COURSE McCain says that the solution is energy independence. Of course. I bet we get that from . . . drilling.

6:07 PM – McCain wants to re-negotiate mortgages. And . . . he randomly insults Brokaw. What?

6:11 PM – McCain corrects – wait, we have our first reference to Main Street. And you should REALLY let the whole “suspended campaign” thing go – it was not a good choice, and it’s a bad idea to bring it up.

6:13 PM – Zing. Obama’s cronies? Damn. That’s harsh. But good job pointing out campaign contributions.

6:14 PM – And Obama goes to the heart of the question. And the he brings the pain – yeah. McCain probably shouldn’t have gone there, with the Freddie Mac links to Obama, what with his campaign manager and all . . . 

6:17 PM – So McCain, how will this re-valuing of mortgages work? If my home value has gone up, will my mortgage go up?

6:20 PM – The question was kind of funny. McCain seems really uncomfortable. Am I wrong on that? I thought this was supposed to be his forte. And look at that – the men and women on CNN don’t seem too pleased with McCain. Did McCain even listen to Obama? Obama already explained his increases were paid for by cuts. 

6:24 PM – Ah, it looks like McCain took a page from Palin – don’t really answer the question asked.

6:27 PM – Oooh, novel approach. Obama answered the question as posed. But I think Brokaw is getting really annoyed with both of them for not cutting their time down.

6:29 PM – My friend Mike thinks that McCain looks like he has little wings. Meanwhile, McCain is again saying there will be a spending freeze on everything except defense and veterans affairs. Hmm . . . and yet McCain, who hasn’t done much at all for health care is saying he’s not going to tell people they have to wait.

6:31 PM – First reference to 9/11 comes from Obama. And my first Obama cringe comes from him talking about clean coal technology. Boo. Hiss. But at least he’s talking about sacrifices. It’s true – we haven’t been asked to adjust anything. Doubling the peace corps? Intriguing. Can I be sent to Ireland? I’m sure they need some help since they are in a recession.

6:33 PM – Obama seems to be reaching a bit for the right words. He’s not as eloquent as I’d like. But I do like the comparison to teachers tightening their belts and the unfair burden sharing. And drawing it back to McCain having unfair burden sharing by freezing all spending.

6:36 PM – McCain seems only able to talk about Obama. Interesting.

6:37 PM – I’m not sure this format is working. But oh HILARITY – the Straight Talk Express Lost a Wheel? And Obama brings it back to taxes. At least he seems to have learned from the last debate, so now he is not letting some of the bigger point slide. And by pointing out how things are related, he’s engaging us all in some more complex thinking.

6:41 PM – He’ll answer the question? So I guess that’s where he and Palin part ways. 

My friend Jamie is hilarious – McCain’s talking about how his party isn’t always happy with him. Jamie’s response? “I have no loyalty. I have no ideological consistency.”

6:42 PM – Interesting – And LAME. Man, the more of McCain I see the less I like. I used to like him a bit.

6:43 PM – McCain has mentioned Lieberman like five times. Hmm. And now he says “Obama thinks [nuclear power] needs to be safe OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT” – what the hell just happened? Did he have a brain fart? That was bizarre. That whole answer was all about me liking peanut butter and you swimming. I heart non sequitur theater.

6:46 PM – OH SNAP. Obama just threw a big ol’ piece of mud at McCain. “Congress hasn’t done anything about energy for 30 years – McCain’s been there for 26 of them.” And Obama throws in a fact about how drilling still can’t solve the problem. I also heart rationality.

6:48 PM – “That one?” Did he REALLY just do that? Is he trying to – oh man, Mike just stood up and pointed out that McCain looks like a puppet with strings holding up his elbows. It’s true! Think about it!

6:49 PM – Senator McCain, I AM NOT YOUR FRIEND. Please stop referring to me as such.

6:52 PM – Please don’t tax my health insurance. Please. Please. Please. 

Side note – Obama, you’re a bit long winded. I think you have like a minute total.

6:55 PM – What’s McCain talking about? I can’t follow him. I’m not feeling well, but can that explain it? Or is he totally rambling? And also, McCain talked about parents wanting to insure their kids. And yet McCain voted against adding more children to the list of those eligible for insurance. Not cool man, not cool.

6:57 PM – I agree that health care should be a right. I agree with what Obama is saying. This is good – Obama is explaining why you shouldn’t be able to cross state lines to get health care – the comparison to deregulation of banking was great too.

7:00 PM – Peacemakers. What’s going on now? I’m nodding off.

7:02 PM – Obama, we’ve heard this before. Something new please. 

I’m not sure I’m going to end up watching the third debate. Just the pre-game and after-party for me, I think. 

7:04 PM – And Obama’s the first one to mention morals…and then he stuttered. But I do like the idea that we need to intervene when possible from a moral perspective. 

7:07 PM – What’s going on? The town-hall format just wanders aimlessly. It’s odd. I don’t like it.

7:08 PM – What does “exacerbate our reputation” mean?

7:09 PM – Please answer the question. Either of you. Please.

7:11 PM – McCain, do you know at all what it means to respond to a hypothetical? Ugh. I like that Obama is honest about what he thinks should be done.

7:13 PM – Obama is bringing the smack down. Brokaw is taking it well.

7:15 PM – UGH. I had to leave. I had to leave. I cannot watch both of them acting like children and pointing at each other.

7:18 PM – Mike says “Jesus Christ. Is General Patraeus running for President?”

7:19 PM – Stop beating this horse. It died long, long ago.

7:22 PM – I’m done with this. I give up. I’m sleepy.

Okay. I think it’s almost over. I’m tired of these. I’m not happy about how this has gone, because I don’t think we’re getting anything new out of this. At all.




October 2008



Vice Presidential Debate

Written by , Posted in Reviews

8:40 PM – I’m on a flight to Seattle. Well, I’m on the plane. And it’s hopefully full of a bunch of people who are as excited as I am. So many of us asked if the TVs were working.

8:50 PM – Oh man, I’m anxious. But watching MSNBC helps. Is this what conservatives feel when they watch Fox? Of course, Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow’s snark has the added benefit of being based in reality. But ignorance is bliss, right, so maybe that’s why the folks on Fox always seem to be smiling. Palin always looks quite happy, that I know.

8:55 PM – Please take off soon. I want to get going.

9:00 PM – MSNBC’s signal has gone off. Only Fox has a signal. Are you KIDDING ME? Am I really going to have to watch the debate on Fox?

9:01 PM – Oh it’s back. Thank god(s).

9:03 PM – “Can I call you Joe?” It’s like she’s a small child. While I appreciate the etiquette, I think it’s interesting that she went that route. Very clever. But I think he’ll keep referring to her as governor.

9:04 STOP TALKING JET BLUE. I love you, but shut up. I don’t need a seven dollar blanket, even if it does come with a coupon from Bed Bath and Beyond.

9:06 PM – Wait. People didn’t want to join up with McCain? But it was a bi-partisan effort? Which is correct, Palin? 

9:07 PM – Oooh. Biden’s done things in his life. Violence Against Women Act. Damn right. Did he just subtly accuse Palin of going off topic? That was a little snide. I like it. But how will it read?

9:08 PM – She looked at him. Looks like the ticket learned from the first debate. And she’s looking at the camera. 96% of the time Obama is with dems. Good quote.

9:09 PM – Um – why is she whispering? Does she not know she has a microphone? I can control the volume on my end.

9:10 PM – SHUT UP JET BLUE. I DON’T WANT A BLANKET. Wait, did she just say Joe Six-Pack again? But she did bring up personal responsibility. Hmm, as an aside – does she not know how to pronounce ‘g’? Happenin’, talkin’, hopin’? Enunciate, please.

9:11 PM – Nice. Biden points out McCain didn’t think there was a sub-prime crisis, and Obama wanted the regulations back. Interesting . . .Oooh and now he brings up the fact that McCain said that he wants to do the same thing with health care that he did with banks. Um, no. Please.

9:13 PM – She definitely is not choking. Good work, debate prepares. But Biden – nice job pointing out that not only is the standard she’s using bogus, but if she does use it McCain looks worse. Fab.

9:15 PM – Oooh, look. She’s such a maverick that she can’t be bothered to answer the questions! She’s going to talk to the people. Um, it’s a debate. Talk to the people, but in the context of the debate. This isn’t a campaign rally.

9:17 PM – Oh Biden. Way to point out that he has values – they just are different. And the tax increase for rich people just restores them to the level they paid under Reagan.

9:18 PM – Please stop whispering. Seriously. It’s SO freaking condescending. It’s obnoxious.

9:19 PM – She doesn’t want the government running health care. Why don’t people get the difference between government provision and government funding? UGH.

Did he just bring up Exxon? Heh. Hitting her where she lives. And he refuted the small business claim she made. It’s so clear (to me, and I know I’m super-biased) that he knows his stuff.

9:20 PM – OH MAN. Did he just go there? He mentioned the bridge to nowhere and compared the horrible McCain health care plan to it. So good. It even got a gasp. It is just sickening to think that McCain and Palin want to tax health benefits and only provide a break for less than half the amount of the average worth of employer-provided benefits. Think 45 million uninsured is bad? How about 65 million!

9:22 PM – Nice. I like that Ifill followed up on a question from the Presidential debate. And I like that Biden had an answer.

9:23 PM – She is so condescending. It’s kind of amazing when people with nothing to back up their condescension come across as such poseurs.

9:24 PM – Go Ifill. Way to bring it back to the question. And then Palin points out she’s been doing this for 5 weeks? Um, door open . . . 

9:25 PM – Interesting – Biden makes it seem like McCain and Palin disagree on something Palin’s so proud of doing. Ha.

9:28 PM – Biden, I’m sorry, I’m not following. You and Obama disagreed two years ago? Shocking. 

9:29 PM – What is she doing? She’s controlling the debate to a degree, but she’s not actually answering the questions. The person in the seat next to me is watching CNN, and when Palin just changed the topic the approval just dropped dramatically. And how can she talk about energy when she’s not supporting alternative energy? She has everything to gain with oil drilling.

9:31 PM – Are you freaking kidding me? Of course it matters what caused climate change – otherwise you treat the symptoms and not the roots. Oh MAN. An “All of the above” approach? Hmm. Not sure I like that characterization. AND Biden brings it home.

9:34 PM – Drill baby drill? Is she for real?

9:36 PM – Interesting – Biden almost opened it up for McCain.

9:37 PM – Now it’s getting good. Damn straight that sam sex couple deserve the same rights. Oh wow. She doesn’t want it to get to marriage. But she is ‘tolerant.’ No one would oppose it in her administration? But she thinks marriage is only for a man and a woman.

9:38 PM – And this is where I part with the ticket. I understand that they need to not support it to get elected. That breaks my heart that a majority of people oppose civil rights. It’s disgusting to me that the only thing they seem to agree on is the continued discrimination of gay people. Ugh.

9:40 PM – Oh snap. She scores a point on Biden v Obama on the surge front. Interesting.

9:41 PM – Biden has an novel tactic – answer the question. Then get back to shooting down her comments. Relevetory.

9:42 PM – “White Flag of Surrender”? Interesting. Also interesting – the little tracker on CNN shows women really drop down when Palin talks about the troops.

9:44 PM – Go Biden. If Palin is going to attack Obama on something and McCain did it too, well, that’s risky. Don’t expect Biden to let that go.

9:46 PM – Biden knows his foreign policy. Or at least, he sounds like it. Love it.

9:47 PM – Um, I have thrown my hands up in frustration so many times when she starts speaking. Not as many as I thought, but still. Many, many times. – Wait, Cuba? Ah. Here’s where we go back to the “meeting without preconditions.” Is that horse dead yet? 

9:49 PM – My poor seat mates. I’m almost punching the TV. I’m having quite visceral reactions. I’m sorry, did she just say “our respect for women’s rights”? Isn’t she the one who wants to government to make decisions for women? She has no respect for womens’ rights. 

9:50 PM – Oh. Biden just schooled Palin and McCain on international affairs. Snap. It’s so entertaining to see how the minds work. Diplomacy has been MIA for the last eight years – and that hasn’t worked out so well.

9:51 PM – Is it odd that I just realized the anagram of Palin is Plain? But good to know that she supports a two-state solution. Any guesses on whether she had an opinion on the issue six weeks ago? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

9:52 PM – Um. When I hear “McCain-Palin Administration” I shudder. I actually shudder.

9:53 PM – He did it again. He’s answering the questions. I think when he does that, he pulls control of the debate back.

9:54 PM – UMMM, WHAT THE HECK? She doesn’t want to play the blame game? She doesn’t want to point fingers? And then she goes on to say they’ll return the government to the people – so then someone must have taken away the government from the people. Maybe . . . Bush?

9:55 PM – Oh thank god(s). My wine has arrived. Maybe it will calm me down.

9:56 PM – She’s not answering the questions again. I don’t understand. I can’t follow her. She’s just got a list of points someone told her to hit – and they’re not related to anything that is being asked. What is she doing, going on about Afghanistan?

9:58 PM – Biden so knows his stuff. I wish that she was required to actually answer the questions asked of her. That would be super interesting. But at least he got back to the question.

There are still 30 minutes left. I don’t know if I will make it. Part of me is sort of bummed she hasn’t totally screwed up. Especially because conservatives (and liberals) have been lowering expectations so much. Is it obvious to others that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about?

Additional side note – why should she? Yes, she’s the governor of a state. But I don’t think it’s a character flaw that she doesn’t have the foreign policy know-how that Biden has. The problem is that she shouldn’t be running for VP. She’s just not qualified.

10:03 PM – Okay, this is a big problem. I know my sister and I agree on this one. Biden voted for the war, and then changed his mind with different information and as time unfolds. But why is it bad when someone changes their mind? If it isn’t willy-nilly (heh, I love that term)? Why is educating one’s self, or realizing that something is going the wrong way and changing direction, a bad thing? Just cling to the sinking ship, because that’s how you prove your worth, right? Only people with blind allegiance to wrong ideas are real people, right? Washington outsider my rear end. She liked that bridge, and then changed her mind. She certainly knows what that’s all about.

10:09 PM – “Team of Mavericks”? Again. Giving one’s self a nickname immediately removes its relevance. 

10:11 PM – Doggone it? Doggone it? THIS IS NOT A DISNEY MOVIE. I’m sorry. Did she just give a “shout out” in a debate? That’s not okay. This is not a student council debate. This is a VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE.

10:13 PM – That exchange about lame VP jokes was actually kind of funny. Bizarre. But funny.

10:14 PM – And we have the first reference to her special needs child. Ding.

10:16 PM – Oh good. Flexible Constitution. I’m super excited that Palin thinks the Constitution is flexible when it comes to her role. Great. Awesome. I’m sure that won’t lead to any abuse – I mean, Cheney didn’t abuse it. What could go wrong?

10:17 PM – Go Biden. Cheney is scary.

10:18 PM – Ah, non-sequitor theater. Didn’t Ifill just ask what her actual achillese heel is? Is this the equivalent of answering the “what’s your greatest weakness” by saying “I work too hard”? Ack. She’s running in circles. What is she talking about?

10:20 PM – Oh look. Biden had a variation on that theme. Whoops. But way to remind everyone that he’s had a rough time. Oh, and wow, did he just tear up? Wow. That actually kind of choked me up a little. And Palin just kind of doesn’t acknowledge anything that was said. She jumps back into the maverick line. She just goes back to the talking points and doesn’t . . . it’s interesting. She’s both super engaged and not engaged at all. It’s like she learned a script that told her to appear folksy by seeming like she gets it, while simultaneously not hearing what’s going on.

10:23 PM – Nice. Biden finally makes the call on the maverick thing. He knows his stuff and I kind of love it. No, I really love it. 

10:24 PM – Good question Ifill. When did you have to actually change your position on something? Wow. Love it. Biden’s talking about his time on the judiciary committee. He does think judicial philosophy matters, but didn’t at first.

10:25 PM – And she just does nothing with it. She . . . didn’t veto something. That’s definitely on the same par. And no, she hasn’t had “to compromise”?! That wasn’t the question. So she’s never changed her mind on something. Huh. Good to know. Whether she’s right or wrong, she’s doesn’t care. What matters is that she just stays the course. Super.

10:27 PM – Meandering . . . and bring it back Biden. Okay, your change will be – not questioning motives. And Palin throws out catch phrase after catch phrase:

“Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk. At the end of the day, it’s for the greater good.”


10:29 PM – AND the mainstream media is brought up. Other than that – this isn’t much of a closing argument. Oh, here she goes. They are going to fight for the middle class. Oooh, dig at Michelle Obama there – she’s “always been proud to be an American.” What is going on? Did she just quote Reagan and call it a day?

10:30 PM – Biden just goes right for it. And he’s connecting, I think. 

Side note – Did he have a face lift? Or an eye lift? He doesn’t look as old as he should.

Back to the closing statement. NICE ENDING BIDEN

Whew. I am spent. Seriously spent. That was – well, Palin did better in that she didn’t totally choke. But she actually kind of reminded me of McCain in that she meandered and didn’t really answer the questions.

I need to focus on the pundits now. I hope she is not our vice president. I can’t handle a “Folksy” Vice President.



September 2008



Live musings – Presidential Debate #1

Written by , Posted in Reviews

8:56 PM (All times Eastern, since that’s where I live, yo)

Okay. Let’s see how long this works. I’m watching the debate on MSNBC – I’ve decided that’s the channel for me. I’m comfortable situated in my teeny tiny apartment, in my PJs, on my couch. Wishing a bit that Mac Books didn’t get so freaking hot when they’re on.

8:57 PM

Oooh, I need a snack . . . no popcorn. Is this a chips and salsa situation? Perhaps time for a salad? Or just straight whiskey? Eh. Jelly belly beans. Yes. That’ll do.

8:58 PM

Rules for the drinking game. Any time McCain says “friends” – DRINK. Any time Obama looks like he cannot BELIEVE McCain just said whatever he just said or vice versa – DRINK. Any time you find yourself laughing out loud at an absurdity from either candidate – TWO DRINKS.

9:01 PM

Oh Jim Lehrer. Direct follow-ups? Oh, this could be so good.

9:03 PM

McCain has a blue shirt on. Odd choice, McCain. No crisp. Obama’s in a navy suit, muted red tie, white shirt. He’s a walking America flag.

9:04 PM

C’mon, Obama. I appreciate you thanking Ole Miss, but the clock is ticking!

9:05 PM

First shot fired – 8 years of Bush, supported by McCain. Snap!

Okay, I need to slow down. I can’t respond to everything. Except, way to bring the mood down even further by bringing up Kennedy being in the hospital.

9:10 PM

What are you talking about McCain? Man, it’s like watching The Office goes to the White House. Oh, now he’s talking about greed being rewarded? How many houses do you have again?

9:12 PM

Ooh, first self-deprecating joke. Point McCain!

9:14 PM

What did you just say? Huh? I was talking to my sister earlier today about how I think I’m intelligent, but I couldn’t do debates. I can’t just pull information out. Watching this, I think I could probably perform about on par with McCain. I can’t follow him. 

9:17 PM

Oooh, $300 billion IS indeed very important when compared to $18 billion. Obama knows his stuff. Yay, reduced taxes.

9:18 PM

Ha. Did McCain just say he didn’t win Miss Congeniality in the Senate. Does he know his running mate actually did win Miss Congeniality?

9:19 PM

Hell yeah, health care is an issue that matters.

9:20 PM

Um, did McCain just compare us to Ireland in saying they have a lower Business Tax rate, as a way to show how businesses can do better in that environment? Did no one bother to tell him that just yesterday in Ireland they declared a recession? Not the BEST example there, McCain.

9:22 PM

Oooh, Obama just brought in some knowledge – effective tax rates. Nice. Wait, what? McCain wants to tax health benefits? That seems like a bad idea.

9:23 PM

McCain is smirking. DRINK!

9:25 PM

Hmm, I think it’s time to amend the drinking game. Every time Obama says “Look.” DRINK

9:27 PM

I have to say, Obama, not a fan of the biodiesel. But way to switch up the question – instead of accepting the “what to cut”, you said what you’d still keep. Oooh, and infrastructure. Yes, please, can we have a big infrastructure plan?

9:28 PM

Hell yeah, Obama is liberal. Thank god(s).

9:30 PM

What are you talking about, McCain? Boeing? What now? 

9:32 PM

Whoa. So we’re going to have a spending freeze for everything except defense and VA and entitlements (Medicare, etc.)? Um, huh. 

9:33 PM

Good call Obama. We do need to build up America.

9:34 PM

Did I fall asleep and wake up in the 1970s? Nuclear power?


Obama’s talking about values and priorities. Finally. I think McCain is showing his biggest fault – he doesn’t seem to understand nuance. He wants a huge sweeping decision about everything. Also – an aside – McCain doesn’t want the federal government to handle health care – but he’s fine with them taking $700 billion and running our financial markets? Huh?

9:37 PM

Oooh, orgy. And now Obama is tying McCain to Bush. Indeed. Go with it, please. Continue. Elaborate. I love it.

9:38 PM

Oh god. Maverick? Really? It sounds like a professor talking about how his students think he’s cool. Dude, you aren’t a Maverick if you’re a lap dog for the President.

9:42 PM

Damn right you opposed the war Obama. Preach it. I’m just enjoying it. Ooh, and he’s looking into the camera now. I hear you Obama!

9:42 PM

You are correct, McCain. The next president won’t have to decide about going into Iraq. But he will have to decide about going into other places. And it’s good to know he doesn’t have an itchy trigger finger.

9:44 PM

Oooh, good call. The war DID start five years ago, not one year ago. 

9:46 PM

McCain is getting antsy. Man, I hope the American public can see how loose a cannon McCain is. This is scaring me so much. 

9:47 PM

Ph yeah! I just had my first clapping moment. Obama pointing out that they disagreed on the timetable, not the troop funding. Finally. Nuance. Love it!

9:49 PM

Oh good. McCain will take his orders from Bin Laden, since he seems to agree with him on Iraq. That’s . . . special.

9:52 PM

Ah. Now he’s talking. I listen to Obama, and I have no doubt that he knows what he’s talking about because he has thought about it.

9:54 PM

What are you talking about McCain?

9:56 PM

Oh hell yeah. Pot, this is kettle. Obama uses reason, McCain wildly misinterprets. Obama talks about what should be done, McCain says he’s suggesting attacking Pakistan and speaking in a way a President shouldn’t . . . and Obama calls him out on the Bomb Iran song. Love it. 

9:58 PM

I have to say I’ve not noticed this before – McCain strikes me as extremely patronizing. I understand others think Obama acts elitist – but really, he strikes me as someone who speaks forcefully with information to back it up. McCain seems to just swat people away as though their comments are irrelevant or just straight wrong. That’s so icky.

Oh, now we’re talking about wearing bracelets? That’s great. Personal anecdotes are super fun. This is a DEBATE.

10:00 PM

Oh good times. It took an hour for him to refer to his POW-dom. Possibly a record. Obama, don’t sink to the level of McCain!

10:01 PM

McCain’s pen is a sharpie. Huh. That doesn’t seem like a good pen for quick notes. Although I suppose if his vision is going, he might need to have some bigger writing. (Yes, I realize that’s off topic.) Also, McCain isn’t even looking at Obama. Squirmy McSquirmy.

10:03 PM

Side note – Remember when we all thought that this might actually be – wait holocaust? Huh? What are you talking about?

Okay, back to my thought. Remember when we all thought that this might actually be a really civilized political season? When we thought they would focus on the issues? I think the reason it devolved is because McCain is so far off on the issues that he has to attack.

10:06 PM

Obama is so good at correcting McCain and building off of his comments. I love it. Yes, I drank the kool-aid long ago. Oh yay! Diplomacy. “This notion that by not talking to people we are punishing them is not working.” BOO YAH!

10:08 PM

Oh, now McCain is trying to appeal to voters by trying to make Obama someone who wants to hang out with Iran. Good times. Never mind that leading foreign affairs experts seem to agree with Obama. Why let the facts get in the way of a tirade?

10:10 PM

Simmer down Obama. You’re getting a little snarky. I love it. But sometimes it doesn’t fly with the more sensitive types.

10:12 PM

Way to bring up the Spain issue. Good call!

10:14 PM

I really have to say I’m liking this discussion. It’s nice to think that a president, in the future, might actually talk to other countries. I really am glad that people are getting to see what McCain is like as an executive. Man, he scares me. Scares the crap out of me.

10:16 PM

Russia. Oh how I wish that Obama had answered the “how do you see Russia” question with “Well, I can’t see it from my state, so I guess I’m a bit behind there. . . “

10:18 PM

Please stop attempting to make Obama seem naive. It’s sort of sad. And now he’s talking about the KGB? I think McCain is sad that he missed out on a bigger career in the 80s. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they are naive. It means that they disagree with you. 

This is the debate McCain is supposed to blow out of the water, right? Now, I never seem to agree with the media, but I don’t think he’s heads and shoulders above Obama.

STOP WITH THE ANECDOTES. Pet peeve – and I know they all do it – I HATE it when they talk about “I met Suzie in Small town Amurika, and she’s just like you. She has problems.” I get it. We get it. You talk to people. Moving on.

10:23 PM

Yay. Facts that actually point out WHY we can’t just rely on off-shore drilling.

10:25 PM

Awesome. McCain looks like a jerk – Obama doesn’t need to have the last word. I admire that so much. Winning isn’t about sounding like a jackass the loudest and the most often. It’s about making the good points and knowing that your actions speak louder than words.



September 2008



Did R.E.M. Have It Right?

Written by , Posted in Politics

The world is ending, I think. I’m watching Grey’s Anatomy (which, side note – nice season premiere!) and I see a teaser for the news, which I now can’t watch because I think it’s already over (the power of the DVR). Anyway, the teaser says WaMu was seized by the Feds.


Ack! We have presidential candidates ‘suspending’ campaigns and threatening not to debate. We have crazy $700 billion bailouts that started out as a blank check for an unelected official to ‘fix’ things. What does that even mean? What is it fixing? The companies? Is it a ‘trickle down’ solution, where as long as the private sector is protected from its failings, the rest of us will be okay? I don’t understand economics in any meaningful way, and I don’t understand what this really means. I know I have a job, and I know I can afford my rent. I know I have some savings. I know my parents are okay right now. 


I guess in general I’ve been avoiding reading or learning about a lot of this. I’m thinking that I should probably spend some time this weekend getting caught up.


PS – I heart Jon Stewart. “Clusterfu–k to the Poor House” made me guffaw.



September 2008



All smoke and no substance makes John a horrible pick.

Written by , Posted in Random

Earlier this month I committed to reading both party platforms and post my thoughts here. That didn’t happen. I couldn’t make it past the homophobic ramblings in the ‘national security’ chapter of the Republican Party, so I decided to instead watch it unfold in the media. Yikes.

I admittedly do not count Republicans among many of my close friends, so I have to wonder aloud – are you folks pissed? I would be kind of insulted right now. First, the more Gov. Palin speaks, the more it become painfully clear that she’s just not qualified to do the job of President. Yes, she’s running to be Vice President, but let’s be honest. We’ve all seen McCain. Older people can certainly do pretty much any job, and the wisdom of someone who has 70 years of life experience is amazing. But this particular septuagenerian is not in good health. Even in perfect health someone his age has a nearly 15% chance of dying in office. Do I even want a 15% chance of Palin as president? No. And I’m intrigued by those who do. Fascinated, almost. It seems insulting that he has so little respect for his own party that he would put his reputation and the election on the line to appease some pretty extremist folks.

Second, the latest ploy strikes me as spectacularly ill-advised. I must admit that when I first saw the CNN breaking new e-mail, I was pretty interested. Suspend campaigning? Hmm. I can see how that might read as a good a idea, especially in a closed room filled with take-out and group-think. But postpone the debate? Seriously? Huh . . . 

Then I saw Obama’s response, and whew. It’s so nice to see someone who doesn’t seem beyond flustered, who doesn’t seem like he’s pissed that he has to talk to us, and who is a thoughtful person. I know snap decisions seem to be favored by many in this country, but not me. I like that he seems to consider how to respond. And I loved his very true response to McCain’s suggestion – no. Something along the lines of ‘A President sometimes has to do more than one thing at a time.’ Ha! So true. Also true? Now is exactly when we need to hear from the candidates honestly about how they are going to work it all out. This is when we need the debates, and the discussion. 

It’s telling to me that McCain wants to disappear right now.



September 2008



A fitting way to spend 9/11

Written by , Posted in Adventures, Reviews

Tonight, thanks to Eric getting up at 5:30 AM to wait in line for tickets, I got to see an amazing production of Hair. When I was younger I would listen to my parents’ recording (on vinyl) of the soundtrack. I remember thinking then that I was so bummed I’d never get to see a live production of it. Thankfully, the good people at The Public Theatre decided that they should revive it.

I really enjoyed it. And especially tonight, when we’re remembering 9/11 and all of the things that happened that day and following it. We’re fighting a war, sending young people off to die. There isn’t enough love and acceptance of people being different. And that’s something I hope changes soon (go Obama!).

The music was well-done, and the feeling, being outside, with the perfect fall weather, was just amazing. The ending was so powerful.

And after it ended, the curtain call was a reprise both of Hair and Let the Sunshine in, and they invited the audience onstage to dance. I was a bit far up for that, but it was such a fun, loving, peaceful, happy environment to experience.

The show goes to Broadway early next year. I’m not sure if it will translate exactly the same way, but if you get a chance to see it, I hope you take it. It’s beautiful.

Peace. Seriously.



September 2008



An Experiment

Written by , Posted in Reviews

This election year is getting uglier. The RNC, which admittedly is a big shiny show (much as the DNC was last week), took it down a notch last night. I’m as sarcastic and snotty as most anyone I’ve ever met, but I feel like there’s humor and there’s hate. And last night was all about the hate. The ‘community organizer’ comment struck me as at best, amazingly ignorant, and at worst, pretty freaking racist, considering how many community organizers work with communities comprised primarily of people of color.

So, I was thinking. I complain about the Republicans, and I’m certainly hoping Obama and Biden win (two months from today!). But I’ve never actually read the Republican party platform. Or, frankly, the Democratic party platform. 

Well, I’m changing that. I’m going to take it upon myself to actually read them both. And, so you don’t have to, I’m going to post my thoughts on here over the next couple of weeks.