Friday, February 01, 2008

Five Years Later

...and still waiting for her to come home.

Welcome Freelance Switch Readers

I must say, in that wide field of articles I've written which are accompanied by a large and angry omnivore, this one is my favorite.

This paid-for piece was brought to you by trolls who insisted that I have no business as a paid writer.

lemonade at:

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Total Crock

Today I had an e-stack, and a writing application deadline, and cookies to make, and I still hadn't had my usual self-directed hating time by noon. This called for the Mighty Mighty Crock Pot. In went the chicken, basil, and many oversplashes of white wine. I turned it on, petted my good friend there on the counter, and retreated to my office.

When I emerged five hours later, it was to... room temperature chicken floating in a sea of basil and sad, sad wine. Because Crock Pots work really well? Only they have to be plugged in first. As always, I've got it backwards; every other newlywed burns dinner. I never cook it begin with.

ramen noodles at:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Big Brother

I never particularly wanted a brother, big or otherwise, until I first gained one through Julie The NephewMama's marriage. This went tolerably well, and I then exercised complete veto control over two I gathered last year as I made my own way through the husband selection process. I highly recommend brother-choosing over brother-foisting, if you haven't already exercised this option.

My own godchild has confirmed my fears of what growing up in a house with a small boychild would have been like. With his mother in the other room and his grandmother apparently out of earshot, last week Jim The Small Child Nephew confronted his baby brother with the following announcement: "You're going to go to the doctor for a shot, and I will stay here with Mama Peg and watch Charlie Brown."

Swap the major elements with cars and Internet access, and we have a snapshot of the future. Will The Baby Nephew is currently in a phase in which he can only say the words he requires to manage the basic needs of life-- "Night-night," "cookie," and, of course, "Aunt Beth" (this last one came at Christmastime, as I leaned over him to change his diaper; it was, most likely, more of a warning than a cry of tender recognition). So he's not at a place where he can yet respond to the comforting big brothering tactics of The King, but one day, very soon, he's going to rear back with a toddler version of a big ol' STFU, and then it will be on. Enjoy while it lasts, dear Jim.

little sister at:

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sunshine Up Yours

It's a ways to go before Super PoliDork-o-Rama Tuesday, and I'm running out of stomach lining. This is the first election of my lifetime in which an incumbent President or VP isn't on either ticket, and even though my pills and I agreed to step off, I cannot. I'm still holding to my vow to not opinion-hurl in this space, but that doesn't mean I don't have a very serious conversation about immigration policy with the hash brown casserole.

One of the reasons I chose not to apply my degree in political science to the actual practice of political science is that politics brings out the very worst of human nature. It is sixth grade writ large. I would be in office four seconds before openly taunting the weak and demanding that those of who I am jealous never appear on my slumber party invitations.

Only politics can give us pictures like these. This is from last night at the SOTU (that's the State Of the Union address, for those of you with lives), and... how awesome is this? The very tableau of it! It's epic! At the bottom right is--remember him?-- John Kerry: "I'M STILL HERE AND MY PINK TIE AND I HAVE MAINTAINED PISSEDNESS AT ALL OF YOU." About four inches behind him is Hillary Clinton, and in a few seconds she's about to run up to Nancy Pelosi on the rostrum all, "OMG, Barak and Ted were totally talking about me. Are they still looking? OMG! Don't look, don't look!" And in the meantime, Barak and Ted sat together for the second SOTU in a row, which confirms that they are total BFF's now, and I have these visions of Obama getting to the chamber way, way early so that he could save a seat for Ted, and then he spread his suitcoat over it, and then he sat there for 45 minutes saying firmly to the Senators who are often picked last for the kickball team, the ones who are in the Math Club, "No... taken.... this is saved...Ted's sitting here." And Vice President Big Time sat there facing it all, cleaning his gun and glowering at people, watching the President deliver a sentence mentioning nuclear power, which, I am sure, he directed the speechwriter to insert just so he could say "nook-ular," just so he could piss everybody off. How can you not be entertained by this? IT'S AWESOME.

Tonight is especially enjoyable, since Florida voted today and I am treated to a TV news tour of not only my former state, but my former section of my former state. People are throwing down "I-4 Corridor"'s like Jello shots. It's a Russert-driven scrapbook of the past five years: "Seminole County, wicked! I've gotten lost there tons of times! And Boynton Beach, I did this horrible endless design-build bid at the Evil Horrible Boring Day Job for Boynton Beach!"

The returns have barely started, and I just whizzed past Shepard Smith attempting to explain, with many hand-waves, where Putnam County is: "It's north of Lake Okeechobee? And east of Gainesville? And west of Flagler Beach? And south of Greenland? You know...? There?" Dear Shep: There's this thing? On the internet? And you're on TV, in a multimillion dollar studio? Maybe you could-- I don't know-- put those two together, and point to where it is?

Just awesome.

brevard, orange, and volusia county shoutout at:

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Greater of All Weevils

Despite my maiden surname, I have no British blood, and the closest I've been to England is having gained, via reading many Regency-era novels, the knowledge that one is supposed to refer to the mother of a duke as "Her Grace The Dowager Duchess." At the Kennedy Space Center, we educators used to fight over who got the visitors from England; when arrayed in folding chairs before a scale model of the space shuttle, they were interested, polite, tip-happy, and easily sunburned. You would have a good day on a bus full of Brits.

However, as is my wont, I waited six years for Master and Commander to souse the culture before seeing it for myself. And Master and Commander would have us believe that British people could neither master, nor command, a Clapper, let alone an entire empire.

The British navy, according to this film, is the largest collection of dumbasses, tools, and whiners ever to take to the high seas. Their strategy of eluding a heavily armed French warship is to row into the fog... and then go "YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!" And hey, is that an albatross flying really, really low over the deck? Let's shoot it!

It was fascinating to watch 18th century concepts of child care, especially in light of the fact that every single time Jim and Will The Nephews enter a car, they are ruched down and strapped in with a HANS device and five-point harness. During the Napoleonic Wars, apparently, not only were there no baby gates, but little kids were hurled onto active warships without so much as a bike helmet. By my count, one twelve-year-old on board the movie witnessed or endured the following over a two-hour period:

  • one suicide
  • one arm amputation
  • the death of a fellow twelve-year old
  • two major naval battles
  • many shanties
  • one whipping
  • the scrupulous documentation of various beetles
Daily therapy, for serious.

I do not understand the great Oscaring of this movie. Russel Crowe fails to punch anybody until there's about ten minutes left (most disappointing), and that's even before the plot gets there. The plot shows up with maybe thirty seconds to go, at which point the film immediately ends. Up until then, it's all rowing and map-staring and drawing pictures of lizards. Oh, and the shanties. It's kind of a shame we don't break out in the occasional shanty anymore, you know?

also, everybody says "seaman" a lot at:

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Following Procedures

If you or anyone you know were saved by a smoke detector, or are in any way impressed by the moon landing, thank the sacrifice of these three men.

It's a little-known story, but you should read it.

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