Sunday, August 31, 2008

At Least Slightly Unconscionable

Big story in the Times today about Drug Violence in Mexico. But guess what, it was all about Tiajuana. (Well there was mention of one incident each in Chihuahua and Guerrero.) Most of the story was written as if all of these horrible kidnappings and brutal crimes were going on all over the country, but when they got specific, it was always about border states. This is a very big country. Why does the Times want to scare everyone away from us? Gosh, the story even scared me and I know I don't live in a place rife with violence. Actually, I can see a possible beneficent outcome, or at least side effect, to all this drug crime--maybe they'll have to change their system so they can actually catch, arrest and incarcerate these people. As things are now, as far as I can see, the "justice" system does not work.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Who would have thought--John McCain?!?

Here's this near-senile old warrior without a thought left in his head, one would think, who manages to make a total mockery of the entire American political process in one bold stroke. He might as well have brought out a fish, fagodsakes. Ladies and gentlemen, he could say, this is a girl fish (that's for the feminists), and for the evangelicals: she's a creationist, she's pro-life, she's to the right of Bush on drilling; why, she even asked him to stop protecting polar bears, which are a lot closer to her own species than to ours (in that they're wild).

Vote for me and if I die (not exactly unlikely) in office you get a fish who's been tested by a year and a half of governing Alaska, a total loose cannon, to be President of the United States, with her finger (or, uh, flipper) on the button. Not only a mockery of the US system--how about the world's? Take that, Muslims, take that, Old Europe--this is what we think--a fish could run this world. Who needs all your elder statesmen and women? What are all your experience and all your brains and all your culture worth? Zilch if a fish can do the same.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I Love It!

The Mayor of Denver just called the Democratic Convention "a giant slumber party for journalists." This was on a NY Times video called carpetbagger at the convention, in which a "journalist" interviewed other "journalists" and officials about what the convention is for reporters and pundits. Without even a touch of irony, they all said they were there to see each other so much more than report on what's happening. Why limit the slumber party to the convention? They're all so dazed or bludgeoned or idiotic or dumb that they never report on anything but trivia anyway. Anything complicated like issues? Fuhgeddaboudit. Why should they bother their pretty little heads? It's only their effing sacred duty to the republic. But that was lost somewhere along the way.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Susan Faludi: Yes but...

Today in The Times, in her op-ed, Faludi gives the history that somewhat explains why Hillary supporters are apparently so insanely unreconstructed by the Obama concept that some would actually vote for McCain. It's all true, so sad and so disappointing. Nevertheless, we live in the real world, where Hillary was not a perfect candidate and even many feminists (yes, even those who admit to the title) were vehemently against her. Grow up, women. Unless you prefer the old Marxist (?) solution of making everything worse and worse in order to force a revolution (it ain't gonna happen in the US) you simply cannot vote for McCain. However flawed, however male, however establishment (but not more than Hillary certainly) Barack is, he will be way way better than the XPOW. You know that. The XPOW could well be even worse than what we have now. Please, this is no time for sticking to feminist principle (or, probably, any other). Just go for Barack!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

No Wonder College is So Expensive

Some universities, according to the Times today, are giving ipods and iphones to their entering students. Great humanities technique (she remarked with irony)--load them down with technology so they're in even more of an electronic haze than the rest of the populace. Plus, once completely addicted to expensive technology (and burdened with college loans), these kids will certainly need to get high-paying corporate jobs; no nonprofits need apply. It seems to me that the price of higher education is one of those many unspoken-of scandals with which the country is rife. But there are so many and I don't have time to go into them now because I'm off to Costco!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

two thoughts for the day

(Or, now I can delete these from my stickies, where I save fragments that I cannot let go, yet don't know what to do with)

1. “All the tragedies which we can imagine,” said Simone Weil, the French philosopher who starved herself to death at age 34, “return in the end to the one and only tragedy: the passage of time.”

2. Many of our seeming woes are simply the ghosts of lizards holding on to our shoulder blades. (Don't know who said this, unhappily)

There, that was worthwhile, wasn't it?

Just ordinary people

My response to the Obama campaign's request to join other "just ordinary people" in the grassroots finance committee (or something like that):

"I'm sorry but I'm guess I'm not quite ordinary enough to give any more money to a candidate who voted for the FISA bill. I do hope he wins, I guess (I'll certainly vote for him), but in all good conscience I don't feel I can help finance such a cause." How I could have been so naive at my age I don't know, but to see Barack vote yes on another step toward a police state was just too much for me." What a disappointment. Silly me.

Yes, his winning might help a lot with ordinary people's lives (and yes I am an ordinary person), but to give the government the go-ahead to spy on the people... it just sticks in my craw and makes me think... oh what's the point? I just think the spying is at the root of the evil. (Not money, although that's pretty bad too but it's a whole other subject.) So, whatever happens, pasa.

For Families of the Ailing, a Brief Chance to Relax

The story, headlined as above, in The Times today is about "respite care," a technique that gives a respite to the children of the very old. It talks about how hard it is for late middle-aged people when suddenly their old mom with alzheimer's moves in, how they have to give up their own dreams of free time in retirement to watch and care for their parents. The story points out that this respite care is more and more available (places where failing oldsters can be cared for briefly, for a few days to a week, say, not a permanent retirement home) but it's so hard for the caregivers to take advantage of it: "Most caregivers do not take respite vacations because they see them as an admission of failure, or they worry that something will happen while they are away." Suddenly I realized what the problem is: These people are so burdened, so overwhelmed by neurotic guilt, they can't really think straight. And I'm thinking that such a psychological insight could explain a lot about some Americans' political beliefs too. (Or else it says something horrible about me that I'm not seeing.) I mean if your mother is 93 and has Alzheimer's, wouldn't you want "something" to happen?

Uh-oh, I just might be slipping into incoherence (like all those other times). Maybe I won't explore this too much further. OH why did I ever give anyone this URL. Just indulging in my little private rants is not quite possible anymore. I'll be exposed at last as an unfeeling clod or maybe just as more of a rambler than a writer. What can I resort to but a cry of Viva Tim Robbins (or is it Tom Robbins?)!

Monday, August 18, 2008

At last, an explanation for the Georgia thing

I keep thinking, Georgia, Georgia, no peace I find, just an old sweet song, with Georgia on my mind (close to the right lyrics, I think). But this is another Georgia entirely and, while I assumed (rightly) the whole situation has occurred because of the hubris, arrogance, and stupidy of George W. Bush et al (or what this link calls the Cheney Administration), I did not know the background. Now I do. If you'd like to, too, go to

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Like Killing Flies

That's the name of my new favorite documentary, all about Shopsin's Groceries (restaurant) in New York, the place I'd read about in the New Yorker, where I knew Bud Trillin ate, etc. and so on, which is why I rented it, although I couldn't quite imagine why it would be so good. Hilarious, sagacious and fun documentary, about life in the Village c. 2004. I love best perhaps his (cantankerous yet somewhat sunny old guy owner-chef) late-in-the-film advice about personal worth: Just get used to the fact that you're a piece of shit, the kind of person who'll let 2000 peope die so you can.. what, get a good price at Wal-Mart, something like that. "I never wanted my children to think they were much," he said. Because when you realize you're just a piece of shit, then any little good thing you might happen to do seems pretty marvelous. You don't expect too much of yourself and it's a lot easier to feel good. Great advice, I thought. I might have to get this film from Juan. I wonder if the restaurant still exists, the food looked fabulous. And his children looked good, too.

it doesn't look like pandering....

Both candidates at a church forum last night. Kind of a horrible idea in the first place, I thought. The (I was going to say warden) minister didn't seem bad but his church apparently is anti-choice (thunderous applaude for McCain when he said something like "I am pro-life, always have been, always will be." What life is he talking about, I asked myself, as always.

Obama, who did make it clear he was pro-choice, didn't go into enough detail. Why can't he talk about women's rights? The minister asked when a "baby's" human rights begin; what about a woman's human rights? If she's to have them then a "baby's" rights can't start until it's viable, surely, since until then it isn't a separate organism. Why can't politicians like Obama get that? Or if they get it (obviously he's one who gets it all), why don't they talk about it.

Your definition of marriage, senator? Obama said it was a contract (or something) between "a man and a woman." (although he did clarify that he was for civil unions.) Oh Gosh. Get over it. Why not have marriage be just between two people, whatever their gender? These things, even when they appear to be a bit thoughtful like this one, only foster stupid answers. They call it a conversation. If it were, they'd talk about it for awhile. This was just Q and A, over and over. And still two legs bad, four legs good, just slightly dressed up.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

button button who's got the button?

A friend just forwarded a moveon offer for a free Obama button to me. And I realized that I just couldn't quite wear it. It just brings home the extent of my disillusionment with the whole process, brought about at bottom by his vote for the FISA bill. Yes, I want him to win. I do think it's probably desparately important for the country and the world that McCain not be President. But I just don't trust Obama and his hedge-fund friends any more. Too much money. Too much entitlement. Too much impunity. Accused of being a cynic in the past and resenting it, I'm afraid now I am one, about US politics anyway.

Nevertheless, it's an absolutely beautiful day here in el pais de dios and it's hard to be too discontented when you've just eaten a wonderful comida of pollo, papas and rajas at your cousin's casa, and come home to your own little casa and your own little jardin and of course your own little mascotas.

Long live old age sud al borde!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Degrading, disgusting and damned

Last night I wanted to watch some political news, specifically Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. Hadn't seen him, our one liberal champion among the cable news channels, in awhile. What was he talking about? Edwards's affair. So I switched to CNN. What were they talking about? Edwards's affair. Aha, Washington Week in Review is on PBS, I thought, I'll watch that. Just as I tuned in, Gwen Ifill was asking David Broder about what? Edwards's affair. Actually, I thought his performance was the worst. His answer, spoken with gravitas, as perhaps only he can do it, was about Mrs. Edwards. He just felt so bad for her. Silly twit, doesn't he know that talking about it only makes it worse for everyone? That means not only Mrs. Edwards and her kids but also for John Edwards, who is after all only human--a human male, like all the other politicians who've gotten into sexual trouble--Jesus the Uriah Heapness of all the commentators is more than enough to make anyone sick. I know Broder's no good but still I was hoping to hear Someone, Anyone, say "I'd rather not talk about it; it really has no bearing on the political scene. Let's drop the subject," or words to that effect. No such luck. Such is our political discourse in the age of the damned.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

so fed up

I am so utterly fed up with the lies and dissembling of the US government. Today they're doing their damnedest to railroad a suicide victim to conviction for the anthrax attacks but without his day in court of course because, wait for it, they hounded him to killing himself! These people have no sense and no shame, which is pretty much par for the course for those who hold power these days. What the corporations don't pillage, the security apparatus steals--namely any sense of autonomy or dignity that people desperately try to assemble. It's hard to keep a sense of proportion when, okay, the axis of evil (that's government and corporations) is so evident and so powerful. Yes, Obama would be better for a lot of reasons. But yes, too, he's as entwined with the power elite as any other politician. Why did I, for one moment (or several), not see that? Hope springs eternal, yes, but so does idiocy and it's time I learned a little sagacity about all this. I guess it's because I grew up in a gentler time, when I believe at least some politicians really did have some honor and standards and cared about they people they actually served. That's all changed and that's why my son knew from the beginning about Obama, etc.("just don't get hopeful" is sort of his theme), because that's all he's ever known. Yes, he's [more than] done his part--serious demonstrating and jail time,too, for progressive causes--but he's learned too, in the process, how little it means. C'est dommage mais c'est verdad.