Monday, October 30, 2006

Takin' It Off

"Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it." --Mean Girls

I don't know when it happened, but somehow Halloween went from candy and orange and black to the one-day slutwear-fest. Annette and I went out on Friday (not in costume) and while I was waiting to meet her at the T, several huge groups of women walked onto the subway wearing little more than fishnets and a bustier. I felt like my mother, mentally chiding them for walking around outside with their bits hanging out. Last year, I fell prey to the "sexy" costume-- but it was a last-minute "sexy nurse" which was funny because I was in fact nursing my mother back to health after her surgery, and my boyfriend was a doctor. And my boobs and ass were at least covered, which is more than I can say for the majority of the women I saw this weekend.

I'd like to get all philosophical about this, but Ellen Goodman over at the Globe did a much better job of it than I will right now. She brings up the counterpoint of a British woman who was fired from her job because she wouldn't remove her veil, and sums it up nicely:

Here in America, our Halloween revelers have only the scantiest -- and I do mean scantiest -- idea of how the market has shaped the options that they regard as their own. Most women are only dimly aware of how we internalize the liposuctioned, breast-implanted, celebrity-shaped images that define the "right" female body. They are even less aware of a culture that defines sexy as something seen rather than felt.

I saw this yesterday when shopping-- the Pru had a trick-or-treating day at the stores, and one girl who couldn't have been more than eight was a witch (or a pop-star) wearing a black skirt and a belly shirt. A young girl who hadn't even started with puberty was baring her midriff, her mother smiling on happily. It was disturbing. If I ever have a girl, I am going to feel like Sisyphus, pushing that whole ball of cultural pressure to be sultry and hot to be worth anything up a hill, trying to convince her that her mind is more valuable than her cup size.

Thoughts on Commerce and Satan's Member

Yesterday, I had nothing to do. No work, no babysitting, no articles, no solid plans. This was good since I woke up with a pounding headache due to the parties the night before, and I managed to sit on my couch for a couple hours until I got bored with the same six stories airing repeatedly on the morning news and roused myself to go to the gym. I went to the gym on Newbury Street, which isn't my usual branch and it was so bizarre. I couldn't figure out how to change the channel on the TV, so I ended up watching MSNBC, which was airing the same stories over and over. I had to ask where the locker room was. I was glad to get out of there.

I went home and opened my windows to air out the apartment, which didn't take too long since the wind blew through the blinds, rattling them like a snake. I washed the floor, wiped down the sinks, did the dishes. After a shower, I decided to run some errands. I wanted to get a catalog from another store I get a discount from thanks to the part-time job so I can start thinking about Christmas presents, which is fucking sick-- Halloween hasn't even happened yet, and I'm thinking about Christmas. And-- even more disturbing-- I'm excited about it. I sniffed holiday scented candles yesterday and I nearly got teary thinking about how happy I was it was almost Christmas. I started thinking about getting a little baby tree at Trader Joe's and decorating it. I thought about a wreath to make my little apartment smell good. I thought about novelty lights, baking cookies, going home to see the family and eating until I throw up. Then I realized that I am quite the little consumer and am easily manipulated to confuse the sense of family togetherness with buying shit.

I walked through the mall, then back over to Newbury Street. The Virgin Megastore is closing this Saturday, so I decided to peruse what was left for any amazing deals. Right by the front door, I snagged a copy of David Sedaris' Holidays On Ice for the low price of $4.50.

It was sad in there. Because I'm a good little consumer, I associate closing stores with a chapter of my life ending. But it's exciting too since you can always find a good deal. I remembered how cool it was when Virgin Megastore opened, with the DJ booth and the panel of plaster that celebrities signed when they visited Boston. I remember going there on a semi-date with a guy at Emerson who bought a stack of ska CDs on sale. I have been in Boston so long that things have come and gone in my time here. I am now an old woman.

I grabbed a copy of the Arctic Monkeys' CD for 50% off, which was a good deal. There were piles of shirts and bags for $4.99. Some less popular Family Guy plastic figures. Endless copies of the Who's new album. The racks downstairs were a hodgepodge of CDs, and not all of them had the labels along the top edge of the CD, so you had to flip through to see if anything good had escaped the masses.

I didn't really bother with the DVDs-- I have Netflix, and I'm not the kind of person who generally watches a movie over and over again. I did have to laugh, though-- a large group of men were gathered around the clearance "erotica" section (read: porn). Seriously. About fifteen guys perusing the barechested women. I'm surprised they weren't scooping up armfuls of 50% off porn.

I went to the second floor, where the racks were slightly more organized. Somehow, I found a copy of Bill Hicks' Arizona Bay, which I snapped up in a flash. I was still thinking of Bill Hicks as I saw a pattern emerging in which CDs were left. In the '90s, Bill Hicks did a bit about New Kids On The Block being the "suckers of Satan's cock." The artists that were well-represented in the picked-over CD racks were mostly in the "suckers of Satan's cock" category. Lindsay Lohan's freshman and sophomore efforts were still well-represented. Paris Hilton's album was everywhere. (I do take the lackluster sales of Paris Hilton's CD as a sign that the apocalypse may be held up someplace.) American Idols Season Five "Encores." Taylor Hicks' single. Fantasia Barrino's CD. Diana DeGarmo's CD. Simpsons Jessica and Ashlee were in there (though many more of Jessica's CDs were left than Ashlee's). Some Ruben Studdard. George Huff's gospel album (which I almost bought just for the album being named "Miracles" and Huff wears a Sox hat while beaming on the cover). I bought my book and the two CDs and got the hell out.

I'd recommend hitting Virgin before it closes, if only to view the physical space for one last time. If you've got some patience, you may stumble upon some good deals. And if you're in the market for some porn, get there before all those dudes clean out the good stuff, and you're left with what Bill Hicks called "hairy bobbing man-ass" porn.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Streetlight People

My friends from high school are insane. I mean that in the most complimentary of ways. I don't know if it was the methane from the cow farts that made us this way, but we're all whacked. While I don't keep in touch with everyone, there are a select few people who I've known since I started my public education career with Mr. Magee in 1986. My friend Jack is one of them. After going to college in Rhode Island, he moved to Marlboro with his girlfriend, and now lives in Newton. While I don't see Jack often, it's always good to see him. Since I hadn't seen him in two years, I decided to head over to the Hong Kong last night after the part-time job to watch him take part in a karaoke competition.

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Jack has an affinity-- bordering on unhealthy obsession-- with classic rock tunes. In high school, he'd send weekly emails with his "Name that Tune" contest. Jack rocks out very enthusiastically to Final Countdown. So I figured his karaoke would be amazing.

I'd never been to the Hong Kong either and I'm sad I lived so long without going. For $10.50, I got myself to the Hong Kong and back on the T, had two skewers of delicious chicken, a buzz from two tequila sunrises, and a hoarse voice from singing along with the various karaoke singers. Before the competition began, Jack sang "Semi-Charmed Kind of Life," which he reviewed as not good because he wasn't drunk enough. Somebody else sang "Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi, and I wished Kristen and Amy were there to show these people how to adequately rock out to some Jovi because those bitches weren't selling it.

For his song in the competition, Jack sang Keep on Lovin' You by REO Speedwagon. What he lacked in the vocal ability department, he made up for in enthusiasm. The crowd was into the performance since it's a good song to sing along to. Jack also had the best song choice-- the eventual winner was a woman who sang "Midnight Train to Georgia." Who the hell wants to hear such a downer song at a karaoke bar? The runner-up sang "The Way You Look Tonight." It was lame. Jack was the clear-cut winner, according to the very vocal cheerleading section he brought with him.

Once the competition was over, the real fun began. A very white-bred couple elected to sing "Bust a Move" with poor results. Jack's girlfriend sang "Sweet Caroline" which the entire bar sang like it was a catharsis (how odd to not have the Sox on the big screen behind her in October). Jack sang another song, which he introduced by calling out "I'm bringing sexy back! You motherfuckers don't know how to act." (Clearly, he was drunk enough then.) And just as we were packing it up to head home, someone launched into Don't Stop Believing.

Someday, I will go back to the Hong Kong. I will get Amy and Kristen very drunk, and we will earnestly sing that song and win $100. "Don't Stop Believing" is perhaps the greatest ballad ever written. I have a soft spot in my heart for it, especially after partying in the streets of Kenmore Square in October 2004 and hearing the song blasting out of a passing Jeep. I will always associate that Journey song with a chilly October night, my lips stinging since I'd drunkenly kissed a friend from high school who'd been pepper-sprayed by the cops and neglected to tell me. Screaming out "STREETLIGHT PEOPLE" in a crowded bar is also one of the most fun things a person can do.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


You have got to be kidding me:

Noting that Fox is "moving all around and shaking" in the ad, Limbaugh declared: "And it's purely an act. This is the only time I have ever seen Michael J. Fox portray any of the symptoms of the disease he has." Limbaugh added that "this is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting, one of the two."

Nice, Rush. Way to accuse the guy who's been sick with Parkinson's for fifteen years of faking it for political gain. I tried to find the video on YouTube of Limbaugh "impersonating" Fox in the commercial, because when you combine the tone of his voice with the exaggerated, goofy movements, you can tell Limbaugh just doesn't give a fuck how Fox feels.

When conservatives claim to hold the moral high road, remember things like this. Remember Rush Limbaugh making fun of a man who is seriously ill and accusing him of faking his symptoms for political gain. Remember Dennis Hastert is still sitting in Congress, even though it looks like he had knowledge of Mark Foley harassing pages and did nothing to stop it. Don't buy the hype. These people are not your friends.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Everybody now!
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Democrat Deval Patrick has a commanding 27-point lead in the governor's race as independent voters abandon Republican Kerry Healey because of her negative attacks, according to a new poll released today by 7NEWS and Suffolk University.
Maybe God is answering my prayers and finally, finally, finally, the average voter is not buying into the politics of fear. I can only hope this trend goes national within the next two years.


To the Trident Café,
I’m aware I didn’t drop a small fortune on your food and drink options, but I was a paying customer, and when I asked if I could use an outlet to just email myself something after the battery in my laptop died, you smirked and gleefully told me no. You will not be getting my “I need to use the Internet so I have to buy some coffee” dollar again.


To Lapels Dry Cleaning,
If you do not find my nice black cashmere sweater within the next few days, I will go in and rain down a vengeance upon you the likes of which you have never felt. After the entire imbroglio with the Whatever’s suit last year and now this, I am not going to bring my dry cleaning anywhere where it goes off the premises because it leads to problems. I took sweaters and skirts to the small Russian drycleaner in Washington Square for three years and never had a problem. With the two big chains I’ve had experience with, both have lost important articles of clothing. You do not want to fuck with me. I love that sweater. I planned to have it for years. It is a staple in my winter wardrobe because it is so warm and basic. That sweater made it to and from Italy without getting lost, and you can’t bring it back from Dedham or something? I WANT IT BACK, YOU WHORES. NOW. Find it.


To the Person Who May Have Gotten my Black Cashmere Sweater In their Order and Didn’t Return It,
If you are so nasty you would steal a poor working professional’s basic black cashmere sweater, I hope you get crotch rot and enjoy the special section on hell where you shall wear leggings of fire and polyester shirts that will melt to your flesh for the rest of eternity.

Deepest Hate,

To the Person Who May Have Gotten my Black Cashmere Sweater In their Order and Will Return It,
May your thighs be smooth, your boobs perky, and your tummy flat for all your days, you wonderful goddess of virtue and truth.

My Firstborn is Yours,

To the City of Boston,
Thanks so much for all the sewer work. Not only has it brought me back in touch with nature by bringing the city’s wildlife into my apartment, but it’s also reminding me of how percussion instruments work because whenever a car drives over the metal plates that are loosely affixed to the road it makes a loud crashing sound. Why don’t you just allow construction around-the-clock since it’s just as loud in here right now so the rats can return to their lair in the sewers before they get comfortable in my ceiling for winter?

Begging for mercy,

Dear Feria Hair Dye,
Thanks for the nice dark hair color. It’s a little redder than I’d have liked, but it will work out. However, I wish you didn’t stain my bathroom floor quite so quickly. That shit was on the floor for about two minutes before I wiped it up and it left a very conspicuous stain. Good thing I didn’t pay a security deposit. Next time, I think I’ll stick with Herbal Essences or Hydriance since it’s landed on my floor and not stained it.

It Looks Like Janet Leigh died in there, for fuck’s sake,

Dear Dream Job,
I’m ready. Come and get me.


Monday, October 23, 2006


The Providence Journal is smoking crack:

We endorse the proposed Narragansett Indian Tribe destination-resort casino to be run by Harrah's in West Warwick. So we recommend voting yes on referendum Question 1 on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Okay, first of all, I never really understood why papers endorse issues in the election. "Hey, you like our reporting. We're going to tell you what you should do!" I especially don't understand why papers endorse referendums. But, all that aside, I just don't understand why people think a casino is going to save Rhode Island.

When I was thirteen, the Narragansetts wanted to put a casino in my hometown. I remember my mom was politically active then and she had many meetings with other town officials to keep the casino out of our town. That referendum was defeated. Now the Narragansett Indians want to put a casino in West Warwick.

The first issue is always jobs. "Casinos create jobs! Jobs!" Sure. But on the whole they aren't high-paying jobs with insurance-- they are customer service jobs. And, on the other side of that issue, many people lose their jobs when they become addicted to gambling.

From the ProJo editorial:
The project would produce many new jobs -- first, several thousand construction jobs and then several thousand permanent positions. It would also provide substantial property-tax relief: Some of the revenue from the project would be dedicated to such relief, much needed in a state with among the country's highest such levies. And the casino would increase state income- and sales-tax revenue, thus reducing pressure for rises in those taxes for Rhode Islanders. That, in turn, could make it easier to draw other business to the Ocean State.

Bullshit. Every time a massive new project is undertaken, it's always about tax relief. As my Mom said, they said raising the gas tax would improve roads. Most of the bridges in Rhode Island look like they're about to disintegrate like a rusty barrel. I just don't understand why the ProJo got sucked into this line of reasoning-- casinos are not in business to provide tax relief. They're in business to make as much money as possible. With the rampant cronyism in Rhode Island politics somebody's pockets are going to get lined, but they won't be the pockets of Joe Average in West Warwick. That guy is fucked.

Then, we get into the "but Connecticut has casinos and is stealing our money" argument:
There would be that much more money spent in stores and other businesses in Rhode Island rather than there.

Uh-huh. Casinos aren't just gambling facilities; Mohegan and Foxwoods both have restaurants, spas, stores and hotels. My Mom's hairdresser is only a few miles from the proposed site of the casino, and she knows she'll be out of business within a couple years of a casino opening down the road. Casinos try to keep people on-site as much as possible, not encouraging gamblers to leave the casino to spend their money at Rhode Island's other businesses. The decent Italian take-out place next door to the hairdresser? Done.

My Mom's friend lives in Connecticut, not far from the casinos. She also works in the school system, which has to shell out millions more dollars to support the children of immigrant workers who moved to Connecticut to work at the casino. More ESL teachers, more special needs teachers, more of everything. So if taxes aren't raised from those needs, it's certainly eating into the tax relief Connecticut residents thought they'd be getting.

They go on:
As for gambling itself, Rhode Island and most other states have been deep into state-sponsored betting for years -- starting with the state lotteries established in the 1970s. To complain about yet another gambling venue seems a bit disingenuous at this point.

Another thing that was supposed to benefit tax revenue. "Lottery will relieve taxes!" As you can see, Rhode Island isn't living cheap when it comes to taxes with the gambling facilities it already has. Why would a mega-casino help? And buying lottery tickets is different-- stores that were already open, such as Cumberland Farms or packies just put a machine on the counter. This is a huge construction project that will cause traffic tie-ups, people to get frustrated with the crowds and move. The only time this happens with lottery tickets is when the Powerball jackpot is obscenely high.

Then, the "white people hate the Indians" argument:
Many also complain that the Narragansetts are partnering with a big, out-of-state gambling company in their project. But the Narragansetts have been pushed toward this alternative.

THAT IS BECAUSE PEOPLE DON'T WANT OLD PEOPLE ON OXYGEN TANKS GAMBLING AWAY THEIR SOCIAL SECURITY MONEY IN THEIR TOWN. God. This is so far from a white man vs. oppressed group issue. All the ads the Narragansett Indian tribe is running are about "how many promises" have been broken. And as sympathetic as I am to the fact that history hasn't been good to them, a casino isn't going to make it better. How about scholarships for your children? Maybe you'd like to try and lure businesses to your land? Why is it always a casino that will make up for broken treaties?

In closing:
We like other forms of economic development much more than gambling: research and development, manufacturing, international trade and other sectors. Consider what a boon boosting the port at Quonset would be in long-term wealth creation!

Bingo. (Pun intended.) This is what Rhode Island needs: Actual businesses that create productive jobs with benefits and room for improvement and not thousands of cocktail waitresses. Manufacturing jobs, luring large companies into New England to take advantage of all the college graduates in the area (maybe some of the Narragansetts who got the scholarships), more drug companies such as Amgen, science jobs, maybe even a publisher or two. This is what Rhode Island needs-- a way to get young families interested in staying, not packing up and heading for cheaper pastures.

This editorial paints Harrah's, Donald Trump, and the Narragansett Indians as the saviors of Rhode Island's economy. This is just not how it is. All of these groups are trying to build this casino for one reason: Money for themselves. Not for property and sales tax-relief, not for improving schools or increasing tourism in other areas of the state. Just money for themselves. Don't believe the bullshit. A casino in Rhode Island is a terrible idea. Rhode Island should be luring another business to create economic development, not trying to create marginal economic relief on the backs of people whose lives would be ruined by a casino.

Parent Trap

This weekend I was a parent for twenty-seven hours. The couple I babysit for hadn't been spending much time together, so they had me come and stay overnight with the kids so they could "go on a hike." I hope this meant "stay in a hotel room and watch cable TV," but I don't really understand the restorative power of nature, I guess. I like a hike, but when I'm trying to kick back, I prefer beer and steak. But that's neither here nor there. For twenty-seven hours, I was in charge of three kids under the age of ten.

I have got to give it up to the parents of the world, especially the single ones-- being a parent is not easy. I didn't even have to make any huge life-altering decisions for these kids. I just had to keep them alive and in one piece for a day, and even I was getting frustrated with the baby whining when she was tired and the older two pummeling each other out of boredom. I had to resort to pulling up Mythbusters clips on YouTube to keep them quiet before I put the Incredibles on the DVD player for a movie night.

"I'm excited for when Mom and Dad come home," the eldest said. It hurt a little, but I remember getting around to missing my Mom when she went on vacations without Sam and I and left us with a grandparent. You have to share a room with your brother, you're bored with all the toys you usually love, your grandmother insists you keep a large towel wrapped around your damp hair until it's totally dry while your Mom has bigger things to worry about and just lets you walk around with wet hair. Because your grandmother only let you have an Instant Breakfast shake for breakfast, you're hungry by 10am and she won't feed you until 1pm. I imagine the kids felt similar with me-- I was grumpily calling for caffeine, couldn't fix the broken teatherball string, didn't know what to do with them all afternoon because they were too tired to do anything but not tired enough to crash, and didn't pronounce character's names in stories correctly.

As much as I wish I could see a family in my future anywhere in the next ten years, it was really nice to hit the packie on the way home, grab a six-pack and crash on my couch without having to worry about anybody but me. And, due to the healing power of Brooklyn Lager, I wasn't even particularly concerned with myself.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Might As Well Face It

The internets are addicting.

The study suggests the Internet has irresistible and dangerous attraction, similar to that caused by other forms of addiction.

They said net junkies are like other kinds of addicts in that they neglect work, school, families and sleep to get an online fix.

Oh man. It's true! I'm at work, and I can't stop checking my email. So now I'm an alcoholic and an internet junkie? Someday I'll be neglecting my husband (who I doubtlessly met online) because I'm busy checking MySpace for old roommates? I'll lose my job, my kids, and spend my days squatting outside independent coffee shops to use the free WiFi to check and see if I won that auction on eBay? My mother will be so disappointed in me when she gets back from her vacation with friends she met from the internet.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Earth Died Screaming

You have got to be fucking kidding me:

More starlets releasing albums! Yay! Fox News reports that, this time, it's Esquire's sexiest woman alive [Scarlett Johansson], who's releasing an album of Tom Waits covers on Rhino Records' Atco label. Cooler than writing a bunch of craptastic tunes and weathering the inevitable criticism. Or duetting with Meat. Mark yer calendars, Scarlett Sings Tom Waits is looking at a Spring '07 release date.

First of all, I love Tom Waits. If I may paraphrase Amy (not me, the other one with big boobs), if his voice had a body, I'd fuck it. I am aware that Tom Waits is an actual person with a body I could have the sex with, his voice is where it's at. He sounds like the boy your mother never wants you to meet because he's dirty and dangerous, but very smart. In his career, he's run the gamut from relatively tame folky-rock music ("Ol' 55" being one of the best songs ever) to the shrieking sexy guttural growl of the songs on Real Gone. I don't think I'll ever score tickets to one of his shows, but I'd kill to see him live. You won't ever hear him on KISS 108, or even WROR, but he's a great American songwriter.

Secondly, I hate Scarlett Johansson. Hate. Her. I had the misfortune of not minding my Netflix queue, and I ended up with Match Point and Lost in Translation sitting on my coffee table at the same time. Match Point was horrible, but that's not entirely Johansson's fault (I blame Woody Allen and the absolutely astoundingly bad Jonathan Rhys-Meyers for that clusterfuck) but she did nothing to better the movie. Lost in Translation was beautifully directed, Bill Murray is excellent, but Scarlett Johansson sucked. Her face never changes. She has dead-eyes. I like that she has the qualities of a human female (trace elements of hips and butt) that many movie stars don't, but those carb-starved bitches act circles around ScarJo. And, now I hear she's fucking with a man who's contributed many songs to the Great American Songbook? All the more reason to dislike her. I mean, it's bad enough Rod Stewart had to fuck with "Downtown Train." Now some vapid starlet is tinkering with the man's work? If I start hearing "Innocent When You Dream" with a pop beat in the background on the radio, I will rupture my eardrum with a spork, so help me God.

Splinter's in the Ceiling

My rat is back.

Of course, just as the weather starts getting cold, the city of Boston starts digging up the street outside my apartment. Aside from waking me up at 7am with jackhammering, the sewer work brings the rats out of their nice warm, wet sewer. Since it's cold, the rats look for a nice new place to live, and for some reason my ceiling is the new rat condo.

I got home late after the finale of Project Runway (I'm okay with the outcome, and Uli's stuff will someday be mine) and read through Cosmo to wind down. I put down my magazine, turned off the light, and was nearly asleep by 12:30. Then, I heard a small scratching sound. Figuring the mouse was back, I put in my earplugs and settled down for a nap. I cuddled under the blanket, and then the rat began scrambling. Even with my ear plugs, I could locate the rat's location in the ceiling, hear his tail slapping against the drop ceiling tiles. He was over my loveseat, then somewhere uncomfortably close to my head. I pulled the blankets over my head to protect myself in case the tiles let go and a rat fell on me.

I cowered under the blankets for fifteen minutes, while the rat did aerobics over my head. Checking my clock and realizing it was one in the morning, I decided to scare the rat by turning on my light. I covered my eyes with a blanket, and the light worked. The rat noise stopped, and I took a Tylenol PM and passed out.

It's going to be a long, hard winter, I think. Anybody got a place I can rent without paying any deposits?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Red Rover

That's it. Our litigious society has gone too far. Attleboro, Massachusetts has banned games of tag on the playground.

Officials at an elementary school south of Boston have banned kids from playing tag, touch football and any other unsupervised chase game during recess for fear they'll get hurt and hold the school liable.

Okay. Sure. Obesity is at an all-time high and you want to further discourage physical activity because the school district might get sued? All these public service announcements tell kids to go outside and play, yet we're telling them to sit down because they might pull a Jason Street and end up maimed?

Tag is just about the least deadly game that kids can play on the playground. I don't think I ever got hurt playing tag, and I loved tag and played often. Red Rover? That's a dangerous game. Have kids holding hands and send one kid careening into the arms of two other kids? I always feared my arms would be ripped out of my sockets playing Red Rover, but I loved it. I was also a swing-jumper. I'd get the swing going as high as possible, then take a gigantic leap off at the top of the arc. One time I did a full face plant into the sand, and was spitting out pebbles for the rest of the day. But I told everyone I nearly did a full rotation in the air, and it was awesome.

Kids are meant to get hurt. They are young and malleable and once you put a band-aid on them, they're fine 90% of the time. I've taken care of kids for over a decade, and the worst injuries I've had were one kid who broke his arm slamming into the padded wall while playing basketball, and when the boy I babysit fell off some playground equipment and bit through his lip. Nobody got sued because it was just kids being kids (though I was marginally at fault for the playground equipment injury). I'd much rather have a kid who breaks his arm playing basketball than a kid who never gets injured because he plays Playstation all day.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Meanwhile, back in my native voting district...

A letter to the editor in the ProJo slaps down Sheldon Whitehouse, Lincoln Chafee's opponent:

Hopefully no amount of saccharine advertising will be able to fool those of us who remember Mr. Whitehouse's disastrous years as a public servant who frequently forgot about the public good. Rhode Island deserves better than a candidate for U.S. Senate that is running as little more than the letter "D."

Well, damn. The guy who wrote this letter is clearly down on the Democratic party, but the sentiment remains the same. In the "key issues" section of Whitehouse's website, Whitehouse makes the argument that bipartisanship is nonexistent in Washington.
Voters have a right to be angry. Washington has lost its way--– consumed in controversy and corruption. Bipartisan cooperation is almost non-existent. Spending is out of control and politicians have the wrong priorities.

While Whitehouse's campaign seems to be based primarily on calling Chafee a good-old-boy and Bush's butt-boy and OMG REPUBLICANS ARE TEH EVIL!!11! If anything, Chafee's campaign being backed so thoroughly by big Republican money shows how desperate the Republicans are to cling to any semblance of power in the senate. People are fed up with the war, shitty health care, shitty foreign policy. And while I do think these issues stem in large part from a lack of bipartisan effort, I don't think Lincoln Chafee is the problem. I like that Chafee follows his instinct and doesn't always vote the party line. I'm sure we don't always agree, but I'd like to keep as many pro-choice, pro-gay-rights, anti-tax-cut, anti-war Republicans in the party as possible.

Monday, October 16, 2006

All Pretty and Petite

I don't like Kerry Healey. I don't like her politics, I don't like the administration she's currently associated with, and I certainly don't like her insinuating that lawyers are immoral and unfit for public office because they do their jobs. I'm not wild about Deval "Won't You be My Neighbor?" Patrick either, but at least he's not a) a Romneyite and b) attacking Kerry Healey personally (as much as she's attacking him).

However, I have to take issue with Brian McGrory's article about Kerry Healey in Friday's Globe. McGrory writes about Kerry Healey's personality issues. It starts out fairly innocuously:

Kerry, come on in for a moment. Take off your sneer and stay a while.
First of all, I had to read that about four times before I figured out he was talking about Kerry Healey. Yes, I know the headline on the page reads "Healey," but whenever I think about a Kerry in politics I'm brought screaming back into 2004, which makes me very, very sad. (Aside to John Kerry: Don't run again. Kthnx.) Kerry Healey is not a ray of sunshine, but not everybody is. These people tend to not go very far in politics nowadays, but it's a personality trait.

Then, the article gets nasty:
So allow me to offer an unsolicited observation: No matter how bad you make your opponent seem, no matter how many millions of dollars worth of attack ads that you run, Massachusetts is not going to elect a governor who looks like she spends half her days wandering the laxative aisle of the local CVS.
I'm not quite sure what he means by that, but it seems pretty insulting. She's so wound up she can't take a crap? I would be too if I were running for governor. Politics is a nasty business, especially in Massachusetts, especially when you have a shot at being the first woman (EDIT: elected to, thanks, Michael) the corner office in Massachusetts history. I guess it could have been more insulting if McGrory suggested Healey were walking around CVS looking for some Midol, but it set my teeth on edge. Nobody would write so nasty a comment about a man's personality in a bid for governor. (Except me, but I'm not in a mass-market newspaper. Yet.)

Then, it gets worse.
The Kerry Healey I know downs a six-pack of Coke every day, and not Diet Coke, but the real thing. The Kerry Healey I know doubled back toward a fancy convertible in the parking lot outside a campaign event yesterday when she thought no one was looking, just because she was interested in the car.
Heads up, McGrory: Not all women like diet soda. Sorry. This is a completely sexist way to humanize Healey, by talking about the fact that she really can be a good normal woman, and an extraordinary one at that because she doesn't drink diet soda. If he were writing about Deval Patrick, the diet soda issue wouldn't have come up. I think it's a nasty addition that wasn't necessary that only comes into play because Healey is a woman.

And then:

That Kerry Healey lights into a chocolate cake a la mode at lunch. She gossips about who's dating whom on her campaign, laughingly recounts the time she wouldn't answer a television reporter's quasi-obscene question about how she eats an ice cream cone, and lightly mocks her husband's midlife pursuits.

But none of that personality, none of the humanity, is in any way apparent when you take the public stage.

So here's another bit of advice: Muss up your hair. Ease up on that finishing school accent. Confide your dreams to audiences, rather than harangue them with your fears. Tell us more what you're for, less what you're against.

She's a girl! Who likes to eat chocolate and gossip and makes jokes about oral sex! She's just a girl, folks! Don't look at her professional demeanor that she's cultivated for when she's in the public eye at a press conference or a debate, think about her suggestively eating an ice cream cone. Why does she have to sound so educated? Why can't she use "like" every other word like a human woman? If Kerry Healey walked into a debate with mussed hair she'd get eaten alive. Hell, even Mitt Romney won't go anywhere that would muss his coif.

I can see what McGrory is trying to say-- Kerry Healey is running a campaign that only tells us why Deval Patrick is a bad idea, and isn't giving us an idea of why she's the better choice-- but he states it in a way that trades only on female stereotypes. We've been hearing this same old crap since Hillary Clinton was First Lady. She didn't tread only in libraries and in carefully selected Congressional districts with tight races for Senate like the new First Lady-- Hillary was a professional who had her own agenda, just like Kerry Healey. The good ol' boys need to realize that women in politics have to edit themselves, carry themselves with a high degree of professionalism, or else they get dismissed as a dizzy housewife with money looking for a job. It's one thing to talk about Healey's fascination with cars in a human interest piece, but this is an op-ed in a major newspaper. I'd expect better of the Globe.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


I have a love/hate relationship with fall. I love the leaves, apple cider, and coming home, sitting under a throw and watching new TV shows. I miss the long days of summer, but fall has its merits. I hate fall because it means that winter is coming, and huddling under the blanket will be necessary because it will be freezing cold.

Today, I remembered another aspect of fall that I like. I got up early and came down to Rhode Island to get my winter clothes that I stored at my Mom's house when I moved. I knew I wanted my cashmere sweaters, but I totally forgot about other items I owned. I forgot about my cute brown argyle sweater. I forgot my sparkly wool pants. While I know I'll be sick of all my cold weather clothes in about two months, I'm glad to have them back again.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I know I'm about the 35,000th blog to mention this today, but it was quite the shock to be updated on the Manhattan plane crash this morning to find out Yankees pitcher Corey Lidle was the pilot and that he died in that crash.

There are many industry professionals who can handle this better than I can, but it's just so sad. One minute, you're going along, pitching for the biggest team in baseball, and the next you're dead in a freak accident. The poor guy. His poor family.

But you should definitely check out the Dugout today. It is both hilarious and tear-making.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

More Than Meets the Eye

I have fond memories of toys from my youth. I remember playing for hours with my Barbie dolls, in conjunction with the much more realistic-figured Jem dolls. I loved my doll whose hair grew when her hand moved toward a butterfly perched on her crimped blonde hair (crimped! the coolest!) and then shortened when her other hand was cranked, with the gears audible through her plastic head.

This love of toys that were cool when I was in elementary school is in my mind because the new generation of wee folk are appropriating my toys as their own. When I was babysitting this weekend, I got a little mad that the baby was in possession of a Strawberry Shortcake book.

"Strawberry Shortcake was popular when I was a kid. That's mine."

"Oh Amy. That's the baby's book," the eldest said.

"No, I mean, I had that when I was a kid. Why are they coming back with it now? Why can't you have your own trendy toys?"

As if to spite me, the baby toddled up with her sister's Care Bear.

Believe me, if it's a choice between those horrendous Bratz dolls that set feminism back twenty years and the kids stealing my youth wholesale, I'd much rather them have all the Care Bears their allowances can buy. But I'm territorial about the things that were so important to me as a kid. Maybe it's selfishness, but I saved all my trendy '80s toys to share with my kids some day. I figured it would be like my Mom did with me. She had a small box of toys from when she was a kid-- wind-up toys, whoopee cushions, all these things that seemed archaic to me-- that she'd let me play with only when she was around. She'd tell me little stories about them while I happily watched the kangaroo flip himself over. I don't want a corporation in charge of the memories I pass along to my kids, even if a corporation gave them to me in the first place.

The Globe today had an article about Transformers coming back into the mainstream. I loved Transformers. I had one Transformer that I could barely assemble back into it's car formation, but I had a blast with it. Now it's back with a new movie, new toys, new computer-animation. I want my kids to experience Transformers like I did-- with old-school animation. Why must everything be repackaged every twenty years? I think that's why I'm so opposed to leggings-- everybody who wears them looks like they're overgrown eight-year-olds to me because that's who I remember wearing them in 1989. (And I never imagined that I'd be of a childbearing age and still find people wearing those atrocities in daylight and not just on their way to '80s night at a club.)

I guess it's kind of silly, but I want my childhood to remain behind me until I want to revisit it. I want kids of the Aughts to have their own toys to cherish and alternatively be humiliated by in twenty years. I want the kids I babysit to have their own childhood to remember, not mine.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

My Apartment Smells of Rich Mahogany

I don't have cable. At all. Not even basic. This usually garners me a look like I just announced I have leprosy, but it's really okay 80% of the time. I get channel 4 if I bend the bunny ears right, and channel 7 is clear as day. The only cable shows I miss are Project Runway, America's Next Top Model (UPN/the CW is a no-go), the Stewart/Colbert Power Hour, and lazily watching the Food Network on weekends. And I sorely missed having cable when I was sick. I turned on channel 7 when I made the epic journey from my bed to my couch and left it on all day. And I was struck with one constant emotion.

I really, really, really hate Matt Lorch.

Not in a personal way, though I think if I knew him he'd bug me. But I really despise his style of anchoring. I hate the way he speaks, I hate his uber-gelled hair, I hate the fact that channel 7 canned Chris May to hire this Lorch fellow.

Per WHDH's website, Matt came from Miami, and that his style is impacted by that sensationalistic market. Channel 7 isn't PBS by any means, but I think New England's sensibilities are just about polar opposite from Miami's. We want someone to sit down, give us the news without a lot of attendant dramatics and flourishes. Matt Lorch is all about flourishes.

During the hubbub about the Amish school shooting last week, Matt Lorch was "on the scene" (read: standing by a monitor) to talk about how you can tell if any of your mild-mannered relatives is about to fly off the handle and commit a random act of violence. While the other reporters simply spoke, Lorch gesticulated toward the monitor, even though nothing was happening. Just a simple display that served to reinforce the points he was making. Lorch kept pointing at it. Dude. It's in the shot. I can see it. It's a bright red screen with yellow letters on it. I can see it. Just read.

Actually, don't read. It's hard to convey this in writing, but Lorch's voice gesticulates just as unnecessarily as his body does. "In the quiet Pennsylvania town of Nickel Mines, a horrible, terrible tragedy occurred yesterday." Lorch emphasizes just about every adjective in a sentence, and he sounds happy about every word he's reading, whether it's a tease about entertainment news or breaking news about a child being shot. All his sentences end with a brightening of tone. I was at the gym and watching some anchor banter between Lorch and Michelle King, and a sad story had just ended. "Boy, that sure is one sad story, huh, Michelle? Hopefully the weather isn't such a sad story, huh, Pete?" It took Michelle a moment to figure out the best way to react to his complete lack of genuine emotion about the story. Is Lorch autistic? I don't mean this in a mean way, but seriously. It's like he's completely lacking a capacity to empathize, which most people want in their news anchors. You're in New England, not Miami. Tone it down a little with the happy. We are earnest folks here, not happily skipping about in bikinis like they do on TV in Miami.

Also, before I was rendered useless by my cold last week, I was walking down Newbury Street and an attractive couple was walking towards me. I didn't really pay attention until I heard the woman's voice, and realized that it was Frances Rivera, who is Randy Price's new co-anchor. I turned around to confirm this visually. Gentlemen, let me clue you in. Frances Rivera is smokin' hot. Those suits they put her in don't do her justice. She was wearing a shirt that probably costs more than I make in a month, paired with tight jeans and tall boots. Her butt was fantastic. Well played, Ms. Rivera. Well-played. I may develop a bit of a girl-crush on you if you can manage to render Matt Lorch incapable of speech in some freak microphone cord accident.


I should never watch the Today show.

"Now to our top story this Columbus day. North Korea has detonated an atomic bomb. After the break, we discuss the latest food recalls due to E. coli bacteria and how you can keep your family safe."

Holy shit. That crazy fucker has a nuclear bomb. That's a frightening thing. The food that we eat has proven to be unsafe, and the government is treating us with a "why are you so worried?" attitude. I'm worried because if my salad doesn't kill me, a bomb fired from North Korea when Netflix doesn't deliver Kim Jong-Il's newest action movie fast enough will.

Will write more later. Work is crazy busy.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Open Letter

Dear Jon Stewart,

Hi. My name is Amy. You may know me from such places as the internet and me haunting your dreams with my dorky, loudmouthed, liberal beauty. I know you're married and all, and I saw a picture of you with your family in the park in Us Weekly and it was very cute. I'm not writing to try and wreck a happy home with cute babies in it. I don't play that. But I would like to tell you that I love you. Platonically. Mostly.

Since I can't afford cable, I've been missing out on my Stewart/Colbert Power Hour of Fun, and that makes me sad. I know you're in Boston tonight, but I can't come see your show for the same reason I can't afford cable (no dinero). Instead, I'm going to the movies. But I'll be in the same neighborhood you'll be in, and I'll probably get out of the movie right around the time you end your show. So if you want to grab a drink or something, maybe talk politics and whether or not the Daily Show is hiring mad talented writers, drop me an email. Link's on the sidebar. Hope to hear from you.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

What a Way to Make a Living

Today finds me less dead, but still not feeling great. It's really great to hear some variant of "you look/sound like crap" for four days straight. Really.

Anyway. I have this big post in mind about the nature of forgiveness in the light of all the hubbub about the Amish community forgiving the gunman who shot their daughters, and if I could ever apply such a principle of forgiveness to the people who have wronged me in my life. But I've got endless piles of work before me, so I can't give it the attention I want, so it may have to wait until this weekend. I need to the get the internets in my home again so I can do this when I'm not on company time.

So, instead of the beautiful piece I have in mind, I leave you with this: Fuck off, Mitt Romney. Do we really have to get into the "no probable cause" T searches again? This means I'm going to have to start carrying around Planned Parenthood literature, lubricant, gay porn, a large package of AA batteries, and a vibrator again when I ride the T. If they're going to violate my civil liberties, I'm going to make them sorry they bothered. And, after the forty-five minute commute I had last Friday from Hynes to Government Center (which actually ended when my T was rerouted and ended at Park Street) that left me fuming mad and miserable, I won't be taking the T anytime soon if I can help it.

I'll be back soon kiddos. Promise.

Also, a big thumbs-down to the Globe and the Herald for not having this story before the New York Times did.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sniffling, Sneezing, Coughing...

Dear Body,

What the fuck, dude? Why is it that you always get sick at the least convenient times possible? I plan a long-awaited vacation, and I get the tickle in my throat. I can't locate the surface of my desk because I've got so much work to do, and I'm tossing papers onto the floor to find a tissue to stem the tide out of my sinuses. I get some part-time work, and you go bananas.

Yes, I did too much last weekend. I barely sat down for more than an hour. But I had some amazing opportunities come up, and you're fucking them up by rendering me useless by a drug and booger haze. I know you aren't one of those bodies who thrives with four hours of sleep, but could you fake it for a while so I can get my shit done?

Angrily yours,

Monday, October 02, 2006


How can Fox News blame violent video games when the Amish start shooting up their schools?

Thanks. I'll be here all week. Tip your waitress!

For serious. What is going on in this country? I feel like there have been about seventeen school shootings in the past month, some of them very close to home. Why are kids so pissed off? I've got news for you, potential school shooters.

Life sucks. Sorry.

I know you were raised on Sesame Street and your mommies and daddies never let anything bad happen to you for as long as possible, and you thought life was going to be all kittens and rainbows and cotton candy. But people are going to be mean to you, just because they can. Popular kids are going to treat you like shit, just because they can. There is no reason, there is no cure, including pumping the kids you hate full of bullets. Teachers will fail you if you don't do the work. Some of them will be hard on you because they're former geeks and dorks who exact their revenge on kids by teaching. Is it fair? No. Life's not fair. Sack up. Do you know how I got through high school? I took comfort in the fact that my life was still basically in an embryotic stage then. The best years of my life would not be when I was just learning to drive a car and couldn't buy beer. Yeah, I didn't like it when people talked about me, or I didn't get to hang with the cool kids. But I found a posse of freaks and stuck with them.

Whenever I think about school shootings (which I tend to avoid), I think about Matt Parker and Trey Stone, who are the creators of South Park in Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine. Say whatever you want about Moore, but Matt and Trey were really insightful. The upshot of their interview was that high school sucks, and it's hard for kids to realize that once they get through high school all the dramatic, cliquey bullshit ebbs. The popular kids settle down, get married and have kids, and the dorky kids (like Parker and Stone) are actually successful, and the violence happens when kids think that high school is the rest of their lives.

I mean, we can't blame modern life if the Amish are going all apeshit in the one-room schoolhouse. Something has got to give in our culture, or whatever is causing all these kids to go nuts. Perhaps the NEA will start putting Ritalin in all the juice boxes in the cafeterias. I have no idea. But, if I have any high-school-aged readers, just hang in there. High school is not the rest of your life, nor is that time the best of your life. Also, stop reading all the posts about my public drunkenness and boobs. I don't want to end up on To Catch a Predator.