Thursday, November 30, 2006

We Don't Need No Water...

Because I'm now the proud owner of a fire extinguisher.

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I also am the proud owner of a renter's insurance policy. A lot harder to photograph (I can always photograph the statement when it comes in... yet another thing to pay for, dammit) but equally as helpful in giving me peace of mind.

And, for all you fire safety buffs out there, I should point out I'm lucky I didn't get electrocuted by throwing water on what could have been an electrical fire. My Mom warned me to get a fire extinguisher, and I should have listened. Seriously, folks, that fire extinguisher cost me $22. Be sure you have one around the house, even if you don't live in an apparent deathtrap.


Is any one else delighted by the rumor that Borat broke up Pam Anderson and Kid Rock? Because I've got a smile from the schadenfreude that just won't quit. Seriously. Mr. Rock was threatened by this guy?

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I knew Kid Rock was an idiot, but I didn't think he was that stupid. Why is it that nobody seems to understand that Borat is a joke? Is satire that doesn't come from the mouth of Jon Stewart dead? Maybe good old Kid was confused by Pam's pretty excellent acting job in the movie. (When she met Borat, I didn't think she knew what was happening, but she apparently was in on the joke.) If I were Pam, however and I had to chose between Borat and this clown
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I'd take Borat.

God, what a maroon. I don't understand how Kid Rock lands all these women. I wish he'd just crawl back into whatever trailer park he came from and never cross my television or ear holes again.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Burnin' Down the House

VH1 has ruined my life. Every time something lights on fire that shouldn't, I imagine T-Boz of the late, great TLC describing her reaction on Behind the Music when Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopez torched her boyfriend's home: "Lisa burned the house down!" It's much funnier when you see her say it: a wide smile on her face, the old southern woman accent on it, delivered with a toss of her head.

It was not so much funny at about 4:30 this morning when I woke up to a weird smell. Seeing that I live in the boiler room, I thought the boiler was about to blow sky-high since it was an oily smell. I stood in my apartment, basically scratching my head. I went to the door of the boiler room and touched it, but it wasn't hot. I decided to open my window to air the apartment out, but my landlord replaced the screens with storm glass and the only way to allow air in would be to prop the glass up with something, which I figured would allow a host of vermin into my apartment to feast on pasta. While I was by the window debating what to do, I heard a pop pop pop near my bathroom. Figuring it was the boiler about to blow, I went back over to look.

Instead, I found my bathroom ceiling was on fire. The light fixture and fan were burning, as well as the ceiling panel around it. I stood for a moment, figuring I would finally have the certain answer to the "if your house were on fire, what would you take with you" question, and figured I should go down fighting. I grabbed a big pot, filled it with some water, and tossed it at my ceiling.

The lightbulb exploded, the water hissed as it made contact with the fire, and the fixture dropped the floor. The ceiling fire had gone out and just a little bit of plastic was still burning on the floor. I stared at the mess for a minute then went back to the kitchen sink, refilled the pot, then doused the last little flame. With the fire out, I turned my attention to the smoke that hung in my apartment. I figured a hungry rat would not be the worst thing to happen, so I propped open the storm glass and turned on my fan, hoping the smoke would clear out through the window instead of triggering the fire alarm right outside my door.


I heard footsteps in the upstairs apartment and the voices of my neighbors on the front steps. I grabbed my cell phone and keys and went out to explain everything was okay. My neighbors were very gracious for being woken up at 4:30 in the morning by the fire alarm. I didn't realize how cold it was outside and shivered until one of my neighbors handed me his coat. Another neighbor was on hold with the fire department. Finally, about ten minutes after the alarm started, two fire trucks showed up. I led the curmudgeonly lead firefighter and two other firefighters into my apartment. A little childish part of me figured I was in trouble, even though I did nothing to start the fire except leave a light on accidentally. The firemen took the remaining bits of the ceiling panel down, grumbled to each other, and opened my door.

"Good job," the curmudgeonly fireman said, referencing the fact I had the presence of mind to throw water on a fire. "Luckily, there wasn't too much around it that could have caught." He didn't mention what caused it, but I suspect something wasn't wired correctly, or the light got too hot for the sheetrock and it caught.

I thanked the firemen, then went outside to tell my neighbors everything was fine. As I waited for the firemen to leave, my coat-lending neighbor pointed out a rat that was running for my window.

"Don't fucking go in there!" I shrieked, amusing my neighbor.

"It's okay," he said, "he ran up the water pipe instead."

I wish I could have met my neighbors in a more conventional manner, such as a neighborhood pot-luck dinner, but they were very gracious and also concerned for me. I said I was fine, and went back into my stinky, smoky apartment. I closed the window so the rats couldn't get in, sprayed the entire apartment with Febreeze so my apartment smelled both smoky and linen fresh, which was more nauseating than the straight smoke. I curled up under my covers, startling awake to the slightest noise, almost missing my old apartment with the fighting roommates and noisy neighbors. At least nothing was actually on fire there. I thought about my mother, who stayed at my apartment once when I'd just moved in and how she was afraid that it would catch on fire and I wouldn't have a way to get out if the door was blocked. I looked at my windows, wondering if I could break them and escape if the fire had been quick to spread. Am I living in a death trap? I can't afford to move again-- I have about $100 in savings and didn't pay a security deposit, so I'll have only one month's rent to work with for a new place. My Mom has made it clear to me I will not be borrowing money from her to pay deposits again since she's strapped for cash. I wish she lived closer to Boston so I could live at home for a few months so I could save up.

I had such high hopes for this place, but I keep being disappointed. It's caused me to need a second job, sleep with a light on in fear of rats falling on my head, and now it's required emergency services to be called. And I have no way out of it short of quitting my job and finding a job in Rhode Island until I figure my life out. I don't want to do that. I just want to sit on my couch and watch TV shows about other people's problems instead of dealing with my own.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

She Said it Was the Communists, But We Knew Better

PBS has been cashing in on the renewed interest in the Kennedy family and airing their programming about RFK for the past couple of weeks. Since I'm a sucker for a video presentation of history (I loved when teachers just popped in a video during my public school days) I usually sit down to watch the overwrought images and historians. Last night, American Experience aired their program on RFK.

Let me say this: I am profoundly grateful I didn't have to live through 1968. With the civil rights struggle, Vietnam, the death of Martin Luther King, and RFK it must have been scary stuff. It would be like dealing with what we're seeing now in Iraq, but also having Hillary Clinton or Barak Obamba shot dead, along with a prominent gay rights activist (Lance Bass?). American Experience showed footage of RFK telling a crowd in Indiana that King had been shot, and the screams of anguish from the crowd were frightening. In these days of punditry, it's hard to find people in the public eye who connect so deeply as RFK and Martin Luther King did.

I'm also not sure how I feel about the Kennedy family in general. My family isn't the most liberal of folks, and I'm certain my mother doesn't like the hijinks of the "modern" Kennedys (Pat, D-RI). I don't really enjoy Pat because I think he's a spoiled rich boy who really isn't that smart. But it's fascinating how many borderline mythic figures one family from Massachusetts spawned in American history. I know JFK was a fairly middling president for the short time he held the office. Historians even didn't rank him in the top 100 influential Americans list that was recently published in the Atlantic Monthly. In fact, none of the Kennedys are on the list, which seems a bit odd. While RFK and JFK didn't actually accomplish much in the political arena, they influenced the American psyche deeply, I'd argue. People still debate that JFK was killed by the government and not some random whackjob. We obsess on "Camelot." American Experience went to great lengths to illustrate how RFK connected himself to causes and groups who didn't have much of a voice in Washington, such as migrant laborers and blacks. Robert Kennedy made some great promises in his speeches-- ending the war in Vietnam that had gone to shit (one of the clips the show aired could have easily applied to the civil war in Iraq [we can call it that now, NBC said so] if "Vietnam" were exchanged for "Iraq"), easing poverty and racism in America-- and it's debatable what he could actually accomplished. But since he didn't get the chance to do or not do what he said, he becomes a mythic figure in American life. Americans then got Richard effing Nixon, who certainly didn't help anything and cemented the Kennedys more solidly into the realm of potential saviors of thousands of Americans who died in Vietnam.

I am not Doris Kearns Goodwin, nor was meant to be. I have nothing based in any deep knowledge of politics in 1960s America, but I think it's a bit quick to dismiss either Kennedy from the list of important Americans.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Paris Hilton Will Kill Us All

Not with her especially virulent cooter diseases, but with her endorsement of exotic pets.

Exotic animals captured in the wild are streaming into the U.S. by the millions with little or no screening for disease, leaving Americans vulnerable to a virulent outbreak that could rival a terrorist act....

Most wildlife arrive in the United States with no quarantine and minimal screening for disease. The government employs just 120 full-time inspectors to record and inspect arriving wildlife. There is no requirement they be trained to detect diseases....

Another newly discovered threat involves a current rage among exotic pet owners: a small carnivorous mammal with sharp teeth called a kinkajou. The nocturnal, tree-dwelling animals originally from Central and South America's rain forests have a dangerous bite -- as Paris Hilton recently learned.

The actress used to carry her pet kinkajou named "Baby Luv" on her shoulder as she partied. This summer, Hilton landed in an emergency room when Baby Luv bit her on the arm.

I cannot even begin to fathom why parents allow their children to do what Paris Hilton does. She has no redeemable traits that I have seen in the media. While Angelina Jolie is annoying, at least she donates her time and money to causes that are worthwhile. Paris Hilton is just a waste of space on this planet. If I have a kid and she says she wants something because Paris Hilton had it when she was her age, the kid's going to reform school.

As a kid, an exotic pet is always appealing. In stories, kids have weird pets like monkeys or gigantic red dogs and it's all fun and good times. If you're a parent and your kid wants an exotic pet, just remind them of poop. Yes, those exotic animals or giant red dogs also poop. If you've dealt with kids, you know they want nothing to do with the removal of animal waste of any kind. Imagine if junior has a monkey who starts chucking his poo all over the house. Then he'll be sorry. (Once he stops laughing at the poo-chucking monkey.)

I also can't wrap my head around the fact that the government only employs 120 people to inspect animals for potentially serious contagious diseases, and those people aren't even trained in how to recognize sickness in animals. 120 people for the entire country? I feel like we should have that many people watching out for rabid tree monkeys in New York City alone. If a giant Paris Hilton exotic animal finds its way into my apartment ceilings to hang with their American friends and keeps me awake, I am going to write a strongly-worded letter to my Congressman.

Paris fucking Hilton. Harbinger of the apocalypse.

Can Anyone Tell Me What Christmas is All About?!

Hello, Internet! How was your Thanksgiving? I hope that you had all the turkey you could hope for and a minimum of family drama. Things were fairly quiet down in Little Rhody. My brother and I got caught in traffic on Friday, got to Rhode Island, picked up my Mom and we went out for dinner, then brought my Mom home and went to see Borat. I was pissed that the movie cost me $10 (last time I saw a movie in Rhode Island it was $8.50) but it was good to see the moviefilm again. Instead of stopping at the new 24-hour Wal-Mart on the way home, we just went back to the homestead so I could keep my laundry moving and I enjoyed access to cable internet and expanded basic cable channels.

Thursday didn't really dawn in Rhode Island... it kind of dripped. Rain splattered against the windows as my Mom and I started up her breadmaker and waited for the Macy's Parade to start. Another thing I forgot to be thankful for was Katie Couric not being present for the festivities. Meredith Viera started out by saying "As a little girl growing up in Rhode Island, I loved the parade."

"Represent, Meredith!" I yelled back at the TV. My Mom clapped for the Rhody girl done good.

We watched the dancers and marching bands get soaked on TV, and set the table for the food my uncle was preparing. My mother got the news on Tuesday that she'll in all likelihood need back surgery next year, so she wasn't up for preparing a whole Thanksgiving meal. We steamed some veggies and heated some rolls since the bread machine was taking forever to work. My uncle and grandfather brought over the food, including tons of mashed potatoes for me. It's so odd that people stress out for weeks over Thanksgiving meals because by the time the food appears, everyone is ravenous and shovels it into their faces in about ten minutes before the bloat sets in. Everything my uncle made was very good, but I inhaled my plate of food in about ten minutes.

After we cleaned up our dishes and visited with my Mom's family, we ran out to the car and drove to my Dad's side of the family. Despite telling us they were going to eat early, we arrived to join them for dessert and found them just sitting down to their meal. My Mom, brother, and I sat in the living room, shuttling small tastes of whatever my aunt wanted us to try back and forth. I had some wine and listened to the banter in the other room. Their meal ended quickly as well, since my grandmother's aunt started feeling faint and my grandparents took her home before dessert at her insistence.

"Her sons need to take care of her," my aunt said once my grandparents had left with the frail aunt. "Her 'priestly' son, helping his flock while his own mother needs help. I know she doesn't want them around, but they need to have someone check in on her who isn't my mother."

The holidays are great, but it's sad to see my family getting old. I think about what life will be like when my grandparents aren't around, and then what will happen when my aunts and uncles are old. I don't expect to spend much time with any of my cousins-- two live in California, and my local cousin isn't exactly my buddy like he once was. I've lived twenty-five years with my family the way it is, and I can only hope I'll have my own family by the time things start changing too much. I cannot imagine a holiday where my grandmother doesn't return to the party after making sure her aunt was okay with a jam jar holding what looks like urine, but is actually hard alcohol, and my aunt getting up to get some ice in a glass for her without being asked.

Sam and I had planned to drive back to Boston on Thursday night, but it was raining so hard that two lights away from my aunt's house my Mom laid down the law and said we'd wait until morning to head in. Sam and I got up Friday morning and stopped at Dunkin Donuts, where the clerk had to ask Sam four times if he wanted whipped cream on his hot chocolate before it registered with him. I drove up while Sam stared into space. I unloaded my stuff, put on some makeup, pointed Sam in the right direction to get home, then walked to the part-time job.

It actually wasn't that bad-- I feel that if I'd worked in a big-box store like Best Buy or Target things would have been far more nightmarish than they were in my little corner of retail. We didn't have any doorbuster sales, nor any good deals on anything for the winter holidays so people tended to wander then leave. I stood by the door, watching people come in and out, getting more and more tired as the evening went on. I happily left at four, wandered to the liquor store to buy some beer, then crashed on my couch for a while.

Yesterday I went to Target and Ikea, neither of which was insanely busy. I wanted Christmas lights at Target, but for silly plastic lights all they had were chili pepper lights. I'd brought my "disco tree" out of my Mom's basement for the first time in a few years. Since Roommate Deb was sensitive about Christmas decorations (she's Jewish) and I didn't want to start any more fighting, I left the tree at home during holidays at my last apartment. I happily propped it up as soon as I opened my beer on Friday evening and watched as the fiber-optic tips of the branches light up. I also want a wreath to hang and smell piny in my little fortress of solitude. At Ikea, I bought a paper lantern to hang over my bed instead of the horrible fluorescent light, and the light was soft and nice. I lit a candle and sat on my bed, listening to classical music in the dim light. It dawned on me how much I want a little house of my own someday soon, with a nice little kitchen and huge bookshelves and tasteful decor.

The holidays are harder as an adult too, because everything I want this year is not available in stores. I want a sense of financial security. I want my student loans and/or credit cards paid off. I want a little condo someplace nice without vermin and with kitchen counters. I want a career I like. I want things that can't be put in a box. I made a wish list on Amazon for my Mom, but it's all little things (except a new laptop, which my Mom can't afford for me) because all the big things I want aren't for sale.

I wish I could be satisfied by a Barbie doll or a new bike like when I was a kid.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Here is what I'm thankful for.

My health. Despite the fact I think I'm developing a heart murmur from too much coffee.

My family. Dysfunctional and weird as they are, I would rather have them and their unconditional love than a boring bunch of goobers.

My friends. They're all funny, sympathetic people who are my family away from home.

I'm thankful there won't be a casino in Rhode Island anytime soon.

I'm thankful I don't have to worry where my next meal or paycheck is coming from.

I'm thankful for a good education, even if it's bankrupting me to pay for it.

I'm thankful for a Democratic majority.

I'm thankful for To Catch a Predator. I know this is stupid, but every week I sit on my couch for an hour and marvel that these sickos show up, even when they suspect a rat. I marvel that as soon as they hear that actress's voice chirp out "Heeeey, you made it! Come on back, the hot tub's on" they don't run in the opposite direction. I am also surprised Chris Hanson hasn't gotten the shit kicked out of him for his smug, superior attitude. It's disgusting and salacious and I love it.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to write for InSite and Boston Magazine.

I'm thankful I'm single. While I'd love to have someone good in my life, when I see a couple who clearly can't stand each other walking down the street, or a couple comes into the part-time job and openly argues and I remember how much it sucked to be in a relationship with someone who I was always fighting.

I'm thankful my brother is picking me up today so I can bring the eight metric tons of laundry I need to do home.

I'm thankful for my Mom's mashed potatoes.

I'm thankful I can look forward to my uncle ranting about something that wronged him.

I'm thankful I can hear my grandfather talk.

I'm thankful for my father.

I'm thankful that I'll probably miss my aunt's thinly-veiled reference to my father, who died twenty years ago Monday. It's hard to keep it together when my grandmother and grandfather tear up.

I'm thankful for my coworker bringing her adorable kid into the office today. Having an energetic kid running around tossing his stuffed chicken in the air makes the day much better.

I'm thankful for the kids I babysit.

Lastly, I'm thankful for those of you who read this blog. I hope you have a very happy and safe Thanksgiving. And please be kind to those of us who are working in retail on Friday. ::shudder::

"Our Father, thank you for all the birds and trees,
that nature stuff. I'm grateful for good health,
food, air, some laughs, and all the other things I've never had to do
without." -Andrew Hudgins

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Bad news:

David Ortiz didn't win MVP, which isn't too surprising.

Good news:

This guy didn't win either.
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"I love interpretive dance!"

That's really all the insight I have. And I thank the Lord Jesus that that picture exists in this world.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Many websites are trying to figure out what to call young pitching phenom Daisuke Matsuzaka since his name is apparently too boring. I would like to propose we call him Hiro.

The similarities are striking:
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Save the cheerleader, Daisuke, save the world.

Feel the Rage, Part II

Yesterday, I walked our city streets. I always forget how nice it is to walk around Boston without a destination, just popping into stores or historical sites whenever you feel like it. I'm usually running from one place to another and it was nice to just meander, taking my time. My friends and I walked through City Hall Plaza and watched little kids manipulate one of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade balloons around. We stopped in a cemetery we'd never been in. While looking at the old gravestones (the skulls and angel wings are totally going on my gravestone) we heard a din coming from the direction of the Common. I thought a skating event may have been going on until I realized it was Mitt Romney's publicity stunt, er, protest of the legislature refusing to vote on allowing the right of gay people to marry going on the ballot. Relishing the idea of heckling Romney in person appealed to me, so we walked to the State House.

Chills went up my spine as I rounded the corner and walked through the crowd. We were close to the police line that separated the voting supporters from the gay rights supporters. We'd missed Mitt Romney's speech, unfortunately, but whoever was speaking was being roundly booed by the gay marriage supporters.

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Yeah, it was like that.

He's totally using this image in his presidential campaign. "This flag is not for gay people! I'm relatively sure none of the people behind me has inappropriately emailed young boys! God Bless America!"

I could see Mitt from where we stood, about a football field and a half away from the gubernatorial coif. Despite the fact he probably couldn't see me, I pulled one of these:

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Just to let him know I was thinking of him.

Whatever pretentious blowhard was speaking wrapped it up, and then a singer came up and started warbling the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." No, I'm not kidding. The gay rights supporters roundly booed the proceedings, shouting "Shame!" and "You lost, go home."

I understand that not everyone is comfortable with homosexuality. My mom, who is fairly socially liberal is against gay marriage, which surprises me. The debate over gay marriage in the eyes of the state is infuriating, and I have yet to hear an argument that rings true on why gay people should not have the same right to a marriage certificate as a straight couple. Being gay is not a defect. A gay couple doesn't contribute less to society. Gay people aren't worse parents than the average straight couple. We're talking about civic marriage, which has nothing to do with any religion. It's a piece of paper that allows benefits to be shared and ease of transition if something should happen to one or both people in the relationship. A marriage certificate is a legal document, nothing more.

Specific to this fight, I cannot understand why any responsible legislature would allow the many to vote on the rights of the few. It is the government's place to protect the rights of minorities, and keeping the rights of minorities away from the grubby hands of the majority. If you don't like how the legislature works, you vote for someone who shares your views and the legislature amends the constitution.

Feel the Rage, Part I

Last night, after a lovely day of walking the North End, stopping in a graveyard, flipping Mitt Romney off (more on that later), and walking all the way to Coolidge Corner, I decided to watch the evening news. My emotions were kind of raw after watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition since it was a family who had just unexpectedly lost their father, and what does the channel 38 news lead with?

Some sick bastard stole one of the Salvation Army pots outside a Walgreens in Methuen. Not only did this sick fuck steal from charity, he stole from charity while a man with Down Syndrome was minding the pot and didn't even understand that he'd been robbed until someone told him.

A Salvation Army bell ringer kept ringing his bell as the red kettle was lifted from the tripod next to him outside a Jackson Street drugstore.

He kept ringing it as the thief walked away with the kettle and the money the bell ringer had collected for the poor at Christmas.

He finally stopped when an employee of the drugstore, who witnessed the theft, called police.

Then the bell ringer, a 41-year-old man with Down syndrome, became frightened.

Let's make this clear. Whoever stole from this guy just sealed his place in hell. I hope that Satan pulls your toenails out by the millimeter with white-hot tongs. I hope the Dark Lord pulls out your innards through your mouth so you can watch. You stole from the poor and a retarded person at the same time. That is completely heartless and cruel, and I hope the police find whoever did this and punish him/her as harshly as possible. The Salvation Army has had a rough enough time of it lately with many stores not willing to let the bell-ringers set up shop outside their stores (Target, I'm looking at you) and now people are stealing from them? In doing research for this post, I found several other bell-ringers in other cities have been forcibly robbed as well. But just walking away with the pot from a person who didn't know better? Sick.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Psycho Killer

What the fuck is wrong with people?

Two armed thugs tried to rob a line of people waiting to buy the new Playstation 3 gaming console early Friday and shot one who refused to give up the money, authorities said.

And, closer to home:

Police were called to Copley Place Mall early this morning to restrain crowds clamoring for the new Sony PlayStation 3, according to broadcast reports.

When security at the Copley Place Mall opened the doors, hundreds of waiting people rushed the mall in what witnesses called a stampede.

Police eventually cleared the mall, but those who had been waiting in line for hours, and in some cases days, lost their place in line.

You got shot for a video game. You got stampeded for a video game. You sat outside a mall for days for, you've got it, a motherfucking video game. If you've ever watched Dateline or the local news, you give someone with a gun your money because you may get out of the situation alive. If little fifteen-year-old Jimmy is pissed you didn't get him a Playstation for Christmas, kindly remind the insolent little brat that he wouldn't have a parent if you'd held onto the money.

This is what happens when we equate stuff with love and success. People freak out and start shooting each other-- or literally stepping on each other-- to prove their love is true or they're truly happy because they have a freakin' $500 video game machine.

I Check the Odds, I Place My Bet

Dammit. (Thanks to CO for the tip.)

Gov.-elect Deval Patrick, who’s been known to pull the handle on a slot machine himself from time to time, is signaling he’s open to the possibility of casino gambling in the Bay State.

First of all, I'd like to take issue with the fact that the Herald immediately assumes that if you've played slots you support casino gambling. I've played slots down at Foxwoods (hell on earth) and Mohegan Sun (slightly better) but it doesn't mean I want to be able to gamble in my own neighborhood. It's fine once in a while, but I don't want casinos and their inherent social problems on my doorstep.

I don't quite fathom how Patrick thinks casino gambling is a good idea. Didn't somebody ask him this question while he was on the campaign trail, especially in New Bedford/Swansea which would have been impacted by a casino in Rhode Island? Maybe he slipped a mention into one of his ads that card games and slots as a means of making Massachusetts great? By the end of the campaign I was kind of tuning all the ads out. It's possible I missed that. I remembered Patrick talking about scientific research, education, and attracting businesses as a way to make Massachusetts better. I do not remember buffets being mentioned as part of the solution.

Sigh. I cannot continue being all uppity about this. It's exhausting. I do not want New England to be the new, less-glittery Las Vegas. I guess I can only hope Deval Patrick catches his snap before Harrah's sets up shop looking for another ballot question.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Miss Manners

In the area of my office, there are at least three textbook publishing companies. Magazine publishing offices are not too far away. Thus, it is no surprise there are a plethora of coffee shops in the area. Today at lunch, which I take around 2pm, Kristen and I walked over to Starbucks to partake of their holiday lattes. I elected not to get one since I'm saving my money for booze this evening and I'm already edgy, but I savored the walk over.

Once we walked inside the Starbucks, it was bedlam. Bedraggled people in thick-framed glasses and sensible shoes waited in line, visibly craning their necks to see how many people separated them from their precious three-o-clock caffeine hit. The order-takers were dealing calmly, but the coffee drink preparers were moving around like worker bees in a hive. Kristen placed her order, and we waited in line to pick up her drink.

Directly in front of us was a short woman in black pants and a sensible gray wrap sweater, her dark hair pulled back. She had a tray in front of her, waiting to pick up her coworker's orders. The barista (that is a stupid word) gave her her caramel iced something or other and the woman immediately tried to get the coffee-slinger's attention back. Since the line was about 150 people deep, the coffee-slinger turned away. The woman rolled her eyes and got the attention of the coffee-slinger as coffee-slinger deposited another cup on the counter.

"Can I have more ice?" The woman asked.

"Well," the coffee-slinger replied, "I can't fit more ice in the cup. I can get you a bigger cup."

The coffee-slinger brought back the drink in a bigger cup.

"Can I have more caramel?" The woman requested. The coffee-slinger popped the top of the new cup and drizzled some more on top.

"This looks awfully light to me," the woman said to the visibly annoyed coffee-slinger.

"The tall only comes with one shot," the slinger replied.

"I come here all the time, and this is the only thing I get, and it's usually not this light."

The slinger relented. "I'll remake it."

The woman looked at another customer who rolled her eyes. "It's expensive. How about a little coffee with that milk?" She bitched.

Listen, lady, Starbucks isn't tea at the Ritz. You weren't the only customer there. You had multiple drinks in your order. If you want to be treated like a princess, go someplace else. If you want a size up on your caramel whatever-the-fuck, ask for it. Don't make the harried coffee-slinger remake your order entirely because it's not the right shade of brown for you. You're lucky she didn't do like the bartender I saw at the Foundation Lounge a couple weeks ago who nearly got into a fistfight with a customer who kept her unnecessarily running when it was busy.


Okay. Figuring that Blogger would be like Yahoo! and that I'd eventually have to switch to Blogger in its new form eventually whether I wanted to or not, I switched the ol' Pasquinade over to the Beta Blogger yesterday. I was lured by the idea of futzing with my template and having labels for my posts (such as this one with the insightful label of "bitching") but I am having some major issues with it.

First of all, I use one Gmail account for my blog email and another for my actual personal email. I get about 120 spam messages a week from the blog and I don't want them in my regular email account. When I signed up with the original Blogger, I used a Yahoo! email account, and used that as my user name for Blogger. Beta won't allow me to use any other user name than a Gmail account so I decided to use the blog email account. Now, whenever I want to log into Blogger, Gmail signs me out of my personal account and into the blog account. It's supremely annoying when I'm emailing strings of profanity to Kristen and trying to blog at the same time. I probably could sign in with my personal email and still list the blog email on the page, but I don't want to.

I also liked the new template I had for about an hour yesterday, but Haloscan hasn't updated how to install their codes into the Beta Blogger templates, so I would have to use Blogger's comments, which I don't want since I have about two and a half years of comments stored on Haloscan and I want to keep them, so I'm back to the "classic" template. So, for all this freaking hassle, I got labels.

All of this could be avoided if I got a book deal. Publishers: Email me. On the blog account.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hungry Heart

This is scary.

An advocacy group warned legislators today that hunger has spiked as they presented a study that found that the number of Massachusetts residents going without food has more than doubled the last three years.

Project Bread found that the percentage of hungry Bay State residents has surged to 18 percent from 8 percent in the last three years. The numbers were part of the group's annual Hunger in Massachusetts report, which it released today after presenting the findings in a PowerPoint presentation at the State House.

Well, if they presented it in PowerPoint, it must be comprehensive!

Anyway. During this time of year, it's easy to get excited about all the food you're going to eat, complain about being too full, and complaining about the two-month-long gorgefest that is the holiday season. But do keep in mind that there are people all around you who are going hungry. I had a month or so where I worried about being able to buy food, and it was frightening. It's easy for a person to fall behind and not be able to buy food for themselves or their families. Please consider making a donation to a local food bank during this holiday season so a family in Massachusetts or Rhode Island can enjoy the sensation of being full.

Rhode Island Food Bank.

The Greater Boston Food Bank.

Project Bread.

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts


Oooo. Blogger beta. Hi!

Does anybody know of an easy way to back up an entire blog? I should do that, probably, or else I will toss myself off the Zakim if I lose two years of articulate bitching.

Also, this site is under construction. Please excuse all wonkiness and the deletion of your links. I hope they shall return by the end of the day.

Separate Ways

As you may remember, I got my brand-new cell phone in July. It was an exciting gift to receive in the mail during my perilously broke time (now I am just regular broke) and I was excited about it. It worked fine. I downloaded annoying ringtones. And now, I must send it back.

I had to work the part-time job Saturday morning and despite my intentions to keep Friday night mellow, it erupted into an evening of drunken dancing. The kind where you don't realize how into the dancing you are until you wake up the next day with your thigh muscles feeling like rubber bands about to snap. I woke up, groaned, and dragged my ass into the shower. I was fairly slow in getting going and ran out the door. I stuck my water bottle in my pocketbook and forgot to remove it when I shoved my bag into a little locker at work. Unfortunately, the water bottle leaked. When I went down to get my bag to head to lunch I found my phone was damp, and the backlight on the display stopped working.

It was working Saturday evening when I left work, which gave me hope. But when I woke up on Sunday, the display was dark again. I can read the display, barely, in a well-lit room, but it's not going to work as a long-term phone. Luckily, when I switched my plan over my insurance on the phone carried over. During the months when I was scary broke I kept meaning to take the insurance off the plan and save myself about five bucks a month. Now I'm glad I kept it. The insurance people were very nice, and I should have my new phone tomorrow. All I had to pay was $50, which sucks since I am now officially playing roulette with when charges to my checking account clear, but it's way better than paying the full cost of the phone. And I'm mad because I downloaded "Separate Ways" as a ringtone on Friday and I think I'm going to lose it when I mail the old phone back to the insurance people. But, it could be worse.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dum dum da dum...

Finally, it's happening to me.

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My friends are getting married.

(No, I'm not getting married. Calm yourselves.)

This is not a bad thing. I have been to two weddings in my lifetime: my Mom's second marriage which took place in a courthouse, and one that I'd rather not get into because I was delirious with fever, looked a hot mess, and was an emotional wreck about it. For my Mom's wedding, I was seven and looking forward to wearing a pretty dress and having my hair braided in tiny braids so it looked crimped. (Shut up, it was 1988, I cannot be held responsible.) For the other wedding, I took delight in the best man recounting the story of the first date the groom had with the woman he dated before he met his wife while her face grew red from embarrassment and anger. I sure do hope hell is as warm as they say it is.

Now, my old friends are starting. Kerri and Will are getting hitched. I love Kerri and Will, and I fully support their union. They both love animals and have a menagerie at their house. They cook really good food. They have good parties. They're both smart and logical. I've known Kerri since early in my high school career and known Will since he showed up on the scene a few years ago. (It was around my birthday they had their first date, a double-date my friend Yvette went on with Will's roommate, and I remember them telling me about the date as we had dinner in Providence.) They are good people and I'm happy for them.

However, I have no idea how all this wedding etiquette works and I am living in fear of making a great faux pas. A couple of my other friends were in weddings this summer. Missy was in three in the space of three months, and was a member of the bridal party in one and the maid of honor in the other. It nearly bankrupted her. Another friend was called in as a replacement co-maid of honor and it made her broke and angry with the other maid of honor. We talked about bachelorette parties, how much bridesmaids dresses cost, the cost of hotel rooms, the cost of registry gifts while my head swam.

Now I am left to figure out the ways of celebrating marriages for myself. I cannot attend the bridal shower because of the part-time job. Do I send a gift even if I can't attend? According to Peggy Post, I don't have to, but I can if I want to. What kind of direction is that? "It's generally not done, but sometimes it is." Crap. I may send a gift just to assuage my guilt over not being able to go and celebrate them in person. (I tried to get out of it!) I also am attending the rehearsal dinner because I am doing a reading for them. Do I need another nice dress for the dinner? I only have one really good dress for formal occasions. Peggy Post is again of little help. My Mom, whose weddings were both incredibly casual affairs, can't help me. I just want to make sure I do the right things because I like the couple and don't want to make them feel like I'm not excited for them. I am. I just don't know what shoes to wear and if dark green is an acceptable color to wear to an evening wedding.

Friday, November 10, 2006

How much?

(Yes, I have a lot to say today. No, I don't have anything better to do.)

For those of you who've seen Borat (and those of you who have not, I really don't know what to tell you), you may remember the three drunk frat boys in a Winnebago that Borat meets. You may also remember the horrible, heinous things the frat boys say (starting out with "How do you like our American bitches?" and getting worse from there). I leaned over to Annette while watching this display of crass behavior and said, "These guys are never getting laid again."

Clearly, I was right because the frat boys are suing.

The film "made plaintiffs the object of ridicule, humiliation, mental anguish and emotional and physical distress, loss of reputation, goodwill and standing in the community," the lawsuit said.

Yep. Totally not getting laid.

Joy to the World, the Latte has come

At the Part-Time Job, the Christmas spirit is in full-swing. There are two large Christmas trees festooned with ornaments, Christmas CDs on display (though mercifully not playing), and walls painted red for the holiday season. I approach this "Halloween's over and Thanksgiving's just a speed-bump, let's head full-bore for Christmas" mentality with caution, since I know it's just a clever trick to make me buy more stuff, but I do love sparkly ornaments, A Christmas Story, and my ex-coworker's homemade Christmas CDs (he rips great songs off his vinyl and gives them to us). But my favorite thing about the approach of the holiday season has to be the triumphant return of the Gingerbread and Eggnog Lattes to Starbucks.

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Today, I saw the sign on the wall in Starbucks and rejoyed in the glory of the Lord of bad-for-you, high-calorie coffee drinks. It's sweet, has a slight kick from the ginger... why do I have to explain it to you? Just go buy one. I know, Starbucks is all that's wrong with America, chain behemoth, indie coffee shops fall like prop Japan under Godzilla's foot, yadda yadda. Show me an independent coffee shop with a superior holiday drink and I will gladly buy it. But for my self-indulgent coffee dollar, Starbucks wins. As the wonderful Sars said over at Tomato Nation:
I want to marry the gingerbread latte at Starbucks and make an honest coffee out of it. The gingerbread latte at Starbucks is better than crack. It's so much better than crack that even crack itself is like, "Hey, I'm just crack. That shit is caffeinated crack -- with whipped cream on it. Game over, man."
(Though for a great fall treat, try a chaider at Tealuxe. It's chai tea steeped in apple cider instead of milk. So good.)


You have got to be kidding me.

The nine-member board of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority did not debate the fare increase plan, which on Jan. 1 raises the price of subway and trolley tickets from $1.25 to $1.70, bus fares from 90 cents to $1.25, and commuter rail passes between 22 percent and 28 percent.

Seriously? Because I feel it's overpriced paying $1.25 for poor service, shoddy equipment, irregular scheduling, service that ends right when I need it (2am), and surly employees. Never mind paying $1.70 (I heard $1.75 on the TV news last night... which is correct?) for this wonderful "service." I know that this fare hike is supposed to improve things, but I have seen the "improvements" to the T, and I could do without them. The Breda cars are uncomfortable and of questionable safety. I live near the Hynes stop on the Green Line, and the "improved" CharlieTicket machines are always being repaired when I take the T (which is not very often) and have incredibly long lines that block the entrance to the platforms.

I moved to Boston in 2000. T fares were $.85 when I moved here. Then they went to $1. Then $1.25. Now $1.70. That is a huge increase in six years.

There is only so much I can take, Boston. Your rent is high, your food is expensive, your beer is overpriced, your men are short and prickish. God help me, I will fulfill my dream to open a Dunkin Donuts franchise somewhere where I can live above ground with a tall man and a nice kitchen.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Aww, this is so touching.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish pop singer Benny Elbaz was so angry about the gay pride march planned for tomorrow that he joined forces with a Muslim man he normally would consider an enemy, to sing a duet he composed denouncing the event.

Hating the gays is bringing the world together. You think I'm reading in to this? The article says as much.
The religious anti gay activists said the gay pride event has prompted new dialogue between them that extends to a broader discussion of religion and politics. The anti gay activists believe their cause has opened up a valuable avenue of dialogue between the Islamic and Jewish religious leadership.

It's the "We Are the World" of our time, people. Except now it's titled "Jerusalem Will Burn."

The homosexuals are going to create world peace by uniting various religions because as much as the Muslims can't stand the Jews and vice versa, the gays are way worse than the infidels. And I thought gay rights would only lead to goat f*cking.


Dear Comedy Central,

Why does your website suck so hard? Whenever I try to load a video it hiccups and drives me insane. You are keeping me from my one true love. Please get the video to feed evenly, or put the clips back up on YouTube.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

GET OUT!! ::shove::


Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, architect of an unpopular war in Iraq, intends to resign after six stormy years at the Pentagon, Republican officials said Wednesday.

Thanks be to God! You know, I thought the decisive bitch-slap from voters would serve to unravel the Republican party but I didn't think it would take less than twenty-four hours.

Somebody open the bubbly and bring me a prostitute. This day just keeps on getting better.

This Town's A Different Town Today

It's the day after election day. Exhausted, hungover campaign staffers are waking up next to other campaign staffers after celebratory/consolation sex all across this great country of ours. Tim Russert is high on dry erase marker fumes. The dust settles, and we see that the country has finally had enough of the Republican fear machine.

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Aww, Linc, I'm sorry. It's not you. Like you said, it was a wave of anti-Republican sentiment, and unfortunately you got bowled over along with the dregs of your party. Please don't give up on politics. Why not run for governor? Or Senate again in a few years? Enjoy tending your horses for the next few years, and hopefully we'll see you again soon.

Look at him! I just want to send him a juice box and a cookie and tell him it'll all work out. Please send my Mom another Christmas card, Linc!



About 63 percent of voters rejected amending the state Constitution to give Harrah's and the tribe exclusive rights to operate the state's only casino.

THANK YOU. Thank you. I know this won't be the end of the issue, but at least I won't have to dread a casino two towns over from my hometown quite yet. I am also encouraged by the fact that the percentage of people opposed to a casino grows with every referendum.

Voters last considered a casino in 1994, when five separate ballot questions were rejected, including one that would have let the tribe build a casino in West Greenwich. That question was rejected by 54 percent of voters statewide.

Dear Harrah's,


Fuck off,
The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

In other good news...
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Hooray Deval!

I don't know if it's going to work out with Deval and I, however. In his acceptance speech last night, he kept saying that the politics of cynicism are over, that our cynicism should be left at the door. Unfortunately for me, I deal solely in cynicism and snark, so we may have a problem, touchy-feely Deval and I. But I hope he can do some good in Massachusetts.

Kerry Healey got smacked down by the people of Massachusetts. Damn.

Also, Mitt Romney is still a dink. Way to celebrate Kerry Healey when she's just lost, idiot. Celebrate all that she did because you weren't around to help her because you were busy making fun of Massachusetts and engaging in your little presidential bid/wankfest. God, January can't come fast enough so I don't have to look at him for a few years.

And, it's a major bummer on Questions 1 and 3 in Massachusetts. I do think childcare workers should have unionized because it is a hard job to do and it pays jack. And, in regards to Question 1, it's not the end of the world for me because my Shaw's does sell wine in the store.

Tune in to your favorite TV station/streaming video site, as President Bush has to try and face the nation with bravado and talk about how he still plans to get things done for the next two years with a Democratic majority in the House, and possibly the Senate. I hope he cries. God, please let him cry.

Well, that was fun. At least we won't have to deal with negative advertisements for a while. Up next, Presidential election 2008. Jaysus.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Not That Innocent

Oh my God, you guys! Britney's dumping Kevin! So says!

I'm totally not leaving my house tonight.

"Tonight on Access Hollywood: Dumping abusive, negative-influence husbands is the new Hollywood trend! First it was Whitney and Bobby, now it's Britney and K-Fed. How best to file paperwork against your own white-rapping husband when we come back."


Here's my dilemma.

Tonight at Brookline Booksmith, several contributors to The Best American Essays 2006 will be reading. It is free. However, it is Tuesday which means Friday Night Lights is on, followed by election results. Brian Williams will be on my TV set all night long, talking about gains in the House and Senate and I really dig election night when the results start to come in. I love watching victory speeches. I hope to watch Lincoln Chafee continue to be my Senator and to see Harrah's leave Rhode Island with its tail between its legs. I love concession speeches and reporters broadcasting from a rapidly emptying room. However, meeting Susan Orlean probably wouldn't suck. But I love that football program. A nice cathartic tear-up every time I watch it.

I'd also like to take issue with the editors of The Best American Travel Writing 2006 selecting David Sedaris' completely crap essay about how annoying traveling on an airplane is. Dude. I think that was on Seinfeld in 1995. Not funny anymore. I hope David Sedaris hasn't peaked, because he's hilarious.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Political Deathmatch

Tomorrow is the day. After months of advertisements, he said-she said, debates, dissent, endless discussions on Meet the Press, that annoying-ass Somerville cop on the "vote no on 1" ads, and me threatening to kill/drown myself or others over the complete lack of intelligence of voters and politicians, we finally get down to business. The average, everyday, 18+ person who is registered to vote can finally have their voice heard. I shouldn't have to tell you to go out and vote. Even if you don't agree with me, I want you to go out, use your number two pencils, feed the questionable voting machine and do your part.

Just think. Tomorrow, this man is officially a lame duck. Thank God.
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Bye, asshole. I hope you enjoy getting blown out of the water in 2008.

And we can finally say goodbye to this woman's negativity.
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She can muss her hair and drink all the regular Coke she wants tomorrow night.

I hope that we can buy this in grocery stores.
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And I also hope a Democratic Senate and House of Representatives can make the follow people's jobs harder:
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However, I hope this man continues to represent my fine home state.
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I also hope this doesn't happen back at the homestead:
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So, please, if you're registered, go out and vote. As Amy said, if you think it's all wrapped up and your voice doesn't matter, well, that's the attitude that made Taylor Hicks our American Idol. If you need me, I'll be glued to CNN and all day tomorrow. Go vote. They'll give you a sticker, and you get to bitch for the next four years if things don't go your way.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Very Nice!!

Hooray! Today is Borat day!

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I love a good satire, especially when it plays upon the barely-concealed homophobia, racism, and misogyny of Americans. The Globe gave Borat four stars. The preview alone had me in stitches. I can't wait to see this movie.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Back to the Rock

The Providence Phoenix has gotten into the ProJo's stash of premium-grade crack rock. Behold:

We recognize that in contemplating the future there is always an element of uncertainty. But on balance, we favor the idea of casino gambling and we urge a "yes"” vote.


It's common knowledge that the State House is riddled with cronyism. It's up to the state'’s constitutional officers to hold the General Assembly'’s feet to the fire in this deal to make sure the taint of corruption and narrow special interests can not penetrate it. Also of extreme importance will be establishing proper oversight: not only over the casino itself, but also over West Warwick town officials, whose lax regulation contributed to the dreadful Station fire.

Rampant cronyism caused the flammable foam to be attached to the aging tinderbox structure of the Station, killed 100 people, and the town is going to emerge relatively unscathed from the legal proceedings and the Phoenix is arguing that this cronyism is just going to melt away like a late spring snow for the casino proceedings? Why doesn't any media outlet in Rhode Island realize the casino is a bad idea? And, barring the entire casino issue, why doesn't anyone realize altering the state constitution to suit the whims of a big business and popular vote sets a horrible precedent? At the Massachusetts gubernatorial debate last night, a question was asked amendingending Massachusetts' constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Deval Patrick summed up my feelings on the willy-nilly amendments to state constitutions quite nicely:
I'm disappointed, I will say, that we are submitting this question to a plebiscite, to a popular vote, because it was resolved as a matter of constitutional rights... Constitutional balance is not about taking issues that are supposed to be of a Constitutional nature and then submitting them to a popular vote. The way you address that is you change the Constitution.

The State Representatives have tried to alter Rhode Island's constitution to allow a casino, and it couldn't get a majority of senators to agree. We have a constitution to protect the minority and the people of the state. Stop tinkering with the constitution to allow big businesses to do what they want and screw over the middle- and lower-class Rhode Islanders. THIS CASINO IS A BAD IDEA. These people can inform you as to why. I am going to drown myself in a bucket out of frustration.

Check Up On It

Be sure to pick up a copy of this month's Boston Magazine. Inside, you'll find your beloved blogger's review of dressing rooms in several upscale Boston stores. It was hard work trying on a dress that costs more money than I earn in a month, but somebody had to do it. (I'm still not over putting back the world's nicest cashmere sweater at Tess and Carlos.) Many thanks to the kind folks at Boston Magazine for the opportunity to write for them... it was fun!

Master Debaters

I don't even know where to begin. This one's an epic, folks. Settle in.

I showed up at Jordan Hall around 5:15 so I could get my ticket. The doors didn't open until 5:45, so I loitered around Huntington Avenue away from the various campaign supporters so I could call my Mom and brag that I was going to a gubernatorial debate. She was appropriately jealous. She sounded tired, so I got off the phone and headed back to watch the mayhem outside Jordan Hall.

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The street outside the building had been sectioned off as a protest pen, and in front of it on Huntington Avenue were large throngs of people holding signs. Many of them on my side of Huntington Ave were Healey supporters. Some were the young Republicans from some college campus (their shirts read "the best party on campus" with the elephant) and others were a group of men I dubbed Frat Boys for Kerry Healey. These were retired frat boys; big, fat, loud men in their late forties who bellowed out their support for Healey. In front of the Frat Boys for Healey there was a slightly less vocal group of Frat Boys for Patrick, who at least had the foresight to bring a megaphone. As I walked past the group to get to the hall, the Patrick Frat Boys started a call and response.

"We say governor, you say Patrick."




"HEALEY!" Piped up the FBFH. As I walked by, the FBFH started losing the rhythm of the call and response and basically just screamed "HEALEY" really loudly.

I shook my head and walked up the steps to Jordan Hall. In front of me in the line to get in were a mother and son. Behind me was a young man in a suit (maybe in his early 20s) with two girls in casual clothes. I think the guy was with Patrick, as he was dropping figures and statistics like crazy.

"Well, he supports all-day kindergarten, but he's probably not going to get that done. And that rate [I can't remember what he was talking about] is about eighteen and they estimate sixteen..."

While I was in line, Christy Mihos came past the pen of supporters like a dad coming home from work. He wore a light purple shirt, had his suit coat tossed casually over his shoulder, and played nicely for the cameras, shaking the hands of his supporters. I waited for him to trip on an ottoman due to the simple, working-class values he was portraying.

Then Victoria Block came in. She tried to skip the line. Many people in suits who I didn't recognize tried to skip the line. Finally, around 5:50, they started letting people in. I got my hand stamped and went inside.

Jordan Hall is beautiful. An old stage with beautiful wood paneling and gold leaf trim, with the seats arranged for optimum accoustics. I considered taking a seat that was all by itself but it was far from the stage. I decided to move closer to the various dignitaries and channel 7 reporters and sat at the end of a row on the right side of the room. A good view, except for the cameras in my way.

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Podiums from my el shitto camera phone

The way the room is set up, the seats to my right faced the opposite wall of the hall, not the stage, and slanted down toward the stage. I got up to run to the loo and no one was around me and when I came back, several older guys in suits had taken the seats to my right. I scooted by them and took my seat back. As I looked around, watching the various campaign people loiter and shake hands a woman in her mid-forties came and sat in front of me, who I'll call Curly. Curly turned to a father and daughter team for Mihos that was also seated in front of me to the right.

"Can I have that seat?" She asked, pointing to the daughter. There was a seat on the other side of the father that was empty because it afforded a view only of the cameraman's ass. The woman smiled, clearly expecting the girl to get up.

"I can't see in that seat," the girl said sternly. Curly got herself back together after being dissed by a twelve-year-old, and started chatting with the guys in suits to my right.

"I've almost used up my expense account for the year," she complained to someone behind me, "we'll have to make it larger for next year, huh?" She cackled.

"Where are the panelists going to sit? Who's moderating?" Curly asked. The guys in suits didn't know.

"There are no panelists," I piped up, eager to know more than this woman who doubtlessly donated more than I make in a month to Deval. "And Cokie Roberts is the moderator."

Curly shot me a look. "How are your dogs?" She asked a man to my immediate right, who I'll call Beardo.

"Good. I took them swimming today since it was so nice out."

"Where's your wife?"

"At a board meeting. So I'm in charge of the dogs."

"Are you going to the after party?" Curly asked Beardo.

"Maybe," he said. "A restaurant near our house is reopening, so I'd like go to that for a while."

I expected Curly to ask which restaurant was reopening.

"Which house?" She asked instead.

I stifled a giggle as I tried to take as many notes as possible about these people without them knowing what I was writing. Curly was wearing a white silk blouse and suit and had the look (put-together) and demeanor (I-don't-give-a-f*ck) of a woman with money. Beardo and his compatriots were also in expensive looking suits. I was sitting among them, a partyless entitity who hadn't donated a cent to a political campaign or party, wearing bright teal corduroys from the J. Crew outlet, a houndstooth t-shirt from H&M, and beat-up socks with snowflakes on them. I could tell Curly was trying to figure me out, and probably assumed I was with the Dig or the Phoenix or some "other" paper.

"My son's at NYU," she told someone to the right of Beardo.

"My son's at Michigan State," he said. "My older son's a cartoonist for the New Yorker." (At this point, I hated myself for not having a business card to hand him.)

"He's loving it," Curly continued. "We've got him on a $1,000 a month stipend."

Sweet God. I have seen how the other half lives. And where the hell is her son? I work and don't live on $1,000 a month for food and fun. Maybe he'd like to share. I'm fun.

They continued chatting as the hall filled up. The Frat Boys for Healey were on the left side of the room, thankfully away from me. I had ended up in a predominantly Patrick section of the hall which I was thankful for. Curly kept talking, kneeling on her seat to face the guys behind me, until she suddenly sat down on the seat itself.

"Oh God," she murmured, "here comes Andy."

Andy Hiller walked by, shaking hands and booming at people as he made his way to the stage. Curly ducked behind her hand and slouched down in her seat until he left.

Another woman came up to Curly, Blackberry in hand.

"I have the latest statistics on our odds to take the Senate and the house. Losses for the Republicans look to be twenty to thirty-six seats, probable."

"How about Rhode Island?" Curly asked. "Doesn't Sheldon have it locked up?"

"I don't know," Other Woman said, "the Chafee name means a lot to them. And people really like Chafee."

"You know, I've met Linc, and I think he's a great guy. He's a good senator. And I'm not wild about Sheldon. But I want to take back the Senate!" Curly whined.

I turned bright red and wanted to scream at her. THAT is the problem with politics in America. The blind, lemming-like allegiance to party that causes bipartisan holdups and accomplishes nothing. If Linc is a good senator, why not elect him again? The Democrats will make gains, and on major issues, Chafee tends to go liberal anyway. I was furious.

Either out of boredom with Curly or trying to figure out who the hell I was, Beardo struck up a conversation with me.

"Who are you going to vote for?" He asked me.

"Oh, I don't vote here." I admitted. Beardo looked confused.

"Well, why are you here then?"

"I got a ticket, I really enjoy politics, and have never been to a debate before."

"Are you covering this for anybody?"

"Just my blog, actually." God, I'm such a hipster. "But I do write for print too."

"What do you write?"

"Mostly entertainment pieces, but I'd like to get into some more serious political writing."

"Where do you vote then?"

"Rhode Island."

"You know," Beardo said, "my wife's family has a place in Charleston, South Carolina, and a waitress down there has a father whose running for something in Rhode Island, and I told her I'd donate but I can't remember the guy's name. Is the governor in Rhode Island a Republican?"

"Yes, Don Carceri."

"Who's running against him?"

"Charlie Fogarty."

Beardo frowned. "No, that's not it. Who's up for attorney general?"

I had no idea.

Beardo pointed out various political campaign heads, campaign finance managers, and wives of candidates. Finally, the candidates emerged from the wings to thunderous applause, with Mike Carson, manager of channel 7, taking up the rear. Frat Boys for Healey began screaming "KERRY! KERRY! KERRY!" A guy behind me said "at least they're finally cheering for Kerry."

"We have to keep that guy quiet," Beardo said, to the collective moans of the Dems around me. I imagine John Kerry being held captive at the DNC headquarters, bound and gagged until November 8th.

Deval smiled and waved. I don't know if it showed up at home or if this was just me, but his lips looked orange. He was wearing a nice apricot-colored tie and I think it may have reflected up. It reminded me of A-Rod's purple lips, which wasn't pleasant. Kerry Healey was wearing her typical black suit/blue shirt combination, high heels, and her hair sprayed into place.

Beardo leaned down and whispered to me. "Did you notice those huge heels she's wearing? She never wears those on the trail. She wears low shoes like you are," motioning to my Target loafers.

Grace Ross was wearing her black suit/bright scarf combination, and, according to the girl next to me, two different earrings though they looked the same to me. Christy Mihos had gone back to work, putting on his suitcoat. Mike Carson gave a speil about how proud he is to be part of the Boston Media Consortium, and introduced Cokie Roberts.

"I love her!" The man sitting next to me clapped giddily.

Cokie explained the format of the debate to us before the cameras were rolling and told the audience to shut up until the end of the debate. "I went to a school with nuns. I'm a mother and grandmother. I will not hesitate to slap you with a ruler," she warned. Cokie said the candidates with "get it on" with each other, and Kerry gave an eye roll and a smirk that conveyed "not if these nuts were the last people on the mothereffing planet, Cokie."

Also, Kerry Healey drank water. Grace Ross didn't appear to smell. And Deval Patrick is indeed short.

When the show went live, Cokie introduced Deval first, and nobody applauded because Cokie said not to. When Kerry Healey was introduced, the FBFH went nuts. It was like the Jerry Springer show on that side of the room. Fat rednecks hootin' and hollerin', with the chant of "KERR-Y, KERR-Y" sounding eerily close to "JERR-Y, JERR-Y." To give equal time, Cokie let us cheer for Deval, which only led to a very noisy rebuttal from the Deval fans in the house.

A debate is much like a sporting event. Most people already know what team they're on and they're just there to watch the carnage happen. You saw the debate part (if not, you can read it here, with the most excellent typo of "I think it's a very god question" in response to a question about the church) and I think I must disagree with Mr. Andy Hiller who called Healey the winner of the debate. Yes, she was better than she has been in past debates, but she still came across mean and got very riled up by Deval Patrick a couple of times. (Though she did make me laugh as she explained how basic division got the figure of 13 students to 1 teacher to Christy Mihos.) Deval didn't really win either, since he just lets things slide off and evades questions. I think I won, because it was an excellent show, both before and during the debate.

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Somewhere in there is a candidate. This is why they're all cranky.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Civic Doody

Hooray! I get to go to the debate tonight!

Somebody got me a last-minute ticket, and I am unreasonably excited to sit around and hear people snipe at each other for an hour. Will Deval Patrick turn into a snarling monster when the cameras are off? Will Kerry Healey drink regular Coke or diet Coke? Will Christy Mihos say something funny? Will Grace Ross impress me? I'll be sure to take notes and let you know tomorrow. (I do hope there is audience participation! "Ms. Healey, what do you say to the leigons of independent women voters who would have liked to see a woman in office, but won't vote for you due to your repeated appeals to the baser instincts of the electorate?")

The Day After

The day after Halloween is called Day of the Dead, which is a holiday celebrating the lives of our ancestors. I celebrate my ancestors by eating the candy that parents in my office don't want to give their kids. It's not even noon and I've had a mini-box of Nerds and two Snickers fun size bars. The kids do the work, and I reap the reward.

Kids have Halloween. Adults have half-priced candy sacks at CVS and reject candy at the office.