28 August 2009

There you go again . . .

Need I really say anything about this most recent lunatic ranting from Glenn Beck? I will say that everything he says could also have been said right after the Bush administrations reactions to 9/11.

Southern California Wildfires

Almost every year wildfires rage in my homeland of Southern California. It is always a reminder of the fragility of life everywhere, and the tenuousness of living in a desert made into an oasis.

One of the scariest aspects of the fires is when officials recommend that people with respiratory ilnesses and the elderly stay inside. I think this warning bothers me particularly because I have asthma--but also because it conjures up images of people huddling, frightened in their homes, afraid to go outside. Also, everyone likes to breathe, no?

Here in Iowa we have had way too much rain lately. There are droughts in California and Texas. Why can 't we send the rain to them? If we can ever figure anything out, it should be this: communication with the weather.

21 August 2009

Goodbye, Dillon!

Here's a lovely picture of my good friend Carmen's doggy, Dillon.
Dillon recently died, very suddenly, after living a long and useful doggy life, taking good care of his family. I remember him as being a very sweet and loving creature; he was even nice to Marcy.

We'll see you later, Dillon.

18 August 2009

here's my book!

Yes, it has finally arrived on store shelves near you! Probably not, actually, but you can get it from Amazon or Scarecrow Press.

I'm really happy my book is finally in print, and out there in the world, but it's also kind of scary. People can read it and critique it--perhaps even say bad things. But that's okay--I can take it. I'm already working on my next project! I'm hoping to write a biography of author Maureen Daly who wrote Seventeenth Summer. This novel is pivotal in many ways to the entire world of fiction about and for teens. I love her--she died a few years ago.

Seventeenth Summer also has a special place in my heart because it is set in the midwest--Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, to be precise, and until I moved to Iowa I never really knew what cottonwood fluff was. But I had read about it in Seventeenth Summer, and one day I was driving to the store and there was all of this fluffy, white stuff floating around in the sky--I realized it was cottonwood fluff! Amazing. I still hope to take a field trip to Fond Du Lac one day. I can never seem to interest my students in this adventure . . . I wonder why?

this is truly scary . . .

Apparently people are showing up to Obama town hall meetings with guns. Not just any old guns, but assault rifles. This guy was at an Obama protest Monday, according to this article on CNN . What is up with this shit? Why is this okay? We are a nation obsessed with owning guns--and I find all of this just a little bit frightening.

Once on an episode of The West Wing a right-ish character made the observation that progressives do not simply disapprove of the guns themselves--she said that us lefties don't like the people who do like guns. And you know what? She's right. I don't like them, I wish they would go away and shut up and stop threatening the president with their half-assed, half-baked lies about health care reform and everything else they can't wrap their uneducated, puny, little brains around. If they would just think for a minute, they might realize how fucking stupid they truly are.

14 August 2009

The Ideal Husband?

I have not read the novel The Time Traveler's Wife, nor will I probably ever see the film version, mostly because I can't stand the word wife. Anyway, since the movie version has been advertised so frequently lately it got me wondering--what is so appealing about this story? A woman meets a man, a time traveler, when she is young, falls in love with him, then proceeds to marry him, have kids, whatever. I don't really know the plot intricacies, if any. But what I realized was in some ways this is the story of a man who shows up and then disappears--seemingly without notice, right? So what makes him different from most men?

Perhaps it is really a story of ideal male behavior. Show up when you're really needed, dude, and go away the rest of the time. Re-appear to inspire love and lust, to impregnate, to get married, to be at the birth of said child, to sit at the side of your wife's bath and hand her the bath sponge.

13 August 2009

My vulva, my self . . .

I'm disturbed by the recent Vagisil commercial I saw in which a woman is undulating in front of the camera with some satin-y fabric draped around her lower torso, and the copy reads: "feel like yourself again." What does this mean? And what does it mean that the woman in the above print ad has her wrists crossed as if in bondage? Are they telling us to keep our hands away from our vaginas?

Vagisil Satin is going to make me feel like my self--is it? I think this advertisement is trying to tell us that unless our vulvas are smooth, slippery, itch-free and as smooth as satin that we are not allowed to feel good. I don't know about you, but I don't check my vagina daily for slippery smoothness. I certainly don't equate the state of my vagina with the state of my self.

If my vagina is my self, what about the rest of me?

08 August 2009

I feel good about egg salad

There is a wonderful passage in one of my favorite books. It is from Someday This Pain Will be Useful to You by Peter Cameron, and in this sequence James is having a kind of heavy-duty discussion with his lovely grandmother. She decides they should move onto another topic, such as lunch, and asks James, "How do you feel about egg salad?" James replies, "I feel good about egg salad."

For some reason this passage resonates with me. Why is it? I don't really know, except that it seems to me that James' answer is one in keeping with his character-- but a quirky and unusual answer also. Most people would answer, sure egg salad is fine, or whatever they think about having it for lunch that day.

It reminds of of a very frequently asked question when someone visits another person. Guests are usually asked, "Would you like something to drink?" or "Can I get you a diet coke/water/scotch/slurpee?" What people usually answer if they don't want a beverage is "No, I'm fine." I always want to say I didn't ask how you were--I asked if you wanted a fucking coke. Anyway, perhaps my current obsession with this passage from the novel can be related to the ways we answer ubiquitious questions.

Sometimes I try to answer questions with real answers, but it's kind of exhausting. But I'm happy to have a character to read about who seems to share my prediliction for pondering these silly questions, and answers.

(image by katrine kalleklev, unrelated to post)

06 August 2009

05 August 2009

HEADLINE: "gunman at health club was bitter over women"

I was very surprised when I read the headline above about the recent shooting in Pennsylvania. I was surprised because it actually mentions gender. I applaud this headline, mostly, because I think it's time we (meaning the media, the general public, everyone) begin to recognize and name the fact of male violence against women. Just yesterday this man walked into a health club in PA and specifically targeted women. He pulled out a gun and killed three women and wounded many others. His blog indicates his "frustration" with women.

From the AP:
He went to the sprawling L.A. Fitness Club in this Pittsburgh suburb, turned out the lights on a dance-aerobics class filled with women, and opened fire with three guns, letting loose with a fusillade of at least 36 bullets.

He killed three women and wounded nine others before committing suicide.
Okay, so he was frustrated. But here's the issue: why is it that the MSM barely ever even mentions that so many crimes where someone shoots up a bunch of people the shooter is male? And much of the time the shooter targets women? What about the Amish school shooting? What about the guy at Virginia Tech?

Is it not a hate crime, to target one sex? Jennifer Pozner has written an incisive article about this phenomenon.

02 August 2009

tomatoes and lavender

Here's a picture of a very small portion of the bountiful harvest of tomatoes I have grown this summer in pots in my driveway. They are doing very well despite the lack of big heat. In fact, I'm reaching the point where I'm considering opening up a tomato stand.

I really like growing tomatoes, but once they're grown I'm not as excited by them as when they're in process. Is that weird?

Also, here's some of my freshly harvested lavender. I love lavender.