Anne Notations

Sunday, September 14, 2008

This ain't no party

This presidential campaign is making me pretty crazy, and honestly I wish we could just go vote tomorrow and settle the damn thing. Call me fragile, but I don't think I can stand much more calculated ad hominem sneering and smugness disguised as right-thinking patriotism. I probably shouldn't be surprised that the reigning puppetmaster party has turned the election into a flag-waving farce. John McCain, once I thought you were a pretty good guy. Clearly, you have jumped the shark in your quest to win the votes of the lunatic fringe.

A letter appears in today's New York Times magazine that says what I feel about the Republican administration whose eight years of cynical mismanagement and divisive economic "policy" have brought the U.S. to its current predicament.

Before declaring George Bush’s administration a failure, consider that he has packed the Supreme Court with right-wingers; rewarded his fat-cat backers with massive tax cuts and seen their wealth grow like Midas’s; brought about the return of Big Oil to Iraq — a dream of Vice President Dick Cheney’s, if not his own; relaxed untold environmental and pro-worker regulations on behalf of business; and created an unprecedented boon for big business by contracting out everything from the Iraq war to the rebuilding after Katrina. In short, Bush has accomplished absolutely everything his supporters wished.

Then, there is a terrific essay by playwright Eve Ensler on the cartoonish (but scary) Republican phenomenon called Sarah Palin, erstwhile U.S. veep and potential successor to the presidency. An excerpt:

I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most dangerous choices of my lifetime, and should this country chose those candidates the fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never recover. But what is equally disturbing is the impact that duo would have on the rest of the world.

My conservative friends: I value your friendship even as we may disagree.

Fellow liberals: Please vote and get everyone you know to vote in the presidential election this fall.

Fence-sitters: Consider taking a chance on real change, on integrity, on reason, on hope and charity in the face of cynicism and manipulation. Can anything an Obama administration might do, or fail to do, be as catastrophic for the United States as the past eight years have proven to be? I seriously doubt it.

America is a great country. Let us make a great and gutsy decision as we cast our votes.

(Above photograph shamelessly – and gratefully – borrowed from oldbookguy.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Separated at birth?

Sometimes resemblances just bonk me over the head. Like when I saw this youngster in a creepily camp old ad for ... ham? yams? Not sure.

Yo, hipsters. It's Jack White!

I sure hope his daughter Scarlett doesn't end up looking like the psycho kid in the ad.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Seven times seventy-seven

Conversation among Michael, Kevin, and me while we watched the Notre Dame game on TV yesterday afternoon:

Me: Wow, what happened to Charlie [Weiss, the Notre Dame coach]? Did he get really fat? He looks old and sick.

Michael: He was really sick. He had one of those stomach reductions and something went wrong. He sued the surgeons.

My Google research just now reveals that Weiss, then offensive coordinator for the Patriots, had gastric bypass surgery in 2002, followed by internal bleeding and a coma; he even received Last Rites.

Kevin: Why did he do that?

Michael: Because they were negligent, they did him harm.

Kevin: He shouldn't sue them for that.

Me: What? Why not? He suffered because someone made a mistake in the hospital.

Kevin (appalled): So what? They didn't do it on purpose. It was a mistake!

Michael: The surgeons aren't supposed to make that kind of mistake. They're trained and certified so that they won't harm the patient.

Me: It's a matter of trust. You trust that a professional surgeon won't mess up, just like you trust that a professional mechanic won't cause your car to break down.

Kevin: Well, I wouldn't sue them unless they hurt me on purpose.

Michael: It doesn't matter whether they did it intentionally or not. They are still liable for the patient's suffering and loss of health.

Me: Kevin, are you saying Coach Weiss should have just said, "Oh, well, I know they didn't mean it." ?

Kevin: Yes! He should forgive them.

Me: So if it had been you that went into a coma, you would just say "I forgive you" and leave it at that? Why?

Kevin: I would. It's the Christian thing to do. It's what Jesus says to do.

Me (thinking of something that would break my son's heart and make him seek vengeance): What if a weird guy moved in down the road from us and decided he hated Daisy [our dog]. What if he put out poisoned meat so that she'd eat it, and then she died. Wouldn't you be upset that he had done that?

Kevin: Well, duh.

Me: And you would be able to forgive that man for what he did to Daisy?

Kevin: (silence)

Kevin: Yes. It would take a while, but I would.

This is coming from our son who was spitfire-angry a good part of the time as a preschooler and a young adolescent.

Me: Kevin, I can remember you saying things like "I want to kill him! He should be shot!" when you heard about someone being cruel to an animal. Why wouldn't you want to punish the person who hurt your dog?

Kevin: I was younger then. I've changed.

Yes, he has. What an interesting young man he is turning out to be.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Got hatches? Time to batten them

The above chart shows the projected path (as of less than an hour ago) of Tropical Storm Hanna, which at one time was a hurricane. Its center is supposed to pass right over Rhode Island tonight. Crossing fingers that we don't lose power.

Yesterday's weather was just the opposite, as these photos illustrate. Andrés, Caroline, and I splashed around and soaked up rays on our little beach at the end of the road. Then I spent the rest of the day in my Speedo grannie swimsuit, with shorts over it, even when I walked Daisy at 6 pm. It truly feels like living at a vacation cottage here, and I love it.

We spotted a lovely praying mantis, one of many I've seen lately, on the sedum plant in our front yard. Soon the females will be getting ready to lay their egg sacs, committing spouse-icide in the process. Nature!

We have also been host to a large yellow-tan grasshopper that is missing one hind leg – perhaps the reason he sticks close to, occasionally even rests on, our porch? I know they can be bad guys with plants, but I can't bear to kill anything more than an inch long with googly eyes that follow me around as I talk to it.

The waning days of summer are precious.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Good morning, Little Yellow Bird

Having a two-and-a-half year old at our house one full day a week is occasionally like gazing into a little mirror: She repeats phrases and reflects back behaviors I sometimes don't think much about. For instance, apparently I spend a lot of time singing out loud, because a chirping echo provides playback instantly ... and even days and weeks later.

My mother sang this song to me more than a half-century ago. It's perfect for when Caroline and I watch the goldfinches at our thistle-seed feeder.

Video by Uncle Andrés