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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Another Timely Public Service Announcement From The Dept. of Nance: Oh, Hey. It's What We Do!

Once again, it would seem that there is a need for my services. As Longtime Readers know, I have volunteered to make the Dept. of Nance an actual government entity, one which will take care of such things which seem to fall under no one else's auspices but need to be done immediately and with all good taste and alacrity.

Before I go on, let's all check today's date, shall we? It is February Twentysomething, 2010. Thank you.

Allow me, then, to make this announcement which, it would seem, some members of Our Society have been waiting to hear:

IT IS TIME TO TAKE DOWN YOUR CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS OUTSIDE.

Perhaps I need to be more specific. Gladly:

1. Illuminated reindeer in your front yard are not "wintry." They are "Christmassy" and should be removed.

2. A fake pine wreath with glittery ornaments on your front door--outta there.

3. The life-size manger scene celebrating the birth of a baby who would be 2 months old by now and already out of the manger--history.

4. The fence draped with fake evergreen swags and red bows isn't "Valentiney," it's Noel-ish and Valentine's Day was almost 2 weeks ago.

5. Pretty soon you'll have to scoot Santa Claus over in that sleigh in your yard and make room for either a leprechaun or the Easter Bunny.

6. If you aren't going to take down those icicle lights, at least stop turning them on every night!

I could go on, but I think you get my drift. (Is that a pun?)

I'm starting to rethink my position that everything bad can be blamed on the republicans and instead, I can start blaming it on these people. Think about it. All this snow? The groundhogs came out, saw all these damned Christmas decorations and thought it was still December! Thanks a lot, Lazy Decoration People! Flattened housing market due to unsold existing properties? Well, who the hell wants to buy a house next to one with lit-up reindeer in the middle of February? Thanks a helluva lot, Lazy Decoration People! The house can't sell, the family can't move to a cheaper property, the parents can't make their payments, the house forecloses, the family is homeless, the dad loses his job because his credit is trashed, the family can't buy the necessary goods and services it needs to survive...Thanks a whole effing bunch, Lazy Decoration People! You've just destroyed An American Family AND the American Economy!

This also affects me personally in my state, where property taxes fund the schools. Had to be said.

So. I think I've made several important points. So, Lazy Decoration People, just do it. Don't make me come over there.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

If You Are A Fan Of Tim Pawlenty, Thomas Jefferson, Or David Gregory, You Might Want To Read Something Else Today. Like, Perhaps, My Pet Goat

Even though I have broken up with David Gregory and Meet the Press, Rick has not, and against everyone's better judgment, I sat in the livingroom this morning, perusing the Plain Dealer while Gregorius Interruptus played softball with Governor Tim Pawlenty. Tragically, I had already read the more...cerebral sections of the paper by this point of the show and had moved on to the Target ad, so more of my brain was available to process the republican bullshit that was plopping from Pawlenty's maw. This particular exchange, however, made me riproaring, hooting mad:

MR. GREGORY: Finally, a more personal question, I, I heard your remarks this week and something caught my attention. You're an evangelical Christian. And when you talked about the conservative movement, you said what comes first for you is that God is in charge. Describe your relationship with God.

GOV. PAWLENTY: Well, the founders of this nation embraced, also, that same perspective. They said that we were endowed by our creator by certain rights. We're not endowed by Washington, D.C., we're not endowed by the state government or the local government. And so I believe that there is a divine power, I believe there is a God, that God is in charge. And if it's good enough for the Founding Fathers of this country, it's good enough for me.

Now, I'm used to the republicans co-opting God. Believe me, I don't give a crap about any of that. Pretty soon, they'll take sole credit for Him, and that's okay, too, as long as they take credit for all the trouble that organized religion has caused as well, like the Salem Witch Trials, for instance. No, I'm talking primarily about that last sentence uttered by the governor/presidential hopeful from Minnesota. "...if it's good enough for the Founding Fathers of this country, it's good enough for me." ... Wow. Really?

In his defense, Mr. Pawlenty is not the only republican/presidential aspirer who does not know his history. (Or his grammar, for that matter.) But how sad is it when this man not only deliberately misrepresents the intent of the Declaration of Independence, but also---well, let me elaborate:

I. Bless his heart, Mr. Pawlenty did paraphrase pretty well the Declaration's lovely prose, which reads, in part: We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. But he conveniently forgot the next qualifying sentence. Here it is: That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Pardon me, for I do not wish to be tedious here. I am always blissfully and proudly aware of the intelligence of my readers at the Dept. Certainly all of you can see Mr. Pawlenty's tragic error and are shouting at your monitors as I did at my television. How pathetic and sad he is that he cannot see how he is, in fact, not in disagreement at all with anyone. He is merely reiterating the role of government, period. To secure citizens' rights. Who is arguing that? What, then, is he really saying? Was he elected by the consent of the Governed? Oh, Tim. Shut up. Before you hurt yourself. Some more.

II. I think even Tim Pawlenty would agree with me that Thomas Jefferson was a Founding Father. After all, as a primary author and signer of the Declaration of Independence, and our country's third president, his credentials are stellar. So, if Mr. Pawlenty's measuring stick is merely "if it's good enough for this country's founding fathers then it's good enough for me", I think a little History Lesson about Founding Father Thomas Jefferson might be in order. Allow me:

--Thomas Jefferson was not a Christian. He believed in God, but completely rejected the idea of the divinity of Christ. On June 25, 1819, he wrote to Ezra Stiles, "I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know."
--Jefferson owned 200 slaves. He often wrote dreadfully of freed slaves being permitted to remain in the United States, expressing a disgust that they might intermingle with whites: "Their amalgamation with the other colour produces a degradation to which no lover of his country, no lover of excellence in the human character can innocently consent."
--The above becomes all the more incredible when we recall that Thomas Jefferson had a biracial mistress, the famed Sally Hemings (whom he never freed, by the way), with whom he fathered at least one son, who he never acknowledged, but possibly as many as six illegitimate children.
--Finally, this Founding Father believed that women, "to prevent depravation of morals and ambiguity of issue, could not mix promiscuously in the public meetings of men." It was not, therefore, even a remote possibility, that a woman could vote, let alone run for public office because as Jefferson said, "The appointment of a woman to office is an innovation for which the public is not prepared, nor I." Remember, this is the man whose close confidante and adviser was Abigail Adams, one of the Great Ladies of the Age, and until Barbara Bush, was the only woman to be married to and mother to an American President. (You have no idea how much it destroys me to type that sentence. None.) Jefferson also had a great distaste for women who read novels. They risked "a bloated imagination, sickly judgment and disgust towards all real business of life. For a like reason, much poetry should not be indulged." As far as I know, Jefferson did not mention anything about "barefoot and pregnant", but he did say, even to his own daughters, that the happiness of a woman's life depends upon pleasing her husband, period. All other things are secondary, and to his credit, he said "even their love for [him]."

So...this is what is "good enough" for Tim Pawlenty?

My point, and I do have one, is this: Before Mr. Pawlenty--and other republicans who like to toss zingers from America's historical documents and former presidents (like Ronald Reagan, who is now a god for them, even though his trickledown Reaganomics never really did work)--they should do their complete research and know of what they speak.

Or, perhaps most sorrowful, they know that they really don't have to. The vast majority of Americans lately seem to be of the "teaparty"* ilk. They deal in soundbites and one-liners and suck down like pap everything they hear from whom they most want to hear it. It's sickening. No one is calling them on their shit. Well, I am.

*I'm just not capitalizing this dumb organization, either. So there.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

You Can Dress Me Up & Take Me Out, But That Doesn't Mean I'll Be Happy About It (With A Random Emily Dickinson Reference To Class It Up)

A few days ago, one of my students told me that I was turning into a modern-day Emily Dickinson, and I fear that he was right. I have developed such an aversion to The Public that I cannot go Out There without being cataclysmically...affected.

Let's just say that, shall we?

Rick and I went to The Great Big Home & Garden Expo! (formerly known as The Home and Garden Show but so much more of a bigass deal now that it deserves more adjectives and an ampersand), primarily because we had free tickets, but also because we were lured by the prospect of escaping the eleventy inches of snow on the ground and the idea of seeing actual flowers and trees in bloom. Sadly, all of NE Ohio had the exact same idea, and we were shocked to see people actually standing in long snaky lines of more than a hundred just to walk through a pretend house.

I was similarly stunned to see that "Great Big Home and Garden" also meant several identical booths of meat jerky, fake pashminas, and powdered dip mixes. As we wandered through this incredible bazaar of the bizarre, I started to feel more and more as if I were on some alien planet. Come with me:

It started on our way in. I saw a woman in a bouffant hairdo clutching a sign of plasticized cardboard. It was about 18"X18" and had metal prongs on it so that it could stick in her yard. She looked positively enraptured. It was clear that this sign was a Major Score for her. On it, in bold, black capital letters were two words, one atop the other: KING JESUS.I was immediately befuddled. What would be the purpose of this sign? If it were in the imperative, a command, how could someone do that? That would take a mighty big checker, number one, and number two, with Jesus being the Almighty and all, isn't He pretty darn capable of kinging Himself? If it were merely declarative, well, then, okay... Now what? If she puts it in her yard, then is she saying that He lives at her house, or what? It's not very interactive like, say, "HONK IF YOU LOVE JESUS." And the odds of her having a Jesus statue with Him wearing a crown and her saying, "Damn, I really need a sign that indicates who the hell this is" just seem remote, don't they? I just don't get it. I mean, kudos for minimalism and all, but really, what's the deal? And honestly, let's say you're driving down the highway and see a house with that sign in the yard; what's your reaction? See what I mean? Later, Rick and I saw the booth in the Expo where the sign was being sold. It was a tiny booth with a bunch of "inspirational" signs, all on the same material, all black letters, all meant to be used outside. I still don't get it.

One booth made me do a double-take and made my stomach do a backflip. I have no idea what the guy was selling, but in front of him on a counter were feet, human feet--all cross-sectioned to look like they had been dissected. Suddenly, the man took a huge forkful from behind them and put it into his mouth and started chewing. My eyes flew open wider and I almost gagged. As we hurried past, I had to turn around and look more closely. The feet were plastic models, thank goodness, and he was eating a taco salad that he had placed behind the row of them. But still, it wasn't until we reached the Patio Enclosures booth that I realized that I had been holding my breath for more than a minute.

Almost equally disturbing were the Booths Of Vibrating Devices. It is important to note that both times I passed these booths, the Devices were being...sampled by men. One of the Devices was a sort of vibrating balancing board. The men on them were standing wide-legged and simply vibrating. A LOT. With an intense look on their faces that could best be described as...(send the children away) pre-orgasmic. The same could be said for the men on the chairlike Device which actually had a sort of...codpiece thingy that, well, let me just say that it looked like a carseat for grownups but it vibrated. A LOT. Again, the expression on the faces of the men was...heavily engaged. Rick offered to take photos/video with his cellphone for this post, but my gentle breeding (and my concern that there was no sign forbidding firearms in the Expo) forbid it.

Sometimes, the names of businesses are worthy of discussion. Rick pointed out Chip Painters. My favorite was Master Deck Builders, but they are not capitalizing on their name. I wanted desperately to give them a makeover. I envisioned them all wearing black, for starters. Then, I wanted them all to wear menacing black hobnail boots like these. Better yet, how about the boots that Gene Simmons from Kiss wears? Okay, maybe too much. Anyway, then, I think they should have a whip coiled up and hanging from a big, studded, black leather belt. Now those would be some Master Deck Builders!

When we had walked the entire Expo and had seen quite enough--of everything--Rick and I decided to go. I had worked titanically hard at behaving myself and it had taken a toll: I was exhausted. Not once had I remarked (loudly enough to be heard) regarding awful/clever spelling (Custom Decks by Klassic--Proffesional Builders!), nor had I said Word One about the number of people who behaved as if pushing a stroller made them immune to the Rules Of Common Courtesy.

That's what I have the Dept. for.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

I'm A Political Visionary

Someday, if the world cooperates with My Vision, republicans will be kept in zoos and the Rest Of Us will be able to just observe them and remark upon their odd and strange ways.

Perhaps that statement is too...visionary. (Did you think I was going to say "harsh" or "strong" or even "partisan?" You must be a New Reader! Welcome to the Dept.!) Those of you who know me know that I was being rather tame and subdued, especially when it comes to the adjectives "odd" and "strange." I'll leave it to you to play Mental Thesaurus and fill in those spots with what I really want to say. But I digress.

I've been collecting little informatoids about republicans for you, and I'm ready to set them free in order to bolster my Visionary Plan. Let me know if you are on board.

I. The Lights Are On, But Nobody's Home: A Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll of republicans in the wild found that 53% believe that Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than Obama, with 14% who believe Obama is more qualified and 33% who said they were not sure. Holy crap. Let's remember that the former Governor of Alaska, who quit for still-inexplicable reasons and who touted her international experience as being able to see Russia from her house, has no idea how South and North Korea came into existence. She couldn't name a single newspaper that she read, yet she claimed to read "all of 'em." Perhaps those republicans just admire her business savvy; after all, she is keeping her book on the bestseller list by using her PAC to buy up more than $63,000.00 worth of them as gifts to donors. This is more than she's been donating to other political candidates in her party. That's some hardcore maverickin'. But presidential brainpower? Duh.

II. A Woman's Place: Why any woman or gay individual or person of color would ever, ever identify himself or herself as republican is beyond me. This party is so provincial and Old Boys Club. But don't take my word for it. Oh no. Give a listen to Jan Larimer, Republican National Committee co-chair, on the republican party's strategy to recruit more women candidates: "Women sometimes need a little more handholding, or they need their friends to help them make a decision. And by our going in and talking to them and recruiting and educating and training them to either get involved in a campaign or become a candidate, we're giving them the tools so that they can do that on their own."

The fact that Jan is a woman makes me want to cry. Or scream. Or hurt someone. So much is so wrong so completely with this statement that a stuffed moosehead could enumerate the points. To a doorknob. With crystalline clarity and brisk alacrity. Allow me, if you will, dearest Readers, to address Jan Larimer for a moment.
Jan--republicans sometimes need a little more faceslapping, or they need Democrats to help them make a decision. And by our going in and civilizing them and giving them a dose of reality and educating them and taking them out of their nineteenth-century wayback machines, we're giving them the tools they need so that they can someday join the twenty-first century where women have brains, control over their lives and destinies, and are, in short, not Stepford Wives or mistresses of republican senators looking for a little action.

III. Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Remember: See my above first sentence for II. In 2006, Senator John McCain was asked about the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding gay people serving in the US military. Now, we all remember the senator's glowing, stellar military service record. He made damn sure of that during the presidential election. Damn sure. And I, along with everyone else, thank him for that service. His opinion on military matters should be given consideration, given this experience. Here's what he said regarding the DADT policy: "The day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, Senator, we ought to change the policy, then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to." Okay, Senator. But...now, with President (Democrat) Obama in office and DADT about to be repealed, is (Up For Re-Election) Senator McCain ready to trust the leadership of the military? Let's listen in: "At this moment of immense hardship for our armed services, we should not be seeking to overturn the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy." Hmmmm....! Let's take a count, shall we? Defense Secretary Gates? Repeal. Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen? Repeal. Former Secretary of State and Former Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff and retired general of the Persian Gulf War Colin Powell? Repeal. Is this enough "Military Leadership" for you, John McCain? Guess not. Not when your seat is in play and you haven't had any other job for about eleventy thousand years. Life is tough.

But, don't despair, John McCain, Jan Larimer, and clueless republicans. If my vision is realized, you'll be well taken care of. I'm sure we can find a nice spot for all of you. Safe, homogenized, and very Beaver Cleaver. You can wave at us as we wander by and marvel. Just like Sarah to the Russians.
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