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Monday, August 27, 2012

Ah, Politics! I Hardly Knew Ye!

I'm seriously thinking of giving up The Politics completely.  Truly, I am.  The past couple of years I've removed myself gradually, anyway--with a few relapses here and there--because it has all gotten to be so much noise.

Those of us in the Swing States (CNN currently lists them as Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, and New Hampshire; The NYT adds Wisconsin) are in a constant media maelstrom of Super PAC propaganda.  In the evening hours especially, political adverts are stacked one on top of the other in a relentless barrage of partisan garbage.  Every single commercial break in Ohio has at least one (and that number would be a blessing), but more often, there are three or four in a row.  I witnessed the same fusillade of campaign proselytizing in Virginia in June.  Virginians also have a Senate race to decide, as do Ohioans, so we both get an extra helping of PAC crap.

I don't even listen anymore.  Yes, I've read The Research:  I know that the reason the ads are so negative is because They Work.  And, yes, I was one of the ones who said that Pres. Obama needed to get tough and dirty with the republicans because that's how they played the game.  For the record, I still say that.

But, thanks to the Supreme Court decision in 2010, we're all on overload.  A modicum of relief is coming, however:  On September 11th, the official campaigns of both presidential candidates are suspending ads.  Additionally, the primary pro-Obama Super PAC has agreed to stop running commercials in deference to the day as well.  But I want more.

I want the ads to be confined to one political ad per candidate per commercial break.  I want the ads to run only three months before any election.  I want there to be Ad-Free Days during the week, decided by each network, and that can be decided locally or nationally; I don't care.  I think those parameters are more than fair.  I've stated no regulations here about positive or negative; none regarding the Super PAC's monies or whether or not they have to be traceable or local in origin.  That stuff is already a lost cause.

The Politics used to be Fun for me.  Now it's ugly and tedious and tiresome, like cleaning the basement or arguing with a friend.  Whenever I can, I get rid of anything that's not fulfilling me.  So, The Politics has to go.

Part of my disgust, I think, has been all my reading and research into President Lincoln.  He was far from perfect, but in his service to the country, he remained thoughtful and mindful of the country.  He knew that some of the advisers he had around him had personal agendas and personal animosity toward him, but he valued them for their common desire to preserve the Union and for the expertise they brought in achieving that outcome.  He was a man who faced many tribulations simultaneously in all facets of his life:  a country at war, the deaths of his sons, a mercurial wife, a rebellious Congress, an often melancholy spirit, a series of failures as General for his Army of the Potomac, the cruelty of a fickle public and press, but he worked tirelessly for the restoration of his country.

The irony that my favourite president is a republican is not lost on me.  Yet, one would have to search deeply and profoundly to find any similarity between the current republican party and the party of Abraham Lincoln.  I wonder if he would be able to call himself a republican were he to find himself alive today.

In the meantime, I'll absent myself from The Politics of today in favour of the politics of yesterday.   

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Indulge Me. Remember What Mae West Said: "To Err Is Human, But It Feels Divine." The Dept. Is (Sinfully) Seven!


by Marc Petrovic and Tim Tate
 In 375 AD, Evagrius Ponticus, a teacher and writer also known as Evagrius the Solitary, decided to identify the most terrible sources of temptation for human beings.  He came up with eight and named them as the sources of all sinful behaviour.  Two hundred years later, Pope Gregory I revised the list down to seven, and we now know them more commonly as The Seven Deadly Sins:  Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed, and Sloth.

In August 2012 AD,  the Dept. of Nance, written by a former teacher, celebrates seven years of being a source of...well, something for human beings here on the Interwebs.  In its existence for the past seven years, no doubt it has encouraged and celebrated some sinfulness here and there.  In the spirit of Evagrius Ponticus and Sinners everywhere, I would like to 'fess up--in spirit--to seven each of the Seven Deadlies.

1.  Pride/Vanity:   I'm vain about everything, as Readers all know, but inordinately so about my shoes (which must match my outfit); my clothes (which must be impeccable ensembles); my reading glasses (which must match my shoes and outfit); my hair (which I am at war with constantly); my eyelashes (Bug, where is the Mascara Spreadsheet?); my cats, who remain overweight despite their pricey diet food (and getting no treats or table food--so embarrassing); and the appearance of each post in this blog (it's exhausting, really).

2.  Envy:  This is a tough one.  I'm not generally an envious person, although I do wish I had the blogger book deal, the wherewithal to go on a world cruise, a warm-climate winter getaway home, the ability to eat and not get fat (like Sam's girlfriend seems to be able to!)...(See?  This is turning into what I wish, and not really a list of Envies.)  I'm envious of people who have a really good sense of direction, who like to take photos and have them organized, and who don't have the Worry Gene.  Because I do.

3.  Gluttony:  I don't eat like I used to be able to, and my food cravings change.  But we all have foods we love.  Seven of mine are:  Lobster, Avocados, Fresh-cut French Fries, Duck, Asparagus, Risotto, and Nutella.  Still Nutella.

4.  Lust:  Sometimes I find myself attracted to the oddest men.  Other times, they fit My Type exactly.  Here are seven men I find attractive, and a few are just big question marks, honestly:  Daniel Day-Lewis, Rob Lowe, Pau Gasol, Hugh Laurie, Robert Herjavec (from TV's Shark Tank), Anderson Varejao, and Richard Engel.

5.  Anger:  Lots of stuff makes me mad.  You and I both know that the short answer here could be "republicans" and I'd be done.  But that wouldn't be fair.  So, without getting too peevish, I'll say the USA's poor mentality about education funding in general; the way society bashes teachers; the downward spiral of quality in journalism, especially among broadcast/television media; the glorification of bad behavior in society, namely via so-called "reality programming"; the breathtaking sense of entitlement among people in the past 20 years; the astonishing attempt by some politicians to demote women to second-class citizens by abrogating their rights; and the unreasonable and inexplicable discrimination against gay citizens of our country.

6.  Greed:  This is the desire for material wealth or gain while ignoring the realm of the godly.  And while I pretty much observe the latter, I'm not the Quintessential Material Girl in that I don't wear jewelry or care about designer clothes or give a hoot about driving a Beemer and all that baloney.  Are there even seven materialistic things I want, say, before I die?  I would love a Viking range, a Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment for my mixer, a shopping spree in Sur la Table or Crate and Barrel, someone to come in and repaint the inside of my house for free, and oh hell!  While I'm at it, how about someone just gives me a summer home in Niagara-on-the-Lake? Wouldn't that be nice? Oh yeah, with a vineyard!

7.  Sloth:  According to everyone I meet, I have this one covered.  As soon as anyone hears I have Retired, the very next thing out of his or her mouth is, "Oh! And what are you doing now?"  It's become incredibly embarrassing to say "Nothing."  When did Retirement come to mean Moved On To Next Big Fucking Busy Work Thing?  Because I retired in order to Be Done Working. Here are seven things I'm NOT doing:  grading papers; calling parents of highschoolers; holding my pee for three hours because it's not my conference period or lunch period yet; having a 12-hour day because of parent conferences; buying my own supplies to the tune of a couple hundred bucks a year; pulling together a semester's worth of makeup work in one day for a kid who has been absent and failing but is entitled to his makeup work even though I know he will never turn it in; running to four different copy machines to find one that works in order to copy a test that I am giving that day since I tried to copy it all day yesterday to no avail.  Ahhh, yes.  Sloth.  I'm still, as far as Work Outside The Home Goes, diggin' the Sloth.

Now that I've suitably shocked and dishonored the memories of both Evagrius Ponticus and Gregory I, I invite you to help me celebrate my Blogiversary and do the same.  What are some of your Deadlies? (Or, if you don't want to share, you may merely comment upon mine.) And, oh, do have some cake.  But don't be Greedy and make a pig of yourself.

Monday, August 06, 2012

"Do You Like Big Tomatoes? Then Call This Number." My Sister's Cell Gets Down And Dirty

Probably there are times I shouldn't inflict my Sense Of Humor on other people.  Not everyone--even my own family--is able to appreciate it, especially without warning.  I feel like Susan deserved it, however, in the following text message exchange which began exactly as you see here:
As you can see, I was minding my own business at...4:37 PM when suddenly a photo of tomatoes appeared, accompanied by some home-canned sauce or salsa or other Tomato Product.  Then a call back number message (CB#), then another unsolicited closeup of tomatoes and another inexplicable reminder of my sister's cell number.  What choice did I have?

I felt it only fair to warn her.  There is a Law in Ohio against that sort of thing.  I was sitting out on the front porch, and I wasn't sure about jurisdiction.  It was for her own safety.  (I think the sheriff's deputy still lives one street over.)


(*Remember this guy? Susan gets fresh veggies--not tomatoes--from his stand, too.)

I called Susan('s phone) back today, and I have to wait until Friday to pick up some tomatoes.  But I did get a blogpost out of it today. 
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