Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Homer's Odyssey, Book 16: A Study Guide

The text (from the Internet Classics Archive) gives us the reunion of Odysseus/Ulysses and his son Telemachus like this:

Ulysses came back inside the hut. His son was astounded when he saw him, and turned his eyes away for fear he might be looking upon a god.

"Stranger," said he, "how suddenly you have changed from what you were a moment or two ago. You are dressed differently and your colour is not the same. Are you some one or other of the gods that live in heaven? If so, be propitious to me till I can make you due sacrifice and offerings of wrought gold. Have mercy upon me."

And Ulysses said, "I am no god, why should you take me for one? I am your father, on whose account you grieve and suffer so much at the hands of lawless men."

As he spoke he kissed his son, and a tear fell from his cheek on to the ground, for he had restrained all tears till now. but Telemachus could not yet believe that it was his father, and said:

"You are not my father, but some god is flattering me with vain hopes that I may grieve the more hereafter; no mortal man could of himself contrive to do as you have been doing, and make yourself old and young at a moment's notice, unless a god were with him. A second ago you were old and all in rags, and now you are like some god come down from heaven."

Ulysses answered, "Telemachus, you ought not to be so immeasurably astonished at my being really here. There is no other Ulysses who will come hereafter. Such as I am, it is I, who after long wandering and much hardship have got home in the twentieth year to my own country. What you wonder at is the work of the redoubtable goddess Minerva, who does with me whatever she will, for she can do what she pleases. At one moment she makes me like a beggar, and the next I am a young man with good clothes on my back; it is an easy matter for the gods who live in heaven to make any man look either rich or poor."

As he spoke he sat down, and Telemachus threw his arms about his father and wept.

The re-enactment of this touching scene, as performed by the 5th Period 9th Grade English Class.

O: Telemachus. I am your father.
T: Aw, hells naw!
O: It's true.

[O and T simultaneously draw a finger down from the corner of their left eye to the cheek, as if tracing a tear.]

Curtain down.

Makes you wish you were there, doesn't it?

Oh Yeah! I'm Bragging!

Tragedy struck Chez Evil this evening, when I discovered we were out of Bailey's Irish Cream. Yeah, it's a horrible enough situation that I went out In The Dark, in Seventeen Degree Weather to go to the liquor store and correct this appalling situation.

This particular liquor store double checks ID against the credit card--they have probably been on the unpaid end of some credit card theft, so they check everybody. So as the clerk rang up my purchase, I handed him my driver's license and credit card.

He glanced back and forth between the two, checking that the names matched --WHICH they DO--and handed back my license. Then he did a double take. Then he asked for my license back, because he wanted to CHECK MY BIRTH DATE!

He seemed a little confused as he handed it back the second time, and I said something dismissive like "I really am old now."

His answer? "No, I thought you were in like your twenties, like twenty five or something."


Hooked on Puppies

The fabulous Suefunky sent me this link, and it's gotten addictive. Beware! This link will take you to cute puppies!

It's a live feed of a litter of 7 Havanese puppies inside a puppy playpen. I can tell I've gotten too attached when I clicked in this evening and noticed which items have been removed for laundering.

Okay, that was maybe a little bit too revealing about my pathetic life. It's a good thing I don't have any more information about these puppies, or I might be tempted to acquire one. Or two. Would all seven be excessive?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

English Majors in the "News"

Thanks to Doc Jen over at Fertile Plots, comes this literary analysis of Jane Austen and the Great American Pasttime.

My laugh for the day.

Rhymes with "Dorky"

Well, this looks desperate. Courtesy of Fussy, I have now been "introduced" to Norky, the "New Original GOODWILL character"--although apparently in no way actually connected to Goodwill Industries International, Inc.

According to his website, Norky is the one and only penguin/eagle cross, who lives at the North Pole and is now in charge of Santa's international spook organization, spying on the world's youth and reporting on the naughty and nice activities, as well as being informed as to their sleeping patterns.

Norky, the misbegotten lovechild of an unholy (dare one say "fowl"?) genetic experiment, is not just Santa's narc, he's also desperate for attention. Would you like Norky to appear at YOUR next special event? Apparently no event is too small--according to the Norky web site:

NORKY has appeared at Schools, Hospitals, Special Needs Camps, THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS, Fourth of July Celebrations, Aids Walks, Memorial Day Events,Baseball games, Half-Time Basketball games, Christmas Parades, Kwanzaa Parades, African-American Festivals, Chinese New Year Festivals, Latin & Spanish Family Festivals, Jewish Festivals, Ice Shows, Eco Shows,Book Festivals, DONALD TRUMP'S CELEBRITY GOLF CHARITY EVENTS, Kids Fairs, YMCA's, YWCA's, MAKE-A-WISH FOUNDATION, Boys & Girls Clubs, SALVATION ARMY etc.
One wonders if he was actually invited to all these "events," or like Paris Hilton, just shows up and acts like he's supposed to be there.

But his talents don't end there-- he has even been "interviewed on the News." Apparently, Norky is desperate to unload copies of his new CD, to the point where he's willing to do anything to get your attention, including "flying with his Big Yellow Shoes" as well as walking and talking too!

What I find most disturbing, however, is this photo:

What the hell? "The L. Ron Hubbard Winter Wonderland"? Tom Cruise, is that you inside that dopey costume? Has your career really gotten that bad?

Friday, November 14, 2008

My To Do List

My new iPod Touch has an application that allows me to make To Do lists. Currently on the list of things To Do:

1. The Hustle

2. That Voodoo That You Do So Well

3. Wah Diddy Diddy Dum Diddy Dum

4. Be A Do Bee

5. The Right Thing

Remember When Crazy People Thought They Were Napoleon?

So, Oprah has opened an online store, just in time for the Christmas shopping season. Nobody ever said she was dumb.

But--really? I mean, really? If she sold some of the stuff she has featured on her "Favorite Things" episodes, I'd be over there shopping my heart out. But that's not what is there.

What is there? Everything you can think of that can either have an "O" put on it, or be made in the shape of an "O." Need a refrigerator magnet? You can get the letter O. You want a key ring? You can choose one with "Oprah" written on it, or "The Oprah Winfrey Show" stamped on it, or an "O" spelled out in Swarovski crystals.

Clothing? Stationery? Pet equipment? Same deal.

Most eye-rolling? The opening page for Home Living: "Your home should say who you are."

Buy from this store, and you are apparently operating under the delusion that you are Oprah Winfrey.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And If You Wash Your Car, It Will Rain.

Last May, when I made a reservation for my Prius, gas was pushing $4 per gallon. The tipping point for me was filling the tank on my minivan, and the total was over $50 (as I recall). At the dealership, the salesman was predicting $6 per gallon wasn't far off.

Today, local stations are selling gas for $1.95 per gallon--less than half the price six months ago, less than it's been in the last 2-3 years. I filled my Prius tank for approximately $15.

I'm feeling inappropriately smug, right now, because while you alls' gas bills have fallen--they haven't fallen as much as mine has!

And when the inevitable happens, and gas prices bounce back up again, I'll still be saving money.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Name Game--Presidential Edition

So, like many of you, we here at Chez Evil were aware of the historic nature of the recent presidential election. So the girls were headed to bed when Barack Obama took the stage at Grant Park, and we called them back to see this historic speech.

One look at the crowds of people passionately invested in the new president made it clear to us all: It was an Obama-rama.

Since the girls were headed to bed, it was also an Obama-pajama-rama.

I was there, as the Obama-pajama-rama-mama.

If I had been wearing my South American fauna p.j.s, it would have been an Obama-llama-pajama-mama-rama.

The speech was dignified and moving. Yup. It was an Obama-llama-pajama-mama-rama-drama.

If only our troops had captured the elusive head of al Queda. Then it would have been an Obama-llama-pajama-mama-rama-Osama-drama.

Okay, now I'm done.

Mark Your Calendars for Summer 2009

I don't know what the release date is on this one, but I'm going to go buy tickets NOW.

I have a thing for cute grumpy old men, I guess.

But the detail! The loving way they made the tarp slide off the mass of balloons, the care with which we see the people watching the house go up--even though we only see them for less than 3 seconds. I even love the chimpmunk looking Boy Scout, with all his camping tins clanging as he runs into the house.

Oh yeah, I'm there. Maybe my kids will even come too.

Friday, November 07, 2008

News Flash! Grumpy Old Man Disapproves Of Kids Today

MSN Today had a highlighted article: "Five Valid Reasons to Stop Using Cell Phones." It's a summary of another article written by a guy who refuses to use a cell phone. I'll save you the trouble of clicking through and summarize them for you. Because I'm just that selfless.

1. Shut Up And Drive. All you kids drag racing through town and talking on your cell phones--somebody is going to get hurt, you punks. Those damn kids today, with their technology can't pay attention to the road! Back in my day, all we had was hollering back at the radio, while lighting our cigarettes and tossing the butts out the window. And that was much safer!

2. You Get Distracted. Back in my old Econ 101 class, we called this "opportunity costs," and so that's what I'm calling it. But what really frosts my cookies is that back in the Good Old Days, only doctors needed to be on call, and they only needed pagers. Damn kids like you, who ought to be in knee britches anyway, who needs to call you? And if you want to talk to each other--what's wrong with two tin cans and some string? It was good enough for my generation; it's good enough for yours.

3. Cell phone accessories are expensive. I don't know what the hell I'm talking about here, but you shouldn't be spending money on wrist straps and text messaging and internet access, and I don't know what all. Why don't you save that money instead and buy a war bond? Do some good for a change, you uppity whipper-snappers.

4. Nobody needs to call you. We did just fine, back when all we had were land lines, and we had to pick up the earpiece and joggle the handle until Ernestine could connect our call. If somebody called us and we weren't there, they just had to call back until we were there. And if they got frustrated and never called us back, we didn't know about it and we did just fine.

So you think this is a lot like number 2 up there, do you? Well, that's all right, because what do you damn kids have to talk about anyway? Didn't you just see each other all day in school? And don't sass your elders.

5. Five? Did I say five? There isn't a number five. Why do there have to be five? Because that's the title of the piece? Dammit, then, there's all that talk on them webby net things about brain cancer. Or maybe it will give you hairy ears. Or make your eyes go bad. Something like that. That might be true, and anyway, we never got hairy ears from our tin cans.

So get rid of those damn phone thingies, and get off my lawn!

Yeah--guess I'll leave my cell phone at home when I go take the buggy out, mister. Because there are no opportunity costs to missing business calls if you are away from your office, are there? Or if you don't work in an office. There is no value as a parent of having a way for your children to reach you if they need you or a way to reach your kids either. Apparently it didn't occur to you that anybody might Or have a cell phone INSTEAD of a land line.

I swear, this guy has got to be like 206 years old.

Does Everybody Know About This But Me?

So I recently found Beyonce's new single on YouTube, and sure--the lyrics are kind of anti-feminist in a third wave kind of way, but even so, the whole thing works for me. I like the percussive song, and the black-and-white dance number is something else.

Then I discovered the choreography was supposed to be an homage to Gwen Verdon--the wife of Bob Fosse and an incredible dancer herself. I knew her from the movie version of Damn Yankees, and her fictionalized version from All That Jazz. So I already knew who she was, and was impressed that Beyonce admired her.

Admired? Hell--stole! This is the original Gwen Verdon "Mexican Breakfast"--which is pretty damn near exactly what Beyonce did, only with more clothes.

So, I have to say that I don't think polyester pantsuits really made for good dancewear--but dayum, that choreography totally holds up. The song, however, is one of those painfully cheesy 60s instrumentals that you'd expect to find exhumed for an Austin Powers movie. So turn off the volume, and admire that not only is this 1960, but it's live TV from the Ed Sullivan show--no retakes, no cuts, no rest.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Politics As Usual

Things are getting nail-bitingly close here. The senatorial race between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken is down to less than 400 votes. In a world where President Obama has been declared a landslide winner, the Senatorial race in traditionally Democratic Minnesota is too close to call.

Less than 400 votes out of 2.9 million cast. The election has not been called by any media outlet, nor has it been certified. Minnesota has a law that when an election has less than a one half of one percent margin, the ballots are automatically counted. This margin is far smaller than that.

And yet--Norm Coleman has declared victory. He has declared victory in a press conference, he has declared victory on his web site. Furthermore, he has called for Al Franken to waive his right to a recount, claiming that that odds of overturning the result are extremely low.

I hate this about politics. Sure, intellectually, I understand this--declare yourself the winner, and a surprising number of people will believe it. Hell--the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Florida recount would constitute irreparable damage to the winner--George Bush. You'd think that people smart enough to be on the Supreme Court would understand that until the recount was complete, it was premature to call George Bush the winner. But the tactic confused even them.

So if you are Norm Coleman, why not try it? It worked so well for Bush in 2000. Plus, he gets to plant the idea in people's minds that he is the "real" winner. Furthermore, he has been canny in playing the "tax and spend Democrat" card, by claiming that by NOT waiving the recount, Al Franken is wasting taxpayer money in demanding the arduous task of recounting.

But the margin! It was thought to be around 800 on Wednesday morning. By Wednesday evening it was closer to 300. Shouldn't Norm be certain he has won before he calls Franken a sore loser?

NO! Because in politics, perception is at least half the reality. If Minnesotans become convinced that Norm is the "real" winner--then he wins.

I understand it, but it still makes me want to go rinse my mouth out with Bailey's Irish Cream to get the bad taste out.

My Letter To Santa

Dear Santa:

How are you? How is Mrs. Claus? Thank you for the early Christmas present--I think I will really like having a President Obama around. Here are some other things I would like for Christmas.

1. Please close Guantanamo Bay. It is an embarrassment internationally and a real slap in the face to the American system, where people are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law before a jury of their peers. Military tribunals have failed to act in a true American spirit. Please stop the horror now.

2. Please make sure that the inmates at Guantanamo Bay are either released immediately, or transferred into criminal courts and charged. Too many human beings have been held in a legal limbo, where even their lawyers can't find out what the evidence against them is. If we can't prosecute them openly, and give them the opportunity to adequately defend themselves, we should let them go home.

3. Please make warrantless domestic wiretapping go away too. We have yet to have any assurance that this program conforms to Constitutional protections granted to ALL our citizens. Plus, the Executive Branch isn't supposed to keep everybody else in the dark.

4. Please keep President Elect Obama safe from any crazy people who want their 15 minutes of fame from killing our first biracial president. There are enough crazy people in this world--don't let them get the best thing to happen to America.

5. Plus, if you can, I would also like a train set. And a puppy.

Thank you for reading my letter.

Your Friend,

The Mistress of All Evil

The Truth About Cats and Dogs

I love this video. This cat is completely cool. "Yeah. I got a bag on my head. What's it to you?" This cat is a zen master of imperturbability, and should be played by Kevin Spacey. With a bag on his head.

I don't have cats. I have a dog, and while he is a very patient dog who lets us dress him up in silly clothing, he would never tolerate a bag on his head like this. He'd be down on the floor with his paws up on his head trying to get out of it. Of course, being a dog, if he did get out of it, he'd then manage to get it stuck to himself with packing tape or something, and then he'd walk around with this thing dragging along behind him, and he probably just stop once in a while and shake his leg.

Because dogs? Dogs have discovered the evolutionary niche formerly occupied by the Three Stooges. They are goofy, and dumb, and tend toward extreme pratfalls. Cats, in contrast, are much more like Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert--yeah, it's kind of awkward and embarrassing, but they MEANT to do that.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Day After The World Changed

As I dropped my kids off at school at 7:40 this morning, the news was that Coleman beat Franken by a mere 800 votes.

That is pretty inspiring--and I'll tell you why. The country is not as divided as the electoral college numbers would indicate. As Cpt. Sweetie told me last night, if you look at political maps county by county, America is more purple than red or blue. As a nation, we are not voting for a "party" reflexively.

That has been one of the great appeals of the Obama campaign for me, and it was again crystallized in his acceptance speech. He did not gloat, he did not give in to pandering to his base. He took the words of the iconic Republican President from Illinois, and he owned them. "Passion may have strained, but it cannot break our bonds of affection."

He explicitly acknowledged his obligation to the entire country, not just those who elected him. "Those of you whose respect I have not yet earned. . .I will be your president as well."

This is the antidote to the vivisectioning of our population that has been happening for the last eight years, and a heartening sign of that is that Coleman will go back to the Senate, and will have to work with this most conciliatory of Presidents-elect.
I have great hopes for our new President-elect, and they focus on his healing the rifts in our country that have been wedged open, widened and exploited over the last eight years. The acceptance speech last night was not a victory lap, but was an acknowledgment that this historic election is not itself change--only to opportunity to make change happen.

Obama set himself to the task of earning the respect of those who did not vote for him. He positioned himself as a worthy inheritor of Abraham Lincoln's legacy.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Morning in America

Just fractions of a second after polls closed on the West Coast, CNN called the election for Barack Obama. Regardless of your political team, this is an amazing moment for America.

When you look back at the history of European countries, or the Islamic golden age, or the incredible history of Greece and China, you really get a sense of how young our country is.

It was only 220 years ago that we adopted our Constitution, in which we allowed slavery to continue and counted slaves as only 3/5 of a person.

It was only 143 years ago that the Civil War ended and we no longer counted human beings as property.

It was only 4o years ago that Martin Luther King Jr. gave his last speech before he was shot down.

It was only 4 years ago that our country re-elected George Bush, despite his record of divisiveness.

That is the wonder of this country: that we have a system by which we can make these strides in such a short amount of time, and that our new President-elect will be ushered into his new position without violence or chaos.

We have been an incredibly fortunate nation, that the experiment that is our system of government has worked so well for so long. I hope that by the time my grandchildren (if any!) can vote, it will seem ridiculous that race had any role in our election of President Obama, and that history will look upon him well.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Cause I'm All About the Fluffy Puppies

For your viewing pleasure, courtesy of I Has A Hotdog:

Weather Wow

Wow. Just wow.

High of 75 degrees today. Yes, it is the third of November. Yes, I'm still in Minnesota.

I'll have to post a picture of the two enormous pink roses I found in my garden today.


Go Vote, Dammit!

I am becoming a believer in the Presidential Election as a sort of Rorschach test. Who you choose as your candidate has more to do with who you are on a "lizard brain" level than with your cerebral cortex.

This idea has been percolating in my head for a while, but was really given form by an article in Slate.com--which of course I can't find now, but here's another study that kind of shows the same thing:

In a simple experiment reported today in the journal Nature Neuroscience, scientists at New York University and UCLA show that political orientation is related to differences in how the brain processes information.

(Actually, the experiment was reported in early September--I'm just late in finding it.) This study takes self-identified "very conservative" and "very liberal" college students, and watches their brain waves as they conduct a simple task.

The study I read about in Slate was more anthropologistic--again, the researchers looked at the dorm rooms of conservative and liberal college students, and found some distinct personality types. Conservatives tended to have more cleaning products. Liberals had more books. There was a conclusion, IIRC, that the liberal students were more curious and open to new experiences, while conservatives valued stability and order.

Which explains some of the frustration I have been feeling as I have tried to articulate my political opinions to some people who simply Do Not Agree With Me. At. All. Because, you know what? There are SO many issues in an election, and SO many facts that can be slung around, and in the end, it comes down to how you "feel" about those facts and how you weight them.

The William Ayers/domestic terrorist issue? Do you worry that Obama might be heavily influenced or supportive of Ayers past activities? Or do you brush it off as a meaningless acquaintance? Do you see Ayers (currently) as as threat to our country who is trying to recruit bombthrowers? Oo you see Obama as intellectually curious but thoughtful kind of guy who can discern the right thing to do? Do you think criminals can be rehabilitated? Do you think being on a commission with someone constitutes fraternization?

Is Obama too young and untested to be President? Or is he a smart guy who will learn as he grows into the role? How can there be an answer to those questions that is anything like objective? It all depends on whether you are comfortable with ambiguity, or are willing to take risks, and how risky you are willing to be. It's probably got a lot to do with how you experience the world and process information than any sort of logical assessment of objective facts.

So I have come to the conclusion that political discussions are interesting, and serve to force me to organize and articulate what matters to me. Maybe I can convince someone who was kind of leaning in some direction to agree. But I no longer expect that I can persuade someone who is not already looking at the world the same way I am.

So--I am going to vote for Barack Obama. I posted my reasons over here at MinnMoms. Maybe they will persuade someone who is not quite certain. They will not persuade a McCain supporter.

All Growed Up!

My little girl is all growed up--I took her to her first driver's training class tonight.

How do they do that? Go from little tiny things that stay where you put them, into smart, articulate, funny, kind, tall young women--while I haven't aged a day?

How does that work?

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Just came back from a "community theater" production of this 1959 play about the one-time mayor of New York City. I say "community theater" because the roles were played by equity actors/singers who sing with local opera companies, work at the dinner theater that spawned Oscar nominee Amy Adams. This is not like "Waiting for Guffman."

In 1960, Fiorello! tied with The Sound of Music for Best Musical. The pair of them beat out Gypsy. Yet how often does your high school stage Fiorello!? Never? That's how often I've seen it. Remember that great movie adaptation? Of course you don't, because there wasn't one. Because, really, who else besides New Yorkers could take this play to their hearts?

It's kind of an odd play in these times. The play spans years from 1915 to 1934, all before Fiorello LaGuardia became mayor of New York. There is a brief introduction from Mayor LaGuardia in 1945, but the play ends just as he starts his ultimately successful campaign for mayor in 1933. The bulk of the play builds up to his overwhelming defeat in 1929, where he crawls back to his law offices in a sulk. Only the clandestine efforts of his long-suffering office assistant convince him to run again in 1934. He finally asks her to marry him (she's been "secretly" in love with him for 15 years), and they start out full of hope.

Ostensibly, this is the period where LaGuardia broke up Tammany Hall, but we don't see how it happens. Sure, there is the only memorable song in the play "Little Tin Box," in which pretend Tammany extortion defendants attempt to explain how they saved up to buy their yachts and mansions, despite their low salaries. But how did they end up in court? What did LaGuardia have to do with it? Who knows?

As an exercise in storytelling, Fiorello! assumes the audience has an awful lot of background information about the man, the times, and the political players. Simultaneously, it expects the audience NOT to know that Fiorello was actually a US Congressman from 1922-1933, including during his "disasterous" defeat for Mayor. Based solely on the play, you would think that Fio barely got his toes wet in the Potomac before joining the army, and then returning to NYC, never to leave it again.

Yes, I understand that some things have to be left out when you are talking about a Broadway musical--it isn't really history they are presenting. Even so, the character arc of the play is really odd unless you are fully aware of the real history of the man. You have to know that he was Mayor from 1934-1945, is credited with restoring NYC during the Great Depression, took on major Mafia figures, and voluntarily chose not to run again in 1945. If you don't know that (which I didn't, and certainly have no emotional context for these facts) the play makes no sense.

Here is my summary of the main scenes of the play:

Scene 1--F.H. LaGuardia ("Fio") has a law office where he helps immigrants with legal troubles. He has a staff of 3, although he apparently never gets paid for his work. (This is 1915.)

Scene 2--Fio decides he's going to run for Congress, because of something about Tammany Hall. He helps striking shirtwaist factory workers win a better wage, and he wins the election.

Scene 3--In DC, he insists on the need for a draft and US entry into WWI, and enlists.

Scene 4--He comes home from war, marries one of the shirtwaist factory strikers and runs for Mayor. (Okay, he came home in 1918, ran for mayor in 1929. In the play, this looks like a couple of weeks). Tammany Hall hires ruffians to disrupt a speech, his wife dies, and he loses the election all in one night.

Scene 5--Faithful Marie approaches the Republican machine to help Fio with his new campaign for mayor. The Republicans gloat over the fall of Tammany. (Whaaa? When? How? Who?) Mentor agrees to forgive Fio for ignoring him for the last 3 years (Again--whaaa?) and a judge names Fio as the Republican nominee for mayor--all without Fio's knowledge. Fio decides to accept the nomination, proposes to Marie, the Republican machine smiles, curtain falls.

This raises some questions in a non-New Yorker. Why is the Republican machine any better than the Tammany/Democrat one? Why should we root for this Fiorello, when the only legislation we see him stand for is the draft? (That one certainly plays oddly in the post-Vietnam era, where the army is all volunteer.) He hates "the exploiters" and sides with striking workers, so he becomes a Republican. Again, not so clear in these times. His campaign speeches seem to cast him as the Sesame Street candidate: "The name is L-a-G-u-a-r-d-i-a. . ." Sure, he can spell, but what makes him worth a whole musical?

I think there is a reason you don't see this play mounted very often outside New York. If your previous exposure to LaGuardia was through heinous air travel through his airport. . .a play has to work a WHOLE LOT harder for your empathy.

Not All Democrats Are The Same; Or, In Which I Wax Smug About Chicago

As I said in my earlier post, we spent 4 days in Chicago last month as tourists. The precipitating cause was to go see "Wicked" for Tonks' birthday. Because her birthday falls in the traditional 4 day educator union gathering weekend, it seemed like a nice thing to do.

I noticed some things about Chicago that I hadn't noticed before. One was that it was a really really big city. Which is secret code for "stinky and dirty." We stayed at the Blackstone Hotel right on Michigan Avenue, overlooking the lake, and while the architecture is quite striking, the alleys are dark and smelly in a way they just aren't in St. Paul. So, it turns out, that while I appreciate that a big city provides lots of culture, I just don't want to be in as big a city as Chicago. Who knew?

Another difference I noticed was the street fashion. Admittedly, most of the people I run with tend to dress in "sensible mom" clothes, rather than designer duds. No Carrie Bradshaws in my circles. In Chicago, I saw lots of women who put a lot more effort into their outfits than that, but I'm not convinced that the end result was actually "more fashionable." They certainly tried harder, but I saw a woman pass me in an outfit I swear I used to own, back in about 1985, and even if those styles are back (which I doubt) they did her no favors. Had she been at least a foot and a half taller and weighed a good 40 pounds less, then her outfit would just have looked out of date.

There were a LOT of skinny women in skinny jeans tucked into knee-high black suede stiletto boots. THE Chicago look this fall, I guess. But it is a sign that I am bloody old, because it just made my feet hurt to look at them. In fact, it makes my feet hurt to remember them. Yeah. I'm old.

Maybe I'm just channeling old information, but I think of Chicago as still being solidly, eternally, unremittingly owned by the Democrats. Maybe there is no longer a "machine" per se, but it is no coincidence that the current mayor is named "Daley." Yet, Democratic Chicago is a very different sort of Democratic than the Democratic St. Paul, as measured in Prii.

Prii being the plural of Prius. While I continue to love my own Prius, here at home they're tremendously common--kind of like chips in a cookie. If Twin Cities traffic were a cookie, it would be Prius-flavored, full of Prius morsels. Yet in the 4 days we were in Chicago, I saw 2 Prii. Just two! I saw twice as many as that just sitting at a traffic light. Not even counting mine.

Does this mean anything? Probably not. But maybe I can warm myself through the coming long winter by basking in the warm glow of feeling superior to Chicago.

It's November

Oh my word--I just looked at my stats for October, and I didn't realize I had done so few posts! Only three? Three?

Then I realized that while it feels like I have been posting continuously, it hasn't been here. It's been here--over at the MinnMoms Community site. And that is where I have been forced to articulate my political views and defend them.

Plus, we took a four day trip to Chicago, and I had no internet access because the stupid hotel charged $11 per day PER COMPUTER!!! And there were 4 of us, so we just didn't go online. The withdrawal pains were drowned by walking for miles and miles each day, so our legs and feet hurt, which distracted from the lack of internet.

Also, I have been a slave to my (brand new) sewing machine, because it was Halloween. And my kidlets, bless their cotton socks, pick costumes that can't just be purchased at the local Party America. Sursels was a "ghost dancer from the Haunted Mansion (at Disneyworld)" which was a goth countess costume from the above mentioned Party America, but since she wanted to wear my old hoop skirt under it, I had to construct an underskirt for the costume to cover the yards of white hoop.

Tonks decided to be the Lady of the Lake. Could she have decided this back during the Renaissance Faire, where it would have been possible to buy a blue costume? Of course not! She only decided 8 days before Halloween, and a mere 2 days before the Halloween Dance at her school. I did finish the cape (with hood!) in time for the dance, but the dress took longer. Quite a bit longer. I did finish it before I went to bed on Thursday night, so I didn't have to do any last minute sewing on Halloween itself. Did I mention I went to bed at 2 a.m.?

So, October is a busy month--our anniversary, two birthdays, Halloween. . .I shouldn't be entirely surprised that the month went by with so little posting.

Now, it is November, and I pledge to do better. Not NaBloPoMo level better though. Yes, I did it the last two years, but as you can see from the date, I've already missed my first post, so no promises.