Friday, March 28, 2003

This and That

  • How is it that I can spend at least half my day reading about or watching war coverage, and still have no idea what the hell is going on? I'm thinking I might just go home and play video games for a while; if the Iraqi army shows up at my door, I will assume the war went badly. If not, I'll continue with my arrogant American assumption that we'll win.

  • I have a secret crush on Tony Blair. Obviously it's no longer a secret now, but whatever. I wanted to send him a happy gram, but apparently you cannot just email the Prime Minister of Britain. On their official web site, they say you may fax or write him, and that email will be coming soon. Umm, guys? It's 2003. I realize the PM is not eager to receive "TonyBLair! Grow Your Penis!" spam, but I would think you're sophisticated enough to weed out the crud. That's what lackeys are for--and you're British! You should know all about lackeys, fer cryin' out loud. Anyway, I heart you, little Tony Blair! I would give you a big hug if it wouldn't a) embarrass your british sensibilities and/or b) result in my arrest for assault or stalking.

  • I also have a warm place in my heart for Donald Rumsfeld, mainly because he reminds me of my grandfather (Paw-Paw) who literally tossed his brother-in-law off of his front porch for being rude. Paw-Paw could do anything, was a great storyteller, and loved his family. But it didn't pay to piss him off. I get the same vibe from Rumsfeld--is there an official fan club?

  • Attended a seminar on the Invisible Knapsack of White Privilege yesterday, and while I believe that the speaker is correct to a degree, I couldn't get past the fact that all of her examples of white oppression and male oppression dated from 1986 or earlier. Is it really safe to assume that nothing would have changed in almost 20 years? I found this particularly disturbing when coming from an academic who has built her entire career around this subject. I kept thinking "bug in amber" every time she referenced an event from 1986. That was apparently a banner year for her. Is she aware that there's an entirely new generation around now? Just wondering.... There was also the unfortunate impression that she sought to curry favor by self-flagellation. Ah well.

  • We are going to break down and purchase a new lawn mower tomorrow. I'll be sad to see the old one go. We bought it for about $100 at Wal-Mart, and it has reliably cut our 3/4 acre lawn for 5 years, despite having been on fire, having its motor cord spliced together in 3 or 4 different places, and having no actual oil in the engine on several occasions. Fare thee well, brave mower--the fire was particularly exciting.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Self-Absorption 220: Advanced Topics in Puling

Course Description: This course seeks to emphasize the importance of self-aggrandizement over all other concerns, even in moments of national crisis. We will discuss the place of the peace protestor in society at large, with particular emphasis on his/her response to being ignored by all rational people. Discussions will revolve around the following sentiments:

"We aren't being listened to, so what do you do?"


"One day of disruption in people's lives is nothing compared to the $1.1 billion a day that the US is spending to fight this war. If this is the only way that people are going to start listening, it's worth it."

The instructor's focus will be on making students feel better about themselves, and ignoring or justifying vandalism, violence, and the real consequences of taking resources away from those in need of emergency health care or protection.

Students' grades will depend upon class participation in frivolous and ultimately self-destructive activities such as:

  • Creating convincing papier mache missile dildos

  • Stilt-walking for peace

  • Making protest signs that cobble together no fewer than 4 unrelated causes in support of a brutal dictatorship

For the final, students must demonstrate competency in treating road rash received from naked die-ins, mental agility in avoiding actual debate about the issue at hand, and evading reality by shouting doggerel rhyme. In addition, a final self-esteem test will be administered. Passing grades will be given to all those who still manage to hold their heads up and retain their belief that they are acting "for peace" or in the best interests of "the people" or "the majority."

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Expiration Date

Let me just say right now that I have been ripped off. No one told me that my body had such a short half-life, yet here I am at the ripe old age of 34 and unable to bend at the waist or the knee without groaning and clutching at furniture for support like some pathetic Caucasian Yoda on Dagobah. Is it too much to ask that my back muscles actually do more than contract into a tiny immobile ball of pain when I attempt to lift my child? And don't lecture me on lifting with my legs--that requires working knees, and mine haven't had cartilege for about 10 years now.

The most annoying thing is not that I am apparently mortal, but that I am now forced to confront the cold, hard, reality of never being able to live out my badass Xena fantasies. Xena would never finish a chakram toss by grabbing at the small of her back and trying to stretch. Xena would never be thwarted by a toddler who has figured out that he can evade pursuit by getting under the sideboard. And this is particularly galling as I find myself getting worked up into a righteous warrior princess snit about morons here and abroad. So I am left with only words to do my smiting, and I chafe--chafe I tell you--under these unfair conditions!

But there is hope. Tomorrow I shall away to the doctor's office and procure a muscle relaxant. Or maybe just some Doan's pills and a heating pad. And a cane. And possibly some bifocals. Oh man, I am so old.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Adventures in Reality

So I'm having a bit of trouble reconciling reality with, well, reality right now. I'm still getting up early, dealing with the fact that my son is most emphatically NOT a morning person regardless of how much sleep he gets at night, rushing to work, rushing home, and trying to find time for a leisurely family stroll, a moderately healthy dinner, and a few minutes of "me time" before bed.

Then I turn on the television, or check my blogroll, and a wholly different reality appears. War and protests and oscars, oh my! I feel disconnected from everything I see on the screen, and then I feel guilty for not "feeling" appropriately, whatever that means. It seems like something this earth-shattering should be more earth-shattering, I guess, not just reduced to sound bites and maps and the reactions of pundits and guesswork and talking, talking, talking all day. And how utterly self-absorbed is that? "Oh, the war in which people are dying is insufficiently moving. It lacks that certain...reality."

The boon of the communication age is that we're immediately and intimately aware of each other and the world. The curse is that we don't understand that the other people and the world are real, when all we get are pixels, not people.

There was one sad little protester outside our office today, whacking a bongo, ostensibly to simulate the drums of war. She's gone now, probably had to get some lunch or go to class. After all, what are symbolic drums of war when compared to Taco Bell or an "A" in Comparative Lit? I could insert a little caveat here about how wonderful it is that she can be a dilettante for peace, but I won't, 'cause it's just stupid and a waste of time. Whatever, little girl. Thanks for playing the home game. I'd suggest that she give that plane of existence called "the real world" a try, but that'll happen for her soon enough. Or not. Particularly if she's getting her reality from pixel-ville.