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Archive for March, 2014

This is relevant to nothing. It simply is one of the funniest pictures of a family I have ever seen. I know not everyone shares my sense of humor...

This is relevant to nothing. It simply is one of the funniest pictures of a family I have ever seen. I know not everyone shares my sense of humor…

This post is a total whine so if that’s like nails on a chalkboard to you, I’d advise you move to another page. And I get it. I’m no fan of whiners. And I’m no fan of myself when I become one, but I do try to use this space to get it out so I can deal with people in a healthy way. So, yeah, fair warning.

For someone who hates to admit when people get to her, it’s amazing how much they actually do. I would love to be a tough chick who doesn’t get my feelings hurt or suffer insecurity. And sometimes I am. But sometimes I cry. And my poor mother has to listen to it. (You’re a saint, mom.)

I used to know this kid — this guy — but circumstances changed (driven in part, possibly in large part, by actions he took and decisions he made) and we went our separate ways. This wasn’t a romantic situation, by the way. Just someone I knew. Anyway, when the situation changed, things got harder for me and I was pretty annoyed at the developments that led to the change. But I guess I’ve been through enough in my life to know that it’s best to just walk away and try not to look back when circumstances are dark and beyond your control. And so I did. I gave it some thought, got my head right about it, and washed my hands of it.

Well this kid seems not to have done the same. I keep seeing him — Friday was the most recent — to the point that I’m pretty sure it’s not coincidence. My belief is that he’s trying to force a run in. And what makes that bad is that I’m reasonably certain it’s not out of a real interest in how I am. No, I think it’s one of two things, neither good: He wants to either be a reminder of something difficult or he has a guilty conscience and wants me to ease it for him by letting him know I don’t hate him. How do I know this? Because I know him.

But here’s the thing — there was a time in my life I would have helped him feel better. But that girl is gone because she has to be. I have the capacity to forgive a lot of things. But you, kiddo, crossed a line. And you have to deal with what that means — in this case, you don’t get to know me and I have no interest in talking to you just short of politeness if I’m absolutely forced into dealing with you — because if you don’t deal with the reality that actions have consequences, you’ve learned nothing. And I always tried to help you learn. Because I cared about you and I wanted to see you become a good man. Consider this my parting gift and final lesson in that regard.

Anyway, as much as I like to believe these things don’t hurt me, they do. And they cause me to have rebellious dreams as if I’m still a teenager who wants to run away from home, and I’m far too old and have too many other things to concentrate on to have to negotiate those feelings.

Interestingly, this boy is a member of the millennial generation and I just read this and he’s a pretty good example of what I think about the selfie gen. Obviously painting an entire group with one broad brush is ill-advised — I count as friends some members of this group and they’re absolutely lovely people — but there does seem to be a hardness to these kids in general. And I think the constant me-ness inherent in the taking of selfies (which, to Gillespie’s point, really is driven by the technology rather than some over developed sense of awesomeness in these kids), is representative of that. What I mean is, the kids I’ve known who take a million selfies do it not because they love themselves, but because, after taking 20 or 30 shots they finally alight on one where they look perfect and cool. And this makes them happy. And that’s what they’re after. That fleeting moment where they look like a star to themselves, and they hope to others, and they’ve not had to do much to feel that way, save adjusting the angle of their jaw or applying the right filter. And there’s no joy in that.

So the whole Stephen Colbert thing has just fascinated me. I like Colbert. I think he’s very funny (and not racist. Sigh.), even though his politics drive me crazy because he seems to reason only insofar as his worldview is justified and then the narrative ends. But I think what’s fascinating is that the people who turned on him are HIS PEOPLE. That’s what being arrogant gets you. The belief that there’s honor among thieves, so to speak. You have to very careful walking around people who tend to drop eggshells wherever they go. But the truth is this: he did nothing even remotely approaching the entire movie Blazing Saddles, as brilliant a satire on race relations as exists in any medium. Which probably says something about the culture (there’s that broad brush again…).

A friend of mine sent this to me regarding what may be driving Putin’s aggression. And it’s rather brilliant and makes a great deal of sense. By way of explanation, it’s compelling. But what it doesn’t get into — and what I think Peggy Noonan touches on a little more — is the why. And the what now.

So turns out my Pops agrees with Mark Cuban that the NFL may implode in 10 years, but not because of an expanded television package. He thinks it will come from repeated attempts to smear the sport regarding injury, cultural sensitivity, and the push to unionize at the college level etc. and et al. Speaking of, this just made me laugh. I mean a pundit should really know what happened to Detroit.

Ha, this is why I try really hard not to complain too much. Because I really don’t want to be like Gwyneth Paltrow. I mean her silliness is harmless I guess. But not impressive. I’m not even sure she was trying to say she has it harder necessarily. But the implication that she somehow suffers is there. And really, hon, what I would give to suffer your life. I could probably even make the paparazzi and loneliness and all the other celebrity associated things work if I didn’t have to worry about how my rent and bills were going to be paid and I could go on a reasonable vacation to see loved ones or just get to the beach so I don’t go insane. And I sure as shit wouldn’t be complaining about it publicly. As my friend Shana noted, you need a publicist in that bubble of yours that leaves the comfort of your world sometimes and checks out the way things are on the other side and can advise you on what you should and shouldn’t say. Give it some thought.

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What’s up friends and frenemies? I’m trying a little harder to stay current. Sometimes I succeed at the things I try, sometimes I don’t. We’ll see how this one plays out. Anyway, y’all know what’s coming up right?

This is true.

This is true.

The Boys of Summer of Atlanta will be playing here in DC (!!!!!) for the Nats opening series the first weekend of April. Friday is sold out, but I have tickets for Saturday and there’s a group likely going Sunday, of which I hope to take part. Baseball, people. Baseball. I love it so. And I really can’t explain it except I spent most of my young life at ballfields, all my crushes growing up were baseball players, my first kisses and stolen pets were baseball players, and, because I played fast pitch softball for 11 or so odd years, I just get the game; the fundamentals, the waiting, and the glory of making the play when you haven’t done anything for innings on end. I love it so much. Okay, I’ll stop…

So I really don’t have much to add to the greater dialogue. Except that I forgot how, comparatively speaking, much more stressful it is to ghost write an op-ed than it is to write under your own byline. Because if it’s you and you screw up, you take the heat. When someone else has their name on it, they’re trusting you. I mean I can handle it. I’ve done it 8 million times. I just forgot. And I’m remembering. Other things…

Charles and I were talking the other day and the conversation eventually (because I bother him for his opinion) got around to Putin and Russia and whether or not Communism as an ideology still holds much interest for people, here or anywhere. And of course, as is our way, we got to talking about the liberalism of the privileged. And Charles said something that was great:

“Because once the evil capitalist devil is slain, we can all live in a socialist utopia
To them, America is the biggest hindrance to world peace and harmony. We’re a victim of our own success. Pretty much all of the people who believe that shit are spoiled brats. You don’t hear people in repressed countries saying that America is a hindrance to world peace. It’s only people who grew up in the west
They’ve never seen what actual repression looks like. [It gives them the luxury to be] incredibly naive and stupid. If you were to put someone like that in a room with a former soviet who didn’t want to be soviet, the former soviet would slap the shit out of them.”

Charles and I are friends for a reason.

So who thinks Mark Cuban is right that the NFL will implode in 10 years if it expands its television coverage? A friend of mine thinks the market will saturate with less than optimal play and this will eventually make people feel about football the way they do about basketball (ahem). I take his point. But I just don’t know. I mean almost every man I know would have football on in the background just to make them feel safe even if it was the worst game in the history of ever. But then perhaps I’m underestimating the desire for excellence…

Sandra Fluke is an attorney. She studied logic as a prerequisite to even passing the LSAT. And yet, she has somehow reasoned that elective preventative birth control is healthcare, like chemotherapy or insulin purchases, presumably. As a woman, I have to say, she disappoints me.

My friend Jeremy said about this piece, “If only one of these competing interests was a constitutional right.” (or something along those lines. I may have butchered his quote…)

Ha, I got “accused” of being a neo-con recently (I’m not). So this just made me laugh.

Don’t worry your pretty little heads about why this is relevant to anything but holy cow, they still sell Bar Nones. Want.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge fan, and I’ve read all of these. I’d start with Different Seasons. And put “IT” outside at night so the evil clown doesn’t kill you while you sleep. That’s what I did. (I’m not joking.)

The coral ones. I need them.

Here, have some dancing. Gentlemen, seriously, learn to dance. On a related note, I need to find some ballroom kids here. I miss dancing with them.

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If this is what you bring with you, don't come.

If this is what you bring with you, don’t come.

Hey boos. Been a while I realize so just playing some catch up here. And of course I want to talk all things Putin because Holy Cow he’s just got our number doesn’t he? And I’m a little more concerned about that than the lighthearted way I just put it.

It occurred to me sometime last week — I think after reading Rand Paul’s assertion that Ronald Reagan was more a diplomat than a hawk, and how that’s a good thing — that we have a serious problem in the way we think about defense in this country. No disrespect intended toward Sen. Paul because he’s got some fine ideas on some things, but I think he’s wrong on this one. It’s true Reagan didn’t rush headlong into war. The restraint when it came to Russia during the Cold War is certainly a good example of how he ultimately held things together diplomatically until some kind of relaxing of tensions could be achieved. But part of the reason he was successful at that was because he was unafraid to bomb your house after only a few days if you couldn’t get your act together. Therefore, people took him seriously at the negotiating table. If you can be counted on to make the really tough decisions — and I think for an ethical guy like Reagan, bombing Libya probably left him with some lasting regret — then you simply pull more weight with leaders who are willing to do things they know you aren’t. I mean I guess you have to meet their crazy strength with moral strength — and sometimes that means pulling the trigger. I think this is what a friend of mine calls using “diplomacy as a weapon.” Which I think is a really great skill. We just seem to suck at it right now. Or Putin wouldn’t be acting so aggressively, right?

Anyway, here’s Krauthammer on the issue and I tend to agree with him. I’m a little tired of looking like — what did Obama call Al Qaeda now? — the JV team.

As I’ve argued here before, there are things we can do: Send the secretary of defense to Kiev tomorrow to negotiate military assistance. Renew the missile-defense agreement with Poland and the Czech Republic. Announce a new policy of major U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas. Lead Europe from the front — to impose sanctions cutting off Russian enterprises from the Western banking system.

As we speak, Putin is deciding whether to go beyond Crimea and take eastern Ukraine. Show him some seriousness, Mr. President.

And I’ve been asking everyone I know — people I consider reputable by experience, profession, and native intelligence — why we’ve gotten to this place where we have basically become a liability as an ally on the current world stage and what I’m hearing is basically a version of this every time. These guys, by the way, are hilarious and smart. As evidenced by their admiration of Val Kilmer in Tombstone.

And apparently I’m not the only one on edge over this stuff. The normally adorable and forgiving Dana Perino (which is not to suggest she doesn’t know her business. Just that she’s pretty nice.) nearly made her disgust with Bob Beckel palpable. Some may say that it’s about time given some of the stuff that comes out of his mouth.

And here’s Paul Ryan on the GOP and hollowing out of our defense capabilities. I agree that defense spending suffers bloat. But I’m not so jazzed about the perception of cuts right at the moment. I really wonder what kind of defense we’re playing just trying to appear weak. Is this some master stroke of psyops I’m unaware of?

And, because I have to touch on it because the push to sell seems to be gaining speed rather than slowing down, the always hilarious Mary Katharine Hamm on the improbable idea that “tons” of people are writing the White House gushing about ACA. Come the f*ck on.

Okay fun stuff now. Trying to decide if I want to meet the Arlington kids later to watch basketball. Maybe…If I can find the spark…

The first smart watch I’ve seen that actually appealed to me aesthetically.

This is how you burn a loudmouth opponent after an upset.

I want them all. The abstract painting one is so, so cool.

Be nice to each other this weekend everyone. I have a feeling we’re going to need that kind of thing in coming months.

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‘Sup y’all? I have a few minutes while I finish up this delicious pot pie. It’s really just that good and will probably tide me over for the rest of the day so that I’ll only need minimal sustenance this evening. I consider that a good meal. Anyway, I have many newsy type links and not a whole lot cycling around in my head. Except that it turns out the crawfish boil has now become a barbeque because the crawfish is too little just yet — pretty sure they get them sent up from Louisiana and this crazy winter has taken a bit of a toll. But I’m assured that a boil is forthcoming (woot!) and we’re going to play some softball tomorrow in between grilling and drinking beer and playing pool (double woot!). But, because this is mostly the LSU softball team, and I’m on the UGA team, they said I have to earmuff it when they go over the signs. They have my word. I wouldn’t do anything to ruin my shot at getting invited to their parties. They hang out in my favorite way — outside, no pretense, lawn games, beer, no one really discusses work or schmoozes, and everyone knows how to hold their liquor. Lots of laughing, low drama. I’m telling you — Louisiana people are awesome. And, more generally, it’s a Southern thing. Anyway, let me just hand you some things to read and think about — apologies if you’re feeling a little run down by the state of the world but keep your chin up. But stay informed. Now I have to get some tasks completed and then I’m most definitely walking down to the water and meditating for a bit because I have the freedom to do that. And that’s really cool.

I’m just fascinated by what’s happening in Crimea and someone suggested to me the other day that it makes no sense to consider Putin a mad dictator, especially since, according to my friend, we tend to be more diplomatically forgiving of places that are arguably worse like, say, China. This article is for him. I tend to agree that it’s unwise to underestimate someone as sharp and successful and, clearly, willing to do whatever he feels he needs to do, but I’m more in line with this article. Because a show of aggression from a bully must be met with strength. No one says you have to fight to prove to a bully that you are capable of winning.

And for an example of how you accomplish that, here. Sometimes you just have to rise above to let people know that their pettiness isn’t worthy of your time or resources.

Now for the domestic stuff: My dad is nearly convinced that there’s no way that the insurance market won’t collapse and so the failure of Obamacare — which it looks like was always the plan — has been (wrap your brain around it) successful. I’m not so sure just yet. But I think this is hilarious and everyone who bought into the program (you know who you are) should feel very, very suckered.

But it is nice to see that Republicans on the Hill are finally figuring out the sucker game and are giving it back a little.

This is also for a friend. My buddy Charles sent it along and, while I do have a soft spot for Stewart and he can be funny as hell, all of this is true. And, to my friend who thinks that journalism requires “destroying” one party or another, that’s not what many people in the field think. It’s a shame that some do.

“…because for the Left the point of journalism is not to criticize politics or to analyze politics but to be a servant of politics, to “destroy” such political targets as may be found in one’s crosshairs. For the Left, the maker of comedy and the maker of graphs perform the same function. It does not matter who does the “destroying,” so long as it gets done.”

How charity beats the snot out of government hand-outs. Good, long piece. Read it for Saint Patrick’s day.

Since I will no longer be touching on this subject — it depresses me too much and I’m feeling like I’m going to need my smile — I’m glad someone is still writing about this. Outrage porn indeed.

Hmmmm. I’d actually love to hear a response from Tyson on some of this stuff.

It might be too soon but this is just perfect. Also, of course it was probably hijacked…

My Pops would say people are writing these books out of a sense that things are very wrong and headed down a dark path. We have a collective consciousness.

Y’all, seriously, this should be in my closet.

How to be a man.

Yes to cheap wine.

Double yes to food festivals that give you hints about upcoming restaurants opening in the area.

Triple yes to lower calorie versions of the foods you grew up eating.

Finally, danced to this last night. It was good for the soul.

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Robes in public

Disney wisdom.

Disney wisdom.

Hey kids. I feel like I owe everyone an apology. I let it all get to me yesterday. And letting it all get to me is unacceptable. Let me explain…

Silliness shouldn’t annoy you. People do silly things and those things should be taken in stride. But twice recently I got pulled into some relationship upheavals that had nothing to do with me and yet, somehow, I ended up blamed (scapegoated) for those upheavals. And it really, really set me on edge. And I’m not a robot. I am human and I do have feelings and all that stupid stuff. And I’m pretty protective of love, just as a concept. So when all the selfishness and cruelty starts — and all relationships have periods of that stuff — it makes me tremendously uncomfortable in general, but especially when some of that cruelty and selfishness is directed at me, presumably because I’m safe to scapegoat. Friends always are because the stakes aren’t as high. So that happened, as I said, twice in as many days. And at some point I just stopped believing — only for a few hours but they were a painful few — that people were actually capable of love. Add to that the new mantra of the young-and-smitten “this is the love of my life!” that started creeping all through my facebook feed Sunday and I just about flipped a cog. My mom thinks that expression is hilarious. “It’s the new ‘soulmate’,” she said laughing. But it didn’t amuse me when no less than 3 people gushed about the “love of their life!” after seeing some of the things that really go on behind closed doors. Some of them even did the little social media heart and I felt like I was in 6th grade Social Studies class watching that goofy girl in front of me writing the name of her crush over and over in her notebook with little hearts and arrows around it. I’ve never been one of those girls who got goofy like that. I certainly have loved deeply — it’s a serious thing for me — but the curlicues and flamboyant declarations have never been my particular thing. Frankly I’ve always sensed a measure of the disingenuous in that sort of thing. Love is quieter and deeper than all that. It reminded me of an ex that I dated and seriously thought about marrying. When it came time to declare our feelings, he was hesitant about using the word “love.” He had been through a bad marriage and divorce and had children he had to negotiate with a crazy person (sorry, but she was), and he said, “People throw that word around too much and it stops meaning what it should mean.” I agreed with him then. And he did eventually say it. But the idea wasn’t foreign to me. My mother likes to tell me the story of never being totally sure, for about 10 years into her marriage to my father, of how he really felt about some things because he didn’t verbally express himself in those ways. He’s a country guy and keeps things like that close to the vest. “I knew how he felt because of the things he did, but it was hard for him to be vocal about his feelings. And sometimes you just need to hear it,” my mother says. And that was the tradition I came up in. You just walk the walk.

But then I got checked by my father for assuming my way is the way things ought to be done and that, yes, it’s okay to be discerning about people who are into that kind of thing (I have a brother who falls for it every time and it has led to both very bad and very good things in his life), but that it shouldn’t get to me or be something I’m bothered by. Which made me feel hateful for a little bit, but is ultimately the truth. And so, sorry everybody for actually speaking out about how goofy you look to me and how I think you cheapen the emotion by being so casual about throwing around a pretty serious statement that, who are we kidding?, couldn’t possibly be true yet because your life’s not over. I’ll try to be kinder about what I consider pretty careless and frivolous attempts at proving to the world you have attained something that, by my calculation, is better left in the soft places of the heart and proven through action and dedication rather than a casual dashing off of a few words on social media so that the girl sitting behind you in social studies class, or anyone else who might take notice, knows how great you have it. Because that’s about you. And that’s not how love works.

Meh. Being bossy isn’t cool if you’re a guy or a girl. There are better ways to motivate people. So I’m not sure I understand what they’re going for here. Reclaiming the word so that the behavior is somehow okay?

Oh yeah, I’d totally watch this. All nerds will. (h/t Allison)

Very interesting question here on the disappearance of the militia and what that might say about our freedom as a people.

“But there was a unanimous desire to avoid being associated with such a complaint in any form.”

DRAGONS.

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This is how I felt today. Props to my buddy Dan, who has a million of these things and they're all hilarious.

This is how I felt today. Props to my buddy Dan, who has a million of these things and they’re all hilarious.

It’s been one of those days people. One of those days. I did manage to celebrate Mardi Gras by getting some beignets and strong coffee down at Bayou Bakery in between things. And now I’m having a beer and eating dirty rice with andouille sausage before getting back to my friend Lisa’s book “Finding Mr. Righteous.” I’m hoping to write a review of it — maybe just in this space but possibly elsewhere…in any event, I’m going to try to explain my day and then never speak of it again. Because that’s what happens when people intimidate you out of discussing the hard topics by accusing you of being hateful to satisfy their need to be outraged: you stop talking. And that’s a shame man because that just widens the divide.

Things started like this: a pack of 11 year old girls walked past me in the metro this morning and one of them reached out and pulled my hair. Just grabbed a handful and pulled, not crazy hard, but enough to notice. So I stopped, turned around and said, “Okay ladies, which one of you pulled my hair?” and the smallest one, who had a mouth on her like nothing I’ve ever heard, said “It was me. I hate your hair.” Now, having been an 11 year old girl, I know the opposite is actually probably closer to the truth. So I said, “Okay girls, here’s the problem with that: Some people aren’t nice and you may find yourself knocked to the ground or with your own hair separated from your head.” They laughed, I think genuinely, so maybe I got through. But it set the tone.

Because then I posted about the mental gymnastics it takes to make this story make sense coming from a guy who recently declared that the word “thug” is the new epitaph of the racist. I mean look, I get that the N-word (sigh) is used with affection between black guys and I get where Sherman is coming from saying the idea isn’t a good one. It’d be hard to “enforce”. I even get where he’s coming from bristling at the word “thug.” But, and I’m just going to say this one time, NOT EVERYTHING IS RACIST. And if you see everything as racist you have a chip on your shoulder that does not serve you well. My conversation on the subject via social media was basically 1) Sherman could stand to lighten up a bit and 2) the N-word has offended many people over many years and I’m not sure that Sherman is the arbiter of what’s offensive and what’s not and can just unilaterally decide that one word offends while another no longer does. Also, I’m pretty sure the NFL isn’t trying to be racist on this one. And again, how is Richard Sherman the expert on all this? Because he threw a temper tantrum not long ago and made the news? I made the point that I had zero problem with the kid, that he was young and figuring things out, and that, my friends, apparently made me privileged, condescending and — pretty sure this was the implication — maybe just maybe a little bit insensitive to racial problems. Man, I just can’t deal with that kind of dangerous need to be a victim anymore, from any of the perpetually outraged. The other day this feminist lady suggested to two of my male friends — good, decent, smart men with strong minds and in loving relationships with women — that they were not to have opinions on the subject of abortion BECAUSE THEY WERE MEN. I. Just. Can’t.

Anyway, it bummed me out and I deleted the conversation, something I rarely do because it feels like acquiescence to bad behavior. But I chatted with my Pops about it and he said that you can’t get past some people’s walls using love or logic and it would serve me well to recognize that and, perhaps, steer clear of those topics in future. And that’s good advice. But also, as I said in the beginning, an almost crying shame because it stops conversation about things we should be talking about. Not sure what happens after those conversations stop…

Okay other stuff. I have to read.

This is a good piece. Concise and to the point. There’s room for vagaries of opinion on these things, of course. But the problem comes in the gray area between academic and real-life.

Blergh. I’d be mad that half of my kid’s genetic material was made of chromosomes from such a certifiable coward.

Here’s the thing about Israel that I’ve always respected: we may give up on them, the world may give up on them, but they do not ever give up on themselves. Don’t look for them to.

Sure it’s good it’s getting some attention but then I sort of like the idea of keeping out interest in the electromagnetic spectrum a little hush-hush.

This just makes me see red. It’s one thing to be overwhelmed and have an antiquated system but your answer shouldn’t be to purge requests unless you know they can reasonably be closed. It violates so many rules we have about care for the infirm, care for our veterans, the continuing goal of efficiency, etc.

This was cute. He was never going to get the job but I’m sure he had a great time. And sometimes that’s just as good.

Aaaaah, I’m gonna break and get another dog at some point…I’m just not that strong.

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