Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The defamation of Jesse

We've done it again. Shocked the system. Apparently you can defame a public joke that prances around in tights and feather boas. I'd show you a picture of that here, but shoot, if Jesse Ventura will sue the widow of a soldier, he sure won't have any hesitation about going after an un-employed middle-aged woman.

I admit, I was one of the idiots that voted for him in 2008. The two parties each offered us a cynical choice: two hacks with name recognition. They were terrible. Jesse said "Give me a try, I can't be worse." Wrong. Even Republicans voted for him, jumping away from their party. Democrats will do that, but rarely do you see that in Republican circles. I knew how bad it would be that first night when he flew to New York to make jokes on the David Letternman show about drunken Irish-Americans laying out the streets of Saint Paul. And then he attended his inaugural party in a boa, to sing Werewolves of London. (hint, follow the link to the Pioneer Press and at least you will see one picture of another idiot in a Boa)

The damage to the state he caused continues. I no longer get mad every year that my used car pays the same yearly tax as his tricked out over-sized SUV. What's the point? I voted for him, he changed the laws. But I am sorry that celebrity overcame common sense.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


I've been thinking about my worst job lately. I've had quite a few jobs, some I loved, some were just okay. They put food on the table. Teaching, house-cleaning, retail, babysitting, all sorts. All jobs have their triumphs, their trying moments. But what makes a worst job?

Was it the discomfort? Standing in the back of a semi-trailer selling houseplants in a parking lot in the full sun of a hot summer day? No, that was okay. I liked the plants, and there was a DQ in the next parking lot. Was it fear of lurking danger? I had one baby-sitting job where the child was referred to by the mother as "The Monster." My entire responsibility was to make sure she didn't kill her brother while the parents were gone. They also had a psychotic Siamese cat. The cat was fine, as long as you didn't move. Otherwise it would attack and bite. "The Monster" and the cat got along fine; she would deposit it in my lap, and then take off after her brother, leaving me to ponder exactly whose blood did I want to be cleaning up. The pay was excellent. I learned to wear very thick clothing.

So what makes a job bad? Perhaps just the attitude you bring to it, or the lack of respect you encounter. Me, I'm just happy I survived the psychotic Siamese.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Sorceror's Apprentice

Our interface with technology is troubling. Is the flight from our grounded life into virtual reality good or bad for us? Somedays I squarely come down as 'Bad for us!' If I am feeling curmedgeonly I can be quite vehement. Other more reasonable days, no. It's not bad for us, anymore than a chocolate bar is bad for us. One hundred chocolate bars though.., too much of a sugar rush and we lose contact with our own life.

It's also seductive. That sweet, dark sensation of melting softness across our mouth, riveting our attention, momentarily blurring the thoughts of our frantic day, our resolve to 'eat right,' our necessary connections to real living beings perhaps standing next to us. I usually keep a chocolate bar hidden away, where no one can find it, comforted by the possibility of a private solace when everything has gotten to be too much. It's a necessary reset button.

Virtual reality is the same. It promises us a momentary respite, a way out of unresolveable present demands. We all need a way to step back when real life has gotten too complex. And it's free. It's non-fattening. It's informative. It makes us laugh and feel better. And so we can fool ourselves, not remembering that while one chocolate bar is good, five or more will cause distress in the physical body. I cannot imagine how hundreds of 'friends' feels on FaceBook. I think of savoring one chocolate bar, and will stick to my real life friends and be happy at the respite they provide. More lasting, and no overload.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Whiplash and Air-conditioning

I laughingly joked on Tuesday, with highs in the 60s, and lows in the 40s, about how out-of-towners should stick around and see real Minnesota weather. Even I didn't expect a swing of 60 degrees in 5 days. Yuck. Urgent Warning from the National Weather Service on Excessive Heat. Yeah, it's ugly out today. Only 91, but with the humidity, look for a Heat Index of 102. That's where they start telling you check on your neighbors, be careful, la-de-dah.

They are right. It is dangerous, particuliarly after an unusually wet and cool summer. We haven't built up our heat coping yet with a nice slow gradual warming starting in April. Shoot, this April we had 20 inches of snow on the ground. Which brings me to air-conditioning. I hate it. I swear it's the death of American community, as well as a cause of global warming. People no longer sit outside as the weather heats up. They no longer stroll around their neighborhood in the cool of the evening. Instead, everyone is holed up in their closed houses, with the air-conditioning running full blast. We don't chat with our neighbors, or anyone, anymore.

On days like today, I have no problem with that idea. But what of the 75 degree days? the 80 degree days? Even the 90 degree days? I pulled out the window unit this morning, and installed it in the back bedroom. We have an 18 year old cat named Sneaker, staying with us for a while, and I prefer not to take chances with someone else's pet (or grandma, or child). It's beastly hot, the guest cat should be fine in the cooled room, and as for the rest of our household, we'll just move slow, and lounge around a lot. We'll just follow Gracie's lead above.

Friday, July 18, 2014


Writing is a dirty little secret. Just like wearing a spandex shaper (once called a girdle), or drinking alone. Actually, I've never worn a girdle, but if I did, I imagine I wouldn't admit it easily. I've written many things through my life: letters, papers for school, diatribes to politicians. Oh, yes, and the occasional other.

After years of writing in the closet, I am actually taking the plunge and sending off a piece to a literary magazine. Taking action is not comfortable. You can fool yourself by pretending you are merely keeping your light under a bushel rather than admit the fear of exposing yourself to the light of day. In the end, that's rather sterile. So it's time to open the shutters, come out of the closet, step forward and expose my light to the world.

I'm sending a missive out into the world: I'm here, I write, and I'm okay with that.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Dog Days of Summer

The All Star game starts today. It's amusing. Living in Minnesota we are all used to silly questions over the years. Usually it's on how cold it gets in the winter: Plenty. And now we are getting questions on the cold summer.
One fact struck me years ago when visiting Washington DC in the summer. I was glad to get out of Minnesota, we were in a beastly heat wave. And yes, it was cooler (and drier) in Washington DC. Actually that fact led the local DC news for two nights running. As if it should be a surprise to anyone that Mid-continent gets beastly heat waves far away from cooling ocean breezes. As if living at the top of the Mississippi River Valley doesn't provide us with muggy weather. Ah well, Climate change is just reinforcing the perception of Minnesota as an ice-box, as extremes get magnified.
Stick around, you visitors, we'll be able to show you our normal weather in a week or so. As for now, I'm enjoying wearing a light sweater. (Although it feels weird!)

Saturday, July 12, 2014


It's a grey day, and perfect for introspection and re-invention. I've decided to take my nose out of my books, my hands off my knitting needles, and venture into the larger world. Oh, and why blue? Becuase it clarifies your thoughts...