Saturday, May 13, 2017

Trigger warning.

Don't say I didn't warn you.
It's the texture. The taste. And a buzz, which I've never managed to define.

My favorite eatery serves enormous slices of chocolate cake, easily five servings for anyone else. Sometimes I can get it all down in one sitting. Today, it takes a couple hours. The more I eat, and the more that rich sludge goes down, the more I disappear into the blessed fog. I retreat past the cake, into two cream-filled donuts, and then into a double-scoop of premium ice cream. Before long, I'm feeling sick. Maybe protein will help, so I run out for a quarter pounder and fries. Because, you know, balance. Later, a large pepperoni pizza. I only plan to eat two slices, but before I go to bed, only two slices remain.
In the middle of the night, I wake up choking and coughing as sewage lurches up from my stomach, searing my throat. Reflux. I down the maximum dose of antacid, which I always keep close now, and I fall back to sleep, my throat still burning. Morning will bring another binge.
Fifteen pounds ago, I could still walk. Now I lumber, and I start wheezing in less than a block. People notice, and they comment sympathetically.
Every outing, even to the grocery store, requires multiple calculations: how far can I walk? Is it uphill or downhill? Will there be a place to rest along the way? When I get where I'm going, will there be a place to sit down? Will I fit in the chair? Because sometimes, I don't. Through doorways, down rows of theater seats, in restaurant booths, on planes. Sometimes I misjudge and collide with table corners. Subsequent bruising explained. 
The larger I get, the harder I try to be invisible. In meetings, when I squeeze into chairs that are too close together, I'm aware that I am invading you. We both scoot a little, trying to create some room, but the physics of it... I apologize to you for taking up space.
I recall the words of a friend: "I heard you used to be really cute."
I have but a daily reprieve. Complacency is not an option.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Okay, I've heard enough.

Give Trump a chance, I said. Maybe he'll do a good job, I said. Well, I did. And no, he won't. Our worst fears are being realized. 

Let's put aside, for a moment, the many, many things that should have disqualified Trump from the presidency in the first place. Here is a sampling of what he's done so far as president-elect:

-- Filled his cabinet with a rancid basket of sexist, racist, homophobic, anti-environment, anti-government, xenophobic deplorables;
-- Summarily rejected FBI and CIA intelligence;
-- Continued to issue moronic, unhinged tweets, going so far as to call those who opposed his candidacy his "enemies."
-- Condemned the cast of Hamilton for exercising their First Amendment rights, while remaining silent about the hundreds of hate crimes that have taken place since the election;
-- Failed to offer any reasonable protection against business conflicts of interest; and
-- Lied, and then lied some more about illegal votes and jobs saved.

Trump has no ideology. He's crude and emotionally unstable. He doesn't care about anyone but himself. He's not even very smart -- much to Putin's delight. 

Trump is a dangerous demagogue. Is he the new Hitler? No, but then Hitler wasn't Hitler either, when he was elected. Until he was.

Trump is going to be the president of the United States, and there's nothing I can do about that. But he'll never be my president. Never. 

Consider me part of the resistance.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Thoughts on an Election

Our vision has not died, and we are STILL stronger together.

As difficult as it is (and I'm having a really tough time typing this), my decision is to accept the outcome.

Therefore, I pray for our nation and for our president-elect, just as my parents taught me to do. And while I have no respect for Donald Trump the man, I offer him the respect for his presidency that was never afforded President Obama. And who knows, maybe he'll even do a good job. I am now obligated to give him that chance.

At the same time, I believe one of my highest duties as American citizen is to fight against forces that would undermine our Constitution and fundamental American ideals. I believe the United States is in danger from such forces. 

By electing Donald Trump, and by maintaining a Republican House and Senate, the American people have put us on notice that we -- Muslims, Jews, women, people of color, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community, among others -- can now be discriminated against with impunity. We have been put on notice that we are second-class citizens. We are now to settle for a marginal role in the American journey.

Whatever else I must accept about the 2016 election, I have no intention of accepting that.

So, while I have made the decision to move forward with faith and optimism, I must also increase my vigilance. I must embrace sacrifice and action. I must fight not only for myself, but for others now further marginalized. In short, I must fight for my country.

Together, today, we move forward as Americans.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

"How about a little hug for the Bushy?"

Oh, where to begin? The Access Hollywood tape, the pre-debate exploitation of Bill Clinton's victims, and the second debate itself. The mind reels! It's become a feeding frenzy, and pundits on both sides are imploring all of us to get back to the real issues.

But I'm going to take one more look anyway. 

From the debate:
COOPER: ... We received a lot of questions online, Mr. Trump, about the tape that was released on Friday, as you can imagine. You called what you said locker room banter. You described kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?
TRUMP: No, I didn’t say that at all. I don’t think you understood what was — this was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. I apologize to my family. I apologize to the American people. Certainly I’m not proud of it. But this is locker room talk.
Wait -- what? "No, I didn't say that at all. I don't think you understood ,,,"

Now, Trump is not denying that he said the words. Indeed, he freely admits it. No, it's worse than that. When he mansplains the concept of "locker room talk" to Anderson Cooper, what he's really saying is this: "No. What I described on that tape isn't sexual assault."

Of course, he's wrong, but here's the thing. Let's assume for a moment that it was just talk (not that Trump deserves that concession). Let's see what happens when Trump and Bush get off the bus.
TRUMP: Hello. How are you? Hi.
ARIANNE ZUCKER: Hi Mr. Trump. How are you? Pleasure to meet you.
TRUMP: Nice seeing you. Terrific, terrific. You know Billy Bush?
BUSH: Hello, nice to see you. How are you doing, Arianne?
ZUCKER: I’m doing very well, thank you. [To Trump] Are you ready to be a soap star?
TRUMP: We’re ready, let’s go. Make me a soap star.
BUSH: How about a little hug for the Donald? He just got off the bus.
ZUCKER: Would you like a little hug, darling?
TRUMP: Okay, absolutely. Melania said this was okay.
BUSH: How about a little hug for the Bushy? I just got off the bus. There we go. Excellent. Well, you’ve got a nice co-star here.
ZUCKER:  Yes. Absolutely.
TRUMP: Good. After you. Come on, Billy. Don’t be shy.
Billy Bush, whom we've just heard giggling uncontrollably at Trump's "banter," becomes the aggressor. Having learned from Trump how real men act, but without the confidence of the Donald, Bush first offers the young actress to Trump for a hug and then, in one of the creepiest lines in the whole tape, takes her for himself. Yes, he asks permission, but I doubt she felt free to refuse.

No, it isn't rape. But it is rape culture, which is deeply symbolic of gender inequality.

And gender equality, my friends, is a real issue. Those of us who have fought rape culture since the 1970s  -- hell, since the beginning of time -- have no intention of leaving it behind.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

What we were like, and then some -- a Spotify playlist for Recovery September

September is recovery month, and I'm happy -- very, very happy -- to tell  you I haven't had to drink or use in 12,836 days. Crazy, huh?

But even at 35 years sober, I like a distraction from real work as much as the next addict. So this weekend, when I should have been putting up  the living room blinds and pulling weeds, I spent a shitload of time putting together a Spotify playlist called "What we were like, what happened, and what we're like now." You'll find the link below. I think it's around 60 songs, so I'll be kind of surprised if anyone actually listens to the whole thing, but what the hell. I'll listen to it, plus I get a blog post out of it. So there.

If you do decide to listen, a couple warnings:

First, it's not terribly child friendly, unless your child has a mouth like a sailor. Probably not a great idea to play it while you're hauling the neighborhood kiddies to school.

Second, TRIGGER ALERT. It starts out pretty light, but the section on "what we were like" gets progressively darker, and ends up very dark indeed -- just like the disease of addiction,  So if it starts to get to you, skip ahead to "Amazing Grace." It's pretty much uphill (in a good way) from there.

Finally, if I've accidentally included a skinhead band or something similarly awful, please tell me so I can take it out.

And now, for your consideration:


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Henny Penny Snags a Big One

So anyway, Ducky Lucky was taking his morning constitutional when he ran into Henny Penny. She was dragging along a huge plastic case about twice her size. It wasn't going well.

"What on earth are you doing, Henny Penny?" asked Ducky Lucky.

Bringing home my new rotary hammer," Henny Penny gasped. "Whew! Gotta sit down."

Ducky Lucky eyed his friend carefully. "Rotary hammer. You mean like a jackhammer?"

Henny Penny was still catching her breath. "Not a jackhammer. Rotary hammer." She licked a drop of sweat from the tip of her beak.

"Lemme see," Ducky Lucky demanded.

"Okay," Henny Penny wheezed. She tried to lay the case down gently on its side, but she lost her balance and she fell with the case. Suppressing a squawk, she opened the lid. Inside was a huge, sleek, green tool that looked more like an assault weapon than any kind of hammer. If it were a person it would have been Chuck Connors as Marvin "The Claw" Zuckerman.

"Holy fuck!" said Ducky Lucky, not even trying to hide his admiration. What is a rotary hammer, anyway?"

Just then Foxy Loxy trotted up. "Whoa! Is that an assault weapon or are you just happy to see me?"

"It's a rotary hammer," Ducky Lucky said. "Cool, huh?"

"Yes, indeed, it's a real beauty all right!" gushed Foxy Loxy. "What's a rotary hammer?"

"I don't know," said Ducky Lucky. "But I'm pretty sure I want one."

Henny Penny rolled her eyes. "Don't you two know anything? It's like a drill, only on steroids. It hammers while it drills. In and out! Around and around!"

Foxy Loxy walked around the hammer, inspecting it from all sides. He narrowed his eyes. "It's kind of phallic, isn't it?"

Yeah. It's eighteen inches long and it's mine.
Foxy Loxy reached down to pick it up, but Henny Penny intercepted.  "It's mine!"

"Yours?" Foxy Loxy asked, incredulous. "Oh, come on. You can barely hang a picture."

"Well, that changes today," clucked Henny Penny, and then she grinned. "This baby can drill through cement!"

"Since when do you need to drill through cement?" asked Foxy Loxy.

"It was on sale," Henny Penny said defensively. She pulled out a Sham-Wow and began to polish it. "I've named him Diesel," she said quietly.

"Do you even know how to run that thing?" asked Ducky Lucky.

Henny Penny shifted uncomfortably. "Sure, I do," she hedged.

Ducky Lucky took Henny Penny by her shoulders and looked straight into her eyes. "As I recall, you once pounded frozen hamburger crumbles in the frying pan with a hammer. Shit flew everywhere. Face it, Henny Penny. You're just not good with tools."

Henny Penny's eyes flashed. "I'll have you know I'm very mechanical!"

At this, Ducky Lucky and Foxy Loxy broke into fits of laughter. "Yeah, right! Like when you didn't replace your brakes until they actually fell off your car. Oh, and when you caused a gasoline flood at the BigGas because you forgot to turn off the nozzle. Yeah, you're real mechanical, Henny Penny. That's rich!"

As they were recovering from the joke, Owlie Jowlie walked up and eyed the rotary hammer. "Kind of phallic, isn't it?"

"Oh, shut up!" growled Henny Penny. "I'm done." She stood up and ruffled her feathers. "Let's go, Diesel. We'll find a nice piece of cement, just the two of us. We'll have a picnic." The little hen tenderly covered Diesel with the Sham-Wow and latched the cover.

"You know, you really are kind of phallic," whispered Henny Penny.  And with a mighty heave on the case, Henny Penny began the long trek home.

Epilogue: 

-- Yes, I bought this, and yes, it's huge.
-- No, I don't call it Diesel. 
-- I was so intimidated when I opened it up that it took me a month to take it out of the case, and another two weeks to turn it on. 
-- After I drilled two practice holes in the garage I had to lay down.
-- Now I can hang pictures on my cement walls.


Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Phyllis Schlafly is Dead.

Phyllis Schlafly died of cancer yesterday. She was most famous for her successful fight to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment. More than any single person, Phyllis Schlafly is the reason women are still not protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Schlafly was an attorney, activist, and prolific writer. She successfully formed and led right-wing extremist groups. She could not have accomplished any of this but for early feminists. On the backs of suffragettes, she did her best to destroy the women's movement. She was a rabid opponent of LGBT rights, too, despite the fact that she had a gay son.

These are just a few of her charms. You'll find plenty more in the Washington Post's obit.

Cancer is a terrible thing, and I hope Phyllis Schlafly didn't suffer. To her family, I'm sorry for their loss.

For the rest of us, however, I celebrate her passing.  The world is now a little brighter.