Monday, April 30, 2012

This one's pretty punny

I haven't done one of these for a while, because they're hard. Real hard.

I was going to write this post with a pencil, but it was pointless and then I thought an erasable pen might work but that was only a good idea on paper...and anyway how would anyone read it? The pony express doesn't ride everywhere you live and I'd hate for you to miss one. Many of you get these delivered to your iPhones, Droids, or other wireless devices and in order to be sure you never miss one I'd like to suggest that you name your device "Titanic"...that way it'll always sync appropriately.

Puns can be fun if you understand them. Personally, my cross eyed English teacher got fired before she could teach me because she just couldn't control her pupils. Now I'm stuck here in the US with a lesser education. This causes me heartache, too, because I've always wanted to go to England. After all, despite not having a kidney bank, they DO have a Liverpool over there, and I think that'd be swell to see. They've also got some neat moors over there and I've thought it might cool to catch some of the fog that rolls in, even though most people I know have mist it. 

I really can't blame the English teacher, because I also failed out of my communism class.  I had such lousy Marx I couldn't contribute like I was supposed to (but remember your driving instructor fondly, okay? They're almost always roads scholars). I tried being a banker, but I lost interest. That's because in school I could never understand math, even when the teacher summed it up for me. I lasted just one day as an amplifier salesperson because I couldn't get my volume of sales up enough. And my word, I did well enough at the concrete plant, but it just kept getting harder and harder!

My job as a butcher was no good because I couldn't make the cut so I finally found a job at a bakery where I got my kneaded dough. The only thing that really worries me now is that my flight to England leaves from JFK and I've heard that all the toilets in New York have been stolen. The police have nothing to go on!! Crime will surely surge and I just don't want to be in that situation. For example...a cartoon artist was found dead, but the details are sketchy!

Maybe I'll head over to Greece instead. A journalist friend of mine just got back and is writing columns about the trip. (I have another friend who's an Italian pastry maker...she can't travel either and I cannoli imagine what she's going through.) I could try my hand at rock climbing but that seems rather precipitous, so I just don't know what to do. Maybe I'll drink this beer and think more about it. If the electricity goes out at the bar, I'm's a lite beer.

Friday, April 27, 2012

NFL Draft

"Google Trends provides insights into broad search patterns."

This might make sense later....

The top Google search today is the NFL draft. It shouldn't surprise anyone, but it surprises me because I almost always expect to see something substantive on the trends page. When Op-eds, Facebook timelines, Twitter feeds, Pinterest and Tumblr pages are FULL of vitriol and "re-post this if you hate....," I wonder why the majority of searches are on the NFL draft.

I'm feeling a little down about how our national consciousness works. It's disheartening to me how flippantly the Collective We bounces around the problems of the day, hour or minute. 

I got no beef with the NFL draft (Idiom! For my non-native readers, this means I'm not angry or upset about the NFL draft happening or existing). And that's a fact. I adore football. I live for the pre-season and I wish they'd televise games from August through March. I say add as many games as a player's body can handle! I've seen how they behave in the off-season, and I feel confident in asserting that most players aren't treating their bodies as paragons of pig-skin virtue. All this being said, I can't believe that the majority of Googlers today are solely interested in football.

Where's the hysterical economic frenzy? I mean, last I heard we still have Obamacare and that means we're all going to perish under the iron fist of socialism. No one is working tirelessly on that today? What about the church and birth control? Is that all finished? And remember (you might not because it's ANCIENT HISTORY) the earthquake in Haiti??

That was in really, it practically doesn't even count anymore, and do you want to know how I know it doesn't count anymore to the Collective We? Because Punky Brewster is Haiti's biggest spokesperson. Punky Brewster. That's who I had to find to get info on what it's like now in Haiti. And just to share the knowledge, two years after the quake, according to the Ms. Moon Frye "there are still collapsed buildings and so much rubble everywhere. Hundreds of thousands of people are living in tent cities, literally living under tarps." 

Now, let me add my disclaimer: I know that there are people all over the planet and everywhere in my country working tirelessly everyday for causes. I know there are people giving time, money, effort, energy and talent to pursuits of human decency. If there weren't, I don't think I could have possibly lasted this, as an "alive" person. And I don't think we should always ever only be dedicated to noble, philanthropic, depressing or global concerns. You get that, right? 

It's just that the Collective We is so myopic. 

We have a long-view of about fourteen minutes, or 3 feet, or one quarter cup. En masse, we can handle any one given topic for about 6 soundbites and then we're done; off to the next shiny toy. The ADHD really wears me down sometimes, because I'd like to hunker in once or twice and stick with something. I'd like to see something through to its natural conclusion even if that takes a few weeks...or a few months. And holy crap! I'd like to see something through YEARS down the line. I have pet projects of my own that I am seeing through to completion.

And frankly, they're none of your business. We're not here to discuss the nuance of my life, or yours. A change in thought process is what's needed. My man, the Dalai Lama, knows it. Balance is what's needed. We don't need to fling ourselves headlong into a frenzy of advocacy towards one mission and then whip our heads around and fling ourselves into a frenzy of entertainment check-out. It's a perfect recipe for fatigue. We need the middle way, where we seek the balance of noble pursuit with proper amounts of recess.

The NFL is an important part of our society and culture. It employs vast numbers of people who need it to support their families, provide healthcare coverage, retirement benefits, college educations and yes, entertainment. It's not a whimsical thing at its heart. But I want to challenge the world at large to see more than one issue at a time, and to remember to seek the balance. I know it's possible because even the Dalai Lama likes football...I saw it on the internet. 

(And to prove I can find balance and give it to's a funny picture of a different llama.)

Monday, April 16, 2012

How old am I?

Oh em gee...I am sooooo angsty. You don't even know!
Photo: martinak15 via Flickr

I'm fifteen. Pretty literate for a fifteen year old, huh? Actually I'm much older than fifteen years, but that's how I feel most days. In three months, the number of my age jumps one more and it's one closer to a BIG one. (Sixteen! When I can get my license to drive!!)

Here's what I miss about being one less than driving age:

1- I got to kick my bedroom door closed when I was mad that we weren't having pizza for dinner. Can you imagine what you could muster after your home's appraisal comes in under what you want? Or when the tax bill gets dropped off at the post office by midnight tomorrow?? (Check it out pals, this year we get an extra, extra day for filing! IRS)

2- I could scream about how AWFUL my life was because I wasn't allowed to spend the night at a friend's house. When the physicality of not being 15 shows its face and grey hair, or when the water bill shows up and reveals a slow leak somewhere in this house for the past three months (and right now I'm very, very cold in terms of proximity to said leak...) how badly do I want to be pre-sixteen, instead of that "other" age?

3- I saw my friends every single day. 

4- Other people bought my food, clothes, entertainment and took care of my schedule. Of course, now other people take care of my schedule by taking it UP! Ah, the unmitigated bliss of having one day where someone shuttles you to and from your destinations, and during all the in betweens you got to flop onto your couch and listen to music or watch TV....

Being fifteen might have been the very best time of my life. Except that maybe now is, too. After all:

1- I get to slam doors all I want, because I pay the mortgage for them, and no one is allowed to ground me or take away my laptop and phone!

2- I scream all the freakin' time because I'm an adult and no one is allowed to infringe upon my constitutional right of free expression!

3- Okay, the friends part is difficult due to geography and the fact that most of us sprang forth with children of our own and SOMEHOW their schedules take precedence....

4- I buy my own food, which means no one shoves plates of things I hate in front of me and says I have to eat them. I choose my own entertainment at will. I have to concede on the couch floppage, however. That'd be sweet.

I guess it's a sum zero type of equation. It doesn't matter how old we are, whatever problems we have always seem dire and catastrophic (and to be fair, sometimes they are...) But the teen who's mad and pontificating all over the house about the party you're forbidding is really no different than my adult father who's mad and pontificating all over the house about his perception of his gun rights. What's the diff?

So I guess I'm the "other age" and fifteen. I'll pay some bills and then flop myself onto the couch with a bag of Munchos (gluten free! no trans fats!) and watch The Young and the Restless. Wanna hang out? 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Slow and steady...let me slap you.

kony 2012, trayvon martin, compassion
We all remember this classic, don't we?

The cutest thing happened yesterday! I got my KONY2012 kit in the mail. It was such a sweet reminder of the bygone day when the world cared about Invisible Children, when it was working so hard to push one of its founders over the edge, into a stress induced psychosis. Remember those days? Man they really were the salad days. (Salad days: idiomatic expression meaning: days of youth, ignorance, and inexperience.)

But here we are now, 4 weeks later, and who cares? My word. Haven't those Ugandan people helped themselves by now? I mean, we all bought our t-shirts and bumper stickers! Are any of us really going to "cover the night?" 

What I've learned (again) is that viral sensations are very quickly quelled with a decent dose of antibiotic known as social malaise. When it comes on as quickly as KONY2012 did, it doesn't stand a chance. But Trayvon Martin? He's hunkered down and there are at least four people that I know of who are still talking about this one.

Now, this one (Trayvon Martin) is local...ish.  And for those who don't know who Trayvon is, let me give you a primer: teen aged black boy, walking to store in Florida. Wearing hoodie. Older than him Hispanic man sees him, determines through his extensive training as "Neighborhood Watch" captain that said boy is up to no good. He calls 911 where he is prompted, in so many words, to stop his pursuit...effectively, that the WATCHING part has been fulfilled. Whatever else happens, Trayvon ends up dead by this man's hand (which was attached to a loaded gun). The shooter claims, and is being granted, immunity under Florida's whack-a-doo law saying you can stand your ground if you believe you're in danger. 

Details aside, this story came up rather slowly. It didn't burst onto the scene with 265 ka-jillion You Tube hits and Facebook shares in the first 7 minutes. In our hyper connected world, it took a shameful amount of time, so it seems. But it's stuck around a little more. We remember it a little more. SOME people are still thinking about it and worrying about it, and working to change it. 

I know some people are still committed to stopping a ruthless organization in Africa as well, most, Africans! But this whole little conflagration of events has a deeper meaning for me. Go figure.

THE SUM UP. (Finally, right?!?)

Slow and steady wins the race. Rarely, if ever, are we happy to make small advances and then a few more small advances until we reach our goal. We want that GIANT BURST of big energy that propels us at the meteoric speed of light to what we perceive our destination to be. That's certainly what the Invisible Children people wanted. It's stated in their mission. They want the whole world to know.

But when the whole world knows about you, they RUIN you! You are picked apart, ridiculed, demonized and I cannot imagine that does anything but sap you of your ability to function. There are so many people out there hoping to become famous, to become wildly successful and known everywhere for what they do.

It's okay to want that, and to strive for it. But look around and see with a level eye what happens when an explosive rupture occurs and someone or something is FORCED into view. It fades. We kill it with our antibacterial social malaise. (I already said that, but I like it so I'm saying it again.) 

The race is long; slow and steady wins out every time because we save our strength for the long haul. Sprinting doesn't win the marathon. So when things seems like they're going nowhere, or that everything is taking too long, see what you can do to step up the energy, but avoid the temptation to force a burst. 

It's better to finish strong than find yourself wandering the street, naked, and shouting vitriolic nonsense. Right?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Beer and women.

This is a woman. With a beer.

I am a woman. (*GASP!)

I like beer. (*GASP*GASP!)

I like really obscenely dark beer, though...sorry 'bout that. Anyway, I love the Newcastle ads that have been released as part of their "No Bollocks" campaign. Here's the one I adore. (And also feel like I should hate, or be mad about, or feel slighted in some way over...but don't.)

A few weeks ago, Huggies pulled an ad that made some (ahem) gentlemen angry because it depicted dads as idiots, in their own burly opinions. Their delicate sensibilities had been offended and they made a giant poopy stink about it and Huggies took notice and pulled their ad. Google it. I'm not writing about crap laden diapers and sissy men. 

I'm writing about beer.

And manly women. Who are, apparently, unattractive!

If I were a Huggies dad, I'd be all up in arms, and in a dither with my diaper in a wad because this ad offends my feminist leanings (which aren't apparently strong enough to handle a joke about the very true nature of ugly women.)

But I'm not a Huggies dad. I'm a beer drinking woman with feminist leanings strong enough to handle a joke about the very true nature of ugly women.  

So, I like this ad. It doesn't offend me. I'm "man enough" to handle a joke about a woman so ugly they won't show her face. And why not? That's funny! So is a joke about a dad who'd rather let his baby lay in crap than get up from the Barcalounger to remove the odor from directly below his nose. So are the myriad jokes about guffawing dads, stupid boyfriends, vapid women and tampons. 

I mean, have you ever noticed the ads for TOILET PAPER?? My word, that should offend all of us on every level, and yet those ads were very successful with nary a peep from either side of the bed. Everyone needs to grow a pair of the gonads of their choice and have a laugh.

I think it's what Buddha wants.