Lott’s Vacation House

This really shouldn’t have cracked me up, but it did. Go read more of the inimitable Twisty’s ideas on BushCo.

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Pushing the Envelope

If we isolated the last two weeks and replaced Bushco with the Clinton administration, everything done exactly the same, the Republicans would be all over Clinton like stink on shit. That Bush has a 46% approval rating for the handling of the hurricane crisis is un-fucking-believable.

Amanda expresses my thoughts quite nicely.

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A Shoelace, A Bike, and Finally A Piano

I made the mistake of falling asleep at 9pm this evening, waking up from my apparent nap at 11:30. I’m wide awake and it’s way too late to do much other than watch infomercials or blog.

Thus let me take a moment to brag. In the last two weeks, Ethan learned to

  • tie his own shoes,
  • play the piano, and
  • ride his bike.

This evening I took him out to a walking/riding path so he could show off his new biking skills that Grandma taught him. In the beginning he couldn’t start himself off — I had to hold the bike up while he pushed of and got his feet situated on the pedals. At the end of the half-hour, he could start and stop with little difficulty.

The most lovably painful part was watching him, his little bike and little body, wobble all over the path and into a double stroller pushed by a very concerned mom. Every once in awhile he would stop the bicycle to assess his shoelace situation, climb off the bike, and retie his shoes with a look of severe concentration.

My baby’s growin’ up.

Since Ethan has started taking piano lessons, I finally had a decent excuse to move my piano from the parents’ house to my own.

Piano Keys

This beauty is a Roland electric piano that I got for my sixteenth birthday. Until this point I had played on an antique, hand-me-down upright bought for my oldest uncle. The old piano is at least eighty years old, with a broken pegboard, still situated in my parents’ dining room. The switch of instruments was enormous for me — going from an actual instrument with strings and hammers to an electric version with weighted keys — but I took off soon enough and was pleased that I knew what the songs were supposed to actually sound like instead of imagining the songs on the out-of-tune upright. Then again, I missed the upright.

One little-known fact about me: I can play Stairway To Heaven on the piano. I learned that lame party trick on the old upright.

Growing up, my piano influences apart from the classical masters were the Gershwins and Tori Amos (much respect for the lady, but I’m over her music after years and years of replay). There was something that Tori said that has always stuck somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain: Each instrument is different. You must approach each instrument with respect. Listen for the differences and play to them.

As I grew older and began to discover my penchant for low-fi music I would return to the old upright, a family heirloom, and play certain songs on it, songs that didn’t sound right on the infintely, perfectly tuned Roland. I thought of my grandfather and how pleased he was that his granddaughters learned to play, my parents who would occasionally request songs by yelling through the house, and perhaps my future sons and daughters and how I wanted them to take on my love of music.

Piano or no piano, Ethan has definitely inherited my love of music. Yesterday he requested that I make him a CD to take along in the car. The quick CD I made included AC/DC, Queen, and Skynyrd, songs that he already knows and loves and sings along to in the backseat. (Parenthood is nothing if you haven’t heard your child singing along to Hell’s Bells.) For some reason, music has always meant family to me, something that I have consciously passed along. Maybe it’s the thirteen years of lessons, the generations of old sheet music I have inherited, learning to play the songs that I knew my mother, my father, my sisters, and my grandfather loved so much. Hearing today that my mother told my boyfriend that she wished I would play again, that I once played beautifully.

Cry/Smile

Ethan’s father, too, got an electric piano for Ethan to learn on. With our crazy custody schedule Ethan will have to practice at both our houses. Having similar instruments will help in the beginning, though there is something in me that wishes he too could learn to play on that old, broken instrument.

One day, I hope to have that old piano.

I set up the Roland in our little house this afternoon and sat down to play, trying to shake the rustiness from my inflexible fingers. The boyfriend sat down on the couch and looked through the piles and piles of cheesy sheet music, requesting everything from Desperado to the Muppets theme song to Horse With No Name, but I turned to my old favorites, dragging out fragile pages of forty-year-old sheet music and my deceased grandfather’s thirty-year-old issues of Sheet Music magazine. Bach’s fugues, Chopin, Singin’ in the Rain, the Gershwins, jazz and blues standards, Joplin, La Vie En Rose, Jerome Kern, Cry, Smile, Tenderly.

I tried to play, cursing through every song, stop and start and retry, all of it slowly coming back to me, but jilted and screwy. It will take awhile for the five years without practice to be undone. When it was time for me to go pick up Ethan from his afternoon at his dad’s, I stood up from the piano and suveyed the room, furniture akimbo to make room for the piano. For the first time, my house truly felt like my home.

Related: If you too are interested in vintage music, scroll down this page to a slew of links to old sheet music available for fair use. For example, can you tame wild wimmen? And, Eve wasn’t modest ’til she ate that apple. That old apple was to blame.

Posted in Music, Vanity | Tagged | 7 Comments

Devastation In Mississippi


This harrowing photostream takes us out of NOLA and into Mississippi.

via Culture Kitchen

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Labor Day Tomato Blogging

If you didn’t enter the 2005 Weblog Tomato Contest, shame on you. I am proud to say that this is the only official blogging contest in which I have won any award.

More Bounty
Judge Ali’s comments: “almost as big as a head of cabbage!”

These babies are an heirloom plant comparable to the Burpee Big Boy beefsteak toms but without all the icky and weird hybridization (allow me my oddities, please). They are enormous, but bonus, sweetly edible when yellow and slowly turn a pretty, pleasant orange color if left on the vine. Unfortunately, this plant was one of the plants to be ruined during last month’s rainstorm deluge so I am no longer collecting these lovely babies and am instead trying to get rid of egregious amounts of romas.

That said, thank you and thank you for all your love and support. Without lime, mulch and water, none of this would have been possible.

Posted in Domesticity | Tagged | 7 Comments

Note to World

The hurricane was not an act of God to punish us.

The Salvation Army conducted an outside religious service that included songs such as “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”

“Natural disaster is caused by the sin in the world,” said Maj. John Jones, the group’s area commander. “The acts of God are what happens afterwards … all the good that happens.”

Note #2: Cold-hearted as this may be, this is why I don’t give to the Salvation Army.

In the face of a national disaster, it is difficult not to look for reasons why so many were abandoned or left for dead, but let’s not grow ever more flagrant in our rejection of reality.

C’mon, America. I don’t know why I believe in us much anymore, but let’s get a grip and chuck the fantasies. The god you love is not a god of retribution.

Posted in Politics, Religion | Tagged | 9 Comments

Memo to Bush

Fire FEMA director Michael Brown. Even Michelle Malkin agrees.

And before you think I’m going too soft on Bushco, I have to agree with this guy. One more press conference and I’m heading to DC with a gun.

Also, for the first time ever, I feel confident that Al Gore would have been a great and humble leader.

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Happy Kitty

Time for some feel-good blogging.

Pablo is Happy

Pablo, the unusually unaffectionate cat, is treating me like his own personal playground. Climbing all over my lap, my desk, sitting on the keyboard, laying on the mouse, and rubbing his tail in my face. Today he can’t get enough affection.

I happened to catch this picture when he stopped rubbing all over me and sat down for a total of five seconds. Alas, I made eye contact and here he is again, whapping me in the eyes with his ta45555il (extra numbers straight from Pabby’s left paw).

All this is to say that in times of despair and trouble and calamity, here the kitties are, animals all over the world, cluelessly going about their daily routines, giving us a nubbin of pleasure in their own special ways. This is what KD was getting at when he began Friday Cat Blogging.

”I’d just blogged a whole bunch of stuff about what was wrong with the world,” Mr. Drum said. ”And I turned around and I looked out the window, and there was one of my cats, just plonked out, looking like nothing was wrong with the world at all.”

We all need a bit of gleeful cluelessness in our lives (the Republican parental units notwithstanding).

Posted in General | Tagged | 7 Comments

Jesus H. Muhfuh Christ

I can’t, well, just read this.

Posted in Recommended | Tagged , | 57 Comments

Rehnquist Dies In His Home at Age 80

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist died Saturday evening at his home in suburban Virginia, said Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg…

“The Chief Justice battled thyroid cancer since being diagnosed last October and continued to perform his dues on the court until a precipitous decline in his health the last couple of days,” she said.

Rehnquist was appointed to the Supreme Court as an associate justice in 1971 by President Nixon and took his seat on Jan. 7, 1982. He was elevated to chief justice by President Reagan in 1986.

His death ends a remarkable 33-year Supreme Court career during which Rehnquist oversaw the court’s conservative shift, presided over an impeachment trial and helped decide a presidential election.

President Bush his second court opening within pour months and sets up what’s expected to be an even more bruising Senate confirmation battle than that of John Roberts.

It was not immediately clear what impact Rehnquist’s death would have on confirmation hearings for Roberts, scheduled to begin Tuesday.

Posted in Politics | Tagged | 3 Comments

Hell Froze Over

Falwell speaks out for “basic” gay rights:

Falwell, who in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, blamed the terrorist attacks on “the pagans, the abortionists, and the feminists and the gays and lesbians,” and who describes himself as “very conservative,” told Carlson that if he were a lawyer, he too would argue for civil rights for gays.

“I may not agree with the lifestyle,” Falwell said. “But that has nothing to do with the civil rights of that… part of our constituency…

“Civil rights for all Americans, black, white, red, yellow, the rich, poor, young, old, gay, straight, et cetera, is not a liberal or conservative value,” Falwell went on to say. “It’s an American value that I would think that we pretty much all agree on.”

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said his group welcomed the apparent softening of Falwell’s position on at least some gay rights. “Like most Americans, it seems Rev. Falwell has reached the conclusion that everyone deserves basic rights,” said Solmonese. “I hope he also supports legislation that would deliver on these values.”

via Lynn

Posted in GLBTQ, Politics | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Laughing Gas

I have a rather low-grade sense of humor. I laugh at the most tasteless, immature stuff without too much shame. I have a habit of making rude comments at truly inappropriate times. One of the most common statements that newbies and strangers make in my presence is, “I can’t tell whether or not you’re kidding.” Neither can I. Second most common statement: “Man, you’re fucking weird.”

One of the silliest quirks I have, and there are plenty, is the ability to go from laughing to crying in a matter of moments, usually if the laughing and/or crying sounds and feels too much like the other. If you’ve ever been under severe stress you might know what I’m talking about. Additionally, if something just happens to hit the funny bone, especially if no one else knows what the hell I’m laughing about, I absolutely cannot stop. The embarassment makes it that much worse, giggling, turning red, eyes watering, trying to wave onlookers away from my insanity.

I thought about crying yesterday when the gas light lit up in the Jeep. I have barely driven anywhere in the last two weeks unless absolutely necessary, in part to save some money and in part to save some gas. I decided to park the car for the rest of the evening. But when evening rolled around, Ethan complaining about the lack of air conditioning because of Mama’s obsessive energy-saving, I decided we should run out to the gas station and get some gas and a slushie to avail his irritation.

I drove to the gas station a few blocks away but it was full, spilling a long line into the four-lane highway. Because I knew I was running on fumes, we decided to hit up another gas station a mile or two up the road. Regular unleaded was just above three dollars, which wasn’t too much of a difference than before the hurricane crisis, so I filled up the tank full well knowing I’d be paying more but not paying too much attention to the price.

I went inside and got a couple of large slushies and went up to the cashier to pay. “Pump eight and these,” I said, clunking the drinks onto the counter.

“That’ll be $59.88,” he said.

I tittered. “Are you kidding?”

The kid behind the counter, with the band shirt and lip ring trying way to hard at punk rock, smiled right along with me. “Nope.”

I slid him the gas card as another laugh-yelp slipped out of me. And then another. The man in line behind me chortled nervously. I covered my eyes in embarassment knowing what was about to happen. My shoulders were shaking, eyes watering, and I was desperately, unsuccessfully, holding back my laughter.

The cashier looked at me with a gaze that crossed amusement with a sniggering nervousness. “Most people that come in here get pissed off.”

“Fuck it. Not even worth it,” I snorted.

I grabbed the drinks and walked back to the car, still cracking up, wiping the tears running down my face with the back of my hand as fellow gas-buyers curiously gazed my way. I got into the car and had to blow my nose.

Moooo-om,” Ethan said, “why are you crying?”

“Here, I got you a slushie.”

Posted in Politics, Vanity | Tagged | 11 Comments