Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Molly Ivins

Molly Ivins has just died of breast cancer. Besides being wonderfully smart and witty, she was courageous, speaking truth to power with amazing clarity. She realized that, sometimes, the best thing you can do to a bad idea is to laugh at it, exposing the inherent ridiculousness of it. It was through reading her columns my freshman year of college that I was first able to realize that my increasing political radicalization fit exactly with the values of compassion, fairness, and equality that I'd always been taught.

She was a true Texan, and took as much delight in covering national stories as local ones. Her bold, Texas style reminds me of Ann Richards, and that's fitting because they were friends. I can imagine all the editorial cartoons in coming days, with Molly meeting Gov. Richards (who died a few months ago as well) in heaven. What will they say to one another?

She's the one who coined the nickname "Shrub" for G.W. Bush. I think I'll go out tonight and bury a shrub in her honor. I'm glad that she got to see the November elections.

We'll miss you, Molly. Lets just hope that we are able to fill your place, to call it like we see it, to point out the absurdity of things and to fight for the people who are left out of the system. You, in so many ways, are truly my hero. Thanks.

Here are a few of her priceless quotes. If you would like to read more of her work, check this out.

from her last column, January 11, 2007: "We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there."

"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."

"I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point -- race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything."

“Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful.”

"The first rule of holes: when you're in one, stop digging."

"Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention.”

"What you need is sustained outrage...there's far too much unthinking respect given to authority."

"The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion."

"It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong."

"When future historians come to write the political story of our times, they will first have to review hundreds of hours of a cable television program called The Daily Show. You simply can't understand American politics in the new millennium without The Daily Show."

"Politics is not a picture on a wall or a television sitcom that you can decide you don't much care for."

"I have been attacked by Rush Limbaugh on the air, an experience somewhat akin to being gummed by a newt. It doesn't actually hurt, but it leaves you with slimy stuff on your ankle."

On Camille Paglia: "There is one area in which I think Paglia and I would agree that politically correct feminism has produced a noticeable inequity. Nowadays, when a woman behaves in a hysterical and disagreeable fashion, we say, 'Poor dear, it's probably PMS.' Whereas, if a man behaves in a hysterical and disagreeable fashion, we say, 'What an asshole.' Let me leap to correct this unfairness by saying of Paglia, Sheesh, what an asshole."

“Although it is true that only about 20 percent of American workers are in unions, that 20 percent sets the standards across the board in salaries, benefits and working conditions. If you are making a decent salary in a non-union company, you owe that to the unions. One thing that corporations do not do is give out money out of the goodness of their hearts.”

"...Phil Gramm, the senator from Enron..."

in which I am both weak and economically sensible

I bought a coffee pot. Not an expensive one. In fact, I think it was the cheapest one at Target. When I came out here in the fall, I purposefully did not bring my coffee pot. The reason for this was that I was I had quit caffeine and the presence of a machine for producing that thing which I craved didn't seem like a particularly good idea.

And so I dealt with the headaches and other withdrawal symptoms. I don't mean to seem as if I totally quit. I had a few (okay, several) slips. But the fact that I was not drinking caffeinated things (coffee, tea, or soda) on a several-times-a-day basis reduced the degree to which I had built up a tolerance for it. One cup of coffee (and I mean a real cup, not those massive caffeine bombs that Starbucks et al. call "venti" or "grande") actually woke me up. I could have a diet dr. pepper for a quick bump in the middle of a long day.

But over Christmas, I lapsed. I started back on the coffee and the diet dr. pepper. And so, since I've been back, I've been buying coffee on the way to school every morning because I literally need it if I am going to function properly. This is not economically sensible. I could either spend $20 on a coffee pot once, and a few bucks here and there on the actual coffee. Or I could spent like $3 every day.

So, the answer was clear. But I can't help, while sitting here drinking my home-brewed coffee, that I have failed in my quest to conquer caffeine. It has forced me to admit defeat.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Duncan Hunter's campaign slogan is actually "peace through strength."

A little too Orwell for my tastes, I'll be honest with you.

Anyway, this week has been amazingly busy, and that's my excuse for not posting anything. Tonight or Sunday should see an update, or something. I'll finally be able to relax at that point. I hope.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Calling all children of the 80s

Do any of you remember the Disney show "Welcome to Pooh Corner"? It was back in the days when The Disney Channel didn't air commercials. Way back in the day. Anyway, I suspect many of you are thinking, "Oh, of course I remember Winnie-the-Pooh on t.v.!" But you are probably remembering many of WtP's other Disney incarnations, most likely, I suspect, "The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh," which aired from 1988-1992.

But, "Welcome to Pooh Corner" was head and shoulders above the rest. I remember watching it avidly and singing along. And this is particularly remarkable, because it aired from 1983-1987. I would have been about 3 when it went off the air. Unlike subsequent animated versions, this one was made with live action people in suits and puppets for smaller characters (like Roo and Piglet).

I have asked many people about this show, and they do not remember it.

Here is the (still brilliant) intro:

Here is the intro for the (somewhat less brilliant) version that you probably remember from your formative years:

Friday, January 19, 2007

Dancing cacti

This looked fun.

Also, if a book is randomly lying in the mail station of an apartment complex and no one is around, can you assume that the book has been abandoned and take it and give it a good home? How about if you come back 5 hours later and the book is still there? I didn't take it, but I sincerely wanted to. I did pick it up, but then a Fall 2006 syllabus fell out of it. Clearly someone is using it this semester. Even if they dropped the class, at this point, they could still return it. I could think of no reason why a person would have left it there, but neither could I work up the courage to take it. The book in question:

Thursday, January 18, 2007

This, children, is what procrastination gets you.

It is nearly 6am. In a few hours, about 1.5 to be precise, I will need to be getting up for school. Yet I cannot even get to sleep. Oh, I'm tired. But I can't get my brain to shut up. It keeps reminding me of things I haven't done, things I need to do, etc, etc. Tomorrow will have to be a hardcore coffee day, particularly with stats first thing in the morning.

Procrastination break!

My apartment is disgusting. This is my living room, and it's (by far) not the worst. I'm too embarrassed to show you my kitchen.

You know, given my penchant for cleaning when I don't want to do work, it's really surprising that this place is so messy. Usually when I'm this busy, I feel inexplicable urges to vacuum or mop or do the dishes or clean the toilet. Nope, not now. I kinda just wanna watch tv. But this (blogging) is the only kind of procrastination I'll allow myself. Now, back to work!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

this may constitute my endorsement*, but i'm waiting to see

*endorsement would not necessarily mean that I think** that he is the best candidate. I'm pretty sure that's Dennis Kucinich.

**not that anyone cares what I think. I should probably title this "who I'll probably vote for in the primary," but "endorsement," as if my decision mattered to other peoples' decisions, sounds so much cooler.

Monday, January 15, 2007

a dream only a social scientist could dream

Last night I had a dream that I was a participant in a longitudinal study, where subjects were re-surveyed every few years. I don't remember much of the dream other than this. Except that every year my life got progressively worse and I dreaded seeing the interviewer because it made me take stock of the last few years and it became depressing.

It wasn't a fun dream.

In other news, I'm still sick.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

forget the fact that I haven't posted in forever.

I promise not to give lame excuses if you promise to not complain.

Anyway. If my pharmacist were a Christian Scientist, could she legally never fill any of my prescriptions nor release the prescription and refer me to another pharmacist?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Temporarily back...

So, for those few of you who check this blog... you've noticed that there's been a whole lot of nothing while I've been gone. There are a variety of reasons for this sad state of affairs. I'd love to tell you that it's because I've been busy Getting Things Done, but that would be a lie. I haven't blogged from home because the crappy dial-up would be too frustrating to deal with. I haven't come here (to Panera--with free wireless) to work because I've been sick. Now I'm feeling marginally better, I figured I'd come and get work done. But the only thing I've done so far is this. You should feel loved. Or at least like a good method of procrastination. Go you. First You're named Time's Person of the Year, and now the first thing that I do when I have good internet is write to You. Good work!

I don't know that I'll post again before I get back into Tucson (which will be on Monday). Cross your fingers that I am productive before then!