Friday, April 22, 2005

Blog Reviews as a Hangover Cure

My usual column from Coffee Hour

Don't ask

Just don’t.

Chutney is actually suggesting that the Seven Principles don't suck.


So... Why is it that one’s stomach contents enter one’s digestive tract within like two hours (amazing what a girl learns watching CSI), but when one drinks too much, one can start throwing up seven hours after one stops drinking?

Beth is dealing with someone who is throwing up, too. This is an extremely barf-heavy set of blog reviews today, and I am not at all referring to my reaction to the actual blogs.

OK, it’s because I’m not throwing up because my body thinks it’s getting alcohol poisoning, I’m throwing up because I’ve irritated my stomach lining. It’s not that I don’t understand it, I just find it incredibly unfair.

He's so fresh that I wanna get with 'im,
cause he's the Mac Daddy of Cathol-i-cism.
He's the Pope!

and boy, are we UUs talking about the man. Dan is.
James is. Chutney is. Peacebang is. Rick is.

Please don’t, like, write me and suggest AA or Rational Recovery. I swear to God the last time I made myself sick from drinking was New Year’s Eve of 2003, and the fact that it’s early Friday morning doesn’t have its typical significance since I’m on a long-weekend vacation.

Minstrare is back and he's discussing Universalism, a concept I still have trouble applying to my brother.

This is a vacation where I flew, you see. CC is not such a great flier and usually has a little something to calm her nerves. But she’d had a really long week at work and calmed her nerves excessively.

Returning is gushing about the admittedly gush-worthy Neil Gaiman, author of the coolest comic book series ever, some very spiff novels and an all around kickass human being. ObiJuan (heh, just got that.) does a nice job making it about more than just Neil Gaiman, and his post is actually a nice bit about our reaction to celebrity. CC personally has sneezed on Clyde Edgerton, for example, though she was really sick and didn't mean to and felt bad. Karen Armstrong isn't very interesting in person and has British teeth. Gloria Steinem isn't very interesting, but her teeth are first rate.

Oh, and Harlan Ellison was for awhile trying to nail my friend's girlfriend when she was a model in LA a few decades ago. The girlfriend had no appreciation whatsoever of how cool this was.

I swear I will never do this again. No, I mean, I will never drink so much again. I’ll be back with more blog reviews next Thursday. Or, you know, Saturday. Or maybe the Saturday after that. Anyway, yeah, you'll hear from me.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Personal to Ed-who-cooks

You sucketh mightily.

May the twin axes of Hrothgar bury themselves in your crotch.

No, seriously, dude. I'm pissed. Never call me. Ever.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Simple Signs

When CC worked in South Carolina, she was frequently bummed out. She'd achieved her dream job and it wasn't making her happy, she was terribly lonely without the CSO, she barely made enough to live on and she'd made a best friend only to watch that person move away.

That was when she would drive 60 miles to go to her "local" UU church, every Sunday, absolutely without fail.

In the South, the custom is to have message boards outside each church with a mildly wiseass Christian message, the sort of thing that the ChaliceMom thinks is terribly clever. (E.g "Forbidden fruit creates many jams," "Do not wait for the hearse to take you to church" and the ever-popular "Sign broken. Message inside this Sunday.")

CC got used to these and even delighted in the funnier ones. Next roadtrip she takes down South, she will post the coolest examples here.

But there was one sign that always got me.

It was a Baptist church on a hill just before the city limits. The sign, every week, without fail, read:

Jesus loves you.
We love you.
Keep Smiling.

Yes, they were Baptists, and probably Conservative ones at that, and your friend the cranky humanist did her best to convince herself that if they knew her, really knew her, they wouldn't love her. Jesus probably wouldn't be too fond of her either.

Yet somehow, I kept smiling anyway.

I cannot tell you what that sign did for me and how many bad days it got me through. In some ways, it was a preparation for coming to my church and preparing to be taken in to the community of loveable oddballs that UU churches in very conservative places attract. (And I was certainly as oddball as any of them.)

The talk about UU elevator speeches is all well and good, but I find sometimes what what I need more in a short phrase about UUism is something that keeps me going, a message that really captures the feeling of being surrounded by people who are at once challenging and accepting. Something simple and beautiful and subtle in its power.

I'm liking Ministrare's version:

You are loved.
You are good.
You can make a difference.

I like to display my own cleverness as much, or even more, than the average UU. But tonight I'm thinking about the signs I show the world, and hoping that I can keep my message simple and beautiful, at least some of the time.


Now THAT's depressing

Perigrinato is discussing theological topics that I can't even pronounce.

Ah well.


Monday, April 18, 2005

Word to the wise.

You can:

A. Have a brother in legal difficulty who is pretty much a black hole for sympathy, attention and money from your entire family.
B. Buy a house.
C. Get jarring reminders that your folks are only human, and indeed, only mortal.
D. Have your job responsibilities suddenly double, if only temporarily.
E. Have your spouse be out of town for two weeks.

But if you're smart, you won't have all that happening in the same week.

Not meaning to whine, or dump my problems in the lap of anyone foolish enough to stop by and read this blog, but Jeezum Crow life is weird right now.

This is probably a sign that I am going nuts, but recently I've had this daydream that I am Atlas, and I lose grip of the world. I feel it roll down my back and it bounces, sounding like a marble, then rolls away, rapidly shrinking in the distance.

But sequence ravelled out of reach Like balls upon a floor

who is fine, really, but felt like writing it all out to see what it looked like on her computer screen.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

That's about right

Your Linguistic Profile:

50% General American English

35% Yankee

15% Dixie

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern

Friday, April 15, 2005

The Big Book of Everything

So a co-worker of the CSO's wrote this.

It's his autobiography.

Yup, the crazy bastard wrote his autobiography and had it published by a vanity press. What gets me is that Amazon has 23 used copies for sale.

Having read it, I have to say that the guy could have used an editor. But regular readers of this blog know I could use one too. Can't really fault him there.

I can't say he tells his story in the pretty prose that I think I would use. That he thinks "How I stopped worrying and learned to love the sheep" is a subtle and clever reference to Dr. Strangelove is symptomatic of the sophomoric* tone he uses to tell his truths.

But I have to give him props for telling such truths at all.

When I was a kid, I imagined that in heaven there was a "big book of everything" in which one could look up how everything in the world worked, what had happened in every situation and the literal truth of everyone's life, both objectively and how they saw it.

To some degree, I used this image to keep myself in line. I oscillated between fascination with the ideas of reading the lives of others and worry that my own dramas would make good reading.

I still feel like I carry a bunch of ticking bombs within and that the world would to some degree fall to pieces if various people in my life found out how slutty, scared, incompetent, unpopular, selfish and stupid I can be. I intellectually understand that everyone has weaknesses, but I feel my own weaknesses.

It's not a great book, this thing the CSO's friend wrote. It's sophomoric and downright narcissistic. But I've been sophomoric and downright narcissistic a lot of times without ever getting a book out of it.

And without ever telling the truth.


*But after all, what are twentysomethings but life's sophomores, the "wise fools" who are so freaking glad to not be teenagers anymore that they fool themselves much of the time into thinking that they have a clue what's going on. I maintain that illusion for whole hours at a time.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

CC's pick for Pope

First choice: Cardinal Martini, the bitchin' biblical scholar from Milan
Second Choice: Everybody except Cardinal Ratzinger.

I know, I don't get a vote. But just sayin'


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

UU Jihad?

Are we sure this is something we should be organizing ourselves around?

We are still kidding, aren't we?

I just can't help but worry this is going to make us look silly, as good as the article was.

Returning speaks to this opinion well.


Saturday, April 09, 2005

You might be from McLean, VA...

CC wrote this as a 17-year-old. She found it today and it still made her laugh. So she is posting it with just minor revsions.,

I've been thinking a lot about my hometown both because the CSO and I are buying a house here and because I've run into several people I went to high school with in the past couple of weeks. I am starting to envy the CSO, who went to high school in Charlotte. All his high school friends seem to work in diners or fix cars. (Except for Petey)

All the kids I grew up with are now in medical school or law school.

Ah well, anyway here's the list, and bear in mind that when I was 17, You-might-be-a-redneck jokes were still pretty new.


-If your Daddy walks you to school, cuz' he's the Secretary of Education, you might be from McLean.

-If that Australian kid took your lunch money, and the US broke off trade relations, you might be from McLean.

-If the teacher asks what you want to do when you grow up and you say "If I tell you, I've got to kill you," you might be from McLean

-If your Daddy yells out "Hi Bunky!" and Dick Cheney turns around, you might be from McLean

-If your idea of a "Hick" is someone who grew up at Hickory Hill, you might be from McLean.

-If you needed a flu shot, so you called the Surgeon General at home, you might be from McLean

-If your nickname for Julia Roberts is "my daddy's mistress" you might be from McLean.

-If you have a favorite Hillary Clinton hairstyle, you might be from McLean

- If you're 35 years old and you mom still won't let you date Libertarians, you might be from McLean

-If your idea of an insult is "Yo momma is so poor, she RARELY goes to SWITZERLAND!" You might be from McLean.

-If you keep your piggy bank in the Cayman Islands, you might be from McLean

-If you've ever missed school to help your Daddy finish his FEC filing, you might be from McLean.

-If you go to diplomatic functions to pick up chicks, you might be from McLean.

-If you go to diplomatic functions and SUCESSFULLY pick up chicks, you are definitely from McLean.

-If you're reading this list and taking notes, you're new to McLean, but you're going to fit in fine.

Friday, April 08, 2005

It's 90's retro night at Politics and Prose!

Camille Paglia is doing a reading at my hometown's most prominent smartypants bookstore. I really want to take a bottle of scotch and do a shot every time she uses a word with five or more syllables, but I have an event that night.



Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Tale of the Sex Goddess Bathrobe.

Picture it. Virginia. December 2004.

The CSO, who is not much on present shopping, has been needling CC for some time to come up with what she wants for Christmas. They finally both have good jobs, and this is the first Christmas they've had together that this has been the case. He doesn't know it yet, but he's getting an Ipod. Finally, CC allows as to how a pearl necklace is part of the Washington DC uniform and would certainly be welcomed.

As the the CSO is getting her the necklace, she wanders over to a nice-looking underwear store. CC finds Victoria's Secret rube-filled and appalling. The one in this mall is bright magenta. So she's always looking for a good place to find underwear.

The bathrobe is right in the window. It's made of silk and cashmere, amazingly soft to the touch, cable knit, but really thin. It's a little bit Katharine Hepburn and a little bit Catherine Deneuve. It comes is a deep vampirish red, CC's favorite color, and CC is convinced that she will feel like a sex goddess in it.

But it is 150 dollars. And the CSO is off buying her a perfectly wonderful pearl necklace.

Being a reasonable person, she does what any reasonable person would do.

She shuts up.

After all, it would be silly to go and buy such a thing. She's sort of chubby and plain and wouldn't really do such a bathrobe justice.

A silk suit that she could wear for work? Maybe. But a silk and cashmere bathrobe? Come on, that's a little much, really. There are Jamaican kids who've never owned a pair of pajamas and she's lusting after a thing like that?

She's really not a silk-and-cashmere bathrobe sort of girl.

She idly mentions it but doesn't belabor the point, even as she and the CSO buy other, considerably less expensive but still really nice, bathrobes for the ChaliceMotherInLaw and the ChaliceSisterInLaw at the same store. (Transference, yes, but she likes to think it is the good kind.)

April 2005.
CC is shopping again, not having been in the mall since Christmas. She had looked for a new suit for work, but hadn't found one and is a mite dejected.

She goes by the underwear store figuring she'd ogle the bathrobe for a minute.

It's on the sale rack.

It's marked $15.00.

CC pulls out her size and her AmEx card. Then she realizes, duh, it's the ChaliceMom's birthday in two weeks. So the ChaliceMom gets one. And Katy-the-Wise has done a lot of freelance pastoral care since CC's brother got arrested, so yeah, why not? A blue bathrobe and a brown one drape across CC's arm.

Then she thinks.

What other woman in CC's life deserves to feel like a sex goddess?

Umm… duh.

All of them.

(Well, except for the one who threw out my wedding invitation. But I really did call my best friend, who is marrying her, intent on asking what color she'd like, figuring he could give it to her and shoot me the fifteen bucks later. He wasn't home. Them's the breaks.)

All told, CC bought seven bathrobes. And six pairs of matching slippers. (CC doesn't do slippers.)

And CC right now is imagining six women she cares about opening boxes and running sex goddess bathrobes across their cheeks feeling the silk and cashmere and knowing that there is someone out there who thinks they are worth it. Each of them will know that there's someone who sees them as a silk-and-cashmere sort of girl.

And CC feels about as at peace with the planet as she gets.


Ps. The store's website is selling sex goddess bathrobes for $37.50. Not getting a commission for this, I swear.

Monday, April 04, 2005


To: Baby Boomers

From: Generation X

CC: Generation Y

Date: April 4, 2005

Subject: John Lennon's song "Imagine."

When you hear this song, you get all weepy.

When we hear this song, we think to ourselves "Wow. That captures in one song everything that was lame and fucked up about the 60's."

Please stop voting it the greatest song of all time in radio polls.


Saturday, April 02, 2005

Spreading Scott's meme

Scott asked, I answered, though my insecure soul wonders if i'm being quizzed to see if I would be decent road trip company.

You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

Richard Von Mises' Positivism, though I don't agree with absolutely everything in it.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

I have absolutely had crushes on my image of someone, an image that turned out to be fictional.

If you'd like the question interpreted more literally, I had it bad for Sir Percy Blakeney from the Baronness D'Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel as a ten year old, and that was even before I discovered the film version with Anthony Andrews.

The last book you bought is…?

Well, I was at a booksale this morning, so I bought quite a few. Nothng very exciting. I think I got some books on the GRE. The Oxford History of the American People (CC will buy "the Oxford History of" or the "Oxford Companion to" damn near anything.) A bunch of paperbacks to resell to Edie's bookstore.

The last book you read is…?

The last book I finished was Tim O'Brien's Going after Cacciato

I don't think I 100 percent understood it, but I still liked it.

What are you currently reading?

On the living room floor Portrait of a Killer Patricia Cornwell's book on Jack the Ripper. In my purse Mormon America , in the computer room Proverbs of Ashes. Many copies of the NYT Sunday magazine, The Economist, Harper's and Vogue heaped in a basket in the bathroom. Pagels' book on Satan is around somplace but I've mislaid it. And I am in the middle of Colson Whitehead's The Intuitionist," which I'm not sure I completely understand either.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:

Robertson Davies The Salterton Trilogy
Didn't even have to think about that one.

Elisabeth Young-Bruehl Hanna Arent- For love of the World
I defy you to find a better biography of anyone.

The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought.
Open this book at any point, start reading, you're engrossed for a long time.

My wedding album
I think I'd look at it a lot

Anais Nin's Little Birds
Your fault for asking

Who are you going to pass this baton to (three persons)? And why?
Ministrare because he's a good writer who we haven't heard much from in a while.

Chutney because somebody already tapped Peacebang

Philocrites because the Daily Show needs a book reviewer.

Friday, April 01, 2005

What Politics Professionals talk about in the bar after work.

This is a reenactment of a conversation Ed-who-Cooks and I had:

CC: (Noting Congressman Michael Simpson) Whoa. Wouldn't it suck if you were named "Homer Simpson" and you wanted to run for Congress?

Ed: Would it?

CC: I mean if you didn't change your name people would make fun of you, and if you did and the papers found out, you'd REALLY get made fun of.

Ed: I think you're discounting the importance of the crucial Simpsons voting bloc. People who watch the Simpsons, you know, they're smart and they have money. It's a good demographic.

CC: Right, but would that translate to votes?

Ed: Oh hell, yeah. Are you kidding? I'd vote for a DEMOCRAT named "Homer Simpson"

CC: Well, they do say that name recognition is sometimes the most important factor in a local campaign.

Ed: That's true. That's completely true!

CC: And I bet that being named "Homer Simpson" is instant average Joe appeal.

Ed: Wow. I think we’ve just figured out how John Kerry could have won the election.

Yes, such conversations are stupid, but looking back on it, I think of how baby lions play at pouncing on one another before learning to hunt.

I have questions about if I'm cut out to be a lion.

But it was a good conversation.