The Kid’s Weekly Peace March

That’s our neighbor, Ethan, on the left in blue. He started the weekly “Kid’s Peace March” when he was 12 … he’s nearly 14 now … he’s done it every week, for what, nearly a year? More than a year? Anyway, it starts from Sunnyside School, and today, the Stenerson-Ramirez Clan followed along. Echo got a big kick out of carrying the sign, and waved happily at all those who honked.

Headline in the local paper today: “McCain-Palin Get No Traction in Oregon.” Gotta love that.

Latest political dream: The high-school-dropout who impregnated Palin’s daughter (let’s hear it for the efficacy of Abstinence Only! Why, it’s like magic, the way it makes more little babies for Jesus to love!) gave a press conference wherein he denounced the whole Palin crew and declared them all nutjobs, said that he was done being railroaded into a sham of a shotgun wedding, and unloaded a bunch of low-minded gossip about them all. Heee.

If you aren’t all Palined out, do check out Mudflats. I actually read this blog once before the Palin brouhaha. TERRIFIC insights from an Alaskan progressive, very funny, and great pics of an Alaskan anti-Palin rally, whoo!

In other news – first day of classes. Tomorrow. Prep, lesson planning, and meetings all last week, ergo my low profile. So, yeeah. Back to the salt mines! Oh, how I will miss summer. At least, I’ve reveled in every moment of it so far. And, undoubtedly, there’s that special back-to-school energy … I love that. And I love this period of vowing that “this time, this term will be so different. I will grade early. I will make copies early. I will be present for my students, and make spectacular lesson plans, and do everything, everything perfectly.”

And maybe that’s why I teach, partly: the chance, four times a year, to make all the same New Year’s Resolutions. I’m addicted to resolutions. Some of them even stick, for a while. I have a bunch this term, including … to prepare menus for the week on the weekends; to exercise at least 4 times a week; to get to bed early, every night; not to drive to work any more; to finish all my grading early … and to lose 20 pounds. Whew! Yeah, ambitious.

Oh, I guess another resolution could be to post here more often. I want to. I enjoy writing so much. But … the idea here is, after all, to enjoy it; to not let this become a source of stress itself. So, well, we shall see. I do have a long list of ideas I feel the need to pontificate on.

By the way. RIP David Foster Wallace. A moment of silence, please.

The Onion has not just one, but two articles related to Wallace which are terribly inappropriate, quite sad, and very, very funny.

Dreaming Politics

We’re back, babies, and it’s good – the weather is gorgeous, my little Echo is reveling in being home, and I’m enjoying the feeling I always have when I come back home: deep appreciation of P-town. HOWEVER. There’s always something, no? And this time it’s this uneasiness, this unsettled, worried feeling underlying my days … I turned to Tom yesterday morning and said, “I just need to control this election, that’s all. I just need to know it turns out the right way. Then I’ll be able to just relax and enjoy things.” Eight years, eight years of hell! Almost over! And then these crazy polls … McCain’t is ahead?? I’m waiting for the response from Obama that I want, waiting. Frustrating!

So I dreamed the response I want.

It was a simple dream, and short. Obama is giving a speech. He describes the McCain “sex education” ad. “I signed this bill,” he says, his voice forceful, the quiet anger just barely there. “I signed this bill because I have daughters, three years old and six years old at that time. I signed this bill because sexual predators rely on the silence of little children, and because this bill would help give children a voice. Senator McCain is against that. Against that!” He’s visibly outraged. Part of McCain’s ad plays. “Explicit sexual education before reading?” says the slimy voice. “That’s what he calls protecting children,” says Obama. And then, somehow, with no transition, he’s talking about Palin. “As a community organizer,” he says, sarcastically as she used the words, “Sarah Palin tried to ban books in her local library. She failed. She tried to fire librarians who protected free speech. She failed. She tried to ban teaching science in her local high school. She failed.” There’s a montage of headlines about these fiascoes. “As a community organizer, this is what I did,” and then there’s a montage. This part is hazy, my dream is almost over. But I do remember the very ending: “John McCain said this. (Voiceover of McCain.) “That … is … a … LIE. The truth is, [bla bla, whatever it was.] Sarah Palin said this. (Voiceover of Palin.) “That … is … a … LIE. The truth is …” and so on.

The dream ended with a line from Obama’s acceptance speech. “They are making a big election about small things,” he says. “Not just small things, but small lies.”

I wake up both sleepy and exhilarated. This is what I need to see, boys and girls.

This is the second night in a row I’ve had a similar dream, and I think I’ve mentioned that after besmirching our eyeballs on the RNC both Tom and I had nightmares. This dream was different – this was Obama showing the anger that I feel, that I think a lot of people feel. The anger that he must feel, if he’s human. I swear, I really want to see this anger, I want to hear him use the words “lies” and “liars.” I am so bloody sick of Democrats playing by ‘the rules,’ the country-club rules of gentlemanly behavior, while the other side would make the WWF blush with their tactics. Gore: “Oh, you just pulled an illegal coup and stole the election, I suppose I ought to concede for the good of us all.” Kerry: “Ah, you are publishing libel and telling lies, and recruiting liars and buying them TV time, and I really ought to sue you for libel and slander and bankrupt you and ruin you and rejoice in my victory, but it wouldn’t be presidential to use the word ‘liar’ so I won’t.”

SCREW THIS, I say. When I see the ruin the Repubs have sown — the murders and maimings, the families and infrastructure destroyed, the government-sanctioned torture and rape; the ratcheting-up of global warming, the bleeding of the working class, the wholesale export of industry, the destruction of the environment — good Lord. I am ANGRY. I mean, I’m eyeball-popping infuriated when I let myself be, when I pause for a moment and see the massive force and might of a country that might have done so much good in the world being squandered instead on evil. Yeah, evil. What else could you call Abu Ghraib? The “Clear Skies” Act? Blackwater? Evil.

So I want my candidate to be angry too. He’s got the pulpit. He can call a lie a lie and remind everyone just what the h#!! this election is about: not lipstick, for god’s sake, but life, death, war, peace, jobs, stability, climate, terrorism, the rest of the world, education, economy, jobs, the bloody survival of the species (if the species is the Average American).

Sheesh.

LIRR

… or the Long Island Rail Road. We’ll leave in about an hour, next stop, Chinatown. Anyone want a Canal St. knockoff bag, email me now or forever hold your peace … This morning has been all about: Saying goodbye to Zane & Ruby at the bus stop; packing; snacking; coffee quibbles (no other part of the country will ever be able to satisfy a Portlander, coffee-wise, except Seattle); and a drive out to Juliana’s place of employment. I’ll post pics later of this amazing Modernist house – ama-zing, amazing setting, amazing views, amazing Maya Lin sculptures, Gehry furniture, Noguchi lamps. I’ll post more about her boss, Edwina Von Pal (sp??) – landscape artist/architect. Lovely stuff.

My quads ache from all the swimming, which is a terrific feeling. I’m off now to pack a lunch.

Amagansett

Our last full day here in Amagansett. Where is that, you ask? Right next to the Hamptons, home to Paul McCartney, completely devoid of decent coffee – that’s Amagansett. There are all manner of celebrity types here, but Sir McCartney is the only one who remotely impresses me, especially after hearing the story of the little girl (a friend of my niece, Ruby) who went door-to-door here selling some of her possessions. Paul McCartney selected a stuffed … cat, was it?, paid the fee, and wished the child well. Now that, my friends, is class. I didn’t hear of Jerry Seinfeld buying a My Pretty Pony.

The Atlantic – oh, my god, the glorious Atlantic! I’ve been ocean swimming every single day since we got here. It is so warm, so clear, so green-glassy and quicksilvery. We caught the tail end of Tropical Storm Hannah a few days ago, which broke the incredible humidity of Friday. One day of rain and 12-foot waves, and after that, gorgeous weather. Today we visited the Montauk Lighthouse, which is all kinds of 19th-century New England charm, and wound up the day swimming in Fresh Pond.

It’s been great for the cousins to get some quality time. Zane said Echo was “cute as a little cherry!” this morning.

Well, right now my little maraschino is in a needy mood and filling my lap, so off I go. Maybe I’ll be able to come back later tonight.

I Love Sarah Palin

I do, reaaaaly people, I do.

I mean, she’s the GUARANTEE that McCain will LOSE. How can you not love that?!?

I have to agree with blogger Mrs. Betty Bowers, who said:

First off, let’s give Caribou Barbie some credit: She showed up and was rather feisty. But her demeanor made me think she was going to end her speech by saying, “I’m Tracy Flick and I’d be so honored and super-grateful to get YOUR vote for Student Government!”

Small-time, hypocritical, environment-hating, nasty-spirited … and that nasal whine, oh my! 8 years ago, I groaned that if Bush won, it would be 4 years before I could watch the news, because that voice, that hateful nasal whine, simultaneously malign and dull-witted, was unbearable. (The assumed folksy drawl was the icing on the cake of revulsion.) And that was true! I avoided all news media except for print – actually, a good decision, and I probably won’t go back. But I digress. Palin, more of the same: voice like nails on a chalkboard. Oh geez, and morals – the same. I’m assuming you all know about the latest development – she’s going into semi-hiding in Alaska, rather than, oh you know, campaigning?
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you – the nail in the coffin: Governor “Troopergate” Palin.

Quick take on her performance at the RNC: “Caribou Barbie” and Tracey Flick comparisons, spot-on. Wht especially chilled me, though, was deciphering the code she spoke. Paraphrasing freely, I remember recall these lines:

“I got into politics because I wanted to make my kids’ education better.” Translation: We need to ban books, ban sex education, and ban science in school. Public education should be used to further God’s Word.

“I’m not afriaid to use the veto when needed.” I will be an obstructionist who will prevent Congress from doing the work the public wants them to do.

“I stopped taxing gas.” Oil is free, and endless, and doesn’t hurt the environment!

“Our opponent has written two memoirs but no laws.” Self-knowledge and introspection are for pussies!

“We want to catch terrorists and deal with them. Our opponent is more concerned with (heavy contempt) reading them their rights.” (Huge applause, and that nauseating orgasmic look from Cindy McCain.) Yes! We’re gonna keep on torturing, America!

And of course, endless references to fighting … and battles, and fights, and wars, and victory, and fighting. We’re the party of kickin’ ass! Palin-Nugent 2012!

I just don’t see it working, not if there’s high voter turnout. No way, no how. I mean, the woman referenced her hubby’s package for godssake, and brought a teenage boy now known across the land as “The Ejaculator” into the spotlight. Gah.

Enough of this nonsense, though, right? the important thing is: I’m still on freakin’ vacation, in New York now. Long Island, to be precise. It’s crazy hot and humid today – and I packed no shorts! (Imagine Homer Simpson forehead slap.)

Here was our trip back home from SoCal:

Here’s Echo and Cousin Zane getting all Lord of the Flies with a fish head:

Check that back yard!  This is Amagansett, a short walk from the beautiful and WARM Atlantic.  We swam today, and it was incredible to once again feel the waves toss me up and down.  Zane and Ruby are lovely, sun-golden after their summer on the shore.  They share their home with 2 kitties, 1 dog, and 1 guinea pig, one big peaceable kingdom.  Andy (Tom’s bro) and the lovely & talented Juliana ROCK – plus they’re great hosts.  We are having a swell time so far, more pics to come.  Including softie pics – it’s all been worth it to hear the line “Hey!  Why are you squeezing my little poop!?” spoken in utter sincerity.

((I’m having a heckuvatime with my iphone and WordPress, which is why so many great photos from the last 2 weeks haven’t shown yet, but I don’t mean to complain — the iphone is my big splurge for 2008 and 2009, I love it more than words can express, and it will soon, soon be dialled IN.))