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Tag Archives | Politics

Monday Listicles: Perry. Men.

This Monday’s listicle topic is chosen by Jen, over here at Just Jennifer. She wants people to write about reasons to have (or not have) children. Or if you have kids, to write about whether you do (or don’t) want any more.

Well. I have two boys. That’s the equivalent of a houseful of meerkats.  When I feel overwhelmed, I think about my next-door neighbor here, who has FIVE. Boys, not meerkats.  She’s the calmest human I know. My head could explode in flames while we’re in the elevator together and she would dump her water bottle on the fire, wrap a bandage around the worst injury, take my pulse, and feed me an aspirin before we reach our floor.

Let’s just say the baby-making factories are closed in my house. I would love to have a daughter—in fact, I always assumed I would have a daughter—but instead, boys. My sister has two daughters. I have considered swapsies, so we each could have a matched set, boy & girl, but for some reason she wants to raise her own kids.  Can you imagine? Selfish, selfish, selfish.

But this list offers me a chance to write on a marginally related topic: the problem with men named Perry. Or Peri, as the case may be.

Oh yes, you heard me. We’re talking about the fabulous Presidential Perry, Rick O’Texas, and that other Peri, Peri Men O’Paws.  Both are a nuisance, but only one will be gone (hope, pray) for sure in 2012.

Bad memories:
1. The governor of Texas would like to abolish several key Federal agencies. He just can’t remember which ones, exactly. Click here to watch him fumble. Hardest I’ve laughed in a week.

2. Peri Men O’Paws can’t remember when you’ve had your last period and doesn’t care. He just shows up, willy-nilly.


3. Rick O’Texas thinks abstinence is the only form of “sex ed” that should be taught in schools, even though statistics show that Texas (which mandates abstinence education) has the third-highest rate of teen pregnancies in the U.S.  Despite these statistics, however, he is sure that abstinence works.  Click here to be convinced.

4. Men O’Paws maintains an irregular schedule (known perhaps only to the moon) which makes abstinence frequently necessary, rarely convenient, and difficult to teach.

5. At public appearances, Texas Perry sometimes seems comatose, and then sometimes he’s aggressive (as when he crowded Ron Paul’s personal space during a September 2011 debate):

photo via AP on Huffington Post

Sometimes, though, O’Texas is just downright loopy, as he was during a campaign appearance in New Hampshire recently, when he told the audience bring their gold into his campaign manager.  Having a moody Texan with his thumb hovering over the nuclear button just can’t be a good thing.

6. Peri Men brings hormonal joyrides the likes of which I haven’t experienced since high school, when I regularly spent at least one day a month sobbing in my bedroom because the world was just TOO AWFUL.  Now those joyrides include snapping at my children, wishing Husband should take up residence on a houseboat in Lake Winnipesaukee (in the winter), loathing my late-mid-forties wrinkles, popping Advil as if they’re candy corn, and thinking that writing a blog is the stupidest goddamn thing I’ve ever done.

Bad hair:

7. Rick O’Texas has hair like a Ken doll. It manages to be both fluffy and immobile, just like Ken’s hair helmet.  I hope for his sake that Rick doesn’t smoke, because you just know that entire helmet is coated in flammable material.

8. Peri brings the gift of gray. Gray hair that refuses to play nicely with what’s left of the curly tresses from my youth.  The gray coils up out of my head like antenna, as if Peri is trying to talk to compatriots on the moon to make plans for pushing my body even further out of whack.

9. Texas Rick thinks that floods and other natural disasters are acts of God. Actually, he thought the British Petroleum explosion was an act of God, too. In other words, human actions ain’t got nothing to do with the environment and the science of climate change is “shaky.” His Texas agencies so deeply censored edited a scientific study of Galveston Bay that all the scientists who contributed to the study asked to have their names taken off the report.

10. Peri Men brings on floodwaters so profound that endless trips to the pharmacy are required for reinforcements against sartorial damage. And you don’t know what fun is until you’ve gone into a pharmacy filled with customers in abayas and headscarves, staffed only with men, and dumped your boxes of super tampons at the cash register where they practically scream out HELLO I AM A MENSTRUATING WOMAN AND PROBABLY UNCLEAN STAY AWAY.

11. O’Texas thinks that while abstinence is best for teen-agers, married folks should have babies galore. He wants to strip all funding from Planned Parenthood and promises to appoint only pro-life appointees to the Justice Department, the Attorney General’s Office, and the National Institutes of Health.  The fact abortions only count for about 3% of what Planned Parenthood actually does (as opposed to, say, things like blood-pressure screenings, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, or prenatal care)—well, that’s just a pesky detail.

12. Peri O’Paws seems to be suggesting that this old late-mid-forties married lady will have to stop at two babies.  The married lady in question thinks that probably this is a good idea, as a third child would only complete the fund-stripping process begun by first two children and then render the mother incapable of remembering any details about anything.

There you have it folks, a point-by-point analysis of why Perrys are to be avoided. I can take comfort in knowing that by November of 2012, the entire GOP sideshow will be over, one way or another.  Unfortunately, however, Peri Men O’Paws doesn’t operate by any calendar that I can deduce.   But you know what? I’d still rather be governed by O’Paws than O’Texas.


hey…yes, double-dipping again. This post linked to Monday’s Listicles and now I’m linking up over at Lovelinks, where you will find lots of funny smart writers. You should read around on the lovelinks page and then come back Thursday (after your turkey or your lentil loaf or your baloney sandwich, whatever) and VOTE for your top three. Probably you, unlike Rick O’Texas, can remember three things.

Continue Reading · on November 21, 2011 in Children, environment, family, Feminism, Kids, Monday Listicle, Politics, ranting

first the amusement parks…then the world…?

Could a woman be strangled by her hijab, ala Isadora Duncan, who died in 1927 when the long fluttery scarf around her neck floated out of her convertible, tangled around a hubcap and snapped her neck?

Apparently the folks at Rye Playland seem to think so, which is why they ban “headgear” on some of their rides.  Yesterday, this ban resulted in a scuffle and about thirteen people being detained, when several Muslim women were told to remove their hijabs before riding the Dragon Rollercoaster.  A spokesperson for the amusement park said “if someone wears a scarf, it could be a strangling situation.”

The hijab is wrapped tightly around the head, pinned into place, and then draped around the shoulders. Unless it’s coupled with another veil, a hijab rarely comes down as far as the elbow.  So for a “strangling situation” to occur, the pins would have to fly off the woman’s head, the scarf would have to unwind from around her hair but stay wound around her neck–and still have enough length to dangle out of the roller-coaster car and tangle under the wheels.

Seems like kind of a longshot, if you ask me.

I wonder what else might account for this particular ban? Do you think the fact that these women were part of an entire group of Muslims at the park celebrating Eid had anything to do with it? You know, a big group of Them, in one place, dressed all weird in veils and stuff?

Nah…I’m sure that cultural suspicions had nothing to do with the fight, the arrests, or the request to take off the scarf.

Just safety.


thanks to @knickerbockerny for bringing this incident to my attention!

Continue Reading · on September 1, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, Feminism, NYC, Politics

Reverb #4: Cultivating Wonder

Today’s reverb#4 prompt: How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

I wondered what happened to my waist-line. I wondered what happened to my (aging) skin. I wondered when my children would stop squabbling with each other 45 out of every 60 minutes they spend together. I wondered why so much of my brain has to be devoted to logistics (see reverb #2, on “what gets in the way of your writing?”) I wondered how I could possibly make room to work on a novel, a screenplay, an academic article. I wondered if all the fashion designers in the world got together and decided en masse to forever erase the concept of “hips” from the clothes they design.  I wondered about where we’d go if Sarah Palin & Co actually won the White House in 2012.  I wondered why Barack doesn’t stand up and tell the Repugs to go fuck themselves because there comes a point when trying to play nicely with playground bullies is just dumb. I wondered how I got so lucky as to find a collection of sane & creative mommies to have as friends. I wondered how much it would cost to live in a brownstone with a garden and whether it was too late to become a hedge fund manager. I wondered why sports stars and Kardashians make so much money but give so little away. I wondered if Caleb knows how much joy I derive from listening to his elaborate Lego stories, which spin on literally for hours at a time. I wondered about taking a month off to follow Michael Franti. I wondered why in the hell I live in New York and came to the disconcerting realization that I might be miserable anywhere else. I wondered if I could learn to make a perfect roast chicken and then remembered that because I live in New York I don’t have to make a perfect roast chicken: I can have one delivered to my front door.

In short, I’m not sure I cultivated much wonder this year, but wonder sure seems to have cultivated me.

Next year, I’m going to think about wonder as a noun. And cultivate it. Maybe in a little pot right here on the window sill. I wonder how you cultivate wonder? Probably with the same sorts of seeds you use to cultivate joy. Put that on the list for 2011.

Continue Reading · on December 4, 2010 in reverb10

The 21st Century Ancient World

Abu Dhabi made my head spin. I wasn’t there very long but I began to understand what people like Thomas Friedman mean when they talk about the collisions in the middle east between old worlds and new.

Old World and New in Abu Dhabi isn’t as profound as in a city like Cairo or Athens or Jerusalem, for instance, where you’re literally walking on ancient roads. Abu Dhabi only came into being as a modern city in the 1950s; it was a fishing village before that, primarily. Here’s a picture of Abu Dhabi’s main street, in about 1964:

Now everywhere you look are glass-clad high-rises, with more on the way: huge construction cranes dot the skyline and signs proclaim the coming of this new office tower, or that new apartment building. Of course, what they really need are window washers–there is so much sand and salt in the air that all those glass windows on all those buildings? Filthy.  This photo is from the 22nd floor of the building we stayed in – the haze over the cityscape is from the schmutzy on the window.

These new glass high-rises,which look like the same anonymous buildings in LA or Chicago or New York are going up alongside crumbling decrepit terra-cotta buildings, with laundry dripping from the balconies and air conditioners that look like they’re going to plummet at any minute onto the heads of people walking on the sidewalks below.

The call to prayer echoes through the city five times a day, a literal reminder of ancient days, as are the rows of shoes lined up outside the mosques. Does anyone ever steal the shoes of people at prayer? But other than those calls to prayer, it’s a quiet city – there isn’t the cacophony of horns and sirens that make up street life in Manhattan and even the construction sounds are muffled.

Because it’s quieter, that means when you finally manage to cross the twelve lanes of death-defying traffic to get to the corniche, the paved parkway that curves along the beach front, you can look out at the water and almost imagine you’re not in a city at all.  Of course, when you turn around, the tall buildings are right there–a sort of bad Miami Beach look to it:

At the beach, bikini bodies lounge in chairs next to women who are fully clothed and wearing head scarves–the ultimate SPF:

This woman was wearing thin cotton trousers, a long-sleeved shirt, and her veil. She spent a long time in the water playing with her kids and the veil never once budged out of place. She either totally had the scarf tuck-and-fold down pat, or some serious bobby pins.

Abu Dhabi seems like a city in a hurry–it’s developing an entire cultural “zone,” complete with museums, universities, and of course that ultimate in 21st century haute culture, a gallery space currently showing pieces from Larry Gagosian’s private collection.  I mean, once you’ve got Gagosian, you’re pretty much arrived, haven’t you?

How do you balance the frequently conflicting claims of old world and new? It can’t be as easy as just importing Gagosian’s Warhol paintings, or putting up some glass office towers…can it?

Old Abu Dhabi photograph courtesy of Geoff Pound

Continue Reading · on November 30, 2010 in NYC, Politics, Travel

Cosmo winner, country loser


A year ago, I celebrated my 45th birthday watching Barack’s inauguration.  I drank champagne and cried (tears of joy mostly, although the horror of hitting “mid-forty” may have had something to do with it too); the world seemed filled with hope.

A year later, another birthday, another political upheaval, but this one from the Northeast: Scott Brown’s win over Martha whatsisherface.  A triumph of fear and half-truths over…well, over not much, I guess. Martha seems to have ignored the old adage about what happens when you assume things: like assuming that because it’s “your turn” you’ll win the election; or that because Massachusetts is so liberal you can assume you’ll win.  Remember, Martha, “assume” makes an ass of u and me. 

Making fun of Martha is cold comfort, though, given that the stakes in that election seem so high. And while I don’t want to be all  “this is the end of the Obama presidency,” it does seem like the possibility of health care reform is fading faster than you can say “fifty million uninsured.”  Anthony Wiener, the always elegant New York Rep said that basically the liklihood of the Senate bill passing the House is the same as “pigs flying out your ass.”  New Yorkers – we always have just the right thing to say.

Okay, so maybe Martha is no gem, but is that any reason to put your state in the hands of someone who posed–coyly–for Cosmo in 1982? Do you really want to know what your Senator’s pubes look like? I mean, really? True, California voted for Ahnohld, whom we’ve all seen in fewer clothes than we’d like, but that’s California–it has a reputation for being completely loony, legislatively.  Massachusettians used to sneer at Californians but no longer. Get off that high horse, my Mass friends; now you’re keeping company with the Schwarzneggerians and the Venturians.

My grimmest prediction? That Scott Brown and Sarah Palin are going to create some kind of unholy but highly photogenic alliance and run together for the White House in 2012 and that the rest of the country will be so blinded by their shiny white teeth and glossy hair that the Hollow Heads will actually win. The triumph of the shallow will be complete and people like me–grumpy, lumpy, people-who-read–will be rounded up and hunted for sport.

Oh but that can’t happen, you say. To which I say, look again at the picture at the top of this post and tell me why not.

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Continue Reading · on January 20, 2010 in Politics

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