Swimming To The Surface

2102_47438731251_2845_nI told you I’d be gone and then back. The “back” part has given me a little trouble. I just spent a long weekend with my honey. I don’t remember the last time we went out of town just the two of us. And this trip was to a magical place with no cellphone reception or internet. It was incredible. And I mean that in the true sense of the word. I actually didn’t believe we were there. It was so amazing, I only complained about bugs like ten times.

We did quite a bit of fishing. By that I mean we sacrificed many yummy worms to tiny baby fish. We only hauled up about three, only one of which was worth heating up the grease for. It was a 22 inch catfish. Yes, I know. I’m supposed to tell you its weight, not its length. We didn’t have anything to weigh it it and I am notoriously bad at estimating anything that requires a number value. “Oh, it’s about a hundred yards from here.” That means nothing to me. A yard, a mile, a hectare? All the same. Oh, and don’t get me started on stones. One stone equals fourteen pounds? You know what else equals fourteen pounds? Fourteen pounds.

But that’s not the point. The point is that I’ve been in a self-imposed news exile for several months. Lookit, I know. I KNOW. You don’t need to give me all the crap about caring what goes on in the world and how we’re all connected and being a clueless American. Suck it. I’ve got enough drama here in the Greater Metropolitan Standard Shed Area. I don’t need yours too. So I’m just going to get it out all in one fell swoop.

Let’s begin, shall we? In no particular order…

  1. SCOTUS knocks down a key piece of Voting Rights Act saying that because it’s worked, we no longer need it. Okay, I see where they’re going with this. Following this logic, The Supremes will ban birth control by ruling, “Hey, you didn’t get knocked up last year, did you? No. It worked. You don’t need it anymore. NEXT!”
  2. Paula Deen’s sons say she’s not a racist! She let us watch Hank Aaron! Y’all, stick some butter in your pie holes and be quiet. But even more? Gentle readers, stop assuming that because she’s a Southern woman of a certain age she doesn’t know any better or doesn’t mean anything by it.
  3. In Texas, according to State Representative Jodie Laubenberg, if you’re raped and report it, you get a complimentary abortion! Apparently, “in the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits, where a woman can get cleaned out.”  To quote my extremely profound husband, “Wow.”
  4. Twenty-three Seven years ago, I was denied admission to Bennington College. Why they chose not to accept my application is beyond me. Who WOULDN’T want me at their school? Who could possibly deny themselves the pleasure of my company? I shall now sue. Some kid gets denied admission to University of Texas and, I can only imagine, is then hounded by some lawyer wanting to make a (literal) federal case that she was denied admission because she was white. So, all I want to say about this is that she WAS admitted to Texas, just not the Austin campus. She then chose to go to LSU. I don’t know the ins and outs of all this, but I do know this: If she’d really wanted to end up on that Austin campus, she could have worked at it. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and whatnot.
  5. This really isn’t bad news, but I thought I’d include it anyway. Rick Santorum is going to head a “faith-based” movie studio in Dallas. First, moving away from politics is an excellent decision. But. I’m always skeptical of companies who make a big deal that they’re “faith-based” or “Christian”. To me if you’re walking the walk, you don’t need to advertise your talk. I find it in poor taste to use faith and religion in marketing. And by “in poor taste” I mean “desperate”.

Things Currently Annoying Me

  1. Westbound Poplar drivers who think it’s nice to let an eastbound moron turn into Office Depot across two lanes of traffic. Just because you in the inside lane are trying to be nice doesn’t mean the outside lane feels the same. Idiot should have turned in from Mendenhall. LIKE A SANE PERSON.
  2. That I am now, officially, A Memphis Driver.
  3. Frothy Santorum’s statement that THEY want to tell you if you only believe marriage to be between a man and a woman then THEY are trying to tell you that you’re a bigot. I’m not TRYING to tell you. I AM telling you.
  4. You say you’ve been to a certain city and Tessie Traveler wants to know if you’ve been to all these places there, but the places are like all the places the tour bus is legally mandated to go and beeteedubs I have my own opinion about where to get a really good pulled pork sammich in my own town, thankyouveddymuch.
  5. HEY! You! In the suburbs! My assumption is that you live there because you don’t like the city. You don’t need to give me a detailed list of Memphis transgressions. Only those of us inside the loop pay the tax for that privilege.
  6. I’ve got this thing with my foot.
  7. People freaking out about breastfeeding. And I’m talking either way. One, it’s a thing, okay? Women do it to feed their children. FEED. THEIR. CHILDREN. Second? Some kids don’t latch. Why do we need to make the mother feel like a failure? Answer? WE DON’T.
  8. My overzealous use of the caps lock key.
  9. Wanting me to read something, but not letting me read it. You read it to me instead. Quit it.
  10. I seem to be annoyed a lot lately.

Not Tuning In, Just Dropping Out

On the heels of my decision to ignore promotional emails, I’ve decided to opt out of the presidential race as well. I just cannot listen ONE MORE MINUTE to these people. It’s not that I don’t care who is president, I do. I care very much. But sweet Gussie, the GOP seems to be running robots carved from cream cheese who run on battery cells fueled by PACs and the Dems are all SUCK IT! WE GOT BIN LADEN!!

Of the Republicans, Huntsman is the only one who makes any sense to me. And by that I mean, really, I cannot understand anything the others are saying. Because they don’t seem to say anything. Ron Paul, hailed as the only consistent candidate, wants total deregulation of markets. No government intervention, he cries. Let the consumers choose who stands and who falls! BUT YET, he wants to outlaw abortion. And I’m not sure my logic on this is totally sound, but isn’t that government regulation? How is it not? The government should regulate, apparently, nothing in the public sector, but everything in the private sector. Rick Santorum wants to outlaw contraception and homosexuality. Because, again, we should be in the business of regulating private homes. And bodies. Then there’s Mitt. Mitt’s got to stop talking to crowds like they’re full of toddlers. I’d never vote for Mitt because I can’t take that voice. It’s like nails on a chalkboard. I feel for him that he’s getting flack for his religion. What I wish is that would make him more sensitive to religious bigotry, but I also wish for thin thighs in thirty days. He’s flipped more times than the US gymnastics team, and much less gracefully. Oh, Newt. Let’s talk about Newt. No, let’s don’t. Let’s just ignore him and see if he goes to sit at the geek table. Is Rick Perry still in? All hat and no cattle, as my mother would say.

I’m not in love with our president either. He has this habit of answering questions starting with, “You know what?” It makes him sound like he’s two seconds away from bitch-slapping the questioner. Which he probably is. Oh, there are other reasons I’m not in lurv with him. For example, before the first election he laid out a loose plan to fix this ridiculous BCS mess. IS IT FIXED?

I think the problem is the game’s changed, but the players won’t admit it. I happen to believe capitalism like we were taught in school doesn’t exist. I think it’s been laid to rest just like communism. I’ve heard two things recently that really speak to what I believe about our country. In an interview with NPR, the new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, Richard Cordray, said of his agency:

Well, the key for us is that part of our job is to make prices and risks clear for consumers so that they can make good, better informed judgments for themselves. That doesn’t mean that we’re prejudging any particular product. We will be regulating payday lenders, mortgage brokers, private student lenders, and that’s a very important step forward for us….We won’t be making people’s judgments for them. But if consumers aren’t clear on what the options are, then the markets don’t work very well. And we saw that in so many ways, and we all have stories about people who have lost their homes, who are drowning in debt. And sometimes, it was because they made bad choices, and sometimes, it was because they didn’t understand the choices they were making because this marketplace had grown too complex, too confusing.

Elizabeth Warren, who should have had Richard Cordray’s job, made this statement that went viral a few months ago:

There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there — good for you! 

But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that maurauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.

Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea–God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

Markets don’t really regulate themselves becasue people run markets. This mystical “market” everyone keeps talking about doesn’t exist in a vacuum. No computer has ever stolen a credit card and bought a big screen TV at Best Buy. No market has ever sent me a letter saying that based on the balance of another credit card from another company, it was going to raise my interest rate and double my monthly payment. People decide those things. A business is not a social service. If you’re a for-profit business and you’re not worried about profits, you’re doing it wrong. But just as people got our economy off track, it’s going to take people to get our economy on track. I just don’t see a leader out there who can do that. Except maybe Hillary, who has totally ignored the doll made of my own hair I sent her with “PLEASE RUN” stitched on the dress.

I have also come to realize that we need a true co-presidency. We need a face for the glad-handing and a son of a bitch to get the work done. I once read something that compared politics to a beauty pageant. Is the woman who won the Miss Whatever State title really the prettiest, smartest young woman in the state? No, but she was the pick of the women who entered. Are any of these men the best choice for president? No, but we will choose from the group we are given.

I’ll show up, I’ll vote. But my resolution for the year is to pay more attention to the local because that’s the only way we’re going to have candidates good enough for the national.