Friday, December 31, 2010

waiting as i eat yesterday's (Friday's Sunday's Poem/Hot Actress 69)

it was just a little while ago
by Charles Bukowski

almost dawn
blackbirds on the telephone wire
as I eat yesterday's
forgotten sandwich

at 6 a.m.
an a quiet Sunday morning.

one shoe in the corner
standing upright
the other laying on it's

yes, some lives were made to be

About the poem: I was looking for something that captures the arbitrary, but exciting, but somewhat sad, nature of New Year's Eve -- a day on which the old year "ends" and the new one begins and we look back and think sometimes good riddance and sometimes too bad but usually both, and look forward to the next year with some hope and some worry.

I didn't find that poem, but I did find this one-- with its most-likely-deliberate line break after yesterday's and before forgotten, making it seem to me that Bukowski wasn't eating just a sandwich-- and it reminded me that it's possible to try to make life too important, and that sometimes it's okay to just let a day be a day.

About the Hot Actress: Just barely over 30, Michelle Williams is starring in the movie that Sweetie wants to go see today after we see that Bodies exhibition. So I put her in there. If you want to see a good Michelle Williams movie for which she should've won an Oscar, rent Wendy & Lucy. And then prepare to be sad for a couple days.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

GOP: "We can't afford to keep educating these kids. Let's just lock 'em up." (Publicus Proventus)

Phase two of the GOP's plan to loot the coffers and leave the country running on fumes was unveiled when State Rep. Glenn Grothman proposed leaving kids too dumb to figure out what's been done -- thereby reducing the chance that as the younger generation grows up, they'll try to get revenge on the elders.

Grothman on Tuesday complained that expansion of the state government was wrecking us fiscally, and singled out expanding 4K programs as the culprit -- because everyone knows that snack breaks are budget-busters.

In blaming the kids, Grothman forgot to blame Republican partial-governor Scott McCallum, who vetoed a provision that would have pared down 4K programs back in 2001, and, as an added measure, Grothman proved that he's unfamiliar with basic math, too -- he could've probably used some more education, as a study showed that $1 spent on 4K programs helps save $0.68 in other areas, reducing teen pregnancy, incarceration, special ed, and dropouts.

But maybe Grothman would rather we lock up preschoolers than teach them to read? Let's just assume that's true.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Apparently, "less government" means "less powers, but more pay for friends." Also: Lying is cool. (Publicus Proventus.)

Wisconsin Emperor-Elect Scott Walker is a member of the Republican party, which in theory means smaller government but in reality means "putting businessmen on the state payroll while not requiring they do anything." Maybe that's how he plans to create 250,000 jobs -- by hiring buddies to work for The Official State Cheerleader (the role he ascribes to the Governor's office.)

Walker plans to ask the legislature to transfer Wisconsin's Department of Commerce's power mostly to him and a businessman-to-be-named-later. From

Scott Walker wants the department to become a public-private partnership that will focus on jobs and deal less with regulation. Walker talked about his plans this morning, hoping to call the new agency the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. It will focus solely on job creation programs and reassign regulatory duties to other agencies. It will have a CEO and twelve board members that will be appointed by the governor. Walker says this new idea will help him keep his campaign promise of adding a quarter of a million jobs to the state during his first term.

A CEO?! That sounds like a business and everything. Especially the part about cronyism and hiring buddies: Walker would appoint businessmen to the Board.

Unlike businesses -- or government agencies -- though, the new "corporation" wouldn't have any actual powers: the regulatory powers that Commerce has now would be shifted to other agencies, while the new "corporation" (which would hire staff, increasing the size of government) appears to be mostly advisory:

The governor would be chairman of the board. Walker said the board could hire staff, makes proposals to the Legislature, coordinate with other economic development groups across the state and administer programs on its own.
(Source.) As part of this dubious "jobs creation" plan, Walker is going to try to fire the 400 people currently employed by Commerce and make them re-apply for jobs under the "corporation."

But, hey, it sounds business-y, right? So it must be good. Just like lying about... that is, revising... his small business tax cuts also must be good, because Walker says so.

Walker's proposed small business tax cut plan originally proposed to cut taxes by 1% on businesses who employ 50 or fewer people. That plan was criticized back in September when WISC-TV noted that it would likely save businesses only a few hundred (or up to $2000) dollars.

Turns out, though, that Walker was only kidding: His plan, really, is to help rich business owners, as he revealed with his newly-revamped plan to cut taxes on the wealthiest small business owners (does cutting taxes on the wealthiest people sound familiar to you? Nice work, voters). Walker says now he's going to base the tax cuts on how much the companies make. That proposal was conspicuously absent from his campaign website.

But, hey, if small business owners who aren't wealthy always want to earn more, they could apply for jobs at Cheerleader Walker's Jobs Corporation. They won't even have to do anything.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Quote of the Day, 52.

"Poor Frito."
-- Sweetie.

That quote deserves some explanation, but, unfortunately for me (and you) I can't give you the full explanation it deserves, because I can't remember the details of the conversation.

What I can remember is the exact conversation we had because I wrote that down, and here's how it went:


Sweetie: Poor Frito.

Me: Who's Frito?

Sweetie: Never mind.

Me: Tell me.

Sweetie: Nobody. I just made him up.

That's it. That's the whole conversation, and all I can remember about is that exchange, which I immediately wrote down to make sure I could put it on here, only now, a few days later, I can't recall anything about who Frito was and why Sweetie made up Poor Frito.

It's from Mr F's abstract period. (Life With Unicorns)

Looking for a post? It's been removed and can now be found in my book "Life With Unicorns." Look for it on Amazon and Kindle. Click here for a list of all my books.

Monday, December 27, 2010

It's The Chair Ball! (Life With Unicorns)

Looking for a post? It's been removed and can now be found in my book "Life With Unicorns." Look for it on Amazon and Kindle. Click here for a list of all my books.

Blogging about another blog might be egg salad, too, I suppose. (Stuff, and Junk.)

Read.Dance.Bliss (your book is coming, I know) collects things she calls egg salad -- things made of themselves, is how I would describe it, because "egg salad" is made of eggs mixed with the mixtures of eggs. And I thought of that when I saw my sister-in-law's decorative Christmas Tree on the 24th:
That's right. It's a Christmas tree decorated with Christmas trees.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I almost talk about the book itself here. Almost. (The Rum Punch Review of "Room" By Emma Donoghue)(Part One)

What's a Rum Punch Review? Click here to find out.

I waited for about two weeks before I bought Room, by Emma Donoghue.

Maybe longer.

I first read a review of Room a while back in Entertainment Weekly, and the premise of it both intrigued me and haunted me. The review said it was told in the perspective of a 5-year-old boy who's the song of an abducted woman, and that the boy and the woman live in an 11x11 room where she's (and he's) being held captive.

That kind of idea sounded incredible, and made me almost immediately want to read the book... while at the same time I didn't want to read it, either. I was so worried about reading Room, in fact, that it was nearly two weeks before I even put it on my Kindle's wish list.

But it made it onto the list, and when I finished reading Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, I still had about $12 on my account to buy the next book. Freedom not being one of those books that made me want to wait a while before going on to the next book, I was ready to buy one right away... and kept going back and just looking at the listing for Room. Looking at, but not buying it.

I don't like stories about little kids in trouble, as a general rule. Sweetie and I went to see Black Swan at the Rich People's Theater last week and one of the previews was for Rabbit Hole, a movie in which (I quickly gathered) something happens to Robotic Nicole Kidman's movie son and she and her husband spend the movie dealing with it. Just watching the preview made me get a knot in my stomach, and after it was over, I leaned over to Sweetie and said "I don't want to see that."

Yeah, I'm that type of person: I think a little talking in between the previews and before the movie itself starts is okay. I talk quietly, though, so don't get all mad at me.

I also, and this is possibly relevant, leave my cell phone on during the movie, and don't get mad at me about that, either, because I do it for a reason: If I am at a movie, I'm there with Sweetie. The last time I went to see a movie without Sweetie was 1994, when I went to see a movie in Washington, D.C., by myself. I didn't know Sweetie in 1994, and I was only at the movie (It was a Naked Gun movie, because I know you're wondering) by myself because I didn't feel like going to my internship that day but didn't really have anything else to do.

That's also the only time in my life I've ever gone to see a movie alone. I've done lots of other things alone, although many times I wasn't truly "alone" in that I was not the only person who was doing that thing that day. In that sense, I wasn't alone at the D.C. theater at all; there were other people there seeing the movie, too. I was alone only in the sense that I had nobody who was purposefully there with me -- while there were other people around, they were there by chance and had no connection with me other than that they happened to be in the same place at the same time.

It's in that sense that I've done lots of other things alone -- sometimes really alone, or as alone as one can be living in the U.S., as when I'm jogging or walking alone on the nature trail near my house -- only I'm not really alone at all, I just can't see anyone else, but I can hear the traffic from the streets not far away and I can see houses through breaks in the trees and now and then other people come by, jogging or biking or walking alone, too -- and sometimes not so alone, as when (in D.C. again) I toured the White House alone in a group of about 50 people.

I don't see movies alone anymore, not in public; that seems too weird and loner-ish and makes me feel like the Unabomber, so I'm glad I live in an era when I can watch movies alone at home and enjoy them without having to share them with the crowd, because sometimes I don't want to be around people while I'm experiencing art.

If I do see movies, I see them with Sweetie; since I met her I have not been in a movie theater unless Sweetie was sitting next to me in a seat, sometimes with other people with us, sometimes just with Sweetie and me, but Sweetie is the constant in my movie theater equation -- not the cosmological constant, because she exists and isn't made up like Einstein's fictional number or dark matter -- just the constant.

And, since the Babies! were born, what that means, that Sweetie is my Theater Constant, is that the Babies! are at home with someone else taking care of them. And that's why I leave my cell phone on: Because if I'm with Sweetie and the Babies! are not with us, they're with someone who's less qualified than either Sweetie and I to take care of them, which means that it's that much more likely that there will be an emergency that requires my attention. It might be a small emergency, like the time they were at the day care at our health club and I was jogging at the track and a worker came to get me, flagging me down.

"What is it?" I asked, taking off my headphones.

"I'm sorry to bother you," she said, and explained that there was a problem with Mr F.

"What's wrong?" I asked, as we walked back up to the daycare.

"He just got really sad, for no reason," she told me, and I got up there, and it was true: Mr F was sad, and about to cry, and perked up when he saw me.

Or it might be a big emergency, but either way, I'm not taking any chances. I don't turn off my cell phone in movies because if there's an emergency of any sort -- injury, fire, sadness -- I want to know about it.

Don't get all huffy, either, because if it does ring, I leave the theater and take the call, and I'm sorry if your movie-going experience is bothered by a momentary interruption, but before you get all indignant, tell me whether you've ever gotten up in the middle of a movie to use the bathroom. If you have, then you agree that movies can be interrupted even for complete nonemergencies like "having to pee" so don't get mad that I let them get interrupted for real emergencies.

And, yes, sadness is an emergency.

It's because of that -- because I'm such an extreme nutcase as a parent that I'm pretty convinced that if I leave my cell phone off for two hours, Mr F will become really sad and then will spontaneously combust, lighting the entire house into a giant flaming eruption of death that'll take Mr Bunches with it while he was trying innocently to balance on his Sit & Spin on top of the end table, and, because I'm such an extreme-r nutcase that I believe that if I have my cell phone on, I could somehow avert that disaster -- that I was reluctant to read Room: because I cannot, nowadays, hear about something bad happening to a kid somewhere without immediately picturing that something bad happening to one of my kids, and having to live through that. When people get abducted, when soldiers die, when someone is in a car accident on their way to Thanksgiving dinner, I have a burst of empathy and instantly think what if that was Oldest? Middle? Mr Bunches? and so on.

That's the end of part one. I have to go help Mr Bunches with his new toy train and then Mr F wants me to spin him around in a blanket. DUTY CALLS!

Go on to part two.