Saturday, November 8, 2008

More Dancing, Just Dance the Night Away

The Rambo Tango--Incredible

Korean Modern dance

Body Poppin'

A Cultural Interlude: Dancing, Dancing, Dancing!

What is it with those Brits and pop culture? Frankly, I'd live and die there for the poshness of the accent alone. I feel quite at home and connected somehow.

Do try to stay focused, there are videos to watch in a minute. Did you take your Ritalin?

That said, I'm not so wild about everything Anglo. Their famed fish and chips are just hefty planks of globber best suited for absorbing grease. This grease then doubles in volume before vomiting on a quaint newspaper.

Their syncopated system of "central" heating means never knowing a warm minute without a duvet and a water bottle.

The exchange rate left me with 48 cents, two kids, and no connecting flight in Nashville. The delay was an act of God, they told the angry man who smelled like sweaty fish and chips, and was not covered within their rooming policy. 20 hours since breakfast and I broke my sacred rule of not crying near public transportation. All was well in the end. Their policy extended to mothers and their "babies."

Where was I? Like, have you ever eaten an English Egg McMuffin? There's no tang, no hint of smoked anything--it's a poached egg on a soggy muffin with tasteless cheese for color. And mincemeat? A good mince should numb the gums from a surfeit of clove. I bought a dozen cute little pies for Christmas Day, and threw all but two away.

But look at this pair, the "Cheeky Monkeys," singing and dancing to the communal delight of the British Isles. This is mince with no clove.

I'll just say it. British popular music is predictable, unevolved and banal. The obvious strain for cutesiness doesn't pall on their palate--no, they love all that saccharin ootsiness more at home on Lawrence Welk, may his memory be a blessing, than on anything contemporary. I wasn't charmed, were you?

And Simon Cowell seems to have taken a palliative that made his heart grow nine times its size there in Whoville, UK, while simultaneously removing any faculty for critical thinking. It's about enough to make you puke, if the rick rack doesn't get you first. My what a mean lady I am.

How did the island that gave us the Beatles, The Animals, The Yardbirds, Twiggy, Donovan, The Doors and Davey Jones have so slid down the bell curve? But what gives? And no, I don't consider the Stones a treasure but I love Elvis Costello and The Eurythmics. I'd take a cold shower with Duran Duran to escape the techno/beat/pop sound of popular music over there now.

The Boy Ridiculously Dances - video powered by Metacafe

Now, these are moves.

Walk Dancing - video powered by Metacafe

But then who knew from walk dancing? The prettiest footwork in video today.

Dress me in chaps and call me hell bent for leather--Hope Part I

March is the cruelest month. The taste of spring shows a little leg, but not enough to warm you like you need it most. Hope can be every bit as treacherous as the third month. If hope is a twig without a green fuse, and not made for lasting, it's kinder to offer none. I believe that.

But then, I also think it's wrong to rescue someone trying to euthanise themselves--just who do you think you are to meddle with such intimate, personal decisions. Talk about pro-choice! But that's another day.

Back to hope. Sometimes seemingly clever people can be thick as muggles. Exhibit A is audacity and hope just made a Reese's PB Cup in my brain, and they are greater than the sum of their parts.

My tendency runs to the depressive. I don't like it, but I know how to do that life. Not well, but I get through. My two speeds are on and off, and my new experiment is to devote myself to the practical application of hope and optimism whenever I want to.

Hope has potential to become the most radical and revolutionary way to take control of your life while also saying get your pious ass away from me, too. And no shit, this just appeared in my mind as if I created it from whole cloth. This is a choice.

When Michelle Obama spoke to a group of African American women at the beginning of the campaign, their overriding concern was that Barack be shielded from the skinheaded Nazis you know just have to be out there with evil intentions in their black hearts.

I had a friend with hokeyism is one of its worst forms. Anyway, she used to say, "I just know God didn't bring me this far to drop me on my head now," she'd exclaim without realizing God's dropping folks on their heads every day and every way imaginable.

The danger of hope is the risk of dashing it. I'm doing my best to remember to consciously encourage and sustain it, Chia-like, at least through the holidays.

Despair may often be more realistic, but is it liveable? Can you still remember to buy catfood when you're slogging through the slough of Despond (crack your Pilgrim's Progress, friends, it is Sunday)? Or are the cats happier on your more hopeful trips to market? Are you a force for momentum, or do you stay up for the View and hide under the covers until Days comes on?

I'm a charter member of the revolutionary, bring-it-here,
fuck-you-and-your-pretty-pony-too, society of smart ass misfits with opinions and a voice that carries. That entitles me to full formal regalia, so I'm dressing in chaps and breaking all the commandments in one sitting. I'll drink dirty martinis till Tuesday, sing some Edith Piaf in a bias cut beige glimmer of a gown that hangs perfectly and makes me look naked without genitalia.

I will slap the floor with a purloined feather boa. And everything is gonna be okay because of hope, I hope.

Hope, Part II: The Fierce Urgency of Now

Obama hadn't planned this run, this year, until he saw how our unity had been utterly and cynically gutted for political and financial gain. No one else was being a grown up, paying attention to the real problems and looking at ways to actually solve them. Political theater isn't public policy, especially in a nation whose fierce urgency needs a statesman, a visionary who still believes folks are folks with more in common than not, but a nation . . .

  • Whose fortune has flown away without feeding hungry babies,
  • Whose future is imperiled by internal combustion,
  • Suffering the mere beginning of the most appalling financial collapse in a century,
  • Whose healthcare costs more and delivers less than other industrial countries,
  • Whose schools diminish our children with meaningless, impossible tests and draconian consequences for failure,
  • In which science is suspect and creationism is as alive and well as it was in the Scopes Trial in the '30s
  • With years and years of untreated toxic waste ignored since Super Fund expired
  • Whose water and food are no longer reliably safe
  • Whose freshwater fish are not safe to eat
  • Having killed a million or more Iraqis and uncounted Afghanis, absolute innocents who just want to live like anybody else, but then we shocked and awed their world upside down,
  • That tortures prisoners, leaving barely human shells usually found innocent
  • Where dissent has been selectively criminalized
  • Whose infrastructure is archaic and verging on catastrophic collapse
  • Whose veterans are treated appallingly, and with nakedly unconcerned ignorance for the long term cost of denying timely care
  • Where the wiretaps are a whirrin' without oversight, all over everywhere
  • That imprisons more people than any country in the world
  • With more arrests for non-violent marijuana offenses in 2007 than ever before to enrich the private prison systems by 35-50 bucks a day they often get the prisoner to pay,
  • In which the land of the free and brave love their big guns to distraction, but still can't get over the gay
  • Whose Clean Air Act has been eroded
  • Where regulations once mandatory our now voluntary
  • Where it's hard to find justice, unless you have money, then you find boundless mercy
  • Whose people are sicker with each generation from a massive ecological/biological science experiment without supervision by even a mad scientist,
  • Conspiring to protect the corrupt, whose whistleblower protection has been weakened
  • That outed a CIA operative specializing in securing loose nukes in the Middle East in a juvenile effort to pass on blatantly counterfeit intelligence as evidence for war
  • Sequestered in the Green Zone, Saddam's golden palace and a thorn in the Iraqi side that indicates we don't even get PR and we invented it,
  • Guilty of obscenities at Abu Ghraib
  • That bombed Al Jazeera Baghdad in the first shock and awe
  • Guilty of a million or more Iraqi deaths,
  • Whose female soldiers face daily risk of sexual violence
  • Been robbed blind by sleight of hand mortgage bundles by amoral Wall Street concerns, gutting the treasury
  • Whose children's college education out of reach for growing numbers
  • The Bible says loans should be forgiven every seven and seven hundred years, but the credit card industry has made debt relief impossible for most
  • Losing our homes at record rates—stability, safety, and family rooms lost to parents who feel smaller and children who feel too old
  • For whom homelessness affects untold numbers of families, most of them children, with untold pain, shame, damage and despair

Why would anyone feel anything as electric as hope in the face of that staggering, yet incomplete list? At some point while dogging along, I was physically overcome with gratitude for the character of this skinny guy from Hawaii, and Washington, and Illinois, and Kansas. The little hairs on my neck stood up with a tickle and I got goosebumps. Obama. A deliberate, mensa man, who is not separated by his smarts, but engaged by them.

And with a wife who is among the most natively likeable, gracious, charming, intelligent, savvy political figures to emerge, in like, ever. That she is his touchstone reassures me, and the fact that they so obviously love each other assures me of their behind closed doors lovability. His children heal him and push him forward.

I think we kind of surprised ourselves by being smart enough to give him the job. There was no other rational way to go, but when has that ever mattered?

He is not rash or quick to anger. He is confident in his manhood and his intelligence, eliminating the ego endangering hangers on and sycophants. He actually has a good relationship with reality and actually seeks the truth. Who said you're entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts. That's been backwards, but not for long.

His Kansas roots show most obviously in his practical application of political theory and human nature. I'm sure he will make me unhappy with compromises he'll make. But I won't suspect duplicity, and I won't have to watch from a free speech zone as our nation's strength and treasure is squandered across oceans and behind mahogany doors to enrich the enrichened enough already.

I believe in good faith, critical thinking, and also that life doesn't begin until 1958 in Fairview, Mo. when I smelled the onions Momma was cutting and wanted her to take care of me and not make that stink.

I pre-forgive him my inevitable disappointments because above all, he is human.
He touches us in that place that makes hope in the face of nearly comedic calamity on every horizon, a reasonable and prudent attitude.

The only thing a fine education really sticks on you besides some letters, is the ability to learn on a wider plane than your uneducated self knew to consider. It's time for an elite thinker, with a good liberal arts education, degrees much maligned by have-nots and know nothings. Knowing history, philosophy, the dynamics of society in flux, mathematics, physics, culture and the written word means your panoramic view doesn't need to come from Walgreens.

, prepares one to synthesize information from across disciplines to see the panorama shot. Obama's got vision, and if ever there was a transformative figure, it is he, and if anyone ever needed one, it is we.

He has an astute and subtle mind, not the subtitled mind we've misunderestimated for too long.

One thing I'm sure of, Obama will never taunt anyone shooting at our kids to "bring it on." He's incapable of a simpleton's bullying taunts.

And he's pretty and can play basketball like Cassius Clay could box.

His plan to amalgamate the intelligence, ambition and passion of an entire nation behind renewable energy that will have us all rising to the occasion.

And while he backs faith-based programs, they're not Bush's bequest to the member rolls. His plan requires no religious test for participation at any point, either overt or covert.

Religion has been government's expensive and embarrasing concubine for too long. Our beginnings are as purposefully secular as was ever imagined—it's why the country works at all.

Isn't there a Constitution test in 8th grade anymore? It stuns me they continue to get away with this most basic misreading of the document.

And, and, and, if there was no other evidence of his steady hand, the two-year campaign showed us an unflappable candidate. Consistent. Presidential. Thoughtful and with resolve untinged by unhingedness. Palin wrinkled her nose when she called him a "community organizer," but the Obama organization is now the stuff of political science gospel, and she's back shooting wolves in helicopters.

More than my dear Dr. Dean's 50-state strategy, Obama's was nearly an every county strategy. He talked to the whole country, not just the, forgive me this awful expression, "low hanging fruit." The campaign didn't stay out of Mississippi because Obama is half African.

Instead, they settled in and learned to love grits until their numbers buzzed with grassroots passion that cannot be bought at any price. As a nation, maybe we're just weary enough of our own collective cynicism to hear an ethos borne of idealism, and well tempered by reality. I, for one, discovered no embarrassment at having been inspired, enthralled and swept away by the only figure capable of pulling off half this shit. And I'm a crusty old broad.

Contrast this positive force with the relentlessly misleading and mean advertising from the right, and it was finally just pathetic. The McCain message kept changing, the rhetoric became more shrill, ever more infused with outright lies and code words inciting bigotry and rage that was red meat to their obnoxious base, introducing a level of ugliness usually reserved for those we love.

Twenty years writing advertising of every ilk left me with a reluctant skill at going for the jugular in a snappy headline, and three graphs. I was proud to see Obama avoid that manipulative soul-sucking model. His was the class act, while McCain's swan song rankled like the tinny piano of a class clown trying way too hard to be liked. If he never read Faust, surely McCain has seen Damn Yankees! Selling your soul never works out except in Coen Brothers movies, and that's if "working out" means going to work for the governor.

In the meantime, Obama has made the world delight in the prospect that America might actually transcend the dark years of George the Usurper to use our power once again for good, not evil. Sometimes life hangs a louie on you, 2008 has been a lousy, lousy, horrible, hideous year, but it's a louie year. 2009 will be hideous, too, but we've got hope to tuck in our decollatage now.

Friday, November 7, 2008

When winning weighs so much . . . Obama

I've watched the jubilation with as many tears as any of us. I've felt hope surge as never before, and that's saying something, being a Clinton veteran from way back. But I wondered, what can I add to the deluge? What is it I see worthy of adding to the static?

And then it came to me, and in all likelihood, it's nothing new, but Obama seems Lincolnesque in the gravity with which he takes office. Watch the flickr slide show of his reactions to his victory. He's understated and proud, surely, but there's a weight there far away from the hoopla and hail-fellow-well-met we're looking for. You can see the weight of the reality he has inherited written on his face.

If another president has faced a nation so in need, I can't name him.

It seems now as if the presidency is more his calling and destiny than his one true wish in life.

Am I alone? Am I too sober, or should I belly up to the obamabar? I feen for elation, yet I can't quite get there. There's that damn reality that has cautioned all who love these causes always feel. Damn reality--is he the man to transcend it? If I prayed, I'd pray. As it is, I hope and hope and hope.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I've been sick and unable to fully take part in the wonder of an Obama win, so let this be my enormous HUzzaH!

We sleep well tonight.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Rachel Maddow and Voting

New York Magazine has a wonderful feature on Rachel Maddow, the least affected, sanest political commentator this great nation has, in my humble opinion.

Her ability to remain civil in the face of political argument is one I myself could well study. For too long, we've been divided along irreducible fault lines. That may well be a function of the issues dividing us, ones that will never be solved because they go too fundamentally to our basic world view. Issues like gay marriage and abortion, gun control for rural voters vs. gun control in urban areas--these are issues that will never be solved completely. Why then should we spend our political breath arguing them while the country goes down the tubes? Why can't we civilly agree to disagree and get to work on what we can change?

That's the message of Rachel Maddow. That's Barack Obama's message, too. That may be while bookies give him 90 percent odds of winning tomorrow.

I voted via absentee ballot--one advantage of my disabled status is the freedom from standing line at Edgar Road School. At the same time, I miss out on the camaraderie and the chills up my spine I've gotten since casting my first vote for Jimmy Carter.

But I get to see my children do it, and wish another six months on their age so they could do it. That's something. My two voters as children, and their mother with a perm (good gawd).

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Evangelicals and Rural Americans are Breaking Big for Obama

Could it be a reverse Bradley Effect?

The Democrats lost the South in the 60s in a sea change response to civil rights legislation, or so it's been said. Bush may be doing for the South what Democrats could never have pulled off. Worth a good reading.

From Alternet.

There's clearly a new political landscape forming in the U.S. That's what the polls are telling us. It's not just that the first major-party black candidate for President is leading by significant margins in the national polls; it's not just that North Dakota, a state George W. Bush won in 2004 by 64%, is believed to be "in play"; it's not just that Virginia which, like North Dakota, was last carried by a Democrat in the sweep year of 1964, is, according to the most recent Washington Post poll and others, in the Obama camp by at least 8 points, or that he's leading in a remarkable number of states Bush took in 2004, or even that Democratic Senate and House candidates are making a run of it in previously ridiculous places.

Consider, instead, three recent polls in the context of the Bush years. Obama and McCain are now in a "statistical dead heat" among born-again evangelicals, those Rovian foot soldiers of two successful Bush elections, according to a recent survey; and the same seems to be true in Sarah Palin's "real America," those rural and small town areas she's praised to the skies. According to a poll commissioned by the Center for Rural Strategies, in those areas which Bush won in 2004 by 53%-41%, Obama now holds a statistically insignificant one point lead. To complete this little trifecta, Gallup has just released a poll showing that Jews are now likely to vote for Obama by a more than 3 to 1 majority (74% to 22%).