Monday, July 30, 2007

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Long, Hot Summer...Getting Hotter?

When Americans finally wake up from whatever stupor we've collectively been in for the whole of the 21st century, we'll begin to see the Bush administration for what it is: a lying, deceitful, incompetent, crony-filled bunch of warmongers, who care more about lining their own pockets than ensuring the safety and well-being of their countrymen.

If you want a perfect example of how they're ruining this country, look at the fact that Alberto Gonzales retains his position as head of the Justice Department...the Justice Department. This man is clearly the stopper in a whopping, large bottle of wrong-doing. If he goes, it would be a domino effect...they all could be in deep crapola.

The New York Times calls for Alberto's impeachment today:

"President Bush often insists he has to be the decider — ignoring Congress and the public when it comes to the tough matters on war, terrorism and torture, even deciding whether an ordinary man in Florida should be allowed to let his wife die with dignity. Apparently that burden does not apply to the functioning of one of the most vital government agencies, the Justice Department.

Americans have been waiting months for Mr. Bush to fire Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who long ago proved that he was incompetent and more recently has proved that he can’t tell the truth. Mr. Bush refused to fire him after it was clear Mr. Gonzales lied about his role in the political purge of nine federal prosecutors. And he is still refusing to do so — even after testimony by the F.B.I. director, Robert Mueller, that suggests that Mr. Gonzales either lied to Congress about Mr. Bush’s warrantless wiretapping operation or at the very least twisted the truth so badly that it amounts to the same thing."


Something tells me things are going to get plenty hot this August. It can't come soon enough.

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Cell Phone Conundrum

For the most part, I detest cellphones, and yet I crave the Apple iPhone. What is UP with that?

Am I simply falling for the unrelenting hype? Or, could it be that I'm intrigued by its fancy graphics, the smooth, clean lines of its button-free case? Or, could it be that it doubles as an iPod? And a camera? And a video-player? Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.

Even though my current cellphone from Verizon is adequate - I can take pictures with it, it connects to the web, it's just (::weeps like a teenager::) not cool. Right now it spends most of the time floating around the bottom of my purse, mostly uncharged.

But, I'm also hearing that there are some problems with the iPhone and at a cost of $499, I think I can wait for the bugs to be worked out. But, one day - mark my words - it will be mine.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Of Traveling, Driving and Drinking

Finding compatible traveling companions is a roll of the dice. The so-called luck of the Irish was with me when I traveled to the Emerald Isle recently. Before I give examples of that, here's the type of traveler I would definitely NOT like to spend a week with:

The Non-Stop Chatterbox. This person starts talking upon arrival at airport security, keeps at it during the six-hour flight, and greets each new day with incessant and unending chatter. I don’t know about you, but I need downtime – during the flight I like to listen to music or watch the movie, or simply sit with my eyes closed. Don’t get me started about the overheard conversations among fellow passengers…or the screaming children.

The Complainer. This type is easy to recognize: they complain about everything. The security line isn’t moving fast enough at the airport. The food isn’t hot enough. The bed is lumpy. The rental car is too small. The weather sucks. This person is begging to be dropped off at the nearest bus terminal to find his own way home.

The Critic. To this person, everything’s always better somewhere else. “The souveniers here cost too much.” “Why don’t these people drive on the ‘right’ side of the road?” “I could make better scones than this.” “Customs moves faster in Italy.” “Why did you pick this hotel?” This is far worse than the complainer, because they’re a know-it-all, too.

The Clinger. I love a traveling companion that can entertain herself. The Clinger is the opposite of that. She’s the type who follows so closely behind that if you stop she’ll smack right into you. She depends on you for everything, and hasn’t had an original thought since 1981.

Lucky for me, my traveling pals on the Ireland trip were the antithesis of these stereotypes. In fact, the entire trip with Nancy and Rita was a joy from start to finish.

There were two examples of our striking compatibility - the driving and the drinking. Fairly soon after picking up the rental car, I inherited the role of designated driver. This had less to do with drinking that you might think. It had more to do with one of us, who shall remain nameless, cracking mirrors with a parked car as we wiggled our way down a narrow Irish street.

We were also quite compatible when it came to Guinness. And the pubs. And the drinking of Guinness every day in the pubs. Luckily, we three always agreed on just when and where to stop for the next pint. For instance, if we were caught in a downpour, we stopped for a Guinni. If our feet were tired from an afternoon of shopping, we made it Pint Time. From the first night when we stopped at the “Poet’s Corner” pub for dinner and ordered up half-pints, we were hooked on Ireland’s finest beer, as well as the easy sociability of the local pubs.

So, next time you’re traveling and you need a good Driver or a good Drinker, give one of us a yell. We promise not to complain or whine or cling - give us a Guinness and we're good to go.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Wonders of the Internet


For all the blogs and websites available today, I tend to stick to a pretty select corner. Because of my baseball fandom, I've been a reader and sometime contributor to the comments on a blog called "Surviving Grady." This site was launched (as Red Sox fans everywhere will surmise) because of the 2003 ALCS, when Grady Little left Pedro Martinez too long in game 7, allowing the MFYs to win the series in heartbreaking fashion.

I first ran across "SG" as I was creating this blog in January 2005, when the good folks who run Blogger featured it as a "Noteworthy Blog" or somesuch. I've been hooked ever since. In the beginning, I kept coming back for the snarky humor of Red and Denton, and to find like-minded individuals who were still rhapsodizing about the recently won 2004 World Championship.

But in recent years, the comments section has been hijacked by a rogue's gallery of posters, one more creative and hysterical than the next. If pressed, I would guess that most of the commenters are women. They are all extremely smart about baseball, and it is presented with a side order of pure, unadulterated wackiness. Over the past year, the crazy folks have been having semi-regular meet-ups where people get a chance to put faces and bodies with their voices and personae.

Last night I was privileged to meet four of these women after Bobbers and I attended the Sox game (which we won 11-2, BTW). We met at an off-the-beaten path pub on the Brookline side of Kenmore Square. I wasn't quite sure what to tell Bobbers about "Hayes," "Tex," "Kelly," and "Cyn." Should I tell him about the heated arguments about baseball and other topics we have daily? Should I tell him about Tex's rally hoots? Should I warn him about the foul language? Naaahhhh.

I did explain the easily explained. Like, how Kelly is an expert photographer, how Hayes lives in the Pioneer Valley (one of our favorite places), how Tex is from...well...Texas, and how Cyn takes her baseball quite seriously.

In the spirit of Tom Miles' explanations of our crazy band of bloggers, which I could never come close to topping, here's my night with "Team Ovary."

During the ninth inning, I check my cellphone, and sure enough, there's a message from Tex. So I call and find out they're having a "low key" night at a bar with a name I never did find out. But she gives me vague directions..."It's on Beacon Street, just go over the bridge. It has a Gaelic name and a yellow front. You won't miss us, we're sitting in the window."

So off we go, with me thinking: "Why the hell am I taking directions from the Texan when there were native Bostonians with her?" Is it in Kenmore Square? Is it in the Back Bay? Hmmmm?"

All we needed was one more call to orient us properly on Beacon and we quickly found the place. Outside, an almost-redhead was smoking furiously and talking on a cellphone. This has to be the place, I think. I try a half-shout..."Tex?" The woman's head whips around, she shuts off the phone and fairly jumps into my arms. "Did you say Tex?" she asks. Before I can say a thing, she says, "I'm Hayes!" And I believe I've found a new best friend.

As I disentangle from Hayes, a screeching woman with giant hoots and a Red Sox tank top barrels out the front door. It's none other than Tex herself. She's the reason I show up this evening, mostly because she invited me personally. Before she left Texas last week, she says specifically to me, "So, beck, are you going to be around next week when I'm in Boston?" Tex is most definitely NOT the kind of person you say no to. I'm intrigued to meet this big-hearted, thoughtful, poet with an infectious personality. How could I pass this up?

Cyn and Kelly are indeed sitting in the front table, in front of a wide-open picture window (see above). It's a dark, wood paneled local dive, and we sit down after brief introductions. I have the oddest sensation...I can't shake the feeling that I've known these people for a long time. But as Tom experienced, they all came as advertised.

Cyn was her typical hard-core, baseball-oriented self, and her cellphone is not far from her well-manicured hands. I have the sense that she's checking every at-bat of every major league baseball game going on across the country. "Fuck!" she yells at one point. "Those motherfuckin' Yankees are winning game two (of their doubleheader), too." I've always envied Cyn's passion - she'll defend her friends and family to the death, and doesn't suffer fools well. Online, I try to stay on her good side, fearing the repercussions of a baseball faux paux. In person, she giggles often, waves her hands when she talks and is not nearly as belligerent as I've been led to believe.

Kelly sits like a curly-haired Buddha, smiling broadly when we discuss our recent bet about JD Drew's recent home run drought. The other day we bet a beverage on him hitting a homerun during this series with the White Sox. When Drew hit one Friday night (which was missed by the umps, but that's another story), I made good on the bet promising to buy her a drink if/when we got together. I didn't think it would be so soon, but it was surely one bet I was more than happy to lose. Kelly is one of those calm, thoughtful people who typically applies logic and considered opinions to the frequent on-line arguments we've generated over the years. If I find her agreeing with me on baseball matters, I'm thrilled.

Hayes is fire itself. She's loud, cheerful, witty, and has diverse interests. Her conversations veer from car restoration to mortgages to music to past loves lost - all in a matter of minutes. But she's also caring and observant. When we escape to the restroom together, she asks after my husband. "Is he having fun?" she asks.

Considering Bobbers is quiet by nature, he's doing pretty well with this band of women. As we return to the table, he's engaged in a good discussion with Tex on the music scene in Austin. He's clearly found a kindred spirit who appears to enjoy his kind of music - the subject most near and dear to his heart.

What can I say about Tex? She came exactly as advertised. She's warm, emotional, smart and an excellent multi-tasker. If she's not yelling something to the next table, she's texting people in New Zealand, or softly asking the server for some ranch dressing for her chicken sandwich. Best of all, she comes with a badge (and she let me touch it!) Believe it or not, she's an officer in the Texas juvenile justice system. And I bet she's damn good at it.

The lesson from all of this? Once again, the internet has delivered the joy of community to another small group, one that would never have been possible, but for this particular website.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Blogging Excuses

Over the past weeks since we returned from Ireland, I've been thinking quite a bit about updating the blog and adding the latest news from hereabouts. But that isn't getting me anywhere, as you likely have noticed.

Let's just say the summer's getting in the way. I haven't been blogging when it's hot (no a/c at my house, kiddies), or when I'm working (yeah, full, or when spending quality time with Bobbers (went away last weekend for an overnighter!), or when I'm pooped (10 pm bedtime? you got it), or when I'm watching the Sox (still 10 games up!), so it leaves me precious little time for this poor little blog. But I do ponder my next post during my daily commute or when I'm falling asleep (when I seem to get my best ideas), so eventually it will come out in pixel form on this space. I'm sure you're all waiting with bated breath.

In the meantime, here's a few pictures from the Sox game we went to the other night. It was a gorgeous night at Fenway. My good buddies, SMG and Mr. SMG and E enjoyed it as well. You know Boston is baseball-crazed when we pay $30 for standing room. But it was on the new right field deck, with its own restroom, bar and food stand, so there were some benefits. They've done a remarkable job keeping that 95-year-old park up and running. And, yes, my boys won the game, too.

Bobbers and I will be going to another Sox game next Saturday - it's supposed to be on Fox, so anyone outside the greater New England area can also watch. (We have a seat this time, too!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What Kind of Liberal Am I?

Found this handy little quiz today, and found out my rating as a Liberal. You, too, can take the quiz at the link below:

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Working Class Warrior, also known as a blue-collar Democrat. You believe that the little guy is getting screwed by conservative greed-mongers and corporate criminals, and you’re not going to take it anymore.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Impeaching the Bastards

Would it surprise you to know that 45% of Americans support impeaching the Chimp? It's true, see the poll here. And 54% favor impeaching The Dick. My, my, my.

I say let's do it.