Wednesday, January 12, 2011

On a go-forward basis

The media and politicians from across the spectrum have worked themselves into a froth over "violent imagery and rhetoric" in the wake of the shootings in Tuscon on Saturday. "Is violent speech a factor?" and "It's not our fault; the guy is nuts", etc. as the finger pointing and blame games continue.

Look, people. I don't give a damn what motivated the shooter. I don't want to hear any more hateful, disrespectful, or violent rhetoric. From anyone. Period.

Anyone who can't discuss their opinions or differences with some rational calm and a modicum of respect should not be listened to. Or given any air time or inches in print. No credence or value can be placed on the opinions of a person who cannot express them without resorting to hateful or violent speech. I think we can be justified in demanding a higher level of respect, and honestly, professionalism in our public servants and the Fourth Estate.

If they want us to listen, that is.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Not the America I know

Today, a 22 year old man shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and about 17 other people as she met with her constituents in Tuscon. 6 people are dead, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge.

Is this really what we've come to? We shoot the people who don't agree with us?!?

I have never heard of Congresswoman Giffords before today. From what I can tell, she's a moderate Democrat who just won a hard-fought re-election campaign against a Tea Party candidate. She is the only member of Congress who is married to an active member of the U.S. military.

I remember being taught in government class how the peaceful, orderly transfer of power in the United States of America after an election was amazing in the 18th and early 19th century. You didn't barricade yourself in the White House, refusing to yield power. You didn't send an army after your opponent. You lost the election, you packed up your shit and went home. You wrote your memoirs, hit the lecture circuit, set up a library. That's the way we do things in America.

The media has been hotly debating the role of hateful, violent rhetoric from the folks on the political Right.  (Disclaimer: I am a bleeding-heart liberal Democrat) Sarah Palin had Ms. Giffords congressional district "in the cross-hairs". Giffords office was vandalized after the health care vote in March. Giffords Tea Party opponent apparently had invited people at a rally to shoot an automatic weapon. The ugly phrase, "don't retreat, reload!" has been heard.

It seems to me the shooting of a Congresswoman, and the murder of a little girl, amply demonstrates this atmosphere of violent speech against political opponents has gone way too far. That's not the way we do things in America.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Blind Date

During our visit to the Pastors Dodge for New Year's Eve, I met with Elizabeth the Amazing, my potential cooking student. People were all freakin' out that I invited a complete stranger to my house, where my children live, just because I freaked out that she couldn't cook. Honestly, I couldn't see what the big deal was. But I try to respect the opinions of my nearest and dearest, so I emailed Elizabeth about hooking up.

We made plans to meet for lunch on New Year's Eve in Brentwood. As I arrived at the Tavern, there was one, tiny lady with glossy dark hair near the hostess desk. I figured this must be my date. She was dressed beautifully, in black and grey, wearing a vintage-looking rhinestone collar I'd have killed for in my musical theater days. I was dressed in what I like to call "wine country chic". (Incidentally, "wine country chic" looks a lot like "housewife frump")  I wore denim trousers, a casual sweater and my cowboy boots. With pearl earrings, to provide the "chic".

We said our smiling hellos, and I promptly hugged her. I felt very tall.

We sat at our corner booth for two and a half hours, yapping away. It probably took us at least 45 minutes just to order, because we were so busy talking. My classiest moment came when taking my first bite into my "Grand Fromage" sandwich (grilled asiago and prosciutto - yum!) Naturally, a large slice of the proscuitto slid out and dangled from my teeth onto my chin. Deciding that spitting it out onto the plate would be tacky, I used several fingers to stuff it into my already full mouth. Yep, that's me; elegant and posh in every way. (If this had been an actual first date, I'm quite certain there wouldn't have been a second....) Elizabeth graciously declined to notice, bless her.

After a couple of hours, Miles appeared. Apparently, he'd been trying to contact me and concluded, correctly, that I was ignoring him. He walked into the restaurant, said hello, and told me it was time to go, Johan was parked in the red zone. I reluctantly tore myself away. Elizabeth walked out to meet the little girls and Johan and as we said our goodbyes, I hugged her again.

Having met Elizabeth, I feel pretty confident about my safety and that of my children when she comes to get her cooking lesson. For one thing, I've got about 5 inches, 70 pounds and 15 years on her. Pretty sure I could her take if it came to fisticuffs.

Christmas recap

We did things a little different this year.

We relaxed.

As a family, we agreed to cut back this year, to not indulge in a frenzy of consumerism. Still, nine people plus just a couple of gift each from each person still makes for a heap of packages under the tree.

Miles and I did not stay up 'til all hours on Christmas Eve wrapping gifts. We were in bed (with a glass of champagne!) by 11pm. And since Cameron was at his mom's house*, we got to sleep in until 8am.

We leisurely opened some gifts, then packed up our show and headed to SLO.

By the late afternoon, we had all run out of gas. Even the dog.

*Cameron was up at 4am, trying to convince his mom it was time to open gifts.