March 29, 2006

My Strange Nation

Can't get enough of this special Susan Werner release. (Hat tip to Auntie 'Nish.)

"When we are handed a mirror, we see ourselves and the culture that surrounds us. we can look away or we can look deeply, realizing we have been given an opportunity to change anything in our view.

It is the responsibility of art to be that mirror." Damali Ayo

Thank God for artists.

March 26, 2006

Her Fourth Annual "Special Day"

About four years ago, just as the young lady pictured above (my niece) was about to turn five, I was granted a gift of inspiration. In thinking about what to give the birthday girl for her special day, I decided that I wanted to give her just that... a special day. The thought of adding more stuff to her life -- even lovingly selected stuff -- just didn't sit well with me. The idea of taking her out on the town, on the other hand... that sounded pretty cool!

So I purchased the little miss her first Metro card (only children under five ride for free), and we headed off for DC, seeing a museum and Lincoln Center and having a high old time. A tradition was born.

This year's Special Day took us to Bethesda, where we enjoyed a little sidewalk sale action, sampled the elegant ambience and to-drool-for menu at the Chevy Chase Meiwah, and took in a show. We did a teensy bit of shopping, including a long luxurious session of page-turning fun at Big Planet Comics which culminated in the purchase of ONE comic book. And did I mention that the birthday girl shows an impressive ability to track down a previously unvisited Ben & Jerry's?

We definitely know how to have fun. And guess what? My other niece turns five in just a few months. Whee!

March 24, 2006

Must. Take. Nap.

Oh my goodness, we are so tired. Even if we didn't have calendars, even if we couldn't look out the window and see the crocii poking their pretty little heads up, we'd be able to tell that it was end of March by the sheer weight of our eyelids.

It's the admissions cycle. No matter how many graduating high school seniors there are, no matter how many applications they file, the work of reviewing them all has to happen by the same deadline.

Back in the day, that deadline was April 15th. But now that we're at an all-time high in both numbers of students (roughly 3.1 million) and numbers of applications filed? It's April 1st. No foolin'.

So... thank goodness at least ONE person in the family is grabbing power naps. The rest of us are trying to live vicariously through him!

March 23, 2006

I Miss Her

When Octavia Butler died unexpectedly last month, the library due date slip that included her latest book was still taped to my mirror.

I took it hard.

My partner says that I tend to take these things hard, and she's right. I feel such a deep debt to the artists whose words and music and art have lit the way for me over the years. And I feel a particular connection to those whose work I think is maybe under-recognized.

I don't remember when I first read an Octavia Butler book, but I do remember what cemented my connection to her. I read the first edition of her Parable of the Sower and became increasingly incensed by the copyediting. Or complete lack of same. There were so many typos in that book that they actually got in the way of my enjoyment. She deserves better than this, I thought to myself, and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do something.

Finally I fired off a letter to the publisher, including an annotated list of the first 20 or so mistakes that had leapt off the page at me, and received a (mostly corrected) copy of the second edition for my troubles. Which was beside the point, really... I mostly just wanted to put folks on notice that as far as I was concerned, Ms. Butler had earned red-carpet treatment wherever she went for the rest of her days.

Her latest book had a new cast of characters, and I gobbled it down over the course of a weekend. As I reluctantly turned the last page, I comforted myself with the knowledge that there would be more where that came from. Except that there won't.

In keeping with her spirit, a memorial scholarship fund has been established that will "enable writers of color to attend one of the Clarion writing workshops, where Octavia got her start."

It's a great idea. But I'm still missing her.

March 18, 2006

Molly Ivins for President

From The Progressive (

Enough of the D.C. Dems
By Molly Ivins
March 2006 Issue

Mah fellow progressives, now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of the party. I don’t know about you, but I have had it with the D.C. Democrats, had it with the DLC Democrats, had it with every calculating, equivocating, triangulating, straddling, hair-splitting son of a bitch up there, and that includes Hillary Rodham Clinton.

I will not be supporting Senator Clinton because: a) she has no clear stand on the war and b) Terri Schiavo and flag-burning are not issues where you reach out to the other side and try to split the difference. You want to talk about lowering abortion rates through cooperation on sex education and contraception, fine, but don’t jack with stuff that is pure rightwing firewater.

I can’t see a damn soul in D.C. except Russ Feingold who is even worth considering for President. The rest of them seem to me so poisonously in hock to this system of legalized bribery they can’t even see straight.

Look at their reaction to this Abramoff scandal. They’re talking about “a lobby reform package.” We don’t need a lobby reform package, you dimwits, we need full public financing of campaigns, and every single one of you who spends half your time whoring after special interest contributions knows it. The Abramoff scandal is a once in a lifetime gift—a perfect lesson on what’s wrong with the system being laid out for people to see. Run with it, don’t mess around with little patches, and fix the system.

As usual, the Democrats have forty good issues on their side and want to run on thirty-nine of them. Here are three they should stick to:

1) Iraq is making terrorism worse; it’s a breeding ground. We need to extricate ourselves as soon as possible. We are not helping the Iraqis by staying.

2) Full public financing of campaigns so as to drive the moneylenders from the halls of Washington.

3) Single-payer health insurance.

Every Democrat I talk to is appalled at the sheer gutlessness and spinelessness of the Democratic performance. The party is still cringing at the thought of being called, ooh-ooh, “unpatriotic” by a bunch of rightwingers.

Take “unpatriotic” and shove it. How dare they do this to our country? “Unpatriotic”? These people have ruined the American military! Not to mention the economy, the middle class, and our reputation in the world. Everything they touch turns to dirt, including Medicare prescription drugs and hurricane relief.

This is not a time for a candidate who will offend no one; it is time for a candidate who takes clear stands and kicks ass.

Who are these idiots talking about Warner of Virginia? Being anodyne is not sufficient qualification for being President. And if there’s nobody in Washington and we can’t find a Democratic governor, let’s run Bill Moyers, or Oprah, or some university president with ethics and charisma.

What happens now is not up to the has-beens in Washington who run this party. It is up to us. So let’s get off our butts and start building a progressive movement that can block the nomination of Hillary Clinton or any other candidate who supposedly has “all the money sewed up.”

I am tired of having the party nomination decided before the first primary vote is cast, tired of having the party beholden to the same old Establishment money.

We can raise our own money on the Internet, and we know it. Howard Dean raised $42 million, largely on the web, with a late start when he was running for President, and that ain’t chicken feed. If we double it, it gives us the lock on the nomination. So let’s go find a good candidate early and organize the shit out of our side.

Molly Ivins writes a monthly column for the Progressive. Her latest book is “Who Let the Dogs In?”

March 12, 2006

Beach Bloggin'

I never really "got" the appeal of beaches until I became a parent.

I get it now.

March 02, 2006

Sneak Preview

Yes, that's the fabulous Lea Delaria on the left, and she's being squeezed by none other than Groovelily's drummer and PHS graduate, Gene Lewin.

Went to a sneak preview of McCarter's upcoming production of Midsummer Night's Dream, which will include the efforts of these two cuties, and all I can say is, we are so there!