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It just occurred to me I have no blog category label for Tea Party related stuff. I mean, beyond the popular “wingnuts” tag. How the heck did that happen?
Her name was French for “you paid too much for that coffee”, but the name came with her when we got her from an organization that raises guide dogs for the blind, and there was no changing it.
She was a beautiful yellow lab, though a bit heavyset in her later years as she became less active. She came to us after a brief stint with a blind person in California. She lost the guide dog gig because she never really shook the instinct to chase birds and squirrels, and that’s a really bad trait for a guide dog to have. But she was very loving and well-behaved outside of the birding tendencies.
For a number of years, she worked with my mom as a therapy dog at the local hospital, where patients and staff alike adored her. She would work with patients in physical therapy and would also visit children in the oncology unit on a regular basis, and always left smiles in her wake. She seemed to know which patients could play and which were more fragile and just wanted a little affection. Fuzz therapy, I called it.
One of her favorite things to do was go for rides in the car, and when the weather allowed it, she would often accompany my mother on her errands around town. Sometimes when my dad was restless, he and Latte would just go for drives up in the mountains or out in the country. She would also go on frequent walks through Garden of the Gods with me when she was younger.
Even in her later years, she remained good natured and affectionate. When my brother’s toddler would climb all over her, she would just kind of look at us with a slight doggy smile on her face, wagging her tail once or twice to let us know she was willing to suffer the indignity of being a climbing toy for a drooling 14-month-old.
When the end came, it was relatively quick, and she did not seem to suffer much. In her final days with us she was showered with love and affection, and when she stopped eating and was having trouble walking, we took her to the vet, who ended her suffering when it became clear that her organs were failing and this was not a temporary problem she could recover from.
She was a good dog, and she will be missed by all who knew her. She’s left a hole in our lives, but those lives were richer for having her in it for the time we had with her.
Rest in peace, Latte. If there’s a heaven for doggies, I know you’re there now, scaring all the birds in sight.
…for Republicans to use to apologize to Republican Party de facto leader Rush Limbaugh if the dare to say something that offends him. Apologize to Rush today!
At least for the next four years, the federal government will be tempering its drug policy in a humane manner.
Yesterday, our new Attorney General, Eric Holder – already several orders of magnitude better in that role than Alberto Gonzales – announced that “the Justice Department will no longer raid medical marijuana clubs that are established legally under state law.”
This is very good news for people suffering from various conditions where administration of marijuana can be beneficial. Marijuana can be particularly beneficial for those undergoing chemotherapy, because it helps counter the nausea-inducing effects of the chemo drugs so the patient can keep food down. If the patient can maintain a healthy diet, his or her chances of surviving the cancer and the chemotherapy are much better.
The previous federal policy of arresting those who are merely trying to help the gravely ill by providing them with a proven treatment for the nausea that accompanies chemotherapy – or arresting the gravely ill themselves for using marijuana – was nonsensical and frankly cruel. It resulted in unnecessary suffering by those who were already fighting for their lives.
It’s nice to see a more enlightened enforcement policy being announced.
The Republican party obviously doesn’t have much respect for artists’ rights. This was demonstrated repeatedly by the McCain campaign last year, when they tried to use “popular” songs (some of them popular 25 years ago, but it was McCain, after all) as campaign theme music, only to be shot down by the artists who wrote the tunes or made them famous demanding that the McCain people stop using their songs.
Well, it’s happened again. The House GOP folks, apparently proud of their self-defined “victory” against the stimulus package this week (and please explain to me, how is it a victory when they didn’t keep the measure from passing and received widespread condemnation from voters for their obstructionist behavior?), decided to celebrate this alleged win with a little ditty set to an Aerosmith song.
The guys in Aerosmith are not amused.
And really, can you blame them?
I maintain a profile under my real name on Facebook, and via the Facebook grapevine word has filtered back to me about a fairly recent article about some shenanigans some friends and I got up to in my undergrad days back in the late eighties.
It was Reagan’s second term, and all across the country, college students and others were protesting the situation in South Africa. My alma mater, the University of Utah, was one school where these protests happened, though I believe we were relatively unique in being one of the few schools where there was also a pro-apartheid presence, in the form of a few returned missionaries who had spent time in South Africa and some old dude who owned a cooking-stove business there that did a booming business selling to people who lived in Soweto and various villages and shantytowns scattered across the country.
I, perhaps not surprisingly, was a loud voice in the anti-apartheid crowd, and I routinely mocked the pro-South Africa demonstrators when they had the temerity to show up on campus. One of them once actually accused me of “betraying my race” because I was more inclined to believe the reports of black South African students on campus than those of white South African students (we actually had a smattering of both groups attending the U). In a moment of unbelievable self-righteousness, I told the guy (rather loudly, as I recall) that the only race I considered myself a part of was the human race, and as such, I was more inclined to listen to the oppressed than the oppressors. The line got a few laughs and some applause from passersby, so hey, all good.
The article about the anti-apartheid movement in Utah appeared in the Utah Historical Quarterly, and while it is somewhat distressing to think of anything one has been involved with in one’s life referred to under the heading “history” (I’m only 42, ferchrissakes!), it’s still kinda cool to think that someone took the time to do this research in the University of Utah archives (where I worked part-time as an undergrad) to put this together.
In spite of being rather heavily involved in the activities of one of the student groups mentioned in the article, I somehow managed to dodge the bullet of being mentioned by name myself, so I am going to go ahead and post a link for those among you curious enough to check this out. For me, it was a real stroll down memory lane, and a lot of fun to read.
One note for the curious: although I am not mentioned by name in the article, you can still see a bit of my handiwork in it. In the pictures of the shanties that accompany the article, you will see my writing on the walls of the structures (though I did not paint the face that is shown in one photograph). I was the designated grafitti artist at our little shanty town, because I could write the clearest using spray paint.
My little claim to fame…
The end of any year is often a time of reflection. Looking back to see what went right, what went wrong. This year, we could perhaps benefit from such retrospection more than other years.
I was going to refer to 2008 as “a kidney stone of a year,” but I was almost certain I had heard that phrase elsewhere, likely in something by Hunter S. Thompson. A quick Google search of the phrase didn’t reveal the original source, but it did show three other people describing 2008 in those words, so at least I’m not alone in thinking of it that way.
On a national level, we saw a further…what’s the word I want? crumbling? eroding? collapsing? disintegrating?…let’s go with… deterioration of: our civil rights, our privacy, our status overseas, the situation in Iraq (notwithstanding all the neocons rushing to claim the surge has been a “success”), the situation in Afghanistan, the economy, the health care system, our schools, our infrastructure (Rachel Maddow’s favorite word), the situation in Israel and the Gaza Strip, the environment, and…well…it’s a really long list, actually.
So maybe we should think of 2008 as the year when the whole house of cards we’ve all been living in fell to the floor.
There was the presidential election, which filled up our ears for way too many months with noise and lies and distortions and endless debates and oh the spinning and spinning and spinning and stop the world, please, I’m getting dizzy.
Before that, though, we had the primaries, and the caucuses, and the conventions, and the polls, and the protests and…well, you were there. You heard it.
There were a lot of lows, but there were a few highs, as well. Particularly toward the end of the year.
For a nice change, we had a presidential candidate that appealed to our hopes, rather than hammering at our fears. We dodged the bullet of a McCain/Palin administration, four more years that would most likely have looked like the last eight, except less organized, and instead managed to elect the smart guy over the guy people would like to have a beer with. Thought I suspect Obama would be way more fun to have a beer with than McCain, anyway.
And there was the nice bit about finally electing someone who isn’t a white male to the highest office in the land. That part was pretty cool.
But the economy is bad, and likely to get worse before it gets better. People are losing their homes, their jobs, and their retirement investments. We’re probably going to see a lot more people moving in with other family members to save money, and we’re already seeing more people living on the street.
It’s a scary situation.
And yet, with the new year comes hope.
In twenty days, we will be rid of alleged president George Walker Bush.
We will have strong Democratic Party majorities in both houses of Congress.
Let’s hope they use their new power for good. Let’s hope they actually use their power, instead of allowing themselves to be conned by Republicans into thinking they don’t dare use the power we gave them to change things.
Hope is good.
I have some ideas for a new project for myself in the new year…something that will involve this blog – or perhaps a separate blog created specifically for the project…more on that soon. But I think some more changes are coming in the life of yours truly, that I hope will be interesting for you all, and ultimately, perhaps profitable for me. We shall see…
In the mean time, happy new year, everyone!
And stay safe.
p.s. And lest there be any doubt about it…I still think Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.
Thirteen years too late, and for the wrong crime, but it’s finally happening.
O.J. Simpson is going to jail.
As he so richly deserves.
Update note: I deleted a bunch of stuff from this post, because I decided I didn’t like what I had written but couldn’t find a way to write it better.
Okay, I have no idea if this story is true, but if it is, it would constitute the best illustration of karma that I’ve ever seen. According to Page Six of the New York Post (thus my questioning whether the story is even true):
“Although we didn’t think it would be possible to silence Ann Coulter, the leggy reactionary broke her jaw and the mouth that roared has been wired shut.”
Though I wouldn’t wish a broken jaw on anyone, if someone has to have his or her jaw wired shut, how fitting that it be someone whose mouth is known for spouting hateful and incendiary lies.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Most important election in our nation’s history, and where have I been the last few weeks? Largely absent from the blogosphere.
I’m a bad blogger. No cookie for me.
Well, that’s changing, but first, I guess I owe you all an explanation, my dear non-existent readers.
As some of you may know, I decided this summer to take the fall semester off from my doctoral program, so I could decide if I was really on the right track. See, I wasn’t really happy doing the research I was supposed to be doing, and I had a major case of writer’s block with respect to any academic writing.
Funny thing was, I could write stuff for the blog and creative stuff on the side. So it wasn’t writer’s block in the traditional sense. I just couldn’t write papers for my classes, or things for my assistantship (basically a part-time job that got me tuition waivers and health benefits in addition to a modest stipend). I would stare at the computer for hours, feeling paralyzed. The words I could force out did not flow well, and paragraphs were not connecting with each other. It was a real mess, and not at all the norm for me.
I figured this was my subconscious trying to tell me something.
So I packed up most of my stuff and put it into storage, and put the rest into a U-Haul trailer and hauled it all to my brother’s house in Colorado Springs, where I’ve been living in the basement guest bedroom and trying to figure out what to do with my life.
And while I’ve been doing that, I’ve been getting back in touch with my creative side, which has been largely stifled (aside from this blog) for the last twenty years or so as I tried out various “safe” traditional career paths.
Years ago, at the end of high school, I could have gone one of two ways. College, or art school. I had done a lot of drawing and painting as I was growing up, particularly in junior high and high school, and I was actually pretty good. And I really enjoyed it.
But everyone kept telling me how hard it was to make a living as an artist. I would be much better off if I pursued a more traditional career path. I could always paint on the weekends, right?
Plus, I was (and still am) squeamish about the idea of attaching dollar signs to my art. I want my art to be the stuff I want to create, not something that someone else wants me to draw or paint for some specific commercial purpose.
So I tried the safe route. And it just about killed my spirit completely.
But all that’s changing now. I have decided to hell with traditional career paths. To hell with academia. To hell with collecting any more graduate degrees.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been sort of setting up some workspace and acquiring various art supplies. I’m taking a couple of classes at a local art school to refresh my memory for various painting techniques that I’ve forgotten about over the years.
And I’ve been painting. And drawing. And writing.
And it feels wonderful.
It’s also a little scary. I will be working without a net for a while, as I try to put together art and writing portfolios.
On the art side, I’m doing this without any art school degree, and hoping that someone will think my art is good enough to sell. I don’t want to even contact anyone until I have enough pieces that I am satisfied with to show to someone in the art business, and that’s going to take a bit of time.
I’m more confident on the writing side – I have, after all, made my living with words for many years. Still, it will be a while before I have anything outside of this blog ready for publication.
I’m not kidding myself – it’s going to take a lot of work and a fair amount of time. I’ll probably have to describe myself as an artist/writer/barista for a while, because student loans are going to start coming due soon, and I’ll need some form of income.
But at least I finally feel like I’m on the right track.
So last Friday, I contacted my advisor at my doctoral program, and told him I wouldn’t be returning to Redstatesville to complete my degree. And I called my boss at my assistantship, and thanked him for all his support as I worked on the doctoral degree, and told him I wouldn’t be returning.
I feel free.
All of this does raise one question with respect to the blog, of course.
Oh, I plan to keep writing things for it, especially for the next two weeks and probably at least for the remainder of Bush’s term in office. (Remember him? Our alleged president? Seems like you hardly hear anything about him these days, huh?)
But my whole reason for blogging under the name jane doe has now gone away.
When I started the blog, I adopted the pseudonym because my boss at the assistantship expressed concern that if I blogged under my real name, it would limit the projects he could have me work on. We did some work for local politicians in Redstatesville – from both parties – but he feared that clients might Google me to find out about me if I were working on projects for them, and if a Google search would lead them to my blog they might be offended.
And thus, I became jane doe.
At the time, I said that if my circumstances changed, I would go ahead and out myself. After all, I think a person should stand up for what he or she believes in and be willing to sign his or her name to it.
But here’s the thing: I’m kind of enjoying being jane doe.
First of all, it’s kind of cool having a pseudo-secret identity.
Plus, I kind of feel that being jane doe is what started me on the right path to where I am going with my life now. Under my real name, I wrote a bunch of stuffy academic articles and book chapters that will no doubt be forgotten amid the sea stuffy academic writing from other people living and working in the ivory tower. Hell, under my real name, I was a freaking attorney for seven years.
But as jane doe, I’ve written this blog for nearly two years now, and have finally figured out what I want to do in life.
So I’m kind of thinking of hanging on to the pseudonym, and seeing where it takes me.
I will have to ponder this for a few days, I suppose.
Any thoughts or suggestions, my dear non-existent readers?
…or is McCain completely blowing it on the debate?
…on my convention coverage today. I thought I was going to finish up my comments about what I saw on the streets of Denver on Monday, then watch some of the campaign coverage, have dinner with a friend, and park myself in front of my monitor to catch Hillary’s speech.
So now it’s past midnight here in Colorado, and I’m finally getting to do a bit of writing. Good thing I’m over-caffeinated.
P.S. I’m not going to blog about Hillary’s speech, except to say this: It was a good speech. She said what she needed to. She said a few things that will probably end up on bumper stickers. The Democrats all love each other again. The end.