When it Rains…

The blog’s been a little political lately, and though that’s a big part of who I am, and this being an election year, it’s bound to be more prominent, I thought it’d be good to write something else since I know a lot of my friends who come here aren’t as liberal as I am. I don’t really care if I offend people I don’t know, but for those who I do–and whose opinions matter and/or are civil–I thought a return to nonsense would be welcomed…and I like folks like Roger and Nik, whose political views often vary from mine, but who I still can count as friends. Might be nice to write something I know won’t irritate them for a change.

So here’s a list of my top ten favorite things to do on a rainy day–which is probably all we’ll have here in St. Louis until the backlash of Gustav blows away. (By the way, I’ve heard virtually NO reports of major damage from that…have I just been missing the reports due to the RNC overshadowing it, or was it less than what they imagined? Anyone know?)

Also, I know I’m posting this in the same day as my last post, but that’s because it’s DEAD in the office and I need a quick break from working on the same thing I’ve been working on all day. My last post is still worth reading if you like my political posts…but if you don’t, I wouldn’t recommend it–even though I think I’m being a little more fair than usual in that one.

…anyway…when it rains, I like to:

10. Sit around with the lights off. Don’t know why. I just like the sound of the rain hitting the roof. I find it relaxing. I particularly used to like the sound the rain made on the roof of the auditorium of the Ferguson church, back when I worked there. There was a resonance that was just great. Not too bad at the house, but nothing echoes like a church.

9. Play guitar. Specifically acoustic, but plugged in with a lot of delay. I just think an echoing guitar balanced against a rain-shower (not a STORM, mind you, but a shower) sounds really cool. I usually don’t play anything too specific during these times. Just experimenting around–nothing salvageable or even very good. Just stuff.

8. Watch John Cusack movies. Not just because Cusack’s my favorite actor…but mostly because it rains in almost every movie he’s done, except for “Grosse Point Blank.” I’m sure there’s another one or two that it doesn’t rain…but most of them have at least one major rain scene. Just kind of cool/geeky to tap into that.

7. Solitary Things. This one’s kind of a catch-all for whatever else isn’t on this list. Just stuff that I do by myself that I don’t do on an ordinary day. Stuff like go to a cafe or a pub and have a drink and a sandwich. Or go shopping for dinner-ware. Or sit with a glass of wine and watch a DVD. Stuff that I don’t really need or want other people to be around to do.

6. Write and or sketch. Specifically longhand (if I’m writing), on a blank and unlined piece of paper, with a pencil. I like the scratching sound of the pencil against the paper, offset by the rain. I’ve come up with some of my favorite writings and drawings that way.

5. Walk through a parking lot. Especially if I don’t have to look good, or can easily excuse it. I like the aesthetic of walking in and having people KNOW I was rained on. I don’t quite know why. I think it’s just because that’s something we all can relate to–anywhere you go in the world that people can inhabit, there’s rain (or snow, which is close enough). We’ve all come in with wet-socks and had to change our clothes before sitting on the good furniture. It’s a common human experience. There’s something comforting in that. As a Humanist, I like things that are common to all of us. It rains on both the terrorist and the pacifist, the Christian and the Jew, the Sunni and the Shiite, the living and the dead. I like it so much that for the entirety of my adult life so far, I have never owned an umbrella (ella ella–sorry, it’s still stuck in my head).

4. Drive. I especially like to drive at night–like 2 or 3 a.m. I don’t really care for it at noon or 6 p.m. when the crazies are out and no one bothers with thinking of the OTHER drivers on the road. (I don’t know what it is, but when it rains in this town, people freaking FORGET how to drive–not that they’re very good at it on a dry day. It’s probably like that in every city, though.) But in the wee-hours, when the roads are pretty empty, I find it really relaxing to drive around in the rain. Sometimes with moody music. Sometimes with nothing at all. Usually with a window cracked open.

3. Listen to David Bowie. I think that’s why he’s so big in the UK–the rain. His music just seems to fit the rain really well–particularly stuff from “Hours” and onward, in my opinion. I especially like to listen to Bowie driving around at 2-3 a.m. like I was just saying. 🙂

2. Read. There’s a really nice quality to reading when the rain’s bouncing off the roof. Usually with a cup of coffee or tea. Perfect time to escape into a novel or biography. I mean…that might just be a librarian-thing…but I dig it, anyway.

1. Sleep. By FAR my favorite thing to do in the rain. I don’t know why, but I always seem to sleep much, much more soundly when it’s raining. In fact, I’ve slept through major, tornadic storms before. I guess it all goes back to me finding the sound the rain makes on the roof (and/or windows, depending on the bedroom) relaxing.

So…there you go. A lighter post for y’all. 🙂

Well, if you were pissed off LAST time…

More about Palin…

In the interest of fairness, I’ll do my less liberal readers the courtesy of giving them a few lines before I start on this. If you’re pissed off by my anti-Republican posts, this is your chance to click away. If you don’t, you’ve only yourself to blame, and I don’t want to hear it. Any such posters will have their posts immediately deleted. Clear?

This is your out. No one will blame you for being the bigger person. Ready? (Also, I promise to return to blogging about less controversial things in the near future.)

Still here? One last chance…

Okay. At this point, I’m assuming we’re of like-mind, or thereabout.

I didn’t watch Palin’s speech tonight, but I did read a summary (from a Republican-slanted website, FYI). I really don’t know how people are still defending her…but since they are, I’m going to throw out three notes about those defenses…this is stuff that I find difficult to wrap my head around coming from the Republican Party, and the reasons why I think that they no have no room to tell us (the liberals) what we can and can’t say about her anymore.

1. There is a defense going around that those of us bashing Palin are just a bunch of sexists. Well, sure, I’d imagine that some are bound to be…but most of us aren’t. In fact, the liberals tend to be the ones fighting for equal rights. It’s not that we don’t want to see a woman in office–it’s just that we want to see a qualified one. I, for example, have no problem with women in the workplace. I just think they should be able to do the job they were hired to do. I wouldn’t want a woman to be my mechanic if she doesn’t know how a car works. I wouldn’t want a man to be either–and I could tell a few stories about a really crappy male mechanic I know.

Palin’s gender doesn’t matter. Yes, she’s a woman, and there are some factors related to that which merit discussion…but even if we took that away, her qualifications are still in question–and I’ll get to that in a minute.

But, for the record, from this point forward, any time someone accuses me of being sexist for not wanting to vote for McCain/Palin, I’m going to accuse them of being racist for not wanting to vote for Obama/Biden. If that’s the reasoning we’re going to play by, then let’s at least play on an even field.

2. The leaders of the Republican Party keep shouting about how the Dems shouldn’t be talking about Palin’s kids–like they never said anything about Chelsea Clinton or the Gore or Kerry girls. (In fact, McCain himself told the following joke in 1998: “Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because Janet Reno is her father.” So he played the kid/sexist cards WELL before the Dems started doing it this month. Quid. Pro. Quo.) Point number one–her kids ARE an issue, since she and her party have made a big issue of being all about “family values” and yet McCain has put a parent of a special-needs child into a position that would almost REQUIRE her to either neglect her office or neglect her child. (I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and believe that if it came down to it, she’d choose the kid.) To me, that says less about Palin than it does about McCain, actually. I would probably be less alarmed by it if the kid wasn’t a BABY, and were in its teen/adult years…but (not to play the Jesus card) I believe that God gives special-needs children to people that He knows are going to be able to provide them with the special love they need, and (male, female, liberal, or conservative) I think the primary role of these specially equipped parents shouldn’t have to be split between caring for their kid and cleaning up the messes of America. (In case you missed it, I just said that I think God trusts Palin to care for a child with special needs, thereby saying that God Himself clearly thinks she’s a good parent. Of course, that theory falls apart when special needs kids are born to heroin addicted drifters…but they’re the minority, and to my knowledge, Palin is not among them.)

Then there’s the pregnant one whose name I don’t know. As I said in an earlier post, I’m not going to drag her name through the mud for that–people make mistakes, and at least she’s being responsible about it. However, I will say that it’s kind of ironic that Palin was quoted as saying, “The sex ed programs will not find my support” in 2006, and now has a pregnant daughter. (Though I should say that the sins of the daughter do not necessarily reflect the quality of her parents.) I feel bad for the girl–I really do. She shouldn’t have to go through this in the spotlight…but I will say that I don’t really see the difference between the jokes being made now and the jokes that I read on many conservative blogs and websites when Jamie Lynn Spears got pregnant (except that Jamie Lynn’s mom isn’t running for VP). All of this is to say I don’t trust the party and is not a personal attack on the kid. Sure it might be an attack on Palin herself…but I’d guess that being in politics she should be able to handle attacks on her name (and I’d also imagine that being a former beauty queen she’s probably used to being dismissed as brainless as well, whether it’s fair or not).

Now…even if I agreed that her kids should be off limit–and I’m only about 50/50 on that since a person’s personal life dictates what their political life must be like (or at least that’s the premise the Republicans used during the Clinton impeachment trial)–I think that Palin changed the rules on that tonight in her speech. She made a point of talking about her kids and bringing her motherhood into the race. Door’s open, folks. If she doesn’t want them dragged into it, she shouldn’t talk about them either. I guess it’s fine to talk about her kids if you say something NICE or are writing off their actions…but have a criticism and you’re a sexist. Of course, that’s coming from racists, so I guess that’s not too bad of an accusation. (See what I did there?)

3. Let’s remove all of that stuff above and focus just on Palin’s qualifications. What were they again? Ah yes. She’s a governor and a former mayor, therefore has more executive experience than Barack Obama or Joe Biden, PLUS she commands the ENTIRE Alaskan National Guard! WOW!!! She’s clearly the best candidate for the job…in fact, I’m not even sure why they’re running McCain since her experience trumps HIS as well by that standard (but let’s just
ignore that, I guess).

Let’s put this in perspective. I’m a manager at a college library. I prepare and maintain the budget. I have a staff answerable directly to me and me alone. I make all of the major decisions affecting (effecting?) my department. If war were declared upon the college bookstore, I’d be the library’s general. Can I be President, too?

Since that’s pretty much the extent of her “qualifications” I guess I’ll just have to stop there. Maybe that’s why the liberals are focusing so much on Palin’s personal life…she has no real professional one to speak of, so we’ve got to say SOMETHING.

———-

Look…I sympathize with the Republicans. I know what it’s like to know your candidate isn’t going to walk away with the White House. I know the disillusionment, the feelings of defeat…and I know that it leaves you with nothing to fall back upon but anger. I’ve been a man without a country for eight years (and if McCain somehow wins, I’m seriously going to consider moving to Canada or British Europe, because I just don’t think I can make it another four). I know the pain of the bad ticket. It’s not easy.

…but there’s a really big part of me that’s really glad to FINALLY see the shoe on the other foot.

Okay…enough politics. Barring something really big happening, I’m going to give it a rest for about a week or two. Tomorrow and following, I’ll blog about something less blood-boiling.

Apologies to those who disagree…but on the other hand, I really didn’t write with you as my intended audience, and I gave you ample warning…so…

Current Listening:

  • I’ve surprisingly moved on from Aimee Mann, but I’m still in the girl-rock genre. Listening to a mix of Alanis Morrisette and Tori Amos. Both put out really strong records in the past year that haven’t gotten near the attention they deserve. (Times like this, I kind of miss the 90s. I also miss the 90s when I’m at the gas pump.)

Music Stuff

Not to short change the conversation that’s going on in the comments of my last post (not that we’re going to convince each other anyway)…but I saw Aimee Mann and Squeeze last night.

Good show. I’m a big Aimee Mann fan. She’s one of those artists who makes me feel like I shouldn’t bother writing anymore because whatever I do won’t be as good as what she does. Of course, we play completely different styles, and “good” is a subjective term…so I’ll keep going until people stop buying it. But, still…Aimee’s awesome. She did mainly stuff from her new record last night–which isn’t my FAVORITE of her records, but I can’t find much negative to say about it either. (I just absolutely fell in love with a previous record.) She prefaced one of the songs with (paraphrase) “on my website’s forum, they’re discussing which song on my new record is their LEAST favorite, and I guess this one’s winning.” Then she played “Great Beyond,” which is of course one of my FAVORITES off of the new record…so…that pretty much tells you all you need to know about my music taste, I guess.

Squeeze took the stage after Aimee. I’m not too big of a Squeeze fan, and it always kind of makes me sad to see the dinosaur-acts touring clubs (no offense to them)…but this was a really good show! (For the record, I’ve never HATED Squeeze or anything, I just never got into them.) I knew way more of their stuff than I thought I did, and I like their present live sound a LOT better than I like their old records (which my brother–a huge Squeeze fan–describes as “two English guys having fun with a Casio Keyboard”). Like I said, I’m not a big Squeeze fan, but it was an energetic show, and we ended up right down front in the shadow of Glenn Tilbrook himself. Also I kept making really weird and awkward eye-contact with their keyboard player. Not quite sure what was happening there.

So that was fun…and next week…Motorhead. I not kidding. In the past few weeks, I’ve seen Springsteen, Aimee Mann, Squeeze, and next week Motorhead (with the Misfits opening). This is probably the weirdest combination of shows I’ve been to in a long time–and my brother’s doing exactly the same thing. Plus, before the Motorhead show, we’re going to have a band-practice, for some reason. That’s going to be an exhausting day, and I’m already regretting it. Unfortunately, my current work schedule doesn’t really allow for me taking days off (at least not easily), so I can’t really plan for a personal day on Wednesday or anything. So…if you’re around me at the office on Wednesday, I apologize in advance for not being very helpful. I’ll be exhausted and likely slightly deaf.

…so that’s how things are going, I guess…

Current Listening:

  • Still Aimee Mann, probably for a couple of days until I have to somehow make the transition to Motorhead.

A Just Palin Bad Choice

I took the time to learn the name of McCain’s running mate. It’s Sarah Palin. I also looked into her back-story a little bit…and here are some of the facts that maybe the McLame Campaign should’ve taken into consideration…my thoughts are bulleted.

Palin only has two-years of leadership experience.

  • The Republicans are trying to say that in her two years she’s had more leadership experience than either Obama or Biden. Why? Because by state law, she commands the Alaskan National Guard. Which is kind of like saying that Ron Howard should get a Grammy because his movies have songs in them. Not to talk crap about Alaska…but can you think of the last time you said, “Man, I’m really happy the Alaskan National Guard was there! They really saved the day!”? Me neither.

Palin’s youngest child has Down syndrome.

  • Sounds like she’ll have plenty of time to devote to the nation’s second highest office. I bet she won’t have to neglect her baby’s needs or health even ONCE while she’s in office, if she gets elected. What with the Republican Party’s emphasis on family values, there’s no way they’d ever let a mom whose kid has Down syndrome risk the well-being of her family right? (There was a pinch of sarcasm there…)

More than a month before the baby (who was born with Down syndrome) was due, Palin was about to deliver the keynote address at a conference in Texas. She began leaking amniotic fluid. She delivered the speech, then flew back to Alaska. Then seven hours later, she gave birth to the baby. Palin returned to work three days later.

  • I…I don’t even know where to start with how absurd, irresponsible, and insane that all of that stuff is… She might actually be dumber than Bush.

She is a member of the Assembly of God church.

  • Since the Republicans consider white-bread Bible thumpers to be their base, they should really do the research to find out that among Christians the Assembly of God isn’t too highly favored. There are many within the Christian fellowship–even among us non-denoms–who think of the AoG churches as being a cult. (I’m not saying I think that, by the way…it’s just a common viewpoint.) So, I’m thinking they should have found themselves a Baptist or Methodist if they wanted to gain any God-points with the voters.

She is a former beauty queen.

  • As I’ve said before…I’m just WAITING for those pictures to surface…so far this is all we’ve got–but it’s certainly enough to make you wonder where her dress starts…Can’t wait until this one blows up.

As has been all over the news today, her 17-year-old daughter is five months pregnant and is not married.

  • Okay. People make mistakes. Anyone lampooning her for being pregnant and unmarried at the age of 17 needs to take a look in the mirror… If you’re one of those people and you personally EVER had sex outside of marriage, but particularly in your teen years, you’re a hypocrite. Nonetheless…the Republicans being the “family values” party would’ve had a field day if this had been Chelsea Clinton or one of B-Rock’s kids. (I mean, just look at how quickly they vilified John Edwards.) I’m not judging the girl…but the party’s pretty full of crap right about now…and how did they not see this ship sinking?

So…there are a few facts. I’m actually enjoying this a little. If this were a TV show, I’d watch it…a campaign slowly collapsing like a flan in a cupboard. The only thing that worries me is that people like the roller-coaster so much that they might be thinking about voting for it.

My prediction: By this time next week, we’ll find out that she was once addicted to meth but is now addicted to Skittles–and she’ll say the latter is the worse addiction. And the Republicans will be saying, “You’ve got to admire her courage…boopitydoopitydoo…”

God Bless America!

Over-Reacting to the RNC Delay…

For the record, before I say what I’m about to… I have a cousin named Jim Walker who’s very lucky to be alive. Jim is a trucker, and a few years ago, he went down to New Orleans on a delivery and checked into a hotel. He overslept. Katrina knocked out the electricity, poisoned his water and he rode out the storm listening to the shouts of people dying all around him until he could venture out far enough to hitchhike home to Arkansas. He suffered medical problems for a good while after and he still ends his story with, “There just wasn’t anyone sending help.” So, before anyone gets all high and mighty about anything I’m about to say…just know that I know what it’s like to have loved-ones in the middle of a hurricane.

So…

Can anyone tell me exactly how delaying a convention in Minnesota helps people in the Gulf? I know that the Republicans find themselves between a rock and a hard place right now. If they DIDN’T cancel the convention, they’d be criticized for that, and now they’re being criticized by me FOR cancelling…so it’s a lose-lose. And I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a nice, classy move to delay the festivities…but I really don’t know what it accomplishes. I mean…are they taking the time away from the convention to sandbag and help people evacuate? Nope. They’re wandering around the Mall of America–and I hear Dick Cheney LOVES Lego-land. (Okay…so some of that wasn’t “true.”) It’s just a (FREAKISHLY TRANSPARENT) political move to make themselves look compassionate (and I’d think/say that if the Dems had done it last week, too). Ever since I’ve been old enough to recognize that kind of manipulative, cashing-in-on-tragedy politics, I’ve abhorred it.

Personally, I was hoping to find out something–ANYTHING–about McCain’s running-mate whose name I can’t even remember right now since no one’s ever heard of her in the first place. But, I guess the delay means they’ve got more time to create a plausible story about how someone with two years’ experience has more to offer than either Obama or Biden. Also, I hear she’s a former beauty-queen…so…there’s your challenge, Internet. Find me those pictures and I’ll give a shiny new nickel to the first one to e-mail them to me.

Again…don’t get me wrong…the hurricane’s a bad thing and anyone who has for some reason chosen to stay in its way is in for some real hellish struggles in the next couple of days (of course, I don’t really understand WHY anyone chooses to stay…but I digress…). I’m just saying that for the rest of the country, life keeps turning and I want to know who this VP candidate is. We can’t really DO anything until it’s time to clean up anyway…and let’s face it, the Republican Party has shown that it’s not so good at that in the not too distant past…so they may as well get their TV time while it’s available…I’m thinking it’ll hurt them more to hold the convention in the week AFTER the storm, when they could/should be doing something to help.

…but that’s just me talking…and I’m just a guy whose cousin survived Katrina.

(And no, I didn’t give to any Katrina-relief charities, as I didn’t have any expendable money at that time. I will, however, probably give to a Gustav-relief fund at some point in the near future, as life’s given me a little bit of money in recent years…so don’t bother asking about that.)

Current Listening:

  • That country-music kid they trot out on the MDA Telethon every year, but who I’ve never seen in any other context, probably because he’s not too good. (And yes, I do give to MDA every year…)