Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Things I Don't Believe In:

educational software for children

peeled carrots



eggs, potatoes, and dairy being bad for you


NOT having engagement bling

George Bush

people who want to ban abortion-- especially men

atheism, agnosticsm, and Unitarianism* (*if my understanding of this denomination is correct)

Will Farrell and all of Will Farrell's movies

Napoleon Dynamite, while we're at it

war-- with an exception of defensive wars

poorly written chick lit books

Montessori school for kids under the age of 4-- unless you're clear that you just want them out of the house

divorcing because you're just not in love anymore

owning a hot tub

"finding" yourself

frosting in a can

prudes (read: people who don't like dogs, who can't handle a little dirt, who have never roughhoused)

the public school system

having to go to graduate school

our gross miserliness towards teachers

pale bloated men who work 12 hours a day WHILE having a family

having to have curtains

piano lessons, soccer teams, etc. for children under the age of 5 (unless they beg you because they actually really want to)

buying furniture, blinds, cars, and clothes on credit

SUVs with the exception of TRUCKS for FARMERS, not: college students, teenagers, soccer moms, or corporate honchos

the stock market

this strange notion that America is superior to Europe, especially with regards to our economy (oh, i'll take you down on this one. Just ask.)

oh-so-literary fiction


roads without sidewalks

strip malls

going to a new place and shopping at the same 100 retail stores found across America


but as always, I close with the fact that I really do love my dishwasher.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

san diego

Chickens, I am off to San Diego, and I am trying not to lose or forget everything I own (coversation in my head: did i pack a sweater? No. damn. I'm going to freeze again, just like I did in Capri. Well, who cares-- all I really have to do is remember my passport. Don't LOSE my passport, not before I get to the airport, or while AT the airport like last time.)

So once again, peace out chickens.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

peace out, chickens

I heard a story the other day about a hippie-ish do-gooder who started a community garden in the slums of D.C. He was harvesting one summer afternoon when a group of children approached him and began asking questions, like what's that? and what are you doing? and are you crazy?

After some friendly banter, he pulled out carrots. It had the same effect as a magician producing a white rabbit out of a hat, because they'd never really thought about things growing in the ground.

Seeing this, the hippie-ish do-gooder asked, "What other things grow in the ground?"

One small boy ventured, "spaghetti?"

I don't understand how fax machines work. I don't understand how computers or telephones or nail polish remover works. Until two years ago, I had no idea where garlic or cloves or mustard came from. I'm confused by our facts of life, such as concrete and grocery stores and cublicles.

But you know, I really do love my dishwasher.

Eleanor Rigbys

“This planet has -- or rather had -- a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.”
--Douglass Adams

Friday, January 13, 2006

back to food

Fact: Kagan and I spend roughly ten percent of our take-home pay on food. (And our take-home pay doesn't count the 401k or mortgage or insurance or metrocheks.)

Fact: in 1900, the average family spent nearly half their income on food.


Also, we really do it up in the grocery stores. Luckily, my more frugal half gets most things on sale, but we still have grapefruits and Gruyere and organic milk and antibiotic-free chicken. What did that half include in 1900?

My point is: food is cheap.

This isn't a popular point these days, what with all the talk of low-income people being forced to consume the 25-cent donut sticks and honeybuns. It's true that while all food is cheap, bad food is even cheaper. Perhaps that's because it doesn't come from anything real, who knows, or that so many people buy it that they can produce with economies of scale. I don't know. But I digress.

Food is cheap.

And really, with more people in America and way, way, way fewer farmers, where does it all come from?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


I am a snoop; ergo, I love biographies. Not the boring oh-he-did-do-many-important-things ones, but more like the he hated his mother, loved his wife, and took baths every Monday evening ones.

So, shamelessly stealing from the Writer's Almanac: a man named Robinson Jeffers was born today in the early 1900s. Though from Pennsylvania, he went to boarding schools all through Europe, including Geneva, Zurich, and (!) Vevey. By the age of 19, he had completed his undergrad, studied philosophy in Europe, and enrolled in the USC medical school. But, after 3 years, he dropped out and enrolled in forestry school in Washington State. And dropped out of that too.

Meanwhile, he's been having an affair with a married lady named Uma. They met when he was 18 and she was 21. She divorced her husband and they married in 1913, at the ages of 24 and 27 respectively.

Ah, the drama. Don't you just love it? She throws away her marriage to a prominent Los Angeles lawyer to marry this boy. How does anyone see this working?

Also meanwhile, he publishes his first book of poetry, "Flagons and Apples" the year before they marry.

So, he keeps writing poetry, they have a baby girl who dies in infancy, they move to Carmel, and in 1916 (27 and 30 respectively) they have twin boys and Jeffers builds them a stone cottage. Later, he add on a 40 foot stone tower, and they spend the rest of their lives there. His critically-acclaimed career comes in 1924 with the publication of "Tamar and Other Poems."

Uma dies of cancer in late middle age and Jeffers doesn't hang on terribly long after that.

And this morning I didn't even know there was ever a Robinson Jeffers.

See his picture here:

And the tower here:

and by request, a poem:

To The Stone-Cutters

Stone-cutters fighting time with marble, you foredefeated
Challengers of oblivion
Eat cynical earnings, knowing rock splits, records fall down,
The square-limbed Roman letters
Scale in the thaws, wear in the rain. The poet as well
Builds his monument mockingly;
For man will be blotted out, the blithe earth die, the brave sun
Die blind and blacken to the heart:
Yet stones have stood for a thousand years, and pained thoughts found
The honey of peace in old poems.

from Tamar (1920-1923)

Friday, January 06, 2006

sex, medieval-style

In our culture, men are the lustful sex.

Think about that. Agree? If you don't, come on. On TV, women are the ones turning down men's advances...or if you're a Scrubs fan, Turk is contantly nagging Carla for sex, and she's constantly turning him down (remember that time when she says " if you do ___, i'll fufill that fantasy you've always wanted," and he says, "really?" and she says, "yeah, but not with th whip or the silly clothes," and he says, "so normal sex then?" and she says, "if I don't fall asleep first," and he says ok.)

well, in medieval times, women were widely regarded as the lustful sex. Really. Medieval man had the whole madonna-whore complex big-time, but the problem was, a married woman who was totally faithful could still be considered whorish for interest in sex. Bt I digress. The thing that really made me think about this was when I was doing research for a paper and found a primary document that was written by a priest. It had advice about family matters.

This priest told husbands to regularily bed their wives. But why? To procreate? To become closer as a couple? No. The priest stated that women were so base and lustful that they needed constant satisfaction from their men, or they would err and stray. He goes on to use words like "responsability," "duty", and "favour."

That's all mediveal women needed-- men "doing them a favour."

Of course, we've now flipped the other way, and our culture thinks that wives, live-ins, and girlfriends have a duty to keep their man sated and happy. That's why we have the "999 ways to blow his mind" every month in Cosmo. And how many cheating husbands tell their girlfirends that their wives won't have sex anymore?

I'm trying awfully hard not to get bogged down in who's right. I just think it's weird that six hundred years ago, women were perceived as the earthy base sex. I wonder if they had a football and beer equivalent too.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

If you're my age
and if you're destined to be an old man/lady
who weds a boy/girl twenty-five years younger than you
then your future spouse won't even be born
until 2007!