Monthly Archives: January 2012

Analysisises and other awesome things from the world of punditry.

I’ve been listening to/reading the disparate analyses of the Florida primary and what went wrong for Newt or whatever, and one point being made is that Romney did well with the “late-decideds.” Apparently, the talking heads and pollsters think this means that all the negative campaign ads dumped into Florida worked in Romney’s favor. Which means that the Romney campaign (or his non-affiliated PACs — don’t want anyone gettin’ all tetchy) will only up the ante as the race goes on. Positive reinforcement works on pitbull puppies, small children and political candidates. Whether the ads actually worked is immaterial; if the talking heads think it did, then it did.

So I’ve got a question: Who are these people who decide their candidates on campaign ads alone? I’ve always thought of campaign ads as a starting point if I’m unfamiliar with the candidate or bill being discussed. I am too cynical to ever believe that the subject being discussed is actually being presented to me in a straightforward fashion. I mean, we’re dealing with politicians here. Please.

Exit question:

Is it just me, or is punditry another of those “careers” that feeds on itself to stay alive? Like they’ve got to continue telling us, the great unwashed, how important they are to our lives, how we could never understand the subtleties of the geopolitical scene if it weren’t for their blistering analyses. Oh great pundits on the watching screen, please tell me what to think about stuff in between episodes of Dancing with the Stars.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

This weekend has been one filled with bad news on a personal level, and I’ve been filling my prayers with requests for health, for healing, for contrition. Now I’ve added Isabella Santorum and her parents to my list.

I’ve been there. Having a child whose unique makeup requires frequent and sometimes lengthy hospital stays is often like living in constant crisis mode. You’re not constantly experiencing anxiety attacks or anything (unless you’re me, apparently) but you are always vigilant. With my oldest having heart defects, the colour of her nail beds and the skin around her lips was constantly in the back of my mind. Hypervigilance is what it’s called. It becomes second nature, and after — long after — the threat has passed, the habits remain. What was helpful becomes unhelpful, and the constructive becomes destructive.

But that is a post for another time.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Santorums tonight. May God heal her little body. (I’ve just read that she is doing better. I’ll still be praying for her, but that is wonderful news.)

Not necessarily addictive.

Having been the recipient of I don’t know how many tattoos — 1, 2, 3, 4, 9 — I have got to dispute the claim I’ve heard uttered so often, that tattoos are somehow “addictive.” That’s a stupid thing to say unless you’ve got hidden masochistic tendencies. Some people do, but they are not as many as you might think. Tattoos, depending on size and intricacy, range from annoying to f***ing painful and there’s nothing addictive about that. What is addictive is the idea of etching one’s life upon the skin. I’ve got some pretty meaningful tattoos and some stupid ones, but each one of them has a story. Each one has a memory. One of them is even a motto of sorts, a tribute to the idea of “the only way out is through” — something I learned from my oldest daughter. She took life hostage, bending what little time she had to her will and enjoying every single nanosecond of it.

I say this as I hit my old man up for another, as well as a few tweaks to my older ones. It’s not the tattoos that are addictive, it’s the life that’s lived around them that’s addictive.

Then of course there are the people who flock to whichever tattoo shop that’s got its own reality show this season to have their kitschy, old-school, nouveau rockabilly-chic sleeves done. Which is fine, too. I ain’t hatin’, I’m just waxing philosophical.

I want to go home.

I love Jan Brewer. I wish I still lived in Arizona, but that’s no secret.

image

Oh, and by the way, Arizona turns 100 this year on February 14th. Here’s to another 100.

Love you, Copper State.

Classy and not so much.

Marco Rubio is such a class act. And he’s right. Both Gingrich and Romney are proponents of legal immigration as well as pretty soft on illegals. Gingrich is just not endearing himself to me right now. His entire ad campaign smacks of desperation.

I wish Rubio and Paul Ryan would run, honestly. That would be a dream ticket.

Completely unrelated, I don’t understand why Google needs to create a complete picture of me without my consent. I’m kind of screwed, because I have an Android phone that contains my entire life on one tiny SD card. I like it better than Apple, but if I were smart, I’d turn off my phone, disconnect my Kindle (also Android-based) and unhook my netbook from the wireless network.

But I love technology, and the convenience it offers, which is why I’ve given up my privacy by looking the other way as Google says one thing (“Don’t be evil”) and does the opposite. No wonder they give so much to Dems. They’re a natural match.

Sucker punch.

You’ve got to wonder how evolved we are as a species when a “lesser” species seems to value life more than we do.

This is beautiful and so, so sad. Having lost a child to heart defects, it is strange and lovely to feel a kinship with a mother of another species. Elephants are possessed of a deep, alien, animal intelligence that we don’t really understand. They are amazing creatures; this grieving behavior has been well-documented and difficult to explain.

I find myself surprisingly close to tears when I look at that tiny figure surrounded by those gigantic creatures. That the largest, most powerful land mammal is capable of such tenderness is proof of a benevolent creator, in my opinion. It’s beautiful and it hurts. Loss is so strange in that, on one hand, you wish the pain would just go away, but on the other, you don’t want to give up the experience that caused you such pain.

I’m still taken by surprise by how powerfully moving this picture is. It’s like a emotional sucker punch.

Goodbye, Lola.

Thanks, Life.

How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways…

So I watched XMen: First Class last night. And I can’t unwatch it, which is the real tragedy. Aside from the astronomically stupid plotline, the cardboard characters and the deviation from canon (that’s right, I get upset about that when the movie is terrible), James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are simply too good for the material. As with most “prequels,” the screenwriters tried to pack too many clever references into one story. January Jones was abysmal, which leads me to think that she isn’t acting when she’s playing Betty Draper, she’s just standing around in exquisite costumes looking bored.

I have a love/hate thing with XMen, both the comics and the movies. (Actually, my problems with the entire Marvel universe are legion, but I won’t get into that right now.) How Professor X could convince someone as interesting as Wolverine to become a neutered house pet is beyond me. Xavier’s intentions are good, but unrealistic and simplistic. I’ve always been more sympathetic toward Magneto, to tell the truth. Xavier is dangerously naive, and there’s a nasty undercurrent of antisemitism in the fact that Erik (Magneto), a survivor of the Holocaust, becomes a mutant supremacist and attempts on several occasions to annihilate mankind.

Bah. I watched Hunger, a biopic about Bobby Sands, this morning as I was getting ready. It wasn’t bad. The acting was excellent, and the director took some risks utilizing silence and heavy editing that I feel paid off. Much of the first half hour of the film was characterized by absence — the story was told by what was left out rather than through a laundry list of the abuse visited upon the prisoners. There was a marked lack of context, with bits and pieces of news stories and snippets of Margaret Thatcher’s speeches on the Troubles and the republicans.

If you know the story, it’s an interesting film. If you don’t, you may be wondering why you’re spending an hour watching some hot Irish guy die in a decidedly un-hot way. It was a great palate cleanser after the disaster that was XMen: First Class.

Watching Hunger brought up a lot of old, confused feelings about the Irish republican movement. I’ve always been sympathetic toward the dream of a united Ireland. I know the history of the country, and I know the history of the British occupation. As a human and a grown-up, it’s hard to condone the random acts of violence and terror that have come to characterize the fight for independence in Ireland, and yet what is more intrusive than a colonial occupier? Talk about big government.

Ireland is the one place I’ve always dreamt of visiting. Good and bad, the story of Ireland is fascinating, terrible and beautiful. I got to visit Australia a few years ago, which was very cool, as it was third on my list of places to go before I die, but Ireland has always been at the top of the list for years and years and years. You can ask my friend Eden all it. It’s really been a bit of an obsession. When you grow up in the middle of the Sonoran desert, Ireland seems really, really far away.

In a lot of ways, it still does.

Lashes.

Is it so wrong to keep an expensive mascara because it smells like roses? The strangest thing I said today, (and you’d know this if you followed me on Twitter), was “Hey, smell my eyelashes.” They smell lovely! I’ve never had a mascara that smelled like expensiveness. I like it.

Does it work well? It’s too soon to say. I really just want to look as if I’m wearing giant, glossy black, drag queen-worthy faux lashes all the time without actually gluing them to my face. So if it fails to accomplish that simple task, then it will be going back to Sephora, even if it smells like a garden of heritage roses.

This is what “downtime” looks like in HG land.

Don’t apologize, Mark.

I don’t usually give much thought to Mark Wahlberg, though when I do I find him mildly interesting, but I cannot get behind the mockery of his Men’s Journal 9/11 statements. I’ve heard countless, non-”delusional”, unfamous men say similar things. It’s normal to imagine ourselves courageous in such a scenario. What happened on those planes on 9/11 should still make one’s blood run cold. The kind of powerlessness experienced by the doomed passengers and crew is terrifying. Mark Wahlberg obviously loves his family, and instead of finding his comments offensive, I just think he sounds like a normal father. I don’t believe he meant to call into question the courage of the passengers on those planes — we know that there were acts of tremendous bravery in the midst of the horror — but simply express his own reaction to such horrific crimes.

Give him a break. We allow other celebs to say much stupider things. Someone out there bought Scarlett Johansson’s CD of Tom Waits covers. People still ask Jennifer Aniston what she thinks of American politics and actually report her answer as if it’s actual news.

The backlash against Wahlberg’s comments bespeaks a deeper, more pervasive sickness within our own culture. There is a large swath of American citizens that seem to view anything resembling masculine “swagger” as delusional, stupid and even dangerous. Maybe Wahlberg wouldn’t prevail against armed hijackers in a similar scenario. Perhaps he is taking his job as action hero a little too seriously. Whatever. At least he can imagine himself doing something to protect his family. His critics seem to be unable to imagine a scenario in which they would ever risk their precious lives for anyone, regardless of blood relation, let alone a stranger. They’d trip and fall into that lifeboat in a heartbeat and spend years playing the victim on the endless Oprah wannabe interview circuit.

Perhaps Wahlberg is delusional, but at least in his head he’s saving innocents and protecting his family. What are your fantasies about?

Brava, butthole.

This being the first week back at school and all (the great homeschool experiment is now a distant memory), I haven’t been able to write about how terrifically depressing current events have made me. The Costa Concordia has been yet another reminder of how far our “civilized” society has fallen. Good Lord, it’s depressing. I suppose it’s a sign that I am entirely too familiar with scads of dead white male Brit authors when I expect men to be men and put women, children, the elderly, infirm, and disabled first. Do you know that I often open doors for women when their men just stand there like idiot children? I am apparently the new face of chivalry.

How sad.

I write this because I’ve just read Mark Steyn’s phenomenal weekly column at the OC Register on the subject. I’d link it, but I still don’t know how to do that in my WordPress app on my Kindle Fire. I will attempt to carve out some time tomorrow to write more on the subject when I don’t have to type with my thumbs.

We Need to Talk About Violent Spillover from Cartel Wars in Mexico.

This is not okay.

Recently, Tilda Swinton starred in a movie called We Need to Talk About Kevin, about a family forced to confront their son’s violent crimes. I love Tilda but I haven’t seen the movie yet; I’m mostly captivated by the title. It ran through my mind when I read this story.

While this post’s title isn’t as frank and compelling — it’s mostly awkward and wordy — the violence in this country that is a result of the cartel wars to the south needs desperately to be addressed. Why aren’t we outraged about this? This is my house, bastards. Don’t bring your sh*t up here and destroy my house.

Is it racist to talk about Mexico’s dysfunction? I don’t even know what we’re allowed to talk about anymore, so I figure I’ll just go for it. I kind of doubt the hitman and execution squads are applying for the proper visas, however, so now we’re into the illegal immigration question. Cartel executions and human trafficking aren’t just border problems anymore, kids. Nowhere is safe from this because we’ve ignored it for so long.

How much longer can we ignore the dead bodies of women who have been exploited by coyotes and dumped in parking lots like so much cattle? How much longer can we ignore Americans being murdered or kidnapped on American soil by cartel thugs and hirelings?

This isn’t going away.

Lambert was an old cat.

I’m watching Adam’s Apples, a Danish film starring Mads Mikkelsen. It is one of the darkest comedies I’ve seen in awhile, and it’s pretty fantastic. If you decide to watch it, my favorite part is when Khalid is shooting the crows. “Lambert was an old cat. He just fell down while Khalid was shooting the birds.”

Watching it, I just keep waiting for Ivan to have a colossal meltdown and scream “Serenity now!” before going crazy and falling asleep. (Back to back references to two great tv shows. You’re welcome.)

I’m not certain this will have a happy ending, since it is a Scandinavian film, but Mads impresses once again with a fantastic performance. It’s a good thing he’s so talented; it gives me an excuse for my undying, obsessive devotion to him. He’s also Scandinavian-hot, which is such a sweet, sweet bonus. I mean, I like Hugo Weaving quite a lot, he’s ridiculously talented and has quite the phenomenal body for a man of his age, but I wouldn’t say I find him “hot.”

Just sayin’, praise the Lord for His boundless creativity.

This is cool.

Perhaps it was the viewing of The Thing early in my life coupled with my love of all things Lovecraft (At the Mountains of Madness is my favorite) that predisposed me to a fascination with Antarctica. I don’t know. I love me some spooky frozen wasteland, whatever the factors that led me here. These pictures are awesome and sad and cold and tragic, but they also convey a spirit that is so rarely seen these days. Intrepid. Adventurous. Sacrificial.

Noble.

Stupid.

How dare Karen Santorum decide to change her life? She had so much potential, living in sin with a dirty old man, being all progressive and independent and whatnot. Now she’s obviously a brainwashed Stepford wife who has decided to suppress her inner feminist. Or something.

Has anyone ever considered that she might be happier living the life she has now? That living according to a bedrock moral code might actually be a better way to live She’s got seven beautiful children and a husband who loves her. What an idiot to give up the fabulous life she could have had with an old man who had no interest in having more children!

As for the assertion the article makes that the occupation of her former lover may hurt Rick Santorum’s chances with Christian conservatives — what a bunch of horsesh*t. Most Christians follow the example of Jesus, who meets people where they are instead of condemning them for where they’ve been. I don’t think the Christians I know are out of the mainstream, and they are some of the most accepting people I’ve ever met. Our decisions make us who we are, and when we mess up, we add another facet to our personality. We are the life we’ve lived, but we are not the sum of our parts, at least not to God. I think Mrs. Santorum is blessed to have the family she’s been given, and she would not be where she is now if she hadn’t made the decisions she did.

You can’t appreciate a good man until you’ve been with a worthless one.

Christians — real Christians — will not fault her husband for his wife’s choices. We aren’t as stupid and irrational as the media likes to paint us. This story smacks of desperation and cruelty. Rick Santorum is a good man, whether you agree with his social conservatism or not. He loves his family and he is devoted to life, from conception on. This isn’t “weird,” as some have tried to make it seem (Alan Colmes) — it’s admirable.

Let’s hope this story sinks quickly. The Santorums have already had to deal with enough.