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Archive for the ‘Things That Are Wrong’ Category

Last week, I listened online at work while testimony was presented to the Washington State House of Representatives prior to their vote on whether to legalize gay marriage in Washington State.

Now, I came out as a lesbian in 1991 and I’ve been in a domestic partnership for almost a decade.  I’ve heard it all:  that gay marriage will lead to people marrying dogs, for example.  Or that legalizing my relationship will result in the downfall of “traditional” marriage (see: Newt Gingrich, Liz Taylor, and my personal fave, Kim Kardashian’s possibly sham marriage to Kris Humphries). And I’ve heard that gays are an abomination, that our relationships are  “unnatural.”

But those complaints no longer cause any bitterness for me — just irritation.  Once you’ve watched the media attack the gays during the HIV/AIDS crisis, it takes an awful lot to get riled up.

HOWEVER.  During live testimony at the State House, I kept hearing how irresponsible it was for WA State to spend its time and resources on a polarizing social issue like gay marriage when so many people are out of work and hungry and losing health benefits.  In truth, I can’t argue with that too much, except to say that if it weren’t for the opposition and their testimonies, the vote could’ve happened pretty quickly and the legislature could get back to whatever important business is on the agenda in Olympia.

I felt like they had a valid point.  Until I watched the local news just 2 days later.  KREM.com reports:

“The Washington State Senate has approved a bill that would allow a new form of traction device for vehicle tires called tire socks.

KREM 2’s Othello Richards found out that not many people, including local tire stores, have ever heard of them.”

Are you friggin’ kidding me????  This is the IMPORTANT business that the WA legislature needed to back to instead of insuring legal protections for thousands of couples in WA State, and potentially boosting some portions of the local economy in the process?  SOCKS for tires??

Read Governor Chris Gregoire’s beautiful speech on why gay marriage is the right thing to do.  Why separate but equal isn’t really equal.  Why my family is as legitimate as yours.  Why protecting gay families is important.

In my opinion, gay marriage is a lot more important than being able to use socks on my tires instead of chains.

Now I’m pissed.

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Yesterday, thanks to Twitter, I discovered an article in The Daily titled, Paula’s big fat secret.   The article claims the following:

  • Paula Deen, US Southern-style cook and cooking show host, has Type 2 diabetes.
  • Paula Deen hasn’t exactly shared that information with the public.  And she can’t eat her own meals anymore.
  • She is going to make millions as a spokesperson for a diabetes medication, probably for drugmaker Novartis. Novo Nordisk, according to the LATimes.

Here’s the thing that kills me:  Paula Deen’s cooking has always seemed, to me anyway, to be a lesson in how to give yourself diabetes! Or coronary disease.  Or other obesity-related illnesses, like colon cancer.

So she wins by teaching us to eat irresponsibly, and profits from it through her cookbooks and restaurant and Food Network show.  Now she’s going to profit by telling us to take a pill that treats the resulting illness.  Win-win for Paula.  And frankly, a smart move on Novartis’ part too.  Because most people aren’t going to care.  They think she’s nice.  They’re fans.  She makes food they enjoy eating.  And the poor woman was unfortunate enough to get diabetes, which really nobody can blame her for.  It’s an illness.

WRONG.

Paula Deen has long been criticized for irresponsibility when it comes to food.  Here are a few examples:

Normally, I wouldn’t criticize the woman so much myself.  Maybe she’s just ignorant about healthy diets and the implications of unhealthy ones.  But she responded to Mr. Bourdain’s criticism last year by saying,

“You know, not everybody can afford to pay $58 for prime rib or $650 for a bottle of wine. My friends and I cook for regular families who worry about feeding their kids and paying the bills … It wasn’t that long ago that I was struggling to feed my family, too.”

I’m calling bullshit here.  I grew up in the South, and I know how fond they are of their diets.  Fried mac and cheese, fried green beans, fried donuts, fried Twinkies, chicken fried steak, etc.  At no time have I ever thought that I couldn’t eat healthy because I couldn’t afford a $58 prime rib or a $650 bottle of wine.  This is a false argument, and she’s catering to those Southerners who don’t like the prissy, elitist, crunchy granola vegan intellectuals who criticize the Southern diet.

Ever heard of quinoa?  Or cous cous and grilled asparagus?  Black beans and brown rice with a little sour cream & salsa?   Or fish?  There are some fantastic ways to make fish yummy. Here are some of my favorite healthy recipes:

I’ll stop here.  You get the point.  Most of these meals can feed four folks for $20 or less.

I’m not saying you should never ever ever eat a pepperoni pizzza or a bacon cheeseburger.  I love both of those things, and had pizza just last night.  But I can minimize their negative health impacts by choosing slightly healthier options (grass feed beef, or less cheese, or turkey burger etc).  Or, you can go ahead and eat that really terrible-for-you comfort food… but rarely, instead of regularly.

It’s not that hard to eat better.   Last year, I started making a few substitutions, stopped eating out as much, limited table salt, and added fresh fruits and veggies as sides or “dessert” to most meals.  That, and a little time at the gym, and I’m 35 pounds lighter.  My cholesterol is finally good.  I’m no longer “obese” and I’m about to fall out of the “overweight” category too.  My blood sugar and metabolism and blood pressure are “optimal”… and I feel great.

I hope Paula Deen can, too.

And I hope all of us can begin to support a new health care paradigm, one that focuses on creating wellness rather than treating disease.  But that’s another blog post for another time.

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Photo: Stephen Samuel

While I was putting myself through college at the University of Texas at Austin, I lived for a while in a small apartment complex in the Clarksville neighborhood.  It would’ve been the mid- to late-nineties.  For a brief time, Marc Katz’s ex-wife, a realtor, lived across the street from me.  She gave me her card once:  “Katz Always Kloses.”

But I digress.

I was trying to figure out some things about my life, make sense of my past and figure out who I was going to be in the future.  It was a heady time.  I had trouble getting quiet in my mind, though.  Friends of Bill W. suggested I might benefit from long walks along the Town Lake, and I did.  Five miles from Clarksville to the bridge where North Lamar becomes South Lamar, up to Barton Springs, through Zilker Park, up to MoPac, back to North Lamar.  A wonderfully quiet, nature-filled 5 mile walk smack dab in the middle of a bustling city.

I have fond memories of those walks.  Feeling the perspiration evaporate off my sweaty arms when I rounded the northern, shaded edge of my route.  The sound of my footsteps on fine gravel.  Long leaps to avoid mud puddles.  Neighbors greeting one another as they passed walking in opposite directions — even Governor Ann Richards if it was early Sunday morning and you were lucky.

There was a spot along Barton Creek where I always stopped to watch the mallards and geese.  I can still envision the late afternoon sunshine lighting up thousands of bright green and yellow leaves.  A gentle breeze made the flowers and grasses sway ever so slightly.

The Sony Walkman had just become affordable enough that I’d managed to obtain one.  I bought cassette tapes at Waterloo Records or Tower.  One of my favorite accompaniments to those long meditative walks was Sarah McLachlan’s Surfacing.  Society was so high tech then; we could take actual recorded music in our pockets on a long trek.  Who would’ve imagined it possible?  These were good times. Sarah MacLachlan’s style was helping to usher in a new era of popular female vocals.

“Your love, is better than ice cream” the mezzo-soprano crooned as the newly out lesbian tried to figure out why she couldn’t get a date.

The very sound of Sarah McLachlan’s voice has brought fond memories to mind ever since.  Some of her nineties songs feel like audio hugs, lovely and comforting.  A walk down memory lane.  Warm fuzzy feelings pour over me every time I hear Sarah McLachlan’s voice… even today, right?

No!  Not anymore.  Not since she’s become a spokesperson for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

From the ASPCA’s commercial, on YouTube:

“Every day thousands of dogs & cats are abandoned, left to suffer alone .”

And that’s just the beginning.  I can’t bring myself to tell you any more.  You’ll have to watch the video yourself.  Gawd, I’m getting teary-eyed just writing about it.  I’ve been playing the video so I can quote it accurately.  Gah.  It’s killing me.

Damn it, I hate you Sarah McLachlan.

Hate. You.

Because I can’t stand, omg the kitten face, the sad hound… oh (dabs eyes with kerchief).  Okay.  I feel soooo guilty.  It doesn’t matter that I already live with two cats who might’ve ended up on the streets otherwise.  One came from a house full of teenagers who needed to find homes for a litter of kittens, and the other lived in foster homes or shelters the entire first year of her life.  But I can’t take on any more.  Nobody would rent to me ever again, I can’t afford vet bills for a third pet, and our Alpha Cat would just eat another animal anyway.  And right, I could send money, but the budget is tight these days.  Tight.  Besides, by the time the commercial tells us what the ASPCA is actually asking me to do, I’ve tuned it out.  The guilt causes an involuntary reflex.  One I’m not proud of:  denial.

Chosen ignorance.  A closed heart.

Damn it.

I hate you, Sarah McLachlan.  I really do.

Willie Nelson, you’re on thin ice yourself, my friend.

(Ed. Note:  Sarah has helped raise at least $30 million for the ASPCA.  But there’s always more to be done.  Donate here:  ASPCA.)

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For this installment of “Things That Are Wrong” :  BP.

I’d planned a long rant to go in this post, but there’s no need.  The good folks over at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre have done a better job than I can, so we’ll let them do the work this time. Thank you UCB!

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Photo: Clindberg via Wikimedia Commons

In a fantastically informative Seattle PI article, the AP is quoted summarizing the National Transportation Safety Board’s report about the Airbus 330 “crash” onto the Hudson River.  Captain Sully has been one of my heroes since that day, and I was hoping the report demonstrated exactly how much skill & courage it took to save the lives of everyone onboard.

No such luck:

  1. Sully could have returned the plane to La Guardia.
  2. Barely.
  3. He would’ve had to make an INSTANT decision to do so, and even then it wasn’t guaranteed to succeed.
  4. But he could have.

Frankly, I’d rather have Chesley Sullenberger making this kind of decision than the obviously politically-driven NTSB who doesn’t want to encourage anyone else to ditch such an expensive plane in a river.  Jerks.

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I was on a business trip in Boston 2 1/2 years ago when I first came across an episode of  “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” and I was instantly hooked.  How on earth did that woman manage?  Look at how they have to put 6 toddlers on a rope to get them to walk from point A to point B.  Geez.  Wow.  I gotta see how this turns out…

And, well, we all know what happened next.  

Kate Gosselin on 'Dancing With the Stars' (ABC)

Things That Are Wrong, Gosselin Edition:

  • The NY Times reports an upcoming TLC show, “Twist of Kate.”  A program where Kate spends time with other women — OTHER families, not her own.
  • About Dancing With The Stars, Kate says “I can’t put my life asideand dance for six hours a day.”  Really???  Um, wow.  I would expect to have to dance 12 hours a day, especially if I couldn’t dance to begin with. 
  • Jon wants to co-star with Kate on yet another new tv show.  Will it be a dance-off?  Or has their entire breakup been a plot point, with resolution (reuniting) reserved for a new show?  Hmmm.
  • Jon has sued for custody of the kids.
  • Kate’s Paparazzi dance.

And now, two things that are totally right:

  • Jimmy Fallon’s spoof of Gosselin’s paparazzi dance.
  • Snark Food says Gosselin “looked like some kind of Marilyn Manson street-walker and danced walked around the stage like a drugged out wax figure.”

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Photo by NCI, courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Wow, it’s been a long time since I was here & writing posts.  Unfortunately, a sudden and completely debilitating back injury has kept me away and I had to let the blog go to seed for a while.  But I’m back (punny, yes?)! 

To kick us off, a wrongness list.  This time, about having back surgery:

  • Nobody can see your boo boo, so people are more likely to run your slow-moving ass over than give you some room when you are struggling to stay upright.  (Hint, buy a cane!  People will even hold doors open for you!)
  • Having to ask your significant other to bring you EVERYTHING while you’re laid up.
  • Your family right before they roll you into the operating room saying, “You know you’re totally going to piss yourself the second they put you under, right?!”
  • Bills
  • More bills
  • Great drugs that can’t be refilled
  • Ugly hospital footies
  • Antimicrobial shower soap
  • Gowns that open in the back
  • The cat.  She knows you won’t bend down & pick her up so she thoroughly enjoys sharpening her claws on your brand new bed or sofa while you stand there yelling “stop!” and “quit it” to no avail. 

So those are just some of the things that are wrong with having surgery.   But a lot of things went right — important things.  Like the surgery itself (success!), a quick-healing incision site, wonderful colleagues who allowed me to work from home while recuperateing, and my partner.  The bestest partner ever.  And yes, I will totally do EVERYTHING — even all the dishes, for 2 solid months, beginning any time she says so.

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