Friday, January 30, 2004

Who will save your soul?

Anastasia sent me this link today, and being a sucker for every online poll or personality test that exists, I immediately went to check it out.

President Match

You go through several pages and rate where you stand on various issues, and at the end you get a ranking (with percentages) of which candidate most closely matches your opinions. My list:

Kucinich - 100%
Sharpton - 96%
Kerry - 87%
Dean - 84%
Clark - 83%
Edwards - 76%
Lieberman - 69%
Bush - 1%

My observations...

1) HOLY CRAP! I'm a Democrat!
2) I can't believe I'm actually 1% Evil.
3) I know something about ALL of these issues. (Pats self on back)
4) Kucinich/Sharpton '04! WHOOO!!!

Seriously though, I found it most interesting that I'm more closely aligned with Kerry than with Dean. It actually flies in the face of the emerging "wisdom" that Kerry is somehow more "electable" (how I loathe that meme) and supports the contention that Dean really is the more centrist candidate. I fear that if Kerry does get the nomination, he is far more vulnerable as being painted with the "liberal" brush than Dean. Hell, the Rove machine only has to tell the media to run with this story to portray him as a pot-smoking hippie. It's all downhill from there.

About this electable thing... it's all that I'm hearing these days and I'm sick to DEATH of it. "Oh, I like Dean, he's got great ideas and has given the Dems back their spine, but Kerry is more electable." I disagree... and here's why.

1) If everyone votes for the person that they like, that they really want, that they match most closely with - not just on political positions (see above) - but the whole package... electability will take care of itself. Because at that point, you've got a candidate who truly has the support of the base, who has gotten voters excited, and who widely represents what the party stands for. A good, solid, socially liberal and fiscally conservative Democrat could garner the support of the left (including voters who bailed and voted for Nader last time around) as well as those who tend toward the center-right. And honestly, folks - even though it may not seem that way sometimes, that range covers a majority in this country, and more importantly for the election, the voting majority.

2) "Electability" is a fickle mistress. Think back to 2000. Was there anyone theoretically more electable than Gore? He won, yes... but not decisively enough to keep the evildoers from stealing the election. His support was fairly lukewarm, for a number of reasons... a not insignificant one being that, as Molly Ivins would say, he lacked Elvis. Kerry? Lacks Elvis bigtime. What is electable today is poison tomorrow. Chasing it is like trying to find the end of that rainbow... looks like it's easy, but it's always moving...

3) There is no doubt in my mind that this year's Presidential election is going to be brutal. Bush's handlers will bring out every dirty trick, every smear possible against whichever candidate the Democrats choose - it's what Rove was programmed for. Against that, we need to have a fighter, someone with fire, someone who will take a stand. Kerry, as terrific of a person as he might be is not - has never been - that man. He has rubber-stamped nearly every Bush travesty... from his shameful (and unconstitutional) vote to give Congressional power to declare war to the Executive branch to his votes FOR the Patriot Act, FOR "No Child Left Behind", FOR tax cuts (at a time when our debt is spiralling out of control). This is a man who, in response to a Democrat's outrage at Bush's theft of the presidency in 2000, said "Stop crying in your teacups. It isn’t going to change. Get over it."

I'm not over it. I will never Get. Over. It. And neither will a lot of people. How many dead, now, in Iraq? Ours? And theirs?

Andrew Sullivan, after the New Hampshire primary, stated very clearly what our choice this primary season comes down to:

"Dean did a little worse than the exit polls suggested. But his concession speech was easily the best of the night. It was authentic, uplifting, and red meat to the Democrats. It actually rang true to me as Dean's real view of the world. It isn't one I entirely share, to say the least, but it is genuine, represents a lot of people in this country and deserves a hearing. He seemed more affable than recently as well. He smiled more. He spoke more calmly but not ineffectively. He's real. Kerry is so fake, in contrast, I cannot believe that Democratic primary voters will continue to support him in such numbers. Dean gave arguments. Kerry spoke in packaged Shrumisms. Dean has a vision. Kerry has ambition. If I were a Democrat, I'd vote for Dean over Kerry in a heartbeat. To my mind, this is a battle between the Democratic party's soul and its fear."

All of this is why I am for the eminently electable Howard Dean, either until he gets the nomination and becomes the 44th President of the United States, or until he decides his run is over. I will fight like hell for him until one of those things happens. And if, sadly, we Democrats ignore our soul and give in to our fear, I will swallow it all, and fall in line. If that happens, hopefully we won't all be sporting these cheery bumper stickers:

Dated Dean. Married Kerry. Woke up with Bush.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

And in the spot of honour...


May this year bring you buckets full of wonder and dreams realized. I love you bunches.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004


Did I actually say last night I wasn't freaking out? Well damned if today I'm not freaking out. But it's the opposite of Iowa... I'm combing every news outlet I can, waiting for early election returns to start coming in. Have given money to the campaign already today so I feel like I'm doing something. And now I'm off to eat Thai food in large quantities. I have one of two stress reactions where food is concerned; either I can't eat (usually when I'm depressed or newly in love - strange, that juxtaposition!), or I can't stop eating. Unfortunately for my expanding waistline, today is the latter. Of course, if Howie bites it in NH, tomorrow and days following might be the former, so it'll all even out, right? Right?

In other news, the sun is out (yay!) and Jer is coming to my graduation (yayyay!). Hmmm... wonder if the two are somehow related?

Monday, January 26, 2004

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

Had class all last weekend and I've been working the last few nights to get massage stuff done, hence my quiet. Plus, I didn't want to get the reputation as a no-life freak by posting every. single. day. *grin*

For whatever reason I'm not as freaked out about New Hampshire as I was about Iowa. Perhaps it's because the "worst" has happened, at least as far as the expectations game goes, and the world hasn't ended. The campaign goes on, and there were some nice high spots this week including Judy Dean's emergence into the spotlight (what a great person she is, and I think she'll provide quite an asset to Dean's campaign) and the Letterman and Daily Show appearances.

So...goodnight. And Go Dean Go! YEEEEAAAAAAGGGHHHH!

Friday, January 23, 2004

Oh Captain, My Captain...

Bob Keeshan, known and loved by those of my generation as Captain Kangaroo, has died at the age of 76. I am so sad.

So long... and thanks for all the ping-pong balls.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Happy New Year!

A hearty welcome to the Monkey! Well-wishes are accompanied by this realization, made as I was researching online with Nathan last night:

Stephen - Rabbit
Kristina - Rooster
Nathan - Tiger
Sophie - Dragon

Notice anything? How about if you group 'em into predator and prey?

Yeah. We're toast.

Related to this subject, I have to mention how much I love Nathan's school. I'm not sure if it's his teacher, or living in Seattle, or that it's the year 2004, but I'm amazed at some of the stuff they study; things that I wouldn't have had a chance of learning as a kindergartner in 1974 in Coldwater, Michigan. Here's an excerpt from a note that he brought home the other day:

Over the next two weeks the curriculum will center on the Lunar New Year. Early this week, we will have students begin charting the moon. This will help explain the science of the Lunar New Year and build up their anticipation for our celebration. We will also do activities around Chinese Astrology, Medicine, Math and Chinese Characters.

How cool is that?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

If it plays in Vermont...

Stephen sent me this link today about Vermont. Reading it brought on a couple of different emotional reactions.

The first was a surge of hope tinged with some anxiety about Dean's candidacy. By most accounts (from both the left and the right), he did a good job as Governor of Vermont, left it in great condition; contrast it with the condition in which Shrub left Texas and it is to WEEP. (If you haven't yet, Molly Ivins' Bushwhacked is a must-read). I think it's important for Dean to really emphasize his accomplishments in VT during his campaign, and I really would love to see him be able to support and enact similar policies throughout the US. That's where the anxiety comes in of course, the question of whether his campaign will succeed.

(And before you ask - no, I didn't listen to the State of the Union speech last night. I have listened to as little coverage of it as possible thus far today. I'll probably read the text of it later as I cannot tolerate W's voice for more than 15 seconds without wanting to kill something, but I should make myself aware of the current set of lies he's trying to feed us; as Jer said last night when I told him I was in seclusion, it's important to "know yer enemy.")

The other emotion I experienced is much more surprising to me. See, Seattle is home. I feel a connection to this place that I never felt living in the midwest and I adore this town, this part of the country. I love living in a city that's not too big and not too small, one that is no more than a couple of hours drive to mountains, rainforest, and ocean. I love being a left-coaster. I love the weather up here - summers that are warm but not hot and sunny from July through September, and winters that are rainy but not too cold, the rain and grey tempered (for me) by lovely sunbreaks that occur often enough to keep me from getting gloomy.

So when I read about Vermont, I was really surprised to have the first little bitty pang of wistful longing to try life, not just in another place (as we'd certainly consider Vancouver as an alternate should things go horribly wrong in November), but in a place that's back on the east coast. Sure, I know it's the fantasy untempered by the reality of having to endure extended periods of cold and snow in the winter and heat, humidity, and mosquitos in the summer (which I am so happy not to have to deal with anymore), but still it was interesting to me that it's a fantasy I'd entertain at all.

What it tells me is *not* that I need to pack up and move east (whew!), but that I need to spend some time thinking about which parts of the description tripped my trigger. If there's something missing where I am now, what is it: community? aspects of small-town life? democracy? Maybe all three. And once I figure it out, the question is... what am I going to do about it right where I am?

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Why am I here?

If you're looking for this to be the philosophical post that explores one the deepest questions that humanity has asked through the ages, you're going to be very disappointed. Think much more literally. The question, more precisely, is "why am I here writing, rather than sitting over there working on the many many things that I need to finish so that I can graduate from Brenneke in less than two months?"

The answer can be found in one of my favourite essays of all time, Structured Procrastination, written by Stanford philosophy professor, John Perry. I don't know John Perry. John Perry is not a friend of mine. And I am no John Perry. But I can tell you that the man has written a brilliant explanation of how those of us who "work better under pressure" manage to function, quite productively at times.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Q: What's better than Whose Line Is It Anyway?

A: Whose Line Is It Anyway with Robin Williams as a guest star. Not sure I've ever seen anything funnier. Can you imagine what a rush it would be to make Robin laugh?

But what I really wanted to say today

... is thanks for all the positive feedback I'm getting from my cozy little audience. I honestly didn't think I'd tell anyone I was doing this; it still may end up boring the pants off of everyone but me. But I'm finding that I like knowing that you're there and having you know that I'm here. Stephen - thanks for chuckling this morning while you read; I know you're laughing near me, not at me. Jer - from here on out, I promise that any day I blog will also be a day that I send some love (and e-mail!) out to you. William - if you enjoy reading me even a fraction as much as I enjoy reading you, I gotta be doing something right. Cools - I promise not to disappear into blogland, and to keep some good stuff to share with you. The rest of you - let me know what you're thinking!

Keeping the faith

Yeah, so it didn't go as well as I had hoped. 'Sokay. Clinton finished third in Iowa and the Dems were trailing Poppy by 25 or so percentage points at this point in 1992, and we know how that turned out. New Hampshire is next week, and Clark's participation will throw everything into the air. Looks like it's going to be a wild ride.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Tell me when it's over...

This weekend I've found myself scrupulously avoiding the news and online political discussions... I just can't think about the Iowa caucuses that will take place tomorrow. I don't want to read about them, can't take all of the polling that shows the gap among the candidates closing; it makes my stomach clench and my breathing get all shallow and wonky. I am so emotionally invested in Dean's candidacy that I'm not sure how I'll handle it if he loses; yes, yes - I'm in the ABB camp and will support whichever candidate wins the nomination. Of course. And in all honestly, the rational part of me doesn't think Dean will lose... in fact, that rational part thinks he's going to win by a decent margin.

Then, there's the irrational part, the part that fears that my support of Dean's candidacy has doomed him before he even started. After all, I seem to have that effect on sports teams, to an almost astonishing degree. Ask Michigan's football team who did just fine all season when I wasn't paying attention, then lost the Rose Bowl quite handily as I sat watching in my maize-and-blue garb, singing "Hail to the Victors" with an increasing note of desperation in my voice. Or how about the Mariners who, after leading the division for most of the summer, simply folded in August and September - just as I started to get interested in the pennant race. Sticking with baseball, we also have the ill-fated Red Sox (who I only started rooting for in the playoffs because I so detest the Yankees), and my favourite National League team, the Cubs. All of these teams achieved great success... until I started actively supporting them.

(No, I haven't forgotten about the Tigers... I may be irrational, but even I can't take responsbility for the suckitude they achieved last year.)

I certainly don't mean to trivialize this Presidential race by comparing it to a sports competition, but you can't deny the similarities. Each candidate has his fan... supporter base. Each employs strategy, a game plan designed to outmanouver the other candidates. The race will have a winner... and several losers. And as we've seen, all it takes is one bad call on the part of the refs ("I dissent.") to change the outcome - goodbye President Gore, hello pResident Bush.

So I guess that what I'm really doing by sticking my fingers in my ears (La la la, I can't hear you!), by feigning disinterest in this whole thing (Oh, is Iowa tomorrow? I've just been so busy I'd forgotten.) is capitulating to that irrational part. Like the superstitious old woman who insists that her new grandbaby is actually quite plain and unremarkable, maybe I too can fool the malevolent spirits (who bear a remarkable resemblence, I think, to Karl Rove) into casting their evil eye elsewhere and leaving my guy alone. A hell of a lot depends on it.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

It's a früthing, you wouldn't understand.

Question: How many früheads does it take to change a lightbulb?

Answer: None, they just sit there in the dark and insist that the lightbulb is on a "temporary hiatus".

Wish I knew to whom to attribute this one; it's brilliant, mostly because it's true. I often remind myself that lots of bands take hiatuses (hiatusi?) or even break up, and come back: The Hooters, Simon and Garfunkel, The Blonde Swedes, The Beatles. Aw crap. Scratch that last one.

For those of you following the recurrence my obsession, the latest is that I'm now spending $5.99/month to gain access to NewsWorld International so that I can watch Jian as he hosts >play. It's not Früvous, but it'll have to do for now. (And in all fairness, it also gives us access to other great music/arts channels like Trio, Ovation, BET Jazz, and FUSE. And TechTV. w00t!)

I'm also listening to lots of live shows that Stephen has been downloading for me (thanks again, sweetie). I ride the bus now with a huge smile plastered on my face, laughing out loud frequently at the between-song banter, tapping my toes, mouthing all the words. Yep. I'm one of those. I don't think it's coincidence that I often get a seat all to myself.

It's interesting that so much live stuff is being put out there of late. We've been 3 years in the wilderness, and I'm guessing that there's some weird energy right now that has cranked up our collective Frülonging, and has prompted the sharing of shows. Because as good as the studio CDs are, there's nothing to compare to the energy... the spontaneity... the JOY... of a live Früvous show. To be able to experience even a small part of that through listening to a recording makes the lack of the real thing somewhat more bearable.

So for now, I'll keep the faith and continue to sit in the dark, waiting for the stage lights to come up. I have to believe that sometime - this year? next? a few years down the road? - I'll have the extreme pleasure to hear, once again... "We're Moxy Früvous from Toronto, and My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors..."

Friday, January 16, 2004

Get yer badgers here!

If you've got your volume off, you'll need to turn it on or you'll be baffled by this link. Actually, you might be even more baffled with the volume on, but you'll also probably start giggling at some point.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Sophie's word of the day

oardrove (n.) - A tall cabinet, closet, or small room built to hold clothes.
Usage: "Mama, can you read The Lion, The Witch, and The Oardrove?"

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

What's in a name?

"Why Lively Writhing?", you may be asking yourself. I could be sophisticated and coy and let the mystery be, but then I wouldn't get to share my favourite Theodore Roethke poem, "Wish For a Young Wife".

My lizard, my lively writher,
May your limbs never wither,
May the eyes in your face
Survive the green ice
Of envy's mean gaze;
May you live out your life
Without hate, without grief,
And your hair ever blaze,
In the sun, in the sun,
When I am undone,
When I am no one.

This poem was on my mind a lot during both of my pregnancies. Since we chose not to find out the kids' genders ahead of time, I had fun picturing them as little lizards writhing around (in quite the lively manner) in my belly. Now they're writhing on the outside and are more child-like than reptilian (most of the time), but I still love that image of youthful, enthusiastic movement.

I'm thinking that this might be a place where I can let some of the lovely chaos in my head come out to play. And maybe even blaze in the sun a little.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

In the beginning...

walks in
feels for the light switch
flips it...

AAUGH! It's awfully bright in here! Shiny! New! Not quite sure what this is going to be about... but still. Here I am.