Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I Know the Feeling, Al

Is It Wise to Be So Smart?
By Dana Milbank
Wednesday, May 30, 2007; Page A02 Washington Post

A capacity crowd of 1,500 people jammed into Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University last night for Al Gore's speech and book-signing. But the numbers don't matter: Even if Gore were speaking before a sellout crowd at Verizon Center, he would still be the smartest guy in the room.

He reminded his listeners of this repeatedly last night.

"Were it possible to summarize this book in only 15 minutes, it wouldn't be the book it is, but I'll do my best," he announced en route to a 34-minute talk.

He waxed esoteric about the ancients: "Both the Agora and the Forum were foremost in the minds of our Founders. . . . Not a few of them read both Latin and Greek, as you know."

He waxed erudite about the Enlightenment: "Gibbon's 'The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' was first published the same year as the Declaration of Independence and Adam Smith's 'The Wealth of Nations.' "

And he waxed informed about the Information Age: "One of the challenges in discussing the premise of this book is to establish as a concrete reality the importance of this virtual space, forgive the phrase, within which the conversation of democracy takes place."

Gore practically oozes gray matter.

"It's the biggest problem he's got," said Schwartz, from Germantown. "People don't want somebody who makes them feel stupid."

Yeah, I know how it is, Al. It's hard to be popular when you're as brilliant as you or me.

I mean, look at my career. Know why I'm not famous yet? That's right, too smart. Every word I've written is, let's be frank, a freakin' gem. And that kind of perfection scares people.

I mean, look at our fellow smarties:

Plankton. And people actually prefer Spongebob to him!
Wile E. Coyote. The Super-Genius. And who gets all the applause? That air-head Road Runner.
Susan (same name as me, ironic, huh?) Pevensey of The Chronicles of Narnia. Look where being smart got her in the end.
Two words: Lex Luthor. 'Nuf said.

Face it, Al, the world just isn't ready for the likes of us. That's our cross to bear. Going to the Mensa meeting tonight? Me neither, working on my Nobel lecture. You are too, right?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Why Mrs. V. Is Not Really Worried...

...about the Left in Minnesota.

Saturday morning, Memorial Day weekend. DIH and daughter head to the Farmer's Market near the Guthrie Theater, in downtown Minneapolis.

Usual stuff. Organic cheeses, handicrafts, a jug band or two. Low-key fun.

A trio of young adults wearing Guthrie Theater tee shirts work the crowd. They are promo-ing the production of "1776" coming up this summer. Friendly, charming, they're giving the kids frisbees and tattoos.

While Sophia is explaining that 1776 was the year the Declaration of Independence was signed and her buddy Seven is getting a "1776" tattoo plastered on his wrist, a serious-looking young blonde woman clad in natural fibers approaches.

She lifts her chin at the play's American-flaggged logo. "Why are you promoting this?" she asks.

"It's our next production," the young thespians respond with pride. "It's a wonderful show. About the founding of America."

"And whose perspective is it from?" she asks calmly.

Young thespians are perplexed. "Perspective? uh- gosh, I'm not sure who wrote the book---"

"So you don't know if this book written [hushed awful tone here] from the government's perspective?"

"It's a musical," young man repeats. "It's a great show."

Serious blonde nods seriously. "I-- see." She saunters off, hands thoughtfully shoved in natural fiber pockets.

Yep. Reflecting on the state of American musical theater can really ruin your day. But DIH will buy tickets next week anyway.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Auntie Em, Auntie Em....

... where are those people when you need them?

Every so often DIH gets the smug feeling that's she finally getting the hang of this Midwestern thing. Without exception these are the times when something comes along and destroys her confidence.

Take yesterday, for example. Out and about in the auto. On way to supermarket before picking up child at school. Suddenly a torrential rain. Hm, DIH says to herself. Given my fellow Minnesotans' driving abilities, perhaps it would be best to can the supermarket and simply arrive at school early.

So I head to the school parking lot. Get a primo space (I was half an hour early after all). Rain intensifies. Naturally I take out the book I've got in my purse and within minutes am happily engrossed in "The Code of the Woosters."

Well, between Bertie's problems with yet another would-be bride and the pounding of the rain on the car roof, one can miss a few things Little things like, oh, I don't know, tornado sirens.

Seems half the city was under alert yesterday afternoon. All the children in the school were being herded to the basement even as Jeeves was trying to sort things out for Bertie W.

I keep telling myself itwas the rains' fault. If it hadnt' been making such an infernal racket maybe I would have heard the siren. Not that Iwouldhaveknown what to do next, of course, but still. Forewarned is forearmed and all that. Although I'm not sure it applies to forces of nature.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Farfour This

You've all seen "Farfour," right? On the Hamas channel?

For those who have better things to do with your time than browse YouTube for hours a day, Farfour is the character on Hamas TV's , "Pioneers of Tomorrow." POT is a children's television show. A little girl in a headscarf urges Palestinian children to fight the Jihad to the last drop of blood, and oh yeah kill a lot of you-know-whos on the way. And death to America of course.

The most important character on the show. however, is Farfour. Farfour does naughty things like get caught cheating in class. then cries and explains that he lost his homework because the Jews bombed his house. "Ohhhh! Poor Farfour!" Then he preaches Jihad. Reclaim Islam's glorious past! The world is ours! Take back Cordoba! Lepanto rematch NOW!!

The thing about Farfour is he looks exactly like Mickey Mouse. Well, a Mickey Mouse thrown together by a third-world production company. Sort of on the "budget" side. But unmistakeably MM.

Curiously, the Disney company has been veerrrrrrryyy slow to do what any red-blooded American conglomerate would do, which is shut the show down and sue Hamas to the last burqua. Disney spokesmen say they didn't think shutting Farfour down would be "effective."

Which gives DIH an idea.

Here's a proposal for EWTN: "Children for Chastity." Starring Mickey and Minnie. The cutest characters in the world- oh, those flirty little petticoats, Min!- tell children why they've never, well, you know. They then point out that they've outlasted every other couple in Hollywood. In fact they're still in love!

How romantic can you get? And how adorable! The world's most recognizable couple shares their secret for a long and happy relationship!

Wonder if Disney would shut that show down.

Monday, May 21, 2007

On The Subject of the Day

Well it looks like an interesting week ahead for DIH. The new puppy remains to be housebroken and Michael Moore's latest documentary unleashed. What a coincidence! If one of them isn't giving it to me the other one will be. Busy, busy, busy.

I can't wait to see the headlines, the clips, the "Daily Variety" input and oh, dare I hope for "South Park"? Really, it's the sort of thing that can get me leaping out of bed in the a.m.

But even though I havent' seen reports yet- except fot that photo of MM on the non-regulation red carpet, where he apparently appeared as the poster child for America's obesity problem-- I wanted to share some thoughts. Mostly, given that I've also been catching up on "South Park" lately, in re: Canada.

Canada, you will recall, is revered by the reporters of the MSP as a virtual heaven of health care. Why can't we be more like Canada? they moan. Canada has perfect health care! And it's all free! We should copy Canada! WAAH!

One thing DIH knows for sure: none of those reporters has ever gotten sick in Canada.

Shortly after her arrival in the great state of MInnesota DIH joined a couple of friends on a jaunt to Sault Ste.Marie. The occasion was not their annual winter carnival, which I gather lasts from October to June, but a weekend seminar in hap ki do. The instructor was a famous guy in the martial arts world and we were ready for get ourselves scarred for life in an attempt to learn from him.

Anyway, one of my friends got pretty seriously sick while we were there. The master took her aside.

"Go home,' he said firmly. "Drive back across the border right now if you want to get treatment. Let me tell you a story." The grandmaster, who was 60 or so, had a heart condition. He'd had one or two attacks already when one day he felt chest pains. He stopped at an emergency room in the Soo. "Make an appointment," they said.

"But I've had two attacks. I know the signs. This could be serious."

"Make an appointment," they repeated.

Now as any well- informed person knows, this "don't call us, we'll call you" act is par for the course at any government agency. AND IN CANADA, HEALTH CARE IS A GOVERNMENT AGENCY.

Do I have to say more? Okay, if you insist.

Shortly after my return from the Great White North I was chatting with another mom waiting for her kid outside some dance class or something. She had gone to university in Canada and couldn't say enough about the place. "And such lovely health care!" she gushed. "Why, I broke my leg there and they couldn't have been nicer about it!"

"Really?" said DIH. "Because from what I hear emergency care is pretty much kaput up there."

She thought about it. "Well, now that you mention it, there was one odd thing. They were very sweet about setting the bone, but then they told me I had to go to another hospital to get a cast put on. I thought that was odd."

I don't know this for a fact but I'm guessing Canada has incredibly strict gun control laws. Otherwise how would they avoid an armed rebellion? We might have to pay a lot for health care, but jeez, at least we get what we pay for. Canadians are taxed up the wazoo and they get to handle their own heart attacks and broken legs.

Michael Moore and my puppy have so much in common. I should get those two together. Now, while the puppy is still in her biting phase.

Friday, May 18, 2007

One of Them Me-Me Things

Teachergirl tagged me. i am still not totally sure what being "tagged" means, but apparently it means the righ to ask some personal questions. [No offense, TG. Just wish I had a personality I could call on at times like this.}

Anyway here are the questions:

1. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?
2. Are you a spiritual person?
3. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want to have with you?
4. What’s your favorite childhood memory?
5. Are these your first (tagging) memes?

DIH responds:

1. Fame and fortune of course. Ha! Just kidding. I'll settle for fortune.
2. Know what this question makes me think of ? Those "real haunted houses" shows on cheapo cable. I love those shows. I wonder if it would be fun to be psychic. Or maybe just annoying. Hey, has anyone out there ever seena ghost?
3. A working phone, a GPS system, and a ton of sublock.
4. Anything including ice cream.
5. You can't tell?

TG continues,
Here are the rules according to whomever likes to make up rules: • Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves. • People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. • At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. • Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

So I will tag:
adoro te devote
Christina (unless she's the same person as Christine)
Sue (oh wait. that's me)
Mister know-it-all, if he's still around.
And even though he probably doesnt read me, I'm going to tag Wuzzadem. Just to show my groupie-level admiration.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Today in the Headline Hall of Fame:

"Blind Man Finds Bias in Denial of Gun Permit"

Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Wednesday May 16

"A North Dakota man who is styling himself as 'American's first sightless gunslinger' is claiming to be the victim of discrimination because Minnesota won't give a blind man a permit to carry a gun in public.

"Carey McWilliams, 33, of Fargo says he carries one anyway when he crosses the state line because his Utah permit is accepted in Minnesota. Any use of his gun, he said, would be a response to an assault and wouldn't put anyone other than his attacker in jeopardy. 'It would be self-defense, at point-blank range, with ammo that doesn't go any further than the assailant,' McWilliams said Tuesday.

"In neighboring Moorhead, MN, Clay County Sheriff Bill Berquist said he didn't feel he had a choice but to deny the permit application. 'I had to sign something saying he could 'safely' whatever, and I felt I couldn't say that of someone who's legally blind,' Bergquist said. 'The shooting he's done in the past was with the help of someone. When confronted, he wouldn't have that help. The application states that a person should be able to show proficiency on the firing range and a proficiency of the weapons,' he said. 'That's the issue.' "

The floor is open to comments....

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

"The gates..

... of Hell swing open, and Satan welcomes his beloved son."
So speaks Pandagon, John Edwards's favorite blogger.

So here's the quiz for today: The above quotation was her comment on the death earlier today of :

a) President Ahmadinejad

b) Osama bin Laden

c) Barney

d) The Rev. Jerry Falwell.

And the answer is....

Rev. Falwell died this afternoon. (Sorry if any of you got your hopes up about Barney.)

Rest in peace, Jerry.

Monday, May 14, 2007


I realize this is not news to most of the rest of the country, but spring is here. (It's news in Minnesota.)

And with spring comes all the annual springtime rituals: Trips to the garden supply store. Trips back to the garden supply store to return the stuff you just bought. Desperate phone calls to everyone on your list to see if anyone knows anything about gardening. Hopeless calls to landscapers who have bigger and better projects way ahead of you. lady.

And of course, the annual "Tour of Homes."

Every year here in the Cities somebody sponsors a "Tour of Homes." This is where people who are dying to do such things invite total strangers to traipse through their houses. Occasionally the home is about to go on the market, but more often than not the owners just want to show off their crib.

DIH does not know why anyone in his right mind would do such a thing. Unless it's to provide oneself with a "home improvement project" deadline. "We have to get the wiring redone! We're having company tomorrow!"

Still DIH cannot deny a certain voyeuristic appeal to the Tour. So, a couple of weeks ago, me and a couple of the Bible Babes hit the road with a map of homes and a phony "yes-of-course-we-paid-for-this" pass.

One sees the usual stuff. "Cottage style" houses so cute you feel an urge to suck your thumb, just before you fell an urge to throw up. "Modern" homes where they don't really have to label the furniture "Please Do Not Sit," as if anyone would want to get comfortable on an anvil. And of course, the restored Victorians.

Restored Victorians are a big draw on the Home Tour. Everyone wants to see these overdone, overstuffed babies. House-gawkers love to gush over the woodwork! the pocket doors! the butler's pantries! OMG- is that a real "servants' wing??!!"

We were on our third or fourth Victorian when we hit the classic of the genre: the kind lovingly and painstakingly restored by two gay guys with a ton of money and a major attitude.

DIH is a believer in private property. She believes if you want to sully your abode with ugly furniture and uglier but really expensive antiques, well, that's up to you. It is a bit of a mystery to her why you'd want to broadcast your bad taste by signing up for the Home tour, but to each his own.

SO DIH was okay with the ancient but restored oven ("It's a bear to work with, but it's just so perfect!" the owner's buddies gushed). She was okay with the occasional "statements" throughout the house. "Be happy and gay!" (get it? oh, the wit!)

But then she came to the bathroom. Which was another statement.

There were a lot of pictures in this house and a lot of crummy statuary. But the bathroom was reserved for the "religious art" collection. Every inch of available wallspace surrounding the toilet was covered with scenes from the life of Christ. Last Suppers, crucifixes, depictions of the Virgin Mary and so on.

Was it a statemnt? Of course it was.

The statement being, "Not only do we have no taste, we have no manners, either."

There was something profoundly sickening about the idea that someone would do this and think he was being daring, or clever, or smart. But almost as sickening was the thought that it never occurred to these guys that they might be offending their invited guests. Because they did invite them, they signed up for the Home Tour. And they surely knew many of the people who walked through their home would be Christians.

I get the hostility. I just don't get the plain old garden-variety rudeness.

If this is sophistication you can have it.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Coffee Credos

DIH came across this this morning:

"An Ohio woman is steaming after reading an anti-God message published on the side of a Starbucks coffee cup.

The message that got Michelle Incanno's blood boiling reads:

"Why in moments of crisis do we ask God for strength and help? As cognitive beings, why would we ask something that may well be a figment of our imaginations for guidance? Why not search inside ourselves for the power to overcome? After all, we are strong enough to cause most of the catastrophes we need to endure.'

"The quote was written by Bill Schell, a Starbucks customer from London, Ontario, Canada, and was included as part of an effort by the Seattle-based coffee giant to collect different viewpoints and spur discussion.

"As someone who loves God, I was so offended by that," Michelle Incanno, a married mother of three who is Catholic, told the Dayton Daily News. "I don't think there needs to be religious dialogue on it. I just want coffee."

Hm. My first reaction was maybe Michelle should switch to decaf. DIH cannot remember the last time she got hot under the collar over a statement by a Canadian.

Still, I was intrigued. So Starbucks is handing out words of wisdom, huh? I must be really behind the curve. That's what I get for being a tea-drinker, I guess.

So in the interest of catching up with the zeitgeist, I stopped at a local Starbucks this a.m. and picked up a few cups.

Here are today's words of wisdom, courtesy of the very nice girl behind the counter:

(large regular) "The Way I See It, #245: A person's pursuit of goodness leads to greatness, but the pursuit of greatness leads to ruin.' [You know. like that loser Muhammed Ali.] Pursue goodness and you will achieve great things." That's from John E. Kramer, Vice President of Communications, Institute for Justice. Well, all I can say is if I were somebody's vice president, I'd probably want to comfort myself too. Who needs all that president stuff? Not John. Not Al Gore. Not a whole list of other also-rans. Incidentally, the Institute for Justice is a law firm. Show of hands, please: how many would feel comfortable hiring a law firm whose website's personnel page is called "Meet the Merry Band"?

(large black) "The Way I See It, #239: It takes two seconds to tell the truth and it costs nothing. A lie takes time and costs everything." -Randi Rhodes, Radio Host. "Her program," the cup helpfully adds., "is heard on Air America."
Sound advice, Randi. One question, though- didn't you guys lie your heads off about being bankrupt a few weeks back?

(extra large decaf) "TWIS #250: In reality, hell is not such an intention of God as it is an invention of man." [Is man stupid, or what?] "God is love and people are precious.' [Wonder if that includes unborn people. I'll have to aks.] 'Authentic truth is not so much taught or learned as it is remembered. Somewhere in your pre-incarnate consciousness you were loved absolutely because you were." [Ken Wilber and all you other new-age gurus: call your offices. I think somebody owes you a little money here.] This quotation comes from Bishop Carlton Pearson, "author, speaker, spiritual leader and recording artist." Quite a resume you got there, Bishop. Somewhere Elvis is jealous, I bet.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The New Look

So this is it, the new look. The calendar is there on the side because I never know what date it is; the picture represents my fantasy life. I do live in Minnesota, after all.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Why Is This Man Smiling?

a) He finally won Powerball

b) He has just married off his youngest child


(hope the Liberkids and Tunneykids are watching)

Friday, May 04, 2007

An Open Letter to Mitt Romney

Dear Governor Romney,

You are probably glad to have put that whole "I'm-a-lifelong-hunter" flap behind you. While I thought it was kind of foolish to resume-pad like that-- next thing you'll be saying they're making you a Knight of Malta!-- I have to say I thought you handled the whole thing with grace on Leno the other night. "I was like Jed Clampet." "Little things like mice, rabbits." And that bit about how you're in trouble if you ever get cornered by a ferocious rabbit? that was good, too.

But if it's true that you have actually hunted varmints- the small annoying creatures everyone who's ever lived in the countryside hates with all his being- I want you to know I truly respect your talent. It's not easy to hit those little bitty things, especially not when theyr'e running for their lousy little lives. You have to be a good shot to kill a rodent!

One small question:

How would you feel about blowing away squirrels?

If you get elected to the White House in 2008 you'll be a busy guy. obviously. But what if it doesn't work out? What then? What are you going to do, go back to fighting for your gubernatorial life in Kennedy-ridden MA? (And how come the state is still overrun with those little rodents? Just asking.)

Which brings me to my suggestion: "Romney's Rodent Services."

i know what you're thinking; what about a slogan? How about "No Squirrel Left Behind." Or "Read My Lips: Death to the fluffy-tailed little b*stards." "Kinder, Gentler Pest Control- NOT!"

I'll work on that part.

In the meantime please think about it. I promies you I can find you plenty of work.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Culprits Revealed

After my last post I received this from one of my guests. This from the mother of six of the kids who showed up for the party the other day:

"Ohhhh Susan I wish you could have been in the "Bus" to hear the conversation on the way home today.

"Clara and Maria Cline would be the culprits for the paper over the picture. She told me it was "inappropriate"for the picture to show her "privates" and that she couldn't get high enough to cover her "bottom". [Ed.note: the paper was taped over the woman's breasts. The drawing is of a female acrobat swinging upside-down from a trapeze.] Apparently the modesty and virtue teaching thing is working, however the "arts" education has yet to be taught! I am not sure which kids in the car agreed, but I heard "their house is really cool, except for that picture". I bet you didn't know I had such design critics for kids did you? Also, when I told them it was from some Russian artist they said how do they know him? I said you were from New York and had lived in a lot of different places and knew a lot of interesting people. Then Isaiah asked where was Sofia born. I said Cambodia. Anna then responds "She's adopted!?!? Does Sofia know that?". I am sure there would have been more, however we pulled into the driveway."