Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!


Well, I did groove it last night, and successfully cleaned and got everything ready for the big day. Bacon fest was fab, although I shan't make bacon cornbread for awhile. I can now heartily recommend the No Name brand of peppered thick-cut bacon. Delish, man. Sadly, there was an issue with basting the bird in bacon fat. Bacon grease has a fairly low smoking point and suddenly the smoke detector went off. Was it the little one that one can pull the battery from? Nay, it was the one hardwired into the electrical system. Now I'm running up and down the stairs, trying to figure out which circuit I can turn off, without disturbing the cooking process to shut the dang thing off. I finally got it turned off, but it was pretty nuts for about 10 minutes. After this drama, I flipped the bird (get it?) as per Cook's Illustrated's recommendation. (Cook first hour at 420, breast side down, then flip breast side up and lower temp for remaining cooking time.) Only I forgot to lower the temperature. So about an hour later, that bird was gloriously golden and perfect looking, but the dark meat was woefully undercooked. Crap. I started slicing and putting pieces in the microwave. Guests didn't see this part, which is good, and complimented the juicy, flavorful turkey. Hah! Fooled 'em again!

Happy Thanksgiving, Lone Reader! You're what I'm thankful for.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!


Lone Reader! How've ya been?

I am going to celebrate Thanksgiving Eve in a most traditional manner - with ol' skool funk music, drop it like it's hot dancin' and a vodka collins. Then I'm going to clean like hell. If we have to spend so much time with family tomorrow, tonight should be a no-holds-barred holiday for goofin'...write your congressperson. (once the recount is over and we know who that is.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

We are the Lizard People!


Submit before us, weaklings! In accordance with intergalactic law, we needed to convince just one confused, MJ-altered voter to write us in to the insignificant piece of detritus you call a ballot.

You may have already seen us on our reconnaissance, but you know us in our repulsive human fa├žades – Ted Nugent? Dean Barkley? Joan Rivers? Dick Cheney? You fools. Now we will rise before you, fierce and proud, ready to tackle universal health care and the Big 3 bailout.

We are the Lizard People! Let them eat crickets!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jive turkey musings


Sigh - what's going on with you, Lone Reader? I've had a busy week. Big grant was due yesterday, and it was in on time. Yay! Now I'm turning my attention to the many other things I've neglected, including you, dear...so sorry for the lack of posts.

Here's what's on: I'm beginning to think about Thanksgiving. It'll be a dinner for 12 at my house. I've done it before and I brine the turkey, but as a person who has profound phobia about handling raw meat, it does give one pause. The brining alone is stressful, but dang, it makes for a good bird.

Thanksgiving morning is a tradition in my house - it is BACON FEST! We watch the parade, waiting for the REAL Santa. (This is the Santa by which all mall Santas will be measured.) We cook pounds and pounds of bacon, eat gingerbread pancakes with maple syrup and laze about. The cooked bacon is then added to the stuffing, the turkey basting liquid and our bellies. A few years ago my brother-in-law suggested we add bacon to all the dishes of the day. It was good, but there have been complaints from a few of this year's guests that they do not want a smokey aftertaste in the pie, for example. We'll rein it in.

Other Thanksgiving food notes: there'll be broccoli, green beans (NOT in a casserole - blecch) carrots, sweet potatoes, mashers, stuffing, gravy and two pies. And maybe a green salad. Oh, and cranberry relish, which only I will eat but I don't care. Rolls? maybe.

Sadly, this Thanksgiving will be the first without my kids in the morning. It's going to be hard for me, but it is fair to my ex. He wants to build his own traditions with the kids, and I get that. I don't like it, but I get it. They'll be home by noon in time to eat and fight.

I do find myself getting pretty dang Christmas-y early this year. I'm eager to decorate the house, hauling my gazillion Rubbermaid tubs out of the attic and unpacking the insane number of holiday things I've got. This year I'm going to go all out, and I won't have to buy a thing to do it. (Okay, I'll buy fresh garland for the outside of the house, but that's it.) Some time I have to go through all the xmas stuff and get rid of a lot of it...but hey, a gal can only do so much, you know?

And speaking of holiday prep, Lone Reader - didn't you promise that you'd clean my house? I'm waiting, man!

More soon!

Monday, November 17, 2008

And the winner is...

Sonnet! For simultaneously making me laugh and have a little throw up in the back of my throat...

Her caption? "Two in the pink, one in the stink. Or, more fitting for this photo, maybe they were going for 'two in the Bush, one in the tush??'"

Ewwww.

More later today from my wee MN roadtrip and the crazy, deeluxe weekend. Stay warm, Lone Reader!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Caption Contest


What do you think this photo is about? (Seems like the Prez is stackin' to me...) Post your theories here. Contest is active until Monday November 17, 12:01am CST in US. What might the winner receive? Well, let's see...some stickers from the now-defunct Coca-Cola product OK Soda (said to be the first national product aimed straight at Gen X-ers), 1 Nivea lip balm (unused) and a package of bacon candy. Oh, and in honor of both the balls of string in Kansas and Minnesota, your very own Velma-approved Ball-O-String starter kit.

Thanks to Boing Boing & Sean Bonner for the photo. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Franken v. Coleman Update


Well, here's the latest, for you out-of-towners:

The recount in the Franken/Coleman election will begin next week. As it stands today, the spread between the two candidates is just 206 votes, placing Norm Coleman ahead by 1/100th of one percent.

What has happened thus far? Counties are certifying their vote tallies. In some counties, the optical scanning machine spits out a vote tally at the end of the election and a person enters the number in the Secretary of State website. This of course, can lead to transversed numbers, etc. Reconciling the slips of paper from the voting machines with the human entries to the tally had reduced Coleman's lead significantly. The canvassing board will certify the results from the polling machines on November 18th, then the state-mandated hand recount begins. To be followed by lawsuits, no doubt.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has promised the recount will be completed by mid-December. My thinking is that the lawsuits won't be resolved before the Senate convenes in January, leaving open the possibility that the full Senate will be called upon to declare the winner. This could be good, as it's Democratically-controlled, but an election called by anyone other than the voting populace leads to painful accusations of partisanship and recriminations all around.

Here's hoping Mr. Ritchie and the good citizens of the recount committee can help us come out of this with a clean win. Oh, and world peace and lots of arts funding, while we're dreaming.

something stoopid this way comes

sing to standard blues, you know, like the Kraft macaroni and cheese ad

I’m trying to work this morn
but facebook is calling my name
If I spend all my time on the web
I think Al Gore’s to blame

My head is throbbing right now.
(I’m under caffeinated)
Bad voting dreams won’t end
‘cuz Norm might be reinstated

We all overslept today
I hurried out looking a fool
I bet that today is the day
that old boyfriend drops off at school

She’s been working on it for two weeks
but where is that homework today?
Oh, I think the recycling truck
just carried it away.

Pomeranian dug in the trash
and now he’s licking the shoes
He’s fixed, he’s old and he’s blind,
He could really sing the blues.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

OMG!!


Obama wins AND I get fifth row Sharon Jones tickets!! What a week!!

Politics, what else?


Well, Lone Reader, it’s been a crazy ride. Like so many of you, I was crying throughout the returns. I had a house full of people, all of whom shared their voting stories. When the election was called, I went upstairs to the kids’ rooms. I gently rubbed my sleeping daughter’s shoulder and whispered in her ear, “Barack Obama is going to be our next president.” “She groggily sat up and murmured, “Yay…” before collapsing back into sweet slumber. I’m pretty sure my son would’ve had a similar reaction, if he could’ve been roused from his deep sleep.

Unlike everyone I talked to, I didn’t love McCain’s concession speech. Yes, it was gracious, but the structure of it bugged me. (Always the editor, I am.) (No, you’re not. – Ed.) It WAS a historic night, as we know, but I think the references to America’s entrenched racism should’ve been after the congratulations for Obama, the reference to Toot and the acknowledgment of the hard campaign. To me it’s not unlike the NBC cameras at Spelman College all night. Yes, this is an extraordinary, historic moment that has been a long time coming. I definitely agree. But millions of Americans were brought together in this election. Obama wasn’t elected because he is black. He was elected because he is the right man at the right time. The fact that he is African American is momentous, but not why he is our President-Elect.

Obama’s speech was simply breathtaking. Filled with hope, gratitude and strength, just like his amazing campaign. I sobbed my way through it. This campaign has changed the way politics is done in America – the vast majority of his donors were under $100. The internet wasn’t treated like an ATM, but a true organizing tool. And when did you ever hear a president include the word “gay” in an acceptance speech? (Not since Millard Fillmore in 1850.) Sad, sad, sad to think that while our President-Elect was speaking about dignity of all, many Californians were deciding that bigotry is acceptable.

There were several heartbreaking races tempering the elation of the evening. For some unknown reason, Michelle Bachmann (she of Bachmann Crazy Overdrive) was re-elected. My beloved Al Franken is likely going to be defeated by 1/400th of a percent when the recount is all said and done. In the MN House, district 37A turned from a hard-working, passionate Democrat to a 24-year-old Republican neophyte.

On the plus side, Minnesotans voted to add the Legacy amendment to the constitution, with a slight sales tax increase now the environment and the arts will now have some additional dedicated funding. I argued passionately with a state senator about this amendment in March of this year. He said this the amendment is basically an end-run around the Legislature. I replied, “Damn right – if you don’t have the backbone to do it, someone’s got to. We’ve tried it your way for a decade now and it’s gotten us nowhere. This is a much harder road for us, but clearly something must be done.” I didn’t convince him, but the people have now spoken and many quintessentially Minnesotan joys will be at least partially protected. (No word yet on whether Surly Furious qualifies, but it should.)

And this morning, Sarah Palin arrived back in the last frontier, being coy about her ambition to run for Prez in 2012. Am I dreaming or is that the best xmas gift ever?

Thanks for the read, groovy ghoulie, and see you in the new normal.

Full Text of Obama's Acceptance Speech


If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he’s fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation’s promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation’s next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House. And while she’s no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics – you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you’ve sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington – it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn’t do this just to win an election and I know you didn’t do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they’ll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor’s bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers – in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, “We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.” And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta.

She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “We Shall Overcome.” Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

An affront at the poll

Someone at the poll noticed my "I Voted" sticker and asked if I intended to vote twice. "No," said I, "I'm here to vouch for a neighbor. I brought my kids to vote this morning."

Said she, "Is this your kids first time voting in a presidential election?" WHA?! My kids are 7 and 10...must get Botox, must get Botox...

More from the Polls...


I just vouched for two people in my neighborhood for same day registration. One of them was crying because she thought she had brought all the right documents. It was the first presidential election for both and they were so excited. Afterwards, they hugged me and I congratulated them. I don't know or care who they voted for - three strangers walked away neighbors.

Voting


I arrived at my polling place at 7:20 this morning, two kids in tow, each clutching a container of yogurt and a granola bar. We were done by 8:15. I saw many neighbors and friends there. I actually vote at my church, which feels so cool and interconnected that it makes me shiver.

The kids participated in the Kids Vote and all three of us walked away with our stickers, beaming. We were 20 minutes late to school, and when I signed them in at the office, there about 40 kids already signed in late for being at the polls with their parent(s). As I was getting in my car, I saw a friend hurrying in with her daughter and we hugged each other. "I feel like this is the biggest day of my life," she said, "and I don't care who knows it!" "Me, too!" I said and got a little teary.

She's black, I'm white and we're both standing with our kids on the cusp of a new day. I love this place and this moment.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ruminating without Numerating


So much to say, Lone Reader!! First, is this a funny pic or what? "I'm voting the straight line ticket!"

Halloween
I did dress up as Velma on Halloween. It was pretty funny, because several friends who saw me didn't notice that I was dressed up - I guess I must usually look like a dork. (Do I normally wear knee socks and a miniskirt, people?) The kids had a good, albeit short trick-or-treat run. Somehow the fevers and sickness that prevented them from attending school did not impede their ability to beg for corn syrup.

I watched two scary movies: Squirm and Man's Best Friend. Campy, bad movies that were just about perfect. In Squirm, a downed power lines electrify the ground, creating killer worms. In Man's Best Friend, Ally Sheedy plays a reporter who, in the course of her anti-vivesection story on an animal lab, takes home a dog that had been genetically modified to be a vigilante killer. Wacky hi-jinks ensue. The best scene of all was when first the dog head puppet is eating a real cat, then the real dog is swallowing a cat puppet. High dollar effects, lemme tell you.

Sickness
Although my sickness remains, it is now manifested in an inability to regulate body temperature, a nasty cough and fatigue. I'm actually feeling much better, and for the first time in a month, feel like the end is in sight -yay! I also know that I don't have mono, HIV, strep, lupus, anemia, malaria, histoplasmosis or ebola. (Okay, they didn't test for ebola, but I'm pretty sure I don't have it.)

Soap Box
So it's election eve. I'm nervous, but also giddy. When I lived in Alaska, I voted for Bill Clinton. It was the first time I had ever voted for a winning presidential candidate. I remember seeing the returns and jumping up and down, crying. I called my friend Jenny and said, "It's really happening! Things are gonna be so different..." Three days later Clinton reneged on his promise to allow gays in the military, and this political naif was officially deflowered.

I miss those heady moments, when it seemed that real change was upon us...when it seemed like there was a possibility that people with a direct impulse for good were going to earnestly steer the country into the stark clear sunshine.

Fast forward and now I've got a 100-year-old house, an ex-husband, a blind geriatric dog and two amazing kids. Like anyone else, the world is truly too much with me at times, but I awake knowing that I am living an authentic life, engaged in the chaos and beauty around me. I've never been happier than I am at this very moment or more hopeful that, like the water lily arising from the muck, through this mire will come our essential goodness. It's not a single man who will change this country, it is us. With linked arms we can do anything.

I know you'll vote, Lone Reader, you're like that. Thanks for listening and love,
Velma