Wednesday, January 31, 2007

America: Freaks to Freakazoids

I was on a plane the other day and these two guys across the aisle from me started talking to the guy behind them about how the Illuminati and the world bankers want to enslave us all, which you can tell because currency is not backed by gold anymore. Then they started telling the flight attendant about how those in the know don't pay income taxes, and this is legally fine because there isn't actually any law requiring individuals to pay taxes.

The only explanation for what happened next is that I lived in D.C. for too long and have become one of those annoying wide-eyed East Coasters who can't really believe that there really, really crazy right-wingers out there, and vaguely believes that such people will see the error of their ways if presented with rational arguments. What happened is, I started talking to them. I told them that they could do whatever they wanted themselves, but it's really irresponsible of them to go around telling innocent strangers that they don't have to pay taxes, since people go to jail for tax evasion.

Oh good God. I spent the next 10 minutes trying to figure out whether it would be easier to jump out the window or hide under the little toy airplane seat, as these two guys tripped over themselves to tell me how the 16th amendment, which gives Congress the power to collect taxes, isn't really part of the Constitution because it wasn't ratified by the right number of states, and there are laws that say they require the payment of income taxes but they aren't really laws, or they only apply to corporations and not individual income, and did I know anything about horses? because they are farriers, which means they put horseshoes on horses. In fact, what they're doing now is going to Cincinnati for a farriers' conference, which is part practical applications and part theory and business. Also, I should really see a documentary called America: Freedom to Fascism, which is about the history of the Federal Reserve and how it's a big plot by corporate interests and lawyers to control the world, and they'd be happy to write it down for me, in case I might not remember the title.

I eventually told them I didn't really want to talk about politics and anyway, I had work to do, but I hoped they enjoyed their farriers' conference. Was this my inner polite Midwesterner taking over, or was it just a rational instinct for self-preservation? I don't know, but I came away with a strong impulse to spend some quality time with TurboTax.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Meet my fella

As previously mentioned, I'm happy to be married, but I think I may start boycotting the word "husband." At first I thought I just wasn't used to it yet, but the other day I realized that the real issue is that when you use it, you sound like a Republican "values" voter, or an unreasonably demanding dissatisfied customer in a restaurant. (Which, if you drew a Venn diagram of those two groups, the overlap would be quite significant.)

I had a revelation about this recently because I purposefully evoked the Husband connotation in an angry letter to Verizon demanding that they give me money back. I was totally justified in asking (Verizon DSL is the Iraq War of the internet-service world--they got you into it by telling huge lies about how fast and easy it will be, and once you're in there it doesn't work at all, and it takes years and billions of dollars to extricate yourself), but in order to strengthen my position, I dropped several mentions of how inconvenienced "my husband and I" had been by their crappy service.

Was that really relevant to the point of the letter? No, but it carried the implication that I had really important Married People business to be attending to, and thus that my time was not to be trifled with like that of some slutty, tragic, unlovable single girl who probably doesn't own property or vote, and has nothing better to do with her evenings than eat ice cream and chug vodka while waiting for 15 minutes for Television Without Pity to load. I was portraying myself as a self-righteous suburbanite who expects to be catered to by customer service representatives just as she is by politicians.

Ick. So now I need to find a new title for Mr. T&A. Boyfriend, partner, and spouse are all out--inaccurate, confusing, and clinical, respectively--so for now I think I'm gonna go for "Fella," or, you know, "Mr. T&A." Let me know if you have any better suggestions.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Pick a dynasty!

Some might say it's scary that Hilary Clinton might be the next president, because then the U.S. will have been run by one or the other of a set of dueling dynasties for over 20 years.

Yeah, it's true that dynastic leadership is fundamentally incompatible with democracy, and all. BUT. If Clinton doesn't win, we will not have dueling dynasties; we will have only one. That would be depressing as a comment on our present choices, but more importantly it would seal the fate of humanity for generations. This election is not just about the next 4 or 8 years, it's about who you would rather have as President in 2028: George P. "Yeah, There's a Third One; You May Remember Me For Such Things as Nearly Getting Arrested for Breaking Into My Ex-Girlfriend's House" Bush, or Chelsea "I Endured Rush Limbaugh Calling Me a Dog When I Was 13 And Yet I Grew Up To Be a Smart and Classy Woman" Clinton? You decide, America.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

I didn't really make any New Year's resolutions. OK, I made them, but they're already broken, so let's not speak of that again.

But today I'm feeling inspired (or shamed, or something) by Martin Luther King, Jr. day, so I'm making one and putting it on the internets so as to hold myself to it: This year I will volunteer, both for political causes and local needs. That's it! Shouldn't be so hard, right? I am not saying I'll stop talking the cynical talk, but that doesn't mean I have to walk the apathetic walk. That was not a good slogan, but it's what I mean.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Follow-up haiku for car

Old Geo lives still
With nice new struts and hoses
Cheaper than ZipCar

Haiku to my car in the shop

'95 Geo
Is repair cost-effective?
Or is your time up?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

WP claims Bush twins dress like crap

Reliable Source, the Washington Post's gossip column (yes! such a thing does exist) has this scoop on the Bush twins' recent visit to DC:

[B]oth twins [were] at Town Hall on Saturday night with a well-heeled entourage-- crushed-velvet sport coats for the men, trendy leggings, silk dresses and platform heels for the women.

Brain . . hurts . . . outfits . . . do . . . not . . . compute. Just try it: visualize a group of people whose attire involves crushed-velvet sport coats--COATS, plural!--, "trendy" leggings, silk dresses, AND platform heels all at the same time. Your brain is turning into neon-pink goo and dripping out your ears onto your computer, causing it to let off confused, fashion-challenged sparks, no?

The only image I am able to muster is Prince hanging out with early Stevie Nicks and some early-90s high schooler whose Friday Night Outfit involves shiny silk items from the Limited and huge, plasticky platform Mary Janes from Payless, combining to create a 90210-wannabe vibe:

(As it turns out, Prince and Stevie Nicks hung out in 1983, until, in Stevie's recounting, they were torn apart by "all the drugs," but as far as Google knows, neither of them ever appeared on 90210, and they definitely didn't come to my high school.)

One must assume that Jenna and Barbara did not, in fact, go out looking like the video for a Purple Rain/Rumours/Peach Pit mash-up. Are the Reliable Source writers just reporting the news as they hear it from people who hang out in obscure neighborhood bars in Glover Park (where's Glover Park?) and write to the WP when they see famous-for-DC people (instead of Wonkette, like a normal person)? Or, as I would prefer to think, are they actively frakking with us and seeing if anybody notices? If so, ladies, well played, but consider yourselves called out.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

End times and Commies

Yesterday--January 6--it was in the mid-70s in D.C., so Mr. T&A and I went for a bike ride around the mall. Here is a picture we took of a cherry tree at the Tidal Basin:

Needless to say, cherry blossoms should not be blooming in January. It's obvious that Al Gore was totally right and the end is nigh, but it was all very lovely.

Later in our excursion, we saw the following poster in front of the National Gallery of Art:

It says "Prayers and Portraits: Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych." Very tricky use of words that nobody knows, but I see through the ruse: clearly the Netherlandish Diptych is the international world leader who will appear to be the world's savior but will then institute the one world government that will clear the way for Satan's rule. However, as eschatological signs go, it was not unpleasant (certainly better than an earthquake); I might even go see the exhibit.

Since it was shaping up to be an apocryphal kind of day, and I suspected that we should prepare ourselves for the future, less enjoyable aspects of the apocalypse, we decided to go see Children of Men last night. Alas, when we got to Gallery Place, both parking lots were full, and street parking was nowhere to be found. I was crestfallen, but realized that it was kind of poetic justice: here we were, driving to see a movie to educate ourselves about how the earth will destroy itself. Chastened, we came home and watched Talladega Nights, which is not nearly as good as most Will Ferrell movies. (Another sign, perhaps?)

In order to bolster our spirits, we made ourselves festive beverages: White Russians, in a liquid homage to The Big Lebowski. However, because of my lactose intolerance we have switched to soy milk, so it didn't really seem right to call them White Russians. What do you call a soy-milk drinking hippie who wishes he were a Russian? A Commie*! We've got ourselves a delicious new signature drink.

So, altogether, I am feeling pretty good about the beginning of the end. Welcome, 2007!

*An after-the-fact Google revealed that others have already named the White Russian made with soy milk a "White Vegan," but I would rather accept the mark of the beast and condemn myself to an eternity of hellfire than throw in my lot with vegans, so I am going to make like an oil executive at a climate change conference and willfully ignore this new information.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Who's going to be the primary source of archaic assumptions?

I read the NYT article "Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying" to reassure myself that it was OK that Mr. T&A and I got hitched after only making it about 1/3 of the way through our "1001 Questions to Answer Before You Get Married" book. The article only has 15 questions, which is a much more reasonable number than 1001, for which I give them props.

However, the questions drove me absolutely batshit, and have been bugging me for weeks now because of the article's seemingly permanent spot on the list of Most Emailed Articles, which is normally a nice source of work-avoidance for me. Check out #1:

Have we discussed whether or not to have children, and if the answer is yes, who is going to be the primary care giver?

You may say I'm a dreamer, but isn't it possible for two people to share caregiving responsibilities? Even if not, why do you have to decide years in advance who the main baby-raiser is going to be? Wouldn't it be reasonable to decide that, for instance, the person for whom it makes the most sense to take time off from work given their job situation at the time the aforementioned children arrive will do it?

And then we have # 3:

Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained, and are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?

"Manage the chores"? Unless they mean "who will berate the gardener if he trims the shrubbery in a less than symmetrical fashion," I can only think this means "Who will end up doing the huge majority of the chores and will end up thanking the other partner for 'helping' if he sometimes does the dishes?"

In the interest of winnowing the number of questions yet farther, I propose they could replace these two with the following:

Woman, have you discarded your starry-eyed college-feminist visions of an equal partnership and accepted your inescapable fate as the primary caregiver and chore-doer?

And, end rant. Tune in next week when I explain why the Pussycat Dolls are not good role models for little girls.