Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The 50 most relatively allegedly beautiful

The Hill has published its annual 50 Most Beautiful People on Capitol Hill article. As per usual, it's not very encouraging. See, e.g., :

(Charlie Hurt, one of the unranked bottom 40.) Perhaps realizing this drawback, this year the photographers employed the technique of standing very far away from their subjects, so many of the pictures convey only the fact that the alleged beauty in question has the standard number of limbs, and hair growing from the correct extremity:
(#3, Kathleen O'Neill, "The Jewel of the Hill.")

I find the 50 Most Beautiful very comforting because I can call the political party with 95% accuracy based on pictures alone. (Also because if I can't guiltlessly snark at these people, I might as well cancel my subscription to the internets and join an ashram right this second.) But a few of them evaded my Republicandar, which was highly unsettling. To wit:

Kathleen Taylor, DEMOCRAT! Why did this information not get through to her highlights, her eyeshadow, and her posture? It's like one of those neurological disorders where there's no connection between the left and right brain, so the person can see a key and use it to open the door, but can only call it a piano.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I am afraid of the Future Farmers of America

Today on my way back from buying lunch my path was blocked by a procession of kids in Future Farmers of America State Chapter President jackets. If you did not grow up in the Midwest, you may not be familiar with the Future Farmers of America (FFA) jacket. Here it is:

Cute and wholesome on one big-eared kid, but on 50 teenagers, blocking the sidewalk, all dressed alike, all with their jackets zipped all the way up despite the 90 degree weather--it sent a chill down the spine.

The internets have given me answers, but have not calmed my nerves. This power point presentation, courtesy (for some reason) of the Cleveland County, North Carolina school district website, explains the outfits. The FFA Official Dress involves an FFA jacket "zipped to the top." For women ("females,") it also consists of a "black skirt of appropriate length," a white collared blouse, an "official FFA scarf," and black shoes. (The State Chapter Presidents seemed to have added black hose to the mix.)

Also, the FFA crest consists of The Ear of Corn, The Eagle, The Rising Sun, The Plow, and The Owl. Who needs that many things in a crest? Suspicious.

Also, they were walking in the direction of the White House. Watch out, Illuminati.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Preview is Sucking

Long before Harry Potter and His Dark Materials, I loved me some The Dark Is Rising. It's a five-book series that has everything you could want in a timeless fantasy story: British children with supernatural destinies, battles between good and evil, King Arthur mythology up the wazoo.

So my horror was very intense when, during the previews before the Harry Potter movie, I saw a preview for The. Worst. Possible. Movie. Version. Ever. I didn't even realize what it was for the first 30 seconds or so of the preview. It featured a pointy-faced blonde American kid who appeared to be liberally employing both lip color and cheek-contouring powder, and who looked like a 14-year-old Sebastian Bach,* except in a an upsetting rather than a sexy way. There was some clangy electric guitar music, and that guy who does the voiceovers of those slapsticky Christmas movies featuring Tim Allen saying, "Everything about Will Stanton's wife seemed pretty ordinary," and some other boy-actor calling Will "Bro." I thought to myself, "Why is this preview for one of those slapsticky Christmas movies showing in July, and where is Tim Allen?"

But after several scenes of boy-has-crush-on-girl, boy-goes-to-mall, all of a sudden the preview busted out the real actors and the portentous music, and it all became clear that it was The Dark Is Rising, except with an American instead of a Britsh kid, set in what looks like California but is apparently really Romania, and without any King Arthur mythology.

This is an easier casting do-over than All the King's Men:

Will Stanton: Modest British child who wakes up on his 11th birthday to find the rest of the world is in a magical sleep, and who finds out from a mysterious wizard-like figure that he is the last of the Old Ones, the Seeker who must collect Signs that will help the Light defeat the Dark. Does not have crushes on girls. Theirs: The aforementioned mini-Sebastian Bach, all with the iPod buds and the crushes on girls. Redo: Freddie Highmore! From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Finding Neverland! Obviously!!

The Whole Point: Arthurian mythology, good vs. evil, British children. Theirs: The mall, American children with iPod buds. Redo: Read the books instead.

*I also love me some Sebastian Bach, both in his incarnations as the alluringly womanish front man for Skid Row and as the hilarious sandwich shop owner and guitar player on Gilmore Girls, but 14-year-old versions of him do very little for me or, I suspect, for anyone who is not a 12-year-old girl.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harry Potter self-control

The f*^#king New York Times has POSTED A REVIEW OF THE HARRY POTTER BOOK. I'm not going to link to it lest I encourage their bastardishness. Apparently they bought it at some soon-to-be-smote-by-lightning bookstore that's ignoring the embargo.

Normally I do not avoid spoilers; I'll read reviews of anything, and will even go to spoiler sites for TV shows and such. I generally feel that if a movie/TV show/book is really good, then knowing how it ends won't ruin it for me. Also, I have an unusual ability to suspend disbelief and to be shocked by an ending even if I had already read about it.

But the end of the Harry Potter series, and all the anxiety about such matters as who dies, who's really a bad guy, and whether good or evil will eventually triumph in the world, is such a huge cultural phenomenon that I feel like knowing what happens ahead of time would totally screw it up. How could I go to Kramerbooks on Friday at midnight, and be near all those nerdy hyperactive children, if I'd read a review that alluded to the ending? What if my non-innocence infected all those little wizard-costumed chimps?

The problem is that I have absolutely no practice in avoiding spoilers. I wasn't tempted to go looking for the supposed photographs of the pages of the book, because it would take a long time to read them--but the NYT! It's right there, staring me in the face! Even the intro sentence, starting with: "J.K. Rowling's spell-binding epic ends . . ." BASTARDS!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Update: not so sicko

So I went to the opthamologist (sans referral) and she said I don't have pink eye. Logically this is a good thing, but now I am kind of embarassed (and want a refund on the 5 hours I spent calling doctors' offices and waiting in them).



I seem to have pink eye. Gross, yes? Trying to be a responsible human being by sparing others from bizarre infectious childhood ailments, I stayed home from work today with the intention of going to the doctor. I have a supposedly good health insurance plan (with Cigna).

I have spent THREE HOURS on the phone trying to get an appointment with a doctor. I finally found one who will try to squeeze me in this afternoon, but it is unclear whether my insurance will pay for it. My ostensible primary care physician (whom I have not met because I haven't been sick since I got this insurance policy) said she could not see me UNTIL AUGUST, infected eyeball or no. I called dozens of other doctors' offices from the Cigna list of primary care physicians accepting new patients, and they all either (1) never answered their phone, (2) were not actually accepting new patients, or (3) said they couldn't see me until at least next week. I finally called Cigna, who suggested I might try getting an appointment with an opthamologist instead; one at Howard University finally took pity on me. Then I had to call my PCP back to get them to fax a referral form to Cigna, but they said they wouldn't do it since I have not seen that doctor before. I explained my saga to them in non-calm tones, and said if the doctor wants to see me, that's great, I would come there right away, but if not she would just have to give me a referral, since I have to go to work before August and would rather not give all of my coworkers gross oozing eyes. We'll see what happens with that.

Having not been need-to-see-a-doctor sick in a long time, I really had no idea that this was how it worked. I thought that the reason people go to the emergency room for non-emergency treatments was that they were uninsured--but it would appear that, in fact, that may be the only way to see a doctor at all.

I feel like I could be a character in that new Michael Moore movie, and that makes me very unhappy because I hate Michael Moore. :(