Category Archives: rant

Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for Mike Capuano

… in the Democratic primary for the special election to replace Ted Kennedy in the U.S. Senate. Here’s a link to Capuano’s official web site, in case you’re not familiar with him and his positions. He was the mayor of Somerville and we loved him. He’s currently our representative in the U.S. House and I still think he does a great job. He’s got a lot more spunk than Martha Coakley. I’d like to think he’d have beaten Scott Brown, but maybe the outcome of the election would have just been that much more depressing had it been him instead of Coakley. It would have been a much more spirited campaign–I’m sure of that.

On to brighter topics…

Political rant–first of the season

Anyone who knows me knows that I would LOVE to see a female president in my lifetime. BUT, just like I wouldn’t want just any man to be president, the fact that someone happens to be a woman does not make me want to vote for her. The McCain campaign’s pick for VP wasn’t going to sway my vote–even before either candidate’s campaign announced a VP pick I knew how I felt about Obama and McCain and their stances on the issues, but the pick did initially raise my eyebrows a little. I’d barely heard of Sarah Palin. McCain has never seemed like a particularly pro-woman candidate; I wouldn’t have expected him to have much faith in a woman’s ability to successfully hold a position of power. Picking her was gutsy, yeah. It pulled the spotlight over to their campaign a bit, which is something they needed to do. But her resume is extraordinarily–almost shockingly–flimsy, and an investigation of her possible abuse of power and illegal activities in her home state of Alaska is looking fairly damning.

In case you haven’t seen this already, here’s a rundown of her experience and track record:

She served for 4-5 years on the Wasilla, AK (a town of less than 7000 people) city council. She then served for 6 years as the mayor of that town. She’s been the governor of Alaska for a year and 8 months. Before starting her career in public service she was a sportscaster for a couple of years. She’s a lifetime member of the NRA, is pro-life, and has deep connections to the oil industry.

In terms of her worldview, political positions, and legislative experience, Mike Doogan of the Anchorage Daily News puts it this way, “If Palin has two thoughts about foreign policy, she’s managed to keep them to herself. Ditto health care. National energy policy. Fiscal policy. You could make a long, long list, but I’ll stop there.[…] There’s no way on God’s green earth that she’s prepared to be president of the United States.” CNN’s Paul Begala writes that “For a man who is 72 years old and has had four bouts with cancer to have chosen someone so completely unqualified to become president is shockingly irresponsible.” I have to agree with Begala, especially after seeing the now oft-shown video clip of Palin asking, “What is it exactly that the VP does every day?” Oh boy.

Before her election as a Republican, she was a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, whose members aim to secure a vote on seceding from the U.S. The AIP motto is “Alaska First, Alaska Always.” As the BBC points out, “that may cause the most trouble for McCain. The Republican’s campaign slogan this year is “Country First”.” (*EDIT:  Okay, so the reports on this are now conflicting.  The McCain campaign is denying that Palin was ever registered with the party, though her husband definitely was and she addressed the party’s convention earlier this year.)

Palin’s selection and the surrounding hubbub seems to be having the effect of taking the heat off of Joe Biden. I don’t really hear anybody talking about him… maybe because he’s actually fairly well qualified?? Biden has a law degree and has been serving in the U.S. Senate since 1973. He’s served as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and is the current chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Biden has promoted the idea of partitioning as a possible resolution in Iraq. His son Beau, who spoke at the DNC, is set to be deployed to Iraq soon. Joe Biden helped write the Violence Against Women Act and has promoted college financial aid programs. Prior to his service in the Senate, he served on the New Castle County Council (New Castle County in Delaware currently has a population of over 500,000) from 1970-1972. Biden has been more qualified than Palin for the last 30+ years.

Yeah, Biden has made a few verbal gaffes in the past, and I’m not impressed by those, but a few verbal gaffes pale in comparison for me to the alternative Palin presents–a near complete lack of relevant experience or understanding of the scope of what is one of the most important jobs in the world today.

End of rant (for now).

The Calamity, a book review with which some of you will disagree

A few days ago I finished Special Topics in Calamity Physics. It was a strange book for me, because it was a page-turner (at least, some of it was), but the writing style annoyed me, and overall I ended up really disappointed.


I didn’t believe any of the characters. There’s little in the story that I could relate to my own life–and I don’t just mean in terms of things that happen, because lots of things happen in lots of books that have nothing to do with my life. I feel like the author tried too hard to describe everything so that she didn’t leave room to fill in anything–at least, nothing superficial. Somehow, even after all of that, I felt like the characters lacked any sort of depth. With all the glowing reviews at the front of the book, I would have guessed that the main character would be appealing. She’s not. I found her annoying, not very believable, and pretty stupid for how smart she’s supposed to be. I kept trying to give a lot of characters a pass, because they’re supposed to be smarty-pants high schoolers, but it just doesn’t work. And the adults don’t act like adults, either. The things they say and do with the young people are just totally implausible. Okay, maybe one or two oddball characters would act strangely with kids, but all of them? It just doesn’t work.

And the similes!! No, the LISTS of similes. It was painful.

Shortly before I finished the book, I was talking to Amy, who read and enjoyed the book–though she had some issues with it, too. We were talking about bad similes in books, and she said something about a book she’d read (not this one, or so she thought, anyway) having a ridiculous simile that compared someone’s eyes to olives. Well, lo and behold, toward the end of Special Topics, the narrator compares someone’s eyes to olives. I guess maybe in this case it’s supposed to be funny. It isn’t the worst bit of the book, though. It isn’t even so much that all the similes are bad, it’s that there are too many of them… The author couldn’t just pick a few of the most poetic and spot-on ones or find some other way of describing things.

And all the endless referencing and faux referencing… it isn’t clever, it’s annoying. I hate all that b.s..

For all of the supposed unpredictability of the book, I feel like I totally nailed the ending long before it happened.

It isn’t a painful read in that somehow most of the time it flows (except in the part where the main character is supposedly figuring everything out–which to me felt too convenient and very boring), but her writing is often painful in other ways. There’s something self-congratulatory about it that’s really off-putting. I can’t recommend it. Read Donna Tartt or something instead.

Unfriendly reminder

Flipping through the Boston Sunday Globe this morning, I was reminded once again of some of the things I hate about this place. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate where I am, but there’s a certain Boston vibe that I have never accepted as my own. I’ve come to terms with it… anyway, here’s how it struck me this morning. I don’t like the tone of the Boston Globe. The Sunday Globe magazine is reliably terrible. The whole tenor of the paper falls in line with the part of Boston that states the obvious as if it were brilliant and the snobby as if it were obvious. I hope that, as Corey (Lily Taylor) says in the film Say Anything, “That’ll never be me.”

I know I should cite some examples here… it’s painful. Pick up a copy of the paper (maybe just borrow one) or better yet… try to get through an issue of Boston Magazine. Ugh.

VOTE!

Have you voted yet? There’s still time!

Even if you don’t know much about the candidates, at least go and vote on the initiatives (well, in Massachusetts there are three issues on the ballot, and a short explanation accompanies each).

Something that has always bugged me

The idea of “reverse discrimination” has always annoyed me. Now hear me out. Discrimination is discrimination. “Reverse discrimination” is in itself a sort of discriminatory term. It assumes that one or more groups, generally minorities, are discriminated against. They might be, or they might not be–but that’s not the point. If you want to treat everyone as being on a truly even plane, just call it all discrimination, independent of its target–no special term needed. One is not more or less nasty than the other.

stop. calling. me.

You know, even when I agree completely with a cause or like the products that a company sells, when somebody pulls my name from some list and calls me on the phone I start to kind of hate them. I don’t care who you represent, telemarketers–DO NOT CALL ME. Yeah, I’m on the do not call list, but Ez and I have determined that it must not apply to non-profit organizations.

Even after the Accident, it sounds like Big Ben is a Big Idiot

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/5780408?FSO1&ATT=HMA

Roethlisberger was cited for not wearing a helmet when the accident happened.

“That day I wasn’t, I forgot it. I literally forgot it,” he said. “You know there are times that, people that have been making a big deal for the last couple years about me riding first of all, and then me riding without a helmet, but it’s one of those things that I ride with a helmet also. I do a little bit of both. If you don’t wear a seat belt every time you ride in the car should I label you as a person who doesn’t wear a seat belt? And unfortunately I happened to not have it on that day because I forgot it in the basement.”

It’s not like that Ben, old boy. The whole point is that you don’t anticipate an accident. It’s not “Gee, I don’t feel like it today, and no one should blame me for that.” It’s more like, “You wear a seatbelt in a car and a helmet on any sort of bike every time you go out, or you don’t go out at all. Period.” As a public figure, I think he should take what he says a little more seriously. What a shit example he’s becoming.

You know what:
“If you don’t wear a seat belt every time you ride in the car should I label you as a person who doesn’t wear a seat belt?”

My answer to that is, YES.

“Hi, my name is Ben Roethilisberger and I’m a complete idiot.”