where I get all political and analytical

I was about to lay out a disclaimer about expressing my thoughts on politics but then realized 1) this is my damn blog and I can say whatever I want and 2) no one reads my damn blog anyway.

But if I ever wanted to give a lesson on “The Impact of Media Bias” I could start with yesterday’s visit by Mitt Romney to Manchester, NH.  Mitt Romney, quite simply, went into an eating establishment in Manchester, sat down next to a Vietnam War vet, and was asked to give his stance on gay marriage.


*Note:  Honestly, why is there anyone left who opposes two people of the same sex getting married?  Gay people would like the same kinds of rights and recognition.  And I cannot for the life of me figure out why straight people give a shit.  Or why they’d want to prevent it from happening.  Really.  Why?*


Anyway, my point is…this exchange became more interesting when the Vietnam vet revealed (after his chat with Romney) that he is gay and married.

Even more interesting to me is how this exchange got spun in the media.


Here’s a sample of headlines:

NPR:  Romney Confronted by Gay Vietnam Vet on Same-Sex Marriage Stance

Boston Globe:  Romney defends same-sex marriage stance to gay veteran

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:  Romney grilled on gay marriage by gay NH veteran

ABC News:  Gay Veteran Steals the Show at Romney Endorsement Event

Washington Post:  ‘You can’t trust him,’ gay vet says after exchange with Romney in N.H.


You know what a buzzword is?  It’s something used in media to inflate an idea beyond its importance or to sway someone by hiding the real issue.  When the word “grilled” is used, as in “Romney was grilled”, it implies something negative has occurred.  It is meant to elicit sympathy for the grill-ee.  In this particular article, they state the veteran who grilled Romney did so because he is gay.  That’s probably a fair assessment in retrospect, but the “gay veteran” never tells Romney he is gay when he asked the questions.

And really?  Grilled is a misnomer here.  Watch the clip or listen to the audio and you just hear a citizen asking a question or two.


Likewise, the Washington Post leading with “You can’t trust him”  in the title certainly appears as if they tried to sway the reader immediately.  So, if you did not read the actual article, or watch/listen to the exchange, you walk away with “Romney is untrustworthy”.  I don’t necessarily believe that.  He stuck to his opinion.  I think his opinion is a load of donkey shit, but he stuck with it.


My favorite headline blurb so far is ABC’s reference to the veteran “stealing the show”.  The inference being that this is all for entertainment.  And, sadly, that’s mostly true.


The Boston Globe, however, prints the most ridiculous comment with the following:  “With that, it started to become clear that a routine campaign conversation could become hostile. Though Romney had no reason to know it, Garon – a 63-year-old from Epsom, N.H. — was sitting at the table with his husband.”

Okay?  Hostile?  Another buzzword, and seriously not accurate.  “Uncomfortable” was used a lot, and I get behind that.  But hostile?  No.

And, no, Romney had no reason to know he was talking to a gay man.  But why is that relevant?  The implication is that somehow Romney was “tricked”.  What, we disguised a gay man as a war veteran?  Is that what this means?

Furthermore, it sounds inappropriately ominous.  I could see the same tone being used in a mystery novel –  “The detective had no way of knowing he was interviewing the axe-wielding maniac.”


And, by the way, Fox News (as of last night) made no mention of this exchange on their web site.  I am pretty sure it’s because all their heads were exploding at the thought that a Vietnam war vet is gay and married.  Glenn Beck is no doubt rocking and weeping in a corner somewhere.

Yes, I can use hyperbole here because it’s my blog and I don’t have to be unbiased.  But these news sites?  They do.



Cranky McBitch

Recognizing that it was the end of a long day and I stupidly decided to not grab a cart so I had all my items piled in my arms, I still think that I was justified in judging the couple of groups of people in front of me at the grocery store “express” check out.

Issue #1:

If you have any complicated form of payment or require any sort of assistance with returned items, DON’T GO TO THE EXPRESS LINE.  There’s a customer service desk for that shit, ass nugget.

Issue #2:

Grocery store etiquette dictates that once you put all your groceries on the conveyer belt, you put up the divider for the person behind you.  So, to the jackhole who stood there dumbly in front of me with his two white trash bitches, I say, “I hope that 30 rack of Coors Light you just bought falls on your baby toe”.

Issue #3:

If you make the decision to wear eye makeup that looks like a superhero mask melted on your face, just know that I will mock you.  ON MY BLOG.  FOR ETERNITY.

I bet going to the grocery store to buy cheap beer will cheer me up.



How I almost choked a bitch at the grocery store.

No, no.  The title of this post is an exaggeration.  I did not almost choke a bitch.  I DID almost take my cart and ram it into this lady at 60 miles an hour while screaming “SHUT UP BITCH”.


I was near the dairy section and happened to appear on the scene just as a man and woman were perusing the juice selection.  And the woman said, “I don’t get it.  They don’t have any juices not made from concentrate.  I mean…if I was looking to get diabetes, maybe I’d get them, but…”


First of all, what a weird way to put it.  “I don’t want any sugar”, “I don’t want that much sugar”, or “Too much sugar is bad for you” – all reasonable explanations for not wanting juice made from concentrate.  But “I don’t want to drink this juice because I might get diabetes”?  Lil over the top, ma’am.


Then she started to walk away (or so I thought), grousing something, and then telling her male companion, “well, you know me”.  And she said it in that infuriating way that implies that what she is doing is indicative of how discerning her tastes are, when really she is being a giant pain in everyone’s asses.

“Well, you know me.  I like to knock school children out of the way with my car.  It’s who I am.”


I walked on because I was already annoyed with pretty much everyone in this whole grocery store…nay, all people in all grocery stores everywhere.  Let me get the fuck out of this place, please.

I went down another couple of aisles and, as I circled back, I ended up on the other end of an aisle near the juices and THAT DAMN WOMAN WAS STILL THERE.


Only now she had caught the ear of other shoppers, because, as she circled the juice area like a fucking shark (a no-sugar-added-please shark), I heard her say, “I mean, how can they call it juice if it’s just sugar and water?”

I really expected her to follow this up with, “Am I right?  Am I right?” as if she was participating in the world’s worst grocery store standup routine.


I have no idea how long she ended up spouting her gospel of juice.  All I know is she made me want to drink juice made from concentrate and follow it with a sugar chaser.



I’d like to marry Jon Stewart.

Catching up on The Daily Show.


After a bit about Herman Cain, came this line:

“You know, I don’t have facts to back this up, the minimum wage is a Stalinist plot to bring down pizza chains.  And Activia Yogurt is filled with tiny ghosts whose purpose is to scare the poop out of you.”


Only Jon Stewart could combine a sentiment containing ghosts, yogurt, and poop, and make it socially relevant.  HE IS A GENIUS.


I’ll take “pretentious asses” for $500, Alex.

I am a member of meetup.com.  I think this is a great site.  It’s NOT a dating site (unless you join that kind of group).  It’s just a site where people can start clubs, etc. and others can join.  I have started both a reading group (which I eventually turned over to other organizers) and a camping group.  Plus, I belong to several other outdoor and book club groups.  The best part of this site is that it’s free to join.  You have to pay to start a group, and some groups charge dues, but it’s one of the best ways I have seen social networking used.

That said, it appears that ANYONE can start a group.  And anyone does.

No judging here.  Well, no, there’s judging – which is why I removed my blog link from my profile on meetup.  I mean, I don’t need to get knifed, yo.

Some of these groups are somewhat specific – lots of mom groups, dog lover groups, sports groups…

Some are highly specific – I saw a group listed for lesbians in NH and VT who are sick and/or disabled.  (Not saying these people don’t need a group for support, but this is very specific membership criteria.)


My favorite by far, however, is the recent group created for 10 business owners who make $100,000 or more.

10 people only.

$100,000 or more annual income.

And you have to apply, and there’s a fee to apply.


*pause for that to sink in*


I am not listing the name of the group (tho it mentions New England).  But I am genuinely confused about the purpose.  If you’re a business owner and you are taking home $100,000, then you must be doing well.  So, this can’t be a “help” group.  There’s no mention of anything other than meeting for coffee.



I can only assume the purpose of this meetup is to sit around and congratulate each other on how AWESOME they are.  Maybe even eat some money sandwiches.

Who the fuck knows.


I toyed with the idea of faking an application and showing up to ruin the arrogance party but then I saw the $10 fee.  Hello?  I am not made of money like some other people who form groups about money.


And because I am nothing if not kind of douchey…


The other group that caught my eye was one for single people.  And it sounds great.  Low key.  Get to meet other single people.  However, this group was originally called “are you lonely?” or something like that (the name has, wisely, been changed).

Well, yes, I’ve been lonely, but…do I want to put this on that site?  (Clearly I have no problem announcing it on my blog).  Really, I don’t need any MORE people thinking I am pathetic and sad.


Anywho…the name was changed but the obligatory profile questions to join the group were NOT changed.  So, to join, I would have to provide responses to:  Why are you lonely?  and What steps have you taken so you’re not lonely?


Why are you lonely?

I told a friend that I was going to say “I am a mean person and I spit on people when I meet them”.  But this is not terribly far from the truth, actually.  So, perhaps I better come up with something less snarky.  Maybe “I wasn’t lonely until 17 of my cats died…and now there’s only 5 left”?


What steps have you taken so you’re not lonely?

My answer: “A small investment in some rags and chloroform has given me the tools I need to bring friends home.”

I think it is succinct and expresses both my need for companionship and my ingenuity.


I also think I won’t be allowed to join this group.


FedEx left a package and I still want to throat punch them

If you recall (all 4 of you who read this blog), I was irked with FedEx.  It seemed as if they (along with all other package carriers) pick and choose when they leave packages.  And you know what?


Last week, I was due a FedEx package on Wednesday 7/27.  I got home and had a “we were here” slip.  Or, really it’s more like “we come when we know you’re at work…nah nah nanny boo boo”.  Of course, it did not say I could sign the slip and they’d leave it.  It said that I could come pick it up myself or they’d be back the next day (when I would still not be home).  So, this time I decided…



On Thursday, there was no new slip – only the old slip I purposefully left on the door so they’d either think 1) she’s not around, or 2) she’s around and planning how to throat punch all FedEx carriers.  But I knew they’d been there a second time because the online tracking told me…


On Friday, I really was going to be gone and not home until Sunday.  So, again, my thought was…



On Sunday, I return and….There.  Is.  My.  Damn.  Package.

On the 3rd and final attempt, they left the package.  I looked online and there was a note indicating they were “authorized to leave the package”.



Couple things wrong with this:

1) they were not authorized to leave the package by me because THAT WAS NOT AN OPTION THE FIRST TWO TIMES

2) does FedEx know when I am not going to be home?  because it seems awfully suspicious that they won’t leave the package when I’m there but WILL leave it when I am out of town




Ok, FedEx.  You won this round.  But just know… GAME ON.


my dental hygienist is a chatterbox…and scares me a little

Today, I had my teeth cleaned.  Which I enjoy.



My dental hygienist is a nice lady.  Let’s call her K (as in Special…naw, kidding….really it’s her initial).

K can TALK.  Much of the time, she stops what she is doing to talk.  Kind of like the opposite of those people that talk with their hands?  If you held their hands down, you get the feeling they would not be able to talk?  (I mean gesticulation, not sign language – I am not that much of an asshole.)  I feel like K cannot talk and do something with her hands  at the same time.

Unfortunately, this means K can make your appointment that much longer.

The alternative, of course, is that K talks to me when both her hands, five dental instruments, a water pick, and a suction tube are in my mouth.  I always feel like I should try to respond (or grunt) because that’s polite.  So, I do.


Today, K decided to fill the silence (a vastly underappreciated state of being, if you ask me) with her Tales of Terror.


Did you hear about that guy who got beat up?  Four people, two men and two women, beat him so BADLY that his BLADDER BURST.  Can you even believe it?

Did you hear about that old lady who got up and there was a NAKED MAN in her kitchen making himself something to eat?  She picked up a bat and HIT HIM until he left.


K was disturbed by how violent people are today.  The irony is that she said this while driving a metal pick into my gums.  (Ease up, K, you’ve reached the skull.)


Tell me, why can’t doctors who do invasive stuff to you at least try and lull you a little?  It’s like when I get a pap smear and the doctor chats with the nurse about…WHATEVER.  The last time I went, she did my exam while she wrapped up a story about another patient who shit himself at Walmart.  Their cavalier attitude is a little insulting to my vagina, actually.  It’s so different now than it was when I had my first gyno exam – where they spoke in whispers, held my hand, rubbed my back, painted me a picture, read poetry…


But, as for K… it was a valiant effort but I really hope she finds some different stories for next time.


Does he have a shiv?

The other day I went to Target.  I love that store.  Except when it’s busy.  Which is every second of every day.

On this particular day, I was standing in line behind a woman with a toddler sitting in her cart (I assume it was her son, because I don’t think it was “grab a toddler day” at Target).  I was obstinately standing in this spot because, although other lines were being opened, the “line coordinator” (a rather Amazonian girl who seemed to be doing nothing else besides making sure people got in line) invited everyone else to move to another line except me.  And rather than make a scene, I just decided I’d come back later and run her down with my car.

I digress.


The woman with the child was a little over the top with her motherly affections.  But maybe I thought this because I don’t have children and don’t like most children all that much.  The boy was about 2 years old (I am guessing here, but it seems about right) and was sitting in the front of the cart.  Mother kept grabbing Son by the face and kissing his cheeks, while squealing “whosmylittleboy!  squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeal!

Son, on the other hand, had a “dead eyes” look about him.  He looked like a combination of sensory overload meets Village of the Damned.  His blank stare was haunting and unsettling.  I can only assume he was overwhelmed by Target…and his cloying Mother’s stifling love.

Son was holding a book that they must have picked up in the store.  Like all children, he wanted to hold it and look at it.  When it was time for the older lady behind the counter to scan it, the Son was going to have to hand it over.  This is where Mother’s hyper-love kicked into overdrive and she scared the bejesus out of me.

Son held the book and (admittedly) had a firm grip on it.  But he held it with haunting dead eyes.  No tears at the ready.  Not even a change in facial expression.  So, when Mother took it from him, I thought he must have some hidden scary tantrum behavior that would be unleashed.  Or else why would she behave this way…?

She took the book from his firm grasp while saying (in the highest pitched voice imaginable), “the lady needs to scan it!  she just needs to SCAN IT!  she just needs it for a minute! ONLY A MINUTE! then she’ll give it back!  I promise to you, she will GIVE IT BACK! we’ll count to THREE! then you’ll have it back!


Son had dead eyes.  Mother took the book.


Mother handed the book to the cashier, while squealing, “ONE!…TWO!…THREE!…

(I really feel like this puts a lot of pressure on a cashier.  It’s like saying: “Could you please scan this book’s bar code in a sufficient amount of time that does not cause my son to freak out and stab us all?”)


Meanwhile, Son had dead eyes.


As soon as the cashier scanned the book, Mother snatched it back (though her hand never really stopped touching it) and shoved it back in Son’s face screaming “AAAAAAAAAND…SEE?  IT’S BACK!

(was the subtext here ‘now you don’t have to kill us all’?)


Son.  Had.  Dead.  Eyes.


Honestly?  This kid MUST have done something at some point to make this woman think he was going to FLIP THE FUCK OUT.  But I cannot imagine what it was.  His lethargy was palpable.

Finally, they had all their stuff in the cart and Mother told Son to say goodbye to the nice lady that checked them out.  At which point, he looked at ME and said, “bye…” with the weariness of an old soul.

I said “bye” back in a way that I hoped conveyed my sympathy at everyone thinking he was a psychopath.  Mother pulled him away, while the cashier refused to continue working until she got her goodbye.  Mother squealed “say goodbye to the nice lady“, which I think he eventually did.


But his dead eyes said it all.



Pet Peeve #472…

When you walk out of a bathroom at work, and someone walking in exclaims that you startled them and then says “sorry” for being in the doorway.


There is so much about this scenario that pisses me off, I don’t even know where to begin.

1) It is a bathroom.  That multiple people use.  There will, from time to time, be someone coming out of it.  That’s how it works.  You go in.  You come out.  One cannot stay in there forever.  The only time this situation should “scare” you is if the person coming out has no clothes on and is screaming “I tinkled!!!”

2) Only say you’re sorry if you actually did something to be sorry for.  If you are walking through a doorway and did not know someone was on the other side of the door, there is no blatant offense here.  Just step aside.  Standing there and mumbling sorry, but yet not moving out of the way, is what you should REALLY be sorry for.


So, today, a woman walking in the bathroom as I was walking out, and who by the way did not seem all that “startled”, spazzed at me.

“Oh, sorry!  Ooh!”  *jumps a little, spazzes, stands in the way, finally moves….AT ME*

She spazzed so hard in my direction, I was forced to hit the door frame and caught my shirt on the metal and now I have a hole in my shirt.


All because it is completely inexplicable that someone would be walking out of a public bathroom.




I’ll take “Macabre Family Humor” for $500, Alex.

As some of you (my two readers) may know, my grandfather passed away in January of this year.

His wish, for as long as I can remember, has been to be cremated.  (The only time he ever wavered from this was one night several years ago.  After returning home from an emergency trip to the hospital, my aunt started throwing blankets on him and in his weary state he muttered, “Just throw dirt on me.”)  Along with that cremation wish, he also requested that his ashes be put into a Maxwell House coffee can and buried in the backyard.

Alas, the cremation/burial laws don’t allow this.  I now know a lot about cremation.  More than I wanted to know.

Here are the things I learned:

  • you must be inside a casket of some type to be cremated

I know, right?  You thought you might save money.  Granted, you can buy what is essentially the equivalent of a cardboard box, but still..even that is a few hundred dollars.  FOR A CARDBOARD BOX.  (My aunt actually asked the funeral director if we could swing on down to Hannaford and pick one up there.)  And lest you think I am being disrespectful of the dead, may I remind you my grandfather wanted to be buried in a coffee can.  And that’s not because he loved Maxwell House with all his heart.  My mom is still not convinced he won’t come back and haunt us for buying one grade up on the cardboard box.

  • you must be in an urn

This is what you traditionally think of putting a loved one in.  It can be the vase shaped kind or a nice box.  We went with the nice carved wood box, even though we were ever mindful of how my grandfather would react to the exorbitant cost.  The dilemma was solved when my mom said, “Just because he was cheap doesn’t mean we have to be.”  Duly noted.

  • the urn must be in this larger sealed container called a vault and this is what actually gets buried

CHA-CHING!!  This container must be of a sturdy substance (like rare stone made from the center of a rock dug up by 18th century monks at the base of Mt Kilimanjaro on a full moon on a Tuesday or some shit like that), and the urn is sealed inside it prior to being buried.


Fast forward a little later.  Half of my grandfather’s ashes were set aside for my grandmother – and for whoever else in the family might want some.  (This all came about in a pressure ridden moment at the funeral parlor.)  This half was put inside a simple bronze urn – a LARGE one.  Like, it’s possible my grandfather can still protect his house if we throw that thing at an intruder.  And because my grandmother is still not ready for him to be “sitting out”, as it were, his urn is in the liquor cabinet.

That last bit is pretty awesome, by the way.


Due to the snap decision back in January to put half of my grandfather’s remains aside in this way, it poses a bit of a challenge in giving other members of the family some of his ashes.

We have small “keepsake” urns on the way as I type this – little 3 inch urns so we can all have our little bit of Grampop.  (And every time I think about this, I shudder because 1) it’s morbid, and 2) my grandfather would knuckle all of us in the back of the head and tell us we were a bunch of stupid peckerheads for spending all this money and divvying up his ashes like a bunch of goddammed fools.)


The challenge is this: How do we get the ashes from the big urn into the little tiny urns?


My mom and I sort of talked about it at one point, and my suggestion (after a brief discussion on what household tool might be sacrificed for this project) was that my mom ask the funeral director to do it for us.  She thought that might be a good idea.


Fast forward to today.  Tomorrow is the memorial service for my grandfather.  My grandmother is wary, upset, sad (as we all are) and is also not quite understanding that the urn she has is staying with her.  My mom has repeatedly explained that tomorrow we are only burying half of his ashes.  The urn my grandmother has is ours to do what we like.

So, I asked my mom if she had spoken to the funeral director.  She had not.  The subsequent conversation went like this:

Mom: “Well, if it’s not too dusty, I don’t mind using a spoon to get the ashes in the small urns.”

Me: “Dusty??  It’s ashes.”

Mom: “Well, I know…”

Me: “Furthermore…the dusty ashes?  It’s Grampop.”

Mom: “Yes, well…maybe we can get a small funnel.  That would help.”


Believe it or not, she would probably do this.  I might let her, if for no other reason than that I could tell stories that start with “Remember that time you were spooning Grampop into the small urns…?”

But I probably won’t let her.  She and I both have decided we probably won’t speak at his service because how do you explain how much someone meant to you without breaking down and weeping in front of them?  So, I can’t let my mom spoon the ashes because I am pretty sure they need to stay dry.  Plus, I love my mom.


And, Grampop?  Sorry about the ashes stuff.  And for not using a coffee can.  And for spending too much money on your casket.  And for having a memorial service you did not want.

And for the spoon jokes.  Even though I think they might make you laugh a little.


And, Grampop?  I still miss you.