Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cold Snap

I love that term, and I've heard it used in Utah frequently. But compared to the insanely freezing temperatures in eastern Europe right now, I don't think us Utahns should be allowed to apply that term to our habitable climate. More than 60 people have already died due to the absurdly cold temperatures (-27 degrees Fahrenheit!) and people are rushing to help those particularly susceptible to illness or death from the weather--namely the homeless and the elderly, and those stranded in cars by the blizzards.
The Black Sea has frozen in places for the first time in 58 years!

Although the cold snap has been and will presumably continue to be devastating, it has provided some incredible imagery (which, unfortunately, all tragedies tend to do).
View in Switzerland
Love the snow around the palm in Istanbul--and Hagia Sophia in the background
Kazakhstan. This photo looks like it could have been taken a hundred years ago.

To our Eastern friends exposed to this cold snap--- bundle up or stay inside if you can, preferably with a roaring fire, hot bath, or a heating pad! Remember that if you have been exposed for a prolonged amount of time to freezing temperatures it can be a dangerous shock to your system to immediately drink steaming hot beverages--start with warm food and lukewarm drinks.
I am thinking of you and wishing you the best.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ones that make me smile

A wonderful place for a book and some jasmine tea

I don't usually go for animals in clothes because it is just so wrong!..
It was the preppy scarf that did me in.

On my list of will-go-to-somedays
I am an otter freak. Pretty sure they're my Patronus (not to copy Hermione,
although that isn't a bad thing!). I love them so hard!

Monday Ridiculous Awesomeness

It is Monday and God knows we all need a laugh at someone else's expense.
I may make this a Monday tradition !

Holocaust winner?? Is that the new synonym for survivor or victim?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Making "the Best" of Rape..? Santorum on Abortion


This is scary---Republican candidate Rick Santorum wants to make abortion legal, even in cases of rape. If a woman had been violated by rape--one of the worst abuses she could suffer--she should most definitely have the choice to do what she wants/needs to with her body from that point on.
Even for hard core pro-lifers, rape has always been the situation where people kind of go "hm...ok, in that case it is probably okay."
Santorum used his daughter as a reference, saying if it happened to his own kid he would encourage her to accept a "horribly created" baby (nice term there) as a gift from heaven. I doubt a woman who has been recently sexually assaulted would even consider flipping the situation on its head and perceive it as a blessing.

I'm exasperated with men in politics being straightedgers on the issue of abortion--something they have never and will never have to face personally. It is pretty simple to say that abortion is odious baby slaughter and should be made completely illegal...until you are the one who has been knocked up or raped or don't want kids or can't afford them, are not healthy enough to carry a child, etc.
I hope I am never put in this position and I pity those who are.
Having an abortion cannot be an easy decision to come to, and it is even more difficult to go through with the actual deed. It is ironic that Santorum is so adamant about this when his wife (before she met him) lived for years with a man who provided abortions.
I was disturbed by the story in Time a few weeks ago about Santorum's wife having a complicated birth of a stillborn (because they refused to abort it, despite all advice that they should because the baby was deceased) and that they brought the dead baby home so that their children could see how beautiful it was.
That is a nice thought I suppose, but it is just not normal.
Santorum has a twisted belief structure--just read up on his views of contraception!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Red Fish Blue Fish Presidential Wish--the Florida Dish!


Who Won in Florida?

Last night's debate was snarling, defensive, and full of historical references.
It seems that when the candidates realized how lackluster and non-responsive the audience was (yes they are asked to hold applause, but since when has any crowd adhered to this request??), they stopped trying to appeal to them as voters and instead turned to one another and took the gloves off.
Romney kicked things off by rubbing Gingrich's nose in the dirt, and in doing so (persistently!), dirtied his own hands a bit. Romney was so worked up that in comparison Gingrich came off as more calm, focused, and concerned about going head to head with incumbent President Obama rather than petty politics (never fear, this bumptiousness didn't last throughout the debate). I am no Gingrich fan (the guy's name is Newt for crying out loud! And is there such thing as visual onomatopoeia? I'm just saying...) but Romney came across in this tipoff as the erratic one.
And then Santorum pipes in, slightly tan (out and about in the Florida community, or slapping on bronzing cream for that elect me! glow?) and wearing a candy cane tie. Whowee. Did anyone else notice the ties last night? It was like a bizarre parlor game with the frontrunners--Romney and Gingrich--wearing polka dot monstrosities, one in blue, one in red. Ron Paul had on a blue candy cane tie to parallel Santorum, and they formed a nice stripey frame for the dotted interior. Isn't it lovely when the candidates and their teams can orchestrate matching debate nights? It just gives everything a glossier tone, and an atmosphere of well...not sincerity, but certainly less-seriousness.
So candy-cane tie puts in his two cents on his new radical vision and Ronald Reagan (yet again). You know that saying about rose-colored glasses? I think Santorum sees everything out of 1980s-colored glasses. He would have thrived then, but he needs to refrain from perceiving himself as a member of that time and Romney as Bush Senior and Obama as Jimmy Carter. Get with the present, Rick!
Also--Santorum needs to stop using "a" and "an" interchangeably. Scorn my English majorness, but it is simply unacceptable for America's leader to not comprehend the basics of English grammar, especially when they were mentioning making English the official language of the United States.
Back to the crowd--15 minutes in and still no applause [Insert comment here on fact that Florida is one big retirement haven and maybe the crowd needed a collective nap].
And onto Ron Paul. Guy can talk, and has some interesting things to say. But the eyebrows!!!! I can't look away! When there is that much contrast between your hair and eyebrows you make an automatic caricature of yourself. He has a good sense of humor (and was the first to get chuckles from his peers--ahem--the audience) but he needs to get a dye stick and some undereye de-puffing gel to be taken more seriously (and appear that he will be alive for the next four years). He isn't bad, he just looks like someone I'd have a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie with in a retirement home, not someone I'd tune in to hear a State of the Union from.
Encouraging aspects:
Romney's idea of eliminating taxes on savings accounts for people making under $200,000 annually. Yes, please!
Santorum's lecture on Iran's history of warlike behavior demonstrated that he has read a history book between this debate and the last one! Good references. Gold star!
Romney's support of NASA. Lets put an American on Mars! Lets colonize the moon!
Gingrich making flubbed historical references. We know you've been around to witness most of this stuff, so get it right or don't mention it. And stop quoting people that the hoi polloi have never heard of.
Romney's Dad's tactics and methodologies being called into question. Um..we're not electing him, why is that relevant as long as he wasn't a crook or a terrorist (or Kenyan, which is the worst possible thing a candidate's father can be in America apparently).
Santorum's rambling capitalism lecture. Letting capitalism work, as he promotes, is what helps the rich get richer and...you guessed it.
Gingrich criticizing lobbying as though it is a terrible thing.
Gingrich referring to a website that will be put up today with his rebuttals to Romney's attacks on him. He didn't have his defense on hand and could only appeal to those with access to technology (and an interest in getting online and reading a bunch of dense factual crap today).
Romney's slam on Castro and Gingrich's even BIGGER slam on Castro (a joke on him going to hell. ha ha, how witty of you gentlemen. Is Fidel even alive? Seen him recently? I wonder if they knew exactly which Castro they were talking about).
Romney saying his personal raising of a big family supports conservatism.. huh?? What about democrats? This was a terrible opening to a possible stirring response that could have created beneficial campaign sound bytes! You missed the train on that one Mittens.
And last but not least in the subject of ridiculousness, Gingrich stating--so definitively--that Americans never want to go to war, they never have and never will. He specifically cited Pearl Harbor and 9/11 as times when the American people had absolutely no interest in going to war. Umm, you sure about that Newt? Those were surprise attacks that left Americans staggering and thirsty for revenge. I'm not sure what stringent pacifists he has been talking to or what history books he likes to read, but when people get that riled up and patriotic, they want to defend their patriotism. As Ron Paul pointed out, war was declared quickly after Pearl Harbor was hit and the war was won relatively fast because the people wanted it and everyone contributed during that time. My own grandfather signed up the day after Pearl Harbor. Bad reference, weird argument.
The debate trailed off after the first 40 minutes or so and lead to a lot of babbling, namely on Freddie Mac. I don't see a clear winner in this one, but it sure was a fun boxing match!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Go buy this wine !!

Was perusing the liquor store and saw this bottle of Merlot !
The name of it and artwork on the bottle drew me in, and when I read the back (it says "this wine is for those who prefer the back road to the freeway" or something similar) I knew I had to have it!
It was even on sale..
Imagine my delight when I got it home and opened it and it actually tastes superb!
It has the full darkness of a Merlot but it is buoyant and soft at the same time. Great with food, better by itself.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lortab Fulminations

Yesterday I had an abscess excised. It was on my scar tissue in my mouth and was infected, so VERY painful!! The doctor left a stitch in from the last surgery and it led to this. Thanks egghead. It was disgusting and excrutiating to remove (not to mention he nicked a nerve while giving me the shot), so now I'm lying around taking Lortab for it, which means I get sluggish and fall asleep mid-sentence, and then get manic bursts of energy and start cleaning the house rapidly (which consists of me throwing shit in closets, under bureaus, anywhere it shouldn't go).

Here are some things that have made my day brighter:

I know this isn't that funny, but when you're on a good dosage of Lortab it's god damn hysterical!

I've always loved Jenna Marbles--girl has a badass sense of humor and isn't afraid to act ridiculous--and this video just affirms that we could be best friends. It's funny (duh) but also an ironic commentary on dude expectations versus chicks. We're sick of being told to flaunt it, shake it, drop it, suck it, et cetera. Now it's your turn!

The fact that this lovely British lady is coming to visit in....well she told me the exact number of days but I know it is around 100!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She will be living with me and the hubby for 2 weeks! She is a best friend, my ladybird, and I talk to her (via FaceTime, Skype, Facebook, texting, snail mail) more than pals that even live in the U.S. We have many adventures and I can't wait to see what we'll cook up while she is in the City of Salt !

Now it is time for my next dose of Lortab and a little cleaning frenzy.  ta!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Religion in the White House



Mark Osler opens this article analyzing how JFK memorably addressed his religion, which was a highly debated topic. A good opening, but he describes Kennedy's approach as a bit bumbling (which it obviously was not, otherwise he would not have been elected; anyone who has reviewed his method and the speech in question and its aftermath can see how effective and brilliant it was).

He then goes on to say:

In the current election, all of the Presidential candidates (in either party) are Christians who seem to take their faith seriously, which makes the question posed here an important one. Would Mitt Romney's Mormon faith affect the way he conducts himself in office? I certainly hope it would, because I believe that faith (for those who have chosen to follow a faith) should be an animating principle that does direct action, not something that a leader drops at the doorway as he enters the oval office. It seems that Romney agrees, too: In a speech at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in December, 2007, Governor Romney echoed the distinction (between external influence and personal faith) that Kennedy implied. While recognizing that "no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions," Romney went on to explain that "I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers -- I will be true to them and to my beliefs."
Imagine this: There is a grave national crisis, perhaps an escalating conflict with another nation. The President must make a tough choice on how to respond. As a Christian, he reflects on this decision in prayer. If we tell ourselves that the experience of prayer, that deep and solemn reflection, really has no influence on the decision he then makes, we are fooling ourselves. The connection between faith and action, even in the absence of external pressure from a church, not only is real but should be real. We are better off knowing a candidate's personal faith and the effect it will have than continuing to pretend that there is no connection between faith and action. We need to press for honest answers from our politicians as to how their faith influences their work.
Would this issue be coming up so much if Romney weren't a Mormon? I think not. Religion is always a source of curiosity, attack, and character analysis in presidential (or any) elections, but this time more than ever because of the stigmas surrounding the LDS religion.  As a non-Mormon who has lived my entire life in a predominantly Mormon state, I can say that I don't think it will impact Romney as much as outsiders uninformed on the religion seem to believe. The nicest and most open-minded Mormons tend to be those that live outside of Utah. Here there is a lot of groupthink that goes on and it can make for some uncomfortable tensions, but YES--MORMONS ARE NICE AND POSSESS BRAINS-- and speaking from experience non-Utahn Mormons seem to be most immune to the groupthink.  Mormons are (shocker) people like all of us and their beliefs may be labelled radical and ridiculous by others but what religion on this earth hasn't been accused of the same? With so many unique and diverse religions in the world I personally think critics and outsiders are obsessed with Mormonism because it is relatively new, pretty local to the U.S., and has all the masonic mystery surrounding it that draw people in, but I don't believe that this religion, or any religion really, would have such a hold on a person that they wouldn't be able to keep their personal beliefs and what is best for their country separate.  Someone obsessively dedicated to their religion and unable to keep it out of their work life wouldn't be running for the presidency anyhow (conspiracies aside).

I catch Osler's drift but I do believe he is taking it too far. I'll be curious to see how Romney addresses his religious beliefs and the numerous attacks that are made on them. Hopefully he'll take a leaf out of Kennedy's book.
And I can't believe this is really a book. Like
a Mormon in the White House is the Worst Thing Ever.
Don't we have more important things to worry about?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Baby Lou

A few days ago I had to put my dog to sleep. It was devastating and I'm still recovering. The hangovers are not helping.

She was my puppy--Cinders AKA Cindy AKA Cindy Lou AKA Baby Lou. The first time I saw her in the pet store we had a connection and I knew she was MY dog. I begged for 3 days straight and visited her at the store for 3 days straight. On the 3rd night my dad came home with her in his arms! She was shiny black and wiggling all over from excitement.
As she grew we realized a few things about her.
A) She was the runt of the litter and therefore would always look like a puppy
B) She had the strangest, sweetest personality I have ever seen in an animal!

She never misbehaved or chewed anything up in the house, but rather invented her own games to entertain herself. These mainly consisted of rolling balls off the porch and into the rose bushes, shoving her soft toys under shelves and bureaus and then trying to get them out, and putting smaller toys in our shoes (that was always a surprise when you pushed your foot in)! She was obsessed with toys, as most cockerel spaniels are, and would pull them all out and then lay on the carpet, surrounded by them and perfectly happy. She howled when my brother played the saxophone, and sometimes when I played the flute, but man..when that sax came out she knew it was time to perform! She loved going boating, getting her tummy rubbed, and traipsing around the house visiting everyone. She looked out for us and always had to be where the action was--a real party girl!

And she collected rocks. Weird, I know. Whenever we went out somewhere she would pick up rocks and carry them around and insist on bringing them home, and she always pulled rocks out of the pile on the side of our house where we store the old canoe, and drop them in the lawn, much to the chagrin of my dad and brother who would run them over with the lawn mower, which completely fucked it up. But they still loved her.

She had more and more health problems as she aged, but we had her for almost 14 years, and even near the end she still thought she was a puppy.  That sweet sweet pup is leaving a big sad hole.
Whenever I've heard the phrase about animals being a part of the family, or dogs being "man's best friend" I thought it was cheesy bullshit. But I get it now. Although I still find those terms not terribly eloquent, I can proudly (and cheesily) say that she was my best friend and will be missed and remembered as such.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Daily Dose of Salt Water

I just love belugas!! I wonder what it feels like to live under the ice. Suffocating yet safe? Quiet but disconcerting?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sweet Sweet Matt Damon Love

This will make anyone's day better.
For your viewing awesomeness:

Iran a linchpin??? And Santorum the Paper Tiger

Wasn't Iowa crazy??
At this point it looks like Bachmann and Perry will be dropping out of the race due to their low standing, which bolsters my confidence in the American public--we'll see what the day holds.
However, the fact that Santorum is in close second (some are calling it a tie) with Romney reveals that GSA (Great Stupid America) is alive and well. This dude simply cannot stand up against Obama. Sometimes I wonder if he could even stand up against a high school student (more on that later) or a paperback book because he just comes across as weak in his education. His thoughts on Israel conflict with more than 30 years of American policy. I'm curious whether Santorum is lost on the issue of Israel/the West Bank (which, admittedly, is bewildering as hell, like the entire Israeli-Palestinian conflict) and therefore trying to glide over it without getting entangled, or if he really thinks that it is all (in his words) simply "Israeli land."
Mitt Romney had a bit more to say on the matter, but he too is fearful of looking bad on the topic or pissing anyone (including our allies) off. Hm...
However, Iran seems to be the really hot topic with the GOP candidates--it just keeps coming up and becomes somewhat of a fixation at times!
Bachmann has perhaps received the most attention on this issue for her sheer misinformed statement that we should shut down the U.S. Embassy in Iran. Oops, too bad it had been shut down since the 1980 hostage crisis. Guess she missed that one.

Santorum comes in a close second to this stupidity seeing as he comes across as wanting to just blow them to high heaven--even better, blow their nuclear facilities to high heaven ("we will degrade those facilities through air strikes") if they won't let us in to inspect them...and add into the equation that according to most sources Iran has and is being cooperative about the monitoring of their nuclear facilities. He is sounding tough (or, as I think of it in regards to Santorum, TUFF!) by insisting "Iran will not get a nuclear weapon under my watch!" But as David Gregory so brilliantly pointed out, two previous presidents have declared the same thing. Though I suppose for them it came true.

Although Mitt Romney has similar viewpoints he is hanging back and letting Santorum do the hard-talking (and making mistakes), in essence letting his opponent test the waters with the blowing-up-Iran's-nuke-site-thing. However, in 2008 he said the same thing--"We can and will stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons"--it just sounded better than Santorum's smirking, self-satisfied pronouncement. But, Romney also made it sound like we would prevent Iran from getting nukes, not making them and he has also made statements regarding how he would use efficient military strikes in Iran (again a lot like Santorum, just sounds smarter saying it).

At this point I'm saying go Romney. He may have an inflated head and an anger problem, be a bit wishy-washy, but compared to the other GOP candidates there isn't much wiggle room. Anything to get Santorum away from the lead--please!! This is the guy who has said:
 he agrees with Bush "98% of the time",
that Boston is a center for pedophilia simply because it is a liberal center,
thinks states should regulate the sexuality of individuals (hell, he thinks gay marriage personally threatens his own marriage with his wife..and we all know there is only one way that this is possible, ha ha),
and has paralleled abortion with slavery (explain that one, please).
Any candidate that is more concerned with keeping the gays down than with foreign policy is a dipshit. And that is how I view Santorum-- a bigoted dipshit. Can we stop hating on the gays, Muslims, and Jews yet?? Prejudice has no place in any election.

And now, as promised, a high school student taking on (and, in my opinion) doing pretty well at dominating Santorum (love how he calls her a "lawyer" as an insult):

What will happen next?! It is anyone's guess. And as with anything truly nuts (which this race is), you can't make this shit up.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Grand Old Insanity

I was in Vegas for New Years and my body and brain are still recovering, so for now I'll keep it short and sweet. Today Iowa is holding her state caucuses and with the Republican race going the way it is (some of the candidates are really crack-ass crazy!) I figured I'd take a little humorous nip of it! At this point, with so many candidates showcasing their ignorance and racism, can we do anything but laugh? I figure it is better and cheaper than panicking. 

DUMBASS! The new Bush.

 DUMBASS squared! I don't think she knows where Iran is, or what a libertarian is. And her homophobia is the cherry on top.

Some fantastic cartoons:
So true--we're not even there yet and they're beating the life out of one another!

Love Huntsman!! ha

The creme de la creme of this whole deal has been SNL's debate spoofs! Check out Alec Baldwin as Rick Perry. Wunderbar!