Archive for September, 2008

A Birthday Overshadowed

It’s my birthday but I’m feeling too sad right now to say much. My sister had to put her eight-month-old puppy to sleep today due to a mysterious and painful paralysis. I know how miserable she’s feeling tonight, so I can’t really feel celebratory either. Most of my family loves their pets beyond all measure and reason.

Chickie Bunny (my niece and nephew named her after her Easter arrival) was a sweet and funny yellow lab. She loved the water, kids, and especially my sister’s family. This is her at my mom’s house in California last July. She’s about to jump into the pool. I want to remember her like this.

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When Sarah Palin was first chosen as the Republican VP pick, I wasn’t exactly easy on her, but I did give her the benefit of the doubt when it comes to her intelligence. I still think she must have some degree of political savvy, or she wouldn’t have captured the governorship. I’m also fed up with the assumption that a pretty woman can’t be smart, too.

As for the rest? If you saw her Katie Couric interviews last week, you’ll forgive me for saying I just don’t think Palin is very sharp. She repeats phrases almost meaninglessly, as if they were popping out of a Random Talking Points Generator. I’m getting nostalgic for Dan Quayle. (Glenn Greenwald came to the same conclusion a few days ago, though more elegantly.)

No wonder the McCain camp was desperately trying to postpone the vice presidential debates.

Yet another scary thing about Palin’s Couric interview: It barely needed to be tweaked for Tina Fey to lampoon it ferociously. (If you still need evidence that beauty doesn’t rule out brains, Tina Fey would be Exhibit A.) Enjoy … and then go back and view excerpts from the originals.

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Caturday! B & W & Grey Kitty

From I Can Has Cheezburger?

That kitteh in back looks so like Grey Kitty. Actually, they all do, right down to their elegant saggy bellies.

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Underneath the seemingly mild-mannered surface of Sungold the professor is a cauldron of seething ambition. I think John McCain is already regretting he didn’t cross party lines – not for Joe Lieberman, but to pick me as his running mate. Here’s why I would be ultra-qualified to become vice president:

1. I’m from an even smaller state than Sarah Palin! According to Wikipedia, Alaska ranks 47th with 683,478 residents, while North Dakota is in 48th place with 639,715. She’s got me beat when it comes to low population density, though.

2. My state of origin borders a foreign country, too! Granted, I couldn’t see Canada from my window, but as a teenager, while Palin was sharpening her barracuda teeth on the basketball court, I spent a few of my summers attending the International Music Camp at the International Peace Garden, which straddles the U.S.-Canadian border. Palin now touts her proximity to Russian airspace; I can claim to have shared a cabin with actual Canadians.

Oh, and besides having spent a decade in Germany, I sleep next to an actual foreigner every night. That makes me at least this prepared to face down Putin:

more about “CBS Video“, posted with vodpod

3. Curiosity: I has it! It might be hazardous to cats, but in political leaders, it’s generally considered a Good Thing. Unless, of course, your only mission is to memorize talking points at Joe Lieberman’s School of Foreign Relations.

4. Like Palin, I too had a perm in the mid-1980s! Unlike hers, at no point during the 1980s was my hair easily mistaken for a mullet.

Collage from cityrag, who I hope won’t mind my borrowing it; go there for more.

5. I too am 44 years old, which appears to be exactly the very bestest, most optimalest age for a vice presidential candidate! You’re old enough to have some experience (see point 2, above) but still young enough to be hot hot hot. Okay, so most days I’m merely lukewarm. No amount of silicon could ever put my boobs in the same league as the gubernatorial mammaries. But I’m still way cuter than John McCain. Why, I’m sexier than Joe Lieberman and Dick Cheney combined!

6. I took some economics classes in college! And so I understand not just the human but also the economic rationale for coupling any Wall Street bailout with an effort to slow housing foreclosures. That is, if all these bad mortgages can be rendered less-than-worthless, the mortgage-backed securities that are currently tanking Wall Street will also be worth something again. Of course, I can’t roll as many garbled talking points into my explanation as she did:


I only went to one college, not five, but I’ve still spent my whole adult life in universities!

8. During my first pregnancy I flew from California to Germany while so bulky I couldn’t flip the tray table into a fully horizontal position! That’s way farther than from Dallas to Wasilla. This oughtta prove my chick-cojones … even if I wasn’t leaking amniotic fluid along the way.

9. I love me my lipstick!

That’s me, Sungold. No pit bull here, just feline cunning.

10. I too can hide my inner viciousness behind perkiness – yay exclamation points!

Update September 27, 1 p.m.: When I posted this I meant to ask about your qualifications for the vice presidency, dear readers. Then I hit “publish” precipitously because the debate was starting. So: If you want to turn this into a meme, as Heather at Knitting Clio has threatened to do, please leave a comment linking to your list of awesome qualifications!

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Blogging has been thin lately because this is my life:

LOLcat by Flickr user wotthe7734, used under a Creative Commons license.

I’m teaching three classes (plus helping with a fourth) and chairing a committee (for the first time, which is new enough to be cool). Then there’s herding cats (uh, kids) to playdates, several hours of soccer each week, and music class. There’s my very modest volunteer work for the Obama campaign. And like most of you I spent my free moments this week trying to figure out WTF is going on the economy. Not that anyone is likely to ask me for a solution. But hey, when they do, I’ll be ready.

And now I’d better dash to pick up the kids from school before they start to wonder what happened to their mama.

I’ll try to get a real post written in the next day or two.

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Prince Chunk Has Found a Home

Remember the 44-pound cat that was abandoned in New Jersey last summer? Prince Chunk has found a home. (No, not Princess Chunk, as previously reported – I guess sex is hard to determine through so much fat and fur.)

Warning: Seeing the other kitties who need a home in this video made me teary, wishing my mate didn’t have an allergy problem that rules out adopting another cat. (He developed asthma back when Grey Kitty was still alive.) But maybe someone who watches this has room for (another) cat in their home?

more about “untitled“, posted with vodpod

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Photo by Flickr user Mirko Macari, used under a Creative Commons license.

Today my university announced a hiring freeze in response to the mess on Wall Street. No new searches will be authorized for either faculty or staff, though open searches will be allowed to continue. From our president’s memo:

Over the past two weeks, the news about the evolving economic situation at the state and federal level has intensified. These events underscore the importance of being prepared so we can continue to foster academic excellence and remain a strong institution, now and in the long run.

For that reason, the most responsible step we can take at this time is to institute a hiring freeze, effective immediately. This initiative will allow us to preserve funds so that we can strategically respond to potential future state budget cuts or other negative effects caused by external economic factors.

No word on whether this will affect our president’s whopping 29% pay raise that he received this summer, which gave him an $85,000 bump to a total annual salary of $385,000.

Translated: What the prez is getting for his raise alone would finance a couple of instructors like me in my current incarnation, or six of me at my old adjunct level (not counting the cost of benefits.) Not that I’m saying this place needs clones of me; one is probably plenty.

But even so. Who generates academic excellence? Administrators? Or the people who do the actual teaching and research?

At any rate, it’s interesting (in that Chinese-curse sense) to see how upward redistribution functions beautifully even at the local level.

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