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A sign of the times


There’s a story that goes along with this.  Details to be appended to this here post later tonight, after I get the kids in bed.

Long ago, back when people picked up newspapers in their hands in the morning and read them, then put them down and went on with other parts of their day (what a time!), The San Francisco Chronicle used to run a piece called The Question Man.  Somebody – presumably The Question Man – went around town asking folks some interesting question. A column’s worth of the short (Twitter-length) replies were printed alongside a thumbnail photo of the respondent and her/his name, age, occupation, and hometown. Through this we got a pulse-reading from our neighbors on matters great and small.

While I read it regularly – along with Art Hoppe and Herb Caen and later Jon Carroll —  none of the questions or answers were memorable. Except one: “When is a person ‘middle aged’?”  The phenomenon (middle age) was a speck in my distant future, but I took a mild interest in the answers just the same.  Some folks named a year — 30, 40, whatever. Others used some other marker, like “When your marriage is older than your dog,” or “When you are the same age or older than movie stars and national-level elected officials” or some such.  But one really stuck with me.  One woman said, “Middle age is when you no longer apologize for yourself.”

This last definition of middle age has stayed with me as the most compelling, until last Sunday night, when I discovered that middle age is really when you are capable of SPRAINING YOUR FINGER PLAYING AIR GUITAR WITH YOUR KIDS.

Yeah, yeah, I know.  Dictionary definition of “pathetic.” I’ll only add, for the record: it was to Lynard Skynard’s “Free Bird,” and it was worth it.  And this post took me 40 minutes to type.

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Greetings from Broccoli, CA


As I quipped on Twitter the other day — and that’s pretty much the main thing you can do on Twitter, quip:

3 kinds of menopause. Angry kind. Weepy kind. And chuck the broccoli over yer shoulder into the kitchen when yer son refuses to eat it kind.

Then I added:

Guess which kind I have.

Really, that was a rhetorical question. Thus the lack of question mark. The kids don’t lose any sleep at night wondering which kind of menopause Baba has, either. What I like to think is that they don’t lose any sleep at night worrying about it either.

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It’s the 2009 LD Reader Survey!


It’s the 2009 LD Reader Survey, now with added SWAG RAFFLE OPTION!

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Flights of fancy

Dispatch from BlogHer/Chicago 09 #1: Just a quick note to be filed in the “I don’t get out often enough” file: some tidbits from the SkyMall magazine. No tidbits yet regarding the conference because Evening 1 all I did was eat some wonderful free food, sip some wonderful free wine, hug many people excitedly, come up to my room, and then get only partially requited with the internet before crashing.

One thousand bloggers in the same hotel may be a wee strain on the system. Credit to the crack BlogHer events planning tech crew and the Sheraton, who has been feverishly installing/upgrading/what have you. I understand there may be a bellhop or two whose job this weekend is to lean precariously out a window holding a satelite dish in juuuuust the right position.

Now on to the quick note, before I rejoin the happy fray. There will be the jet-setters among you who are out and about all the time, and are utterly dulled to the jaw dropping wonder of the SkyMall magazine. But by my calculations, it has been just over two years that I took a plane somewhere. So I was utterly unprepared for the garden sculptures section of the magazine, which featured, yes,  a GARDEN SASQUATCH.

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I’m straight after all!

Kidding!  April Fools’!

Never was, ever! Much to the consternation of my parents, and maybe even one or two would-be (guy) sweeties in high school, whose identities were only revealed to me years later by my sister, to whom they confessed their love-lorneness.  Who knew. 

And before we go, I can’t help but leave you with this, sent around to friends this time of year by my chum (and regular LD commenter) Ann Z:


the chocolate bunny's dilemma

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Maddow Widowers’ Support Group, open for business

mwsg When the esteemed Dr. Rachel Maddow, Ph.D. (that’s Pretty hot Dyke, for those unfamiliar with academic acronyms) blew onto the national TV scene as a commentator for MSNBC, tons of gals’ undies got all up in a wad. And I mean that in a good way.

Coast to coast and up and down the internets, the Sisters of Sappho were all: Jumpin’ Jehosephat! It’s one of us up there! And of the butchie stripe, heretofore The Gender That Dare Not Speak Its Name! (At least it dare not speak its name on the television set, and according to reports by those who watch the series, if you were to search for this in between part of the gender spectrum on even something like The L Word you would be searching a long, long, long time.) But back to Dr. Maddow: She’s smart, we all said!  Plus she’s leftie!  Plus she’s not apologetic about any of the above!  I even got a little giddy myself (exhibit A).

There was just one eeensy, teensy problem I hadn’t anticipated, in my initial glee: having one of my kind representing on the TV set meant that I got to witness my beloved watching one of my kind representing on the TV set.  (Cue sound of record player needle being scratched violently off the vinyl.)  Yeah. So when we all laugh at Dr. M’s rapier wit, the beloved laughs just a leeetle bit harder than I do. You get the idea.

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Mr. Sunshine

In a stunning break with recent trends, a little lite fare!

Well, faux lite.

I had occasion yesterday to be in a little correspondence with my New Jersey chum, the one whose pessimism makes mine look puny by comparison.  He’s Russia, I’m Lichtenstein.  This is one of many reasons to love him (like a brother!).  As coda following a rant about voter apathy/ naiveté/ complacency on the same-sex marriage topic (that is, before this past Wednesday, when so many were jolted awake), I noted this article

BEIJING — A noxious cocktail of soot, smog and toxic chemicals is blotting out the sun, fouling the lungs of millions of people and altering weather patterns in large parts of Asia, according to a report released Thursday by the United Nations.

 –and said:  “Could be worse.  Could be raining.”  (Cue Marty Feldman.)

Here’s what me chum writes back:

Oh, it could always be worse. So so so much worse. All of us who grouse about unfairness would do well to remember that at times. You could be in a reeducation camp or in front of a firing squad, and I could be raising my girls as chattel. In that world, Kathryn would be just a few years away from having her genitals permanently mutilated.

Much much worse.

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Some timely borrowed content re: the alien landing we saw last night on the TV*

From Aden Nak, courtesy Tagen Goddard. Though it’s also on DailyKos.

The chart is prefaced by a cathartic rant/critique which, while it suffers from an unfortunate dip in rhetorical grace in the opening ¶, courtesy a ripple of unchecked misogyny, is peppered with some interesting insights and a nice Supreme Court case run-down.

For those of us scratching our heads and wondering what the hell just happened, and/or those of us who spent the vice presidential debate last night yelling at the TV time & again that “That wasn’t an answer! That was yet another meaningless cliché!” this does a tidy job of summing it up.


* [Addenda in the comments.]

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