Gather the party

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Captain America is a Nazi, but who cares? (Whoops, looks like I'm back to depression!)

65 Days Until President Trump

A while back, Captain America became a Nazi.

The change was due to a time-manipulating girl/doohickey named Kobik, and of course the Red Skull. They essentially rewrote history to give Steve Rogers Nazi sympathies, turning him into the ultimate sleeper agent.

Comic booooooooks!

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Truth in the streets

Image Credit: VOA 

Image Credit: VOA 

67 Days Until President Trump

A couple of days in and I’m still having trouble with the outcome of this election.

I mean, obviously I’m having a problem with Trump, because… obviously. That part is terrible.

And it’s terrible that sixty million of my fellow citizens either were down with that, or were willing to overlook it in order to shake things up.

I mean, good grief, how the hell do you overlook that?

But I overlooked something, too. I’m also having that “ah-ha” moment when I realize that the Hillary Clinton who I know is not the same Hillary Clinton that most Americans know. That’s because most Americans didn’t do a shit ton of research into her politics and her history - as I did - which would have led them to conclude - as I did - that about 95% of the public perception of Hillary Clinton was the kind of garbage that even a raccoon won’t touch.

I did my homework. I felt pretty comfortable in thinking that, if facts could be known about Hillary Clinton, I knew the important ones. I know that she’s not a liar - though she spins the truth in her favor. I know that she’s not a close political ally of corporate America - though she did accept speaking fees there, because, hey, even liberals like money! I know that she’s basically a progressive dreamboat - I literally had a blog post drafted, entitled, “Hillary Clinton: Progressive Dreamboat” about half-finished when the primary ended - but she ironically ran through a tough primary with one of literally maybe two other Senators who could be accused of being more progressive than she is. (I am here thinking also of Russ Feingold, because even though he’s no longer in office, they served together, and man is he progressive!)

But I got lazy. I never published my findings. I told a few people around me, but mostly they were people who were going to be Hillary supporters, anyway. The constant slew of people who were all, “I’m going to vote for Hillary, but I mean, I don’t like Hillary” - it should have set off alarm bells, right? But I was happy with their votes and I’m conflict-avoidant enough to not make waves.

Hillary Clinton has had Republican attack dogs writing some really amazing lies about her for thirty years. When the 2016 campaign got started, I had to do my homework because I couldn’t separate fact from fiction in my head. But not everyone did that, and I as a Hillary supporter did a terrible job of messaging to the world the truth that I'd found in a vast sea of spin and falsehood.

Sure, she’s a Beltway insider. But you want to talk about shaking things up? How about affordable childcare for all families? Because that’s kind of a big deal. If you’re struggling and trying to make ends meet, would an extra $10,000 a year make a difference for you, personally? Eight hundred bucks a month sounds pretty good to me. I don’t know about you, but I’d be okay if she were giving the reacharound to Wall Street if it also meant my wife and I didn’t have to keep having the discussion about whether or not we can afford for her to go back to work full time.

It’s stuff like this that makes me crazy when people start going off on “crooked Hillary” rants. I’m not asking her to babysit! I want her to go to the mattresses for me and my family! I want someone who has a decades-long history of demonstrably having my back! That’s who I want for President.

I was excited about Hillary. But I assumed that, because I knew my facts, that others did as well. I knew true things, and assumed that others knew them too, just because they were true.

As it turns out, Truth is more slippery than that.

Truth doesn’t set itself free. You’ve got to do that work. You have to shout it from the mountaintop. When you know true things that other people don’t know, you can’t leave them ignorant. Truth is more important than that.

This doesn’t mean just shouting them down. I think that the Trump Presidency is pretty fucking good evidence that people are tired of being talked down to. They voted for literally the one guy in politics who doesn't talk down to anybody, because he's already there. (Here may be a racist, xenophobic misogynist, but he isn't condescending about it!)

It's up to us as progressives to figure out how to speak the truth without sounding like assholes. Mansplaining is a real thing, but prog-splaining is, too, and we've got to cut that shit out. Nobody who's teetering on the edge of whether or not they can feed their kids gives a crap about high-minded ideals like "equality".

But they do care. I have to believe that. They care about nice Mr. Jones, the church organist and confirmed bachelor. If you asked them, most of them would say, "Sure, he deserves a shot at love. I don't know how I feel about gay marriage, but I'm with him, yeah."

We progressives are really good at seeing the big picture, and really lousy at seeing the individual people in it. We have to find a way to reveal that picture, that Truth, without ignoring the million little truths out there that are heartfelt and sincere. We can't keep talking down.

We have to get off the mountaintop and sing our Truth from the streets.

Always stand up

70 Days Until President Trump

Aaron Sorkin’s letter to his daughters after the Trump victory has been making the rounds today. It’s worth a read, especially now that we’ve had a full twenty-four hours to digest the news and decide whether or not we’re moving to Canada.

We’re not. All our stuff is here. Canada is cold and friendly and full of plaid. Bacon is not round. Everyone knows that.

It would be easier for Trump if we’d go, which is reason enough to stay. Trump wants people out: he’s building a wall and deporting people and turning away refugees and putting a stop to Muslim immigration. His America is better if we’re not in it. If we start wearing suspenders while drinking maple syrup from the bottle, we’re just handing him another victory built on toupees and bile.

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The Day Jeremy Learned (almost) Everything He Ever Needs To Know about Plumbing

The good news is, the sink in my mother-in-law's bathroom no longer leaks. Also, we now know that whatever is causing it to drain so slowly has nothing to do with the P-trap. Also, I can now remove and replace a P-trap without causing a sink to leak all over the place when it didn't before. The bad news is, the sink still drains every bit as slowly as it used to; if anything (and I hope this is just my imagination playing mean tricks on me because the alternative makes no sense), it's worse. Also, I wasted two hours of my life learning how to remove and replace a P-trap in a way that doesn't cause the sink to leak all over the place (namely, do it over and over and over and run back and forth to Home Depot and keep tightening shit until it stops leaking why won't it just stop leaking?), but I still don't know the phone number for the plumber, who is the person I am going to call when any plumbing-related issues come up again.

On the one hand, the philosophy of, "oh, that's got to be pretty easy" was what lead me to being fairly proficient with computers these days.  It did so by way of, "oh, shit, I had better figure out how to fix that thing I just broke before mom and dad notice." (Mom, dad, that happened way more than you want to think about.) On the other hand, plumbing won't let you play Wolfenstein 3D if you just tweak it a little more, so there's about zero chance that I am going to devote the kind of time to getting good with plumbing that I did with computers.

As it turns out, my time with computers has taught me one valuable thing about plumbing. The next time I notice that my mother-in-law's sink is draining slowly, I will very carefully direct my web browser to www.angieslist.com and find someone who did whatever the equivalent of "kill demon-Hitler" is in plumbing.

Meaning?

If there wasn't meaning outside of work, I'd never have left the office. But I did, every day, even when shit was going down. Bad guy on a plane? "Do you really need me?" I'd ask. Nine times out of ten, the answer was no, and I'd bail. I worked hard while I was at work, so that I could make sure that when the work day ended, I could get back to what mattered. And that wasn't countering terrorism.

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Good idea, Bill!

Photo credit: Kristin Andrus (Flickr / kpishdadi) Kieran woke up at 6am today to go pee on the potty. While a distinctly better alternative to peeing in bed, this also meant that he was up for the day at 6am. I foolishly did not realize this until some minutes later, when he was squirming and squealing and banging his hands on the wall. Suffice it to say, a short while later - actually, far too much hissing, "Kieran, BE QUIET" later - we are all awake and downstairs.

I'm feeling kinda grumpy about this. Elana is off running a race, so I'm on single parent duty. I'm not even grumpy about that. I really just wanted to sleep in this morning until at least 7. I don't think that was too much to ask for.

That is why we are having a Bill Cosby moment this morning, and are having cake for breakfast. It's quieter right now than it's been since we were all asleep. The sound of silent gnoshing is sweeter than the leftover apple cake. The coffee will be ready soon, and all won't be well with the world, but it'll be as right as you can get at this hour.

What's that, kiddo? Out of cake? Here you go...

It can.

You have moments that you don't realize, during which you say to yourself, "at least it can't get any worse." This happens. You don't realize it.

Until you're wrong.

Kieran had been making the poopy stance way too often while cleaning up Legos this afternoon. First, it should be noted that he was more or less actually cleaning up Legos, at a rate of one piece per minute or so. By the time he'd be old enough to go to college, he'd have finished the task, which was about perfect as far as I was concerned. In good news, he was also singing the "clean up song" he learned at preschool, or at least the relevant lyrics: "clean up, clean up... clean up, clean up... clean up, clean up", etc.

So there's that.

Then he informs us that he needs to pee on the potty. Bully for him. This is pretty normal, but by now he's also been making that poopy stance, so a quick undies check confirms that he hasn't already done his business. Again, awesomesauce. He's been farting up a storm, so slightly mild awesomesauce, but still.

He leaves. He gets to the stairs. He lingers on the stairs. This is a thing that no parent loves, and every parent deals with. I decide to check in.

This is when he informs me that he doesn't need to pee on the potty anymore. There he stands, in his underwear, coated in his own urine and standing in a pool of it.

[sound of record scratching]

This boy is potty trained. What. The. Fuck? I inform him that there are times that I don't kill him purely out of inertia, and send him upstairs to do the rest of his business, while I get the Urine-B-Gon and go to town on the stairs, grumbling to myself.

This is when it happened. That moment. I didn't realize it at the time, but this was the "at least it can't get any worse" moment.

By now, astute readers, you are asking, "but where are your daughters, those beatific creatures who so regularly poop themselves?" That is because you are a genius, and I have the mental prowess of a lobotomized sea cucumber.

The girls have been "napping", a.k.a. sitting upstairs in their cribs and grumbling to one another. I head upstairs to check in on Kieran - he has this tendency of taking care of business and then taking care of his grandmother's entire makeup drawer - and discover that he is, in fact, taking a monster dump, the kind that looks like it hurts, and wants to talk about the sound it made when it plopped into the toilet. The girls are grumbling, and I head around the corner to make some promise about getting to them when oh. My. Gawd.

First, the smell coming out of the bathroom has nothing on this room. It smells like week-old gym socks filled with manure and set on fire. That's because Genevieve has managed to take off her diaper and is covered in something that looks like mustard gas pate and smells worse.

I admit, I scream a little. It probably sounds high-pitched and girly. I find some part of her that seems safe-ish to touch and spirit her past her defecating brother and straight into the bathtub, where I knock the big chunks off and then proceed to give her a bath on the spot. Out, towel dry, into our bedroom where there's a backup crib set up, diaper, into backup crib, get Zoe. Tub has drained, refill tub, off with diaper did you really, really think that wasn't going to end in tears? She, of course, is covered in more of the same, just compressed into the diaper area, so it's on there nice and firm.

I'm a little panicky at this point, and just start throwing toilet paper at her, hoping that some of it will stick. Which, obviously, it does.

Kieran, meanwhile, has grunted his way through it and I'm just shouting at him not to move, he's next. He rightly determines that daddy has lost his shit - maybe making out that it's because he found so much of other people's - and is maybe a half-step shy of axe murder. I see fight or flight in his eyes, but he correctly decides that flight would definitely lead to axe murder, and that's without us owning an axe. He freezes, and holds as still as a two-year-old can while I scrape the smears off of his sister with toilet paper, bathe her, drain the tub, and ready it for him.

I think I'm still a little breathless. They're presently all corralled in the spare crib, which is turning into a WWE-style brawl with the girls doing surprisingly well, but sometimes you just need to work through these things.

At least it can't get any worse.