June 17, 2009
And afterwards in the bathroom, there was a girl puking. Either she gorged herself, in which case I feel sorry for her, or she's a bulemic. I had to think about that for a while: is Las Vegas a bulemic's dream or nightmare? On the one hand, you get all these yummy foods before you barf, but on the other hand...you just paid twenty bucks to gag all that food up? Weak.
We went to the gym this morning, so that totally counteracts the buffet, right?
Chuck Z suggests the Rio buffet. Gourmet magazine recommends their seafood buffet as the best in Vegas, so it was on my list of potential things I want to spend $40 on. I'm trying not to be a cheapskate and do one nice meal per day, and then cook something here or do something light for the opposite meal. Tonight we will have a small dinner before heading to a saucy show.
It's hard for me to part with $75 each for show tickets, but I had a talk with myself this morning: In six months when my husband is gone, would we pay $150 to sit together in a dark room watching a sexy show? Absolutely. So why not do it now while we have the chance.
We're having fun. Really, I don't need to spend money to have fun; I just like doing anything with my husband. Sitting in the hot tub, being on the internet, riding on a movable sidewalk, all of these are even satisfying as long as he's here with me. (And the movable sidewalk, that's one of the good parts of life!)
You know what I really hope is happening? I really hope over breakfast, George Bush points out stories in the paper to Laura and smugly snickers, "Dude, I told you this would happen. I told you once he got in office, he'd start to grok the enormity of the job."
The Obama administration is declining to release documents that would identify visitors to the White House, embracing a legal position taken by the Bush administration, according to a watchdog group that filed a federal lawsuit over access to the records.
The group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed its lawsuit after being denied access to Secret Service records, including White House entry and exit logs, that would identify coal and energy industry visitors.
The government's refusal to release the records contrasts with President Barack Obama's pledge of transparency.
I mean, selling the personal part to stay popular, I'm all for it, but you got us already. We like you, we really like you! You're skinny and in a hurry and in love with a nice lady. But so's Lindsay Lohan. And like Lohan, we see your name in the paper a lot, but we're kind of wondering when you're actually going to do something.
Obama needs to start putting it on the line in fights against the banks, the energy companies and the healthcare industry. I never thought I'd say this, but he needs to be more like George W. Bush. Bush was all about, "You're with us or against us."
Obama's more like, "You're either with us, or you obviously need to see another picture of this adorable puppy!"
I hope George Bush is enjoying his toldyaso. And listening to the song "Won't Get Fooled Again" often.
June 16, 2009
Our bags still aren't here, so we went out and ate anyway. We went to the buffet at the Paris hotel, and my goal was to eat things I don't make at home: duck, crab legs, salmon, etc. But the true joy came at dessert time: mousse, creme brulee, crepes, and...flan.
Ah, flan. Flan is apparently my version of Proust's madeleine. It took me back twelve years to the halls of my school in France. There was a vending machine that dispensed this delightful treat.
Yep, flan from a vending machine. The French are so la-di-da.
So today started out...um, well...bad.
We live 80 miles from the airport. We allotted three hours for travel. We missed our flight.
I have been in far harder rain storms, but apparently (we now know) flooding backed up traffic all over town. It took us over an hour to go a few measly miles. Thank heavens for Garmin; we eventually exited and took back roads to the airport. I honestly thought there had been some sort of terrorist attack or evacuation, because the highways were a nightmare of traffic but there was not a car to be found on the roads in town. It was eerie.
So we missed our flight, but luckily for us, the 6 AM flight had been delayed five hours. Sucks to be its original passengers, but we lucked out and ran to the gate just in time. We still managed to barely catch our original connecting flight, so we did some serious Mr T style recouping of our day.
And, without a dictionary, I wondered if the final turn of events had been fortuitous or serendipitous. I think it's more the former, though I detect an element of the latter.
Unfortunately, we're out a good chunk of change in extra parking fees, since in our hurry to make the flight, we chose short-term over long-term. And our bags didn't make the flight, so now we're sitting in the hotel waiting for them to be delivered. For a $25 fee, of course.
But our hotel room is teh awesome, so score. Full kitchen and everything. (We're talkin' four burners and a full-size fridge, plus dining room table!) And we overlook the Bellagio fountain and the Eiffel Tower. So, sweet.
Come on, luggage. Sarah wants to hit the buffet.
June 15, 2009
Four years ago today, we brought little six-pound Charlie home to be our dog.
You can even see the green ink on his ear where he got tattooed. (Oh, and don't think we didn't make lots of jokes about Germans and their fondness for tattooing barcodes on people...)
We dropped Charlie off tonight for his week at the boarder's. He barely looked back at us as he ran off into the room filled with 32 other dogs for the week. He is going to have the time of his life.
But five minutes after driving away, I said, "OK, I miss him already." I was mostly kidding. Mostly.
My husband says we'd better hurry up and have a kid, lest we turn into the Swans.
Today is our seventh wedding anniversary. I joked, "You're becoming an insomniac like me! See, it's true what they say about people turning into each other when they've been married for so long. It only took you seven years." He snorted and said, "But I don't want to be like you in this area!" When asked what area he would like to be more like me in, he replied, "You know, how you're organized and remember birthdays and stuff." Heh.
We're leaving tomorrow for block leave: a week in Las Vegas. In addition to festivities and fun, we will be working on learning Pashto together. Just another thing to shove in our suitcase...
Don't worry, we're such nerds that we chose our hotel based on who had free wifi.
June 12, 2009
Heh. That last command made me snort.
I used to get so annoyed when people would blame anything bad that happened on Pres Bush. Didn't find the WMDs after giving Saddam months of advance notice that we were invading? Bush's fault. Economic troubles that started under the Clinton administration? Bush's fault. Hurricane hits New Orleans? Bush's fault.
Similarly, I will be quite annoyed if a trend starts where everything good that happens is attributed to Pres Obama, even if he opposes it and has nothing to do with it.
So far so good in paragraph one. Let's see what Obama has been doing in the realm of weed, because I simply haven't been following it. So then I get to paragraph three:
So, pray tell, why does "the Obama era" get the credit for any of this? Obama doesn't seem to have done squat; the rest of the article gives most of the credit to Schwarzenegger and Webb.
Huh? Center-right Republicans are becoming more open to the idea of legalization, and somehow Obama gets all the credit in the opening paragraph?
And then there's this: 366-day sentence for pot dispensary owner
I have followed that story, and that man should not be in jail, period. Get your federal laws off him; this should be a states issue. But let's see what credit Obama gets here:
Oh wait, the Obama administration pushed for a longer sentence. All hail the Obama era!
Obama hasn't done anything to help legalize marijuana or let people off who were clearly in the right under state laws. Rolling Stone needs to stop attributing anything to "the Obama era." And to think that McCain was called McSame during the campaign...
Wouldn't it be awesome if the intrastate commerce clause folks who are working on gun rights in Montana teamed up with the intrastate medicinal marijuana folks in California and turned the 10th Amendment inside out? Guns and weed, teaming up together for Change We Can Believe In!
For the record, I don't smoke pot, have never smoked pot, and am about the biggest anti-pot person you can meet, for the reasons South Park lays out:
But just because I think it's lame doesn't mean I think it should be illegal.
Also, I'm glad she's not living the office life anymore...
I also had to call Guard Wife and break up her love getaway to ask a question. Her husband answered, so he and I chatted for a bit, which was fun. Which reminds me: At the last SpouseBUZZ Live, somebody turned to Chuck Z's wife and said, "I got the funniest email from your husband the other day." Only among bloggers would that be normal.
As I told Wife Unit the other day, while she was dropping her dog off at my parents' house where he will now live as my brother's new dog, "I love teh internets."
While British officials publicly slammed Bermuda, they were privately annoyed with the U.S.
President Obama's aides told Britain the Gitmo group was headed to Bermuda less than 24 hours before the ex-inmates' chartered jet landed there, the Daily News has learned.
Bermuda Premier Ewart Brown said, "We are confident this decision is the right one from a humanitarian perspective."
Bermuda will also receive an unspecified "small sum" to cover their costs, said a U.S. official.
The "small sum"? $200 million. Kimberly Morin says it best:
Humanitarian? How about monetarian? I’d be willing to bet $200 million that the Palau government would not have taken these detainees without Obama bribing them with a cash payout. Of course the White House says that the money has nothing to do with the detainees. It is for development for the country of Palau. What is to develop? They are a gorgeous tropical island whose economy is based on tourism. Why would we be giving this tropical island money for development in the first place? Earth to Obama - horrible recession, highest unemployment in 25 years, non-stimulus doing nothing and you are going to give $200 million to a country that does not warrant development and has absolutely nothing to do with our economy.
It costs somewhere in the ballpark of $100 million per year to run the entire facility at Guantanamo Bay. So there's two years of operating costs to unload four guys. Furthermore, Palau's GDP is apparently $164 million. Hooray, Obama just doubled their yearly intake!
Seriously, when did the whole world become the Mad Hatter's Tea Party?
I too used to naively think that all men desired freedom. But that's must-y speak.
June 11, 2009
But he's started to realize that he's been in the Army for seven years now. And suddenly, he's older than most of the NCOs he works with. He's not the baby anymore.
I took his team a homemade lunch today, and they gushed and thanked me and called me Mrs. and Ma'am. And I realized that I'm no spring chick either: I am nine years older than the medic on his team. I must seem like such an old lady to him.
On Monday, my husband and I have our seventh wedding anniversary. We've known each other for almost ten years.
It feels good to be a grown up. But it took me by surprise today.
The Denny's thing was awesome Idiocracy material.
Imagine that you enter a big-city taxicab and the moment you get settled in, the driver begins a harangue about the supposed inequities and inferiorities of another ethnic group. Is your best course to keep quiet, bearing in mind that silence conveys assent? Or is it your moral responsibility to argue with him, to express outrage, even to leave the cab -- because you know that every silent assent will encourage him next time, and every vigorous dissent will cause him next time to think twice?
Sagan ends this section with "Figuring out a prudent balance takes wisdom." I just don't know what to think anymore. On the one hand, I think that some people will never see what I see, no matter how articulately I might lay it out, and it's not worth my sanity to try to beat them over the head with Truth. On the other hand, people are going to be voting next month based on bullcrap like this email forward on the draft, and unless we make a serious effort to counter the media and the junk science, we run the risk of losing President Bush.
And I'm starting to wonder if maybe I oughtn't dip my toe into impolite waters. If maybe I should start speaking my mind in public on occasion. Because five years hence, I still feel as frustrated and impotent as I used to. I still walk away incensed and wishing I had spoken truth to premise.
Yesterday I heard two separate diatribes against The Rich. They were offhanded things, premise things, deemed uncontroversial by their speakers. Both assumed that their listeners would chime in and agree that the world is economically unfair and somehow the scales need to be righted. I never chimed in with anything, just tried to ignore both interlocutors and change the subject quickly. But looking back, I wish I'd replied.
No, as a point of fact, I do not believe that, since we are all created equal by God, it is a travesty that most of the world's wealth is held by so few. Nor do I believe that our current economic crisis was solely caused by greedy CEOs. I also don't believe that your boss should have to give up his Mercedes because you think he doesn't do as much work as you do. Nor am I horrified at the thought of someone making a "three-digit salary" (It was obvious from context that this person meant "six-digit," which leads me to conclude that, really, you might want to rethink your argument that you deserve more money than your boss.)
Absent actual evidence, I am not inclined to automatically assert that The Rich don't deserve their money. I will not side with you in thinking that life is unfair and you know how to fix it. I do not share your delusion that you are a better arbiter of how much money people should make than the free market is.
I think next time I might cautiously speak out and see how that feels, because I remain dissatisfied with my long-standing policy of avoiding controversy and thus having to suffer through others' treatises on How The World Should Work.
What I really ought to start doing is following Sean Hannity's lead and wide-eyedly asking, "So what you're basically saying is 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his need' then?"
And point out that you, with your fancy cell phone and comfortable house, better watch out you don't reap what you sow, because I am sure there is someone else in town who thinks you don't deserve your five-digit salary. Those who fall middle-class should tread lightly on the class envy issue, for they have more riches than the majority of the people on this planet.
I will update the first time I speak truth to premise. Gulp.
June 10, 2009
Show me your feelings on Krauthammer and I'll show you your future.
What Fox did is not just create a venue for alternative opinion. It created an alternate reality.
A few years ago, I was on a radio show with a well-known political reporter who lamented the loss of a pristine past in which the whole country could agree on what the facts were, even if they disagreed on how to interpret and act upon them. All that was gone now. The country had become so fractured we couldn't even agree on what reality was. What she meant was that the day in which the front page of The New York Times was given scriptural authority everywhere was gone, shattered by the rise of Fox News.
What left me slack-jawed was the fact that she, like the cohort of mainstream journalists she represented so perfectly, was so ideologically blinkered that she could not fathom the plain fact that the liberal media were presenting the news and the world through a particular lens. The idea that it was particular, and that there might be competing ones, perhaps even superior ones, was beyond her ken.
That's why Fox News is so resented. It altered the intellectual and ideological landscape of America. It gave not only voice but also legitimacy to a worldview that had been utterly excluded from the mainstream media.
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