November 29, 2004

Friendless troglodyte strikes out at grocery royalty

Thanks to frequent commenter hedbakery for the head's up on the somewhat tantalizing prospect that the Ukrop's have pissed off the Richmond religious right. I don't know if there's any truth to this or if it's just Internet b.s., but if Jim wants to come in from the cold, I'm waiting for him with a warm cup of wassail and a personally handbound collection of Hendrik Hertzberg essays.

You ain't seen nothing yet

One of the finest indicators I can think of to show how Americans' attitude toward health care has changed is just to look at pop music. Used to be, a guy in a pop song fell in love, and it was only natural for him to go see the doctor about it. If you were in the Rascals, you were likely to be prescribed good lovin'. If you were in Bachman Turner Overdrive, you were told that any lovin' is good lovin' (what were doctors like back then?). If you were Harry Nilsson, you naturally saw a witch doctor. If you were in Kiss, you pretended to have gone to a medical school that taught you to take your patient's temperature in a most unorthodox manner.

I can't think of any recent examples of pop songs in which people go to the doctor. I can't say it's not an improvement, medically, for folks to restrain themselves from popping down to the ER every time they develop a crush on someone, but it does seem sort of sad that doing so doesn't ever seem to cross anyone's mind.

November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

And if anyone has any insight into the following, I'd really appreciate an explanation:

November 22, 2004

Better than yours

Elvis Mitchell pisses me off. No one should be able to conduct an interview as well as he did on The Treatment this week with Kinsey director Bill Condon. I'm now all a-fire to see the movie, especially after reading this morning that groups with words like "family" and "concerned" in their names are protesting it--because, apparently, Kinsey invented pedophilia.

I stole part of that last line from Tom Shales' equally masterful spatchcocking of FCC chairman Michael Powell in yesterday's Post. Key sentence:

Powell belongs at the bottom of the barrel with the lowliest of the bunch. He is an agenda masquerading as a man, the proverbial pompous ass and, worse, a genuine threat to freedom of speech.
And I can't think of 30 words to say about a Robyn Hitchcock record I like.

November 19, 2004

Welcome home

We spent an extra hour at Dulles while the new, friendlier CIS (formerly INS) made Ewa wait in a fetid little room with 50 people, 80 of whom seemed to be screaming children, so they could check the stamp in her passport. For those of you who haven't navigated our nation's immigration system, the CIS stamps one's passport in advance of actually issuing "green cards." In our case, Ewa had received her actual card a few months before, but with the wrong country of birth. Their mistake, their problem, right? Oh no. It's up to us to go down to Norfolk and spend a day in a fetid little room there with 50 other people and then wait another six months for a replacement card.

So the stamp will have to do for the time being, but it is no fun standing outside of that little room balancing your baby on your belly while you try to squeeze him into his stroller after collecting all your luggage on your own. I was making contigency plans--does anyone I know know a good immigration lawyer, a Maurice Levy from The Wire type who'd burst in and put a halt to whatever they were doing to her in there? But then I happened to ask a guard if there were any place I could wait for Ewa that didn't involve me trying to keep our luggage cart and stroller from being knocked over by French tourists making a beeline for the weak dollar. He took her name and got her out of line (she'd have been in there at least a couple more hours had I not asked). Never, never underestimate the power of carrying a baby.

Actually, go ahead and underestimate it. Outside in the taxi line the dispatcher sent us to a too-small cab; when we tried to get a bigger one the drivers all tried to turn us away. Finally after I lost my shit at the dispatcher, he forced one of the drivers to take us. The guy was a real prince, flinging our luggage into the back of his SUV and cursing, then overcharging us for "extras," then driving like a lunatic down the Dulles Toll Road and complaining about the dispatcher. I'm sorry, did I miss something? Why is our fare so much worse than anyone else's? We got his hack number, and Washington Flyer had better make this shit right.

Drove straight home to Richmond, noting that while we'd seen almost nothing but Kerry-Edwards bumper stickers on the way out of town on Election Day, there were nothing but W. stickers in evidence now. Much sighing.

November 09, 2004


That last post was probably a bit dramatic. I have it on good authority that the sun still rises every morning, etc.

November 07, 2004

Castle in the air

I'm sitting in a Starbucks in Edinburgh, looking up at the castle, and wondering exactly what I have to come home to. My cats, my stuff, my friends, my family, sure. But I'm having a lot of trouble justifying the idea of raising my kid in a country that's so clearly hostile to my own values. For the first couple days after the election I just avoided the news altogether and told people over here that I didn't want to talk about it. Now I'm coming to terms with it, and man is it awful. You figure that the left threw everything it had at Bush, and the result is depressingly clear.

It's interesting being in a different country and talking about the so-called moral issues that swung the election rightward. I'm in a place where taxes are high, but new parents get six months paid leave guaranteed. There's plenty of vacation time, and as irritating as I find it that so many stores are closed on Sundays, the fact that there's a day set aside for family is kind of touching. Talk about your family values.

That's right, I'm at a Starbucks. I'm always gonna be American, whether I live there or not.