Friday, August 29, 2008

John McCain picks Stepford wife Sarah Palin as VP. (But did he know the abstinence preacher's teenage daughter got pregnant out of wedlock?)

I am hyper organized and very driven, yet there are days I feel like I can barely manage being a full-time mom to one kid, a dutiful wife, taking care of our house and cats, and running my own small business. And here is this woman, Sarah Palin, the recently (in 2006) elected governor of Alaska agreeing to take on the role of VP....

There she is, standing beside presumptive GOP presidential nominee John S. McCain, Sarah Palin, a "devoted" and "devout" mother of five (including a baby born with Down Syndrome in April) and self-described "hockey mom," impeccably dressed, coiffed, manicured, and made up -- a fortysomething babe -- (while I sit here at my computer, makeup-less, with chipped nail polish, in a long-sleeved t-shirt and clam diggers) calling all the attention to and lavishing praise on her very hunky husband, Todd, the man she most admires (her words), her beautiful girls standing behind her, her eldest son awaiting troop deployment to Iraq, gazing adoringly at her hero, John McCain, in between sentences...

Republicans, does it get any better than this?

(I bet Bill Clinton would have loved to have had a feisty babe like Palin serve under him -- or on top; and you can bet McCain doesn't object to all that hugging.)

I had a feeling that McCain would pick a woman, though I thought it would be Kay Bailey Huthison or Elizabeth Dole -- though back on June 27 one astute reader of this blog, "Ted," wrote: "Now that we’re beyond Hillary, we can look forward to the first female VP, Sarah Palin, to become the first female President of the United States in 4 years!" So tip o' my hat to you, Ted. You were right!

To her credit, Governor Palin of Alaska said ALL the right things in her speech today at the Nutter Center. (Nutter Center?! David Letterman and Jon Stewart are going to have a field day with that one.) She was well spoken, gracious, and seemed to reach out across the proverbial aisle to "all those who love this country" (including the one lone black guy in the Dayton crowd, and his daughter, who were strategically placed right behind McCain and Palin).

While I am all for seemingly intelligent, sassy, petite brunettes (finally someone shorter than McCain!) getting into higher office, as someone who was against going to war in Iraq when the enemy was nowhere near there, who wants this country to get out of Iraq and get off of oil (all oil) ASAP (Palin is all about drilling wherever), and who has seen "devoutness" to one religion or another used as an excuse to kill and mistreat people who are not like them, this GOP ticket has me very nervous.

To paraphrase another petite, sassy, ambitious brunette, Fasten your seat belts, presidential watchers. It's going to be a bumpy 67 days.

(Note: Just after posting this, I discovered a great little post on the Dallas Morning News blog entitled "Five reasons why Sarah Palin is a laugh-out-loud choice for VP," which is well worth a click and a read, as well as Timothy Egan's very good (and short) piece on "Ms. Alaska" in this afternoon's

SPECIAL LABOR DAY EVANGELICAL FAMILY VALUES UPDATE: This just in: Bristol Palin, the 17-year-old daughter of "abstinence only" devout Evangelical Christian GOP VP pick Sarah Palin, is FIVE MONTHS PREGNANT! Per a 12:25 p.m. New York Times's "The Caucus" blog post, Bristol "plans" on marrying the father. Plans?! You betcha -- as soon as the McCain camp found out. (Hey, maybe they should have picked Lynne Spears, Jamie Lynn's mom, for VP instead of Palin.) According to The Caucus report, the McCain camp new about Bristol's delicate condition -- yet (increasingly mystifyingly) picked her mom, Sarah, who practically abandoned her baby born with Down Syndrome just three days after giving birth in April to get back to work, anyway. Assuming that's true (and I'm not sold that it is), that's gotta make you seriously question McCain's judgment (if you haven't already).

Those are some family values the Republicans/Evangelicals got. Do as we say, not as we do. (How do you feel about "abstinence only" sex education now, Governor Palin? And lest anyone has forgotten, McCain cheated on his first wife, with Cindy Lou, whom he later married.) All I can say is the McCain camp should be grateful another whirlwind -- Gustav -- is taking up the majority of air time today, greatly shortening the Republican National Convention and leaving them another day to put a positive spin on the Labor Day bombshell.

THE DAY AFTER UPDATE: Just read Elisabeth Bumiller's article from September 1's New York Times article, entitled "Disclosures on Palin Raise Questions on Vetting Process," to hear the latest Palin bombshells.

Btw, I don't care that Bristol Palin is pregnant out of wedlock or that Sarah Palin had her first son, Track, eight months after eloping. I actually feel sorry for Bristol, who, because of her mom's rising political career had/has no choice re this child. What I do care about is that if elected, this woman, Sarah Palin, is going to do her best to make abstinence-only education the only kind of sex education available to our children, a policy that she couldn't even get her flesh and blood to follow and that will have enormous negative and perhaps tragic repercussions.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Won't you take me to Funky Town?

And I don't mean Denver.

No, my friends (and you are my friends), I mean that classic circa 1980 one-hit wonder from Lipps Inc., "Funky Town," which has been playing on Ear Worm Radio (all annoying, all the time) since AREVA Energy, a Paris-based nuclear energy company purporting to be green, just launched its latest 30-second commercial assault, to the tune of "Funky Town," on the U.S. market this week. The ad appears on CNN and CNBC during both cable channel's Democratic National Convention coverage, which, as you may know (or do now) is 24/7. (What is it about the French's love of absurd U.S. cultural icons? First Jerry Lewis now "Funky Town"? Come on!)

For those of you who missed (or miss) the '80s, here is a clip of the original Lipps Inc. version of "Funky Town." (I particularly like the German lead-in, at least I'm pretty sure the emcee is German.)

For those of you with children 12 and under, here is the Alvin and the Chipmunks one-minute version of "Funky Town," which my 10-year-old daughter immediately cited upon hearing the AREVA ad (which is quickly becoming the most overplayed/annoying ad EVER):

You're welcome.

By the way, for those of you who are unfamiliar with ear worms, at least the musical variety, an ear worm is a catchy song, typically one you don't particularly like, that gets stuck in your ear or head. Full definition available at Urban Dictionary. REO Speedwagon's "Take It On the Run" immediately comes to mind, and I know Dave S. had Night Ranger's "Sister Christian" playing on his Ear Worm Radio for a while. And yes, you're welcome, Dave.

To share your current play list on Ear Worm Radio, leave a comment. As long as it's not X-rated, I'll post it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Apparently Obama was Biden his time

By the time you read this you will probably know that Barack Obama chose longtime Delaware Senator and two-time presidential candidate Joseph "Joe of the lunch-bucket Democrats" Biden as his vice presidential running mate. If not, let me be the first to tell you, Barack Obama chose Joe Biden as his running mate -- and it's a great choice, for many reasons (unless you are one of those "Hillary or Bust" supporters).

But instead of me listing off all the reasons why I think Fightin' Joe Biden is the right choice (besides the fact he was cute as a button at 10, has lots of foreign policy experience, and an ability to connect with white male working class voters), I submit to you New York Times Conservative columnist David Brooks's Op-Ed piece from Friday on why Biden was and is the right choice. It's a good, concise assessment of Biden's strengths (and weaknesses) and what he brings to the presidential table.

Oh and before you start spouting about Biden's spouting, let me say (or write) that I, for one, find Biden's candor refreshing. So the guy makes the occasional "off-color" comment or joke. Who doesn't? I like a politician who is a real Joe, not some scripted actor or tough-talkin' cowboy. Let he or she who is without sin -- or who has never made an off-color remark or joke -- cast the first stone. (Of course, that won't stop Rush Limbaugh -- and all those "senior McCain advisers" who are hugging themselves because of all the archival footage of Biden's "gaffes," even though their boy McCain doesn't know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite or how many homes he owns, to name just two recent verbal faux pas.)

You want some real straight talk? Vote for Joe (and Barack).

As for all of you who are angry, hurt, resentful, indignant (pick your adjective) about Barry not giving Hillary his pin, get over it. Yeah, yeah. I can hear the moral outrage even underneath my cone of silence. But choosing Hillary for the number two spot would have been a disaster. (Don't believe me? Check out my prescient blog post from June 5, "Top 10 Reasons Barack Obama Should Not Choose Hillary Clinton as His Running Mate.") While Hillary on her own would have probably been okay, Bill and Hill have so much combined baggage I doubt they can afford to travel on a commercial flight these days.

Will Biden help Obama get elected? Indubitably. But it is ultimately up to Senator Obama to get the job done. Stay tuned, presidential election watchers, as the press stakes out the homes of Mitt Romney and the other leading Republican vice presidential contenders next week... (though I have this little feeling that McCain may surprise us by choosing a woman as his running mate, say Kay Bailey Hutchison or Elizabeth Dole, which would pretty much sew up the Southern White Woman vote, which is not to be underestimated).

08/25/08 Update: Hillary Clinton Speaks to New York Delegates. I just listened (via NPR) to Senator Clinton addressing the New York delegates at the Denver Democratic National Convention. Since I was listening, not watching, I couldn't see her body language, but the speech itself was great -- well written, well modulated, and delivered well. And while I am sure she is still smarting over not receiving either the presidential or vice presidential nomination (and already planning her run for 2012), her words of support and encouragement for Barack Obama -- and condemnation of John McCain's latest ads, which use her and her words extensively to put down Obama -- seemed utterly sincere. I particularly liked the line, used in regard to the McCain Hillary ads, "I'm Hillary Clinton, and I do NOT approve that message." Bravo. For more about Joe Biden, Hillary, and the Democratic National Convention, check out this article from the Associated Press, filed just a few minutes ago.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A toast to my good friend, Tabitha, for my 20 bottles of 22 oz. Fat Tire Amber Ale


Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words (give or take)...

But, being a writer, I must add a few words, mainly of thanks, to my dear friend, Tabitha (and her husband, David), for giving me a gift that will keep on giving for many months to come. Thank you. Your generosity and willingness to risk a prison sentence on my behalf are greatly appreciated. A toast, to Tabitha and David and my 20 22 oz. bottles of Fat Tire Amber Ale!

As for the rest of you (those of you who were not willing to risk a prison sentence to ship me my beloved ale across state lines, who chortled at my plight, or wanted to know what was in it for you), you are off the hook. You can keep your Fat Tire. I got mine.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Watching the Beijing Olympics on TV requires Olympic endurance and patience

Thank goodness for (or rather and video clips, otherwise I would have missed just about every great "must-see TV" moment of the Beijing Olympics thus far.

Yes, yes, NBC (which I now tell people stands for "Nothing But Commercials") begins its "live" coverage (if you live on the East Coast of the United States and you don't count all the previously taped footage) at the reasonable hour of 8 p.m. Eastern Time. But as anyone and everyone who has dutifully turned on the tube at 8 p.m. ET night after Olympic night knows by now, the real "live" action doesn't even begin until at least 10 p.m. ET, when it is 10 a.m. the next morning in Beijing, and when thousands (perhaps millions) of Americans (like yours truly) are getting ready for bed or are already asleep.

The 12-hour time difference and whole "live" thing even has those covering the Olympics for NBC a bit addled at times, including usually quick-witted (or smarmy, depending on your point of view) NBC master of ceremonies Bob Costas. (Though at least the"Today" show was spared the dilemma of becoming the "Tomorrow" -- or "Yesterday" -- show as it is still "today" both in the U.S. and in Beijing when the program airs at 7 p.m. Beijing Time.)

But getting back to NBC's primetime Olympic coverage.... Guys, I understand the whole wanting to be live thing and trying to capture the most eyeballs by going on air at 8 p.m. ET, BUT COULDN'T YOU FIND SOMETHING MORE EXCITING THAN YET ANOTHER ROUND OF BEACH VOLLEYBALL (AND WE'RE NOT EVEN TALKING QUARTER FINALS) OR MILE 20 OF THE WOMEN'S MARATHON TO AIR?!

And it's not just watching at night that requires Olympic endurance and/or patience. As I was flipping channels at the gym earlier today, to see if I could find me a little Olympics action while climbing hills on my stationary bike, what did I get? The Australia - Montenegro water polo match. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! A bunch of grown men in wrestling headgear, standing in a pool, shouting "Marco! Polo!" for an hour?! (Okay, I made up the bit about "Marco! Polo!" but you catch my drift.) Of everything going on in Beijing, this is what the folks at NBC decide to preempt regular programming on MSNBC TV for, less than three months before the presidential election?!

Even if you are one of the hearty souls who lives for the Olympics every two or four years and is committed to staying up into the wee hours to watch every "live" moment live, you have to admit that the amount of commercials, and their timing (a 2 to 3-minute break approximately every 10 minutes), is numbing -- and requires Olympic-like concentration to get through them and still remember what was going on before whatever event it was was so rudely interrupted by several words from several sponsors. (And we're not talking Super Bowl type ads here. No. We're talking re-treads. That cute blonde chick on rollerblades from that Diet Coke ad they keep airing? She's over 40 now.)

And another thing, there are, at least according to whomever it is is counting, 204 countries (technically 192 countries and 12 territories) competing in the 2008 Olympic Games, yet you would hardly know from watching NBC's primetime coverage (except maybe for last night's men's gymnastics finals, which did not feature a single American male). Nope. If ya ain't got "USA" slapped on your back, American camera operators won't find you -- or at least show you on TV, unless you are competing against an American male or female.

But enough bitching and whining about the Olympics. Despite my ranting and raving, I am a fan. And I wish nothing but the best for U.S. women's beach volleyball players Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh in their quest for Olympic gold (and in keeping sand out of their crotches), as I do all the great athletes who have and are giving their all for and to the sports they love.

UPDATED 9:55 PM ET MONDAY: What is this, "The Man Show Goes to Beijing"? For those of you not watching the Olympics on NBC right now, I am watching Women's Olympic Trampoline Jumping, or whatever it's called -- basically chicks on trampolines, minus the boobs and low-cut tops. And I must say, I miss "The Man Show," though the Chinese chick is kinda cute. Oh and for those who weren't watching the Women's Beach Volleyball earlier, Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh beat Brazil (again) to make it to the finals against China, though you may not have realized China even had a women's beach volleyball team judging by the NBC coverage.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What's with those women's beach volleyball outfits? And still no Fat Tire.

I don't know about all of you, but my spouse has been glued to the women's Olympic beach volleyball matches (mostly the ones involving Team USA, Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh, but I also caught him watching American women Elaine Youngs and Nicole Branagh yesterday during a coffee break). And is it any surprise? Have you seen what those volleyball-spiking hussies (or hustlers) are (almost) wearing?! And it's not just the American women, it's everyone (though only the Brazilians really do "skimpy" justice).

Yes, my friends, spandex, that space-age fabric, lives.

But before you (men) start defending these female Olympic beach volleyball players' choice of garb (which doesn't even look that great on them), I present you with Exhibit B, the sensibly clad USA men's beach volleyball team. You don't see them in little lycra Speedos like some springboard skipping high diver. No.

Heck, even the male swimmers at the Beijing Olympics are fully clad from neck to ankle (or from waste to knee), albeit in skin-tight outfits made by Speedo or Tyr.

So why, pray tell, are women beach volleyball players from around the globe subjecting their crotches to untold amounts of sand (and whatever is in that sand), butts to who knows how many wedgies, and breasts to countless strap adjustments and nipple gazing? You tell me. (And I am sure you will.)

This just in from CNBC, which interviewed AVP (for Association of Volleyball Professionals) CEO and Commissioner Leonard Armato on 8/21: The skimpier volleyball uniforms may have something to do with the sport's popularity at the Olympics. No, really, Lennie?! Yup, beach volleyball fans, IT'S TRUE! Just watch the video of the CNBC interview by clicking here. (I tried to embed it, but could not.) Btw, Mr. Armato swears that the decision to go skimpy was entirely the female players' and that they are more comfortable wearing four inches of strategically placed lycra/spandex than they would be in shorts and a t-shirt. Uh-huh. Can't get enough volleyball, beach or otherwise? Check out the AVP's website.

But enough of beach volleyball. The question I really want the answer to is: WHY HAS NO ONE DROP SHIPPED ME A CASE OF FAT TIRE AMBER ALE YET?! Hello?! I know from the emails and comments I have received that many of you are intimately familiar with and have access to Fat Tire Amber Ale. Yet it has been 10 days now since I blogged about my primal need for this sublime amber ale, and only one person has even come close to offering to procure me some.

At the rate I'm going, I am more likely to get a flat tire than a Fat Tire. (Note to spouse: You told me you would ask your bro in Illinois to send us some. But did you? Huh? Did you? I'm waiting...)

1:41 P.M. Fat Tire Update: I just received the following email from my dear friend, JAGZ, which I had to reprint here.

Email from JAGZ to New Belgium Brewing:

My friend and her husband absolutely adore your Fat Tire Amber Ale and they have told me that unfortunately, there is no way they can get any shipped to them in Connecticut. I am sure they have contacted you but I don't want to ask them on that off chance I can surprise them and figure out a way to ship some to them. I would appreciate any thoughts on whether this would be possible? Many thanks in advance!

From: nbb
Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2008 4:02 PM
To: [Name deleted]
Subject: RE: Inquiry

Hi [Name deleted],

You are a good friend! Your friends are right, we have no way of shipping whether it’s across the state or across the country. Here in Colorado it’s illegal to mail beer and for quality purposes we probably wouldn’t do it anyway. I’ll attach our territory map to our email. It may be worth an internet search in these states to see what their rules and regulations are with this law. Sorry we couldn’t be of more help, but good luck!

New Belgium Brewing Co.

From: [Name deleted]
Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2008 2:07 PM
To: nbb
Subject: RE: Inquiry

Thanks, Rachel. I appreciate the info! Do you have a list of stores that carry this beer in these territories as perhaps I can contact them to see if they can ship.... Many thanks in advance. Maybe one day your product will be sold back East!


From: nbb
Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2008 5:52 PM
To: [Name deleted]
Subject: RE: Inquiry

Hi [Name deleted],

I don’t have a list of every store in every state. Being in 19 states, that would be one long list! Try that internet search and see what you can find. Get creative in your search and you’ll find us with ease.



New Belgium Brewing Co.
500 Linden St
Fort Collins, CO 80524

Monday, August 11, 2008

That Bob Costas interview with George W. Bush and, Is that a Burmese python in your pocket or... ?

So yesterday while the just-returned-from-sleepaway-camp child caught up on all of the shows she had TiVo'd in her absence downstairs, I was upstairs, glued to the Olympics coverage on NBC.

While I greatly enjoyed the synchronized diving (who thinks up these sports? 10-meter air rifle? come on!) and the swimming heats (Go Team USA!), I was particularly amused by the repeatedly broadcast images of our President, George W. Bush, embracing -- and nearly spanking the derrieres of -- the women's beach volleyball team, Misty May Treanor (at left) and Kerry Walsh. Equally fascinating, though not quite as amusing, was W.'s decision to be interviewed by sportscaster, former talk show host, and Olympics emcee Bob Costas (who the spouse and I quite like -- and is a darn good interviewer).

Maybe W. thought Costas would just lob him a few easy ones. But I was pleasantly surprised to see (and hear) Costas repeatedly throwing fast balls, changeups, and even a knuckleball or two at the Pres -- and to see W. responding almost coherently and intelligently. Heck, the Pres almost seemed to be enjoying himself (even when asked about how the U.S. can reconcile its differences with China and its "abysmal human rights record" and the Russia - Georgia conflict, though that may have been because he pronounced "Putin" and "Medvedev" correctly and Costas did not force him to say "Saakashvili" three times fast). His junior year abroad/presidential teen tour is definitely agreeing with him.

I was hoping to find a video of the interview, but apparently some "third party" (hey, Cheney, your boy did okay, let NBC release the video) made YouTube remove it. Instead, I offer up this White House transcript of the Costas - Bush interview, which upon very quick read appears to be accurate.

In other news... I nearly fell off my stationary bicycle this morning at the gym when I saw this clip of KCCI-TV Meteorologist Kurtis Gertz broadcasting live from the Iowa State Fair (last Thursday) where a Burmese python slithered up his pants.

Apparently the snake was/is a she and tried to give Gertz a kiss before getting in his pants.

I will leave it to you, loyal readers, to post your own snarky (or snaky) comment. ; )

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Paris Hilton for President?

Maybe bumping around on a bicycle for six days has jangled my brain, but after eight years of W. in the White House and having spent the last 16 months or however long it's been living under a daily barrage of meaningless political rhetoric by candidates on the Left and Right, I'm starting to think that we could do a lot worse than Paris Hilton for President.

(Did you check out her energy policy? Now that's hot.)

In other news... In case you didn't hear, Brett Favre is now a member of the New York Jets. The deal went down this morning. As a result, No. 4 has gone from Green Bay to Gang Green, from green and gold to green and white, from the green fields of Wisconsin to... okay, Secaucus, New Jersey. But you get the idea.

I know several Jets fans -- and sports writers -- who are beside themselves with joy (I am not one of them, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt). We shall see on September 7 if Brett got game.

Monday, August 4, 2008

On biking, beer, and Brett Favre

So that guy over there to the right is Nate, who led our six-day Bicycle Adventures cycling trip (perhaps the best bike trip the spouse and I have ever gone on, in terms of organization and quality of bikes and gear) around Fidalgo, San Juan, Lopez, and Guemes islands in Washington State. Isn't he dreamy? (My fellow cyclist Judy S. and I sure thought so, and teased him to no end, though it was all in fun. Then again, maybe Demi Moore had the right idea.)

It was an amazing trip. A wonderful trip. A fabulous trip, despite some (aforementioned) inner thigh soreness, a blister in a most unforgiving place, unseasonably cold weather (with a side order of clouds and rain), and the sad realization that despite working out every other day I am not in as good shape as I thought I was. (The words "not another effing hill" were my mantra.) But the scenery was gorgeous, the six other people (all Canadians) on the trip were lovely, and we had some wonderful meals -- and beverages.

Which leads me to my next topic, beer, more specifically Fat Tire Amber Ale, also known as Nectar of the Gods, which the aforementioned Nate introduced me (and my spouse) to one night after a ride. In a word: YUM. One sip and I was hooked. Had it with dinner every night thereafter.

Had I known that YOU CANNOT GET FAT TIRE EAST OF THE MISSISSIPPI, I would have purchased a 12-pack in Seattle and lugged it home with me (or had it shipped). But I only discovered this annoying fact this afternoon, after nearly grabbing the guy with the frizzy ponytail over at Elmer's by the shirt collar and imploring him to order me some. Cannot be done. So now I will have to resort to begging or bribing my friends out West, particularly those who happen to live in Colorado and happen to be heading East to attend, say, the U.S. Open (hint), to bring me some Fat Tire. (Please?)

Btw, you cannot get Fat Tire in Wisconsin either. And you know what else you soon may not be able to get in Wisconsin? Brett Favre. Even though the NFL just reinstated him and he reported to training camp today. But ya know what? I hope former-backup-now-supposedly-starting Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers hands Favre his ass (which last week Green Bay was willing to pay $25 million to stay retired).

Now don't get me wrong. As anyone who knows me knows, I am (or was) a HUGE Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre fan (though not as much as that guy on the left). But this "poor ole Brett Favre" BS has got to stop.

The guy, who is 38, which ain't young in NFL terms, said he was retiring. Green Bay said "Are you sure, Brett?" I don't know, like a half-dozen (or maybe it was a half-million) times, telling him repeatedly how much they still wanted him and would do practically anything to keep him, yet No. 4 refused the crown each time. As a result of which, Green Bay reshaped (or began to reshape) its franchise.

And now, months later, Mr. Three-Time-MVP (though not in over 10 years) wants back in, which is understandable, but just rubs me (and a lot of other folks) the wrong way, even though thousands of Cheese Heads are now dancing in the streets.

Stay tuned, sports fans, this soap opera (or cheesy melodrama) ain't over yet.