Wednesday, March 30, 2005

My Bright, Shining Light

Listening to: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Green River

About 7 tonight, I'd had it: no more toys, time to put everything back in order, get busy or no book at bedtime. And we're not just shoving everything into the closet or under the bed, bygod, we're putting crayons in the colors box and clothes in a heap by the door and dolls on the bed. Don't make me come in there.

I couldn't have asked for a better oldest daughter, Lilly is take charge but rarely bossy. She's patient, forgiving, compassionate.

"You kiss your brother," she demanded of Marni as Zeke stood in the hall, crying. Marni had popped Zeke for some insult and Marni has a mean jab. Lilly was being a big sister more than a peacemaker since, at two, Zeke is a deficit in the task of putting things away.

Marni came out of the room to kiss Zeke and I picked him up, read him a Clifford book, kissed him and tucked him in. Nite-nite lil' buddy, time to get out of your sister's way. In the meantime, Lilly marshalls her sister into picking up their room, intent on getting a story. Hup, hup, hup, pick it up, sistah, please, I want a story.

An angel from the time she gets up until the time she goes to bed. She was in trouble the night before. We'd stayed at my parent's house and she was supposed to be sleeping but instead was sneaking down grandma's hallway and tipped over an antique table, smashing it on the floor. Daddy was furious and she was exiled away from her sister, mostly because I just wanted her to go to sleep but also to consider the consequences of her misbehavior.

"I'm so sorry," she cried, "I'm sooooooo sorry...," pathetic, plaintive, rocking back and forth beneath the blankets. I had to assure her that it wasn't the table, accidents happen, it was the running around when she was supposed to be in bed that sent the princess to the dungeon. Daddy's sorry he yelled at you, now go to sleep.

The girls cleaned up well, well enough for 6 and 4, and got their bedtime requests, a selection from the Blues Clues collection for Marni and Peter and the Wolf for Lilly. Not a sound after the lights went out, no requests for water, no giggling, nothing crashing to the floor.

Neither of my girls stirred, no doubt because Lilly had let her sister know it was time to sleep.

Jay, the Zero Boss needs help in a big way. Don't ask me what for, just help. He wouldn't ask if it wasn't absolutely necessary and I wouldn't say anything unless I felt he not only needed it but deserved it. I'd contribute but I just got the van out of the shop today and after gassing it up, have $1.83 until tomorrow. However, going to his site and clicking ads doesn't cost me anything and...

If You're Taking Yourself (Or Your Point of View) Too Seriously, You're Missing the Point of Life

Listening to: Cornershop, When I Was Born For the 7th Time

The title of this post is actually a swipe at my own love affair with my unashamedly liberal opinions and my willingness to voice those opinions on this so-called apolitical blog. Sometimes I go a little overboard and realize that what I'm writing is better suited for my political blog and that's what happened a few moments ago. If you want to read my rant (and I'll warn all my pro-tube Schiavo friends that the post is best avoided), I shouldn't need to tell you how to find what I said mere minutes ago.

And, um, the urge to rant still exists. It's amusing to me that the American Taliban is busy pissing away its political capital on SpongeBob, creationist fairy tale stickers, and a vegetable in Florida. Instead of doing any real damage to our civil rights, it appears these twits are more concerned with showing how many clowns they can pour out of a tiny little car. In the meantime, the wheels are about to come off the car due to screwy lugnuts.

With no undue satisfaction, I read today that yet another nut pops off and flies into the ditch:
Boy Scouts of America’s National Director of Programs Douglas Smith will appear in a Dallas courtroom tomorrow to face charges of posessing child pornography, according to reports by NBC News.
In 2004, C-Span general counsel and Eagle Scout Bruce D. Collins wrote about the Boy Scouts, explaining what he felt were a number of contradictions in BSA policies. Mr. Collins’, whose column appears regularly in Legal Times, was unaware that his column, a copywritten work, was taken an reposted on the legal affairs website of the Boy Scouts.
The Boy Scout’s reply, drafted by the same official appearing in court on the child pornography charges, said, “Some intolerant elements in our society want to force scouting to abandon its values and to become fundamentally different. They want scouting to forego its constitutional rights, affirmed in 2000 by the Supreme Court in BSA v. Dale, and adopt fundamentally different values from the ones that helped shape the character of Mr. Collins and 106 million other young men over the past 94 years.”

My own scouting career started as a Cub scout until I graduated as a Weblo scout (back then, "We blow" had absolutely no twisted connotation, smartasses) and then onto boy scouts. Being an ambitious young man, I had my eyes on becoming an Eagle scout and entered into the "Order of the Arrow of Light". It was during the arduous weekend getting my Arrow of Light sash that I determined that I could do without the more militaristic elements of scouting and that I could camp out on my own without 20 or 30 morons spoiling my communion with nature.

Still, I would have recommended scouting to anyone had BSA not decided to become another hate-group. "Family values" means nothing to those mullahs (or means something extremely sick, per the citation above). If the Taliban continues to keep its grip on the scouts, Zeke won't become one of them. We'll do just fine camping as a family (as we do several dozen times every summer), a tolerant, compassionate, enlightened family. 99% of scouting is great but the 1% that preaches hate ruins the rest. The fact that such hate can be furthered by child-molesters makes it all the more troubling. They can keep their "family values" in the dark recesses of their rectums, my family will do just fine on our own, in the woods and far away from their scary bonfires and desire to become the Hitler Jugend for James Dobson.

As I've said in my political blog, it's a small minority of hate-filled morons who are giving all the good Christians a bad name. I've been trying to come up with a term for the Taliban asshats - the Bad Christians - who screw it up for the rest of the decent, loving, accepting Christians who are more concerned with being Christ-like than creating some kind of rabid, hate-filled Army of God.

I like "Fishists" (like "fascists" - get it?). Any thoughts?

-- 33 (end rant) --

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Holy Crap, Blogger Sucks

Listening to: Chemical Brothers, Push the Button

Blogger sucks and so does this sub-April weather. Is it rain? Is it snow? Bah.

Lillian could not wait to use her raincoat and umbrella today. Could. Not. Wait. It's all I heard from her when she saw the rain/snow falling this morning as a curtain of grey moved over us like the hoards of Mordor.

I said, "Looks like it's,"

"Time to wear my raincoat! And use my umbrella!"

To which Marni and Zeke agreed that yes, it was good weather to go outside with raincoats and umbrellas. Stomp in puddles. Make mud pies.

When I picked Lillian up from school, she appeared to be the only kid with a stylin' raincoat and umbrella. Had I been her, at her age, I would have been mortified if I'd been the only kid with saddled with those accoutrements. Not her. The fashion maven, she figures she is setting a trend. Quite possibly, she has.

All the other parents are going to hate me.

I tried to post last night and blogger was DOA. My post was hung up on the 'publish' screen for 20 minutes and never made it past "0% published". Surfing around, I saw that others were having the same problem. I'm wondering when Google is finally going to do something with this sad ass program.

I may consider another means of doing this if blogger continues its piss-poor performance.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Hello Skippy Readers

Listening to: Rilo Kiley, More Adventurous

Thanks to Skippy, more traffic and... well, I direct you to my previous post (where I was welcoming Feministe and Pandagon readers) to get some idea where you might want to start exploring.

Enough of the welcomes... later. I need to get the kids ready to take to Grandma's for a few hours while I make a few bucks (too few) but I'll be posting SOMETHING substantial later this evening.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Hello C&E Catholics and F&P (Feministe & Pandagon) Readers

Listening to: M.I.A., Arular

A big "mmmmmmmmmuah!" to Lauren at Feministe for giving me a nod and boosting traffic on this lil' ol' thing. Lauren pointed everyone towards Jane's excellent post here (hopefully, her first of many) but feel free to poke around, read, comment, make yourself at home. If you'd like some suggestions:
Read my Blogging For Books entry --> CLICK HERE
About the magic of daddy's kisses...
My love of opera!
Why I'm no longer in a rock band...
My inability to get quiet time on "the throne" :-(
My kids at breakfast
How my son was mauled by a dog and what that led to.
Remembering the ex at Christmas.
What I learned about love when Lilly was born...
Marni is Blue.

Now, a follow-up note on Amanda's posts over at Pandagon regarding Single Motherhood (HERE and HERE): although I believe Lauren's assertion that Amanda is an "ally" and I am in complete agreement that society is being twisted in a way that demonizes single mothers at the behest of furthering a patriarchal agenda, I'm still upset that Amanda has made her point by diminishing the role of fathers in parenting. I'll grant you that many fathers are bad men (just as I'll maintain that many mothers are bad women) but I find it hard to stand in unity with people who say, "Although we appreciate your support on this issue, let it be known that we don't value you nearly as much as the oppressed single mother." Having read both posts (several times), I stick to my initial conclusion, that bashing fathers as a means of making a point about single mothers merely draws on the same energy that is used by the hate-mongers on the right.

There is no doubt in my mind that single mothers face hurdles and derision that is unfair. However, I can tell that, as a single father, I have likewise been unfairly stigmatized and categorized. When I was unemployed and looked into assistance, agencies were pretty much unwilling to acknowledge that I had a meaningful relationship with my children (even though I had full custody) and was not only looked at with suspicion, the state actually launched an investigation to make sure I was not trying to bilk them out of a few meager dollars.

When Amanda is willing to acknowledge the system sucks for single PARENTS (and not make it a gender-specific issue), I'll give her due credit. Until then, I still find her rants sexist.

I was going to make some snide remarks about the idiots making noise down in Florida for a brain-dead woman while children are starving in this country but I'll leave off the rants. The kids are all dressed up and rarin' to go hunt Easter Eggs.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

A Week After Single Parent's Day, Single Parents Continue To Get Scorn From the Right and the Left

Listening to: Charlie Parker, Bird: The Savoy Recodings, Vol. I

Since I started this little blog, I've had several offers to join "father's rights" groups, invitations that I have sneeringly rejected. Once I looked into the missions of those groups, I saw that these groups were rabidly anti-woman and beholding to extremist "family values" organizations. As the father of two daughters intent on raising those daughters to believe they can be whatever they want to be, it's appalling to think there are men advocating for their right to "slap my bitch up" as some kind of religious dictate.

As you may have read in the article about me for Single Parents Day, a local school official favored "traditional two-parent families" over single-parent families. My response in the article to that statement was I thought it was complete bullshit.
“The traditional makeup is worthless unless there’s an emotionally stable and loving environment involved,” he said. “I think they’re better off in a household where there’s peace and consistency rather than the chaos of a marriage that’s crumbling.”

There's no doubt that single mothers have been the target of vicious and unfair enmity from the religious right. Fathers have been spared that bile mostly because we've been ignored but also because, I think, it's easier for a patriarchal society to kick women than men. It pisses me off that small-minded social conservatives choose to attack single moms rather than consider the welfare of the children. A woman getting out of an abusive or unhealthy marriage is not "selfish" but doing the sane thing - and doing what's best for her children.

However, when I read certain feminist perspectives on the issue of single parenting and those perspectives diminish the role of fathers, I get just as pissed off as I do by the medieval mutterings of right-wing mullahs. I was prompted to compose this rant by this particularly repulsive anti-fatherhood post by Amanda of at Pandagon because it makes me ask "Why?" I'm all for supporting single mothers against attacks by the stupidity and simplicity of so-called "family values" types but why does it have to be done at the expense of fathers? It seems to me that feminists like this indulge in the same kind of hate rhetoric (just a different flavor) that the drooling neanderthals on the right practice. Defending mothers by attacking fathers does nothing in the service of sane and compassionate dialogue.

Go read Amanda's article over at Pandagon and let me know if I'm off base. By no means do I consider myself one the anti-feminist rightards trolling her article at the moment but I find the anti-father slant sexist. And I'm pissed.

Guest Post: Jane Reuter

Jim's note: This is the first time I've posted someone else's work and as you read the essay below, you'll agree when I say I hope this is not the last time Jane makes a guest appearance.

In the wonderful world that is the blogosphere and the incredible journey that is life, I met Jane through the feature on me in the local paper - Jane being the reporter whi interviewed me and wrote the article! Since then, we've exchanged emails and a nice friendship has been blossoming. When Jane approached me with this essay idea (asking if I would like to write about it), I pled with her to write it because of the emotional immediacy and impact. A happy collaboration was born.

I'm sure you, dear reader, will be moved by Jane's addition to my blog.


My son doesn’t remember his father and I together. We separated when he was 14 months old, days after he took his first wobbling steps. Days, too, after a trip home to Wisconsin that was supposed to be about writing a book and ended up being the realization my marriage was over.

I left quickly, hoping Robby would not remember. Hoping, too, to leave while both my ex and I had enough youth and faith in love to find someone else.

Two years ago, when Robby was 7, my ex married again. She was childless, in her mid-40s and had had a hysterectomy. She had, I’m sure, resigned herself to the fact she would never have the children she’d always wanted.

Then, along came my ex, and with him the cuddly blond boy who is our son. My son.

My ex told me how much she loved Robby. He encouraged him, he said, to call her “Mom.” “He has two mothers now,” he said.

It seemed beyond anyone’s definition of grace for me to accept the idea.

My ex, I think, saw it as the surest way to enfold her into his life, put Robby at ease and complete his new family circle. I saw it as a clear and deep betrayal.

For Robby, however, it was not about biology but love - the more, the better. How lucky he was, I tried to tell myself, to have three parents now.

That Mother’s Day, I waited for the annual school project gift, the lovingly made, often homely offering created with the teacher’s guidance. It did not come.

When next I went by my ex’s house, I saw on an end table a homemade necklace – a plaster-of-Paris mold strung on a bright green ribbon. The mold was a rough depiction of a woman’s face framed by brown hair. Like me. Like his stepmother.

My ex told me Robby had given it to his wife. He said no more, but I heard the words hanging between us: “Instead of you.”

I called my mother, and cried to her from across the miles. Her voice cracked as she searched for words of comfort.

I wish I could say I let it go, sucked it up, simply felt bone-deep certainty that Robby knew well who his real mother was and that nothing and no one could alter our bond. But I did not. The pain seemed too great.

Instead, I talked to him. I asked him why he had given his Mother’s Day gift to her. She was his stepmom, I reminded him. Presents like that, I said, should go to your real mom.

He looked up at me, his brown eyes shiny with tears.

“But Mom,” he said, “she’s never had a Mother’s Day.”


Since then, my ex, his wife and I have settled into a fairly comfortable relationship. We’ve sat three-in-a-row through Christmas programs, parent/teacher conferences and karate lessons, adjusted schedules around 4-H and Cub Scouts, and stopped arguing about who pays for what.

We have all learned to bend. Sometimes beyond, as my yoga instructor insists, the point of flexibility.

Last week, heading back from our weekly pick-up point, Robby gave me another gift.

“I was just thinking,” he said, “how lucky I am to have three parents.”

“How so?” I asked.

“Well, Sherry’s teaching me about drawing. Dad teaches me how to fix things. And you …” He frowned. “I’m trying to think what you teach me. Maybe about computers.”

And maybe, I hoped, a little something about flexibility.

Robby smiled brightly. I laughed.
How lucky indeed.

Friday, March 25, 2005

All Blogged Up With Blogging Blogged-Up Blogger

Listening to: U2, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

Dammit, I need to install HaloScan because BLOGGER CAN'T GET IT'S SHIT TOGETHER. Damn, it's really pissing me off. A couple of people have emailed telling me they can't comment. My fear is that my old comments will disappear (there's some real gems posted!).

Thing is, I'm using a non-Blogger template and I don't know if I can install and run Haloscan in it. I've made a few attempts but it just doesn't look right.

I just wish Blogger would frikkin work, that's really all I want...

Dammit, this isn't how I wanted to spend my Friday night!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

In Dire Need of Some Creative Laxative

Listening to: Stevie Wonder, Innervisions

X has had the kids all week for Spring Break and with that, all my inspiration has been used up. "Creative constipation" I call it and the feeling of being blocked up is unbearable. Sluggish, cranky, a vague feeling of "bleh", oh how I pine for some regularity. Just sit down and DUMP.

All day I've been looking at my blogger template, wondering, hoping, "Am I ready? Can I do this or am I just going to sit, sit, sit, thinking, wishing, grunting, screwing my face up and trying to force something out? I should drink some coffee, that works sometimes, eat a bran muffin... don't think about it and something will happen."

Yeah. Half way to work and five minutes behind schedule, that's when it hits. Drive like a maniac to get to work and go straight to my "office", lock the door and ignore the pounding of my co-workers, "HEY! Are you alive? I need to get in there some time today, alright? Can you hurry this up and let the rest of us get in there?"

No one likes that, especially me. I prefer to blog in relative peace and definitely not at the expense of my co-worker's comfort because, well, you know they're standing out in the hall whispering, "he couldn't blog at home?"

On the way to work or in the shower, too. Oh, I love a nice long hot shower and suddenly, having the urge to blog, massively - well, rinse off and RUN, sitting there, soaking wet and shivering while the words pass, painlessly. I've filled entire posts like that.

Time for a glass of red wine... and a bran muffin. We'll see what passes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Tonight's Group's Homework

Listening to: Rolling Stones, Let It Bleed

Of all my DUI groups, my Tuesday night group is my favorite. They're active, motivated, they have a kind of energy that feeds itself. They make me stop and think. We have fun.

The state of Colorado gives me a kind of curriculum to follow but the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division gives me some latitude on how to run those groups. Tonight, I started on to the theme of Self-Esteem. The past few weeks I've been taking baby steps towards this topic because, really, no one likes to think their self-esteem is shot to shit. Everyone wants everyone else to believe that everything's just peachy.

Get a DUI and things change, profoundly. None of it good but unless you want to do jail time, it gets done. Unfortunately, little else gets done, the need to work extra to pay fines or arrange how to get to therapy groups takes away from life. That's good, in fact, I'd prefer the DUI laws were harsher, like in Europe (insert comment here about how Europe has better mass transportation and hey, open a whole new can of worms) but it's bad in that what we normally do to get validated gets neglected.

Enough psychobabble. I charged my group to set some little goals, accomplish them, create validation - you probably see where I was going with that. One clown said his goal was to get more sleep and he couldn't accomplish that but otherwise, everyone was earnest in their assignment. And everyone agreed, I did it and I feel better.

We are what we do.

Kind of the emphasis of my next-to-last post 'love' the verb, not the noun, participate and love that. With this week's group, I said take that accomplishment and mark it up as how it defines you because 'you' are the sum total of your experiences. What you've become as a result. Where you live, what race, religion, team you allign yourself to, what you drive - diagram your identity. Take away your name, could people know it was you by these qualities?

I have a file, "100 Things About Me", the original meme, and I'll probably die before mine is finished. "About me" shifts because I do, I deide to and then I do it. Or I don't. I - the 'I' that I believe in - is, in essence, a shadow dancing on the wall. Or at least, that's what I tell the charges in my group.

What's you favortite color? Do you look good in green? What's your favorite song? Are you becoming or are you just are?

Just are. What a wretched place to be.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A Shameless Hit Whore and the Daily Post Conundrum

Listening to: Beastie Boys, Paul's Boutique

First of all, I should acknowledge to you that we can all thank The Buzzcocks for being probably the only band to rhyme 'conundrum' in a song ("Boredom"). With that little factoid out of the way, we can get down to the business of yet another senseless post.

For my blog's stats, I use StatCounter and I have to say that I'm really happy with the service (it helps that it's FREE). It gives you some interesting stats about who has viewed you. Today I was viewed by the US Senate Sergeant at Arms! Holy shit! Am I in some kind of trouble?!?

If Big Brother wants to view me, my ass is hairy. Furry. It's a Hobbit ass.

I've noticed quite a bit of traffic from federal agencies. Our tax dollars at work.

Another thing that gets me are the visits resulting from the nifty Blogger 'Next Blog' button. Sometimes I'll check a referring link and find out it's some Brazilian blog or blog about breeding Terriers or some teenage Marilyn Manson fan contemplating suicide. For those about to rock, I salute you.

Another senseless post and thank you for your indulgence. Now a 'Ctrl + A' and a 'Ctrl + C' (to ward off the Blogger demons) and I bid you sweet adieu...

Monday, March 21, 2005

Post Not About the Previous Posts That Were All Posts About Posting

Listening to: Brian Wilson, Smile

Nothing about blogs, now, shhhhh, not a word. No more self-indulgence, no mention of my beaming with good fortune nor nary a word about my hacking cough. Nix that sh-tuff.

Tonight I'm looking at an empty room where my girls would be sleeping. Beds empty where angels normally slumber, where I would stand and brush my fingers gently on cheeks and brows, watching them breathe, pulling a blanket over them and wishing them sweet dreams. Tonight there's a clean room, a room that would normally hold disarray, dolls and doll clothes scattered amongst crayons and cars and plastic dinosaurs and books about kitties. In the corner a blue light would glow, a shield against the dark things that creep when daddy sleeps. The room is tidy and empty; so is my heart.

By about this time Zeke would wake up, crying a little, "I want my baw-toe," or just a rock in my retro day-glo orange chair. It would be here where I would walk away from this, blogging, attend to him, out of myself and my writing, indulge him, another love, my kids all get their own love.

I firmly believe there are many different kinds of love. "Love" is a big word for a big emotion and it's difficult for me to confine it to a narrow definition. I love my children and I love cold fried chicken on a hot summer's day. They're two different types of love and neither diminishes the extent of the other. Obviously one is more important than the other, I wouldn't sacrifice my life for cold fried chicken; still, I might kill for it some day in July.

For awhile, I had a profile on a single parent's dating site. It took me about a year after my marriage tanked to feel comfortable with putting myself on the market. Obviously, mistakes had been made and I didn't want to repeat them. With the internet I figured I could read someone, start the search from the inside out, we could start our long and involved conversation well before our first candlelit dinner.

Many of the women on those sites say "my children come first and you must know that" and although I knew that, I figured that's not someone I wanted to get to know. Yes, I could appreciate the sentiment but in the search for a true partnership, those were not the words I would be looking for.

What I'm looking for? Passion. Damn shake the plaster off the walls grab some in the bushes or in the backseat of the car in the airport parking lot teeth whistling in the wind with screaming Stratocaster feedback fearless, unashamed passion. Surprises in pockets, little letters, panties, flowers, lyrics, a chocolate kiss specifying where the next kiss will be. The pilot light never goes out when both parties have a torch.

Someone never far from my mind such that, when I might look at a drop-dead gorgeous woman I would think, "Oh yes, nice, very nice, mmmmmmm... but it's not HER."

Someone with whom I would find a mutual, endless fascination. Someone who gives me a "Wow, I never knew that," at least once a day, a lab partner for life. Someone who says, "Let me read you this," and moves me - sometimes. When it doesn't, we argue, parry a little, jibe, and then fall back, fall back in love, again, again, again and again and again and again. A life of discovery and falling in love.

The fountain is with her and me. Overflowing, more abundant with every passing minute, more than enough to go around, to share, manna for all takers. With that kind of abundance, the kids will be taken care of, more than satisfied, sated. They, in turn, will also have it to give, abundantly, freely, without condition or judgement or even a second thought, here it is, it's beyond belief but here it is, take some, better to give than receive.

That kind of love, that immensity, it evolves, it finds places to thrive in and explodes, exponential, beyond comprehension or quantification, capcious and infinite in potential. Don't worry about the kids, they're not just provided for, they're digging it. So let's get busy, baby.

My kids know my love. It is intense and concerned and not the love of my future partner. And my kids know that they will not be neglected by my love for HER. The late night visits to look, to touch, to wonder, to hope, to turn down the music and the blinds, well, none of that will stop. The kids are alright.

Another Big Day at Patriside as I Get Called a "Winner" and the Flu Gets Forgotten

Listening to: M.I.A., Arular

Read my WINNING ENTRY for Blogging For Books --> CLICK HERE

I'm flattered, honored, speechless (well, I won't go that far), and beaming at being chosen as a winner in this month's Blogging For Books competition. I'm giddy with glee. Thanks to all the folks who left kind and loving comments on that post, your words brought a smile to my face and a flame to my heart.

Gwendolen Gross, the guest author judging the contest, had the nicest things to say about my entry:
Patriside's entry wins not because of the DeLillo shadow (Underworld wasn't my favorite DeLillo, but you have managed a fine shadow-box of his syntax, kudos!), but because of this scrumptious sentence: "She stirred her Honey Nut Cheerios humming softly, sometimes sticking the hooves of a toy Pegasus into the Oh's, oblivious to the snow outside and her daddy watching her." Yup. I was ready to send out a book as soon as I read that. Congratulations!

After the mention in yesterday's paper, I feel like I'm on a roll. Figures the universe would deem it necessary to hit me with a nasty flu bug. Gotta keep everything close to the center, eh? Anyway, with the luck of the past couple of days, I'm almost forgetting that I feel like shit-under-heel. But I have to say that events of the past two days have made this bug almost bearable.

Again, thanks to everyone, Jay, Gwendolen, Jane (at the Gazette Telegraph) and all my tip-top regular readers/supporters who make writing this blog an unqualified joy! Of course, my kids... my source of elation and inspiration.

Sorry folks, I'm really a-buzz.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

My Big Day Goes South

Listening to: Arcade Fire, Funeral

Read my Blogging For Books entry --> CLICK HERE

My six A.M. wake up call did not go well at all but what can you do? Shuffling blindly to the kitchen to start my coffee, standing under the shower head trying to eke some life out of my dead ass, it had to be done. By the time I got to work (a nine A.M. therapy group), I realized I was sick AGAIN.

Body aches, sore throat, chills... WTF? This winter has been brutal with colds/flu/yuck and I'm getting fed up with it. Really. Enough already.

By the time I got home, I was barely able to put up that last post. I'd hoped the article in today's Gazette would drive a considerable amount of traffic my way but it didn't pan out that way. I was gleefully anticipating huge numbers and they never materialized. So much for local celebrity.

So I spent the rest of the day in bed, sleeping and trying to read "Underworld". Popping Advil and Sudafed, drinking green tea and shivering under the covers. Yeesh. Fortunately X has the kids a few extra days (Spring Break) which gives me permission to lay around and feel sorry for myself (and you ask, "So what's new?").

C'mon Spring, I'm ready for ya'.

Gazette-Telegraph Article

Single-parent holiday spreads love

Manitou Springs man writes blog for support

Gone are the days when a single parent was a social oddity, but that fact can seem like cold comfort to those facing daily parental challenges alone.

Jim McQuiggin’s days are a merry-go-round of trials and delights.

On a recent chaotic morning, he pried dried Froot Loops from his kitchen floor. Then he found his 2-year-old son in the living room tearing covers from two cherished books. Almost simultaneously, his 6- and 4-yearold daughters broke into screams of outrage when both reached for the same doll.

“It can be harrowing sometimes,” said McQuiggin, a thera- pist who lives in Manitou Springs, “but it’s a constant joy.”

McQuiggin’s a prime example of the many moms and dads who Janice Moglen had in mind when she proposed Single Parents Day. Moglen started the tribute, celebrated in Colorado today, in the mid ’80s.

JERILEE BENNETT, THE GAZETTE - Jim McQuiggin greets his daughter, Lillian as she comes out of the pool after her swimming lessons. Marni and Ezekial sit on their father’s lap.

Moglen, 63, raised her two now-grown children largely on her own. She struggled constantly to find child care, which was not readily available in the 1970s.

Her circle of friends repeatedly saved the day.

Moglen had sporadic success in gaining recognition for Single Parents Day. Congress declared Single Parents Day in 1984. Since then, Colorado’s governors also have recognized March 21 as a day to honor single parents. Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera signed a proclamation supporting it. Moglen’s goal is to make it a national event celebrated the third Sunday of every March.

About 9 percent of American households are run by single moms, another 2 percent by single dads, according to 2000 statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and other national agencies. The figure is lower in El Paso County, where single moms run 7 percent of the homes, 2000 census figures show. County figures do not include single dads.

In 2002, 28 percent of the nation’s children lived with a single parent.

Moglen believes those parents still face fading stereotypes that they live at or near poverty level, and that their children are less successful adults than those raised in two-parent families.

“The majority of single parents are middle-class women living in suburbs who raise their children to be happy adults,” Moglen said.

Her son and daughter are both happily married with successful careers, she said. She points to a long list of wellknown single parents, including Virgina Kelley, mother of former President Bill Clinton.

Colorado Springs School District 11 board member Willie Breazell incited some debate about family structures last year. He asked the board to adopt a resolution that the district make a central goal “the definition, defense, maintenance and nourishment of stable, heterosexual, twoent families.”

Breazell said he had no intention of slamming single parents. His son and daughter are both raising children on their own.

“I know examples of single parents who’ve been very successful in raising their children,” he said. “But if the situation were ideal, I think the child benefits from the traditional man/woman relationship.”

Moglen agrees.

“Two happy individuals working together to raise the children — that’s the best of all worlds,” she said. “But it’s not the reality in many cases. We have to focus on the healthy family, rather than the number of parents. Where there’s love, a family is whole. Where there’s love, no home is broken.”

McQuiggin says the environment in which his children now live — spending about half their time with each parent — is better than that of the home he shared with his ex-wife.

“The traditional makeup is worthless unless there’s an emotionally stable and loving environment involved,” he said. “I think they’re better off in a household where there’s peace and consistency rather than the chaos of a marriage that’s crumbling.”

McQuiggin shares his thoughts on single parenting on a Web blog, Other single parents chime in. It helps, he said, to know he’s not alone.

Someday, Moglen hopes greeting card companies will make cards celebrating Single Parents Day. Meanwhile, she suggests there’s an ideal Single Parents Day gift.

“We’re not looking for chocolates or flowers,” she said. “Give us baby-sitting.”

Publication:The Gazette; Date:Mar 20, 2005; Section:Metro; Page Number:35

Happy Single Parents Day!

Listening to: Front 242, Front By Front

Read my Blogging For Books entry --> CLICK HERE

Welcome Gazette Telegraph readers! Feel free to poke around, comment, and be sure to check out the links of my friends - most of them do a much better job of this than I do!

A special thanks to Jane Reuter for the excellent article in today's paper. I think you can view the article by clicking HERE

Anyway, new readers, if I was going to introduce you to me and my charges, I'd point you to these "greatest hits" For what it's worth):
About the magic of daddy's kisses...
My love of opera!
Why I'm no longer in a rock band...
My inability to get quiet time on "the throne" :-(
Kids at breakfast
How my son was mauled by a dog and what that led to.
Remembering the ex at Christmas
What I learned about love when my oldest was born...
If you've made it through those, I assume you'll seek out the rest. I hope you enjoy your stay here and you'll keep coming back.

The community of parent bloggers here is AWESOME. Again, please check out the sites I've linked over on the right.

Anyway, a happy Single Parents Day to all us single parents; easy on the champagne, folks!

More tonight!

Friday, March 18, 2005

More Picture Fun With Picasa® For Your Viewing Pleasure

Listening to: Asian Dub Foundation, Various Downloads Collected Burned on Disk

Read my Blogging For Books entry --> CLICK HERE

We met with the photographer from the Gazette-Telegraph (our local paper) yesterday. She called during my DUI therapy group (where I'm the therapist, NOT a participant, you wags) so caught me a little off guard and I scheduled the photo session in conflict with Lilly's swimming lessons. That kind of worked out because we'd scheduled to meet at a local park (I barred her from photographing us in my war-torn house) but decided to do the session over at the municipal pool. The uber-sweet photographer promised to forward pics to me and i'll post those as soon as I get them.

In lieu of those pics, I wanted to share this with you:

The kind of fun they're having in NYC and why I need to go....

If I somehow managed to win the Men's Health "All-Star Dad" contest (yes I linked that so you could go and nominate me) and the resulting trip to New York City, I will pony up for tickets to go see "Spamalot" where we'll all have a jolly old time.

Ever since I was 13, I've been a Python Head, when I stumbled across them on PBS. By the time I was in high school, myself and a few other Python geeks would careen through the halls quoting various Python skits verbatim. The measure of esteem in my high school geek-squad was not one's backseat prowess or level of popularity in the social hierarchy but how many Python skits one could cite on cue.

I can imagine my final breaths on my death bed: "I'm not dead yet!"

Fun With Picasa® and The Real Winner of the 10,000 Screenshot

Listening to:

Read my Blogging For Books entry --> CLICK HERE

Showing the 10,000 screenshot provided by Kayde at Hasting's Place presents me with the opportunity to talk a little about her blog.

We have a winner, folks!

Although I don't consider my blog to be remotely that-big-a-deal, my readership numbers are respectable enough to feel the need to push traffic towards blogs I feel should have more recognition. Kayde's blog is definitely one of those. Kayde writes with a raw honesty that is disarming. She is not afraid to put her heart on her sleeve and say exactly what's on her mind. She is always a good read.

So, thank you Kayde and a mix awaits you!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Gettin' It Done

Listening to: Sisters of Mercy, Vision Thing

Read my Blogging For Books entry --> CLICK HERE


Our local newspaper just contacted me regarding "Single Parents Day" and interviewed me about being a single father. The reporter said the feature should run in Sunday's paper. I told her about the blog (and she asked for the URL) so we'll see if they run it and if featuring the URL boosts traffic here. A photographer is supposed to be contacting me the next day to get pics of the kids and me.

My 15 minutes of fame for the sake of playing cheerleader for "Single Parents Day".

The reporter asked me I supported the idea of Single Parents Day and I had to admit that I hadn't given it much thought. Sure, it's great that single parents get some recognition but frankly, as a single dad of three small children, I don't have a lot of time to think about what a Single Parents Day might mean. I doubt it means a day of vacation for all us single parents but sure, I'm down with the idea no matter what it means.

A mix goes to Cinnabar1 for sending me a screenshot. Close enough for daddy, Cinnabar1 gets the goods with her screen capture of 10,001

The close up reveals what appears to be the number '10,001' but looks more like alien alphabet.

Hey, indulge me. This is a big damned deal for me. As such, Cinnabar1 earns one of my bad-ass mixes. Busy Mom, too because she was in on this and effort counts for something.

And another thing - Rebel Dad points us to a contest by Men's Health magazine for "All-Star Dad" the winning dad getting a trip for four to the Big Apple. 100 words or less on the essay. Send me there so I can slap around some NYC Daddy Bloggers for not linking me.

Mixing It Up Sans Snow & Ice

Listening to: Ms. 10,000's Mix CD, suckahz

Trying to clean up the wreckage left by the three whirling dervishes that spin endlessly through this place is a Herculean task except that when I finally get that boulder up to the summit, it rolls right over me on its way back to the bottom.

While in the kitchen, trying to pry dried fruit loops from the floor, Zeke gets busy tearing up the covers of books within his reach. Where did he get this? I dunno, neither of his sisters were especially destructive when it came to books but he seems to have some inherent need to destroy my library. God, I hope he's not destined to become some witch-hunt minded fundamentalist nutjob drooling over the prospect of a bonfires-for-books. The little nazi punk (insert your favorite Dead Kennedy's lyric here).

Exiled to his room, rolled in a blanket and reminded that daddy is not happy with how he treats daddy's books, Zeke looks at me with eyes that say, Yes, I know I screwed up and a nice nap is what I need to put this nasty business behind me. Well, Mr. Snark, you're getting off easy with a nap. You could be forced to watch The Care Bears® video another 17 times today.

I just posted a comment to answer Eccentric Dad's question about disciplining children and realized that putting Zeke in his room is a good example of my posted advice. Zeke wants to stay up and play but tearing up books denies him that right.

The spank/don't spank controversy seems silly to me. If you want to spank your kids, go ahead, it's just not my style. I was spanked, popped in the head, and slapped my entire childhood and found that it only made me defiant. When I got to big for smacks to have any real effect, my attitude was, "Whatcha' gonna' do to me now?" My way of thinking says that Behavioral Modification techniques require creativity.

Any input on this will be appreciated by I don't want a "spare the rod" pissing match, I just don't have the patience for that. Push me and by God, you'll go to your room.

I need a nap.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Tech Stuff For Ten Grand, Alex, and Other Odds & Ends

Listening to: The Kinks, The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society

Taking a cue from an observation over at Atrios, I just had to put this Kinks masterpiece in the CD player and get happy with it, all over again.

So Cinnabar1 sent me a screen-shot of hit 10,001, close enough to get her a CD. However, her screen shot was forwarded in MS Word. All you geeks out there, here's my question: how can I convert that file into a JPEG short of taking my own screenshot of the Word file and then playing with it in Photoshop? Do I have to offer another mixed CD to get a good answer?

At this rate, it will be 30 months before the 100,000 mark; however, I hope I'll be driving more traffic this way (and to some other daddy bloggers) by way of Liberal Oasis. I emailed Bill Scher over there, I'd noticed he had liberal Mom blogs linked but no dad blogs. He was very cool about my concerns and said he'd be happy to list and link liberal dads. I recommended myself, daddychip2, Hank's Place, Dad Talk, Rebel Dad, and Blog d'Elisson as dad blogs that lean left on a semi-regular basis. I even recommended Laid-Off Dad and Metrodad, even though those unbearable snobs refuse to link me. If you're a dad blogger leaning left (and you occasionally post liberal view points) and I neglected your blog, let me know so I can shout out for you at Liberal Oasis.

Grace, you need to rattle Bill's cage. Your blog is far too good (and overtly liberal) to not make the Liberal Oasis list of mom blogs. Heather and Jen, too, too good to neglect (but not as punchy liberal).

To my right-y friends, I did mention to Bill that we have a cool little community and although many of us on the right and left post our opinions on political matters, we do it civilly, without rancor or bile. My intention is not to create any divisions, I'm just trying to drive some well-deserved traffic to friends. Likewise, my libertarian friends, no offense intended but then, while InstaPundit will link The Zero Boss, Glenn Reynolds ain't gonna' ever link lil' ol' me :-).

Not that I'd deal well with the trollage.

I just realized that, with all the linkage here, my blogshares are going to rally. Buy now.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Mad Traffic

Listening to: Led Zeppelin, III

Actually, "Immigrant's Song" always tugs at me when the weather is like this. Vicious, clamped in winter's clenched teeth and abused like a sock monkey in a Rotty's mouth, a cruel revenge from angry Canadians. Goddamned cold and relentless snow but not lots of accumulation. Not big March flakes so much as tiny darts of icy pain, not enough snow to play in but enough to coat the roads with an idiot-killing glaze.

Colorado drivers really aren't that bad. Most of the lunatic maneuvers I witnessed on my way home were out-of-state plates, the "Why are you people driving so slow?" crowd followed immediately by the "Holy fuck!" crowd, the same ones spinning through intersections and diving into ditches. The soon-to-find-out how much a new grill costs in Colorado crowd. There's gold out here on these here highways, cowboy.

By all means, please - tailgate me, Mr. Florida nitwit. Baby needs new shoes.

Loading the kids into the minivan after work, I laid down the law, no talking to do daddy while he drives tonight. Lilly has a tendency to get chatty on the drive home from Oma's, "What did that bumper sticker say, daddy?,"
"Daddy. what star is that, up there?".
"Daddy, why are you asking that man to drive like a maniac dumbass?"

The topic is, snowy and cold, talk amongst yourselves, daddy needs to drive.

Mad traffic here, too, when we returned home and I checked the computer, coming up on 10,000 hits with a quickness. Thank god for B4B, it's knocked my stats up more than 100%, all I had to do was write. No getting across town, no throwing hand signs at other drivers, no yakky kids. Just post something and... um, no I don't think it's that easy.

Indeed, it's harder than a cross-town drive. As such, # 10,000 gets a big friggin CD.

Anyway, more than the numbers, I was elated by the comments. You people are the best, really. I want to give you all a big sloppy kiss.

Talk amongst yourselves.

Another Groovy Dude Joins The Coalition of the Willing To Be Associated With My Lame Ass

Listening to: John Prine, Great Days: The John Prine Anthology

The uber-awesome Philip at The Blue Sloth has finally succumbed to Patrisidal insanity and linked me and, as 3 or 4 of us who are regulars here know, I make a big damn deal about getting linked. It's an honor that folks who actually have decent blogs link lil' ol' me.

The shameless offer of a CD mix seems to have created a bump in traffic. That, and my entry into B4B has garnered some very sweet comments. Banner day here on my blog.

Now, I'm off to work, a therapy session with a 17-soon-to-be-18-year old kid whose parents expect me to counsel for the sake of making him not act like an 18-year old kid. My sessions with him amount to essentially, "Find something you really like, stick with it, endow some passion into it, and when you're 30, you'll appreciate this advice."

Then it's teaching state-mandated "Driving Sensibly" education for DUI offenders. That means reading to them from the state-mandated "Don't Drink and Drive" book followed by 90 minutes of my finger-wagging and tsk-tsking about drinking and driving. Sometimes showing a "Highway of Death" video, surfing the net while they watch an hour of carnage.

When I get back here, tonight, after I get the wee ones bathed and abed, I'll start working on that CD.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Hubris For Books

Listening to: Solomon Burke, Greatest Hits

FINALLY got my Marni's birthday post done - gave it too much work and it shows, I'm afraid. It's a relief to have it done.

I'm edging closer to my first blog landmark, 10,000 hits since I added the counter in late November. Since I don't have t-shirts, mugs, or other Patriside doo-dads, I'm offering one of my awesome mix CDs to the person who sends me a screen shot of the 10,000th page load.


Friday, March 11, 2005

My Pixie Turns Four Years Old in the Days of the Lion and the Lamb

Listening to: The "Happy 4th Birthday, Marni" CD I mixed!

NOTE: I started this a few days back but as I got into it, figured it would be as good as any post for taking another shot at blogging for books. March's theme,
For Blogging for Books #9, write a blog post about any incident in your life in the style of your favorite author. The author can specialize in either fiction or nonfiction, and can even be another blogger.

Since I'm reading Don DeLillo's Underworld, I think I'm into his rhythms although I'm not a tenth of the writer he is. Nonetheless, his style has definitely influenced me the past few days and I hope you'll be brutal in your critique.

My Pixie Turns Four Years Old in the Days of the Lion and the Lamb

It was an April day yesterday, a February day today and that's how March is. Something one day and then something else the next, seeming never quite itself and yet, something more. A month of paradox and complexity, the hint of potential hidden beneath an inch of snow, the silent struggle for survival within a dying season's slipping grasp on a present that's snatched away by the inevitability of another beginning.

I kissed her cheek and told her. "Happy Birthday, Pixie! You're four-years old today!"

"I'm Four, today," she replied, brightly, taking a moment from the cereal bowl in front of her, happy more for the kiss than for the news.

Marni went back to her breakfast, distracted, as if conjuring some distant memory, what it was like being two, what it was like being born, what it was like being four the time before. Half-happy, knowing, bittersweet greeting to another baby step towards the world of us, we, fretters, toilers - the serious. An old soul, she realizes her days of fantasy and imaginary friends are numbered, like a March snowflake, wet and falling fast with its own weight, a tiny light crystalized to be carried on the wind and then, silently disappear. Too soon checking sums on hours worked and what’s left over after the bills are paid but there’s now, she knows, four no longer three and a thousand other things to see today, a thousand things to be.

She stirred her Honey Nut Cheerios humming softly, sometimes sticking the hooves of a toy Pegasus into the Oh's, oblivious to the snow outside and her daddy watching her. Both lost in our focus, our commitment to that instant, that then, that there; all of those and nothing else. She’s thinking of being in the milk, beneath the floating Oh’s, Piscean, swimming in her Marni perfection, dark blue and briny deep, inscrutable, silent, beyond Gollum’s grasping fingers and singing the almost imperceptible tune hummed while her spoon swirls around her bowl.

Across from her, Zeke’s head is down, he’s scooping heaping spoonfuls of cereal into his mouth, trying to ignore that it’s his sister’s birthday. He wants it to be his birthday but if he asked and had something decent to trade, she’d give up her day, she’s just not too concerned about the whole thing. Presents, sure, cool, give me those and let me have your stuffed alligator and the rest of it is yours. Let me swim in my milk, let me see with new eyes somewhere where I have not been, show me something new or let me stir this spoon through my universe.

Breakfast ends and I clear the table, rinse bowls and spoons, put them in the dishpan. Marni and Zeke go into the living room to watch “Blue’s Clues” and this day, the first day of Marni’s fourth year, unfolds like almost every day before it, unremarkable, hackneyed even, kids in front of the TV, dad at the sink doing dishes, the kiss and remark about turning four already a dim memory. Four years ago, this day was monumental, my life changing with another life beginning and every moment of that day is chiseled into my mind like the carefully hewn hieroglyphs on the walls of an ancient tomb. That day I looked out the window from my wife’s room into an unremarkable early March sky, thinking how I would remember that day forever, promising that I would not take that moment for granted.

Lifting my gaze from the suds in the dishpan, I looked out the window to see that it stopped snowing, the sun struggling through the cloud cover to cast light on the thin coating of snow covering the lawn. Time for change, the caprice of March, renewal lunges onward as winter slips once again into the past. Time for a new promise, to not take another moment for granted, not just marking new growth up on the wall but scrawling it indelibly in my mind, Marni is four and it will not pass unnoticed.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Free Speech, Filthy Lucre and Foul Politicos Found in Compromising Situation With Fuzzy Morality

Listening to: Brahms, String Quartet in G

Anyone who knows me knows I'm no prude, by any means. Get me started with some wink-wink nudge-nudge about a little of the in-and-out and you're in for a blue streak. In such cases, my potty mouth runneth over. If you know your Chaucer, think of the Lady of Bath, think of her bath, and think of me with a snorkel and mask. Diver's mask, Zorro mask, I'm down with it all (and yes, pun intended shamelessly).

What I'm not down with is porn. Oh, I've seen my share of it and it's not like it makes me blush or fall into a fit of apoplexy or rant about the decline of society but it's never been anything that's aroused much in me. Now that I'm the father of two daughters, it's a little troublesome. The objectification of women in most porn is disturbing to me. It's difficult for me to watch a woman degraded while I think, "That's someone's little girl." Takes all the fun out of it, to say the least.

While I may dislike porn, I hate hypocrisy. My own objection to porn does not extend so far that I think it should be outlawed since I'm pretty sure that there are many more dangerous things in the world. If I don't like it, I can choose not to view it and it's not place to say what you can or can't watch. Unfortunately, there are too many politicians who want to legislate and restrict what resides on our computers or what goes into our DVD players. Unfortunately for them, they're apparently sluts for campaign contributions (via Atrios):
Washington, DC, -- Earlier today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released a report Addicted to Porn: Members of Congress Accept Political Contributions from Porn Purveyors. The report details how 15 Members of Congress, including 11 Representatives and four Senators, all of whom revile pornography, have accepted campaign contributions from corporations and executives who derive substantial profits from selling pornography.

The report contains four sections: 1) how companies make money from pornography; 2) which companies have PACs that make campaign contributions; 3) which Members of Congress receive these contributions; and 4) the quotes of Members of Congress named in the report who have publicly condemned pornography. In addition, an appendix to the report details the contributions made from corporations and executives to Members of Congress.
Cong. Fred Upton, who leads the charge against indecency, accepted over $56,000.
Arizona Senator John McCain, who claimed to be the "anti-porn" presidential candidate in ads that ran prior to the South Carolina primary, pocketed $46,000 from corporations and executives who profit from porn.
Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director referred to Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) as "the biggest hypocrite of all" for having written a letter to former Vice President Al Gore demanding that he return a contribution from an adult entertainment web site and for sanctimoniously ranting at Viacom executives that they cared more about profits than morality, despite accepting $47,000 in porn profits.
A copy of the report can be found on the web at or contact Naomi Seligman at

If you're going to run your mouth about restricting 1st Amendment rights, you'd better be prepared to walk your talk. I know, a bit much to ask from a politician but watching who walks their talk on election day is not a bad way to vet a candidate.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Another Blogger Joins the Esteemed List of Nino-Lovers and Drops From That Which Shall Not Be Named

Listening to: The Young Rascals, Groovin'

Say hello to Aqua-Melina, a woman I've long admired, read, and often drooled over but who has, until today, neglected my sick and needy desire for reciprocation. It would be senseless to go into the sleepless nights I've spent wondering "Why? Why?" but the comely and comedic Melina has finally assured me that I can sleep well, tonight.

Now, if I could only use these powers of pusuasion to prevent my children from taking magnetic letters off the refrigerator door and sticking them into the tape slot of my VCR.

Go see Melina and express your ecstatic joy at her having finally given me the love we all know I need.

In other news, I'm still hammering away at Marni's Birthday Post, doing so in the spirit of The Zero Boss "Blogging For Books" contest. It didn't start out that way but as I got into typing my thoughts about my middle one turning four-years old, it occured to me that my style was echoing what I was reading in William Faulkner's "Go Down, Moses" (read piece-meal during my daily constitutional). Hopefully that will be done tonight and you can let me know if I'm anywhere near Faulknerian stream-of-consciousness.

Oh wait. I should probably be conscious to let it stream. Damn.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Shamelessly Hedging a Post While I Paint My Masterpiece

Listening to: The Band, Music From the Big Pink

Doing my King of Kute routine today as it is my middle one's fourth birthday. I will be posting that piece forthwith (after I do the finger-wagging and tongue-lashing thing at DUI offenders as I'm paid to do). In the interim, a friend sent me a pretty cute joke.

E-jokes are usually lame (and no better than "FW: Young Caroton Beauties Fucekd so hard" spam) but this friend sends the goods. Worthy enough to pass onto you all:
A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and
spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The woman below replied, "You're in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude."

"You must be in Information Technology," said the balloonist.

"I am," replied the woman, "How did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is, technically correct, but I've no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If anything, you've delayed my trip."

The woman below responded, "You must be in Management."

"I am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?"

"Well," said the woman, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You have risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you've no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it's my fault."


Until the King of Kute returns....

Monday, March 07, 2005

Doing My Part to Piss Off the Religious Right

Listening to: Uncle Tupelo, No Depression

No sooner had I posted the last piece when the following arrived in my email:
This is to communicate the final details of the counter-protest on Friday March 11 against the hate group Westboro Baptist Church. (Their website pretty much explains why their awful

The hate group has its picket set for 7:15 am, so we are planning to get there at around 6:30am. This way we can fill up all of the good sidewalk spots before they even arrive.

Here's the thing: This group makes a good amount of its income by suing people who assualt them. That means that no matter how mad they
make you, you CANNOT get tricked into physically throwing, hitting, shoving etc... because you will only be helping them to keep this kind of crap up.

There is a lot of community involvement popping up and Colorado College has offered free coffee, tea, and doughnuts at the McHugh Commons (on CC about 6 blocks away) from 6 am to 6:30 if anyone is interested.

The protest is at Palmer High School on the corner of Nevada and Platte, downtown. (There is a parking grage on Cascade and Tejon a couple of blocks away if you can't find a spot near the school.) As far as a meeting place, we have not designated one because it isn't that big of an area. If you want to be specifically with SSJ (and who wouldn't?) look for a big banner. Bring your own signs and banners if you like!

Email any questions you have to and we look forward to a big turnout.

Hasta la victoria siempre,

Students for Social Justice

Too damn early but I'll be there, anyway, a handful of valium to keep me from being the defendant in a lawsuit. If I'm going to rant about hateful shitheads like I did in my last post, I'd better be prepared to walk my talk.

What was that line in Blazing Saddles, Gene Wilder to Clevon Little? "Simple people, the salt of the Earth. You know -- morons...." Christ, what an understatement.

I know there's no redeeming these fuckwits. Go to their web site and you'll see they can hardly compose a coherent sentence so it's obvious that simple reasoning is beyond them. No, it will be enough to stand in their way and remind them what a repulsive little bunch they are.

God is Love, right? It's sickening to me that so many - Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc., get it so wrong. They've confused "God" with "tribal identity" and their stone age view of the world.

My tribe says it's time to put stuff these inane superstitions back into the whitewashed clapboard shitholes from whence they arose and nail the damn thing shut.

Give a Nitwit a Gun and You'll Get What You Deserve

Listening to: Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, A Night in Tunisia

Surfing around today, I came across this excellent post at Brutal Women, musing on an afternoon at Planned Parenthood. Powerful stuff and I'm telling you to go read the post before you proceed any further. G'head, I'll be here when you get back.

Good, wasn't it? Scary shit.

Earlier today, I was talking to my mom about politics, a mistake. She hadn't heard about the Jeff Gannon/James Guckert story*, although she felt that it was "nobody's business" if RNC Chairman Jeff Mehlman is gay. Except, I pointed out, if Bush & the GOP is going to push hate legislation against gays, they need to show a little consistency. Or should.

Planned Parenthood does what it does out of compassion - abortion is a very small part of that - both serving and empowering its clientelle. For its trouble, it the focus of violence by inbred borderline retards driven by their pathological thrall to dogma and inability to quell their own base urges.

I'm fed up with these asshats giving Christ a bad name. For every true compassionate, tolerant, charitable, Christian there seems to be some hate-filled hillbilly using the crucifix as a cudgel and shitting all over a pretty decent religion.

* Gannon/Guckert was a fake journalist for a fake journalistic outfit planted within the White House press corps to toss softballs to Bush and divert attention away from tough questions from real journalists. When bloggers looked into Gannon's background, they found him selling his ass on the internet as a gay prostitute.

If you haven't heard this story (now about a month old), that's a testament to the worthlessness of the mainstream media in this country.

UPDATE 3/8/05: More disturbing news on the determination to restrict choice at moiv's diary at Daily Kos.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

I Need a Band-Aid For My Bug

Listening to: Wilco, A Ghost Is Born

We're Code Blue here with a paper cut. My oldest, normally a pretty mature and level-headed six-year old, goes to pieces with a paper cut. No blood, no real discernable wound at all, she's nonetheless histionic. You'd think it was a G.S.W. to the abdomen.

Some of you are saying, "Dude, paper cuts do hurt, bad, give the kid a break." To which I'd say, you're right; I give her a break but that's not the point, here. Lilly believes that a band-aid will make everything better. Daddy's kiss has been replaced with a band-aid.

My two younger ones are likewise convinced of the curative properties of band aids, everything from swallowed apple seeds to spilt milk. Put a band aid on it and its been marked, boo boo, boo hoo, something went bad, if momentarily, memorialize it and man, it looks cool! I have at least a dozen of em' on my refrigerator, Rugrats and Scooby-doo, purples ones, purple dinosaurs, it's like a band aid seller's sample board.

My memory of band aids was that they hurt like hell (which tells you what a wussy kid I was) and that after one fell off your finger, you could take the rolled up remains of your wound, fold it in half, and shoot it off from a rubber band into the neck of someone deserving that kind of pain and degradation.

Everything's fixed with a band aid? Hell, put one on my bug. Not Lilly (although she's "Bug" like almost everyone's else calls their daughter), my 68' Volkswagon. Still, putting off replacing my clutch cable and that's good? Great, I'm there.

Lilly awakes to a nightmare, a vague, plaintive cry letting me know something's doesn't feel good. I step from my computer to her room, stroking her hair, asking her what's wrong. "A bad dream, daddy," she says and I assure her, it's just a dream, it's not real, it's OK, daddy's here. I pick her up and hold her, kiss her forhead, put her back down. There's no band aid big enough.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

100 Things About Me

Listening to: The Clash, London Calling

Bowing to pressure (from a partucularly pesky - and beautiful - reader), I finally got around creating this list. I know I said in a post once that I could never do one of these since I think this list is amorphous, in flux. What the hell, I'll indulge the meme.

100 things about me

  1. I’m smart. Really smart. Don’t try to outsmart me, you’ll lose.
  2. I’m more arrogant than smart.
  3. Nothing scares me. Oh, I know fear - a man without fear is insane. It’s just there’s nothing I can think of that would be impassible or unable to confront.
  4. I have the soul of a clown and the heart of a lion; in shoeboxes, underneath my bed.
  5. I’ve read “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy seven times.
  6. After the seventh reading, I decided I needed to get laid.
  7. I wear hemp clothing.
  8. When I’m desperate, I smoke my shoes.
  9. I was an Air Force brat and lived in 10 places in 18 years.
  10. I lived in Taiwan when I was 13 and that started my love affair with Asian culture and Eastern Philosophy.
  11. I was born in Cut Bank, Montana and lived in (respectively): Hutchinson, Kansas; St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada; Morro Bay, California; Colorado Springs and then Denver, Colorado; Taichung, Taiwan; Missoula, Montana; Montgomery, Alabama; finally landed at Pearl City, Oahu, Hawaii when my parents and I parted company.
  12. I spent my high school years in Montgomery, AL where I was very involved with community theatre and the bohemian scene, Klansmen who drank Merlot.
  13. Having grown up with that, I have a romantic notion of the Gothic south and as such, an affection for writers like William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, Walker Percy, et al.
  14. Also Cormac McCarthy and I rate “Blood Meridian” as one of the greatest novels of the last century.
  15. I spent most of my secondary education in Catholic schools as an atheist.
  16. I started college in Hawaii majoring in Partying, minoring in surfing.
  17. I discovered my spiritual side as a surfer dude in Hawaii. Tubular.
  18. I gave up a Theatre scholarship to study philosophy.
  19. I dropped out of college after my sophomore year to live my Jack Kerouac “On the Road” muse and hitchhiked across the US. I had a Mohawk at the time.
  20. I played punk/alternative for about 8 years in several bands.
  21. I play guitar, passably, but I write awful good songs.
  22. I quit the band and re-entered college at the age of 29.
  23. I set my sites a little higher my second time around in college.
  24. I was going to go for my Ph.D. in Cognitive Science but kids came along.
  25. After kicking around as a web developer, I became a therapist.
  26. I’d rather be a writer than a therapist.
  27. I’m a really, really bad poet. My poetry stinks. Except I like this one:
    On the Return of a Familiar

    She waits at the window,
    Slowly drawing an eye on the glass.
    Listening to the wind, the whispers,
    The shattered syllables whisked across
    the cold, stiff grass, she hears:

    I love you.
    I’m coming home.

  28. I started blogging in 2002 for a local band, started a political blog in early 2004, started the this blog a few months later; my heart is with this blog.
  29. I usually blog after my kids are in bed, pour a glass of wine or have a beer and BREATHE.
  30. New Year’s 2004, I made a resolution to write every day; I’ve honored that resolution for almost a year and a half, the only truly successful resolution I’ve ever made.
  31. Writing is now like breathing: essential.
  32. I have 1/10th of a comic novel written across four composition books.
  33. My biggest fear is that I’ll never finish it.
  34. Procrastination and fear are the enemies of my aspirations.
  35. My mom used to beat me for reading too much (true story); she now congratulates herself for raising such a well-read kid.
  36. I also had to hide my writing to keep from getting beat.
  37. When I was a kid, I thought I’d write/illustrate graphic novels.
  38. I’m a snob and don’t see the literary value in graphic novels or Dean Koontz or Stephen King or Anne Rice or Tom Clancy – and yet, I’ve read all of those.
  39. I’ve been married 3 times; while in the band and that lasted 4 months (go figure); once while in college when I married a Brazilian girl for $5000 so she could get a green card; the last time with the mother of my children, for 7 years.
  40. Since I don’t count the green-card marriage, I figure 3rd time’s a charm.
  41. I expect Mrs. #3 will be the person I’m still in love with when I die.
  42. Mrs. #3 had better know how to shit in the woods.
  43. I have camping gear in both my cars; with a wild hair, I can drive 20 minutes and pick a camp site.
  44. I’ve camped on my own since I was 13.
  45. I’m convinced the brain is the sexiest organ of the body.
  46. Smart=sexy.
  47. Funny=sexy.
  48. Well-read=sexy.
  49. Smart+Funny+Well-read=my eternal adoration.
  50. I know how to do adoration; I was, after all, raised Catholic.
  51. However, I’m a sucker for a pretty face and hypnotic eyes.
  52. However, physical attributes only go so far with me, I’m easily bored.
  53. I quote Shakespeare not because I’m showing off but because he so says so many things, so well, there’s no improving on what he said.
  54. People still accuse me of showing off.
  55. Even the Devil can quote scripture to suit his purposes.
  56. Because I’m a therapist, dates invariably ask me, “Are you psychoanalyzing me?”
  57. Well, YEAH, it’s an occupational hazard.
  58. Between LSD, mushrooms, mescaline, peyote, DMT, PCP, and Ketamine, I’ve tripped well over 700 times.
  59. I’ve also smoked enough pot to buy a Panamanian family a shrimp boat.
  60. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for the American Psychological Association implies that, by #58 & #59, I am clinically insane.
  61. I report, you decide.
  62. I cook for my kids but I live off of Tina’s Frozen Burritos;
  63. However, I nuke the burritos.
  64. This is how I make Daddy’s “You Don’t Want to Touch This” Salsa – a jar of Pace Salsa and a few shakes of Dave’s Insanity Sauce. Then I dribble some of that on a nuked Tina’s Frozen Burrito. Yummmmmmmmmmmmm.
  65. Having said that, it’s safe to assume #59 is not past tense.
  66. Given the choice between a big house and travel, I choose travel. I just want a modest little place to return to after jaunting around the globe.
  67. I’m a hopeless romantic.
  68. I’m also coolly logical; my ex used to call me ‘Mr. Spock’.
  69. Despite my logical side, I am a bit superstitious;
  70. Still, I have a sacrilegious streak and sneer at my own superstitions.
  71. I am an unashamed science geek.
  72. My children appreciate that I give them straight answers regarding the world around them instead of half-assed fairy tales.
  73. “Creationism” is a fairy tale and I don’t understand how anyone can take it seriously.
  74. I have no problems with other people’s beliefs but it bothers me when they try to force those beliefs on me.
  75. Knowing I don’t have all the answers and I still won’t have all the answers when I shuffle off this mortal coil makes my life a persistent adventure.
  76. I automatically distrust and dismiss people who think they have all the answers.
  77. I prefer earthy, girl-next-door types to air-brushed Barbie Doll high-maintenance types.
  78. I despise “Men’s magazines” like Maxim and such, especially their adolescent leering obsession with air-brushed Barbie Doll high-maintenance types.
  79. I believe grown men who read Maxim hardly qualify as “men”.
  80. Given unlimited funds, I could be a clothes horse; I firmly believe the women go crazy for a sharp-dressed man.
  81. Feminist chicks dig me.
  82. I prefer red wine over white.
  83. I prefer wine over beer.
  84. Either way, I’m a snob and although I drink expensive beer, I don’t think it’s necessary to sell the house in order to afford a good bottle of wine.
  85. I read Wine Spectator in order to make informed wine-buying decisions.
  86. I probably put too much stock in the opinion of reviewers; I watch “Ebert and Roeper” more often than I go to the movies.
  87. I prefer sitting in a theatre to sitting at home with a rented DVD; there’s just something about the big screen.
  88. I’ve seen “Casablanca” probably 15 times; I’ve seen “Citizen Kane” probably two-dozen times; I’ve seen “2001: A Space Odyssey” probably 50 times.
  89. I’m a big Monty Python fan but I give the edge to Firesign Theatre (thus my moniker, “Nino the Mindboggler”.
  90. I’ve met many of my best friends by quoting Firesign Theatre or Frank Zappa at parties and they picked up on the allusion.
  91. I only drink fair-trade organic coffee.
  92. I love hip, bohemian coffee-houses.
  93. A perfect Sunday morning is occupying a table at a hip, bohemian coffee house with a copy of the Sunday New York Times.
  94. More perfect is sharing that paper with someone I woke up with (after a night of earth-shattering sex), reading each other snippets and co-solving the crossword.
  95. Even more perfect is finishing the crossword with the co-solver, going home and spending the rest of the morning, all afternoon and evening in bed, not just repeating the sex from the night before but transcending it.
  96. Obviously, I have a dirty mind and an enormous appetite.
  97. I love being preyed on by women in libraries and bookstores. MMMMmmm!
  98. I rarely remember my dreams.
  99. I have one tattoo, a Celtic Knot armband.
  100. This list is subject to change without notice.

The Primetime Attack of Scary Mutant Talking Babies

Listening to: Patti Smith, Horses

Note to Quiznos: food pretty, good; talking baby in commercials, hideous.

The brain trust that a few years back decided Weimaranars in yuppie gear was amusing for more than ten seconds is back, this time with "Bob" the gravelly-voiced tot hawking fast food. Never mind that Bob doesn't even look like a baby (he looks like a miniature Winston Churchill) but the message is clear, make a baby talk like an adult and the cute factor will have crappy Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches flying out the door.

Wrong. First of all, kids say things far cuter than any adult could, mostly because they're not self-conscious. What my kids say comes from sheer innocence, not from some marketing pinhead. My kids make me laugh. Bob makes me shriek with terror.

The other problem is that the technology is just not there to make talking babies convincing. The animated mouth is still little better than the talking faces on Conan O'Brien and instead of looking convincing, it's creepy. It's like somebody de-mouthed an infant and replaced its lips with robotic worms. And the "expressive eyes" are totally freaky, I can't help the director is subjecting the poor kid to foot shocks.

At this point, I feel like a "Genuine" moment of "So what creeps YOU out?" is appropriate but I'm not going to do that. I need some sleep.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

"Don't Bother Wrapping It, I'll Eat It Here"

Listening to: World Party, Private Revolution

There's a story, probably apocryphral, regarding the late, great New Yorker cartoonist Charles Addams. The tale involves a particular gruesome cartoon that Addams would submit on a semi-regular basis: a delivery nurse holding up a newborn to a shady-looking man who says, "Don't bother wrapping it, I'll eat it here." Whenever Addams submitted this particular cartoon to the editors at the New Yorker, it was a sure sign he was due for some time chasing butterflies at Bellevue.

Inmates, roomates, and Origami partners alike can tell you that I'm about to bore you with my annual anti-Februarian rant.

Don't call the guys in the white coats just yet; in my case, shock therapy only adds to already out of sight winter utility bills. With me it's more foolish consistency, my hobgoblin elbowing and bullying the scant few ideas in my head for precious real estate. If this submission suggests anything like a warning, it's for you, dear reader, to flee and save yourself a pummeling by the purple prose of Cairo.

And now - the weather. Why I whine and how I've been down so goddamn long that it looks like up to me.

Enough already, with these scattered flurries of nothing and bone-chilling bleh. I want to barbeque and blind the neighbors with my shirtless pallor. Winter tarries too long, its allure lost well before Valentine's Day.

Winter has three sub-seasons and its final act is interminable. What began as a welcome cooling-off has become the party guest searching the cupboards for vanilla extract. Time to go, ta-ta, don't come back, wish you weren't here.

The first season begins with the quaint thrill of the first snowfall, waking up in the morning to a few inches coating the lawn, grabbing a handful of it and giving it a taste. It's a wistful thrill, thoughts of chestnuts roasting somewhere over the river and through the ticky-tacky subdivision. That thrill usually lasts about 3 days. So starts the second season of winter.

Really, the second stage of winter is not bad at all. You can ski, have some fun with it, and sometimes it looks downright pretty. Sure, you might have to scrape the windows before work (and if you have a bug like mine, scrape the window on the inside on the way to work, the only work my credit card gets), maybe wear a sweater at night but there's noth. During this stage there might be a few sub-freezing days (usually accompanied with enough precipitation to entertain us as amateurs show their stuff on the roads), a fair amount of middling weather, but most memorably, those days that make one thank the Gods that this is Colorado.

Stage Two lasts until late December and then the catatonia kicks in. Welcome to Stage Three: SAD sufferers snuff the pilot lights, depressed skiers/boarders splatter their brains on the trunks of Colorado Blue Spruce, the condition of "Gaaaaaaaaaaawd, will this shit ever end?!?" Canada shits on us with beastly cold (no doubt getting back at us for something Bush said), weather so inhuman that it strands you in your dump for days. Too cold to even wander out to the liquor store and suddenly that crappy bottle of Mateus looks good. Drear and cold so relentless that nothing short of a handful of Valium makes it tolerable. So damn cold, it makes a jug of anti-freeze look palatable.

I confess that Colorado winters, for the most part, rock. I moved here from D.C. and I can tell you that on the right coast, it's winter all damn winter long. No sixty-degree days or melt-off on the Right Coast. They take their winters seriously back east, bygod. So I shouldn't bitch but I do because, well, how else am I going to make it to spring?

Here in Colorado, we'll get a bit more snow, just enough slicken the streets and lead to totaling a goodly number of SUVs. Still, an upended SUV in a ditch is not enough to lighten my mood. Maybe March will bring us 3 or 4 storms with ass-deep snow and maybe I'll hit the Powerball - and then this is then will all be academic because I'll be in Jamaica, mon, hitting a spliff and giggling uncontrollably at all the time wasted on this post.

Until then, I'll continue to look towards the sky, through the tree tops, thinking it all looks cracked and grey. Bring out the leaves, bring out the bees, bring out a cool beer to drink on the porch as the day lingers well past dinner-time. Time to catch some butterflies.

Me In My Stereotypical Therapist Suit, Ready For Another Day of Psychotherapizing

Don't I look the part?

And my regular readers are ANGELS for being so patient with me... Yes, I'm still a SAHD but picking up Contract Therapist hours (which works out terrific with my custody schedule), although today I need to take advantage of childcare, dammit. But somebody has to pay the bills.

Back tonight with my usual churlish attitude.