01 January 2010

Happy New Year! Or whatever.

(Photograph copyright 2010, All rights reserved)

We made it! We have finally left the aughts, the naughties, the zeros and have moved on to the 2K tens, the MMX's the tweens/teens. What a relief! It seemed like the last decade was never going to end.

For the past decade, we were listening to the sky fall. War, pestilence (hello H1N1), Michael Jackson kicked the bucket - I don't get the fuss over that - and we also lost Johnny Cash - a MUCH bigger deal in my opinion. We're finally shed of the Bush family, which is a good thing. Here's hoping that W confines himself to pissing off his neighbors by fencing in their (very expensive) Dallas neighborhood and having his security question them every time they dig up a bulb in their yards. We have Obama, which is also good. He's a whole lot smarter than Bush, and that's going to be absolutely necessary to clean up all manner of messes.

(Why the hell did we go to Iraq in the first place? WMDs? Didn't they KNOW that was a lie? They did? But...but...Oh, I see. Or not.)

Hopefully we'll see the end of idiots like Sarah Palin and her brood. Carrie Prejean can go make cute blonde babies in the 'burbs with her high school boyfriend and no one will ever miss her. There were a lot of morons around this past decade....I'm looking at YOU, Paris Hilton. And all of your little friends, too.

The economy's supposed to be improving. This is a good thing, although driving around in my city yesterday shows me that it may just be the triumph of hope over experience at the moment. I'm seeing a LOT of empty storefronts in some areas. Empty store fronts not only of the trivial sort, but long established businesses that have already seen a bunch of recessions. What was it about this one that made decades old companies finally give up? We still hear about insanely high jobless rates. Mortgages are still going sour and banks are still being shut down.

I think that this is a lesson learned for many people. We all need to acknowledge that things will NEVER be like they were before and that's a good thing. The Boy and I were speculating a decade ago about when the merry-go-round would come to a screeching halt. Taking out home equity loans to pay for vacations and weddings always did seem moronic to us. Seems like the ants outdid the grasshoppers yet again. It's a hard, hard lesson for many. Here's hoping they don't get caught out like that again.

People are all the same. They have to be bitching about something, and now it's the TSA scanning their sagging, pudgy bodies, as if anyone CARES what they look like in their skivvies. I happen to agree with Saletan's latest article on Slate. If a scan is the way to catch would-be bombers, I say go for it. I'd sooner be safe than dead. There aren't many pragmatists on The Fray, though.

I sound terribly negative, don't I? I mean, here I sit in a nice warm house, which is a good thing given that we have wind chills of -20F today, contemplating going to a movie later and being pretty sure that all will be well this year. I plan on indulging in beautiful fresh popcorn and having a hot chocolate (and damn the calories). Then I'll come home and write the SHADDAPS with a cat or two on my lap. Later we'll light up the tree and have a bit of bourbon in our eggnog and speculate on the year to come.

Nothing is going to change instantly, I been around long enough to know that. We have to take our fun where we find is and stop being so uptight about things that we don't see the fun. We all need to drink the wine, go to the parties, eat the food and enjoy what we have. All of the newscasters are telling us that we need to put our heads down and endure all of the problems we have right now, but where's the fun in that? Always remember, plus ca change, plus ca meme chose. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Enjoy yourselves, take care of each other and help who you can. What more can anyone do?


  1. I tend to take exactly the opposite view from you and Saletan about strip searches in airports---my view is that the occasional terrorist attack is the unfortunate price we pay for being a free and open society. Very libertarian view, I know, downright anarchistic and heretical in "these troubled times" (as though those three words would excuse every intrusion into people's private business that we care to make), but the other choice would be to round up anyone who's ever said (or even thought) the words "Allah Akbar" and make the Jews think "wow, we got off pretty easy in Europe back then." Then nuke any country where people have a ready-made picnic tablecloth on their heads and send in guys with radiation suits and automatic weapons to clean up the rest.

    I'm of the mind that we need to be either all in or all out on the war on terror...and I, for one, am out.

  2. I can't say that I'd be terribly supportive of a strip search, either. I have a high aversion to being touched by strangers, and internally freak out any time I'm singled out at the airport for ANY reason. Last time it was because I took off all the required stuff for the x-ray belt (shoes, big winter coat, pocket stuff, etc), and had tucked my boarding pass into my winter coat's front pocket. I went through the metal detector successfully, and then:
    "Boarding pass, please."
    "Crap! It's in my coat pocket, right there! Let me just-!"
    "Security search! We need a patdown, female security agent, please!"

    Uuuugh. No "SHADDUPS!" please, ma'am. We all have different levels of tolerance of stuff.

    Other than that, well said and all that. My internal jury is still out on Obama, but then, it's permanently out for any sitting president. What can I say? I'm a tough sell. He just barely got my vote. Ultimately it was Palin who pushed me back to the Democrats. (Big surprise).

    I opened a home equity line to pay off outstanding payments that I had for my new roof. The financing company had been so nice, offering me a mere 13% interest on that loan. The equity line was about 6%. Then one year I got a huge bonus at work, so the equity line went to zero, too, and stayed there, because it had served its purpose. The bank kept trying to convince me to use it for other stuff. Then I closed it, and they became very sad. They really liked having a lien on the house, I guess.

    I hope for three things this year: move to CA, serve the mouse (that would be work for Disney. Yes, I do want to! Shaddup yourself! >:-D ), and get my poor excuse for a spine fixed. Well, at maybe 70% capacity. I've let it go for way too long. Serves me right.

  3. Messy, that's a wise end of the year sum up. Yes, things are as tragic as they ever were in human history but that's the way it is. So we should try to enjoy ourselves a bit... But, brrrrrrr,that Chicago wind doesn't seem to be any fun. Here in the Northwest we're enjoying (so far) a pretty balmy winter...

    Love the pix of the ducks! Where did you take it? Was it at a Guantanamo for wayward ducks?

  4. Kati - Our neighborhood is a very strange mix. There are mixed-use properties that are essentially condo buildings with retail at the ground level, some apartments and a LOT of single family homes and three-flats. This makes for a very mixed up bunch of people. It is truly a multicultural stew around here. I love it.

    There are, however, a lot of senior citizens, too. Most of them own their own homes and many are at a stage where they just can't manage as well as they used to. Add in that it used to be heavily Swedish around here and what you get is yards with so many ornamental bits that you only get to see them when the foliage is off the trees.

    I spent a day wandering around taking photos of dead lawn ornaments - which sounds really strange, but then I have a habit of seeing the strange things around me....

  5. Messy, I read your posts on the Green Lantern's fur article, and am so glad that you addressed the fur-as-fashion myth. I thought it was interesting that only ONE poster had the moxy to reply to your knowledgeable arguments, and they naturally said that of course indiginous people are an exception to the fur debate! Chicago isn't the artic, but it DOES get DAMNED cold. My friend is letting me wear her fox fur coat this winter, and it has made all the difference.

  6. I'm afraid that guy just rants for the sake of ranting, and I fully expect Germy the editor to delete my comments any minute now. Of course it's also possible that he might just still be irked with me because I once told him that I was going to post a sign in my kitchen that says, "Vegans will be Spit-Roasted".

    However, I've been getting a lot of wear out of my beaver fur trapper hat in the past week, as well as my sheepskin boots and my fur lined gloves. Add that to my coat of a thousand ducks (from when Eddie Bauer was actually an outfitter) and I'm set. There just isn't anything as warm.

    It's so easy to tick some of them off, isn't it?

  7. I'm an herbivore, but I make it a point of collecting jokes about fellow veggies. I have a magnet on my fridge that reads "Vegetarians! If you cook 'em right, they're delicious!" Another shows a well-dressed woman in a market saying, "I didn't claw my way to the top of the food chain to eat vegetables." Another shows the little boy "Lio" (From the comic strip) lowering a raw steak through a skylight to interrupt a "Vegan Society" meeting. Last is a comic strip showing a guy asking a real cow, "So are you vegetarian for health reasons, or is it a moral thing?"

    Good shit!

    That said, I won't (knowingly) wear fur, but finding stuff like shoes that's not leather... Well, that's challenging. Usually I fail. Yes, I do live in a place that gets cold (MA).

    The Food Police irritate me, too. I work with a few vegans, one of whom is unnecessarily interested in my food choices, whenever we happen to cross paths in the break room. I think he thinks he can get me to cross all the way over (I still eat dairy and eggs), or something.

    One of my friends is maddening. She claims not to eat eggs, but will eat things with egg IN them (baked items, pancakes, etc). She even threw away scrambled eggs that I'd cooked for her one morning after she spent the night, and THEN ATE THE PANCAKES. Says I, have your restrictions if you must, BUT BE CONSISTENT. I'm never "in your face" with anyone, though. I just quietly decided never to invite her over again. It's worked very well for me.


    btw, TSA is now checking Boston trains, and thus delaying departures. This hsppened tonight. Dogs sniffing the trains 'n' everything. Two rush hour trains on my line leave 10 minutes apart from each other, so you can bet that everyone who'd be taking the later train tried to cram themselves into my train. I got lucky and found a good seat right by the door, and was about to settle in, when a blind woman walked into the car. Ah, well. At least my other seat in the caboose wasn't too bad.