October 2008 Archives

My Crappy Part-time Temp Job

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Like so many people today, I am availing myself of as many opportunities as possible to improve my economic standing and provide for my future, which is why I have taken on a part-time temp job that doesn't pay shit and sometimes requires so many extra hours and so much preparation that it impedes my ability to do my REAL job. The only good things about this job are A) the work is actually interesting, B) I can do it at home in my pajamas, and C) it will end soon.

This part-time job is called "Obsessing About the Election." I don't actually get paid for it at all, but I'm spending so much time at it lately that it really does feel like a job.

This morning, for instance, I got up and watched last night's debate on Youtube. That took 91 minutes. Then I had to spend a long while being nauseated about the way McCain used air quotes and a sneer when he referred to "the health of the mother" in abortion issues. Then I had to read commentary. Then I had to read polls proving what any sane person could see: Obama won. Then I had to read all the other news.

It took A LONG time. It's almost noon, I'm emotionally and physically exhausted, and I want to take a nap. But I've got my REAL job to do now.

I will be really glad when this election is over, particularly if Obama wins it, the way he looks like he's going to. I will take several days off not only from the election, but from all the news, and step far, far away from the computer.

The Other Saint Joe

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I grew up in the St. Joseph Stake, the 25th stake of Zion. When it was organized in 1883, its eastern limit was El Paso; its western limits were St. David, on the road to Tucson (which didn’t have enough Mormons to need any sort of church leadership), and Miami, AZ, on the road to Phoenix (which was taken care of by Mesa). Its headquarters were in Thatcher, the little farming town whose first white inhabitants were my great-great-great grandfather and his family. Still located on Church Street is the Stake Presidency Building, thank god--so many other important buildings in Thatcher’s history burned down in the 1980s due to faulty wiring installed by some douche nozzle, including the wonderful old church where I was baptized, and the administration building of the old Gila Academy, one of the first junior colleges built west of the Mississippi.

Because I grew up in the St. Joseph Stake, I knew exactly who St. Joseph was: Joseph Smith, the first latter-day saint, the guy who made it possible for me to grow up a saint. When I would encounter things like St. Joseph’s baby aspirin, I would think how nice and how strange it was that a bunch of heathen recognized Joseph Smith’s importance by naming their pills after him.

He Wants the Precious

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I don't usually link to NY Times stories unless I can offer some commentary on them, because I figure most of the people who read my blog also read the Times, and I know they can click on headline links just as easily as I can. But in case you didn't bother to read this op-ed by Gail Collins, you should. I laughed out loud at this bit:

Remember how we used to joke about John McCain looking like an old guy yelling at kids to get off his lawn? It’s only in retrospect that we can see that the keep-off-the-grass period was the McCain campaign’s golden era. Now, he’s beginning to act like one of those movie characters who steals the wrong ring and turns into a troll.

During that last debate, while he was wandering around the stage, you almost expected to hear him start muttering: “We wants it. We needs it. Must have the precious.”

Hey Smart People, Go Away and F*** Off

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David Brooks is one of the few conservative columnists I can read with any frequency--probably because he's not so much of an idiot that he can't see what's wrong with his party. Here's the final paragraph from his most recent column, discussing Sarah Palin and the class wars conservative foment:

Politically, the G.O.P. is squeezed at both ends. The party is losing the working class by sins of omission — because it has not developed policies to address economic anxiety. It has lost the educated class by sins of commission — by telling members of that class to go away.

I think his statement that in conservative thought, "The nation is divided between the wholesome Joe Sixpacks in the heartland and the oversophisticated, overeducated, oversecularized denizens of the coasts" squares well with the analysis I offered earlier, of why Republicanism is to politics as punk is to music: you have regular joes who just love rock & roll making music in their garages--or you have oversophisticated, overeducated, overambitious guys who (gasp!) learned their craft at a university or conservatory and make music that actually exploits what they learned from other experts. Eek! Oh no!

This isn't to say that I don't think music--or literature, or visual art, or anything--can't become too obscure and self-involved. There's plenty of poetry I can't stand, because it's technically ambitious and weird, but has nothing to SAY. But I believe that a critical engagement with the ideas that have shaped our world, and a careful reading of what others have had to say, helps writers have something to say and say it in a way worth paying to.

I believe that art, like politics, is a conversation. And the best way you participate in that conversation is by trying to respond thoughtfully and articulately to what's been said before--and knowing what's been said before requires an education. That education can be conducted on one's own--certainly there are great autodidactics in the world, one being my good friend Saviour Onassis. (Hey, SO!)

More of Sarah Palin's Wacky Friends

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Just so you know, BHO isn't the only candidate in this election who has "palled around" with people who want to attack the United States. Read all about Sarah Palin's radical right wing friends--they're WAY scarier than Bill Ayers.

Please Congratulate Me Now

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So, there have been several reasons I haven't blogged all that much lately, or have posted really short entries when I do blog. One is that I'm as obsessed as anyone else about the election, and I've been doing things I don't normally do, like watching debates and volunteering at a political campaign. (I refuse to go door-to-door, even for Obama, having already done that for the Mormons, so they've mostly stuck me with data entry. Fun. Not. But it's for a good cause.) Another is that I moved 2,000 miles across the country. (One of these days, I'll write about that.)

And another is that I've been working on a book.

And guess what: I just finished it--or at least, I finished a respectable draft, just now. It's 1:48 right now; I wrote the last sentence at 1:43.

Now I get to go back and revise and polish it, all 278 pages, which I don't mind because revising is my favorite part of writing, believe it or not. And my agent has to sell it, which could be tough--I'm sure the general financial crisis has hurt publishing as well. But it feels really cool that I had a goal and I accomplished it, and I also like this book. I hope an editor at some big publishing house will like it too. Who knows? Maybe it will sell well enough that someone might be willing to publish the two that are languishing in folders on my computer, folders I haven't touched in months.

The book, by the way, is the story of my relationships with gay men--in particular, it's the story of how I ended up being the witness at the gay wedding of my ex-fiance.

I hope you'll be hearing a lot more about this in the future.

Turns out a poll that accurately predicted the outcome of the last two elections involves paper coffee cups at 7-Eleven.

I guess it's the fact that the poll requires the purchase of coffee that has Obama winning even in Utah (59% to John McCain's 41%), Idaho (same percentages) and Arizona (55% to 45%): ain't no conservative Mormons participating in this poll.

Let's hope the poll is an accurate prognosticator this time too.

Why My Old Senators Were Really, Really BAD

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My distaste for Arizona politics increases daily.

This is long, but you MUST watch it.

If Only This Would Work For Mormons

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I'm not a huge Sarah Silverman fan, but I loved this. And I loved the Great Schlep website. Its talking points on how to convince one's grandparents to vote for Obama are concise and intelligent.

I wish the plan would work for Mormons Republicans, but I don't think it will. One reason, of course, is something I mentioned back in a discussion of Mormon opposition to gay marriage: the message is now preached from Mormon pulpits that logic and rational thought are tools of Satan. So we'll just have to applaud our Jewish friends, and add one more reason to the list of why so many liberal Mormons suffer badly from Jewish envy.

Draw Me a Diagram

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I liked this piece in Slate on the nonsensical nature of Sarah Palin's sentence.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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