Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mixed Nuts

The last two weeks have been emotionally tiring for me. I always get this way during presidential elections, but it has started really early this cycle, mostly because I can honestly not believe that anyone could vote for anyone on the republican side. Well-maybe Jon Huntsman, who is the only candidate that actually made me nervous for Obama when he announced. But it seems fairly clear that he is too libertarian for the republican base.

That out of the way, I have a few observations. I love nuts. I've also recently read that women who eat some nuts every day weigh less than those who eat other things. So I keep a jar of delicious mixed nuts in my desk at work for those days when I need a protein boost to get through the morning. But I became aware of doing something I found rather amusing-I pour some nuts into a dish so I don't just keep eating, which I could easily do. But I found myself eating them segregatedly. I eat cashews together, Brazil nuts, pecans, etc. I've even found myself eating the almonds with skin separately from those without. Is my mixed nut behavior a little nutty?

A language rant: THERE IS NO FREAKING SUCH WORK AS EKSETRA!!! That phrase comes from the Latin et (which means AND) cetera;. which means "other things." It is translated as meaning "and other things," or "so on." And while we are at it, it doesn't make anyone look smart and continental to say, "Wala." That is a mispronunciation of the French, "Voila," It starts with a V, and it means something like, "Well, there ya go!" And the latest word I'm getting tired of hearing thrown around over and over again-like "like," and "amazing," is "authentic." Do the people who use it for everything good these days know that it means "real?" That means it is very unlikely that it will ever apply to an American politician. The oft dropped journalistic phrase, "He doesn't come across as authentic," is rather oxymoronic, don't you think?

I'm a very fidgety person. I fidget constantly; I have a hard time sometimes even getting myself situated in the very same desk I worked all day on yesterday. When I talk with my hands, I use both hands. This made me think one day as I walked with my dog, and we passed one of those young men who wears his pants super-baggy and around his thighs, what a great sacrifice these people make for their fashion statements. Every guy I see dressed that way, whether at WalMart, the bus stop, or just walking down the street, must walk around with one hand on his crotch at all times in order to keep his pants from falling down all together. Sigh. None of those guys could ever describe the size of a fish he'd caught, let alone talk with his hands in a regular conversation. I've been waiting almost 20 years for this silly fashion to pass. A few years ago, when an older man auditioned for "American Idol" with the song, "Pants on the Ground," I really hoped the foolish appearance of it would be brought to the consciousness of that demographic, but I guess the age of the man singing the song should have been a dead giveaway that it wouldn't work.

I was walking in to my office the other day, and saw a squirrel with a bare tail. Some other people had seen it, and said that they had seen them before. Is that just an anomaly? The first thing I saw was the tail, and I thought it odd that such a large rat would be out in broad daylight, climbing a tree.

I was in a shop last week that has candy vending machines. The kind that give you a few M&M's or nuts for a nickel, and supposedly give the money to charity, and I couldn't help wondering if anyone gets candy from them anymore. With Americans so constantly freaked about "germs," I can't imagine anyone buying unwrapped food from one of those little machines nowadays.

There is a Christmas commercial getting regular rotation lately that gets my anti-Walmart heart pounding. There is a woman asking for a price guarantee on Christmas merchandise. She stands there long enough to makes several comments to the sales associate, and then sing part of a song. The first thing that struck me about it is that the actor playing the sales associate looks an awful lot like a young, brunette Goldie Hawn, but then I thought, who has ever seen a WalMart sales person spend anywhere near that much time with a customer? In fact, who shops at WalMart and can get any help at all when they need it?

I'M SO HAPPY!!!! Not really. I hate so-called "reality shows," and I've been seeing commercials recently  now for the return of one of the early ones-"Fear Factor." In the commercial they promise to be bigger and better than ever-including "bigger stunts." I guess they may be referring to the feats and humiliations that contestants are required to be subjected to in order to win, but in my classic movie mind, big stunts mean optical illusions of people appearing to do very dangerous things, or being killed or whatever. "OH, did you hear-Fear Factor? They did it with mirrors!"

"From 1999 to 2005, breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. decreased by about 2% per year. The decrease was seen only in women aged 50 and older. One theory is that this decrease was partially due to the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by women after the results of a large study called the Women’s Health Initiative were published in 2002. These results suggested a connection between HRT and increased breast cancer risk."
When I read, back in October, that the incidence of breast cancer is decreasing in this country, I got happy. Shortly after that the book "Our Bodies, Ourselves," published by the Boston Women's Health Book Collective was celebrating its fortieth birthday. It occurred to me that when women get involved, we get shit done. Before Our Bodies, Ourselves," there were very few books that dealt with women's health, and now that we have begun to be treated as different human beings from men, we are getting healthier. But then I also realized that every republican political candidate, the tea party candidates who were elected in 2010, and many right wing organizations are devoting themselves to taking back women's control over our health, and I got sad. If we can't control our own health choices, what will be taken next?  It seems that every time women begin to take any kind of power for our own lives, men get scared and try to take it away. Yes, I'm talking about choice, but I'm also talking about access to information about reproductive health, which may or may not include the choice to terminate a pregnancy. Rick Santorum says that he would outlaw all birth control. Now why would he do that? Well, he is one of those Christians who want to sublimate women, to be sure. And his holy book does say that women should submit to their husbands. Where that comes from has been addressed by me in a much earlier post. But it is also a fact that when women  have some control over the number of children they have, they tend to become something other than baby-making machines. They improve their educations, and their productivity in their societies. They thereby threaten the power of men. (Who, our current world situation should prove, have done such an AWESOME job with all their power.) How any smart woman can listen to these candidates and then go out and vote republican is utterly beyond me. I'm not saying there are no smart women who are republicans. I'm just saying that in order to cast a vote for someone like Santorum, or Romney, or Cain, McCain or Gingrich, the smart ones must really have to hold their noses in the voting booths, and I would love to know the fiercely compelling issue that forces them to do that. 

Meanwhile, I'd like for anyone who knows me well to sit down. Take a deep breath, and possibly keep your smelling salts handy. I agree with Herman Cain. Partly. Only on one issue...he was partially right when he said this week that candidates aren't supposed to know about foreign policy. Remember CANDIDATE Obama saying that he would close Guantanamo, end rendition, ET CETERA, ET CETERA? But what happens when a person becomes president, and gets up every morning for a national security briefing? He (and hopefully soon, she) see the world, and the threats against us in a different, less rhetorical way. I still believe that Guantanamo should be closed, and that rendition is wrong. We either believe in torture, or we don't. If we don't, then we should not render prisoners to other countries to do our torturing for us. I think we've been in Afghanistan way too long, and we never should have invaded Iraq. I'm deeply disappointed in President Obama for these, and some other reasons. But when he actually moved into the White House and the Oval Office, he saw a very different picture of the world than any candidate is allowed to see, and that has contributed to the breaking of some very important campaign promises. It's easy for John McCain, candidate, to sing "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran." President McCain would very likely have made quite different choices. While the level of ignorance that Herman Cain (or Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman or Rick Perry) show about the world we live in is disgusting for someone who aspires to be the most powerful politician on earth, Cain had a sliver of a point when he said that candidates aren't supposed to know about foreign policy. What I would recommend for candidates of every party is a little circumspection when asked about foreign policy decisions. It is easy to be bombastic and dramatic when there are no lives on the line...yet.

No comments: