From the monthly archives:

November 2010

Faraway, So Close.

November 30, 2010

in random

I came across an interesting article today in which the author questioned the recent brouhaha / vociferous protest against the security measures enforced by TSA while some other, more serious, offense committed by the US government, such as the wrongful execution of  its citizens, did not inspire nearly enough the appropriate amount and degree of outrage. The author posited that it is easier to find compassion for and harder to ignore when things affect people who are more like ourselves, in this case, law-abiding, gainfully employed, relevantly affluent people and their families who can afford to fly.

To first approximation, everyone can empathize with their neighbors or co-workers and people who they see every day. It’s a bit more of a stretch to take the point of view of people in the next town, or those from a different ethnic group or class, or the gay, or the homeless, or those who dwell in radically different social worlds (Afghan tribesmen, say). The liberal humanist imagination at least strives to see the world through the eyes of others; whereas the conservative mind seems to thrive on shutting out foreignness, or reducing it to something known.

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Being cosmopolitan is hard, it takes work. Empathizing with others is also hard — and it’s not even clear what it should mean. Nobody has the time and resources to empathize with everyone, but the modern world puts us in contact with essentially everyone.

— “No Compassion”, 24 November 2010, Omniorthogonal

What the author wrote about the modern world and the access to “essentially everyone” really struck a cord: I pride myself on being an informed global citizen. Compared to the average Americans, I (believe I) know more about histories, geographies, cultures, customs, and happenings in other countries. I listen to NPR religiously and I read Business Week (used to) read The Economist after all!…

Expanding my alter-ego through the Interwebs, I feel connected to parts of the world that I would not have had any connection to otherwise. I am the product of globalization. A citizen of the world. A resident of the World Wide Web. My peeps are all over the world.

This was made evident when someone in Haiti visited and commented on my blog. At the same time I started noticing the crack in my self-congratulatory complacency.

Kathryn at Reinventing the Event Horizon wrote about the recent presidential election in Haiti and the alleged corruption that’s gotten people agitated to say the least. Did I know about Haiti’s presidential election? Yes, kind of. I heard about Wyclef Jean’s failed attempt to register as a candidate there, and I am aware of the potential for election frauds. Reading Kathryn’s posts was my first exposure to what is currently going on in Haiti. My knowledge of Haiti’s present until then was to the extent of what NPR aired and Twitter tweeted that I happened to catch. The same goes for everything that is happening around the world.

Another fissure showed up in my facade of a well-informed global citizen when a blogger in Indonesia that I got to know online (through Twitter and blogging) tweeted me to say Hi.

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Hundreds of people have died since the first volcano eruption at Merapi on October 25. I did not know anything about it until today. But even my self-chastisement sounds hollow and self-indulgent at this moment. In the scheme of things. Nina sent me a link to see for myself how huge a deal this was in her part of the world. The images speak volumes to the massive force of nature. (For the faint of heart, please do NOT go on to Page 2 where horrific images of the victims are included…)

At times the world seems smaller and the people in it closer because we are all connected, for the fortunate amongst us anyway (Think of Kathryn whose connection to those of us outside of Haiti depends on her WiFi connectivity). At times, of course, we seem yet so far away because I was celebrating Thanksgiving and complaining about cooking while Nina and her people were holding their breath, tweeting the latest updates on the volcano eruptions and relief efforts.

Once again, this is one of those posts where I stated a problem without providing any answers and in the process of writing, only got myself even more confused. I lost my point if there was even a point when I first started.

Reaching out.

We reached out to each other. That should count for something, right?

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Reach out.

Would you reach out and touch a young boy’s heart? Trevor is 12 and he will be undergoing a risky heart surgery today. Pray for him please.

ForTrevorBeingPeachy

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Elly is having her appointment with Dr. Aloysius today. Let your positive thoughts reach her. She is in the general direction of the original Lady Gaga aka Statue of Liberty. Think good thoughts for Elly today. If you play any instrument, play a song for her to keep her company while she waits.

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It is cheesy. Yeah it is true. It is cliche. See if I care. Let there be love, baby. Let there be love.

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Dear Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, are you sure I really need to add FOUR tablespoons of butter? Isn’t that like, a lot?

Dear vegetarians, I hate to tell you, but Tofurkey does not look nor taste like turkey. Or anything that is benign. If you are going to be a vegetarian, just suck it up and find peace within yourself. What is the point with fake meat anyway? It is like, oh, I can’t kill real people so I will just dismember Barbie dolls. CREEPY.

Dear people who love to make things from scratch, Stove Top stuffings taste better than any home-made stuffings I’ve ever had the good fortune of tasting. If you would like to convince me otherwise, feel free to send me yours.

Dear Parents-in-Law, “You betcha!” ceased to be funny the second time you said it. And I hope watching Sarah Palin’s Alaska and finding her “adorable” and her show “interesting” is not a sign that you consider her a legitimate candidate for anything more serious than a cable show host. Some people find Snooki on Jersey Shore “adorable” and the entire Housewives franchise “interesting”. Just sayin.

Dear Christian Conservatives and Tea Partiers, Ayn Rand (whoever she was) was an avowed atheist and she supported abortion rights. Just thought you should know.

Dear Uber Cool World Record Penny Pyramid, I am very sorry that I read the subject line as “Got Penises? Largest Penis Design Pyramid” and therefore I was not able to fully appreciate your awesomeness when I excitedly clicked on the link.

Dear PayPal, I am very sorry that I replaced the “P” in the last word in your new tagline “The world’s most-loved way to pay and get paid” with an “L” when I first saw it, and therefore for a second thought you finally found a way to optimize your revenue perhaps even with a joint venture with Craig’s List.

Dear semi-cute Starbucks Barista, you really broke my heart when you held my eyes for a long moment and then called me ma’am.

Dear SUV Driver, if you cannot park within the lines, you really should not be allowed to buy a car that big.

Dear Cadillac Escalade owner, please see above. In addition, please stop tailgating me. I am not going to budge because I am a bitch like that. You are not going to intimidate me with your mass. If you were driving a real truck with a gun rack and not some manifestation of conspicuous consumption, I may be scared. Costco will be there waiting for you. There is no hurry. And if you are late for your hair stylist appointment, I am pretty sure they will wait for you since you tip so well on top of the $200 you spend there every time.

Dear Sports Car Owner, you have a very nice car, drive it. It pangs me when you drag your ass below the speed limit: it’s like not having sex when you are sleeping with Megan Fox. (I use her as an example because I assume asshats like you go gaga over empty shells like her. You are welcome.)

Dear Person Whose License Plate says SORDID, I am going to assume that you have a secret identity that is more exciting than your train-taking commuting suit-cladding backpack-wearing self.

Dear Fellow Blackberry Widows, is it just me or do you find typing on Blackberry in the middle of the night in total darkness as annoying as banging on a typewriter while shining a bright light in your eyes?

Dear iPhone lovers, be honest: do you now type less carefully because in case when you make a mistake, it is actually cool to show people what hilarious suggestions Auto Correct come up with? Win-Win, right?

Dear Straight Men, what is it about Jennifer Love Hewitt that makes her so hot to you lot? I am gonna bet that every woman groans when you mention her as one of the hot actresses. We simply can’t see it. Jessica Alba. Yeah, I concur. Megan Fox. I can see why. But Jennifer Love Hewitt? Not so much.

Dear Husband, it is very uncool to quote with glee “It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.” when I ask you to put lotion on my back. Same goes to saying “Redrum. Redrum.” in a creepy voice after our bedroom was painted, yes, red.

Dear Husband, I am not so sure about the lone item on your wish list: the 10 Disc set of “Romancing the 70s”. I can understand the 80s, and possibly the 90s. But Romancing the 70s? Are you gay? Because if you are, that would explain a lot. On the other hand, if you are, why do I get the one gay guy who is not stylish and does not appreciate shoes? You also do not make a good confidant. Just my luck. Ugh.

Dear Santa, I would like all my files to be transferred from my old computer to the new computer, neatly organized, like magic.

Dear Internet, I am sorry for subjecting you to more White Socks in my Crotch and Tissues inside my Bras to get myself over the finish line for NaBloMoFo. Be well. Stay well.

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Sundays in My City

November 28, 2010 a picture is worth a thousand words

. Remember: Picnik is a lady’s best friend. During the holiday season, Picnik’s is the mother’s best friend. . .

28 comments

Let Them Eat Cake

November 27, 2010 no manual for parenting

The night before Thanksgiving my then 7-year-old boy, Mr. Monk, found it difficult to fall asleep because he was giddy with excitement: grandparents and uncle were flying to celebrate the holiday with us, and his birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year. “Mom, you know why I love Thanksgiving?” “Why?” I asked, knowing he was excited […]

32 comments

Thanksgiving is over. We can be snarky again.

November 26, 2010 random

F I N A L L Y! Ok. I am joking. Well, maybe 50%. I am most likely kidding on the square, as is my MO. I have been thinking about being thankful, for all the right reasons, like everybody else around Thanksgiving time. When I went to the grocery store across the street for the […]

35 comments

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26, 2010 random

Freak out!

November 24, 2010 random

Almost 3 pm the day before Thanksgiving. House. Not cleaned. Laundry. Not done. Thanksgiving dishes. Not planned. Ham. Not picked up from the store yet. Pies. Ditto. Grocery list. Nope. Grocery shopping. Ha! My parents-in-law are flying in tomorrow arriving at 11 am. Vegetarian brother-in-law. 3 pm. I am running around not knowing which task […]

20 comments

Norman Rockwell can take the turkey and stuff it!

November 23, 2010 random

Thanksgiving. I had an existential crisis last year when my then almost-7-year-old Mr. Monk started talking about a golden turkey. Complete with legs wrapped around in silver tinfoil and tied with red strings. I honestly had no idea where he got the idea. I still don’t. But an idea he did have. In fact, he […]

14 comments

Cold Turkey (A Pictorial)

November 22, 2010 mark my word: twitter will doom us all

I have not been motivated to write real posts for a while now because I find lately my stats dispiriting, to say the least… . . . . . Oh well. This kind of provides me with a great excuse to show you this picture I took when I all of a sudden saw something […]

38 comments