Obligatory Thanksgiving Post

I lost a set of grandparents within a week of each other during this time 16 years ago, and my parents separated after nearly 25 years of marriage soon afterward. Since then, the holidays have never been the same for me. I thought I would regain that spirit after I had kids, but it’s never resurfaced. As I’ve grown older, this time of year has become a lot more complicated as my family has grown and changed.

Despite my apathy, I live a relatively comfortable life and I’ve got lots for which to be thankful.

  • My health. I rarely get sick and I only need routine checkups.
  • My husband. He drives me crazy but he’s married to me, and I can be only what is politely described as “ornery” on my best days. He works hard. He’s a great dad. He fills the air in the tires of my car because I hate doing it. He’s supportive of this blog and encourages me to go public with my real identity.
  • My children. They are funny and kind when they are not actively trying to kill each other. 
  • My friends. I’m an introvert and not only do I not make friends easily, I hold them to incredibly high standards. Sometimes it seems that friendship is a miracle to me: finding a person who likes you well enough to actively choose to spend time with you, rather than being an obligation.

And even though sometimes I don’t show it, I’m thankful for all of those things each and every day.

Obligatory Thanksgiving Post

Well That Happened

Like everyone else in my social media circles, I was saddened and confused by the election results. I live in an extremely conservative part of a state that turned red yesterday; Trump received more votes than either of the last two GOP presidential candidates here. A GOP senator up for reelection here didn’t tell anyone for whom he was voting until literally an hour before the polls closed. He must have gone through three thermometers in the last week as he constantly, desperately tried to gauge his electorate’s climate and temperature.

I didn’t watch the returns on TV; early on it was clear that the totals weren’t going according to plan and I knew there would be no insightful analysis, which is rare in TV news anyway.

Secretary Clinton conceded with grit and grace. President Obama offered to begin a smooth and peaceful transition. Clinton won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College. (If that had happened to Trump, as it had been predicted, there would have been threats of lawsuits, plans to abolish the Electoral College, think pieces and memes about rigged elections.)

Part of me wishes Obama would bypass the Senate and name Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court before the inauguration, just as a symbolic middle finger to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who’s ground all progress in the Upper Chamber to a stuttering halt.

In my part of the country, I can tell you people are pissed about the Affordable Care Act more than anything else. McConnell said today that’s one of the first goals of the new Administration, gutting the ACA, but it’s not clear there is a consensus, even among Republicans, on what will take its place. So 20 million people will lose their insurance immediately, and there’s no backup plan.

What I’m most scared about is Vice President-elect Mike Pence. A few months ago former candidate Kasich revealed that Trump had talked to him about becoming Vice President, and basically doing all the work while Trump got the title and rest of the perks. (I think this is Trump’s MO in general.) Kasich demurred, and Trump found Mssr. Pence, who believes that gay people can be electrocuted until they are straight again, that same-sex couples should be thrown in jail for obtaining (legal) marriage licenses, that women should be prosecuted for (legally) having abortions. Pence calmly sat through the sole vice-presidential debate, calmly denying every outrageous (and truthful) claim Trump had uttered during the course of campaign, simply biding his time. I believe that debate is a microcosm for the Presidency, and all the social progress we’ve made as a country will immediately be erased.

Well That Happened

I’m With Her

I try to be respectful of other people’s perspectives and not live in an echo chamber, but this election season has gotten so ugly it’s tested the limits of my acceptance.

I firmly believe you can disagree with or be upset at a person or a policy without using racial and derogatory slurs or threatening murder or incarceration.

I was happy to vote for whatever nominee the Democratic Party selected. Hillary Clinton is undoubtedly a historic choice, but I’m not voting for her because she’s a woman. I would have selected Bernie Sanders over Carly Fiorna in a heartbeat. 

Is Clinton flawed? Yes. I wish she was straightforward about her Foundation’s contributions when she was Secretary of State. I wish she had apologized to the women she furiously attacked and worked to discredit after they complained about her husband’s behavior.

(I tried, but I can’t get worked up about those emails. I’ve worked with people who insisted on printing everything out and I just feel sorry for her aides who had to do that. It doesn’t make for an efficient work environment.)

So why am I voting for Clinton?

  1. She has clear, detailed policies and plans. 
  2. She has a history of public service in the legislative and executive branches.
  3. She’s shown she can be a centrist and compromise with colleagues from across the aisle.
  4. She’s worked for the only guy to whom she lost an election without pettiness or complaint.
  5. Lastly, and most importantly, I agree with her on most of her policy positions.

As for her opponent:

Communication theorist Marshall McLuhan once wrote, “The medium is the message,” and I think that statement perfectly encapsulates the Republican candidate’s campaign. His medium of choice is television.

Like Trump, television news lacks substance and context. Many of his rallies were broadcast live in their entirety on cable news channels, which floored me. Surrogates marched on and off shows, talking in sound bites, making absurd, unchallenged claims and twisting themselves into figurative pretzels trying to defend Trump’s personally contradictory stances on a number of issues.

And despite all this exposure, Trump successfully derided and eventually discredited much of the media, despite employing the CEO of a media company as his campaign chairman and his son-in-law owning a newspaper. 

Now, he’s whipping up his supporters to question the validity of an election, in which fraud has proven to be statistically insignificant, because there’s a strong chance he’s going to lose and he doesn’t accept responsibility for any of his failures.

Personally, I think the whole campaign has been an extended program for the soon-to-be-formed Trump Television Network, just another channel in the screaming void.

I’m With Her

I Stress-Ate Nearly All the Halloween Candy During Game Seven

I’d use the final game of the 2016 World Series as evidence that baseball is not boring.Billy-Goat-2-e1431730668685-1024x864.jpg

It capped off a wildly entertaining post-season chock full of both pitching gems and offensive prowess; unrelentling second-guessing and armchair game management.

If you looked at it on paper, the Chicago Cubs seemed like a shoe-in to win. They had Major League Baseball’s best record, the stingiest defense on the field, the manager who won the Series last year with the scrappy Kansas City Royals and an alleged domestic abuser absurdly talented closer.

The Cleveland Indians, however, had a dominating season of their own, ridiculous starting pitching, a manager who’s been known to break title droughts a time or two and former Philadelphia Phillie Rule 5 pariah Michael “Mini-Mart” Martinez, who as the tying run at the plate, made the final out in the Series, #hahaha #lulz.

To recap all the crazy:

The Indians blew a 3-1 Series lead at HOME.

The Cubs had three errors in the game, blew a 5-1 lead and still managed to win.

Joe Maddon lifted fully rested Kyle Hendricks, with two outs and one on in the bottom of the fifth for headcase ace Jon Lester –who apparently cannot field ground balls unless they’re hit directly at him, and when they are only can manage an underhand throw to first base–and he (on two days’ rest) promptly gave up two runs.

Maddon then brought in closer Aroldis Chapman for four outs, but since Chappy had pitched the past three games, the Indians finally solved him and Rajai Davis hit a line drive home run to tie up the game in the bottom of the eighth. Then Chapman was brought in for the ninth and my head nearly exploded. (Maddon had other pitchers. I’m also sure celebrity fans Eddie Vedder, John Cusack and even Bill Murray would have had no problems suiting up.)

Chicago Cub Javy Baez tried to bunt Jason Heyward in from third on a safety squeeze with two strikes with the Indians playing the infield in (meaning, a sacrifice fly would score the winning run). Baez bunted foul, which is scored a strikeout, and I actually watched this happen and have written the sentence and I do not understand it and lack the ability to explain it.

After the ninth, RAIN DELAY. Fox color guy and play-by-play announcer John Smoltz and Joe Buck likened the 17-minute break to Armageddon (the PITCHING and the MOMENTUM and the GAME PLAN and the WEATHER #clutchingpearls), and all the other pre-game show guys (Pete Rose, Frank Robinson, Alex Rodriguez), barely batted an eyelash.

Then the Cubs loaded the bases, scored two runs and pitchers who were not Aroldis Chapman saved the game.

The Indians had plenty of chances, too, so it seems all of the recapping crazy falls on Maddon’s shoulders and really shouldn’t. Corey Kluber was pitching on short rest, and the supposed bullpen advantage of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen evaporated the same way Chapman’s high heat did.

Part of me wishes the series was something like best of 13, so it could distract us until after the election next week, but then I would be in dire need of heart medication. I had no vested interest in the outcome of the Series but I was practically doing La Maze last night.

RIP billygoat.



I Stress-Ate Nearly All the Halloween Candy During Game Seven