Monday, February 20, 2012

President's' Day Meme

Taken from Ms. Kwiz

1. Can you name the American Presidents we are honoring? Bonus: Any idea when their real birthdays are?  Hel-lo! I lived my whole life in Illinois, the Land of Lincoln. We are celebrating honest Abe (our favorite son, though born in KY on 2/12) and George Washington, Father of our Country, born on 2/22.

2. Why do you suppose car sales are an important aspect of our President's Day observations in the U.S.?  Because car sales have been a huge component of our economy since the days of Henry Ford. But I've noticed white sales are a bigger deal on Presidents' Day. I have no idea why.

3. Have you ever been President of a club or organization? How did that feel? Nope. I have never even run for anything.

4. If you could have dinner with any President of the United States no longer living, who would it be? Any particular questions you would like to ask? (
Mr. Lincoln. Of course. I'd love to just hear him speak. Such eloquence, such heart. Have you ever read his Farewell Address, given off the cuff when he left Illinois for the last time? It's beautiful and wise. I also would love to ask him about the Reconstruction. Like JFK with Viet Nam, the tantalizing what-would-have-been is how Lincoln would have/could have brought us together. And then there's the Mrs. I have always found Mary Lincoln a very moving character.

5. On a more serious note, what are the qualities you hope for in our next President?  I long  to inspired by a President the way JFK and FDR rallied us. I want a Commander in Chief who touches what Lincoln (Abe, again!) referred to as "the better angels of our nature."

Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly ...

I'm watching the PBS American Experience documentary about Bill Clinton and I find myself smiling. I know who he is, I know how he is. I know what he risked and what he sacrificed for nothing more important than a piece of tail. I have no illusions. And yet ...

I believe in him. I did then. I do now. I remain proud of the work I did on those campaigns.

Watch Clinton Extended Preview on PBS. See more from American Experience.


My federal tax refund will be just under $4000. Half of that will go for my mom's 2013 Medicare Part B. Knowing that it is already taken care of is such a relief. The rest will be split between my upcoming vacation and ongoing credit card debt. The state refund will go to pay for the tax preparation.

I am a happy gal.


This week's challenge: Use the third definition exactly as it appears below and weave it into a stunning work of art of between 33 and 333 words.

fool noun \ˈfül\

1   : a person lacking in judgment or prudence
a : a retainer formerly kept in great households to provide casual entertainment and commonly dressed in        motley with cap, bells, and bauble
    b : one who is victimized or made to appear foolish : dupe
a : a harmlessly deranged person or one lacking in common powers of understanding

I was stuck next to our coats. She was opposite me, having slid into the booth beside my husband.

I appraised her with an experienced eye: mid-30s, pert breasts, tight ringlets. I almost said, “1985 wants its hair back,” but that was trite and besides, I was tired.

Poodle Perm touched his hard bicep. “How does he bathe his wings in hot sauce and still stay in this shape?” Her finger lingers in an intimate, possessive gesture. But I don’t think they’ve had sex yet. Probably just a Clintonian moment in the front seat of our car.

I was going to ask how she knew we’d be here tonight, but I realize he told her. He wanted this confrontation. He's enjoying it.

They both work at the airport. He’s a baggage handler, she’s a secretary. Oh, the tales she told me about my mate of more than 25 years. In the breakroom, his favorite song came on and he started dancing with such abandon he didn’t realize he was in front of the dartboard! Lucky she pulled him out of the way! He called her from the runway but by the time she picked up, he forgot what he wanted to ask her. So he stammered and then sang, “I just called to say I love you, I just called to say how much I care.” He often sneaks offsight for beers, and she lowers her voice as she explains how she takes care of his timecard for him.

“Honey,” I almost say, “I know he’s high maintenance. I work a 70-hour week to support this functioning alcoholic so he can waste his pay on booze and blow. By the time I get home he’s encouraging our son to join him, farting around on Facebook, ignoring his homework and disregarding me as a workaday drudge. If you think you can handle my husband, you’re welcome to him. You may be enchanted by a boyish fool, but I live the corrosive reality.”


Only words

My best friend is an interesting case in that he speaks fluidly and expansively but he simply cannot write. Something happens when he takes pen in hand or places his fingers on the home row: He freezes.

So this is a tough time of year for him, for he has to complete his annual performance self-assessment. He is certain that "they" are unhappy with how he handles his clients on a day-to-day basis and maintains that his last review was "horrible." (It wasn't; he asked me to read it and it wasn't that negative. It just smacked of bosses looking for a reason not to give him much of a salary increase.)

Anyway, he turned to me for help. Which is goofy because I haven't worked in double harness with him for years. But on the other hand, I used to be a boss so this is a language that comes easily to me. So I trotted out all those phrases. Here's my favorite: "My creative/critical thinking allows me to successfully identify problems that can have long-range implications for deadlines and budgets, which reduces the need for crisis management."

HR reps and bosses lap that language up like a kitten with a saucer of milk, because it gives back to them all the crap phrase they give their employees. But the question becomes: What's the value? It's purely a word game. If I can write the review for someone who works for a company I have never stepped foot into, how valid is this process? This looking over the past four quarters, recalling our triumphs and searching our souls for our goals and objectives to help us improve in the future and grow the business is nonsense.

We're all still Tony Manero at the paint store, asking for a raise every week and being thrilled and delighted when the boss unexpectedly comes through. Because we're white collar, we like to pretend it's more sophisticated than that. But it ain't.

I'm reasonably certain this is the one and only time anyone has compared my best friend to John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. He was upset recently when his two young daughters, discovering Friends through a Nick@Nite marathon, told him they decided nerdy Ross was based on him.