Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I am sort of proud of Congress today. Well, some of them at least... And yes, I know it is one day after I told you how useless most of them are. Which they are.

But let's look at what happened yesterday. The President proposed a plan to Congress and asked them to make it a law, which is his prerogative, and is part of his job. Congress debated it, negotiated it, and put something to a vote in front of the entire House. And it failed in a close vote.

If we look at the numbers, though, we see an interesting split. Democrats voted in favor of the bill by a 140-95 margin, and Republicans voted against it by a 133-65 margin. As Congressional votes go, that is pretty well divided. It is almost like...gasp...the leadership just let everyone vote based on what they really thought of the bill. What a concept!!! The left doesn't like that it didn't have homeowner provisions and CEO compensation limits, while the right didn't like that it sets a horrible precedent for market interference and corrupts the necessary capitalist institution of failure.

And really, what is bad about that? The Democrats, who are fundamentally more pre-disposed to government intervention, were in favor...while the Republicans, who are fundamentally more pre-disposed to allow market forces to reward and punish as they see fit, were against. Isn't that sort of how this is supposed to work?

Now, contrary to some of the Chicken Little news reports...the world is not going to collapse any time soon. Congress may well still decide that it needs to act, and if they can get something done that they can all live with, then good for them. But a good bill in a week's time is better than a bad bill today...there is no urgency for them to get something done this minute.

Of course, right as I am about to give Congress credit for sticking to their individual principles and voting how they think, and not how they are told by their party leaders...they go and TAKE THE DAY OFF!!!

If this is really the verge of the apocalypse, like they all told us yesterday, can't they work through the holiday? Like, at a minimum, can the non-Jewish ones work today? "Pelosi" doesn't sound real Jewish to me...


Sort of related news: The Boy sold his condo yesterday:-). He accepted an offer that was pretty close to the asking price, and more than he paid for the place three years ago. He is very happy, and somewhat relieved, but will breath a lot easier when the deal actually goes through:-) So...yay for The Boy!

Monday, September 29, 2008

This is kind of a lecture

For all the talk of "change" at the Presidential level, can we maybe get a little bit more at the Congressional level? Seriously...these people can't do anything right. Even when they are doing the right thing (like, say, asking a few questions before they sign off on Bush's financial aid package) they manage to fuck it up somehow (like, say, by bitching about it for a week, convincing everyone that the world will implode if they don't get a bill passed, and cram some shoddy piece of garbage together at the last minute and hope they can guilt each other into voting for it).

Congressmen almost never lose their job. Senators rarely do, and Representatives basically have to commit a felony in order to lose their re-election. The entire system is set up to protect incumbents...and why wouldn't it be? Republicans and Democrats disagree on a lot, but they all like their jobs and want to make it as hard as possible for any of them to lose. And that is how we get laws like the one that says a TV or radio station can't run a negative piece of commentary about an incumbent within 30 days of an election (I am not sure that is an actual law, but it was part of the last campaign finance proposal). How is that constitutional?

And it is the fault of all of us, too. How much effort do you really put into voting for your members of Congress? You probably know who at least one of your Senators is, but do you know who your rep is? My guess is that a grossly large portion of Americans do not. And, identifying what that person stands for? Forget about it. Actually...I can tell you what he or she stands for. They stand for being re-elected and for being advanced within the Congressional leadership of their party. Nothing else really counts that much.

Everyone knows about Congress' problems. In fact, as much as people dislike George Bush, his approval rating is nearly DOUBLE that of Congress. Imagine being only half as good at your job as George Bush!!!!!

If you are a voting American (sorry Brandy;-)), then your Representative is up for re-election. If you live in one of these states, then one of your Senators is up for re-election. You owe it to yourself and to everyone else to cast an informed vote in those races. I am not asking you to spend as much time on that as you do the Presidential race. I just think we would all be better off if we could answer just a couple of simple questions...Do I like my Senator and/or my Rep? Why? Do I know two or three things that he/she really stands for? Who is running against him/her, and is there any reason to think I would like them better?

Honestly, this is like a half-hour long process, tops. Heck, you could call their campaign offices and say "In two minutes, tell me why I should vote for him/her." Actually, to be really honest, if you called your Congressman's office, there is a chance that you could get the actual Rep to call you back...these races are small enough that they can do that.

I don't think we all need to be deeply versed in the minutia of Congressional records. I just feel like you should know why you are voting for someone come election day, and not just the President.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Debate! Debate! Debate!

Who is the dork sitting home watching the debates? Yea...I am!!! How is that for a hot young city chick...watching TV on a Friday night;-)

At least I can be pretty sure that Brandy is watching along with me! I will admit to giggling when McCain first said "My friends," per her drinking game:-)

Quick recap: I thought it was actually a pretty strong night for both. I have to feel like each was pretty happy with his performance. A little too much bickering early on, and neither would answer the first two questions, but neither is a naturally good debater and they both did OK.

McCain did a good job of striking early on and deflecting much of the economic news that has sunk him this week. I felt like he was a little more on the offensive for most of the night, especially when they were talking about Iran (which, if you recall, was an area that Hillary Clinton beat him up on during the primary debates).

In a similar fashion, Obama hit his talking points, he didn't stutter over his words too much and he seemed to have a pretty good grasp of the foreign policy stuff that is his weakest point. He said "John is right," a lot, which could resonate either way...we will have to see.

As with most debates, there was no real clear winner. I am sure that each side's supporters got what they wanted, and the remaining undecideds got some things they liked from each of them. McCain was maybe a little condescending, but also maybe not.

Will this move the needle on the election? Maybe a point or two towards McCain, which is not totally unexpected...he has had an awful two weeks and this covered a lot of stuff that is his strong suit...but we will just have to see, now won't we:-)

A Rainy Weekend is Still a Weekend

"When the market crashed in 1929, FDR went on television to talk to the American people," says Joe Biden, not knowing that a) there were no televisions, and b) as Governor of New York in 1929, it is unlikely that most Americans were really looking for his guidance...

"I will have to get back to you with those!" says a chippy Sarah Palin when asked for some specific examples from Senator McCain's record.

Can we maybe beef up the Presidential Secret Service detail, just to be safe?

[In fairness to Governor Palin, not knowing all the specifics of another person's record is understandable...it was just the tone she delivered the answer in that was weird... As for Biden, well he was trying to sound like a smart-ass and may have proved the opposite...]

Anyway...who loves Fridays? I know I do, even if there is supposed to be a big storm coming this weekend. It has been reported to me that it is raining like crazy in New York, and that is all headed this way in the next day or so. Which wouldn't be the worst thing in the world...I don't mind curling up on the sofa with foul weather raging outside:-)

So, let's see...nothing huge going on. Chicken fingers were delightful:-) Smoking Hot Roommate and the Rocket Scientist came with us, and some other people dropped by, including Boss Foxy, who was taking her son to the Red Sox game. Got home in plenty of time for The Office (pretty good) and into bed relatively early for some absolutely mind-blowing sex...not sure what the occasion was, but it was super hot last night. Me smiling.

The Boy is going to be away all weekend...he and his Dad are going down to help his brother with some renovation stuff. Not sure if the rain will be an issue for that...I have no idea what they really need to do. I was going to go with him, but...um...well, I guess I wasn't really gonna go...:-D.

We will have to see about soccer in the morning, the forecast is not very promising at all. As much as I love sitting out on Fall mornings to watch soccer games, I do not appreciate doing it in the rain one bit. Munchkin is disappearing on me again tomorrow night to sleep over at a friend's house, and I have a date with Smoking Hot Roommate:-) Fun times!

I guess that is about all...kinda boring, I know. But it is Friday, isn't the impending weekend excitement enough?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Oh yea, and don't be a hoochie...

This is gonna be short...meeting in a couple minutes that I need to get to...

Interesting responses from yesterday's post...I was surprised at how many of you went right to "Well, that is why you shouldn't have sex at 15." Which is a totally reasonable response, and is certainly not a rule that I have any interest in arguing. In fact, it makes for pretty good policy...

But honestly, that had never really crossed my mind as I talked to Munchkin about it. I don't know for sure that this girl made a bad decision...she and her boyfriend could very well be mature enough to have this kind of relationship in a healthy manner. I know her a little bit, and she certainly seems like a smart, responsible girl...so I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that she erred in doing what she did. At a minimum, it doesn't justify a day long slur-campaign over her virtue...

So, our discussion really had almost nothing to do with that. It was really about how people can be mean, and how they can be insecure and how things like this can really spread quickly and do so much damage to people. And we talked about how she should respond and what she can and can't do and expect others to do. Honestly, this was not a talk about sex (we have had those, sort of) but about social interactions.

However, she was better yesterday. Things were better at school, and she had a soccer game yesterday afternoon that got her mind off of it for a bit, so that was all good. And then, oh look...here it is Thursday again, and time for more chicken fingers:-)

SHR? Big Sis? Twin Sister, The Boy, The Rocket Scientists? Who's in?!?!

On a totally unrelated note, I heard a fantastic political slur this morning, and it is so funny that I won't even tell you who it was said about, since that will get away from the key point. In reality, it is totally flexible and could be applied to virtually any candidate anywhere...

"He already cornered the moron vote, I don't understand why he keeps pandering to it."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Your Mom Was Never as Cool as Me!!!

I had an interesting night with Munchkin last night. The Boy had to sleep by himself because I had some big sistering/mothering to do that required some snuggling:-) I am not sure that I had any great advice, but I do know that I helped, and I feel good about that!

The issue was related to a friend of hers. It is an older girl (the girl is probably 15) that she has known since she started school here and has played some sports with and some other stuff. She was one of the girls who was originally assigned as sort of a "mentor" to Munchkin when she started in school here (the school is really good with new kids and assigns a couple older kids to kind of show them around) and she definitely looks up to her.

Well, that girl has a boyfriend, and apparently this weekend she and the boyfriend decided to...ahem...seal the deal. All well and good, but I think we all know how kids are (ok...boys...I am blaming this on boys...) and word spread around pretty quickly. And those sorts of rumors are much worse on girls than they are on boys.

So, yesterday, her friend was the school slut, and a tramp and a whore and is probably pregnant and probably has 4,000 different STDs and yada, yada, yada. Really, I am sure that all of you know exactly how these things work.

But my little Munchkin, despite being a super tough chick, is also very, very sensitive, and she doesn't like seeing bad things said about people, especially her friends. So, she was bothered by the whole thing...by the way people spread the rumor, to the things they said about this girl to the way it reflects so differently on boys and girls. And, her way of dealing with things...which is to sit and talk about it openly and rationally, doesn't work when it is a quickly spreading rumor and a sort of mass piling on.

Again, she can be very sensitive, and things like this effect her. She has had no problem in asking her friends not to pick on the outcasts in their class...and at least two other kids have reported to their parents that they felt left out and picked on until Munchkin made an effort to get everyone to be nicer to them. She doesn't like when people are put down solely for the purpose of making others feel better about themselves.

Is this going to be a problem? Most likely, yes. She is approaching an age where kids begin to get very, very insecure, and that insecurity tends to manifest itself in meanness. Clearly, there will be more things like this going forward, despite her own efforts to not engage in that kind of behavior.

I have said it before on a bunch of occasions...she is very different from the other kids she goes to school with, and other kids her age. Some of it is her background, some of it is that she lives with me and not with a parent, and some of it is just how she is. She has great friends and some girls that she is extremely close with...but she is definitely different than them all in some obvious ways, and this is one of them. She is cool enough and confident enough to not be bothered by people saying things about her (at least I don't think she would be), but she doesn't react well to those same things being said about other people.

So, I don't really know. I tried checking my Motherhood manual for the chapter on dealing with this, and for some reason I just seem to have misplaced that book;-). I am sort of flying blind here, and I am not exactly sure what I should do. All I know how to do is listen to her, help her talk through her feelings and tell her how great I think she is. And snuggle:-) I can do that, too.

She seemed fine this morning, and I am sure that the whole thing will blow over today as these things usually do. Crisis averted? We shall see...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Where's my handout?

I had this whole post written out yesterday about the Treasury action, but I have had to scrap it because they already seem to be changing the plan dramatically. And in a bad way.

It started out so elegantly simple...to make up for a lack of liquidity, the Treasury would buy illiquid securities from financial institutions at fair prices. Not "give banks $700 billion". In fact, if they really did pay a fair price, it wouldn't end up costing taxpayers anything...the securities would either be held to maturity or sold at a later date when the market was re-established. Sure, there are the sticky issues of valuing things that aren't trading, but there are a lot of smart people at the Fed and the Treasury that could put as good a number on them as anyone.

In its simplest version, it would work like this. A Bank bought something for $1,000, and needs to sell it to raise liquidity but has no buyers at all because no one has any liquidity. The PhD's at the Treasury think the underlying value is $450, so they buy it for that price. The Bank recognizes a loss of $550, but can accept the loss and move forward making new loans, a vital economic activity (actually, maybe THE vital economic activity).

The security then matures or is sold at a later date when the market is re-established. If the valuation was fair, then the taxpayers get back their $450 plus a reasonable return on that capital, whatever that may be. Voila...everyone wins. And further...did anyone really get "bailed out"? The Bank got a fair, highly discounted price for an asset. The taxpayers got a fairly priced asset for their money.

But, of course, we couldn't do anything that simply. And we can't because Bank's have lobbyists and irresponsible borrowers have votes. So, now we need to expand it into other types of loans that are harder to do this with, and we have to make it totally unworkable by forcing discounts on the payments of people who bought homes they never could afford, and we want to add provisions for government ownership in the firms it helps (nationalized banking, anyone?)

And, of course, there is the great question of valuation...exactly how much is an illiquid security worth? The easiest way to value something is to just see what it is trading for...well, that is, by definition, not an option. And, given the lobbying clout of banks, it seem likely that they will get a generous valuation.

So...what will we get? We will probably pay too much for securities, and then make them worth even less by giving gifts to delinquent homeowners. And those of us that work, pay our taxes, don't borrow money we can't afford, save and basically do the right thing? Well...we get to pick up the tab.

I hope I am wrong, but I don't have a lot of faith in Congress to get something worthwhile done.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Weekend recap

I hope Monday isn't hitting you too hard today...it is always a cruel bitch...

Weekend was pretty nice:-). I had to go to a wake on Friday and a funeral Saturday for the father of one of The Boy's (not super close) friends, so that was kind of a bummer. The ceremony itself was actually sort of uplifting, which I thought was nice...I feel like that is how most people would actually want their funeral to go down.

So let's see what else...I stayed in with The Boy on Friday night because he was exhausted from a VERY long week. We took pickup and drop off duty for Munchkin and a couple of her friends that went to the movies, which all worked out well...they all live in the same general area, so it made for a good excuse to go out for a little walk. Yea, when I say "pickup", I really mean walking over to meet them and then walking them home...cars are so overrated;-).

Soccer on Saturday morning, which was as nice as it always is. Since this was hr first game (well, the first one in this league...she also plays for school) it was good to see some parents and kids that I hadn't seen since last year. And mostly, I just like to be up and out that early to enjoy the morning a bit. We ended up bringing breakfast over to Smoking Hot Roommate after the game...kinda like old times:-).

SHR and I went out with some friends on Saturday night, which got a little out of control. I drank too much and we all did a fine job making asses of ourselves and I didn't get home until super super late (maybe 4:00?). Munchkin slept at a friend's house and The Boy was out with his friends but long since passed out when I got home...so I missed out on my chance for some lovings...

That, however, is OK...because Sunday was Fantasy Football time!!! SHR and Munchkin took off to meet their league-mates to watch the games, leaving me and The Boy an entire afternoon alone...heaven! Also, the Patriots sucked, so he had even less interest in the game and more interest in doing dirty things to me...hee hee:-) I am a little sore today...

So, all in all, a really nice weekend. And now...back to that work thing...

Incidentally, tomorrow I am gonna write about the recent Treasury Department action. I am not sure I have a full opinion of it yet...other than to say that it has been vastly mis-reported thus far...calling it a "$700 billion bailout" is a little bit inflammatory and misleading...but more on that tomorrow.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Stocks, Socks and Soccer

Can we talk about how ridiculous the stock market is? Down 500 Monday, up 200 Tuesday, Down 450 Wednesday, up 400 Thursday, and now it is up 400 right off the bat today. End result? As of now it is kind of back where it was last week at this time. So...I guess, nothing?

That doesn't mean that The Boy didn't have a whole bunch of late nights this week, though. Who thinks he deserves a back rub when he gets home? I do:-)

It is way too fucking cold outside. Yesterday was cool and fallish, and it was really crisp last night...but this morning was a total slap in the face. I think it was under 60 degrees, which is just complete and total bullshit, if you ask me. And you did ask me, dam nit! The weekend is supposed to be pretty nice, though, which is good. Chilly nights (in the 40's!!! Ugh!!!) but days up to and into the 70's.

Too bad my super cute socks from Vicky's Secret didn't fit...they would be outstanding for this kind of weather. Munchkin wore hers to school today and I was super jealous. They also match her school uniform perfectly:-D. If SHR tells me she has hers on, too, then I will be super super jealous. I assume they were not a huge hit, since I can't even find the picture anymore at the website, so you will just have to remember them from the last time I wrote about them (maroon thigh-high cotton socks...cute!!!)

Chicken fingers were lovely:-) Just me and Munchkin at the start, but The Boy met us when he finally got out of work (and put back his first beer in about seven seconds...long day!) and Smoking Hot Roommate and The Rocket Scientist stopped by on their way out, too. So that was nice:-) I am going to have to make sure that I make enough alone time with Munchkin now. Shouldn't be a problem, but I have to keep an eye on it.

She is still, for the record, driving all of the boys absolutely out of their minds;-). There is no current boyfriend, but there are several vying for the position...

Soccer tomorrow morning, which will be a welcome return to one of my favorite traditions. I may hate fall, but I love Saturday morning soccer games:-) And if that makes me a dork, well, so be it!

Hope everyone has a nice weekend:-) Enjoy the weather while we still have it, I guess...God, I hate winter...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Tagged by Laurwilk, and still kinda under the weather and not feeling really motivated, so this will be fun.


A. Attached or Single? Engaged
B. Best Friend? I have a couple...both BFF's, and of course Smoking Hot Roommate are probably at the top of the list.
C. Cake or pie? Cake. Chocolate.
D. Day of choice? Usually Saturday, but I am partial to Thursday evenings because of the chicken fingers:-).
E. Essential item? Ugh...cellphone? I hate it, but it is essential
F. Favorite color? Blue.
G. Gummy bears or worms? Bears. I am a traditionalist. And bears seem more appetizing than worms. Although, worms can't eat you...so, I dunno...
H. Hometown? Chicago, IL. Although Boston is definitely "Home"
I. Favorite indulgence? Spa visits during lunch:-)
J. January or July? July, duh. Cause the weather is nice and it's my birthday!!!
K. Kids? I sorta have one;-). I will likely have one of my own. No time soon...couple years?
L. Life isn’t complete without? Ice cream!!!
M. Marriage date? July the 25th, Two Thousand and Nine.
N. Number of brothers and sisters? Two half sisters. Munchkin is 13 and lives with me, Tinkerbelle is 9 and lives with her Mom in Chicago. And SHR and Big Sis and I sometimes pretend to be related:-)
O. Oranges or Apples? Oranges. Vitamin C is good for you.
P. Phobias? I am not a fan of spiders, or ants, but I wouldn't call it a full-blown phobia.
Q. Quotes? "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood..." You know the rest.
R. Reasons to smile? Because it is Chicken Finger Thursday!
S. Season of choice? Summer.
T. Tag 5 people: No. I don't want to, and you're not the boss of me!!!
U. Unknown fact about me? Oh...there are some...and they will remain unknown;-)
V. Vegetable? I like lots of them. But fresh corn on the cob in the summer is tops for now.
W. Worst habit? I shuffle my feet when I walk sometimes just to hear the noise of scuffing shoes.
X. X-ray or Ultrasound? I have no fucking idea. This seems a little forced to get an X in here, doesn't it?
Y. Your favorite food? Ice cream. And chocolate chip cookies.
Z. Zodiac sign? Cancer. Almost Leo. I would rather be a lion than a crab. And, who really wants to be cancer, anyway?

So there you have it...


I'm sick...I hate being sick. I am not super sick, but I am definitely getting a cold. I developed a bit of a sore throat while I was at Munchkin's soccer game yesterday, and then fell into bed and slept from about 9:30 until 7:00 this morning. I am definitely dragging today, but I am eating cough drops, drinking Vitamin Water and taking Tylenol Cold just to ward off the bugs...fingers crossed.

Not sure where this cold came from...can you catch a cold via Gchat? Laurwilk was sick last week...maybe that is how I got it:-D. She also tagged me to do a meme which I will get to at some point, I promise.

I was going to write about AIG, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the like today, but I don't really have the energy. I was also going to write about how it interacts with the Presidential election, which I may still do. Long and short...all this does is allow for more misinformation and distortion of the debate around the economy. (By the way...Phil Gramm almost got crucified for his "mental recession" comment, which is interesting since he was 100% correct about it).

I am also guessing that neither candidate could sit down and articulate whether or not the Fed and the Treasury did the right thing in each of these cases, and what else they could or should have done and why. Heck, they can't even get past the word "bailout"...and since none of the shareholders that were "bailed out" ended up with anything on the backs of taxpayers, I have a hard time thinking that is the appropriate word.

Anyway, it is Wednesday, which means that the week is half over at lunch:-) And I need a nap!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Regretting Dinner

Munchkin, Big Sis, Smoking Hot Roommate and I dropped in on the traditional Monday Night "10 Cent Wings and Cheap Beer Guy Fest" last night. The Boy, The Rocket Scientist and some other of their various guy friends spend most Mondays in the fall at various bars that sell cheap wings and cheap beers. And last night, we joined them, as did a couple girlfriends of the guys.

The Boy made it through yesterday pretty well. For those just catching up, he is a money manager whose work life is very much tied to the stock market. When the market does crazy things (like yesterday), he tends to have massively long, hard days at work. However, yesterday was apparently not that bad...to hear him tell it, the market sort of cratered, but it did so in a rational, orderly manner...I am not sure that makes it any better for my 401K!!! Long and short, he was out of work by 7:00, which is not too bad at all.

I made Munchkin leave with me at halftime, which she was a little torqued about, but it is a school night...and while I may be the coolest Mom in the Seventh Grade, she does need to be in bed at a somewhat reasonable hour. I know she likes to be a big kid, but sometimes I have to remind her that she is a little kid;-)

One minor issue...eating that many Buffalo wings may seem like a good idea at the time, but I am regretting it now. I don't know exactly how many I had, but it was a lot, and they were very spicy. The burning in my lips and mouth was gone by the time I went to bed, but the rest of the digestive system is not real happy about that right now. Big Sis came to me with a hilariously funny but disgustingly gross comment this morning about how infusing toilet paper with blue cheese dressing could be worth looking into. I will let you fill in the blanks on that one...

Soccer game today that I am going to try and skip out of work early for. As a firm we are not terribly busy these days (no one who relies on credit markets is...since they have pretty dramatically locked up. We have been effected much less than other firms like us, but it still has slowed the pace of work) which makes it easier to do things like that. Not that I have ever really had trouble getting away from the office when I need to, but going to afternoon soccer games is a real treat.

I am sure I can talk at least one friend out of work this afternoon to come with me:-). No one really likes work all that much anyway...:-D

Monday, September 15, 2008

Quick shots

Super quick, as I am between meetings and kinda busy today...

1) Today is Big Sis's first day at work:-) Everyone cheer, clap your hands and jump up and down and scream "Yay!" I am very excited about this:-)

2) Weekend was awesome. Weather was just kind of OK, but certainly good enough to enjoy the place...warm-ish, mostly cloudy, only an itty-bitty touch of rain. We had much fun at the beach, although now I am sad because that is likely the last beach weekend of the summer...:-(

3) Sarah Palin - Who thinks she didn't know what the Bush Doctrine was? That's not what I saw...what I saw was a reporter trying to tie her to George Bush and her not falling into his trap. She is quicker on her feet than maybe they were giving her credit for. But the "I can see Russia" comment was stupid.

Still, at this point the Democrats just haven't figured out what to do with her. She has totally dominated the news, and their public commentary, for a couple weeks now in a way that no VP candidate really ever has. To some extent, Obama is off the rails and he needs to get back on track. Remember, she is not running for President...you are running against the other guy...

4) I have a couple of readers and people who write blogs that I read in Houston (Billy, the OEN) or in Galveston (Erin). None of them have posted since the storm blew through...and I am just sending good wishes that everyone is OK. The reports from Texas are really horrifying, and the devastation seems to be extensive. Hopefully, none of them have posted simply because the power is out, and not for some more substantial reasons. Fingers crossed, and hopefully the good wishes of total strangers help...

Friday, September 12, 2008

A day in the life

I went to bed alone, but knowing you would follow. You said you had some work to finish and wanted to watch the rest of the game before you turned it. I promised to warm the bed up and leave ample room and kissed you good night. I am not sure if I was asleep when you came to bed, I think I was, but just barely.

Your chest was cool against my bare back. Your arm was strong and snug and I grabbed hold of it and held it to my chest. You kissed my neck and pressed against me and I hummed with approval. Your hands were soft but your touch is firm against my stomach and chest and between my legs. Another purr, this one more mischievous, escaped my lips in consent.

This would have been easier if I had been totally naked, but it took you no time at all to remedy that. You hands lingered over my smooth legs after removing my only shred of clothing, and a shiver ran straight up my spine. Mmm.

And then you were inside of me and your warm breathing quickened on my neck. It was slow, and meaningful and it felt good. I rolled onto my stomach and you were on top of me, your hand finding its way down my stomach and between my legs and setting off an explosion of tingling and shaking in a wave of orgasm. You stayed motionless while I finished, your muscles flexed as you held yourself above me and I pressed up and against you, and then collapsed, heaving and breathy.

After a moment, the strokes started, slow and deliberate. I always sense that you are worried you will hurt me in this position. But you won't, and I reminded you of that with a subtle lift and some well-chosen words. And then the quickening breath...and the tensed muscles, and the last heavy lunge...and you quivered and I could feel you coming inside of me. Held momentarily, your breath escaped in one large gasp and you fell, exhausted next to me on the bed, searching for breath.

Looking up from your back, you told me you loved me and I rolled over, curling up in the crook of your shoulder and arm, pressed against your chest. I love you, too. And then I was asleep again, falling quickly and comfortable into darkness. You smelled good, and your heartbeat is now the comforting sound of home. I think I dreamed about you, but I am not sure the dreams were much better than reality.

When I awoke, you were already gone from the bed. Pulling on some clothes, I emerged from the bedroom to find the two of you in the kitchen. She was sitting on the stool at the breakfast bar with a bowl of Cheerios and the newspaper. She doesn't really "read" the paper so much as she scans the headlines and gets the score of the Cubs game. But she likes to have it open while she eats breakfast. I don't know what you were talking about...could have been sports, or politics, or TV or school or really anything. It doesn't matter...but you were both laughing and smiling. And I smiled, too. Good morning. You look handsome in that suit. More than usual:-)

And this, I thought, just may be as good as it gets. And I am totally OK with that.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Considering that you have a cock, that skirt doesn't look half bad on you

I seem to have a bunch of new readers this week, including a couple who have read an enormous amount of the archives in a very short time. That is impressive...I tend to write a lot. Maybe not a "Free and Flawed" lot, but a lot nonetheless. So, to Amy, Lori S-C, Smilf from Wifezillas, Having It, Leetid and Kelly via email:-), all of whom are new readers (or at least new-ish commenters), welcome aboard, and thanks for stopping by! My need for attention is pretty well documented and you are all helping to fulfill that need!!!

How, in my recaps of trashy TV, have I neglected to mention the DUDE on America's Next Top Model?!?! That's right...a pre-op transgendered guy is on a show modeling women's clothing. He (She? If it is pre-op, why do they call her "she"? When you get rid of your junk, you are no longer a he) seems to be an excellent model, though. I haven't watched the last two episodes, so maybe he already got eliminated, I don't know...my guess is they would keep him around just to keep the intrigue up even if he sucked at modeling.

[Can anyone else not get through any discussion of models without thinking of Ben Stiller asking "Why male models?"]

Anyway, I feel like they pick uglier girls every year just for the sake of it. I loved when Jay said "She is so pretty pretty. I can't wait to make her ugly pretty and then model ugly ugly" or something like that. My other problem is that the show has to turn out a big name model soon or else it will simply lose its credibility (does it actually have any?). American Idol has proven its effectiveness by turning out some people who sold mountains of records...but are any of the ANTM girls really stars? I am sure they are all working models, but are any of them really "Top Models"? Heck, the most famous one is only famous for banging Peter Brady.

Oh, and a memo to the oft-criticized "media elites" or those that perpetuate "Hollywood's liberal bias"...go back and watch the scene in the first episode where the Mormon girl comes in and gets viciously belittled for having religious beliefs right before they fawn all of the confused cross-dressing anorexic gay guy and his braveness in being on the show. THAT is the "culture divide"...

Changing up...I think we are going to try and go to the beach this weekend. The weather is supposed to be OK, and it will likely be our last weekend down there (the house is in use for other things for the next 3-4 weeks, and then it will probably get closed up for the winter unless we get a real warm spell.) It will mean Munchkin missing her first soccer game, but I think she will be OK with that if the beach is involved...she will likely bring a couple friends, too.

So there you have it...I have some new readers, there is a dude on ANTM, and we are maybe headed for the beach. That is all the news that is fit to print around here today!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This and That

First, a couple of notes from the blogosphere...

Much juicy doings over at Brookem's place today...

And, drop by KT's and tell her that you blog-love her...she needs some e-hugs today.

I got some fierce defense of Gossip Girl yesterday, but I am still keeping that show on a short leash. The first couple episodes this year were really hideous, and if it doesn't improve in the next couple of weeks, I am going to have to look elsewhere for my horrible TV enjoyment!!!

So, I was chatting with Laurwilk the other day about a whole bunch of stuff, and we spent some time discussing my old high school boyfriend Sam, who I wrote about at great length a while back (like, and entire volume...start here and you can link to the first five posts.)

That reminded me that I hadn't talked to him in a while, so I called him, and he called me back last night. And we had a really nice chat. I feel like he is in a pretty good place in his life, and that makes me happy. I don't know that I would say things are remotely "normal", but I can feel comfortable talking to him now. I also feel better knowing that he sees BFFb and BFFg pretty regularly...the part of our whole situation that bothered me most was always the way that it sort of blew up what had been such a key part of our lives for so long.

I also cooked dinner last night, which I guess qualifies as our first "family meal". Munchkin was supposed to have a soccer game, but it got rained out, so we went to the store and I made dinner. Grilled salmon and asparagus and a lovely salad of greens, dried cranberries, goat cheese and some other stuff. I am so domesticated...:-)

So, let's see what else...Project Runway tonight! I don't really have a favorite yet...does anyone else?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

When Did Gossip Get So Boring?

I have grown irritated with Gossip Girl...anyone else? The first two episodes of this season have been, well, "inane" comes to mind. Which I should probably expect, the show was hideously stupid last year, but it was at least interesting and sometimes funny. This year it has just been plain old stupid.

I feel like it has lost some of its darkness, and I think that is what made it interesting. Just having them say "The Hamptons" over and over again is really not that entertaining, and I really find myself not caring at all what happens to anyone on the show. I will give it a couple more weeks, but it is now on a pretty short leash...

On the plus side, the clothes have been much better:-) I loved Serena's dress last night...very summery.

So, an update on a previous story...I am totally the best matchmaker on Earth!!! Since the last update, BFFg and the as-yet-unnamed boy have continued to see each other, progressively more, and she now reports that he is officially a boyfriend. They spent most of the weekend together, and then eventually got into what Ally likes to refer to as a "DTR". The result? Smitten kittens all around:-).

She is super happy, which makes me happy...and I am totally taking credit for this one:-D. I should actually call him today, but I am a little leery because I don't quite know what the protocol on this sort of thing is. I suppose I should just ask Boss Foxy, who will almost certainly make me call him immediately...:-).

Now...about BFFb...we gotta get to work on him...If only I could get him to date someone for more than a month before he gets bored with her...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Contrary to Popular Belief...

Despite what you may have read in the Boston papers this morning, the Earth does not stop revolving on its axis because Tom Brady hurt his knee;-). However, if you would like to leave a little get well present for him on his doorstep, his condo is pretty easy to find. Just look for the super tall Brazilian woman walking around and ask her where it is:-)

Anyway, I feel like I am way behind in my blogging because I spent so much time writing about politics last week. Really, the last two weeks. Which is fine...as you have probably gathered, I am sort of a civics geek and I really like that stuff, so it is fun for me. Probably less so for anyone who has to read my drivel...lol.

Of course, being behind would imply that I have quite a bit to write about, and I really don't:-) Munchkin and I went for a long walk and some pretend house shopping yesterday which was fun. It was a beautiful day, and it was just nice to be able to putz around and do nothing for a while. And eat ice cream:-).

I have two silly stories about her. One, if we are in different places, she has to call me before she goes to bed. Not that I make her, just that she says she can't sleep if she doesn't:-). Which is actually fine because I would probably have to call her if she didn't call me:-P. So, she called me at about midnight on Saturday, just because she missed me:-).

She also had something like the following conversation with her brother on Sunday:

Munchkin: AM keeps yelling at me about what I wear.
Brother: How come?
Munchkin: She says the stuff I pick out is too sexy.
Brother: You should listen to your sister, she is very smart.

So, I take back at least some of the bad things I said about him;-P

Anyway, this post has taken me about three hours to write, and contains no real content. Looks like I could be in for a slow week!!!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The New Household

Quick Saturday afternoon post for you...very big day over in AM-land.

Today, as I have mentioned, is move-in day. After several delays (mostly on my part), three years, many wonderful memories, and one beautiful diamond ring...The Boy has moved in. Looks like there is no going back now:-P.

I am surprisingly without reservations about this...in fact, I am as sure about this as I ever have been about any major life decisions. He is my perfect other half. He still makes me laugh every day and makes my heart twinkle every time I hear his voice. And, not unimportantly, he and Munchkin get along like chips and salsa (I just made that phrase up...I like it;-) That's now trademarked...lol).

Of course, if this is really to be the first day of the rest of our lives...should I be concerned that we have the remnants of a hurricane blowing through? In fact...it has been a weird day. It was brutally humid this morning, and has remained oppressively hot all day. Now the rain has come, and the wind is supposed to follower shortly. Munchkin is staying over at a friend's house tonight for a "Hurricane party" (which takes one a WHOLE different meaning when you are old enough to buy rum;-)) which means we have the whole place to ourselves for the evening. We are having dinner with his parents, sister and brother, and we were gonna go out afterwards, but scrapped that...um...because of the weather. Yeah. Something like that.

I would like to pretend that I helped move, but I really didn't;-). His brother is up visiting for the weekend, and with the help of their father, they had plenty of manpower to get the job done. My contribution was taking Munchkin shopping:-P. We both needed a TON of clothes, and apparently I didn't need that $1,800 any more...ouch

In my defense, I do not buy a ton of clothes, and we ended up with a total of five coats, five pairs of shoes, two skirts, six pairs of pants, two pairs of jeans, six sweaters, maybe a dozen different tops and some assorted socks, new bras and underwear...much of which is interchangeable between the two of us, so I feel pretty good about the current wardrobe status in the house. We are in good shape for the fall and winter. Maybe some real heavy-weather stuff later, but we won't need a lot more.

On a related note, The Boy's brother is in town because they are all playing in a golf tournament in his great uncle's memory tomorrow (provided they weather passes through, which is doubtful at this point). That is kinda sweet, right? And, since golf is usually played in foursomes, you might think that they would invite their super cool, soon-to-be wife/sister-in-law/daughter-in-law, right? Or, maybe you think that it is a "boys only", and they would grab a cousin, uncle, friend of someone else?

Well, you would be wrong on both fronts. In fact, they are hyper-competitive, and despite the event being in memory of their beloved relative and intended to raise money for Alzheimer's research, they are most concerned with winning. And, to that end, they have obtained the services of a true ringer...the divine, magnificent, stunning and famous Smoking Hot Roommate. Not only is she probably the best golfer that they know, but she gets to play from the girls' tees, which is really, really unfair.

So, the move is pretty much done...although he has a lot of unpacking to do. There wasn't much furniture to move, so it was not a real difficult process. Plus, he still has his old place until it sells, so he can run back and forth if need be. He is sitting in the living room watching football with his father and brother right now, and his Mom is on the way over with Twin Sister, her wife and the baby to meet us for dinner.

I am very happy today:-) Things just feel...I dunno...they feel right.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Wrapping up the Convention

Very interesting speech from McCain last night. He was OK (like I said, he is just not a great speaker, but he did fine) but the content of the speech was really interesting.

First, what I thought was missing: policy details. The speech dealt mainly with broad themes and big ideas. There is actually nothing wrong with this, since legislation does not get made during a nomination acceptance;-). Obama gave a much more granular speech last week (which he probably did because he gets criticized for not doing it), but I am not real sure what that accomplishes, either. All in all, I think the level of policy detail was probably appropriate for both of them... as a little more of a known quantity, we need less of that from McCain.

I thought, much like Palin the night before, that he started slow. He did a pretty good job of handling Bush...he noted his leadership through 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (which the two of them are basically on the same page with) but never gave the Democrats a really concrete sound byte linking them together. He never even mentioned him by name!

While the previous couple of nights had been devoted to the base...real hearty attacks on Obama and a reiteration of Republican principles...McCain was much more magnanimous and moderate ("I wouldn't be an American worthy of the name if I didn't honor Sen. Obama and his supporters for their achievement.") He was shooting at the middle as much as the right.

The most interesting part was that he totally and completely threw his own party under the bus. Well, not just his party, but basically The President and everyone in Congress. Which, by the way, they totally deserve! It is not really out of character for him to do it, and he did it concerning a subject (wasteful spending) that is one of his trademarks, and which, incidentally, he is completely right about;-).

Still, to see a major party candidate take his own party to task right along with the other guys like that...well, THAT is an upset. Especially after they took three days to really feed the base.

The biggest problem with the speech? Well...it is McCain himself, who just doesn't have the presence that some other's do. Like...the closing section...just read this and imagine that Obama is speaking it...

"Fight for what's right for our country. Fight for the ideals and character of a free people. Fight for our children's future. Fight for justice and opportunity for all. Stand up to defend our country from its enemies. Stand up for each other, for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America. Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. Nothing is inevitable here. We're Americans, and we never give up.
We never quit.

We never hide from history. We make history."

It comes across a little differently, doesn't it? That is one of his challenges going forward.

So, let's see...what did I like. I loved "Education is the civil rights issue of the 21st century." I liked his telling of his POW experience...which surprised me. It is a story that has been told so many times that it almost loses its effectiveness, although he managed to tell it from a different angle this time, which I thought worked. And I think he scored some points on energy, taking a broader view of traditional production and renewable research and development than Obama does.

Final analysis? The more I think about it, the more I think he dropped the ball a bit. He talked about changing the ways of Washington, but other than cutting wasteful spending, he didn't really go into what that meant (not that cutting wasteful spending is not a good idea...) But mostly, I think he tried to speak to the middle at the expense of his base, while last week I think Obama managed to speak to the middle and his base.

Before the conventions, Obama was up in the polls by 1-3 points. He got a bump to something closer to 7-9 points, and McCain will now get his bump and cut into that. My intuition says it will go back to the high end of that original range. So, by the middle-end of next week, I am saying Obama by about 3 points...just a hunch.


In much less national news, I am getting a new roommate this weekend;-) I am pretty excited about that! More on this tomorrow or Monday when I have time:-)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Que Sarah, Sarah

So, everyone seems to love Sarah Palin today, and I can see why. Overall, I thought she did a good job last night...although I am not sure I agree with the overwhelming raves that she got. To be fair, I thought the same of Bill Clinton and Joe Biden last week, so maybe the coverage is just nice this year...I dunno.

I felt like she started very slowly...she spent too much time introducing her kids (although the little girl waving and fixing her baby brother's hair was priceless.) I also felt like she spent virtually no time talking about why she was the right person for the job she is up for. Obviously, the standard for the VP on policy outlines is a lot lower, but I would have liked to hear a little bit more about her view of the world. We got some very small snippets, but not much. Again, I am not sure it was much more of less than Biden gave last week, but I would have liked to see a little more.

I thought her defense of McCain was very good. Clearly, there is a concerted effort from the GOP to focus the discussion on "character", which is a category that McCain scores very well in. It also has the advantage of being un-attackable...it is hard to attack him on that front and not look stupid and petty.

The strongest part of the speech was the attack portion. The Vice President is traditionally there to be on the attack, and she showed that she is ready for that job. And the whole thing was classic Republican...witty, sarcastic, belittling. I wrote earlier this year that Obama would have to be ready for a MUCH higher degree of criticism when the general election came about, and that is clearly here. Every plays a little bit nice during the primaries, but the gloves come off after Labor Day.

The worst thing Obama can do is get into a pissing match with her about who's experience is the thinnest. She belittled his work as a "community organizer", and he is probably tempted to say something like "I have seen Boys Clubs with more people than Wasilla, AK." But all that does is draw attention to his weakness, and cede the "readiness" argument to McCain. He has to let it go...don't mention her age or experience and attack her on the issues.

I thought her best line was "Our opponent has written two memoirs but no legislation..." That is so fantastically biting on at least two levels...it points out that he has no accomplishments as a Senator (this is one of the reasons Senators so rarely win the Presidency...NONE of them have any tangible accomplishments to single out) and implies that he has a massive opinion of himself, without saying it explicitly.

So, what is the upshot? I thought her primary task was just to demonstrate that she belongs on this stage. And she seems to have passed that test...she seemed pretty comfortable and she was clearly not shy about picking a fight. At this point, it looks like she is not Dan Quayle.

Was it a rousing, "speech-of-a-generation"? Nah...not quite. She did well, she showed that she is gonna be in this fight and will be a good candidate, and she did what she needed to do to energize the Republicans for this election. If we are going to compare...I thought she was better than Biden was last week.

As for McCain...well, we shall see. He is not a terribly dynamic speaker, although he can be very eloquent at times. My guess is that he will not be received nearly as well as Obama was last week, but that a reading of the text of the speech will be just as inspiring.

His problem...who (besides dorks like me) ever reads the text of speeches?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


So, the Republican convention is underway, and it has a totally different feel than the Democrats. It seems to be seriously lacking in the energy that we saw last week (although that could be reversed tonight, because that whole building is just dying to love Sarah Palin, and if she delivers they will completely explode.)

I have a couple of theories.

1) The Hurricane has everyone out of sorts. The convention didn't start on time, the agenda has changed, and no one really knows whether they should be totally celebrating or not.

2) The building is half empty. Seriously...Democrats have twice as many delegates as Republicans, and the GOP should consider upping their number to get some more energy into the place. The number is arbitrary...hike it.

3) The speakers...ugh. Fred Thompsen was pretty good, although the power was in the story, not in the delivery. Bush is just Bush...we have all seen that movie before. Lieberman was, well, he is what he is, too. And what is he? BORING! He did OK with his stuff about what a great guy McCain is, but how many times can he repeat "We are not Republicans or Democrats, we are Americans!" Like...I dunno...30? He would have been much better if he had just said "You all know I am ruining my career to do this, right? Well, I have known that from the beginning of this campaign, and that is how strongly I feel about it."

I am a little confused about the talk today of Lieberman's "criticism" of Obama and whether it was "over the line." Are we serious? He barely mentioned him, and when he did, it was with praise for his intelligence, eloquence and potential, followed by "but, I don't think he is ready just yet." That counts as "over the line"? Well...then I have really bad news for you, because there is a LOT worse than that coming...

All in all, not a real good night for McCain, I don't think. Just not that exciting.

Tonight will have a lot more energy, no doubt. And way more viewers. This is Sarah Palin's big night, and the party is clearly absolutely fired up for that. She has managed to do for McCain what the first 16 months of this campaign have not...really energized evangelicals, hardcore catholics, gun owners and pro-lifers. There has been a ton of talk about the fracture in the Democratic party, but the Republicans are also far from a united front, and she has done an enormous amount to fix that already (and, more importantly, to get them to open their checkbooks.)

In closing, I want to leave you with one thought. I have found myself focusing a lot on how the media treats Republicans and Democrats differently (I could write a very long post on this someday...in short, Democrats are usually treated as idealistic, weak-willed sissies and Republicans are treated as insensitive, heartless wealth mongers).

So, I would like to point to a quote that was on the front page of the New York Times yesterday. The Times, of course, is the great bastion of liberalism and has long been a leading voice for left-wing economics and politics and liberal social causes. Included in this would, of course, be the women's movement. So, I was a little surprised to see the Times note that she is attempting to be a mother and a Vice President, and then asking "Is she right to try?"

Never mind the obvious...that there have been BOATLOADS of male politicians with small children. Including a particular Senator from Illinois with two kids under age 10. And no one would ever dream of asking whether or not he was "right to want to be a father and a President." We all know there is a double standard...blah blah blah.

My question is not how would the New York Times have handled this if Sarah Palin was a man...my question is "How would they have handled it if she was a Democrat?"

Adventures in Sistering. Or Mothering.

Two posts today...I have more politics as well, but I need to cover the weekend and the beginning of school and yada yada yada.

The weekend was really a great end to the summer. I say "weekend", but I was at the beach for basically all of two weeks, so it was a little more than just a weekend. It was really wonderful to have Tinkerbelle around, and I think I will remember this visit fondly for a very, very long time. Just about the only major thing in my life that bothers me is that I don't get to see her very often...it is very hard to get to know someone from this kind of distance, so having the chance to spend two weeks with her all by herself was really a treat.

And she did great! That is a really long time to be away from home at her age, but she did really well. She did have a meltdown on Friday...she was tired and homesick and hungry and just basically wanted to go home. But she went to bed early and rallied for Saturday:-). I thought about sending her home by herself...she said she would go alone and she would have been fine and her uncle was at the airport to get her...but in the end I decided it would be better if I went with her. So, I flew back to Chicago with her on Sunday to essentially drop her off, then turned around and headed straight back home.

I probably should have planned that better and seen a couple of people while I was there, but it was sort of last minute. I just had this horrible feeling that there would be turbulence or something scary and she would be all by herself and I couldn't bear to think of that:-)

So, all in all, it was a great visit, and I am really glad to have had the opportunity. Obviously, not the greatest of circumstances, but I think it worked out well...Tinkerbelle had a fun vacation, I got to spend some time with my littlest sister, and her Mom got to go through the hardest part of her recovery without worrying about the little one. So, win-win-win, right? Her Mom is doing better, too...they got all of the swelling under control and that eased the pain quite a bit.

They are both back home, and one of our cousins is staying with them for a bit to sort of help out and make sure everything is OK. She is in High School and lives just a couple miles away, so she will likely just run back and forth and make sure the Tinkerbelle's Mom doesn't have to do anything to hurt herself worse. This is why I love my Father's family so much...they are just the nicest, warmest, most helpful people you can imagine:-).

Munchkin started school again yesterday, too. Seventh grade...and exactly how the fuck did that happen? I think back to the day I dropped her off for her first day of fourth grade and it seems like only a couple of months ago. I am happy to report that all of the horrible anxiety I had that day, and all of the immense worries were very much for naught:-) Things have worked out pretty darn well...

One minor issue...back to school clothes shopping. Actually, that is kind of a misnomer, since she doesn't need any clothes for school: they wear uniforms, so she just needs khaki pants and skirts (one more reminder that I am strongly in favor of school uniforms). But she needed some new fall clothes, so we did some shopping the other day.

Let's just say that she is developing her own sense of fashion, and it is somewhat at odds with my vision for her;-). Let's also say that she is very comfortable with her own body (which I am happy about...better that than a whole bunch of debilitating body image issues.) And let's also say that she has become keenly aware of how to dress that body in the most effective manner. However, let us also say that no girl completely picks up all of the nuances of appropriate dressing at age 13 (or even like 17!)

And now you can probably see where the disagreement comes in during clothes shopping;-) (The phrase "You can't wear that, you look like a hooker," may have come out once. Although, in fairness, she repeated it to me at one point and she was right...lol.)

It really isn't that big a deal...it's not like we sit and fight over it...I just noticed a lot more disagreement this time around, and it took us much longer than it usually does. I am all for her looking cute, and I am really proud of her for being this comfortable in her own skin...it is just that girls her age that are changing so fast have trouble keeping up with their own bodies sometimes. It takes a while to really understand your own body well enough to dress yourself all the time.

And that, to me, is one of the roles of being a Mom. Maybe I am overreacting and I need to let her make her own mistakes...but so be it, I can only do what I feel is right.

Also, I am at least moderately jealous that she can already wear things that I can't...god damn you, boobs!!!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Catching up on old news...

Welcome back from the long weekend, everyone:-) There is much to discuss since I have conveniently neglected to blog since...oh...Friday? The Boy and the rest of the crew showed up on Friday and I was pretty busy all weekend (by "busy", I mean "socializing"). Pretty big crowd in the end...the house was just about full. It will take me a couple of days to get through all of the blog materials...

First up, Sarah Palin. I have to admit to still not having a firm opinion on her.

There are things I like: I am impressed that she is almost kinda hot:-P. And she is clearly very tough and very independent...she has basically dismantled the Alaska Republican Party by rooting out all of the old crooked guys, and she seems to fit into McCain's image as "maverick." She also shut down one of the worst Federal pork barrel projects in the country, which fits right into another of McCain's causes. Her family story (even with the knocked up daughter) is tremendous, right down to her husband being a steel-working snowmobile racer.

There are things that I don't personally like, but that many people will: Socially, she is SUPER conservative. Totally non-negotiable pro-guns and pro-life.

And then there is her relative inexperience. Be careful, Democrats...THIS IS A TRAP!!! She is younger than Obama, and has very, very little foreign policy experience (I wouldn't say that she has absolutely none, though...she governs a border state.) However, she has more executive experience and a more concrete record as a reformer than Obama does. What's the upshot? That her experience level is pretty comparable to Obama's: which is to say "Not much".

Here is where that is a problem for Democrats. For all the publicity it gets, virtually no one votes for a President because of the VP. So, any criticism of Palin for being inexperienced is going to stick to Obama much more than it sticks to McCain through her.

Fabulous quote of the day goes to Chuck Schumer, senator from New York "Certainly the choice of Palin puts to rest any argument about inexperience on the Democratic team and while Palin is a fine person, her lack of experience makes the thought of her assuming the presidency troubling." So, which is it, Chuck...are we taking that argument off the table, or are we putting it right back on the table? Obama actually distanced himself from this comment in particular very quickly.

The one thing that has surprised me is the seemingly negative reaction by women. You can dislike her, but to be "offended" is patently ridiculous. And further, anyone who thinks this was intended to court disaffected Hillary Clinton voters is off of his/her rocker. No one who supported Hillary Clinton is going to vote for John McCain because he picked a vehemently Pro-Life female running mate. This move was aimed almost entirely at the base of his own party: evangelical Southern, Western and Midwestern Christians that are somewhat suspicious of McCain.

And while her gender was certainly a factor in her selection, who was the obviously better male candidate that he passed over? Tom Ridge? Mitt Romney? Tim Pawlenty? All have some attraction, but they are all far from perfect, and none speak to the party's base. Bobby Jindal? He would have taken the same exact criticism, only it would have been that McCain picked him just because he is a minority. Joe Liberman? The campaign would have been over before the convention even finished. I don't feel like he really reached on this one...she is an extraordinarily popular governor with an independent streak that appeals to his core voting block. Being a woman certainly helped, but to claim that she was picked solely for that reason is unfair to her, unfair to McCain, and unfair to women politicians.

I don't think that the teenage pregnancy is going to be an issue...she seems to have deflected that, and Troopergate isn't gonna stick, either ("Are we really taking a governor to task for wanting to fire a state trooper that tasered an 11 year old boy to get back at his ex-wife?").

She does, however, have a certain legitimacy bar to hurdle over. She has to prove that she "belongs" on this stage. Obama has no resume either, but he has passed that legitimacy hurdle by looking and sounding the part, and she needs to do the same. It will be harder for her: he has had an 18 month campaign to get used to this...she has to jump right in...but if she passes that threshold, it will be an outstanding pick. If not...Dan Quayle (although, we should note that George HW Bush won that race easily anyway.)

Along with that is the national press. She has yet to be vetted by the nationals, and that could very well turn up some things we haven't heard about. I say that Troopergate will be a non-factor...but that goes out the window if there is more to it than we know now.

So...I am taking a "wait and see". I don't particularly like her social politics, but I think I like her, and I really want to like her. What I am waiting on is to just see if she looks out of place on this stage. She will speak this week, and probably do a lot more press in the next week and a half that will answer that question for us.

Regardless...McCain has managed to spice the race up a bit, which is really about the most you can hope for from a Vice President.