Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Rare Event Indeed

Writers like me, who work for weekly papers, have an obvious advantage over writers for dailies: with a lighter story-load per week we can spend more time working on a given story. But there’s a disadvantage as well: it is very, very rare for a weekly paper to “scoop” a daily.

The story I wrote this week, about the state Department of Children and Families harassing parents who homeschool their children, is (I think) the first official media coverage the issue has received in Connecticut. But hopefully it won’t be the last.

Fun quote for the libertarians in the house:

[DCF spokesman] says DCF never forces itself on families, but tries to persuade them to let social workers look around the house and talk to everyone there. Then “if the answer is no, despite our best efforts to convince them it’s in their best interest, we walk away. … We get a court order.”

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mothers’ Day! No, Really, It Would Be

From a broke and overworked misanthrope’s perspective, the best holidays are those which incur no social, familial or financial obligations. Therefore, my childless orphan self nominates Mothers’ Day at the best holiday of the year. And in honor of it, I’ll confess to a fundamental sea change in my view of the world: though I’ve said many times that I never, ever want to be a mommy, I’ve changed my mind. Gladly will I have and raise a child, if she’ll grow up to be the genius who invents a hand-held EMP gun and gives it to me as a present some Mothers’ Day. Like today. Right now.

Spring has come to New England, which means my windows are open and my neighborhood peppered with cars driving at 5 miles per hour while playing the bass on their stereos loudly enough to rattle the antique rhinestone boudoir clocks I keep arranged on a shelf. I want to destroy the stereos with an electromagnetic pulse, but I'm not quite miffed enough to detonate a nuclear bomb for it. Hence my desire for the gun.

Back on point: none of my rattling clocks work anymore, except for this one 60-year-old Florn model that keeps near-perfect time, but only when the clock’s propped upside down. I swear. It's been like that since I got it.

Somewhere in that clock lies an important metaphor regarding my life, but I probably don’t want to know what it is. Anyway, I don’t feel like spending whatever it would cost to have the clocks cleaned and oiled so they’ll run again, so instead I blame the rattling bass and imagine a spooky Dorian Gray vibe ‘twixt me and the clocks: my biological one starts ticking, albeit in an extremely conditional fashion, as soon as my rhinestone ones stop (except for one that works quite well, albeit in an extremely conditional fashion).

So what do you think? I think I need some coffee. Right now.

TEN-MINUTE-LATER EDIT: Did I forget to mention my future child would also have to develop time travel so I can have my EMP gun today? I think I did. Anyway, I don't want to put undue stress on my eventual offspring but: my coffee's almost DONE and you still haven't shown up with my Mothers' Day gift. Granted, the cars have gone away and it's nice and quiet now, but for how long, I ask you? How long? You should know. You're the one from the future, not me.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Change Is The Only Constant

Don’t you hate when the real world interferes with what you’re trying to do on the Internet? Already my thoughts wax a tad nostalgic for the days when meatspace responsibilities didn’t encroach upon Quality Time spent with friends online. (This, of course, is my overwrought way of apologizing to the regulars who remain, for neglecting the devil out of this blog. Insert standard excuses here: work responsibilities blah blah social obligations et cetera daily errands blah blah paperwork.)

So I decided, “By God, I’m not only going to write a new blog post, I’m gonna do it Old School — you know, a current-events posting like from the days when I had free time.”

Thus did I go online in search of a Current Event about which to say something (hopefully) pithy. Hmm, here’s a possibility: the House of Representatives has passed a bill expanding hate-crime laws, and Bush has threatened to veto it.

Have I been offline that long? He wants to veto a bill that would penalize not criminal behavior itself (it’s already illegal to commit acts like murder or assault) but the thoughts people have whilst committing it?

I blinked. When the hell did the president start doing things I agree with? I gazed around in suspicion, seeking clues to indicate I’d slipped into a parallel universe where things are almost, but not quite, like my own reality. No: my clip file hasn’t changed and my bookcases hold the same contents. Can’t find any unfamiliar scars or (God forbid) tattoos on me. Bank balance identical and we’re still bogged down in Iraq, more’s the pity.

A few months ago when I went walkabout, I returned to discover a lot of Major News Events happened in my absence. After much ribbing from alleged “friends” for being so out of the loop, I asked for a Cliff’s-Note version of what I’d missed and added “We haven’t lost any cities, I hope?”

This I remembered as I went to a bland mainstream news site only to learn that a half-mile-wide tornado has completely obliterated the town of Greensburg, Kansas.

I’ll have to find a charity where I can donate money to the survivors. Meanwhile, I know I have a lot of catching up to do yet I must go offline again all the same. You know how it is: work responsibilities, social obligations, daily errands blah blah blah.

We haven’t lost any other cities, I hope? Drop me an e-mail if we do.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Great Moments In Dress-Code Violation

I swear, I did not intend to wear black leather to that PETA demonstration. But I didn’t even know about it until that morning, and how could I have foreseen it might be rude to wear my trench coat to work that day?

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