Archive for August, 2008

What Women Want

Posted in Rants & Rages with tags , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2008 by tigereye

Let me first say that when I was 13 and Walter Mondale, even in the face of doom, chose then-Representative Geraldine Ferraro, I was tickled as hell, along with all my Democratic female relatives, which is to say everyone on both sides of the family except one extremely sickening cousin. He probably wasn’t going to win, and we didn’t know jack about this woman — but she was bright, and kicked George Bush I’s skinny butt in the VP debate, and I held fond memories of her for all these years. Until this spring, when she pulled off her “Mission Impossible” mask to reveal a white hood, but that’s another story.

Let me also say: what y’all may not know about me is that I was a Hillary Clinton supporter long, long before I’d ever heard of Barack Obama and John Edwards. I would have taken a bullet for her. I got beat up at a rally for the 1992 Clinton/Gore ticket, and felt my black eye and bloody nose were as much on Hillary’s behalf as Bill and Al’s. I hate that she comported herself so awfully by the end of her campaign. Unlike Ferraro, I feel her legacy deserves better. Just because I found candidates I believed in more fully doesn’t mean I don’t have, well, feelings for Hillary, the way you sometimes hold a soft spot for years for that guy you dated a long time ago. You don’t want to be with him now, but you wish him well.

So I’m insulted.

On behalf of all women who supported Hillary Rodham Clinton; on behalf of all women who have ever worked and earned less than a man doing the same job; on behalf of all women who identify as feminists, not just co-opt the term and twist it into some unnatural mockery of what it’s supposed to mean.

Does John McCain think women are interchangeable?

“Look! Look, you former Hillary voters, over here! See, we have a woman too! That’s what you wanted, right? Isn’t that what you women wanted? See, here’s a woman, why don’t you get excited over her now?”

If Hillary Clinton had been the Democratic nominee, he’d probably be trotting out Alan Keyes to try to woo the Obama supporters.

I don’t like anything about this woman except her glasses. I really don’t. I haven’t seen anything admirable or likable about her, which should surprise no one: I tend to think uncharitably of Pat Buchanan supporters in all walks of life. But that’s not the point.

The point is, who thinks like this?

It’s bad enough that in 2008 women can’t make the same wages men do. It’s headache-inducing to think the world, and my own country, are full of people who have no trouble thinking I’m less of a citizen, less of a worker, less of a vote, less of an opinion. We’re 51% of the population and less than 20% of the representatives we elect. And worst of all, we’re taught not to mind. Some of our families passed this down to us the way it was handed to them. Some of our families told us it was wrong but our teachers and friends and employers and government didn’t, so it was hard to keep that message in mind. I cannot think of anything harder to do, right now, than raise a daughter. It would break my heart for her to find out her society didn’t love her as much as I did.

And that someone representing half the population of her country thinks she would be interchangeable.

You idiot, what the Clinton supporters — the real ones, not the ones with little reins leading back to Karl Rove’s web — wanted wasn’t a woman. It was that woman. They believed in what one particular amazing woman was trying to do, even when she lost sight, near the end, of how the ends don’t always justify the means. They held on stubbornly even when they knew she was wrong, even when their friends wanted to wring their necks and stamp our feet and shake sense into them. And most of them came around.

Sarah Palin can stand on that platform by John McCain and invoke Hillary Clinton’s name all day long, but that’s all she’s doing: name-dropping. She couldn’t stand more diametrically opposed to what Hillary Clinton stands for and believes in if she was Mothra or Lex Luthor. And it’s even more insulting to have a woman ask us to vote for her ticket because she has a body part in common with us.

Hell, all this and I’m an Obama supporter.

I hope thousands of other people are as angry over this as I am.

Just Between You and Me, Brett Favre…

Posted in Confessions of a Female Football Fan with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2008 by tigereye

What the hell could you possibly be thinking?

Dude, I’m not even going to go into the details about how you’re embarrassing yourself, because that’s been done so many times it’s like the kiddie pool at the Y: I have no desire to swim where everybody else has already peed. And I’m not gonna dwell on how low you have to have sunk to get sent to the Jets. The New York Jets, who suck so bad Miami got their single season win over them last year. They might get another. When you don’t retire, sometimes all it means is you’re about to meet the young, tough likes of Philip Merling and Glenn Dorsey, head-on.

I’m just thinking about how you must feel. Physically.

Dude, you and I are only a year apart in ages, and my legs hurt just now when I got up to go into the kitchen and get a glass of orange juice. All I’d been doing is sitting on them. That’s how it starts, you know — and I know you know — in your 30s, when all of a sudden the joints and bones and muscles that have got you this far wake up one day and look at each other and say, “I’m really tired of carrying her around. Aren’t you? Screw it, let’s take the day off.”

Brett, no one has hit me physically in about 25 years, and there are days I get up in the morning and have to grit my teeth and psych myself up just to run a mile. I don’t do anything like what would be required of me in the NFL. And it hurts when I come home sometimes. I’ll stiffen up sitting in the chair reading a book, or my calves will ache all day, and usually the payoff is worth it — I remind myself it’s the only reason I don’t weigh 300 pounds — but there are days when I, like my thigh muscles and my lower back, think What’s wrong with me that I do this to myself?

All that is before I even start the situps, by the way.

At our age, Brett, about all we can hope for is to get through the day with nothing starting to hurt, because these are the years when you can see up the road into your 60s and 70s and tell what’s going to ache like hell by then. I have years of lower back pain to look forward to — I can only hope the migraines have decamped by then — and like I said, no one the size of a MiniCooper has ever run full tilt into me and stomped my ass into the frozen tundra. There were times I wondered, watching you play, how or why you got back up when a stretcher must have looked like a good place for a nap. Not to mention a warm locker room.

Brett, as you get older, the new guys on defense just get younger. And tougher. And hungrier. They all want to be the next Reggie White, and one or two of them will. Do the Jets play Tampa Bay during the regular season? (I don’t give enough of a damn about the Jets to know.) When Gaines Adams pastes you into the grass, you’re going to flash back to those old story problems from grade school: if a guy who weighs about 220 comes at you at what looks and feels like 30 miles an hour, how long does it take you to start reconsidering retirement?

How long has it been since you just kicked back with a beer and watched a game? It’s not so bad. You can do it from a big ol’ easy chair the size of a linebacker. No one will think less of you for it. If anyone breaks your starting record, you’ll be collecting Social Security before they do it. You’re already a legend, man. Stay that way. Let it go. On behalf of Joe Theisman, I implore you, let it go.

I’m just saying.

I gotta stop writing now. You never know when carpal tunnel’s going to kick in.

At our age.

August 16, 1977: In Memoriam

Posted in Uncategorized on August 16, 2008 by tigereye

I still miss you, Elvis.

Nothing That Hasn’t Been Said Already

Posted in Rants & Rages, Slices of Life (add $1 for ice cream) with tags , , , , , , on August 9, 2008 by tigereye

I will admit up front I’m not terribly conversant in the plight of Tibet, or the day-to-day lives of the Chinese people we’ll never see on the nightly news, or even the treatment of political dissidents. I’m not going to pretend I know a lot about those issues. Although I know enough to be troubled by them, I’d just make a fool of myself if I tried to post about them.

Also, the opening ceremonies were lovely. I didn’t get the full experience, and here’s the tacky reason why: the public radio show World Cafe was interviewing Coldplay about their new album and I wanted to hear it, so I listened to the whole show while watching the opening ceremonies with the sound off. This allowed me to hear a lot of good music I wouldn’t have heard otherwise, and also let me escape the voice of Bob Costas, whom I utterly despise. (Is there no sport this pompous bastard can’t try to ruin for me? Wasn’t the Kentucky Derby enough this year?)

My problem is this.

Dead tigers.

I’m Tigereye for several reasons. I think tigers are as close to divine as any earthly entity can get. Looking into the yellow gaze of a tiger is very much like what I imagine looking at the face of God to be: implacable, otherworldly, immensely strong and wise, fierce, possessed of a nature we can only think we understand.

They’re also the most beautiful creature on earth, and my college mascot, and as close to perfect a lone predator as can be found.

They’re killed by poachers so their bones can be ground up for “traditional Chinese medicine.” They were, and perhaps still are — I can’t bring myself to read much about this, to be honest — raised on farms in China for slaughter, so there would be less need for poaching.

They’re also killed so various nations of cowards and idiots can have tiger skins as status symbols. Or shot in canned hunts by rich scumbags right here at home. Or so menus in China can boast of serving tiger penis.

I can’t even begin to properly express my hatred of anyone who would kill a tiger or profit from its death. I’ve seen a photograph of carcasses on a “tiger farm” and hope I never see anything like it again. And I wish the most dreadful things upon everyone involved, in as many lives or incarnations as they may have, because it’s the kind of callous, greedy sin that should follow someone forever.

I also see dead dogs and cats, who were fed poisonous food so some plant-owning prick in the U.S. could save fifty cents a ton on wheat gluten from China. One of the things that upset me the most about last year’s pet food-related deaths was how much of the food was store-brand or inexpensive: for some of those people it was all they could afford, and they fed it to their pets out of love and responsibility, and the dogs and cats died. Organ failure is as horrible a death for animals as it is for people, and those people had to watch their pets suffer and die because of the naked greed of businessmen in two countries. Veterinarians had to euthanize hundreds of animals, some of which they’d known and treated all their lives. It’s a hard process for everyone at the vet’s office, just like it is for a family who fed their dog what they’d always given him and watched him die from it.

I see black pools of farm-raised shrimp while the shrimpers in my state, who have pulled fresh sea critters out of the water for us all their lives, go broke with a better, safer product. To put it eloquently, this sucks. They’re not commercial farmers with government subsidies at their disposal — they’re guys who can’t pay their mortgages if morons all over America keep saving ten cents a ton and buying antibiotic (and God only knows what else) -ridden shrimp from China, frozen and gray by the time it gets here.

Lest anyone think I’m concentrating too much on wildlife, pets, and seafood, I also see that one guy in Tienanmen Square, standing in front of a tank.

That’s what played on the screen in my head while I watched a spectacular opening show and watched my President enjoy it.

Piles of slaughtered tigers, old women and children weeping over dead pets, guys 200 miles away from me getting up at 3 a.m. to get on the shrimp boat, and one unspeakably brave man with a flag.

I wish I was a different person and could put all this out of my head and watch Tyson Gay outrun the world, but I can’t.

I’m going to be watching as much of Animal Planet’s “Puppy Games” as I can find.

TigerEye for the Straight Guy

Posted in Slices of Life (add $1 for ice cream) with tags , , , , , , on August 5, 2008 by tigereye

We can’t save them from themselves.

All we can do is tweak, and politely suggest, and then strongly recommend, and if these means of communication don’t work, steal.

As an example, I offer the Muumuu.

The only men who should be allowed to wear those oversized sleeveless shirts — the ones that expose vast savannas of armpit hair, and the occasional male nipple — are athletes. College and professional athletes. At one point I limited this kind of shirt to Michael Jordan only, and there are days when I think I should have stuck to my guns, because while this look is borderline acceptable on, say, Vince Young, it would be a mistake on one of those truck-sized linebackers. On any other guy who earns a regular old living, they look less like t-shirts than muumuus, puddling around the shoulders and hanging, usually, somewhere between the knees and the crotch.

John has one of these shirts.

He would have two or three, because his dad bought him a package of them a few years ago. These gradually came home with me. I considered this salvage an act of mercy, not of theft. Someone might see him in the yard, after all, wearing one, and then they might see me leaving his house and perform simple addition: guy + muumuu + girl = woman that just doesn’t give a damn about her man.

Besides, I couldn’t steal my dad’s sandals, so I had to take action somewhere.

Muumuu #1, which was red but had faded to an unsettling pink, became an all-purpose cleaning cloth, which I soaked in Tilex and used to scrub the hell out of the shower and sink. The pink turned gradually white and then the Tilex disintegrated the cloth altogether within two months. (I love Tilex. Try killing a spider with it sometime and you’ll see why. It disintegrates EVERYTHING.)

Muumuu #2, which was electric blue and hadn’t faded at all, became a kitty bed for one of my mom’s outdoor strays. I think it’s still at her house, tucked around a hot water bottle in an old doghouse she outfitted on the back porch.

Now there’s Muumuu #3, which is t-shirt gray. I’d become almost immune to Muumuu #3 until last weekend, when John went to get a paper and stayed to chitchat with the gas station attendant, who must have been thinking “He’s wearing a muumuu. Poor guy. He can’t possibly have a girlfriend, but why doesn’t his sister or mother say something?”

Bear in mind, I don’t steal the muumuus and leave him shirtless. I buy him t-shirts all the time. I think the muumuus are the only t-shirts he owns that I don’t provide, and eventually I’m going to have to have a serious talk with his dad, unless of course I learn his dad has a muumuu around the house too.

I think Muumuu #3 would make a good all-purpose dustcloth, unless anybody out there’s got a better idea.