Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I dreamt I got my hair cut, and Cheryl and I went shopping

One of the things I really like about our new house is how close it turns out to be to that wonderful patch of Queen Street that has all my favorite restaurants and cute shops, and all my old friends can be found there fairly often. That is, of course, only in my dreams.

I must say my permanent and revisited dream landscape gets ever more complicated! While I have not recently visited my once-usual mountain-to-valley walking trails and either been mauled by the tigers or returned to the crystal house where I'm dead and stand before the corpse throne, I know it's still there. And a good tornado or alligator is always available. But lately I've been favoring my visits to my city, Toronto, but it's a Toronto where the major thoroughfares keep coming unglued, twisting around, and connecting back up in really uncomfortable ways. I never do manage to get off the train or subway at the right station, but I do fairly often manage to arrange my path so that I can stop and do some shopping at that Bay-and-Bloor mall (which itself is getting fancier as the years go by) on my way home at night.

That patch of Queen Street, which is sometimes a patch of Bloor Street, where the really great little restaurants are up a side street, and where I almost always see my friend Cheryl Zalameda... last night was somehow only a few blocks from our house near the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Pretty neat!

Cher and I connected first by cell phone. This was after a period of cat-sitting... which... is another story, but I can tell you that my cell phone was easily as complicated as the entire rest of the dream. Then Cher and I met. One cool thing about my dream Toronto is that apparently we're getting around the problem of stores moving around, so now, for instance, Cheryl's favorite and VERY EXPENSIVE clothing line can be purchased on the city bus. She was going to a cocktail party later that rainy evening and had picked out the dress she wanted by shopping online. So we flagged down a city bus, and we got on, and she tried to purchase her dress.

Okay, so the information design of this store is just dismal. The way the items are listed on the Web site is not how they're listed on the bus driver's manifest. After it became clear he had NO IDEA what Cheryl was talking about, he handed the thick wad of paper to her and she tried to figure it out herself. She found the dress on the list, and beside it was noted the compartment where we'd find the actual clothing item. But when I opened the compartment in the dash near the door, it was empty! Oh no!

"But I need it tonight!" So she started going down the list, and finally chose a beautiful chocolate and cream affair, not quite what she'd intended, but I assume she looked ravishing in it. There was indeed one of these in stock, in a compartment under the front-most seat behind the driver.

I might note that we were not RIDING the bus. We were cabbing it. So the actual passengers on this rainy night were a little annoyed at how long we were taking at our shopping.

Off we went. Cheryl and I parted ways for the dream, as she needed to get ready for her party. And Luther took me to get my hair cut. Luckily, my new (real-world) hair-cutter-person's salon has a branch location in that patch of Queen/Bloor Street with all the nice stuff. It's a little humbler than the (real-world) Dunedin salon, but very friendly and quick. They gave Luther a glass of wine. Chris did a nice job, though he left the back too long, which is a little unfair after (real-world) he'd made the comment about Georgia and all at my last appointment.

It was still rainy. Come to think of it, it was rainy and somewhat dark for the entire dream. That's unusual.

Next door to the salon, a new roti place has opened up. It's just a little stand, really, and it's all vegetarian except the very first item on the board: Beef roti. The rotis come in lovely Chinese-food boxes, hand-dyed in swirls of color, each with a real flower tied to the top.

What's difficult about all this is that it is all so FAMILIAR. I wake up, and I know I've been dreaming, but as I begin to think about coffee and the work I should do instead of writing a blog post, I try to separate the dream from reality, but the process is fraught with error. That "very best" little restaurant on that side-street off Queen/Bloor, for instance: I almost always "remember" that as real, so as I wake up, I try to sort that real thing from the dream stuff.

But it's not real. It's just a permanent and often revisited part of the dream landscape. Like the mountain-to-valley hiking path and the crystal house, that restaurant is one of my anchors. And no wonder I go back there so often. The food is really good (I think they serve that palm-and-artichoke heart salad that I used to get at Kalendar), but also... my old friends hang out there.

So in my dream landscape, I can now apparently walk from my Florida house to an anchor-place that is frequented by my Toronto friends, who now themselves are as far-flung as ever. Nice, isn't it?

Monday, October 13, 2008

The "C" word versus the "A" word


Says the atheist.

I CAN'T HELP IT, she replies.


If you've been following the U.S. political news, you've been confronted recently by some secret codes. So let me spell things out for you here, where we're unlikely to be censored. *Spoiler alert* There will be words that you might not actually use in public. WHATever.

The McCain campaign has been seesawing over the past week between:
  • Energizing their "base"
    • Riling up ethnocentric fears and sensibilities, what's also known as racist and anti-anything-vaguely-foreign sensibilities
  • Maintaining a mere shred of cool
    • Insisting verbally that everybody remain "respectful"
    • Insinuating that "Arab" is the opposite of "a good family man" while calling the opponent a good family man
    • Continuing to broadcast commercials that suggest the opponent is a terrorist

The media, which have been falling all over themselves to appear balanced and as a result appear STOOPID, have nevertheless managed to publicize the fact that McCain supporters are getting riled up in sometimes pretty ugly ways. I mean, the woman in line with us outside the Obama rally in Dunedin, FL (on my birthday!) who said, "drop dead" to a McCain supporter across the street did so in a respectfully Jersey accent, clearly indicating that the "drop dead" was what people with other accents would phrase more like, "oh, would you please shut up, dear?" That's one thing. The person at the McCain rally, in response to some of the candidates' rhetoric, shouting "Off with his head"??? No. Uh... no. I'm sorry, but I think even the most die-hard Republican knows (though he or she might not admit it) that there're a good number of really frightened/angry racist individuals on the Republican side right now, and we don't need that element any more fired up than they already are. Sheesh. I mean, REALLY! (to paraphrase SNL)

It's not just me that's making the comparison. With the media pointing out this "dangerous rhetoric" in the McCain campaign, we have bloggers all over the place (could I link? yeah, but I'm lazy) saying HEY, WHAT GIVES? about the media not noting "similarly" bad behavior on the part of Obama supporters.

The "drop dead" lady notwithstanding... one of the examples I saw raised was of a group of young people at a Palin rally. They were "using the C-word."

They had t-shirts proclaiming that Palin is a cunt.

Yeah, I said it.

Here's the thing: Said blogger suggested that we'd see it all over the news if some McCain supporters showed up at an Obama rally with t-shirts calling Obama "the N-word" (that's code for nigger, in case you didn't know).


First: Sorry, ladies, but calling somebody a cunt is not the same as calling somebody a nigger. Why is it different? Because we have no respect in this society for cunts. Yes, that's right. Calling somebody a "cunt" is saying that person is worthless. In contrast, calling soebody a "nigger" is saying two things: 1. That person is worthless, BUT 2. That person is dangerous and should be lynched.

It has ever been the case that niggers have been looked upon with this kind of twisted (lack of) logic: Stupid, lazy, and yet somehow quite likely to beat you in a fight, possibly plotting to take over your country, cuz we know that stupid and lazy people are capable of such things.

So I'm sorry, but calling the vice-presidential candidate a "cunt" is liable to incite... laughter and sneers. And calling the presidential candidate a "nigger" (or worse, apparently: the "A" word, aka Arab) is liable to incite assassination attempts.

Stop patting yourselves on the back for being just as maligned. You're not, sadly. You should be, but you're not.

Friday, October 10, 2008

And they eat it up

"The crowd showed equal disdain for the media, fueled by comments from Palin, who encouraged the Republican supporters to take the campaign's message around the media. 'I can't pick a fight with those who buy ink by the barrel,' she said. 'It's dangerous territory whenever I suggest the mainstream media isn't asking all the questions.'" Anger Is Crowd's Overarching Emotion at McCain Rally

Let me get this straight. Palin is complaining that the mainstream media isn't asking all the questions? Palin. The same Palin that would, if McCain wins, become president if McCain dies, but her campaign has permitted only a few interviews and NO QUESTIONS OTHERWISE???

And the crowd, naturally, ate it up.