Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Okay, enough political chicanery for a bit. Here's an update on everyone's favourite girl (well, MY favourite girl, anyway!):

• We have a new creature in the house. Used to be, Ramona was the only animal prowling around making animal noises. Now, though, we have a smallish, pudgy 'raptor: The Rozzlesaurus. Early on in her life, Roslyn would sort of *squeak* a high-pitched sound, but now she has given way to a really lovely, gutteral meat-eater noise. It starts in the back of her throat, mouth closed, and builds until she's growling & shrieking at the same time. It would be unnerving, if it wasn't so damn cute.

• Still no prowling on her part, but Roz is rolling over like a pro. New and recent parents will obviously know about babies' declining roll-over skills: since the whole "back to sleep" campaign made us put our kids to sleep on their backs, the NEED to roll over has really dropped off. Kids would roll over from their tummies in order to see the world, but kids ALREADY on their backs don't generally show a desire to roll away from it. This is the whole idea behind giving your baby lots of "tummy time" to strengthen neck & core muscles. It took Roz awhile to roll, but now she's just a rollin' fool. She sometimes seems frustrated by her lack of mobility beyond this, but we're trying to show her how to maneuver herself into a "get-around" position.

• We're tapering off our first cold with her. Miss Tessmacher brought it home at the beginning of my Spring Break, I acquired it at the end of my break, and then shared it with Roz. Hey, it's IMPORTANT to teach sharing, right? I actually really feel lucky in the colds department: she didn't get her first one until she was 8 months old, so I feel pretty well ahead of the curve. It wasn't a bad one, either: mostly a (clear-running) snotty nose & cough. She handled it like a real trooper: you could see her frustration about the stuffiness & coughing, but otherwise she still tried to play, smile, etc. She DID sleep a lot more while she was sick, and for the most part slept well. Again: we're lucky. She doesn't like the nasal suction thingy (affectionately known around our house as the "Snot Squeeze") at first sight, but seems to grok that it helps her breathe better.

• I wouldn't have guessed babies would get cabin fever, but it seems like part of Roz's recent frustration with life in general has been caused by not being able to get outdoors. We kept her out of daycare the week she was the sickest, and a recent return to winter here has kept us from taking her for walks outside. Tess & I are also really busy lately (when aren't we?!?), so trips to places we might take her have been curtailed as well. We FINALLY got her out to do a little shopping last Saturday, and she LOVED it! We definitely have an outdoorsy baby; she loves being out in the breeze & sunshine. I'm excited for spring to finally get here - not just by the calendar, which only tells cruel lies - so that daily walks & yard-play can begin in earnest.

• Self-feeding is her new thing. I had bought covered ice-cube trays to store large quantities of puréed food for Roz, and that worked great...right up until we started in with the Cheerios (in our house, technically they're "Purely-Os"). Now that she has figured out how to pincer-grasp a small bite of food, she can hardly stand to have us spoon-feed her. We've gone to small chunks of most fruits & veggies, as well as poached chicken breast, toast, and egg yolk (scrambled lightly, so she can pick up a wad of it to eat). It's pretty fun!

All in all, I still maintain that we have the World's Best Baby. She's awesome, and things that seem overwhelming and disastrous at work become distant and manageable once we get home to her sweet, smiling face. With egg yolk all over it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Defining Liberalism

Ugh. I cannot believe how tired I am of the presidential election already. Miss Tessmacher and I were just bitching about it this morning in fact, about how we still have a seemingly-endless 8 months left until it all goes away. And even THEN things might get stretched out, because the last two elections have been deemed so close that the courts have been required to step in and help sort things out. (Up to and including actually APPOINTING the president, apparently.)

Well, at least I figured I could do something positive with all that pent-up frustration. And, since I don't own "Guitar Hero," and since my drums would definitely wake up The Rozzle, I suppose I need to blog. I've been hearing an awful lot about who stands for what as the election ramps up: people claiming to "be for" a particular party or candidate because of what he or she "stands for," or because the candidate in question "mirrors my beliefs." Okay, that's cool. Keeping in mind that so many people vote according to their beliefs, I wanted to share MY beliefs, and see how many of you agree - or disagree - with me. Here we go.

According to Webster's...

Liberal (in the political sense) is defined variously as 1) "associated with ideals of individual (especially economic) freedom"; 2) "one who is open-minded"; 3) "an advocate of liberalism, especially in individual rights."

I am proud to refer to myself - and to have someone ELSE refer to me - as a liberal. There are some conservatives (defined as "a person who is reluctant to accept changes and new ideas") who are trying to turn "liberal" into a pejorative term, but it just won't stick. See, I believe in economic freedom: the idea that I get to earn and spend my money the way I see fit. I believe that economic freedom is especially important in the regulation of an open-market that we claim to have here in the United States. I do believe I am open-minded: I take my point of view and present it in what I hope is a logical fashion, and then I listen to what others have to say. Participants in this theoretical discussion exchange points of view, respect the opinions of others, and at the end of the day either reach a consensus or agree to disagree...but the topic (whatever it was) has still been discussed openly and fairly, with no point of view being squashed. And finally, I CERTAINLY believe in individual rights! The concept of individual rights is so important in the creation of this country that it's the subject of the lead-off amendment to our Constitution, as well as the beginning of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence.

So, to recap: being a liberal means that you are open-minded, and that you believe in economic freedom and individual rights. By a show of hands, then: who DOES NOT WANT to be liberal?!? And if you raised your hand just're a feckless liar. Or, you truly do not want to live in a country that embraces economic freedom and individual rights...which I guess would make you closed-minded by default.

The reason I'm ranting about all of this is because I was subjected to an interview with Mick Huckabee on the NPR this morning, and I'm no longer able to laugh at conservatives' attempts to wrongly categorize liberals. I'm just tired of it. I'm like the kid who has been bullied, and picked on, and beat up, and now I'm pissed and I'm fighting back. Among other incorrect or scandalous statements, The Huckster had this to say (the elipses are not missing segments of the quote, but rather places where Huck put a natural, period-less pause):

...there's a dramatic difference between those who would believe that we need to take MORE money out of workers' paychecks, and those of us who think we oughta take LESS...whether or not we need MORE government interfering in our lives, or if we need LESS government intervention...I think those are two fundamental things that will truly make the big difference in this race this year.

He keeps trying - and failing, thankfully! - to paint the idea-frozen Republican party as the party of "less," and the forward-thinking Democratic party as "more." I said in a previous blog, and I'll keep saying it, dammit: liberals DO NOT want to take "more" money out of "workers' paychecks!" Jesus H. Tap-Dancing Christ, get OFF it, you dipshit! The concept of a "tax-&-spend Democrat" is a perfect example of how outmoded and archaic most conservative thinking is. When Fuckabee (whoopsie, a typo!) claims that his party is the one of "less government intervention," I guess he's forgetting how much the government can "intervene" in the lives of private citizens (in the name of Domestic Security), or how the government "intervened" in Iraq (in the name of Spreading Democracy, supposedly). The conservatives would LOVE to have a nice, big fat government full of laws about what you CAN and CANNOT do: you CANNOT have an abortion, you CAN have the 10 Commandments on your courthouse lawn, you CANNOT have inexpensive quality healthcare, you CAN have a huge population of poor people.

On the contrary, liberals actually want LESS government intervention. The whole abortion thing really defines that divide, don't you think?

• Liberal: We should work to diminish the number of abortions through education, but acknowledge that it is a safe medical procedure and ultimately is up to the woman to decide about her own body. If you don't want one, don't have one.
• Conservative: We need laws to forbid abortions, and a huge bureaucracy in place to arrest, convict, and imprison those who violate those laws. The government replaces the will of the people.

See? Conservatives = more government intervention, fewer freedoms. It's that simple.

I want to live in a country populated by free thinkers. I want people to talk openly and respectfully about the issues that are important to them. But most of all, I want to be free to live my own life without having someone else's views about it forced upon me. If you want those things're a liberal. Welcome to the party.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Ace Is Wild

For a guy with a chest cold, Ace Frehley sure was shot full of rock on Friday night! He rocked a small but dedicated audience at the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant, tearing through one riff-laden headbanger after another.

To those of you who don't know who Ace Frehley is: SHAME! Here's a little help:

Still not ringin' any bells? Well, that's okay; I'm used to him looking like this, especially since I spent a good portion of Friday night directly in front of his stage, not 4 feet from the guy. Okay, try THIS out then:

NOW are we all on board? Sheesh! Don't you people know me AT ALL? Gah.


So, bro-in-law Joel and I scooted up to the Casino, where I had scored us 2nd row tix to see The Tubes open up for Ace. The Tubes? Aww, come ON! Don't fall in lo-ooove! She's a beauty, she's one in a million girls! Hel-LOOO! Aren't there ANY white punks on dope out there? So, okay, you DO know The Tubes. Cool. They're great: I saw them open for Alice Cooper in Lansing a few summers ago, and was really blown away. They've been around practically forever, even though most folks my age are only really familiar with "She's A Beauty" and "Talk To Ya Later." Seriously, though, they're WAY fun. Great musicians, and lead singer Fee Waybill still has the voice, I kid you not, even if late-middle-age has put a slight paunch on the high-heeled Quay. The audience was appreciative of The Tubes, but at roughly only 25% full the crowd sound was, shall we say, less than deafening.

Because he doesn't get a lot of solo press - the guy doesn't even have an official website, fer cryin' out loud! - Ace is a tough nut to crack. Listen long enough to former Kiss-mate Gene Simmons and you'll eventually believe that Ace is a dope-addled rummy space cadet, an image that Frehley himself doesn't seem to take great pains to disavow. But, for his performance Friday night he was clean & lean, sober & ready to rock. He started with "Rip It Out" from his 1978 solo album and hit all the high points, from obvious crowd-pleasers like "Shock Me," "Rocket Ride," "Parasite" and "Cold Gin" to a medley of fairly obscure stuff that began with "Torpedo Girl." All of his solo material was well-represented: the rhythmic cadence of "Rock Soldiers," the trip-heavy groove of "Snowblind," the swagger of "Trouble Walkin'." In addition to his famous Kiss tunes, oddities popped out like the early "Strange Ways" and the late "Into The Void," as well as a host of fun-to-play Gene & Paul tunes like "Deuce" and "Love Gun." Chest cold notwithstanding, Ace Frehley burned down the house (figuratively) and his guitar (literally).

So, sorry about that fan-frantic review. Maybe I should be like my knitter friends and have a blog solely devoted to Kiss fanaticism? Okay, maybe not. But this next part is what you all want, because you KNOW I'm only missing one autograph from my Destroyer album, right? So the show Friday wasn't JUST about the was about meeting Ace himself! Or, failing that, at least somehow getting his signature on my record.

There's a LOT to the story, but in the interest of keeping readers awake I'll cull it down to the fine points. I saw a friend working in the hall - to protect the not-so-innocent, let's call him Dave - and we chatted for awhile. I showed him my LP, sadly lacking that last autograph, and HE was the one who said that Ace was sick and wouldn't be doing the standard meet-&-greet that Soaring Eagle performers do. I told him I was bummed, and he encouraged me to still kind of "hang around" anyway after the show. So, after The Tubes were finished, Joel & I were strolling around, acting all cool & shit and drinking our Budweisers (I swear, the best beer that was sold in the hall - *blech!*). I spied Dave making a beeline for me, so I intercepted him only to find out that he felt REALLY bad about my not being able to get Ace's autograph, so he went to work on my behalf. He spoke with ANOTHER casino employee - um, we'll call him the caterer - who said that Ace was DEFINITELY not signing tonight. But, after hearing my pitiful story about how Destroyer was my first record (technically not true: the Fonzie album was first, but I'm not interested in hounding Henry Winkler), he said "Give me your record; I'll get it to Ace's manager. I guarantee you'll get it back, but I can't guarantee it'll have his signature on it. Wait for me in the concourse after the show." He seemed a nice guy - albeit one who was about to do something sneaky & sort of underhanded - so I gave it up. After the show, word filtered back to me: "Ace has signed your album." That's always how it was put, as if it was really official or something: "Ace has signed." After what seemed like an interminable wait, the caterer appeared out of the hall, my LP held tightly against his leg. He said, "Look, this is really special, you are the ONLY PERSON from this show to get Ace's autograph. He was happy to do it, but don't spread it around, okay? In fact, it would probably be best if you split now." Hey, not a problem! I think somewhere there's a celebratory martini (or two) in my future, and probably a smoke as well.

I didn't get to MEET Ace, or to get a photo with him, but I did get a bunch of photos on my cell phone (and by the way, does anyone out there know how to get them onto my computer??), and I got my autograph. He even drew the little card that he typically adds...and I cracked up when I saw that he signed his name prominently ABOVE Gene Simmons'! Heh. So, thanks Ace. I never would have dreamed, when I first got that album in the hazy bygone days of 1976, that I would get it signed. I'm glad you saw that this well-worn piece of shit was a treasured possession, and not some investment opportunity headed directly for eBay. Hope you're feeling better, and stay clean, huh? You certainly aren't the ONLY one who's glad you're still alive!