Why Obama won’t kiss up to the cool kids anymore

August 28, 2008

Journalists can be notorious for twisting quotes out of context, but where do these quotes come from in the first place? Their choice of sources is often the larger crime. Think about it…

I just finished reading Ryan Lizza’s The New Yorker article, “Making It”, which chronicles Barack Obama’s roller-coaster relationship with Chicago politics in the 1990s. He played the game to win…yada yada…stepped on some toes…yada yada. Obama rarely brings people’s focus to that time in his life, preferring to concentrate on his successes at Harvard, his community organizing, and his recent (“let’s change the nation”) political career. Lizza speculates that this omission is intentional, that Obama has something to hide. I beg to disagree. He was learning the rules, and that meant playing and experimenting with loyalties and messages. Can you really blame him? How else can one hope to become master of the game?

I liken it to High School. Now all his old “cool kid” friends from Chicago are bitter he never kept up with them through college. He left them behind. He had to. By their very nature, political loyalties are stifling, centered on interpersonal obligations, and crippling to any notion of change. No one in “the ol’ boys club” has the wherewithal to peek over the shoulder of the back they’re scratching. Contrary to Lizza’s take, I find Obama’s “perceived” betrayals heartening. Here is a man who has learned the rules, but has the guts to bend them to his vision’s needs. A little toe stepping gives him the freedom to move forward, provided he can still cultivate trust and confidence when necessary.

A journalist’s choice of sources will colour any reader’s view of the subject being profiled. Obama comes out of Lizza’s article looking conniving instead of astute, underhanded instead of strategic. And sure, if you asked my high school boyfriends to paint my portrait, I would come out looking like, well, a whole lot like the 2-D canvas of Dorian Gray. I’ll be honest, there may be some “minor” toe stepping to blame lol. I was still learning the rules of the game *wink*. Ask my other (past/present) contacts, and I’d like to think you’d get a more three-dimensional person, hopefully suggesting a keen mind and loving heart – and Oh Oh, can’t forget, possibly with great hair too ; )

Obama campaigning for State Senate on Chicago’s South Side

Obama campaigning for State Senate on Chicago’s South Side

(Image source: The New Yorker)


How to make a man’s jaw drop (and it’s not what you think)

August 27, 2008

So… I was walking home from work yesterday, minding my own business, when these two fellows came up and asked “can we get your opinion”? This is never a good thing, especially when one of them is wearing a suit and holding a clipboard, and the other one’s smile is just a little too wide. Keep in mind I was wearing a dirty baseball cap, rolled up hideous grey pants, a purple pyjama shirt, and a fluorescent orange makeshift backpack that I got as swag from a Geophysics convention (my job has some serious perks!). Glamazon, not so much. So I knew they had to be selling something and, be it a different faith or front row football tickets, I was just not interested.

“A new girl’s spa is opening up!” exclaimed the suited guy, waving a book of coupons at me (and ya, he really did say “girl’s”). Then the one behind him spoke up. All I heard was something about “free golf”. Oh, those two magic words were enough to stop me in my tracks. I could have been in the middle of an intersection or running with the Bulls in Spain, and I still would have stopped dead and put on my most charming smile.

“Free golf?” I asked excitedly, with raised eyebrows.

They both looked confused. “Nope, SPA,” said the suit.

“No thanks,” I said, “but now, if you were talking about free golf then that would be a totally different thing!”

The suit couldn’t quite get his tiny overly gelled head around the idea. The other fellow, a red haired scrawny twenty something, was just staring. His eyes went wide. His jaw slowly fell. It was shock; it was awe. It was fabulous! He kept repeating the word “golf” as if it was the first time he’d heard it come out of a girl (even if it was a girl with the ugliest pants ever brought into existence) – a fantastical fantasy come true. Could it be that “girl” and “golf” could be combined into one perfect-purple-pajama-shirted” package? I could see his brain trying to put it all together.

I tell you, it’s moments like that, that make those three puts on 18 and all those agonizing push slices worth it. I turned away feeling like I’d expanded the poor boy’s view of women, of maybe the whole world! But should the feminist agenda ever be put before a facial? I didn’t even check the deals! And if anyone needs to save on a massage, it would be us golfers! lol


Before you can play the guitar… (Conclusion)

August 22, 2008

Need to catch up on parts 1 to 13? (Click Here)

It was glistening, and that’s not word I use lightly (or often, or at all if I can help it – don’t ask). Freshly patched, sanded, shellacked, restrung, tuned, oh it was an incredible surprise. Like asking the quiet boy to a movie and finding out he’s a great…. So anyways, my guitar was gorgeous, but what about the sound?

Steve, delightfully Bilbo-esque and wonderfully passionate about his craft, came in behind me. He lifted my guitar, ever so gently, off the workbench and cradled it in playing position. “Do you know what this is,” he asked. I shook my head. “It’s a solid body Fender from the 70s, made in Japan. It’s a beautiful guitar. You just can’t go out and buy one of these. Where did you get it?” I told him my story – the much abbreviated version : )

“Listen to this…” he said.

He strummed his pick across the strings and the small room was instantly filled with richness and warmth. Wow. The lush sound resonated all the way into my bones. It had character, was mellow but strong, and a real layered depth. I wondered how many hands had played it around how many campfires, how many bus trips it had taken over how many miles. I felt a thrill. Now it was mine.

“Now listen to this one…” He picked a shiny black Johnny Cash special off the wall. It’s sound was weak, too high, and empty. Like a four year old trying to sing the national anthem – just cute. “And this one sells for $4000.” He went back to mine and played us a blues song. The guitar came alive. The room reverberated with music and feeling. I couldn’t stop saying “Thank You”.

When I left the store, $190 dollars later ($40-my b*t, mr. tambourine man!), it was with a digital tuner, a blues song book, and an extraordinary guitar. Best birthday present I ever bought myself! “Before you can play the guitar” has been such a journey, that now the “after” part should be a breeze. That pawn shop ipod stopped working weeks ago, but I don’t care. It’s time for the real music to start.


Oh dear…

August 22, 2008
Mitch - one feisty little guy

Mitch - one feisty little guy

I happen to be very affected by what I read, and even more so by what I write. I really should have kept that in mind before beginning my current novel project. Why? Because this is my main character…

I think, and I’m sure my husband would agree, that I may be starting to take a little too much of his character home with me. After a full-on writing session, I see that same ever-so-darling face staring out of the mirror at me (but with more hair, or course) ; ) All I can say is, I better get this book done quick!


Why must riding the elevator always be so socially awkward?

August 21, 2008

Just asking.

I mean, am I missing something? Like the elevator etiquette handbook? Please let me know if anyone has figured out how to order a copy. Until then, I’m taking the stairs. Ok, maybe not on the way up. I am on the 29th floor. Hmmm, come to think about it, it’s almost time for me to go home and I’ve feeling pretty blah…so maybe I’ll start on my enclosed-space-social-ineptitude-motivated-exercise-plan tomorrow. Yep, wore myself right out just by trying to say that out loud.

Watch out Calgary, because tonight, just to make it interesting, I may leave one of my trademark unanswered-unappreciated-on-elevator-witticisms hanging in the stale air over our heads all the way down to G.

Think Chapters might have one of those books? Are they open late tonight?


“Pulling a Maggert” – Golf’s most dangerous shot

August 18, 2008
If you look close enough...you can see the pain

If you look close enough...you can actually see the pain

Who says golf is a boring game? I barely survived the second hole of my “leisurely” Sunday afternoon round yesterday. My ball was buried in deep rough off the right side of the fairway. I had about 60 yards to the green, but there was a large elm halfway between me and the pin. I knew I’d have to power the ball out of the grass with enough oomf to punch it through the leaves. No problem. I set up with my seven and let ‘er rip with maxed out swing speed and a full body turn. It hit the trunk dead square. There was a tremendous “Thwack” and suddenly the ball was heading straight for me – missile style – target locked. I chucked my club with a yell and did a ever-so-graceful backwards dive onto the grass – out of the line of fire. Time slowed, and one word, one name, flashed before my eyes as I arched through the air…MAGGERT.

What is “pulling a Maggert”?

Who pulled the first Maggert? Jeff Maggert, of course, on that infamous Sunday afternoon at the Masters five years ago. It remember watching it (on TV, tragically) as a fledgling golfer and thinking – “No, this can’t be happening, this game can’t be that cruel!” An oh, oh yes it can, as I have learned many times over since then. And as I picked my grass stained self up off the ground, I learned it all over again. My bullet ball had come to rest a good 25 yards behind where I’d first hit it… touché golf, touché.

(photo source: sportsillustrated.cnn.com)


How to get married with plenty of figurative, but no literal, electricity

August 15, 2008

Five years ago today, I was dressing for my wedding by candlelight. Our planned elopement to Niagara Falls coincided with the largest blackout in North American history. I had designed my hand sewn wedding dress (my sewing machine had been on the fritz too) with our train trip in mind. It was a knee length strapless sheath made of white eyelet, with a little stretch for comfort and a thin pink ribbon tied in a delicate bow at the waist. We’d matched George’s tie to the ribbon and, before he gobbed jam on it halfway through the trip lol, we were the perfect pastel couple.

We were married late that night, after having to reschedule from a payphone deep underground in the madhouse of a Toronto train station. The Eastern seaboard had come to a halt, but we would not be dissuaded. People got married before electricity, didn’t they? Our Reverend took us out to pick up pizza after the ceremony (we both teared up as we clasped hands and promised forever) and then to watch the fireworks over the blacked-out falls. I remember the wind catching my veil and blowing it around us as we looked out over the dark water. The fireworks blazed on, despite the disaster. We’ve never cared that we missed seeing a wonder of the world that night, because we’ve spent the last five years building our own : )