Saturday, March 29, 2008

Just Us Guys

(Photo Credit: Damon Winter, New York Times)

Don't you just love this touching photo of brand new BFFs Bob and Barack, just a couple o' workin' stiffs stoppin' off for a tall cold one at Sharky's Cafe of Latrobe, PA, where you can join the Mug Club and get your own custom-made 20 oz. mug and be eligible for all kinds of price breaks and special parties? Bob (that's PA Dem Sen Bob Casey) and Barack (that's IL Dem Sen and presidential candidate Barack Obama) stopped in Friday to celebrate their just announced marriage of political convenience. Bob realized over Easter that he was tired of sitting on the sidelines in the presidential race and so discovered his and America's true savior. He said of Obama, according to NYT, “I believe in this guy like I’ve never believed in a candidate in my life.” Jeez, Bob, then what took you so long? Meanwhile, Obama gets a helpful lift in PA, where Hillary Clinton has a sizable lead and endorsements from Gov. Ed Rendell and the influential Rep. John Murtha.

Too bad the guys stopped by Sharky's on a Friday. On Friday the drink special is Bud Light drafts for $1.75, the very thought of which makes Moose want to renounce alcohol and the country of her birth. If they'd stopped off on a Monday, they coulda slapped each other's backs over a Rolling Rock draft, which, until it was snatched up by evil Anheuser-Busch in 2006, was a decent beer actually brewed in the glass-lined tanks of Latrobe, PA. Bob and Barack coulda sat down at the bar and perhaps engaged that baffled, humble woman looking over her shoulder at them in a spirited conversation about the mysterious "33" printed on every bottle of Rolling Rock. When Moose and Goose were poor grad students back in New Jersey, they spent many a Friday night knocking back bottles of Rolling Rock and having precisely that conversation. They learned a lot on those beer-filled evenings about friendship, cheap food, and the value of nattering endlessly about not terribly significant things, such as whether "33" was an allusion to Prohibition (which was repealed in 1933) or to Freemasonry. (They never settled the matter. Then, somewhere in the mid-90s, they switched to wine and dropped the subject. And then they got a dog.) Wonder what Bob and Barack learned over their brewskis. Perhaps that you look like a big dork if you show up at a sports bar in Latrobe, PA in dress shirts so crisp they look as if they might break when you bend your arm to clink your best bud's glass?

So, kids, how are you surviving the lull, this dreadful period between the last set of primaries and the next one, when a bored, Barack-besotted national press and a panic-stricken, mostly Barack-besotted national party have joined in a deafening chorus of "Hillary must go, Hillary must stop, Hillary must quit, Hillary is ruining everything, Hillary is hurting our beautiful, our perfect yet apparently quite fragile Barack and so must be driven from the field, must stop stealing the votes that He deserves. She must go, or she must die. Yes, that's it. The bitch must die so that He may live and save us all."

Or words to that effect. Here in Roxie's World, we've taken refuge in basketball, as you might have noticed, though Goose is spending a fair amount of time writing out large checks, tearing them up, and enclosing them in indignant letters to Democratic leaders. The money quote from her latest to the Democratic National Committee: "The Party is so weak that it can’t abide a serious contest for its nomination for President . . . . I will not support a party that does not go out of its way to enfranchise fully all voters who wish to participate or who have participated and find their votes voided by a shortsighted rules enforcement." Tell 'em, Goose. Nobody does high dudgeon like our Goose, 'specially when a bunch o' guys are ganging up to sucker-punch a girl.

(Note to the Editorial Division: What's up with all the dropped word endings and beginnings in this post? I'm blaming my typist, who turned another year older this week and may be trying to sound like all the 23-year olds out there blogging in their underwear. Next thing you know, she'll be declaring that somebody's got some "splainin'" to do. Which a lot o' somebodies do, by the way.)

We're awfully impressed with Clinton's ability to withstand the pressure on her to step aside. We're not sure we could do it ourselves. We're also pleased to see some Dems standing up for Hillary and for the process. Props to Rendell, who sensibly asks citizens to imagine if the tables were turned:
“Just flip it for a second,” Mr. Rendell said. “Let’s say Senator Clinton was ahead by about 110 delegates and ahead by less than 1 percent of the vote cast, and she and her supporters started to call on Senator Obama to get out. Just picture what the media would be saying. They’d be saying you’re being racist, you’re being everything in the world. It’s nuts! It’s nuts!”
Then there's the ragin' Cajun James Carville, who continues to defend comparing Gov. Bill Richardson, who owes his political life to the Clintons, to Judas Iscariot for endorsing Obama last week. He has an op-ed in Wa Po today defending the insult and telling Democrats that if they can't handle his kind of straight talk they'll have helluva time handling McCain come fall.

Take a look at this New York mag piece by John Hellemann on the tense state of the race and its likely future course. It's got some interesting insights into why John Edwards hasn't gotten around to endorsing Obama. (Obama came across as glib and aloof in conversations with Edwards and his wife upon Edwards' withdrawal from the race and didn't seem serious about Edwards' pleas to make poverty a central part of his agenda. Clinton, on the other hand, did well with both Edwardses in their discussions.)

Know what, kids? It's late, and the most important thing on dog's green earth at this moment is that our beloved Lady Terps just prevailed over Vanderbilt in the Round of Sixteen! That's right, sports fans:

Maryland 80
Vanderbilt 66

Kristi Toliver only had one turnover. Crystal Langhorne scored 28 points. And the Terps go on to the Elite Eight with an inspired performance likely to quell the talk that they didn't quite deserve that No. 1 seed. All is right in Roxie's World. Peace out, beloveds.

Postscript from the Department of Separated at Birth, which is up late still watching basketball):

(Pitt women's basketball coach Agnus Berenato)

(Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire)

Remarkable, don't you think?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Shoulders of Giants

(Photo Credit: Gene Sweeney, Jr., Baltimore Sun; Maryland's Marissa "Shoulders" Coleman drives past Nebraska's Tray Hester en route to scoring two of her 19 points in the Terps' second-round victory in the NCAA tournament, 3/25/08)

Our beloved Lady Terps gave the moms a late-night scare Tuesday at Comcast, blowing a 15-point first-half lead over Nebraska and looking for all the world as if they might manage to get eliminated from the NCAA tournament in the second round for the second straight year. They were saved from that ignominious ending to a thrilling season by yet another game-changing performance by junior guard Marissa "Shoulders" Coleman, who snapped her team out of its coma by ripping off 9 straight points early in the second half, including a 3-pointer that broke a tie and put Maryland in the lead for good. The Terps are now in Spokane, where they'll face off against Vanderbilt (24-8) in the Sweet Sixteen on Saturday night.

Milton Kent has a great send-off story in the Baltimore Sun that focuses on Coleman's determined effort on Tuesday and on Coach Brenda Frese's efforts to help her team banish the ghosts of last year's early exit. Coleman explains what the moms watched unfold on the Terps' sidelines as a fired-up Frese got up close and personal with her unfocused players:
"In the first half, I wasn't playing as well as I'd like to," said Coleman, who scored 15 of her 19 points in the second half. "Coach B [Brenda Frese] kept pulling me aside and motivating me. We wanted to get out of College Park. That's all we've kept talking about. I was getting the ball in the right places and being aggressive."
Our good friend Dog-Eared Book has abandoned loyalty to the institution that employs her in picking the Mighty Women of Maryland to win the whole tournament. We feel a certain responsibility for her choice and of course long with every fiber of our aching, aging beings for the Terps to snatch a second national championship, so this post, which we have no business writing today, is our own little kiss-for-luck to the dazzling child prodigies who are now all grown up and off in Spokane. We don't want to add to the pressure you feel as you make your way through the bracket, but we would like you to know that we all want to know what it feels like to be a part of a sports dynasty. We want you to be one of those teams that everybody loves to hate, that everybody expects, year in and year out, to be in the final four because that's just what they do. We want the name of Brenda Frese to inspire the same kind of awe and/or loathing that Pat Summitt, Mike Krzyzewski, and Bob Knight inspire. We want "Lady Terps" to be synonymous in the minds of basketball fans everywhere with greatness, with passionate, skilled play, and with selfless dedication to one's team.

But mostly, right now, we want you to focus like laser beams on how to contain Vanderbilt center Liz Sherwood on the defensive end of the court and how to get the ball inside to Crystal Langhorne on the offensive end. It's a 40-minute game. You need to concentrate for every second of those forty minutes to stay alive in this tournament and show the world what excellent heads you have on those gorgeous, strong, broad shoulders. We are with you, women, every step of the way. Go, Terps!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Manna From Heaven

(Photo Credit: Agence France Presse)

Hey, kids, it's time for another round of Caption This Photo. Tell us which one you like best:

1. Democrats are turning to a higher power to resolve the party's increasingly contentious battle for the presidential nomination. Today, party chair Howard Dean, speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Senate majority leader Harry Reid met for two hours with Conan the praying chihuahua to see if he could help find another planet for Hillary Clinton to rule. "Please, Conan," Dean pleaded, "it's not like we can sit around and wait for voters to decide!"

2. New religious controversy engulfed the campaign of Senator Barack Obama today, as photographic evidence linking him to a cult of gay Japanese dog worshipers surfaced on the internets. Existence of video showing the dog barking, "God damn America," could not be confirmed at press time.

3. New sexual controversy engulfed the campaign of Senator Hillary Clinton today, as photographic evidence of former President Bill Clinton's latest sexual escapades surfaced in Japan. Existence of video showing Tokyo Bill forcefully asserting, "I did not have sexual relations with that chihuahua, Conan," could not be confirmed at press time, but former New York governor Eliot Spitzer has volunteered to chair a task force to investigate the incident. Said Spitzer, "I will doggedly examine every shred of evidence of the former president's shocking, shocking behavior."

We could go on, children, but we want you to get in on the fun. Continue, please, in comments. We'll award some kind of prize for the best suggested captions. We don't know what yet, but we're thinking. Promise.

Meantime, here's the real scoop on the amazing Conan the praying chihuahua, from the Associated Press:
March 24, 2008

Dog Prays at Japanese Zen Temple

Filed at 4:43 p.m. ET

NAHA, Japan (AP) -- At a Zen Buddhist temple in southern Japan, even the dog prays. Mimicking his master, priest Joei Yoshikuni, a 1 1/2-year-old black-and-white Chihuahua named Conan joins in the daily prayers at Naha's Shuri Kannondo temple, sitting up on his hind legs and putting his front paws together before the altar.

It took him only a few days to learn the motions, and now he is the talk of the town.

''Word has spread, and we are getting a lot more tourists,'' Yoshikuni said Monday.

Yoshikuni said Conan generally goes through his prayer routine at the temple in the capital of Japan's southern Okinawa prefecture (state) without prompting before his morning and evening meals.

''I think he saw me doing it all the time and got the idea to do it, too,'' Yoshikuni said.

The priest is now trying to teach him how to meditate.

Well, sort of.

''Basically, I am just trying to get him to sit still while I meditate,'' he explained. ''It's not like we can make him cross his legs.''

(With thanks to the Shy One, who knows how to make an old dog smile.)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring Cleaning

Glorious News, Sports Fans: The Evil Empire (=Duke) Has Been Upset by the Taliban* (=West Virginia) in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament! Dog Smiles. Moms Sit on Couch Making Mocking Whining Sounds as Clock Ticks Down. Life is GOOD!

The moms are back home. The women's NCAA tournament begins tomorrow with our beloved Lady Terps playing their first round game against Coppin State at home in the Comcast Center. The signs are ready. The tee-shirts have been washed and pressed. (It's pretty to think so, isn't it?) The moms are practicing their cheers and their patented double sign pump up and down maneuver, which looks so swell on the jumbotron. Good times, kids, good times. We love March.

So, it's spring, and that of course means it's time to do a little blog cleaning and maintenance. We were going through old boxes down in the basement (=comments) the other day and wanted to pull up this link to a CNN story from earlier this week on dog blogs. I know that my legions of loyal fans are shocked and disappointed that Roxie's World is not mentioned in the piece, and I, too, am appalled by the obviously staged photographs of dogs in front of computers (when everybody knows that standard practice among blogging dogs is to get someone with opposable thumbs to do the typing for you). Nonetheless, people, let's keep our protests to CNN civil. No threats to stage a mass poop-in at CNN headquarters in Atlanta, 'kay? Maybe Dudley could get a bunch of his beagle pals together for a big group bay-in, and perhaps Buster and some of the other WFT bloggers would pitch in on a letter protesting the exclusion of our bloggin' breed from the story.

By the way, Moose and I were really touched that so many of you thought the New York Times was referring to little old us in the article on academic bloggers who mix personal information (such as photographs of their children and "entries 'written' by their dogs") along with their professional, scholarly work. Again, it's pretty to think so, but it would have been even prettier if the Times had put in a link to Roxie's World so that the guys in Clicks and Eyeballs would have had an excuse to dance the conga in their cubicles as traffic soared through the roof. Honestly, kids, sometimes your humble dog blogger feels like the Rodney Dangerfield of the internets. We don't get no respect -- but your love is excellent recompense.

Also, we are going to be doing some updating of our blogroll so that it more accurately reflects our current pointing-and-clicking habits. We'll be taking down Huff Po, for example, because we can no longer bear to visit this intellectually bankrupt outpost of Hillary hatred. We'll be adding in some of our new favorite blogalicious destinations, including Historiann and Tom Watson. Scan that list of what we read, beloveds, and go show some love to the good gals and guys who spend long, lonely hours trolling the internets in pursuit of truth, justice, and the occasional fart joke. Where would we be without these selfless sheroes and heroes?

Peace out, friends. May your brackets never bust and your hard drives never crash.

*House Rule #1 in Roxie's World: We hate Duke so much that if Duke were playing the Taliban, we would root for the Taliban. Therefore, any team playing Duke is referred to as the Taliban, and we sit on the couch shouting, "Go, Taliban, go!"

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Shore Things

The moms are on spring break this week. Instead of going off on some big trip to an exotic foreign destination, they went to the tackiest place on earth, Ocean City, Maryland, to breathe in the salt air and let go of some of the stresses of a busy semester. They want you all to know that they would never, ever under any circumstances go to Ocean City during the summer. They go there in the off-season because a few places are actually open and they can get a fully equipped (WIFI, too!) suite with a balcony overlooking the ocean for $150 a night.

Frankly, I am glad they're gone. Not only do I get to hang out with my wonderful Aunt Isa in their absence, but I am also relieved from any obligation to blog on the serious subjects currently dominating the news -- Obama's big speech, the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, the epidemic of sexual depravity among Democratic governors of northeastern states. It's a bit much for an old dog to take in sometimes, kids, so I'm happy just to pass along this nugget of political wisdom, which the moms picked up this afternoon (along with a bucketful of sand in their hair) during the course of a 5-mile walk along the boardwalk:
Dems are going to have a harder time than we might think prevailing in the fall.
How do they know this? A random sampling of what they saw written on tee-shirts in the handful of shops open along the boardwalk suggests that the United States of Ocean City is a mean, cranky, conservative kind of place not likely to be all that hospitable to the black guy or the white girl who want to be president. Consider these not so bons mots seen on tee-shirts swaying in the stiff (gusting to 40 mph!) breezes of OC today:
  • (on a tee-shirt with a Confederate flag on it): If this shirt offends you, you need a history lesson.
  • Tell your breasts to stop staring at my eyeballs.
  • Anything but a Democrat.
Wham. Bam. Thank you, ma'am. And thank you, boy. Two questions: 1. Who buys such shirts? 2. Do we really have to let them vote? Oh, and lest you think the moms were unfair in their "random" sampling, they did not see a single tasteless shirt that seemed even remotely liberal or progressive. They saw tons of Irish shirts, marked down in the big after-St. Patrick's Day sales, and some really cheesy Christian shirts, but not one Bush caricature, not even a Darth Cheney mask. Perhaps the problem with liberals is that we just don't hate enough or we lack the nerve to market it effectively. No, wait -- liberals, so-called, have gotten awfully good at hating Hillary Clinton, and the Obama campaign has made a ton of money off that hatred.

Oh, never mind. I may not be blogging, but the rest of the world is, so take a little spring trip of your own around the blogosphere:
  • Check out the I am Hillary Clinton meme started by the Red Queen over on Elizabitchez. It's enough to make me wish my typist knew Photoshop.
  • Visit Shakesville for much venting about the release of Clinton's White House calendars giving the MSM the excuse to return to the fun old days of Monica, Bill, the stained dress, and the well-traveled cigar. See here, here, and here.
  • Head over to Tom Watson for a smart piece on how short-sighted it is of Obama to be trying to avoid re-votes in Michigan and Florida. (Crux: It runs the risk of driving down turnout in those states in the general.) We're developing a bit of a blog crush on Tom here lately, so you can expect to be nudged in his direction on a regular basis.
  • Historiann beat us to the NYT story on academics who blog or participate in social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, but we're happy to point toward her post and the story itself. I was a little disconcerted that one of the many ways in which the story sought to disparage profs who are venturing out into these new social/cultural spaces was to make a gratuitous reference to "blog posts about their children, entries 'written' by their dogs." Note the scare quotes around the word "written." My typist and I are waiting for the Times to call and apologize for a) invoking this humble blog without naming it and b) daring to imply that this apparently un-serious, non-academic blog is not actually "written" by a dog. Them's fightin' words, pal. You best be prepared to prove 'em. (Oh, and thanks to a good guy whom we might just call Another Homo Victorianist for alerting us to the Times story this morning. Nous t'aimons, p'tit chou.)
Gotta run, kids. The moms want to fit in a swim before dinner, and I have a nap to take. Go in peace, and remember: If someone is staring at your breasts, it's your fault.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sentimental Tourneys

(Photo Credit: Toni L. Sandys, Washington Post; Marissa Coleman instructs Markus Thomas in the fine art of cheering for Maryland during the NCAA tournament selection show, 3/17/08)
(Photo Credit: Toni L. Sandys, Washington Post; Kristi Toliver gives Tyler Thomas a kiss for luck during the NCAA tournament selection show, 3/17/08)

Well before the opening tipoff, our beloved Lady Terps of Maryland have emerged as the odds-on favorite to be the feel-good story of this year's NCAA women's basketball tournament. Why? Two words: goo goo and gaga. (Or is that three words? Four words? Zero "words" but excellent onomatopoetic imitations of baby noises? Where are those English profs when you need them?)

In a triumph of good timing and brilliant sports marketing, Maryland coach Brenda Frese gave birth to twins a month ago, which means that two adorable baby boys were available for bouncing on the knees of her adoring players during last night's tournament selection show. The sizable press contingent on hand to record the team's reaction to the announcement that the Terps would be a No. 1 seed for only the second time in program history briefly blew out the power in Frese's home, but the happy moment was thoroughly documented in an aww-inducing series of photos (see above). The littlest Terrapins were all decked out in matching Maryland togs, while their excited circle of muscular surrogate moms endeavored not to drop them when the surprising news was announced. (The team had been expecting a No. 2 seed after losing to Duke in the ACC tournament but edged out Stanford because of a strong non-conference schedule.)

As is often the case, Marissa "Shoulders" Coleman had some of the best comments on the off-court challenges of the evening. "It was nerve-wracking," Coleman said of her efforts to deal with the commotion, the news, and the bundle of joy in her lap. "I'm sweaty. I'm hot. I had to take care of the baby at the same time. I had a lot going on." Per usual, though, Coleman was up to the multi-task, as Kathy Orton reports in Wa Po:

"I'm a natural," Coleman said. "The nurturing mother part of me first came out when I saw the seed."

Of course, Markus wasn't sure what to make of all the commotion.

"He threw me a death stare," Coleman said. "He's mad I woke him up."

Roxie's World is officially beside itself with pride and joy for Shoulders and the whole Maryland crew, who richly deserve their No. 1 seed and all the giddy press coverage they are getting. We give a PAWS UP to anything that brings attention to women's sports and to one of the finest basketball programs in all the land. The doting maiden aunts of Roxie's World are also on board with the whole babies thing. They have already shown up at the Comcast Center with a hand-painted sign exhorting fans to Cheer the Twins and chuckle every time they recall Shoulders saying back in February that it was unfortunate for Duke to be playing the Terps "on the day our babies were born." (Feb. 17: Frese gave birth in the morning, and Maryland beat Duke 76-69 in Durham that afternoon.)


And yet.


A small, cynical voice in the back of our fiercely loyal brains is muttering: Isn't all of this baby business just a convenient way to certify the heteronormativity of the Maryland women's basketball program and, by extension, of women's basketball generally? Doesn't it publicly declare that the Comcast Center is a family-friendly zone? Fear the turtle, we might say, but don't fear the lesbians because there aren't any here. Really. We swear. Coach B is a working mom with a devoted husband and two sets of grandparents ready to babysit come tournament time. The buzz before last year's NCAA tournament was the sudden resignation of LSU coach Pokey Chatman amid allegations of sexual misconduct with a former female player. The buzz this year is babies, babies, babies -- happy, healthy, heterosexually produced babies.

The point here is not to cast aspersions on Coach B, her family, or Maryland's impressive exploitation of a golden marketing opportunity. We don't even blame the media (in this instance) for jumping on a heartwarming story that is, after all, as much about Frese's dedication to her team as it is about her commitment to reproductive heterosexuality. We are thrilled to see Coach B back on the sidelines guiding the mighty women of Maryland in their pursuit of a second national championship. We just can't help noticing that everyone seems a little too eager to play the baby card, perhaps as a means of burying the lesbian card way down deep in the bottom of the pile. Women's sports has always been haunted by the specter of lesbianism, by the fear that athletic prowess undermines both femaleness and femininity. The figure of the predatory dyke in the locker room haunts the cultural imagination and shapes decisions about recruiting, hiring, and marketing in women's sports. Women athletes and coaches, whatever their sexualities, have a stake in exposing and rooting out the homophobia that underlies these attitudes and practices. We're tired of the silences, the evasions, and the repudiations of the lesbians and genderqueers in women's sports. You need us on your teams. You're desperate to have us in the stands. So stop pretending we're not there. Play the baby card, but don't deal the dykes out of the game. You'd sorely miss us if we were actually gone. (For some positive efforts to combat homophobia in women's sports, see the good work of the Women's Sports Foundation and of Pat Griffin, author of Strong Women, Deep Closets: Lesbians and Homophobia in Sport.)

Okay, off the soapbox and back to the business at hand: Cheer the Turtles, Baby -- We'll See You in Tampa!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Cover Your Ears

(Photo Credit: New York Post)

Top Ten Signs That It’s Time to Step Away From the Computer, Get Out of the House, and Go Roll in a Nice Pile of Warm Scat in the Ridiculously Large Back Yard:

1. Obama supporters are boycotting Saturday Night Live for its alleged pro-Clinton bias and for the casting of (white) Fred Armisen in the role of Fauxbama for election skits. (Okay, kids, it’s back to reading Proust at 11:35 on Saturday night for you. Knock yourselves out!)

2. Clinton supporters are striking (=refusing to post on) Daily Kos for constant trashing on the site of Senator Clinton and of anyone who dares to write in her behalf. (We admire your principled stand, and if you post somewhere other than Kos, maybe we’ll read you. We have to confess we’ve never been able to endure the look and feel of that place, even without the rampant Hillary-hatred.) (Via Tom Watson.)

3. Obama supporters on Daily Kos are boycotting the strike diaries and trashing the diarists for misusing the word "strike" and not having the guts to endure the vicious assaults on Senator Clinton and the distortions of her record. (That’s it, children. Everybody get in a circle. Closer, little bit closer. Very good. Now, pick up your weapons. Excellent, children. Now, ready, aim, fire at a fellow/sister progressive!)

4. Men and women all over the country are eyeing each other quizzically as they try to determine a) whether the husband has been spending the kids’ college money on high-priced escort services and b) whether the wife has any clue that the husband has been spending the kids’ college money on high-priced escort services. (Wow, do you know how loud Grape Nuts sound when people are carefully crunching them while trying not to ask those kinds of questions at the breakfast table?)

5. People with college degrees are spending precious time writing columns on whether or not the wife of a high-ranking government official or religious leader caught with his pants down is obligated to stand beside him for the public rituals of acknowledgment, apology, and resignation. (This one is a no-brainer, people. Some traditions are sacred, and the tradition of the wronged and humiliated spouse standing beside the guilty partner during his moment of public exposure is definitely one of them. We’re not giving it up until we’ve had a few opportunities to see a man in the role of wronged spouse and a soon-to-be resigning woman trying to explain all those large cash transactions.)

6. Men with college degrees are spending precious time writing puff pieces claiming that men really do see hotels as palaces of porn and prostitution, whereas women see them as places to kick off their heels and get a good night’s sleep. (Question: Is it “sexism” if men make crude generalizations about men that are really insulting, or is it just stupid?)

7. It’s getting to the point where opening one’s mouth to utter a word for, against, or in remote proximity of either Clinton or Obama pretty much guarantees that one will get ridden out of town on a rail. Ex-president? Bye-bye. (Really. Have you seen Bill lately? We’re ready to send out an APB.) Former vice-presidential candidate? So long. Old black minister with a few axes to grind about this country’s sordid racial history? Hasta la vista. By November, the entire nation will have been ridden out of town on a rail, so we’d better hope this whole vote-by-mail thing takes hold by then.

8. Jodie Foster is on the cover of this week’s Parade magazine with the most frightening hair-do we’ve ever seen on a lesbian. (“Eek!” Goose exclaimed when she saw the photo. “Did she have to go Donna Reed on us?”) Foster is also making a half-hearted attempt to re-close the (closet) door she seemed to have opened in December when she publicly acknowledged long-time (presumed) partner and co-parent to her two children, Cydney Bernard. (The middle name of both of Foster’s sons is Bernard.) Foster goes back to being coy with Parade, insisting on a strict separation of professional and personal life and answering a question about her romantic involvements by saying, “Oh, my life is basically from the head up. I’m definitely not proud of that. I’m very analytical.” (For Roxie’s World’s previous reflections on Foster’s in/out status, go here and here.) Foster does have some nice comments on the importance of connection, though.

9. Florida? Michigan? Michigan? Florida? Helllloooooooo? Anybody figure that out yet, or shall we just wait til Denver and settle the nomination battle with a coin toss? We’re too sick of this one to even put in a link.

10. The Non-Lady Terps extended their ignominious record of finding ways to lose games after building up substantial leads in the first half. They lost in the first round of the ACC tournament to Boston College on Thursday, thus guaranteeing that they will not be invited to the NCAA tournament. On the other hand: the Evil Empire of Duke was upset by Clemson in the ACC semifinal today, thus assuring that the moms won’t have to sit through a Duke-Carolina final tomorrow. Sweet!

Life is sweet, children, and the fierce urgency of spring is upon us. Stop with the pointing and clicking already. Close the computer. Open the windows and, as the Boss so eloquently put it, let the wind blow back your hair. Take a deep breath and a long look at the purple crocuses in your yard. They are as real as the issues and challenges that absorb so much of your attention, but they are fleeting. Go see those delicate harbingers of spring before it’s too late. We’ll be here when you get back. Promise.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Happy Blogiversary!

Welcome to the Party!
Roxie's World Is Two Years Old!
(That's Fourteen in Dog Years!)

(Photo Credit: Photo Booth; clockwise from top left: director of Creative Division, Roxie's World; director of Political Team, Roxie's World; dominatrix of Clicks and Eyeballs, Roxie's World; chief entertainment officer, Roxie's World)

Pop the corks, kids. It’s time to celebrate the Second Blogiversary of Roxie’s World! Yes, it’s true! As of today, your favorite dog blog devoted to politics, pop culture, and basketball has occupied its happy little corner of the blogosphere for two full orbits of the sun. Think of it, kids: Two whole years -- from the agony and the ecstasy of March 2006, when I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse and our beloved Lady Terps were making their improbable run toward a national championship in basketball, to the whirlwind and the fierce urgency of this very minute, as the nation waits to see whether it will send a black man, a white woman, or yet another constipated white guy to occupy the White House for the next four years (barring death, impeachment, or sudden resignation).

Two years – and you, my beloved readers, have been right there with me, pointing and clicking and commenting and lurking, sending me links and jokes, cartoons and parodies, public and private words of encouragement or admonition. One of you, a particularly beloved one of you, even sent me a blogiversary card this morning before my typist had made it through her first cup of coffee. Now that, my friends, is devotion! But you know that I love you, love you all – Be you lady or non-lady, English prof or grad student, terrier or beagle, pure bred or mongrel, Clintonista, Obamaniac, or still grieving Edwardian, butch, bitch, faggot, dyke, tranny, or cat person, aging Bruce Springsteen worshiper or rapt devotee of Amy Winehouse, advocate of the zone defense or apostle of compact fluorescent bulbs.

Wherever you are reading these words right now – from College Park to Karachi, from Portland to Paris, from Carolina to Kuala Lumpur, from Mississippi to Mumbai, from the Garden State to the prairie to the golden shores of California* – I stretch these ancient, aching paws out to embrace you, so that we might all feel young and new again, re-born in the ecstasy of even a virtual touch. As the poet said, I celebrate myself, and sing myself, but in doing so I celebrate you, too, my partners in the dreams and desires that have brought Roxie’s World into being. Say it with me, children: Without you, I’m just an old dog with two crazy moms and a laptop. With you, I’ve got a whole world in my paws.

Now, because it’s a holiday here in Roxie’s World, we needn’t trouble ourselves with such weighty matters as the resignation of New York governor Eliot Spitzer or the Sturm und Drang over Geraldine Ferraro’s remarks about how lucky Barack Obama is to be a black man. Actually, we are disappointed that Gov. Spitzer gave up the ghost before we even had a chance to declare an Official Spitzer Resignation Watch, but what the heck – That gives us more time to set up an Official Spitzer Divorce Watch. (Betting opens in comments immediately.) As for Ferraro, she has now severed her ties with the Clinton campaign, and a million other bloggers have already condemned her as a racist and a “national embarrassment” (don’t hold back, ModFab), so we’re late to that story anyway. Go ahead and flame us, but we confess to being underwhelmed by this alleged outrage and think it’s another example of how effectively Obama and his supporters have used fears of being called a racist to squelch even mild criticism of the candidate. Yeah, yeah, Ferraro sounds grouchy and bitter, a bit like the mean old lady neighbor telling all the kids to keep the heck out of her yard (to borrow a line Moose picked up today from another one of my devoted readers), but her remarks, though intemperate, hardly make Ferraro the second coming of Strom Thurmond. For the record, we’re sick of this kind of petty politics of mass distraction on both sides. We wouldn’t have fired Samantha Power for calling Hillary Clinton a monster, though, if we were Obama, we might have dumped her for spilling the beans about how murky and nuanced his plans for Iraq are. Oops! It was a whole lot easier to declare yourself against the war from the safe perch of the Illinois state senate, wasn’t it, Senator? “Yes, we can” might not exactly be your answer to the question of whether you could really bring most troops home within 16 months of taking office, but we wouldn’t want to confuse your happy voters with an inconvenient little thing like the truth, now, would we? Bye-bye, Professor Power. Don’t let the door hit you on your way back to Harvard.

Darn, kids, now we’ve gone and spoiled the celebratory mood of this post. Maybe the vid down below will restore the festive feeling. Click on it and see. Happy blogiversary to each and every one of you. Thanks for coming to the party. See you again soon!

*Locations of actual Roxie’s World readers, according to

Monday, March 10, 2008

Blogging for Hillary

I'm not the only one, you know.
There's a bunch of us out there, tapping quietly yet fervently away at our keyboards, scouring the internets looking for flattering pictures of the Girl Who Should Be President (as opposed to scary shots of the Monster Who Escaped from Hell to Torment Us With Visions of Universal Health Care). Don't believe me? Then run on over to Tom Watson to see his wonderful round-up of pro-Hillary bloggers. Go show some love to Tom and all the rest of the beleaguered band of laptop-lugging, linky-loving Clintonistas. Tom nicely captures the sense of what it feels like to be a part of this persecuted minority taking arms against a sea of hoped-up Obamaniacs:
To be a Clinton blogger in the progressive blogosphere is to be hated, shunned, passed without notice in the street. We sit home on Friday nights, cursing at Chris Matthews and being censored by Al Giordano for commenting too often in a field of swaying Obama supplication. We're not welcome at all the best dKos parties - if we show up, we're cursed with the universal epithet of those who challenge the Obama hegemony: "troll," they call us. Sometimes "f'ing troll." We're Rovian in our embrace of the monster, closet Bush backers and much worse - Lieberman types! Oh, the pain. The pure pain. I can't stand it. Makes me want to quit, embrace that messianic goodness, and stand down - for the sake of the party, of course - from any pursuit of a Clinton presidency.
You bet, Tom. Me, too. Heh-heh.

There's also a blogroll of Bloggers Supporting Clinton at The Hillary 1000, a fundraising network that originated in Connecticut. We proudly note that Roxie's World is listed on the blogroll -- and we didn't even have to ask! Y'all might also want to check out a new blog pal, Historiann, who has made some pro-HRC comments here recently and holds forth smartly, wittily, and, um, historically, here.

A couple of non-bloggish links we don't want you to miss:
  • Good analysis of anti-Clinton bias in the media by Bill Maxwell in the St. Petersburg Times.
  • Ryan Lizza's gripping account of Clinton's latest comeback in the New Yorker. For all the indignation expressed ad nauseam elsewhere over Clinton's "negative" campaigning, Lizza ends by pointing out that Obama may wind up feeling grateful for the hard-fought primary battle if it makes him a tougher and better candidate, should he get the nomination.
  • Jonathan V. Last's analysis in the Philadelphia Inquirer of which candidate (Clinton or Obama) is best positioned to go the distance, not just in getting the nomination but through November. Would we link to it if his answer weren't CLINTON? Hell, no!
You won't hear a word from us this evening about the stunning mess New York Governor Eliot Spitzer finds himself in today after reports broke of his links to a prostitution ring. Well, okay, here's a word or three: Why is paying for sex illegal, when, if you think about it, that is really the basis of "traditional" marriage? Why is the federal government investigating a prostitution ring when, um, Osama Bin Laden is still at large? Why are men in public life, especially those who tend to go for the whole moral crusader thing, so darn dumb when it comes to the whole high-priced hooker in a hotel room thing? Guys, you are not invisible -- or invulnerable. What are you thinking?

Sleep on those questions tonight, gentle readers, and get back to us in the morning. 'Night-'night.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Twenty-Four Years of Queer Delight

(Photo Credit: People)

Today is a special day in Roxie’s World, as we celebrate International Women’s Day (which this year we have decided to call International Bitches’ Day for reasons regular readers will understand) and the first of the several cork-popping occasions that March brings to our household calendar. (Stay tuned, kids. We’ll be celebrating all month long!) Today we commemorate the 24th anniversary of the late-winter snowstorm that forced Moose and Goose to spend their first night together. (Long story, not entirely appropriate for a family-friendly blog.) That’s right: twenty-four years! They got together in 1984, the year of Ghostbusters and Terms of Endearment, the year when Michael Jackson’s Thriller won the Grammy for Album of the Year, the year when Geraldine Ferraro became the first woman to run on a major-party presidential ticket and Vanessa Williams became the first African American to win the Miss America pageant. (Sadly, Williams also surrendered her crown in July of that year, after nude pictures of her appeared in Penthouse magazine. Happily, the career setback was temporary, and Vanessa now chews up the scenery as the incomparably wicked Wilhelmina Slater on ABC's Ugly Betty.)

To honor the occasion of their anniversary, I sat down with Moose and Goose to talk about the secrets to their extraordinary relational success.

Roxie: Congratulations, you two. How have you done it? How have you managed to string together twenty-four years of queer delight, fourteen of which have included a really cute dog? What’s your secret to staying together?

Goose: Inertia.

Moose: Lack of imagination.

Goose: Fear of mid-life dating.

Moose: She has too much dirt on me.

Goose: She has too much dirt on me.

Moose: It would be too hard to teach someone else our unique Automated Fight System. Some arguments we’ve had so often that we don’t even bother having them anymore. Instead, we’ve come up with a numbering system, so we just say the number and start laughing, thus avoiding conflict. You know, like Fight #46B, Regarding Goose’s Inability to Depart on Time for Family Trips.

Goose: Or how about Fight #37D, Regarding Moose’s Annoying Habit of Asking, “Is there something wrong?”

Moose: Fight #29M, Goose Doubts the Reality of PMS and Refuses to Answer the Question, “Does this make me look fat?”

Goose: #18A, Moose Frowns When Goose Makes a Second Round of Drinks on a Tuesday Night.

Roxie: Come on, you two. Get serious. Twenty-four years is quite an accomplishment. I’m sure a lot of our readers would like to know how you’ve done it.

Moose: Really, Rox, not being too serious has helped a lot. We used to joke with our couples therapist that we were going to write a book called Putting the Fun Back in DysFUNction.

Goose: And at our commitment ceremony in 1989, Moose promised me a joke a day for the rest of my life. It was in her vows, and she has more than kept that vow. Most days, I get way more than one joke.

Moose: That’s because she’s such a good audience. As you well know, Rox, Goose has a wonderful laugh. Most of the time, I crack a joke just to hear that sweet sound.

Goose: Aw-w-w . . . .

Roxie: Couples therapy. What was that all about?

Moose: Oh, you know – a mid-course adjustment.

Goose: Yeah – I had to be re-programmed so that I wouldn’t roll my eyes every time Moose said, “Honey, we need to talk.”

Moose (laughing): Well, that was part of it. Mostly, we needed a little help understanding how our inner children were getting along in the relationship, how our pasts were influencing the present. It was very illuminating.

Roxie: I’ve noticed that your inner children do quite a bit of singing. Could you talk about the role of music in your relationship?

Moose: Oh, yes, music is central. We’re children of the rock ‘n roll generation, you know, so we have a huge repository of shared words, sounds, and images to draw from –

Goose: Uh-huh, though we differ on disco and the pop rock of the 1970s.

Moose: You better not say anything mean about Abba or the Carpenters, dear. It’s our anniversary.

Goose: Of course not, darling. I’m on the top of the world looking down on creation –

Roxie: You also write songs. Tell me about that.

Moose: Well, when we first lived together, we lived in this tiny little town down on the shore in Jersey –

Goose: Down highway 9, chrome wheeled, fuel injected and steppin’ out over the line

Moose: Right, and there wasn’t a lot to do in the off-season, so we filled in the time by writing songs about, well, everything –

Goose: Like our cats. We had a great song about our incredibly spoiled cats Spike and Lily being the center of the whole wide world.

Moose: Yeah, that was a good one. My favorite may be the tribute we wrote to our bad eating habits back in the days when we thought clam dip was a vegetable. Remember “We Buy Fruit and Watch It Rot?”

Goose: Oh, yes, a classic of lyric simplicity sung to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” I loved that one.

Moose and Goose (singing):

We buy fruit and watch it rot
Watch it rot
Watch it rot

We buy fruit and watch it rot
Because we think it’s fun!

Roxie: Enough, you two! I finally figured out the secret of your relational success.

Moose and Goose: Really? What’s that?

Roxie: You are both completely nuts in ways that are perfectly complementary. No one else could understand or put up with either one of you. Thank dog you found each other!

Moose and Goose (laughing and rubbing my tummy): Thank dog, indeed, Rox. Thank dog on earth!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Hillary: A Resurrection

(Photo Credit: Todd Heisler, New York Times; Hillary Clinton celebrates her victory in the Ohio primary, 3/4/08)

All right, all right, kids -- Go ahead. Mock us for predicting that Hillary Clinton would lose or not win big enough last night to justify staying in the race. Point your fingers at Moose's vaunted gut, source of so many of her judgments and decisions, and laugh hysterically at how far off base she was. Make your jokes about eating crow, even if Moose, technically, beat you to that in a comment she left here earlier today. Indeed, she even spent part of her busy afternoon on campus looking up crow recipes (oh, lord, we love the internets, don't we?), because, by golly, she'd be willing to tuck into a dish of the much maligned bird as a penance for her wildly off-target predictions. Assuming Goose would let her wash it down with a really nice bottle of something red. How about a bite or two of this simple yet hearty-sounding dish?

12 pieces of crow breast meat (no bones) (6 crows)
2 quart sauerkraut
6 slices of bacon
1/3 cup of chopped onions

Brown the crow breasts in a skillet with butter or oil. When browned, place them in a casserole dish on 1/2 inch layer of sauerkraut. Lay a 1/2 strip of bacon on each 1/2 breast and sprinkle the onion on them. Next, add another layer of sauerkraut and some of the juice. Bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours. Makes 2 servings.
Moose loves sauerkraut. It's all that German blood coursing in her veins. Would it be pathetic of her to point out that she was right about "Falling Slowly" from Once winning the Oscar for Best Song? She also had a hand in our prediction that Clinton would take California on Super Tuesday. Please, people, let the poor woman have some shred of dignity!

Seriously, folks, as you can imagine, we're pretty happy here at the Emily Litella School of Punditry and Prognostication to be saying a big, fat, loud, "Never mind," today. We smashed all the crystal balls in Roxie's World at about 1 o'clock this morning and are thinking of sending Moose to a doctor to have her gut checked, but seldom have we found ourselves so utterly delighted to have been publicly exposed as absolutely, positively, 100% spectacularly wrong. (That was a nice post, though, wasn't it? I bet anything more than one of you got choked up while reading it.)

By "we," of course, I mean me and Moose. Goose is exempt from this state of wrongness and public embarrassment, having been, as y'all well know and as she has reminded us several times today, confident that Clinton would do well enough in Texas and Ohio to continue her fight for the nomination. Indeed, she has a new name here in Roxie's World to honor her confidence and her dedication to the cause. (She made a bunch of phone calls for Senator Clinton while spending many long hours in the Dallas airport the other day, before finally stumbling in the door here at nearly 4 a.m.) We now humbly refer to her as the Girl Who Saved Texas. She had a little help in this endeavor, by the way. Goose's 88-year-old blind mother caucused for Hillary last night with her yellow-dog Dem pal Miriam. They and another friend were the first three people in line at their precinct for the caucus, and the precinct chairman thanked them, saying that his mother had desperately wanted to see Hillary Clinton become president but that she had died before she could cast a vote. Each of the women was born in the year women got the right to vote, and Goose's mom said she cried when she signed in at the precinct. Go on. Shed another little tear over that poignant detail. We won't tell anyone.

But enough about us and our rightness or wrongness, our bad guts and our busted crystal balls. What's the take-away from yesterday? What did we learn, and where do we go from here? We'll keep this short, because we've been burning the candle at both ends in Roxie's World this week, but here are some Rumsfeldian "snowflakes" on the current state of the Democratic primary race:
  • Note to the Clinton campaign: That fighter thing? It works for you. Want to win Pennsylvania? You take your girl to the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum posthaste, put a couple of boxing gloves on her, and start marketing her as Rocky with brains, boobs, and a health-care plan. Why? It's a good counter to Obama's speechifying. When she shows that she's got the fire in her belly, as she did this week, she's offering not dull prose to his poetry but a passion for action. Hillary the fighter also adds a pleasing coherence to a life narrative that some have found marked by moments of inconsistency (unlike everybody else's perfectly consistent life narratives???): She fought for kids for decades as a lawyer and first lady of Arkansas, fought for her marriage, fought for New York post-9/11, and will fight for all of us as president.
  • Note to the Obama campaign: Hurts, doesn't it, this losing thing? Too bad, but we want you to know that we've picked up on the fact that your post-partisan, above-the-fray campaign has adopted the bare-knuckle tactics of Bush and Rove in Florida 2000, arguing before the race is over and the votes have been counted that the nomination is somehow yours and the only way Clinton can get it is to steal it. We are incensed that so far the supine media seem to be accepting your framing of the situation, but that could shift if Clinton kicks your ass in Pennsylvania, which we sincerely hope she will do. Sorry, Your Hopeness, but we are less impressed with you every day. And you know what? We thought in your non-concession speech last night you sounded a lot like an Ivy League lawyer trying really, really hard to imitate a black Southern Baptist minister. And I bet we're not the only listeners who are starting to feel that way.
  • Note to Howard Dean: Sorry, gov, but your "let's close our eyes and hope that Ohio and Texas resolve the nomination battle before we have to figure out what to do about the Michigan and Florida problem" strategy didn't work out. You are going to have to do something that will assure voters that the race has been run fairly and settled squarely. Even a do-over won't be entirely fair, because we'll never know how Michigan and Florida would have played out if the candidates had campaigned there and everybody's names had been on the ballots the first time around, but at this point anything other than a do-over (and as primaries, not caucuses) will look like an effort to advantage one candidate or another. Joan Walsh makes a case for re-voting in Salon. Roger Simon lays out the options for solving the problem in Politico. It concludes with a comment from unaligned Dem Tad Devine that both campaigns might want to keep in mind: “The nomination is only worth having if it strengthens you,” he said. “If it tears the party apart, the nomination is not worth it.”
  • Note to the Clintonistas of Roxie's World: Write to the Democratic party and tell them you'll never give them another dime if they don't enfranchise the voters of Michigan and Florida. Remind them we have suffered through eight years of a disastrous presidency brought about by flawed election procedures and a whole bunch of legalistic chicanery that denied voters their rights. Why all of a sudden has the Democratic party gone wobbly on the principle of counting every vote? Bear in mind that if the votes of Michigan and Florida were being added into popular vote totals in the primary races, Clinton would be leading Obama by 40,000 votes.
One more excuse for a happy dance in your living room: New WaPo/ABC poll shows Clinton and Obama both leading McCain in head-to-head match-ups. Watching him in his moment of triumph last night, we feel compelled to repeat that the man can make a victory speech sound like a prayer for a bowel movement. An unsuccessful prayer, by the way.

Oh, children, my typist is so tired that her head is falling over into the lap that holds the laptop. I feel the pressure of your collective desires for my wisdom on the subject of yesterday, and so I shall order her to press "publish" and get herself to bed before today is tomorrow and yesterday's news is too old to matter. Ah, my sweets, the tyranny of time in the blogosphere. How strange that even in this unreal (though lovely) world time waits for no man -- or dog. Peace out, beloveds. Sleep well. And heed your dreams.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Hillary: A Valediction

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move . . .
-- John Donne
(Photo Credit: Barbara Kinney, Hillary Clinton for President)

We’re one bitch shy of a full pack here in Roxie’s World this weekend, kids. Goose is down in Texas, being a big muckety-muck at some conference and trying to save the Lone Star state for Hillary Clinton. Meantime, back here on the couch, my typist and I are bracing ourselves for Tuesday. Again, Goose wouldn’t want us to say this, but our blogger’s oath to call a spade a spade compels us to say that we think Senator Clinton is going to lose (if only, alas, by not winning big enough) and could be out of the race by the end of this coming week. We hope we're wrong, but if we're right y'all come right back here for some major commiseration, okay?

(You may have noticed that the two English profs of Roxie’s World have significantly different theories about the relationship between language and reality. Goose’s theory boils down to her oft-repeated assertion that “People believe what you say about yourself.” So, in other words, if we say that Hillary Clinton is going to lose, we increase the likelihood of her doing so by contributing to the perception of her vulnerability or by upsetting some kind of karmic apple cart. To which Moose replies, “My gut tells me this is what’s coming, and I need to prepare for it. Saying a thing does not make it so [e.g., ‘Mission Accomplished’], and not saying it doesn’t prevent it from happening.” If we were philosophically inclined, we would probably have some fancy label for their different positions in this vexing doctrinal dispute [Goose = magical thinker? Moose = gritty realist?], but, fortunately, we are a humble dog blog and are therefore not obliged to put a paw into this particular pile of doo-doo.)

So, with Goose away, Moose is free to give into the waves of dread and anticipatory sorrow she feels about Texas, Ohio, and a whole bunch of other stuff – you know, democracy in America, the persistence of misogyny, the crude pitting of race against gender in media framings of a range of social and political issues. Oh: and whether the Non-Lady Terps can manage to snag an at-large berth into the upcoming NCAA Tournament. (It is March, children, and you know what that means in Roxie’s World.)

In her restless movement back and forth between TV and internets, Moose has noticed that something distinctly elegiac has suddenly crept into the tone of the coverage of Clinton. That was evident in the weekly political analysis of Mark Shields and David Brooks last night on PBS’s NewsHour. Brooks spoke in hushed tones of a campaign that had lost its fight and is in effect on life support, suggesting that if Clinton loses on Tuesday, she will be entitled to the political equivalent of death with dignity: “She deserves 36 hours or whatever is necessary after that, if this does happen, to make up her own mind, to do it on her own terms.” HURRY UP PLEASE IT’S TIME, you feel Brooks muttering under his breath, before offering up a token gesture of pity a moment later: “I sense a lot of people who are fervent Obama supporters, at this stage, they have some sense -- they feel a little sorry for Hillary Clinton, because they like her, and they don't want to see her hurt, and they feel she's hurting now.” They like her? Boy, that’s news, isn’t it? I thought everybody hated Hillary!

Elegy is also the mode of Walter Shapiro’s “Hillary at Twilight” in Salon and of Emma Brockes’s “Hillary’s Last Stand” in The Guardian. Gail Collins’s New York Times column on Thursday even ends with a kind of epitaph for Clinton:
Here’s what I hope [Clinton] understands. She’s done fine. And she’d probably have won the nomination walking away if Barack hadn’t picked this moment to mutate into BARACK!

You do your best, and if things don’t work out, it just wasn’t your time. Life isn’t always fair.
Having talked her candidacy to death, the press can now be magnanimous. We beat the bitch, so let’s make nice. Let’s honor her grace, her accomplishment, her strenuous but ultimately futile effort. Let’s bury her in the pine box of history and get back to the party. Yes, we can!

And yet: Why does Moose choke up every time she reads those lines from Collins about doing your best and life not being fair? Why does it move her, that rhetorical gesture of one woman saying of another woman’s effort, “She’s done fine?” It could be because it meshes with many moments of women letting their guard down and connecting over Clinton’s candidacy that Moose has noted or experienced lately: the high-level woman administrator who bragged about coming out to the higher-level male administrator about her support for Clinton; the colleague who stopped dead in her tracks in a big, busy office, reached out a hand, and couldn’t stop talking about all that had gone wrong for Clinton; the Republican (but mostly apolitical) sister whose voice broke on the phone when she asked, “Do you really think she doesn’t have a chance?” and confessed she had planned to vote for her.

Middle-class, middle-aged women have not been filling arenas or falling into faints for Hillary Clinton. We have not for the most part taken leave from our jobs, sold our homes, or abandoned our children to hit the campaign trail for her. But that doesn’t mean we weren’t invested in her candidacy or that we weren’t pulling for her to break, as she put it, America’s “highest glass ceiling.” And it doesn’t mean we didn’t notice every effort to demean or dismiss her – “likable enough,” “because her husband messed around,” “cold,” “calculating,” “cunning,” “old.” It doesn’t mean we didn’t notice the disrespect shown by Senate colleagues who chose to endorse a younger male senator with far less experience or the cowardice of a national political party organization that allowed the debacles of Michigan and Florida to happen, robbing Clinton of two victories that might have turned the course of the race. And it doesn’t mean we won’t be watching closely to see how the party and the man who seems on the brink of defeating her will handle the next delicate stage of this historic campaign.

Roxie’s World has never said Hillary Clinton was a perfect candidate. We have acknowledged the flaws of her campaign and the disappointments in her record, but we supported her because we were impressed with her command of the issues and judged her to be the best candidate in the field. We also recognize that identification may be one of the lower forms of political emotion, but in these fleeting moments of women speaking quietly to one another of their shock, disappointment, and wounded pride, we may glimpse the outlines of the larger political tasks awaiting us. The ceiling still hasn’t been broken. Access to abortion in the United States is so limited that it might as well be illegal. Wage inequities persist. The planet is dying. Wars rage on all kinds of fronts, because violence is the toxic political air we breathe. You know the litany.

Yes, when women of a certain age and class look at Hillary we see a lot of our selves -- the tests we took, the dreams we had and have, the hard bargains we struck with life, the moments when our best efforts fell short. As we watch what feels like the end of one part of her amazing journey, Clinton achingly reminds us of all the smart girls who never felt pretty enough, all the pretty girls who still thought their ankles were fat, all the good girls who colored inside the lines and stayed late to help clean up. All true, all valid emotionally, but that’s not all. We have been looking at her for sixteen years, and now perhaps we can finally see her – Hillary Clinton is the unfinished work of feminism. If we don’t do it, who will?

Now, women and beautiful non-women, get out your hankies, roll up your sleeves, and click on over to some of these inspiring, inciting, delighting links:
  • Take a listen to this episode of Tom Ashbrook's On Point, which features Ellen Goodman, Geraldine Ferraro, Pat Schroeder, and Katha Pollitt on the timely subject of gender and the Clinton campaign (with thanks to the creative genius behind the late, great qta* for sending this our way);
  • Check out Feministe's careful analysis of Obama's hemming and hawing on choice. Goose has been grousing about this issue for months, and it looks like she may be on to something;
  • Go read this week's archive of Doonesbury strips over at Salon. It can be hard to figure out whose side Trudeau is on, but his skewering of an English course on the poetry of Barack Obama does make the senator look like a bit of an empty suit;
  • Moose insists you read this incredibly weird story that was in this morning's WaPo about a couple of young women from Maryland's Eastern Shore who participated in a beauty contest and muskrat-skinning competition during the 63rd Annual National Outdoor Show in Golden Hill, MD. Why? Because it's nice to see that a spot or two of local color survives in our wired, homogenized world and because there just has to be something fascinating going on with gender in a competition that combines evening gowns and, we will say it again, muskrat-skinning.
Carry on, beloveds -- all puns intended.

*Roxie's World officially mourns the passing of qta --our first pal and role model in the blogosphere, authored by one of the best guys we know in the real world. We want qta to finish that diss so y'all will have to call him Dr. qta, but we will sorely miss those regular doses of queer wit, exquisite taste, and righteous pro-Hillary ranting. Love you, qta, mean it, sincerely.

Update: Here is the video of Senator Clinton's cameo last night on Saturday Night Live. Let me say this, kids: If she is on her way out of this race, she is going out with grit and a sense of humor. That's part of why we admire her and why, despite everything we've said in this post, we're not entirely counting her out yet. We're with her, as her husband memorably put it in 1992, "until the last dog dies," and this old dog ain't near dead yet. Keep the faith.