Tuesday, June 30, 2009

If It Quacks Like a Duck

Two minutes and twenty seconds into the president's remarks yesterday at the Big Gay Token Gesture held at the White House, a distinct quacking sound interrupted the dulcet tones of the Smooth Talker in Chief. Moose's first thought, when she watched the tape this morning through the miracle of a poached wireless signal in the remote kingdom of Indiana, was, and I quote,

How the hell did Goose get into the White House?

Yes, kids, it's true. Goose has a quacking ring tone on her iPhone. Moose, because I know you are dying to know, has, of course, a barking ring tone, but she was nowhere near the White House yesterday. No, she was very, very, very far away from the White House, but we're not here to discuss her fraught relationship with her native land, her life. We are here to talk about the silver-tongued president's fraught relationship with the LGBT community, which is not likely to become any less fraught anytime soon if Lt. Dan Choi is discharged from the military today under Don't Ask, Don't Tell, a policy Obama has said he is against but hasn't lifted a finger to rescind since taking office 162 days ago.

Anyway, as it turns out, Goose was nowhere near the White House yesterday either, but we are still guffawing with delight at the irony of duck sounds being heard on Pennsylvania Ave. for the first time since Darth Cheney and his hunting rifle left the neighborhood. Who would have thought that the most progressive president in American history would turn out to be such a squeamish footdragger on LGBT issues? Um, well, we did, but you know that already. Who would have thought the self-proclaimed Fierce Advocate would bring out the Kevlar and the hip boots before wading into the cootie-infested waters of equality for the nation's sexual minorities? Yep, we did. Here's a Wa Po quote that nicely conveys what a profile in courage Obama has proven to be vis-a-vis America's tough girls and pretty boys:
The administration has been attempting to tread cautiously with the gay community. While it says it intends to follow through on Obama's campaign pledges, it is also eager to avoid the appearance that the president is giving in to any one group's demands.
Quack, quack, quack, Mr. President. At some point, if you are going to talk like a duck, you might as well start walking like one. Otherwise, you'll be a sitting duck come the re-elect, and the hard-working queers of Roxie's World won't lift a feather to help you.

Watch the vid of the president's remarks, kids. Again, the duck quacks at 2:20. Towleroad has a transcript and the guest list for the event here.

Moose comes home tomorrow to be tenderly reunited with her living dog and her partner in the crime of queer delight for more than a quarter of a fricking century. Hooray! We'll be back to regular blogalicious programming soon, darlings. Meantime, remember: Stone walls don't come by themselves. Get out your picks, your shovels, and your climbing boots. Honor the past by working like hell to change the present. Peace out.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Postcard from Chicago

Here is what you need to know:

1. I am alive. The same cannot be said for certain other super-famous people with whom baby boomers kinda identified and kinda disidentified, but we are so far behind the curve on those stories that we are not even going to try to weigh in.

2. Goose is taking excellent care of me in Moose's absence. Proof: She texted Moose this afternoon to see if I had been given my heartworm/flea pill for this month and would it be okay to go ahead and give it to me if I had not. Moose wrote back to say, yes, give the pill, but make sure Roxie understands flea pills are merely palliative. She is still on hospice care. Dog lives, so fleas must die. Goose dutifully conveyed the message and the pill, wrapped in liverwurst.

3. Moose is in Chicago, having survived her dual-conference, double-paper week and apparently having convinced the community of Willa Cather scholars that Cather would have made "one heck of a blogger." That, really, was the argument of her paper, which was greeted with laughs in all the right places and a warm round of applause at the end. Moose was so pleased with her efforts that she ate an omelet and went to the Art Institute of Chicago, to see its glorious new Modern Wing. She took her camera along so that she could send us one of her occasional photo essays, because in her heart of hearts she is still a yearbook editor. Wevs, kids. It's a little eye candy for you, just so you don't forget us!

Pritzker Garden, looking up

The Modern Wing, looking out

Lurie Gardens, looking over

(Photo Credits: Moose)

Monday, June 22, 2009

God Loves a Terrier

Watch this clip from the finest motion picture ever made so that you can understand how it is that America's favorite dog blogger devoted to politics, pop culture, and basketball is still ALIVE four weeks after my primary vet declared that I only had two weeks to live:

That's right, my darlings: God loves a terrier -- and a certain skinny but sweet-as-pie old terrier loves you, even if you aren't likely to hear much out of me for the next little while. My typist, as I mentioned recently, has not one but two conferences this week, one right here in our ridiculously large back yard and another off in the City of Big Shoulders. Posting will be light, but we will do our best to amuse and edify you as circumstances and paper preparation allow. Moose and I have made a deal: I promise to stay alive until she returns next Wednesday if she promises to tell the truth about who does all the work here in Roxie's World when she does all this big public yakking about the feminist literary pre-history of blogging. Wevs, kids -- She's gotta make a living, but we're hoping she can do it without indulging in too many stretchers.

Meantime, pray to the deity of your choice that Goose can manage to keep me alive for an entire week. Rest assured Moose is coaching her right now and will leave an extremely thorough set of directions, but we'd appreciate your support as well. Just because, well, you know, it can't hurt. You have to admit it would totally suck if I kicked the bucket while one of the moms was out of town.

Here's a couple of dog treats you can peruse while you wait for our next update:

Can Dogs Talk? Goose insists that they can. Moose is skeptical, though she allows that some of us are pretty good writers.

Are Old Dogs the Best Dogs? You know you won't get any arguments on that point around here. (Warning: The Office of Affect Management suspects that this article by Wa Po's Gene Weingarten will make you cry if you have ever known, seen, or thought about an old dog, but we are grateful to Kelly for passing it along to us anyway.)

Stay alive, kids, and stay in touch. Dog loves you.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hillary's Elbow

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had surgery today to repair a broken elbow after she fell Wednesday in a parking garage at the State Department on her way to a meeting at the White House. The surgery, we are pleased to report, because we care deeply about the SOS and all of her body parts, was a success.

Which means we are now free to ask,

Is the elbow the funny bone -- or is it not?


If you are comedian Craig Ferguson, who had this to say in response to news of Clinton's injury:

Not such a great day for Hillary Clinton. She fell down, broke her elbow . . . . You know, Fox News is going to be all over this story. This proves the Democrats are weak. Reagan fell over 10 times, didn't even break his hair.

Now the official report said that Hillary fell while she was walking to her car in the parking lot of the State Department. But Hillary likes to exaggerate, so she's telling everybody it was sniper fire.

The Secret Service performed beautifully but they had to use the Jaws of Life to cut Hillary out of her pantsuit.


If you are comedian Jimmy Kimmel, who offered this doodalicious little quip:
Our secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, is in a cast. She fell and fractured her elbow. Fortunately, her scowl broke the fall, so she is okay.

If you are Dave Letterman, who said this, perhaps hoping not to infuriate the only two women left in the country who aren't outraged at his tasteless jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughter:
When he heard [Clinton] broke her elbow, Rush Limbaugh sent over some painkillers. So she's going to be fine.

If you are Melissa McEwan, goddess of Shakesville and most righteously hilarious feminazi on the face of dog's earth (except for my typist), who had this to say on the subject of Hillary Clinton's broken elbow:
The fall is just a cover story. It's really a repetitive strain injury sustained from four decades of nudging dudez in the ribs to get shit done or get the hell out of her way. Feminist elbow.
Now that is funny, Liss. Thanks for showin' 'em how it's done. You get a PAWS UP from the funny girls of Roxie's World, and the SOS gets two Vicodins and this inspirational poster for Edie Falco's delicious new show about another woman with her own wicked case of feminist elbow. Get well soon, Hill. The world needs you, and we love you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Single Step

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. -- Lao-tzu
(Updated below.)

(Wa Po caption: President Obama signs a memorandum on federal benefits and non-discrimination as Vice President Biden and other officials watch. Gay rights activist Frank Kameny is to the president's left. Photo Credit: Alex Wong, Getty Images, 6/17/09)

Two quick things we can honestly say we liked about the president's signing ceremony today for the memorandum that will temporarily extend some federal benefits to same-sex domestic partners of Foreign Service and executive branch employees:

1. In his remarks, the president referred repeatedly to the fact that this step, made under significant pressure from supporters of LGBT equality who have been disappointed by his administration's actions on their issues to date, is only a first step and that there is much more that remains to be done, including passing the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act, which would extend benefits to all federal employees, and repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, which he described as discriminatory (but which his Department of Justice defended in court last week). We appreciated seeing an American president in the Oval Office identifying by name specific LGBT-affirming legislative actions he would support and pledging "to work tirelessly on behalf of these issues in the months and years to come." No, he didn't announce a Road to Damascus conversion on the issue of marriage equality, but he took an important substantive step forward and he did it in the symbolically resonant space of the Oval Office.

2. We were also pleased and moved to see veteran LGBT activist Dr. Frank Kameny standing to the president's left during the signing ceremony. At its conclusion, the president turned and presented the pen with which he had signed the memorandum to the 84-year-old co-founder of the Mattachine Society of Washington, DC, who has been working since the 1960s to end discrimination against LGBT employees in the federal work force. Having Kameny present for this moment was a nice touch. It sends a signal to LGBT politicos who had started to doubt the president's commitment that someone in the White House understands the history and the stakes of LGBT demands for justice. It's a gesture that may buy the administration a little more time to figure out how to move forward. (For more on the life and legacy of Frank Kameny, please visit the wonderful Rainbow History Project of Washington.)

Tick-tock, Mr. President. Justice delayed is justice denied, but we will give you a qualified PAWS UP for taking a step -- and publicly acknowledging how far we have yet to go.

Watch the vid of the signing ceremony. It's short, and it is a kick to see Dr. Kameny enthusiastically receive the pen from the president at the end.

Pam's House Blend has a transcript of the president's remarks here. Text of the memorandum is here.

AM Update: Reactions roll in to the president's move yesterday. Wa Po has a couple of glass half full pieces, one that focuses on responses from federal workers who will be affected by the expansion of benefits and one that focuses on the backstory of LGBT advocates working with the administration from the time of the transition to plant the seeds for pro-gay policy moves. There is also a less happy-happy piece about the president's reluctance to "wade into" gay issues, as if they were some kind of toxic bog of ickiness bound to sully Obama's pretty ankles. NYT is glass half empty, with a piece focused on how disappointed many advocates are with a gesture that seems tokenistic and half-hearted. Meanwhile, over at Americablog, John Aravosis burns with a white-hot rage -- toward Barney Frank, toward HRC president Joe Solmonese, and toward all those bums in the Obama admin who suckered him and many others in the LGBT community into believing they were a part of the whole hopey-changey plan. (That last link gives you reactions from most of the major LGBT advocacy orgs, btw.)

Roxie's World went pretty easy on you last night, Mr. President. It's clear you have a lot of work to do with an important constituency that feels wounded and betrayed by your young administration's (in)actions so far. It's time to throw caution to the wind, sir, and realize that a fighter for justice is going to have to wade into the muck of injustice and get his ankles -- and even his hands -- dirty in order to get the job done.

Land o' Links

Not that kind of links, silly!

This kind:

No time for a proper post today here in the paper-writing factory, but we feel obliged to make sure our readers are up to speed on the unfolding melodrama of The Incredible Numbskullery of the Obama Administration on LGBT Issues. With last week's stunningly insensitive brief in support of the Defense of Marriage Act (which the president has repeatedly said he is committed to repealing), the smartest and most pro-gay political team in the history of the republic (Right? Isn't that what they told us?) suddenly finds itself in hot water not just with the Lavender Menace and Light in the Loafers set but with the editorial page of the New York Times! Today, desperate to contain the fallout from its own diffidence and ineptitude, the administration is announcing that the president will sign a memorandum extending benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees -- but the president will, as the report in the Times puts it, "stop short of pledging full health insurance coverage." Because, you know, who needs that? Oh, and because the (partial) extension of benefits is being accomplished through a memorandum rather than an executive order, the extension will reportedly expire when Obama leaves office. Gosh, thanks, Mr. President. Thanks so very much for the partial, temporary extension of non-equity in compensation.

[Brief pause while the typist bangs her head against the laptop screen and the decrepit old dog covers cloudy eyes with functioning front paws.]

There has been a ton of righteous reaction and thoughtful analysis of the DOMA debacle and its aftermath in the queer and progressive blogosphere and elsewhere. You know we consider Pam's House Blend the go-to place for all things queer and political, though we've also found ourselves giving John Aravosis over at Americablog quite a few clicks lately. This piece by Pam Spaulding on the Times editorial harshly criticizing the DOMA brief has links to lots of other reactions. Here are a few more that you won't want to miss:

The LA Times gets in on the action today with an editorial on "Obama's gay rights gap."

Melissa McEwan, the goddess of Shakesville, weighs in with a piece that is both hard-hitting and deeply felt. We love that Liss can pivot from several paragraphs of trenchant political analysis to a poignant meditation on the wildness and fundamental equality of love. She makes us think. She stirs our souls. And that is fine by us:
See, here's the thing: Maybe the discussion of marriage shouldn't be so goddamned rational. Maybe it should be a little less "maximizing state autonomy and democratic self-governance" and a little more "pursuit of happiness," maybe a little less "scarce government resources" and a little more "abundant love."

Love is not rational. Love is wild and expansive and reckless and unpredictable, and it is one of humankind's greatest achievements — a capacity unique in its magnificence, a radiating splendor which can only be dimmed by the injurious refusal to regard as equal the love between partners on the basis of details that love itself transcends.

To deny love's existence, and equality, in every human heart is to reject our common humanity. We are thus all diminished by anything less than full-throated support for marriage equality, because buried below all the Very Fancy and Very Rational legal defenses of the continued disparity is simply an indefensible avowal that all love is not the same.

Richard Socarides, former aide to President Clinton on LGBT issues, is emerging as the point person on all the Obama administration is doing wrong in its determination to avoid all the mistakes Clinton supposedly made on LGBT rights. (We know the Big Dawg signed off on DOMA and DADT, people. We're just sick of hearing that very different political moment used as an excuse for doing nothing, when Clinton got screwed by conservative Dems the moment he took office.) Anyway, Socarides has an incredibly thoughtful insider's view of how hurtful -- and unnecessary -- the administration's DOMA brief is.

Joe Solmonese, president of HRC, seems to have realized that being a lap dog for an administration determined to find new ways to insult the LGBT community is perhaps not the smartest position to be in if your organization wants to keep raising money in the LGBT community. His letter to the president on the DOMA brief is the best thing we can ever recall him putting out. Solmonese offers a blistering critique of the brief's claim that DOMA is merely "a cautious policy of federal neutrality towards a new form of marriage." "Exclusion is not neutrality," Solmonese contemptuously concludes. Go read it, kids. It'll give you hope that the gutless gay giant among LGBT advocacy organizations has finally found its nerve.

Everyone is saying this, but we think it bears repeating: You don't make change for justice's sake because it is convenient. You do it because it is right and because it is necessary for the health of the body politic. Do it, Mr. President. Now.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Monday Food Blogging

(Photo Credit: The Food Network)

Grilled Tomato and Procrastination Edition

My typist has not one but two conferences to get ready for next week (this one and this one), which no doubt explains why she finds herself irresistibly drawn to the idea of blogging about last night's dinner. I reported yesterday that she went to Takoma Park's wonderful farmer's market and came home loaded with the bounties of early summer -- strawberries, basil, some early tomatoes, and a delicious chipotle goat cheese made by the Cherry Glen Goat Cheese Company of Boyds, MD.

Since there's a depression on and the moms are humble state employees who have already survived one round of furloughs and have a hunch they'll have to endure another in the coming year, the new policy in Roxie's World is to leave no morsel of food behind. Buy it, cook it, eat it. Period. Scrape the mold off the bread. Re-purpose the truckload of rice that comes with every order of takeout from our favorite Indian restaurant. Invite some poor unsuspecting soul to dinner and make her eat cherries until she begs for mercy. Times are hard, kids. We all have to make sacrifices.

Did I mention that my typist has two conferences to prepare for next week?

Anyway, despite using a sizable chunk of the delicious chipotle goat cheese in the scrambled eggs she made for brunch, by supper time yesterday Moose was inordinately worried about how to make use of the rest of the cheese. Then she started thinking about the tomatoes. She had bought a cluster of five because they looked so pretty, but the moms do not have a good track record when it comes to tomato consumption. They'll motor through the first two or three and then the others will languish in the fruit bowl until suddenly Moose realizes there is a disgusting odor in the kitchen and a tell-tale puddle of water in the fruit bowl. Eeewwww!

I digress. Moose had never grilled a tomato in her life, but in the midst of worrying about the goat cheese and thinking about the tomatoes and not writing her conference papers and feeling a little sad about the prospect of my demise, she suddenly found herself fixated on the idea of grilled tomatoes and goat cheese. She even talked about it on the long walk I sent her and Goose off to take late in the afternoon. "Doesn't that sound good?" she said as they strolled along in the golden light of a splendid summer day. "I'll Google it when we get home."

She did, and she found this recipe on Epicurious, but she didn't have any sage or green onions, so she kind of had to improvise, which is not Moose's forté as a cook. (She slavishly follows recipes, while Goose could whip up a feast out of peanut butter, brussels sprouts, and a couple of stale crackers if she had to.) The truth is, if you've got a good goat cheese, you don't really need a recipe for grilled tomatoes stuffed with goat cheese, but here's another one from the Food Network, just in case you can't bear to work without a net.

And here is Moose's Not Exactly a Recipe for Grilled Tomatoes Stuffed with Goat Cheese:

2 medium-sized tomatoes
1/3 cup chipotle (or not) goat cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon olive oil (you won't need this if you're using a really soft goat cheese)
2 tablespoons shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon basil, finely chopped
pinch of salt and a twist of black pepper

Using a small sharp knife, remove cone-shaped piece 2 inches wide and 1 inch deep from top of each tomato. Mix all the other ingredients together in a small bowl. Jam as much of that mixture as you can down into the tomatoes.

Grill for 5-10 minutes on a medium-hot grill. Place them right on the rack, and close the grill cover.

The moms had these with grilled tuna, grilled pineapple, couscous, and a crispy white wine while watching the season premier of HBO's True Blood. Dinner was delicious. Their verdict on the quirky show about vampires who achieve respectability through synthetic blood? Meh -- I coulda had a V8.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I'm Still Here

Today's health update and musical interlude is brought to you by Clio Bluestocking, who knows there's nothing quite like seeing an aging diva belt out her gritty determination to survive to inspire an old dog on her last legs. Yep, this one nicely captures the mood here in Roxie's World, as I continue to defy my vet's prediction that I would be sinking my teeth into the ankle of the big postman in the sky by now. Sing it, Shirley:

Yeah, I'm still here, kids, but let's not sugarcoat it. I may be taking my sweet time and going rather gently into that good night, but it does begin to feel that I am going. The moms hover around me, carrying me tenderly from place to place, and feel me shrinking in their loving hands. I eat, but I am wasting away. They search my eyes for signs of discomfort. I whimper a little from time to time, but usually that just means I have gotten stuck in a corner or in an awkward position. Once upon a time I leaped and raced around a ridiculously large back yard. No squirrel dared to cross my path. Now my exercise is pulling myself around in circles with my front paws. I don't get anywhere, but my body remembers what it was to be strong and swift, agile and fierce.

It's a beautiful day in Roxie's World, my darlings. Moose went to the farmer's market this morning and came home with strawberries so sweet they made her think of Norway. She whipped up a mess of scrambled eggs with chipotle goat cheese, and Goose saved the last, best bites for me. The air is soft and the sky too clear to keep my typist sitting in a chair thinking about death or the latest insult the Obama administration has aimed at the LGBT community.

I am sending the moms on a long walk. If you need to stoke your outrage about the Justice department's brief in support of the Defense of Marriage Act, then head over to Pam's House Blend, which is doing its usual thorough job of reporting on the issue and calling the administration to account for its manifest failure to be the Fierce Advocate the president declared himself to be. Tenured Radical is less up in arms over the brief than a lot of pro-LGBT analysts have been. She thinks it might not be such a bad idea if DOMA ends up being resolved legislatively rather than judicially, given the uneven outcomes that have resulted from American courts intervening to overturn discriminatory laws on, for example, school segregation and abortion. It's a long, complex piece, hard to summarize but well worth reading and pondering. TR pointed us toward a thoughtful reaction from law prof Nan Hunter at Hunter for Justice. Hunter also thinks Congress is where the Obama administration will be obliged to make good on its promise to repeal DOMA, so she also isn't especially surprised or upset to see the administration defending the law in court -- because that is what government lawyers almost always do. (John Aravosis points out a number of exceptions to that rule here.)

There is no outrage in Roxie's World today, beloveds. Only tenderness. And strawberries. And a trail that an old dog's worn-out legs still remember. Peace out.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Becoming a Man

(H/T: the late Paul Monette.)

Chastity Bono, child of Cher and the late Sonny Bono, announced yesterday that s/he is transitioning from female to male. Bono, 40, came out as a lesbian (to family in 1987 and publicly in 1995) and has been a high-profile advocate for LGBT equality for nearly 15 years. He has published two books, Family Outing: A Guide to the Coming-Out Process for Gays, Lesbians, and Their Families and The End of Innocence: A Memoir, been a spokesperson for HRC, and served as Entertainment Media Director for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

According to a report in yesterday's New York Daily News, Bono began transitioning shortly after his fortieth birthday in March and now goes by the name Chaz. His publicist Howard Bragman was admirably low-key in announcing the news:
"Chaz, after many years of consideration, has made the courageous decision to honor his true identity," Bragman said.

"He is proud of his decision and grateful for the support and respect that has already been shown by loved ones.

"It is Chaz's hope that his choice to transition will open the hearts and minds of the public regarding this issue, just as his coming out did nearly 20 years ago."
You know, there are way easier jobs for the children of former pop cult icons than prying open the dead-bolted hearts and minds of "the public." Oh, sure, "the public" might occasionally do something as sensible and noble as voting for a smooth-talking young black guy over a scary-talking old white guy, but "the public" still includes just enough gun-toting wack jobs (e.g., him and him) that a celebrity kid could be forgiven for deciding to keep quiet about his or her gender identity. It's my life, Chaz might easily have thought, my body, my complex web of intimate feelings, choices, and relationships. The public doesn't need to know and has no right to weigh in on who I am and how I live. Screw the public. Let somebody else be the poster kid, the whipping boy for gender transitivity.

Now, of course, "the public" also has a way of not letting celebrity kids keep their stuff private, so perhaps Chaz Bono was largely motivated by a desire to get out ahead on a story that was bound to come out sooner or later, one way or the other. If that is the case, you can hardly blame him. To step up before the physical effects of transition have become apparent and say, "This is who I am, this is what I am doing. My family is on board, and I am inviting you to get on board," frames the narrative in terms designed to assure his dignity and elicit the audience's sympathy. The statement, laconic as it is, also offers a preview of coming attractions. Reading it, you can already see Chaz and Cher off on the Happy Trans Family Tour of 2009, curled up on Oprah's couch, getting real with Dr. Phil, yukking it up with Ellen. "My child is my child," you can hear Cher saying, her hands wrapped lovingly around his as the camera zooms in. "Was I surprised? Yes. Do I mourn the loss of a daughter? In a sense, yes, but at the same time I welcome, support, and honor my son. A parent knows what a child needs, and this is what my child needs. I am with him, absolutely and unconditionally."

Cher will say those words, or something very close to them, and somewhere out in TV land, a trans kid will hear them and know that telling the truth doesn't necessarily mean losing the ones you love and need the most. Or a mother will hear them and say to herself, "I can do that, dammit. If Cher can do it, I can do it. I can tell the truth, for my kid's sake." And she will. And the sweet old world will go on spinning on its axis.

PAWS UP to Chaz Bono, for telling the truth and for believing that the public can handle hearing it. Dogspeed on your journey, Chaz. Know that the whole pack here in Roxie's World is running with you -- proudly, lovingly. We got you, babe. We got you.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


1. Roxie, how's the dying going? Weren't you supposed to be dead by now?

Indeed, I was, thanks for asking, but I hope loyal readers won't be disappointed to learn that I am way behind schedule on the whole dying thing. Perhaps I have picked up my typist's habit of procrastination, or perhaps my primary vet, Dr. Kevorkavet as she is known in our house, was off in her prediction (dramatically announced here) that I would expire in two weeks without treatment. The sand has run through the hourglass she set up for me two weeks ago this very day, but I live and breathe, beloveds, and don't have any sense that the curtain has risen on my play's last scene, so put your hankies away until further notice.

I am still on what we are calling hospice care but doing well under the tender supervision of an expanding platoon of nurses. I've been off all medications for more than two weeks. My back legs aren't working, but I am not in pain, so Moose has decided I never was in pain and that the problem with my mobility in the past couple of years was probably due not to arthritis but to a neurological condition that causes weakness but not pain. (We'd have to do a bunch of tests to confirm that diagnosis, but, frankly, at this point, we have more faith in our guts and good sense than we do in doctors, so we are opting not to do that.) I continue to eat, drink, and poop normally, and my coat is so soft that Moose buries her nose in it at least once a day. I use my front paws to scoot around the house a little and can still take a few steps out in the yard. I remain alert and content. At least once a day, I cover Goose's face with kisses just to let her know who is boss.

2. If a tree falls on the White House lawn and nobody hears it, is it still George Bush's fault? (Apocalyptically bad weather in the DC-area again today, kids -- It has to be somebody's fault.)

Absolutely. I think this AP video proves that beyond the shadow of a doubt:

3. Will the terrorists win if American cartoonists depict Dick Cheney as a leather queen doing a really kinky dom scene?

Oh, hell, no. Cheney sent our kids to Iraq to make the world safe for just this kind of stuff:

(H/T: Mel.)

4. If Obama is a "fierce advocate" for LGBT equality, what would an un-fierce advocate be doing on DADT, DOMA, ENDA, and other issues?

Excellent question -- Let's hand that one off to Butch PhD, since she came up with it on last night's show:

5. It's summer. Soon it will be too hot to go outside. I can't afford a vacation and, really, if I write all summer long I run the risk of finishing that dissertation and having to go out on the job market in a year when there will in all likelihood be no jobs whatsoever. What should I watch on TV?

Easy: Get Showtime for the summer and watch Weeds (season 5) and the brand new Edie Falco vehicle, Nurse Jackie. Granted, that is only an hour of viewing pleasure every week, but, hey, you can watch each episode two or three times and tell yourself you are looking for clever pop cult references to sprinkle into the diss that you aren't finishing! We continue to worry about the dark turn Weeds has taken, but it pairs brilliantly with Nurse Jackie, where Falco's Eliot-quoting, oxy-snorting, nun-educated tough girl is riveting. The show is smart and stylish, and the supporting cast (which includes Anna Deveare Smith!) is strong. We have a hunch Nurse Jackie is going to make us long for a check-up. (Watch the first episode of Nurse Jackie here. See Mary McNamara's review of both shows here.)

What else have you got cookin' this summer, kids? Let us know. If my death is on hold, I better get back to living at full throttle, and that means making sure my legions of loyal fans are well and happy and pleasantly distracted from the seriousness of everything. Don't be strangers, darlings. Give your old pal Roxie a click sometime. You won't regret it. Peace out.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Picturing Liberty

(Photo Credit: Moose, 6/6/09)

Why bother trying to photograph the biggest visual cliché in the national image repository? Why waste one more click of the shutter on the most photographed statue in the world? If the clichés don't defeat you, the monumentality will, especially if you are on a rocking boat whose speed and distance from the object you cannot control. And trying to take the picture without spilling a glass of wine or letting a favorite pair of sunglasses slip out of your hands and into the waves.

Why, why, why, oh, why even bother, silly tourist?

Because it was there, and you were there, with a decent camera in your hand, on a splendid summer evening when a full moon was rising and a best friend's girl had orchestrated a magical way to ease the pain of turning fifty. Oh, what the hell, you say to yourself, as the shutter clicks five or six or a dozen more times. On a night like this, even a cliché has a touch of the magnificent about it.

(H/T: Kate, who takes better pictures than we do and always has something thoughtful to say about them. And with gratitude to KB, an old dog's best new pal, who made sure I held up my end of the bargain so the moms could get to the party.)

Friday, June 05, 2009

Reasons to Love

The calendar says June, but two days of cold, ceaseless rain have made it feel like a damp, drizzly November in the soul of Roxie's World. We gather ourselves, Ishmael-like, in an effort to drive off the spleen. My typist fights off the remnants of whatever she picked up from Goose last week. I remain among the living and have settled back into my Buddha state. Yesterday, I was a little agitated, which upset the official worrier of Roxie's World, but today I and she are both breathing more easily.

Seeking shelter from the storm, we find it in the kernels of good news and warm wishes that arrive in the in-box or the daily news or reach us from the depths of cyberspace. For every plane that vanishes mysteriously from the night sky, for every titan of industry that falls to its knees in the midst of economic crisis, there is a little something that gives us hope, cause to smile, a reason to love. Call it the Law of Bad News, Good News. Things have a way of balancing out, or so we like to suppose. Feeling the need for a little pick-me-up, a happy something to keep you from knocking people's hats off on the street? Stay with us, kids. Good news comin' your way!

1. Good Grammar and Good Taste: Not that we lacked reasons to love Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, but the English profs of Roxie's World were tickled to see this little tidbit in a Wa Po story on how Judge Sotomayor's ethnicity has shaped her sensibility and perspective. It would appear that her experience has made the jurist impatient with "long-winded lawyers and bad grammar":
[E]ach time I see a split infinitive, an inconsistent tense structure or the unnecessary use of the passive voice, I blister.
Amen, sister! Now that's a wise Latina woman for ya. Do you think Sotomayor will be able to edit the pomposity out of Scalia's opinions when she gets to the high court? Pretty to think so, isn't it?

2. Onward Christian Parody: We had kind of lost track of America's best Christian, Mrs. Betty Bowers, whose pants-wetting advice from Laura Bush on "raising Christian young ladies when you only have twenty minutes and two shot glasses" helped get us through the Shrub years. We ran across Betty on Facebook today, though, and we're pleased to report that she is as spiritually shrewd as ever. Here she is, helpfully weighing in on the roiling question of marriage, with a detailed biblical explanation of the Lord's surprisingly complex take on this simple issue:

3. Puppies! Lots and Lots of Puppies!: This comes to us by way of my cousin Foxy, warrior princess of the remote kingdom of Illinois, who lost a member of her pack not too long ago. Follow the link to meet Lucille, a foster dog who gave birth to seven puppies on May 31. If you tune in at the right time of day, you can even watch Lucille and the little guys live on the PuppyCam! Go on -- What else are you gonna watch, with Big Love on hiatus and no more Damages to test your brain's capacity to absorb plot twists? Puppies are simple. They sleep. They suckle. They tumble. Life is good when you're a puppy.

4. Dog Be With You: And with you also. This comes by way of my most far-away reader, sweet Fiona of Down Under, who visits me when most of you are sleeping and dreams of me when you are hard at work. Fiona sent us this wonderful cartoon from the Australian artist Michael Leunig. (Apologies for the lopped off right side of the image, but it was the best we could find.) Thanks for thinking of us, Fi, and for reminding us that dog's love is eternal and unconditional. Amen again and happy Friday, sweet undeserving humans.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

With Friends Like This . . .

President Obama tells NBC's Brian Williams he thinks lesbians and gays have a "friend in the White House." Really? Let's go to the videotape (picked up by way of Pam's House Blend):

Okie-dokie, Mr. President. You're right -- These seats in the back of the bus are every bit as comfortable as the ones up front. Absolutely! Separate is equal! Up is down! War in Afghanistan will bring peace to Afghanistan! Thanks for clearing that up.

Any other questions?

Monday, June 01, 2009

Stayin' Alive (Reprise)

Inspirational Geezer Edition

And the Indiana Jones Award for the Discovery of Hidden Treasures on the Interwebs goes to Dog-Eared Book, who sent in these gems in response to yesterday's meditation on the Bee Gees, the Buddha, and be-ing. I swear, sometimes I think DEB must be some kind of professionally trained researcher or something. With a charmingly quirky sense of what counts as culturally significant. Watch this now, or Dick Cheney will show up at your Fourth of July party to tell everyone that you are a really inept hostess and eating guacamole makes America less safe:

The punksters among you will also want to check out Young@Heart's creepy, crazy, wonderful rendition of the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated." (Sorry to take you off-blog, but embedding on this one has been disabled. Follow that link, though. You won't regret it.)

Curious about who these singing, hoofing, aging children are? Young@Heart was established in 1982 at an elderly housing project in Northampton, MA. It is directed by Bob Cilman. The current group of performers ranges in age from 73 to 88. (Hey, maybe they need a canine mascot, who, at 105 in human years, would make them all spring chickens!) Full scoop on the group is here. And here's a trailer for the 2008 documentary, Young@Heart, directed by Stephen Walker.

Thanks for making our day, Dog-Eared Book. And thanks to all y'all for being, you know, the wind beneath our wings. Peace out.