Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Have Yourself a Meta Little Christmas

I have no idea what the title to this post means. Moose dictated it to me while rolling on the floor laughing at the video of the yule log (which she and Goose watched all day long on Christmas day) running on the TV above our fireplace, where an actual fire burned all day long, even though it was pretty darn warm if you ask me, but nobody did. They were too busy laughing and cooking, which just made everything hotter.

Anyway, now they're off at the Modern Language Association convention, which is god's way of punishing all those secular humanist English profs for not believing in the baby Jesus or Santa Claus. For three days every December, when all the normal people in the world are still stuffing themselves and musing bitterly over all the things they got for Christmas that they didn't really want, god locks the professors into a huge hotel to argue about the relationships between words and things and assorted other weird ideas. Why my moms would choose to do that when they could just sit in the comfort of their own home and laugh hysterically over the relationship between real fires and pictures of fires (and pictures of pictures of fires) while making their beloved dog wear reindeer ears is beyond me, but perhaps I am missing something. I don't have a PhD, and dogs lag considerably behind humans when it comes to yakking endlessly about impenetrable mysteries.

Still, I will miss them, and I probably won't be able to do anymore blogging until the new year. Rest up, friends of Roxie's World, and if you have any deep thoughts on the relationship between words and things, by all means, please send them along.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Green Christmas

From the Family Holiday Scrapbook:

Moose, me (in reindeer tiara), and Al (as in Gore), our new PriusGoose, me, and Al

Kissing Goose in the new car!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Reindeer Games

We dogs do wonder about you humans. Don't get me wrong. We know that you love us, and lord knows we love you. You feed us and rub our tummies and talk to us in goofy voices. You pull ticks off of us and towel us off when we come in from the rain. You rub our ears and tell us your troubles, as if we were bartenders or priests, and we take your secrets with us to our graves. It's a good thing for the most part, this companion species bargain we've struck with you. But what's up with the silly holiday costumes? Come to think of it, what's up with the silly holidays? Oh, well, anything to keep the fans happy. Here's a photo of me in my Christmas get-up. Go ahead. Print it out. Put it on your fridge. You know you want to.

The truth is, my moms haven't pulled the reindeer tiara out of the Christmas box yet this year. Our house looks about as festive as Karl Rove's office on the morning of November 8. It's partly that the moms have been preoccupied with the end of the semester, but they're also kind of disgusted with the whole tawdry spectacle. For the past couple of years, when asked what she wants for Christmas, Moose has replied, "World peace and the re-building of the Gulf Coast." She means it. Moose has always considered herself a member of the club described in an interesting piece by Randy Kennedy in last Sunday's New York Times, the "Atheists Who Kind of Don’t Object to Christmas Club." She likes cookies and celebrations and trees festooned with brightly colored lights as much as the next person and has never felt that such rituals had much to do with believing in the divinity of Jesus. "O Holy Night" is one of her favorite songs, particularly the version done by Rickie Lee Jones with the Chieftans, but she doesn't believe a word of it.

Still, Moose hasn't caught even her modified version of the Christmas spirit yet this year. She'll sometimes stand in front of the house trying to figure out how to make a peace sign out of lights for the front windows. She's consulted with Goose on the subject and tried several Google searches, but the front of the house is bare. She hasn't even gotten the extensive collection of Danbury Mint ornaments her mother has given her over the years out and up on the mantle.

I think the war has got her down. And Republican meanness. She can't stand that cheesy little interview the Bushes did with People magazine, where the prez disingenuated (also ought to be a word--and Bush probably thinks it is) on the subject of Mary Cheney's pregnancy and Laura made nasty little digs about Condoleezza Rice's marital status as an impediment to any presidential ambitions she might harbor. It apparently takes a village to run for president and Condi has spent so much time tending the village idiot in the White House for the past six years that she's neglected to have a life. Or so sweet Laura implies.

On a happier note: Roxie's World has made its first appearance ever on anybody's Best of anything list! This being our very first turn into a new year in the blogosphere, we are honored indeed that our pal Damion, the Official Ex-Smoker of Roxie's World and the genuis behind Queering the Apparatus, has given us his "Political/ Sports/ Canine/ Newcomer Award." We know that competition in this category must have been exceptionally keen, and we are grateful to Damion for the faith in us this award shows and shall always endeavor to be worthy of it, though we bow humbly before the awesome example of QTA's stunning mixture of wit, queer theory, and snarky/rapturous/spot-on film commentary. Get over there now, fans. I'm going to take Moose to bed and see if she wakes up in a cheerier mood tomorrow. She better, because she and Goose are going to pick up the new Prius in the morning. Photos to follow soon!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Roxie's Pleading: Halt Hillary-Hating

We expect it from George Will, who today urges Barack Obama to go ahead and run for president in part because "he has, in Hillary Clinton, the optimal opponent. The contrast is stark: He is soothing; she is not." What he means, of course, is: He is soothing; she is shrill. He is smooth; she is calculating. He's a sweetheart; she's a bitch. George is too much of a gentleman to come right out and say all of that, but he doesn't need to. It's all palpably clear from the sexist rhetorical atmosphere he sets up in the contrast between "soothing" and its unnamed opposite. I didn't even need help from my moms the English profs to pick up on that one.

We've even gotten accustomed to it from Arianna Huffington, whose swipes at the junior senator from New York are a staple of her pontifications on Huffington Post. The swipes are so frequent and often so gratuitous that we've sometimes wondered whether the author of On Becoming Fearless isn't just a teensy bit afraid of Clinton.

Nonetheless, two years ahead of the presidential election of 2008, we here at Roxie's World are officially ticked off at all the Hillary-bashers. We are particularly put out with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, whose catty potshots at Clinton are as predictable as the tides. Her most recent column (which you can only access through Times Select) is as saturated in misogynistic stereotypes as George Will's is, and it's merely the latest example of her relentless attacks on the woman named in the headline over her column "Hillzilla." Cute, Mo. We love it when women engage in ad feminem attacks, depicting powerful women as scary, threatening, monstrous, unfeminine ("and we know that she's not a good dancer," Mo meows), and undeserving of her success. The low point of Dowd's assault is the assertion that Clinton's only message to voters is "simply the Divine Right of Clintons." Huh? Methinks Dowd has confused the Clintons with the Bushes and thought she was writing another column about the idiot boy king.

Here's the thing, kids. We here at Roxie's World are not ardent Hillary partisans. Indeed, longtime fans will recall that I endorsed Al Gore for president back in May, while my moms continue to dither and worry and ambivalate, which may not be a word but ought to be. Poor Democrats. The point is this: We're disgusted that the Democratic race has already been framed as a smackdown between race and gender and that over and over again, from right, left, and center, Hillary Clinton is being pilloried as bitch, shrew, and harridan. As "unelectable." As "calculating." As "cold." We have a world of admiration for Senator Obama. How could we not love a man who stood up at the Democratic convention in 2004 and declared that, "We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states. We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we've got some gay friends in the red states?" Our beef is with the pundits who are scared senseless by the prospect of a serious female contender for the presidency and who reduce everything to the crudest of contests between pretty and ugly, smart and personable, "calculated" and "genuine," black and white, male and female.

My friends, it will be a glorious day for America if the Democratic party offers voters Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Tom Vilsack, Bill Richardson, and Al Gore. I'll take that over an aging John McCain and a resurgent Newt Gingrich any day. Let's put 'em all out there in the public square and have a good old-fashioned debate. Spare us the smackdowns, the stereotypes, and the antediluvian resistance to powerful women. And, please, spare us Maureen Dowd working out her unfinished psychosexual business on the back of a woman who had the guts to believe that being "First Lady" was just the beginning of her extraordinary political journey.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Roxie's Reading: Unleashed

Tempting as it is to try to bring eyeballs to Roxie's World by continuing to take potshots at public figures like lesbo vice-presidential daughter Mary Cheney or by making fart jokes, I know that my fans expect more of me. I am a dog, after all, not some snarky 23-year old blogging in his boxer shorts (though my typist often works in her bathrobe, it is true). We don't go for the lowest common denominator here at Roxie's World, and we don't engage in gratuitous personal attacks. We point out hypocrisy and meanness among the privileged and the powerful and cruelty to animals whenever and wherever we see it. The only serious grudge we have is against the basketball teams of Duke University, and there we do confess to harboring deep-seated vitriolic hatred. Devoted fans know the policy of our household: If Duke were playing the Taliban, we'd root for the Taliban. Thus, we refer to any team playing Duke as the Taliban and all gather in the great room to scream "Go, Taliban, go!" anytime Duke is on TV. We can't help it. We're Maryland fans.

I digress. The point is that Roxie's World will not become a forum for bashing Mary Cheney, even though that is a lot of fun and we think she deserves it. It's hard to restrain ourselves from making holiday-themed jokes about the pregnant virgin Mary or publicly calling on Mary and her partner to consider moving to Canada, where she and Heather could legally wed and both moms could have equal legal rights to the child they are bringing into the world. (Canada wisely decided this week not to re-open the same-sex marriage question. Parliament voted down an effort to reinstate "traditional" definitions of marriage through legislation three years after Canada's supreme court ruled gays had the right to wed.) And it's really impossible to resist putting in a couple of links to Ruth Marcus's excellent column in the Post on the subject of Cheney's pregnancy and to Tom Toles's spot-on cartoon on the subject. Nonetheless, we shall restrain ourselves and not cynically endeavor to optimize our search engine placement by filling Roxie's World with hot-button keywords like Mary Cheney, lesbian motherhood, Republican sexual hypocrisy, and right-wing nuts go after veep for undermining "traditional" "family" "values."

Instead, we'll help you with your holiday shopping.

Here is a wonderful book for the dog lover and the lit critter on your shopping list. (A shout out to my Auntie Faye, the Official Radical Militant Librarian of Roxie's World and the Stephanie Miller Show, for sending me this book.) Unleashed is co-edited by Amy Hempel and Jim Shepard and is a collection of poems by writers' dogs. No, I am not among the canine versifiers included in this marvelous collection, but don't get your knickers in a wad. The book was originally published in 1995, which was several years before I started writing.

Moose and I love this book. It ranges from a hilarious parody of Sylvia Plath's "Daddy" by Jill Ciment's dog Sadie ("Every puppy loves a dominatrix / The boot on the paw, the brutess / Lick the boot of a brute like you") to a heart-wrenching series of poems by deceased dogs called "Memento Mori." Moose can't get through that section of the book without crying. Here's one by Kate Clark Spencer's dog Bell called "When I Died on My Birthday":

My heart broke for you.
I nudged your face while you called my
name over and over and
cried no until there was no sound.
You couldn't feel it.

Strange seeing your own
body lying on the grass. My
eyes were slits, my ears
black triangles. And my long legs
were tan and smooth as

polished oak. Not moving. You were
desperate, so I
gave you butterflies, the symbol
of the soul and of
rebirth. I prompted Kim to buy

a book of butterflies, gemlike,
the microscopic
photographs, you said, dazzled you.
I got Max to grab
that tablecloth her mother made
embroidered in thread
with seven butterflies. Andy
made a cloth and wood
dog you used to show me. Yes, I
knew the dog was me.

Butterlies weaved into the silk
were rust-brown like me,
and iridescent. I was in
the canyon when a
butterfly followed

you along the creek where you found
my stone. And I watched
you press your cheek against the words
you had Kris sandblast:
BELL we will discuss butterflies.

I think this poem makes Moose cry because she doesn't believe in ghosts or angels, but she knows that dog is love and that someday when I am gone my love will find her and try to make her feel better.

Moose is right. Dog is love. Don't forget that, sweet, mortal humans. Dog is love.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Stink Bombs

(Photo by Charlie Neibergall - Associated Press)

From the Department of Rank Hypocrisy: Wa Po's "Reliable Source" column reports today that lesbo vice-presidential daughter Mary Cheney is with child. Read all about it here, but don't feel surprised if you feel a little burning in the back of your throat when you do. Cheney and her partner Heather Poe are due in late spring, which means the poster girls for right-wing sexual hypocrisy dutifully kept their mouths shut until after the mid-term elections. Can't you just hear the conversation down at Darth Vader's mansion? "Mom? Dad? We lost the House and Senate anyway, and this little critter is starting to make my tailored pants feel awfully snug. Okay if we go public with the glorious news?" "What? Oh, yeah, sure. And could you give the turkey baster back to George and Laura? They'll need it for Christmas dinner." Official word from the veep's office is, of course, that "The vice president and Mrs. Cheney are looking forward with eager anticipation to the arrival of their sixth grandchild."

Just to clarify: Roxie's World is totally down with the idea of gay families and lesbian motherhood. Where, after all, would I be without them? The hypocrisy here lies in the Cheney family actively campaigning for and being a part of the only presidential administration in American history to propose to amend the Constitution of the United States to enshrine bigotry toward a class of citizens. I don't care if they lamely acknowledged their "personal" opposition to the idea. They have sold their souls to a party and an administration that have consistently exploited homophobia for political gain. Roxie's World wishes great happiness for Cheney, Poe, and the child they are privileged enough to be able to bring into the world, but we consign them to the dog house for aiding and abetting sexual and familial inequality.

From the Department of Just Plain Rank: I pass along the full text of Wa Po's report on the plane brought down yesterday by a fart. No kidding, fans. You humans just slay me. Sometimes the truth is the funniest thing of all:

A jetliner from Washington made an emergency landing Monday in Nashville after passengers smelled matches being struck, a Nashville airport spokeswoman said.

Lynne Lowrance, spokeswoman for Nashville International Airport, said that a passenger on the Dallas-bound flight, which had originated at Reagan National Airport, had been striking matches to mask evidence of a troubled digestive system.

Lowrance said the pilot of American Airlines Flight 1053 asked at 6:25 a.m. Central time to make an emergency landing in response to passengers' concerns about the matches.

Lighting matches on a plane is prohibited, Lowrance said.

After landing, the 99 passengers and five crewmembers left the plane. Luggage was placed on the ground for dogs to sniff. In one part of the cabin, searchers found signs that matches had been lit.

Under "lengthy questioning" by the FBI, the passenger "did say she had some type of medical condition" that embarrassed her, Lowrance said. "She did admit to striking matches to conceal the odor." The woman was released but was not permitted to reboard the flight, Lowrance said.

The woman, who lives in Texas, was trying to get on another flight and apparently did, Lowrance said.

The woman was not identified.
Next time, m'am, leave the matches at home and put the Gas-X in your carry-on!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Call Me Inspirational

One of the nice things about being famous is the opportunities it affords for inspiring greatness in others. I am pleased to share with you a rather striking example of the genius unleashed by Roxie's World. In the picture above, you see a sculpture of ME, Roxie, in metal, brilliantly designed and executed by my friend Aaron, one of my youngest yet most devoted fans. Aaron is six. He is the son of the Official Gay Stalker of Roxie's World and of a research scientist Moose refers to as the Man Who Will Cure Cancer, so he comes by his devotion and his genius honestly. As you can see, Aaron is a postmodern visionary, with a keen sense of irony and whimsy and no slavish devotion to the literal, however devoted he may be to yours truly. The sculpture is a sublime sequel to a painting Aaron did a year or so ago, a bold mix of oranges, purples, and greens that he called "Aaron Petting Roxie." The painting has pride of place on the front of my moms' refrigerator. Aaron's ability to produce great work in different media is reminiscent of Picasso. My moms can testify to this, because they spent a whole lot of time at the Picasso Museum in Paris this past summer. They were visiting during a wicked heat wave, and the museum was one of the coolest places in the city. (Read about their trip and their long, happy day in the Picasso Museum here.)

Aaron's touching tribute has set me to musing. I wonder what flights of fancy and fabulousness I might be unleashing in the hearts of all my adoring fans from sea to shining sea and all around the great big world. Yes, it's true, gentle readers, we have an invisible hit counter on Roxie's World, so I know you're all out there now--from Brooklyn, New York to Klamath Falls, Oregon and all the way to the Netherlands and Singapore. I know you're out there, and I love you, love you all. And I know you love me, too. Have I inspired your dogs to want blogs of their own--or wizard costumes for Halloween? Have I filled you with dreams of revolutionary change or kept you up late scribbling "Lines for Roxie" on yellow stickies that you hide under your pillow when your significant other rolls over and asks what you're doing? Are you thinking of making needlepoint images of me on pillows for all the people on your holiday gift lists? Or imagining how a velvet Roxie portrait would look on the wall of your living room?

It's okay, kids, your secrets are safe here in Roxie's World, though your IP addresses are known. If you're not inspired to dream, you might as well be dead, so go ahead: Dream on me.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

What Kind of Dog Are You?

("Speed Bump" by Dave Coverly, December 2, 2006, Washington Post)

I am definitely a toilet bowl half-full kind of dog. Visitors to our house quickly learn that toilet seats are always left UP so that I can have unfettered access to my favorite source of fresh clean water. Some humans are unaccountably horrified by this habit and by the fact that my moms cater to it, but we view it as a practical aspect of inter-species co-habitation. Dogs are thirsty animals. Humans for some strange reason have very fancy water bowls on every floor of their homes. Seat up, and these high-falutin' waste management devices do double duty. Both species are happy. All's right in Roxie's World.

Of course, I also drink out of the pond in our back yard, which is how I came to tumble into it yesterday while Goose was cleaning leaves and other autumnal detritus out of the pump. Pond-cleaning is one of my favorite household chores, because it gives me an opportunity to visit my fish (John, Paul, and George-Ringo [we used to have four fish, but one of them disappeared--either George or Ringo, but they looked a lot alike, so. . .George-Ringo]) and to supervise work that involves a high degree of messiness. While Goose hoses the gunk out of the brushes and netting in the pond, I play in the mud and walk around and around the edge of the pond looking for the ideal spot to pause for a drink. This task has gotten a little more complicated recently because the rocks around the pond have been re-arranged and the footing has gotten a bit precarious for us quadripeds. (Close readers will have noted the use of the passive voice in that last sentence. You are correct to assume that my lawn-and-garden-impaired moms were not the ones who re-arranged the rocks to look more beautiful and natural. That was done by trained specialists.) Long story short, mid-drink I lost my footing and went head-first into the pond. Fond as I am of drinking water, I am not especially fond of being in water, terriers not being among the dive-and-fetch breeds, thank heaven. I was momentarily stunned to find myself swimming with my fishes. I looked at Goose as if to say, "Help!" and she looked at me as if to say, "Well, dear, you got yourself in here, so I suggest you figure out a way to get yourself out." Which, as it turned out, is exactly what I did. She laughed, had Moose fetch a towel, and I got a brisk rub down as a reward for my efforts. And soon enough, all was again right in Roxie's World.

Speaking of water, the Post had an amazing story this morning on how the insurance industry is reckoning with the realities of climate change. More and more, insurers are refusing to insure properties near coasts, as far north as New York and New England, because they assume that hurricane seasons are likely to be as intense as last year's (the season of Katrina, Rita, and Wilma) was. Our coasts have been over-developed, making them more vulnerable to catastrophic storms, and now homes and businesses are uninsurable, making them economically vulnerable if not worthless. How smart is that, people? I bet my friend Margie over at Ecological Hope will blog on this subject soon, because she brought it up over coffee with Moose the other day before the Post story was published. (Read the Post piece here.)

Half-full or half-empty? That's up to you, fellow earthlings and friends of Roxie's World.