Thursday, March 16, 2017

Fingernails that shine like justice

I want a girl with a mind like a diamond
I want a girl who knows what's best
I want a girl with shoes that cut
And eyes that burn like cigarettes

I want a girl with the right allocations
Who's fast and thorough
And sharp as a tack
She's playing with her jewelry
She's putting up her hair
She's touring the facility
And picking up slack

I want a girl with a short skirt and a lonnnng jacket......

I want a girl who gets up early
I want a girl who stays up late
I want a girl with uninterrupted prosperity
Who uses a machete to cut through red tape
With fingernails that shine like justice
And a voice that is dark like tinted glass

~~ “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” by Cake

Like so many women of my age, when I was in grade school and junior high school, I was consumed with Nancy Drew. That was my go-to present for people to get me for birthday or Christmas presents—if there was a new Nancy Drew book out, they knew I would love it! I had the whole set at one point but gave it away. I’m kicking myself for that now.

I don’t know what made me think of it, or if I ran across a passing reference in my daily readings, but I thought I’d check out eBay and see what kind of Nancy Drew books were out there. A couple of people were offering the entire set but I figured upwards of $200 wasn’t really justifiable. (But if Ken sees this, hint hint! It’s the ones that are the vintage matte books, not the Flashlight series.)

I saw a listing for the very first Nancy Drew book, The Secret of the Old Clock. It was a reasonable price and the seller said that it was in good condition, so I decided to order it. It came today and I can’t begin to describe the joy I felt when I opened the box and unwound the bubble wrap and there was that book that I knew so well and that brought back so many memories.

It is in wonderful condition, with the cover that I remember. The copyright is listed as 1959, and if that’s the case, it’s in great condition. I do know that these vintage matte editions were published in the mid-century. My set of books was like this and that was probably from the mid-’60’s to the mid-’70s. (I also had a couple of the original plain blue covers from the ‘30s, and what I wouldn’t give to have those back!) The illustrations on the inside covers. The list of the full catalog of books on the back cover. It was a tidal wave of memories of all the happy hours I spent reading about Nancy, George, Bess, and their adventures.

As I think back on it, Nancy was very much a role model for me. I liked scary movies anyway, so her poking around in mysterious and spooky places was right up my alley. She was smart, persistent, and willing to fight for justice. She didn’t let anyone tell her she couldn’t do something because she was a girl. Even back then, I was drawn to old, abandoned places and remember sneaking into empty houses. (I never broke in or anything! They were missing doors and windows...long abandoned and unoccupied.) I still have that fascination and I may or may not have ventured into a place here and there—still unlocked—but with No Trespassing signs up. I can neither confirm nor deny that. Ahem.

I never got to solve any mysteries like Nancy did, but not for lack of trying. How did she manage to stumble upon so many mysteries? Lucky girl. I would have been happy with one. In my tiny little town, it was more like The Mystery of the Forgotten Locker Combination or The Clue in the Lunchroom Pizza. We were decidedly lacking in shady characters and every effort to flush them out was all for naught.

But Nancy gave me a sense of adventure that I’ve never lost. I know there are a lot of good Young Adult books out there now and I’m sure some of the heroines are on par with Nancy. We see a lot of young warrior women, like Katniss Everdeen, in YA books now. I applaud them all! For me, Nancy Drew was the epitome of coolness. She had a sharp eye for clues and the intellectual capacity to put them all together. The girl in the Cake song makes me think of Nancy. Sharp as a tack, indeed!

**Update** In the time I wrote this, I ordered a lot of 18 vintage Nancy Drew books from eBay. That should scratch my itch.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Nation, if you’ll just come home

When a Nation cries
His tears fall down like missiles from the skies
Justice looked into Independence's eyes
Can you make everything all right?
Can you keep your Nation warm tonight?

~~ “Justice and Independence ‘85” by John Mellencamp

Today the Congressional Budget Office released its report on the AHCA, AKA Trumpcare. (You own it, pal.)

It is even worse than anyone expected, and no one expected it to be a positive report. No, no one expects the CBO estimates to be perfect. Yes, we understand that there are always caveats. But based on what the bill said, this horrible report is not all that surprising. We knew that a number of people would lose their health insurance, we knew that Medicaid would be drastically cut, we knew that it would give a big freakin’ tax cut to the wealthiest amongst us.

What we didn’t know was just how drastic the changes would be, how many people would be harmed, and which people would be harmed the most.

It’s not just bad, it’s Dark Ages bad. It’s serfdom bad. It’s “let them eat cake” bad.

I’m sure you’ve seen the numbers already. 14 million people losing their health insurance in the first year. 24 million in ten years. Older, poor Americans having their premiums go up 750%. 750%! Medicaid cut drastically, by about the same amount as the tax cuts for the wealthy. But hey, the CBO estimates that it will cut the federal deficit by over $300 billion in ten years, so there’s that. Who cares about those old poors? They were going to die soon, anyway. Priorities!

Of course, that cut in the deficit is what creepy Paul Ryan is focusing on. That’s what he’s so proud of and the rest of the CBO’s numbers are way off. Isn’t Paul Ryan supposed to be some kind of devout Catholic? I’m not seeing much altruism in your little bill, Speaker Ryan.

It took me a few hours to calm down before I wrote this because it made me so angry that I felt ill. I’m not sure when I’ve seen such a horrid, hateful, misanthropic piece of legislative bullshit as this bill. In fact, I’m sure I’ve never seen such an unrepentant, unmitigated, loathsome endeavor as this shitshow. I very rarely toss this word around because I feel that it is a relative concept and a little too tied up with biblical references, but this is downright EVIL.

When I was posting about some of this on Facebook this evening, a friend of mine on there who happens to be a founding member of The B-52s weighed in and agreed with me that it was horrible and evil. When a B-52 who is kind, gentle, and even Zen-like says you’re being awful, you are pretty dang awful!

You know what’s really stupid? The people who are going to be hurt the worst are poor rural dwellers. You know...the ones who overwhelmingly voted for the Yam. That’s right, yahoos. That guy who swore he had your back and told you that you are not forgotten? That guy is screwing you over in a big way. One might even say he’s screwing you over “big league.” And all those rich city folk are going to get one big motherfucking tax cut and they’re going to laugh their asses off about it. They’re going to laugh at YOU, Jethro. Because you were so blinded by your hatred of Obama and Hillary and because you bought into everything that ClusterFox told you, you voted for this plutocratic, vulgar, demagogic sexual predator. But hey, at least you’ll still have your guns so you can blow your brains out—or your wife’s—when you can’t afford any more cancer treatments or when you have to sell your farm in order to pay for dialysis or when your Oxycontin addiction becomes so unbearable that you just don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

Goddamn rubes.

All is not lost, though. It’s still just a bill and hasn’t been voted on by Congress yet. It looks like there might be enough sane Republican Senators who oppose the bill (although some oppose it because they think it doesn’t go far enough in repealing the Affordable Care Act) that they just might save you from yourselves. You’d best hope so because if this passes, you’re going to be in a world of hurt. Quite possibly literally.

Aren’t you glad I calmed down for a few hours before I wrote this?