Smirk vs. Smarm

Relief that the last debate is done, though I’m driven to watch them all.

Too many rehearsed talking points, not enough style, substance, passion. I know both guys are trying to please the masses and be mild and pleasant, but I could use a little more feistiness, a little bickering, something real. I know they both have plenty of character and strong beliefs under those politicians’ veneers. Let’s see it.

I am still way in favor of Obama, on so many levels, but wish he could come across a little less cocky and smirky, and show a little passion, verve, enthusiasm. After this debate, trying to detect my inner feelings and push down my normal rah rah Obama feelings, I’m left with thinking a little less of Obama, a little better of McCain, in spite of just reading this scary (but take it with a grain of salt) Rolling Stone bio of McCain. There is just no way I would want this volatile blinky old, albeit bright and practiced politician, running the country (not that the president really runs the country, but his attitude affects the way we feel about living in it, and the quality of life for ourselves and children and grandchildren).

I read Obama’s first book and feel that under the smooth arrogant exterior is a real person who I don’t believe is completely driven by hunger for power like some politicians. And what he stands for I believe in, but I can’t help wishing that in this debate he was just a bit more … dynamic, or something. This is the last debate before we vote and he should have wowed us. From reading the book I admire and respect him a lot, and feel that he has the charisma and charm and a certain realness and humanness that the dems’ last candidate sorely lacked. I am really really really hoping that he wins the election. I will be devastated if he doesn’t. But although he’s ahead, I’m scared because I have to say McCain carried himself pretty well in the last couple debates (in spite of too many “my friends” and “Joe the Plumber”s).

What do you think? Has your opinion of either man, as a man, as a potential president, changed since you watched this last debate?

Published in: on October 15, 2008 at 11:58 pm  Comments (1)  
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A heck of a hottie, that darn, doggone Palin

My take on last night’s debate seems to be at odds with that of the applauding pundits who’re saying that because Palin didn’t act like an idiot a la the Couric interviews that she did a great job debating Biden. She began with a flirty giggle and “Can I call you Joe?” and went on through lots of hastily-crammed-into-her-brain factoids, spiced with plenty of “darn,” “heck” and “doggone.” Aw shucks, if anyone was playing Palin Bingo last night as a drinking game and had those words they’re nursing a hangover today for sure.

She changed the subject in order to toot her own horn more times than I can count, and even my Palin-adoring husband kept laughing and saying, “What was the original question?” But I was impressed–certainly not by her vice-presidential qualities or aptitude for foreign diplomacy–but by the fact that she managed to memorize more names and details in a very short time than a C-minus law student cramming for her first bar exam.

I hadn’t seen Joe Biden speak at length before and was impressed by his vast knowledge of foreign policy and current issues, his humanity, intelligence, eloquence and skill at speaking and debating. I laughed, though, when he said of John McCain, “I love him…I mean God love him.”

The concept of a debate’s having a true winner doesn’t make sense to me really, because points made by both candidates resonate with those disposed to agree with them. I haven’t changed my lack of admiration for Palin, but I do recognize her ability to act corny and memorize a lot of new information quickly.

Published in: on October 3, 2008 at 11:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Me hanging out at the mall with some dudes

Published in: on October 2, 2008 at 12:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Palin–just a harmless hot hockey mom?

My husband thinks so, but she gives me the heebie-jeebies.

When Reagan was president I couldn’t watch him on TV; just to hear the fakery spew from his mouth was unbearable for me. And I have a similar visceral reaction to the current Bush. I can’t stand listening to Sarah Palin, either, and unlike her thousands of brand new ardent fans, I find her neither attractive nor sincere and to be so far right in ideology she’s plain scary. The idea that she could be “just a heartbeat away” is something I can’t bear thinking about. I dearly hope that by this time next year she’ll be only a memory, back in Alaska rather than in the VP seat.

Do you like her? Why?

Published in: on September 8, 2008 at 1:17 pm  Comments (4)  
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Brave new virtual society

These days I’m playing YoVille on Facebook, putting off a big work project, an agent’s biting at the hook of my book idea and asking for a five-page proposal, something to take seriously.

I know, I know. And I’m filled with shame about it, but how can you resist making your eyes and hair whatever color you want, your head big, eyes wide and body tiny, your apartment full of gothic or zen furniture? You can move quickly from the furniture store to your job at the widget factory, where you only have to check in briefly every six hours or so to get paid.

You can chat with people around the world, from the UK, Turkey, Mexico, France. You can move around the virtual village, meet cuties just like you and invite them over. Your apartment never gets dirty, and if you ever get in a bad situation you can just leave the room.

In YoVille I’m Luluette, with big brown eyes and short dark hair with a huge bow. I’m adorable all the time, whether I’m wearing my red evening dress and matching heels or my red tank, short black skirt and red flip-flops. I earn money for more clothes and furniture by playing games with my new friends, like tic tac toe or rock paper scissors. I can chat with them, jump in the air and put smileys over my head that express any emotion. I can get some quick energy at the coffee shop, snacks at the diner and weights at the gym supply store. What’s cute is that if I have a couple shots of tequila at the nightclub, things get blurry wherever I go.

What’s creepy is there is a sort of hangman’s noose in the middle of the virtual village and a spiral down to the underworld that’s labeled, like many other things, “Coming Soon.”

What’s cool, I guess, is that I see YoVille to the future as PacMan is to today’s advanced video games. The technology will improve and evolve soon into a more sophisticated pretend world where we’ll have relationships, sex even, by moving our perfectly coiffed, fit and dressed character across the screen to another character to say the 00’s version of whats a nice girl like you doing in a place like this? Then we’ll go home to their perfectly designed apartment (already doable on YoVille with a little cash, payable by PayPal) and wrap our buff arms around them and whisper sweet nothings, all behind the safety and invulnerability of our computer. Will we miss what the senses give us? Will we choose a YoVille seitan burger over the taste of fresh grass-grown beef? Probably not any time soon. Will we have our virtual sex where we can’t smell our partner’s freshly showered skin or the misty sweat of their passion, see their irises get bigger when they look at us? Will we toss our senses aside in favor of making ourselves into a perfect video dream of what we want to be?

Already, in 2008, the phone calls, letters and visits of yesteryear have been replaced by e-mail. Soon to come may well be all human contact muted by the interface of the computer. How long will it be before all the nuances, the voices, the touches, of our relationships all pass through the computer screen? Do you think it will happen soon?

Published in: on June 7, 2008 at 12:33 am  Comments (1)  

Web presence/platform

Experts in my field (writing and editing) say that these days you need a platform to sell book and article ideas to agents and publishers. That platform seems to consist, as far as I can tell, of a “web presence,” meaning a personal web site and a blog that get lots of hits. I’ve had both for about three years ago, and just added this blog, not really to increase my web presence but to talk and stimulate discussion about all the things that exist and interest me that have nothing to do with food and food writing, the subjects of my other blog Tripe Soup, from current politics (Go, Obama, go!) to being a parent (a job much harder than anyone tells you before you become one), to the B.B. King concert I went to last Friday, to all the places I’ve traveled to and want to go, to how a brisk walk on a cold day makes you feel so blissed out it should be illegal, and how being a writer can really suck and is a lot harder than people think but is the best job in the whole world.

Part of that “web presence” that I’ve been working on is signing up for pages on LinkedIn, MySpace and Facebook, and although I’m not sure how virtually buying a beer for an old friend or taking care of another one’s “Green Patch” are helping my career. We’ll see. I did get a couple of well-known authors in my field to agree to be my “Facebook friend,” even though one I only met briefly and the other only saw from very far away when she sat on a panel at a conference. You never know…

Part of me, though, can’t help repeating to myself, “Fools’ names and fools’ faces are always seen in public places.”

Daylight Savings Time sucks

My kids are cranky and sleep-deprived thanks to this week’s dad-blasted, con-sarned @&#$% time change. Is it just me, or is it a royal pain in the ass to get used to? I’m adjusting okay but the kids are staying up until 11 p.m., miserable demons the next day.

* * *

I know I’m going to offend all my female friends and relatives with what I’m about to say, but I’ve been holding back all these years and it’s time to come clean. I think that any woman who is over 25 years old and/or weighs more than 100 pounds should be legally forbidden to wear pedal pusher pants. They’re flattering on too few people; even lithe models look like they’re expecting a flood or couldn’t find anything to fit their long legs (I’m not jealous–my pants have a 34 inseam). And those clam-diggers shorten and broaden the female figure, so if it’s already a little short and broad it looks even more so. It’s a victimless crime, I know, but an affront to my aesthetic sensibilities. And what’s the benefit? Keeping your ankles cooler? This morning  in 40 degree weather I saw a lovely young woman,  slim and attractive, with  those short pants over high heels and pantyhose. And when will this trend pass? It’s been years now. Enough already.

Another pet peeve is the invention of venetian blinds. I know that like pedal pusher pants they are wildly popular, but I find them infuriating to operate. They never do what I want them to do, whether it’s going up or going down. And they’re a bitch to clean, the slats bend easily and stay bent, and the strings strangle a child to death every two weeks (more than 157 since 1995).

Calendars whose little nail holes continually rip are another, less serious aggravation, as are toaster ovens, with their planned obsolescence. I like the idea of toaster ovens, and use mine several times a day, but it seems like every single one I buy is a piece of crap and has to be replaced every year or two.

And then there’s people who don’t allow children at their weddings. They’re hurting no one but the parents, I guess, but I think a wedding is a significant celebration of a major life transition. I mean birth, marriage and death are pretty elemental to most of our lives. Why exclude certain generations at your wedding? What’s next, no one over sixty-five?

And don’t get me started about:

–How you can have 20,000 pens around your house and not a single one works.

–Things with suction cups that never stick to anything for longer than five seconds.

–Books with ink that’s not black.

–People who consider their bowel function an interesting conversational topic.

–25 single socks. Where the hell are their mates? I mean really, where are they?

–Retailers who clear out all their seasonal inventory way too early, so if your kid needs fuzzy slippers or snow boots in January or if you need some more sunscreen or a lawn chair in June you’re just shit out of luck.

Oh Obama!

I am a big Obama fan. Although Hillary used to attend church with my grandmother and her “husband” Bill is my homie, I just don’t see her as real or genuine and she is lacking in charisma. Many might disagree that charisma is vitally important for a president, but to me a U.S. president does not really have a lot of power. Sure, he or she has more than say, I do, but the holder of the job is not omnipotent. A president is a spokesperson, a sort of interface between government and the people. A president needs damn fine people skills.

Obama is charming, good looking and smart and I really hope he’s our next president. At times it looks likely, when he has the majority of the popular vote, but DH says the fix is in, that Hillary’s cronies will get her in the White House no matter what, so every time I feel a little burst of hope, it gets dashed down like Mash-a-Mouse at the fair.

It kills me that this country is supposed to be a democracy, but as we saw in Florida not long ago, the democratic process is toilet paper. Why do we go through the motions, bother to vote when our vote doesn’t count for shit? Because we can, I guess, because we can.

I know I promised pet peeves for today, and I have my list ready and all. But it just had to be about Obama today. Tonight is Mississippi and he’s likely to win yet again, but it is still unbearably scarily posssible that Hillary will be our next president.

Pet peeves tomorrow, I promise.

Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 12:00 pm  Comments (4)  
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I keep seeing the word “iconic” everywhere I look. Has it been there all along or is it new? DH says its the new “unctuous.”

Speaking of such, you won’t find that word on this blog, “unctuous,” I mean. (Iconic may well show up eventually when I’m not paying attention). Nor will you see “perfect foil” or any other foodie terms. All mention of food is banned from this space, the only reference in the blog’s name. (No, a strumpet is not a crumpet–look it up!)

You’ll find my food writing galore at and

Cast Iron Strumpet is my place to write and bitch about life in general, without trying to boost my career or expand my platform. My place to have fun.

Tomorrow I’ll start bitching about my pet peeves. Come along for the ride if you dare …

Published in: on March 10, 2008 at 8:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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