When I go

This was the song my ex-husband requested for his funeral. Tracy Grammar and the late Dave Carter:


I am just a pilgrim on this road, boys
This ain’t never been my home.

Steve Earle with the Del McCoury Band:


Pema Chodron:

You’re trying to make a point with a coworker or your partner. At one moment her face is open and she’s listening, and at the next, her eyes cloud over or her jaw tenses. What is it that you’re seeing?

Someone criticizes you. They criticize your work or your appearance or your child. At moments like that, what is it you feel? It has a familiar taste in your mouth, it has a familiar smell. Once you begin to notice it, you feel like this experience has been happening forever.

The Tibetan word for this is shenpa. It is usually translated “attachment,” but a more descriptive translation might be “hooked.” When shenpa hooks us, we’re likely to get stuck. We could call shenpa“that sticky feeling.” It’s an everyday experience. Even a spot on your new sweater can take you there. At the subtlest level, we feel a tightening, a tensing, a sense of closing down. Then we feel a sense of withdrawing, not wanting to be where we are. That’s the hooked quality. That tight feeling has the power to hook us into self-denigration, blame, anger, jealousy and other emotions which lead to words and actions that end up poisoning us.

Race and 30 Rock

Another great essay by Alyssa Rosenberg, one of my favorite bloggers.

Almost from the moment we met her, one of Liz Lemon’s signature preoccupations was demonstrating that she was not, in fact, a racist. “Race is a huge issue, according to Newsweek magazine,” Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski), Liz’s best friend told her in an early episode of the show they created together. “Well, it is 2007 and some of us don’t have these hangups,” Liz declared, proud of herself. But of course, Liz is rife with racial hangups, many of which she mistook for sensitivity. In the season one episode “Jack-tor,” for example, Liz became convinced that Tracy was illiterate after he flubbed a series of cue cards. When she offered to give him time off to attend reading classes, Tracy amused himself by taking advantage of her condescension. “I can’t read!” he declared histrionically as he high-tailed it out of the office. “I sign my name with an X! I once tried to make mashed potatoes with laundry detergent! I think I voted for Nader!” When she discovered that he was tweaking her, rather than examining her own preconceptions, Liz got huffy about Tracy’s reaction to her assumptions. “He took advantage of my white guilt, which is only to be used for good, like overtipping, and supporting Barack Obama,” she explained, casting herself a a victim, and long before Obama even formally began his campaign for president, setting up support for him as a proxy for racial self-congratulation by white voters.

Liz made similar mistakes early in her relationship with Tracy’s wife, Angie (Sherri Shepherd), falling back on racial tropes in the absence of knowing how to make conversation with Angie like an actual person. “Bling-bling! Ghetto fabulous!” Liz complimented her on a diamond ring Tracy brought her as part of a reconciliation. “This belonged to Brooke Astor,” Angie told her, irritated. And their relationship got worse when Angie demanded approval over Tracy’s characters on the show, rejecting a pimp character named Slickback Lamar, and refusing to be mollified by an Obama sketch. “No,” she told Liz. “We support Kucinich.” And while Angie initially wanted to sanitize TGS of racial stereotypes, she would ultimately turn a profit, and create a hit for NBC in Queen of Jordan, a broad reality show in the tradition of the Real Housewives that featured Angie and her entourage, while making a joke out of executive Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), whose anxiety about preserving his dignity set him up for constant humiliation. Liz may have told old-school comedy writer Rosemary Howard (Carrie Fisher) that “You can’t do race stuff on TV. It’s too sensitive,” and been taken aback when Rosemary told her of a blackface sketch pitch that “We would have done that on the Mandrell Sisters.” And as it turns out, it’s not Liz who figures out how to do racial comedy on television, but Angie, who finds a business model in exploiting racial and sexual stereotypes and preconceptions—many of them likely held by people who think of themselves as liberals.

Another gun tragedy

What the fuck is wrong with people?

A 69-year-old war veteran and former missionary was arrested over the weekend on the suspicion of killing a 22-year-old Cuban immigrant who mistakenly arrived in his driveway because of faulty GPS directions.

Gwinnett County jail records obtained by The Atlanta Journal Constitution indicated that Phillip Walker Sailors was charged on Sunday with the murder of Rodrigo Abad Diaz.

Friends who were in the car with Diaz told WSB-TV that they were trying to pick up a friend on the way to ice skating on Saturday but their GPS directed them to the wrong address. The friends said that they waited in the driveway for a few minutes before Sailors emerged from the house and fired a gun into the air.

Gandy Cardenas, who was in the car, recalled to WAGA that the homeowner made no effort to speak to the group before opening fire.

“He didn’t talk to them, he just started shooting,” Cardenas explained. “The first shot was in the air.”

At that point, Diaz tried to turn the car around to leave, but Sailors fired another shot, striking the immigrant on the left side of the head. The group, which included a 15 and an 18 year old, said that Sailors held them at gunpoint until police arrived.

So that’s one 22-year-old shot in the head while attempting to flee, three teenagers who witnessed their friend being shot in the head, one war veteran who could spend the rest of his life in prison and one elderly woman (he’s married) who, in a flash, lost her husband.

Nope, I still don’t see why people love their guns so much.

In California

How progressives balanced the state’s books.

Actually the answer is quite simple. Progressive Democratic activists identified the straitjacket of rules that had the state tied up in knots, and devised a systematic plan to change them. Through massive organizing, they transformed the electorate and sidelined Republican obstructionists. Now, with surplus money on hand, they’re getting ready to fight a new battle over the next few years: whether to focus on budget balancing and debt reduction, or to continue to boldly invest in California’s future. National Democrats, mired in a series of endless fiscal showdowns in Washington, ought to pay attention: California suggests a way to overcome continual hostage-taking and government-by-crisis.

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