Jane Hind dropped by for dessert after Thanksgiving dinner with her boyfriend’s family. “There was chili on the turkey, chili in the stuffing, chili in the scalloped potatoes,” she told Gina while helping herself to a slice of sweet potato pie. “I couldn’t chance the pumpkin flan.”
Chris Beltran, after a quick hello, had hurried into the den where Charlie, Tom, and Frank watched the Seahawks game. Outside the kitchen, Teresa Chapman banged her thumbs against a shaking BlackBerry. Brushing past her, Jane mumbled “excuse me” between chews.
“I always thought this would taste like mashed potato pie… just, you know, with a different color.” She scooped up the velvety filling with her fork. “But it’s bomb.”
“Sara made it this morning,” Gina said. “She doesn’t add any of those awful Yankee touches.” She shuddered. “You can’t trust people who’d ruin a perfectly good pie with marshmallows.”
Teresa swore under her breath and looked ready to hurl the offending BlackBerry at the wall. “You’ve gotta be kidding me!” She turned to Gina. “I have to hop on a call.” She started toward Payton and Cody’s bedroom, which was closest, but the cold wind of Gina’s voice held her in place.
“Sara’s in there,” Gina explained. “She’s taking a little breather after dinner. Feel free to use the master suite. Charlie should have made the bed after his nap earlier.”
“Your sister-in-law looks stressed,” Jane noted after watching Teresa slam the bedroom door shut behind her.
“She always is,” Gina stated without sympathy. “She’s just not cut out for corporate life. She should rightly work in some low-pressure field — like a small-town librarian or a public schoolteacher.”
“Why doesn’t she?”
The ice in Gina’s glass rattled sharply as she motioned toward the far end of the living room.
“Didn’t you notice the von Trapp family over there? Someone’s gotta keep that sad little Multnomah roof over their heads.”
Jane looked up from her dessert plate. She picked out the small, ponytailed man wrangling the attending children as Teresa’s husband, Ray. He was rail thin except for a pot belly and flabby chest, which jiggled under his loose turtleneck sweater.
“What does her husband do?”
“Nothing,” Gina declared. “He stays home with the kids.”
“Typical,” Jane said. “Women had this whole movement so we could do what we want with our lives, and men swoop in and use it as an excuse to lie around and watch sports.”
“I don’t think he’s into sports,” Gina remarked, lifting a dark eyebrow. “He was a dance-theatre major at Reed.”
Jane shook her head, her tan face wearing a half-frown. “Then how did Teresa not know he was a deadbeat? That’s like betting on the Clippers.”
“It’s possible she thought he was the best of the lot. After all, she attended a college with no Greek system, no business major, no grades, not even an official ranking. It’s like I tell the girls: You have to be vigilant regarding your surroundings, both personally and professionally. Just because there’s a crop doesn’t mean there’s any cream.”
Jane flicked brown crumbs off her fingers.
“Maybe she’s happy,” Jane said as the muffled shouts of one side of a tense argument threatened to break down Charlie and Gina’s door. “I do caution my clients, though, not to anchor themselves to some fixer-upper. It’s almost always a waste of time and energy. Now, me and the world’s hottest man? He was turn-key ready when we met.”
“I suppose,” Gina said casually, and then more forcefully, “I assume you didn’t share this philosophy with Cindy Prior when you sold her that landfill in the Central District.”
Jane’s response was like a prerecorded message: “It’s an up-and-coming neighborhood.” She set her plate on a sideboard. “Look, Cindy was at the point in her life when it was now or never. I introduced her to the best available property within her reach. Now, she can say she’s a homeowner. You know what that means in the world? When you die, there’s an estate sale. When you’re a renter, the super just calls Goodwill.”
— from The Wrong Questions
The owner of a hardware store in Tennessee has put up a “No Gays Allowed” sign in his window.
Amyx, who is also a baptist minister, said he realized Monday morning that homosexual people are not afraid to stand for what they believe in. He said it showed him that Christian people should be brave enough to stand for what they believe in.
After ruminating on this for the weekend, the best Amyx could do is this lazy-ass handwritten sign? He couldn’t delay his bigoted message by a day or however long it would take to swing by a FedEx Kinkos or borrow someone’s laser printer?
“They gladly stand for what they believe in, why can’t I? They believe their way is right, I believe it’s wrong. But yet I’m going to take more persecution than them because I’m standing for what I believe in,” Amyx said.
Last I checked, he was perfectly free to live a heterosexual lifestyle. Maybe if he’d had a long weekend to think this through, he could have realized how stupid and petty he sounds. I suppose he defines “persecution” as ramifications to one’s actions, in which, yes, he’ll probably lose gay customers and customers who don’t support discriminating against gay people. How does he even think the sale of hardware supplies fits into the gay agenda?
The trailer for the upcoming Self/Less reminds me of the 1966 film Seconds, which was less handsome lead running around with a gun and more deeper exploration of the human psyche. The latter doesn’t really open well these days.
Pat Boone is annoyed with Barack Obama’s racist habit of pointing out racism.
“Mr. President! For God’s sake, and America’s sake, quit so often calling crimes that involve a black person ‘racist’!” said Boone, who was best known for his sanitized versions of rock songs by black artists in the 1950s, in a column posted online by World Net Daily.
Boone said he was deeply disappointed that Obama, the nation’s first black president, continued to discuss racial issues.
“As the president who came to office, a black man promising to bring people together, a man ideally suited for that job since you were born both black and white, you had a God-given chance to actually proclaim and demonstrate that racial divides and prejudice had greatly diminished and that our society was truly becoming colorblind,” the former pop singer complained.
In fact, our society is so colorblind that our racial Ray Charles here is completely unaware of any statistics associated with crime rates involving “black” people.
“At no time do I recall your mentioning the far greater instances of ‘black on black’ crimes, the high percentage of crimes of all types committed annually by blacks, or the senseless looting and violence that follows the inflamed ‘protests’ after one of the above-mentioned incidents,” Boone said. “Strange that you, our half-white president, have little to say about these things.”
Yes, it is strange that Obama never comments on things he repeatedly comments on.
Boone dismisses the massacre of nine black worshipers last week by an avowed white supremacist as a “satanically inspired” attack against Christians.
“Yes, I said, ‘inspired by Satan’!” Boone reiterated. “Though this had a racist element, to be sure, it was more than that and of far greater significance to America than that. This boy wasn’t just a sadist, or even criminally insane – he was carefully prepared and led by the Devil himself to kill as many Christians as he could. The fact that they were black was an excuse more than a reason.”
Bristol Palin just announced she’s pregnant with her second child.
A month after canceling her wedding, Bristol Palin has announced that she’s pregnant.
“I wanted you guys to be the first to know that I am pregnant,” shewrote in a blog post on the religious website Patheos. “Honestly, I’ve been trying my hardest to keep my chin up on this one.”
She continued, “I know this has been, and will be, a huge disappointment to my family, to my close friends, and to many of you. But please respect [my 6-year-old son] Tripp’s and my privacy during this time. I do not want any lectures and I do not want any sympathy.”
I am genuinely sorry that Bristol Palin lives in a world where getting pregnant out of wedlock — even if she considers it a mistake — would be viewed as a “huge disappointment” from her family and “close friends.” What kind of religious Web site is Pahteos that she has to preemptively inform its readers that she doesn’t “want any lectures”? And if she ever changes her mind about wanting sympathy, she has mine.
Donald Trump continues to experience fall-out from his racist comments regarding Mexico.
Roselyn Sanchez, the Puerto Rican singer/actress and star of Lifetime’s Devious Maids, has bowed out as co-host of the Miss USA pageant, citing Donald Trump’s comments in his June 16 presidential-bid speech.
“I was very excited and proud to have been invited to participate in Miss USA, but as a Latina, that is now inconceivable,” Sanchez said in a statement. “Although I am not Mexican, I am Puerto Rican and a proud Latina, and his comments were an insult to our culture. I won’t sponsor anything produced by Donald Trump.”
Univision also announced it won’t even air the pageant.
I support anyone choosing not to associate with Donald Trump but it does remind me of what I call “The Mystery of Assholes.” Why are people surprised when a known asshole does something assholic?
Someone like Rudy Giuliani doesn’t pay attention to this sort of thing, but black groups have been focused on so-called “black-on-black” crime since Martin Luther King started to concentrate on the problem of poverty in black communities. Violence is rooted in poverty, and no “black-on-black” crime is ever committed simply because the victim was black. It’s not a hate crime. It’s an economic issue, just as the drugs in those neighborhoods is an economic issue. People like #Giuliani have little interest in resolving those issues or improving overall quality of life for people in those communities but in “containing” a potential threat to the communities he does care about. The style of policing and governance is distinctly different with the latter than the former, and the latter is what we saw during his much-hailed-by-the-middle-class administration. But #Giuliani does black people a favor when he dismisses violence against blacks by telling us to “clean up our neighborhoods” or “you’re killing each other,” which is why “white officers” have to police those neighborhoods as they do. He is at least being honest that these communities aren’t considered part of the America in which he resides. I’ve been telling people this for years. America’s leaders view Ferguson through the same lens as they view Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s been the loudest American message to the black community since blacks stopped being an American commodity and became, through America’s perception, as an American burden.
April 15, 2007
“How do you like Savannah?” Sara asked Dana Cody, who’d moved there since they’d last seen each other.
“It’s the Malmo of the Southeast!” she responded — if one considered a prepared slogan an answer. “Tom feels especially at home because it’s where his mother grew up.”
Gina reflected on what an achievement it had been for her mother to leave her hometown. Her father, who’d moved from Pennsylvania to work for Coca-Cola, met Ellen Payton at a Christmas party in Savannah. Within a year, she was Mrs. Thomas Cody of Atlanta.
“The Paytons go back in Savannah to 1753,” Dana continued. “That’s why we were all so shocked when Regina moved to such a widdle baby city like Seattle.” She frowned in solemn reflection. “It still hasn’t really grown up, has it?”
Gina blew lightly on her no-longer hot tea.
“Goodness gracious,” she said with a Payton’s polite scorn.
“Who am I offending?” demanded Dana, reacting fiercely to Gina’s tone of voice. She swept the room with the back of her hand, and in truth, only Gina and Teresa seemed put off by her comments. “Everyone here’s as much from Seattle as you are. It’s like New York. Except Seattle’s a very soggy city… and I don’t mean the weather, not just.”
“What do you mean?” Sara asked.
“It’s like a town became a city and no one told it. There’s no rhythm, no pulse, and no drive. We were in Greenwood yesterday. Tom and I went with Matt to look at a spot he was considering for his next restaurant.” As if everyone was hanging on the thinnest rope of suspense, she added, “We advised him not to take it.” Gina flinched, offended on Sara’s behalf, although Dana’s words had breezed past Sara like wind along rock. “Anyway, on 85th, there’s a stop light where literally no one goes anywhere for like five minutes. Whoever heard of a light where no one can walk? And everyone’s standing there waiting!” She took down the rest of her drink in a triumphant gulp. “How you get anything done here is beyond me.”
“Seattle is more of a driving city,” Gina said shortly.
“Well, I agree with Tom: if a city isn’t a walking city, it’s not really a city. In Savannah, anywhere worth going is within walking distance of our home.”
Pulling her fingers from a thatch of red hair, Cindy Prior redirected the turbulent flow of conversation to herself or as close as she ever came.
“My sister is thinking about taking some time off in the fall and spending a few months away from Portland. She was considering Boulder or Austin.”
Gina almost laughed but stopped herself at a broad smile.
“Is the hustle and bustle of Foster-Powell getting to Mindy?” Gina asked, expressing her talent for effectively cloaking sarcasm with just a curl of a consonant.
“If she’s looking for a college town vibe, she ought to come down to Savannah.” Dana rubbed the dry twigs of her fingers together as if starting a fire. “And not just for a change of pace. She might be happier there long term. With all respect, the Portland thing’s not gonna last.”
“Why do you think it won’t last?” Sara asked. “There’s been steady economic growth in such industries as…”
“No, no, I mean last as a destination. The Times will eventually tire of it.” She added, “I mean the New York Times.”
“We know,” Teresa said coldly.
“You’ve been to New York?”
“I lived there for a year after college.”
“Oh, you did?” Dana remarked, as if New York’s collective bouncer had wandered off and Teresa had slipped past the velvet rope when he wasn’t looking.
“Teresa graduated from Stanford and left for a good job in the city.” Gina’s shoulders bopped to the tune her words unconsciously triggered in her head. Whenever Gina attempted to speak well of her husband’s sister, she focused on her academic credentials and brief pre-motherhood career in New York because those were the only things Teresa had done that made any sense to her.
Dana pointed her champagne glass at Jane Hind.
“You’re in Portland, too, right?”
“Yeah, Northeast. I actually wanted to live here on Capitol Hill, but it was impossible to find anything.”
“It’s really expensive,” Wiggles added, flicking off crumbs from her polo shirt onto the rug. “I mean, this is a cool house,” she noted approvingly to Sara, “but it probably went for a million or so.”
“1.6 million,” Sara replied — her precision for numbers obviating any pretense of modesty or impulse to boast.
A sharp whistle broke free of Wiggles’s wide nostrils.
“That’s why I think you’d really dig Savannah,” Dana told Jane. “The real estate market’s so much better than Portland or Seattle.”
Jane cocked her head.
“It is closer to my folks in Connecticut but still far enough away for peace of mind.”
The blue dots on opposite sides of Jane’s tiny nose recessed further into her cratered face, to the point of vanishing. She was actually considering Dana’s suggestion, which disappointed but didn’t surprise Gina. Jane was often ungrateful, taking for granted much of what Gina did for her.
“Does Georgia have reciprocity with Oregon? Or is there some strange form of law I’d have to learn?”
“I think you’re referring to the Napoleonic code,” Sara said. “That’s in Louisiana.”
“No, I don’t wanna do hurricane law,” Jane remarked, “I have enough trouble with underwater mortgages.”
— from The Wrong Questions
Dean Baquet just became the first black executive editor of the New York Times, replacing Jill Abramson, the first female top editor. Sometimes, there is blood on the Golden Ticket.
The suggestion that she was fired because of she complained about her salary, compared to her male predecessors and even her subordinates is unsettling. I’m not sure that’s even entirely legal but as the old saying goes, “No company will ever pay you enough to sue them successfully.”
Abramson lasted about a year after Politico published a piece about the drama in Abramson’s newsroom that was so slanted toward Baquet I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d written it himself under a pen name.
“I think there’s a really easy caricature that some people have bought into, of the bitchy woman character and the guy who is sort of calmer,” (Baquet) said. “That, I think, is a little bit of an unfair caricature.”
Not only is it unfair but it’s a weird comment from the guy who got into a fist fight with a wall after a contentious meeting with Abramson. How does anyone describe him, even in caricature, as the “calm” one? Also, Abramson declined to speak to Politico — yet her managing editor did? And freely? Wouldn’t it have been best for neither to go on record?
In retrospect, Abramson should have suspected her days were numbered when Baquet would occasionally stop and deliver Shakespearan asides to the camera.