Friday, June 30, 2006

The Seven Deadly Sins, But Mostly Greed.

On NPR this morning, they did an interview with Nicole Buffett, who is an artist in San Francisco and Warren Buffett's granddaughter. She sounds like a very cool chick, and I am delighted to have done a search for her and found that she's this very pretty woman with dreads and great jewelry. Rock on, Nicole Buffett. But even more than that, she was incredibly awesome about her grandfather's donation of THIRTY SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. When pushed, again and again to come out and say she was pissed that the money had gone to charity instead of family, she stuck with what I think she truly means - that she think it's the way her grandmother would have wanted it, and she's glad it's going to a good cause. The thing that bothered me about the interview was that the interviewer kept pushing and pushing the issue, making it seem like the money was Nicole's and her parents' and relatives, and there was something unfair about it going to the Gates Foundation. Does anyone else find that weird? It's Warren Buffett's money. That he earned. That he can do whatever the hell he wants to with. If he came out and said he wanted to donate his $37 billion to redesigning the currency of Madagascar...that's his right. This whole hue and cry about how kee-razy it is that he's giving the bucks to charity and not his family really kind of creeps me out, because it's got the stink of that "my money is mine, all mine, and fuck all you people not as well off as me" air that has been so prevalent lately. It's an entitlement thing, and it creeps me out. He can do whatever he wants with it - I would hope that people who can would donate to charity in a really meaningful way, but the bottom line is, what business is it of NPR's or any of the rest of the media's to be practically drooling over the very idea of the Buffett fam flipping their shit like spoiled little children that the money isn't going to them? It's great to do what Buffett did. It's gross to have everyone in the world poking the rest of the family with a stick. Of course they're proud of him, because it rocks that he DOUBLED the money the Gates Foundation has to give, and I'm sure they are bummed out on some level, but leave them alone!

PS - Isn't it always kind of great when kids who should be completely spoiled and horrific come out kind of awesome? Like Nicole Buffet, for instance, or Don Jr. and IVANKA! Trump?

On a side note, if you don't know about the amazing stuff that the Gates Foundation does, take some time to toodle around their site and Google them. They do a ton (including working to raise the high school graduation rate), but a majority of it is supporting research and development in diseases where there isn't much money. I've said before, if not on this blog, on real life, that capitalism and competition in medicine is good because it pushes for endless innovation...but the problem is that the diseases that aren't big money makers - i.e. malaria in Africa, the ideal example for the Gates Foundation - get passed by, and development stagnates and ends. The Gates Foundation picks that stuff up and starts research again, and it's REALLY COOL STUFF! Check it out.

This whole thing, incidentally, has ruined my view of two women on the radio who I didn't necessarily list on my favorite female role models, but who didn't bother me. One was the reporter doing the interview with Nicole Buffett for being obnoxious about where the money should have gone. The other one was on WTAG yesterday, and the stupid was just falling out all over the place. She had this to share on the topic of the donation..."Melinda is really the mastermind behind the whole charity, did you know that? Hee hee....You gotta hand it to her, great marriage! He might not be much to look at, but man..." That's great. First you express surprise that a woman is in charge - it doesn't quite carry here, but that was the tone - like, way to prove you think women are capable, and then you tell us all about how you should marry for money and that's the only reason Melinda is with Bill. Way to out yourself as shallow and a shitty role model. I suppose it goes without saying that she went on to embarass herself while talking about sports shortly thereafter. Note to Girls Who Fake It: Guys will be impressed if you KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. Faking an interest is just straight up irritating.

What do I need to do to get a hardcore female role model up in here? If Nancy Pelosi would just sack up and get the Dems in shape, we could be on the right path. Angelina Jolie is a great candidate...but no one cares. Too pretty. Le sigh.

Oh, and my irrational love for Pink continues, not only because for some reason she thought it would be a hot plan to refer to herself as "trisexual" but for her latest song, "Stupid Girls."

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Math of the Past Few Weeks

{[(25 years for Mom and Dad + 4 replaced piano strings)*905 miles/17 feet of U-Haul]*1 first day of summer}^10 days = HOLY CRAP AM I TIRED + 1 movie about crosswords I will have to see sometime this week = maybe a little less tired but more in love with Will Shortz, Jon Stewart and Bill Clinton than before. Not Mike Mussina though.

So, June was a busy month, which is pretty much status quo for most people. Lots of weddings (none this year for me, but one year anniversary for Spinnaker and Anna Karenina, yay!), graduations, sunny days to play hooky on (not really any of those either...THANKS, rain) and all that good stuff.

The Aloha Chica graduated, which was great. Tahanto finally figured out the concept of renting a tent to put over the field hockey field for graduation...the gym is a fairly unpleasant alternative, so the tent was great. Really nice music from Wicked sung at the end. Saw a bunch of teachers and of course Aloha Chica all over the place, but she had eight gazillion friends to take pictures with, so I boogied fairly quickly. And dude...EVERY PERSON IN MY GRADUATING CLASS had a sibling in this one, and I am not going to lie...not exactly lying awake nights aching to see all of them. I said the quick hellos, but I really....I loved Tahanto when I was there, but once you graduate and there are no classes to get through and no extracurriculars to look forward to, all that's left is a vaguely pleasant feeling of fun times had, and the insular, fishbowlesque everyone-up-in-everyone-else's-shit aspect of Tahanto, and that was the one thing that I really did not dig. But I got out of there fairly quickly - too quickly in some cases, but for every action, there's a reaction, and every person I stayed to chat with cost a person finding me who I didn't want to chat with. Very nice ceremony though (excepting the superintendent's speech, which both bored the everloving shit out of me and made me weep for the MCAS-infused future where people are going to be teaching nothing but statistics. Gag. "Millennials" my ass.) She is going to Arcadia, near Philly, and she is going to have a BLAST. She'll also be near an outpost of Mom's side of the fam (and not so far from the NJ Dad's Side outpost either, really), so that will be nice.

On the 10th, Aloha had a grad party at the Homestead, and pre-party, Speed and I went to the nursery that had sent us a 20% off coupon and bought some rhododendrons, plants, and the Most Perfect Wisteria Tree in the World. Our front yard looks like a front yard now! All this week (6/19-6/23) Speed has been KICKING ASS in the yard...wrangling rhododendrons and azaleas and all that good stuff. He rocks.

I was going to skip ahead, but I figure it will make more sense to go weekend-by-weekend. So on the 17th, I flew to Columbia and picked up the fortepiano. Between this and the last entry I wrote, here's what happened. I continued to not hear from Sir Mortimer, to the point of getting eight different kinds of neurotic and cranky, so Speed finally emailed him from his work email, and pitched him a number. Within 20 minutes, Speed had heard back from him, saying he hadn't gotten my emails, etc., etc., etc. He accepted the offer and we had to make travel arrangements, etc.

Exception to the chronology rule: Speed and I went down to Norristown, PA for a family reunion/memorial service May 13th and 14th just after Sir Mortimer had accepted our offer. It was really wonderful to be able to tell the family that it would be coming back to us, and to hear everyone talk about how musical the Mountain Man was. It was also a nice Intro to the Society of Friends for Speed, and he had lots of questions about that. It was a good environment to do it in, too, because not all of that side is comprised of practicing Quakers; in fact, most of them AREN'T. We drove down, and hit up the grandparents, and aunt and uncle in NJ on our way down - and Speed handled the family overload like a CHAMP. GO SPEED RACER, GO! Heh.

Okay, so I get to Logan for a 12:40 flight, license has expired. Why I didn't get notification, I have no clue. I get sent to the Slowest Typer in the World, a US Airways employee, who takes so long to make me a selectee (JUST WRITE SOME S'S ON THE BOARDING PASS!!! DO YOU PEOPLE NOT HAVE PENS?!) that I miss my flight, and thus have a total nervous breakdown. I get on to one that will get me to Columbia Airport, a.k.a. the Most Relaxing and Pretty Little Airport On the Eastern Seaboard, only about an hour later. Fine. Call everyone, tell them what's up, fine. I get to CAE, terrify a taxi driver, and tell him the U-Haul place closes at 7 and I need to be there. It's about 6:30.

Now, who has spotted the issue with the U-Haul? That's right, my license.

Luckily, I got there so late that I think the U-Haul guy just wanted to go home, so he let me have the truck - a 17' truck, upgraded from the 10' truck I had requested. What I REALLY would have liked was one of those vans they have, but those are only for in-town moves. BOO! So, I head over to Sir Mortimer's, meet up with the movers, they rock it out and move the piano into the back of the truck, and bob's your uncle, Sir Mortimer and I are having a cup of tea and some parmesan ice cream (actually good, rather than nasty) and talkin' fortepiano. Really nice guy, BEAUTIFUL house, great. Go to hotel, become unconcious until 6 am.

I got on the road at about 6:30, and let me tell you, it is a long way from South Carolina to Massachusetts. Per Mapquest, whose directions I followed even though they included going through New York via 95 North, and FOR GOD'S SAKE PEOPLE I KNOW! it was 905.71 miles from my hotel to Holden, give or take a few miles for fueling of the body and truck. Listened to a lot of NPR, called Speed and various family members to check in (and bitch about drivers, road signs, et al.), came up with a lot of entertaining scenarios involving Jill and smackdowns of the verbal and physical variety, etc. I rolled in at 3 am, where Speed was waiting, and although we'd planned to move it in that night, we established that I didn't need to get back the U-Haul until mid-week so we said "ehhhh, no" and went to bed.

We moved the fortepiano inside on Tuesday the 20th, with the help of Ma and Tom Sawyer, and gave it a good dose of Old English and had it tuned on the 24th, which was also...

Mom and Dad's 25th anniversary party! Yay! SO COOL! That was over at my place, and lots of folks came. Not sure where Superfly and Aloha Chica were, but everyone had a blast anyway, and Tom Sawyer wound up giving us his grill! Sweet! I gave Speed his birthday present early, in hopes that it would come in useful this weekend (it was rainy, and I got him a cabana we'd been eyeballing), but we wound up jut taking shelter under the roof overhang.

So, it's been a bit exhausting, but fun. Had a really great day just hanging out with Speed and relaxing for the first time in a while yesterday, which was nice. I am so lucky to have him.