Outmaneuvering Presidents and Politics

WHAT’S PLAYING:  Natasha Bedingfield “Single”

Today is President’s Day, usually one of my favorite days. It’s a paid holiday from work. And I don’t have to buy any gifts. Win-win.

Except during election year when the political panderers come out to play. (Yes, I know that’s a horrible alliteration. What can I say? I’m feeling alliterative.)

Surveys from Washington, polling calls, and worst of all, those friggin’ robo calls. You know the ones, those pre-recorded “personal messages” from various candidates? Makes my blood boil.

The worst part is that once we’re out of the primaries and into the real election, it’s going to start all over again.

This year, I’m making a list of every political call I get. Once Election Day rolls around, I’m going to sit down and total the number of calls, and then vote for the candidate who bothered me the least. (I even changed my outgoing voice mail message to say so.)

I am not a political animal. I don’t care about platforms or promises, and I believe that most politicians are sociopaths and con artists.

(I’m also feeling bitter.)

I work hard. When I get home, I want to write, read, or veg out in front of the TV. What I don’t want to do is field half a dozen calls a night for causes I don’t care about from people I don’t know.

So, if you’re sick of hounding political phone calls, join my movement to end them. We’ll be ready for our first recruits soon.

Just as soon I as figure out how this damned robo call software works.

My Book a Week Challenge – Week 7

WHAT’S PLAYING: Dashboard ConfessionalVindicated

This week’s book is “Everything is Broken” by John Shirley.

When twenty-year-old Russ arrives in the northern California town of Freedom to visit his dad, he finds a town cut off from state and federal government. Thanks to the local mayor’s ideas of “decentralization,” Freedom enjoys minimal public services including medical care and law enforcement. Before Russ can get to know much about the town and its people – including an interesting young woman named Pendra – a massive tsunami strikes the West Coast, killing most of the town’s inhabitants and leaving Freedom helpless to combat the wave of human brutality that soon follows. A local gangster, Dickie Rockwell, has plans for Freedom and they include the town’s increasingly unhinged mayor and a lot of killing. Now, it’s up to Russ, his father, Pendra, and the other townsfolk to find the strength to survive and find real freedom.

On his website, John Shirley describes this book as a “thriller and political allegory,” but it’s so much more than that. In just a few hundred pages, this book manages to shock, frighten, and enrage, all while making the reader think. What struck me most about this book was Shirley’s powerful use of imagery, both during the tsunami and in the aftermath. He has this unique ability to observe people, places, and events and then distill them down to their purest, most basic forms.

Word of caution: packed with action, violence, and depravity in its purest form, this book is not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach. Seriously, after I finished reading it, my first instinct was to go out and buy a whole bunch of guns. Then, I remembered how clumsy and absent-minded I am and decided against it. (But I still sleep with a switchblade under my pillow…just in case.)

Bottom line: A different kind of disaster novel. One well worth reading.

Favorite Line/Image (WARNING – disturbing imagery): “A little later: A gasping, semiconscious young woman trapped in her slime-swamped Audi, mud up to her neck. People digging her out. Finding that her belly was sheared open by a big shard of metal from the car door, mud crammed up inside her, she hadn’t lived long after they’d dug her out. Russ had made the mistake of letting her get a grip on his hand as she lay dying. Just couldn’t bring himself to break the grip. Had to watch her die.”

What I learned: Details matter. The line above isn’t really my favorite, but it’s one of the many images that kept repeating in my head long after I’d put the book down. I think what makes this book so compelling is Shirley’s exquisite attention to detail, even in the midst of huge events like the tsunami. He knows which details to include and which to leave out. This makes for a realistic experience without overwhelming the reader with information.

Coming up next week: “Neverwhere” by Neil Gaiman.

Guilty Pleasure: Person of Interest has Captured Mine

WHAT’S PLAYING: Erykah Badu “Vibrate On”

Thursday night 9PM EST is officially my favorite time of the day. That’s when I get to throw on a pair of sweats, wrap up in my royal blue Snuggie, and watch Person of Interest on CBS.

Mr. Finch (Michael Emerson) is a mysterious billionaire who developed a computer program for the government that predicts terrorist threats in New York City. Then he discovers that “the machine” can also predict non-terrorist acts of violence. Realizing that these “irrelevant” alerts are just as important as the terror driven ones, he builds a back door into the machine and hires John Reese (Jim Caviezel) – a former CIA agent and Green Beret who is presumed dead, to stop the crimes from taking place.

Intrigued yet? It gets better.

The machine can’t tell them when or where the crime will take place, or even if the person involved will be the victim, perpetrator, or witness. All it gives them is a Social Security number. The rest is up to Mr. Finch and Mr. Reese.

That little twist alone would be enough to keep me glued to the screen. Throw in the superb Taraji P. Henson as the no-nonsense homicide detective who goes from chasing Reese to helping him, and you have yourself a winner.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Jim Caviezel is – not to put too fine a point on it – yummy. Seriously, the only way this man could be sexier is if you dipped him in chocolate.

See what I mean?

So to sum up, we have a fantastic script, a stellar cast, and an intriguing concept that engages the 9/11 paranoia in all of us.

And one happy Jacqui every Thursday night.

Stuff I Learned the Hard Way: My Ideal Relationship

WHAT’S PLAYING: David Guetta feat. Rihanna “Who’s That Chick?

If it’s the perfect man you’re looking for, you’d be better off getting a dog.

They’re more loyal and they die sooner.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Writing “White”

WHAT’S PLAYING: Aloe BlaccI Need a Dollar

I spoke to one of my cousins a couple of days ago, and she mentioned that she found my blog on Google and read a couple of posts.

“Oh yeah?” I said, trying to sound casual. “What did you think?”

She was quiet for a long moment and then, “You sound White.”

Now, this is kind of a sore spot for me because I grew up hearing the same thing from Black relatives. To be fair, my cousin isn’t the only one who has made this observation. No fewer than three people have said the exact same thing to me in the past two weeks, and my response is always the same.

“What the hell does ‘White’ sound like?”

Their response is always the same: a shrug and a sheepish grin. “I don’t know. You just don’t sound Black.”

That’s helpful.

I learned to speak English in school. I don’t use slang very often, not even in casual conversation. I don’t have a Southern accent, and the only inflection to be found in my voice is sarcasm. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what “Black” sounds like.

 

I speak six languages, people. Ebonics is not one of them, and I don’t intend to learn. I don’t know how to be anything other than what I am: a multicultural woman who loves to write.

If that’s not enough for you, that’s your problem. Not mine.