Friday, November 28, 2008

Not an Etiquette Book Among 'Em....

Today, no etiquette bitching.

Just a personal request, as the holidays are upon us: Buy books this year for gifts. They're less bulky than, say, a sweater; will travel well if you're flying for the holidays; and, as our president-elect says, it's good to "turn off the TV and read with your kids."

I urge you to, ideally, purchase books from your local independent bookseller. "Because a scented candle never changed anyone's life," as indiebound says.

But no matter how you buy books, just get out there and buy some new books.

Some ideas and resources below for you:

The New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2008

Find your nearest independent bookseller at

My favorite reads:

Amy Sedaris' I Like You...Hospitality Under the Influence

David Foster Wallace's Consider the Lobster and A Supposedly Fun Thing That I'll Never Do Again

Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cell phones and food

So from now until about January 2, all grocery stores will be packed. And that's the way it should be -- 'tis the season.

But please realize you are in a grocery store, not your home, not your car, and definitely not a phone booth.

Translation: shut the eff up on your cell phone. Especially you loud talkers. We don't care about your conversation, and we don't want to hear you. I traipsed through Trader Joe's yesterday while some woman stood blocking the produce aisle, yammering away (loudly) on her headset.

Same goes for other public places: restaurants, banks, movie theaters, concerts: we don't want to hear you. Go outside and talk.

Thank you.

(and Happy Thanksgiving)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's not rude, but it is despicable...

Don't you want your kids to have the same basic rights you do? Things that you probably take for granted? Don't you want your kids, your friends, your loved ones to have a relatively stress-free life?

I lived in California for five years. As I prepared to leave my Midwestern home town for the land of the sun, co-workers bade me farewell with such clever witticisms as, "California! Land of Fruits and Nuts!"

If only.

As I walk this great country (okay, it's mostly air travel, but I am a super busy public speaker), everywhere I go, I share with my audiences, "California is pretty conservative."

The reaction: "No!"

My response, "Look at who their governor is."

Their response: "Oh. [pause] Yeah."

One of the aspects I loathed about California was its omnipresent conservatism and hyper-sensitivity -- and this was in the San Francisco Bay Area. The City itself was, of course, more liberal. But one foot outside of SF, and you couldn't sneeze without offending someone within sneeze-shot.

I once had a class full of old hags from Pacific Bell who were pissed off (and told my incompetent boss so in a three-page letter) because in the Intro to the Internet class I was teaching, I had the audacity to actually -- shocker -- show people how to use the internet to find things such as phone numbers. The bitch bags carped that I was causing them to lose their jobs. They never considered the fact that they spent more time gossiping and smoking than they did working as the cause of their future lay-offs.

Then there were the geniuses from one shipping company who got angry because another instructor merely mentioned their competitor. Not in praise, mind you. Just said the name.

Then there's my Cali-dwelling white friend married to a non-white man who thinks gays don't deserve the same rights as she and her husband.

And this, my friends, is horseshit. The fact that Prop 8 passed in CA last week is horseshit. And it's downright despicable.

About two years ago, the love of my life found himself admitted to the hospital with a life-threatening condition. I was at his side every minute; I can't imagine not being able to be by his side to help him through such an ordeal. And I can't imagine denying this basic right to our brothers, our sisters, our children, our friends, our relatives.

I'm almost, no, right now, I am ashamed to say I lived in California. (btw, I got out, thank god, before Ah-nuhld got in.)

If you don't agree with me, especially if you are straight and don't agree with me, answer me this: how would you feel if you were forbidden to marry your spouse, forbidden to have any say in his/her medical-slash-end of life decisions?

I'm lucky, and grateful, that I got to marry the love of my life.

I'm thrilled that I got to see our first non-white president in my lifetime.

I am sure we will see nationwide gay marriage in my lifetime, and, hopefully sooner rather than later, our first female president.

Mr. Obama, are you listening?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Congratulations, President-Elect Obama

You worked hard and you deserve it. Your acceptance speech was gracious, forward-looking and uplifting. It was a pleasure to vote for you and a pleasure to watch you win.

John McCain, too, deserves Kudos for his gracious, professional concession speech. McCain wasn't my pick, but I admired how professional and polite he remained, even when there were hecklers at his events. He always kept it above-board.

Cheers to you, Mr. Obama. I look forward to the next four years. Couldn't have said that 8 or 4 years ago.

Thank you.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Those Pesky Political Phone Calls

When you get an unwanted phone call -- from a pollster, stranger, telemarketer, etc. -- please just say, "I'm not interested," or, "I'm not comfortable talking about this, good-bye," and then hang up.

I've been calling for my candidate of choice these last three days. I'm happy to say that of people who do answer, most are kind and polite, even the ones who don't support my candidate, but some just blatantly hang up. Where are your manners, people?

Oh yeah -- and get out and vote on November 4.

Thank you.