Stupid Omaha

Both the wife and I are tak­ing the next cou­ple of days off from work, and one thing we thought we’d do, was go to the movies. Grand­ma is still here, so she can watch the gimpy boys while we pre­tend we don’t have a child. We want­ed to go see Broke­back Moun­tain, but for­got momen­tar­i­ly that we live in Oma­ha. City of 650,000. City of eleven movie the­aters and 107 screens. Of course, Broke­back Moun­tain is not play­ing in Oma­ha.

Stu­pid city.

In the inter­est of fair­ness, I do have to point out that it isn’t play­ing in Iowa City, IA, either, but that town has only three the­aters and 24 screens. I could for­give them (though only a lit­tle, being a pro­gres­sive col­lege town and all).

Blessed by a Christmas Angel

So, last night ‚when I took the dog out for a walk, I was sur­prised to see a bas­ket on our front porch, I put it inside, and when we got back, Tiffany and I inves­ti­gat­ed it. It is a very nice bas­ket, prob­a­bly a Longaberg­er bas­ket, with choco­late, a (white) Stan­dard Poo­dle orna­ment, a reg­u­lar Christ­mas tree orna­ment, some choco­late, a red Christ­mas-y hand tow­el, and a match­box car.

Oh, and a piece of paper. Let me pub­lish some excerpts:

Some­one in the neigh­bor­hood is send­ing you Hol­i­day Cheer. In this bag are good­ies sent espe­cial­ly for you. Along with your spe­cial good­ies, you will find a Christ­mas Angel 2005 pic­ture. Please hang this Angel in your front win­dow to show that your house has been “Blessed by an Angel.”

and

In the bag you will find some extra fliers and Angels to use when prepar­ing your Hol­i­day Good­ie Bag. Please make up a spe­cial small bag with good­ies for the neigh­bor that you are going to Bless.

and

As soon as pos­si­ble, when your neigh­bor won’t see you, place the Spe­cial Angel Bag, along with extra Angel sup­plies, on their doorstep so that they can pass along Hol­i­day Cheer to some­one else in the neigh­bor­hood. They too have now been BLESSED BY A CHRISTMAS ANGEL.

Now. My imme­di­ate reac­tion was: how nice, how sweet, but how dare they? After some thought, I have decid­ed that my reac­tion is just: what were they think­ing?

I mean, real­ly. When you do some­thing sweet and mean­ing­ful like this, you NEED to ask peo­ple if they WANT to par­tic­i­pate before you FORCE them to do it. Now, some per­fect stranger, con­ve­nient­ly made anony­mous by the rules of this chain let­ter, is forc­ing us to go peer at our neighbor’s hous­es to see who has been “Blessed” and who has not, then go buy the equiv­a­lent of stock­ing presents for them, “mean­ing­ful” presents, then make col­or copies of the Angel Sup­plies because we have only one Angel in our kit, the one we are sup­posed to hang so this doesn’t hap­pen to us again.

Oh, and don’t for­get a bas­ket. Then we have to creep out and, this is the worst part in my opin­ion, we have to inflict this on some­one else.

I don’t want to. I appre­ci­ate the sen­ti­ment, but not the idea that a) Oh, every­one will want to do this, Bill! and b) Nobody could be offend­ed by the Bless­ing of an Angel! and c) It is no both­er at all when you are pass­ing along Hol­i­day Cheer!

But what are my options? We can’t re-gift it. The match­box car and the poo­dle make that clear. And besides, then I’m pass­ing this on, and that’s what most offends me about it. We can’t just ignore it, because our anony­mous donor will hate us, I think. I have thought to put the bas­ket back out on the porch, promi­nent­ly, with $40.00 and a note say­ing, “Thank you for your effort and sen­ti­ment, but we do not wish to take part in this year’s Bless­ing. We are all full up on Bless­ings. Please take our appre­ci­a­tion, and this mon­ey, and Bless some­one else. And our poo­dle is black, not white.”

They should real­ly have asked. What I real­ly want to do is add a note to the Christ­mas Angel 2005 Pic­ture that says, “Next year, please send us the Opt-out Angel 2006 pic­ture” and copy it and plas­ter it around the neigh­bor­hood at some point in the evening “when your neigh­bor won’t see you.”

I should note that Tiffany prob­a­bly feels much as I do, but is a nicer, bet­ter per­son with a healthy sense of guilt/­com­mu­ni­ty/hol­i­day-spir­it, and so we may end up doing this.

Either way, I’m keep­ing the angel for next year, so I can pre-empt a 2006 Bless­ing.

Anyone use Flickr?

Hey all. So, I’ve been using Gallery now for a cou­ple of years. And with the new ver­sion 2, it has improved great­ly. But I am start­ing to chafe at how much I need to get in and under the hood to make it what I want. So. I am con­sid­er­ing, just a bit, pay­ing for a Flickr Pro account.

Has any­one used one? Is it the end-all, be-all of web gallery keep­ing? It’s just $25 a year, which I can swing if I just take lunch for a week. And it does albums, and shared albums, and posts to the blog, and you can print from it, and it has pri­va­cy set­tings… all the things I like about Gallery.

Plus it has the cool Flickr-y things, like the slideshows (Gallery’s slideshows are… well, they hard­ly qual­i­fy), tag­ging, pic­ture mark­ing, etc.

So. Any­one?

Dan­ny.

All in the Bush family

We’re in Wichi­ta for a fam­i­ly wed­ding, and George Bush Sr. was in town, deliv­er­ing some sort of trav­el­ling road­show, and was quot­ed in the news­pa­per thus­ly:

Recall­ing one mas­sive protest in San Fran­cis­co — deep in lib­er­al ter­ri­to­ry, he point­ed out — he described “the ugli­est woman I’ve ever seen” scream­ing at him, “Stay out of my womb!”

No prob­lem, lady!” was his retort.

Wha?

This was our Pres­i­dent? Aren’t they sup­posed to be dig­ni­fied? Aren’t they sup­posed to be above stu­pid, child­ish remarks like that? Aren’t they sup­posed to respect the opin­ions of all the cit­i­zens? I’m not say­ing it is easy, it is a hard job (as his son keeps remind­ing us, he’s doing some hard work, it’s hard). But you only get to be Pres­i­dent if you’re acer­tain cal­iber of per­son, right? The best of the best?

This kind of com­ment just demeans him, the Pres­i­den­cy, and our coun­try. But then of course, judg­ing by his wife, this kind of insen­si­tiv­i­ty seems to run in the fam­i­ly.