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.