Archive for September, 2006

Only in Dreams

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

If everyone hates reading other people’s dream stories as much as I think they do, feel free to skip this post. The hook is that I had a dream so bad the other day that it woke me up.

I very rarely remember my dreams. Actually, almost never. I’m assuming I have them, because I do wake up sometimes with fleeting feelings that I had been dreaming. But they’re very vague, along the lines of, “I think I was back in high school, except all my law school friends were there.” Actually, I’m not sure I could have distinguished the two. But anyway, the point is, I can’t remember the last time I remembered a dream in any kind of detail, so that alone makes this unusual for me. I do tend to have those almost-rememberings more often when I get a lot of sleep, so there’s probably some REM-related/sleep deprivation reason for this. But conditions were ripe the other day, because I was sleeping late and wasn’t rushed when I got up, so I didn’t have much to clutter my mind.

I don’t remember the set-up (which is probably the most interesting part), but I was on the run from someone or something. I was running down a road in a very wooded area at night, with no lights or civilization anywhere in sight. It was just this long road and a bunch of trees for as far as the eye could see. I don’t watch “Prison Break,” but it had the feeling the previews for that show try to evoke: I definitely did not want to get caught by whatever was after me. Okay, two weird aspects of this. First, there was someone else running with me. Either he was somebody famous, or reminded me of somebody famous. I want to say it was Sean Penn, but maybe not. The second odd thing is that we were pushing dollies or handtruck or something similar. There wasn’t anything on them, but it was really important that we hang on to them.

The problem with having these dollies was that whoever was after us was following us via the tracks these things left. (I blame “CSI” for putting that in my brain.) They were lighter than the average handtruck, but not so light that we could carry them and avoid leaving tracks. At some point, we decided to split up, and the Penn-guy ran off into the woods. I stayed on the road. Shortly after this, the road started to get steeper. I was climbing a pretty steep hill, and it took a great deal of effort to get up it with the dolly. It seemed to go on a long time, but I finally reached the top.

At the top of the hill, however, I discovered that the other side of the hill — the way down — was even steeper. It was practically a sheer cliff. (But, strangely, still paved, as if the highway system has random spiky mountains in it.) And, when I looked back the way I came, that side seemed even steeper, too. Logically, if I was able to climb up the hill carrying a handtruck, I should have been able to get back down it, even if I had to slide on my seat or something. But from the top, it looked impossibly high and steep. And, even if I could have made it down that way, I didn’t want to go back the way I came, because of whatever was chasing me. In the dream, the high point of this paved hill was just wide enough for me to barely fit — like laying on the world’s highest speed bump. But I was stuck on top with nowhere to go and no way to get there. The last thing I remember is hoisting the dolly over the side, trying to figure out a way to get myself down, and starting to panic.

Then I woke up. I’ve mentioned here before that I’m scared of heights. And I really think that’s what woke me up — the panic I felt stuck on that precipice. I was worried about my pursuer, but that wasn’t an imminent fear. But I woke up in a sweat, my muscles tense, and the back of my neck on fire, for some reason. I have no idea when I last scared myself awake. And often, it’s the falling dreams that wake people up. For me, I guess it didn’t even get that far.

I’m sure the armchair dreamologists have some ideas about what this all means. Have at it. I’m not terribly concerned about the meaning of all this. For me, it’s mostly like an annoying song stuck in my head, and I need to pass it on to get rid of it.

The Funny Feminist

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

I’ve been watching with bemusement and confusion the ongoing boob kerfluffle at Prof. Ann Althouse’s blog. See here and here and here. In short, Prof. Althouse noticed a photo of some bloggers with President Clinton, and mentioned in a light way that one appeared to be posing and dressing in a way so as to draw attention to her breasts. And as it happens, the professor discovered, there’s a lot about breasts on that blogger’s site.

I haven’t delved too deeply into all this. I haven’t read all the comments or visited all the relevant sites. But it’s clear — and Prof. Althouse has shown this again and again — that many, many feminists have a hard time taking a joke or light mocking. I know that some things aren’t laughing matters, and many feminist bloggers focus on those matters, so I’m not expecting a constant laugh track. But to the extent that feminists have a stereotype for being utterly humorless, a lot of Prof. Althouse’s critics don’t offer much contrary evidence.

Part of me wanted to use the Clinton tie-in to riff on Hillary Clinton. I have this feeling that one reason so many people don’t like her is that she seems a bit humorless, and that any attempt at joking must have been scripted by a (male) speechwriter. I also have a theory that she’s still young enough (and married to Bill enough) that people get icked out by the idea of her having sex. But I think I’ll save all that for 2008, if necessary.

What makes the timing of Prof. Althouse’s boob affair so priceless is that it came at the same time we were mourning the death of former Texas Gov. Ann Richards. Now there was a feminist who could make, and take, a joke! People loved that sense of humor. I wonder, apropos the Hillary Clinton thing, if Richards would have been as popular if she had come to prominence when she was younger, instead of appearing like she should have been on “The Golden Girls.” Ann Richards was 55 when she made her famous speech at the 1988 Democratic National Convention, but her big white hair made her look older. She was single, though, and I’m sure she had her suitors. (And of course I remember the “King of the Hill” episode where she dated Bill.) Still, her sexuality wasn’t an issue the same way it is for many of today’s prominent feminists, who became prominent at a younger age and often make sexuality (not in the sense of preference, although that’s there, too, but in the sense of sexual-ness) an issue.

Obviously, as a man, I don’t know how difficult all this is. In one of her more famous lines, Gov. Richards noted that Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did; only she did it backwards and wearing high heels. Well, she also did it with a smile on her face.

In her rememberance column, Molly Ivins tells two funny Ann Richards stories:

The ’94 election was a God, gays and guns deal. Annie had told the legislature that if it passed a right-to-carry law, she would veto it. They did, and she did. At the last minute, the NRA launched a big campaign to convince the governor that we Texas women would feel ever so much safer if we could just carry guns in our purses. Said Annie, “Well, you know that I am not a sexist, but there is not a woman in this state who could find a gun in her handbag.”


At a long-ago political do at Scholz Garten in Austin, everybody who was anybody was there meetin’ and greetin’ at a furious pace. A group of us got tired feet and went to lean our butts against a table at the back wall of the bar. Perched like birds in a row were Bob Bullock, then state comptroller; moi; Charles Miles, the head of Bullock’s personnel department; and Ms. Ann Richards. Bullock, 20 years in Texas politics, knew every sorry, no good so-and-so in the entire state. Some old racist judge from East Texas came up to him, “Bob, my boy, how are you?”

Bullock said, “Judge, I’d like you to meet my friends: This is Molly Ivins with the Texas Observer.”

The judge peered up at me and said, “How yew, little lady?”

Bullock, “And this is Charles Miles, the head of my personnel department.” Miles, who is black, stuck out his hand, and the judge got an expression on his face as though he had just stepped into a fresh cowpie. He reached out and touched Charlie’s palm with one finger, while turning eagerly to the pretty, blonde, blue-eyed Ann Richards. “And who is this lovely lady?”

Ann beamed and replied, “I am Mrs. Miles.”

I think I would have enjoyed reading an Ann Richards blog, and I think she would have gotten a laugh out of Prof. Althouse’s breast fest. R.I.P., Gov. Richards.

It’s That Time Again

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

I don’t have much to post about. I thought about posting something concerning the terrorist attacks five years ago today. But no one really wants to hear where I was and what I was doing that morning. And the other idea I had sounded amusing to me but would probably just come out all wrong in the execution. On top of that, I’ve had some things keeping me from writing here. For one, I’m working on some movie- and book-review posts, but I have to watch the movies and read the books first. And I’ve been working on my other blog, sort of. Plus, I just don’t think there’s much going on that I want to write about.

So, once again, I’ll ask for your help. Yes, it’s another ALL-REQUEST WEEK. I have a vague memory of skipping a couple of requests the last time I did this, but I promise not to do that this time, no matter what you folks come up with. Thanks.

I meant to post this earlier…

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

Tuesday is Be Late for Something Day.

I observed it religiously.