The Bog:
sphagnum moss, dark water, and politics
Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Just yay. Yay yay yay yay yay yay yay.

What? You want actual content?

posted by Dan S. on 1:53 PM | | link

Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Get Out The Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Vote (GOTOCDV).
Or, What's Your Excuse?

Note: In my case, it's usually very much in the background, a hardly noticed nuisance that is decidedly subclinical. However, it does flare up on occasion . . . .)

The use of dialogue, I hasten to add, is a narrative convention, not an actual perception; it represents an interior monologue/argument with oneself. Not that all of this was actually thought out in mental sentences - rather, often more inchoate thoughts and images. I've also edited it down quite a bit.

So. I close the door, wiggle the latch, and start down the walk to go and vote, kicking my feet through drifts of dry leaves. Going to vote, going to vote, democracy, la la la . . .

{You didn't close the door.}

{Oh, c'mon. Did too.}

{Nope, you didn't. It's not locked. It's going to swing open in the breeze, and the cat's going to run out into the street and get hit by a car.}

(Look, I don't have time for this right now! I checked the door when I went out; I know it's closed, I know it's locked. I need to get going - this is actually important.}

{The cat's going to run right out into the street and get hit by a car. Blood and guts everywhere.}

{Stop it, brain! That isn't going to happen. I checked the door. This is an entirely irrational obsession.}

{So? Right out into the street. He's going to be chasing a bird or something, all excited, and BAM. You didn't close the door. You have to go back and check on it.}

{This is complete nonsense! Even if the door swings open, the cat's going to stand there and cry for someone to come close it. If we just pick him up and carry him out into the yard he clings on for dear life - you can even feel his heart start beating faster. Probably comes from being lost and alone as a tiny kitten for however long until we first found him; can't blame him if he's a little neurotic. Either that, or from living with me . . .}

{No more running down the stairs when he hears the catfood can being opened, no more settling down up in sunshine-patches - just wind ruffling dead fur. You have to go back and check on it.}

{Damnit, I checked the door! It's locked! That isn't going to happen!}

{You didn't close the door. You won't even be there. He's going to die all alone.}

I resignedly turn around and trudge back up the walk. Is the door closed and locked? Yes, of course it is. What a surprise. Once again, I start down the walk to go and vote . . .

{You didn't close the door.}

[Repeat sequence several times]

Ok. Finally, I start walking down the sidewalk proper. Walking down the sidewalk, thinking of all those House and hopefully Senate seats . . .

{Do you smell smoke?}

{Hey, one of the neighbors must have a fire in their fireplace. Definitely late fall . . . }

{Your house is on fire.}

{Oh, sweet Oliver Sacks! What am I, a frickin' ladybug? House on fire, indeed! . . .}

{You must have left the toaster on or something. It's going to be all burned up. All your stuff. You better go and make sure.}

{Yeah? I can get new stuff if the completely nonexistent flames - do you see flames? I'm looking right down the street and I sure don't see no flames! - devours them.}

{What about your wife? How will she feel if her long-dreamed of, finally stable home-place is destroyed? And what kind of insurance did you get again? And don't forget your cat - he'll be all burned up too, there isn't any window-sticker mentioning pets inside . . .}

I start back towards the house. No fire to be seen from the street - of course - start walking down the sidewalk again.

{You didn't go in and check. You better check}

{Oh, no way! I know how this goes! Then I'm going to think that I left the goddamned door open again!}

{You better check. The cat's going to run to the top floor to escape the flames, but there's going to be no way out . . .}

Start back towards the house, stop halfway

{No! I just do not have time for this! Look, that smell of smoke is coming from this house right here, it's obviously from a fireplace this chilly day! If I go a bit towards our house, the smell clearly starts fading - even if there was a fire, there are elderly neighbors around, they'd call the Fire Department.}

{In time? You better go . . . }

{No way! Look! I. Am. Walking. Down. The. Street. Now. See? Corner. I. Am. Turning. Around. The. Corner . . .}

{You brushed against that poison ivy that's growing in the neighbor's hedge as you were walking.}

{Ok, that's just pathetic. Go away.}

{. . .}


I walk through the windy brown and amber streets and get to the new polling place. (We're skipping {Did I remember my voter registration card? -Good, here it is. But did I remember my voter registration card? -Right here. Maybe I forgot . . . etc.}). Earnest volunteers seated at a fold-out table, flipping through boxes of cards and rifling through sign-in books. A woman pushing a little gurgling baby in a stroller waits in line (and they say young voters don't care!). Amazingly, re-registering after the move worked; they find my name. A little time to contemplate, again, the arcane ballot questions, and then it's once more into the breech, or at least into the booth. No fancy Diebold machine here! (Although they do make the ATMs at the local Wawa - that are almost always out of order . . .). Ok . . . Ok . . . Ok . . . looks good, time to press that big green "VOTE" button . . .

{You didn't do it right.}

{Oh, no.}

{You didn't do it right. You voted for some of the wrong candidates. You better look at it again.}

{What are you talking about? It's in a bloody straight line! I'm lookin' right at it! You can see the little red light lit up in each box right down the line!}

{It's . . . an optical illusion, like. You didn't do it right. You better look at it again.}

And round and round we go, until finally I just grit my teeth and push the button. Turns out the machines are being a bit glitchy, and have to be reset manually each time by polling-place staff (so if no candidate gets any votes from our precinct, well . . . ) - but it's done!

So. I voted today. Did you?

posted by Dan S. on 12:44 PM | | link

Quasi-open thread: Materialism, mind-body dualism, and the vanity of 'intelligent design' . . .

This post exists for the sole purpose of providing a forum for a debate on the above topics that started elsewhere but has since descended into the purgatory of archival storage.

I've taken the liberty of posting my interlocutor's most recent responses, to begin with.

posted by Dan S. on 8:07 AM | | link

what is a bog?
Definitions, definitions
1. ". . . one of North America's most distinctive kinds of wetlands . . . characterized by spongy peat deposits, acidic waters, and a floor covered by a thick carpet of spagnum moss." *
2. A relentless, hard-driving mix of political commentary, recipes, idle ramblings, and so on.

More about bogs here.

why "the bog"?
Something about the blog format made me think of spagnum moss slowly growing, forming layer after layer of peat deposits many feet thick, sometimes preserving (in Europe) ancient bodies . . . Also, it rhymes.

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Songs currently stuck in my head
despite all my best efforts

"My Happy Ending," by {yech} Avril Lavigne:
"Let's talk this over,
It's not like we're dead . . "

and "Laiska" by Varttina:
Laiska luotu laulmann
oikosormi soittamaan
yskin oita viettelen
unetonna laulelen

Toppling off the bedside book-pile:
Classroom Management for Middle-Grades Teachers , C.M. Charles & Marilyn G. Charles
Teaching U.S. History as Mystery, David Gerwin & Jack Zevin
Crossroads of Continents: Cultures of Siberia and Alaska, William W. Fitzhugh & Aron Crowell
Arctic Crossing: A Journey Through the Northwest Passage and Inuit Culture, Jonathan Waterman
Northern Tales: Stories from the Native People of the Arctic and Subarctic Regions, Howard Norman (ed.)
Life in the Cold, Peter J. Marchand
Wandering Through Winter, Edwin Way Teale
The Winter Vegetarian, Darra Goldstein

Teas of the week:
Tea of Good Tidings: Winter Fruit Blend,
The Republic of Tea
Russian Caravan,
Jacksons of Piccailly

on the web:
Land of links:
The American Prospect
Common Dreams
FAIR: Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
The Nation
The Progressive
Washington Monthly

Organic Consumers Association
Eat Wild (pasture-based farming)
NOFA: Northeast Organic Farming Association
Consumer Supported Agriculture
Edible Wild Kitchen


Blogging away:
Vassar blogs
And yes, we've been co-ed since '69...
E's Den
Useless! Worthless! Insipid!

Other blogs
Alas, A Blog
Atrios' Eschaton
Body and Soul
Daily Kos
Digby's Hullabaloo
Dispatches From the Culture Wars
Echidne of the Snakes
Feminist Blogs
Interesting Times
Late Night Thoughts asleep?
Long story; short pier
Making Light
Mouse Words
One Good Thing
The Panda's Thumb
Respectful of Otters
The Sideshow
Sisyphus Shrugged
Matthew Yglesias

old peat (archives):
December 22, 2002
December 29, 2002
January 12, 2003
January 19, 2003
February 2, 2003
February 16, 2003
February 23, 2003
March 2, 2003
March 9, 2003
March 16, 2003
March 23, 2003
March 30, 2003
April 6, 2003
June 8, 2003
October 5, 2003
January 16, 2005
October 22, 2006
November 5, 2006
November 12, 2006
November 19, 2006
November 26, 2006
September 16, 2012
December 23, 2012

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