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Stateside with Rosalea: Waaaah!

Stateside with Rosalea


I am currently in the Stew of Despond. I use the word advisedly, a) because there's just so much in the mix, and b) because, Stateside, "slough" rhymes with ''stew.''

Well, no. That's not really the case. It's pronounced "slew" only if the word is used in its geographical sense to refer to a bog, backwater, river inlet, tidal creek. Bunyan's Slough of Despond rhymes with "Ow!" wherever on this mighty earth you might be. And, of course, snakes the world over know the word as "sluff".

However you might say it, this slough into which I have fallen is inhabited by some very strange skeletons. My seventeen-year-old self for example. Who gave her the okay to rearrange my bedsit so that it looks exactly like the one I left behind at her age? More importantly, why hasn't she done my homework for me?

Ever the eternal student--tautologically speaking--I'm now in the eighth week of my first two nine-week online courses that will in eighteen months lead to what's known here as an associates degree. That's somewhere in between a certificate from polytech and a bachelors. In these first two papers, we are learning how to write college papers and use the online learning experience and our time wisely.

I was fine until we got to week seven and had to learn how to prioritize things. Suddenly it became apparent that my top priority is to stubbornly resist any attempt at making a list and then deciding what I should do first. My modus operandi is to think, "What'll I do next? Oh, it looks pretty sunny outside. I'll take my coffee out there and daydream for a while."

So. That's one (or two or several) ingredient(s) of the Stew of Despond. Then there's the ever-present job uncertainty, and the medieval atmosphere in our workplace, where the research barony is at odds with the techno-peasants, and everyone is at odds with the king--who, of course, has tenure so can't be dethroned. Both demand for and production of our outputs are down, leading to less counting being done in the counting house, and the forced reassignment of serfs.

And did I mention that Te Aro is being bulldozed? What's happened to you, Wellington? You're putting too much energy into going to footy games and not enough into saving your soul.

But the biggest, baddest, gristliest bit of the stew is the impending demise of Amtrak. Why is the Bush administration taking my train set away from me? It's my one humble enjoyment in life. Is it because the voters of Florida took away the kid brother's fancy nancy train set by not approving a huge bond issue to fund high-speed rail in that state?

But, lo! No stew is without dumplings, however soggy, and I found a couple to chew on at the end of the week. By then I'd finally given up trying to make myself do my homework and watched the news on telly instead.

On Thursday evening, the Newshour with Jim Lehrer had Laura Bush on, talking about her Boys Need Babying Too campaign. Well, smack myself on the forehead if I didn't overlook the obvious a few weeks ago when I sketched out the future presidents of the United States for you. Her interview looked like the beginning of a political campaign to me, and frankly, I was mightily impressed by her assured demeanour.

Then came confirmation that CBS News really is the tool of the Kennedy Arm of the Democratic Party. Seemingly not trusting God to forbid that Howard Dean should be chosen as Democratic National Committee chairman in the impending party vote, CBS News aired an item ridiculing Dean for refusing to appear in an interview if CBS showed "the scream."

CBS News not only showed "the scream" but showed it simultaneously on two on-set TV screens that were at least as tall as the news anchor--who was standing.


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