Monday, February 25, 2008

Barack Obama: A House Divided

Who’s Your Daddy?
© 2008 Leighann Lord

We’re all familiar with the Chinese proverb, "May you live in interesting times." Well, if you’re a voting age American it doesn’t get much more interesting than this: a senior citizen, a woman and a Black man. The melting pot is finally starting to simmer.

Politically, things are interesting in my house. I’m a registered Independent and my husband is a disgruntled Republican. On our second date we heatedly debated opposite sides of Megan's Law and the validity of the Hate Crimes Bill. He accused me of being a Democrat who couldn't commit; I called him a fascist neanderthal and we were married before the year was out.

You'd think the fur would be flying as the election draws near, but the conservative high jacking of the Republican party has left my husband a little more open minded than usual. I’m feeling a smidge less cynical; so basically that means we both like Barack Obama. I wasn't always a fan of Barack. At first he reminded me of one of those guys I dated who was a little too slick. Is he just trying to charm me or does he really believe what he’s saying? Is that better or worse?

But I have to admit he’s looking and sounding more presidential with every passing primary. Bring the troops home from Iraq? Universal healthcare by the end of his first term? Dude, you’re hired.

Not so fast. My Dad, the Clinton Democrat with a few more presidential campaigns under his belt than I, still has misgivings. "There’s something about him that just doesn’t feel right to me," he says. What’s not to like? He’s cute. He’s fine. His voice is sweeter than candy. And unlike Alan Keyes, this guy "really" makes sense. Don't player hate, Daddy.

Capitalism and The Patriot Act notwithstanding, this is a free country and we’re allowed to pick the candidates we want but true Americans aren’t really satisfied with live and let live. We aren’t truly happy until we’ve swayed our most bitter opponent to our way of thinking. And so this year my biggest political arguments aren’t with my husband, they’re with my Dad.

"He lacks experience," he says. I don't see that as a negative. Look where experience has gotten us so far. Maybe a little inexperience is what we need. And who really has the experience to be president of the United States? Ex-presidents. But you don't see Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, or George Bush, Sr. throwing their hats back into the ring. That should tell you something. How great could the job be if no one who's had it before ever wants to do it again?

That leaves the former royalty, prime ministers or deposed dictators of other countries. They have actual experience leading a nation. The problem is, most are dead except for Tony Blaire.

As I ponder living but currently unemployed royalty who might be interested in being leader of the free world, my husband suggested Queen Amidala of Naboo. Yes, "Star Wars." Clearly he’s being an inflammatory ass here out of habit (one of his most endearing qualities) but I couldn’t help but counter with Princess Leia. A queen already has a job, a princess is a vice-queen who might appreciate the promotion to President.

It’s a weak argument, I know. And to be honest, I’d really prefer someone from the "Star Trek" side of the sci-fi universe, but that leads to our relationship long dispute of Captain James T. Kirk versus Captain Jean Luc Picard. I don’t want to go there so close to the election, because if debate degenerates into debacle, I doubt I’ll be allowed to vote from jail even with an absentee ballot or a note from my Mom.

Not that I’m keeping score, but I think I’m winning. I’ve finally convinced my Dad to read Barack’s book, "The Audacity of Hope." Does this mean my Dad will jump on the Obama bandwagon? I don’t know; but so far we agree on one thing: Obama’s better than Bush. The latter isn’t saying much but America won’t be rebuilt in a day. Even if Obama is a too idealistic or lacks experience he won’t be doing the job by himself. No president does. I know Bush didn’t get the memo on this, but even if he had, he wouldn’t have read it.

America is the ultimate group project and the president commands with the help of his vice president, advisors, cabinet members, congress and various government agencies to carry out the will of the people. We need a leader who gets that this is a team effort. A leader who can help us play well together as citizens of one nation and one world. Can we do that with Barack Obama? Yes we can, Daddy.

For News About Leighann's TV Appearances and Upcoming Live Comedy Shows: Please Join The E-Mail List

Friday, February 22, 2008

Mrs. McCain Cancels Her Subscription to The New York Times

© 2008 Leighann Lord

I’m not a big Republican supporter, but even I can acknowledge that The New York Times story about John McCain’s alleged relationship with lobbyist Vickey Iseman during his 2000 presidential bid was a pretty low blow; stunning in it’s lack of relevance. Eight years later? That's quite the scoop.

In the post Jason Blair era, is The New York Times trying to remake itself in the image of a British tabloid? If so they missed some very noteworthy points. First, it’s clear that Senator McCain has a type: mature Barbie doll.

Are there no sexy African American or Latina lobbyists on The Hill? An Asian lobbyist is out of the question for obvious reasons, but at least the man is consistent. That’s a quality one likes to see in a president. (The disparity between Monica Lewinsky and Hillary Clinton always made me a little uncomfortable.)

The biggest positive angle The New York Times missed? A Republican gigolo! We haven’t seen a Republican with real charisma since Ronald Reagan. He had a way with words and full head of hair. America was in love.

Long the domain of the Democrats, is a national stage Republican finally getting his mack on? Has McCain got game? Well, it’s about time. Go ‘head player. Way to represent.

If McCain wins, bottle blonds: start your engines. Blue dress optional.
For News About Leighann's TV Appearances and Upcoming Live Comedy Shows: Please Join The E-Mail List

Monday, February 18, 2008

Vintage Medication

Vintage Medication: Choose a Good Year

© 2007 Leighann Lord

My Dad finally talked my Mom into getting a flu shot. It seemed like a good idea since my Mom gets sick every year. Despite her best efforts, she’s the first to succumb with a cold every December. Well, thanks to the flu shot she was able to delay the inevitable until January.

No one does sick like my Mom. She carries around a Sick Box filled with medication, three-ply tissues with lotion, cough drops, Vicks nasal inhalers and chest rub. This year’s medicine du jour is Alka Seltzer Cold. My mom raved about its efficacy. "If your gonna be sick, this is the stuff to have," she said. Noted.

Worried she was running low, she asked me to pick up some more medicine. To make sure I was getting the right thing I took a look at the box and got nervous. It looked suspiciously old.
"Mom, how long have you had this stuff?"
“I don't know."
I checked the expiration and it was out of date by more than a decade; 1995 to be exact. God knows when it was actually purchased.
"You can't use this!"
"Why not?"
"It’s a little out of date."
"But it works."
"It's from two presidents ago!"
"It tastes okay to me."

Stoney silence.

was on the losing end of this argument. When it comes to over the counter medication, my parents view expiration dates as a ploy to make them spend more money. Ten months or ten years, if it's working, it's okay. I, on the other hand, had visions of the ingredients degenerating, becoming at best inert, but at worst toxic. I eyed the rest of her sick box, wondering what other out of date stuff it might be harboring. My Mom caught me looking and shooed me out the door.

I went and bought her a new box of Alka Seltzer but I know in my heart she didn't use it until the old box ran out completely. She probably even had my Dad check through the medicine cabinet in the hopes of finding another old box stashed away in there; a nice vintage from the 80s, perhaps.

I’m not a wine drinker. I’ve tried many times: wine tastings, wine clubs; all to no avail. It all tastes like Robitussin. Now I think I know why.

For News About Leighann's TV Appearances and Upcoming Live Comedy Shows: Please Join The E-Mail List

Monday, February 11, 2008

Lord of the Rings

© 2007 Leighann Lord

I wear two wedding rings; actually three. I wear my ring on my ring finger, my mother’s on my left index finger and my maternal grandmother’s on my right ring finger. The latter is in keeping with the Greek tradition of my husband's family. I’m very married.

I periodically have my wedding rings cleaned by my local jeweler. They usually give my rings a quick steam cleaning while I wait. This time they were busy, so they asked me to leave the rings and come back in an hour.

I've worn my wedding rings for six years; seven if you count the engagement. Leaving the store ringless, I had the giddy sensation of being single again. I imagined hordes of men noticing my unadorned ring finger and seizing their opportunity to holler at me; jockeying for position to catch my eye.

None off this happened, at least not more than usual, but it was fun to imagine for the first five minutes. To be honest, walking around without my wedding rings felt odd. My fingers seemed naked and exposed. I self consciously touched the empty spaces. I’m such a wuss. I was pseudo single for 60 minutes and hated it.

Tattooed wedding rings? I don’t know. I’m a bit of a shallow traditionalist. I think if a woman is willing to make the life long commitment of marriage, she should be bejeweled.

For News About Leighann's TV Appearances and Upcoming Live Comedy Shows: Please Join The E-Mail List

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Unsexy DNA

Heretical Heredity

© 2007 Leighann Lord

From my Dad's side of the family I inherited flat feet and the problems that go with them. Well, I didn't know having flat feet was a problem until a few years ago when I discovered I have Plantar Fasciitis. That's a fancy way of saying my feet hurt. My podiatrist suggested I do calf stretching exercises, wear sneakers with good arch support, cut down on the high heels and consider orthotics, custom inserts you put in your shoes. Sexy flats here I come.

A few months ago in kick boxing class I threw a round kick to my opponent and felt the side of my left foot explode in pain. I stumbled back and sharply sucked in air as if not breathing would help. It didn't. My foot continued throbbing at double my heart rate. When the bell rang I hobbled off the mat. "Are you okay?" my friends asked. "I'm fine," I said reflexively, but the pain was so intense I feared I had broken my foot.

Over time the pain lessened, but never really went away. Every time I kicked with my left leg, the side of my foot would erupt. I naturally became reluctant to kick. I went into my first kick boxing tournament hesitant to use one of my best weapons. I won second place, but believe first could have been mine had I not subconsciously been afraid of kicking.

Even used sparingly I could barely walk by the end of the tournament. I limped heavily over to the photograph area to have my picture taken with the ladies who had won first and third. The adrenaline was still pumping, shielding me from the agony yet to come. When I finally got dressed and tried to put on my shoes I felt my foot say to me, "Bitch are you crazy?"

For a brief moment I hoped my husband would sling me over his shoulders or carry me bride-like in his arms. To his credit I think he would have but neither of us wanted his back to feel as badly as my foot. I considered going shoeless, but it was December. I loosened my laces, leaned on my husband and took a slow walk to the car. It was time to go back to the podiatrist.

Her office is a foot fetishers dream: walls covered with foot diagrams and a moveable model to help explain what's wrong with you. I told her what had been happening, but she took one look at my foot and said, "You have a bunion."

"A what?"

"A bunion," she said, "and it's inflamed."

I should have been relieved. I had feared a broken bone or a fracture. Not so deep down I would have preferred it. A bunion sounded so medieval. It conjured up images of fortune telling old crones with hooked noses and hair sprouting worts.

To quote, “Bunions are most often caused by an inherited faulty mechanical structure of the foot. It is not the bunion itself that is inherited, but certain foot types that make a person prone to developing a bunion.” It's exacerbated by wearing high heels or tight, uncomfortable shoes. It will get worse over time. Orthotics are no longer optional. (Not according to my insurance company, but that's another story.)

"Are you sure it's not broken?"

"Did you drive yourself here?"


"Then it's not broken."


The big question – after what will this do to my Summer foot wear options – is what about my martial arts aspirations? I've made it no secret that I intend to go for my black belt this year. Will the bunion put an end to that? Thankfully no. "I have marathon runners who are in a lot worse shape than you and they still run," my podiatrist said. "Just be careful and wear a bunion cover."

So there I was, in what I previously considered the "old people's aisle" of CVS drug store looking at an array of products that included toe separators, corn removers and callous shavers. I'm talking high glamour, my friends. Who feels sexy now?

When I finally went back to class, foot wrapped in the cutest bunion cover I could find, I took it easy; as easy as one can in a contact sport. Things are much better. My foot still gets irritated on occasion, but I'm recovering faster. I also find it's teaching me how to kick better and more effectively. The bandage-like wrap on my foot inevitably elicits questions from concerned class mates. "Hey what happened to your foot?"

"I hurt it during the tournament," is all my vanity will let me say. I'm sorry. The words, "I have a bunion" just sound so lame, no pun intended. But in the Russian Roulette of genetic ailments, I'll take it and consider myself lucky.

For News About Leighann's TV Appearances and Upcoming Live Comedy Shows: Please Join The E-Mail List