Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pooka Punks Out

© 2009 Leighann Lord

Rolie, my 34-pound Cocker Spaniel, is the baddest dog on the block; at least he thinks he is. No one can set foot on the sidewalk outside our house without His Lordship sounding the alarm. Nature be damned, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him bark and defecate at the same time. I’m impressed. I don’t think I could manage the same feat without my pride getting in the way.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Bad Week for Nancy

Blame it on the Henny?

© 2009 Leighann Lord

What did she know? When did she know it? The CIA said they told her. She says they didn’t and suddenly it’s the worst week ever for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Watching high level political and security leaders play a national game of He Said, She Said is disappointing and embarrassing. It means Bowling for Soup has it right when they sing their signature song "High School Never Ends."

Why the disparate briefing recollections about the use of waterboarding on detainees at Guantanamo Bay? Perhaps it’s a case of Occam’s Razor, that the simplest answer is usually the correct one.

For example, it could be a simple matter of time, as in how much of it did Nancy actually spend at the briefing? If she arrived late and left early she could have missed the bit about waterboarding. Did she doze off? A politician’s life is filled with three things: meetings, meetings and a few more meetings. Between staff meetings, budget meetings, committee meetings, secret meetings, breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings there’s bound to be some nodding off. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m saying I’ve been there.

It’s plausible that while dozing, a portion of the meeting seeped into Pelosi’s subconscious, giving her what she thought was just a horrible dream about waterboarding. Startled awake she probably sat straighter in her chair, checked her chin for drool and hoped she hadn’t been snoring.

And then there’s texting. There have been quite a few stories in the news about people texting while driving cars, trains and planes, with disastrous consequences. If folks are willing to risk texting while operating heavy machinery, they’ll certainly do it in more comfortable settings. Could this be a case of texting while briefing? Maybe Nancy mentally checked out of the meeting with a little modern day doodling at a rather inopportune moment. LOL, not.

These are all very human mistakes that anybody can make, but Nancy Pelosi isn’t just anybody. She’s the Speaker of The House. Granted, she wasn’t Speaker when this briefing happened but that’s irrelevant. The higher up you are on the food chain, the less room you have to make mistakes.

As if enjoying an early Christmas, the Republicans are having a field day with Pelosi. She is to them what George Bush is to The Left: The root of all evil. The perfect pinata. As a former Speaker himself, Newt Gingrich has been very vocal, dishing out some seriously scathing sound bites: "Speaker Pelosi's the big loser, because she either comes across as incompetent or dishonest. Those are the only two defenses. The fact is, she either didn't do her job, or she did do her job and she's now afraid to tell the truth."

Incompetent or dishonest? Not much face saving room there. Unfortunately, Pelosi can’t "tell the truth" the way Gingrinch sees it. The three things people in power can never say – if they want to stay in power – are: I don’t know. I don’t remember. I made a mistake.

These are career killers. People will tell you how much they admire your candor while helping you pack up your office, silently hoping you never ask them for a reference. True though it may be, Nancy Pelosi just simply cannot say: "I’m sorry America. I didn't hear the CIA mention waterboarding at the briefing because I was busy updating my FaceBook profile." That would totally piss off the Republicans on MySpace. She could blame it on the "ah-ah-ah-alcohol," but Jamie Foxx beat her to it.

But what if Pelosi is telling the truth? What if she’s not trying to deny, deflect or defame by accusing the CIA of lying? I mean, it is the CIA. They get paid to gather intelligence through professional prevarication. Lying to a congressional committee just keeps the mendicant muscle strong. They probably assumed no one in the meeting was actually listening, what with all the tardiness, napping and texting.

Too simple? Then it's probably true.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Guns & Romance

© 2009 Leighann Lord

So here we are again: a man walked into a college bookstore in Middletown, Connecticut, and shot a woman in the face. According to early news reports he was her boyfriend. This tragedy raises the issues of more and better gun control, access to quality mental healthcare, and mandatory couples conflict counseling.

Statistics say a woman is most likely to be assaulted by someone she knows. Many of those violent assaults involve a gun. Clearly love and weaponry don’t mix. Gun show background checks should be expanded to include pertinent questions such as:

How would you describe the current state of your relationship? Blissful? So-so? Or, I fantasize about the funeral?

Have you purchased flowers and firearms on the same day?

Does watching Law & Order, CSI, or any A&E TV show narrated by Bill Curtis make you think you could "get away it?"

It might also be time for Love Marshals: Round the clock, on-call couple’s counselors who lay out the ground rules, referee arguments, and ensure everyone’s safety. To the woman:

Stay on point.
No combining nine arguments into one.
No setting his clothes on fire.

To the man:

No one-word answers.
No zoning out.
No premature capitulation just so you can go watch the game.

To the combative couple:

"I want this to be a fair fight. No talking about each other’s mamas unless, of course, that’s what the argument is about. No hitting, spitting, stabbing, or shooting."

If this were The Breakup Argument, The Love Marshall would call for an immediate cease fire complete with a weapons ban and confiscation of firearms. Total disarmament until each of you has fully moved on.

Love is complicated. Science has shown that the chemical make up of the brain while in love looks very similar to mental illness. Add this to any pre-existing pathologies and the situation gets problematic. A broken heart, a misfiring synapse, a chemical imbalance and suddenly you’re sitting there in your underwear loading your gun while the voices in head cheer you on.

Doctors don’t know why a person opts for gun play over say, the comparatively harmless drunk dialing or texting, but until they do it’s probably best that lovers – current and former – are not armed. Harsh? Perhaps, but so is getting shot in the face.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

An Audience with His Lordship

The Doctor is In
© 2009 Leighann Lord

Before we officially adopted our dog, his Foster Mom made sure to tell us that "Rolie likes his space. Sometimes he just likes to go off and be by himself," she said. At the time, I didn’t think too much of this. It’s one of those things that you hear and don’t hear. All the dogs I’ve ever had were friendly, people loving pooches. I had no frame of reference for a dog who acts like a commitment phobic serial dater. So I kinda dismissed the comment and assumed she was kidding. She wasn’t.

Rolie’s favorite room in our house is the bathroom and that’s where His Lordship goes when he wants to be alone. It’s really no longer our bathroom, but His Office. Every night he goes in there and rearranges the bathroom rugs to his liking – a pile in the middle of the floor. I used to think this was a canine commentary on my decorating skills, but I’ve come to understand that he’s hot and wants to sleep directly against the cool porcelain of the tub.

One time my Husband got up in the middle of the night to use the facilities and found His Lordship actually standing in the tub. We’re still not sure how he got there. He’s a small dog – a Cocker Spaniel – and not a jumper. We think he put his paws on the edge to check things out, gravity took over, and he didn’t know how to climb back out. He stared at my Husband indignantly as if to say, "Hey, a little help here, Human."

His Lordship is rather proprietary about His Office. If we want to use it with any measure of privacy the door must be firmly closed. Unable to get in, His Lordship lies directly outside, nose pressed against the space between the door and the floor. It’s uncomfortable, but I’ve learned to live with the audible sniffing. As soon as I leave the bathroom he rushes in to scope things out like a distrustful landlord looking for a reason to keep my security deposit.

Much more unsettling is not closing the door all the way and His Lordship suddenly busting in like a gun slinger from a Western spoiling for a fight. Logically I know he’s just a dog, but the expression on his furry face makes me feel so deeply and throughly judged. He looks at me as if to say, "What the hell are you doing in my office? For god’s sake, Woman, I sleep in here. At least I have the decency to go outside." I’m not sure what’s worse, when he sits and stares, or sniffs and leaves.

His Lordship usually takes up residence late at night. He lies languidly against the tub or – more problematically – is wrapped around the base of the bowl. Using it then requires a sense of balance and agility that isn’t easily managed in the middle of the night.

Now you’re probably thinking: "Who’s owns who?" To be honest, I’m not sure. In sharing this story with people I’m often asked, "Why don’t you just wake the dog and shoo him out?" That’s a very good question. My answer is that like most old folks - His Lordship is in the neighborhood of 8 to 10 years old – he has a hard time sleeping through the night; and when he doesn’t sleep, we don’t sleep.

Well, actually that’s not true. I’m a very sound sleeper. Once I fall into the arms of Morpheus, I’m done. Game over. If someone sneezes in the house across the street, my Husband says "God bless you" and is up for the rest of the night. I guess if we had kids, he’d be the one on the night shift.

On the days when my Husband over sleeps it’s usually because he’s been up half the night with our resident furry insomniac. His Lordship has gotten much better lately, but I don’t want to take any chances. I still try my best not wake him, but given the size of the bathroom I may have start taking Yoga.

I’m a fool to put up with this, or am I? Science has proven that dogs can smell disease in the human body. This makes His Lordship an integral part of my alternative healthcare plan. And if The Dog Doctor is in, a privacy co-pay is not too much to ask.

Thank you for reading Leighann Lord's Comic Perspective

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