Lots of big news, from the seizing of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the movement of Hurricane Ike. I'm not talking about that. I had a decent weekend that's led to a bad start to the week. I have a really awful cold, and had to stay home today. (Achoo! Excuse me. That's how I've been every ten seconds.) I had the beginnings of a cold on Saturday morning. Tropical Storm Hanna delayed the Richmond race by a day, so my good friend Yemaya and I decided to go storm-surfing. I left this detail out when I explained to BossLady why (achoo!) I couldn't come in today. I need to be more careful. I've got Samhain and Christmas in Florida coming up; I need those days!
The waves actually weren't that great. Very choppy, more amenable to body-boarding than surfing for the most part. But a bad day's surfing is better than a good day doing most anything else, we figure. Besides, we got to talk, which we hadn't done in person in a while.
One of the things we discussed was pretty horrible. I have mentioned before that Yemaya is mixed, her partner is black, and her seven-year-old daughter, the one good thing she got from a previous relationship, is mostly black. (Kinda like Obama's family, Yemaya likes to point out.) I have also mentioned that they have dealt with racist idiots who think black people melt on contact with water or something. The daughter started second grade in a mostly black and Hispanic class with a clueless first-year teacher who is white. On the first day, the teacher asked the kids to introduce themselves and mention a hobby and something they'd like to do when they grow up. Yemaya's daughter said she loved surfing and swimming and wanted to be an Olympic swimmer. Well, the bitch of a teacher decided to challenge her on this in front of the entire class. As Yemaya related it, the daughter seemed to enjoy the extra attention at first. Then she told Yemaya that "I think the teacher thinks I'm a liar." Yemaya of course hightailed it to the school the next afternoon to have a talk.
"It's not common for kids with her background," the teacher stammered out, among other euphemistic bullshit. Then she had the nerve to ask about the pentacles that Yemaya and her daughter both wear. "Do you know what it means?" she asked.
"Do you need [my daughter] to explain it to you?" Yemaya shot back. I am still a bit surprised that Yemaya's head did not actually explode on the spot.
"Well, I just didn't expect to have a Wiccan child in this class..."
"Tell you what. Why don't you let us tell you what black people do?" That commenced an exchange which is resulting in Yemaya's daughter going to a different class and (we're hoping) discipline and diversity training for this teacher. I was reminded of the invisible knapsack of white privilege that Peggy McIntosh wrote about. Nobody ever challenges my love for the water. But the water cleansed. It seems a little ironic that storm-surfing improved Yemaya's mood, but of course, the problem wasn't the water.
When I got home, I saw at NewYorkSurf that Sunday was actually going to be a "best bet" day. Saturday was rated "VBS," or Very Bad Surfing. Damnitalltohell! Of course, I wasn't going to miss the Chase-deciding race at Richmond. After a bit of deliberating, L'Ailee decided to miss Sunday's fashion shows in favor of the race, too. Anything could happen! And it did, boy howdy, it did! Dale Earnhardt, Jr. subtly retaliated against Kyle Busch for taking him out of contention at Richmond this spring. There was good, hard racing all over the track. Poor, unfortunate David Reutimann had a chance for a second, leading my wife to say, "He might not be completely useless." Then there was Tony Stewart's hard battle against Jimmie Johnson for the win. Tony didn't win. Again. He came in second. Again. And he was pissed. He threw everything he could throw inside his car--helmet, HANS device, steering wheel--while blaming his crew for the loss.
I was surprised that they played that on TV. It seemed like, well, something that wasn't really for us to watch. It was entertaining, sure, almost as much as a win would have been, but all the access fans get to drivers suddenly felt very intrusive. I wasn't surprised at Tony's shit-fit itself--it was so close, and it's been so long since his last win, and he's so good on Richmond. Another guest opined, "What a jerk!"
Before I could say anything, my wife--and I still cannot believe this--defended him. I maintain that her inability to accept a loss, not to mention a somewhat contentious mood, led to it. "His words may be wrong, but his attitude is right! Of course he's angry! He is too good, he had led too many laps, he has come in second too many times, and no win this year! Why should he smile and act happy about that?" Several people asked me if I'd learned ventriloquism. Usually L'Ailee sits quietly in her reading glasses, totaling up points on a yellow legal pad and letting conversation swirl around her. I couldn't resist kissing her after she'd made my case for me.
Meanwhile, Yemaya was out enjoying the "best bet" surf with her partner and her daughter. I'm glad the little girl got the best waves of the week. It seemed right.
I'm going to repeat one, in honor of Yemaya's family: BlackSurfing.com. Plus I found the Black Surfing Association, which is almost as old as I am, and they have a shop and everything.
There's racism in Europe, too. Italy wants to fingerprint all of its Roma (a/k/a "Gypsy") people, and nobody else. There is also a petition against persecution of the Roma, which will be sent to a summit about the Roma at the European Parliament on September 16th.
Sarah Palin's pastor problem.
How one's "number sense" helps with mathematics
Boy, I hope this is false. Supposedly MSNBC wants to
I think we've all had the misfortune of waiting in line with someone like this. From the Onion: Inconveniencing Others Makes Me Feel Alive.
Finally, a moment of silence for Astroland, the amusement park at Coney Island. So glad I got to go!