Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Family dinners: Try one tonight!

Like most families, we're a busy lot.

Okay, this is starting out like a One-a-Day Vitamin commercial.

Anyway, my bride and I decided way back before starting our blessed quartet, roughly around Seattle's grunge era, that we would eat dinners as a family.

Having both grown up dining within the radioactive RGB glow of the Motorola, we resolved to sit down, at a table, and savor our daily bread while absorbing one another's workday testimonials.

As a child, I indeed supped at a table with my DNA squad, yet the sole orator in the dinnertime conversation was Walter Cronkite. We were forbidden from talking, lest we miss the grandfatherly Cronkite's confident oration of the day's casualties in Southeast Asia.

I felt kind of sorry for my sister since she had to crank her kielbasa-stuffed gob a full one-eighty to register the slaughter, while I could effortlessly and simultaneously bite into my buttered white toast and watch a napalm-induced jungle inferno.

I think that was right around the time the letters "CBS" began representing "Carnage Before Substance."

So yeah, later on during the Nineties, when I still had a ponytail and John Lennon glasses and my wife savored the tail end of the eighties poodle perm craze, we resolved to sit at the table as a clan to enjoy our fish sticks and tater tots with no external distractions.

But not until kids came along, of course. As a childless couple, we could perch ourselves in front of "Entertainment Tonight" and I'd have already downed all my pot stickers and half my Kung Pao Chicken before the end of the Winona Ryder shoplifting story.

Dessert? Usually Ben, Jerry and Alex (Trebek).

And then our first daughter arrived . Time to put up or shut up. We scooted a chair out of the way, pushed her high chair up to the newly purchased IKEA table..and it was game on.

Sixteen years later, I'm happy to say that the game continues. Sure, there are exceptions—Friday night movies, major sporting events, The Oscars—but family dinners have proven to be the most grounding and entertaining exercise in which we engage all week.

A snippet of typical table talk:

Younger Daughter: "I let Autumn borrow my deodorant in gym today. I know I probably shouldn't do that, but I sort of feel sorry for her because she smells like..."

Older Daughter, interrupting: "Seriously, you guys, I was looking at my stomach in the mirror this morning and my two-pack is looking so good..."

Younger Daughter, interrupting: "You just interrupted me."

Older Daughter: "Sorry. But really, check this out (exposing her bare stomach). Is this not a highly-defined two-pack?"

Younger Daughter: "I don't care about your stomach. Can I finish talking please? Thank you...I forgot what I was talking about. Anyway, Ashley and Jonah are dating now, so there making it Facebook official tonight and then they're...

Older Daughter, interrupting: "Ewww! There's something in my Au Jus!"

Younger Daughter: "You just interrupted me again! And it's a piece of bread. Stuff gets in your Aus Jus all the time! Look at mine. It's got stuff in it, too. Now listen to what I'm saying!"

Older Daughter: "I think I need a bang trim."

Okay, so it's not always riveting dialogue, but hey, this band won't be together forever, either.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

You almost died. Shouldn't you be crying?

It happened exactly thirty years ago—Saturday morning, February 27, 1982, sometime between 7:30 and 8:00.

I'm going to tell you a story, but the thing is, I'm not sure it really is a story.

Stories generally have a beginning, middle and ending—this one has no ending and the climax occurred at the beginning.

Stories usually proceed along an ordered series of occurrences—in this case, each event spewed sloppily from a tangled mass of chaos and splattered, exposed on the slowly thawing asphalt.

My two college roommates and I shared a few traits back then, the most glaring of which was our communal naivete. Three worldly nineteen-year-olds, having never skied, had convinced ourselves of an exceptional aptitude to learn in the course of a few runs down the bunny hill and quickly advance to the more difficult challenges.

Whether the product of sound reasoning or youthful folly, we'd never find out.

Having opted to rent our equipment Friday night in Seattle rather than the more expensive ski fare at the resort area, we hurried back to the dorm room to try on our toys. Gary was first to cinch on his boots, surprised and amused at his lack of mobility when circling the small living room.

Mike briefly left and returned barefoot, clutching a roll of wool socks to achieve a more realistic feel for his dry run.

As our planet is divided between those who employ the "sock-shoe, sock-shoe" method and the others who roll with the "sock-sock, shoe-shoe routine," Mike revealed his preference, propping one fully socked and booted foot onto a chair as his other naked foot chilled below.

Shifting most of his weight onto his booted foot to wrench the buckles, the plastic shoe slid with a shuddering spasm off the chair and planted its heel into his exposed big toe nail.

Mike howled as crimson filled the underside of the nail and swelled the surrounding flesh. He hopped and swore, executing a highly-choreographed river dance of profanity.

His injury, necessitating an emergency treatment at University Hospital not uncommon to medieval barbers, had scratched Mike from our inaugural ski trip even before he could model that second boot. Trying his best to assuage our guilt through the fog of pain medication, he prodded us to embark without him.

And so we did. Early the following morning, Gary and I schlepped our rented skis, boots and tire chains to his Mustang which sat frozen in the parking lot down the hill from our high rise dormitory. The car fishtailed slightly as we accelerated onto the interstate and ascended the Cascade foothills into the mountains.

The sun projected a crystalline sparkle onto the lightly traveled road, buoying our spirits as we approached the ski area. Looming high above the tall snow drifts which obscured the shoulder and rendering any distinction between road and non-road impossible, an electronic sign proclaimed chains mandatory.

Gary pulled the Mustang as far off the freeway as he could. We exited the car and assessed our proximity to passing traffic which was uncomfortably close due to the snowdrift-clogged shoulders. We decided that Gary should pull forward about twenty feet to a slightly wider off-road space.

Remaining outside while Gary maneuvered forward, I noted a small, maroon pickup truck pulling off into our previous position. Gary crouched with the chains at the rear driver's side tire while I gazed down.

The last thing I remember before it happened was how cold the pavement smelled.

And the sound of a horn, low and close.

I looked up and absorbed it with calm clarity—no panic, not even an adrenaline boost.

The pickup driver was standing behind his door. He was looking right at me when the school bus hit him. But it looked like a light tap in the back. He'll be okay.

Gary and I pressed against the side of our car as the bus approached us; no escape. The huge vehicle skidded to a stop, pinning us against the car. My hands rested on the coach's grill, its driver gazing down upon me with a dreamy glaze.

So calm for a moment.

And then the screams. From Gary. From the kids in the bus. Oh my God, someone else was in the pickup and she's holding a little dog. She's screaming, too. Why is everyone screaming?

I looked down again. The man whom I believed the bus had barely nudged lay behind our bumper, next to the bus's front tire, his head flattened and bloody. His body formed a triangle with the bus and the car, enclosing Gary and me as if we were huddling for a touch football game.

Further mayhem. People. Everywhere. A man attempted CPR on the lifeless body, finally rising up, his blood-caked face betraying a mask of horror and heroism.

At length, my paralysis subsided and I extracted myself from the triangle, walking alone down the side of the freeway. I stared up at the brilliant blue morning sky and gazed directly into the sun.

You can go blind. I don't care.

You almost died.

If you hadn't moved the car, you'd be dead and not that guy with the girl with the dog.

You're only nineteen. You can't die. Oh, yeah? You almost did, you idiot.

Should you be crying? Should you be screaming? Should you be freaking out like everyone else is?

I don't know.

What if Mike hadn't hurt his toe? Would he have been killed?

I don't know. I'll never know.

You almost died. Did God have something to do with this? I don't know. Why would he kill that guy and not you? I don't know. Maybe he likes you better. Why should he?

It was thirty years ago. The last thing I remember is looking at the dead man's glasses. They were embedded into a pink slush which seeped out from the triangle as the morning temperature rose. It looked like a cherry Slurpee.

Like I said, this story has no ending.

Friday, February 24, 2012

America's infatuation with deviation.

We Americans love us an oddball.

We exalt the exotic, we fancy the freaky, we petition the peculiar.

Why else would this cornflake shaped like Illinois...

have been sold on eBay for over thirteen hundred dollars back in 2008?

It's because we love anomalies—always have. And Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks is just the guy to fit comfortably and without the aid of supplemental lubrication right into the heart of America's alomalistic wheelehouse.

You see, Mr. Lin is the first American of Chinese descent to play in the National Basketball Association. Not only that, he received no athletic scholarship offers out of high school, went undrafted after graduating from Harvard in 2010 and was waived by two NBA teams.

New York signed Lin out of desperation to replace an injured player, where he quickly became a solid offensive contributor. But it wasn't until early February, when he began playing significant minutes, that "Linsanity" began. And oh, did it.

Through his first five starts, Lin averaged twenty-seven points per game and lead the Knicks on a seven-game winning streak. Now, fully ensconced as a cult phenomenon, the six-foot, three-inch, two-hundred pound anomaly has graced two consecutive covers of Sports Illustrated and claims the best selling NBA replica jersey since February 4.

The athletic world is an aberrational breeding ground; we celebrate those who defy the odds to achieve success at the highest level. Arthur Ashe dominated a sport which largely excluded his race due to socioeconomic conditions and institutionalized racism. Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues enjoyed fourteen solid seasons in professional basketball despite standing eye-to-eye with my grandma at five feet, three inches.

And who can forget the poster children of the word anomaly: the 1980 United States Olympic Hockey Team?

It's not always, however, the monumental aberrations that we seek. We crave the smaller departures from normalcy as well. Although I wouldn't have even noticed an Illinois-shaped cornflake prior to its swift journey down my pie hole, I always find time to appreciate corn dogs with noses:


An image of Jesus on a grilled cheese:

or Halle Berry's face in some beef stroganoff Hamburger Helper:

Other anomalies are impossible to detect, such as someone in the elevator who genuinely cares how your weekend was or a Republican with an IQ greater than that of a burlap moo moo.

And I'm still waiting for a weight loss plan which guarantees you'll only keep the weight off for three weeks.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Would the Las Vegas of gay marriage also have two-for-one prime rib?

I've been a little edgy, lately. Big surprise, right?

It's like that feeling when your kid uses too much toilet paper, and they flush, and there's that moment when everything's swirling around, and you hold your breath and hope that your equipment can prove itself worthy of the challenge, dispersing all matter, both organic and otherwise, and permanently transferring ownership to septic Siberia.

Or, there's the other possibility: rising tide levels result in catastrophic flooding and a biological event demanding a plunger, towels, Lysol and possibly a post-traumatic, Silkwood-type decontamination shower featuring three to four SOS Pads.

That's how I've been feeling this past week; Sorry for the crass analogy, but I'm waiting to see where all the swirling shit will end up.

I suppose it started last Friday. Mitt Romney, pandering to his fellow tightie whities at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, boasted about successfully prohibiting, as governor of Massachusetts, out-of-state gay couples from entering his state to get married and then returning home.

"On my watch, we fought hard and prevented Massachusetts from becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage," Romney blustered.

It's a good thing no one tossed him a freaking football at that point, because he would've spiked it and leaped into a front row of flabby Caucasians ill-prepared to support his robust frame.

Yeah, nothing can chill a soul to its core, nothing can rattle a society's foundation, like a couple of women driving up from Virginia, getting married, spending two nights at the Worcester Best Western...and then leaving the state.

That was enough for one flush right there. But as I reached for the metal plated handle, another presidential candidate's sweaty palm slapped my forearm from its destination.

On Tuesday, Governor Chris Gregoire signed Washington's same-sex marriage bill into law, making my home state the seventh to afford gay and lesbian couples full marital rights. It was a proud day to be a resident of Washington and one I hadn't imagined would happen so soon.

But before you could say, "I now pronounce you Stan and Mike," guess who swooped into the Evergreen State to douse my warm endorphin blanket with a ham tin full of gelatinous piety? None other than the candidate who won't go away, Rick Santorum.

The guy is like eczema in a brown sweater vest.

Remember him? He's the dude who stated that allowing two people of the same gender to marry would crack open a Pandora's Box of biblical proportion—soon, men would engage in legal bestiality and women would elope with...I don't know...huge vats of salsa.

The former Pennsylvania senator spent the day offering his support to a crowd of pastors and '"values voters"(which is code for "I hope no one ever finds out what's in my computer") toward repealing Washington's sparkly new law.

And by the way, if some guy wants to marry a farm animal, they should be allowed to, for the animal's sake. I grew up near rural south King County, and after bearing witness to some long-term pairings, one of the parties didn't get much out of the deal and should be entitled some form of compensation.

Having Rick Santorum in such close proximity caused me to reflexively pull the lever, desperately desiring the swirling, soily soup in my head to disappear with a cleansing whoosh.

It's looking like the circling mass may not be eradicated until November, however, when the Roto Rooter van pulls up and a guy named Obama steps out, pulls up his sleeves and opens his toolbox.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Some tips for making every day Valentine's Day.

Well, here we are again, teetering our windmilling arms over the yawning chasm that is America's premier celebration of guilt, penance and obligation—Valentine's Day.

Whenever I ponder this God forsaken event, I'm reminded of Daniel Stern's aptly phrased line in City Slickers: "If hate were people, I'd be China."

I know, I know. The word "hate" is a strong one and its power isn't lost on me. While the people who've most frequently directed it at me would technically be known as my daughters, any familial bond vaporizes once the temper scale is cranked high enough to hurl the "H Bomb" my way.

While their vitriol can be triggered by nothing more than a request to clean a room or feed the cat, three words come to mind once they've chosen the nuclear option: green Linda Blair.

Nevertheless, I maintain my choice of this word when describing my feelings toward the events of February 14. I think I've made it clear, especially in this post, why I'd rather chew through my Achilles Tendon using only my old eight grade football mouth guard than observe VD.

How did this holiday originate? Maybe it was started by America's early Calvinist settlers, who, in attempting to win God's sovereign grace, believed that dropping off a nice card and sixteen-pack of Peeps at the local worship hut may secure them backstage passes to Heaven.

Somewhere down the line, of course, God was bumped aside by wives and girlfriends.

Guys, I'm not here to judge you. If you possess the chutzpah to atone for a year's worth of screwing up simply by dropping a Benjamin on some long-stemmed roses and a case of Brach's Choice Chocolates, now with thirty percent less wax, then your female divination skills dwarf mine.

My best one-day shot would be to arrange for my kids and I to back out of the driveway just as Johnny Depp arrives wearing a pirate outfit and holding a portable massage table.

That's why, in order to avoid such a pressure-packed, expectation-laden day, I've taken it upon myself to sprinkle smaller, yet more heartfelt, gestures throughout the year as signs of appreciation for my life mate.

For instance, if she becomes irritated by something I do on a Tuesday, I remind her that merely two days hence I filled her car with that middle-priced gasoline which no one ever buys—not the cheap stuff with chunks of Belarusian sand still mixed in, but also not the fiscally irresponsible expensive grade petrol.

You should see her face.

I always remember to listen to her. I've come to realize that she's not necessarily looking for an answer to her problems; just a compassionate ear in which to voice her fears and concerns. I will often gingerly grasp her hand and propose that we resume the conversation in a calm nook of her favorite sports bar.

Any bar will do, my love.

Occasionally, I'll suggest attending a movie starring one of her favorites: Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, or especially Kate Winslet. Ms. Winslet doesn't mind appearing unglamorous, which gives her that approachable, "real" aura to which many women can relate . There's also a fairly good chance she'll be naked at some point.

After the film, I avoid speaking until I've been driving for a while. This gives the impression that I've been moved by the story. When I feel the time is right, I'll say something like, "Holy shit. That was one impactful performance."

It's a technique for maintaining my highly desirable manliness while also exhibiting profound sensitivity.

Finally, upon returning home, I insist on making her dinner. I don't worry about the size of the meat chunks as long as I refer to them as medallions.

So please, brothers, don't be sucked into Valentine's Day. Make every day Valentine's Day and then you won't need to make Valentine's Day Valentine's Day even though it will be because every day needs to be Valentine's Day and therefore Valentine's Day is one of those days that needs to be treated like Valentine's Day, so I guess you'll have to.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Shooting for a happy ending.

It happened again last night.

The miracle comeback, the last-second game winner, the victory attained despite insurmountable odds.

America's cotton industry claims to be purveyors of the fabric of our lives, but I contend otherwise.

Wednesday evening, the Duke Blue Devils men's basketball squad, trailing North Carolina Tar Heels by ten points with two-and-a-half minutes to play, staged a fierce comeback, culminating in Austin Rivers' contest-clinching three pointer at the buzzer.

I think it's why I love sports so much—the hail Mary pass into the endzone with no time left, the bases loaded, two-out homer in the bottom of the ninth.

If I hadn't been fully familiar with this storied Atlantic Coast Conference rivalry, I may have thought I had stumbled upon some sort of bayou reality show where the leathery, middle -aged Tar Heel trolls the black pits of Carolina hoping to gaffe the elusive Blue Devil Crawdaddy.

Out west here, we've got nicknames like Bears and Huskies. Down south, I'm not sure how a soiled, exposed foot and a demon in need of the Heimlich are meant to intimidate the opposition, but things below that Mason-Dixon seem to swirl in a different direction.

After watching the game with my daughter and marveling at its fantastic finish, I decided that, while I don't intend on stopping, I shouldn't feel compelled to vicariously experience the endorphin rush of a last-second win through a big screen surrogate.

I reprimanded myself. "Come on, man. You're pushing fifty. You've definitely had numerous experiences of siphoning the sweet, musky nectar of victory just prior to its permanent departure down the esophagus of defeat."

And it's true; indeed I have.

I've encountered numerous happy endings, and most of them didn't happen anywhere near Bangkok.

Have you ever bought a headlight lamp at the local auto parts store, and as he's ringing you up, the guy says, "Do you need help installing that? Because I can just follow you out to your car and snap that thing right in."

"No thanks, I've got this one."

"Hell, no, you're not following me out there," I think. "If I say yes, I might as well admit that sure, I would appreciate that, because I need to get home look for my balls before it gets dark."

After seventy-three minutes in the Napa parking lot, six bloody knuckles and four customers who think I've got Tourette's, my vehicle possesses two working headlights. I beat my chest gingerly as I guide the minivan out of the parking lot and salute the cashier guy as he helps a guy with some wiper blades. Victory.

Prior to the advent of the GPS, the most emasculating invention since hard lemonade, I highly prided my self on my automotive navigational prowess—also known as "Of course I know how to get there."

My wife, ever the patient bride, would typically allow a couple of wrong turns prior to insisting on the epitome of male humiliation—the gas station direction inquiry. "I don't think you know where you are and we're going to be late. Let's find a gas station."

If only she knew the depth to which that dagger delves. To this day, she has yet to grasp the gravity of such a demand. Each occasion she insists upon pulling into the ARCO is another bucket of water to that Wicked Witch of the West in my pants.

Failure is not an option, so I stay the course among the shrill protests from both back seat and front.

And when I execute one last stand, one final right hand turn and our destination miraculously looms ahead...'s known as paydirt, a last ditch, all-in, lunge which this time has resulted in glory. I spike the imaginary ball, I cut down the proverbial net, I round the bases and stomp on home plate among a throng of delirious teammates.

Well, they're not really delirious, but at least they're not yelling anymore.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

If you can't find a seat on the bus, there's plenty of room underneath it.

The true test of human integrity and grace is not our behavior upon reaping the spoils of victory.

Rather it is our response to amorphous brown matter which has accelerated in our direction subsequent to striking the whirling blades of a fan.

-Tim Haywood
-pulled out of his ass five seconds ago.

Does it make sense what I'm saying here? Most of us eagerly accept credit when things go our way:

We attribute our recent thirty-pound weight loss to mental toughness and discipline...oh, yeah, and four weeks of Legionnaire's Disease.

We coach our four-year-old's T-ball team to an undefeated season. Fully realizing that the score wasn't to be kept and most kids run to third after hitting the ball, we intuitively knew that these youngsters are nonetheless fully cognizant of the point tally.

Hence, as a favor to our burgeoning athletes, we employ invisible dog fences as instruction tools for running the bases correctly. Soon, no collars are necessary, the kids look sharp and a championship banner adorns the coach's wall next to his high school varsity awards from the Seventies.

We take credit for our child's placement in her school's gifted program. Understanding that we need other parents who share this accomplishment, we enroll in a yoga class in northern West Seattle.

But what about those times when things don't exactly pan out for us? What are we supposed to do when someone whose accomplishments for which we normally accept full accolades, doesn't come through?

That's when the bus pulls up. And that's when we throw said individual directly under it.

By the way, does the term "throwing under the bus" imply the luggage compartment beneath the seating area or actually down there where the axles and wheels and filth are?

Because, you know, the results are different.

Gisele Bundchen, Earth's highest-paid super model and super wife of super New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady, managed a little unter-bus dwarf tossing of the Patriot receivers after being heckled by a drunken Giant's fan directly following New York's' 21-17 win in Sunday's Super Bowl.

The fan claimed that Brady had proven himself ineffective when paired against the Giants' Eli Manning, or more accurately, "Braydy sssssuckkksssssssss!"

After attempting to smile and take the high road, she finally snapped, her twiggy little arms dead lifting New England' receivers and shot putting them one-by-one below the motor coach.

"My husband cannot (expletive) throw and catch the ball at the same time," she spewed at her tormentor. "I can't believe they dropped the ball so many times!"

Last I checked, football is a team sport, and I'm sure Tom will be highly popular with the guys at the office for a little while.

But actually, it's not just sports; it's everywhere.

Our society has grown so callous about deflecting blame and responsibility, that its difficult to discern whether we're watching a political debate or another installment of the reality show, "Who Wants to be a President?"

How different is Newt Gingrich's subterfuge on questions of personal integrity and a loose alliance with Rick Santorum than a game of "Survivor—South Carolina?"

It's nothing more than an all-consuming desire to dispatch your competition and await that magical "thud-thud" sound of a human speed bump under a large steel vehicle.

I never realized that  America's most renowned colonial phrases of defiance, "Don't tread on me," actually meant, "Please refrain from relegating me beneath the footings of the carriage."

Oh, and one more thing. Gisele, it's five dollar footlongs at Subway all month. Eat a freaking sandwich. You probably had to lie down after that tirade.

Friday, February 3, 2012

America's Pampered Poor: Why Should MItt Care?

I'd like to explore a term today, just a couple of words which have been bandied about the past couple of days:

Safety net.

On Tuesday evening, basking in his winner-take-all victory at the Florida presidential primary, Governor Mitt Romney informed CNN that his campaign had chosen to focus on America's middle class.

Okay, so far so good.

Then the lug nuts loosened. "I'm not concerned about the very poor," Romney quipped, "because there's a safety net in place for them." he also downplayed his campaign's emphasis on the very rich, citing, again, a safety net which buffers them as well.

The former Massachusetts governor later retracted the comments, stating that he "misspoke."

I'm not really sure what misspeaking is; maybe you can fill me in, Mittens.

Was it a profound misfiring of brain synapses which caused you to mispronounce each of the seven words, "I'm not concerned about the very poor" together? Were you actually trying to say "My yachts can burn without the hairy four?"

Oh, okay. Sorry, man. You were attempting to speak of the four bearded captains of the Romney luxury boat fleet, who bravely protect your seagoing vessels from left wing arsonists. Now I understand.

When you're forced to talk incessantly for months on end, it makes sense that your power of enunciation might suffer. My bad.

Seriously, you don't get a free pass on this one Romney. You may have retracted your statement due to overwhelming public outcry, but it doesn't mean you wouldn't pursue this very philosophy should you be elected commander-in-chief.

Let me get this straight—both extremely rich and extremely poor people have safety nets, but not the middle class.

Naturally, the highly wealthy own a safety net. It's constructed of dead presidents. If the aristocrat loses his grip on the trapeze handle, hundreds of men named Benjamin stand below to catch the falling blueblood and pat him on the tookus as he runs back up the ladder.

I'm not sure any other safety nets need to occupy that big top.

But how about the very poor—to what do these folks have access that my other middle class homies and I don't?

They may qualify for food stamps, but only if they possess less than $2000 in total assets. In 2010, the average American food stamp recipient received $133 per month, or $4.33 per day. Wow. Time to pass the Grey freaking Poupon with that kind of mad paper.

They may be entitled to welfare. Over one-third of our states have an income limit of less than fifty percent of the federal poverty level to qualify. That means a family of four can receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) only if household income is less than $11,175.

Talk about pampered.

Oh, I almost forgot the healthcare safety net—the foremost coups de gras for the poor. Not only do these spoiled serfs enjoy medical attention provided by our nation's overburdened emergency rooms, often free of charge, they also enjoy the benefit of marathon waits and aerobic exercise to return to the shelters after the buses have stopped running for the night.

I can see what Mitt's talking about now, because the list just keeps going.

Let's not forget the critical and often free access to breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood, made possible largely by grants through the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. What an indulgence.

But since Romney isn't focused on the poverty-stricken women who depend on Planned Parenthood, I'm sure he slept soundly last night...

In his narrow view, those safety nets are self-mending.