The Democratic Debate in Haiku

Anderson Cooper

Is in a serious mood

His glasses say so

_______________________

The jumbotron set

Makes it look like a game show

Miss the big ass plane

________________________

Does CNN see

Their facebook logo placement?

Someone ****ed it up

_______________________

Cheryl Crow can sing

She even hit the high notes

(The tight pants might help)

________________________

I know it’s sexist

But I wore Hillary’s suit

When I was pregnant

______________________

I love you Bernie

But who pees in your cornflakes

Every damn morning?

______________________

Who is this Jim Webb

He was once my senator?

Uhm. Yes. I knew that.

_______________________

Martin O’Malley

Says that he fixed Baltimore

What about those O’s?

_______________________

Hey Lincoln Chafee

Nineteen seventy nine called

Want their yardsticks back

_____________________

Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah

Blah Blah Blah Working people

Democrat Intro

___________________

Bernie Sanders says

Congress speaks like Eskimos

Thousand words for “no”

____________________

Wedded to the polls?

Hillary asks for numbers

“I’ll get back to you”

______________________

Martin endorsed Hill

‘I’m allowed to change my mind

Just like you change yours’

______________________

Our first Trump mention

“I may be a barker but

I own the circus”

_______________________

Chafee asks for slack

We don’t care that your Dad died

If it was your dog…..

___________________

I don’t care about

Hillary’s emails either

Let’s all unsubscribe

___________________

And I still don’t know

Anything about Jim Web

But he can tell time

__________________

Hillary is asked

How she’ll differ from Barack

“Pee breaks take more time.”

____________________

This is so civil

There’s nothing to make fun of

I need more cowbell

_____________________

If O’Malley wins

I really hope he invades

New York’s Trump Tower

_______________________

What is Communist

Versus Social Democrat?

Putin bores Bernie

______________________

Jim Webb gets to speak

And what does he choose to say?

Yup. I killed a dude.

_______________________

Damn, I’ll never know

Which chick they’d put on the ten

Who will I vote for?

______________________

And Twitter weighs in

Martin won’t be president

But the man’s a DILF

______________________

Huckabee live tweets

And I trust him like I trust

His foot near his mouth

_______________________

That’s all I got folks

Until we get the next round

On the 28th

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Five Podcasts You Should Be Listening To

1-IMG_0994-1I am a podcast addict, and I’m not ashamed to say it.

The beauty of the podcast is its utter portability. I listen while I drive, while I run, while I cook, clean and do laundry. It’s like having a conversation with a really interesting friend, only I don’t have to talk at all. As for my real-world friends, I regularly regale them with tales of my latest finds, surprised that not everyone has heard of these nuggets of diversion.

My favorite podcasts, like my magazines, are more numerous than I can possibly listen to every week, so I’ll start with the biggies–the must-haves for the podcast uninitiated.

  1. Serial. Serial explores the case of Adnan Syed, currently serving a life sentence for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. He was a high school senior at the time, and was convicted largely based on the testimony of another person, Jay Wilds. Hosted by Sara Koenig, she explores the evidence against Adnan, the inconsistencies in the investigation that led to his arrest and conviction as well as her own journey of discovery. Is Adnan a victim of judicial injustice or a really convincing sociopath? (Cue foreboding music)
  2. Undisclosed – The State vs. Adnan Syed. It’s sort of a cheat, I suppose, including this as a separate entry, but it’s my blog. Hosted by three lawyers, Rabia Chaudry, Susan Simpson and Colin Miller, Undisclosed dives deep into the evidence and matters of case law. Ms. Chaudry is a friend of the Syed family, and was the individual who brought Adnan’s case to Sarah Koenig, so she definitely has a point of view, but the window into police investigation and criminal trial process appeals to the geek in me (which is pretty much all of me). If you’ve ever watched Law and Order and wondered how this process works in real life, or doesn’t, Undisclosed is for you.
  3. This American Life. This American Life, hosted by Ira Glass is the grandfather of all storytelling radio shows. You can listen to it every week on your local NPR station, or download the podcast and listen at your leisure (and without bleeped curse words). Each week has a theme, with a series of personal stories that relate to the idea at hand. Some are socially relevant like school segregation, the dynamics behind the sub-prime mortgage crisis (for which they won a Peabody award), and the real-time story of a Somalian refugee trying to make his way to the U.S. Others are just really fun, like a Riverdance troupe that pooled their money for a lottery ticket, and were convinced that they were giving their final performance before making enough money to never work again, or a police officer who locked himself in his own squad car.
  4. Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. Yes, it’s another NPR show. But face it, the degree of separation between podcast geeks and NPR listeners is pretty small. It’s a weekly quiz show covering current events with panelists like Paula Poundstone, Adam Felber, Tom Bodette, Amy Dickenson and Peter Grosz. The show includes segments like “Who’s Bill This Time?” where newscaster Bill Curtis re-enacts quotes from the news of the week, and call-in listeners have to guess who he is, or the “Listener Limerick” where the contestant has to guess the final word of a news story in, you guessed it, limerick form. My favorite segment is “Not My Job” where famous guests have to answer questions about odd topics somehow related to what they do, but without any real connection to what they do, like asking Surgeon General Vivek Murthy about “General Hospital”. Participating in this segment is my life’s goal. I dream big.
  5. The Moth. Real people telling real stories in a few short, riveting minutes. Moth shows are recorded live across the country. Storytellers use no notes or cards, and share experiences that have shaped their lives. Some are funny, like a temp worker who accidentally sets the office on fire while working late, to deeply moving, like a man throwing a final birthday party for his dying mother. It’s a great reminder that people are awesome and interesting and that we all have stories worth listening to.

All of these podcasts are available on ITunes and they are free–that’s right–free, or you can click the links on each title and stream episodes from your computer.

This is just a handful of my obsessions–it was hard to cut it to five (Sorry Invisibilia, The Gist, WTF, Dinner Party Download, Studio 360, Radiolab. I’ll get to you late.) Give them a listen, and let me know what you think.

What podcasts do you love? Please share – I have a lot of laundry to do.

If Only We Could Lock Down Guns As Easily As We Lock Down College Campuses


At 2 a.m. on Saturday night, my IPad sang from across the room to let me know someone was calling. My husband shook me awake. I’d forgotten to mute the electronic offender, and surely I’d hear about it in the morning. I picked up my IPhone just as it stopped vibrating. I had to wait until the missed call registered so I could find out who it was. Late night calls generally aren’t good ones.

The call originated from the town where my son attends college. A fist clamped around my heart. The phone buzzed in my hand, signalling the message’s arrival at the same time my IPad let out a happy ding, telling me I’d gotten a text. I thought the joy was a little premature.

A robotic female voice filled me in on the news. The cadence in her words was off, which lent a sinister tone to what was meant to be a precautionary message. A convenience store at the edge of campus had been robbed by two armed men. The suspects were headed away from campus, but just to be safe, the University asked the students to take shelter and lock the doors. The text confirmed I’d heard her right.

I checked my Mom-stalker app and saw that the Dude was not at home in his dorm, a safe distance from the scene of the crime, but somewhere unfamiliar, a little too close for comfort. Did I mention it was 2 a.m.?

So I texted him to make sure he was fine, which he was, but he’d been at the convenience store just an hour prior. Buying snacks, I’m sure. He decided to reassure me by bringing up the fact that he still had to walk home, but he had nothing on him but his I.D. so he wasn’t worth the bother. I thanked him for his sensitivity and told him to stay put until the University lifted the lock down.

It took about a fifteen minutes for the all clear to come through, and another hour for my chest to loosen enough for me to breathe. I did not, however, sleep.

I knew the Dude wasn’t in any danger; that wasn’t what kept me awake. It was the thought of the parents of students at Umpqua Community College and how they must have felt. I knew that whatever I imagined would be off on a logarithmic scale. Add to it a certain hopelessness. Nothing will change.

The Onion posted the article “No Way to Prevent This”, Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens, only it was a rewrite of their June article about the Charleston shootings, which was a rewrite of their May 2014 column about the UCSB shootings.

I find it ironic that I have to fill out more paperwork to adopt a cat than I do to buy a gun. I also find it ironic that politicians find the idea that rounding up illegal immigrants and sending them on their way is easy, but reducing the prevalence of guns in the U.S. is impossible.

The ever-present “they” say we have a mental health problem (which we do, but their characterization of it scares the shit out of me). We have a hate and a fame problem. We have an education problem, and an economic disparity problem.

But we also have an inertia problem, a campaign funding problem, an unwillingness to compromise problem, and an all-or-nothing-our-side-must-win-at-all-costs problem.

Most of all, we have an it-won’t-happen-to-me problem.

Let’s hope “they” never get a 2 a.m. robo call about their own child. The thought that anyone might get that call keeps me up at night. Doesn’t it keep “them” up too? We could all use a good night’s sleep.

What emoji do you use when your kid hates college?


“Whoever said college was the best time of your life was lying.” — The Dude.

This was followed by the poop emoji.

How quickly things change. Just a few weeks ago, he couldn’t wait to leave. He was ready for college.

He is ready for college. He may have had a few unrealistic expectations, that’s all. Those unrealistic expectations will get you every time.

He has a nasty cold. I’d send him chicken soup if I could. He’d like that too, since he says the food sucks and isn’t very healthy. I’ve suggested vegetables and salads, but he isn’t taking advice at the moment. If there was a stone wall emoji, he’d use it.

Over nineteen years, we’ve made it through colic and croup, new math, buying a jockstrap, “Medieval Day”,The Iliad, Homecoming, driver’s ed, and the first and second transgressions that will not be named. I thought I was old hat at this, but when he’s unhappy, it twists me worse than a telephone cord (I had to use that analogy before it became irrelevant. I think I only had a few minutes left.)

He texts my husband about more mundane matters, like money. My husband says that’s a sign that it’s not so bad. I am parent A, the one that does out cookies and sympathy. Parent B tells the child that this is life, suck it up and soldier on.

So much of his life is going well. He has a terrific roommate, who he likes and gets along with. They were paired at random, so this was not a given. He’s playing intramural sports and has joined a couple of clubs. He’s even learning how to play golf. Classes, however are harder than he anticipated, and the old high school habits aren’t enough to get the grades he’s hoping for. My sage advice draws nothing more than a “maybe.” I have a feeling I know what emoji he’d use if he could find it, but he’s smart enough not to use it. I’m the one with the cookies and sympathy, after all.

His friends at other colleges have it so much better, he says. Life is one big party for them, and he has major FOMO. He doesn’t consider that they might be embellishing. “Why would they do that?” he says. He believes people are inherently truthful. Cute, isn’t it?

I tell him that I begged to transfer halfway through my first term and my counselor told me to hold tight and it would get better. I tell him that it did, and I stayed where I was. I knew it wouldn’t be any better somewhere else. It was not the time of my life, but it set me on the path I wanted to be on. There’s a lot to be said for not peaking too early.

He’s forgotten how long it takes to build friendships and how long it takes to feel at home somewhere new. He’s forgotten that he once said moving to Virginia, the place he so longs for, was the worst thing that ever happened to him. Patience is not his forte. Neither is perspective. After all, he is a nineteen year old. It’s exactly what he needs, though, along with some decongestant and a perhaps a box of pop tarts.

I text to ask how he’s doing and he answers “sick.” I suggest he visit the health center, but he’s “busy.” I won’t even bother suggesting he go to CVS. I tell him to go to Noodle and Co and get some chicken soup, and if he’s running a fever, by all means go to the health center. He texts back “How do I know if I’m running a fever?” I ask if he’s hot and achy. He answers “My dorm has no AC. I’m always hot and achy.”

I know this conversation could go on forever. He has made up his mind to be miserable, and there is nothing I can do to change it. I ask my husband if he’s heard anything from the Dude. My husband just laughs.

Overcome with motherly concern, I break down. I know it’s unhealthy, like a drug addiction. I do it less often than I did in the beginning, just after he left. I’m down to once or twice a day. I open the Find My Phone app to see where he is.

He’s playing golf. I guess that’s why he’s busy.

I send him a blowing kiss emoji and say I’ll check in later, then put together a gift package; decongestant, a thermometer, tissues and a box of pop-tarts. We’ll both make it through another day.

GOP Debate in Haiku

By popular demand…..

GOP Debate

Ten dudes, one chick, one handler

And one big ass plane

__________________________

With them all lined up

Looks like a beauty pageant

Trump owns this one too

__________________________

Carly’s not alone

Don thinks Rand is ugly too

Chris Christie you’re next

___________________________

To deal with Russia

Trump goes golfing with Putin

And shows his big balls

__________________________

We have a winner

Planned parenthood and Iran

Best non sequitur

__________________________

When the Donald speaks

He tells us what “we all know”

Even if we don’t

_________________________

I don’t remember

The Reagan years like they do

Which of us was high

____________________________

Marco Rubio

Sounds like a movie trailer

For disaster porn

_________________________

I wonder if Jeb

Swaps tales with Eli Manning

Little bro syndrome

___________________________

Senator Graham’s troops

Look bigger cause they’re metric

Need conversion chart

_____________________________

Jeb says he smoked pot

And now I like him better

I feel so dirty

______________________________

“We all look alike”

Fiorina shakes her head

Not from the waist down

______________________________

Let’s save our children

From Islamic terrorists

Ban science projects

_______________________________

Donald Trump believes

His code name would be “Humble”

My bet? “Combover”

_______________________________

Sex drugs rock n roll

GOP, just outlaw fun

And make it simple

_________________________

I’m three hours in

So our “official language”

Is all adjectives?

________________________

Is it my tv?

The Donald’s face is redder

Than Huckabee’s tie

________________________

Trump has more haiku

Than the other candidates

Just like his air time

__________________________

All the candidates

Compare themselves to Reagan

The big ass plane wins

Live Tweeting the Debate

Watching the debate?

I’ll be live-tweeting my thoughts

But in haiku form

———————————-

The fun starts at eight

I’m skipping the kid’s table

Unless I’m real bored

———————————–

I’m also playing

The Rolling Stone drinking game

To up the ante

_______________________

If it gets dull we’ll

Discuss Donald’s combover

Live or Memorex?

______________________

Join me on Twitter

(I’m @jnbeverett)

For some wonk-haiku

Who’s that girl?

11908585_10206959825821690_7943426081004690238_oJane added 12 photos of you. To add these to your timeline, go to Timeline Review.

Uhm. What?

I’d visited Jane recently, but I couldn’t remember posing for any photos while I was there. It was also my 50-somethingth birthday. My guess was that the photos had to be old. Just how old? Anything stretching back to very was possible.

Jane is a golden friend. She’s been in my heart for a long time, so she has access to the really good stuff. By good, I mean stuff the Dude would find amusing payback for my writing about him for the last ten years.

My high school experience was one of duality. I don’t remember I time when I felt so loved and so unloved at the same time. It all depends on the frame of reference. Thinking about those years can bring forth a cringe and a smile at the same time, sort of like watching The Office, only I’m a smarter Michael Scott.

Jane is firmly planted on the side of the angels, so I poured a glass of wine and plunged into Facebook. There they were, a parade of smiling faces ranging from the age of six to  twenty-six.

Damn, I had a lot of hair. It was the 80’s after all. It was still dark back then. Like my father, I went gray quite young. I’ve been dyeing it so long I’d forgotten the original color. I’m smaller than I remember, too–almost compact. At the time, I felt so inescapably large, like I couldn’t get out of my own way, let alone anyone else’s.

What struck me most, however, is that the Jeannine in the pictures is so happy, so at ease. Nothing like the girl that narrates my flashbacks. I couldn’t look away.What made the difference?

I was seeing myself through someone else’s lens.

Memory theory says that we don’t actually remember events. Our brains rewrite the memory each time it’s accessed, so it’s layered with whatever new information we’ve painted over it, like looking into a mirror of a mirror of a mirror. What we remember is the last time we remembered the event. The truest memory is one that we’ve never retrieved before. I didn’t take these photos, so they had no prior imprint.

We tend to fixate on all of the negative baggage–the idiotic stuff we did–rather than the millions of moments that truly make up the bulk of our very good lives. We play them over and over again, adding more footnotes each time. The versions of ourselves that we remember can often get trapped in a box made by those who knew and loved us least.

Those pictures were the greatest gift. Who knows what those rewritten memories may bring?

So I posted the photos to my own Facebook timeline, even if it screams to the world that I am not a natural blonde. My posture is better, and I will never, ever part my hair down the middle again, but I will try to remember what I tell the Dude all of the time–we are neither as awful or awesome as we remember we are. If you want the truth, ask a friend for an old picture. It might surprise you. It surprised me. Who’s that girl. She’s me.