30 September, 2005

Hey, Loser! I'm Talking To YOU>>>>>

How desperate a subspecies of human do you have to be to cheat on an online strategy game?

Useless Information About Me

It's Friday officially and I've turned in the rough draft of my latest objet d'art so I'm free to junk up my blog with one of those things where you post useless facts about yourself as though you were someone important on the world stage. Like Gore Vidal.

I've made this one up. I'm calling it

Ten Questions To Your Inner Gore Vidal

1. Which Historical Figure do you think is probably not gay but would make for great gossip if they were?
Answer: Adam Smith. Gives a whole new spin on the Stock Exchange.

2. Why was plaid ever fashionable outside of the Scottish Highlands?
Answer: Built-in obsolescence in the upholstery trade.

3. Would you buy used underwear?
Answer: Depends on what it was used for. I definitely wouldn't care for it if it were like those old cloth diapers my mom used to polish furniture. They smell lemony and are shiny.

4. Is the consumption of Maggie Moo's Ice Cream sometimes really just like eating lard?
Answer: So what if it is? It's darn good lard. Have YOU ever had lard that tasted like cake batter? That's some fine use of science, my friend.

5. Who was your favourite teacher and why?
Answer: Pai Mei from Kill Bill Vol. 2 because he totally made Uma Thurman look like crap and eat her rice like a dog. And the way he smacked up Daryl Hannah totally made Jackson Browne look like a bitch.

6. What is your dream?
Answer: That I go to a mexican restaurant and they have to seat us in the courtyard because of a Hustle contest going on in the main dining area. They then seat two foreigners at our table who proceed to whip out the arms of a small child and snack on them. The waitress then apologises and offers to bring us our fajitas for free. I want to leave but my companion only wants the free fajitas. What does it all mean?

7. What is the funniest word you know?
Answer: Drambouie. I can't say it without laughing like I'm already drunk on the stuff.

8. Why do you have a crush on Abraham Lincoln?
Answer: Because he's extremely tall, smart and funny. He has a good work ethic and was fully able to be married to a crazy woman for decades. I'd look dandy compared to Mary Todd.

9. Socks or pantyhose?
Answer: Both. Nothing says "frumpy lady resting between morning and evening church" like that fashion statement.

10. What, besides the Gay History and Abraham Lincoln questions, did this have to do with Gore Vidal?
Answer: Absolutely nothing. It's just that his name makes me laugh as hard as 'drambouie'. It sounds like a sequel to the Chucky movies, yet he's a serious scholar and author. That's funny. To me. At 1:00 in the morning.

"Are We Gonna Blog This?"

So, when you go to dinner with other bloggers, that's what everyone is wondering. Are we? Aren't we?

Should I say something witty that I hope the other person will blog or will it come out so excruciatingly embarassing that I'll dread to see it print? When the restaurant doesn't serve any wine, you know your chances of either are option are reduced exponentially.

When you get there first you avoid the Fredo Corleone Chair of Honor. You also get to scope out the exits. There were no ground rules, because even though one of us tried to impose them, I politely reminded one and all that as Libertarian no one makes rules for me. Yeah. I'm just that cool...like Fonzie I refuse to submit to the basic structures of society.

We had much good food, much good conversation. We are all completely miffed at Lost for shoving 10 minutes of TV into two hours. We are all completely in love with Les Dames de Gilmore, which does not in any way reflect on anyone's sexual preference. We all got confused by hearing the real names for the online people, places and things that the others had concocted. Tales of merry days of yore abounded. We all left happy. But my happiness wouldn't last long. Because Ben & Jerry's was totally frigging out of the Wavy Gravy Ice Cream--after I braved the Gucci Ghetto to go to their store.

So I blogged it, but not really. All the participants, save me are quasi-anonymous. And at no point in this post did I bring up the issue of Paul McCartney's Wife's Leg and The Resultant Logistical Amenities.

29 September, 2005

Making License Plates The ACLU Way

Nashville Is Talking links to my favourite story of the day. The sad tale of the poor put-upon Pro-Choice movement, and their saviours at the ACLU.

The original story in The Tennesseean talks about the pending legislation that may jeopardize all specialty plates in Tennessee.

The main face-off is between Tennessee Right to Life, which sponsored the plate, and the American Civil Liberties Union and others, which say the tags are unconstitutional. They claim that because the state government chose one viewpoint over another, it violated free-speech guarantees in the Constitution.


The ACLU maintains that once the state allows drivers to put political slogans on their license plates, it cannot offer that opportunity just to one side of the political debate, said Julie Sternberg, senior staff attorney for the national ACLU. The ACLU had pushed for a "Pro-Choice" plate, but legislators did not pass it.

Yeah. Sounds pretty redneck of us Good Ol Boys in Bible Belt, Tennessee doesn't it? Well, the side of the story you are not being told is this.

Anyone can get a specialty plate approved in Tennessee. Here's all you have to do. Presell a set number of units, pay to have the plate designed, and then submit your forms to the legislature to be rubber stamped. That's what everyone from Radnor Lake enthusiasts to Vols fans have done. And they've all got pretty plates that earn kickbacks to the charity of their choice.

That's exactly what the Right To Life group did. Only here's where the problem kicks in. After they made the presales, After they collected the money, After the plate was designed they submitted their paperwork to the legislature. And John Ford attached a rider to their application saying that "hey--there ought to be a Pro-Choice plate, too." The legislature and Gov. Bredesen both said "Where are the Pro-Choice presales? Where is the Pro-Choice Plate Design? Where is the Pro-Choice Paperwork?" Well. It appears to not have existed, and thus the plate design was refused.

So, naturally the Pro-Choice groups went out, made presales, designed a plate and submitted the paperwork sued.

You can read the text of the suit here.

The ACLU does not deny that the Pro-Choice Groups failed to follow proper filing procedure. They merely insist that they should be exceptioned from proper filing procedure in order to guarantee free speech. Would it have been far more cost effective to follow proper procedure? Undoubtedly. Would it have made such good press? Undoubtedly not.


From Bruce Barry, who sits on the board of the ACLU.


On your blog post regarding the 'choose life' license plates and the ACLU lawsuit, you have many facts wrong.

You write: "Anyone can get a specialty plate approved in Tennessee. Here's all you have to do. Presell a set number of units, pay to have the plate designed, and then submit your forms to the legislature to be rubber stamped."

Not correct. One has to presell a number of units and have the design in order to have the plates produced. To get it approved, you get the legislature to pass a bill authorizing the plates. This typically happens before the presale, and there is no legal requirement anywhere that the plates be designed and presold before legislative approval.

You write about the right to life group pushing the plate: "After they made the presales, After they collected the money, After the plate was designed they submitted their paperwork to the legislature."

Not correct. It is inaccurate to say that the pro-life plate people designed their plate and presold it before having it approved by the legislature. Quoting verbatim from the bill that was passed by the legislature authorizing the choose life plates: "The new specialty earmarked license plates provided for in this section shall contain an appropriate logo and design. Such plates shall be designed in consultation with a representative of New Life Resources." I doubt they even could presell before legislative approval -- but it doesn't matter anyway because the statute is a legislative act independent of presales and design phases.

You write: "John Ford attached a rider to their application saying that "hey--there ought to be a Pro-Choice plate, too." The legislature and Gov. Bredesen both said "Where are the Pro-Choice presales? Where is the Pro-Choice Plate Design? Where is the Pro-Choice Paperwork?" Well. It appears to not have existed, and thus the plate design was refused."

Incorrect. John Ford introduced an amendment to the proposed statute (not a "rider" to an "application") authorizing the pro-life plate. There was no pro-choice design. There was no pro-life design. It doesn't matter because design is not part of the legislation. The legislature tabled the Ford amendment, killing it, and then passed the bill. So the legislature went on record approving a pro-life plate but refusing to approve a pro-choice plate. That is classic and unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, as federal judge Todd Campbell found in his ruling of summary judgement for ACLU (354 F. Supp. 2d 770). Quoting from that ruling:
In this case, the State of Tennessee has allowed the "Choose Life" viewpoint to the exclusion of "Pro-Choice" and other views on abortion. Even if the government can selectively fund one activity and not another, as argued by Defendants, citing Rust v. Sullivan, it is the individual citizen, not the government, who "funds" the extra costs and speech of the "Choose Life" license plate.This conclusion holds no matter what type of forum the license plate is considered to be -- traditional public forum, designated public forum, or non-public forum. Because the State has established a license plate forum for the abortion debate, it cannot limit the viewpoints expressed in that forum. The type of forum that exists is relevant only if the logo or message is viewpoint-neutral. "Choose Life" is not viewpoint-neutral speech. The statute at issue makes clear that the State of Tennessee is willing to use its considerable power and resources to control private speech and to discriminate based on viewpoint. The First Amendment makes clear, however, that the State cannot do so constitutionally. The Court finds that the statute at issue, Tennessee Code Annotated, § 55-4-306, is unconstitutional because the State of Tennessee, through this statute, discriminates based upon viewpoint. The State Defendants, therefore, are hereby enjoined from enforcing the "Choose Life" statute. The result in this case would be the same if the statute authorized a "Pro-Choice" license plate instead of the "Choose Life" license plate. Either way, it is unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.

You write: "The ACLU does not deny that the Pro-Choice Groups failed to follow proper filing procedure. They merely insist that they should be exceptioned from proper filing procedure in order to guarantee free speech."

This case has nothing to do with filing procedure. Filing procedures are not at issue in the legal complaint brought by ACLU, and they are not mentioned in the district court ruling by Judge Campbell. This case is about whether these specialty license plates are a public forum for private speech. Federal courts in multiple circuits have ruled that they are, which means that viewpoint discrimination practiced by state governments administering these plates raises clear first amendment problems.

If you are going to write about this issue, you ought to get the facts right. Instead you utterly misrepresented the basis for the ACLU's lawsuit on this. You may not like the district court's opinion on this, but it was a predictable one based on well established first amendment law regarding public forum speech and the first amendment.

I am copying Brittney on this note because she (at NIT) linked to Katherine's well of misinformation. Either of you are welcome to quote from this note on your blogs if you care to.



Now Me:

Bruce, my experience with the cycling plates was that all of the paperwork had to be completed before the bill could be introduced in the legislature. Included in that paperwork were proposed designs and prepaid committments to the "Share The Road" plates. As to the procedural language (i.e. amendment vs. rider) you are correct, and I stand corrected. However, I fail to see how--barring any procedural difference--my point is inaccurate. Why did Planned Parenthood et. al. not follow the same filing procedure for their own plates? Why instead do what amounts to an end-run around the system? Should the "Share The Road" plate team sue the NASCAR people for not including their right to a dissenting viewpoint?

You say the case has nothing to do with filing procedure and you are correct. You are also agreeing with me. The legal case is all about Planned Parenthood et. al. attempting a court-based sacking of the quarterback. For the record this is what people talk about when they "whine" about activist judges. You have a group that decided they would quite literally 'make a federal case out of it'. Just get the 1000 people to agree to buy the plates and have done with it. Then the legislature would be able to okay the Pro-Choice plate.

I get that the ACLU has a vested interest in having this be a court case, and I get why you are so in favour of continuing to bolster that image in the public eye with these grandiose shows of "fighting for the little guy". In reality, the ACLU is playing 1000 lb. gorilla. Call it a statute, call it an amendment, call it a rider. It's all the same thing. One team played by the rules, the other didn't. Now the side who won't play fair wants the ref to call the game in their favour. It stinks.

Let's try this analogy. A mother tells two kids they can go to a birthday party for their friend if they both clean their bedrooms. Suzy picks up her toys, makes her bed and hangs up her clothes. Mary does nothing. When the time comes to send the children to the party, Mother says Suzy may go but Mary may not. Mary complains to Dad that it isn't fair for Suzy to have all the fun because parents shouldn't favour one child over the other and sending Suzy alone is showing favourtism. It is also punishing the neighbor child who wanted to have both girls at the party. Dad agrees and says that favourtism is wrong and punishing the neighbor child is also wrong. Now, the argument to Dad has NOTHING to do with the original "filing procedure" of cleaning the room. That's exactly what you're saying about the courtcase. Sure it has nothing to do with the "filing procedure" yet everything about how they ended up before Dad began with the uncleaned room.

Southern Festival Of Books

The schedule of events is now available online. I sincerely hope to see you there.

Sharin' About Sharon: Vol. IV

Don't let the door hit you on your way out! Good grief. She called me at 8:10 this morning to tell me they're discharging her. She sounded as bewildered as I felt upon hearing that.

She will be at home today, but will be trying to sleep. She lives in a condo that requires her to walk up two flights of stairs, which will be incredibly excruciating and exhausting. Please keep her in your prayers.

On Hold With Disney World

They're having a big sale.

The hold music is an assortment of film tunes. That I used to enjoy before 45 minutes of captivity at their mercy. If Ariel stll wants to be part of our world, she can come hold the phone up to her ear for an hour. She'll change her mind.

28 September, 2005

In a Sea of Black and Olive Drab...

So...I saw Serenity for free. It only cost me my dignity, and since I have so little of that left, I figured it was a fair trade. If, like me, you've ever imagined a press screening for a movie you've likely had Tracey/Hepburn visions of serious-minded folk with steno pads and an air of self-satisfied education about them. Tongue studs and lack of bathing probably never even entered the picture.

The evening started off with a trip to the food court at 100 Oaks Mall. Like the rest of the second story, it's a ghost of its former self. If you want cookies, gyros or congealed "Chinese" food, you're in for the time of your life. Otherwise, it's back to the Blazer and over to Wendy's. The first hint I had that this was perhaps not a screening for the faint of heart was when I saw the motley crew of fellow attendees--and possible vampires--congregating around a several tables in an otherwise uncrowded part of the restaurant. I heard several references to "Joss" and much talk about gaming. Not the James Bond Speakeasy Gaming, but the Yo Mama's Garage I'm-half-elf gaming that I remember so fondly. I then realized they probably weren't packing the place out with bloggers.

At the theatre they had an armed (?) guard standing by the line. Dude. It was a Sci Fi movie. None of us are equipped to kick anyone's arse without instructions from our multi-sided dice. Sure, we may look like a gang of Satanists--but trust me. The closest we ever get to violence is when someone leaves the wrapper off a vintage comic book and lays it next to a can of Jolt. I was a bit skeeved at the sight of the guy but was then immediately at ease when I saw a man in orange that I knew I knew. Ahhh! A Blogger! Finally, I meet one of my cyberfriends. (And was that just the loneliest sentence or what?!?!!). I made him guess who I was, which really wasn't fair but I was still addled by the armed guy. Besides, I had a book with me. Dead giveaway. I really felt like a poseur talking to Michael because he's very into Firefly, whereas I am not. He was already in line, and since I didn't want to cut in front of anyone who might be inclined to eat me, I meekly moved to the back of the line in time to see Pam who nicely had agreed to meet us. She had a book, too. Good woman!!!! Except...she and Tim both ragged on my book and decided among themselves that it was the most amoral piece of trash ever conceived. Honestly, you two. Can't a gal read a book about a woman who gets engaged to her ex-boyfriend and then tries to find a new wife for the husband she's still married to?

Anyway...back to the folks. Pam & Michael both told me that I needed to get a pass from "the guy" before I got in line. Here was the moment I was dreading. Would they check my name off the list? Would they deny me access after my earlier snark about their intense ways? I had the email I printed and gingerly walked up to the service desk. I told her I was there as a blogger for my pass and handed her the form. She rolled her eyes, crumpled it up, threw it in the trash and handed me a pass. No list. No inquisition. Nothing. And I had really been looking forward to the cavity search, too.

After the disappointment of not spreading my cheeks or being tasered for sass, I got back in line in time to meet Sarah who thought I was fighting with her. I truly wasn't. But I will, if she keeps insisting that Romana is one of the better companions. She made the dreaded drive safely and spent much time talking with her lifelong friend Big Orange, while Pam and I tried to save a place in line for the largest and scariest man I have ever seen outside of the WW(insert current appropriate letter).

Inside, after a comedy of errors we met up with two more local bloggers--Pink Kitty and Elena. Of course, when we met we just assumed we were ladies who didn't receive the all-black-and-khaki dress code memo and consequently stuck out like a throbbing thumb in our pinks and reds. About 10 minutes into the conversations about our churches someone mentioned bloggers. I said I was looking for other bloggers (Cole?! A.C.?!? Where were you guys?!?) It turned into a very Liza-Minelli-Showstopper moment when we realized that we were all bloggers and knew each other from our blogs. Whee!

Michael, having also failed to get the dress code, brought his orange shirt down to us gals as we kibitzed about BSG, Stargate and the fact that The Rock looks like a giant sized human penis--especially with his shirt off. (Okay. Michael was gone for that moment. But it still happened.)

Then the lights went down, we watched the movie and I left with more friends and a better appreciation for Joss Whedon.

Reever Madness

Serenity Spoilers throughout.

Don't read If you want to not be spoiled.

Basically the rag-tag oversexed pirate ship crew is led to a planet of extreme stoners by their psychic buffy pet. This planet, named after one of the Sex & The City gals, has become so stoned that 90% of them have died and the other 10% have an extreme case of the munchies.

Several key characters die. The best part of seeing the movie in the crowd I saw it with was the gasps of panic and shock when a particular fan favourite was run through like a used meal ticket. I liked the person who met their grisly end and hated to see them go to the Grimy Ship In The Sky but I had nowhere near the attachment to the character that some of the audience did. Joss Whedon sure cancelled their Christmas.

I have only seen one episode of the series, and was extremely underwhelmed. It seemed to have 15 minutes of story tightly packed into an hour. The rest of the time was spent in coy and flirtatious banter, which gets old when you're 35, married and read a lot of Jane Austen.

Whedon's storytelling is vastly improved by having a more limited canvas for his work. Without the endless hours to fill with his trademark sass, he gets right to the point and tells an engaging story. The movie is excellent, the pacing is excellent and the witty banter adds spice but doesn't overpower the dish. I was not a fan of the series and saw the film for free. Yet I would pay to see it again--it's that good.

Banned Books

I am a pervert. I am a degenerate sicko. I'll read anything that isn't nailed down, and have already memorized the ingredients on my Honey Smacks box. (Disney Weebles! Yay! Except that when I was a kid they were egg shaped. Now they're pill shaped. Way to teach kids to just say "no".)

Everyone else has blogged about banned books and linked to the list of the most challenged books of 1991-2000. Every time I read another post about this I am further embarrassed. The only book on that list that I haven't read is the "Mommy why is my penis changing?" book. For obvious reasons I felt that I would be fine to forego it. I like to know what makes people crazy when they read. Put Big O's sticker on the cover of any book and I'll walk away faster than you can say "I hate Faulkner." Put a banned book sticker on the cover and I'll have the spine cracked almost instantly. It's been this way ever since a group of mothers at my school decided that Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret wasn't suitable for 4th graders. I had never even comprehended the idea that there were books you couldn't or shouldn't read. I credit my mother with that. For as strict as my parents were, they let all four of us kids read anything we darn well pleased. So, of course, the fastest way to get little 4th graders interested in a book is to tell them they can't read it. And we all traded the library's one copy around furtively for the rest of that school year. I then went on to read every other book Judy Blume ever wrote. I still laugh when I think about boys and cologne.

I still devour anything that's banned, because I want to know what ideas make other people crazy and why.
I just wish they'd ban some more stuff because I'm out of books to read.

Happy Belated Birthday!

I am so bad about being on-time with birthday wishes for people. Yesterday was Lydia's big day. Let's all chip in and buy her a replacement for the creepy broken clown doll she has. Its head spins all the way round. In fact, I can't wish her a happy birthday in person because I'm afraid she'll whip out said clown doll just to see me cry!

Sharin' About Sharon: Vol. III

Girlfriend wants a milkshake. And a cheeseburger. I guess after not eating for two and a half days her body is yearning for the quick protein--vegetarian or no. They did take her off the morphine pump yesterday morning and tossed her a mercy Percocet. She was fine with this until she started walking. Two short trips and by 4:00 she was begging for the morphine again.

I personally think that the main reason they wanted her off morphine less than 12 hours after a major abdominal surgery has little to do with highminded goals like 'preventing addiction' . One of the less talked-about side effects of momo is 'decreased gastric motility'. If you can't discharge your patient until they've moved their bowels (which is a must after surgery), then why give them something that will slow that process down? The generally-accepted standard hospital stay for the type of surgery she has had is 6 days. They seem to want her out of there by Thursday. That's three days. She says she's okay with that because she wants to see her dog. I guess it's good that she can look at the bright side.

27 September, 2005

Quick, Stacey, What's Seven Minus One?!?!?

Dude, it's been such a painful day for me to surf over onto Camp4U. Not only does it sound like an institution of higher learning where one studies chemical additives, it regularly causes me to wince. Now, The Rep has poisoned the well of pop culture with some serious revisionism. Stacey has removed his comments section so I am forced to post these thoughts here, for all 5 of you to see.

use to play a game in the 7th or 8th grade called the 7 degrees of Kevin Bacon .The object of this game was to link by association any one in the world to movie star Kevin Bacon in 7 steps or less .It was fun and simple to do.

Now I have become Kevin Bacon and some people are doing all they can to link me to what ever they can (many times fabricating it on computer as they go along.We used to call this cheating when I played the game).

Some clarification for the 37-year-old elected official-cum-blogger is clearly in order.

Firstly. Dude. It's SIX DEGREES. It has been Six degrees since the 1950s. Maybe in the last car corner of the world you all needed an extra degree that the statisticians at MIT failed to account for, I don't know. I may be able to cut a small amount of slack for your possible regional necessities.

More importantly...when you were in 7th or 8th grade it was presumably 1980. Since Kevin Bacon had been in a grand total of four movies at that point this would have been really difficult to play. (Or maybe not. That extra degree may have been more necessary than I realized. Aha! It's all coming together!)

I clearly remember the game in 1988 because I remember the guy I played it with. That was also right around the time that Bacon was having his first series of comeback films and seemed to be in every darned thing. The joke was that he was in every movie, so he could be linked easily to everyone. (He appeared in 4 films in 1988).

The board game was released many years later.

I realize I'm being inordinantly picky, and severely disappointing Bob Krumm and the wider constituency in the process. I flatter myself, however, that I am a lay (hah!) expert on actors who submit to full frontal nudity in feature films and insist on total accuracy when discussing them.

And now, that I've linked repeatedly to Campfield in one day, I too can be a "hate sight".


I initially posted this in the comments section at Bob Krumm's but got to thinking that maybe it'd be nice to add it here, too.

I've actually been getting the feeling after the past few days that as much heat as he gets, the guy really buys into the whole spirit of Thunderdome and doesn't mind the bad press all that much. Hey, at least people are talking about him! Most politicians would consider that a boon.

He does seem to have a sense of humour. I enjoy that about him, honestly. Hence my Kevin Bacon thing, which Tim (Coble) tells me reads "cranky" but was really written in good fun. Tim (W)'s smileycons would come in handy right about now.

Voodoo God Killers

Much is being made, and will be made of this article in the coming weeks. I first heard about it at another site and then read more detail at TV On The Fritz.

The paper, published in the Journal of Religion and Society, a US academic journal, reports: “Many Americans agree that their churchgoing nation is an exceptional, God-blessed, shining city on the hill that stands as an impressive example for an increasingly sceptical world.

“In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies.

The original study, authored by Gregory S. Paul further conforms to that author's preconceptions. Paul is a noted expert on paleontology, and is available for speaking engagements to refute young-earth creationists. He is also noted for authoring such works as "The Great Scandal: Christianity Role in the Rise of the Nazi Scandal”, Free Inquiry, Vol. 23 No. 4, Pg. 22

Needless to say, when it comes to Christianity, Paul is --while ironically named--not necessarily its biggest fan. He goes to great length in this article to show that religion as it stands in enmity with evolution is a negative societal factor.

Yet he himself admits
This is not an attempt to present a definitive study that establishes cause versus effect between religiosity, secularism and societal health

Good thing, too. There are too many causal factors within any society to draw a post hoc ergo propter hoc argument such as the one Paul flirts with in this document. (Rejection of secular humanism gives your kids gonorrhea!!!) Without any pretense toward a true controlled study there is no way to reconcile the pudding of data points Paul provides into any cohesive conclusion.

Why do I care? Because this is the kind of thing that walks and quacks like the duck of science and gets everyone repeating snatches of it as fact. The London Times portrays this as a scientific study which reaches a conclusion. To the average reader it appears as though this is real science, conducted according to the scientific method and reaching a definitively provable conclusion. In truth this is one man working from a bias (as I indeed would be were I to write such a paper) to publish a collection of data points from which he has drawn a decidedly biased conclusion. He has not subjected this information to the rigorous standards of scientific method. Therefore it is as much to be taken on faith as anything in the Bible.

Secular Humanism is its own religion. They just tend to use bigger words and elevate themselves to the position of god.

This Is My Jesus

Hat tip:The Gathering


The Rep's latest unintentional misspelling causes me great discomfort:

I tried to allow wide birth on peoples opinion.

It just makes me cross my legs....

Sharin' About Sharon: Vol. II

Sharon called ME this morning. She was up and around at 8:15! She's not requiring that much morphine to manage the pain, and is happily beginning the day as all people should--with a Van Morrison album.

They still aren't sure whether or not the growths were cancerous, but the doctor doesn't think so. We'll know for sure in a week.

One concern that you can all keep in your prayers is that she is having trouble breathing...the doctors will be inserting a breathing tube later this morning. Breathing difficulties are a not-uncommon side effect to both opiate pain management and abdominal surgery. Given the way she's mastered everything else, I imagine this will go well, too. She is a trooper.


I misunderderstood her earlier message. She is not having a breathing tube inserted. She's receiving breathing treatments.

Alzheimer's Early Warning Signs

This AP News Article talks about a newly discovered possible early warning sign of the dread memory-loss disease.
Unexplained weight loss in older people might be an early signal of Alzheimer's disease, appearing several years before the memory lapses that define the illness, according to an intriguing but unproven new theory.
Study co-author Dr. David Bennett, director of the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center, says the results raise the possibility that the disease attacks brain regions involved in regulating food intake and metabolism, as well as memory, and that weight loss is an early symptom.

Wow. Interesting theory. I think Alzheimer's is the thing that everyone fears most about getting old. If man is the sum of his memories, then any loss of memory is a loss of identity as well. I go back and forth about it. I certainly don't want Alzheimer's, but my great grandmother had it. She couldn't eat or go to the bathroom by herself and died at 98. Although in her mind the only memories she had were of her childhood, when she was young and happy. In her mind her parents and beloved sister were still alive. In her mind she was picking berries in Northern Michigan, not crapping herself in a Detroit nursing home. I can't see where that was all bad.

26 September, 2005

Sharin' About Sharon: Vol. I

I told her that's what I'd call these posts. She didn't seem to love it, but what does she know? Girlfriend's trippin' on a morphine drip.

She's come out of surgery without any complications, which is a huge answer to all of the prayers floating in the blogosphere. The doctors didn't see any signs of cancer remaining and have sent the excised tissues to pathology to have the growths analyzed. The fact that she's been given a clean bill of health is just amazing.

They plan on keeping her for 3 or 4 more days. She's experiencing Hendrix and (hopefully) Terrapin Station as they were meant to be received--through the purple haze of the morphine drip.

My personal experience is that she'll remember nothing of it, but who knows?

Keep her in your prayers, and I'll keep you updated.

(That's not meant to be quid pro quo. I'll still update you ,even if you're not the praying sort. We're an equal-opportunity blabbermouth.)

What Other People Are Thinking...

Brittney hates it when people try to say what other people are thinking.

For once, I'm not even gonna try, because I can't grasp it.

Ashton & Demi got married.

I don't know which one is the more insanely desperate. I really can't tell.


At Least We Aren't Lesbian Lovers

Sigh. If we were, I'd start a crusade. As it is, I'm merely flummoxed.

Sharon's surgery should be taking place right now. She and I talked on Friday, and agreed that I would be her goto gal for details, etc.

So, I called to check on her and have spent a good 10 minutes getting the official runaround. I know that she signed the form allowing them to give information to anyone who calls, because she said she would. Sharon does what she says she will do. You can count on it.

Yet, I've been transfered to this desk, that room and those people over there. I'm not family and even if I were, apparently they don't give information over the phone. Since I'm not family, I'm apparently not allowed to come wait in the Waiting Area.

They've told me I can speak to her directly, and I plan on doing that as soon as I divine from these tea leaves here that she is out of surgery. (Apparenly, I am only allowed to consult protopagan forms of information, since the modern conveniences of telephones and English are useless to me right now.)

I look forward to our first official morphine-laced conversation.

George W. Bush Is On My Last Nerve

Did this guy ever meet a dollar he didn't spend? Now, I see this. He may have very good reasons to tap into the petroleum reserves. But it just seems like he is on a mission to burn through every last bit of resources we have. I voted for him twice. He was better than the other guy, in both cases. (Don't ask me how sad that makes me.) But he's just gone crazy.


Gas Guy Mafia

3:30 this morning I wrote a beautiful post about how I didn't particularly care for the Gas Guy. When I went to fix a typo, I accidentally deleted the whole thing. I was tired and not thinking clearly. Now I have reached the obvious conclusion that Jeremy Swizzlestick controls the blogosphere.

Gilda, Guts and Goading

I never liked Gilda Radner. I'm of the Joe Piscopo/Eddie Murphy/Tim Kazurinsky generation of SNL fans, and have never gotten what the big deal was about the First Season Cast, especialy Rosanne Rosanadana. Did you have to be drunk or stoned to get the joke? I think maybe the answer is "yes". Added to the list of things I found inexplicable about her was her attraction to Gene Wilder. Being in love with and married to him strikes me as one tiny step above having carnal knowledge of Captain Kangaroo. I just cannot conceive of the appeal.

Three days before I turned 19, Gilda died. Cancer that began in her ovaries spread to her liver and lungs and was untreatable. I was busy with a summer job and didn't pay much attention to the situation, but I remember Gene Wilder pleading with women everywhere to get some kind of test. Since I was 19, immortal and busy it all became background noise. Fast forward 16 years and I'm a married woman in my mid-thirties with my own female health concerns. I'm now taking Gene's words deeply to heart.

Women: Get A CA125 test as part of your annual checkup

Ovarian Cancer is the second most common gynecological cancer, and the most deadly. Caught in time it has a 90% survival rate. This test is how you catch it in time.

It is a simple blood test that measures the amount of a specific protein in your blood. If you have cancer, the number will be elevated above 35. Now, other things can cause that number to spike: a cold, an irritation or an ovarian cyst. However, the test--coupled with ultrasound--can save your life.

Ask Sharon. She has insisted on having the test every year. Her doctor (as OB-Gyns often do) didn't take her seriously, but did the test anyway. She's having surgery this week because repeated CA125 tests in conjunction with CAT scans and Ultrasounds have revealed that she is probably in the early stages of Ovarian cancer. But she caught it in time. If she hadn't asked for the test they wouldn't look for the disease until she started showing symptoms. And then it would be too late.

Sharon will be in the hospital all week. She'll then be recouperating for 5-6 weeks. After that she'll probably be good as new, minus a few odds and ends. The story could have had a different ending, had she not paid attention to Gene Wilder and insisted on the test.


Simple. Ladies, tell your doctors. Men, tell your wives, sisters, mothers to tell their doctors.

Ask Gene. Ask Sharon.

I've gotten one comment here and several emails that talk about CA125's lack of effectiveness. It's true that this test is far from ideal. It's also true that if you are easily made to worry this may not be the test for you because it has a high rate of contamination from other conditions as I mentioned above.

However, until other tests are perfected this is the best option we have at this time.

24 September, 2005

Serenity Frenzy: T-7 Days

[Insert Serenity Picture Here]

I'm a blogger. That means that I sit in my basement and type my opinions about things into a little box, hit 'PUBLISH POST' and broadcast them to the Internet. Once on the Internet, these thoughts are read by, on a good day, 167 people. Or 30 people returning 5 times each. We think it's the latter, even though the former sounds better. At any rate, that is a good 25 more readers than my 7th Grade diary.

Because I perform this mystical activity in my basement, Universal Pictures has decided that I am a member of their target audience for Serenity: The Little Movie That Could. Officially available for public consumption on 30 Sept., the movie is having a press screening on the 28th. They've invited bloggers. We've established that I am a blogger, and thus I am invited.

Here's where it gets tricky. I've never taken a journalism class in my life, unless you count being on the school paper in 7th grade. Since all I learned to do there was write a poem on 'Brotherhood' and glue small pieces of paper firmly to a larger piece of paper I don't think that counts. A few weeks ago, when Justice Sunday Strikes Back came to town, many bloggers received press passes. They apparently had donuts, got bored, fought over donuts, wrote about fighting over donuts and left. I complained, as I felt that I wished to know more about the event than the donuts. (Hang on, I'm going somewhere with this...) I was under the apparently mistaken impression that receiving a press pass to an event obligates one to write about the event. Quite the contrary. Brittney and her boyfriend assured me that is actually a violation of journalistic ethics.
You are basing this on the pretense than accepting a press pass obligates one to write extensively on the event, which just isn't true. You make it sound like the press pass is a $15 bribe in exchange for coverage. You would make a crappy journalist if that is what you believe...

Those people are not journalists, but public relations specialists. You've got a messed up sense of journalism, and your contractor metaphor reflects a misunderstanding of journalistic ethics.

Flash forward to present day. I got an email today which told me I may or may not get into the Serenity screening. In order to maximize my chances of getting into the movie, I must post the film's synopsis on my blog, get to the church on time theatre early, lock my cellphone in the glovebox and perform some masonic ritual with a rep from Universal Pictures.

I have no problem with any of this. I'm just really confused now. About Journalistic Ethics, Press Passes, Donuts and Universal Pictures. I just really want to see this movie.

Step One: Synopsis

Joss Whedon, the Oscar® - and Emmy -nominated writer/director responsible for the worldwide television phenomena ofBUFFY THE VAMPIRE, ANGEL and FIREFLY, now applies his trademark compassion andwit to a small band of galactic outcasts 500 years in the future in his feature film directorial debut, Serenity. The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, whonow ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboardhis ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thinghe has left to family –squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal.

End Synopsis

23 September, 2005

Ring My Bell

This is hysterical

ETA: Adult content. All you 5-year olds who are reading this blog shouldn't click the link.

Slow Day, Fight With Yourself

Aunt B. is still on vacation, things are slow at NiT and Pith, and no one EVER comments at Kleinheider's.

So I found this baby to fight with:

Try it. It's fun.

A Strange & Senseless Question

I think it may have something to do with Sesame Street, but ever since I was a kid I have mentally assigned gender and personality to both letters and numerals. Does anyone else do this?

Tales From The Walk-out Basement

I live in a house with a walk-out basement. When we built the place we decided to finish the basement to maximize the value of our investment and to serve as a potential apartment for aging parents. It's a pretty nice place, overall. The house is plenty big and has a lot of square footage. We keep the freezer full and the fridge fairly well stocked. I always lock the door.

Now, if someone wants to come stay with us, they're welcome to. All they have to do is ask. They'd be treated to their own private bedroom, bathroom and living area. A small additional investment could easily be made to install a kitchenette as well. It has a private entry, which is always locked and has a burgler alarmed hardwired in.

I do think I would have a problem if someone was walking by and decided they would just move into my basement. Although I'd be flattered to think they had a high enough opinion of my house to want to live here, I'm afraid I would not like it if they came in through the door or any of the five full-length windows. I think the conversation would go something like this:

Katherine Coble: AAAAAGH!

Other Guy: Hi. I was passing by and saw that you had plenty of space here. I'm moving in.

KC: I don't think so. Get out!

OG: But I need a place to stay. Right now I just have a small bedroom at my parents' house. This room is much nicer.

KC: Glad you think so. Get out.

OG: But it was so easy to get into. The door was open and the five floor-length windows were all unlocked and the alarm was off.

KC: That's because it's a nice day and I wanted some fresh air and it's a pain to lock everything up and turn on the alarm and the alarm system costs money. But get out.

OG: I think I'll stay. And it'll work out great because I'll vacuum down here for you and wash the windows and fix the carpet cheaper than if you paid someone to do it.


Okay. I know what you're thinking. I'd be an idiot to let the other guy stay in my basement. He broke in, I know nothing about him and even though he seems like a nice guy, do I really want him living in the basement rent free? Sure, he'll keep it cleaned up and I won't have to pay a carpet guy to fix the carpet...but he is a stranger. Who broke in. And I was going to have my mother in law stay here. She called ahead-- made plans and everything.

In case you hadn't guessed, this pretty much sums up my feeling on illegal immigration. Just because we have a nicer house and have been idiotic enough to not lock the door and the windows doesn't mean that people who come here without calling ahead deserve to live in the basement. Just because we have a more prosperous country and have failed to secure our borders doesn't mean that illegal immigrants deserve to stay in the country. The relative theoretical inexpensiveness of their labour doesn't lessen the offence of entering the country illegally. I know several people who desperately wish to live here and have spent many years and thousands of dollars to do so. Providing amnesty to illegal immigrants is a slap in the face to those who have struggled against red tape and bureaucracy to come here legally.

Tim and I worked hard to be able to afford this house. We do all we can to keep our house nice and make sure it is available for those who need it. Like all Americans, we take pride in our home and are glad when others appreciate it also. However, a squatter is still a violation of the sanctity of our home and should be dealt with accordingly.

This post was inspired by A.C. Kleinheider who so eloquently said:
I never understand conservative commentators and writers who encourage watered-down positions and compromise. Politicians have that covered all by themselves. Writers should talk about what is right -- what should be.

When Worlds Collide

I'm taking an antibiotic which is new to me.

It is called Doxycycline.

I am wondering if I really should be taking it, especially without the other half of the Puking Pastille from the Skiving Snackboxes.

22 September, 2005

Last Lost Question...

Can't believe I forgot this one:

How hot was it when Locke corrected Shannon's Kate's grammar?! I'm sorry but I find that to be quite, um, endearing.

ETA: Thanks to my personal editor for catching another one....

Which Creepy 70s Vocalist Chick WAS It?

I got a phone call this morning which proved conclusively that I am stuck on stupid.

I really believed that the music in last night's 23rd episode of foreplay was sung by the evercreepy skeleton of Karen Carpenter.

However, that man who knows women was just sure and certain that the lushness of vocals and instrumentation could only come from Mama Cass.
Ever eager to be proven wrong, I set aside my duties (hee. I said duty...) to find out the answer. Lo and behold, UseNet agrees wholeheartedly with dear Sarcastro. Since I make it a point to never doubt UseNet in any pop culture matters, I humbly admit that I was wrong. While Karen did perform the song, last night's version is not her. Also, Tom Cruise and Jodi Foster are both gay.

Okay, Tom. Fine. Cass is not creepy. The song is creepy, but I know you luuurv Cass Elliot beyond belief, so I will not hate on Cass. But you owe me.

Strugglings-The Invisible Class

There's a lot of talk now about TennCare, the cuts to TennCare and the tragedies rising from those cuts. I've been following the issues very closely for the last few weeks and one thing about the debate consistently troubles me.
As the battle is continuously painted as a struggle between the Haves and the Have-nots, I think everyone is overlooking the very large group of Strugglings. It's not polite to talk about the Strugglings in genteel society, even though (or perhaps because) more of us fit in that category than anyone would like to admit. The line between Struggling and Having is often as fixed as the line betweeen Struggling and Having Not.

You know the Strugglings--you have more than likely been one at some point in time. Who are they? Well, they're the people who through hard work, perseverence and a high LTV ratio bought their first house, but still can't pay the utility bills from time to time. They're the people who more often than not are forced to put one week's groceries and gas on a credit card each month. They're the people who clip coupons and can't afford to have a baby. They're the people who are upside down on both cars they've bought to get them to the jobs that make justcloseenough to cover their expenses. Their grass gets a little high because gas for the mower is an expense easily cut back when you have to decide between that and peanut butter for a week's worth of sack lunches. They are the people whose budget is thrown for three months if someone gets sick enough to miss half a day's work for a doctor's visit.

They are the secretaries in your offices, the networking specialists, the graphic designers, the salesmen and the teachers. They will skip those sack lunches to send money to the Red Cross for Katrina relief, and they will always try to put money in the offering plate and the Salvation Army buckets.

But they are tired. They know that life is hard, and sometimes just seems to get harder. Most of them are worn out to the point of exhaustion just from working day to day. They spend hours on the phone begging for limit extensions on the charge cards that keep their heads above water and they may go out to dinner for a birthday or anniversary if they save enough money.

These are the people that no one talks about and that almost everyone has been. These are the people whose generosity would be even more apparent if they had more to give, and these are the people who are helped by tax cuts. Since they pay less than the rich, any tax cut gives them less money than a rich person gets. But any one of them will tell you that every penny counts and they're glad to have it.

Birthday Wishes

Tim & I would like to wish a happy belated birthday to our favourite Silver Strawberry.

Happy birthday, Lacy!


May I suggest a glow-in-the-dark purple iPod skin? Nothing screams "GIRLGEEK" like glow-in-the-dark....

Lost Questions....SPOILERS, FOLKS


How can the island parts be so interesting and the non-island parts be so boring? It's like watching X-Files intercut with Touched By An Angel...

Why did the Waltperition in the jungle sound like he was whispering Twin Peaks Dwarf Language?

How did the producers know that I find Karen Carpenter to be inherently creepy?

What are the odds that this will not be as funny as Biodome? Did I just admit that I like Biodome? Oh...you already knew that.

My joy at Kate's disappearance was shortlived, yet I did feel a moment of tranquility when her whiny self was replaced with a shaft of light.

How can I stand the dog being missing? Not well, I'll tell you that.

21 September, 2005

I Have Been Face To Face With A Gay

Now that my mother in law has flown back to Newark and my major freelance project has been taken care of, I have begun catching up on the TiVo'd juiciness of the fall season. I just watched My Name Is Earl.

It's a funny show. I laughed at several of the lines and I really liked the production values, with the vast jump flashbacks and grounded shots. Jason Lee is as engaging as ever, and unlike *coughMattDamoncough* he doesn't need Kevin Smith to be funny. But the part of me that grew up in Indiana, lives in Tennessee and votes for Republicans kinda feels like the butt of a joke. I have a theory that 90% of the "Blue Staters" are actually people like me who had a very Red State upbringing but then decided they were more enlightened. Church is for hypocrites, small towns are stifling and narrowminded, and married people are boring or idiotic. Life without wine and cheese functions is pointless and we should be tolerant for all lifestyles except the ones that include voting for George Bush.

I kinda got the feeling halfway through Earl that the writers of the show felt this way. I'd bet that at least one of them is from West Red State Iosippi, and had a ball at typing up the lovingly humourous portrayal of folks back home. You can tell that there is a certain affection for Earl in the writing. If not the show would be insufferable. As it stands now, it's a funny show with a bit of a sandpaper edge. I'll still watch it, though, because I'm pretty tolerant.

20 September, 2005

Today's Medicines Pay For Tomorrow's Cures

Or something like that.

I'm watching Little House On The Prairie with my Mom-In-Law. Since this is apparently TV geared toward the retired, they keep showing this commercial from Glaxo Smith Kline (drug company) about how expensive it is to find new drugs. The tagline tells us, in effect, that the high prices of medicines finance future cures.

Okay. Fine.

Why is that? I'm thinking about it, and I know that as a conservative it should make sense. Free market and all that. But I have bad allergies today, I can't breathe and my throat hurts. I really want to know why I should underwrite the R&D investments of pharmaceutical corporations. If I buy a drug for my sore throat, why should I have to pay a hefty surcharge so that GSK or their counterparts can cook up a cure for something else in their lab? As with everything else I compare it to books. There is no way in heck I'll pay $300 for a hardback book so that a publisher can spend that money looking for new and profitable writers. Yet that seems to be what GSK is saying in their commercials. I would think that grants and investments should be adequate funding for research. If you really want to see GSK develop nanocures, you can sink your investment capital into their corporation via the stock market. Forced investment in the form of high drug prices is criminal. Not only are you bound by necessity to pay the exorbitant cost, but you receive no return on your investment. Wouldn't you rather pay $75 for pills and invest the other $225 in the market? At least you'd have a better chance of seeing that money.

I'd be far more cooperative if I didn't know how much ballpoint pens, tote bags, calendars, and golf junkets cost. Every doctor's visit I've had ending in a name brand prescription has involved the doctor writing that scrip with a pen featuring the name of the drug. I feel like a character in some post-modern black comedy.

There's a lot of talk over at Sharon Cobb's and other TennCare watch sites about those dying because of TennCare cuts. While I abhor the senseless death of another human being, I would like to know why the primary villain in this scenario is Governor Bredesen, and by extension the people of Tennessee. Why is no one questioning the fact that insulin, a drug for which there is increasingly high demand, is so expensive in the first place? Why are there sit-ins in Bredesen's office, and not on the expansive lawns of pharmaceutical campuses? Why are the ordinary americans being asked to continually invest in the R&D of large drug companies without receiving a return on their investment? Governor Bredesen, for whom I did not vote because I found him to be a repeat liar, has made a decision to refuse to bankrupt his state for the continued interest of pharmaceutical corporations.

I know that I haven't thought through this process in its entirety. I know that there are good arguments to be made on all sides of this issue, and that I am writing out of a sense of frustration as much as anything else. Yet I would like to know why ailing Americans are being forced into the unwanted role of miniature venture capitalists whose only return on their investment is the temporary abatement of symptoms.

19 September, 2005

OOO Eee ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang

My mother in law is asleep in our guest bedroom, with the lavender vanilla air freshener, the three-day old wildflowers and the only box of Kleenex in the house.

I am at my basement office desk with a throat so sore it makes me cry, blowing my nose into scraps of toilet paper. It's really nice toilet paper (Quilted!) but TP nonetheless. I hate to be sick, especially when there's company around. I want to be one of the Really Great Hostesses who makes omelettes every morning and serves them with homemade croissants and sliced berries. I have to prove to this lady that entrusting me with her only son was a fine idea, in spite of my "out of the ordinary" nature. Instead, I have insulted Oprah in front of our Pastor and run across the street from the church to the Rec Center in my Sunday clothes not once or twice, but three times. I laughed out loud in Sunday School. I couldn't help it. We first read the Bible verse that says any sacrifice we make for the work of the Lord will be repaid us tenfold in heaven. That went straight into the verse in Acts where Paul circumcises Timothy. Funniest. mental image. ever. My sister tells me that it is not good to "laugh about penises in Sunday School" and I know she's probably right. It's also doubly-good to not do so in front of someone you are trying to impress.

I now feel like all bets are off with the impress-ing thing, since my eyes are about swollen shut and I would undoubtedly be arrested in any roundup for Aqualung. She leaves Wednesday morning, and I've been surfing for home remedies that will pack a mightier wollop than benedryl and tea. No such luck, but I do have the Title song going through my head nonstop. This probably means I will be singing it in her presence, thus confirming her worst fears about any genetic contribution I would make to her grandchildren. I should probably just adopt, but that's a whole bunch more folks to impress.

18 September, 2005

Whachya Watchin?

We've crawled on our bellies through the desert of summer TV, drinking at the oasis of Kathy Griffin and scoffing at the mirage of Dancing With The Surreal Bachelor. Now it's time for TeeVee proper, when the serious TiVo fills up with more than gardening shows. (By the way...never buy your mother a TiVo, unless you like to watch This Old British Garden endlessly.)

The season's just starting, but I've staked my Season Pass Territory pretty firmly.

Arrested Development

If you aren't watching this, you are letting yourself down. This is the most brilliant television created in the last 5 years. Seriously.

Kitchen Confidential

It's on after Arrested Development, and I liked the book. We'll give the show a shot.

Prison Break

They sold me on this with the Shawshank references. Since I love Shawshank to the point of having the entire movie memorized, I figured I'd give this a shot. Four episodes into it I'm not so convinced, but I'll give it another couple of bedoop-heavy weeks.

I love this show as much for the family dynamic as for the crime-solving aspect. This, more than any other program ever made, captures what it is really like to be a working married woman. Alison's true irreplacability mirrors what every woman feels about her role at work. I can't speak for every woman, but most women I know feel like wives and mothers as much at the office as they do at home. This show softly conveys the ensuing relationship issues and the inner grief of the working woman with too many hearts on her plate. Plus, the middle daughter is a riot.

Gilmore Girls SPOILER
This show won me over for the sheer fact that many of Loralei and Rory's conversations about movies and popular culture sound like either me and Tim or me and Beth. I've kept watching because I love all the characters. Except one. I cannot stand Jess. So imagine my thrill when I read about that heel returning to the show. Apparently he's Alexis Bleidel's real-life boyfriend. Remember what I said about how hard it is to balance working relationships with personal ones? Alexis must feel the heat every time she has to beg Amy and Daniel to write a story arc to keep Milo Ventimiglia in clove cigarettes and hair gel. I'm still gonna TiVo it, but there is some bedooping in Stars Hollow's future.


A) We have two TiVos. B) I love Mark Harmon's character.

It's fun, but you should really watch it with the lights on. We really enjoyed the first episode, but I was scared to death.

My Name Is Earl
I like Jason Lee, and this show looks like it might be similar to Ed. More than that, constant exposure to it from The Twenty (brought to you by Christie Projectors) has worn me down. I'll at least TiVo it once.

The Office
It will never be the same without Ricky Gervaise--the Complaint dialogue from BBC Season One is the single funniest thing I have EVER seen on television--but if you don't like Steve Carrell after The 40 Year Old Virgin, then I don't know what to say to you.

Law & Order:SVU
Sex Fiends and Richard Belzer. Appointment TV at it's finest.


J.J. Abrams gets one more season to prove to me that he has an overarching story in mind. I was with him until the season finale last year, at which point I felt like I was on the receiving end of a drunken fraternity prank. He owes me a better exploration of Hurley's backstory and a serious playdown of Kate and her Krime Spree. Focus on Locke, Hurley, Sayid, Sawyer and the Hobbit. (Seriously, isn't Dom why half of us tuned in to begin with?) More than that--give us some answers. What are the numbers? What's down the hatch? Why was Hurley in the asylum? What's Walt's deal?

Veronica Mars
THIS is how you do a story arc, JJ. This is how you create compelling drama. And she better end up with Logan.

Joey & ER
NBC Thursday Night reminds me of the center from the high school basketball team. I have vague recollection of once being entertained by them both. Now they're older and sagging around the middle but you still feel some sort of obligation to see them through.

Tarantino's finale last year kicked keister, save for the painful locker room dialogue. They kind of lost me with last year's Holmes story, but I'm reeled back in by QT. Hope they can sustain another season from that momentum.

They're my age (okay, 2 years older) and I like the reverse-24 style architectue of the show. So often I get involved in the lives of characters that it's nice to be able to see them grow and develop. I think that's been one of the strengths of the Harry Potter series, and it certainly kept us all focused on Friends long past it's expiration date. Reunion gives us the chance to really watch the effect that 20 years has on a group of people.

It's almost over, but then the DVD comes out! Woohoo!

I hope these shows are with us for the whole season. PLEASE watch Arrested Development. Please. Please.

Let me know if you've seen something I've missed that I should add. Right about now I'm really tired of Shark Documentaries.

17 September, 2005

Help Wanted--$40/day

We are looking for a Live-IN pet sitter.

If you would be interested, or have the name of someone who would be interested, please contact me.

16 September, 2005


The first writer I had any passing knowledge of was Richard Scarry. I loved his coyly, subtly named "Best Story Book Ever". I was 3, and agreed wholeheartedly. The first writer to whom I had long-term exposure was John Boy on the Waltons. He was always shutting himself in his room to write stories and was treated like some wise baby bird by the rest of Walton's Mountain. For years--decades, really--I thought I couldn't be a writer because of John Boy. While I did spend most of my childhood off by myself making up stories, I seldom wrote them down. And as much as I loved reading and making up stories, if anyone ever gave me a bundle of paper and a packet of pencils as my only Christmas present I would have had a hard time being grateful. I liked books and stories, but I also liked dolls and Weebles and Steve Taylor albums. Besides which, my suburban family wasn't really all that colorful. We only had four children and no cows and no lumber yard. Between The Waltons and Little House On The Prairie, I was brought up thinking that you had to be poor and have a dad who worked in a lumber yard if you wanted to be a writer.
The first time I read Little Women I was eight years old. I could see myself very easily as Jo...my middle name is even Joan (pronounced Joe- Ann). I tried to get my family to call me 'Jo' but that didn't last five minutes. The rest of them are as stubborn as I. I figured out that a garrett was the same thing as an attic, and started to get that between Jo and John Boy, having a little room to write in was somehow important. Our attic could only be reached by a rickety ladder in the garage so you had to have dad back out the car to get up there. Besides which, I was eight, and afraid of heights. So I cleared out a space under the basement stairs to be my "garrett". There was poor lighting and a musty smell. I didn't feel inspired to write, but I did concoct a mental fear of the ghost I just knew was living in my dad's workshop so I quickly abandoned my garrett. It was probably not a good idea to come up with such a writing nook when I was also breezing through Nancy Drews by the dozen. (Years later when I first read Harry Potter I felt an immediate kinship for the boy who lived in a cupboard under the stairs.)
In fifth grade I read Anne Frank's diary for the first time, and realized that writing about one's own life could be interesting. Unfortunately, writing about crushes on tv stars is far less enthralling than chronicaling one's hiding from Nazis, so I gave that up. But between Anne and Judy Blume, I felt that all good writers were Jewish. Since I was only half-Jewish (or so I was led to believe) that let me further out of the running. No Jews, no Nazis, no poverty and no lumber yard. How could I call myself a writer?
By college, I realized I couldn't be a writer because I had no drug addictions, no lesbian love triangles and no boozy exile to France. Since college I've been employed in the most varied series of jobs imaginable. Yet I always end up writing. I've either been the girl who writes all the letters that need to make an impression, the woman who writes all the copy for the brochures, the secretary who also writes all the press releases. Two years ago I wrote two little (and I mean LITTLE) books that were published as companion pieces to games we sold in Wal-Mart. The only way we could get the games into the stores was to have them accompanied by some type of book, as the game were being sold through that division. So I was finally published. If you can call two 80-page books about the poker and bunko 'published'.
About a year ago I realized something. I've spent 30 years telling myself reasons that I couldn't be an actual writer. But the whole time I've been experiencing life through a writer's eyes. And I've been writing. Then I realized. Being a writer is something you become or do. It is something you Are. Every writer's path is different. If they weren't, all books and stories would be the same and at the same time be nothing. Indistinguishable. So after 35 years of living I feel fully qualified to say

I am a writer.

I just AM.

Now if I could just convert our attic space....

15 September, 2005

Deep Thoughts II: The iTunes Soundtracks Edition

Elijah Wood's playlist tries very hard to be not very very gay but it still has a David Bowie cover. I'm not convinced.

Who's bright idea was it to let Madonna sing on the Evita soundtrack? She has no range. No sir. Not the real range the role requires. Who knew that it was possible to rewrite all the songs to her 5-note vocal capacity. Meow!

I wanna see Elizabethtown, just because of the soundtrack. By the way, Cameron Crowe and Orlando Bloom will be in Franklin on Sunday at 1pm. Mr. Roboto has the facts.

The entire Team America: World Police album appears to be one long bleep.

Who is responsible for Will Ferrell? Does anyone have a contact number for this person? Time to put on the brakes, buddy.

Adelaide's Lament from Guys & Dolls is still one of the best songs around.

Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee from Grease always makes me sad. They're such nasty beasts to poor Sandra Dee. She was really good in Gidget

Oh yeah. I just remembered, because I was looking at the Godspell soundtrack..Patrick, what was that reference in Ezekiel again?

If I were a "big spender" I wouldn't want to hang out with someone who kept throwing it in my face.

Show up outside my house playing Peter Gabriel and I'll shoot the boombox out of your hands.

Howie Mandel is...
A) Still alive
B) Bald with a soul patch
C) on iTunes with a Celebrity playlist. [Does 'celebrity' not mean what I think it means?]
D) quoted as saying "When I hear these words it's like he's living my life." About 50 Cent. Yeah, those two are blood. No doubt about it. Fitty an' Howie. Bald Howie. Is that why he shaved his head? Couldn't he just get an electric car or be a talking car or something to do with a car like every other St. Elsewhere refugee? Even David Morse drove a cab for awhile.

Tales From The ANAL Zone

Yeah, that right there should drive some blog traffic my way. Of course it will be the kind of blog traffic that will leave highly unsatisfied. Nothing like leading someone on to let them down. Call me a blogtease.

Tim and I were invited to meet Patrick, Lydia, Lacy and Pam for lunch at First Baptist Church. They do this amazingly good deal of a lunch every Thursday. For $4 you get salad, potatoe (ha), rolle (double hah!) and chickene (joke officially dead.) Sort of like the impending blogger meet-up for this evening, except no dancing on bars.

It was fantastic. Even though we all go to the same church and read each other's blogs daily (or whenver Lazy Lacy and Lydia decide to update theirs....) we have not all met. Until today. It was great...sort of like meeting a pen pal from Sweden except we understood everything each other was saying. And there was chickene (joke screaming in agony.)

So when do we get ANAL, you ask? Well, I'll tell you.

That is Tim's plate. After lunch. Ladies and gentlemen, I am married to the most anal man on the planet. After 17 years together, I am very used to this. Every meal whether at home, at someone else's house or in a restaurant ends with his plate looking like this. Granted, he put himself through high school and college washing dishes. Yet this was a paper plate. As in "disposable" and "doesn't need to be washed."

Lacy was so moved that she photographed the event for posterity.

I on the other hand am not anal, but I'm not posting the picture of my decidedly messy plate for two reasons. My boobs. Which are in the background. I know that if you came here looking for the sexing, my boobs would be a nice taste. But this is a family blog. (If your family is a little on the PG-13 side) And they're at the complete opposite end of the body from the anal stuff. So if you were looking for that, you'd not care about the boobs anyway.

I did find out who Connie Lane actually is, but now I have the unfortunate mental association between Pam and Depends. I know she now hates me forever. And I was so caught up in meeting her that I forgot to ask her like 90 questions which include

…Did she like Sorcery & Cecilia?
…Has she read Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell?
…Wouldn't she prefer Harry & Hermione?!?
…How exactly do you have to captivate bloggers from around the world to send you presents? This gratuitous use of the words 'anal' and 'boobs' are my first stab at that. Somehow I think I've failed miserably.

Deep Thoughts

I believe that if there are angels in heaven there will be animals. And all the animals will be able to talk. Like in Narnia.

Why is one lens of my glasses always dirtier than the other? My eyes and face are usually in the same place at the same time. I don't get it.

If Al Gore invented the Internet, why didn't he foresee the loopholes that allow spam? Personally, I would like him to answer that.

Porn. I don't get it. It seems strange to want to watch strangers having sex. If I were behind these people at a traffic light, chances are they'd irritate the krep out of me. Yet watching them be naked and get goop all over each other is supposed to be the height of sophisticated entertainment. People are wired weirdly.

Ralph Wiggum is usually the funniest thing about the Simpsons. Oh, and Smithers is gay.

I also don't get Erma Bombeck. Except she's now dead so I don't have to worry about it as much as porn.

I know that Hollywood is into remaking movies and TV shows, but if they remake The Great Escape there will be hell to pay. That movie is perfect as is. No need for me to see Brad Pitt in the McQueen role and George Clooney in the Garner role. Dear lord, did I just give some hack an idea? Back away from the computer, California boy. Go watch some porn.

I love my kitchen, so I'm uploading a photo of it, since there is too much black white and purple on this page.

Maureen Dowd's column is snotty.

Who cares how fat Michael Moore is? Really. What does it matter? I hate his movies, but his fatness has nothing to do with his movies. Unless he makes a movie about it. Then I have no point at all.

If you hit OPTION+Semicolon you get ellipses. That's three periods in a row. (Ouch. God help us.) I've been typing for 22 years. It's easier for your fingers to hit three periods in a row. Why did they bother to code that glyph?

Dogs and cats lick their own butts. I hope they get a better deal in heaven, because when they can talk I don't want to hear about it.

14 September, 2005

Lying In The Bed You Made

Well, Nashville voted down the proposed tax increase "for the children".

I'm in a foul mood. I'll state that right upfront.

Abortion has been legal in this country for more than 30 years. Birth control is being given out at every possible opportunity. In some school systems a condom is more easy to come by (hah!) than a can of Coca-Cola. Yet people who persist in having babies seem to also persist in wanting others to pay for the education of those babies.

Yes, I do realize that an educated and productive populace is good for the country and good for the economy. I firmly believe in education as a necessity. I also believe that a highway infrastructure is good for the country and good for the economy. I support it with my taxes. Yet when I wish to drive on the roads I must also pay a wheel tax. If I choose to drive a car, it costs me $80 a year. If you choose to have a baby and educate it in the public school system, why shouldn't you at least pay as much for tuition as you pay to register your car? Consistently demanding that everyone fully underwrite your child's education seems to fly in the face of the pro-choice movement.

Sure, I realize there are people who are too poor to afford such a tuition. Well, we give food stamps in those cases, and provide free lunch. I'll gladly voucher someone's tuition if they are too poor to come up with $80 a year. However, I'm betting that the majority of parents in the Metro school system can skip a few Domino's Pizzas to pay for their own kids' schooling.

If I ever have children, you can ask me if I've changed my mind. But seeing as how my husband and I both went to private schools (he worked 3 jobs to pay his own tuition) I doubt I will.

And You Thought Your Mother Was Distant...

Science is well on the way to developing an artificial womb.

The almost-always-awesome Wendy McEllroy--patron saint of iFeminists everywhere--ponders what this means for the abortion debate.

What if, instead of terminating your pregnancy, you could have the fetus transferred to an artificial womb for gestation? Would you do it?

I can only imagine how interesting the episodes of Law & Order will be...

Would You Laugh At This Man?

Even though Tim and I do almost everything together, early on in our relationship he came to the realization that I would not go all the way with him. All the way in this case means listening to Prairie Home Companion. For years he has had to huddle quietly with the radio in the den or the car hole to get his fix of Lutheran Humour. [Oxymoron Alert!] Whenever I am unable to escape the droning clutches of Garrison Keillor's voice I feel like I've dropped through a hole in the floor, entering a parallel universe where the word funny doesn't mean what I think it means.

Keillor: "And then Ethel proceeded to bring three apple pies to the potluck."

Studio Audience: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!

Me: "What? Why is that funny? All he said was that she brought 3 pies. It wasn't even like they were funny pies with birds or worms or lugnuts. Just apple."

Tim: "It's not the story. It's the way he tells it."

Me: "But he's just talking. And it's radio so you can't even see his face. Even with Groucho glasses it isn't funny."

Tim: "Oh just go watch TVLand."

After 15 years we've just agreed to disagree on all matters Woebegon. But today, yes this very 14 September, 2005, I am vindicated. Garrison Keillor has no sense of humour.

According to an article pointed out by Claire Suddath of the Nashville Scene, Mr. Funny is pursuing a Cease & Desist against a blogger who is selling T-Shirts reading "A Prairie Ho Companion".

Now; that shirt. THAT is funny. It has all the best elements of comedy-->brand satire, foul language, sex and a sense of irony. Of course, it doesn't have anything to do with ice fishing, rapid-rise flour or women named Lois so Keillor fails to see the humour. I hate that this guy in Minnesota has lawyers on his tail, but I love that after 15 years I'm finally one step closer to winning this argument, as Garrison Keillor proves once and for all that he cannot bring the funny.

13 September, 2005

Breakin' Rocks In The Hot Sun...

Rex has a new job.

Doctors Hate Sick People

Okay. That was downright bitchy, wasn't it?

Doctors have been much on my mind this last year. To me they're like a vegetarian restaurant. You are glad they're around, you know it's good for you to have them, but you hate to actually go and spend your money there. (Sorry, Dan & Holly.)

Every woman has a horror story about her "Annual Visit", and most men have had to turn their head and cough at some point. I've had gynos remark about the level of my sexual desirability, all while having a greased gloved hand shoved up my nethers. From recent conversations with other women, I know I'm not alone in this. I've had a doctor tell me that I might feel better if I got laid. Okay. He was a doctor so he said "have intercourse". Either way, if you can't scrawl it on a perscription pad you best keep it to yourself. Especially when talking to a sixteen year old girl.

Sharon and I were discussing doctors last week and I shared my opinion with her. After the events of this week and the latest kidney stone, I'm sharing them with myself in writing so that I don't get very upset.

I come from a family of doctors. I wanted to be one, until my D in Algebra convinced me otherwise. (Yes, I retook the class to get a B+, but still...) Let me tell you what I know to be true.

If you can make it through college, getting all As in hardcore science classes odds are you are not only smart, but rarely sick.

If you can make it through med school, where you often don't sleep for 72 hours straight, you are not only smart, but have a great immune system that bears up under pressure. And you're rarely sick.

If you can make it through internship and residency, where you often work without sleep for 48 hours at a time, surrounded by gravely ill people and all manner of disease, you are a person who is able to rarely be sick. And you start to see yourself as superhuman. In some ways you are. Everyone else gets colds, flu, migraines and cramps. You don't.

And you start to slightly look down on sick people. Sure, they're your bread and butter, but they're not as Super as you, in all your Nietszchian ability to remain untouched by God, germs and life.

Even if you don't look down on them, if you retain your ability to see them as more than an insurance card-carrying sack of germy phlegm, you don't fully understand. Odds are you don't get what it's like to be debilitated by disease.

I know I'm generalising here, and I know that I'm cranky after talking to the nurse at my own doctor's office.

But still. There it is.

My rules for finding a sympathetic doctor:

1. Try to find one whose had a history of illness in their family. Doctors who grew up with a sickly mother or sibling are usually much better at understanding.

2. Never go to a urologist who hasn't had a kidney stone.

3. Always have a sense of humour. It jars their reality a little bit.

12 September, 2005

Out of Nashville

One of the upsides to a kidney stone (hahaha) is that you can lay on the couch all drugged up and watch movies you've always meant to see but never got around to. And if they suck you're too stoned to care.

Today, twenty years after the rest of the free world, I finally watched Out Of Africa. I had avoided it because I generally dislike those overlong movies that look like slowmoving calendars you'd get from an insurance company (see under Wolves, Dances With). "Yes, Jerrold, it's boring as dried paint, but isn't Slovania a luuurvly setting?"

This I finally watched because it's about the writer Isak Dineson and I have a bit of a thing for writers. I am one, and we are a funny breed. We don't come out much, so when we see one of our own there's a lot of pheremon-sniffing. I'm especially curious about these Great Writers of Yore who Had Lives. Much of the talk these days is about the lack of real life experience in society and how that has deprived us of Real Writers.

Halfway into the film I was downright morose. How will I ever be a writer without syphillis? Without a bad marriage and an African coffee farm? I've never led a cattle drive across 300 miles of Africa to feed my bastard husband and the other British troops, only to contract the rot of Pangloss and a ratty compass. It was depressing as hell.

You know what, though? Karen Blixen may have loved an elephant killer, but I've loved a man who builds machines for fun and makes my heart dance. I've been able to find happiness without desert mud and I once gave Garth Brooks a dollar for the Coke machine. Not too shabby, and Camille Paglia doesn't have to read my happy little books.

Popular Music's Bastard Child

To read this post in its entirety, hop on over to Tangled Up In Blue.

11 September, 2005

Republican Cooties

There's a lot of talk on other blogs about dating Republicans. It's largely humourous, mixed with a dose of bewilderment and a small modicum of self-disdain.

Another blog goes into great depth about frustrations the author has with points of view generally considered to be conservative.

Well, I tend to be more (like all the way) libertarian in my politics these days. Yet, I'm not getting why we're doing the 2005 version of "eeewwww. You have COOTIES." I mean, come on. Replace "republican" with any other term and the conversation becomes archaic. It turns into something between "I'm actually dating a Chinese man" and "Some of my best friends are black." It reduces a human being to a commodity defined by one facet of their personhood. That's why we hate racism, classism, gender bias and clowns. So anyway, I plead with you. Date whom you will, but date the whole person. And thank God I've been married for 15 years. I don't have to worry about this mess.

September 12

Everyone remembers September 11, 2001. Pretty much without exception they can tell you where they were when the Towers fell, what they were doing and how out of the ordinary that day was.

What about September 12, 2001? Who remembers that day? It wasn't very significant, comparatively speaking--sort of the Skipper Doll of days. What do I remember about that day?

One, it was the last day of Weight Watchers for me. I'd watched lives snuffed out in a blink, and heard all the men on planes leaving farethewell love messages on answering machines. That was it. I said "screw points" and had some Ben & Jerry's. Nothing says "live for the moment" like watching an unexpected mass fatality unfold on the television.

Two, it was the day that one of my coworkers was caught having an affair. Everyone else in the office was accounted for. He happened to have flown to Dallas to sleep with one of his field sales rep employees. Grounded flights meant he couldn't sneak home. Karma's a bitch, buddy.

Three, all TV was postponed so that every major network could cover the carnage. It got to the place, by the evening of the 12th, that felt like they were actually rooting for more carnage because the news was getting boring. When people asked me why I wouldn't watch one minute of televised Katrina coverage, I can only say "September 12, 2001." The constant barrage of anchors who seemed to hope that they would unground the planes so that more tragedy would happen was grisly and wrong. Even more wrong was that there was no TV. No place to turn to forget, for even thirty minutes, that the world was on backwards. I know that seems selfish, but if you remember that raw dark week, you know. You know the craving in the pit of your stomach for Muppets or Friends or anything that took place outside of the constant nightmare. Seems to me that's what entertainment is for. Think of it as the cultural version of getting drunk at a wake. One of the other recent defectees from Weight Watchers Points recommended that I rent "Knight's Tale" with Heath Ledger. Personally, I can't make the same recommendation to you.

I hope this September 12th is just another Monday. I'm glad we all lived to see it.

10 September, 2005

Group Punishment

In third grade Bobby Kelsey stole some coloured chalk out of the teacher's supply cabinet. All 19 of us had to miss recess.

In Japenese prison camps it was common practice to shoot 10 prisoners to punish one deserter.

In Blogger everyone has to type in nonsense codes to comment because of a few comment spammers.

I for one am sick of having to squint to read the squiggle--especially when I comment on my own bloody site. So I've turned off the blasted Word Verify thing. Let the spammers come and try to sell me a bigger penis and better coffee. Sod them. I'm not bowing to their tyranny any longer.

09 September, 2005

Kanye West And The Modern Minstrel Show


I said it. Flame me, send me hate mail, whatever.

I'm just skeeved out at all the people who are grooving on his remarks from last week. He said something utterly ridiculous and inappropriate to the venue. Yet Egalia and others go on about how he Spoke Truth To Power (as if the viewing audience on NBC Friday Night is "Power"), rejoicing all the while about how cool it is to finally have the Facts out there.

People who fancy themselves open-minded are warmed by having him pander to their core beliefs with what was essentially a showman's patter.

Someone please tell me how this differs from the minstrel shows from 175 years ago.

1. You have people with a set idea about race and racial stereotypes. In this case, that rich white men don't care about black people.

2. You have entertainers who get on stage and mock those people by using the stereotypes to entertain. In this case a well-thought-of black entertainer who flouts the stereotype to gain approval from the intended audience.

3. You have an audience who is eager to hear their beliefs confirmed in an entertaining and amusing way. 175 years ago it was men in blackface eating watermelon to the hoots and cheers of an audience who believed that was all there was to black people. Nowadays it is a self-satisfied audience who are falling over themselves in their eagerness to believe the worst about white men with money.