30 April, 2006

The White House Correspondents Dinner

Boy, a bunch of people with leftward sympathies are extremely thrilled with Stephen Colbert's speech at the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

I admit that I'm most decidedly not seeing this through the most even-handed point of view in the world. While GWB is not my favourite of Presidents by a long (long) shot, I am still really irritated at the constant jabs made in his direction.
This President has had a lot on his plate, and he still seems to have retained a decent amount of his sense of humour.

Earlier, the president had addressed the crowd with a Bush impersonator alongside, with the faux-Bush speaking precisely and the real Bush deliberately mispronouncing words, such as the inevitable "nuclear." At the close, Bush called the imposter "a fine talent. In fact, he did all my debates with Senator Kerry." The routine went over well with the crowd -- better than did Colbert's, in fact.

Yet it's soooo coool to so many people to see Colbert lay into him. I don't get why the right side of the aisle seems to always be the brunt of these routines. Step back 10 years to the 1996 dinner, hosted by that brave Right Winger Al Franken.

Now the whole point of Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot was to satirize the breakdown of civility in our public discourse, which is having a tremendously corrosive effect on society in general. Case in point. Don Imus. And that's why tonight, I'd like to do my part to move the national dialogue forward, not backward. And in all modesty I really hope that historians will look back on this speech as a watershed event that ushers in a New Age of Civility - which will begin immediately after I tell the following jokes about the Speaker.

Light on Clinton jokes, heavy on rightie-bashing.

And then, of course, in 1998, many prominant folks on the left were quite aggrieved at the very idea of Paula Jones dining in the same room at that year's WHC dinner.

Arianna Huffington was correct when she stated that
Political satire at its keenest has always been about speaking truth to power -- sometimes brutally, always wittily.

What is ironic was that she was lambasting the 1998 dinner for being too deferential to Clinton. So, do I think Colbert should have been more tame in his remarks? No. The WHCDinner has always been about sharp barbs between the president and the DC press. Except, of course, during the oh-so-deferential and fawning Clinton years.

Yeah, Stephen Colbert got a few good ones in on ol' Dubya. But you know what? Dubya let him. Dubya took it, albeit stoically. GWB didn't book obvious fanboys like Franken or crowd-pleasing lightweights like Jay Leno and Ray Romano. So next time you cheer on someone for dishing it out against the Right, remember that when the Left was in power, they couldn't even try to take it.

A Kindergarten Teacher Sounds Off On Childhood Obesity

Yes, I know my sister is not the early childhood expert that Two Quarters Shy Of A Buck is, but she does have a degree in elementary education and spends all day with about thirty kids. I heed her words of wisdom, elevated from comment status:

They are working on passing a law now that snacks, birthday treats, etc. are not going to be allowed in Indiana schools. As if me teaching my kids about graphing with a mini size bag containing about 10 M&M's is what is making kids fat-not the 6 hours they spend playing video games when they get home and the drive thru that Mom brings home for dinner!

Lest you think she's exaggerating about the amount of time 5 year olds spend in front of the t.v.--let me assure you. She isn't. She's also had parents tell her during their conferences that 30 minutes of homework a couple of days a week is "too much" for children that young.

I remember birthday treats. The occasional cupcake was a nice change from the routine. Somehow I don't think disallowing these from the classroom is going to do much for kids' waistlines.

Sunday Afternoon Stuff

? I've switched to "Blogrolling" for my blogroll. It's supposed to be easier to add URLs. It is. I also like the "new post" flag. Unfortunately, this only seems to work on certain blogs. So I'm still stuck actually clicking through to others. It bothers me that they're all in alphanumeric order now. I had grown accustomed to the mishmash order of before. It was beautiful in its randomosity.

¶ It's cool if you feel you have to de-blogroll me because we don't agree on everything. I understand it. I, however, prefer to have all kinds of different people listed. Just like the Small World ride at Disney. (Click for Video! I love Ride-Through Video!) I'm sad that Wintermute thought I wouldn't blogroll him. Why not? I love lawyers. I'm the spawn of lawyers a lawyer (my mother is not a lawyer). If all the lawyers who've populated my gene pool had their way I'd also be a lawyer. But, alas. I'm too eccentric. If I were a lawyer I'd be one of the eccentric friends of the protagonist in a Grisham novel.

¶ Yes, Nashville Knucklehead, the Seifert's Potato Chip Factory is one of the hallmarks of Fort Wayne Field Trips. That and the Archway Cookie Factory. When I was a kid there was also the Eckrich Meat Factory--but they've gone out of business. Oddly enough, childhood obesity was not a problem in the 70s. Perhaps we ought to let young children see exactly how their food is made. That might convince them to eat less.

¶ I'm meeting Ivy for lunch tomorrow in an undisclosed location. But it's definitely not as trendoid as the places where Aunt B. meets her lunch people. I hope that Ivy can excuse the fact that my hair is not coloured. I mean, yes, it has a colour (brown). But that colour is liberally streaked with "silver". I've had "silver" hair since I was 17. I'm long past the point of colouring it. Except I should to make a good first impression. But I won't because I'd probably end up messing it up totally.

¶ So glad I didn't see United 93 in the theatre. Six Meat Buffet linked to some guy's review wherein he described another patron leaving to throw up. I am not keen on movies that induce vomiting. Come to think of it, I'm not that keen on anything that induces vomiting.

¶ Lee (Digital Nicotine) wrote a good piece on YA novels. I miss the YA novels of yore. Nowadays they're all boomshackalackamowmow.

I'm In Love

I'm just finding myself so incredibly sucked into the Lost Indiana website that it's hard to pull away.

Talk To The----Oh, Just Forget It

My friend and official blogfather, Patrick has been picked up by NiT for announcing to the world that he is tired of hearing "at the end of the day." (I personally have steered him away from all performances of Les Miserables, as I can only assume this would cause his head to explode.) Sista Smiff (who is going to be blogrolled as soon as I dare face the template again...) is guest-blogging at NiT and has asked for other examples of phrases and words of which people are tired. As much as I thoroughly enjoy polluting the comments threads at NiT, I have WAY too much to get off my chest. So, "whole post time" it is. Be warned. It's late and my allergies are bad. So there. (No, I'm not drunk. I'm Baptist.)

a myriad of
Folks. Let me tell you something. Nothing drives me nutsier than this. Not even overu'sed apo'strophe's. I know that it is technically okay to use "myriad" as a noun but I'm one of those fusty creatures who thinks it should be restricted to adjectival use. Especially since, like "Legion", the noun form indicating a collective number is archaic. If Tim W. weren't sick, I'd leave this type of thing to him. He does it better than me. Regardless, 'myriad' as a noun bothers me. Or should I say 'irregardless'? Ha!

I am so tired of this. It sounded clever when I first moved here 15 years ago. Now it is just about as tiresome as that orange-banana knock-knock joke. Or that "pete and repeat sittin' on a fence' thing. Either way, it's the same principle. It's what people say when they think they're being really clever and they just don't get how bald the joke has gone. Every six year old thinks that "orange you glad I didn't say banana?" is the funniest thing they've ever heard. In the same way, people who've just arrived and been blown away by the Christian Tattoo Parlour and other gimcrackery think that 'Nashvegas' is funny in an ironic way. Not so much, no.

Be Christ To The World
This is the latest popular church-accessory language. When I was a kid everyone had "I Found IT!" bumper stickers. A few years ago it was 'WWJD'. Now we have "be Christ to (or in) the world." I like the sentiment behind it--to a degree. I agree that as Christians we are to be living a life that shows the power of Christ's redemption, compassion and grace. I know that "bCt(oi)tw" is shorthand for saying all of that. But it strikes me as a really nasty shorthand, full of hubris. Frankly, Christ was 'Christ to the World'. As humans only, without His Diety, we cannot "be Christ." Besides which, I've heard a few pastors say this in such a way as to make "Christ" sound like the latest Coca-Cola flavour. I can't escape this fear that we've dumbed Christ down over the last 30 years to make Him more palatable for human consumption. The fact that our latest bumper sticker makes Him sound so easily-replaced by any one of us bugs the ever-loving daylights out of me.

Gay Slang & Black Slang Used By Straight People or White People
Do you realise how stupid it sounds for a 35-year old white woman to say "Oh, Snap!" or "Oh no you di-int!"? Trust me, Beeyotch. It's played.

Git 'R' Done
I swear to you. I am very close to forgetting my vow of "being Christ to the world" and killing the next person who says this in my presence. There are a couple of reasons. First, I think that Larry The Cable Guy is the most disgusting person I've ever heard doing stand-up (and I've heard A LOT of stand-up.) I don't like it when a person's stand-up routine is reduced to a catchphrase that the audience waits for and then screams manaically upon hearing. (See Also: "Here's Your Sign.") Since it's not funny when the lazy comedian does it, it's doubly-not-funny when some punk guy wears it on a t-shirt. Second, it sounds kinda like it objectifies women. Okay, it probably doesn't. I should just remove the giant stick from my butt and accept that the 'R' that will be eventually gotten done is not a gender-specific 'R'. But still. It isn't funny.

29 April, 2006

RIP Franklin Main Street Festival

I really think the Franklin Events Community needs to adjust their dates for the Main Street Festival. Last year was just like this--grey, cold, windy and blech. I can't speak for anyone else, but I personally don't find myself in the mood for cotton candy, corn dogs and hippie yarn crafts when it's like November outside.

Festivals need to be hot and sticky. You need to find yourself so dying of thirst that those handsqueezed lemonades sound refreshing. Otherwise what would compell anyone to drink a beverage consisting of 1/4 cup of ice water and six lemon halves smashed down in a sludge of cane sugar?

My much-missed hometown of Fort Wayne has the monster of all festivals every year. 9 of the hottest days in the year are celebrated with fireworks, fried cheese and seemingly-dangerous carny erections on "the Three Rivers Midway." Every year we all wait with bated breath to find out how many punk teenagers have pulled knives on their buddies in front of the Tilt-A-Whirl. It's big news.

I miss having a local festival, and for years happily drove to Franklin for the pale imitation they have there. A stained-glass window in my house stands forever in shining testament to the years when it was bright, sunny and fun. We bought it in 1999 as an anniversary/birthday present to hang in the home we were just starting to build. That day of wandering the booths is still one of my happiest memories of my marriage.

That's probably why my hopes are too high, and why I was so disappointed at watching two women get in a catfight over a tie-dye shirt last year. Street festivals are no good in the rain.

28 April, 2006

Makin' It, Gettin' By, Etc.

The Man Who Hasn't Seen Jaws raises an interesting point.

Families with multiple children used to survive on one income. Now two people in their twenties who work themselves to the bone can't barely find a way for one of them to take a year off so they can have ONE kid.

Part of me really wants to agree with him, because I think that Nashville is a city filled with underemployed people. I think the economy here encourages employers to pay far less than the going rate elsewhere. When I was in a salaried position a year ago, I was paid $5K less than the bottom bracket for my job as listed on salaryweb. I wasn't even making the base amount, and I think that's typical within the Nashville job market, from what I've seen.

But in a larger sense, I do think that my generation and the one immediately following mine have redefined survival. Not to sound all uphill-both-ways-in-the-snow, but things were different when I was a kid. My parents raised four kids on one income. They didn't have cable TV, internet, cell phones, new cars every two years. We grew our own vegetables, my mom sewed our clothes. Instead of going to the movies we went to the library. Going out to eat was a huge treat that we did exactly five times every year. I know this because there was a restaurant where kids ate free on their birthdays and got a free chocolate cake, so each time one of us had a birthday, we'd go there. The fifth time was when we'd stop at Burger Chef (until it went out of business, then McDonalds) once on the way to my grandparents' farm every summer. That was it.

I do think it can be possible for a family to get by on one income. It just depends on how you define "getting by." It also depends on how you define contentment.

I really should link to Ivy on this topic. She and her husband are raising three kids on one income (plus some additional stuff since January or so.) She's written quite a bit about this. Also, Amy of Lavender Sparkles and her husband made the decision to learn to live on one income from the get-go so they don't feel deprived once children arrive. I also believe that Heather and her family are a one-income joint. So there ARE people making the sacrifice to live this way. It can be done.

Jose, Can You See?

I really don't have much to say about this story. I just really wanted to be one of about 90,000 bloggers who will use that headline when talking about it.

I do think the Star Spangled Banner should be sung in English. But if you want to try to hit that ball-busting high note at the end in another language, go for it.

The Bitchy View

I never watch "The View". Okay, there was that one time, but just to see Vin Diesel. And, oh yeah, that other time to see Daniel Day-Lewis. In short, I don't watch "The View" for its stable of nattering chattering gals, but for its rotating crop of mens.

So, I don't really care that Rosie O'Donnell has gotten bored with being a mom and decided to fill Meredith Viera's slot on "The View".

Reasons O'Donnell Bugs Me:

1. Totally fake "beard" crush on Tom Cruise.
2. Hypocritical anti-gun position. (You can't have a gun, but my bodyguards for my children can.)
3. Was completely bitchy and rude to Meat Loaf when he appeared on her show.

See, I can overlook the other two, but anyone who disses the Meat is on my list.

27 April, 2006

Like Kindergarten, Only Wordier

Ivy by way of Malia is playing an alphabet game, and so I'm joining in the fun.

The Rules

Comment on this entry and get a letter. Write ten words beginning with that letter, including an explanation of what the word means to you and why.

The Letter I Was Given
The first letter. A. On the plus side, it's a vowel so that expands my options. On the minus side it's a vowel. I don't like vowels. I think they're bossy and clicque-y. Always insisting that one of the five of them be included in every word. And then poor "y" is like the gay boy they let pick out their clothes and do their hair. But he's only in their club when they need a cool gay friend, he's not an automatic member. Vowels are snotty like that.

The Ten Words

Adultery: No, I'm not a fan of it. Not at all. But who can think of a giant letter "A" without thinking of Hester Prynne and her branding at the hands of the pious? Okay, maybe many people can. But I can't. That story made an impression on me. A few years ago my former youth pastor impregnated one of the women youth leaders. They had a baby girl. I suggested they name her "Pearl". No one else thought it was funny. Probably because they were all so scandalised by the youth pastor's wandering willy.

Apple: Apple Computer is the lodestar of my computing world. I will never forget the first time I laid eyes on a Macintosh. It was at the Tech Fair at the War Memorial Colisseum. I was a baby geeklet, and scoffed at the point-and-click GUI. After all, I had taken "keyboarding" just to enable my constant 10 "Davey is a loser" 20 Go To 10 programming. What were they trying to do? It wasn't until later that I was fully converted. And now I am a proud member of the Cult of Macintosh.

Asparagus: My all-time favourite food. There is no food on this earth I like better. Not chocolate, not caramel, not pizza. Give me a plate of asparagus and I'm in heaven.

Ambrose Bierce: I love him. Back when I was a swotty teenager with a chip on my shoulder, his Devil's Dictionary was a constant laugh-out-loud read. Now that I'm a swotty 35-year old with a chip on my shoulder I appreciate Bierce's work all the more.

Arbor Day: I love trees. I love to plant trees. My acreage is too small to squeeze any more saplings into the earth, but if I had more land I'd be planting more trees. And yes, I'm already reaching for things that begin with "A", and I'm only half-way through.

Algonquin Round Table: I love the idea of witty people gathering among fine food and drink to discuss art and literature. I love the fact that American society has been able to elevate a group of drunk gossips to near-saintly status. It strikes me funny.

America, The Country: Yes, I know that technically the United States is only a portion of the vast swath of land called "America", and that it's short-sighted, isolationist and nationalistic to think that we are the whole of America. Fine. Now that I've pacified the nitpickery, allow me to say that I love America. I love the fact that I am free to worship as I choose, speak as I choose and vote. I love the fact that there are so many of us here from so many different places. That we can eat Chinese, Italian, Mexican and Thai food, all brought here as part of other cultures and their people yearning to breathe free air. I love the fact that a bunch of arrogant farmer geniuses risked their lives to overthrow the tyranny of kings. That we don't have a "House of Commons" and a "House of Lords", and that we are not governed by anyone but ourselves. I love the fact that I can have a gun in my home, that I can't be forced to house soldiers by the pleasure of the president. I love the fact that you can drive for days and still be part of this vast land.

America, The Neil Diamond Song: One of my favourite tunes of his, and not just because it's fun to yell "Today!" in a crowd of people. I like that Neil captured the spirit of why people come here. And I like that this is a much better selection from The Jazz Singer soundtrack than "Love On The Rocks.

All-Night Pancake Houses: My Circadian rhythms are different than many people. I do my best work and living at night time. All-night pancake houses are the refuge of the nocturnal human. Where else can you congregate with the other Shadow People for buttery stacks of starchy goodness? Where else can you play Eucre till dawn and debate the validity of Reaganomics?

The Alphabet: Really stretching it here, but not so much. I'm a writer. Where would I be without the alphabet? It'd be like a carpenter with no nails, no wood, no hammer. I think it's cool that with near-endless combinations of 26 shapes I can feel the basso pulse of thundering sky, taste the charcoal sweetness of fresh rain and inspire hunger and sexual desire. Pretty nifty set of squiggles.

I Hear That Junkies Are Skinny

Aunt B. lays the smackdown on Fiddy. Good thing she did it first, because she got all the salient points in there, including the choice words that I'd use if I knew the likelihood of my mom reading this was slim.

I love how this punk who has glamourised drugs and gun violence and disrespect for women has the balls to make childhood obesity sound like the one unforgivable sin.

My heart breaks for all the chubby little kids who are mocked on the playground. Fat is the last acceptable prejudice. Can't make fun of the black kids, the gay kids, the poor kids. But slap a couple extra pounds on Bobby and he's fair game. (Ironically, maybe being able to play with all the other kids on the playground would help with his fitness level. )

Apparently in the 2006 version of the Cinderalla Story, the little chubby kid can dream of growing up to shoot people, get shot, sell drugs, rape women and earn enough money from the whole mess to hire a chef and a personal trainer. Then at last he will attain that pinnacle of all goals. Thinness.

Give me a frakkin' break.

Throwing Pots

I think this gal might be on to something.

I think one of the biggest reasons writers fail is because they don't write...The reason seems to be that the students who had to make a lot of pottery, began to play and take chances on their work since it didn't matter how it turned out. These risks allowed them to create some incredible work; they were free to create without judgment.

After a year of labouring over Writing my Book, with endless time spent researching such dry facts as sheepherding in Wales, I've taken a different tack. I gave myself a "month off" to write any fun fiction thing that appealed to me. I've gotten a lot more written, I think what I've written is better technically and I've enjoyed sitting down to write every day.

What About Brian?

Lovin' the heck out of this new show. That is all.

26 April, 2006

Eh, Nevermind

So I had a whole blog post typed about something that annoyed me, but then I realised I was giving it more attention than it deserved so I deleted it.

Since I have the Blogger Create window open, though, it's a shame to waste it. So I'm gonna tell you what I personally like to read on blogs and don't like to read on blogs. Keep in mind, I'm not telling you what to do. So all of you who like to pop into the comments and say "but I thought you were a libertarian" can relax. I'm merely expressing my personal preferences.

1. Wry, humourous and witty takes on things. It's fun to hear other people say what they think about stuff, even when we are diametrically opposed on certain issues. (Me=Bible True. Other Guy=Bible Not True.)

2. Tales about life in the trenches, whether it's waiting tables, being a nurse, selling Amway. What's your job like and how does it affect your life? What do you miss about your old job? That's all part of being human, and I like it.

3. Well-thought out opinions on social issues. Even when we disagree.

4. Good conservative commentary. I'm a conservative, even though some folk refuse to believe it. I like seeing conservative commentary that doesn't stoop to Hannity bromides.

5. Excellent material on your personal views and how they shape your opinions on economics, politics and religion.

6. Entertaining stories about your life events such as upcoming weddings raising kids and being married.

7. Breakdowns and reactions to popular culture events. TV Shows, movies, songs, whathaveyou.

Now, there are a whole lot of blogs on my blogroll that do these things that I didn't link. But, generally speaking, if they're on my blogroll it's because their blog is like this, in some way shape or form. I just didn't link them just now because I didn't happen to have their URL memorised and I'm that kind of lazy right now. But trust me. If they're blogrolled, they're good. And two of them, Rex L. Camino and Tim Warner are in a class by themselves. What they do defies description, and they do it better than anyone else I've seen.

So why am I going into all of this? Because I keep going to blogs that are just recaps of news stories. Here's a hint: I and anyone else who uses the Web have Excite. I have Google. I have all the access I could ever want to AP, Reuters and whoever else generates news feeds. Why should I be interested in the news as cherry-picked by some stranger?

Broken All Over

It's hard to understand hardcore cyclists. Even married to one for 15 years, I scratch my head at the people who like to unwind by "doing a quick fifty (miles)" every Monday and Thursday night. There's a certain mania to it. My better half writes a column for the local bike club newsletter. I'll let him tell you about it in his own words:
I readily admit that I get just a little bit insufferable this time of year. I can’t help it. Some people live for Christmas, while others prefer the Fourth of July or Thanksgiving. For me, the greatest, most festive season plays out in the lead-up to the first day of spring. The temperature rises, the days get longer and, like the grass and the trees, I find myself coming back to life. The fact that another cycling season is getting up to speed only adds fuel to the fire. You – and my wife – will have to cut me some slack until I get it out of my system.

Well, spring is here. Our garage workshop, which normally houses five bikes, has been brimming over with new tenants as Tim does spring overhauls, trues wheels, installs bike computers and performs his wizardry in a hundred other ways I don't understand. Every Monday and Thursday he joins his ride club (which I perversely insist on calling "the biker gang") for pushes throughout Wilson County, climing up Microwave Hill, breezing down Guelph Rd. and being chased by country dogs. It's just life as seen by the wife of a cyclist who is also a master craftsman.

This Monday night, however, things went a little diffferently.

A few miles out, one of the women on the ride stopped suddenly, going from 27 mph to 0 almost instantly. She flew over her handlebars and landed on her head. Her helmet did do its job: instead of being dead she is merely suffering from an intracranial bleed, a factured neck, a broken cheekbone, a lacerated spleen and assorted other breaks and tears. They moved her by ambulance from Summit Medical Center to Vanderbilt Trauma ICU, where she's being carefully observed. In her words yesterday she is "broken all over."

These things never fail to scare me, and this type of event is why I stick to my recumbant exercise bike in the basement. I'm writing this today for three reasons:

1. Please keep this young woman in your thoughts and prayers. She has a long road back to health.
2. Please always wear a helmet when you cycle. Yes, I'm a libertarian. You don't have to wear a helmet if you don't want to. Feel free to risk dying in one of the stupidest ways possible--by falling off your bicycle. It's your choice.
3. Please remember, when you see someone riding their bike along the side of the road that they are someone's son or daughter. They are likely also someone's husband or wife, father or mother. They also pay their taxes and are riding a legitimate vehicle. Please don't harrass them. Keep in mind how much oil they're NOT using, leaving some left for your car, truck or SUV.

25 April, 2006

Stuff I Don't Need To See

I'm not going to get into the abortion debate in this post. It's already proven far too emotionally charged for me and I don't really care to go there.

But I think it's safe to say that regardless of where anyone stands on the issue, no one needs to see things such as are shown in the post linked from this post at Moore Thoughts. Without taking sides on the abortion issue, I would like to ask how it helps anyone to show such graphic things? Whose side is being bolstered? And why do you think anyone is going to listen to what you have to say if you buttress it in that type of gore? I'll be honest. I wanted to read Mark Rose's post. But I can't even read it, nor can I link directly to it because I cannot stand to have the page open even long enough to extract the permalink. So if you are at all interested in seeing graphic depictions, you'll have to go through the above link.

I appreciate that there are those who can view such things dispassionately. I can also understand that there are some who actually enjoy seeing that level of soul-decaying material. I understand that Rotten.com has made a good business catering to those tastes. But I cannot for the life of me understand how showing those pictures has anything remotely to do with compassion.

I've never had a medical abortion, and most likely never will. I have had several early spontaneous abortions and yearn for a child. To this day I will never understand why some in the Pro-Life movement think that the grotesque photos on display here and other places do anything to advance their cause. They are harrowing and foul and cruel to most who view them. Regardless of what side they take in the larger issue.

My Old Boss Stole My Washing Machine

One of the strangest things about me are the endless, vivid, story-like dreams I have. Tim will swear up and down that my dreams are the wierdest he ever heard. And he took a class or two in wierd dreams, so he should know. It's kind of fun because each dream has a real narrative, character development and subtext. One of these days I'll be smart and start writing them down. Especially since I've twice dreamed what (years later) turned out to be blockbuster movies. Five years before Demi and Patrick (WHTO) Swayze were handed their scripts, I dreamed the entire plot of the movie Ghost. Ten years before Gwyneth I dreamed much of the story of Shakespeare In Love. Okay. Fair enough. I just dreamed about Shakespeare being in love with me. There was none of that Victor/Victoria crossdressing hi-larity in my sleep world. Nevertheless, the movie was called "Shakespeare in Love" and in my dream there was Shakespeare and he was in love so I'm going to count it.
I've occasionally had the woo-woo prophetic type of dream where a person I love is in trouble and I call them upon waking only to find out that, no they weren't being devoured by quicksand but yes, they do have a very bad chest cold. Occasionally my dead grandfather will show up for a game of chess or Scrabble. In that one Swedish movie the guy plays chess with death. In my dreams I play chess with a dead farmer who carried the mail in the winter. Kind of the same thing, but more lively.
Yes, I dream in color. Always. I always dream in English, although a few years ago when I was really fluent in Spanish I would have the occasional dream entirely in Spanish. What was weird is that each of those Spanish dreams featured Jesus Christ. It must have been because one of the ways I practiced my language skills was by reading the Bible in both languages. Because I didn't know any Spanish-speaking men named Jesus. In college when I studied Hebrew and German I had a few awkward Nazi dreams where one half of my language center was at war with the other. Thankfully that lasted only long enough to convince me to drop German. I hate that language. It's so literal, gutteral and harsh.
Last night I dreamed that a man from my old office stole my washing machine. The wierdest part (yes, it does get more strange) is that his wife was one of those Troll Dolls with the upsticking hair, and she kept pinching my stomach and lower back in a gesture of friendship. I truly don't get it. If they make a movie of that one I will NOT be there. Troll Dolls are creepy.

Nashville Has Been Talking For A Year

I tried to post this yesterday, but Blogger was a jerk. Blogger reminds me of my high school boyfriend. It's great because you can say "I have a blog (boyfriend)" but half the time when you really need something done--a couch moved, a birthday post posted--it just doesn't show up.


Nashville Is Talking is a year old today yesterday. In a lot of ways it's the "spoke" (hah! get it? Talking=spoke! Hah! That's Funny!) around which the larger Mid Tenn Blogger world turns. Brittney's done a great job of getting a cohesive feel to the WKRN blog and making it feel accessible to everyone while retaining her voice.

It's been cool to have it, and cool to guest blog. I've met so many fascinating people through this venture, and I doubt that blogging would be as much fun without some type of central touchstone. So happy belated birthday, NiT.

24 April, 2006

In Cold Semen

I've been waiting to see the movie Capote for some time. I don't generally care for Truman Capote as a person. By all accounts he was boorish, duplicitous and self-centered. But he did write one of the best books I've ever read. In Cold Blood invented the true crime genre and reinvigorated American Fiction. It tells the story of the murder of the Clutter family in their home in Kansas. One night, acting on a jailhouse rumour of hidden cash cache on the Clutter property, Perry Smith and Dick Hickock entered the unlocked farmhouse and shot all four residents.

The Clutters left their doors unlocked, as did most of the inhabitants of Holcomb, KS. Of course, they don't anymore. But back then, doors were not locked. They were simple farm folk who knew all their neighbors and trusted them. Besides, from what we know about Smith and Hickock, we know they had come prepared to break in regardless. The unlocked doors just saved them some time. There is little doubt in anyone's mind that once they made it all the way to Kansas that there wouldn't be some bloodlust and savagery.

Did the Clutters deserve to be hogtied and shot? No. But wait! They didn't lock their doors. So certainly they asked for it, right?

What about Steve Parent? He decided to try to sell a stereo to a casual friend, and was out after midnight. Of course that quite clearly means that he deserved to be knifed and then shot four times by Tex Watson on the outset of their Cielo Drive Helter Skelter murder spree.

Parent was in a very respectable millionaires' neighborhood. The Clutters were in their own home. Nothing these people did could protect themselves from the blood and demons of fate. Rape is kind of like that. Maybe you're in the right place at the wrong time, like Parent. Or maybe you're in your own "home"--church, school, grocery store parking lot. A place of familiarity. Part of being in familiar territory is the comfort of letting down your guard, of not locking your doors. In either circumstances a predator is a predator.

Human nature tends toward self-preservation. One of the first responses we have to tragedy is to wonder what circumstances led up to the fated instance so it won't happen to us. "Well, they weren't wearing a seatbelt" and "they shouldn't have been out that late" are common responses. And to a degree, they're true. There are things you can do to minimise your risk of being killed in a car or by a crazed stranger high on drugs. And there are things women can do to minimise their risk of being raped. But you know what? Ultimately it's the other car that hits YOU. Ultimately it's the violent predator that rapes or kills you. That's what characterises evil. Life is not a chess game where women can checkmate rapists by wearing bulky sweaters or outflank murderers with artfully arranged bishops. Life is animalistic and violent. So, sure, you can do whatever you can do to protect yourself. But ultimately the one who committs violence is at fault for their own misdeeds.


Blogger is on my nerves. Either it won't post or it quadruple-posts.

Accessorising With Africa

A few years ago it was Ireland. All the celebrities were flocking to Dublin and County Wicklow, drinking Guinness and putting on an air of superiority for being In Country. I read at least three stories about Gwyneth and Boyfriend charmingly going down the local for a few pints, bumping into Daniel Day Lewis on the way.

Now, apparently, Namibia is the hot getaway destination. It must be really fun at cocktail parties to drop the bombshell about "wintering in Africa with the children." Who wouldn't love a country light on people, heavy on diamonds and--here's the kicker--with a government-controlled press?

Namibian authorities are clamping down on journalists trying to follow Brad Pitt, pregnant Angelina Jolie and her two adopted children after the couple asked for some privacy, according to a newspaper report Sunday. ... The Sunday Times said its own photographer and three French photographers were ordered to leave Namibia or face arrest. Journalists require accreditation to work in the country. Namibian Prime Minister Nahas Angula defended the move, saying the couple should be left alone. "This lady is expecting," he told the Sunday Times. "You guys are harassing her. Why don't you allow her some privacy? Harassment is not allowed in Namibia.

I guess that whole First Amendment thing is really a bitch when you're pregnant and famous, huh? Oh well. At least their years of exploiting their looks for money and pimping themselves out to the American press have paid off. Now they can flee to a country without freedom and eat Kentucky Fried Chicken with their babies in peace.

23 April, 2006

And That Is Why I Don't Care For Diana Gabaldon Books

Aunt B. lunched on Friday with Rachel, and was inspired by a good bit of brilliance from our favourite Medical Librarian.

I know this has little to do with what they were originally talking about--feminism and sweeping cultural change--but their talk of public sanitation reminds me of why I really don't like the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.

I admit that I've only read the first book, Outlander, and nearly everyone I meet loves them on an almost inexplicable level. Since I have my own cultish devotion to a fictional series, I just can't judge anyone else. I'm sure the entire series is fabulous and I'm just missing something.

The book I read involved an unhappily married woman who travels from the 20th century to the 16th century and falls in love with some improbably dashing and magnificent guy. Everyone who loves the book loves the romance.

Frankly, I don't care how wonderful a man is. There are things I like. Toilet paper. Flush toilets. Penicillen. Bottled water. Soda. Knives and forks. Central air conditioning. E-mail. It's a really long list. I've grown accustomed to these things and I really don't imagine that any man is dashing and handsome enough to make me want to live the rest of my life sleeping on straw, eating from bread trenchers and crapping in a corner of the yard like a dog.

I know that if I were to live in the future I'd be used to things like rocket travel, self-cleaning houses and holographic entertainment. I'd probably loathe to return to 2006 and live without the magic of instant Spoo. I don't consider my life to be primitive, but if I lived in 2606 I just look back on the Now as a caveman era. So, I'm content to have my love stories in a plus-10 minus-10 span of years.

Also, I can't help but be reminded that the men of 16th century Scotland weren't frequent bathers.

22 April, 2006

Who Knew Old Men Could Be So Bitchy?

As several of us have talked about, Scott Crossfield died this week. He was a test pilot, and famous for his ongoing duel-in-the-sky with Chuck Yeager.

Now, I love Chuck Yeager. I do. I've read everything about him I could get my hands on. But he sure hates Crossfield. In his autobiography, Yeager slammed Crossfield as "the most arrogant" pilot he'd ever met. Which, given the stable of pilots I've met in my life is saying something.

This week, with Crossfield's body not even down to room temperature, Yeager got in the last word. According to Yeager, Crossfield's complacency, paired with his disregard for weather conditions got him killed.

Part of me would like to think that Gen. Yeager is still thinking like a test pilot. "It's not the machine, it's the man". But knowing his general distaste for Crossfield, I kinda think that maybe old men and teenage girls have something in common.

Then again, I feel for a guy whose become estranged from his children at 83 years of age.

Thorns In The Flesh

I will not be an the blogger meet up today.

This is why.

How bad is the pain? Well, now is as good a time to describe it as any. It hurts so bad my toenails ache and my lips sting. So, basically, I hurt everywhere. I was kind of afraid this would happen. And sad and disappointed because this is how it goes, increasingly. Whenever there is a place a badly want to be, this is how it ends up.

And I feel hypochondriacal, even though I know I'm not.

And I double-dog promise (is that such a thing?) that I'm not only NOT avoiding everyone but want very badly to be there. Especially since my eyebrows haven't grown out yet.

21 April, 2006

The Da Vinci Memo

I've been attending Church for the majority of my life. And I'm beginning to suspect something.

I think there is a network of ministers or some type of ministerial newsletter circulated. I know that I still get my Gifts & Dec newsletter emailed to me, even though I no longer work in stationery products. So I figure some bright lad or lass has put together a "What's Hot Now" type of thing for ministers to talk about.

Why do I think this?

Because it seems that 80% of evangelical churches are having Da Vinci Code series and seminars. Don't get me wrong--I think this is a good idea. There are a lot of questions raised by the book, and people would like to hear their pastors' takes on it. Of course, the book has been out there for a long time, so maybe their pastors could have addressed it before now. But that's beside the point.

Everyone is talking about it right now. At the same time. I know it's because the movie's coming out soon. But part of me kind of feels like this is the Church's version of a movie tie-in. Since we don't sell soda we can't have Tom Hanks on the Large Beverage Cup, so we do this instead.

I guess both Jamey and Dan got the memo, because they're talking about it, too. I don't think either of them have read the book, though. Not to go all Harry Potter again, but I would implore people to not get into debates about the book if they haven't read it.

I'm not defending The Da Vinci Code as a work of fiction. I think it's subpar but still enticing. You don't have to read it if you don't want to. (That should go without saying, but I don't want Mark Rose to think I'm telling him what to do.)

I just ask that if you decline to read it for any reason at all, please realise that if you get into debates with people who have read it, you are in danger of making Christians look as obtuse as people think we are. There are a LOT of people who have not only devoured the book, but believe it wholeheartedly. Many women who felt disenfranchised from the Church are now forming new opinions based on DVC's concept of the Feminine Divine. This book means a great deal to many people. They have portions of it memorised. If we dismiss the book and the questions it raises as mere stuff and nonsense we risk alienating people. People who are asking earnest questions about the nature of God and Salvation.

Yes, it's a work of fiction. But to many people it's fact. And I think that their curiousity deserves respect.

I Am Not Supposed To Talk About This

But I find it kind of funny how the thing in my sidebar designed to elicit interest in products and websites changes. I KNEW that my random topics would make the generator kind of nuts, but this is funny.

One minute it's all "Find Your Top Quality Jesus-Related Products" and then next it's this really creepy, gory horror movie thing.

It's a sort of roulette, I think.

For This I Love Rex L. Camino

And declare today "Rex L. Camino" day!

He speaks the truth about Television's greatest travesty.

Random Stuff I'd Like To Know

• How do I get the cool "What I'm reading/watching/viewing" sidebar thing? Is it a huge pain to update? Do I want people to know just how much of what I'm consuming is junk? Or will I lie and say that I'm reading deep stuff like The Confessions of St. Augustine?

• Had J.K. Rowling watched Babylon 5's two-part episode "War Without End" before writing Prisoner of Azkaban? Because they're eerily similar. Or maybe I'm nuts. I don't generally care for time-travel stories. They always seem to leave too many paradoxical loose ends.

• What is "the emergent church"? I see various people talk about it all the time, links to it on websites and such. I thought I had it down, but the more I read about it the more confused I am. There are some who think it's the greatest thing, and others who are calling it heretical. Anybody out there have any ideas?

• How can the library lose the copy of Patricia Cornwell's Predator I turned in last week? I know it's a bad book, but there is no way I'm gonna pay to replace it. The irony would be too sickening.

• Is it libel to say that Cornwell's last half-dozen books are crap?

• If you have a livid pink, viciously puckered C-section scar snaking across your abdomen, why would you wear hip-hugger jeans and a halter top in public?

• Do many people in Hermitage not realise that the shopping carts at Target are NOT trash bins? Every cart we tried to take yesterday had someone's leavings in it. Used napkins, tissues, food containers. It's like people are monkeys who can't fling their crap so they leave it in the bottom of the cart. Nasty.

• Whose bright idea was it to promote Botox® injections in the underarm to prevent profuse sweating? And even more strange, to promote this over the grocery store P.A. ? Normally you hear things like "Red Grapes are only 99cents a pound this week at Food Lion!" But not me. I heard an ad promoting the benefits of shooting food-poisoning poison in your pits. This is not the visual image I needed to encourage my food-buying. No impulse items on that trip.

Scott Crossfield

The first man to fly at twice the speed of sound died this week. Scott Crossfield was killed in a plane crash.

He was piloting the plane.

He was 84 years old. Eighty-four and still flying planes. Gotta respect that.

20 April, 2006

The Post Where I Defend Myself Against Terry Frank's Charges Of Libel

Oh boy.

First off, libel is a false accusation in writing. Terry Frank feels that I have either done this, or come awfully close to doing so, and therefore owe her an apology.

The post where I have allegedly committed this infraction is here. It's the post where I talk about how it's wrong to jump to conclusions about people and their motives simply because they don't seem to be playing for the same team.

I first read Terry's call for an apology excerpted on Nashville Is Talking, and then re-read it over at her place. My first reaction upon offending anyone is to automatically apologize. However, after reading through her "case" a couple of times, I'm a little bit upset. Here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to post what she said over here, and insert the missing text from my original to hopefully make clear once again what I was saying. If you don't want to read through it all, skip to just past the second set of asterisks.

Terry Frank on 4/20/06 Excerpted WITHOUT interior deletion or rearrangement
From my comments on the Bill Hobbs event:

The Nasvhille Scene “pile on” is just another example of how David Horowitz is right–namely that an “unholy alliance” exists between the liberals in this country & our media and the radical Muslims who seek to wipe Israel, infidels, and the West off the face of the map.

From that comment, Katherine Coble comes up with this corker:

Presumably his admittedly-in-poor-taste drawing is in itself okay because “liberals and muslims are scum and must be killed.”

She says “Terry Frank” just uses “bigger words” to say the same thing.

Katherine Coble on 4/15/06 Excerpted WITHOUT interior deletion or rearrangement

People from all around the country are stopping by Blake Wylie's comments section to leave strange jingoistic couplets in "support" of Mr. Hobbs' right to draw pictures of whatever he wants. Presumably his admittedly-in-poor-taste drawing is in itself okay because "liberals and muslims are scum and must be killed."

That type of idiocy is easily dismissed because it is, on its face, ridiculous. But others appear to be using bigger words which more prettily say the same thing. Terry Frank politely opines:
The Nasvhille Scene “pile on” is just another example of how David Horowitz is right–namely that an “unholy alliance” exists between the liberals in this country & our media and the radical Muslims who seek to wipe Israel, infidels, and the West off the face of the map.

Think about that for a minute. Think about what it says.

I'm a conservative Christian. Frank's statement bothers me even more than the tasteless cartoon and the graceless opinion piece in the Scene. It bothers me because it uses a complicated factual event to draw a spurious conclusion. I know a lot of liberals. Many are members of my own family. While I think that there are many times when my brother Tom has ended up on the wrong side of an issue or that my Aunt C-------- has missed a few buttons on the overcoat I still rest comfortably knowing that neither of them have "Go Jihad!" sentiments OR matching t-shirts.

The plain fact is that there are people in the world who would like to see me dead. And you. Because we live in America. Because we are Christian or pagan or agnostic. Because I am a woman. Because the men around here don't keep me quiet. (Good luck with that, Honey....)

The other plain fact is that there are a lot of people in this country who disagree with me about how we should handle everything from the Iraq war to the Food Stamp program. I think they're wrong. They think I'm wrong. But last time I looked, the central aim of this country is freedom. We should have the right to disagree. Statements like Frank's do nothing to "promote the general welfare" OR "ensure domestic tranquility." We seem to have forgotten, in our rush to provide for the common (i.e. all of us) defense, that one can hold an opposing political position and yet NOT be a danger to our basic wellbeing.

So, here's where things stand, Terry. I apologise for making it appear as though you support the murder of liberals and muslims. I presume that you do not, and I'm sorry that a clumsily written transition might appear to some as though you do.

Now, in return I would appreciate it if you would apologize to the millions of liberals in this country who are most definitely NOT in league with radical Muslims, but merely have a difference of political opinion than do you and I. We both seem to have made clumsy writing errors. I, in my failure to clarify that you weren't calling for the death of liberals and Muslims, and you for your failure to include the all-important qualifier "some" in front of the word "liberals" in your statement.

This country is broken. If you cannot see that, I'm sorry. I truly have a heart for wanting us to live up to the promise of our Constitution. That we can all work together to promote the general welfare. When we continually battle one another over idealistic schisms we do more to destroy the promise of America than all the illegal immigrants and suitcase bombers in the world. I'm sorry to be so florid in this paragraph, but it is truly how I feel.

I may have unintentionally approached a libellous postion toward you and for that I'm sorry. However, I feel you also posted something libellous toward fully half your countrymen.

BookPage Online

I'm probably a bit behind the times, but it looks as though part of the new Web Services Upgrade at the Nashville Public Library was to give online access to BookPage. I've been a BookPage junkie for years.

This new online version is the equivalent of going from smoking pot to mainlining heroin. EVERY BOOK MENTIONED in the reviews, best-seller lists and awards coverage has a direct link to the library's catalog page. You can read the review and request the book. All in one place.

Like Amazon, but for free.


Buzz Girl is the New York-based correspondant for Book Page. Her blog chats up "future best-sellers." I'm officially cheating and adding her to the local blogroll for my site. I know she isn't local, but since BookPage is, I'm staking a claim.

Rascal's Pensieve †

Q: How many bloggers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: No one's sure, since it's so hard to get them to step away from the computer.
A: They usually just have their mothers do it for them.
A: They don't care as long as there's enough light to contemplate their navel.

I'm sure I could come up with some more, but it's late and I'm distracted by Elton John. (Face it. He's an inherently distracting individual.)

Yesterday was one of those odd days where seemingly disparate things caught my eye. After I thought about it for awhile I realised that it was because even though they seemed completely different they were saying the same thing. Namely, how do we go about mattering in the world?

First, there's the staff at the local alt-weekly covering their coverage of what was largely a nonstory until they turned it into a story, then complaining about the people who covered their coverage before they covered their coverage today. Then there was a long, thoughtful piece over at Tiny Cat Pants that talked about rape lessons, only to be dismissed.

Dismissal of someone else's idea is a perfectly valid form of self-expression. There are a lot of times--a LOT of times--that I'd just as soon write someone else off as a loser, a nutjob, a crazed couch-bouncing crackpot. Because people act dumb as dirt more often than not.

That's where my motto comes in. I try to live by it, but you'll please have to forgive me on any one of the ten dozen times I fail. (Tom "That Freak" Cruise, I'm talking to YOU.) When I started the blog in 2004 I put it at the top. Prior to that it had followed me from high-school to college to the Travel Agency on a progressively ratty sticky note. I have such a bad temper that I kind of need to have it sitting around to remind me how to behave. Amy asked me yesterday what it meant, and given the events that followed I figure now is as good a time as any--because I need reminding.

Datta Dayadhvam Damyata Shantih Shantih Shantih

I could talk about T.S. Eliot for days on end, but I'm trying to keep this already-long explanation short. The most abridged version is to tell you that I ended up with a copy of The Wasteland in High School and found the whole thing incredibly moving. People talk about loving poetry and I think they're always mistaken. Poetry is like food. No one likes ALL food, but everyone enjoys a dish or two. I was lucky enough to find my favourite meal early.

Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit
There is not even silence in the mountains
But dry sterile thunder without rain
There is not even solitude in the mountains
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
From doors of mudcracked houses

You know when you're seventeen and everything is high drama? Just picture being in that place and reading those words and thinking "Man! This guy gets it. "

The whole poem is like that. It's a rush of words that fit together seamlessly and each make different sense at different points in your life. Bits of French, German, Middle English and Sanskrit float through. The fifth and final portion of the poem is What The Thunder Said, and the final lines of the poem are a summary of the Hindu parable of the Thunder.

The parable is set up something like a naughty joke---gods and men and demons walk into a bar--and ask their father teacher, Prajapati, to give them instruction. He tells each group the same thing. Simply "Da". The men interpreted this to mean "Datta" which means to give. The demons interpreted it as "Dayadhvam" or to sympathise and have mercy. The gods interpreted it as "Damyata" which means to have self-control. Prajapati gave everyone an "A" even though they all took away a different meaning.

Ultimately, the "answer" is that the part of us that is Man, driven by selfish desires, needs to learn to give. The part of us that is made in the image of God needs to not be prideful and arrogant but exhibit self-control. The part of us that is evil and meanspirited needs to learn to have mercy and be sympathetic to others. Since these are all lessons I really need to learn, I try to remind myself daily. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

And Shantih? Loosely translated, it means "the peace which passeth understanding."

19 April, 2006

Circle Jerking With Spragens

I've barely made it past the first sentence in Spragens' self-defence. What's got me extremely peeved is this:
Turns out, when you write about bloggers, they write back. So it's been one hell of a circle-jerk over the past week as computer jockeys around the country weighed in and inveighed upon the Bill Hobbs affair,

Let me get this straight. If Spragens covers the story, it's legitimate news. But once anyone else decides to have an opinion they're just wanking?

Then we have THIS patronising nugget:

First, for those with day jobs, a quick recap of recent events

To Which the Katherinian Automatic Response Generator Says:

1. So, I guess you're not addressing this to Bill, who thanks in part to you no longer HAS a day job.
2. Everyone I read in the "clubby local blogosphere" has a day job. Every.single.one. And most of us are well-liked and well-respected at those jobs. We're publishers, ministers, designers, contractors, and SAHMs. And marketing professionals. And medical librarians. And musicians. And funnier than you are. Without trying.
3. Bite me.

Is an ersatz journalist with mainstream media credentials a fair target?

I don't know, sir. But once we decide for certain, you could be next.


What is it with the Scene staff and their derision toward the blogosphere? Why all this snide mockery about everyone's employment status? Liz Garrigan's rebuttal STARTS OFF with another swipe.

How many bloggers actually have jobs? We don’t know, except to say one fewer now than before.

Well, clearly they don't actually read the blogs they so charmingly patronise. Because 99% of them mention the various jobs people have. With a few exceptions (Nashville Knucklehead) I know pretty much what everyone on my blogroll does for a living. And they all work. Even the SAHMs work. I get that it's "in" for Real Journalists ® to patronise the blogosphere. I just hope the staff of the Scene realises that next time they come out with a long sad story about a person who can't hold down a job for health reasons, and I write a letter to the editor about the inequities of working people footing the bill for TennnCare and I get about 10 emails back from the Scene's editor and the mother of the woman in the story and other folks they'll think about the way THEY'VE denegrated the jobless in these two columns. In other words, in Scene language it's wrong to question a person who doesn't work--if they've published a piece in the Scene. But it's perfectly alright to mock gainfully-employed people if they make the Scene look bad. And quite fine to be derisive about someone's job status.

Okay, We'll Drink To Our Legs!

From the looks of things, I'm not the only one with a Jaws fixation. I'm a fandom kind of gal. If it's highly dramatic, slightly fantastical and full of engaging characters, chances are that I've shown up to at least one opening day party and spent time in at least one internet group discussing it.

Jaws fandom is more subtle. There's really only one movie of note, although Jaws 2 does have Teens In Peril a la Friday The 13th. But only Jaws has that charismatic trio of men doing battle with nature. And only Jaws has One Of The Finest Men To Have Walked Planet Earth. Robert Shaw. I've raved on here about Shaw before, so I don't need to repeat myself. But he does make the movie. Without him it'd just be an extremely damp episode of Thirtysomething.

We Jaws junkies have very little to amuse us and keep us happy. There's not a new movie coming out every two years, there are no Amity Shark comic books and the only shipping involved is....actual boats. We can't argue about whether the Shark ends up with Brody or Hooper. (Duh. Everyone knows it's Brody. Hooper is just his really good friend.) But I know we're out there.

The first time Tim and I saw The Usual Suspects I started freaking out. All the way home I kept insisting that the producers HAD to be Jaws junkies, because of their company name. The minute I saw "Bad Hat Harry", I flashed to Scheider on the beach trying to shake a whiny townie to keep his focus on the water. "That's some bad hat, Harry." Tim thought I was nuts. And probably scared to be married to a woman who has the entire movie memorised. Then came House, where the production card has an animated version of the scene. It's just as Herman Hesse said in Siddharta. Wait by the river long enough and your geeky intuitions will be proved right.

So, yes. There are other Jaws geeks out there. But keep one thing in mind. Saying any version of "You're gonna need a bigger boat" doesn't count.

Never Dust The Windowsill

I remember an old comic strip where the character starts by dusting a windowsill, and gradually notices other things requiring attention. The punch line was that when all was said and done she had ended up repainting her whole kitchen. That's how I feel about this whole blog redesign. I started by realising that if I stared at the miles of white space any longer I'd have to prop my eyes open with bottlecaps. So I switched to a pretty green thing. Then I realised that my eyes are getting too old to read reverse-out text comfortably. (Bifocals here I come.) One thing led to another, and here I am with a whole new template of my own design. If by "own" design, you mean a broadly-pillaged Douglas Bowman creation, that is.

Some trivia:

• The colors now match my living room.

This was honestly unintentional. But I suppose it's a firm testimony to how much I like the gray-purple-green combination. It's soothing and looks (to my eye at least) both understated and luxurious. And I think perhaps I've devolved to writing marketing copy again.
•The infamous chocolate vine is featured in the header graphic. I figured I could enjoy the purple blossoms for awhile, since they're gone from the vine after only two weeks.
•I've been designing catalogs, Powerpoints, business plans and product packaging for about six years now. This is the first time I've done a website for myself in seven years. It's eerie how similar it is to what I do already.
•I tried to figure out a way to feature my dogs or some other thing, but it just ended up looking really amateurish. Not that this doesn't. But it was EVEN MORE so. Which is to say "bad."
•I haven't read anything in book form for a day and half. That's weird. But not as weird as the fact that I paid 99cents for a Rodger Hodgson solo tune on iTunes. It's a good song, but I sometimes wonder about myself. (The only thing this has to do with this new template is that it just came on the shuffle play.)

The World Welcomes LaRonda

I know that's not really her name. Or so they say. But I know, secretly, in my heart, that "Suri" is a cover story and Mr. and Mrs. The Freak named the baby after L.Ron Hubbard. Or they should have, because that would have been funny.

18 April, 2006

Bionic Uterus

and vagina, and cervix and everything else.....I've been patiently waiting for Rachel to pick this up, but she hasn't yet. So I'm going to talk about it.

When I was getting my Junior Lifesaving Certification, I became intimately familiar with Resusci Annie. Okay, not that intimate, but I did save her from drowning several times, in the parallell universe where she was real and I was a lifeguard in a lake, not the shallow end of the community pool. It was fantastic, because not only did I learn true CPR technique, I was able to do so without kissing Scott, the skeevy guy in my JLC class.

It appears that medical science has taken the concept of robotic patientry to a whole new level. The $20,000 robotic birth dummy does everything a pregnant woman can do--except threaten to cut off her husband's Charlie Browns.

She can be programmed for a variety of complications and for cervix dilation. She can labor for hours and produce a breach baby or unexpectedly give birth in a matter of minutes. She ultimately delivers a plastic doll that can change colors, from a healthy pink glow to the deadly blue of oxygen deficiency. The baby mannequin is wired to flash vital signs when hooked up to monitors. The computerized mannequins emit realistic pulse rates and can urinate and breathe.

Nature mocks me. I've been saying for years that everyone I know is getting pregnant except me. Girls I used to babysit for are getting pregnant. But now even the creepy self-peeing Baby Tender Love dolls of my childhood have grown up and are giving birth.

The good thing is that all the little Merediths and Izzies and Georges and Cristinas can now have actual Kobyashi Maru delivery practice without costing a human life. I think it's worth the twenty grand.

Bowing To Peer Pressure

I've got a couple of Livejournals I follow, and I'm so tired of posting anonymously that I created a LiveJournal account.

I'm so proud of myself for showing initiative!

Tom Cruise Is A Freak

I don't know why I'm bothering with a whole blogpost. There's really no need. The title says it all.

The . Man . Is . A . Freak.

I'd love to blame his funky religion, whose name I won't mention here because I spent 10 years trying to shake them after one post made to the alt.religion.tomcruise'sfunkyreligion UseNet site. But it's sort of a chicken/egg thing, really. Is he a screaming nutjob because of the religion, or did he join the religion because his brain is a fevered mess?

Now, over at NiT, I read that he is either joking or serious about eating the placenta of his child. I don't care. Either way he's a complete and utter batcrap crazy mess of a man. Who knows jacksh*t about biology.

People eat placenta all the time. They're called women. The reason they do it is because of a widespread belief that the high-dose hormone contained in a placenta will lower the risk of post-partum depression. I, of course, become depressed at the very thought of eating a placenta. But never you mind that.

Does Tom Cruise realise that having high doses of hormones coursing through his system might be a bad idea? Who knows.

What a grosstastic freak he is.

Tom (my brother) and B (my sister), do you remember when I decided I would never again speak the name of the horrible actor who starred in Field of Dreams? I think we have a new family rule. I think we must now and forever after refer to Tom Cruise as That Freak.

New Books With Old Faces

The 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was awarded to March by Geraldine Brooks.

I absolutely loved Brooks' previous novel, Year of Wonders, which tells a fictionalised account of a real English village that isolated itself when hit with Plague. Brooks did a wonderful job of painting a vivid story with real characters and striking detail. I enjoyed that book so much that I've decided to gamble and give the new one a try.

March is one of a very particular type of book. I call them "rashomons". Like the classic Japanese film, these books attempt to tell a well-known story from another character's point of view. Generally they make me nervous, because they often are a pompous sort of fanfic that does little to advance either the new ideas or the original source material. Not to mention the fact that as a writer who is constantly searching for ideas and developing characters they seem to me to be somewhat of a cheat. Why create your own people when Margaret Mitchell or Charlotte Bronte has already laid the groundwork for you?

I'm willing to give Brooks a try in part because March purports to open new vistas for Little Women readers. The family's beloved father, absent for most of the crucial action in the March Girls' lives, is the subject of this new novel. Brooks details his Civil War experience--the reason for his absence--and delves into the foundational events of his early life. Just as Lousia May Alcott based Little Women on her family, Brooks has drawn much of her main character from Alcott's father Bronson. A friend of Thoreau and Emerson, Bronson Alcott was an eccentric intellectual who lead a strange life. I'm dying to see how unique his fictional counterpart will be.

I've read other rashomon books. Some I've loved, others I've most decidedly NOT loved. If you're interested, here's a brief list:

1. The Wind Done Gone
A retelling of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind. The narrator is Scarlett O'Hara's black half-sister. I think it's a dreadful book, but some people seem to like it. There is a lot of sex.

2. Wide Sargasso Sea.
A surprisingly good book, if you go into it with the knowledge that it will be entirely different than Bronte's Jane Eyre. WSS is more a prequel than a retelling, recounting the story of Rochester's mad wife Bertha and the events leading up to that awful marriage. If nothing else it made me glad that I didn't marry a man who kept me locked in the attic. The basement is much nicer.

3. Mr. Darcy Books.

I can't list them all. There are too many. Why on earth women authors have an undying fixation with that ass is beyond me. I liked Pride and Prejudice just fine but never found Darcy all that heart-stopping. Yet there are reams of books about his life before Elizabeth, after Elizabeth, solving mysteries with Elizabeth. Fitzwilliam Darcy has become a cottage industry. Ironically, I don't think he would be amused by that. He is, after all, very prideful and quite prejudiced.

4. Mycroft Holmes Books.

Of course, you knew that I would bring these up. There are a series of books featuring Mycroft (I keep wanting to type it my way...) as the central character. Not as good as Doyle's Sherlock, but still fun in their own right.

5. The Mists Of Avalon

Probably the best of this type of book, Marion Zimmer Bradley retells the Arthurian legends from the ladies' point of view. Bradley weaves several strong elements into her central story. Instead of depending on the old legends to set the mood and define her characters she makes everything her own.

17 April, 2006

Anal Sex and Apple Martinis

I talked to my mother on the phone yesterday. She's been known to read my blog in fits and starts. Since couple of years ago she asked me to "help [her] find the internet on [my] Daddy's computer", I was pretty sure she wouldn't be able to figure out how to get here. Not that it matters, because I write pretty much everything under the assumption that my parents might read it. I grew up with the kind of mom and dad who inevitably found out about EVERYTHING.

According to the woman who birthed me, I'm far too open with myself on That Blog. I'm both flattered and amused.

I'm flattered because it says that I'm achieving one of my goals for my blog. It's supposed to be the place where I'm totally honest in my writing. After years of crafting Marketing Copy for a living and writing fiction for a hobby, I wanted one place where I could have a disciplined short-form writing exercise and be completely honest at the same time. I can't count the number of times I've banged out an exaggeration on the QWERTY, only to go back and delete it. I've got a personal rule, and I intend to stick to it. The fact that people who know me best think I'm over the top has to be a good thing.

I'm amused because I write, at most, 5 posts a day. Usually only one or two--but business has been slow. There is NO WAY on earth that I only exist within the parameters of what is written in a blogpost. Each post is totally truthful, but none of this is the totality of the truth of me. But I like to be honest. I like to think that by telling the truth about the way I see things I can find common ground with other people. Not because they see things the same way as I, but because they see my honest humanity. *cue background music.

So yes, I'm honest here. But rest assured that you don't know everything.

As for anal sex and apple martinis, I've never tried either and I have no plans to do so in the future. They're both fine for other people but I find even the idea of them vaguely repulsive.

Free Speech? REALLY?

I'm writing about this AGAIN, so it looks like I care more than I do. Honest. I don't care that much. But seeing as how someone actually said this, I need to get something off my chest.

Firstly, Kopp continues to delete comments. Which in the grand scheme of things matters about as much to everyone as the fact that I hate to wear pantyhose. But then Kopp, reborn after his own Miracle of Fatima®, said this to Bill Hobbs:

Note to "Mo Toons" Hobbs:
Deleting moronic statements like yours from my blog and anywhere else is a form of free speech I intend to exercise freely and openly. You are quite literally "yesterday's news."

The three words that had me reeling were these: AND ANYWHERE ELSE

Does Mr. Kopp truly believe that censoring any speech of others with which he takes exception constitutes an exercise of HIS free speech? Because that's how I read it. Is this Bredesen staffer going to be the sole arbiter of what constitutes non-moronic speech?

16 April, 2006

Mike Kopp, Just Turn Your Bleeding Comments OFF, If THAT'S How You're Gonna Be

So I read Kopp's impassioned defence of his actions and rolled my eyes at the whole waving-little-Muslim-girl who motivated him to action. (As someone said about something else earlier in the week, that's not much different than having your neighbor's dog tell you to shoot people. )

I commented on his blog where I said something along the lines of "you sound ridiculous, and you've abused a stereotype to inflame opinion, just as Hobbs tried to do", but with a lot more words.

Other people commented as well.

As of right now, all the comments that disagreed with Kopp are deleted. 11 out of 16.

I wrote earlier about what blogs are. I still don't have any kind of firm answer, but I definitely think that if a blog has comments, the only reason a comment should be deleted is because it is either foul or an off topic attack. None of the deleted commets at Kopp's were either.

Listen. If you want comments, you take all the germaine comments. (Like the one a few posts down on here where someone said something that made sense to them and may make sense to you but still leaves me feeling as though they missed a sentence or two.)

If you don't want comments, there is an option for turning off the comments on a post. People do it all the time.

So, Mike, man of the people, either turn 'em off or leave 'em up. As it stands right now, you look like the KGB. "Good news only!!!"

15 April, 2006

Poke Cake: The Ode

Jason and Mel don't know what Poke Cake is. I'm sad for them both, and for the rest of you who have missed out. Last night after I got Jason's comment, I started to write a comment response and went looking for the recipe.

I stumbled across some girl's LiveJournal post. There were many words detailing this young lady's hatred of America as a cultural wasteland--all because we eat poke cake.

Obviously America does have world class chefs and a perfectly credible national cuisine (of sorts), but I fear that Poke Cake has reinforced some of my worst prejudices concerning vast swathes of the population there. I am currently visualising Homer Simpson munching messily away at a slice inbetween glugs of Duff beer...

How sad. She has written off a truly refreshing delight simply because it seems beneath her refined taste. (Is now the time for me to make mention of the fact that her LiveJournal Avatar is a Unicorn?) So I must defend Poke Cake.

Poke Cake is the stuff of the Midwest.
If you've never been part of church in Midwestern America you may not have developed a taste for the particular dishes that are our unique brand of comfort food. Forget all that "Mom, Baseball, Apple Pie" nonsense. America tasts like Green Beans swimming in Cream of Mushroom soup and crunchy fried onions from a can. It tastes like hot dogs cut up in baked beans, all slightly burned from sitting in the crock pot through Sunday School and the main service. It tastes like the overripe bananas that get baked into breads. It tastes like deviled eggs and "ham" (really bologna) salad on white bread. And Poke Cake is the taste of dessert.

It's just white cake in a 9x13 pan, with holes poked in it. You then pour Jell-o® over the top, refrigerate it and serve it with whipped cream. It's light, fresh, fruity and bad for all of you except your spirit. It tastes like spring. It tastes like Fellowship Hall and paper plates and McDonald's Orange Drink.

I love good food. Sure, it's not Bananas foster or Creme Brulee. But Poke Cake'll make you feel as though you've been fed not by a chef trying to impress you but by a nice lady who loves you.

With Apologies To Morgan Spurlock

Today was the day. The day that happens, by my reckoning, once every 8 or 10 weeks. Today was the day that my hormones combined with my allergy medicine, my bank account and my insomnia. When this happens I hear a voice in my head that screams "FEED ME A BIG MAC, FRIES AND A CHOCOLATE SHAKE."

Now, I know that just last week I wrote about fat people (I'm one) and how their eating habits are their own business. My eating habits have been pretty good, overall. In my normal waking life I've reached an age where fast food holds about the same appeal as Bubble Tape and Lik-Em-Aid Fun Dip, that is to say "none". But on these rare occasions I can't be stopped. I must have that one particular food combination.

So I did. And I'm happy.

Isn't This Fun, This Stuff Of Hate?

I realise that the first rule of writing is to make sure your readers are informed of all the characters and extenuating circumstances. But I'm going to break that rule and assume that you have either already figured out what happened over the last two days or are capable of using Google. I have less than no desire to rehash it all here. (Key search terms: "Bill Hobbs", Mohammed, Cartoon)

Characters throughout the Nashosphere spent much of Friday morning bewildered and sympathetic to Hobbs on a micro level. But now he has become a sort of heroic totem for much of the conservative world. People from all around the country are stopping by Blake Wylie's comments section to leave strange jingoistic couplets in "support" of Mr. Hobbs' right to draw pictures of whatever he wants. Presumably his admittedly-in-poor-taste drawing is in itself okay because "liberals and muslims are scum and must be killed."

That type of idiocy is easily dismissed because it is, on its face, ridiculous. But others appear to be using bigger words which more prettily say the same thing. Terry Frank politely opines:
The Nasvhille Scene “pile on” is just another example of how David Horowitz is right–namely that an “unholy alliance” exists between the liberals in this country & our media and the radical Muslims who seek to wipe Israel, infidels, and the West off the face of the map.

Think about that for a minute. Think about what it says.

I'm a conservative Christian. Frank's statement bothers me even more than the tasteless cartoon and the graceless opinion piece in the Scene. It bothers me because it uses a complicated factual event to draw a spurious conclusion. I know a lot of liberals. Many are members of my own family. While I think that there are many times when my brother Tom has ended up on the wrong side of an issue or that my Aunt C-------- has missed a few buttons on the overcoat I still rest comfortably knowing that neither of them have "Go Jihad!" sentiments OR matching t-shirts.

The plain fact is that there are people in the world who would like to see me dead. And you. Because we live in America. Because we are Christian or pagan or agnostic. Because I am a woman. Because the men around here don't keep me quiet. (Good luck with that, Honey....)

The other plain fact is that there are a lot of people in this country who disagree with me about how we should handle everything from the Iraq war to the Food Stamp program. I think they're wrong. They think I'm wrong. But last time I looked, the central aim of this country is freedom. We should have the right to disagree. Statements like Frank's do nothing to "promote the general welfare" OR "ensure domestic tranquility." We seem to have forgotten, in our rush to provide for the common (i.e. all of us) defense, that one can hold an opposing political position and yet NOT be a danger to our basic wellbeing. Sure, there may be SOME journalists who are very anti-Israel or even pro-Iraqi. That doesn't mean every person who holds a "media" card is fomenting destruction. And I'm sure (because I've met one or two) that there are liberals who would love to see the U.S. turned into an irradiated glass memory as punishment for having more money than everybody else. That doesn't mean that every non-conservative has joined up with the enemy.

Are we so eager to fight that we'll create enemies where none exist? Or is the true enemy so fearsome that it's easier to fight a figment? I wish I knew.

14 April, 2006

NOT About Bill Hobbs

I'm ready for the weekend.

I've got 3 Babylon 5 DVDs on deck from Netflix.

I've got the TiVo fired up to record the legitimate Ten Commandments movie on ABC.

I've got a dozen Cadbury eggs from the World's Best Sister.

I've got a dinner invitation from friends for Saturday night. Mmmm. Free Pork for Passover. Odd being a Christian who observes Jewish holidays. Sometimes my "pick and choose" rate is unnerving.

I've got a 12lb turkey in the fridge, and the makings of a Jell-O Poke Cake in the cupboard.

I've got great books to read.

I've got a dog who loves to sit on my lap at my desk and listen to Miles Davis.

I've got the world's sexiest husband.

All in all, I'd say it'll be a good weekend. Happy Easter.

Boot Camp

Apple's Boot Camp program gets a favourable review.

Hobbs Dooced

Bill Hobbs has announced his change in employment status.

I don't know the man, but this does have all the earmarks of a Centurion Resignation.

Others have better said what I would say about the whole scenario.

I cannot help but feel extremely sorry for Bill and his family.

I'll See Your Google SMS and RAISE You

Busy Mom has the 411 on Google SMS search. Very interesting indeed.

But I'd like to humbly submit that a nice little company with Nashville connections, UpSnap has offered similar things for awhle now. With UpSnap you can also get such delightful things over your cellphone (ANY CELLPHONE) as:


The SWiNG technology behind UpSnap's audio delivery was invented here in Nashville.

And, in the interest of full disclosure, yes, I do have very personal ties to the company.

No Other Fount I Know

This is my favourite day of the year. My birthday (May 23, gifts accepted) is nice because I don't share it with anyone I know (Joan Collins doesn't count.) Christmas is nice, to be sure, with all the comforts of lights and warmth against the dark and cold. Easter is great with it's triumphant celebration and happy pinks and yellows.
Image at right: Golgotha, the Place of the Skull

But Good Friday doesn't really have any decoration. It just is.

Good Friday is the day when God made Himself lower than the angels.

Good Friday is the day when God struggled, bruised and bleeding, through an angry mob. For the angry mob. Each and every one of whom He loves.

Good Friday is the day when the Thief tasted forgiveness.

Good Friday is the day when Jesus tasted vinegar. Vinegar is spoiled wine. Just as the Wine of communion is Christ's blood the vinegar is Christ's blood made bitter with the sin of the world.

Good Friday is the day when the Temple Veil was torn. From the top to the bottom. Before Good Friday only a Priest could enter the Holy of Holies to represent the people before God. But at the time of Jesus' death the rending veil opened access to God for everyone. Jesus became our High Priest.

Good Friday is the day when the women stayed by the side of their dead God. In their faith and grief they would still not leave him.

We always celebrate on Easter because it is the day of the Resurrection. The day when Jesus came back to the women who had stayed with his body and let them know their grief was ended and their faith was made complete. But to me the best day will always be the one where the Veil was rent. The day God made plain his invitation to everyone.

Good Friday Playlist
You may not realise it, but there are several songs that are perfect for Good Friday. Here they are!

Nothing But The Blood Of Jesus (sound)

There Is Power In The Blood (sound)

The Old Rugged Cross (sound)

Were You There? (sound)

At Calvary

More Than Wonderful

and, of course, not as "sacred-seeming" but still absolutely great...despite what some would tell you...

Sunday's On The Way