31 May, 2006

Giddyup, Gals! Them Fellas'll Have Ya After All.

So Bob Mueller just actually said (I don't think he writes his own interstitials so maybe I'll cut him some slack) that (close paraphrase)
So how easy is it to get married after 30? 20 years after a groundbreaking book it ....appears that the future may not be so bleak for women

Wha?!? Look, I'm very happily married to a Hawt Guy who is good to me and whom I love dearly. BUT I don't believe that an unmarried future is a bleak one for everyone. Some women don't want to be married. The other day when my super-anal husband neatly stacked all his chicken wing bones in a straight line I could see why.

Even if you are single and over 30 and want desperately to be married wouldn't you feel a little more bummed if someone implied that a manless future was bleak? I would.

Bleak. ???

Wait By The River Long Enough

When I was a kid there was a house in the neighborhood that all the other kids whispered about. Especially the older kids. No one was quite sure why. Sometimes it was because a crazy old lady lived there and wanted us to stay off her lawn. Other times it was because the people who lived there were in a cult. (It was the 70s. "Cults" were the bogeymen.) We moved from that subdivision when I was 16, but every Christmas we still drive by my old house.

Today, twenty years after the fact, I finally found out why everyone was so scared of that house. Since I was actually a) a baby and b)in the hospital I had no recollection of the actual events. But apparently some dude shot his family there.

I can NOT believe it's actually creepier than the stupid reasons we had come up with. I mean, dudes, it's like our own Amityville Horror house, right around the block. And here we were afraid of some mythical "keep of my lawn" lady.

The Buckstar Show

Once again I'm hooked on Last Comic Standing. Has there ever been a reality show with a more checkered past? Well, considering that this is reality TV, probably.

Still, I'm betting none are this intentionally funny.

I'm glad to see that they've given more audience participation at the ground level. Hopefully it will end up in more newbies. The one thing that has always gotten me about LCS is that at the end of the day it isn't breaking in new stars like American Idol, it's just giving established comedians a broader platform. In AI terms, it's quite like that show reimagined with regional lounge singers competing for the top honors. There are quite a few good novice comedians who've gotten passed over.

Still, it's a great summer show and worth it's weight in laughs.


For more on BuckStar, go here. I've done a bit more research.

30 May, 2006

Summer Reading

I've been commissioned to write a children's book†. So that's how I'm spending my days. Big Orange Michael, on the other hand, is making Big Orange Plans to do a lot of reading this summer. He's included one of my all-time favourite books--Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon-- on his reading list.

Any book that contains the phrase "Alan's penis scheme" is good reading, people.

†For my sister's Kindergarten classes, so it isn't as big a deal as it sounds.

Spelling Bzzzzzzz

Man, ABC must think we're all veeeerrry easily entertained. They are airing the Scripps Spelling Bee on Thursday night. As the dramatic promos say it is ONE NIGHT ONLY. They make it sound as though we are all in for the thrill of a lifetime.

Folks, let me explain. Spelling bees are great entertainment. If it's your kid whose brain is on the block. Otherwise, this Little- House- On -The-Prairie-gone-xxxxtreme business is just really not fun at all. It's like having an art show featuring fingerpaintings previously affixed to refrigerators with magnets. Don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of good spelling. Granted, mine is sadly lacking on occasion, but only because I was a huge spelling-bee nerd in Jr. High and personal pride prevents me from using spellcheck. Still, I'm a lover of reading and as such find good spelling a boon insofar as it makes my reading-life easier. Nevertheless, unless I share vast quantities of DNA with the kid, I'm not going to spend hours of my life bored stiff by waiting to see if little Megaprecious spells "constabulatory" correctly.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the rise in popularity of Spelling Bees is just so that parents have yet another outlet to pressure their kids overmuch while grasping at the limelight. They seem awfully close to dog shows, child beauty pagents and travel teams in that 'pimp your kids' way that just grates on my nerves. Bees are really big business these days. My last trip to Starbucks was bubbling over with Akeela and the Bee propaganda. I'm not sure of the reason behind the tie-in, but I assume that deep down it's because people know how much coffee you need to actually stay awake when watching a spelling bee.

26 May, 2006

Movies They Oughtta Make: Take 2

It's probably cheating to suggest films ought to be made from books. I wasn't going to do it, but then I had one thought. Bewitched. If they are so desperate out there as to need to remake old sitcoms, perhaps they can look to another medium for ideas.

I have several films in my head that could be spun from some books I've loved, but I hesitate suggesting them. Hollywood's idea of what entertains is generally very different from any author's viewpoint. (Remember the love story from Jaws?)
I realised this when I first thought of making this particular book into a film. Because theoretically it is already in development.

Hah. Anyone familiar with Julian F. Thompson's The Grounding Of Group Six knows that the "movie" synopsis of the film in development is NOTHING compared to the actual story.

Here's the film they want to make for us:
A seventeen-year-old travels cross-country to find his older brother who has escaped from a mental instituion. On the way, he falls in love with one of his brother's old friends.

WTH? The excellent JFT book tells the story of five posh teenagers and their young counselor at an exclusive camp for rich kids. Slowly they realise that their parents have sent them to this camp to be executed. At the same time, handsome "counselor" Nick comes to know the children he's been hired to kill and has second thoughts. Eventually they all band together to overturn the institution, save the day and give their parents comeuppance.

That's the classic story, and that's the book that should become a blockbuster Hollywood film.

Star Wars==A Few Thoughts

So I've been quasi-laid-up for a few days, and I thought I'd amuse myself by watching Star Wars movies. If Star Wars Movies were wedding dresses, the "new" trilogy would be mine. It had pearls, sequins, beads, ribbons, lace and just about every other white thing you could stick on a gown. (Trust me, it was fashionable when I wore it. Many years ago.) The old trilogy, on the other hand, would be one of those simple but elegant satin shifts. Sadly, with all the tinkering George did for the "special" editions, it's as though he stuck some gaudy sequined iron-on patches on the sparsely elegant dress.

Is any of this making sense? Probably not. But I still stand by the fact that if there'd been a bit less CGI and a bit more Han Solo-type charm, the prequels would have been a lot more timeless. Yub yub.

24 May, 2006

Something About This Is Appalling

That's Entertainment!


I hate it when people pimp the Shoah for profit. But hey, it's Oprah! and Sweeps! So let's go to Oswiecim and get closeups of her tearing up. Maybe she'll even chat with her good buddy Steve Speilberg.

Somehow when she announced Night as her bookclub selection I felt this Oprah® Brings You The Holocaust coming on. But this? Never expected this.

23 May, 2006

May 23rd

Today I am thirty-six years old. (Three Dozen for all you egg fans...)

According to Wikipedia, there are 222 days left in the year after today.

In 1995, this was the day that the Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City was bombed. According to Wikipedia nothing else of note really happened on this day for the last 2000 years. Okay, I take that back. In 1911, the New York Public Library was dedicated. I don't know what that entails, but I envision someone smashing a bottle of champaign over the head of one of the lions. Probably not how it went down, but that seems festive enough so I'm going with it.

Many notable people share my birthday. Libertarian comedian Drew Carey (good) and multi-talented poet and van-dweller Jewel Kilcher. (not good) Joan Collins was born on May 23rd, but I never say she "shares" my birthday, because she doesn't seem like the sharing type. Famous know-it-all Ken Jennings was also born on May 23rd. Come to think of it, so was Betty Garrett. You know her best as Laverne's Dad's Girlfriend from Laverne & Shirley.

There IS a famous writer born on my birthday, but I feel cheated. Aunt B. gets Arthur Conan Doyle and I get Mitch Albom--the Tuesdays With Morrie guy. Could be worse. I could have gotten Dr. Phil.

I will be spending this day enjoying my favourite pastime. Passing a kidney stone. It's not so bad, really, considering that this is a Tuesday birthday. Having your birthday fall on a Tuesday--as all birthdays occasionally do--is generally an off year for the Birthday Holiday. Tuesday is a rather monastic day. There's never a decent excuse for a long enough weekend to absorb the Tuesday. The world is going about its business. Tuesday is the one day a week that everyone buckles down and feels like working. Monday is recovering from the weekend. Wednesday is "Hump Day". Thursday is almost-Friday. But Tuesday is "let's meet on the San Diego shipment" day. So as birthdays go spending my Tuesday birthday on hydrocodone, phenergan and grape soda is .... better than nothing. I think maybe I'll watch Empire Strikes Back. Yoda makes more sense when you're on the drugs.

22 May, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Today is Aunt B.'s birthday. I am officially jealous because she shares her day with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. That makes it like the coolest birthday EVER. Stop by her place and grant her felicitations.

Oh, and if you work at WKRN, step out of the office to meet her. That's gotta be the nicest, cheapest birthday present ever.

21 May, 2006

Bloggercue Part II: The People That You Meet Each Day

They say first impressions are something. Vital, important, whatever. I can't remember the exact phrase, but everyone seems to agree thay your first impression of someone is A Veddy Big Deal. Maybe that's why no one ever comes to Blogger Meet-Ups, because we're all like "my hair sucks today and I just had a fight with my bank teller and I so don't want anyone to see me like this."

That being said, I would like for you to "meet" the people I met yesterday.

Heather, like Exador, is one of our Bloggers-In-Law. She's technically from elsewhere, but we've all come to love her through one of our own. As luck would have it, her visit coincided with our event. She is tall with gorgeous auburn hair, sparking eyes and a welcoming smile. She has a strong air of self-assuredness and two wonderful little boys that are her pride and joy. Any woman who will travel hours in a car with two boys under the age of three has an inner fire that I completely envy.

Michelle is one of those people that I want to take out for a beer. (I can't drink beer, but I'll get a coke...) She and I could sit and chew over ideas about politics and family and fun. She has an abundance of beautiful dark hair and a perpetually smiling face with intelligent eyes that make you feel like you're in on the joke called Life.

Kathy T.
Kathy sells real-estate in her real life, which means that she has found a way to put her sense of confidence and instant friendliness to good use. When she came into Ivy's house she brought a sort of openhearted helpfulness and kindness that was so utterly cool.

Malia is a lady. There is no other way to put it. Everything about her has a soft gentility, from her strawberry blond hair to her bright eyes and her soft, patient way of speaking. I felt a bit in awe of her graciousness, actually. But my favourite part was this little mischevious smile she'd get after copping to something. That was the jam center to the sugar cookie.

I will swear right now that Rachel has the friendliest face that God ever gave a person. All of the parts come together in just the right way to make her really cute with the warmest, most welcoming smile. When most people think "librarian" I'm sure that the mental image they get is the exact opposite from the reality of Rachel.

Now, of course I think I've already told you about Ivy and Aunt B., so the impressions I have of them are second impressions. I will say that the things I noticed on repeat viewings were that Ivy has got some major creativity (Octopus bathroom) and Aunt B. has the most gorgeous blue eyes.

And that is the best I can do for you all without having taken any pictures.

Relive The Magic: 18 DVD Set Review

Now is one of those times when I have a really good answer for the "why blog?" question. Because I get to give an honest review of a product that I hope people will find when they Google "Relive The Magic 18 DVD Set Walt Disney World WDW". I know they will. I Googled it two weeks ago and read many reviews.

All of those reviews had two things in common. 1) Glowing praise for this compilation and 2) Paid "associates" of the company. If people buy the DVDs through a link from your site, you get $50+. Not bad. If I stood to make fifty bucks a pop, I'd praise it too.

I don't make any money off this review. Or these DVDs. So, this is an honest recap.

For starters, I am a WDW junkie. I am the person who has downloaded the Monorail speech off the web on more than one occasion. I'm the person who melts when they hear the water slap the side of the boat on the Jungle Cruise. If there was ever a person who was gonna spend $200 on DVDs of Walt Disney World, it'd be me. Fortunately (?) my spouse suffers from the same condition, and we gladly forked over for these as a joint birthday/anniversary present. After we read the other highly-positive reviews.

The customer service people at RLM.com are very kind, helpful and forthcoming. It does take awhile to get the DVDs, though. Keep in mind that they are most definitely not an Amazon or other big-box webtailer. I think they wait to actually burn the DVDs one at a time when they get the order. Because they didn't even ship our discs until 10 days after receiving our money. However they did overnight them at no extra charge to compensate for the delay.

The discs arrived. Each DVD is in a coloured sleeve, and the contents of the DVD are printed onto its face, viewable through a cellophane window in the disc envelope. There is no rhyme or reason to the discs. That right there should give you an idea of the quality of the video workmanship. It's not unusual to have a DVD with two features from Fantasyland alongside three features from MGM studio. So if you're looking for a soup-to-nuts walkthrough of each park, you'll have to reburn your own DVDs in sequential order. This is not mentioned at all on the website. In fact, they list events in the order in which they should appear on the DVDs. Many of the "dark rides" are listed as selling features on both the main site and the many review sites. BUT....for Snow White, Peter Pan and Pirates of the Carribbean be forewarned. You'll sit through long minutes of near-total darkness. If you feel like closing your eyes and soaking in the audio, you'll be fine. If you're expecting a blow-by-blow ridethrough with all the little goodies you'll be sorely disappointed.
Other rides, like Tower of Terror are listed, but are only shown in part. TOT only shows the lobby queuing area and the Serling intro video. There is no ride through and no visual of the drop.

BUT the part I need to warn you about the most--and pay close attention--is the fact that if you have any kind of motion sickness at all THESE ARE NOT THE VIDEOS FOR YOU. The camera operator has no basic skills with panning and scanning. He'll see one thing on the right hand side and then zoomreallyfast to catch something on his left-hand side. He'll pan very fast up and down and pull frames rapidly in and out of focus. And this isn't even on rides. This is on walkthroughs. I literally became nauseated during the tour of Mickey's Toontown. Not to mention all of the times the camera is held at an angle.

Another important item to note is that these were filmed during Christmastime. That can be good and it can be bad. If you are a Disney World Christmas junkie, you'll be in seventh heaven. Swatches of garland are everywhere, and the giant Christmas tree is viewable from the Tomorrowland Transit Authority portion. If, like me, you don't care for the WDW Christmas decorations this can detract. Even more distracting is the background audio. Various places that have distinctive soundtracks (Wilderness Lodge, Hollywood Boulevard,etc.) have their "normal" soundtrack replaced by Christmas carols. Yeah, I'm one of those people who've downloaded all the Wilderness Lodge background tunes and built a playlist for them. So I was quite bummed to have the walkthrough featuring seasonal music.

When all is said and done, I think the videos are worth a look if you would like to see bits of WDW in small doses. (Even my stout-hearted spouse was a bit seasick after 45 minutes of various discs.) I think they are WAY overpriced, given their poor filming quality and the number of rides that are not actually visible. I'd say they're worth about $65 tops. And that's ONLY if you are a complete fanatic--like the Cobles.

For those of you who read my blog on a regular basis and aren't into WDW please forgive this commercial message.


First off, let me apologise for dragging my camera along and not taking a single picture. You'll miss out on seeing Ivy's cute new puppy. You'll also miss the UT Orange hallway, the adorable bathroom with the giant octopus on the wall and two of the saddest pit bulls neglected in the neighbor's backyard.

I was telling my family about yesterday's event and my dad chimed in with this thought:

That's strange, hanging out with a bunch of people you only know from having blogs.

Upon further reflection, I think it's not strange at all. We all obviously love to write and read. We all have great senses of humour. In fact, it's a darn sight less strange than hanging out with people from work. Work friends you know because you're all bonded by a common goal--the getting paid. With blogger friendships you read the blogs you like because they have something in common with you, what the others have written strikes some chord. Beats hanging out with the lady who forces you to be nice to her so that you can get the best ballpoint pens out of the supply room.

Anyway--enough dimestore philosophy.

People, Smyrna is a HIKE from Hermitage. Let me tell you. It is a long way to that Tipperary. (Michael, you just think about THAT next time you give me krep for not showing up!) I was late (hate to be late) because we mistakenly turned the wrong way on Sam Ridley. But once I finally found the place the fun was immediately underway.

You know it's gonna be a grand time when women start off ogling your sexy husband. It's nice to have my judgment confirmed. ;-p Funnily enough, even though I offered him to both women for the low low price of $8.95, they refused. Perhaps if I took credit cards....

I had met Michael, Ivy and Aunt B. before. So they were easy. I swear, there is nothing like "meeting" people you already know. I was terrified that when I introduced myself people would think "YOU? You're the blog I read? Not anymore, sister. You are too frightful to look at. Bye." That did not happen--at least out loud--when I FINALLY met Malia, Heather, Kathy T. and Michelle. The only drawback to having all these cool people in one place is that there were too many fascinating conversations going on, and it was hard to choose. We were all laughing and joking and getting caught up and playing with one of the cute kids. Did I mention that Malia, Heather, Ivy and Kathy all have the most adorable and well-behaved kids? Seriously. All the kids minded their moms and were polite. It was very cool to see that there is hope for the generations yet to come.

I did get torn away from the blogger conversations to meet with the most unique gubernatorial candidate I've ever had the pleasure of talking with in my life. Marivauna Stout Leinoff is running as an independent. Her three part plan consists of bringing back the power of referendae to the citizens of Tennessee; abolishing the prison system & legalising marijuana. I'm with her on all but the prison abolition. I like prisons. I like knowing that they are there so that when you stab an old lady to take her social security money we have a place to put you in "time out". I was ultimately turned off by Ms. Stout-Leinoff's proposition that everyone deserves rights except pedophiles. Her three point plan includes establishing an island for the exile of pedophiles. It sounds like a Law & Order SVU reality show.

This is the part where I REALLY wanted to sell my husband dirt cheap. Anybody who is married knows that when you are with your spouse at a party and you are in an uncomfortable conversation you should be able to give your spouse some kind of signal after which they will come bail you out. But no. He enjoyed watching me not laugh out loud at Pedophile Island. That was his way of paying me back for believing that we should give Independent candidates a forum for addressing the public as a way to encourage outgrowth from the two-party system. It was also his way of being able to laugh at me all the way home.

Anyway, after I excused myself I got shanghaied into speaking into Michael's iRiver--which means that my tremulous voice can be heard on the podcast saying penispenispenis. It's a long story. You just have to listen to the podcast. (Link when I can find it...)

After much more laughter and confusion we hightailed it over to Ivy's. Turns out she actually lives one street away from one of our best couple friends. All these years we've been hanging out in Ivy's backyard and had no idea. Sorta like that Liza Minelli song. Poor Aunt B. had to hear me ramble on and on about this being "Dan and Hollie's neighborhood." I was just that freaked by the smallworldness of it all.

Once at Ivy's the fun began again, although we were minus Michael who was "buying a house." I was bummed because I barely got to talk to him at EJoes and was thinking we'd get all caught up at Ivy's. Then he never showed. Crumble. Oh well. We had so much fun at Ivy's that it was a total blast and I swear I'm going to throw a copy-Kat bloggercue in a couple months. If I can convince everyone to drag their broods to the 'tage.

Oh man, there was just a mountain of delicious food. Can I just tell you that Aunt B's potatoe (ha!) salad is every bit as good as promised. I had like four helpings of that stuff. Malia's Hummingbird cake (thank you again, girl) was fabulous. And there were ribs, hotdogs, cheetoes and grape soda. All of us LOVE grape soda. I think it is now the official drink of BloggerCue. My only regret is that I didn't have any of the ribs because I thought they were beef until too late. After I discovered they were Pork we had all moved on.

To top off all the grandiosity, I finally got to meet Rachel of Women's Health News. That was a huge treat, because I really wanted to meet her, but figured she'd pulled a Michael and was off buying a house or something.

I just had so much fun meeting everyone. I heartily encourage people to come to the next blogger meet-up. Everyone is shy, but once we're all there it's too much fun and everyone has a good time. Hey, I'm QueenShy and I finally made it. So, next time I would love to see absolutely everybody on my blogroll show up. (I was starting to type in links and then realised that, dude, if you're on the blogroll, I wanna meet you in person.)

I would also like to go on record as saying that you can call me Ishmael. Because I have decided that Kleinheider is the White Whale for any blogger meet-up. Yes, I know Ishmael isn't the one with the whale fixation in that book, but I wanted to say "call me Ishmael."

Thanks in abundance to Ivy for opening her home to all of us, and cooking up a wonderful feast. You are the woman, Ivy.

19 May, 2006


CLC (I can never get all the "eee"s...) and SistaSmiff are weighing in on the homeschool debate. I was going to comment on their blogs, but then I couldn't make up my mind which one of them was going to be saddled with my longasciidness.

Me having an opinion on homeschooling is like me having an opinion on urinals. I get the general concept, am not clear on the actual execution and doubt I'll ever need to worry about either.

I was private schooled most of the time, but chose to go to public school for two years. It all worked out in the end. I can read, write, add sums, do basic algebra, have passing knowledge of Avogadro's Number. (Am I the only one who craves guacamole when discussing Avogadro's Number? Yes? Well, okay.) My mom was my teacher for many subjects in high school so in a strange way I was homeschooled with 25 other kids. So I guess I'm in line with CeeeElCeee's "takes all kinds" philosophy.

In all honesty, though, while CeeeELCeee has experience with tutoring the overachieving daughter of seemingly well-to-do parents in between her stabs at Olympic gold I must say my personal experience with homeschoolers has not always been stellar. They are:

Overprotective: Kids will get hurt. They will fall off swings and scrape their knees. Pulling them out of public school at age 6 because of this is not healthy for their mental and emotional well-being. Kids will also learn there is no Santa Claus. They may drink Kool-Aid, hear misinformation about sex and have their feelings hurt. It's called life, and it's generally better for them to grow the callouses now than to be isolated and unprepared for adulthood.

Undereducated: Look. I know that you are really smart. You are a cardiac care nurse or have a Masters in Renaissance Literature. But face it. As much as you know about what you know there is a whole world about which you are ignorant. That's why schools have specialised subjects with varied teachers. My algebra teacher in high school couldn't have taught me much about the Electoral College, and certainly had no clue about Spanish. No matter how smart you are, you'll never be as widely informed on your own as a staff of 15 in the local school.

All that being said, I have four women in my family who have taught for many years. They're full of tales about wasted time and money in public school. Between that and Law & Order: SVU I can see why parents would rather not go through that whole thing.

Are kids really having sex in the libraries and bathrooms of schools across the nation? Really? Gives a whole new meaning to "Spirit Week" I guess.

18 May, 2006

Job Interview

I have a job interview scheduled for Tuesday, May 30th. It should prove very interesting. Keep your fingers crossed.

One Cold Weekend

I had been selected as one of four school representatives to the Mock U.N. at Butler University. It was an hour's drive from our cornfield-based college and it meant sacrificing a weekend. When I first applied I had been in deep like with one of the other possible delegates, and had envisioned us falling in love over the course of prepping arguments for the viability of the African National Congress. Unfortunately life is less romantic than Lifetime movies, and all we had learned about each other during prep weeks was that we would do best if kept a safe distance from one another.

You know that line of poetry that people quote when they want to sound dramatic? "Things fall apart, the center cannot hold."

This was the weekend that everything fell apart.

I was a good girl born in the cold war. I knew these things: I was a Christian, I was a Republican and I wanted to be a lawyer. Things like Mock U.N. look good on law school apps, and the boy I wanted to like would have been the perfect husband for a good lady lawyer. He wore blue blazers to class when everyone else wore sweats, and on the one date we had he brought the Wall Street Journal. So, yeah. Life was on pace.

Then I started to fall in love with the crazy guy who ran the dishroom. Nobody at our school really liked him all that much because he didn't fit the mold. He had an earring. He lived on campus and growled at everybody. I thought he was an ass, but he liked the Grateful Dead and didn't like anyone else. A human car crash from which I could not look away. The weekend before the conference he and I had one of those romantic all-night talk sessions where you discover how completely cool the other person is.

All of a sudden leaving town to play politics with Blue Blazer didn't seem like a good idea. But I had to do it. Law school apps. Four of us piled in a car and drove to Indianapolis, with a brief stop at Don's Guns. We didn't buy anything, but we had to see the place where Don "LOVED to sell guns". Blue blazer and his buddy talked about what gun they would get if we hadn't all signed a "no guns" thing upon applying to the university. Had I a gun at that moment, Blue Blazer would have been limping to Butler.

The conference went okay. I learned how rare a true conservative is in any university Political Science program. I did okay overall, and received a round of applause for my pro-Israel speech. Good oration, except totally out of character. ANC members are not generally pro-Israel. I remember a lot of windowless cinderblock rooms, name tags, coffee in styrofoam cups. I remember feeling completely out of place. All of the other people cared a whole lot more about world government than I did. (Looking back, I think this was also the weekend I realised I might be happier as a literature major. I wondered how that would look on the law school apps.)

I was completely confused. Everything I thought I was good at--everything I wanted--was a mirage. I was good at politics, but better at writing. I was in love with the wrong guy.

And we lost our enemy.

After dinner we went back to the hotel to crash and study, only to hear loud shouts and louder music. Pink Floyd's The Wall was playing on no fewer than 3 boomboxes, and cheap champaign was spraying everywhere. 80 wonk-geeks from all over the midwest were having the rarest moment possible. We were watching East and West Germans tear down the Berlin Wall in the most openly visceral display of the death of the cold war possible. And we were watching it together. Had we been back on campus with jocks and math geeks and computer science nerds it would have been a no-big-deal kind of night. But we were with the only other non-Germans who would care this much. Other poli sci geeks. It was the closest I think I'll ever come to the Ewok celebration on Endor at the conclusion of Jedi. I remember standing in a mauve-carpeted hallway with tears streaming down my face, watching people my age prize chunks of cement from that concrete scar in triumph. That wall had stood for death. It had stood for inequality. It had stood for division. And it was finally coming down. I was so proud to be human at that moment, and to see the cold war die.

The next day when I got back to campus, I discovered that the Wrong Guy had filled my car with balloons. When I opened the passenger door and watched them fly free, I realised that it was time for some change. I dropped my major, married the wrong guy and consigned law school to File 13. I was too free a spirit to do otherwise, and I had only one life.

And now we want to build our own wall. Americans. Here, in our own country. I realise there is a sort of need, but I can't help feeling a bit betrayed. I grew up with the blazing torch of Liberty's invitation to the huddled masses. We were the good guys who took in those who needed asylum.

Now we're the ones with a wall.

I know it isn't that simple on some levels. I know there is real concern about economic and health issues that arise from massive immigration. I do understand that and share many of those concerns.

But in my gut I hate walls.

17 May, 2006

What Am I Gonna Do Part II

Since Phil Wilson said it first, I don't feel guilty for saying it second.

I've been going on and on about the DVC movie and how Christians shouldn't boycott it and yadda yadda. And then they had this extended preview on my TiVo, and scattered throughout NBC Primetime.

This movie looks dull, boring and no fun at all.

I no longer have any desire to go.

But I'm not boycotting it. Honest.

UPDATE # 1: Jason noticed this, too.

UPDATE # 2: My ever-wise Hubby weighs in with this nugget:

Kinda funny how God seems to manage to take care of Himself when it comes to big "threats" like that...

What Am I Gonna Do

with all this extra free time I'll have next fall? Let's take a look at the SPOILERS ways in which Network Television has crapped all over my face. (Shout out to Brittney.)

Gilmore Girls
These girls started at as strong independent women who stood up for themselves with humour and panache. They were pretty and smart and funny but still outsiders. A single mom trying to make ends meet and give her daughter the best life possible. This year the fans were treated to the new incarnation of whiny, self-absorbed dilletantes.

The fans wanted Luke & Lorelai. After years hoping, urging, begging and cajoling we finally got that. Only to have them be the most uncharming couple since The Ropers. Any scene with those two had less chemistry than Elton John and Renate Blauel. And then we end the year with Lorelai having rebound sex with Christopher. Never mind that we had the sacred coupling of L&L unravel so completely against all good sense but this is such a been-there-done-him-before cliffhanger. So the Girls are off my Season Pass list.

Grey's Anatomy
Words cannot describe how let-down I feel by the 3 hour tour of Sunday and Monday nights. It has left our entire intern program stranded on Meredith's-A-Whore Island. And yes, Meredith, everyone does get to call you that now. Why? Because we watched another woman's husband pull down your panties on prime-time television. Yes, I know he's your lobster and whatnot. But. You. Don't. Have. Sex. With. Another. Woman's. Husband. EVER.

I can't believe I'm focused on the adultery, when that isn't the worst the show served up. We had, in the course of three hours, some of the dumbest television I've ever seen. Why did it take so long for everyone to notice that the Nazi's interns were missing? At what point did Cristina and Alex decide to abandon their balls to help CAPSLOCK!Izzie cut the cord on Supernatural? And will Grey's stop sharing temp agencies with Veronica Mars already?

I already wrote one post about Prom. It's still a stupid idea more than 24 hours later. For crying out loud, Shonda. I understand wanting to have some quasi-formal backdrop for your cast meltdown, but hospitals have fund-raisers all the time. Especially private ones like Seattle Grace. Couldn't we have gone for the quasi-realism of that instead of the whole Wallace's Girlfriend Has Cancer So Let's Throw Her A Prom? And besides, she passed out while having sex. As I understand it, sex-having is done at the end of prom. There is not an Intercourse Intermission. Then again, I went to Christian Schools where we sublimated our sex-having by eating at Formal Banquets. Whatever.

Yeah. Like I'm watching this without Mark Harmon. I put up with all the other garbage just to see Mark Harmon be taciturn yet charming. I will not be eagerly tuning in to wach the Israeli woman screw up more idioms. I'm sure to some people every weekly malapropism is like the toy in the Cracker Jack. To me it was one of the many irritations I put up with for Mark Harmon. This was my weekly Mark Harmon vehicle. The rest of them can just exist without me watching.

Oh yeah. In case you hadn't caught on, Mark Harmon is leaving the show.

16 May, 2006

Movies They Oughtta Make: Take 1

Since it's summer and there are maybe three movies coming out that I actually will pay to go see, I figure I've got two choices. I can either bitch about how there are only three movies coming out that I actually will pay to go see or I can tell Hollywood what movies they should be making.

Welcome to Katwood.

Building For Ghosts

The first movie they should make is the story of poor Sarah Winchester. The heiress to the Winchester Rifle fortune, she lost several members of her family tragically. On the advice of a spiritualist she moved to the West and began building a massive home that would house the spirits of all those killed by Winchester rifles. The multimillion dollar home has stairs that lead nowhere, oddly-shaped rooms designed for oddly-shaped ghosts and countless other strange attributes. Sarah believed that she was cursed, and would die if she ever stopped building. She spent thirty-eight years on the house, and didn't stop building until her death. Through the use of spiritualists she is said to have repeatedly welcomed the dead into the home.

Imagine the movie possibilities. Violence. Haunting. Tragic lost love. I'd go see it.

A Few Words About The Religious Right For Tony Campolo

I imagine that you and I flip different levers in the voting booth. I have no problem with that. BUT---since we are going to be spending an awful lot of time together one of these days, I'd like to get something straight.

We are still under God's gracious atonement, and we are still brothers in His blood. Like the children in many families, it's okay to disagree about politics, popular culture and other things. However, you might wish to be careful about how you go about getting press for your new Red-Letter Christians movement.

I find myself in the (maybe) unique position of supporting a lot about the Red-Letter Christian movement, yet being politically conservative. Yes, I believe we are to help the poor. Yes, I believe in social justice issues. BUT--I don't believe government is the key to doing those things. I think that your "progressive" stance is the opposite of what Jesus tells us to do, because I feel that it abandons the duties of the Christian into a legislated governmental pacifier. In other words, Jesus told us to do unto the least of these. He did not say "get together and form a country and vote on a third party to forcibly collect money and do unto the least of these on your behalf."

But let's you and I feel free to have this disagreement about these things. You will notice that I am not giving long interviews to people where I say "the Religious Left is Frightening." You know why? Well, because I personally think that most religious people have embraced a political stance that they believe to be in keeping with their faith. Those on the right tend to embrace politics that legislate morality. Those on the left tend to embrace politics that legislate socioeconomics.

Both sides seem to be enjoying their special relationship with Jesus as an opportunity to limit the free will of others. This, Dr. Campolo, is where your Red Letter movement and I part ways. See, you are upset about the Right wanting to take the choices of abortion and gay marriage away from others. Yet you preach the same limitation of freedoms when you advocate social-justice reforms like minimum wage and nationalised health care.

Yes, Jesus was neither a democrat nor a republican. I firmly believe that. Yet I believe it is possible to be a child of Jesus and be a republican. Really.

15 May, 2006



Are you sure about this?

You truly wanted to go THERE?

Shonda. I have great respect for you.

BUT....WTH?!?! Prom?

Man. I hope the Grey's Anatomy show runners got Ben-Gay for all of the contortions it took to get a prom in the hospital.

Should Sedley Alley Die?


Actions have consequences.

Alley's actions included shoving a stick so far up a 19-year-old's vagina that it punctured her lung.

He confessed.

He later admitted to lying on purpose about details during his confession so that he could nullify the confession on appeal.

For more than nearly twenty years Mr. Alley has been a guest of the state.

He is now 51 years old.

Suzanne Collins died at 19.

Alley's life has now exceeded twice the amount of time Collins had on this earth. He's the one who decided that she be denied that time.

I appreciate that the Tennessee Coalition Against State Killing would like to see Sedley's sentence commuted. But as a Tennessean against the killing of my fellow-staters, I'd much rather see the harshest consequences possible for Sedley's crimes. In this case that means death.

For these reasons I've called and emailed the governor asking him to uphold Alley's death sentence.

What would Christ do? He forgave the thief hanging next to him. But that man still died of crucifixion--the consequences of his crime.

Micah 6:8 says that we are to do justly and to love mercy. Because of these I believe that justice is death. Mercy is a quick death, made as painless as possible. An eye for an eye would leave Alley stabbed, beaten and impaled through the scrotum. Mercy buys Alley a sterile needle.

Once Again, TV Networks Crap All Over My Face

Over at All Along the Watchtower, Michael announces the new NBC lineup.

There is a long list of new shows they're picking up. Some sound good, others sound ridiculous. And none of them are Surface. I loved that show. It was fun and unique. No lawyers, no DAs, no crime scene techs. And plenty o' sea monsters.

But of course we can't keep that on the air because we have to put a 24 rip-off on the schedule instead.


The Weekend In Retrospect

Friday Night

Texana has reopened, and there is much rejoicing. Tim and I celebrated with Armadillo eggs and conversation shouted over the jukebox. It was great fun.


Major milestone. I made it through the entire batch of laundry--all 5 loads. And none of it was left folded on the dryer. Or, as I like to call it "The Changing Room With The Two Appliances In It." I figure renaming it would make me feel less guilty about leaving piles of clothes in there.

I did get to take a break from my self-imposed Laudress Duty when Chris and Amanda came over to have Tim work on their bikes. It was especially nice of them to come just as I got a load in the dryer. (And the bikes are cool, even though he referred to them as "ghetto bikes".)

After they left Tim & I considered going out to Watertown for the drive-in, but opted to stay in watch some Babylon 5. We're in a long G'Kar-free stretch of episodes, and I'm getting cranky. I realise that I'm much more into the Londo/G'Kar storylines and am losing patience for the Saintliness Of Delenn. Also the makeup on her hybrid Minbari bone looks like Silly Putty. But I'm sure I'll be in a much better disposition if they'd have more Narns and less Minbari.


Woke up in excruciating pain and hobbled into church. Received a rose in honour of Mother's Day, which was particularly nice. We went to Sitar for Mother's Day lunch, which technically broke my "keep away from all restaurants" rule. But, you know, people just don't think "Curry and Sag!" when they are deciding where to take their moms. I love going to Sitar because most of the time it's like the Downbelow of restaurants. There's a lively cross-section of folks you wouldn't see elsewhere. (I proudly include myself in this.)


I tell you all of these things not because I think you're interested, but because I need to explain how this was a nice ordinary weekend with little excitement. And when I sat down to watch the Grey's Anatomy season finale, I was feeling mellow.


Could it have been more intense? Could I have wanted to slap Izzy any harder? I'm actually quite pissed at what they've done to Izzy's character in the last half of this season. They had a strong, vibrant female doctor who wasn't ashamed of modeling her way through med school. And tonight they just totally mauled her character with all the "don't die, Supernatural guy". It all felt so contrived. I was mad.

It WAS nice to see Vinny Vanlowe playing a jerk of a patient, though. Good to see Veronica Mars cast members getting work. But, for crying out loud I thought there were all these unemployed actors out there. Why does GA keep casting people I know from other shows? Yeah, it's a stupid complaint, but it gets wierd after a while. "Look, Early Edition is going to take care of the bomb!" "Dude, Roseanne's sister is toast!" "Man, are they ever gonna figure out what's causing Chicago Hope's seizures?" "Dude, Gay Robin might actually make some time with Meredith after the pony birth."

I'm just being too hard on the show because they left me hanging with some major tension. And now my husband will not be watching future episodes with me because he claims they have come thisclose to jumping the shark. And as Izzy started screaming out her love for Supernatural I swear did kinda hear an outboard turn over. I trust them though.

And it's 4:00 and I'm still awake.

This is getting old.

14 May, 2006

A Relic From My Past

Look what Patrick found.

Yep. My old Oprah site. Who knew it was still out there? Very cool!

Somnophobia Day 3 or 4 or Whatever

Yes, it's true. I am once again afraid to go to sleep. I feel like a four-year-old. This is absolutely the most silly thing I've ever experienced.

But all my laundry is now done.

Church will be interesting.

12 May, 2006

I Implore You

Let's say that I have a baby. And you have a baby. And then five years from now our babies are in school together and become friends. And they talk at school.

Or let's say that you become friends with my husband.

Or let's say that you and I become spouses in another life and we have a child together.

Under any of these circumstances wherein you, my friend reading this blog, would be directly responsible for influencing any gift I receive on Mother's Day I beg you.

Do not buy me a vacuum cleaner for Mother's Day.

I'd use it to suck the innards from your body while you slept.

May I PLEASE Have My Old Penn & Teller Back?

Language Warning

Penn & Teller are two of my favourite social critics. I could, of course, do without their anti-Christian stuff, but they have a right to think whatever they want. In spite of those awkward moments, their Showtime show "Bullsh*t" (or "Penn & Teller: Bull.....!" as it appears in my TiVo listings) has been required watching for me over the past three years.

What, exactly, have they done to this show? When it first aired, we got high-quality investigative reporting with the Libertarian spin. It was sort of an irreverant "60 Minutes", as made by people with whom I agree 90% of the time. (Again, our religion differs quite a bit, but beyond that we're golden.) There were in-depth looks at Recycling, Mother Theresa (the one religious issue with which I agree with P&T wholeheartedly), College and other sacred cows of Modern America.

What happened?

Why have they gone from excellence to ludicrousness? Instead of having experts from the Cato Institute it appears we're following around cat-crazed maiden aunts for a silly nothing episode on "Pet Love". Yes, it's funny that some guy makes fake dog balls. But a whole show? Isn't there better stuff to debunk? Besides, as far as mockery goes, picking on cat fanciers is shooting fish in a barrel. It's seventh-grade locker room bullshit, not the real thing.

Come on, guys. Don't do me like this!

Why Nashville Hates Going To The Movies

I have answered these questions here before (plaigarising myself is the theme today....), but now I'm providing a solution. Hop on over here for my six point plan.

Why I'm Up At 3:30 In The Morning

Did you ever have nightmares so intense they coloured your whole next day? That was me on Wednesday night. I'd call them night terrors, but when I woke my throat was too dry to scream bloody murder. My dreams were stark terror alternating with deep shame and boiling frustration. Several times I bolted upright in bed, clammy all over but my whole mouth sandpaper dry. All day Thursday sat under the oppressive cloak of remembered dreams and was useless as a day.

And I swear that after all of that I have no desire to go to sleep. None at all. I generally remember my dreams. I'm still harrowed by the last ones. I don't want to sign on for another tour of duty.

What A Lie Will Buy You

I first heard about teen author Kaavya Vishwanathan from Lee at Digital Nicotine. That was nearly two weeks ago, but people are still spilling ink over her, to what end I have no idea. She is an apparently very bright girl who cribbed much of her teen novel from other writers. She claims it was unintentional, and perhaps to a degree it was. When you read a lot, sometimes ideas lay on top of each other like coats at a party, and you occasionally grab the wrong one off the pile in the mistaken belief that it's actually yours. I've done it, only to find that what I thought was a keenly expressed original thought was really the echoes of better writers--Lilkes or Harper Lee.

But as I read more of her tale, I'm convinced that she was under the kind of pressure that makes men twice her size and age buckle into a distorted mess. She desperately wanted to go to Harvard, to be noticed and to frantically grab all the best world-beater tools as quickly as possible. She scored a zillion on her SAT, had a higher-than-4.0 GPA and brought kittens and puppies back to life. Surely no one this saintly and wonderful would lie.

Speaking of saintly liars, or not, that other writer who lied is also back in the news, this time with the stunning revelation that his second best-seller is (Surprise!) chock-full-o-lies. Oh, most of the book is true. Except a main character, the fact that he didn't actually do all that jail time and many other things. So, all the important stuff save for the copyright date.

And I'm not even going to get into Dan Brown. For more on him you can kick back with a cup of coffee and read Mark Rose's takedown.

Why are we all lying now? Why is it more important to be heard than to be truthful? What about our own lives needs the justification of fame so badly that it doesn't seem wrong to barter integrity for good press coverage? I'm thinking that more and more people are succumbing to the belief that there are things such as money and fame which are more important that good character and personal integrity. And it makes me kind of sad.

11 May, 2006

I Plaigarised Myself

Just looked up a blog entry from 8 months ago.

It has similar phrasing to a blog entry from a week ago.

I am both embarrassed and amazed at my predictability. Oh well. As NBC used to say "if you didn't read the old post, then it's NEW TO YOU!!!"

Worked as an excuse for their lazy writing. Maybe it'll work for me too.

Quit Spamming My Snail Mail, Bob Corker

At least once a week I get a fancy piece of 4/C glossy-finish two-sided card stock or 80lb flyer from Bob Corker in the mail. Working in the printing industry as I sometimes do, I can attest that such goodies run in the money.

Here's the thing, Mr. Corker. While I think it's really sweet that you met your wife on a blind date and that your lovely family has a lovely house in front of which you take lovely photos, these expensive pieces of junk mail make me much less likely to vote for you?


Because they tell me that you don't care about watching your money. They tell me that you will spend as much as you can to get what you want. They tell me that you maybe don't care so much about the environment, because you KNOW I'm not tacking every one of these well-designed collateral materials to the fridge. They are being roundfiled.

In case you hadn't guessed, I'm not looking for another spendthrift in the government.

America, You Have Jumped The Shark

There's a new PAY channel debuting. Baby TV. Round the clock videos for infants and toddlers.
A 2003 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 68 percent of children under 2 watch TV or videos daily and 26 percent have a TV in their bedroom.

I do not have a TV in my bedroom. Why do so many babies? Do these babies all have lucrative employment of which I am not aware? Are these babies filled with discernment?


I know I'm not a mother. Still, I can see the value in grabbing yourself 28 minutes of free time by popping in a "Baby Einstein" or (God Forbid) Boobah video.


10 May, 2006

Pass The Kool-Aid

My Firefly soundtrack just came in the mail.

The TCP Meme

Aunt B. has started a meme. I think I'm supposed to leave this in her comments, but I've been really wordy the past few days and have gone beyond politeness in using other people's real-estate.

1. What do you hope for?

Different things on different days. Some days I hope to be published. Other days I hope to have the will to get out of bed. On still other days I hope that I'll be able to go back to Disney World someday. I pretty much live with hopes--big and little.

2. What makes a "good" person?

To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God. I don't think people are "good" on their own. I think all people have flashes of goodness, but no one is inherently "good".

3. Are you a good person?

I have good traits, but they are so often corrupted into badness. I do try to be good, but often disappoint myself. I'd like to be Melanie, but I've got more than my fair share of Scarlett.

4. The Shill once told me (and it's funny that Sarcastro should bring up something similar) that some people, when they meet someone, start that person out at zero and that other person has to earn their way into esteem, and other people, when they meet someone, start that person out at 100, and the person has to disappoint them into lower standing. If you had to say, which would you say that you are?

My husband and I are exactly the opposite. I start everyone off at 100. He starts everyone off at zero. It makes meeting new people a very interesting proposition when we do so in tandem.

5. Do you hold yourself to that same standard?

??? Not sure what this means?

6. Whatever your religious beliefs (or non-beliefs) was there one defining moment when you said, "Holy shit. This is how the universe works. This is why I believe what I believe."? Or do you do whatever religious things you do out of habit or to appease loved ones?

There have been several along the way, timed perfectly to my life experiences. I'm thankful to be able to say that I'm fully alive in my faith, and not going through the motions out of some cultural or social imperative.

7. Define "art."

Like pornography, I know it when I see it. ;-p It's ever-shifting, and can't be pinned down, in my opinion. I know that you (Aunt B.) find the "Piss Christ" incredibly moving. I find it incredibly chilling. That's one example of art's shifting nature.

Wherein I Am Both Confused And Misunderstood

So, about two weeks ago I wrote about the Church's response to The Da Vinci Code. I wrote that post for two reasons. The first was that it seemed to be more than coincidence that every church I knew of was incorporating the book into their sermons over the past three weeks. The second was that a local preacher/blogger had this to say:
The Greek Phrase for both the Gospel of Judas and Davinci is "hogas washas" where we get our term "Hog Wash"

This response is by no means unique. I've heard many people be equally dismissive of the book. Yes, Roger,it's fiction. Yes, Dan, it's highly-improbable fiction. Yet thanks to Mr. Brown's infamous opening "Fact Page" many readers are left confused as to what portion of the book is factual. So we've now been blessed with many people who believe that some of the book's more outlandish claims are true. (Of course, there are also people who claim to be members of the Jedi religion, so clearly a case can be made for a fringe element. )

Since I must not have been clear in the original post, given Dan's vehement reaction, allow me to restate that I stand most closely to Brian McLaren's take on the matter.
I would like to see churches teach their people how to have intelligent dialogue that doesn't degenerate into argument. We have to teach people that the Holy Spirit works in the middle of conversation.

So, today, when Dan writes:
So my point is here is a book that is taking away from the deity of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ but is hiding behind the "fiction" title ...Therefore if the Davinci code is "fiction" then why is people killing themselves to find out if they are Marivians?†

I am confused.

Surely, if we as Christians believe that people are being led into false doctrine by this book, then the best response to that, in my mind would be similar to Paul's responses. You know...through him God wrote all those really long letters that patiently addressed the false doctrines that were leading the Christians of various cities astray. (The church at Corinth was so confused they got two letters!) Now, we don't all have to bang out epistles on our keyboards. I daresay there are enough Da Vinci DeBunk Books on the market as is. And we don't all have to read the book or see the movie.

Yet, as I pointed out earlier at Jamey Tucker's site, there are those of us who feel the call to respond by reading the book, seeing the movie and having polite conversations about where the story departs from fact. I love Jesus as much as anyone. And I honestly think that He would like me to be kind and considerate to the others that He loves, despite any confusion they may have after consuming The Da Vinci Code.

† This is as written by Brother Dan. I believe he is actually referring to the Merovingians. One of the main ideas in the book is that the bloodline of Jesus survived in France and was found in the Merovingian kings. This psuedohistory originated in Holy Blood, Holy Grail, a much more dull and boring book that says basically the same things as Brown's more recent work.

09 May, 2006

Veronica Mars Afterglow

Spoilers, obviously.

How pleased am I? Deliriously. The only thing wrong was Lamb (that dead bastard) not letting Weevil graduate. I admit, there were many tears freely flowing down my face at that moment.

How much of a shout-out to Pulp Fiction is that cliffhanger?!? I see more endless rounds of "what's in the briefcase?"

But....the best part?

VERONICA AND LOGAN, BAYBEEE!!!! Sure, they'll find a way to break them up over the summer, because Rob Thomas loves to jerk the LoVe fanship around. But for now I'll sleep the sleep of angels. And wake up smellin' bacon.


Sigh. Hubby, always with the "Repo Man! Repo Man Rules!"

Yes, dear. Repo Man does indeed rule. And yes, I fully agree that the Pulp Fiction briefcase was a shout-out to Emilio Estevez' one great movie. However, I maintain that the Veronica Mars briefcase cannot be a shout out to Repo Man, but is, indeed, a tribute to Tarantino's masterpiece.

Let's Venn Diagram it, shall we? You know how I loves me some Venn Diagrams. (I think it's because they're like the Sex thing without the plus and the arrow.)

As you can see from this diagram, while both Repo Man and Pulp Fiction have the "glow" element, only Pulp Fiction has the briefcase element. And while both Veronica Mars and Pulp Fiction share the briefcase, only Pulp Fiction incorporates the glow from Repo Man.

So clearly, Pulp Fiction is the one point where these two great works of fiction intersect. And therefore clearly VMars is, at best, a shout-out once removed to Repo Man.

(Lesson to all of you....don't drink a Coke at 8:00 at night. Too much useless energy ensues.)

And yes, Veronica Mars did have a direct shout-out to Repo Man, as this article clearly states.

Social Yogurt

Many active cultures improve the flavour and help digestion.

There are too many ideas floating around on this post for me to have a polite-length comment. So I'm hammering out some of my thinking over here.

Still, lest any of you think that I'm suddenly taking Sarcastro's side against myself, I also respect that not everyone will see the motion towards a vast "us" as positive (since it does come at a loss, which we can acknowledge, I think) and that, for them, that loss is too great.

That's Aunt B., talking about the obligations we owe ourselves.

But I think programs like Affirmative Action are imperfect ways of trying to acknowledge an unpaid debt.

So, the comments go back and forth about AA, and assimilation. Multiculturalism means different things to different people, and essentially the argument seems to be about the level of assimilation required to call ones self an American.

On one end of the spectrum exist those who believe that they are an American solely because they live here. All other cultural identifiers--food, language, religion, personal appearance--can be retained from the Old Country without affecting their rights as citizens. I grew up around the Amish, so I'm going to use them as my reference for this end of the spectrum.

At the other end of the spectrum exist those who believe Americanism should be its own culture, and one cannot truly be American without sublimating all other cultural identifiers. Learn to like hot dogs, speak English, keep your religion quiet and wear clothes from the Gap. Only then can you be One Of Us.

Both ends of the spectrum are irritating. As much as I respect the Amish on one level, it's easy to understand the irritation they cause. They seem to enjoy the fruits of the freedom of this country without participating in the whole of America. They speak primarily German at home, don't vote, they don't fight in wars and they don't send their kids to our schools. Like the much villified illegal immigrants, many of the Amish work for non-union wages and are paid under the table.

Likewise, the hyper Americans are just as irritating in their bland homogeneous nature. I look at Vanilla America and have no interest in them. What is that culture but a bizarre text-message mangling of English, endless strip malls and Velveeta cheese?

In between the two you have all types...English-speaking businessmen who go home to celebrate Pesach in Hebrew, Black women in stylised Dashikis shopping at K-Mart.

This is why America is dangerous. Because the beauty of the American idea is to say that these other things--language, skin colour, religion--don't matter. You are a free person, and this is the place where it is safe for you to be free. There are no outlawed tunes. There are no outlawed pipes. The only thing required to be American is a belief in freedom of the individual. I hear much from those who believe that multiculturalism will lead to Dhimmitude. Yet it seems to me that when we insist that all cultures sublimate themselves to Americanism that we have established our own dhimmitude of perverse blandness.

Yes. There is an "us". It's all the people that believe all are created equal. It's all the people who wish to live free. If you cast your lot here, then you are an "us." Speak what you want, wear what you want, pray to your gods. Because it is precisely those exercises of freedom that make you most American. But remember. The rest of us are free, too. We owe your gods no allegiance, we are under no sufferance to speak your tongue.

WB Is Actually Making Sense

It's about time. I've never downloaded a thing off BitTorrent, because I personally don't think it's ethical. But I'm a huge fan of getting consumable media off the web. I'm also a huge un-fan of renting videos from the video store. I dislike adding an extra errand to my staple of to-dos. Netflix is some better, but there's still the issue of being a little less on-demand. If I feel like watching a sci-fi film on Friday, I don't want to wait for the following Tuesday to have it shipped from my NetFlix queue.

But on-demand flicks downloadable from the web? You betcha. I'm there, and I'll pay $5.99-$10.99 for the newest releases on download. I'll even pay $2.99-$3.99 for backlist titles. This has been a long time coming, and I'm glad to see the studios starting to peek out from beneath those rocks where they apparently live.

Get A Room

Look, lady. Disney World is a big friggin' place. There are four main Photo Icons in the various parks. You've got your Cinderella Castle at the MK, your BAHat at the Studios, your Tree Of Life at Animal Kingdom.

In Epcot you've got Spaceship Earth. And everyone walking in thru the gates wants a picture. Especially during Food & Wine Festival when they have the topiaries.

I appreciate that you wanted to be in a memorable photo of your visit on that one sunny day last November. And it looked like you were on your honeymoon or something, so you were feelin' mighty sexed up.

But I hope you realise that you are in the pictures of about a dozen strangers, and that every time my picture of Epcot comes up on the Desktop, I've got you posed all Glamour-Shotsy right smack in the middle.

I will forever associate that trip with the image of you dry-humping the entrance sign like Cher on a warship.

08 May, 2006


Just finished watching Capote. Verdict? Phillip Seymour Hoffman was excellent. The rest of the movie was d-u-l-l. Who would have thought that mixing much liquor, glamourous celebrities, multiple murders, courtroom drama and flamboyant homosexuals would yield the single most boring film I've seen in the last three months?

I should have listened to Tommy.

What Do Laverne & Shirley Think About Immigration?

Isn't it funny how, in the words of Albus Dumbledore, the dead never truly leave us? That's even more true of the living folk that we'd like to be rid of. Especially today, as I'm falling hardcore victim to the Jungian Field of I Am Not Making This Crap Up. As I was vacuuming I began thinking about this guy from my hometown--the psycho Letter To The Editor writer. I'd been reflecting on the whole Helmke Gun Control thing, and of course Richard D. Sloan came to mind.

I grew up on newspapers. My hometown published two and my family took both. Piles of improperly re-folded newsprint were always by my dad's chair, at the foot of the couch, on the kitchen counter and in the garage. I read them voraciously in those good old days before 24 hour news. Of course now you couldn't pay me to take the paper--but it was a nice invention when I was younger.

My favourite part was the editorial page, and the letters to the editor. I liked hearing what real people had to say about the issues. Except in one case. Picture removed because I'm tired of looking at it. If you want to see him, click thru to the link...Richard D. Sloan. I suppose in the days before blogs, people like ol' Dick had to have an outlet somewhere. His just happened to be the Letters to the Editor. Which, of course, they printed. Because nothing could get all of Fort Wayne in a hackle like a wierd-ass missive from RDS. I was eleven years old when I first started arguing with his strangeosity. Whole dinner-table conversations were monopolised by me freaking out over the latest thing the crazy dude had written. And I wasn't alone, because somewhere during my teen years the News-Sentinel profiled several frequent LTE writers. Apparently Mr. Sloan is a member of Mensa or some other smart-people organisation. According to his in-depth profile he decided that he needed more time to ponder the great issues facing mankind, so he went and got himself a fast-track job unloading trucks at the Pepsi bottling plant. This, according to Richard, allowed him to grace the rest of the Summit City with his unique brand of timely genius. Aim high, Dick. Anyway, of course I had to go with the "bottling plant" reference and refer to him as 'Laverne & Shirley' for the rest of my teen years.

Then I growed myself up and moved away. Now, today, through a new Ft. Wayne friend, I am alerted to his guest opinion column on immigration.
mmigration issues run deeper than most are aware of. Most Hispanics are unaware of how the Vatican uses them as pawns. The Vatican is slowly destroying the U.S. with excessive immigration to advance the Vatican’s own power in the U.S. and the world. Rather than moving to the U.S., most of these immigrants should be in their home countries reforming those countries. They should be rejecting the Vatican’s self-serving doctrine of large families and bringing their own population levels under control. Instead, they overpopulate, then seek to dump their excess populations on the U.S., which benefits the Vatican. It is not mere coincidence that many of our immigration laws have gone unenforced, that several Supreme Court justices are now Catholic, or that so many of the immigrants and demonstrators are Catholic.

Oh, but there's more. Click the link to avail yourself of his brilliance. Do you see why I think the man is PSYCHO? If you go to Fort Wayne, stay away from Pepsi. I'm off to see if he has a blog where I can leave comments....

Helmke And The Brady Bunch

One of my dad's law partners was also the mayor of my hometown for 12 years. At my wedding people were lining up to have their pictures taken with him, which was quite wierd and very surreal. Still, it was nice of him to support my dad by attending.

I was never close to him, but always kept an eye on his progress. He was a third-generation Helmke attorney who had been a Jeopardy contestant and dabbled in politics. As a child he was living the life I thought I should have. (This was back when I wanted to be a lawyer and dabble in politics. That's all over now, although I wouldn't turn my nose up at a shot on Jeopardy.)

Over the last ten years, he's had remarkably Lincolnesque luck in running for office. He's been the Republican challenger against a Bayh, which in Indiana is somewhat akin to being the Republican challenger against a Kennedy in Massachusettes. Needless to say, he's not the Junior Senator from Indiana.

However, I still can't fathom the reason for his latest move. I realise his Republicanism is of the more moderate flavour, yet I can't believe he would join hands with the fiercly anti-liberty Brady Center. You know them. They're the organisation that capitalises on the Reagan assasination attempt by using press secretary Jim Brady's wounding to advance their gun control agenda. In fact, before they had Mr. Brady, they were more appropriately named Handgun Control, Inc. In recent years they've sugar-coated their aims by rephrasing their misson statement. It's now supposedly about keeping guns out of the hands of children and the deranged. Who can't get behind that? No one wants the nutcase next door to go on a wild shooting spree at the local Chick-Fil-A.

Yet it seems that in trying to make sure that Johnny Q. Insanity doesn't have a semi-automatic, they keep pushing laws that ensure that Susie Z. Average can't have one either. Their 3-point plan to end illegal trafficking involves such anti-liberty actions as increasing the scope of state powers and violating personal privacy.

1.Strengthen law enforcement tools to crack down on corrupt gun dealers. Congress needs to repeal irrational legal constraints that have reduced ATF's effectiveness in enforcing the law against dealers who feed the illegal market. And state legislatures and local governemntas need to give state and local law enforcement new tools to combat gun trafficking.

Katherinian Libertarian Translator: Increase the government's scope of powers by removing laws that keep the ATF in check. Yeah, that's a good idea. Waco, anyone?

2.Extend Brady Background checks to all gun sales. Since the enactment of the Brady Bill over 10 years ago, more than 1.3 million felons and other prohibited purchasers have been blocked from buying guns from licensed gun dealers. Brady background checks must now be extended to all gun sales, wherever they occur. Our national policy should be no background check, no sale, no excuses.

Katherinian Libertarian Translator: You want a gun? You have to tell the government who you are, why you want one, and give them permission to view your partial medical records. Open this door and it won't be long before you can be denied a handgun for personal protection if you've taken any medication for depression or anxiety.

Stop large volume gun sales that supply traffickers. It is possible in most states for "straw purchasers" and traffickers to buy unlimited numbers of guns to sell to the illegal market. This must stop.

Katherinian Libertarian Translator: We want to make it harder for ANYONE in the gun business. Yes, traffickers buy guns in large lots. So do reputable gun dealers. But since we secretly don't think any private citizens really need a gun all that badly, this is as good a place to punish those who provide them as any.

Yes, Paul Helmke is a good man. He's very strongly principled. Yet, when people ask me why I no longer call myself a Republican, this type of thing is the answer. Too many Republicans are too willing to set aside the foundational principles of liberty in order to keep the governnment steamrolling the citizenry. Hey, when government is your job, that's how you maintain job security.

07 May, 2006

Getting Something On My Chest

"Find out why more young, educated women are getting breast implants; the story at 10"

So I'm watching Grey's Anatomy, and I think the show's back on because they're showing people in turqoise scrubs holding medical instruments. I stop the rapid fast-forward of the TiVo just in time to hear this nugget.

I say nothing. I am speechless. It's my husband who says "Is it just me or did that make it sound like the only people who usually get breast implants are idiot bimbos?"

I'm glad he said that out loud because I was beginning to think that my feminist programming was stuck in overdrive. I haven't watched the story because, well, I didn't want to. I KNOW why more women are getting breast implants. Let me lay it on you.

Breasts are nice. I have two, and I like them very much. I had a love-hate relationship with them for many years, but around 18 years ago I decided that since the three of us were gonna be stuck with each other we may as well get along. We have our occasional disagreements--they make my shoulders hurt from time to time and I get even by stabbing them with a pokey underwire. It's all in good fun. Life is like a role-playing game, where everyone gets certain attributes to start off the journey. I like to think of my ample cleavage as the bit of balance for my ample other parts.

Nearly every small-breasted woman I have ever known has wanted larger ones. I'm sure that many of them made their peace with their itty bitties, just as I've come to terms with Everest & K2. Yet it's no secret that breasts are a universally-sought after part of the package. And if you happen to be a "young educated" woman, chances are you have enough money to get hooked up. I see no problems with that. In an ideal world we'd all be happy with what God & Genes gave us. But if God made you flat-chested and you've got the brains to get the cash, then by all means. Make yourself happy. No skin off my nose.

I'm sure that some study has come out that gave Channel 2 an excuse to have a breast story on the evening news. (Since that pedophile teacher is locked up they have to have something to talk about.) Maybe next week we'll have a Viagra story with a teaser like "Find out why so many educated men are taking drugs to improve their erections." Or not.

06 May, 2006

Paul Helmke and The Brady Center

Remind me to talk about this in more detail on Monday.

I'm technically taking the day off today.

05 May, 2006

Ghost Geekery

I confess that I have a huge weakness for ghost stories, ghostly paraphanalia and general spookiness. Along with that goes a fair amount of Haunted Mansion Geekery.

I know these posts are better-suited to Halloween, when everyone has haints on the brain, but I'm eagerly anticipating my birthday/anniversary present with no small amount of time focused on my favourite Disney attraction--The Liberty Square Haunted Mansion. Bouncing around the various Mansion tribute sites, I came across a fellow who has built a 3-D paper model of the famous place. Aside from just enjoying his excellent craftsmanship, I have to wonder where he found the time and patience.

He's probably not a blogger.

Veronica Mars

I have spent the last 28 minutes looking for Season Finale spoilers all over the web.

I thought this Internet thing was supposed to be so great.

Why won't it tell me who was behind the bus crash?

I have my unspoiled theory, but that's all it is.


I think it was Beaver.

10% Off Everything

Wintermute has an interesting post about circumcision and AIDS.

I find the whole thing very fascinating. Not having the requisite equipment at hand, I don't often give much thought to the yeah or nay of circumcision. I have two brothers, both of whom were circumcised at birth by the hospital. No bris--because my parents don't observe Jewish traditions--and no fuss. I assumed, based on this, that circumcision was routine. Apparently I am mistaken.

I think if I ever have a son he will be circumcised. But I don't think we'll have a bris because a) I don't want to watch my son's penis being cut and b) If there was ever a Jewish ritual I didn't want to participate in (other than Niddah) it would be this one.

Interesting circumcision fact: Saw Mandy Patinkin once on a late night talk show, where he revealed that he had been circumcised twice. Apparently the hospital where he was born DOES circumcise all males routinely, and didn't realise that he was Jewish. There was, fortunately (?!?) enough of a foreskin left for the Mohel to peform the bris.

My External Content Is A Problem

So, I'm not supposed to touch the externals, because it violates my terms and conditions. But the keep talking about things I really want. Seeing as how they are programmed to talk about what I talk about, that stands to reason. (Am I being cryptic enough?)

So, yeah, I want my own Coke machine. How COOL would that be? I mean, sure, I can get a Coke out of the fridge any time I like. But how much more stellar grooviness would it be to have a COKE MACHINE?!? Of course, they're all "if you have to ask you can't afford it." Bummer. If I'm ever a millionaire, I'm buying one. Then again, if I keep spending money on dorky stuff, I'll never be a millionaire.

So last night I figured out how to put external content from a well-known internet retailer on this site. I did it for the dumbest of reasons. Not to make money but because I like all the pretty pictures. I was at Cake Fun yesterday afternoon and they had some listings that were great. So I went ahead and copied them. Only trouble is that I'm the cheese-maniac genius who decided to make the top copy all about gourmet cheese. I can't even open my own blog without going crosseyed with cheese lust. How sad is that? I wonder if I can buy products through my own external links? Hmmm

04 May, 2006

Kleinheider Done Ticked Me Off

I do not like to patronised. For some reason I have a sinking feeling that the closer we get to the 2008 Presidential Race, the more patronised I'm going to feel.

We love "firsts" in this country, because we are in love with the pomp of media events. Now the media are trying to drive another story by pushing the novelty of a female president.

To me the idea of a woman president is a non-issue. Women have run countries for millennia. Allow me to introduce you to Elizabeth I, Victoria, Boudicca, Cleopatra, Elizabeth II, Mary of Scotland, Indira Ghandi, Golda Meier, Margaret Thatcher and the Queen of Sheba.

I'd like to think that we will see PEOPLE run for president, and then vote for the PERSON who is best able to meet the political needs of the country at the time. But here we are, more than two years from the election, and the pundits and PR teams are trying to take away the validity of our choice.

See, ladies, we can't choose a president the same way men can.
Have you ever seen women interact? The cattiness, the undermining, the competition, the self-loathing? Call it an internalization of the patriarchy or call the natural order of things but women often have trouble with other women in positions of authority.

So this means if when I don't vote for Hillary Clinton, that I'm withhholding my support of her because I am catty, undermining and self-loathing. It certainly can't be because I disagree with her economic policies, am unsure where she truly stands on the issue of national defence and feel that she isn't honest in the way she deals with her constituents.

By turning the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, Condoleeza Rice or any other woman who runs for office into a referendum on clitoral candidacy we undermine both suffrage and democracy. And it's disgusting.

Thank You

Dear Lady In The Big SUV In The Kroger Parking Lot:

I realise you had no way of knowing that I am kind of out of sorts today, and that you came into the parking lot from the other direction. Therefore there was no way you could have known that I'd been waiting to get into that space for 5 minutes. That space you pulled into.

But when you saw the complete frustration and exasperation on my face YOU ACTUALLY PULLED OUT AGAIN. There was another space that was just as convenient for you, so you left "my" space and took that one. In all the years that I've had "my" spaces taken by other people this has never happened. And if there was ever a day that it needed to happen, today was it.

So thank you for reading my mind and the expression on my face and doing a decent thing that you didn't have to do.

I Am Your ISP And I Approve This Message

Newscoma has a great post on the issue of Net Neutrality. It happens to be an issue near and dear to my heart, so I'm going to piggyback on her excellent coverage and drop my two cents on the pile. (Coincidentally, that is the same amount I earn every day from Something In The Sidebar That I Can't Talk About.)

I've been in love with the Internet since 1988...back when it was all UseNets and BBS' and the place were you went to argue with other geeks at other schools about glass flow, cookie recipes and Star Trek captains. To be honest, few people even cared about the thing. It was mostly a joke, and I was fine with that. Then AOL got built, September never ended and the oldhats were stuck accepting the InterNet as a home for all mankind.

Well, dagnabit, I made my piece with all these folks a long frickin' time ago. The powers that be who created HTML and gave The World The Web in the mid-90s did a right fine job of convincing all us geeks to turn loose our hold on this last great frontier.

I can't say it's been all bad. Sure you have those periwinkle pages with purple script writing, cherubs along the edge, ladybug cursor shadows and midis blaring tinny electronic versions of "Wind Beneath My Wings" as you read odes to dead cats and recipes for pie. But the Internet has also given us easier Christmas shopping and instant answers to inane questions that keep you up nights. (Thank you, Wikipedia.)

The greatest and worst thing about the Web is the fact that anyone can put up a page about something and land in the search categories alongside anyone else. Search Google for "Chocolate Vine" and you'll get a bunch of botanists and me. I'm right there between the Federal Government's pdf on Invasive Plants and the USDA's official plant profile. Talk about a level playing field. That's the Net Neutrality in a Nutshell. Pass the Nutella.

But now we have some people who believe the net should be a payola scheme. You know how you get that sweet black crude of bandwidth pumped into your home or office by BellSouth or Comcast or OtherGuy? Well, now BellSouth and Comcast and OtherGuys want to change the way the whole thing works. They want to charge fees. And if Barnes and Noble pays a big fee to the Providers, then their page will open faster. Pages that don't pay the providers may not open at all, or may only open after an ad placed there by the PROVIDER YOU ARE ALREADY PAYING A GOBLOT OF MONEY TO. It's as if they want the entire Internet to turn into a crappy Salon article. ("You can either subscribe or view a short ad for a Free Day Pass!")

So. I'm oversimplifying it a bit but here it is in a nutshell. The people you are paying money to deliver access to the Internet would now like to control what you see on the Internet. They would like to not only get money from you to see things, but to also get money from web page owners to have their pages be seen. What could this mean? Well, it could also mean that they would control your access to news. Say you get the web through Comcast. And they don't want you to see a story that will influence your opinion against their company. So, those websites are off your access list.

If you've ever worked in a corporate setting, you've had a Network Guy whose been in charge of the Filtering software. And you know that if you cross the Network Guy, he'll block your access to SoapNet. This is kinda like that only bigger.

And it's wrong.

UPDATE: Whoops. Forgot to hotlink to Save The Internet. So go to Save The Internet for all the nitty gritty.

03 May, 2006

Scenes From Life At Our House

(INT: Evening. WOMAN lies on couch with large dog, watching a movie. We hear a burglar alarm beep in the background as a door opens below. Various noises from the kitchen. After a few minutes elapse, a MAN walks up the stairs)

WOMAN: This is almost over. I just want to find out who killed everybody.

MAN: That's okay. I have no problem watching this. What is it?

WOMAN: It's called "Wonderland". It's a movie of the true story Boogie Nights is based on...uh..wait. Let me back up. I don't know for certain that Boogie Nights is based on it, but the guy is a porn star with a 14-inch d*ck who falls into a life of crime and drugs.

MAN: Oh yeah. THAT old story. You know, they say there are really only five plots.

WOMAN: Yeah. Hero Takes A Journey, Hero Slays a Foe, Hero Is a Porn Star with a 14-inch D*ck Who Falls Into A Life Of Crime And Drugs.

MAN: Exactly.


By the way, I just checked Wikipedia. I was right.

My Brush With Nashville Scene Greatness

Brenda Rickman VanTrease is profiled in the Scene this week.

Who is she? Well, she's the lady who wrote The Illuminator. And she goes to my church.

Back when I was in Weight Watchers I would faithfully devour the "Success Stories". Now that I'm writing, I faithfully devour the "Got Published" stories. Brenda's is one of my favourites for a lot of reasons--she published her first novel while in her later 50s and she doesn't live in New York City and she didn't graduate from Smith or Barnard or Brown.

In short, Brenda Rickman VanTrease helps me realise that Baptist women from Nashville can get a book written and published.

Looking For A Live Zevon Song....

On his last tour, I saw Warren with Jill Sobule. At one point they did a phenomenal version of "Jackson".

I happened to think of that the other day when watching Reese & Joaquin do the same song in Walk The Line. Anyone know of a place to download this song? And yes....I'd pay for the download. I'm not trying to steal it.


Never mind. I found it. And yes, I tear up a bit at "Go on and wreck your health."

The Demon Sugar Water

The Tripartite Pact and has been signed. Thus begins the great soda embargo.

The nation's largest beverage distributors have agreed to halt nearly all sales of sodas to public schools - a step that will remove the sugary, caloric drinks from vending machines and cafeterias around the country.

Since soda is my major caloric weakness, I can see how this might be a good thing. But then we get here:

Under the agreement, the companies also have agreed to sell only water, unsweetened juice and low-fat milks to elementary and middle schools. Diet sodas would be sold only to high schools.

Folks, unsweetened juice still has a natural sugar content. It's not magic. Kids are still guzzling sweet drinks. And what about stuff like Four Bits' snake oil Vitamin Water? It sells for $1.99--a little over twice what vending machine sodas cost. Schools are their target market. So now you can drink healthy but pay twice as much? Isn't that one of the roots of this huge problem.