Monday, December 29, 2008

Lovely lovely holiday

This was probably the best Christmas/bday season I've ever had. It was just lovely from start to finish in spite of being terribly, horribly busy and the sadness of Chris' dad and Melissa's mom just passing. All-in-all, we gave the kids great stuff they really love and Chris totally absolutely outdid himself with my prezzies. :) Plus, the bday prezzies were on the hot tip, so everything is hunky dory in my life.

However, the other day I askidentally did the FB thing which is something I deeply resisted but felt curious about and finally acquiesced to, all of which has left me scratching my head over the shameless self-promotion of brother dear. 72 friends, hellow!?!? You are just friending everyone apparently. For shame. Ray, I hate to say it,'ve become an FB ho. You need to find out what is happening with your book, after all moving to 2nd shift was about "writing" not "FB-ing." And no I am not jealous that I don't have mad hours to play and make friends on FB. I am just too busy in my quaint little life anyway. So nyah. ;)

Monday, December 22, 2008

What I won't read

Some co-workers and I took one of our Chinese suppliers out to lunch a couple weeks ago. I work with a Project Engineer who is drier than sawdust, and of course he accompanied us which frankly worried me from a conversation standpoint. His idea of a good story is how his sandal squeaked, and he thought it was a kitten. Yeah, that is one of his rather more involved stories and takes him at least five minutes every time he tells it.

So we are at lunch, and he begins telling this involved story about a comic book he read where Superman crash landed in Russia during Stalin's reign and became a proponent of Soviet Communism and the Marxist Party et al. He's sitting there telling us this - and why I haven't a clue except maybe the presence of a Chinese national who lives in a Communist country spurred his recollections - when finally I couldn't take it anymore. You know my political views; I burst out and said, "Well, I simply couldn't read a book like that-" and my co-worker said, "Why, because it has pictures?"

Har-HAR! I laughed really hard at that one. Sometimes even simple people can stumble into a really, really good joke. But now you know everyone, don't get me any books with pictures. ;)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

We're all weirdos

Somehow last night we got onto the subject of weird, random things we do in our own mind that actually drive us nuts and make us feel like we're bizzare, crazy or just plain obssessed.

It started with Grace talking about writing, and it reminded me of when I was a little kid I used to write - as a story - everything that other people said and did. For instance, if we were sitting having a conversation, in my mind I'd be writing '"I just don't know," John said and turned to look out the window.' I did this constantly, almost obssessively, and I felt so strange for doing it that I eventually confessed with tears to my Uncle Brian that I thought I was crazy.

We all laughed, and Chris said he used to work for a company where he would have to count plants with a clicker. So, for hours during a certain part of the year he'd walk up and down rows clicking, clicking, clicking. Well, soon he began counting the clicks. Next thing he knew, he was counting everything - the number of signs on the side of the road, the number of times someone blinked, the number of times someone said "um...." until finally he thought he would go crazy. Luckily he was saved by a career switch and the counting stopped.

So Grace pipes up and says when she is in a car, every time she goes by a sign she clicks her teeth and every time she clicks her teeth it means the sign disappears, no longer obscuring her view of nature. Like, wow.

And all this talk just got me thinking, what kind of weird, random things do you do in your mind?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Trivia or not?

There's this book that says you are truly your best when you focus on your strengths (and not focus on trying to eradicate your weaknesses), and it offers a super-extensive on-line questionnaire to help determine which of the 35-plus personality traits are your strengths and goes into something like 250 sub-categories of the strengths. So, you take this quiz, and at the end it spits out your strengths, and you are supposed to be thrilled. I wasn't.

One of the things it said I excel at is collecting things. What!?!?! Me, collect things? I think collectibles are the biggest waste of money, and collectibles usually look really stupid, so where the heck do you put all the crap while it is supposedly accumulating value? I would never collect things! Ever!

But then when I started reading about this particular trait it said that some people don't collect things, they collect knowledge or books or quotes. Hm, I said. Perhaps this is me after all. Check, check, check, I do all three.

So, I've had to get real with myself. I never considered myself a trivia buff. Trivia bores me, I would always say. And yet I find myself constantly throwing out "interesting tidbits of information" to my family and friends. This information never entered the realm of trivia in my opinion, as I preferred to consider it practical knowledge. Or perhaps general knowledge....or even miscellaneous knowledge. And the more I thought about that, the more I realized that the only thing that distinguishes trivia from the rest of the knowledge pool is whether you personally consider it worthwhile or not. Because I consider it interesting and worthwhile to know does not entail that you find it so, and if in fact you do not, you could accurately call it trivia; it is in fact trivia to you.

And that's when it hit me. I really am a nerd. As a matter of fact, I just hit the spell check and it said, "no misspellings found." And that's my strength?!!?

I can ace any trivia quiz you bring on
I'm fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Huh??? Explain this, please!

For a few days there it was looking like Congress was going to begrudgingly put up the money to keep the Big 3 afloat for a while and hopefully begin the turn-around to making the companies profitable again. But no. It doesn’t appear that there is willingness anymore, and what appears to be the big fat straw that broke the camel’s back is their individual luxury jet jaunts into DC for the hearings. That was just too much, Congress is saying. And the media. And stupid other people who are smart but who cares because I think that luxury jets are not the point.

Essentially what the Congress is saying is this: Big 3, we don’t need your tax revenue or GDP, we don’t need the subsequent small businesses that count on you for their livelihood, we don’t think the 3 million people working for you deserve their jobs, they just make too much money and have way-too-good benefits, so we think they are better off getting unemployment and finding another job, and we don’t need the technology that you might have created enabling green energy or alternative fuel vehicles or any other thing you might have contributed. And in fact, this is a great time to let you fail – right now when we are in our biggest financial crisis maybe ever.

Make no mistake, as ugly as financial bailout is, the fallout of the Big 3 failing will be far, far worse.

Listen, Congress, the Big 3 are asking for 3% of what you’ve wasted so far on companies that have no accountability and have nothing to show for it. Can’t you spare a little change for the sake of our nation, our future and to protect this country from the devastation of total auto industry meltdown? Just a little change!?!?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Today's funnies

Here are some....oh, let's just say "interesting" international interpretations of our language (as posted by Marcheline's Mental Meatloaf):

"On the menu of a Swiss restaurant: Our wines leave you nothing to hope for." And what should we pair our wine with, a big fat helping of despair?

"In a Paris hotel elevator: Please leave your values at the front desk." Just a Paris thing?

"Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand: Would you like to ride on your own ass?" The answer is, I do it everyday, right Chris? Oh, kill me! Not a good wife, no.

"In a Rome laundromat: Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time."

"In a Japanese hotel: You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid."

"In a Hong Kong supermarket: For your convenience, we recommend courteous, efficient self-service." As opposed to really shitty self-service.

"On the menu of a Polish hotel: Salad a firm's own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten up in the country people's fashion." Can I get that beaten up in the city people's fashion, please?

"In an Acapulco hotel: The manager has personally passed all the water served here." Refreshing!

"From a Japanese information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner: Cooles and Heates: If you want just condition of warm in your room, please control yourself."

"From a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo: When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor." Actually, this methodology explains how Chris and I fell in love; first he trumpeted me melodiously, and then followed up by tootling me with vigor.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Smart is as smart does.

I just spent four days – FOUR DAYS – trying to debug some Visual Basic code for an Access database I created. I was executing a FROM statement using table names that contained commands in them. Access no likey; apparently Access likes it when you use non-command names for your tables so it doesn’t get confused. It’s kinda like when you name your kid “Kick.” You want to tell your kid to pick up the ball, but when you say, "Kick, the ball-" the kid kicks the ball and never listens long enough for you to tell him to pick up the ball. Now, you have to go chase the ball. You’d think this would be rather intuitive for a genius like me, but nooo……it took me four days to figure it out.

It just goes to prove my “smart is as smart does” theory. About 5 years ago I took an IQ test out of curiosity. I scored so freaking high I thought for sure it must have been a mistake. I found another IQ test, took it and scored higher. I concluded that the IQ test had been dumbed down for the typical American and average smart people like me were scoring as if we were Einstein’s offspring, and maybe 50 years ago we’d just be smarter-than-average-Joe’s offspring. Perhaps I was right.

So, does being smart actually help you in life? Well, I had a pretty easy time of it in school. I didn’t have to work really hard, although I did study. I seem to pick up on things pretty quickly, but I get bored easily, so long before I’ve mastered something I move on to the next thing. I guess you could say I’m a generalist.

But when I take this whole “smart” label and apply it to my life, I see little evidence of being truly intelligent. Perhaps the reason has to do with that whole EQ versus IQ issue. The EQ theory says that the true intelligence that matters is the one that governs how you problem solve and make decisions and relate to other people and evaluate your experiences and observations. If I were a high scorer on that scale, I would have probably figured out my syntax error days ago. Maybe even on the first day!

Which leaves me thinking – as I’ve often done – that being smart is not such a gift afterall. As a matter of fact, if you think about it, we all know several of those super-smart-but-never-quite-succeeded people. And I do happen to know a lot of individuals that have gone very far in spite of not having been a top scholar.

So maybe it isn’t such a bad thing when your kid comes home with Bs and Cs instead of straight As – provided your kid does a reasonable job of interpreting and evaluating the life they lead and seems to make good decisions, because as far as my life experience has shown me, it is these people that succeed more often then stupid old geniuses like myself. So, wish for common sense, folks and leave the calculatin’ to the mad geniuses – you’ll be much happier for it.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

What it is all about.....

I ran across a beautiful statement by Michelle Obama in an interview about the transition her family will make from Chicago and the relative obscurity of their lives there to the national stage in Washington DC. Here she is responding to the question of what will be most important in the transition for her family:

"...But just continuing to make sure that our first priority is getting them
into schools that make sense for them, making sure that they have activities
that they care about, that we're there for them to help them with their
homework, that we go to their parent-teacher conferences, that we go to all
their events. It's important to continue to do that, no matter what their
father's job is. And he has to continue to make them a priority even as he's the
leader of the free world. I think that's an important thing for him to model for
others. It's this notion that if he can do it, then we all have to really fight
for it. Because what we're going to be fighting for, for our kids, is what we
have to fight for, for all of our kids. They have to be center in this society
and this nation. We have to put their education, their needs, their well-being
first and foremost. As adults, we can balance the other stuff. We're the
grown-ups [laughs]."

Now, please contrast her statement with the first comment posted below this interview:

Posted By: Clatech @ 11/06/2008 11:00:37 AM
Richard Pryor had keen insight when he said "White people are so
I'm so fed up with our corrupt political system after breaking my
back for years building my business and fighting from going bankrupt, a bunch of
naïve Americans elect an even more naïve career politician, president. I and
many of my business partners have decided to pack it in, I'm laying off 50 plus
workers starting next month and retiring. No way in hell am I going to pay this
numskull's capital gains tax and run my business into the ground before I can
cash out!

Perhaps the gentleman who is so concerned about cashing in his business has forgotten why he did it all in the first place...his family. We need a leader who stands up and says, "It isn't all about making as much money as we can before we die. It is about being there for our families, providing good opportunities for our children, and creating a society that they can live peacefully and prosper in." I am so proud that our next President believes in the value of family over the value of a dollar.

That is not to say that the economic future of this country isn't important; in fact, each family's prosperity and ability to provide opportunities for their children relies on a healthy economy. But I think the thing that offended me most about this man's post is that he was going to lay off 50 workers - who no doubt each have families - so that he can "cash out." No doubt he failed to listen to Obama's acceptance speech where Obama explained that the economic trouble our nation is in will be felt by all and would need cooperation and sacrifices by all so that the nation can recover. Essentially what this man said is, "Hey, I've worked hard all these years so I deserve to retire on a big fat money couch." Ok, so far this is pretty consistent with American values, but then he goes on (ok, I go on paraphrasing his private thoughts): "Now this idiot politician wants me to pay more in taxes if I cash out like I want to, so in order to cash out with my big fat money couch, I will lay off 50 people and to hell with what they need, I want my big fat money couch!"

I liked what one poster replied to him, "Wow, dude, you need to take a Valium and turn off Fox News and then things will start to feel a lot better." I can't agree more.

And you know, that is why I am so darn happy Obama won; we have come to a place of economic and military disaster because of an administration that believes in the kind of values expressed by "Clatech" the idiot poster. I shudder in fear of what another four or eight years of that kind of thinking would have done to our country and to our families.

Remember, folks, it is really all about our children. If we keep that in focus, kind of like the What Would Jesus Do reflection, I think we can keep it all really straight. Forget that, and it all tanks. Simple.

article excerpt taken from, "Michelle, On the Move" by Richard Wolffe, 11/5/08

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

It's a new world today....

"On January 20, an African-American will begin leading a country that first
brought Africans to its shores as slaves and refused their descendants full
rights until well into the 20th century; a country that was still wondering
until the election results finally came in if race would doom his

There are many things to be said about the new world President Elect Barack Obama will usher in as the 44th President of the United States. However, everything - absolutely everything - takes on a deep, abiding gravitas because of the truth of the statement above. It is the starting point of understanding what this election means to America, and it is the starting point of understanding how deeply we crave change and unity and repudiation of the nightmare of 8 years of the Bush administration (not to mention the 6 years of a Republican Congress). We want to be seen in a new light; we want a new perspective on the challenges this nation faces; we want a new approach in everything. But at the core of all this angst and need and want on behalf of the United States lies an historical paradigm shift in the way we see our nation, and it is because we elected a black man from humble origins. And I don't know about all of you, but I felt the earth shift last night, and I don't ever think this world will be the same.

Quote by Jonathan Mann,, The New Face of the United States, 11/5/08

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

"Believe that you can do it, under any circumstances. Because if you believe you can, then you really will. That belief just keeps you searching for the answers, then pretty soon you get it."
– Wally "Famous" Amos

"Can anything be sadder than work unfinished? Yes, work never begun."
– Christina Rossetti

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Hero Lost

When I look at my husband I see his father. His father was a man who taught his boys everything he knew, raising them to be some of the best men you'll ever meet. His father had an injury as a child and contracted osteomyelitis (sp?) causing deafness and infections in his long bones lasting his entire life. He never let that stop him; despite being deaf and so ill from osteo that he had to endure about 30 surgeries over the years, he worked hard so his wife could stay home raising all 7 of their kids. Chris' dad could do anything. He owned a barbershop in GH for 35 years and after retirement made a hobby of chair caning he carried on for over 30 years making many friends along the way. He raised horses most of his life and was a champion rider. He could make or fix anything you can think of. He was hilarious and could always tell a good joke. He read lips and was very opposed to deaf people relying on sign language - it left them out of the main stream of life, he said. He read voraciously and has literally thousands of books, but his favorites were always the cowboy stories. He loved music and as a deaf man used to win the dance contests down at the dance hall. He could feel the beat, he said. He was a life-long Republican, effectively cancelling his wife's life-long Democratic vote. He was married to his wife Angela, a fiery little Italian woman, for 41 years and sang a love song to her every morning of their life together until Monday of this week when he died on his way to make her morning coffee.

Richard Baldus was a man that deeply affected the lives of all those he met, and he was the idol of many young boys who practically lived over at the Baldus house during their childhood. I watched big strong grown men weep in the last few days over the loss of a man who can only be described as a hero. And when I look at my husband, I see his father.

Chris arrived shortly after his dad went down. He spent the next 15 minutes desperately trying to save his dying father, begging his dad to breathe again, begging God to help him save his dad. He did CPR so long, he had soaked through his shirt and sweatshirt.

He called me after the paramedics arrived, sobbing, saying, "My dad is dead, and I tried to save him, but I couldn't."

We all know that a day is appointed for our birth and a day is appointed for our death. There was nothing Chris could do to save his father on that day. But this is the thing that matters most: there are moments in our life when we are faced with a gut-wrenching, horrific moment where our action will prove the kind of person we are. How we react in that moment will change our life; if we chicken out because we are scared and don't know what to do, we will spend our life regretting that moment, and who we are as a person will forever be diminished. But my husband, terrified as he was, got on his knees and did everything a man could possibly do to save his father, and in that moment proved the mettle within his soul.

I've only been a part of Chris' family for a few years now, but I feel his father's death as deeply as if it were my own father. This man meant so much to his family and gave every ounce of himself everyday to make everything ok for each of them, and that is the kind of man he raised, the man I get to call my husband. I love Richard Baldus for who he was, for what he represented and for the gift he gave to everyone he met and those he never met - his integrity, caring, never-give-up spirit carries on in each one of his children and for that I am so grateful. I am grateful to have been able to share in the few short years I had with him and am absolutely blessed to be with a man that learned everything he knows from his father.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ride on! Rough-shod if need be, but ride on! Ride on over all obstacles, and win the race!
-Charles Dickens

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Shut your mouth when you are talking to me

I truly am sick of all the snarky t-shirts out there, but snorgtees has some of the best I've seen, and I just can't keep them to myself any longer.

What more can I say? Sometimes it's ok to just let the pictures do the talking.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Obama reads by blog, but Bernanke does not

Hooray for Obama telling the American people like it is (oh, if only we could get him to retract his "redistribute wealth" statement all would be well), but that Bernanke! We'll call him Big Boil Bernanke because he is a big boil on the butt of the American taxpayer.

I don't know how many of you caught this since it seems no one is reporting on it, but yesterday Bernanke came out in favor of a stimulus package and basically said the following:

1. don't worry about the national debt and go ahead and make it bigger because we need to make it bigger right now

2. Americans need more credit so they'll buy more stuff and get the economy moving again

Oh, and there was some other stuff, but seriously folks, after you hear those first two points, why aren't we shooting this guy? Let's see, we are in the worst financial crisis since blah blah blah and we got here by overspent Americans defaulting on their mortgages....we are now increasing our national debt by almost 2 trillion dollars to bail out the failing financial institutions that gave out these bad mortgages and were guilty of fiscal mis-management......I know! Let's grow our national debt even more with a stimulus package and encourage Americans to take on more debt and we can all buy our way out of financial crisis! Yeah, that's the ticket. Even my 10 year old daughter would know that won't work.

Ever notice how Bernanke sort of looks like Rasputin? He was bad for his country, too.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rambling Ranting Raves

Thank you, dear readers, for your patience with my excessively long posts as of late. As I'm sure you could tell, there was (is) a lot on my mind.

The good news is that Obama did stand up like a man and say (to some extent) that cutting expenditures will be a top priority in his administration, and he also intimated that Americans also need to be fiscally responsible. That is the closest I've heard so far to no-nonsense, common sense, responsible economics from the candidates.

However, I am concerned about all the entitlements that Barack is proposing; he makes a good point about cutting the fat to beef up the underfunded-but-essential-and-effective projects. My overriding concern, though, is that he will slow down the economy even more with his tax increases. On the other hand, I like what he says about tax breaks for small companies that create jobs here in the US. That's good. I don't know, all in all it is really tough for someone like myself to extrapolate from all the various talk and proposals what has a chance of making it to actual policy and actually work for the country.

One thing is for sure, McCain's health plan would be a disaster. Taxing health benefits!?@? I would see my "taxable income" increase by $12-15,000 a year without having a dime more income - oh, wait. I'd have less because of being taxed. Duh! There are other troubling aspects to his health plan, but that's the worst aspect by far.

As I said in my earlier post, the bottom line for all us regular folks is figuring out a way to keep our heads above water for the next couple years while all of this stuff plays out. As for me and my family (and I'm talking extended family here, too), we should talk amongst ourselves about what we may be facing and how we can help each other. Don't you agree?

I love you, my readers (fans). You are more patient than I deserve.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thinking Time

Typically we all have our trigger-point issues that ultimately determine who we vote for on the Presidential ballot every four years (assuming, of course, that you, dear reader, actually vote). These are usually top-of-mind issues for most voters, and the guy that delivers the best position on our trigger-point issue gets our vote. This year the trigger-point issue for the majority of voters is the economy - no surprise there. However, the scary thing about voting on the economy as our trigger-point this year...the fact that no one - not even the smart guys - know what the hell we are doing, how it will impact the economy or what to do to make the economy better. We are virtually on an economic learning curve with the potential to permanently change the way we live our lives.

Yes, I do mean permanent. This crisis entails permanent change in governmental behavior and spending, institutional change at the regulatory and financial levels and all that trickles down to change in our personal fiscal behavior.

Oh, she's not beating that dead horse again!

No, I'm not, but I am going to beat on the permanent change drum. As a nation, there needs to be fundamental and permanent change to ensure that we never return to this state of economic crisis again. We need to become a nation of producers-and-savers, not borrow-and-spenders. That is like the old Sunday school song, "so-and-so built his house upon a rock" and his house stood the weather-beating. The guy who built his house upon the sand? Well, it all got washed away! (Comment if you remember who the guys were in this song - I can't remember.)

We built our economy on the idea that if people keep borrowing money, everyone gets rich. People borrow and then spend, and Home Depot's stock goes up, and the investors get richer, and the banks make m0ney on the interest of that loan, and the banks have more money to lend, and people go out and borrow more money and spend more money and everyone gets what they want...what a beautiful fiscal cycle! Ooops, didn't work out so well when Joe Six Pack stopped making his loan payments. And then a couple of his neighbors did the same thing and on and on throughout neighborhoods in America. Bad Joe Six Pack! He ruined the whole thing! Everyone could have kept making money if it weren't for him and his over-spent, over-indebted buddies.


Let's take a deeper look at Joe Six Pack. First of all, his wages have been stagnant these past eight years while costs kept rising. In a lot of cases, Joe Six Packs have actually taken pay cuts after being laid off because his factory went overseas, and the unemployment was running out, and he needed a job at any cost, even to the extent of working for less. Hey, some money is better than no money.

Here's another thing about Joe Six Pack. When he was on unemployment, chances are he did get behind on his bills since he was probably maxxed out on expenses for his income level. When that income level dropped to unemployment compensation something had to go, and it wasn't his grocery bill. When he took that lower paying job, it is doubtful he was able to get caught up.

Then there's the matter of health insurance. His family most likely lost their coverage when he lost his job. Oh, there's Cobra coverage, but at $1000 premiums for a family, chances are they didn't opt for it. So, the family only had a couple doctor's appointments while Joe was out of work, but it only added to the debt load. Now the creditors are calling about that, too.

So, Joe goes back to work and even with his annual 2% raises, he's not getting ahead; in fact, he's getting poorer. Eventually the pressure from creditors pushes him to make payments that he can't afford, and he begins to get behind on his house payments. Default. Auction. Foreclosure. And his family becomes the scapegoat for a society that placed their bets on way-too-long odds.

For Joe Six Pack, losing his job sucked, but the subsequent financial meltdown enveloped his family in misery for years as they struggled to keep afloat, eventually hitting rock bottom with the foreclosure of their family home...and their family dream. And all the banks have to say about it is he never should have fallen behind in the first place. So, you're out, buddy.

In hindsight, Joe shouldn't have maxxed out his income for nicer cars, a nicer house and the nicer niceties of life. He should have saved more, spent less and lived within his means. On that, I am sure we all agree.

But fundamentally, what went wrong in Joe's life? His employment situation. Gosh, doesn't it just make you wonder if there was something fundamentally wrong with the economy when so many Joe Six Packs went through the same thing?!?!

Ok, you know my answer to that question. But here's the follow-up: Ready for this? Ok, here it goes...

If the fundamental problem was an economy that could not support jobs and wages consistent with a middle-class lifestyle, how do you restore an economy that supports jobs and wages when the bottom just fell out of the economy, and no one has any money from Joe Six Pack all the way up to the Federal Reserve and all the financial institutions in between?

And that is where my theory of permanent change comes in. Look, folks, I hate to be the harbinger of gloom-and-doom, but we have not seen the bottom to this crisis, and while world powers scramble to restore stability to a fundamentally off-kilter world economy, we are left with the challenge if living day to day and somehow meeting the challenge of rising costs and lower wages. Or no wages at all.

And to make matters worse, we can't look to Washington to help us out since they've maxxed their credit capacity on bailing out our greedy rotten banks and such. Which means, folks, we are on our own in spite of all the Presidential candidates are proposing. There just isn't the money.

So, since the President and the Presidential candidates don't have the courage to tell us to change our lifestyle - in the absence of true leadership - we will have to take it upon ourselves.

God, that sucks.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Politics of Sacrifice, a diatribe in favor of prosperity

I waited for it, in fact I hoped for it. It was a moment whose time had come. In the debate on Tuesday night, Tom Brokaw dared ask the question that Americans most fear the answer to: Due to the extreme economic crisis facing our nation, what will you ask Americans to sacrifice after you become President? Essentially, each candidate’s reply amounted to the same thing: nothing much if anything at all.

It was the moment when a true leader would stand up and deliver the truth: “My fellow Americans, as much as we’ve talked about the role of Wall Street’s greed in the current economic crisis, we’ve been remiss in not talking about the responsibility of every American to exercise fiscal responsibility. Now is the time in which, instead of asking for more entitlement programs, Americans need to reflect on the words of JFK, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.’”

The reason no candidate stood up and said that? The fear of political suicide.

But you know what I think? I think that deep in the heart of every over-spent American, he or she wants to hear that from the leader of our nation. They don’t want to hear George W. Bush’s “go out and spend for your country” anymore. Look where that got us in the last seven years! The average American household saves an average of -3% each year. Oops, I’m sorry. Let me re-state that. The average American household consumes an excess of 3% over their annual income every year. That means Americans increase their personal debt load by 3% each year. And we have the audacity to wag our finger at Washington.

Oops, let me re-state that. Americans have been doing what capitalists do: following the old “whoever dies with the most stuff wins” mentality. We consume. We’re Americans. It’s what we do. We no longer make anything – no, let the slobs overseas slobs do it for pennies on the dollar so we can go to Kirkland’s in the mall and buy the latest trendy resin house-thingy to make it look like we travel the world and have really sophisticated taste. And we buy our kids i-pods for Christmas and upgrade our computer and buy a new car and buy a much more expensive house than we know we can afford (‘Oh, but the interest rates are so low right now!!!!”), and we go to Hollister for school-clothes shopping so our kids can fit it and it goes on and on and on.

You see, somehow Americans have bought into the myth that consuming builds our economy and that it is our patriotic duty to do so. Um, talk to any economist or family credit counselor, and they’ll tell you that the responsible, patriotic and fiscally-healthy thing to do is to live within your means, and save or invest your money if you can afford to do so. Actually, that last bit might become absolutely crucial because it looks like our Social Security is going down man, dooooown.

Now, I realize it isn’t very fair of me to pick on my fellow Americans for living the way they have; my point wasn’t to criticize their lifestyle so much as to point out that Americans have been doing what they were expected to do and that expectation came from Washington. They snookered us into believing that we can have a healthy economy of non-producing consumers and that the bottom would never drop out. Ultimately, that is just NOT TRUE.

So, in that crucial moment in the debate where Americans needed to hear the ol’ tighten-the-belt speech, they got placation. They were essentially told not to worry about the economy and not to adjust their lifestyle. No, in fact it was implied that by remodeling your house to make it more green and efficient, and by buying a fuel efficient car, it would help the economy. Spend money and the economy can bounce right back.


Where is the leadership, I would like to know? Where is the common sense that says we can’t buy our way out of this crisis? Where are the persons of substance willing to stand up and say:

“My fellow Americans, get out of debt. Save some money. Invest some money. Live
within your means. It’s not enjoyable, but in order to get out of the crisis, we
are going to have pitch in and do our part to restore economic stability and
personal responsibility. I will not ask you to do something this federal
government is not willing to do, so you will see us tighten our belts. (And here
is where I DO agree with McCain) We need to put a spending freeze on all but the
essential programs such as defense and social security. Everything else must be
examined against its own merit, and the standard that it must be judged upon is:
1. Is it essential enough to
warrant the expenditure?
2. Can we
afford it?
3. Is this something
that Americans can provide for themselves through greater personal and fiscal
responsibility? Or…
4. Is this a
burden that is too much for one family or one person to bear and therefore needs
to be provided by a much larger entity, and if so, is the Federal government the
proper entity to provide the measure of this need?

“It’s not that
hard. American families indeed are doing it everyday in spite of the excesses of
some. It is something the Federal government needs to be committed to, and it is
something the people of America need to be committed to. And that, voters, is
the way to help America.”

Now that, my fellow Americans, is someone worthy of the Presidency.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I would just like to say....

Thank you to whoever peed on the toilet seat. I now have your pee on my leg.

If crouch you must, the least you could do is wipe the seat. That is, unless you don't object to me peeing on your leg.

I need a remedy

I have this yearning to write. Ideas keep floating into my head about topics I’d like to write about. I have a novel I started a number of years ago which I personally think is vastly entertaining, however…..I’m not really a novel writer. I could probably be a short story writer, but what I love most to write is essays. I’m an essayist. Like David Sedaris only not as funny and not as clever. And not as rich. You know, he recently took a 6-month trip to Japan just because he thought it would be interesting, and he wondered how his writing would be different there? Did you know that he maintains a permanent residence in France along with his number-of-residences here it the States? Yeah, I think I’m a lot like David Sedaris, and I truly hope to be as rich as he is someday.

Except that I’m not that motivated by money.

So, my dilemma is that my doctor wants me to exercise an hour a day which I was doing once upon a time but have now abandoned since the girls went back to school. I abandoned the exercising because they are at a time in their life where they need a lot of support – and taxi-ing (Taxying? Taxieing? WTFE). Also, there is the matter of our house we are remodeling. Chris and I had a serious discussion about it yesterday. We both agree that it is way behind schedule and unless we want to compromise and move into a house that is not finished (which I won’t do), we need to move our ass. Um….since he’s been very effectively moving his ass, it really means I need to move my ass and begin dedicating week-day evenings and week end days to the project. Which all begs the question, apart from the time I steal at work to blog, when in the Sam Hell can I possibly write?

I tell myself, when the kids are out of the house. That’s what I tell myself. Sigh.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Ok, watch now!

This is a shout-out to my brother who says to raise the flag when he should tune into the Presidential race. Ok, I'm raising the flag! The time to pay attention is now! There is a debate tonight! John McCain will probably lose! If he does, his campaign is over! And then the rest of the world can breathe a sigh of relief! And my whole family will be happy! Except Ray and Cindy cuz they like Republicans! I tend to swing both ways! But I don't like McCain! I think he's dishonest and a crook! And I hope he loses tonight! So tune into the debate! It's tonight! At 9 o'clock! Since you work 2nd shift, you will be able to catch all the re-cap after work and probably the debate too! So watch! Ok!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

John McCain, I hope you lose!

So, the plan was to sail into Washington like Superman and lead the cavalry to the winner's circle, eh? Hm. Looks like the cavalry didn't listen. (Oh, I love to mix my metaphors! Forgive?)

I have to say, love the comment from Boehner (who is a BONER regardless of how he pronounces his name), that Nancy Pelosi's spanking of the Republican party ruined their coalition. They never had the votes to begin with! Nancy Pelosi's an idiot and she was wrong, but the GOP is just using her ill-timed and ill-advised speech as a scape goat. They couldn't whip their votes, and you know what? I think Nancy Pelosi knew it. Why she ever called a vote, I don't know. Political machinations.

Here's another idiot: Barney Frank. Boehner at least had the decency to call for a reconsideration of the vote, and for those of you watching the live coverage, you could hear Barney Frank scream, "Stop! No!" and then after then Chairwoman said that she would consider a motion if brought, Boehner reiterated his request, and Frank said, "Resume business" or whatever it is, meaning he objected, and they go back to other business. And then he had the audacity to blame Boehner and his lack of coalition. Hah! That was political manipulation on Frank's part, plain and simple. He wanted to eviscerate the Reps, and he stopped the reconsideration to do so. What an ass.

Another ass to kick here is Newt Gingrich of whom I have NEVER been a fan. His Contract for America - what a joke!!!!! Would've at least had some credibility despite its wrong-headed assumptions and resolutions if only one or two of the so-called promises ever came to pass. So, guess what ole Newt's been up to? He wants to run for President in 2012, and he was on the news the last week telling everyone he is whipping for Republicans to pass the bailout resolution and that his "saving the nation" coalition of GOPs would be his grand entrance back onto the national political stage in preparation for that presidential bid. As a matter of fact, as the votes were being counted, he issued a statement saying that he had voted for the measure. But what was he REALLY doing? According to report this morning by Andrea Mitchell, she has first-hand knowledge that he was whipping AGAINST the resolution. Sounds like a little bit of political skull-duggery, eh?

Oh, those damn politicians. Fire all of them!

And as for John McCain, I had respect for him for years because he seemed to really care about what was right and would stand up for what was right even when no one else would. However, his political actions over the last three weeks have completely eliminated any respect I had for him and positively convinced me that he has no integrity whatsoever and will do and say whatever it takes to get elected, even if it means contradicting his 26-year track record! Oh, the Ass! The Despot! The Manipulator! I really hope he loses and not by just a little. I hope Obama kicks his ass right into retirement. I hope he is so humiliated he doesn't have the guts to show up on Capitol Hill again.

And as for Newt Gingrich, if he runs for president in 4 years, I will personally do everything in my power to campaign against his election!!!!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Oh, dear...look what I started! the comments, everyone! I love the fact that I've gotten everyone thinking about what they really believe in (pat, pat, pat!) and whether they can stomach the evils of two lessers (love the line, hubbyman!)

But....there are MAJOR issues at stake in this election apart from whether a black man or woman occupy executive positions, and I firmly believe that more than at any other time in my personal voting history, involvement - at least from a cerebral standpoint - in this election is absolutely vital to the future of our nation. I hope I am interesting everyone enough to get stimulated! (mentally, of course...garsh!)

I do like Sarah Palin because she stands for something deeply important to me: family. My family means everything to me. However, that does not mean that McCain-Palin automatically get my vote this year. These are the issues that, at the core of my voting heart, will drive my vote: I will be thinking about Britt out there trying to get established financially in her new career. I'll be thinking about Grace and Brandie facing college decisions. I'll be thinking about 8 years from now when Emily graduates from High School - what kind of a world will she graduate into?

The future of our nation as a global power is in question right now...we need a leader who will, as Big V points out, re-establish our leadership in the world as a country that has integrity both militarily and financially.

So, no more pointless wars where diplomacy was not employed first!

No more disregard of the Rules of Engagement: no torturing prisoners, no illegal detainees, and no more first strikes and Shock and Awe!

Americans, let's get out of debt!

Let's hold greedy bank executives accountable for risky loans!

Let's outlaw gratuitous solicitation of credit cards, equity loans and adjustable rate mortgages!

Let's invest in new energy! New technology! Education!

And let's invest in plain old economically sound principles to re-establish our credibility in a world that is continually de-valuing our dollar!


Because the needs of this country are so great, I am not yet ready to endorse any candidate. I think there are a lot of questions that need to be answered by the McCain-Palin ticket as the anonymous poster pointed out, and they can't continue to run on his war record and their “maverick” reputations. That's just plain dumb. As for Obama-Biden, I have one word of caution: We need action not rhetoric! Clearly, both camps need to better define where they stand and how their stand differs from the current President and the other candidate.

Like VeeFlower said, we are being courted right now. It is easy to go with your heart and make an emotional decision at a time like this, but anyone who’s been divorced knows that once you say I do, you are stuck with what you picked and what you didn’t know beforehand WILL come back to bite you.

So, I recommend caution and careful consideration in regard to each candidate, and I am not recommending any particular candidate for election. My hope is to put thoughts out there that make others want to get involved and throw their rhetorical hat into the political arena.

Judging from the comments I’ve been getting, I’m hitting that goal pretty accurately! Yay!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Gone, Man, Gone!

It's the bottom of the ninth, bases are loaded, two outs and the score is tied. The tension in the stadium is so palpable it's as if the air has thickened to sludge prohibiting the merest movement. All eyes are fixed on the batter walking up to the plate. The spectators hush, waiting with bated breath for the first pitch. The pitcher and catcher exchange head shakes-n-nods. There's discord. More fervent shakes-n-nods. The crowd begins to murmur. Finally, as ripples of anxiety course through the stadium, a pitch is determined, and the crowd sighs in relief. But the tension ramps up again as the pitcher takes a step back, winds up and torpedoes the ball toward the batter.

And Gov. Sarah Palin digs in, swings, and knocks that damn ball right out of the park.

The crowd roars!!!!

As Sarah Palin takes her victory lap around the bases, the crowd goes nuts and her teammates rush on the field to congratulate her. But Sarah? Her eyes are right on her family.

It isn't possible that a human being could have watched that speech without being absolutely won over, Republican or not.

I'm not really a patriot, as most of my readers know. But watching her speech last night, and especially the moments after the speech when her family came on stage, I had the rare experience of being proud to be an American. Ok, lump me in with Michelle Obama, fine! But as I listened to that strong, intelligent, gutsy woman and then saw her embracing her family, it really made me feel that she represents the best of what America strives for: good family, working hard and standing up for what is right, not just what is popular. I was so proud to be an American woman at that moment, I got tears in my eyes! (Now don't go tellin' anyone that!)

As I said yesterday, the best hope for a jump-start out of the running blocks was for Palin and McCain both to deliver knock-your-socks-off speeches. So, as the crowd roared and McCain stepped on stage, I was waiting for McCain to deliver the knock-out blow. As he raised the microphone to speak, I was virtually willing him to say, "The doubters questioned my choice of running mate. They said I was crazy. Who's crazy now!? Barack, you may think you can speechify your way to the White House, but I'm here to tell ya, you got another think coming! We're gunnin' for ya, and we won't stop until we're in the White House!"

Instead he said something lame and a final "Look at that beautiful family" before awkwardly standing there not knowing what to do and finally exiting the stage rather abruptly. Not what I expected from a seasoned politician. He should have been poised to fully exploit the moment and drive the dagger home, right to the heart of his opponent.

But he didn't.

Maybe at that moment he was wondering whether his pick of VP will continue to overshadow his campaign, making voters wish she were the top pick, and he were the VP hopeful. think?

The reality is, we are not voting Sarah Palin for President, as much as we love her (and believe me, the pundits do love her!) John McCain is the man running for President, and she is just his running mate. After the election, she will be relegated to the near-invisible role of 2nd in command. Is it not well known that all Prezzies fear the usurping power of an overly popular VP? Oh, yes. That is why they are kept well in the background, off in (peaceful, placid) foreign lands smiling while the little cloggers dance and the old politicians shake their hand. As much as we love Sarah Palin, it is John McCain who will be at the helm if elected, and that is a point to reckon with.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Leaning Right for leaning Republican...I am still undecided. As an extreme moderate (huh?), I am a registered "independent" voter and thus confound both parties as to whom will be my pick. I'm a social moderate, an economic liberal (and somewhat anti-capitalist) and militarily, I'm a realist. How's that for lack of political identity!

I think John McCain will have a very tough fight to win over Obama in the election. So far the RNC has been a disaster, looking and sounding more like a Memorial Day tribute than a political soiree. And the pundits thought the DNC was a snooze....!! The Convention is supposed to be the big shot of adrenaline that fires up and inspires the constituents to go out there and campaign for all they are worth to get their candidate elected. Um, that may be a problem since absent from attendance are virtually all of the important Republican leaders. The crowd last night looked more like an AARP Convention than a big pep rally for a dynamic political campaign! Isn't there anyone in attendance under the age of 50? Even I, a political junkie, was so bored I began reading a box of hair dye.

All the boring-ness aside, the message of McCain being The Man for America has been completely overshadowed by Palin and her domestic/political scandals. Of course, there is time for him to turn his campaign around, but I think first he may need to fire his campaign manager and hire someone who can inject a little youth into the campaign, interesting voters other than those who love the war, hate abortion and think we are still the big guy on campus internationally.

Look, I really like McCain. He's been an absolute consummate politician, and I have the utmost of respect for what he stands for. The problem is, he's doing a very bad job of making that case to the voting public at a time when the Democratic Party seems to have finally found an articulate mouthpiece in Obama. That simply spells bad news for McCain, especially after 8 hated years of Bush's policies driving American's to the brink of economic and military collapse. He simply has to do a much better job of distinguishing himself both from Obama and from Bush. Both Obama and McCain are party moderates - despite what pundits say about Obama being the most liberal candidate in recent history - so there is a lot of common ground in their positions. Where differences exist, McCain needs to hard-sell (or sell hard) what it is that distinguishes his policies from Obama's (and Bush's) and why his policy is better. Laying it on thick about his patriotism and war record are not getting the job done. Wake up, McCain, your candidacy is slipping through your fingertips!

However, having said all that....the Convention is still getting underway. Afterall, the DNC had a rather lackluster start in spite of Mrs. Obama's inspirational speech, which had the pundits saying, "Where's the beef?" and "Why aren't they beating the tar-feathers out of McCain right now?" Once Hilary took the stage, the whole atmosphere of the Convention - and the campaign - took on a huge surge of enthusiasm and support, thanks mostly to her husband's popularity and Obama's "historic" speech.

Ooops, back to the RNC: Yes, it is still getting started, so we may see the same surge of enthusiasm and support throughout the GOP after Palin's speech tonight. After all, this woman oozes charisma. If McCain can go on and knock 'em dead on Thursday (following in his worthy opponent's shoes), his campaign has a fighting chance. If either of them bomb, it may be the death-knell to another four years dominated by the Elephant.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Stunning! Clever! Disastrous....Perfect!

Such in succession was my reaction to the unexpected announcement by Sen. John McCain that his running mate is Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska.

I had pretty much reached the disastrous conclusion when McCain went on the air today during lunch, making his announcement and introduction of Gov. Palin. I was thinking, “The poor old guy. He’s going to get his ass handed to him on a Democratic platter.”

After listening to an ever-more intriguing introduction, I was more than ready to hear what that firebrand Governor from Alaska had to say. She’s in many respects a female version of John McCain – a maverick who fights big interest, political corruption and partners with leaders of all political persuasions to get things done. However, she brings to the campaign some important traits that John McCain is severely lacking: youth, fired-up enthusiasm, vigor, and most importantly, strong appeal to women voters.

I really, really like this woman. She impressed me right down to my toes, and in the first Presidential race in my voting years that I do not feel like I have to vote for the lesser of two evils, she brings a strong appeal that I find hard to resist. She is an ardent pro-family, pro-life, pro-eduction, pro-ethics woman with an impressive resume of community and political service. She's stared down the big guns of Big Oil, government corruption, a bridge to nowhere and stood up for the common working man and woman with every breath in her body. She's down to earth, plain-spoken yet has the ability to reach you right down where it really matters.

John McCain is an absolute genius for choosing this woman as his running mate.

The addition of Sarah Palin to this political race is an absolute game changer, it will completely shake up the whole arena of this already intense political battle. Oh man, this is going to be interesting!

Already the Dems are sniping about her lack of foreign diplomatic experience and her relative short history in the field of politics. First of all, John McCain has foreign diplomatic experience in spades, so forget that. Anyway, she'll catch on quick, lemme tell ya. Secondly, her accomplishments in the "relatively short" 16 years of her public service have been stellar. Here's a little snippet from her official bio:

"Since taking office, her top priorities have been resource development, education and workforce development, public health and safety, and transportation and infrastructure development.
“Under her leadership, Alaska invested $5 billion in state savings, overhauled education funding, and implemented the Senior Benefits Program that provides support for low-income older Alaskans. She created Alaska's Petroleum Systems Integrity Office to provide oversight and maintenance of oil and gas equipment, facilities and infrastructure, and the Climate Change Subcabinet to prepare a climate change strategy for Alaska.
“During her first legislative session, Governor Palin's administration passed two major pieces of legislation — an overhaul of the states ethics laws and a competitive process to construct a gas pipeline.
“Governor Palin is chair of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, a multi-state government agency that promotes the conservation and efficient recovery of domestic oil and natural gas resources while protecting health, safety and the environment. She was recently named chair of the National Governors Association (NGA) Natural Resources Committee, which is charged with pursuing legislation to ensure state needs are considered as federal policy is formulated in the areas of agriculture, energy, environmental protection and natural resource management. Prior to being named to this position, she served as co-chair of this committee."

Oh, John McCain, your choice of running mate is perfect. Absolutely perfect!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What it is....

Catharsis: According to the American Heritage Dictionary, catharsis can mean "A release of emotional tension, as after an overwhelming experience, that restores or refreshes the spirit."

To say that I’ve been through some overwhelming emotional experiences over the last 10 years would be an understatement – not to mention the huge life changes that have occurred recently. Ironically, it is those very life changes that are my saving grace.

I’m pleased to report that after so many years of heartache and struggle, I am finally happy and healthy – both things I can attribute directly to the presence of Chris in my life. He is the one who encouraged me to seek help for my myriad of psychiatric/personality issues, and if weren’t for him forcing me to go to the ER a few months ago, I wouldn’t even be here (who knew dehydration could be so lethal!?!?) And he is the one who saw through the layers of – oh, shall we say ECCENTRICITIES – to the person who lay untapped beneath. He loved me in spite of my unloveliness and wouldn’t give up on me despite my continual complaining, fit-throwing and overriding desire to just GIVE UP.

So, it is with great relish that I say I am finally feeling better everywhere in my body from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. My blood sugar is under control thanks to my daily workouts and now that I’ve got a proper diagnosis for the issues that have plagued me all these years (with the corresponding correct medicine), I feel like a new woman.

Of course, our amazing wedding put some giddy-up in my little red wagon (love those mixed metaphors) and helped motivate me to work as hard as I have. Having great kids who really need me to be at my best also keeps me going. But more than anything, it is knowing I get to spend the rest of my life with the man who gives every ounce of himself everyday to making us happy and safe and well provided for, encouraging us in every way, that has really changed my life. Isn’t it amazing what love can do?

And you want to know what? I actually felt like dancing today. Right in my office, right in the middle of an average day, I felt so happy….I just wanted to shake it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Blood sugar harumphs

My blood sugar is down over a point on my A1C, which if you know what that is, you know it’s a big deal. If you don’t know what it is, prepare yourself for boredom. It’s the average blood sugar reading over 90 days. So bringing it down a whole point is great and considering I did it in 2 months, even better. My morning blood sugar is now normal (at worst it is in the target range). My before meal sugar is also either normal or in the target range. Unfortunately, in spite of exercising every day, in spite of following (pretty closely) the dietary guidelines, my post-prandial sugar is way too high, averaging in the 225-250 range.

What is so frustrating about this is that if you go online to get recipes or menus for diabetics, they are rife with exactly the kind of foods that cause a spike in my blood sugar. Even 1/3 of a cup of rice with no other carb in a protein/veggie meal will cause a raise in my blood sugar to over 200, so how am I going to eat a peanut butter banana sandwich for breakfast?

I have come to the conclusion that I am very sensitive to carbs, perhaps even more so than the average diabetic. After all, if I am taking my medicine, exercising an hour a day and eating less than 30 grams of carb in a meal, if my blood sugar spikes to over 200, obviously I have overdone it with the carbs.

The last time I saw him (back when he told me I have to exercise an hour a day – ugh), my doctor asked me how many carbs per meal I was allowed by the dietitian. This was my moment of triumph – the one where I got to tell my compassionate, sympathetic doctor how the meanie dietitian only lets me have 30 carbs for most meals and 15 for a snack! Even my dinner meal is only 45 and most adults get 45-60 for each meal! She’s a nazi, I told my doctor. “Really?” he said, “Because I actually think that sounds like an awful lot of carbs to me. I’ve got patients doing 50 per day.” Per day?!??!?

Now add to that the fact that he wants me to lower my cholesterol to below 100 and my LDLs to below 75 in the next year (because, my sweets, diabetics are at such a high risk for heart attacks and I am soooooo young). I can’t complain too much because number 1, he’s right. And number 2, I should anyway. I have a lot of decades to be a diabetic and if I’m not very proactive about reversing the negative effects of diabetes, I probably won’t live as long as my siblings – or my husband. Poor Chris! So, lowering cholesterol also means…..less bad fat, a little good fat. And watching my salt intake! Argh!!!!!

So, take away alcohol, take away sweets, take away virtually all carbs (due to my sensitivity), take away most fats and now salt. I might as well eat the plastic bag my food comes in.

And what kills me is that every diabetic anything begins with the words, “Being a diabetic doesn’t mean giving up your favorite foods, it means learning the proper portion of those foods.”

Uh, I guess that means my portion is zero.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Playing the race card is stupid, stupid, stupid!!!!

You better believe Obama was playing the race card when he said, “They’ll tell you I don’t look like other Presidents on the dollar bill.” Absolutely! He was garnering sympathy for being black, for not being white, for being different. And you know what? It played well with his supporters. Yeah, they said to one another, they may not say it, but they think it! Now, he turns it on John McCain, accusing him of playing the race card when John McCain responds to the comment. This is one man who plays it both ways.

I love to tell this story about Grace. She was about four years old and she had a baby doll named Alice. Alice was black. We were visiting a friend whose daughter was dating a black man. He was very nice, and wanted to engage Grace in conversation, so he said, “That’s a pretty baby. What is her name?” Grace looked up at him with her sweet, innocent brown eyes and said, “Chocolate.”

I about died.

The truth is, there are some things that are very obvious. Obama does look different. His hair is different, his skin is different, he has blue lips and an odd name. Why is it racist to point these things out? It’s not like we are saying he can’t be president because he looks different. If that was the case, McCain would be out too with his strange tight skin and no-lip mouth. Ew.

The problem is that as human beings, we identify with those that are like us and the first impression we have of someone is a visual one. At the parade on Saturday, I was sitting next to an oriental guy with some tattoos and hip-hop clothes. This lady walks up to him and says, “Can I give you a tract? Do you know Jesus as your personal savior?” He said, “Yes, I’ve been a Christian all my life.” She started to walk away, and I said, “Hey, can I have one?” She handed me one and walked away without so much as asking me if I was saved or not. Why was it that she made the assumption that he was a sinner, and I was saved? Because I’m like her. I’m a white woman dressed conservatively, and he looked slightly gangsta and therefore…..sinner.

So are we all guilty of playing the race card – or shall we say prejudice card – when we look at someone and it registers that they are different? Obviously not. It is not in the observing, it is in the evaluating. This is a distinction I wish media commentators would remember before inflaming a wildly reactive public on a rather touchy subject. After all, this presidential campaign is historic whether you support Obama or not. He's opening the way for African Americans to aspire to all heights, and their community at large is in great need of encouragement in this way. In all actuality, if Obama were more open about the race issue and not use it in an inflammatory way, I think it would only benefit his campaign - and the African American public. It's like when you are pointing out a fat person and you say, the one in the blue shirt. It's a white elephant, people, and we'll get nowhere pretending it doesn't exist.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Powder Creamer

Powdered non-dairy creamer is to coffee what Busch is to beer. It's the ugly buck-toothed cousin who drools and you can see the food when she eats so no one will sit and eat by her at the family reunion. It is the crustified top piece of bologna. It is the end piece of bread. Looked over, passed by and heartily disdained by foodies of all creed. Oh, no powdered creamer for me, they say! What, you don't have CoffeeMate creamer? No half-n-half? I'll take it black. Black, I say, for no powdered creamer shall pass my hallowed lips! Foodies....hmph!

I love powdered creamer. It is my favorite. I use about two tablespoons in every cup of coffee I drink. It is lovely.....and delicious. Rich tasting, smooth, full of fat I am sure. Yum.

Milk in coffee? How gross. Fancy-pants CoffeeMate creamer? No thanks! Half-n-half? Nope-a-dope. Just pass me the ol' powdered creamer.

Monday, July 21, 2008


I guess I can just thank myself. After all, I am the one who made the statement about my blog not being important or fun anymore. So, I really only have myself to blame for my lack of readership. That and neglect. However, I did find out that I'm getting readers (or clickers only, perhaps) from some place that rates my blog highly. Interesting, considering I haven't been writing lately for the most part and what little writing I have done is, well.....not riveting.

So, am I now bereft of readers, or will the trickle coming from that referring URL save my blog? Ah, it is a question that causes even the angels to weep. Sniff sniff.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Not exactly a patriot

So, I started sneezing last night. I haven't had allergies in years, so I fluffed it off as some random anomaly. Then, this morning it started again. I feel like someone has held my head underwater and when people speak, only bubbly words come out. As I'm getting my coffee this morning, however, I find out it is all China's fault. Talk around the "water cooler" was how everyone is suffering more from allergies because of all the excess rain lately. Apparently all that rain was caused by the Chinese firing anti-aircraft missiles into the sky trying to get rid of the clouds and rain for the Olympic games, and it is causing a global ruckus in the weather patterns. Thus, all our rain. Thus, all the mosquitoes. Thus, all the mold, pollen and other allergens reeking havoc with my formerly clear sinuses. And let's not even mention Chris's pain in his knees....

Well, all this talk about the Olympic games got me thinking. I remember when I was a kid it was a big deal at our house to watch the Olympics. Part of that was because we got one channel - WZZM TV 13, an ABC channel. What came on ABC, we watched. What was on other channels went unwatched by us (oh, the pain of not having seen the latest "Cosby Show" or "Charles in Charge" episode at the lunch table each week...) Plus, my mom loved watching the ice skating and gymnastics, so she kinda got all of us excited about it.

Having said all that, I have not watched the Olympics in like 12 years. I just do not care. So what happened? I guess the answer to that question lies in why we watch the Olympics in the first place. Sure, when we're kids we watch what channels we have (and if we only have 1 channel, we watch what our parents want to watch.) But now we are adults, so there must be new reasons since we have ultimate control over the other two variables mentioned here. There come to mind two main reasons why adults would watch the Olympics:
1. they love the sport, or at least have some interest in it
2. watching the Olympics and seeing Americans win is an exercise in patriotism; it just makes you proud to be an American.

Ok, well nix reason 1 for me right off the bat. No interest, at least not enough to push one of the multitudes of other urgent items off my plate.

Reason 2? Sorry, folks, but that holds no water with me either. I guess I'm not really a patriot. Have I had moments of feeling proud to be an American? Yes, there have been fleeting moments of pride before the feeling was wiped out by the memory of what a bunch of jack asses we are to the rest of the world. On every major issue, we are either hypocrites (rules apply to THEM, not us) or we just disregard completely what the rest of the world says and do what we want anyway. We consume more energy than the rest of the world while spouting off about green house gasses and what do we do? Throw the kids in the conversion van or the RV or the SUV and head on down the road on nice, hot, ozone-danger days. Or crank up the AC.

Oh, that reminds me of something funny ol' W said yesterday. He was speechifying about the economy when the subject of energy consumption came up and someone asked why he isn't telling Americans to drive less and turn the AC down. His response? "They're smart enough to figure out whether they're going to drive less or not. I mean, you know, it's interesting what the price of gasoline has done, is it caused people to drive less." Later, when pressed on the issue, he began to get a little hot about it, "One way to correct the imbalance is to save, is to conserve. And as you notice my statement yesterday, I talked about good conservation. And people can figure out whether they need to drive more or less; they can balance their own checkbooks." and then he went on, "But my point to you, Mark, is that, you know, it's a little presumptuous on my part to dictate to consumers how they live their lives."

Uh, is that the real issue, Mr Bush, or is it that our consumerism is what makes you and all your cronies rich? Wouldn't want to lose any market share by telling Americans to cut back, why noooooooo..... And that's exactly my point. Why NOT tell people to cut back, why not put our money where our mouth is? Sure, we want to talk about conserving energy as the way out of this mess but is anyone actually doing it?

I heard a report on NPR about a guy in CA that had a little "Green Earth Summit" in his community where there were presenters on how to go green and face painting with kids (soy paint, of course, not that evil petroleum-based paint) and that kind of stuff. His comment (I paraphrase here), "Well, I just wish that people who came were actually doing something about conserving energy instead of all driving their SUVs. I did see one Prius hybrid, though."

Pride? Did anyone say anything about American pride? I'm sorry....I must have been mistaken.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

No one likes a know-it-alll anyway.....

So I tend to think of myself as well informed. I seem to know a lot more about stuff than most people I talk to. That in itself is quite gratifying but doesn't necessarily prove anything. So I happened to pick up NewsWeek or some other newsy-type magazine yesterday and was flipping through gleaning what knowledge I deemed worthy when I ran across a quick on-the-street-survey.

Now, let me premise what I am about to say with this: former surveys I've encountered of the what-does-the-man-on-the-street-know-about-whatever have all made Americans look pretty dumb. You know, stuff like when was the war of 1812? Uh, I dunno, in the 1700s? That kind of stuff. And we all know that people who watch The Daily Show with John Stewart or the Colbert Report are not well informed, they just think they are. Ditto with Rush Limbaugh, Al Franken and others. They talk about the news, but do not necessarily inform (not true, though, of us who listen to "Fresh Air" with Terry Grosse on NPR at lunchtime - very informative stuff).

Anyway, so we all agree on the stipulated premises. Ok, good. Now, just for your information, I watch John Stewart and Steven Colbert, but I get my news from CNN, NPR, Fox News and others. I try to get a variety of sources and compare in my brain the way the story is told on each channel. In other words, I try to stay informed in the real sense of the word.

So, I'm perusing this survey and I'm already in trouble with question 1:
Who is the Chairman of the Federal Reserve? Like 76% of respondents, I remember Alan Greenspan. But he's not there anymore, folks. It's Ben Bernanke. How could I have forgotten that name?
Question 2: Ok, I honestly don't remember the rest of the survey. But it had hard questions in it and what little I do remember involves my brain going, "huh?" and "What was his name again" and silly ol things like that.

So, I guess I'm not so informed. Not really a know-it-all. But what is sooooooo disturbing about that is I am kind of a news-hound. I actually try to learn stuff by listening to the news (so I can recite it later at the slightest opening and bore someone to tears with it....). I try to stay informed, up-to-date and increase my knowledge banks with all kinds of important information. Unfortunately, it looks like when it comes to a lot of the detail-ey things, I'm just not "tuning in." Or is it that news-spewers are so busy giving their opinion of the story, things like who the dang Federal Reserve Chairman is gets glossed over?

Yeah, I think that might be it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

It's all so interesting....

I've been getting up later and later each morning, but I do take time to listen to the news while I apply the daily face-lift (foundation, eye get my drift). Anyway, I've been watching this cable news show - channel 59 if you live in GH! - where they mostly talk politics. Well, are we all getting more stupid and petty or is it that there just isn't enough excitement in the political campaigns!?! They just report on the most inane things.

Now, I know you have all heard the flag pin controversy. It is stupid to me that people are saying Barack isn't patriotic because he never wears a flag pin. Well, I'm sorry to say I've never wore a flag pin in my life and I never intend to. How many of those outraged people have worn a flag pin, much less a flag pin every day? Give me a break.

Here's one really good story, though. The Jesse Jackson thing. Oooo, that was naughty! He got caught on mike waiting to get interviewed on some cable news show saying things like "I wanna cut his nuts off" about Barack Obama. Damn! What the hell....Jesse is really getting himself in hot water there. I can just imagine some little intern in the control booth going, 'ooo, I gotta hit the record button and make a name for myself by releasing it to the mainstream media!' Chris says the whole problem with this country is the media and sometimes I agree with him, but when your dream is to be a reporter, you don't really want to agree with that.

Anyway, that Jesse. What a crack ho. But lo and behold, the political pundits on this particular show used it as an opportunity to begin talking about how the emergence of Barack on the national political scene marginalized Bill Clinton and Jesse Jackson, too. That, my people, is why Bill acted like such a donkey's butt during his wife's campaign (not because he's uncouth or too cool to care). And Jesse Jackson's comments? Also provoked by being marginalized by Barack Obama. Come on, people! Get real. I admire Bill Clinton for a lot of reasons, but his lack of personal PR savvy is not one of them. And Jesse Jackson has never made my short list of people I'd want talking about me. He's such a tongue-wagging say-anything. Rather reactionary, like myself.

One interesting thing came out of all the pundit-ing going on in regard to the "marginalization" of the former big wigs in the Democratic Party - the realization that while Barack Obama has become the voice of the new generation Democrats, the Republicans have.....McCain. As it was pointed out by some guy they call Biscuit, Jesse Helms - if he were still alive - could be the "youth" voice for McCain. That McCain.....he's pretty dang old. Myself, if I were to run for President, I'd want to run young like Clinton and Kennedy. That way, I can retire and enjoy decades of philandering and globe-trotting on a nice, cushy government pension. Now, that sounds like fun. Except the philandering. Why, I'd never! I'd just take my honey with me and we'd roll like that.