Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My kindergartener is drug free!

Last week my daughter had to wear a red ribbon to school every day as a show of her pledge to stay drug free throughout her life. She's five years old. She told me she was going to stay away from wine and beer, which made me nervously eye the bottles I'd bought on a recent trip to Sam's. (They're less expensive there and the town recently voted to allow grocer stores and the like to sell wine and beer!)

Anyway, "Jane Galt" has some amusing thoughts on the subject:

Kids binge drink because they are gigantic bundles of anxious energy, and drinking allows them to free their id from its neurotic chains for a while without social consequences. Well, I mean, there are social consequences, of course, but you can get away with setting cars on fire or sleeping with half the track team with surprisingly little social opprobrium.

We like to think we have outgrown these urges, but honestly, we're all too tired to do those things. Plus our thoughts have gotten much more interesting since we stopped thinking about ourselves every waking minute, except for the few seconds when we stopped to anxiously contemplate what others were thinking about us. So there's a higher cost to dulling them with alchohol. But let's not underestimate the impact of mortgages and acid reflux in keeping us sober.

Ha!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Funky blogger

Blogspot's acting up and my last post posted three times. Please ignore the second two as they lack post-posting editing!
My safe place

I've written before that I don't like the political horse race season. It seems to serve no other purpose than to make people tense. Here's a NYT's article (via Althouse) on how discussing politics can sever relationships. The even have an expert:
“An election season can turn into an equivalent of the office party: you will say and do things that you regret the day after,” Dr. Forni said. “And there are those who, being aware of that, simply have decided not to speak about these issues, or to do that with a very, very small circle of trusted friends, very often of the same political persuasion, in order to enforce their values, to validate their choices, because they have given up the hope that anything good will come through political confrontation.”
My politics have changed over time and I admit I have a hard time discussing them with old friends, for fear I'm going to fail their litmus test. One old friend, a liberal, is fascinated by my change and occasionally asks for my point of view on a particular issue, but when her gaze at me turns to a wince, I sense I'm failing and try to pad my answers with political correctness so as not to earn her ire. It is the saddest thing that has happened to our friendship. She used to be my safe place.
My safe place

I've written before that I don't like the political horse race season. It seems to serve no other purpose than to make people tense. Here's a NYT's article (via Althouse) on how discussing politics can sever relationships. The even have an expert:
“An election season can turn into an equivalent of the office party: you will say and do things that you regret the day after,” Dr. Forni said. “And there are those who, being aware of that, simply have decided not to speak about these issues, or to do that with a very, very small circle of trusted friends, very often of the same political persuasion, in order to enforce their values, to validate their choices, because they have given up the hope that anything good will come through political confrontation.”
My politics have changed over time and I admit I have a hard time discussing them with old friends, for fear I'm going to fail their litmus test. One old friend, a liberal, is fascinated by my change and occasionally asks for my point of view on a particular issue, but when her gaze at me turns to a wince, I sense I'm failing and try to pad my answers with politically correctness so as not to earn her ire. It is the saddest thing that has happened to our friendship. She used to be my safe place.
My safe place

I've written before that I don't like the political horse race season. It seems to serve no other purpose than to make people tense. Here's a NYT's article (via Althouse) on how discussing politics can sever relationships. The even have an expert:
“An election season can turn into an equivalent of the office party: you will say and do things that you regret the day after,” Dr. Forni said. “And there are those who, being aware of that, simply have decided not to speak about these issues, or to do that with a very, very small circle of trusted friends, very often of the same political persuasion, in order to enforce their values, to validate their choices, because they have given up the hope that anything good will come through political confrontation.”
My politics have changed over time and I admit I have a hard time discussing them with old friends, for fear I'm going to fail their litmus test. One old friend, a liberal, is fascinated by my change and occasionally asks for my point of view on a particular issue, but when her gaze at me turns to a wince, I sense I'm failing and try to pad my answers with politically correctness so as not to earn her ire. It is the saddest thing that has happened to our friendship. She used to be my safe place.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Carl's Corner

I don't pay much attention on the drive from D/FW to Austin, but there's a place between Dallas and Waco called Carl's Corner, which is a broken down truck stop, but it was something in its day back in the 80's, with showers, hot tubs and swimming pools for truckers. Carl Cornelius, with the help of his long-time friend Willie Nelson, is reviving his truckstop with Willie's bio-diesel. There are so many choice quotes in this article that it's hard to pick, but if I must:
I met the fabulous Carl Cornelius not quite a year before the original Carl’s began its operation. We had a mutual friend, a Dallas man named Monk White, who, in his natural prime, was the most famous stockbroker in the United States. Monk and Carl were involved in a land transaction, the land where the truck stop would be. My job would be to act as the, uh, publicist for what was to come.

Carl insisted on driving up to Dallas to conduct our high-level strategic discussions. These took place at Ma Brand’s, a pressure-cooker bar somewhere around Samuell Avenue. A pressure-cooker joint is a strange genre of drinking establishment. The doors open at 9 am, and by 10:30, the place is packed. Housewives would throw a stew in a pressure cooker, drop the kids off at school, then drive to Ma Brand’s. There they would dance with a stranger, adjourn to a nearby motel for a nooner, take a shower, pick up the kids, and race home in time to serve the stew. Carl didn’t go for the nooners. He just liked to dance.
Oooh, pressure-cooker bar, huh? Is a pressure cooker like a crockpot? Name's not as sexy, I guess. (Snip)
Carl was rolling. What he did next was convince the people living in the doublewides on the unincorporated property that surrounded the truck stop to vote to turn Carl’s Corner into a town. Then Carl staged an election, and his townspeople agreed that becoming the only place on the highway between Dallas and Waco that sold alcohol was a swell idea.

Now the Corner was poised to thrive. National media seemed enthralled with the notion of a town like this. Carl was featured, for instance, on a segment of A Current Affair. I actually called my parents and insisted they tune in. “I invented this character,” I emphasized, and then watched Carl on coast-to-coast TV, standing in his parking lot, and, on camera, say to some woman, “Come on inside and I’ll give you an enema.”
Colorful character. I'll leave the rest for you to read at your leisure.
"No, I represent the people."

Who represents the people? A member of the media or an elected official? (Via KLo.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Heh
When President Bush needs to find something on “the Internets,” he uses “the Google.”
I thought I was above the election fray

But I dreamed last night that I was watching election results roll in, in some stadium in Washington state. There were high school marching bands and huge crowds of people. The stadium itself seemed to be a kind of city. Apparently I was a political reporter and had written a favorable article about one of the candidates. While we watched the results roll in, he was losing at first, but slowly the numbers started to favor him until he had enough votes that we were sure he'd win.

Secure in his victory, he went across the street with his wife to his favorite Chinese restaurant and ordered the barbecue puppy. By the time I go there, he'd torn the flesh with his teeth. He looked at me and told me my article had really inspired his campaign.

I was too horrified to respond.

Monday, October 23, 2006

CNN never fails to disappoint

"Our responsibility is to report the news," said Laurie Goldberg, a CNN spokeswoman. "As an organization we stand by our decision and respect the rights of others to disagree with it."

As though you have no responsibilities as U.S. citizens, as though you have no responsibilities to the men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line when duty calls, whether it be a Republican or a Democrat in the White House. As though CNN respecting the rights of others to disagree matters to anyone anymore.

When one of your reporters gets kidnapped in the Middle East, will CNN, who clearly pledges allegiance to the Republic of "Journalism," send an emissary from the National Association of Broadcasters to negotiate his release or even attempt a rescue? Lots of luck.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Gone fishin'

...for the weekend. Enjoy!
If I read the WSJ I'll be smarter!

I am lately trying to sharpen--or even find--my critical-thinking skills. This is not an easy task because I'm a very emotional person and emotions block critical thinking. Here's a WSJ ($) column on the subject:
Critical thinking means being able to evaluate evidence, to tell fact from opinion, to see holes in an argument, to tell whether cause and effect has been established and to spot illogic. "Most research shows you can teach these skills," notes cognitive psychologist D. Alan Bensley of Frostburg State University, Maryland. "But critical-thinking skills are different from critical-thinking dispositions, or a willingness to deploy those skills."
See, I think I lack the disposition. Am I trying to make myself into something I'm not?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

"packs of teenage girls wearing some version of a skin tight low-rise style that left them with rings of muffin-top waist fat"

I'm frustrated that Jill Hudson Neal, in this WaPo piece, doesn't see the answer to her question--why do so many women hold onto their mom jeans--in her own column. The answer is found in her observation about teenagers' "muffin-top waist fat" that I used for the title of this post. Women carry their fat right where the low-waist jean ends on the hips. Whether they fit appropriately or not, you can still feel the jiggle of your body fat bouncing over the edges of your jeans. And not only that, I've had a heckuva time finding looooooooong t-shirts to cover the skin there, should I need to bend down or over or sit on the floor, say with my toddler at the library.

Actually, I found a nice one at Ann Taylor Loft outlet for about $25. That's way too much! Bought it anyway. Yesterday, I bought one at Target for $14, which is still a lot of money considering the piece I'm buying--a sleeveless, ribbed, cotton undershirt. It should sell for under $10 if you ask me.

But I bought my low-rise jeans last year when they'd already been around a while, and it's taken this long for me to find the appropriate-length t-shirts to go with.

Neal must have slim hips or she would have addressed this crucial issue in the ever-important topic of designing clothes for moms.

I go sleep now.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Dude, what did I eat?

Sometime late Friday, after my husband and I were arguing over whether our shared stomach symptoms were the result of a virus our kids brought home from the petry dish playground or the result of salmonella poisoning or--come to think of it--a terrorist attack--his stomach dutifully became well and my stomach escaped my body. It crawled out of the neighborhood, made it's way to I35 and instead of hitching a ride, got hit over and over again by an army of SUV-driving, latte-drinking, cell-phone chattering commuters, plus a few 18-wheelers up from Mexico.

It then returned home, slithered its way back inside and left me picking up the pieces, and not without one of those shivering sort of fevers I get when this happens now and then.

Fortunately, I stayed in bed all day Sunday with my laptop and some DVD's. It was almost enjoyable. Also, it was a great view of my kids, peaking in on me every few hours, with both them and me knowing they weren't allowed to stay long. I almost felt like a grandparent. That's it--do a few cute tricks and then get out of here. But boy were they sweet--with their get-well cards and hugs and kisses.

However, there' s no sleeping with children in the house. They can be in the cough, cough west wing, while I recline in the cough, cough east wing, and their voices sound like they're right next to me. Actually, right next to a megaphone that's right next to me. It makes mcmansions look not so expensive!

In any case, I made it to the doctor today, just as the last bruise apparently healed and he declared me well, but referred me to a specialist who I could call right away if I wanted to.

Eh, maybe later. The holiday season is upon us--there will be plenty of flair-ups to show off to a GI doctor. I'll keep that ace up my sleeve.
If you haven't read the corner, you heard it here first!

Ramesh Ponnuru: "The social Right is not exactly a kook-free zone."

Saturday, October 14, 2006

And oh yeah!

I saw Texas Monthly Editor Evan Smith interview Texas Governor Rick Perry on PBS last night, a least I saw the last 30 minutes of the live-audience interview. Here's my advice to Smith: don't style yourself as Larry Kudlow. He looks like Oil Can Harry. Also, your posture was combative and impatient, which made you unlikable, though your tone was restrained.

Just sayin'.
Editorial meeting

Is there any way we can get a fresh spin on Abu Ghraib? What's new with that story?
Shocked and angered by news of Abu Ghraib, Botero was inspired to put his familiar figures through the rigors and humiliations of the abuse that American soldiers perpetrated on Iraqi inmates at the notorious prison. The result was some 80 paintings, drawings and watercolors that show his rounded figures with hoods on, shackled, bound at the wrists, forced into human piles, bleeding, screaming and vomiting. They are fat, but they're not happy.
Good grief.
I blame my stomach ache on the elections!

I wish I'd been more politically cognizant when Democrats were the majority party in the Congress and the White House. My understanding is the Republicans took over Congress on an anti-corruption campaign.

If that's true then one lesson to be learned amid the seemingly unending tales of current scandals in Washington, is that the party in power will be corrupted. So where are we? There's former Rep. Duke Cunningham from California; there's Rep. Bob Ney (I believed him!) from Ohio; and there's Rep. Mark Foley from Florida. Not to mention Tom Delay, although the jury's still out on that one, and the possible cover-up of Foley's advances on teenagers by the Speaker's office (jury still out). Plus, I think there are some other Republican scandals that aren't coming to mind or the first Google page of my search. Anyone?

Of course, the Democrats have their own troubles: Rep. William Jefferson from Louisiana (though from what I heard on Fox yesterday, he looks to re-elected); Rep. Allan Mollohan from West Virginia; Senator Harry Reid from Nevada. Who am I missing?

What strikes me most about the scandals is that most of this garbage doesn't seem connected or conspiratorial, but discrete incidents. That's one thing to hold on to while I sink into the lazy voter's funk of "they're all corrupt!"

Another thing that strikes me this election season is how intensely personal it all is, how much voters seem to care about personalities, politically-correct (or incorrect) pasts. People like to blame politicians and the media for this kind of mud-slinging, but if voters didn't lap it up, politicians probably wouldn't dish it out. On the other hand, is it voters or the media who lap it up? Or both? I'm not sure.

Update: Rep. Jim Gibbons of Nevada, Repbublican ($).
Latin mass

Wish I'd gone to one of those pizza masses the Catholic Church is trying to move away from!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Reminds me of my dad

Via Althouse here's a NYT's Q&A with Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace:
Is political discourse in this country so scripted and dull that if someone displays a flare of authentic emotion, it makes headlines?

This was Bill Clinton unplugged — the good, the bad and the ugly.

I didn’t see it as bad or ugly. I saw it as a genuine expression of feeling.

You weren’t in the room.

You became host of the show only three years ago, replacing Tony Snow, who later became the White House press secretary. Why did he leave television?

Because he was interested in becoming a radio star.

That doesn’t sound very convincing.

I am sorry you’re not persuaded.

Hee hee.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Ouchie

While I nurse a sprained ankle with chocolate malt and Diet Pepsi from a new chain fast-food place our neighborhood, check out this nugget that I found via Tom Maguire:

[Clinton] said Democrats of his generation tend to be naive about new media realities. There is an expectation among Democrats that establishment old media organizations are de facto allies -- and will rebut political accusations and serve as referees on new-media excesses.

"We're all that way, and I think a part of it is we grew up in the '60s and the press led us against the war and the press led us on civil rights and the press led us on Watergate," Clinton said. "Those of us of a certain age grew up with this almost unrealistic set of expectations."

Hmm ...revealing.
Say yes to drugs

At least to marijuana if you're at risk of Alzheimer's:

THC is also more effective at blocking clumps of protein that can inhibit memory and cognition in Alzheimer's patients, the researchers reported in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

The researchers said their discovery could lead to more effective drug treatment for Alzheimer's, the leading cause of dementia among the elderly.

Well, there's hope yet. (Via Althouse).

Monday, October 02, 2006

Busy!

But not so much that I'm not going to run out for some fresh spinach -- hooray!