Monday, December 31, 2007

Useful letters, 3

Dear Third Person in Line at Linens 'n' Things,

I realize that you may have felt rushed this late afternoon at the Linens 'n' Things after-holiday sales event, but when the cashier called for another cashier to help with the ever-lengthening line of customers, and I caught you motioning to take the number-one spot in her line, fate was clearly not on your side.

At that moment, I braced myself to overtake you in that position.

Some people, young woman, do not believe in karma, and I am one of them. However, your heading around to the south end of the next check out line when she said, "I'll take the next person in line," suggests that people do indeed get what they deserve.

I made a beeline around the north end of the next checkout line, while saying, "I'm the next person in line--thanks," to teach you a lesson in manners, civility and fairness, something obviously lacking in your upbringing. I don't know if that was your father or your date beside you, but if he's any sort of gentleman, I'm sure he was appalled by your behavior.

Just a lesson from one of your elders--no need to thank me, deary, though one day, you'll surely want to.


Nancy Matocha
Second Person in Line, Linens 'n' Things

PS To the man who rolled his eyes: you would do well, sir, to mind your own business!


Useful letters, 2

Dear Monday 9:45 20/20/20 class,

I would like to apologize for my clumsiness during the first part of class today--the step aerobic part of the class. I'm usually not so clumsy a person--I simply missed the middle of the step, which caused my fall.

Please do not worry about me at all. I suffered no injury--well, no lasting injury that we know of yet, and I'm feeling fine right now.

Also, to the person who was exercising behind me. You got a little close. I wouldn't mention it, but when we were swinging the medicine ball around like a bowling ball, you nearly hit me. I'm not complaining or even warning you. I'm merely pointing out that people in an aerobics room need their space. (Also, I think if you thrust a little higher during the pilates section of the class, you'll find you get a better stretch.)

Thanks, class. I should be back next Monday barring any permanent injury from my fall. See you then.


Nancy Matocha

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Useful letters

American Medical Association
To Whom it May Concern:

I would like to report that Dr. Edward [Redacted], my family physician, recently informed me that I'd gained seven pounds this year.

Well. You can imagine my outrage. I don't blame him, per se, though he is in charge of my health and wellbeing, but I do have a bone to pick. Should this datum really be put on my medical record, making it a matter of historical record, I really do insist that he add my comments about some physical injuries we'd talked about throughout the year--tendonitis, bursitis, lower back pain, to name a few, and then of course, as a busy mother of young children, I can't always be relied upon to make it to the gym regularly. Which exercises do you suggest I do with all those ailments? I think you see my meaning.

I can't just go to the gym to watch others work out. My time is better spent with various correspondences and online work (yes, I'm quite Internet literate, thank you very much).

In any case, I do not write you so much to get him in trouble, but to request that you add my remarks (foot note them, if you must, with an asterisks--I don't mind); I think you will agree that since these extra pounds have been recorded for all of history to one day gaze upon, it's only fair and right that my remarks go along with it. Otherwise people might draw the wrong sorts of conclusions about me.

Thank you for your hard efforts in this endeavor; I know that you will do what's right.


Nancy Matocha

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Fred Thompson, candidate update

What did I tell you?

Today I had this story written about me regarding what I said at a Town Hall event in Burlington, Iowa by a reporter who wasn’t even at the event. Incidentally, I declined to be interviewed by this particular reporter yesterday for reasons which will soon be apparent.

In referring to me, she reported “he doesn’t like modern campaigning, isn’t interested in running for President, and will not be devastated” if he doesn’t win.

Below is a transcript of what I actually said in response to a question by a local Burlington resident which was the basis of the reporter’s story.

At Redstate, via Instapundit.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Fair, balanced, but not transparent

Fox News should mention that the lead author of the study that showed Special Report to be the most balanced news program on television is a paid consultant for their network. (via Discerning Texan.) (I'm a regular viewer of the show, by the way.) It's a bit embarrassing to gloat about the study's results without informing your viewership of that minor detail.

Transparency should be Journalism 101; it's not now, but I'll bet it will be in about 20 years.

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Fred Thompson, candidate

The MSM are a force to contend with in government. Members are biased and often hostile as a group. and Fred Thompson handles them well. That's a good reason to support his candidacy. (Hat tip, Instapundit.)

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Clever holiday headline here

Last night, Gene and I celebrated the holidays with our annual viewing of It's a Wonderful Life. I'm very George Baileyish this time of year--the George Bailey after Uncle Billy loses the $8000. (Why did we have to go and have all these kids anyway?) There's no picture of Bobby Anderson who played the young George Baily, which is too bad, because he was a good-looking kid and good actor. His career seemed to end in 1956.

This year was a fairly stress-free Christmas season until three nights ago when my annual belly ache woke me up in the middle of the night and burned a few holes in my mid-section for the next couple of days.

Some freelance work involving a writer, a client, a publisher and me as editor turned into a confusing, difficult game of round robin, pushing deadlines into Christmas day and beyond; my dream of introducing Miracle on 34th Street (with the wonderful Elizabeth Perkins) to my six-year-old was not only sneered at by said six-year-old, but couldn't happen anyway because, even though I pushed record, I'm not allowed to record on the Starz channel.

And then there's the angst over whether I've purchased enough holiday joy for Christmas morning. There's a diary with a star-shaped key that a neighbor girl's grandmother bought for her three years ago. It comes with stickers and markers and she wears the star on a chain around her neck. My daughter is certain that Santa can reproduce this for her.

I assure you Santa cannot.

I'm also a bit squeamish about the Santa Clause in my parenting contract, in great part because of the magic diary that won't appear Christmas morning, but also because my mother disabused me of that fantasy in the bathroom of a Monterey Inn Mexican restaurant when I was five years old. It was my entrance into adulthood.

My daughter is a whole year-and-a-half older than I was when The Truth was confirmed to me. Is this another example of infantilization in our culture? I have neighbor kids who believed in Santa until they were 11. My husband is sternly warning me to lighten up.

I am retaliating by threatening him with lists of things yet to be done for the big day--don't make me write things down, Mister! Once it's written down, it has to happen, you'll be responsible for getting it done and if you don't, it goes on your permanent record!

It's not really as bad as that--we're excited about seeing family, but I am reminded of a Family Guy episode where Lois complains, "You all think Christmas just happens. You think all this goodwill just falls from the freakin' sky. Well, it doesn't! It falls out of my holly jolly butt! So you can cook your own damn turkey. Wrap your own damn presents. And hey, while you're at it, you can all ride a one horse open sleigh to hell! "

During all of this excitement, my daughter has extra excitement, which comes with extra bouncing and jumping and questions (if you knew my daughter, you'd wonder if there was time in the day for her to ask more questions), and my three-year-old son has less excitement. Why? Because he has a belly ache, that's why. [Update: He just threw up. All plans on hold.]

Runs in the family, I guess. Merry Christmas.

[Update: we are all safe and healthy at Grandfather's house. Merry Christmas, all!]

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Nobody wants to be Scrooge

But come January, somebody has to pay the bills.

I feel like HRC's grumpy husband! (The kids don't need new shoes--last year's shoes are barely beginning to fray wear thin!) Also, are these gifts to be bestowed by the president or policies to be hammered out in the legislature? I get a creepy, monarchy vibe here!

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Thank you for recycling

Honey, guess what? Guess what! (Oh, the Homeowners Association must have loved seeing me drive home today.) Guess what!

What, dear?

Come see! You might want to bring the camera!


I'll tell you why--PALETTES.


Yes--palletes! ! I found a place that sells palettes for only $3 each!

How many did you buy?



We're going to cover the attic with them. And then, guess what! Guess what!


We're going to put insulation between the boards of the top and bottoms of the palettes!




Everyone I've told this to thinks this is a great idea! Everyone!


This solves our storage problem and will help us heat the home!


Well, I was late with the camera to this project, but below is a picture of some of the palettes Jack Gene brought home Thursday and Friday night. Fifty palettes requires two trips on the way home from work.

I think in the end, he only used about forty, so we're hoping he can sell back the other ten for $2 a palette.

He told me he would have to make two trips to Home Depot for the insulation, but they were able to load him up in one go.

See the dark green metal box in the back? That's the machine that blows the insulation where you want it to go. It's a two-spouse job. One person puts the insulation in and the other person blows it in the attic via a long hose. (That's our tomato plant encased in its tomato protection unit in the foreground.)

Here is a closer picture of the insulation:

We made a mistake with the machine. We emptied half a 20-pound bag in it before we turned it on. At the bottom of the machine is a cylinder with four "curved spatulas" attached. They break up and rotate the insulation into the bottom and the machine blows it in to the tube. But when we turned the machine on, the spatulas wouldn't move. So, we pulled out all the insulation (big mess) and fiddled with it, and then realized they just needed a push. Then, we started all over again.

Each 20-pound bag of insulation cost $6.80. Gene looked on the internet for insulation installation prices and found a couple that charge $80 a bag. If you buy 20 bags from Home Depot, they let you rent the machine for free. We bought fifty bags, but wound up returning 20.

It was in the thirties last night when we started, and misty wet, but the snow was inside the garage:

Gene used his aspirator and I borrowed a doctor's mask from the children's play things.

While I was standing over the machine for two hours last night and three hours this morning...

...I got to know the insulation:

Check this out:

Or this one:
See all the tiny bits of newspaper? Isn't it nice to finally see some of your hard recycling efforts come to fruition? I felt heartened by that. And also by the fact that we'll be better able to organize the stuff... our attic now that the palettes are down.

Fingers crossed for a warmer house and lower electricity bills. And I think I'll pour a cup of coffee right now for a warmer me.

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UN follies

Here's a book signing I would have liked to attend. John Bolton gave a two-hour question-and-answer and didn't turn down or dismiss any of them. While answering a question about Darfur, he illustrated some of the problems at the UN:
Mr. Bolton told about New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg's attempt to get a copy of the UN's floor plans to aid the fire department, as every other office building has handed over such plans. It took months of diplomacy to get them. Ambassador Bolton had to raise the issue in a Security Council meeting.
Via The Discerning Texan.

I'm tired and my fingers are still cold from some follies my husband sprung on me this weekend, which I have documented with my camera and will report here, after I warm up and rest a bit.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Campaign apologies

In light of Huckabee's apology to Romney, Thompson is apologizing to Huckabee.
We apologize for pointing out that as Governor of Arkansas, Huckabee offered in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. That’s something he’d probably just as soon no one talk about.
There's more. Thanks to Dana for the tip!

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

"Quality of life for lawyers, he says, "'is a huge raw nerve.'"

That lawyers are among the most miserable of men -- and women -- is well-known. Some 19% of lawyers suffer depression at any given time, compared with 6.7% of the population as a whole, says the University of Arizona's Connie Beck, a leading researcher on the subject; one in five lawyers is a problem drinker, twice the national rate. Escalating billable-hours quotas fuel chronic overload, and the ceaseless deadlines and adversarial nature of the work feed anxiety. Some 19% of associate attorneys quit law firms every year, research shows.
This was not well-known to me. But here's a site for lawyers struggling with depression.

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The Fred I like

Friday, December 07, 2007


CNN picked up my post (scroll down and click on 'From the Blogs') about Lori Drew and it brought a few hits, as well as comments.

I wonder why they picked me?

Update: I've had over 500 visits in the last few hours. The 'From the Blogs' box has a 'Powered by Sphere' link. Clicking over, its logo has the tag line 'Connecting Blogs and News.' Hmmmm... I wonder what search engine they use to pick the blogs which connect to the news?

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The real talent

I've made new friends and connected with a few old ones here on "the internets" and am amazed by the talent and ingenuity I find. For instance, if you are a relative of mine and you see me this holiday season, you may very well be receiving the gift of goat's milk soap from this site. Lisa, the site's proprietor, was inspired to begin making goat's milk soap because of her son's allergies, and it soon became the family business.

Another friend of mine sent me a picture of some flowers from her small Kentucky farm. Her Flicker page is gorgeous, but as of this posting, I haven't asked her permission to post it here. I'll do so immediately. [Update: asked and answered. Go here to be awed.] But here's one picture that she sent me:

She's got peas and berries, herbs and spices, pumpkins and watermelons--mocking zucchini--all on six and a half acres!

Don't even get me started on Dana's breathtaking photography.

And my sister's-in-law artistic work for a charity near to my heart was recently highlighted in a post here. You can see Janet's etsy shop here and more of her artwork on Janet Planet. I'm crazy about her stationary, which she has generously sent me and my daughter, so much so, that I didn't actually tell my daughter about the stationary Janet sent her and used it myself.

Uh, sorry about that, you guys. I'll do better next time. Anyway, here's to you artistic, creative types--the real talent of the world.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Leno's lay-offs

Well, they're not really his lay-offs; the writers' strike is not his fault, but non-staff writers non-writer staff who have been laid off because of the strike are mad at him nonetheless.
The final indignation was a Christmas bonus from Leno to his employees last week that was intended to help them get through the strike but that many found lacking. Staffers mostly were awarded about $100 per year of service, roughly the same bonus they earned last year.
Leno's rep says that was not meant to be the help that he's going to give them through this strike and reminds us that in addition to the half mil out of Leno's pocket for the Christmas bonuses, Leno dished out $2 million for the staff two years ago for his tenth anniversary.

In my fantasy lottery win, every check I send out comes with a note pleading the recipient not to rely on me to send them money and that this may very well be the last check they receive from me.

Because look what happens! Everybody's mad at Leno even though he didn't cause the strike. Even still, he as well as the other Daddy Warbuckses of late night television, are paying salaries out of pocket.

Did you know some of the writers' salaries are $500,000 a year? Not bad work if you can get it. I know little of Hollywood salaries, but Rob Long's three-bean-salad analogy did not make much sense to me. (I loved his recent essay on the French shrug in the dead-tree version of National Review a few weeks ago, though!).

Anyway, I have been laid off three times in my life and all three times before I had a mortgage, though of course I had rent and a car payment, but each time with the bad news, I never screamed, as someone reportedly did at the Tonight Show, when hearing of his employment misfortune.

Update: Corrected. Sheesh, I'll never make $500,000 with all these mistakes!

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Trouble posting a comment?

Please e-mail me to let me know if you are having trouble posting a comment, especially if you are trying to log in without a a blogger user name and password.

I don't know why some people have had problems in the past and those that haven't are suddenly having a problem now. Kooky.


A post designed to bump that dark post about evil people off the top of my page

This post was originally a comment at Mike Kennedy's post on his new blog, A Brief History.

This is terrible news about Kevin Drum’s moderators deleting your comments. My guess is they’re interns or assistants.


As to the CNN debates, I don’t mind Democrats submitting questions to Republicans; the problem is, if Fred Barnes is to believed, Democrats are also the ones submitting questions to Democratic candidates too, all sponsored by our unbiased media.

A quote from Barnes: Remember the CNN debate in Las Vegas where they had a soldier get up with his mother, and he — but did he challenge the Democrats who were against the war? No. He was against the war, too. He ratified their position.

So you can see the completely different ways CNN handled that—one to screw Republicans, one to boost Democrats.

I had wanted to post this on my own blog, and I still might!

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