Wednesday, March 31, 2004

283 Our bodies, our destiny

I remember learning back in the 70s that women who live together and/or work together cycle through menstral periods together. Yes, have PMS together. Now Nature Magazine says a woman is at her prettiest during the time of the month she is fertile.
Both men and women consider a woman's face to be at its most attractive when she is at the peak of her fertility, according to new research. . . article here.
In another study, women were found to judge other women more harshly during the peak of fertility
The research shows that when women are at the most fertile point in their monthly cycle they tend to have a lower opinion of other women's looks. And that's not just because of mood swings. Menstrual phase had no effect on how the same women rated the looks of men. article here.

282 Shifting the Collection

The letter writing book I blogged about yesterday was found while I was shifting my premiere issue collection. Magazines are terribly heavy and I was lugging them up two stories. Being a librarian, I also decided to put them in subject piles, and they are now all over the floor of the guest room and bed awaiting their new home in the upstairs hall built-in bookshelves (if we had a third bedroom, this would be the door way to that room).

While cleaning off the shelves in the family room, I decided we were never going to use the small, extra microwave we had put down there. We just aren't big enough snackers to warrant a back-up. So I put it on the floor and retired about 10:30 before deciding what to do with it, or the empty shelves.

This morning my husband asked me about the microwave. "Did you open it?" he asked. "No, is there something in it?" I asked eagerly, knowing he sometimes hides presents. He didn't say anything. So I opened it, and there was the package of corn chips I told him to hide from me.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

281 Letter Writing

You may think having four blogs is a bit over the top, but I have always written more than most people. When my children were young--before the days of personal computers and word processing--I managed to write once or twice a week to a high school friend, my mother, and my sister. I have boxes of letters that were returned to me over the years from my mother who saved them. They are great diaries.

Letter Writing by Agnes Morton (Philadelphia: Penn Publishing, 1914) is a book I picked up at a used book store, just because I'm interested in letter writing. It doesn't have a beautiful binding, and by today's standards of e-mail dashed off in two or three sentences, it is quaint if not hopelessly old-fashioned. She writes
In a crystal well lie the drops of ink,
And many a pen dips over the brink,
Plunges, then rises, its keen point wet
With a shining drop of liquid jet.
I wonder what story each one will tell;
For 'tis strange what varied meanings may dwell
All in a drop of ink.
Her last section under Social Letters concerns love letters. After declaring one should never tell your heart's desire and hope in writing, she acknowledges that sometimes miles may separate the lovers, and there will need to be love letters. The examples she gives are accepting and rejecting a proposal of marriage, renewing a suit that has been unfavorably received, a proposal indicating a prudent choice, and a letter from a sedate, elderly gentleman.
Pause, my soul, and linger yet;
What wouldst thou do with this liquid jet?
Search out thy motive, ponder it well;
The solemn truth I bid thee tell:
Is thy message one of love, or hate,
Of truth, or falsehood? for soon or late
Thy written words shall come again
To bless or curse thy ready pen.
If loving-kindness move thy heart,
If noble impulse bid thee start,
If clear sincerity be thine--
Then write; and show what power divine
May dwell in a drop of ink.

280 Every once in a while

I find out I did something right. The papers and morning talk shows today have stories about children not getting enough sleep, about parents despairing at bed time, children cajoling to stay up later. I just shake my head. We never had a problem getting the children to go to bed and stay there. I think they were freshmen in high school before they stayed up past 9 p.m. As toddlers their bedtime was around 6:30 p.m. and my peers thought I was crazy.

I recall that my daughter used to wake up about midnight and call for me. So I'd go into her room, pat and kiss her, and she'd roll over and go back to sleep. Finally, one night when she was about four years old I told her, "Mommy needs her sleep; let's not do this anymore." And she never did. Obviously, I was in as much need of reassurance in the middle of the night as she was, and when it wasn't working for me anymore, we agreed to stop.

We had a quiet dinner together as a family, sat together on the couch for reading (no TV), bath, individual prayers with both parents, a good-night kiss, and turn out the lights. Only when we had a sitter was there a problem. They were often teen-agers of the "wear them down" variety. I'd always have to remind them that rough play, hide and seek, or snacking just caused wakefulness. I still think so.

That said, how they sleep as kids, makes no difference in their adult life. It is not life altering. We are born with our clocks already ticking. We have one slug-a-bed and one up-and-ready. Our quiet sleepy child turned out to have a thyroid disorder, and our jumping up and down, rocking the crib kid is still hyper and very high energy.

Our bedtime schedule for our children fit our lifestyle, made evenings pleasant, and gave the parents time together. Didn't make a bit of difference to our children!

Monday, March 29, 2004

279 Game Tables and Great Rooms

According to the Wall Street Journal, great rooms are on the way out, and game tables are making a come back. We have a game table/secretary which we think was made for my husband's grandparents, Stanley and Irma Byrum, when they married in 1906. What makes this piece unusual is that we have a black and white photo of the man who did the intricate inlaid wood designs. It makes me wonder if he was a relative, because I'm not sure why they would have saved a photo of the craftsman all those years. Unfortunately, water was allowed to damage the one side, inlaid with roses, so we have to place a book or lamp over that.

Some game tables are the specialty of Butler Specialty--desks and consoles going for $300 to $1400. Brighton Pavilion has $3,800 models. There are 65 companies now designing and creating game tables, up from seven just four years ago. WSJ article here.

I've never cared for the "great room" concept where the dirty dishes in the kitchen were visible from every angle of the living space. We rejected many condo plans for that reason. It was a popular plan in the 80s and 90s, so this condo built in the 70s was just right. To our surprise, one family here with our floor plan, gutted it and made the entire first floor all open! WSJ says "privacy" is the new ultimate luxary--"a room of one's own."

Sunday, March 28, 2004

278 What I like about guys

This is what I like about guys--even if they hate each, they can unite for a common cause. The photos of Gore, Clinton, Kerry and Carter, all of whom have said awful, hurtful things about each other, is just heart warming. Politics and beds, or something like that. Women would never do that--just forgive and forget for a cause.

"The Democrats' top totems -- including two former presidents and a vice president -- preached unity to a roomful of the party's faithful last night at a fundraising bash at the National Building Museum. They were unified in support of John Kerry, their presumptive presidential nominee. And they were unified in contempt for President Bush." Washington Post

Saturday, March 27, 2004

277 Mixed messages from Page

Black teen age girls don’t get much respect, even from each other, says Clarence Page, syndicated columnist for a number of papers, including the Columbus Dispatch, where I read it March 26. In Hip-Hop culture, Page writes, everyone disses black females, including black females. He writes that the code words for males includes dog, homeboy, playa, lame, sugar daddy and payload, but for female they are skeezer, ‘hood rat, ho, trick break, bitch, gold digger, and hoochie mama.

Page cites an undated study by Motivational Educational Entertainment (MEE) Productions Inc. which says that urban youth are untouched by positive messages from schools, parents, media and health-care providers about responsible sexual behavior. I found the executive summary on-line, and it was dated January 2004.

Maybe I read it too fast, but I didn’t see anything in the MEE report about blaming Hip-Hop messages, unless Page is using the term very broadly. Also, later in his article he says, We, their elders need to provide someone to look up to, to believe in when he has just made the case that they are looking at the Hip-Hop performers and their marketers for their life style. The MEE executive summary, however, definitely stressed the importance of parents in forming the teen’s attitudes.

Friday, March 26, 2004

276 Soup's On

Each Friday night in Lent we've invited different people to our home for a simple soup, salad and dessert meal. Our Friday night date money is going to the Lower Lights Medical Mission on Columbus' west side.

Tonight it is broccoli soup with onions and mushrooms, fresh fruit/veggie plate, and apple/raisin/date pie with sugar free ice cream. As I was tasting the soup, I complained to my husband about the amount of sodium in commercially prepared chicken broth--38% of the RDA in one serving.

"Why must they put so much salt in it--it costs more to buy salt-reduced!" I complained.

He said, "I feel a blog coming on."

Thursday, March 25, 2004

275 Around the world in six shirts

I needed to iron my white linen table cloth for dinner tomorrow night. I think it was a wedding gift, so that makes it about 44 years old. It was probably made in the USA, but a long time ago, we thought things made in Europe were superior, so possibly not.

While the iron was hot (which is where that expression doesn't come from), I decided I might as well do up the shirts and blouses hanging next to the washer. It truly was a trip around the world.

  • Blue, long sleeve, cotton blouse--Macedonia
  • Beige with black, red and white dots, long sleeve silk blouse--China
  • White, short sleeve, cotton t-shirt with button trim--Vietnam
  • Coral and white stripe, long sleeve, cotton blouse--Indonesia
  • two blue denin shirts, one about 10 years old, the other new--Bangladesh
  • I wonder which shirt off my back Mr. Kerry wants so we can stop shipping jobs overseas?

    Wednesday, March 24, 2004

    274 For cancer survivors

    I noticed in the paper March 24 that there will be a new magazine in the summer called Heal. It will be free and they expect a circulation of 100,000. It will focus on articles dealing with cancer survivors, post treatment issues, insurance, fear, fatigue, etc. Here is the website for Heal--the editors are looking for stories and advertisers.
    When treatment is over, a new life often begins. Being healed is when the spirit and the soul merge with the physical self whether cure has occurred or not. In essence, cure is possible without healing, but healing can happen with or without cure.

    And thanks to modern science, many are living years with cancer as a chronic illness. Others reach remission/cure but often fear recurrence.
    Heal has a sister publication, Cure, which focuses on research and education. It was launched in 2002.

    And let me segue here to my new blog In the Beginning which is about my hobby, collecting premiere and first issue journals and magazines. Nothing makes me more unhappy than to walk up to a news stand, scan the shelves, and find a Vol.1,no.2. I thought that happened this week with LowCarb Living, but I wrote about it anyway because I was preparing something on the obesity epidemic for this blog. Then I did find in my collection. Look at my blog links at the right and you can click on it. I have just a few entries so far, and it is evolving as I go, but it will continue to be about my hobby and the exuberance and hope that goes into a start-up.

    Tuesday, March 23, 2004

    273 Free Martha!

    Web site for free Martha buttons, including the witch hunt theme.

    Monday, March 22, 2004

    272 Europeans react to the bombings in Spain

    Chuck Bearden has posted a thoughtful comment at about the reaction of Europeans about the March 11 bombings in Spain. A librarian, he formerly worked in public and academic libraries, in information technology, and now works in health informatics, according to his bio at that site.

    “I would go further and say that 9/11, and Bali, as well as something like Madrid 3/11, would have taken place even if the U.S. hadn't invaded Iraq, or even if Bush hadn't been elected. Of course, the invasion of Iraq necessarily changed the calculations of AQ et al. in their choice of targets. It brought new problems, new demands, new reasons to attack here instead of there, but the first WTC attack, and the USS Cole attack, and the African embassy bombings show us that war was declared years ago.

    Until the war on terror is over, the question will never be "Will they attack?" but rather "Where?".”

    Sunday, March 21, 2004

    271 Kerryaoke with the liberal press

    Maureen Dowd's journalism style has lent itself to a new noun, Dowdification, coined by James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal. It means, used as noun or verb, the willful omission of one or more words so the meaning of the statement is no longer understood but that the statement suits the needs of the writer in launching an ad hominem attack whether or not the construction is truthful or grammatically complete. Dowdsizing would be a better term, in my opinion.

    So I'm coining a new word--Kerryaoke, pronouced "carry-yokey." Karaoke is a Japanese word for a form of entertainment in which patrons take turns singing the lyrics to prerecorded music. Kerryaoke would be the press singing along with John Forbes Kerry, no matter how off key, no matter how "nuanced" his contraditions of his previous stance, no matter how harmful to our battle against terrorism, no matter how many unnamed foreign leaders support him.

    I'm relying on Google here to declare myself the first to use this word, Kerryaoke, in this manner. The word exists on the Internet in one record, because there is a guy named Kerry who sings karaoke.

    Saturday, March 20, 2004

    270 Through the eyes of children

    This morning our Visual Arts Ministry hung 120 pieces of art of the children of Highland Elementary School in Columbus, OH. We have one of the finest spaces in the Columbus metropolitan area for art, and I'm surprised that artists don't beat down our doors for this kind of gallery space.

    Seeing this much kiddy art in such a terrific display can bring tears to the eyes, particularly since these kids don't have a lot of what we think of as advantages in this area. Their parents probably don't drag them to art shows they way we did, or buy them special materials, or enroll them in Saturday art classes at Ohio State.

    But the color, shapes, and fantasies just bubble right up and appear in colored pencil, ink, fabric, acrylic, and pastel to illustrate bugs, birds, their neighborhood, flowers, parks, pets, patriotism, automobiles, friends, and just a few things that make you just pause and wonder at the enthusiasm.

    If you live in the Columbus, OH metropolitan area, you can see this show at The Church at Mill Run, 3500 Mill Run Drive, Hilliard, OH 43026, upper level. Here's a map.

    269 The Constitution

    One of the most important things going on in Iraq right now is the hammering out of the constitution. Perhaps this is a good time to look at ours.
    Constitution of the United States
    Adopted by convention of States, September 17, 1787;
    Ratification completed, June 21, 1788
    Particularly take a look at the dates, and notice how long it took our forefathers and ancestors (both my German and my Scots-Irish ancestors were in the country before the Revolution, but not part of the process) to get it together after our revolution.

    Check it out here at Emory.

    Readings and audio for The American Revolution and the Founding of a New Nation, Sunday, June 23, 2002 to Friday, June 28, 2002, Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio, which has numerous free institutes on line with recorded lectures and list of readings.

    Ashland University is the home of the Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs which"was established and named in honor of the late Congressman who represented Ohio's 17th Congressional district for 21 years. Representative John Ashbrook was a popular and forceful advocate and spokesman for limited constitutional government and reduced federal spending. That concept was re-emphasized by President Ronald Reagan when he personally dedicated the Center on May 9, 1983."

    Among the offerings at the Ashbrook Center are free Saturday seminars for teachers.

    Friday, March 19, 2004

    268 The Debate

    "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." --John F. Kerry, explaining his vote for AND against supplemental funds for troops in Iraq -- the same troops he says Mr. Bush sent in "under-equipped." When asked about Kerry's invitation to debate on the issues, George Bush responded, "We'll talk about that when Senator Kerry is finished debating the issues with himself."

    Seen at The Federalist Digest, March 19, 2004

    Thursday, March 18, 2004

    267 Men behaving badly

    In the Columbus Dispatch columnist Kathleen Parker wrote "People such as [Howard] Stern and [George] Carlin have built careers out of making obscenity funny, that is, if you're emotionally trapped in a 7-year-old boy's psyche." . . .[who] find great hilarity in body functions and are prone to uncontrollable giggles upon hearing vocabulary that refers to human anatomy."

    266 Don't do as I say

    The early morning customers like to sit around the fireplace, so my chair was only about 6 inches from the young Catholic (uniform) student behind me. I saw him carrying the bracket sheet for the NCAA tournament being held here in Columbus--the March Madness. Soon Mom and Dad joined him at his table. Cozy.

    Then I hear Dad say, "Don't be caught at school with that. It's gambling. They'll crucify you." "Is not," young boy said. "What'd ya pay?" said Dad. "inaudible" son's reply. "Why is she doing it?" said Dad. "inaudible" said son. "She barfed in the trash can?" said Dad. "Oh no. A hair on my roll." Obviously, the conversation was drifting away from basketball, perhaps the intention of the young boy. Later I heard Dad advising his son on which team to enter in the brackets.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2004

    265 Woman Behaving Badly

    Usually it's men who make disgustingly loud noises blowing their noses. At coffee yesterday I observed an overweight but elegantly dressed and made up older woman walk to the center of the room and blow her nose so loudly, so vigorously, I thought the roof would collapse from the air disturbance. Twice. Then she returned to her table, finished her hot chocolate, and walked out into the snow storm to her car, head uncovered, coat open. So, apparently she's not sick, just rude.

    Tuesday, March 16, 2004

    264 Don't tell us. . .

    Today’s Wall Street Journal (March 16, 2004) letters to the editor column contained a letter from Tim Knowlton in response to the French op ed piece last week, “Are we still all-Americans?”

    “Don’t trot out the tired baseless arguments of unilateralist, of “pre-emptive.” There are soldiers from many lands fighting the terrorists in Iraq. Don’t tell us there are not, it would be an insult to their sacrifice. Don’t tell us the United Nations could have helped, because it shrank from its duty all these years. Don’t tell us that negotiating with Saddam, or waiting through another round of inspections, would have kept him from murder and torture. That’s an insult to the millions who have died and suffered under his rule.

    And please stop saying that President Bush lied. That insults the memory of those who died horrible deaths from Saddam’s weapons.”

    Other writers were less civil, pointing out the French caving in to various brigands and thugs over the years (VietNam, Hitler), . . .the French are back stabbers, . . . carrying water (I.e. oil) for Saddam, . . .and that le Monde is the official left wing mouth piece of the French government.

    The on-line version was even more scathing in readers' outrage at Colombani:

    Mr. Colombani has the right to his asinine opinion about Mr. Bush's handling of the Iraqi war. Conveniently he forgets or chooses to ignore that his own country, France, was a willing partner of Saddam Hussein. Therefore the need for them to delay and place roadblocks on any attempt that spearheaded by the United States may uncover the extent to which the French had been in Saddam's bed. Oscar H. Atehortua Sr. - Brooklyn, N.Y.

    With regard to "containment" vs. "pre-emption," since when did the French contain anything? If they had not been cowering in Paris they could have pre-emptively acted when Hitler defied treaties ending World War I, and we would not still be mourning the 50 million who died as a result of the European community's fetish for negotiation and conciliation. By the way, Hitler violated his treaties fewer times than Saddam did. Michael Becker - Phoenix

    Monday, March 15, 2004

    263 Sportswriter loves to read

    “If Steve Rushin of Sports Illustrated wrote about politics or cosmology instead of about sports, he would be widely recognized for what he is: a superb writer. (For Rushin at book-length, see the witty travelogue Road Swing: One Fan's Journey into the Soul of American Sports, in which he describes a dying television as "a Zenith at its nadir" and compares a golf course in the Pennsylvania hills to "a green silk tie across a rumpled bedspread.") In this week's blog, Nathan Bierma talks with Rushin about reading and writing, sports, and sports writing.” When asked if writing was easy for him, he says:
    “I try to follow the rule that the easier something is to read, the harder it was to write, and the harder it is to read the easier it probably was to write.”

    . . . “On our family vacations to California when we were kids, I always went to the library, and checked out books on all the places we were going in San Francisco. … My wife [basketball star Rebecca Lobo] and I live in a small townhouse. If we ever get a house, I don't care what it has except a library. I'd like to just sit in a big chair with a goldfish-bowl-sized brandy sifter, and a globe, surrounded by books. We have boxes of books on bookshelves, boxes in our garage. … I was in a used bookstore and picked up a 1200-page biography of Charles Dickens. I will probably finish it in the time it took Dickens to live his actual life, but I will finish it.”

    Sunday, March 14, 2004

    262 Child phobia learned in libraries

    I read a number of blogs by librarians, and the experience of working in public libraries seems to make some of them either swear off ever being a parent or desire a child-free environment. Here's an example from The Well Dressed Librarian, a gay, Jewish, cataloguer-wannabe, who blogs about his experiences in library school where he has gone from being a fashion plate cataloguer for an auction house to a lowly page.
    I have also come to another realization. I can not stand the sound of children whining or crying. Yesterday, Mother of the Year was in the library with all 5 of her kids. 3 of them were crying, and one was emitting this low, skin crawling whine that would not stop. I wanted to give the kids stickers to make them stop, but realized they were crying because their Mother was forcing them to play computer games that they didn't want to play.

    She was making a 3 year old play a game with French and Spanish words. The kid couldn't even read, let alone two foreign tongues. I don't think from what I gathered that she could either. Finally, our very own Kentucky librarian came to the rescue. She explained to the MOTY that the games were too hard, and got them to play something else.

    End of crying & whining. For 6 minutes.

    Then the MOTY decided it was time to go, only the kids wanted to play more games. So she screamed at them. Then she couldn't find one of her kids. So, she decided to call for her, like she was in a State Park. Multiple times.

    Finally they left, and I had one of the worst headaches I can remember. And I have a good memory.

    Saturday, March 13, 2004

    261 Good for a laugh

    People become librarians because they know too much. Their knowledge extends beyond mere categories. They cannot be confined to disciplines. Librarians are all-knowing and all-seeing. They bring order to chaos. They bring wisdom and culture to the masses. They preserve every aspect of human knowledge. Librarians rule. And they will kick the crap out of anyone who says otherwise.

    From Librarian Avengers, on Why you should worship your librarian.
    A reader responds: I have always been an "LL". . . .a Librarian Lover. To me, a Librarian was always a very special person. one who could move silently and swiftly through the stacks to find a particular book. From Aristophenes to Zane Gray, from C S Lewis to Ernest Thompson Seton, my Librarian could find any book I wanted. And even though she would never allow me into the library with my roller skates on, I loved her just the same.

    Friday, March 12, 2004

    260 Conservative Librarians are Blogging

    Jack Stephens blogs at Conservator, Thoughts on Libraries and Freedom. If you aren't familiar with the issues in librarianship, it is possible that your image of a librarian IS conservative. That is usually not the case, especially among academic librarians who probably fall in that 84% of college faculty who voted for Gore in 2000. The leadership of the profession in American Library Association or Medical Library Association or Association of College and Research Libraries is in turn, more liberal than the core membership they represent.

    Jack seems to be addressing some of these issues along with Shush, Tomeboy, and The In Season Christian Librarian.

    259 Staying informed

    In another group there is a woman who works in a library who says she doesn't have time to read the newspaper or watch TV--she gets all her news from NPR while in the car. That's pretty narrow. So I sat down to figure out what I read, watch or listen to on a regular basis--although not cover to cover or word for word.


    Wall Street Journal
    Columbus Dispatch
    Upper Arlington News (weekly)

    C-Span--especially Book TV
    Fox News
    ABC Evening news
    local TV news


    610 am local radio for drive time (owned by Clear Channel)
    1550 am Spanish radio (for shouting out words I occasionally recognize)
    104.9 fm Christian radio

    On-line Subscriptions

    The New York Times Headline stories
    The Wall Street Journal Opinion
    CNET News
    ChemWeb Bulletin
    Medscape Week in Review
    Campus Watch
    New Republic Online
    Books and Culture
    some gov't committee reports
    Around Columbus (things to do)
    RootsWeb Review (genealogy)
    OSU Today
    Refdesk (web sites specializing in extensive topical information)
    Food Reflections (Univ. of Nebraska Home Extension)
    Boogie Jack (web page construction)


    Christianity Today
    American Artist
    Watercolor Magic
    Architectural Digest
    Home Magazine
    Columbus City Scene
    Upper Arlington (monthly)
    Columbus Bar Briefs
    Crosslinks (my church)
    Decision (Billy Graham)
    miscellaneous architecture journals

    Looking through the list, I am reminded that if I could learn to paint by reading magazines, I wouldn't be blogging.

    258 Slow Job Growth

    According to an article in the Wall Street Journal today (March 12), economists are puzzled about the reason for the slow job growth. Only 16% of them think offshore jobs are affecting US job growth.

    I'm no economist, but I think we need to blame the people who have influenced every cultural, social, economic and educational trend in this country since the end of WWII--The Boomers. You reach a stage in life when you don't need "things" any more, when you aren't buying the latest entertainment gizmo whether it is a something to listen to or to watch or to play with, when you can't bear the thought of one more silly fashion gaffe hanging in your closet, and your 3 year old car looks just like the one on the show room floor. The Baby Boomers are now at that age, and they aren't buying as much as they used to.

    The tax refund encouraged a lift in the spending, but a lot of us had what we needed materially, so instead we want to be making a difference in life, and that doesn't mean fingering the merchandise in the mall or kicking the tires at the auto show. Also, the Boomers had smaller families and probably have fewer grandchildren, or had them later, so they aren't even buying in that niche.

    I don't want to give up my $5.00 shoes made in China that I bought 3 years ago and still look good as new. If I had had to buy them Made in the USA by a union plant, I wouldn't be able to afford many other things. The global economy helps the third world in ways government foreign aid never could. A low wage here that is scorned is a magnificient sum in some countries and the product comes back here to be distributed, sold and enjoyed by Americans at lower prices. Then we can put that savings into buying a piece of a business through stock.

    Some people, like TV evangelists Benny Hinn and Joyce Meyer, want mansions and $100,000 cars and flashy rings, but most of us by 55 have learned money might buy comfort and fame, but it doesn't buy a good marriage, a loving friendship or a sense of purpose.

    Thursday, March 11, 2004

    257 Just walking my dog

    “I’m just walking my dog, singing my song, strolling along,” Nellie McKay.

    A neighbor described Susan Lindauer, 41, as "a regular American who walks her dog in the mornings and the afternoon." The former journalist and press staff person for several Democratic Congressmen in the 90s has been charged with being an Iraqi spy.

    According to an indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Lindauer made multiple visits from October 1999 through March 2002 to the Iraqi Mission to the United Nations in New York.

    There is a 1998 deposition on the internet by the Middle East Intelligence Bulletin (2001) of the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon and the Middle East Forum in which she claims to have been the victim of assassination attempts and her home was bugged and there were little red laser lights in her bathroom vent. Yes, indeed. She sounds strange enough to be a spy for $10,000.

    256 Free Uncle Remus

    A library blog site called "Shush" has an interesting comment about Disney's decision not to re-issue Song of the South for fear of offending African Americans.

    Free Uncle Remus!

    "The closest thing that I know of in terms of censorship is Walt Disney's refusal to re-release one of their greatest movies, Song of the South. A friend of mine owns a blackmarket copy of this film that they loaned me to watch. Its a terrific story about childhood friends (white boy, black boy, and white girl, how pc can you get?) and their relationship with an old black man, Uncle Remus, who works for the white boy's grandmother. The movie is based on The Tales of Uncle Remus and is set shortly after the Civil War. Uncle Remus is a wise man and meant to be admired and respected in this movie. Walt Disney's decision not make it available for fear of offending the black population is completely inverted because it robs that same people of a strong role model. . . [remarks about American Library Association]

    "Free Uncle Remus!"

    We took our children to see the re-release of Song of the South back in the late 70s or 80s. I had seen it as a child at a friend's birthday party, and thoroughly enjoyed it as an adult. And I was a liberal back then, very sensitive to PC-isms long before we named it. I found nothing offensive in it. Beautiful color, strong characters, and wonderful songs. For soap opera fans, Ruth Warrick, "Phoebe Tyler" of All my Children has a starring role in this movie. She still sings and has an album. She also dated Liza Minnelli's husband David Gest for some years, although 35 years his senior.

    255 Do we want this woman in the White House?

    The Cranky Professor referred to The Bleat who linked to the John Kerry for President Blog site, for this ugly story that happened on December 7. I checked the site, and it really is there. Shame on you, Ms. Heinz-Kerry.

    “So Teresa Heinz-Kerry passes out buttons that say “Asses of Evil,” with pictures of Bush, Cheney, Rummy and Ashcroft on them. There you have it: the President of the United States is an Evil Ass. I’d love for someone to put this question to Kerry in the debate: Senator Kerry, your wife handed out buttons that called the President an Evil Ass. Do you believe he is Evil, an Ass, or both? And if I may follow up, I’d like to ask if you can possibly imagine Laura Bush doing that. Thank you.”

    Wednesday, March 10, 2004

    254 More on Martha

    Mark Styen writes:
    "Martha may, indeed, be a bitch, though she's always been rather droll and charming to me (I once baked her a cranberry pecan pie with lattice crust). But, even if she were as mean as she's painted, even if (as the government of Nova Scotia might argue) her use of fruitcake is hurtful to the domestically feeble, I'll take her and her entrepreneurial energy over some deadbeat regulators any day. Martha, it seems, will be going to jail for telling a lie. Not in court, not under oath, not perjury, but merely when the Feds came round to see her about a possible crime. They couldn't prove she'd committed a crime, so they nailed her for lying while chit-chatting to them about the non-crime. And for that they're prepared to destroy her company.

    It's true that it's an offence to lie to the Feds. But, as my New Hampshire neighbours Tom and Scott, currently in my basement stretching out a little light carpentry job to the end of the winter, are the first to point out, the Feds lied to the public about Waco and Ruby Ridge (another bloodbath) for years. If the Feds can lie to the people, why can't the people lie to the Feds? Lumping Martha Stewart in with Enron and Worldcom is the most pathetic overreaching on the part of the authorities: unlike the other "corporate scandals", Martha's business isn't a flop or a fraud; it made a hugely successful contribution to the economy until a bunch of government bureaucrats decided to target it for demolition."

    Tuesday, March 09, 2004

    253 Innovation and outsourcing

    In Thomas L. Friedman's column today in the Columbus Dispatch (here for the on-line version) he explains, through the eyes of an Indian woman, why outsourcing jobs is typical of America's innovative spirit. These are the characteristics that have made America great, he concludes:
  • extreme freedom of thought
  • emphasis on independent thinking
  • steady immigration of new minds
  • risk-taking culture with no stigma attached to trying and failing
  • financial markets and venture capital system that is unrivaled at taking new ideas and making new products.

    Bangalore, he writes, has a lot of engineering schools, but the local government is corrupt, half the city has no sidewalks, there are constant black-outs, the rivers are choked with pollution, the public schools are dysfunctional, the street beggars constantly cause a traffic grid-lock, and the infrastructure is falling apart.

    Mindless protectionism will end all that, he says. Yet, everytime I hear the media tell one more whiney story about jobs being exported, that seems to be what they are promoting--let's build a big fence around our borders and protect our unions and our manufacturing and computer jobs.

  • Monday, March 08, 2004

    252 Mona Lisa Smile

    There are a number of movies on my “I’d like to see” list: Calendar Girls, In America, Something’s Gotta Give, Master and Commander, Big Fish, Win a date with Tad Hamilton, and Lost in Translation. Recently I’ve seen Girl with the Pearl Earring with a friend from art class, and last Thursday at the dollar theater, my husband and I enjoyed Mona Lisa Smile, now available on DVD. Not exactly Oscar quality, nor a gripping story, but enjoyable.

    Katherine Watson (Julia Roberts) is the new art history teacher at Wellesley, which is depicted as a very conservative college, for the 1953-54 school year. Katherine’s first class reveals highly motivated, intelligent young women way ahead of her prepared material. The story is more or less narrated by Betty (Kirsten Dunst), sort of a leader of the rest of the girls, who is about to be married in mid-year. She writes for the school paper, blows the whistle on the school nurse for supplying birth control, and later has it in for Katherine who’s not sympathetic with her missing so many classes. Betty is controlled by her mother’s ambitions for her, and believes Katherine is interfering in the life of another student Joan (Julia Stiles) by encouraging her to go to law school.

    Men don’t fare well in this story--Katherine's (Julia) love interest turns out to be a guy who lies about his WWII service, and her old boyfriend sort of took her for granted. Betty’s new husband is unfaithful, and Katherine’s landlady/friend, played by Marcia Gay Harden, was apparently dumped during the war and lives in an alcoholic fantasy world of an "old maid."

    Having lived through the 50s, I thought it a bit heavy handed with the “conservative” imagery, but it was after all, 50 years ago. Viewed through the lens of the current era when young women live with boyfriends they don’t plan to marry, live in dorms with men, and rack up $40,000 in debt before leaving college, I suppose the 50s do look somewhat ossified and girdled.

    I asked a friend who was in college in the early 50s what she thought of the movie, and did it represent her experience at a private, exclusive Midwestern college. She wrote:

    “I enjoyed Mona Lisa Smile. I surely did not go to an elite Eastern School, and as in most artistic works the motif seems somewhat exaggerated. Anyone doing any research whatsoever would not have come to [my college] in 1951 hoping to find a husband. The Korean War was on and it was the last year that the school did not have an ROTC unit. Therefore, guys who came were subject to the draft unless otherwise ineligible. I heard years later from a college administrator that as of July 1 that year they had 7 men enrolled. They obviously trolled the waters before Sept. Social life for the majority of women was almost non-existent. The town was dry and women were not allowed to have cars. The guys all migrated to a nearby town to drink beer on Friday night. There was almost no student union activity and you could not get out of town to a movie. I am sure that is why so many of my friends transferred after the sophomore year. I knew of only one gal who married and stayed in school. I would rather have died than tell my folks I wanted to get married. As for goals after graduation they were the usual education or "something" indefinable. We did not have elementary ed courses. One of my professors said casually during my second year, "You are going to graduate school aren't you?'' The thought had never occurred to me up to that point.”

    Sunday, March 07, 2004

    251 Perceptions and the media

    “Since the president's tax cut was fully implemented last May the unemployment rate has dropped rapidly from 6.3 percent to 5.6 percent today. Everyone knows this. It's one of the fastest declines in unemployment in decades. The problem is, this is a presidential-election year. Hence, improving economic statistics will not be accepted by the mainstream media no matter what those statistics say.” National Review Online

    I noticed a snapshot statistic in USAToday that graphed “satisfaction,” and was quite surprised to see that 34% of Americans are fairly satisfied, and 57% are very satisfied, meaning 91% are fairly or very satisfied. But this isn’t what we hear, read or gossip about because who would turn on the news or buy a magazine that shouted, “Americans are satisfied and happy, but believe everyone else is in trouble.” I suppose one of the components of feeling good is believing someone else is worse off. But just like the mythical Jones family, “someone else” isn’t out there either.

    Saturday, March 06, 2004

    250 The Modern Witch Trial

    Both the feminist left and the good old boy right white guys club hate Martha. She's been found guilty, but had she been a lower profile male, more likeable, or hadn't shown the guys up at their own game, she'd have had a slap on the wrist. Had she been a female CEO embezzling or misusing funds at a leftist foundation, the feminist pundits would have been all over this case. But because she focuses on the "happy homemaker" and making homes and gardens more lovely, they don't really give a hoot.

    "While those suspected crimes [of other CEOs] resulted in some of the largest bankruptcies and investor losses in history, it was Ms. Stewart's trial in a downtown Manhattan courtroom, focused on a stock sale that netted her about $45,000, that grabbed much of the spotlight." NYT

    So for $45,000 (and even that is questionable) the trial costs investors and they have lost many millions more--sort of an Enron in reverse where the government grabs the goodies instead of the CEO.

    Friday, March 05, 2004

    249 Spin Sisters

    I haven't read "Spin Sisters; How the women of the media sell unhappiness and liberalism to the women of America," but the title seems to tell all. I keep a few Family Circles and Women's Day up at the Lake house, and occasionally glance at a cover at the grocery store. The theme of the magazines are usually
  • beat stress
  • kill germs
  • walk off 20 pounds
  • have great sex
  • and disease of the month.

    Myrna Blyth was the editor of Ladies Home Journal, which many years ago was one of the finest magazines available (my grandmother began subscribing when she was 12 years old), and I still have a few copies from the 1890s. It had fallen on hard times and Blyth managed to nudge it in the right direction, according to Independent Women's Forum. She retired two years ago, so no one can touch her now, and she's spilling the beans.

    She says the media is run by the elite who came of age in the 60s and 70s and never questioned that "bigger, better government is the answer to many personal problems." According to the Wall Street Journal, it is well researched, and she read two years worth of nine women's magazines.

    In the real world, writes Ms. Blythe, women are not concerned about abortion rights, they favor the death penalty, they supported the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq, and they are more likely to vote than men.

    Newsweek, Ms. and NYT of course don't like this book and point out that she herself participated in all the tricks she reports on.
  • Thursday, March 04, 2004

    248 I love Martha

    I wrote this story a few years ago, and it is still one of my favorites. I really like Martha Stewart and her products and believe if she weren't such a successful woman, there would be no trial.

    * * *

    My daughter called from aisle 4 of the super market--about a mile from here.

    "What's a 'cornichon'?" she whispered.

    "A what?" I shouted, "Spell it."

    "C-O-R-N-I-C-H-O-N-S," she hissed, "I think it must be type of pepper and I'm standing here in spices and can't find it."

    Carrying the phone to the kitchen bookshelf I looked through a few cook-books. No cornichons. I walked into my study to look at my encyclopedia of cooking, no cornichons.

    "Did you spell this correctly?" thinking of all the times she creatively spelled.

    "Well, I think so."

    "How much does the recipe call for?"

    "A Tablespoon."

    "Hmmn, doesn't sound like pepper," thinking of all the times she creatively "substituted," when learning to cook.

    "Can't you ask a store employee?"

    "Have you ever tried to find someone in this store? Get real," she whooped.

    "What is this for?"

    "Deviled eggs."

    "Hang up so I can use the modem and I'll check the Internet," wondering what's wrong with my mustard and mayo Deviled Eggs that she needs to reinvent a tradition and add cornichons--a Tablespoon even. Her faith in me shaken, she reluctantly agreed to wait while I matched my PC against her cell-phone. The first 10 on the Google search seem to be in French. This isn't looking good. We're in Cl'mbus O-hi-o for Pete's Sake. Finally, a definition.

    Crisp tart pickles made from tiny gherkin cukes. I call her right back.

    "It's a pickle. A tiny pickle. You are in the wrong aisle."

    "A pickle," she screams. "I'm going to kill Martha Stewart."

    247 Core Knowledge in Spanish

    "Para los alumnos del tercer grado, al igual que en los años anteriores, la experiencia inicial del arte debe provenir de realizar actividades: dibujar, pintar, cortar y pegar y trabajar con arcilla u otros materiales. Acá sugerimos unas cuantas actividades, pero se pueden desarrollar muchas más para complementar el descubrmiento que hará su niño de la imagen y la luz, de la forma y el color."

    I’m always looking for ways to improve my Spanish--an learn something new, too. I’ve started listening to 1550 AM from Delaware, Ohio which is central Ohio’s only Spanish language station, although I did find an all-Spanish program on 1580 AM the other night.

    Now I’ve discovered Core Knowledge website for schools promoting consistent, graded curricula for children that build on core knowledge in literature, art, math and sciences. There are many, many links to materials and programs and essays supporting the concept of teaching children this way (most in English, but some in Spanish).

    Tuesday, March 02, 2004

    246 A Writer in her own Right

    It was probably not a pleasant experience, but Rose Wilder Lane, a successful writer was outshone by her own mother of "Little House" fame whose work she selflessly edited. She was also very political, going from very liberal to what sounds like a libertarian in today's political scene, and considering the era she lived through, much makes sense today. Some of her writing is available on line at the WPA's Federal Writers' Project.

    "The Federal Writers' Project materials in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division are part of a larger collection titled The U.S. Work Progress Administration Federal Writers' Project and Historical Records Survey. The holdings from Federal Writers' Project span the years 1889-1942 and cover a wide range of topics and subprojects. Altogether, the Federal Writers' holdings number approximately 300,000 items and consist of correspondence, memoranda, field reports, notes, graphs, charts, preliminary and corrected drafts of essays, oral testimony, folklore, miscellaneous administrative and miscellaneous other material."

    In a WPA autobiography included in the above collection, Rose Wilder Lane, daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote in 1938-39:

    “Politically, I cast my first vote -- on a sample ballot -- for Cleveland, at the age of three. I was an ardent if uncomprehending Populist; I saw America ruined forever when the soulless corporations in 1896, defeated Bryan and Free Silver.

    I was a Christian Socialist with Debs, and distributed untold numbers of the Appeal to Reason. From 1914 to 1920 -- when I first went to Europe -- I was a pacifist; innocently, if criminally, I thought war stupid, cruel, wasteful and unnecessary. I voted for Wilson because he kept us out of it.

    In 1917 I became a convinced, though not practicing Communist. In Russia, for some reason, I wasn't and I said so, but my understanding of Bolshevism made everything pleasant when the Cheka arrested me a few times.

    I am now a fundamentalist American; give me time and I will tell you why individualism, laissez faire and the slightly restrained anarchy of capitalism offer the best opportunities for the development of the human spirit. Also I will tell you why the relative freedom of human spirit is better -- and more productive, even in material ways -- than the communist, Fascist, or any other rigidity organized for material ends.”
    ( Federal Writers' Project 1936-1940,

    245 A Senior Sandwich

    I'm a senior sandwich. On the one hand, I'm involved in a homebound ministry through my church, which will include both nursing home and hospice visits, and visits to those who will be getting better and returning to health. I could be visiting church members old enough to be my parent. I am also signed up for the Senior Partners Program at The Ohio State University Health Sciences Center and might be meeting with a medical student young enough to be my grandchild.

    This program pairs a medical student with senior adults around the community for four years, tracking any changes in health status that may occur, and I hope building a friendship and level of communication that will help the medical student when he/she is dealing with an aging population. We will meet about every 4-8 weeks throughout the academic year for 2-3 hours each time. Specific objectives will be set for each meeting, perhaps a medical history (mine, not his). OSU Lantern story here.

    If you live in the Columbus area and are interested in this program, you can call 614-293-7914 and they'll send you a packet of information. If you are in another large metropolitan area that has a medical school, there are programs like this throughout the country. ABC evening news covered such a story a few weeks ago.

    Monday, March 01, 2004

    Index to themes, topics, passing thoughts, and ideas, updated

    academe, libraries 10, 26, 29, 38, 54, 67, 70, 75, 134, 213, 226
    art and artists 54, 66, 102,126,148
    blogging 1, 32, 46, 56, 234, 240
    books and journals 2, 29, 31, 47, 51, 53, 57, 74, 90, 93,104, 110, 115, 117, 119,149, 152, 155, 158, 166,170
    campaign 2004 228, 229, 231, 233, 239,
    condo living 40, 42
    culture 31, 41, 139,140
    economy, finances 7, 13, 33, 43, 61, 96, 101, 111,127, 132,163, 218, 220, 230, 232, 235, 242
    education 110, 224
    entertainment 72, 90, 109,123,129, 139, 215, 216, 222
    faith and values 14, 30, 31, 32, 37, 46, 50, 63, 62, 68, 69, 87, 94,118, 127,130, 132,131,138, 141,145,152, 166, 168, [created new blog Church of the Acronym] 223
    family 2, 4, 6, 21, 24, 28, 34, 36, 39, 55, 59, 67, 79, 80, 82, 86, 89, 98, 122, 128, 143,151, 156,160,165,169, 213, 220, 242
    fashion 21, 55
    food, recipes, eating out 3, 8, 10, 11, 25, 35, 36, 42, 56, 59, 105,108,137,161
    friends 9, 10, 21, 50, 54, 92,102,168
    genealogy 19, 20, 24, 44, 67, 71, 73,106, 209, 222, 227,
    health 23, 25, 36, 39, 48, 53, 61, 60, 81, 83, 88,128,133,146,156, 160
    history 85, 224
    Illinois 44, 54, 63, 67, 224
    Internet, Usenet, computers 26, 32, 33, 37, 62, 211, 212,
    language 117,124,125
    media 210, 217
    nature 31, 42, 58, 57
    observations, misc. 5, 12, 15, 49, 52, 113, 114,120, 121,136 154,162, 241
    Ohio 20, 40, 97,107
    pets 27, 39, 56, 92, 122
    poetry 14, 22, 44, 55, 63, 80, 153, 221,
    politics 9, 43, 70, 76, 78, 87, 99, 103, 116, 132, 135, 147,150,159, 213, 215, 225, 236, 237
    science 2, 16, 29
    sports 217
    technology 96,142,
    war 100,119, 143,144, 147, 219
    women 20, 23, 44, 63, 238
    writing 19, 62, 65, 67, 95,157,164

    244 Get Fuzzy

    This is one of the funniest cat cartoons I've ever seen.

    243 Speeding and fatal crashes

    Last week a "snapshot" in the USAToday showed that speeding is a factor in 30% of all fatal crashes. Of those crashes, 70% are men, and 30% are women. In the 16-34 age group, 315 tickets are issued per 10,000 drivers, in the 35-54 age group, 153 per 10,000, and for 55+ (my age group), only 37 per 10,000. A reader calls it a "me-first" attitude, and I agree. I see people zipping around on the freeway only to get to the light at the same time I do, but having endangered the lives of others.

    And some parents aren't the smartest when it comes to putting temptation in the path of their youngsters. While going to my car last Wednesday morning, I noticed there was a very new, red BMW convertible parked next to my van. As I unlocked the van, I saw two teen-age girls get in the convertible and head for school. I know. I know. MYOB.