Monday, February 28, 2005
858 Whiny womenArticles like this one reporting women in the sciences at Harvard are still looking for excuses really make me steam.
"Students cited their experiences in introductory courses as particularly traumatic—saying that some male teaching fellows would drive their classes at relentless rate and would deflect questions from female students.
To counter this, Tracy E. Nowski '07 and Patricia Li '07, co-chairs of the policy committe of WISHR, suggested optional sections created specifically for women, perhaps being even taught by female teaching fellows."
So, after 35 years of workshops, tutoring, special classes, Title 9, and bumping men from application lists at prestigious schools, women still can't take the heat and now want their own classes at the college level?
My epiphany came about 10 years ago when I walked into the women's restroom in Sisson Hall (Ohio State) and saw a list posted on a toilet stall door of 50 organizations on campus to help me be a poor lil' oppressed woman. "Are we that weak?" I wondered as I kicked aside a huge cockroach. "We can't survive without all this stuff to prop us up?" There would be a lot of women in administration who would have to go out and get real jobs if they ever convinced other women they really can do what they want if they are willing to compete. If they don't want to compete, that's not the men's problem. Don't make it into Harvard, spend $40,000 a year of dad's money and then start trembling in your Nikes because men are acting like nut-cakes.
856 Listening to the Oscar chatterTwo miles north of here, I can get WJR Detroit, so I was listening to a talk show driving home from grocery shopping this morning. No one who called in was happy with Chris Rock's performance. It was not a left/right, black/white thing. People long for the "good old days" when comedians could perform for a national audience and not be political or slanderous. I suspect that time never existed, but it would be nice.
One of my readers says she used to enjoy the Oscars--particularly seeing the clothes. She went to bed last night at 9. No fun these days--she hasn't seen any of the movies, and often doesn't know the stars. And she sees a lot more movies than I do. Me? I don't think I ever watched an Oscar show.
Robin Williams' allusion to the Focus on the Family Sponge Bob Square Off was only slightly amusing, a caller to WJR said (although better than Rock). It's not clear to me if Williams was on the show, or if the caller was just comparing the two comedians. The MSM and all of Hollywood left get that Dobson story wrong. James Dobson never said the cartoon character was gay. He objected to a link on the video which used a number of favorite cartoon characters, produced by "We are Family Foundation" for children promoting explicitly homosexual material. I think the left coast all know that, but what would be funny or slur-worthy about that? What fun is it to make fun of a Christian leader when he is speaking the truth and common sense?
"If you had told me a month ago that I’d be devoting my February letter to a cartoon character named SpongeBob SquarePants, I’d have said you were crazy. Nevertheless, by now you probably know that I have been linked to that famous talking sponge by hundreds of media outlets, from the New York Times to "MSNBC" to "Saturday Night Live." The story of how this situation unfolded is somewhat complicated, but it must be told." Dr. Dobson.
You should see what librarians did to Dr. Laura! But then, that's another show.
855 Slivers and hyphensAt my other other blog, Church of the Acronym, I'll write more about the wonderful artwork of Dr. Tennyson Williams (can't find my notes at the moment). The Visual Arts Ministry hung his show on Saturday morning. Sometimes the equipment isn't the best and my husband picked up a sliver in his hand from the step ladder. A metal sliver. So I found a needle and a tweezers for him (he was on his own then--I'm squeamish).
I've written before about hyphens, and I think they are useful used with discretion, but when over done they pierce like a sliver. Hyphens are irritating to the flow of language when poking around where they aren't needed. A one column article on technology by Lee Gomes in today's WSJ had at least 14 hyphenated adjectives--my eyes were glazing over.
innovator-entrepreneurs; open-source; free-flowing; eye-glazing (yup!); start-up; hedge-fund; heat-seeking; computer-programming; space-time; already-crowded; high-tech; file-sharing; write-up; earth-shaking.
I'm thinking Mr. Gomes didn't slap all those hyphens in there on the qwerty keyboard--he'll get carpal tunnel of the little finger--but would they have that many editorial assistants with nothing to do? Is it a hyphen-gap-finding-inserting program?
Sunday, February 27, 2005
These ladies are looking for youThe Summa Mamas, Catholic mothers, are blogging for Terri and looking for comments.
"We are within 22 comments of our 3000th comment. Poster who is number 3000 will get a big ol' smooch from the Mamas! (And who knew it would be such a great conversation? We appreciate each and every one of you so much.)"
I've got just the guy for them.
853 Speaking ill of the deadNot being particularly well-read, I didn't mourn the death of Hunter Thompson--in fact, I'd never heard of him, although when I read his obits in the various columns, some of his early titles sounded vaguely familiar. But so did Sandra Dee's. Now it has come out that he shot himself while on the phone with his wife, with his young grandson in the house. Can this be the guy people are eulogizing like he is some sort of iconic literary figure?
Thinking maybe I missed something important, that perhaps 30-40 years ago he might have had something to say, I scanned my bookshelves for a clue. There was a two volume Norton's up there (given to me by someone who had finished an American lit course). It can be a nice door stop, or a quick reference, less biased than googling his name.
So I dipped into "American Prose since 1945" in Volume Two. Quite a few names I recognize, even some I've read: Vladimir Nabokov, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, James Baldwin, Tom Wolfe, John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Bobbie Ann Mason, Alice Walker, and Louise Erdrich (but not her husband--interesting--but that's another story since he was the better writer). Even Arthur Miller, also recently deceased and eulogized beyond what was necessary. Who would remember him if he hadn't married Marilyn Monroe? But no Hunter Thompson. Good. Apparently a lot of people didn't think he was worth reading when something better was at hand.
852 Sweet Sour MeatloafWhen I retired in 2000, I had two unfinished research projects; black veterinarians in Ohio in the early 20th century, and free central Ohio newspapers and magazines. Although it was my job to teach students how to use a systematic method to prepare papers, I never followed what I taught. My method was to accumulate as much interesting material as possible, throw it in a box under my desk, and periodically bring it out and look for an interesting starting place. The next step was to go into the stacks and browse. Trust me, no one would ever actually teach others to do research this way, but I did get to Associate Professor, so it worked for me.
I was further along in the veterinarian project and actually had "hard" data drawn from material in my stacks that probably no one else would ever dig out since most of it wasn't indexed. One piece of information had been taped for years to a class photo poster in the hospital. My preliminary conclusion was that the pre-1950 classes at OSU in veterinary science had a higher percentage of African American students than the post-1970 classes when they were actively being recruited, but I couldn't find an angle on which to pitch my story. Also, the registrar doesn't let you look at student records (for residence, high school, etc.) without a darn good reason.
The free-circulation newspapers topic, on the other hand, was huge, cumbersome, and I couldn't find a soul writing on it except me. I'm guessing that over the years I'd accumulated 50 titles under my desk to explore. Normally that is a good thing if you're writing a PhD thesis, but I wasn't. It could just possibly mean no one gives a hoot, so why bother? Libraries don't collect them; indexing services ignore them; circulation compilations don't report their stats. From an information history angle, they don't exist if you can't find them. In libraries, we have a term called "gray literature." Free-circs go beyond gray into invisible. Disclaimer: this may have changed in the last 5 years.
But I still pick them up when I see them (newspapers, not black veterinarians); I can't resist. Today I noticed The New Standard; an independent Central Ohio Jewish Semi-Monthly at the coffee shop, sitting along side some other free newspapers. It is a mix of local and boilerplate with nice formatting, very healthy advertising inches without being pushy, good cartoons, interesting editorials, and a very full calendar of events, most of which I didn't know about since I'm not Jewish.
And now to the title of this blog entry. Chef Lana Covel had an article in The New Standard some time back about how she couldn't make meatloaf. So in this issue (Feb. 24-Mar. 9, 2005) she reprinted the e-mails and suggestions she received from her readers--some very funny, others quite helpful. And there is was! My Sweet Sour Meatloaf recipe that I have been using for 45 years and which I give new brides. According to H.G. who submitted it, it came from the B'nai B'rith Women's Cookbook, 1978, but mine is a bit older, having come from Mary Margaret McBride Encyclopedia of Cooking, c 1959, 1960, p. 642. It truly is the best meatloaf you'll ever taste, and if you've failed before with dry, tasteless gunk, throw away that onion soup and ketchup; this one will work for you.
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C vinegar
1 t. prepared mustard
1 small onion, minced
1/4 C crushed crackers
2 lbs. ground beef
1 1/2 t. salt (I use less)
1/4 t. pepper
Mix tomato sauce with sugar, vinegar, and mustard until sugar is dissolved.
Beat egg slightly; add onion, crackers, beef, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce mixture. Combine lightly, but thoroughly.
Shape meat into oval loaf in a bowl; turn into shall baking dish, keeping loaf shapely. Pour on rest of tomato sauce mixture.
Bake in hot oven (400 degrees F.) 45 minutes, basting occasionally. With 2 broad spatulas, lift onto platter. Serves 8.
And there is an on-going class on Maimonides 13 Principles of Faith at Temple Israel each Tuesday from 12-1 p.m.
Saturday, February 26, 2005
849 Publishers not making centsNot a statistic that a librarian or book seller wants to read, but according to AdAge, we're spending a lot less on reading today than we did 50 years ago.
"The share of money spent on entertainment has hovered around 5% since 1950, but priorities have shifted. Spending on consumer electronics has soared; spending on newspapers, magazines and books has plummeted. The average household apportioned just 0.3% of spending ($127) for reading materials in 2003, down from 1% ($51, or $317 adjusted for inflation) in 1960.
The rich, who also are more educated, spend more money on print media and books than the poor do. But don’t read too much into that. It turns out households in every quintile of income spent the same average 0.3% of budget on reading in 2003. For publishers, that doesn’t make cents."
We're spending a lot less on food and a lot more on "other," according to the article that appeared in American Demographics.
Complete story about "What U.S. Consumers Buy and Why" with downloadable charts at AdAge.com. (Might require registration.)
848 AP disrespect and disinformationThe Bradenton Herald has an Associated Press article by Mitch Stacy (Tampa) about the Terri Schiavo case. Then there is a national AP story also filed by Stacy. The local AP article is about as biased and distorted as anything I've read in the MSM. But then, I've heard that the Florida papers are really pushing her demise so they can move on. After so many years, they are probably tired of this case. Perhaps the local paper just uses Stacy's by-line and edits at will.
". . .kept alive artificially" Perhaps nutrition is "artificial" for Mitch, but not for me. None of us eat without the help of farmers, truckers, food processors, marketers, wholesalers and retailers.
". . .parents, who want her kept alive" isn't accurate, Mitch--"want her to be allowed to live" would be a better choice of words.
"The court is no longer comfortable. . ." Mitch, you need to look into whether this story should be about Judge Greer's comfort, or Terri's comfort. It hurts to starve.
"long-running family feud" Let's not trivialize what has much larger implications for society and the growing push for active euthanasia. It isn't called a "feud" in the national report. Is this an Appalachian/southern turn of phrase?
"Terri Schiavo's collapse brought on by an eating disorder. . ." Seems to be quite a bit of evidence of physical abuse--you might have at least presented the whole story instead of just Michael's, Mitch.
"I am very pleased . . ." Felos said. Mitch, you might have mentioned a possible conflict of interest, since it is reported Felos is on the board of directors of the hospice where she resides, and hospice facilities offer no rehabilitation or therapy, only a way to die. The national AP article has an even stranger quote from him--about if Terri could get up for an hour and see what was happening. Felos will make sure that scenario won't happen.
"[Gov.] Bush intervened in October 2003 to keep her alive six days after the tube was removed." My, she certainly is a tough little sucker for all you say about her "right to die." I don't know that I'd make it 6 days without food and water.
". . .Terri's wishes not to be kept alive artificially must now be enforced." There is absolutely no evidence that this was Terri's wish, and it is pretty unlikely that 25 year olds talk much about how they want to die.
"The Department of Children & Families is also seeking to intervene in the case." Let's see, what else do we know about this agency's prompt care and action?
"[Schiavo] started a new family with another woman" Nice turn of a phrase for adultery, Mitch. No conflict there, right? Also no mention of this tawdry tale in the national report. Probably not important, right?
"elements of a soap opera" You didn't use this cheap slam the national article.
"persistent vegetative state as court-appointed doctors have ruled." Just what were the qualifications of said doctors, Mitch.
I don't know why the same reporter's name is attached to two AP stories on the same topic and the two stories are so completely different, but in the other one (national) Stacy reports, "[Schiavo] has spent most of a $700,000 medical malpractice award given to his wife for her care to pay his attorney." Is it legal to spend a malpractice award intended for care to kill the patient? Does Felos take cases that have no such $$ attached? Does this part of the story not fly well in the south?
846 Praying about head liceWe all started feeling itchy as she was telling us about the head lice infestation in her classroom and measures they were taking to prevent the spread. Head lice are (is?) a serious problem for elementary school children. The scientific name for head louse is Pediculus humanus capitis. Sort of rhymes with ridiculous. Another name for infestation with head lice is pediculosis. Description here.
The measures were common sense--the children kept their coats on the back of their chairs, rather than in the coat room sharing space, and were told to keep their hair up off their shoulders. Wouldn't you know, the parent of the child who was the source of most of the infections, objected to the teacher telling his child how to wear her hair, so the word came down from the office, "No rules on hair styles." Schools are very fearful of law suits, so even practical measures that apply to all children and don't single any one out may not be workable.
There is one school in Columbus that has no head lice. It has a special group of prayer warriors who pray about that, and for over a year, no child in the school has had head lice. So we decided we'd be an ad hoc prayer group for that school, and specifically that class room. I suppose we could have included the whole school system, but we're going after this one louse at a time.
I don't know to whom you would send this card genre, but there are e-cards for the occasion that calls for mail to nit wits.
844 Enough of the big issues for awhileThere is a growing list if irritants in my notebook, so I'll just throw them out here, like emptying the trash. You are welcome to any of them if you need a minor crusade.
1) People who drop off grocery carts a few feet from the corral, or in the middle of a parking spot that is close to the door.
2) People who drop off their passenger at the door of the coffee shop, and then don't move their giant SUV or Hummvee so I can't get my car in or out.
3) Clerks who wear protective gloves to handle food, but then leave them in place to make change at the cash register.
4) Long artificial fingernails on anyone, but especially food workers (the bacteria count under them is incredible!).
5) Messy public restrooms with permanent tattoos of feces and urine with posted signs about cleanliness and hygiene for their staff.
6) Darters and dodgers racing to the next stop light where we idle together.
7) Restaurants that drive away regulars with menu changes while trying to attract new customers (churches too, with music that does this).
8) Friends and college roommates who don't write or e-mail.
9) Magazine agencies that send renewal notices 10 months early.
10) People who look and sound and act like someone I used to know, but aren't.
843 She wants to be fed and wateredFlorida Cracker always has a good take on the issues, plus she is consistent. She saves injured animals and cares about people too. About the food and water issue (and last I looked we all need some help with that):
"This witholding of food and water is actually getting pretty common. I was reading about a man named Hugh Finn whose wife had him starved to death even though his family wanted him. His family had to pay her court costs for the legal fight too.
Rather than eye Mr. Cracker with suspicion, I did a living will saying I want my food and water any way I can get them. It's not too much to ask that you be fed and watered twice a day.
The things you have to do these days to protect yourself from hearsay."
She has some further observations. Comments by one of her readers who prepares Living Wills is also worth reading.
Friday, February 25, 2005
842 Final photosA washed up digital camera reveals the last moments of a Canadian couple, victims of the tsunami. Photos. The camera of John and Jackie Krill was found by Christian Pilet, a Baptist relief worker, who used the Internet to track down their family.
841 Tell us how you really feel, Joel"Who the !!@*@*!! let this happen??? Apparently, the movie of C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is in the hands of...Disney!!! That's right, Disney!
Just who is responsible for this? Is a Buddhist-Agnostico-New-Age-Schlockfestico redaction of the world's greatest work of Christian children's fiction really what the world needs right now?
I mean, please! Heads need to roll on this one."
The Rev is revved on this one.
840 Conflict of Interest?Should George Felos, Michael Schiavo's attorney, be on the board of directors of the Hospice where she resides and gets no treatment? Seems odd to me, if Becki is telling this story correctly:
"Terri was even starting to speak again - words like "yes" "no" and "stop that" - but that was before Michael Schiavo hired George Felos to help his wife "die with dignity". Now, Terri's parents have been safely removed so as to avoid "false hope". All media and medical access is tightly controlled by Micheal Schiavo and Felos; in response, Terri has at last physically and mentally degenerated to the level where she may be exterminated by polite society.
Terri's slow death will grind down to a brutal, final starvation, executed at Felos' request. Upon Terri's death, several hundred thousand dollars that were earmarked for Terri's long-term care and therapy will finally be released to her husband Michael Schiavo, his new lover and their two children, to his attorney George Felos, and quite possibly in turn to the Hospice itself. It is unknown if Felos would advocate quick death for hospice patients who do not have large sums of money lubricating their exit from life; evidently the Hospice has not been forthcoming with clients in regard to George Felos' true role at the Hospice."
Comments on Felos here.
839 Hotel Rwanda and Million dollar babyI won't be seeing either movie, but if it were up to me, based only on the reviews, I'd vote for Hotel Rwanda to walk off with more awards.
At least, it attempts to tell the truth about when a million or so Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred in Rwanda and the rest of the world looked away. It is about a hotel manager who saved about 1200 of his countrymen while waiting, saying--"they will come."
"Baby" is a love story of sorts (according to Jim at the coffee shop). But it is getting picketed by disabled advocacy groups who say the writers didn't do their homework and depict an inaccurate view of the disabled and their care. Others say it is just a political paean to active euthanasia. I don't think the disability advocates care that the boxer wanted to die rather than live without fame; they just wanted some respect for the disabled.
838 Information theoryI just used Answers.com to look up the term "information theory." It reported:
"The theory of the probability of transmission of messages with specified accuracy when the bits of information constituting the messages are subject, with certain probabilities, to transmission failure, distortion, and accidental additions."
Paul's blog (he's a PhD candidate for saving Terri's life) is about information theory. But I'm still confused. If you use "theory" and "probability" in the same sentence, I just black out.
But my oh my, I do love Answers.com.
837 Tag, you're itWhen reading this story, I wondered if I would have ever made it to high school with the sort of hysteria that's reported about schools these days.
First off, I would've been in the headlines and my teacher jailed for child abuse, because one day in first grade she yanked my braids so hard she snapped my neck and then tied a towel around my face because I talked too much (imagine that!). The other children were not even reprimanded for laughing at me and damaging my self esteem.
Then there was that sex scandal. When I was in third grade and Tommy in fourth, we used to sneak across the street to the church with dense bushes (EUB?) and kiss.
Gender issues, yes we had them. In fourth grade I was the fastest runner in the class at recess, even if I had sore arches and a pain in my side from the glory. I looked around one day and saw that I was leaving the little boys in the dust, and figured out very quickly I needed to not show up the boys at their own game.
Grade school on a very cold day in Forreston
836 Let's be humble--you go firstThis morning I heard an interview on radio 610 with Maurice Clarett in which he actually said, "It's a very humbling thing being humble." Athletes need to arrive on campus or at camp with a large supply of duct tape to seal their mouths. No entertainers, politicos or defendants in a criminal act ever make the ridiculous remarks that athletes do. I think journalists interview them just so they can poke fun because they didn't get a letter in high school. It's their big chance to get back at the guys who kicked sand in their faces as teen-agers.
""It's a humbling thing being humble," Clarett said. "I got a second chance to make a first impression." " some reporter's version.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
834 Presidential Dog and Pony ShowJoe Blundo says he loves seeing former Presidents Bush and Clinton together. He wants them to bring their new sense of cooperation to the U.S. after touring tsunami stricken countries for a "Shut up and do something Initiative" for Americans.
I thought the commercials were nice too, but President Clinton looks a bit pale and wan, don't you think. So I thought maybe I wouldn't lose that weight after all.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
833 Anniversary of Lincoln's first assassination attemptToday is the 144th anniversary of the first assassination attempt on President Lincoln. Most people don't know that it was an Ohio librarian who saved his life.
Colonel William T. Coggeshall, State Librarian of Ohio for 6 years, 1856-1862, was only 42 when he died in 1867. He wrote Poets and Poetry of the West, (Columbus, OH: Follett, Foster And Company, 1860). At the time, Ohio was considered “the West.” He died in Ecuador where he had gone as Ambassador after the Civil War ended. Coggeshall had been hired as a bodyguard and secret agent for President Lincoln, and saved his life shortly before his inauguration by intercepting a grenade thrown on the train. This was not revealed until 1908, long after the deaths of both Lincoln and Coggeshall. The incident is reported in Colonel Coggeshall, the man who saved Lincoln, by Freda Postle Koch.
One other example of his devotion to Lincoln, is that the Coggeshalls had a daughter born on September 20, 1862, the day Coggeshall received a telegram from Washington that Lincoln had a final draft of the emancipation proclamation. He decided to name the baby girl, "Emancipation Proclamation Coggeshall," but not until Richmond fell. Richmond didn't fall until April 3, 1865, so she was called "Girlie" for two and a half years, and then named Emancipation Proclamation. When she got to school, a teacher nicknamed her Prockie, which she was called the rest of her life (she died at 51). Her grave marker says E. Prockie, but her family continued to call her "Girlie."
The State Library of Ohio now has a room named for Coggeshall.
832 Are Florida statutes being violated?To look at these statutes in Florida about the rights of the disabled, you'd think they'd be protected. But even without a careful reading, it would appear Michael Schiavo has violated most of them, and Florida authorities have just looked the other way. He hasn't filed a guardianship plan for years, he's provided her no therapy since 1992, he has mismanaged her money (rehab money has been spent on lawyers fighting her parents), he moved her to hospice without court authority, and he is living in adultery, a misdemeanor in Florida (which ought to make him a poor guardian of her interests as well as a bad husband). He's also given orders to her caretakers not to treat simple maladies which could be fatal for a bedridden person. Now these are charges--not court findings. But shouldn't someone be at least be looking at the guardian courts that are supposed to review the guardian's plan for therapy?
831 LustUsually I don't take my car to the dealership for service, but this was a warranty recall, so after the coffee shop I drove north to hunt for the dealer (winding streets through the shopping centers). I prefer the local Pro-Care or Marathon guys, because going to the dealer is the equivalent of being asked to wait in the bar for an hour while your table number comes up in a restaurant. It gave me just enough time to wander around the show room and see a car I'd never noticed before, the Dodge Magnum. It is a station wagon with attitude, muscle, and good gas mileage.
I just love my Dodge minivan--it is my third since 1989. It is the only automobile I can ride in for hours and not be crippled, and it is tall enough to at least allow me to see around a few of the SUVs that hog the road in these parts and short enough to fit nicely in the garage and not throw me into the trash cans when I exit. But taking someone to the airport, the doctor's office, or a restaurant, and trying to shove or lift them into that back seat is a chore. We took our 84 year old neighbor to a concert last Spring and it was a bit of a challenge. Even running boards (or whatever we call them today) don't help much. Riding in Jean's Lincoln last week reminded me how nice it was not to rip a skirt or hike it up my thigh trying to climb into a van.
830 The voice of experienceOne of Terri's bloggers writes from personal experience with rehabilitation. How well I remember facing the "experts." After my daughter's cancer surgery I sat in a room with a table of specialists--each recommending their own specialty, each contradicting the other.
"I am biologically tenacious, aren't you? Knowing what I know now, I am extremely grateful that I have never lived under Judge George Greer's jurisdiction. I have chronic progressive multiple sclerosis, have an electric wheelchair, and have been through acute rehabilitation at the University of Utah Medical Center four times. In two of those extended stays in the hospital I was given the beautiful opportunity to learn how to swallow, speak, eat, and to continue with my life. I was treated by experts, a multidisciplinary medical team that had the experience to evaluate and rehabilitate me. All of these opportunities have been denied Terri Schiavo.
In previous orders by Judge Greer to remove Terri's feeding tube he based the orders on the testimonies of doctors who say Terri is in a persistent vegetative state(none of which were qualified medical rehabilitation experts). But doctors employed by the Schindlers to assess her condition conclude that with therapy, she could learn to eat and drink on her own and perhaps learn to talk. However, those assessments were not allowed in court by Judge Greer." Richard has more to say.
Although I personally believe the rehabilitation will come too late, I also don't believe that is the only issue--whether she can speak (or do math or paint a masterpiece). We do not place value on people because of their speech or swallowing. The media reports slip off the horse on one side or the other--either the side that she has no brain activity at all, or swerving over to maybe there is hope for her like the woman who awoke from a coma after 20 years. When in doubt, choose life.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
829 About as far off as a test can be
You Are 29 Years Old
Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.
13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.
20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.
30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!
40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.
It must have been the question on lying. None of them fit (can't remember the last lie I told), so I checked Lied about my age, because that sounded like something someone my age would do. But perhaps you're more likely to do it in your 20s than 60s? I don't feel 29; would not want to be 29 and have to go through all that nonsense again!
828 Childhood memories--learning to drawBoth Karin and Paula are blogging about childhood memories, getting ideas from different sources, and both are writers having recently participated in the write a novel in a month (NaNoWriMo) contest. I've just about tapped that source out (childhood), or the memory cells are shriveling (Quick--if you've got one, write it down. Don't expect it to stick around forever).
This was written two years ago, and no, I didn't stick with my plan.
When I was in the early elementary grades, for some reason I fell in love with horses. I was probably about seven, because I don’t remember having any interest in horses in first grade. In pretend outdoor games, I was always riding a horse--galloping. Also, indoors--as I would trot on my hands and knees through the living room with my younger brother on my back until Daddy would complain we were making too much noise. My blue bicycle was my horse, Rusty (even though it wasn’t) and my friend JoElla’s bicycle was “Red,” also a horse and also blue. We would ride Rusty and Red around Forreston developing the storyline as we went.
My interest in horses soon moved to books and drawing. I read all the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley and all the Marguerite Henry books. I still have my “Born to Trot” and “The Blood-bay Colt.” I would draw horse stories, it seems now, by the hour at the dining room table. Mother brought home discontinued wall paper rolls for me to use as drawing paper if we ran out of our own scraps. (This was before the pre-pasted came on the market.) My uncle worked at a printing plant and she would also get bundles of unused white newsprint from him for me to draw on.
Mother never interfered or gave advice--she did however, buy me a few “how-to” drawing books and took me along with her to Freeport to the adult night school where I took a brief drawing class (the only child in the class) while she took a typing class. I really didn’t care much for this class because horses were the only thing I knew how to draw or cared about, and the instructor would set up a still life with draping and small figurines--really boring for a kid. But one day Mother stopped at the dining room table--I can see and hear her as though it happened today--and observed that horses had “hocks” and if I would just make a few curves in the hind legs, my horses might look more realistic. She had grown up on a farm and ridden behind “Beauty,” in a carriage when the roads were bad in the Spring and also had a pony one summer when her family was in Nebraska. So, although she wasn’t much of an artist, she knew the shape of a horse from direct experience, something I didn’t have. What a transformation. Instead of straight legs, my horses now had a bit more grace, and I drew even more furiously and made up even more exciting stories.
To this day, a horse is the only animal I can draw. Every time I look at my stick-like figures of dogs, cows and bunnies, it puzzles me that I can draw horses while blindfolded or standing on my head or in the dirt with my big toe. Obviously, my skill with horses is a result of practice and devotion and not talent. So last week, I decided I would go on a crash course to learn to draw animals. I never set goals because I’m a problem solver. So, to solve this problem of stick figured dogs and cats, I decided I would practice drawing one and a half animals a week--for seven days I would work and concentrate on one animal and around day five I’d start the next animal. I have a very smart cat. She rolls up in a ball and closes her eyes when she sees me pick up a pencil and open a sketchbook.
Monday, February 21, 2005
826 Gender styles in bloggingFinding female bloggers for my links took a long time. But now I've got a good group. Today I found a "Gender Genie" that thinks most of my own blogs are written by a male! You copy and paste one of your own writing examples (fiction, non-fiction or blog) into a window for analysis. The results color code the key words for determining gender. Interestingly, frequent use of the word "the" throws this writer into the male column. I tested several of my blog entries. The one I wrote about my husband being locked out of the house rated me as a female; the one I wrote about bread pudding had me overwhelmingly in the male column. Go figure. The blog I wrote in April 2004 about the Festival of Writing also put me in the male column, as did the one about deer-car collisions on the trip to Illinois.
The designer of the test has about 60% accuracy, but if I keep submitting, I'll mess them up. If you try this, you need to be careful not to use as an example one in which you do a lot of quoting. Otherwise, it isn't checking on you--but that other guy.
Gannon GuckertHas anyone made any sense out of this dual identity, reporter/blogger, straight/gay story? It must be a really light news day if all the MSM AND bloggers have to do is report this non-story. It sure is chewing up bandwidth and pixels. Meanwhile, Terri dies tomorrow (or starts dying, since starvation is slow and painful).
I've tried WaPo, NYT and Slate, and some lesser beings. The innuendo, snipes and slurs are almost tsunami level. Remind me again, which party is it that has it in for gays? If you have a reasonable, well-informed link to suggest, e-mail me.
824 My blue flip flopsThis is not about John Kerry. Two years ago I purchased a pair of bright blue flip flops with little sparkles on the straps for $1.00 to wear in the shower house at the RV park in Florida. I left them with my sister-in-law to use when I came back, or for anyone else visiting. I'm no expert on this type of footwear, but apparently, neither is anyone else, not even the ones who spend a lot more.
Last week Wall Street Journal did a survey on flip flops (average cost $600 a pair) and tested men to see if they could pick the $24 variety from the $1,000 kind. The designer/brands were Manolo Blahnik, alligator strap for $1,190; Brian Atwood, gold, $450; and Miss Trish, $530. And so forth. (The Manolo Blahnik shoes the new Mrs. Trump wore at her wedding were so expensive they were on loan!) The men failed the WSJ test--usually choosing the cheaper pair as the more expensive. So they tried asking women, and they too failed. Apparently there is no way to tell the pricey ones by looking. So if you're going to pay $1,000 more for flip flops than I do, would you leave the price tag on, wear a sign around your neck, or just casually drop a comment to your closest 30 friends at lunch about the high cost of looking good?
The rich have a different set of problems, don't they. I can't find a photo of these sandals, but here's a site that makes my feet hurt to look at it.
Sunday, February 20, 2005
823 Now I'm a mammal?When I went to Florida I was a marsupial; when I came back I was a reptile, now I'm a mammal. If this makes no sense to you, let me explain it is a rating system for blogs, based on unique links (I think). No matter how many people visit my site, it always flatlines at 71, so that apparently doesn't count.
No matter--that's not my topic. What I want to comment on is that the main stream media (MSM) has either ignored Terri Schiavo's situation or given erroneous information--saying she is in a vegetative state when her father says she can smile, return a kiss and say simple words. I visit a woman in a nursing home who can only tell me with her beautiful eyes that she knows I am there--and no one is trying to kill her. I visit another woman who had a brain stem aneurysm when she was 18, and has been using a feeding tube for over 30 years, but she knows who I am even if I haven't seen her in 5 years (I used to be her volunteer). She can also be fed with a spoon, but it takes a long time. Terri's husband won't allow her to be fed with a spoon. So the MSM has it wrong.
What about the bloggers--the pajamahadeen? Those big brave wannabe journalists of the new media? Well, most of the "higher beings" and "mortal humans" are off chasing stories about reporters in the MSM, charting red state/blue state minutia and nattering about someone who borrowed someone else's computer, leaving it to us little guys, the reptiles, mammals and slime to chip away at this story. Too busy to save a life of a woman in Florida, who will be executed on Tuesday, February 22. Here's their opportunity to really make a difference and they've put away their keyboards, folded their pajamas, put on their neckties and gone out for the evening. Thump hairy primate chest and chatter about how they brought down Dan Rather.
Current exhibits at Columbus Museum of Art
After church today we drove downtown to see this winter's group of exhibits at the Columbus Museum of Art.
Duane Hanson: Portraits from the Heartland December 11, 2004 - March 6, 2005
The Allen Sisters: Pictorial Photographers 1885-1920 January 15 - March 20, 2005
Claude Raguet Hirst: Transforming the American Still Life January 15 - April 10, 2005
Bringing Modernism Home: Ohio Decorative Arts 1890-1960 January 28 - April 17, 2005
and the photographs of Art Sinsabaugh, which for some reason don't have a link on the museum page.
The Hanson sculptures are amazing and eerie. Because there are guards sitting around very still close to the sculptures, sometimes you're not sure--is this a real person or a sculpture. The woman reclining in a lawn chair in her bikini had a sun burn and cellulite! The museum was full of families--many peering into the faces of these lifelike. . . forms. Looking more real than most real people.
The photographs of the Allen sisters make me want to go through the few old Ladies Home Journals I have from the early 20th century (my grandmother's). They did a lot of photographs for magazines, and the exhibit shows the changes in their art over the years. Ms. Hirst's still lifes were also very interesting--particularly the ones she did of books, and her uniquely female way of painting of "bachelor art" a genre that appealed primarily to men.
My favorite was the Ohio Decorative Arts exhibit, and the Sunday morning lark became a bit more expensive (also included lunch in the museum restaurant, designed by my husband) when I couldn't resist buying the book, Bringing modernism home; Ohio decorative arts, 1890-1960, by Carol Boram-Hays (Ohio University Press, 2005). Because of the large number of glass and pottery companies in Ohio, it really is possible to build a very large collection with just Ohio artists (although many were immigrants from Europe and Japan).
"Bringing Modernism Home illuminates how Ohioans were influential in bringing international vanguard movements such as Arts and Crafts, Art Deco and Art Moderne out of the rarefied atmosphere of art galleries and museums and into the domestic realm. Included are works by nationally regarded figures such as Russel Wright and Viktor Schreckengost, as well as renowned creations by the important studios and manufactories Rookwood Pottery, Rose Iron Works, Hall China, and the Libbey Glass Company." Read more.
Art Sinsabaugh's photographs, which we just stumbled into, included many scenes we remember from the Champaign, Urbana, and Rantoul area. At first he didn't like the flatness of central Illinois, but soon found it beautiful, and by cropping his 12 x 20 negatives, he was able to achieve the far horizon/big sky those of us who lived in that area recognize. Also the Chicago scenes from the 1960s are wonderful.
821 Governor Bush and TerriThis writer thinks Governor Bush is being too weak about his powers and the state constitution of Florida:
"Florida’s state constitution says "All natural persons, female and male alike, are equal before the law and have inalienable rights, among which are the right to enjoy and defend life and liberty, to pursue happiness...No person shall be deprived of any right because of race, religion, national origin, or physical disability." The fact that a Circuit Judge continues to ignore Florida statutes does not change the state constitution.
Jeb Bush took an oath to uphold that constitution and yet (despite receiving 120,000 e-mails begging him to save her), he let Terri Schiavo starve (and dehydrate) for six days back in October 2003 until the Florida legislature passed a law that gave him political cover. Now that the courts have struck down "Terri’s Law", don't be surprised if Jeb behaves as if the constitution he swore to uphold is still not relevant to Terri Schiavo. Don't be surprised if he allows her husband to slowly starve and dehydrate her to death."
This is one of the contributions at Wittenberg Gate blog. Governors can commute death penalties for murderers, why not victims? Some things about law I don't understand.
820 Which Democrat would you be?Pejman Yousefzadeh speculates about being a Democrat (it's a stretch), and how he might choose between the Clinton wing and the Dean wing of the party:
"If we once again transport ourselves to an alternate universe--one in which I am a left-of-center Pej--I would resolve the argument by asking which wing of the Democratic Party had the most electoral success. The Democrats ran an angry campaign in the 2002 midterm elections--and lost. They then proceeded to run an even angrier campaign in 2004--and lost. By contrast, Bill Clinton won twice, and while his party lost both houses of Congress in 1994, the more ideological Democrats have not fared any better in congressional elections, and Clinton helped his party achieve midterm gains in 1998--an amazing feat given that Clinton was mired in scandal and that the President's party usually loses seats in midterm elections."
He wrote this for Redstate.org, commenting on the Washington Post article, but he has his own blog where this is cross posted.
819 Mounds of trashNear by we have an Adena burial mound--at least that is what I told my children when we'd drive a mile or so from our home to look at it on the other side of the Scioto River. I don't remember how I learned about it. There has been a lot of development in that area in the last 30 years, but I hope the mound has been protected.
There are many mounds much more famous in other Ohio counties, and according to the 1892 History of the City of Columbus, Columbus and Worthington had a number of them, leveled as "progress" took ahold in this area.
"One of the most pretentious mounds in the County was that which formerly occupied the crowning point of the highland on the eastern side of the Scioto River, at the spot where now rises St. Pauls Lutheran Church and adjoining buildings, on the southeast corner of High and Mound Streets in Columbus. Not a trace of this work is left, save the terraces of the church, although if it were yet standing as it stood a century ago, it would be remarked as one of the most imposing monuments of the original Scioto race. When the first settlers came it was regarded as a wonder, and yet it was not spared. The expansion of the city demanded its demolition, and therefore this grand relic of Ohio's antiquity was swept away."
Joel Brondos of Collarbones tells of visiting Cahokia Mounds State Park recently where his family had stopped when he was a child. In addition to the mounds made by the early American peoples, he noted that we now have mounds of landscaped trash around St. Louis (and other cities). Just down the road from the sacred mound we used to visit, luxury housing has been developed--at the site of a former gravel pit along the river. As we'd drive across the bridge during construction, we watched the holes and valleys fill with refuse, rocks, road debris and concrete chunks from demolition sites and then the piles would be leveled with compactors. Surely when the early peoples built their monuments to their culture, they thought they would last forever. Building luxury homes on a compacted pile of trash certainly is a sign of our culture, as were the Adena mounds.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
817 Making sure the kids are alrightNot my topic, but that was the article title in the Wall Street Journal yesterday by Sarah Tilton. All about baby monitors. When did "alright" become a standard English word? I checked Answers.com thinking it would give a little on this one, but even it listed "alright" as nonstandard English. When I was writing professionally, it was beyond nonstandard--it was circled and deleted.
One of the hot topics in letters to the editor yesterday was the "senior projects" article [that appeared Feb. 8, I believe]. I didn't see the articles, but it isn't "alright" with parents that kids who've squeeked through 11 grades have a sink or swim senior project. One wrote:
"If Johnny can't write clearly [in 12th grade] perhaps he needs to practice writing in grades K-11. . .read the works of great writers. . .practice annotation in middle school and elementary school. If Suzy can't do basic math, she may need to give up "anger management," and "family life" classes and do more math."
Forgive me for not reading the article, but when was this golden age of public school education? Certainly not in the 1920s for my parents, nor the 1950s for me. Nor the 80s when my children were in school (although standards were stiffer in their era than mine). As I've noted before here, if it weren't for the "Authors Card Game," I wouldn't have even recognized an American or British author of the 18th or 19th century when I was a teenager. If my parents hadn't paid for my piano lessons, I wouldn't be able to read music.
I had a senior project in high school; I think it was 1/4 of our American history grade. The class was taught by the coach, so only the athletes were safe. We knew about this ahead of time, so the summer of 1956 I followed the presidential election and clipped articles about Eisenhower and Stevenson and the conventions from Time and U.S. News and World Report. I know I got an A on the project, but I don't think that would pass muster as research in today's high schools--articles from two weekly news magazines.
The two high school courses I have never stopped using are Latin and typing. A dead language that is the foundation for our own and a clerical skill (can still type 60 wpm) for a machine that no one uses today--who'da thunk it.
816 Important cultural surveyIs your librarian tattooed? Do you have tattoos and work in a library? Must be the new image. Curmudgeony Librarian is doing this important lifestyle survey. Librarians are not exactly a cross section of society--still predominately a female profession (except for directors--that position is probably over 50% male), still predominately (overwhelmingly) liberal even in red states, and the last time I looked, educated far beyond what the position description called for.
Tattoo was not on my list of words to use, but curmudgeon was. I love it when a plan comes together.
Friday, February 18, 2005
815 Shall we dance?We went to the dollar theater tonight and saw Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez in Shall We Dance. The minute it started I whispered to my husband, "Didn't we just see the Japanese version of this?" Well, I think it was about 8 years ago, but it was a really charming movie.
"On his evening commute, bored accountant Sugiyama (Koji Yakusho) always looks for the beautiful woman who gazes wistfully out the window of the Kishikawa School of Dancing. One night he gets off the train, walks into the studio, and signs up for a class. Soon Sugiyama is so engrossed in his dancing he practices his steps on the train platform and under his desk, and becomes good enough for competition, compelling his wife to hire a private investigator to find out why he stays out late and returns home smelling of perfume."
In those days of the late 90s our Friday night date restaurant was Gottlieb's down on Third Avenue, because I remember we went there after that movie. We don't see many movies, but we've closed a lot of restaurants in our day--and it was one of them. For the last five years we've been going to Old Bag of Nails, a sandwich/bar/deli near here, so that's where we went to meet our son for dinner after this movie. Not only was Richard Gere not a good fit for this movie (just doesn't strike me as an uptight business man deeply in love with his wife, the always ugly Susan Sarandon), but worse, they've changed the menu at "our" restaurant. More dinners, fewer salads and sandwiches. It will probably close soon. I read that the owner tried to get a liquor license to set up shop in Westerville, Ohio, the home of the WTCU and Driest city in the country.
814 One more ValentineA few weeks ago I checked out an antiques and collectibles guide from the public library because I wanted to check the value of some things I'd been collecting over the years. Usually these titles don't circulate, but apparently the policy had changed and a 2005 guide was available.
They are sort of fun to browse as you notice things you remember from grandma's house, or toys you threw away when they no longer interested you and now are collectible. A few years ago I freed up some space by giving my son his Fischer-Price garage and autos, and I think he made someone on e-bay very happy with it, because the wooden ones are quite collectible.
Anyway, this guide included a section on Valentines. I discovered that the scrapbook I'd made of my mother's valentines from her childhood about 30 years ago included sweet little pieces of paper more valuable than any of the pottery I'd purchased and collected over the years. This one is 3 dimensional and was given to her by her teacher.
To my Valentine
This one was given to my uncle Clare (killed in WWII) by his older brother.
813 The Real Reason is in the TranscriptKevin Aylward at Wizbang Blog thinks he has the real reason Lawrence Summers, President of Harvard, was attacked by the left for his remarks about the differences between men and women. Until the transcript was available we were left pondering paraphrases and snippets that didn't make much sense. The transcript reveals, he thinks, Summers asking questions about whether affirmative action and diversity programs are achieving their goals.
I thought my eyeballs would fall out from the parenthetical phrases and trying to work around Summers' academic mush-talk (is there a school to teach people to write this way?), but it is worth taking a look at the full transcript after letting Wizbang parse it for you.
812 If you have a disabilityThere are a lot of frail people in Florida. When we visited our relatives there last week we saw people in a life and death struggle to get from the parking lot to the cafeteria. Tubes, oxygen, walkers, wheelchairs. Their lives are very different from mine and they can't do many of the things they used to, nor can they contribute economically to society. But I'm not going to knock them down and bar the door of the restaurant (I'll leave that to Florida drivers).
That's what is happening to Terri Schiavo, a young woman who has a severe disability. The contribution she is making to our society is vast, however. Much greater than mine. She is teaching us about compassion, caring, humanity, empathy, and all their antonyms--judicial lust for power, a greedy lawyer writing a book, an unfaithful and possibly abusive husband. Terri may be disabled, but she is definitely not dying, the usual reason for removing hydration and nutrition.
"Despite what Michael Schiavo, some media outlets and various "right-to-die" groups in Florida and around the country report, Terri Schiavo is not dying; she does not have a terminal illness; she is not comatose; she is not, even by Florida state statute, in a persistent vegetative state. She is cognitively and physically disabled — period. Any reasonable person who views the video clips on the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation's website would recognize the truth of her condition. Terri's disability requires that she be given fluids and nutrition through a gastronomy tube – at meal times – much the equivalent of giving a baby formula through a bottle, and the removal of which would irrefutably cause her death by starvation and dehydration." The Washington Dispatch
Thursday, February 17, 2005
810 Don't forget your keysOnce a month my husband has lunch at the golf course club house with his watercolor buddies. Andy, his former partner in an architectural firm, has recently joined the group and stopped by here to pick him up. After they left, I took a cold remedy (had a scratchy throat) and went to bed. Several times I heard the phone ring, but decided I'd let the machine get it. I heard their voices downstairs at some point, and just rolled over and went back to sleep. After about two hours I came down and called to him in his office, assuming Andy had gone home.
After lunch the guys had decided to come back here for dessert--I'd made two sugar-free pies this week. When they got here they discovered I'd locked the door, and my husband hadn't taken his keys. He rang the doorbell several times. He looked inside the garage and saw my car. So they went to a neighbors and called (the phone I heard and didn't answer). (If my husband were younger, he would have had his cell phone with him.) Then they drove to Panera's thinking I'd gone out for coffee with a friend. Finally they drove to our daughter's office a few miles north and got her key. Upon checking to see if I was missing or dead, he found me sound asleep, so the two guys each enjoyed a piece of pie, one chocolate, one rhubarb.
Andy was really hankering for rhubarb pie, I guess, because that's a lot of trouble for a piece of pie--even mine (I make the best crust east of the Mississippi). Otherwise, he would have left off his passenger after lunch and driven away.
809 Howard Dean and the NHLNot even a news junkie like me could find a relationship between Howard Dean starting as chair of the DNC and the ending (officially) of the NHL season that never was.
The players and owners have plenty of money. They were only a few million off in the salary cap figures--I don't know about you, but I wouldn't quibble about 4 or 5 million.
The people I feel sorry for are the businesses in our "arena district." Not only the small bricks and mortar ones, but the little guy who was maybe selling souvenirs on the street corner to the crowds, and of course the waitress and busboy group who hadn't been able to set aside a strike fund. The Blue Jackets have already lost a number of their employees who have been waiting since September for something to happen.
Columbus defeated an attempt to build the arena with tax dollars in 1997, so it was built with private money (fortunately). But the city spent a bundle on improvements for the area, and was benefiting from the district's business. Also, I suspect the fans have a short attention span. The base was just getting solid here.
In December, Business First Editorial commented:
"They gave parts of downtown a vibrancy they'd never seen. They helped serve as a catalyst for urban redevelopment. They offered Central Ohioans prospects for fun (if not pricey) entertainment. They gave us something to talk about, even if we didn't fully appreciate the nuance of a left wing lock.
Millionaires fighting over money is always a loathsome sight. This battle already is plenty ugly. And as it goes on, the future fans of the league will get trampled some more. Silly us, and we thought sports was simply a diversion."
Howard Dean, meanwhile, called for a media blackout of his first talk with Richard Perle, then changed his mind, then called for the resignation of some GOP who opined off the cuff that the Dems were the party of "Barbara Boxer, Lynne Stewart and Howard Dean." Well, at least he didn't ask for millions. Sports and politics. Politics and sports. Poliorts.
808 The ConundrumEveryday I list 4 or 5 words in my notebook I'd like to use in a sentence. Usually, I find no topic or occasion to do so. These are not difficult words--stellar, daunting, irksome, culminated--just words I wouldn't ordinarily use. But yesterday I noted "conundrum" because I saw it twice in the Wall Street Journal. Then today when Answers.com popped up on my screen, it said "conundrum" was yesterday's word. Obviously, when Greenspan gave his Senate testimony and used that word, a lot of people looked it up.
It's just a fancy way to say riddle or puzzle, and today I think I may have occasion to use it in a blog--and not just as a quote of Mr. Greenspan, or noting its use in another publication. I think the Terri Schiavo case is a conundrum because people seem to be deciding her fate based on liberal or conservative political views--it has almost become a red state/blue state conundrum. What ever happened to the "bleeding heart" liberal? Where is the liberal who is all for the little guy, and willing to spend my taxes to help him? I've wondered about this in the abortion dilemma too. Who could be smaller and more in need of protection from the government than the unborn, or the brain injured? People who will stand in the rain at midnight outside of prisons before an execution of a rapist/murderer, or who will demand that Iraqi prisoners of war in Guantanamo have all the rights of American citizenship when it comes to imprisonment and trial, will turn up their blue noses at a fellow American in need of their assistance. Really, a conundrum.
In some cases, there is no one to care for an invalid, but this isn't the case here. Terri's husband could divorce her, marry the mother of his children, and Terri's parents could either love her as she is or get her help (which her husband has refused). I visit two women in nursing homes who are in Terri's condition. Although it is painful for their families, the women themselves are not unhappy or distressed.
You can add your blog address to a group rallying to save Terri at Hyscience.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
806 New Golf entryAt my other, other blog, In the Beginning, I've added an entry about a golf magazine, The Green Magazine, which hit the news stands (with a thud, I think) last June. Today at Borders I saw a new Meredith Corp. magazine, but it was about $15, so I passed. There is a limit to what I'd invest in a hobby, even one that isn't as expensive as golf! It was about gardens. Meredith has a long history with the other kind of green--plants--being the publisher of Better Homes and Gardens, but starting with Successful Farming in the early 20th century.
805 Enjoying a vacation--cut the stressI have not been following the Jason Eason/CNN/Bloggers flap. I saw only a few snippets of Floridian news last week (seems to be a very bad state for needy children and parents with problems). That’s what makes a vacation, in my opinion--turning off the news and not reading a newspaper. But I’ll just cut and paste this bit from Hugh Hewitt on how mainstream media journalists can conduct themselves, still be left of center, but maintain integrity:
“Here are the rules: Don't serially slander the military as assassins and torturers, and you can say whatever you want at Davos. Don't pass off obviously forged documents as super-"Scoops!" in the middle of a presidential election, and you can intone all the absurd "anchor" sayings you want. Don't cover for plagiarists, and you can be the off-the-cliff lefty editor for as long as you want. Don't say the memory of Christmas-Eve-in-Cambodia is "seared, seared" in your memory and then say "oops," you were mistaken, and folks won't question your credibility on other war-stories. Don't appear to endorse segregation, and you can be the Leader. These aren't high bars. Cross them.”
Hewitt is a conservative radio host whose little book In, but not of is on our book club list for next month. I went into Amazon.com and read 9 reviews and the introduction. I think it is quite popular as a graduation gift, but I can only find one copy in OhioLink (and it won’t let me place a save) and none at the local or metropolitan public libraries. It looks like a book on setting goals, Christian life, ambition, being the best you can be. One reviewer said he was 58 and still found it useful, so maybe I’ll benefit--and then pass it along to a younger family member (since I can’t get it from a library). Librarians, as I’ve reported before, as a group are politically very liberal, but I hope this doesn’t account for its scarcity on library shelves. I like to think my profession is above partisanship--and clever enough to work the crowd. His new book on Blogs is also quite unavailable locally.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
804 Jungle Gardens, Sarasota FloridaA few years ago, one of our nieces got married here on the site of Jungle Gardens, a lush tourist attraction. Although the marriage didn't last, it is still a pretty place to visit and to hold a special event. I was able to get quite close to the Flamingoes for photographs. It started as a private residence and evolved into a place to observe a variety of plants and animals.
In the photo, a bird is enjoying lunch while we waited for "Birds of the Rainforest" show. While we were there taking in the Florida sites and sights, I had more visitors to my blog site than when I am blogging. I should take more vacations.
Lunch with a friend
803 The shopping JeanQuite by accident, I discovered that my sister-in-law, Jean, has no shopping gene. This is unusual for a woman. While in Florida we were guests in their 8 x 33 RV trailer. We slept on a futon on the attached porch. The bathroom was pretty small--about the size of a postage stamp and I'm a #10 envelop. Tuesday I was brushing my teeth and threw my back out because I didn't open the door to put my rear end in the hallway. You get the picture?
So Jean loaned me one of their 3 back braces; they are sort of a lending library for the RV park, I think. It felt so good that I thought I should buy one. I've been having periodic back trouble since my horse fell on me years ago, and hadn't found much that would help. So she suggested Wal-Mart. I made a list of a few things I thought I needed and off we went in her big Lincoln (about the size of the trailer).
I just love to shop at Wal-Mart, but I knew we were in trouble the minute we stepped through the doors. She looked at the ceiling for the directional signs, pointed and said, "That way." We were off and running, and had all the list accomplished in about 2 minutes, were in the check-out lane and back in the parking lot in a no time.
I said, "Jean has no shopping gene."
Here's a cozy photo of the "kitchen," and we were playing Uno--this particular game lasted about 45 minutes (we didn't have the rules with us). We had such a good time that they bought a game too, and now we know what we were doing wrong.
Playing Uno in the trailer
802 Traveling with books"Books I travel with. . " dangles a preposition far away from its object, so I changed the topic line. They need to be light weight, easy to pick up and restart, and attention grabbing, so I can read above (below) people chatting in airports, on cell phones, or two guys loudly watching the Super Bowl 3 ft away in my relatives' trailer/camper. This trip had a first--a woman in a bathroom stall talking on her cell phone--made me wonder what the person on the other end was hearing. Then I realized it was the janitress, so probably the callee was accustomed to hearing toilets flush, and other less gentle sounds.
But the book I took along is "Got game; how the gamer generation is reshaping business forever" by John C. Beck and Michell Wade (Harvard Business School Press, 2004). The boomers were big--affected everything about our culture, but the "gamer" demographic is bigger yet, and so is the generation gap, according to Beck and Wade.
Gamers are those who have grown up with and regularly use video grames--and here the authors include arcade games, computer games, hand held games, and digital games played on TV. The delivery platform is not important, but the nature of game playing is (you are the star, everything is possible, things are simple, the young rule, etc.).
I found this book as interesting as a good novel because it revealed another universe going on around me which I'd been completely ignoring. It's the topic I skip when "Wired" does an article on xbox, and the blog I impatiently skim when it includes a love song to the latest purchase of an interactive fantasy game.
These authors look at the gamers from a business management angle, but teachers, pastors, social workers and librarians could also benefit because the world view is very different. The 25 year old Indianapolis gamer may have more in common with a gamer from Korea, than a 30 year old from Buffalo who is not a gamer.
If you are short on time, just read the introductory material--the rest is somewhat anecdotal and repetitive. However, it includes references, data and charts, something I always appreciate (it's a librarian thing). It will prepare you for understanding the gap.
Monday, February 14, 2005
The pony tailRemember in the mid-1970s the fifty-something waitress who still wore her hair around a "rat" like it was 1945? If you weren't born yet, just so you can picture this, you see something similar today on the beaches in Florida, and probably California.
Male boomers, bald as an egg, with tiny wispy gray pony tails in a petite sausage curl, announce the 'tude of their college days when long hair was a statement of rebellion for boys. Now the curl shouts, "Hell no, I won't go--into retirement, into a senior discount, into the sunset, into the rocking chair." Now it says, "Hey, I'm still so cool."
Saturday, February 12, 2005
Saturday evening in BradentonHere I am at my brother's blogging for the first time this week. Big blog withdrawal. We're celebrating my sister in law's birthday.
Nice week, but a little coolish. Did St. Armand's Circle, Jungle Gardens, ate breakfast at the Broken Egg, had lunch at the Sandbar, and I've had 2 pieces of key lime pie, my favorite.
We had a nice get together with all my Florida relatives at the Twin Dolphins today. Flying home Monday. Signing off.
Sunday, February 06, 2005
On the beachCertainly not my best painting, however it grabs the ambience of four midwesterners, fully clothed, heads covered, slathered in sun screen, covered with umbrellas. The women are looking at the water; the men are watching the babes.
On the beach
Check back next week for more exciting stories from Florida.
Saturday, February 05, 2005
801 National Adoption MonthIt isn't in February, it's November. But Marvin Olasky says nothing appeared in the major media about it even though there are 118,000 children in foster care who are eligible for adoption. He decided to cover the topic any way, and you can read it here for Capital Research Center. The co-author is Dan Vazquez who works in India with disadvantaged children and covers street children in Mexico for this article.
800 The cat who hears cheeseIf I open the door of the refrigerator and take out a tomato, or margarine or a sack of apples, I am alone. If I take out a package of cheese, the cat appears from nowhere and is sitting quietly behind me when I turn around. She could have been in a sound sleep on the couch in my office not having moved since breakfast at 5:15 a.m. with my comings and goings, entrances and exits.
She has issues--was abandoned or abused in young adulthood and we got her at a cat rescue place. Now I wonder if she had been locked up in a basement somewhere. Last week I brought home a 1954 National Geographic special reprint about the wonders of the telephone age from the freebie box at the public library. Since a baby bell has gobbled up momma, I thought it might be interesting (and it is, since it sort of chronicles that Bell Labs really didn't know the goldmines that awaited in the future). I didn't realize at first that it had a horrible odor. Our suburb had a very bad storm and flood in the early 70s. Our house was one of the few that did not flood (we had no basement), but for weeks the neighborhood reeked of mold and mildew, rotting carpet, and destroyed wall panelling as exhausted home owners brought damaged goods to the curb for pick up. Our neighbor's wine collection had all the labels loosen and float away (he was right on the creek).
Anyway, that's what "New Miracles of the Telephone Age" smells like. And the cat loves it. I put it next to the register thinking it needed to air out, but she sits on it, rolls on it, nibbles on the pages and looks like she is rolling in cat nip.
Must sound like cheese to her.
799 Put some spice in your marriage
Advice is something librarians dispense, but usually I stay away from advising people about relationships. I am well aware that I married the greatest guy in the world, so what's tough about that?
However, after 45 years, conversation does get a bit thin. He tends to say "Yes, yes," before I even get the words out of my mouth about something I read on a blog, because he just saw it on the News. So we've been having game night. So far, we've only tried Boggle, Racko and Uno, because I'm really, really awful at games, and I'm a poor loser. I'm also a poor winner, because I don't like to see anyone lose. Euchre is the national passtime for anyone from Indiana, so if I really want to wow him, I offer him a game of Euchre. Boys from Indianapolis find that very sexy.
Here's how it raises the level of discourse in our home:
"I can't believe I did that."
"Is that a word?"
"Let the answering machine take that."
"Do the rules say we can do that?"
"We've lost the rules."
"When did we buy this game anyway?"
"Box says 1971."
"I'm no good at this."
Since we'd lost the rules to the Uno game, my husband took it to his lunch session with the 4th grader he mentors. He explained it to him--but we think he missed a few of the finer points. It is an urban school in sort of a rough neighborhood and we suspect that whoever shouts loudest gets to set the rules. I tried checking the internet but found 3 sets of rules (to download) and they don't look like our box. Our first attempt ran to about 45 minutes, so we think we've missed something.
Boggle is more fun, but only for me. I'm the wordsmith in the family. My husband had a really awful start in school, but because he was sweet, cute and charming with adorable red curls, I think they didn't notice he was a poor reader. Good kids who don't make waves sometimes don't get the attention they should. He reads fine now--in fact, because he is disciplined and focused, he has read the Bible through 3 times, something I've never done (no discipline). But he only reads if he has too, like building specs or committee reports. It gives him no pleasure. When I first visited in his parents' home when I was in college, I noticed there was no reading material--not a newspaper or magazine or book. About 15 years later that had changed some. When we'd visit with the kids I could browse Field and Stream and the Indianapolis Star, and a few text book's my father-in-law had purchased for his job.
In Boggle you get one point for finding 3 or 4 letter words, two points for five, three for six, etc. The letters are upside down or backwards, but you can spell any direction--up, down, back, forward, sideways. In 3 minutes. If you both find the same word, neither gets a point. I thought my mind might react quicker if I refreshed it with four letter words. No, not that kind, but basic building blocks of most of our sentences. Suddenly, I began seeing four letter words everywhere. Then I stopped to write them down. My morning notebook, instead of having notes for my blogs, now has pages of told, bond, firm, them, week, push, just, over, took and take. Four or five pages of this nonsense. Then I tried putting them into rhymes and sentences. (Proper names are generally not used, however).
WITH THAT HUGE
POOR FLIP FLOP JOHN
TIPS OVER BOAT.
FOOT BALL BOWL FANS
GULP COLD BEER
WHEN TEAM LOSE
YELL FOUL PLAY
NINE TEEN FIVE FIVE
PROM GALS WAIT
PINK GRAY FORD
ROCK ROLL DATE.
BUSH HELD FAST
TALK SHOW TELL
LAST YEAR WINS
VOTE FROM HELL
THEY WERE CALM
JUST MORE HARD NOSE
CORE WILL STAY
COLD WIND BLOW
GALS SHOP TILL DROP
BACK FOOT SORE
SALE, SALE, SALE
HAIL TAXI PLAN MORE
Just so I can move on with my life, I'm going to start in on five letter words.
Friday, February 04, 2005
798 Hanson on fireUsually Victor Davis Hanson is fairly controlled, nuanced and cautious in criticism. But he's on fire in this one, "The Global Throng;
Why the world’s elites gnash their teeth." It gave me the opportunity to use my new Answers.com toolbar to look up why he called Ted Kennedy "the old minotaur" (with the correct pronunciation).
797 Such an exclusive deal!Yesterday I returned a birthday present--the slacks were 5 inches too big in the waist, and about 4 inches too long in the legs. Rather than pay a seamstress to make the adjustments, I returned them to Lazarus. At least we called that store Lazarus when my daughter bought the gift in September (took me awhile to try them on--she loves that brand, but she has long legs and is short waisted). It was really a Macy's store when I took them back (name was actually changed in 2003).
With my new Macy's charge card I received a 15% off coupon to break it in. With the $44 credit for the slacks (I had no receipt, so I got whatever the current price is), and the coupon, and a huge 70% off sale, I figured the store would be paying me to shop! Maybe I'd pick something up for the Florida trip. But it was not to be. Nothing but picked over winter stuff in sizes 2XL or Petite2. Besides, the fine print on the coupon had that little "exclusions apply, see back for details" note.
May not be combined with any additional discount offers.
May not be applied to previous purchases.
Excludes Everyday value items
Excludes super buys
Excludes cosmetics and fragrances
Excludes Polo/Lauren/Ralph Lauren
Excludes Tommy Bahama
Excludes Bridge and Design Sportswear for her
Excludes Dooney & Bourke
Excludes Kate Spade
Excludes Bridge/Designer shoes, handbags
Excludes small electrics and personal care
Excludes Vera Wang
Excludes furniture, mattresses, floor covering
Excludes Macys.com, macysweddingchannel.com/Kiosks
Excludes special orders
Excludes Macy's gift cards and merchandise certificates
Twenty five years ago I wrote a newsletter called "No Free Lunch" about marketing schemes using coupons, stamps, sweepstakes and other ways to play with your food. It is all coming back to me now. The house always wins.
796 More?Reading this item yesterday was disturbing: "USAirways is cutting 318 more maintenance jobs in Charlotte NC." More? We are planning to fly into Charlotte on our way to Florida, so the thought of "more" means they are down a few already, doesn't it? "The airlines is in bankruptcy court for the 2nd time in 2 years." I hope they can hang in there through February!
795 Ward Churchill PollBill O'Reilly's page has a poll asking if Ward Churchill should be fired by the University of Colorado, and I voted No. If he is fired, conservatives should protest. Why give this 60s wannabe the red carpet treatment? Let him go the brave route many other faculty have taken--like being assigned no teaching assistants, a crummy office, all the worst departmental appointments, denial of grants and research funds, and especially, large freshman classes of introductory classes. That's how universities get rid of conservatives. Of course, there is no evidence anyone wants to get him off the faculty except a few parents who think their hard earned tuition money for junior has gone up in smoke.
Professor Bainbridge on what conservatives should do.
Thursday, February 03, 2005
794 Super Bowl ad pulledAd Age.com reports that Ford Motor Company's Lincoln will not be seen in the Super Bowl ads this coming Sunday. ". . .the ad, which was created by WPP Group's Young & Rubicam Brands, Dearborn, Mich., after receiving complaints from an advocacy group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. The group said the commercial, which showed a priest lusting after the Mark LT, was offensive.
Ford in a statement today said, "Lincoln has decided not to run the Lincoln Mark LT ad on the Super Bowl this Sunday. Of course we had no intention of offending anyone -- and we are frankly surprised there is a negative reaction." " Story here.
I'll have to think about this one. I probably would have thought it was offensive even if I'd never known about the abuse. Or at least tacky. What goes through their heads, she mumbled.
If you just have to know about the rest of the ads, here's a chart. I'm not much for football, but I might walk through the living room for a good ad.
Update: Now that removing the ad is news, I saw the complete ad on a news story tonight. And it probably didn't even cost Ford a thing to run it that way. It really is a pretty silly ad. It wouldn't make me buy a Lincoln.
793 Federal employees and their Thrift Savings PlanThe same congresspeople who booed the President last night when he talked about the end of their gravy train have access to their own TSPs, Thrift Savings Plans, and they are trusted to manage them. It's a little bit like the school choice issue. They can choose to send their kids out of the district to a private school that is superior to the public one across the street, but they don't want you to do that because it might hurt public education. It is OK for them to shelter their retirement funds, but if you or I do it with funds that could go the government, it might hurt Social Security. Take a look:
"The TSP is a retirement savings plan for civilians who are employed by the United States Government and members of the uniformed services. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, administers the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). The Web site http://www.frtib.gov, provides information about the FRTIB electronic reading room, procurements, and employment opportunities. "
This is like the 401(k) you may have through your company, but the "company" who contributes to this plan is you and I, the taxpayers. Gene Sperling, a Clinton economic adviser, has proposed a Universal 401(k) plan which would be similar to what federal employees have. It is described at www.americanprogress.org/ Center for American Progress: "The president and progressives could both protect Social Security’s guaranteed benefit and promote ownership with a new Universal 401(k) that offers all Americans a private retirement account on top of Social Security, and uses government funds to match contributions made by middle income and lower-income workers. The Universal 401(k) would spread individual savings and wealth creation to tens of millions of American families currently falling through the cracks by offering all Americans the generous incentives and automatic savings opportunities that the best employer-provided 401(k)’s offer their employees."
792 Life-affirming, inspirational, and motivationalThat's how Boogie Jack describes his Life's Little Goodies column in his how-to, webmaster's newsletter, Almost a Newsletter. Even though I'm no longer responsible for a web page, I've continued to subscribe because he is upbeat, positive, and offers instructions for code I occasionally try.
In issue 119 (he'd been gone for awhile due to eye problems), he includes some script to enable you to set up an e-mail link that will avoid spammers scooping up your address. So I've put it on my blog, and we'll see how it works. Before I used the "at" and "dot" spelled out, which for newbies was confusing. Check out his #119 and browse through his Tips Jar. He provides the complete script with explanations. Then sign up for his free newsletter.
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
791 A Scolding for ChristiansIf you are not a Christian, you can skip this entry. Ronald J. Sider, sort of a perennial scold, has a real tongue lashing for Christians, particularly the "born agains" (larger group) and evangelicals (smaller group). He uses a number of statistical reports, particularly those done by George Barna, the one with which I'm most familiar. But he weaves together a pretty discouraging basket of bad news in the January/February 2005 issue of Books and Culture.
"To say there is a crisis of disobedience in the evangelical world today is to dangerously understate the problem. Born-again Christians divorce at about the same rate as everyone else. Self-centered materialism is seducing evangelicals and rapidly destroying our earlier, slightly more generous giving. Only 6 percent of born-again Christians tithe. Born-again Christians justify and engage in sexual promiscuity (both premarital sex and adultery) at astonishing rates. Racism and perhaps physical abuse of wives seems to be worse in evangelical circles than elsewhere. This is scandalous behavior for people who claim to be born-again by the Holy Spirit and to enjoy the very presence of the Risen Lord in their lives.
In light of the foregoing statistics, it is not surprising that born-again Christians spend seven times more hours each week in front of their televisions than they spend in Bible reading, prayer, and worship.(32) Only 9 percent of born-again adults and 2 percent of born-again teenagers have a biblical worldview.(33)
Perhaps it is not surprising either that non-Christians have a very negative view of evangelicals. In a recent poll, Barna asked non-Christians about their attitudes toward different groups of Christians. Only 44 percent have a positive view of Christian clergy. Just 32 percent have a positive view of born-again Christians. And a mere 22 percent have a positive view of evangelicals.(34)
Evangelicals rightly rejected theological liberalism because it denied the miraculous. In response, we insisted that miracle was central to biblical faith at numerous points including the supernatural moral transformation of broken sinners. Now our very lifestyle as evangelicals is a ringing practical denial of the miraculous in our lives. Satan must laugh in sneerful derision. God's people can only weep."
It is quite long and well referenced, summarizing his points in The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience (Baker, 2004). Sider is a professor at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary.