Sunday, October 31, 2004

561 The Reunion of the SLOBS

Last night we attended the 50th anniversary of a high school social club called the SLOBS (they aren't supposed to tell their wives what the acronym stands for). The club was "chartered" (they kept a scrapbook and minutes of their meetings) in 1954 and my husband was the first pledge. The last meeting appears to have been in 1959 with the class of 1961, the class of 1956 being the largest and most active of the members. This all male club now has female members, the widows of some of the members, some of whom attended wearing their husbands' SLOB pins, and a sister of one member.

Entertainment after dinner was reading from the minutes and the scrapbook which included a lot of paper memorabilia and photos. With a few guys chiming in with the memories, the minutes were really hilarious, and I paraphrase a 15 year old secretary (they changed officers every quarter), "I'm not sure what happened because I was in the kitchen eating sandwiches." After dinner when the guys went in the next room to have their photo taken, I leafed through the scrapbook and found photographs of my mother-in-law who must have been about 39 years old, blond, leggy and glamorous as a movie star, with all the boys at my in-laws cabin in Brown County, Indiana.

I wrote about Arsenal Technical High School in 540 "Two Classes One Reunion," however, I learned last night that after a few years, the boys began pledging guys from other high schools in Indianapolis, like Washington, Manual and Scecina and a some lived out of the district but attended Tech. Considering the distance they all lived from the school (my husband rode a city bus) , a once a week meeting with fines for not attending seems pretty ambitious for a teen-age boys social club.

The schools sponsored many clubs for many interests--but these were under the radar. The main activity of the guy social club was having "exchanges" with girls' social clubs from Howe, Broad Ripple, Shortridge and Tech, and apparently the Indianapolis Star of that era included a column for "subdebs and squires" where they printed up the events the groups had. These little clippings were carefully pasted in the scrap book. The groups had names like PIMZ, CHIX, ZEBZ, SPARKZ, KIMZ, JINX, ZEALZ, PRIMS, MICAS, EBBZ, ALGES, ELITES, HUNZ, TARAS, TYTANS, CROWNS, COUNTS, FAROS, and BARONS. The dues for the SLOBS were a quarter a week, and with this money they had parties, and a few philanthropic events, and even bought one share of stock in the Indianapolis Indians baseball team.

After all the laughs, the men went around the table and in 3 or 4 minutes each told about their lives after high school--and being typical guys, careers were the story, not family, church or hobbies. It was a wide range--two architects, a few engineers, an airline pilot, an actor/poet, a civil war historian you can see on TV, the mayor of the town where we met, television and radio, and sales.

A really nice bunch of SLOBS.


Update 2007: The 1957 class reunion.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

560 Just a few days

A few more days and I won't have to be hitting the mute button on the TV remote, or turning off the car radio every 5 minutes. If you are not in a swing state, you haven't heard or seen the ads we get in Ohio. If you are in a swing state, you know exactly how monotonous this gets.

Last night we went down to Nationwide Arena to hear President George W. Bush and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was a packed house of very enthusiastic supporters. The President asked us each to call or speak to three people about voting (for him) on Tuesday. This morning at Caribou Coffee I talked to six. Four Democrats and two Republicans. We have so many people registered in our county (20,000 more than we have adults), some may even vote twice!

You're welcome, Mr. President. For you, I've given up my title as "last Ohioan who has never seen the candidates of 2004." But, I still have my four wisdom teeth, so I hope to hold on to that record.

Friday, October 29, 2004

559 Offensive Defense

Reviewers' favorite schtick: people will be offended if they want to be, but it's their problem. If you want to justify violence or sex or terrorism, just go on the offensive and blame the viewer, not the producer, director, writer or actor. Say they are small minded, uninformed or perverts. I haven't seen the movie Birth with Nicole Kidman, but the review was offensive, not for the scene described, but the condescension of the writer.

"Driven by her intense love for the husband she lost, she spends more time with the boy--including sharing a bath, a scene that is unsettling but not sexual, although some people, for contrasting reasons, might prefer to think it is."

Huh? It's unsettling? Contrasting reasons? It's not sexual when a 40 year old woman takes a bath with a 10 year old boy? Pedophiles might, in fact, find it quite pleasing to watch this scene. On the other hand, it might cause parents to screen older babysitters better. Yes, reactions might be different, but what planet did Frank Gabrenya (Columbus Dispatch) grow up on?

Thursday, October 28, 2004

558 Stolen Honor; Wounds that Never Heal

I'd been trying to think positive about the election. So if John Forbes Kerry becomes President, would it be so awful? He's so totally lacking in character, charisma, love of country and has horribly dishonored his fellow Vietnam veterans, but can he lead?

Then this afternoon, I watched Stolen Honor, wounds that never heal. It's the one that the Kerry camp successfully raged about and got off the TV schedules last week. But it is available in full on the internet. Hold on to your lunch; it's pretty awful.

It is scene after scene of interviews with men who served 4, 5, 6 or 7 years in POW cells, who were brutally tortured, who were forced to listen to Jane Fonda tapes telling them they were scum and criminals, who had John Kerry's testimony read to them. There is scene after scene of Kerry's testimony in that clipped, private European prep school accent.

What hurt more than torture was wondering why their government had abandoned them or why the American people were listening to the lies of a man who had served a fraction of the time they had.

One former POW said, "If Kerry did what he said he did, he is a war criminal, and he hasn't found anyone who did the things he testified to. Why didn't the Americans stop it. "Good men who came back were spat upon because of what Kerry was doing," said one wife, "plus he was killing any chance of our husbands (the POWs) getting home. He lengthened the war."

This film is so awful (i.e. painful to watch), I am stunned that Kerry was ever elected to the Senate, that his rapacious ambition hasn't brought him down, or that some veteran hasn't arranged to meet him in a dark alley. If Kerry becomes President how will he ever look a wounded soldier in the eye or hand a folded flag to a mother, knowing the deaths and dishonor he brought over 30 years ago.

Now I can't even think positive thoughts. Watch it. Be prepared. This won't go away, whether he wins or loses. Too many people know now what kind of a man he really is.

557 Letter to Suburban News Publications (SNP) Columbus, OH

My husband left the SNP Upper Arlington News on the counter with the note, "Can you believe this?"

Although clearly labeled an editorial, it was really a diatribe against President George W. Bush, and much of that just inaccurate and awful reporting of misinformation. "Mean spirited and divisive?" Have you seen the 50+ hate Bush books that are in the book stores? Have you seen F-9-11? Have you heard the anti-Bush 527 ads?

So I read through the editorial to see what glowing endorsement of Kerry you had. "Kerry is thoughtful and practical." That's it? We're at war with Muslim fundamentalist fanatics and terrorists, and Kerry, who voted to go to war after seeing the information on WMD, Kerry who warned the nation many times in the late 90s about the dangers of Iraq and Hussein, is "thoughtful and practical?"

Today's Wall Street Journal has an editorial by Jack Welch, former Chair and CEO of GE, on qualities to look for in a President. He only lists six. He endorses no one. Bush is dead on for all six. Kerry doesn't come close on any of them. But the final one, is "Is he pro-business?" A free world's best hope is a thriving economy. Bush pulled us back from a recession that started in mid-2000 (I have my stock accounts to prove it). Kerry has done nothing but lie about the economy, and because he is so rich, he didn't even have parents who passed along tales of the Depression when unemployment was over 25% like I did. So he tries to tell us that 5.4 % unemployment is the worst in 75 years. But what is your excuse at SNP? No library? No internet for research? Letting bumper stickers and yard signs form your opinion and editorial?

You are like many of the Kerry supporters I've met, talked to or read. There actually were some decent, experienced, thoughtful candidates among the Democrats--the far left, anti-war wing drove them out, and Kerry became a Howard Dean stand in. You just hate Bush. That is the basis of your support. And you will support and vote for an empty, wooden, zero-charisma, no moral core, hyper-liberal Senator with a lack luster record, who sentenced thousands of Vietnam veterans to embarrassment and misery with his testimony of lies 30 years ago. You're supporting a man who can only say "I have a plan," but has never figured out what it is, because his only plan is to become President.

Senator Foghorn Leghorn

Although George Bush mangles the English language, Senator Kerry uses so much warm yeasty gas that he often doubles the script his people write for him. The Scotsman gives this example:

"During one speech, Mr Kerry’s script writers had crafted the concise pledge: "I will work with Republicans and Democrats on this healthcare plan, and we will pass it."

In the candidate’s hands it became: "I will work with Republicans and Democrats across the aisle, openly, not with an ideological, driven, fixed, rigid concept, but much like Franklin Roosevelt said, I don’t care whether a good idea is a Republican idea or a Democrat idea. I just care whether or not it’s gonna’ work for Americans and help make our country stronger.

"And we will pass this bill. I’ll tell you a little bit about it in a minute, and I’ll tell you why we’ll pass it, because it’s different from anything we’ve ever done before, despite what the Republicans want to try to tell you."

I think this is why people think he "won" the debates. Twice as many words to say half as much.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

556 It’s not Moose Creek, Idaho, but. . .

It isn’t Moose Creek, Idaho, 95 miles south of Missoula, Montana, but it was darn purty around here yesterday. We had a wonderful walk around the condo property. Beautiful October sky, warm 70s, brilliant yellow color still on the maples, little critters peeking at us from the creek. The bushes along the water are still a rich green with bright red berries inviting the birds for dinner. The crunchy leaves from the cottonwood, ash and sycamore underfoot gave a little better footing in the steeper areas than we have in the summer. We could hear the traffic zipping past the golf course, but barely.

The doe and fawn we saw daily a few weeks ago have apparently moved further east into the ravines and woods to find more camouflage. If you need to choose between the mountains near by or your adult children near by, this is a good place to be. (Actually, I’ve never considered Idaho, but saw the ad in the paper this morning and thought it almost as lovely as central Ohio in October.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

555 The Women's Wage Myth

George W. Bush has freed millions of women in Afghanistan and Iraq, although feminist groups have been pretty silent about that. And John Kerry continues to promote the myth of the gender wage gap--I think he said $.76 to $1.00, but they haven't been silent about that. Actually he's wrong. There are many reasons women earn less. I stopped working from 1968 - 1978, then worked only part time until 1986. And I was in a low-paid, female dominated profession. Any profession with a large number of women has depressed wages. And even with all the laws and law suits, we still have women putting home and family before careers.

“. . . most studies of pay discrimination don’t weigh in such factors as experience and the desire of many married women with children to work shorter hours, and even seek less demanding jobs, so they can spend more time at home with their families. Studies that do account for those factors have concluded that across the board, the pay of unmarried men and unmarried women doing the same work are just about equal.” Independent Women’s Forum

I recall during the 1990s (I'll look for the citation), Pam Bradigan and Carol Mularski at Ohio State University Libraries wrote an article published, I believe, in the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association that showed that male librarians really don't make more than female librarians--they publish more and relocate more often and are more likely to accept the more challenging jobs. That translates into better pay. If anything, the higher pay that male librarians are willing to go after pulls up the median. The women indirectly benefit from having more men in the field.

Monday, October 25, 2004

554 Filipina blogs her favorite recipes

While using the "next blog" feature today I came across a well-written and beautifully illustrated recipe page called Kusina ni Manang. Today's feature is about canning a tomato pasta sauce.

Manang writes: "This is a foodblog of a Filipina stay-at-home Mom married to an American, now living in a rural area. Posts include kitchen tips, health & nutrition issues, cooking & baking recipes, and occasionally canning recipes.

For those looking for authentic Filipino dishes, sorry but not all Filipino dishes featured here are authentically Pinoy. I had to modify some of them according to the availability of the ingredients. Some were accidentally "discovered" through experimentation."

She says there are a number of Filipina expats blogging recipe pages. I don't do much cooking, but most of these look interesting.

553 Big brother--literally

A young Chinese cashier/clerk bagged my groceries at Meijer's last Tuesday morning using the new turn style equipment that eliminated baggers (and probably gave the cashiers backaches from stooping).

"Are you studying engineering?" I asked.

"Why yes, how did you know," he smiled with slightly accented, perfect English.

"Your focus and the way you straighten up your work area--I'm married to an architect. Are you an OSU student?"

"Actually, I graduated in engineering and don't have a job," he replied.

I almost said something about the economy and that he had a job with good benefits, but, remembering he was probably Chinese, I said, "How many resumes have you sent out?"

"Oh, just a few."

"You need to send about a hundred to get a good job," I advised.

His jaw dropped. "Oh, I'm too lazy to do that. I'll probably go to graduate school."

Yup. There is an older brother paying his way, I thought. And if he gets a good job, he'll have to help his younger siblings. It is the Chinese way, and every Chinese student who ever worked for me had that sort of deal, whether the brother was a doctor in the USA or technician in China.

Big brother. So that's where that expression comes from.

This morning I asked my cashier/clerk Raiz (probably Indian or Pakistani) what had become of the "happy bagger," when the turn styles were installed. He was a middle aged, retarded man who was always laughing and smiling and reminding the customers loudly to smile. "Oh, he was fired," he said. "Did he find another job?" I asked, thinking that his talkativeness and his handicap might have made it difficult. "Yes, he did. It took two months but he found a new job and likes it very much."

So a man that couldn't even go to regular public school can find a job and be happy, but an OSU graduate in engineering can't. Interesting.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

552 Harassment of Conservative Bloggers

Apparently, conservative blogs are being harassed too, with spam and e-mail problems. Jason, at Counter Column (Iraq Now) blog writes:

"Someone wants to shut down the conservative meme factory at just the right time -- eliminating the possibility that the blogosphere will uncover another Rathergate scandal or give legs to a story that would hurt Kerry's campaign which would otherwise go unnoticed.

Funny how all the scumbag dirty tricks this year are breaking the same way.


If they really wanted to help Kerry, they'd spirit Teresa Heinz off to an "undisclosed location" and try to shut down the UK Guardian."

551 Reporting from the trenches of the campaign

Elliot Fladen took his Mom to a Bush rally in Canton, Ohio, at the Palace Theater, then stayed outside and confronted the Kerry goons who stole his Bush Cheney sign. He thinks they were bussed in from other areas because of the accents he heard. It is a long and interesting first hand account, from someone who thought the Bush speeches not interesting enough to attend because the action was all outside. He concludes:

“The arguments went on and on. Many have not been put in this post, but I can't remember them at this time. The crowd grew larger and more calm as they heard my answers, but then new angry people would come in, demand answers to the same or similiar questions, and then start fighting with those that had heard my answers as they wanted more. In the end I don't know how many, if any minds I changed today. But I do know that one kid told my mother he learned more from listening to me in one day than he had by reading the BBC, the NYTimes, and other publications in the past year. Another high school teacher told my mom that she was going to make my blog required reading for her class so they could be better informed. So maybe I made a small difference after all.”

Saturday, October 23, 2004

550 Lawrence O’Donnell screaming at John O’Neill

I don’t watch the Joe Scarborough show on MS-NBC, but I think the video of Lawrence O’Donnell screaming at a Swiftboat vet, John O’Neill is instructive. Captain’s Quarters comments on the behavior of Democrats trying to intimidate Republicans is indicative of the hate level.

“However, O'Donnell didn't just pull this strategy out of a hat. Democrats around the country have begun using intimidation and sheer rage to silence Republicans. Our local Bush/Cheney headquarters in St. Paul wound up being invaded by union thugs with bullhorns who tried scaring off families with small children from getting tickets to a Bush appearance earlier this month. They pushed their way into the offices, taking over the intercom system and refusing to leave, shouting and using the bullhorn to keep people from doing their jobs.

Nor was that an isolated incident. GOP offices around the country have had equipment stolen, people assaulted, and windows shot out. Bush hatred has deranged a significant segment of the Left in this country, to the point where their fascist leanings have come to the fore. Al Gore accused bloggers of being "digital brownshirts", but these people have become the real thing. They're using physical violence to intimidate their political opponents and deliberately ensuring that Republicans cannot speak in public to explain their positions. God help us if the Lawrence O'Donnells wind up in power again.”

According to his bio, Mr. O'Donnell was in government from 1993 through 1995, as the Democratic Chief of Staff of the United States Senate Committee on Finance. The Committee has jurisdiction over legislation involving taxation, international trade, health care, Social Security, Welfare, and other income security programs. In 1992, Mr. O'Donnell was Chief of Staff of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. But usually he is a writer, when he's not screaming at people on TV panels, particularly for the left leaning "West Wing."

Friday, October 22, 2004

549 Lies about Stem Cell Research

Only 27% of the U.S. electorate lives in television markets airing presidential campaign spots. Living in Ohio, I think I’ve seen them all. But one of the strangest, is Michael J. Fox, pleading for stem cell research, and saying he’ll support John Kerry because Bush’s policy on stem cell research is wrong.

This summer, the Democratic Party made embryonic stem cell research a central component of its election-year agenda.
“President Bush has rejected the calls from Nancy Reagan, Christopher Reeve and Americans across the land for assistance with embryonic stem cell research. We will reverse his wrongheaded policy. Stem cell therapy offers hope to more than 100 million Americans who have serious illnesses—from Alzheimer’s to heart disease to juvenile diabetes to Parkinson’s. We will pursue this research under the strictest ethical guidelines, but we will not walk away from the chance to save lives and reduce human suffering.”
Kerry and Edwards claim in their campaigning that the Bush administration has “banned” stem cell research, which is just a lie.

“John Kerry And John Edwards Support Lifting The Ban On Stem Cell Research”

There are no restrictions at all on stem cell research, whether adult or embryonic, in the United States, making this country the most liberal in this bio-ethical mine field. Remarks by President Bush.

Researchers can do whatever they wish using private funding. Using public funds, they can use a fixed group of embryonic stem cells lines, where the embryos had been destroyed before the current policy went into effect. There are 22 embryonic stem cell lines available for federal funding and nearly 500 shipments drawn from these lines have already been made to researchers. The NIH provided about $25 million for embryonic stem cell research last year and spent another $180 million on ethically non-controversial adult stem cell work.

This definitely means the Democrats have found a new meaning for the word “ban.” It now means anything the government does not fully fund or anything where caution before proceding into murky waters might be advisable. It also means, pandering to the sick and disabled, because they and their families can vote.

(Except Terri Schiavo, of course, her the liberals would prefer to be starved to death.)

Thursday, October 21, 2004

548 Revisiting the Robie House

For days my very patient, focused, meticulous husband has been in his studio playing "paper dolls," or "paper house" as the case may be. When we were in Chicago we visited Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House (see my blog about the trip here). Last week he started putting together a paper model--I think it has 138 pieces, many very tiny, requiring intricate folds and careful cutting with the x-acto knife. He has spent untold hours on a project that would have had me in a puddle of frustrated tears in 15 minutes. Don't ever buy this for a child!

Robie House Cut and Assemble Posted by Hello
"From the Publisher: Now model builders as well as lovers of fine architecture can construct an accurate three-dimensional model of the Robie House, and thereby discover for themselves the harmonious interrelationships of parts and numerous other design details that make this home a world-famous architectural masterpiece. Printed in full color on sturdy card stock, the two-foot long model comes complete with step-by-step instructions and exploded diagrams. A series of multi-level horizontal planes includes balconies, platforms, a porch and entrance court, while easy-to-follow directions clearly explain how to cut, fold and glue walls, doorways, windows, roof and other features."

The Amazon site lets you click through a few pages and enlarge. This is not a project for sissies!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

547 Why are drugs cheaper in Canada?

“. . . if you want Canadian pharmaceutical prices in the US, the steps you must follow are clear. You must cut your standard of living by 20-30%. You must reform your ludicrous product liability laws. And you must squeeze pharmaceutical industry profits through price controls and dominant purchaser policies, thus causing lower levels of pharmaceutical investment and innovation, getting cheaper prices for medicines already discovered at the cost of prolonged pain and suffering for victims of diseases we cannot yet cure or control. And you must restrict patient access to the latest and best medicines in order to keep costs low.” Read the entire paper from AIMS here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

546 The Scots-Irish--are they the secret GOP weapon?

Before I began looking into genealogy about 10-15 years ago, I had no idea who the American Scots-Irish were. Didn't know that my father's family had arrived here in the 1730s, or that he was descended from a cultural group that was the foundation of American-style democracy. James Webb has written a lot about the Scots-Irish, and has a new book, "Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish shaped America," (Broadway, 2004). I had read up on their contribution to our wars, our presidency and our customs in "Albion's Seed," a 1989 book that catalogs the contributions of four waves of British Isles immigration.

In today's Wall Street Journal Webb writes that the Democrats have ignored the Scots-Irish as a cultural group, and if they hadn't, Al Gore would have won Tennessee and the Presidency without a single hanging Florida chad. The Scots-Irish are fiercely independent, strongly pro-family and anti-government interference says Webb, and there are about 30,000,000 of them. Having only been a Republican for two years, I can point out that not all Scots-Irish escaped the Democrats, but then, I didn't know my own history either.

Monday, October 18, 2004

545 Poverty in the media

“According to the latest statistics on poverty in the United States, released in 1996 by the U.S. Census Bureau, 14.3 million children in America are living in abject poverty.” PNEWS, February 11, 1998

“Despite a glowing economy and record low unemployment, poverty is rising in the suburbs.” USAToday, April 28, 1999

''The good news is getting better, and the bad news is getting worse,'' says Andrew Cuomo, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which compiled the report. ''Smaller, medium-size cities are not participating in the new economy.'' USAToday June 11, 1999

“Unemployment is low, construction booming, housing prices soaring. But lines form every Thursday evening at the Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service food pantry in St. Charles, where about 130 low-income residents pick up bags of groceries.” USAToday, October 18, 2004

Well, I suppose it’s nice to know that all this poverty isn’t President Bush’s fault since the media had plenty of poverty stories in the 1990s. A woman featured in today’s article is 45, divorced, has a college degree and is working for $5.15 an hour. The woman featured in a 1999 article on poverty was making over $10.50 an hour, was divorced and planning to go to college. It looks like the common denominator in poverty for women and children is single mothers, not geography or education or ethnicity. That is certainly confirmed by all the statistics the government has collected over the past 30 years.

544 Stolen Honor--stolen free speech

Remember when John Kerry wanted to stop the publication and distribution of "Unfit for Command?" This after about 50 anti-Bush books hit the market. Now he's at it again. Apparently "Stolen Honor; Wounds that Never Heal" will be shown by Sinclair Broadcast Group on 62 stations and the Kerry people are not satisfied with time to rebut, they want it pulled.

What? Biased media? With about 90% of journalists, entertainers and TV reporters claiming to be Democrats, what in the world are they whining about? Fox News starts to climb the charts and you'd think the world was coming to an end. After what CBS tried to do with Dan Rather's phony Bush documents? They haven't even had their wrists slapped--they've only been buried under an avalanche of bad press and tons of e-mail.

One day I looked at the campaign coverage on one page of the USAToday. The column inch and photo size were about equal, but oh, the verbs! In the Bush column were "taking aim," "charge," "takeover," "attack," "misrepresent," and "alleges." In the Kerry column were "said," "plans," "builds on" and some other innocuous verbs.

And then the Kerry campaign has Michael Moore and F-9-11 appearing in theaters as a documentary rather than fiction, and being shown by professional organizations purporting to support freedom of speech, the American Library Association (which said nothing about Kerry trying to shut up a publisher).

And by the way, have you been able to find Dr. Laura anywhere on your radio frequency? All she said was gay couples shouldn't adopt infants and that got her removed from anything except the most remote, inconvenient time.

Update: Sundance is running a film on George Bush's faith. It's owned by that well-known arbiter of American morality and faith, Robert Redford. Sundance is doing a two week anti-Bush blitz. The CBC (Canada) is running a very anti-Bush "documentary" while whining about Sinclair Broadcast Group. All timed for the election.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

543 How Academics make Policy

Mary Grabar, a college professor, vividly describes her graduate school experience. Having entered school as a moderate in the early 1990s who supported Bill Clinton, she learned that the aging, tenured 60s liberals are anything but liberal. What she found was scoffing at the very idea of meaning, of truth, or indeed of value in the study the great works of the past. What she found was the family portrayed as an institution of evil, child pornography not only tolerated but sanctioned, and feminists mocking fetuses. So when the twin towers came down, she’d already seen academe imploding.

"As with Zell Miller, my conversion was solidified by 9/11. That event made very clear the danger of the ideas promoted by theorists like Noam Chomsky, Richard Rorty, Edward Said, and Peter Singer. That is the one thing the students taking over campuses in the 1960s realized: the arguments made in the halls of the academy, contrary to the conventional wisdom about the isolation of the ivory towers, have very real impact. The graduates become journalists, teachers, parents, and government workers. The political ideologies do not begin with the peasants, the workers, the average citizens. They start with the slick talkers, the ones who deliver their messages in measured tones, with thousands of footnotes. They then become policy.
Like the protestors and journalists referred to by Miller who enjoy their right to attack others with words, the academics enjoy the privilege of disparaging their own government because some have the courage to defend them.

Senator Miller [at the Republican Convention] was right to call attention to this evil within our own borders and among our own citizens. We need the straight-talking principled man from Appalachia to tell us this. We have had too much obfuscation from those who are undeserving of their doctorates and J.D.'s."

542 Reverting to adolescent behavior

Derek, a seminary student with a blog, writes about camping with 3 friends: “We packed up my car, got down there while there was still daylight and put up the tent and got the fire started. It's funny how four grown men can instantly revert to being 14 years old again when in total isolation, with no women around and a fire going.”

I think the opposite must happen with women. They revert to 14 when there is a man around. A few weeks ago at our local pub where we go on Friday night, there was a loud, hilarious table next to us, five women and one man. He had a wan smile, and was nodding politely, as they screeched and roared and told jokes on themselves, all with the hand movements of a drunken choir director, and bouncing the topic like a basketball. The young man got up to go to the rest room, or maybe out to get some fresh air. The noise level dropped immediately. I heard the women in hushed tones start talking about what they really cared about. Gone was the “I’m-out-here-having-a-good-time” fa├žade, and it was down to the nitty-gritty of career stress, teen-age children, and negligent husbands. When the guy came back, so did the game faces and the merriment.

Interesting. I could give other examples, and you could come up with ones to disprove it. But I’ve seen this behavior in committee meetings too, causing some men to wish they’d lower that glass ceiling smack on the heads of their female colleagues.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

541 Librarians, right and left, blogging

I APOLOGIZE FOR THE BLOGGING DRY SPELL. I just can't take my eyes off the polls and the political blogs right now. The fact is that nothing in American libraries is of any importance at all, when compared with keeping the White House away from John Kerry. Conservator

“. . . entering an Amtrak bathroom is like hermetically sealing yourself in a Tupperware lady's demo container full of boiled eggs she forgot in the trunk of her car: the waftey scent is stale, sweet and rotten. Even though I attempt to hold my breath throughout my bathroom visit, I had to breathe at some point so I was forced back to my seat.”
Vox Lauri

Helped patron make color copies of Cambodian money. It had to be double sided and look exactly like the real thing. Probably going to be doing time in a Cambodian prison for making fake 1000 Riel notes worth a quarter. Right Wing Librarian

Somewhere between the odds that I will have a child prodigy (250:1), and being audited by the IRS (100:1), is the chance that I might meet a fellow Republican librarian. Knowing this, lightning strikes and meteor showers seemed too scary to investigate.
223 to 1, according to the latest Library Journal, (10/04) is the ratio of librarians that have contributed to John Kerry’s campaign as opposed to Dubya. Tomeboy

Got into another debate over at LISNews today. It can feel very pointless if you think about the fact that the election on Nov. 2 doesn't really decide anything. It will decide who is President but no minds will be changed, ALA will still be ALA and our profession will still be on 'the left bank of the mainstream'. Shush

Like many people, most of my visits to the DMV have involved getting angry. (Except in Missoula. God bless those blissed out Mountain Folk for the effect they had on my nerves.) Many visits have involved the customer service representative subtly trying to pin the blame on me for something that I couldn't have known, or was their fault. It's hard to tell whose fault infamously bad service is: ours or theirs. We go in there grumpy and expecting bad service, so we get it. People come to the library with the same expectation sometimes. NextGen Librarian

On my favorite book: The truth, like many another slice of reality, is more complex: I have many favorites; among them the book I am reading now and the last one I finished; then there are all those wonderful books whose titles I can manage to remember and connect with their actual contents after the last page has been turned. A good answer to the question would be ‘all of them,’ but people, being people, always want to know The One. Perhaps this is because we live in a monotheistic society—even our atheists disbelieve in a single god, and because we are also competitive: everything has to come down to a final entity, a Grand Prize Winner. Library Dust

I'm at that age when a woman's fancy turns to thoughts of hormone replacement therapy.
Lipstick Librarian

540 Two Classes One Reunion

At the end of the month we're driving to Indiana to attend a reunion of my husband's high school fraternity. I think the last time they got together was about 10 or 12 years ago, although we've seen a few individuals over the years. They all attended Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis. In 1997 I wrote about our 40th class reunions, and how two classes that had been so different 40 years before, had become very similar.

Our Differences

Our schools couldn't have been more different. His school--Arsenal Technical High School--has a beautiful 76 acre campus in the middle of Indianapolis. Founded in 1912 at the site of a Civil War arsenal, its architecture spans a century and a half, from the old officers' barracks and guard house to the concretely ugly contemporary. Its neighboring residential area, once the glory of Indianapolis, was already shabby in the 1950s, but is now experiencing a renaissance. Tech's course offerings from technical to college prep were breathtaking, ranging from stagecraft to orchestral instruments to Greek. The school had 8,000 students when my mother-in-law attended in the 1930s, but was around 5,000 when my husband graduated in 1957. His school was larger than my home town. He says, and his classmates confirm, that they were so well behaved that you could hear a pin drop when the entire student body met for assembly.

Mt. Morris High School where I attended had only 52 graduates in 1957, was even smaller when my father attended in the 1920s, and our school, as a high school, no longer exists. The building is now a junior high school and the senior high students are bussed to Oregon, Illinois, to attend classes with our former nemesis and biggest rival. Its low profile, 1950s style architecture neighbors a retirement center to the east, a cemetery to the west and a cornfield to the south. The only foreign language offered at MMHS was Latin (for which I'm thankful--it's an excellent foundation), and we had no art classes, unless you count "industrial arts." Tech's lunch room staff was larger than our entire faculty! And we were never as quiet and well behaved as those city kids.

Our similarities

Our reunions had more similarities than our schools. Hard working local committees make these class reunions work. If there are no local people committed to the project, it just doesn't happen. The Tech Committee has quite a challenge finding addresses for over 700 people, many of whom have changed names, addresses and careers several times. The MMHS class had a much better rate of attendance with 37 classmates attending compared to 85 from the Tech class of 1957. His class has lost 34 members in death (1997)--that the committee has confirmed. My class has lost four.

Both groups assembled a large table of memorabilia for the reunion--annuals, a confirmation class photograph, snapshots, athletic sweaters, personal items. Tech's publications were a little more slick--they had an award winning school newspaper published by their journalism classes which even after 40 years looks quite professional. The MMHS class, however, had a signature quilt made in 1954 with all our names, our teachers' names and the current slang expressions embroidered on cloth blocks sewn together. That was a far sighted 14 year old who organized that project!

Both classes gathered for a reunion photograph. Bob's group was rather dignified and well-behaved, squinting in the bright sunlight on their beloved campus the day following their evening reunion. My class had a few stand-up comics who played off each other and kept everyone laughing. They must have driven our teachers crazy 40 years ago. The smiles in our MMHS picture taken at dusk in the White Pines State Park, the site of many school-related picnics, certainly weren't forced.

The Classmates

Each class had couples who met in school, dated and then married. The difference is that in Bob's class if you ask, "How did you meet," she might say, "We sat next to each other in zoology." My classmates Sylvia and Nancy and Mary Jane can say they met their husbands in grade school. Our classmates' marriages produced many children and now they are showing pictures of grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. One Tech couple at the reunion needed to hire a babysitter for the grandchild they are raising. One MMHS classmate showed a family picture that was almost half the size of our class.

Tech and MMHS classes both had a girl who was equally a friend to boys and girls, probably not an easy honor then when the preferred status was "going steady." I chatted with Bob's classmate for awhile and knew immediately why everyone in the class loved her. "I wish we'd known each other in high school," I told her (even though she had dated my husband).

On Growing Older

Sad stories were told in both groups. I think I met more guys downsized out of jobs in their 50s at Tech's reunion, although I didn't ask the same questions of my own classmates. Like me, many of the women began their careers after child-rearing and listened with envy to tales of buy-outs and early retirements. At our 25th and 30th reunions, divorce was the major personal loss. At the 40th it was the loss of parents, with at least three of my classmates losing a parent within the past six months. One Tech man told me his father died 13 years ago and he misses him more each day.

Surgeries, cancer, heart medication and portable oxygen kept our groups from getting too frisky. Two Tech men told me about hip replacements and were thrilled to be walking with no pain. One construction worker who had traveled from Florida to be at the Tech reunion proudly showed us his first pair of athletic shoes because after surgery he no longer wears a built up shoe. A Mt. Morris classmate had postponed knee surgery to be there and traveled in pain from California.

When we stopped by the Alumni Dance at the Moose Lodge in Mt. Morris after my reunion, we left after 5 minutes because of the smoke and noise. Nor did we go to the Indiana Roof Ballroom for the Tech Alumni dance. We love to dance, but unlike 40 years ago, these two alumni like our sleep more when facing a long drive home.

One thing was clear at these reunions: success touches us in a variety of ways. All our classmates were successful. Some had achieved the traditional definition--money, power, status or recognition. All the people I met or with whom I renewed acquaintance had overcome adversity, or followed a dream, or achieved a goal, or had provided needed friendship and compassion, or had been a faithful caregiver. The two classes that were so different in 1957 had become one by 1997.

Friday, October 15, 2004

539 Cooking to Hook Up--Another Quiz

Here’s the page that describes how Brain Syndicate worked with the authors of the book, Cooking to Hook Up. I took the quiz and came out a hybrid Academic/Career Girl. Thanks to Paula for the tip.
She is a hybrid of:
Academic Girl
Career Girl

Click on the pictures below to read more:

Academic GirlCareer Girl
Take the 'What Kind of Girl Is She?' quiz at

"Ann Michaels and Drew Campbell, the authors of Cooking to Hook Up were married in 1997. Despite a shared fondness for vodka martinis and cutthroat Scrabble, they soon realized they were better writing partners than life partners. Their no-kids-no-foul marriage dissolved in 2003 and the fact that they didn't argue over a single CD should tell you something."

538 Mrs. Bush's Winning Cookie Recipe

Family Circle featured the favorite cookie recipes of Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Kerry. Mrs. Bush's Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookie won with 67% of the vote. Here's the recipe. As soon as I lose 10 pounds, I'll try it. My husband would eat one, leaving me with 95.

Makes: about 8 dozen cookies. Bake: at 350° for 12 to 15 minutes.

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups light-brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups quick oats (not old-fashioned)
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 1/2 packages (8 ounces each) chocolate chunks (3 cups)
2 cups coarsely chopped dried sour cherries

1. Heat oven to 350°.
2. With electric mixer, cream butter and both sugars.
3. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla.
4. Add flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and oats; slowly beat until blended.
5. Stir in walnuts, chocolate and cherries.
6. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
7. Bake at 350° for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.

The cookie poll has been accurate for the last four elections, according to the Bush Cheney site, which posted this recipe. However, you'll still need to get out and vote.

537 The Lesbian Candidate

After I've just told you what a great profession library science is, I'm going to report that reference librarians actually get questions like this:

Is it Dick Cheney that is the lesbian presidential candidate?" Reported by Matthew, who gave up a nursing career to become a librarian and is probably wondering why.

Both Edwards and Kerry brought up Cheney's lesbian daughter during the debates, one of the cheapest, most obnoxious political tricks I've ever heard of. They were trying to frighten their wild-eyed, right wing strawmen who may have been in a closet for the past six months and could then be deterred from showing up at the polls due to their fear of homosexuality. And then Mrs. Edwards, who up to this time (Thursday) had seemed like a rational, nice person, tried to psychoanalyze Mrs. Cheney because she was upset the Democrats were using her child for political gain.

What sort of hatred is it that makes a man, no two men, use an opponent's daughter for a poster child for the speaker's own bigotry? As another blogger pointed out, Bush didn't bring up that Kerry, a Roman Catholic, had had his first marriage annulled, making his own daughters, . . . what, quasi-illegitimate due to their parents' failures?

This is really rock bottom slim and sludge, folks.

Update: James Taranto at OpinionJournal Best of the Web comments, Oct. 15:
John Kerry's gratuitous mention during Wednesday's debate of Dick Cheney's gay daughter has become the most talked about moment of the debate, and it looks as though it's backfiring on the Kedwards campaign. True, most gay activists seem untroubled by Kedwards' gay-baiting, apparently on the (no doubt accurate) theory that a Kerry administration would be far friendlier to their policy agenda than the Bush administration is. And it's anyone's guess whether the publicity for Cheney's daughter will suppress turnout among conservative Republicans or lead conservative Democrats to remain in the fold.

Update: Jean Vennochi, Boston Globe, Oct. 19:
There is no way to prove it, but I agree with conservatives who argue there was nothing accidental about Kerry's reference to "Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian" during the last debate. It followed an earlier mention by his running mate, John Edwards. Whether the intent was to discourage evangelicals who oppose homosexuality from turning out in large numbers for Bush or to remind voters in general of GOP hypocrisy on the topic, two mentions of Mary Cheney are not political accidents. They are political calculations. . .

Go ahead, liberals, start howling: What is worse, you say, refusing to admit you were wrong to invade Iraq or refusing to admit you were wrong to invade the Cheney family's privacy? On the merits, of course, Bush's refusal to admit wrongdoing in war is much more serious. But the merits don't always prevail, in court or politics. Like it or not, Kerry's willingness to use Mary Cheney in a political forum and unwillingness to apologize for doing so gives less-than-committed Kerry voters time -- two weeks -- for second thoughts.

536 Just A Few Best Sellers

Just A Few Best sellers
from the Wall Street Journal
October 15, 2004

It’s “Good to great” and then
“Who moved my cheese?”
“Discover your strength,”
“Da Vinci Code,” please.

Harvey McKay and
Carolyn Kepcher
Arthur Agatston and
Sharon Lecter.

Rosabeth Kanter
R. Kiyosaki
Liz Tucillo and
Jean Sherman Chatzky.

Michael F. Moore loves
Ms. Kitty Kelley
Lemony Snicket
John O’Neill Corsi.

Malcolm Gladwell,
Staff of the Daily Show;
Stephen Lundin and
Bob Dylan you know.

Maeve Benchy, Jim
Collins Harry Paul ;
Sophie Kinsella,
Tom Roth Phil McGraw .

“How full is your bucket,”
“We got fired,”
So many new books
Read ‘til you’re tired.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

535 Whose turn to clean the bathroom?

Yesterday I was reading a summary of one of the left-wing Bush bashing books, this one about his dangerous, evangelical religion, and decided to look up the publisher, Pluto Press, which was an arm of South End Press. Although I was not surprised by the mission statement of South End, I got a chuckle out of the “cleaner in the bathroom” story. It just sounds so. . .so. . .70s. And it was, of course. After the Vietnam war protests died out (until this year), the founders decided to go into publishing. They are still around, finding readership for their blather, but are probably getting smarter about the bottom line.

". . .we started with a clear mission statement. We knew what our purpose and principles were and why. It was on paper for future collective members to see, it was on the copyright page or the back page of the books we published. No matter what the financial situation was, no matter what the internal problems were, our goal was to get those political books out. The book publishing decisions were informed by what we thought would be a contribution to analyzing U.S. institutions, to the left broadly defined, to what we referred to then as “totalist” politics (recognizing the important of race, gender, and class), and to visions and strategies for radical social change."

". . .we were committed to our principles but flexible about tactics. For example, in the beginning everyone had to be part of every decision made, including what cleaner to use in the bathrooms and the font size of each book. Later, we delegated decision making and autonomy within work areas, mostly by instituting a yearly summer policy-making retreat."

I remember those policy making retreats from work and church. If you ever want to create grass roots support for your own ideas, you gather people together for a retreat, serve them nice box-lunches, and have them come to your conclusions and plans in small groups.

534 What Librarians do today

If you’d like an exciting career battling technological advancement, choose “library and information science.” I truly loved being a librarian, but technology and our devotion to it is one of the reasons I retired early (and my own thrifty behavior of putting 15% aside for TIAA-CREF all my working years). So here’s a brief compilation of what a day looks like for a librarian:

Krafty Librarian writes:
“. . .the systems librarian and I are working on our server and various problems. I replaced the tape drive Friday and we were able to do back ups for the weekend then all of a sudden on Monday it failed. What was the point of me replacing our broken tape drive when they sent us crappy refurbished one that would work better as a paper weight?”

Shoe frets:
“I am putting Mozilla on them as soon as I get a chance, and taking off IE. There will be no choice. I don’t want a lawsuit because some doofus a million miles away stole a patron’s credit card number. Besides, Firefox and Mozilla are better browsers anyhoo. And the kids love the tabbed browsing. Oh, how I wish I could get a Linux system running. It would ease my fears some. It would ease my fears a lot.”

Tangognat worries:
“Am I missing something, or did some of the search functionality vanish from the redesigned American Memory site? I thought there used to be a way to search by limiting your search by medium. So if you only wanted to search and retrieve photos or audio files you could do that. Now that option seems to hidden, under the option to browse specific collections. If I browse Books and other printed works, I’m then given the option to run a search limited to those formats. I was really confused, probably just because I expect very different things from the labels “browse” and “search". .

Family Man Librarian speaks for all: ". . .librarians are not that great at marketing themselves. By marketing, I don't mean shameless self-promotion. Instead, I'm talking about making clear to their institutions how integral and vital their role and the role of libraries is to their success and to society in general, especially in this digital age. Over and over and over again, I am reminded of how persistently overlooked and underrepresented libraries and library issues are in the general scheme of things in my local environment. It's incredible, especially given the huge (and growing) library website statistics, huge (and growing) use of online resources, huge influx of people in the library. . ."

And these youngsters don’t even comment on the 10 or so meetings a week or the parts of your job that gradually get outsourced to state, regional or national consortia and committees. Still, it’s a great life. Some libraries even have books.

533 Only two states left

If this registration chart is correct, the only states left where you can still register to vote are Connecticut (14) and California (15). Millions have disenfranchised themselves already through sloth, apathy and carelessness. Their places in the voting booth will be taken on November 2 by those who vote more than once (no ID required), and those who are dead and have sent stand-ins.

Then their freedom of speech has been hijacked too, not by terrorists, but by their own inaction, because if I hear any complaining about the president in the next four years, I've got a roll of duct tape I'd like to use. . .

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

532 If you‘re going nowhere, any road will get you there

"If someone argues that the purpose of studying mathematics is to build self-esteem, and proposes a study method that produces confident students who cannot do long division, then making the counter argument that the study method is a failure will fall on deaf ears. This is, of course, because the study method is in fact a rousing success. It produces exactly what its proponents want. It makes little sense to argue about the means, when you have completely different views about the ends."

This is actually the opening paragraph of an essay on modern architecture--postmodernism--written by Paul Mansour at Scourge of Modernism, a blog about architecture, in May 2003. (It may have been his last.)

But it recalls for me a letter in the Wall Street Journal today about what is wrong with progressive education (which apparently is not unlike modern architecture in content) written by Edwin Thompson. He writes that

Progressive education equals
anti-conceptual constructivism
moral relativism
all of which thwart
cognitive development
and creates
followers not leaders
collectivists not individualists
pragmatists not goal oriented individuals and
numerous diagnoses of learning disabilities.

His letter is followed by one written by Bruce Bruxton, a Headmaster at a private day school. He says that all the education reforms, top down, that have occurred in the last 50 years or so have amounted to a massive failure, matched only by the failure of Marx and Lenin.

531 Bush and Kerry in Ohio--again, and again

I may be the only Ohioan who hasn’t seen President Bush or Senator Kerry. Illini Girl referred me to this article last Friday at NRO, by Kevin Holtsberry.

“If there was any question about Ohio's status as the battleground state among battleground states, the past week has put it to rest. The candidates, their surrogates, and even independent celebrities have been barnstorming Ohio. And of course last night Ohio was center stage for the vice-presidential debate in Cleveland. It appears Ohio will continue to see the presidential campaign up close and personal for the next 30 days.”

We’ve even had those intellectual giants, the Dixie Chicks, in town to tell us how to vote, and blasts from the past for aging boomers, John Couger (as he used to be known when my son was buying “records“) and Bruce Springsteen.

There was a woman sitting across from me this morning at Panera’s wearing a Bush-Cheney ‘04 t-shirt and sweat pants. She was having a very animated conversation with another woman wearing a faded pink t-shirt with no message and Capri pants. What a grasp of the campaign and issues she had! Knew all the economic figures, foreign policy, education measures, etc. Much more than all three Dixie Chicks combined.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

530 Ig Nobel Prize

"The Ig Nobel award for medicine—one of the prizes given annually to scientists who have produced unusual research—was given this year to a team of researchers who had found that cities in which radio stations played a higher than average amount of country music had higher than average suicide rates. . . Daisuke Inoue of Hyugo, Japan who invented the karaoke machine, received this year's peace award for "providing an entirely new way for people to learn to tolerate each other." "

BMJ, 329:817 Oct. 9, 2004,

529 Why I am a Lutheran, by Daniel Preus

From this Book
“I am a Lutheran for the same reason I am a Christian. It is not by choice but by grace. The teachings of the Lutheran Church place Jesus at the center because the teachings of the Scriptures place Jesus at the center. No other confession demonstrates such fidelity to the truths of God's Word. No other confession so glorifies Christ by placing Him at the center of all it confesses and teaches. Being a Lutheran is truly all about Jesus.”
Sounded good, so first I did a library search. Public Library.
“Why I am. . .”
a Catholic
a Muslim
a Reform Jew
an abortion doctor
not a Christian
still a Catholic.
OK. Let’s try OSU Libraries (probably 4,000,000 volumes) and OhioLink--that’s about 60 other libraries throughout Ohio, including seminaries and church related colleges, two of them Lutheran.
“Why I am. . . “
a Christian Scientist
a Communist
a conservative
a danger to the public
a democrat
a Jew
a painter
a poet
a reform Jew
not a Buddhist
not a Christian
not a feminist
not a Muslim
not a nudist
not a woman
not an environmentalist
only a demi-vegetarian
still a Christian
still an Anglican.

528 Bike or walk? Will it help? Reviewers are doubtful

Who knows? Rosabelle finds reader who suggests plain English for research.

527 Another top library job goes to non-librarian

The 2003-2004 GSLIS newsletter arrived last week and I’m just now getting a look. The new Dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, John Unsworth, is featured. He is a specialist in humanities computing, not library science. He also became a tenured English professor without publishing a book. Here’s the notice of his appointment from the Champaign-Urbana, Illinois newspaper:

“John Unsworth may not be a librarian, but many at the University of Illinois think he is the perfect leader for their top-ranked library school.

Unsworth is an English professor who specializes in 20th century fiction, has an interest in the cultural aspects of publishing, and is director of an institute supporting computer-based humanities research.” News-Gazette, March 26, 2003

So I’m listening to him this morning on RealOne give a presentation at a March 2004 Library Colloquium. Although he says in his “Letter from the Dean” that his mission is to underline the “and” in the school’s name--planning to hire two faculty in the traditional library areas of cataloging/classification and youth services--I suspect that eventually libraries may just become an extension, in heart if not in deed, of the computer/technology departments of our various institutions.

I also noticed, what has slipped by me before, that U of I GSLIS refers to its Master’s degree as MS, rather than MLS, even for those of my era. In my bio and resume, I’ve always written, MLS. So I pulled my diploma off the shelf, and sure enough, it clearly says, Master of Science. Not a word about which graduate school. No mention of “library.” Truly, I’d never really looked that closely.

Still, I think it would only be wise for Dean Unsworth take the equivalent of those "core" courses that used to be required before you could officially take the graduate level courses. They were used both as preparation and to weed out the faint of heart.

Monday, October 11, 2004

526 How do you fix a broken zipper?

It all began on a Thursday in 1982 and ended on a Saturday in 2004. That’s a long time for a pair of khaki slacks to survive homemaking, career, travels, weight changes and fashion trends. I found them in a small “dress shop” in Kenny Center (it disappeared years ago along with dresses) that carried over-stocks and out-of-season sportswear. The zipper broke sometime during last Saturday’s yard sale when the metal clasp jumped the track of the nylon treads. Out of season--yes, indeed, twenty two years out.

The children were not only out-growing their clothes that year, but becoming very conscious of fashion faux pas and fads. So I probably really debated about the extravagance of buying something for myself. Straight leg slacks and jeans with a natural waist and small front pleats were all the rage. My hip hugger flares were definitely out of style, so they were off to the “missionary barrel.”

My daughter calls the 80s our “beige years.” I was driving a 1977 beige Buick, and our second car was a lighter beige Fiesta. We were living in a beige house, with beige walls and carpet. So why not beige slacks to complete the ensemble? I was a Democrat and Ronald Reagan was President. The children both entered high school that year, 9th and 10th grade as the school system changed from a three year to a four year high school.

That was most likely the year our son started smoking--it was allowed in school in those days, and it was a way for a lowly Freshman to hang out and be accepted by the upper classmen. Thank you, UA Board of Education, for a habit he still can’t kick.

I’d need to check a resume to see if and where I was working--but I think I was clerking at Pickwick Discount Books on Lane Avenue to see if I really wanted to open a book store. I didn’t, I discovered. Being a librarian was far easier, and less physically demanding. I couldn’t figure out the cash register, or the ordering system and I learned that the truck drivers delivered those heavy cartons of books only to the front door and dumped them. We employees had to carry them to the basement. We had to accept the pornographic magazines along with the regular consumer titles (we hid them in the basement until it was time for returns).

I do remember the day my daughter called me at the bookstore (I had ridden my bike to work and she had the beige Buick) and said, “Mom, don’t worry, I’ve cleaned up all the blood, but we need to go to the ER.” Her brother had forgotten his key and in an attempt to crawl through a window, he had broken it and sliced his wrist on jagged glass.

So maybe I bought myself those slacks as a reward. I didn’t know in 1982 the worst was yet to come with the teen years, but we all survived and so did the slacks. The khakis traveled to library conferences in Boston, Missouri, and Texas; went on summer vacations at Lake Erie and northern Illinois. Last year they rode Amtrak to California and back, and this year they traveled by bus to Buffalo and Canada.

There’s probably a few good years of wear left; they are hardly broken in. Anyone know how to fix a zipper?

Leaving california Posted by Hello

Sunday, October 10, 2004

525 The third place pie

My apple pie received third place out of forty-five entries in the contest at the Fall Festival. I've had two pieces, and actually think it isn't as good as some I've made. The prize is a week of sailing lessons. Can you sense my excitement? Hmmm. I don't even own a swim suit. I don't put my toe in the water. I love to look, but not touch big bodies of water. I'm hoping I can exchange it for a car pass for 2005.

The program, the first ever for a fall evening at Hoover, was the Air National Guard Band of the Great Lakes, the "triple nickel," the 555th Air Force Band. They did a wonderful job--had several smaller ensembles, like a jazz band, a flute sextet, a winds group, a popular music group that did a wonderful rendition of "I can only imagine," and "American Soldier," and then a full concert band that provided the ever popular Armed Forces Medley when all the veterans in the audience stand up and I cry.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

524 The Librarian's Job

Robert Dodsley was an 18th century publisher who "discovered" Samuel Johnson. But first he tried his hand at being a Footman, then a poet. He wrote a poem called "Servitude" about his life as a servant. Using his poem as a model, I wrote about being a librarian. When I wrote this, the Veterinary Medicine Library was located in Sisson Hall (torn down in 2001), located across the river from the main campus and Library, and was furnished with its original equipment made by prisoners. You'll see references to these things in the poem.

Servitude, a la Dodsley ( Robert Dodsley, 18th cent. British publisher and poet)
By Norma J. Bruce(1)

If it be worth your while to know
A true librarian's business woe,
I'll try to tell in easy rhyme,
How I, in C'lumbus, spend my time.
As soon as laziness will let me,
I rise from bed, and down I set me,
To read journals my head above
Which (by the bye) is what I love.
This done; with expeditious care
To dress myself I straight prepare,
I clean my teeth and black my lashes
Powder my nose, and put on glasses.
Take off to McDonald's, a cup of Joe,
the paper, and I'm ready, set to Go.

I with uniformity and care
Open the library and prepare
10 keys and 3 wrenches releasing gloom
In book drop, hall doors, and cluttered back room.
Chairs are arranged; orange, black, yellow and red--
Built by prisoners now probably dead. (2)
I leap from copier to terminal to phone
To answer quick questions before I roam
Across the river where colleagues wait
In meetings that run 'til dinner plate;
Disputes maintained without digression,
With ready wit, and fine expression.
And seem to understand no more
Than what was said the week before.

To Sisson Hall on Reeboked feet
The trip across I then repeat (3)
To teach a class on BVD
(You'll be sorry, just don't ask me)
I hear, and note incredible phrases,
"Who was Art Nouveau" amazes,
Or, "I'm looking for a book,
Please just tell me where to look".
Whilst I at keyboard begin to pour
Out reports, booklists, and guides galore,
SilverPlatter from my hand,
MESH advice from where I stand.
Then with book trucks piled high and creaking
It's into the stacks, for night is creeping.

1. Written while Head, Veterinary Medicine Library, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.
2. Built by Prison Industries of Ohio Penitentiary.
3. Sisson Hall was named for Septimus Sisson, whose personal library was the foundation of the Veterinary Medicine Library. It was separated from the main Ohio State campus by the Olentangy River.

523 John Edwards on the Iraq War

John Edwards on Iraq, September 19, 2002, (remember he saw all the same intelligence reports that the President saw):

“Here's what I believe the resolution should say. First and foremost, it should clearly endorse the use of all necessary means to eliminate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

Second, the resolution should call for an effort to rally the international community under a U.N. Security Council mandate. The president's speech last week was an important first step, and his belated diplomatic efforts have already borne fruit. At the same time, we must not tie our own hands by requiring Security Council action. Congress should authorize the United States to act with whatever allies will join us if the Security Council is prevented from supporting action to enforce the more than 16 resolutions against Iraq.

Third, Congress should demand that the administration take real steps to win the peace. The only chance for Iraq to become a democratic, tolerant state -- and a model for the Arab world -- will be through sustained American involvement. We will need to help provide security inside Iraq after Hussein is gone, work with the various Iraqi opposition groups, reassure Iraq's neighbors about its future stability and support the Iraqi people as they rebuild their lives. Congress also should consider authorizing funds now to support such efforts, rather than waiting for events to force us to act with emergency spending.”

Look at that! “We will need to help provide security inside Iraq after Hussein is gone, work with the various Iraqi opposition groups, . . Etc. From Roger Simon blog. Glenn Beck on Wednesday was impersonating Edwards, "Fiiavvve Points," but there seems to be only three here. The photos on Beck's web site of the Star Wars connection to the compaign are awesome.

521 Ten things to do before the election

The Sojourner's Magazine has a commentary on "10 things to do before the election," in the October 2004 issue (selected articles on-line).

Number 2 is: "Register to vote. One out of four people of voting age weren’t registered to vote in 2000. For information on how to register, visit a public library or contact the Federal Election Commission (www. If you are already registered, get five other people to register."

I was reading an editorial in the Ogle County Life (Illinois) about the excuses people give for not voting, "Most will stay home on election day". My own son has never voted--he will be 36! How will I get five other people to register, if I can't even persuade him? I've even handed him the form that I picked up at church. All he had to do was fill it out and mail it. How hard is that?

How hard is it to think about young American men and women dying so people in Afghanistan and Iraq can vote?

520 Kanye West's Jesus Walks with Me

Bunnie Diehl's blog parses the words of Kanye West's Jesus Walks With Me, a popular Christian rap number. She says, "Not your, how do we say, traditional Christian song, Kanye discusses strippers, coke and drug dealers in his ode to the Savior. Profanities, too." This one I've actually heard--and like.

Making peace with the culture is the unending song of Christian music. My grandparents thought "Old rugged cross" (waltz music) and "Onward Christian Soldiers" (they were Anabaptists) were not fit for the hymnal.

Friday, October 08, 2004

519 Boys are fragile

About 125 boys are conceived for every 100 girls, and by birth there are about 106 males to 100 females, at least in the United States, and that figure differs by ethnic group, with black males being more fragile than white males. Because boys are more susceptible to childhood diseases and are more likely to be involved in accidents or violence, the ratio is about even by the teen years. Into adulthood, women steadily outpace the men in longevity. So, apparently, men needed that head start at conception. A new study in Italy shows that there is a premium time of the year for the conception of males--apparently the cooler months. There is also some concern that the birth ratio is changing with fewer boys being born, but no one knows why.

In many developing countries like India and China, boys are valued more than girls, and now with sex selection possible before birth, more girls than boys are being aborted. By the age of marriage, this is creating terrible social problems, with not enough women available. This doesn't improve choices for women--it makes them more susceptible to kidnapping, rape and violence.

518 Just a bagel and cream cheese

Two young 30-something married women (big rings, left hand) sat down near me at the coffee shop Wednesday morning. I watched them slice their bagels, open the plastic containers of cream cheese, spread the nutritious calcium and protein onto the wheat product and open bottles of fruit juice. Not bad nutrition--although more calories than two donuts.

They were eating, not dying, unless you think negatively that we are all using up our time here on earth. Terri Schiavo is a young married woman who uses a tube for her nutrition and fluids. She can't experience the texture and flavor of dairy and wheat products, but she can get the same nutrition. Terri is eating; not dying.

To withhold a feeding tube from a dying person may be an act of kindness because you aren't prolonging the death process. To withhold nutrition from someone who isn't dying is cruel, and a painful murder. Terri's husband wants to legally murder her by pulling out the tube.

If the husbands of the women I saw at Panera's came into the shop and grabbed away their food and locked them in a closet for 10 days, I suppose they might die. The husbands would go to jail, I hope. And what would those of us sitting around enjoying our coffee and bagels do?

517 Cat Lovers of Lakeside

A group of cat lovers here in Lakeside in 2003 developed a simple plan to control the growing feral cat population. The components are, 1) place kittens in loving homes, 2) spay/neuter the adults and return them to the community, and 3) feed the feral cats.

The feeding allows the helpers to get the feral cats to trust them so the adults can be caught and neutered and the kittens can be handled. It also prevents the cats from becoming sick and spreading disease. Over 30 kittens have been placed in homes. After the adults are neutered (small ear notch so they can be identified), they are returned to the community because cats are territorial and will prevent new cats from coming into the community.

The volunteers work with Noah’s Ark pet store in Port Clinton after having the kittens checked by Harborview Animal Hospital which also gives them a discount on the necessary surgeries. So far, 36 cats have been spayed or neutered, 25 of which are females. Since each female cat can have 10-12 kittens a year, these volunteers are contributing a significant service to the community.

In honor of our sweet kitty, and in memory of our two dear deceased felines, I will make a contribution to this group.

Saving babies is more complicated

You can’t speak out for baby-life on your license plates.

You can promote NASCAR, the Girl Scouts, or Saving Feral Cats, but if you want to “choose life” on your license plates, you’ll have a problem. Aren’t those plates made by prisoners? If given a choice between a less than perfect life and the electric chair, I wonder which they’d choose.

I guess the feminists deep down believe their position is so weak that a license plate slogan might convert a NOW member or make a young woman feel bad while driving to an appointment with the abortionist (if you google this topic hundreds of left web sites bounce up decrying this violation of the first amendment--these folks are really terrified they might lose an abortion). Tennessee and other states are trying to stifle this freedom of expression according to USAToday, Oct. 7, 7A. The anti-life-for-babies crowd must really be afraid of bumper stickers--bigger print.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

516 The Sports Cafe

Tired from a day of painting the bathroom, we went to the Sports Cafe for supper (he painted, I blogged). Looking over the menu, I noticed that after sandwiches we could order "deserts."

515 Lakeside is humming

The neighbor to the north is having a driveway widened and a new car port roof built; the neighbor across the street is repairing the tree storm damage to the roof with new shingles; another neighbor is repairing a chimney that has pulled away from his house. Down the street the big house with the round porch is being wrapped in its blue winter underwear with snaps and is having the air blown out of the pipes; two restaurants are open for either lunch or dinner; the Fountain Inn is entertaining guests; Marilyn's shop is open; the movie theater will be open this week-end with "De-lovely" and there will be a program in the auditorium Saturday evening--The Air National Guard Band of the Great Lakes; and the weather is gorgeous. The Third Annual Fall Festival will begin Saturday at 3 p.m.--the Marblehead Festival ends at 4 p.m. Miniature golf and shuffleboard will be open and there is a pie contest--apple only. I'll submit my sugar free pie. The apple sour cream is a secret.

We are doing our part; we are painting the bathroom. I always use "we" for physical labor. I don't paint, wallpaper, or drive 500 miles, but I love to say "we are. . ." We bought the cottage in 1988, and "we" spent about 12 week-ends driving up from Columbus to repair, paint and have appliances repaired and carpet installed. However, the wall paper border with a cute nautical theme was drooping and mildewing, and the paint chipping around the windows after 15 years. I couldn't find a border as sweet and precious as what I had (have you noticed how HUGE borders have become?), so I had to settle for blue and pink flowers, but it will be fresh.

514 I heard it on the radio, pt. 1

While driving to the coffee shop this morning, Chocolate Cafe, I was listening to WJR out of Detroit. Apparently there are some local problems in the 'burbs with political signs. A caller to the show yesterday complained that his Bush-Cheney signs were being torn up or stolen. The radio host checked it out with the police who told him that 85% of the complaints they get about this are because the Bush signs are being vandalized or destroyed. Must be that ABB crowd. Hatred overpowers the normally honest person.

The host also reported that he was flooded with e-mail and calls after he interviewed a columnist who pointed out that despite what we're hearing here in Ohio (and Michigan) about out-sourcing, that isn't the problem. Only 1% of the lost jobs in 2003 were a result of out-sourcing, and in-sourcing is providing much higher paid jobs (in the car capital, that would be firms like Toyota, Hyundai, BMW, etc.). People had apparently believed the screed of Kerry-Edwards. Technology is the big cause of job loss, as it has been for the last 200 years.

While at the coffee shop (did I mention the chocolate theme?) I read in USAToday there has been a net increase of 36 million jobs in the last 20 years. "Studies show that the migration of U.S. jobs overseas is a tiny factor in weak employment growth. A Labor Department study of job losses in the first three months of the year found that only 2% went overseas. Other studies have put the figure closer to 1%. . . .Technology lets companies do more with fewer people. In 2002 and 2003, output for each U.S. worker increased by more than 4% a year, the first time productivity was that high two years in a row, according to the Labor Department. Health care costs. Federal Reserve Board surveys show rising medical expenses — more than 10% annually for four years running — are dampening hiring as firms worry about paying for new employees' benefits." So apparently the USAToday op/ed was using the same Commerce Dept. report.

I heard it on the radio, pt. 2

"When I'm 64" is a Beatles song written by Paul McCartney; John Lennon would be 64. It is the basis of an article in USAToday about how much more active and valuable to the economy older people are today than in the past. After bulleting a few choice statistics (all good), the editor suggests: "It seems clear that older adults today aren't, as the Beatles song goes, "wasting away." They won't be "knitting sweaters by the fireside." And they won't be fitting easily into other stereotypes, either. "

Let's hold on a minute here. My four grandparents lived into their 80s and 90s; six of my eight great-grandparents did too. There was no retirement for farmers and housewives in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One of the myths we live with today is modern longevity. Actually, if you lived past the dangerous childhood years, your chances of having a long life, busy life, were excellent, if I read my genealogies correctly. Stop by any cemetery--after you get past the babies and the women who died in childbirth, you'll find "old people."

Ours is not the first generation to remain healthy and useful past 60. People remained busy and useful to their family and society long before the 21st century. They were happy and although they didn't have medical care as we think of it today with check-ups and testing, they weren't so unhealthy. They may have had fewer self-induced diseases caused by obesity, nicotine and alcohol.

Great aunt Rachel is a good example. A widow, she travelled the midwest taking care of new babies and infirm elders, assisting with laundry, the garden, cooking, and canning, staying six months or a year at the homes of her siblings and nieces. Then she would return to Pennsylvania and take care of those relatives. My great grandmother in the early 20th century shared her home with her mother-in-law and the retarded step-son of her daughter. I'm guessing her mother-in-law helped with the babies, the garden and the canning.

I'm grateful for the many conveniences and miracle drugs that give us a healthy life, but let's not pretend we're the first to have useful, active senior years.

We're following in some mighty big footprints.

513 What are your librarians buying for your library?

If you are a Democrat and think your library is doing an outstanding job with the "newest arrivals" shelf, or if you are a Republican constantly submitting suggestions for purchase and think you are getting lame excuses, Tomeboy has crunched the numbers and found out why you are both correct. In his article 223:1 (the ratio of Democrat librarians to Republican), he has taken the best seller lists of politically biased books, left and right, and compared them to OCLC WorldCat holdings records.

If you're not a librarian [what in the world is an OCLC? what is a holding?], some of this will seem a bit arcane, but you'll understand the conclusions--twice as many current, best-selling liberal books will make it to the shelves of your local library.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

512 Credit for lunch

Joanne Jacobs points out an article about students at Berkeley public schools which reports they will be getting credit for lunch. They’ll be eating, and learning about nutrition and organic foods, as well table manners and the art of conversation. Big deal. When I was in junior high school, we called that class home economics and we had to eat what we cooked.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

511 Mount St. Helen's volcanocam

Mount St. Helen’s volcanocam. We used something like this to track the fires at Glacier National Park last year. When we left Ohio (Amtrak) stopping in Arizona and California, we thought the fires would be gone before we got to Glacier in two weeks. We were wrong.

510 A Spat about Beer

About a month ago I wrote about updating my blogroll at Church of the Acronym and adding some Lutherans, rejecting some Christian sites because of trash talking. With some reluctance, I added Daniel, a Lutheran, Daniel loves beer, but doesn’t think much of non-LCMS Lutherans. He has also taken the word “Lutheran” out of Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, the synod to which my church belongs, and replaced it with an asterisk. Nice guy, huh? (Christians don’t need enemies; they’ve got each other.) But, I reasoned, maybe he is Gen-X or an Echo-Boomer and thinks it is cute. Generational differences, you know, so maybe he would mature.

I left a comment for him (e-mail) that I didn’t think much of his promotion of beer on a site intending to speak to the claims of Christ. (His only graphic is a grinning beer babe.) Now, according to one of his rants about me and my church, (“Who is Norma,” Oct. 3) Daniel the LCMS blogger has demanded to be removed from my blogroll. It is really tough to leave a comment at his website, or track back to his articles--you get e-mail or a web address, but no way for your comment to show in the context of the original.

I’ve got four blogs, a journal and three 3-mail addresses, and all my blogs are comment enabled. I’ve never received a message from Daniel. Somewhere in blogland another Norma is puzzling over a very odd message about beer.

509 Another September 11 story

“Michael Jacob was officially adopted by Karen and Pat Moan on September 11, 2003. He lives with his family in Southern California and is looking forward to celebrating his third birthday on March 31st.”

Read about an amazing charity, The Garden of Angels, that pays for burials of babies thrown in the trash and creates a safe haven and finds adoptive homes for newborns who could have ended up there. Their stories will leave tiny footprints on your heart.

Thanks to Sherry for the tip.

Monday, October 04, 2004

508 Adding photos

Through Picasa and something called Hello I can now add photos to my blog. The teeny-boppers do it all the time, but so far I keep taking pictures of the instructions and adding that. But I have successfully added one of my paintings to the Catablogging topic from last week. Scroll down. That's my cat sitting on the porch at our Lakeside house. Since I retired, I've been painting small, topical watercolors. I scan them onto notecards and sell them at a local gift shop. If you want to add my cat painting to your blog, you can (it's copyrighted, but I'm giving you the artist's permission), but please credit me and give this URL. Thanks.

And for your added enjoyment, I've added a wedding photo to my September 11 blog. We look like children playing dress-ups! That's my childhood friend and college roommate JoElla, as maid of honor, and my husband's childhood friend Tom, as best man. This is fun. I'll have to dig through some more old pictures.

507 When magazines multiply--what do you do?

Esther has the same problem we do with magazine subscriptions. We are gradually letting subscriptions to various architectural and home magazines die off--sometimes a slow painful death, as the subscription agencies continue to send pleas for renewals and special offers. Her description of how to say good-bye is hilarious. I'll have to send it to my friend, Lynne (who works in magazine fulfillment).

I’ve been so disappointed with my New Yorker--it was much better when my friend Nancy would give me her left-overs. When Esther is deciding how to winnow her supply she writes:

“Then, I kissed The New Yorker goodbye. The cartoons had failed to amuse me one too many times, and I found their articles pretentious and appallingly long; as an editor, I saw, in my mind’s eye, a kinder, simpler world, where each of the feature articles was a third shorter and no one missed the extra verbiage. Hasta la vista, you longwinded, overhyped, affected publication.”

Perfect. I knew I’d have something in common with Esther. At least she doesn’t collect first issues and get behind in that blog.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

506 It's been a bad summer for the media

John Leo writes, "In truth, the news business had a disastrous summer. In July, a Senate intelligence committee and an official British investigation both concluded that President Bush had been on firm ground when he spoke the famous 16 words in his 2003 State of the Union message (that the British had learned Saddam Hussein had sought to acquire uranium in Africa). When the 16 words appeared to be untrue, the press endlessly trumpeted them, often on the front page, but when Bush drew heavy support from the two investigations, you could hardly find the news with a magnifying glass. In the New York Times, the British report was carried way inside the paper and read like a muddled translation from classical Urdu. This seems to happen a lot when the Times is forced to report news it doesn't like. On July 25, the Washington Post press critic, Howard Kurtz, reported that his newspaper had carried 96 references to the issue when Bush appeared to be wrong and only two after the revelation that he looked to be right. The totals for the three major networks and three elite newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, were 302 before and nine after. According to Kurtz, CBS never did get around to mentioning that the investigations had supported the president.

Media handling of the charges by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was even more peculiar. Most major news media stayed silent for nine or 10 days as the story of the charges spread over radio and the Internet. A few bloggers argued that this was an attempt by big-time media outlets to rule the Swifties' charges out of bounds. It seemed that way to me, too. When big media finally did rouse themselves and address the issue, they tended to focus tightly on Democratic talking points, such as who provided the funding and were the Swifties illegal surrogates for the Bush campaign. In many news outlets, the adjective "unsubstantiated" seemed welded to the noun "charges." "

U.S. John Leo, “Self-Inflicted Wounds”

505 He'd Rather not have an agenda

The Washington Post has an article on Dan Rather today. That surprises me. People have such a short attention span. Sure, we'd like to continue talking about the bias of the press and why they don't see it, but there really are more important issues for conservatives. Like the Republicans who are falling away from Bush because they don't like the neo-cons (mostly former Democrats). That's what got Clinton elected the first time--unhappy Republicans defecting from Bush 41.

It is so strange that Dan Rather can't see his own bias*. I have biases and opinions. Most people do. Why does he think he is immune just because he went to journalism school and has been in front of a camera for years. That actually makes him more susceptible! How could you not get a big head if millions of people were hanging on your every word, and the press quoted you, and movie stars knew YOUR name. Gosh, Dan. Get real. My little blog gets about 50 hits on a good day--when it is up to 100, you probably won't be able to talk to me.

*"I'm an independent journalist," Rather said. "I don't have a political agenda. What I'm trying to do is be an honest broker of information. I'm going to make my mistakes . . . and not give in to those" who are themselves "biased." WaPo story here by Howard Kurtz.