Tuesday, February 28, 2006

2227 The daughter-in-law--taking applications

You've seen the reality show about the bachelor choosing a wife. Why couldn't there be a show called "The daughter-in-law?" I've thought of throwing a big party and inviting all the single women I know to meet my son--he'd be the only guy at the party (unfortunately, most are in their 50s and 60s, and one in her 80s). He has excellent manners and I'm sure would make them all feel special, but would probably not speak to me for awhile.

My idea of the perfect daughter-in-law is probably different than my son's idea of a perfect wife. Actually, in marriage there is no perfection, so let's just toss that word out, OK? Marriage is mostly enjoying the good qualities and accepting the flaws, your spouse's and your own. Marriage is smoothing out your own rough edges so you aren't always poking at each other. He says next time he'd like to be the boss; he wants to be only 50% to blame when there is a problem. Personally, I don't think that's the best attitude if he wants it to last longer than a week or two.

I would like her (my new daughter-in-law) to be a little bit like my friend Mitzi, who used to use her week-ends to help care for her husband's father. Not so unusual, you say? Well, she lived in Illinois and her father-in-law lived in Arizona. So I'd say she was one fabulous daughter-in-law. My father-in-law's other daughter-in-law, Kate, is another one who willingly stepped in to provide care when needed, but they lived in the same house.

I would also like her to be a little bit like my son-in-law, who is cuddly, funny, and available when we need help--like tomorrow he's coming over to move furniture so we can have carpeting installed on Thursday. He also cleans the house and does the laundry (at his house) and has a good job. She wouldn't have to be strong enough to move furniture, but it would be nice for my son if she liked to clean and do laundry (don't laugh, some women do) and was also the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

I would also like her to be a bit like my former daughter-in-law who was a fabulous cook and hostess. We aren't party people, so having her around was always a blast, and being invited for dinner was marvelous. Once when I was in the hospital she brought in a great meal and also gave me a manicure! I would also like her to be smart like my niece-in-law, Leigh, who is brainy, but very easy to talk to. I would like my daughter-in-law to be active in her church like my niece-in-law Joan, who seems to have a wonderful group of supportive friends and helps with the youth group. My son is a Christian and has learned the meaning of being unequally yoked.

I also think it would be nice if she were as good to her own parents as our daughter is to us. God save us from a woman who "has issues" she's always working on. I just don't think we have enough time left on this earth for her to find herself. She should like living in the mid-west and not be pining for mountains or oceans all the time. Sharing holidays--would that be too much to ask for?

I'm sorry this list is getting a bit long and doesn't look very romantic, but my son, of course, is going to be looking for what men always look for, so I thought that department was covered and I'd just throw out some ideas.

Oh yes, and he likes to fish, plays the guitar, and has a dog and a cat. So we want someone outdoorsy with no allergies.

2226 The Meathead Economics

That's what the WSJ is calling the universal preschool tax which would cost Californians $23 billion over the next 10 years, if Rob Reiner's Proposition 82 passes. Rob Reiner, for those of you too young to remember, was the flaming liberal son-in-law of Archie Bunker in the TV series, All in the Family. He left Gloria and she raised their son alone (in another short lived series). Now he's just another limousine liberal from Hollywood, making money off poor schmucks who buy movie tickets.

First of all, there is no evidence whatsoever that sending poor kids to preschool puts them ahead in elementary or high school. It doesn't get them into college and good jobs. Billions of dollars spent on Head Start over 40 years have not shown any permanent gains, because when the lights have been turned out and the doors of the school locked at night, these kids go home to the old environment and the parent (usually just one, ala Gloria Bunker). When California preschools are universal, you can bet your bippy that Hollywood moms will be sending their little darlings to a private school or jet setting them around the world with nannies and tutors in tow. The middle class and the working poor will be footing the bill, not the rich.

Second, California already has confiscatory taxes, and long time permanent (and wealthy) citizens are moving out of state. They love their sunshine, but they love their wealth more. According to one pundit, you can buy a home in Nevada just with the the tax savings by moving out of California. When the rich leave a state, who is going to pay the bulk of the taxes? Well, the middle-class, of course, since the poor don't pay anything.

Third, Reiner is using tobacco tax money (intended for children) to promote his latest Meathead scheme, and it has been funneled into the pockets of the public relations firms who got those contracts to sell his scheme.

"Beware of liberals promising to tax someone else to help children" they really mean you.

November story from Orange Co. Register on the Meathead tax

Wall Street Journal article

2225 This calls for a bag of Fritos

Some of you munch chocolates when under stress; I scarf down Fritos.

I just finished looking over our income tax forms before they are mailed--federal, state, RITA (our suburb), and Columbus. Even with all the eyes we've had looking this over, we've had the wrong address for our business for four years! No one seemed to care.

I have a pension and my husband has Social Security but is finishing up a few jobs for long time clients. His income is negative, so that offsets our interest income; even with a negative income he still owes taxes on his Soc. Sec.; the auto expenses for business still have to be claimed, but the record doesn’t have to be submitted; medical expenses were well over $10,000 (more than half my income) because of insurance and Medicare costs and we had no illnesses--it‘s been one of our healthiest years; we have a small house on the east side (considered a rental for us) which on paper shows up at $420,000 for depreciation (!) and the reasons are just flat out bizarre, but I assume it is so you never get to zero like we did back in the 60s when we owned a duplex. Must be very beneficial to people who own acres of apartments. But this is little house.

Here's a rerun from what I wrote on Feb. 8, but nothing has changed.

In 1995 the total pages of federal tax rules were 40,500; in 2004, 60,044.

In 2000 the number of IRS tax forms were 475; in 2004 they were 529.

In 1994 there were 16 loopholes for education and training; in 2004 that had risen to 28.

In 1995, 50% of taxpayers used paid tax preparers; in 2003, 62%.

In 1995 Americans spent 5.3 billion hours filling out tax forms; in 2004, 6.5 billion.

In 1995 there were 84 pages in the 1040 instruction book; in 2003 there were 131.

To complete the 1040, A,B, and D schedules in 1995, it required 21.2 hours; in 2003 it took 28.5. [figures from CATO Handbook on Policy, p. 120]

Monday, February 27, 2006

Monday Memories: Did I ever tell you about:
When my letters turned into a memoir?

When my children left home about 20 years ago, I was suffering from empty nest syndrome big time. I decided to gather up the letters I’d written to my mother and sisters and the ones they’d written me and excerpt the “crazy” time in our year--from about Halloween through January so I would have a written record of our family life. Both children have November birthdays, so that’s about the time things really heated up at our house.

After looking through the letters (which my mother had saved), I pushed the time line back another 10 years and started with my years in college until I had about 30 years worth of letters. And I added in letters from girl friends, cousins, and in-laws. (I never throw away a letter). It was hours of typing (at the office after work since I didn’t have a computer then) and careful editing out really personal stuff. My husband designed an artistic cover, and I had the little book reproduced and bound at Kinko's.

Although the collection recorded all the cute and interesting things about my children’s growing up years, it also inadvertently became a story about a group of women--with a few men around the fringes--who were keeping things going by following a few familiar holiday traditions. At the beginning, I'm a college student and my mother is 47 years old with three children in college, a married daughter and two little grandchildren. My niece and nephew are 3 and 2 in the first letter and then are parents of their own children at the end, and repeating many of the same traditions, questions, and yearnings we letter writers had. Some people who didn’t write letters are in the collection anyway--their health and well-being and activities reported by the women who tell the stories year after year.

These letters recorded the ordinary events of our lives to the faint drumbeat of the cold war, the civil rights movement, space flight, the VietNam war, political campaigns, Watergate, economic growth and slowdown cycles, the rise of feminism, employment crises, career changes and family reconfigurations. On and on we wrote, from the conservatism of the Eisenhower years, on through the upheaval of the 60's, the stagnation of the 70's, then into the conservatism of Reagan/Bush in the 80s. National and international events are rarely discussed in these letters as though we were pulling the family close into the nest for a respite from the world's woes. If you were to read the letters, you might miss that we were even aware of world events. Or maybe because, as one of my sisters noted in a letter, when you're struggling on the home front sometimes there isn't much left to give to others.

The edited letters became the rhythm of women's lives--nursing a dying parent, holding a sick child, putting up the tree, playing the old records, going to the post office, baking favorite Christmas cookies, helping with school work, going to holiday programs, creating crafts with the children, shopping for gifts, checking the sky for some sunshine, wallpapering the hall, folding the laundry, looking for that just right job.

E-mail and blogging will have an effect on family memoirs--it will be interesting to review this phenomenon in 30 years. Digital is much less permanent than paper. Print out what is worth keeping--your children will be grown and gone the next time you turn around. And when they ask you why you printed them out for safe keeping, tell them, "Because Norma said so."

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2223 Rising college costs

As tuition goes up and more students take on the burden of loans, perhaps it's time to ask some questions about the courses, and how they will help a young person's career? The Young America's Foundation identified 12 courses on college campuses that make the people pushing for the 10 commandments or creationism in the classroom look like sound, sensible thinkers worthy of our support just for some balance.

1. Princeton: "The cultural production of early modern women" which examines prostitutes, cross-dressing and same sex eroticim in 16th and 17th century England, France, Italy and Spain.

2. Occidental College, California: "The unbearable whiteness of Barbie: race and popular culture in the United State."

3. Johns Hopkins University: "Sex, drugs and rock n roll in ancient Egypt."

The whole list here, but you can probably find more examples at the college of your choice by going on-line and searching "bulletin" or "courses."

I just quickly glanced through some women's studies course descriptions at Ohio State, but they are sanitized so as to reveal nothing, but I did find it odd that in women's studies, teaching middle school students is called "peer education." So the fact of biology makes the teacher and student peers? Or have I misunderstood this jargon and it means teaching students to teach their peers about sexuality?

2222 What would we do without committees?

Although I love being retired, I'm ecstatic about not being on committees to earn a paycheck. They truly made potholes in the road to a wonderful life and career. And things have always been so, I think. The committee gets a charge, works hard, battles for every concept and sentence in the report, brings it to the larger body (none of whom have done an ounce of research on the problem), only to get a bazillion "what ifs" and "why didn't you do" comments. Librarians can spend 15 minutes placing a comma. I used to envy the guy who sat in the back and slept.

Yesterday I checked out a black Lutheran hymnal published in 1930 from the church library. I wanted to examine it to determine if it was the edition used in the 1940s-50s at little Faith Lutheran Church in Forreston, IL when my family attended. We weren't Lutherans, but this little community of believers took us in and treated us like we were one of them (we were Church of the Brethren).

I'm a preface and index reader (it's a Librarian thing), so I got quite a chuckle out of the prefatory remarks on the book's history.

". . .representatives of eight synods. . . met in Chicago, May 3, 1921 and organized the Lutheran Intersynodical Hymnal Committee. . . In 1928, after the Committee had devoted much time and labor to a careful selection of hymns to be included in this hymnal and to a thorough revision of hymns from other languages as well as to the making of new translations when those hitherto used were not deemed satisfactory. . .[provisional was printed] with a view to the solicitation of criticisms and suggestions. . . The Committee again revised its work, also eliminating one hundred and thirty-two hymns, mostly translations, and including ninety-three other hymns."

The origin of the hymnal committee was the Iowa Synod, so I'm guessing there were some improved translations of Scandinavian and German hymns in the provisional text, but I can't be sure since it doesn't say.

Ah, committees. You gotta love 'em.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

2221 The sun is setting on a busy day

Today we had the artists' reception for the Digital Artists of Central Ohio (DACO) Spring Show at The Church at Mill Run, 3500 Mill Run Dr., Hilliard, OH. It took about 4 hours to get it hung yesterday. Then the young man who arranged for us to show it did the typing of the program, but he was apparently a 2 finger typist, so I didn't get it until about 8:30 last night. Between church services this morning I ran off about 50 copies in the church office.

When I got home from church about 11:30 our son was here. He brought over his Midi so I'll be able to practice the choir music. I finally found a good spot for it in the guest room. It's sort of fun--I'd never played one before. It will be awhile before I sound like The 2nd Chapter of Acts (retired, 1988), but with all the drums, guitar and cymbals, I think I could do it (if it drowns out my voice). It even has applause if I get discouraged!

Hear the bells ringing

They're singing that we can

Be born again

Joy to the world!

He is risen!


We had a very good turn out at the art show, and some of the people I invited this morning at church came by. This is a relatively new art group and many had never seen our space before. We recruited one of our own to help with hanging the next one. It's a lot of ladder climbing.

Now I'm sort of vegging out on the couch watching "Gone with the Wind," one of my all time favorite movies. The costuming and sets never cease to amaze me. I'm too tired to make a joyful noise.

2220 Net Asset Creep

Big news these days. The gap in assets between the top and bottom is growing. Wait a minute! Weren't we told 10 years ago that this was going to happen as the "greatest generation" which struggled through the Depression and World War II and scrimped and saved and invested in America began dying off and passing along their assets to the boomers? Weren't we told years ago that there would be an unprecedented amount of wealth, trillions and trillions, changing hands in this country in the early 21st century?

We're not rich by any means, but if my husband's step-father hadn't withdrawn his RCA pension and invested it in the stock market back in the early 1990s, and if he hadn't died first leaving it all to my mother-in-law, his wife of 52 years, I would've worked until age 65 or later instead of retiring at 60. And now we have money to invest for our older years which we wouldn't have had. He was just a poor kid from Indianapolis' south side who worked his way up in management, but we are the benficiaries of his hard work and the stock market boom of the 90s.

An estimated $12 trillion will be passed along to heirs in 2017 just about 10 years from now--and in the next 50 years, $41 trillion. Will there be a widening gap? Yes, unless someone in Washington decides it isn't fair that our fathers and grandfathers worked so hard, and it should be stripped away and given to someone not in the family.

The wealthy can afford the advisors and lawyers and accountants to help them work their way through the tax code. The rest of us can't. As the media starts ginning up the music on "unfair," "poverty is growing," and "it's Bush's tax breaks for the wealthy," just keep in mind your dad and mom who rarely went to a nice restaurant, or travelled, or bought new clothes. Then turn off the TV.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

2219 It's an odd war

says Victor Davis Hanson. "It is an odd war, because the side that I think is losing garners all the press, whether by blowing up the great golden dome of the Askariya shrine in Samarra, or by blowing up an American each day. Yet we hear nothing of the other side that is ever so slowly, shrewdly undermining the enemy."

Read his latest assessment of the insurgency, what our media area ignoring, what is our will to win and see this through here.

"Can-do Americans courageously go about their duty in Iraq — mostly unafraid that a culture of 2,000 years, the reality of geography, the sheer forces of language and religion, the propaganda of the state-run Arab media, and the cynicism of the liberal West are all stacked against them. Iraq may not have started out as the pivotal front in the war between democracy and fascism, but it has surely evolved into that. After visiting the country, I think we can and will win, but just as importantly, unlike in 2003-04, there does not seem to be much of anything we should be doing there that in fact we are not."

2218 White guys can't write copy?

Gannett/USAToday has a poster ad promoting job fairs in McLean VA, Anaheim, CA and Atlanta for positions in advertising. In the mosaic of photos in the ad are eleven women--all Asian in appearance, some more so than others. There are five young men in the ad, one clearly African American, three sort of multi-racial featured, and one with delicate, male-model/dancer features who could be a NAMBLA poster child. Just what is the exclusion message here?

2217 What doesn't respond to antibiotics?

This is a quiz, a useful one, and it is from USAToday. Actually, it isn't a quiz, it is the answers to a quiz.

Which ailments/illnesses do not respond to antibiotics?
  • cold
  • flu
  • chest cold
  • bronchitis
These do, with caveats
  • pneumonia (if it is bacterial and not viral)
  • whooping cough (if diagnosed early)
So why do 50% of people with bronchitis receive an antibiotic--the overuse of which is a major health threat?


Friday, February 24, 2006

2216 Wild boars are extinct in Scotland

therefore it can't be against the Dangerous Wild Animals Act for farmers to raise the hairy ugly things. Story here.

2215 Facing extinction?

"Today . . . the library is relinquishing its place as the top source of inquiry. The reason that the library is losing its supremacy in carrying out this fundamental role is due, of course, to the impact of digital technology. As digital technology has pervaded every aspect of our civilization, it has set forth a revolution not only in how we store and transmit recorded knowledge, historical records, and a host of other kinds of communication but also in how we seek and gain access to these materials." Educause Review

2214 Creepy, crawly computer words

Wine words are prettier than "Observed Web Robot Behavior on Decaying Web Subsites" nerd words.
  • Robot Behavior
    crawling patterns
    contents decay at predetermined rates
    decaying subsites
    Spidering Hacks
    populating each with HTML
    words that are often labeled "pornographic."
    log rotation process
    pruning and cross-checking
    percentage of crawls
    non-resolving IPs
    most frequent single crawler
    a mix of human and robotic crawls
    we ignored crawls from unknown robots
    a host containing robot, crawler, spider or some similarly identifiable robot-style title
    log-resolve and whois databases
    final arbiter
    static bar graphs
    The green portion
    Wayback Machine
    resource decay
    begin a deep plunge
    research on live systems
    the vagaries and foibles

2213 Sorry, we gave at the church

These all dropped through the mail slot today. Looks like they used the same direct mail provider.

2212 Should illegals receive

  • in state tuition help with my tax money? NO
  • scholarships? NO
  • well, how about a public school education on my real estate tax dollar? NO
  • surely emergency room services and hospital beds on my medicaid state money? NO
What about making it easier for them to become legal workers? I'll certainly consider any idea or program that is legal. Nothing while they are illegals.

2211 The days of wine and phrases

Wine critics write the most wonderful words. Today's wine column in the WSJ was about wine bars, and I just had to share with you these phrases. They are just so--I don't know--earthy, robust and unstoppable. Most are reusable in other stories.
  • explosion of wine bars
  • passion for wine
  • a demographic of time-starved people
  • a sophisticated retreat from airport madness
  • a place of fun and wonder
  • a menu of "4 pages of wine and 2 pages of food"
  • opened too long--if flat, listless, stale, metallic, or oxidized
  • take a chance on something new
  • flights of wine--4 chardonnays from around the world
  • the bartender/wine server should be passionate
  • be honest with your budget
  • stunning stuff not on the list
  • it's not geeky to take notes
I know nothing about wine--I drink "three buck chuck" (Charles Shaw, $3.30 at Trader Joe's), and I stagger after one glass of Merlot, but I love tasty words. One recommended wine was $25.99 a bottle--a sparkling Shiraz. "It was delightful with some seriously dark, herbal and earthy tastes leavened with languid bubbles. It would go well with chili, hamburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches and barbecue."

2210 Greed, Lust, and Sex

Or as my friend Vox Lauri would say slyly, "that should bring 'em to the site." WSJ says a new network (My Network TV) will feature greed, lust, and sex.

I don't know who did their marketing research, but hasn't that already been done to death?

2209 Readers pound on Nancy

Readers of Nancy Pelosi's Wall Street Journal article on research and development thoroughly thrashed her in the letters column yesterday. John Rogitz, Thom McKee, John Wallace and Steve Cardana made these points:

  • Pelosi thinks USA has R & D leadership because of federal bureaucrats.
  • Pelosi thinks spending more money on public education would produce more engineering graduates.
  • Pelosi is all wrong about who and what country contributed to scientific achievements she notes.
  • Pelosi thinks our status as a world leader has never been challenged before the Bush administration. Was she OTL during the space race and the battles of fuel efficient automobiles in the 70s and 80s?
Her grasp of history, politics and technology makes you wonder after reading her article if she (or her staff) is a victim product of the public school system.

2208 Mickey's joke this week

Mickey sent along this joke today. Maybe you've seen it, but I got a chuckle.

"George W. Bush and the Pope are taking a cruise of the Potomac and the Pope's hat blows off and lands in the water. Secret Service men scramble to retrieve it, but George says, "wait a minute guys, I'll handle this". The President proceeds to step out of the boat, walks across the water, retrieves the hat and walks back to the boat.

The next morning the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN, MSNBC and NPR Top story/Banner headlines read: PRESIDENT BUSH CAN'T SWIM!!!! "

Actually, I know the President doesn't walk on water. Mostly he's floating along on an out of control domestic spending program that makes him appear to be a Democrat.

Update: Two more from Mickey. He's really flying today.

"A White House source stated Wednesday that Congress is considering awarding Vice President Dick Cheney the Congressional Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, for his act of bravery in shooting an attorney. The source was quoted to say, All Americans have wanted to shoot a lawyer at one time or another and Cheney actually had the guts to do it."

"In a related story, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which issues hunting licenses, said that it will start requiring hunters who wish to bag a lawyer to have a new "lawyer's stamp" on their hunting license. Currently Texas hunters are required to carry stamps for hunting birds, deer, and bear, at a cost of $7 annually. The new "lawyers stamp" will cost $100, but open season will be all year long. The department further stated that although the "lawyers stamp" comes at hefty price, sales have been brisk and it is believed it will generate annual revenues in excess of $3 billion dollars the first year. Other states are considering similar hunting stamps."

Apologies to my niece Julie who is a lawyer, and has probably heard more lawyer jokes than she'd care to admit. Only librarians laugh at librarian jokes--they are so obtuse no one else would laugh.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

13 topics NORMA writes about in this blog

1. Current events. I read three newspapers and a number of political, technical and social blogs and web sites. I check out 3-4 magazines a week from the public library on business, health and politics. I occasionally listen to talk radio and I enjoy C-Span, particularly Book-tv. I’m a neo-conservative who would lean Libertarian if it weren’t for abortion. Even as a Democrat (most of my adult life), I was always pro-life. I grew up pacifist. I know nothing about fiction, popular music, sports, gaming and entertainment.

2. Libraries and librarianship. There are strange goings-on and wonderful technological advancements that I try to keep up with. A side issue is education, but it’s not a field I follow although I think it’s an important issue for everyone to know about. I leave that to other bloggers better informed.

3. Parenting. My children are adults (37 and 38) and have been on their own since they were 18, but I still remember the good, the bad, and the delightful. I am not a grandparent, so you’ll find no cutesy photos on my site. Our two oldest sons died, and occasionally I’ve mentioned it in blogging, but not often. Life if full of losses, and those were definitely defining events in our lives.

4. Finances. We’re living on pensions. It’s amazing how your vocabulary changes to Social Security, 403-b, 401-K, IRA, Wall Street, taxes, real estate, bonds, REITS, etc., when no one is handing you a paycheck for showing up. Neither one of us had any retirement plan until we were in our mid-forties. People coming up are much better informed about this than we were.

5. My family. I grew up in 2 small towns with three siblings, and lots of relatives near-by. I like genealogy and family stories, so I’m the keeper of the tales for my siblings and nieces and nephews. Also I write about my immediate family--husband of 45+ years, two adult children in town.

6. Travel. I’ve blogged about our Frank Lloyd Wright architectural tours and our trip to Germany and Austria, but I’ll blog about anything that takes us on the road or puts us in an airplane, train or bus.

7. My church and my faith. Most of this is at Church of the Acronym. I’m a Lutheran (ELCA), but always test high as a Calvinist (about 100%) if I take a theology quiz. I have zero interest in “end-times” stuff--Jesus is coming back and that’s all I care to know. Everything else is sheer speculation. I grew up in the Church of the Brethren, a tiny, Anabaptist denomination with a strong pacifist and outreach ministry. Now I like traditional services and liturgy and gripe a lot about current trends in music and worship. That’s probably either my age, or because I came to appreciate liturgy late in my life. I joined the choir 2 weeks ago. I could read Martin Luther all day--I think his published work runs to 55-60 volumes. Imagine if blogging had been available!

8. My interest in art. Sometimes I post my paintings here or those of my husband (who is a much better painter). We are both watercolorists, doing more now that we are retired, and are members of a Visual Arts Ministry that works out of our church.

9. My activities with friends. I loved my job as veterinary medicine librarian, but retirement is just plain fun. We're still in touch with our friends from grade school and high school through U.S. mail, via e-mail, and face to face visits when we return to Illinois and Indiana. Work friendships really are hard to keep going, so I’m always looking for new, interesting people to meet, but I hate to be busy so I‘m a careful scheduler.

10. Lakeside, Ohio. We have a summer home in a Lake Erie community on the Chautauqua circuit, so there are lots of activities and events to write about. During the summer months I write a lot of reviews of the entertainment. We’ve been vacationing there since 1974 and bought a home in 1988. A great place for children and for soaking up some art, music and lectures just by walking out the front door.

11. Pets. My cat, a Calico shelter cat, and my grand puppies Abbie and Rosa. My children have a tiny Chihuahua who just recently joined us, and a huge chocolate Lab, a forever-puppy. Growing up I had mostly dogs, and also a horse. I like to paint and draw animals, especially horses. I really enjoy the photos of animals I see on other people’s blogs. Especially cats. Most of them need to lose weight, however.

12. Health issues and research. Some of this is covered at my other blog, Hugging and Chalking. About half of my journal collection in the Veterinary Medicine Library was human medicine or hard sciences, so I got hooked on that topic. Did you know that many doctors write poetry and beautiful essays and publish them in boring medical journals?

13. Writing. Also the wonders and peculiarities of the English language. In addition to writing seven blogs, I’m in a memoirs writing group and occasionally participate in poetry readings using my own poetry. I’ve always written letters to my family and friends, to editors of magazines and government types; also essays and stories, and as a child I also illustrated them. I am an extremely fast typist, which certainly helps in the blogging business. I’ve published in journals you’ve never heard of unless you’re a librarian. I have boxes of half finished research that will never be published because scholarly publishing is a two way street, and the fast lane is intended to advance a career, which I no longer have.

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2206 The news of her death . . "

We were on a recipient e-mail list today giving the church, date and times for a funeral of a fellow artist. I was shocked. Didn't know she'd died. However, I knew a good friend of hers, so I called to express my sympathy. "Oh, she's not dead," she said, "I just talked to her a few minutes ago." So I told her about the e-mail. "Oh, she'll get a kick out of that." Or maybe not. There were at least 50 names on that list.

2205 Working out an exchange

Tonight my son called and asked if I'd like to trade my trombone for his keyboard for 3 months. I asked him why and didn't exactly get an answer. I suspect a little bird has told him that my joining the choir has put a request in the prayer job jar that I recover one or two more notes so I can sing. It's awfully hard to practice the music without a piano, and a trombone doesn't help at all.

Last night the director was enrolling his son in kindergarten, so the trumpet player subbed as the director. He's quite talented so I'm assuming that he is a music director somewhere, perhaps a school. He's a good director too. This church is absolutely loaded with talent, although not mine. We did back rubs on the right and then the left and karate chops to warm up, then extended our arms and made a large hole with our fingers and projected the sound into the hole.

Then we split up, the men to the choir loft with the sub and accompanyist to practice the tenor and bass parts, and the women in the choir room with the organist to work on the soprano and alto. I'm just filling space at this point, but it is fun to be singing and reading music again. After practice about 20 choir members headed for the Rusty Bucket to continue the fellowship, but I went home.

Note: if your church is using overhead screens for hymns, you are depriving some sweet old lady the pleasure of reading music. Hymns are more than words.

2204 The burden of student loans

Sandra Block authors an article in USAToday on the burden of college loans. It was so anecdotal, I almost despaired at trying to parse it for the holes, gaps and exaggerations. The charts were all over the place, covering 30 years here, 10 years there, adjusted for 2005 dollars, and squiggly lines criss-crossing, going nowhere in particular. I knew if I worked hard enough at figuring it out, it would all be Bush's fault, but I had hoped for something better.

Let's parse her first example: a pre-pharmacy student, now 19, who figures he will owe $150,000 by the time he gets his doctorate. Does anyone want to figure what he would owe if he borrowed living expenses for six years and didn't go to school and didn't work? Probably a lot more than $150,000 unless he lived at no higher than $25,000/year which would get him into the food pantry in Columbus for supplemental peanut butter and mac/cheese.

Then there is her next example, an education major, who will be $15,000 in debt with a B.S. For 5 years of education, that doesn't sound too bad--less than a car loan, and she'll only have to work 10 months of the year and will get a buy out with a $50,000 incentive when she is 50 years old if she works for Columbus City Schools.

The third is really my favorite. A social worker who graduated in 1997 with a master's and $22,000 in debt. Conservatively, that's for 5 or 6 years of education. Her debt is now $29,000 even after a consolidation. Hello! That's not your school loan! That's $7,000 interest on a loan (probably with late charges) because you didn't pay it back.

The fourth example of student debt is a woman minister who consolidated her $33,000 debt reducing it to $200/mo, but now has no money to buy a house or save for retirement. So she has a bachelor's and master's degree, and was willing to chose a field that is becoming heavily female and didn't even pay well even when dominated by men? Girlfriend (as Suze would say), did you walk into this with the clerical collar around your eyes and ears? Large successful churches don't hire female ministers; didn't anyone in divinity school mention that?

So who are the experts Block consults for this masterpiece of research? Amy at the National Center and American Daughter may need to help me out here, but I'm taking a wild guess that the non-profit experts she consulted for this article are left of center.

  • Project on Student Debt (endorsed by Rock the Vote)
  • Center for Economic and Policy Research (advocates for gov't programs for every level of endeavor, but it's never enough, and requires more funding for each failure)
  • Public Interest Research Group (although I be suspicious of any acronym called PIRG, seems to be heavy into tree hugging issues)

The headline for the article is: "Students suffocate under tens of thousands in loans." So I went into one of those "Money was worth" such-and-so many years ago sites, and discovered that the $10,600 debt for a public college today (the average according to Block) would have been about $2,500 in 1975, or $1,725 in 1961 when I graduated.

So, ask your mother or grandmother if she felt "suffocated" by debt when she finished college. Yes, 1961 attitudes toward money were different. We didn't have cell phones, broad band, or cable TV to pay for. Eating out was for special occasions a few times a year. (Cut those 4 things out of your budget and see if you don't have enough to pay off a loan.) And most importantly, people got married before they decided to "save money" by living together. Marriage broadened their base of family support from two families instead of one.

I'm sure there's more to it, but debt is debt. You borrow it; you pay it back.

2203 Thanks, but I'll pass

Although I enjoy learning about English, if I just happened to be in the Chicago area in early March, this would probably not be how I'd spend my time, Mr. Bierma.

"If you'll be in the Chicago area on March 3 and 4, consider attending the 32nd annual convention of the Illinois Teachers of ESOL and Bilingual Education, in Naperville. I will be giving the closing plenary address, "Strange Twists and Turns in the History of English." "

There's just too much to see and do in Chicago, my favorite city. Catch ya next time, though.

No kidding!

Must be a slow news day. I just watched a story on the local news about a man who was attacked by a goat. After he struggled with the goat, he got to his house, grabbed a gun and shot the goat. It wasn't even our local story (Florida maybe?), so this must be a nationwide media feed, some of the fallout from the Cheney shooting story. If insignificant hunting accidents can tie up the press for days, let's see what we can do with a nobody-type guy shooting a goat!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

2201 The port story

Has the port security story finally bumped the Cheney non-story off the front pages? Even Rush has found something else to talk about, and his "mind-numbed robots" aren't falling in line, which means they weren't such robots, were they?

"If there was any chance that this transaction would jeopardize the security of the United States, it would not go forward." - President Bush, on Tuesday.

"In regards to selling American ports to the United Arab Emirates, not just 'no' but 'hell no!'" - Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., in a letter to Bush on Wednesday.

Lincoln's first assassination attempt

Tomorrow is the 145th anniversary of the first assassination attempt on President Lincoln. Most people don't know that it was an Ohio librarian who saved his life.

I blogged about Colonel Coggeshell and how he saved the President's life last year, so you can read it there.

2199 Unintended consequences will help fill nursing homes

The Wall Street Journal today has an article on the cost of a short or long term nursing home stay. The government is tightening the rules, and it will be harder to shift your medical costs to your neighbor by giving your assets to your children. Many people in my parents' generation were able to "impoverish" themselves to qualify for Medicaid, but now that is out of control in many states. We were very fortunate in that neither of my parents required nursing home care before they died. My in-laws both had relatively short stays, well under the average. My paternal grandparents, however, one of whom was blind and the other who had Alzheimer's, did need nursing home care. Actually, only Grandpa needed it, but my grandmother who could have lived with her children didn't want to be separated from her husband of nearly 70 years.

We've purchased long-term care insurance which costs about $3,000 a year. That's a lot of money (and the rates are rising), but think of the auto and home insurance you've paid for over the years and (hopefully) rarely had to use. Or, if you are a smoker, think of the Social Security you've paid for that you might not live long enough to ever collect! One year's premiums for two of us is the cost of half a month for one of us in a nursing home. Or a one week vacation in Florida in February.

One of the unintended consequences of better health care and miracle drugs and technology is that people are now living well into their 90s, although the actual years of frailty probably isn't that different than a century ago--we've just changed the time line. I'm arranging a retrospective quilt show at our church for a woman who died at 102, and was out walking and quilting just a few weeks before she died.

WSJ says 11% of 65 year old men and 28% of women will need 5 years of care of more. Men don't live as long as women, marry younger women the first time, and also they tend to remarry younger women when widowed or divorced who become their care givers (WSJ didn't say that, I do.) Nursing home care and costs are very much a critical women's issue. Good nursing care actually extends the life and huge amounts of money go into the final years.

What's going to be different for boomers and busters and gamers in 20, 30 or 40 years is that because of all the abortions since the 1970s and reduced family size, they'll have fewer or no off-spring to look after them so they can avoid the nursing home either by living with their children, or having a daughter look after them as they stay in their own homes. A strong family network is still the best guarantee of love, care and community in your final years. But for some, that net was cut years ago.

2198 In my church

This is why making lists doesn't work for me. Yesterday, I wrote down: clean office, or at least desk. I threw away a few newspapers and some gum wrappers (but I did make the rhubarb pie, which was also on the list and absolutely fabulous). So today, I made the mistake of opening a notebook that wasn't labeled, and found the printed out entries for 2004 from one of my other blogs. I've discovered it is much cheaper to spiral bind them than to put them into notebooks, and more space saving. Anyway, I sat down to read it. Huge, huge mistake. Now I have to repost some of the really good ones.

In my church. . .December 7, 2004, Church of the Acronym

"George W. Bush has freed those women [from the Taliban]. He has done more for women than any American president in history. He freed more people than Lincoln. Millions of women in Afghanistan can again have jobs, education and civil rights because of him. And the Left (who would all claim to be feminists) in this country and Europe won’t even mention it except to castigate him.

That said, what about gender in Christian circles, churches, and countries? It’s certainly not the reign of the Taliban, but there are men deathly afraid of women usurping their power. They push women to the background and keep them covered (some literally, like Anabaptists and conservative Catholics).

In my church, a daughter of the congregation who was lovingly and patiently (and at great expense) brought up through the Sunday School and Youth groups, cannot be ordained in her home church if she hears God‘s call to be a pastor, a church supported for maybe 20 years by her parents’ tithes.

In my church, no woman preaches from the pulpit (although for some odd reason she is allowed to read Scripture, sing hymns and pray in front of the males of the congregation).

In my church, no woman teaches an adult Sunday School class or a week-night class where men might be in the audience, unless she has a male co-teacher as her “covering.”

In my church, which has a huge staff (about 60), there are no women administrators, and most of the women on staff are part-timers in clerical positions.

In my church, the board president is almost always a man (I can recall 2 women presidents in the past 35 years, but there may have been one or two I don't remember).

In my church, the hands down, most successful programming is run by women for women, completely independent of the male pastoral hierarchy; they select their own material, manage their own expenses, schedule their own meetings and have an outreach far beyond our local church and denomination. Historically, this is true in most conservative Christian churches.

In my church, the largest and most successful Vacation Bible School in the city, and perhaps all of Ohio, is run primarily by women, with only modest pastoral oversight.

In my church, the exercise/aerobics program was developed well over a decade ago and staffed by women who sweated and shouted and stayed healthy for the Lord, 7-9 times a week in two locations. They enrolled many hundreds of women (and 2 or 3 men) from all over the community who in turn began attending and brought in their spouse and children to become members.

In my church, a very promising urban/suburban ministry has come about primarily through the efforts of one woman who was able to rally the pastors, staff, volunteers and congregation to see the possibilities in linking a suburban church to a city school.

In my church, the women are not stupid or submissive. They are lawyers, accountants, teachers, professors, homemakers, business owners, homeschoolers, computer programmers, entertainers, nannies, musicians, secretaries, retirees and janitors. We know what is going on, but accept it, because we don’t want a church without men. And that’s what happens to a congregation that tries to be gender inclusive in power--the men will leave or sit back and let the women run everything. Look around you. Name a large evangelical church with female pastoral or board leadership."

Comments are welcome. Particularly on the final sentence.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

2197 The 4 things Meme

Joan at Daddy's Roses has tagged me with this one. You can stop by her place and read hers, or read mine, or read both!

4 jobs I've had
corn detasseller (in high school)
drug store clerk (high school and college)
librarian, Slavic studies (started here, University of Illinois)
librarian, veterinary medicine (finished here, Ohio State)

4 movies I can watch over and over (not that I would, but have seen these more than twice)
Sleepless in Seattle
Gone with the Wind

4 places I've lived
Alameda, California
Mt. Morris, Illinois
Champaign-Urbana Illinois
Columbus, OH

4 TV shows I love
The Cosby Show
Family Ties
Murphy Brown

4 places I've vacationed (I’d gladly return to)
SeattleWA/Vancouver Canada

4 of my favorite dishes
Apple sour cream pie
My mother-in-law’s spaghetti, tossed salad with garlic bread
Tapioca made by my mom
Peanut butter kisses (cookies)

4 blogs I visit daily
Joan’s family--there’s a bunch of ‘em, sibs, mom and cuz
Neo-neocon and a lot of really smart ladies
Vox Lauri and a gaggle of other librarians
Belmont Club and a clutch of other well thought-out and meticulously researched political commentary blogs

4 places I'd rather be right now
Actually, I like it right here in central Ohio. I’ve got lots of things going on. Could have been in Florida, but we’re saving our pennies for a trip to Finland in the summer.

4 people I tag
Just jump in if you're are interested. It's a fun meme.

2196 Me and Him

My husband gave me a ring for Valentine's Day, but it needed to be smaller, so I took it back to the jewelry store this morning. The lady assisting me was very pleasant and helpful but had a problem with the computer (a new ring would need to be ordered). She called the manager (who had helped my husband with the purchase) up front to her computer, who looked at the record, and said to me, "So me and him picked the wrong one for you?" The salesperson then corrected her saying, "He and I." The manager glared at her and said, "You're doing it again."

I felt like I'd been caught in the cross fire. Yes, the manager's grammar was poor, but the other clerk violated a few rules of good manners, salesmanship, and getting along with the boss! I wonder if she'll still be there when I go back to pick it up?


This morning I was reading a woman's account of bullying--it had happened to her throughout her grade school years in the late 1960s and 1970s. She says she was fat and grouped with the slow kids. Pretty painful reading. Even those of us who weren't bullied remember how awful the other kids could be--especially the girls. Sorry, but I didn't note the blog name, or I'd refer you to it. You hear a lot about it these days.

There's a pretty, plump girl about 10 or 11 who sits near me at the coffee shop. As her mother was picking up their order this morning I said to her, "I was reading an article about bullying in schools. Do you think that's a problem at your school?"

She thought for a moment. "No."

"Would the teachers stop it, do you think, or are there just really nice kids there?" I asked, although I wasn't sure she knew the meaning of the word I was using.

"Everyone's really nice at my school," she replied.

"What school do you attend?"

"Winterset" (Columbus Public Schools, northwest suburbs).

"I think my husband may have been an architect for that school."

"Cool," she said.

What's the story on bullying? Overblown by the media? It's always been a part of the pecking order of schools? Every kid thinks everyone else is more popular?

Monday, February 20, 2006

2194 George Clooney

I just heard him described as a slimmer, better looking Michael Moore. And I thought maybe he was taking on this new political persona because he was losing his looks!

2193 Colds, flu and the general crud

Because I've been participating in Thursday Thirteen and Monday Memories, I've been reading all about sick mommies, sick babies, missed work, and sleepless nights. I'm guessing in the last 2 days, I've read 20 blogs on that topic. So, I've got two things to say:

1. Throw away the toothbrush of anyone who's been sick in the family, including the blogging mommy, so you don't get reinfected.

2. Put your soap dishes in the dishwasher to clean them. They probably have more germs than your toilet.

Now, go take an aspirin and a nap and call me in the morning.

2192 Is scrapbooking too complicated for you?

Or maybe you just aren't crafty, or don't have the time to keep up on the latest paper colors and cute stickers. Try this--childhood in a jar--a great memento, and you probably already have one started.

Monday Memories: Did I ever tell you about

In 1994 when my husband took a buy-out from the downtown Columbus architectural firm where he was an owner, he was also leaving the exercise class at the Y where he was an instructor. I suggested an aerobics class meeting at our suburban church just 2 miles from our home where he established his new office. He was a bit reluctant since it was an all female and much younger group, but he tried the two classes, strength and aerobics, taught by a variety of instructors who were formidable, powerful and funny. He was hooked.

Control and discipline are needed both for sustained attendance in exercise class and for working at home. Although he is now in the process of retiring as a sole practitioner architect, his work day these past 12 years was always as disciplined as if he had to show up at a downtown office. He always dressed appropriately to be on the job, allowed himself one hour for lunch, and worked various lunch time gatherings or breakfast groups into his schedule so that he was not isolated from male friends and colleagues.

The benefits of these exercise classes reached far beyond cardiovascular fitness. He overheard the young mothers talking about the need for teachers for Vacation Bible School and before he knew it, he had been signed up to teach first graders for two weeks. He loved teaching the children and has participated now for 12 years. He has made many new friends and has found he has a real gift for working with children. He now mentors young boys at an urban school.

He is also enormously popular with the ladies because he is thoughtful, respectful and courtly (I‘m not jealous because I know what he looks like in exercise clothes). Their husbands or family may forget a special day, but not my husband. One year he hired an artist/caricaturist to come to the class to draw the instructors. The artist stayed after class to do caricatures of class members and their children. That year each woman got a balloon tied to a banana with a ribbon from him. Other years, each woman has received flowers on Valentine's day. A few years ago a woman told me she was a new widow when my husband gave her the only flowers she got for Valentine’s Day.

He has had T-shirts screened that say, "I work out with [his name]--someone has to do it" which many of the women wear in class. His own shirts proclaim, "I work out with 50 women; my mom didn't raise any dummies." He remembers birthdays and gives the discouraged a hug or a funny card. A few special friends have even received T-shirts screened with one of his paintings.

I'm sure there would be more men in the class (he's still the only one) if they only knew how much fun my husband has and how much the ladies love him. As I write this, he is at aerobics class filling in for an injured instructor.

P.S. Just so you know: when I retired in 2000 I joined the class too. However, the exercise area (fellowship hall) is slab-on-grade, and not a forgiving surface for impact exercises, so after two years I left (and have gained 14 pounds).

Links to other Monday Memories
1. Pet 2. Shelli, 3. Kimmy, 4. Courtney, 5. Kdubs, 6. Melanie, 7. Joan, who is writing about her mom and it happens to be Monday, 8. Rowan, 9. Jen, 10. Amy 11. Renee, 12. OceanLady
(If you participate, leave your link in the comments and I'll post it here)

Click here for the Monday Memories code

Click here for Shelli's blog

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Post in the comments if you want to be on the MM blogroll!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

2190 Girls Rule

While dropping off four shopping bags of magazines for the Friends of the Library book sale, I noticed "Literary Cavalcade," Vol. 55, no.5, published by Scholastic's Monthly, Feb. 2003. It is billed as a magazine of literature and writing. All the editors (associate, picture, production, media, copy, etc.) are females. But even so, I'm guessing if there were a cover "BOYS RULE" like the "GIRLS RULE" cover on this issue, they'd be out of a job. These ladies are victims of a time warp. They think girls still need to be encouraged at the expense of boys.

There have been significant academic and economic consequences (many unintended) from Title 9. The legislation was set up when college demographics were 43% female and 57% male. Now they are reversed, and in one state, Maine, college enrollment is 60% female. Aside from setting girls up for a lousy social life in college, it's going to make it tough for them to find educated male peers to marry. And marriage is the biggest predictor of how well off your children will be.

It doesn't bode well for our country either. Boys have traditionally been the largest pool for engineering and science, but that is shrinking. American businesses are turning to foreigners to fill technical jobs, because even as our young men avoid the tougher cognitive fields, women aren't choosing them either.

So wouldn't you think it is time to stop propping up the girls with fluff and nonsense like "girls rule" covers on Scholastic Magazine and holding back the boys with touchy-feely gibberish and Ritalin--you know, for the good of the country and your future grandchildren?

Mothers of sons, it may be time to storm the principal's office and demand equal time and effort for the boys.

2189 Why do you blog?

On my first visit to a blog site, I usually look for some biographical and blogographical information. Some people are very specific with their reasons, others just sort of fall into it and like it. Here's the reason from a craft blogger who has really adorable things on her site, at least I almost got up and started looking for a needle and thread:

"My blog is the one thing in my life that is within my control. It is mine to do with as I please. If I arrange it just so, no one is going to come behind and dismantle it, or perch a Lego tower on top, or doodle in the margins. In a life that often feels governed by the whims of others, little birds is my whimsy. If all my corners look pretty to you, it's because those are the corners I chose to show. Would you like to see the stack of drywall that has been leaning against the wall for a year? The holes in the floor that I duct-taped closed? The exposed lath and plaster? The cobwebby wires hanging down from the ceiling? The half-painted trim? The shower mildew that won't go away? The drawers overflowing with the clutter I tried to hide away? I see those things every time I walk into my house. This blog challenges me to see the things that are not so obvious - our little efforts at beauty - the collections and assemblages that make it a home. I do not mean to misrepresent things; I do mean to notice things, the things that often go unnoticed in the chaos of our lives."

And a few days later she announced she's giving up blogging. The clutter must have gotten to her.

2188 Housing reruns

In the late 1960s, my brother bought the two bedroom house my parents purchased (their second, I think) in the 1940s. It's the first home I remember--where I kept falling down the stairs, where I sat on the front porch waiting for the mailman, where I made tents out of blankets and the dining room furniture. After her parents died in the 1960s my mother converted their farm home into a retreat center for small church groups and family reunions. My children have many happy memories of the big house and yard and vistas of cornfields and soybeans because we vacationed there during their growing up years. After my mother died in 2000, my father bought the small Lustron that his parents had built in 1950, and so we were all able enjoy that home a second time too. I almost expected to see grandma, who died in 1983, walking around the corner when I visited him. I never actually lived in the little 1950s home my parents lived in the longest (38 years), and when they sold it before moving to a retirement complex, they turned it over to my cousin's son. My grandparents' farm home near Franklin Grove that Mom remodeled in the 1960s is now owned by my brother, and his son lives there. But a bachelor's tastes are very different, and he likes bare floors and rustic antiques. When I visited there last fall, I really missed Mom because all traces of her are gone.

2187 Speaking of athletics

which I rarely do, but I'm about to retire this notebook for a fresh one and need to clean out unblogged stories, Ohio State University is number one in revenue from sports teams. OSU got $89.7 million from ticket sales, royalties, advertising, broadcast agreements and other cources in 2004-05 (Columbus Dispatch, Jan. 4, 2006, version from USAToday). OSU also has the most athletes and teams in Division I NCAA--900 in 36 sports. The program receives NO money from the government or university and it paid $12 million to the university to cover athletes tuition and other expenses.

The Jerome Schottenstein Center revenue, $18 million, is not included in the nearly $90 million. $51.8 is from football. The women's basketball program is a money loser for OSU, in fact, I'm assuming the men's sports are carrying all the women's programs, but I didn't make a specific note.

2186 Where do vacated banners go when they disappear?

Some go to the library, according to David Niven of the Columbus "Other Paper." If your team or coach is found to have had violations during a season, your tournament appearances are "vacated." Then the disgraced school must remove all displays, references, awards, and banners about the wins.

So what happens to those Final Four or Elite Eight banners? Michigan's went to Bentley Historical Library where librarian Greg Kinney, archivist, keeps them under lock and key. It would seem that all the University of Michigan Athletics memorabilia goes to Bentley, but even clicking around the site, I couldn't find any mention of vacated banners.

Other schools hide them in closets.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

2185 Dude, what have you done with my library funds?

When I asked at Upper Arlington Public Library why we couldn't have more Christian magazines and books (one evangelical Christian magazine), I was given the librarian closed loop explanation: 1) they aren't in standard reviewing publications, 2) they aren't in the standard index databases, 3) they are too specialized for a public library (i.e., according to WorldCat other libraries our size don't carry this material), and 4) no one has ever asked or complained about our collection of Christian magazines and books.

Christians do have a view of our culture that encompasses art, entertainment, values, politics, commerce, law, finances, science, family structure, sexuality, and even library collections, but if evangelical authors and publishers are ignored by librarians and their review tools, then these books are not purchased. This is called censorship.

Although I think UAPL has just about the most difficult on-line catalog I've ever used, I did go into it and looked up Michael Moore. Now, I'm not saying he's the antithesis of what Christians want to read just because I don't read him, nor is he the anti-Christ (he's just not that important), I'm just saying here's an example of what we are getting instead of a more varied, reasonable, balanced, evangelical view of what our nation and culture is all about. For this collection, it is "How do I love thee Michael Moore, let me count the copies and formats."

The awful truth. 4 DVD

The big one. 2 VHS, 3 DVD

Bowling for Columbine. 7 VHS, 5 DVD

Canadian bacon. 1 VHS

The corporation. 4 DVD

Down size this. 1 print

Down size this, rev. ed. 1 print

Dude where is my country? 5 print, 1 audio tape, e-book download available, 1 large print, 1 book on CD

Fahrenheit 911. 8 DVD, 5 VHS, 2 paperback

Orwell rolls in his grave. 2 DVD

Roger and me. 4 VHS, 4 DVD

Stupid white men. 5 print, 1 large print, 3 audio books on CD, 1 audio tape

TV nation. 2 VHS

Will they ever trust us again? 3 print

The Yes men. 2 DVD

Someone in the media department is totally out of control or owns stock in Michael Moore productions!

(Disclaimer: it is possible that some of these may be replacement copies--as I said the record is very tedious and difficult to read, but why would you even need a replacement copy with this overload of MM?)

(Historical note: In the early 1970s, I complained that "Little Black Sambo" was being read at the children's story hour, and I was told no one else had ever complained and the children loved it.)

2184 Middle East Peace

When Shlomo Ben-Ami, author of Scars of war, wounds of peace was introduced on C-Span Book TV today (recorded earlier this week), I think the woman said more Nobel Peace Prizes have been awarded to authors of books on peace in the middle east (ala Jimmy Carter) than any other topic, and yet in the past month, the news has been exploding with happenings in that area. So much for the influence of books. Or peace prizes. Or Jimmy Carter.

2183 The problem with advice

You never know if anyone took it. Ladies, can we talk?

2182 Blogging notebook

My spiral bound notebook that I take to the coffeeshop in the morning is about 1" thick, spiral bound, hard cover with an angel pasted on the cover (each one is different, so not all look like this). Today it was used to prop up our glass Frigidaire cooktop (ca. 1990) so my husband could measure the cut out so we can replace it. It has four burners, and one over heats and three underheat. When I cook supper, I start on the super hot one, then move the pan to also-ran, and start something else. The notebook was just about the right size since we couldn't get the back of the cooktop off the counter. Whew. It's really yucky under there. Fifteen years of crumbs and spilled-whatever.

A few weeks ago on Thursday Thirteen I wrote: "5. The built-in kitchen appliance that matches the cabinets will not be available in that style or color when it starts taking occasional naps." Now we can add, "the hole will be 1/2" too small to install it, and you'll need to hire someone to recut it."

If I didn't have a blog, and a blogging notebook, this fascinating piece of information would be lost forever among our other housekeeping details, such as we turned the mattress today, I washed all the bedding, cleaned out the kitty litter, filled the van with gas and mailed a letter to Lynne.

Friday, February 17, 2006

2181 Good people, good results

If he wrote the book on hiring, it wouldn't be very long. He tells me the new hires (bakers) start at $12/hour and get 2 raises a year. He just had an awards banquet honoring his bakers for step-up longevity, one year, five years, seven years, etc. He told me the industry turn over is 90%, but for his people it is 35%. They have to be self-starters, able to work without supervision (work at night), and hard workers. Good people. Good results. It's so simple, isn't it?

2180 Today's effort

Last week, actually the last two weeks, I was working on a hockey painting in my Friday workshop that really didn't work out. Looked like a paint-by-number by a 5 year old. Today I tried "Duckling," copying an oil painting by Jay Johnson in the book "Keys to painting fur and feathers." This book has many nice animal studies. But I've often wondered when I use these books why so few cats and dogs and so many parrots and deer and grizzlies? I mean, which are we more like to have around us to enjoy and study? I would love to find a really good "How to paint cats" book with studies that didn't look like cartoons or lab specimens.

My husband has done some beautiful watercolors this week. Because he is an architect he's particularly good with barns, but likes to stretch a bit, and did a nice study of our son fishing off the dock at Lakeside.

2179 Friday Feast

This is a re-run, according to the list owner, but I haven't done one for awhile.

If you were a color, which color would you be, and why?
Alizarin Crimson. It's bright and transparent.

When was the last time you went to the doctor, and what was your reason for going?
Yesterday. Annual check up. I'm very healthy, but broad band internet is broadening more than just my horizons.

What do you collect?
I collect premiere issues of magazines, and write about it at In the Beginning. It is very hard for me to pass a magazine stand.

Main Course
What were you like in high school? Name one thing you miss and one thing you don't miss about those days. (If you're still there, imagine how you'll remember it in the future.)
I haven't changed much since kindergarten. Social. Opinionated. Very good student with A grades. Avoided joining lots of activities, but I played 1st chair trombone and sang in various choruses. Worked during afterschool hours. Dated a lot. Active in church. There is nothing I miss about high school, although it was not terrible, I much prefer being an adult.

Pretend you're standing in front of your home, with your back towards your home. Describe the view - what can you see? Trees? Cars? A zoo? Wal-Mart?
I see the other units in our condo complex, which in the beginning all looked alike to me, but now I see wide variations. No matter where I've lived in the last 40 years, there are always repair, service or remodeling trucks parked on the streets or in the drive-ways.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

2178 Redevelopment Trifecta

It's tough to bring jobs to a poor neighborhood. Eric Stevenson's new Wendy's on Columbus' east side hasn't opened yet and he has 300 applicants for 45 positions. It has taken three years and $80,000 in legal fees, according to today's Mike Harden column to get to the March 5 opening.

He had to meet the standards of
  • The Long Street Business Association
  • Mount Vernon Business District Association
  • King-Lincoln Group
  • Near-East Area Commission
  • Olde Town East Neighborhood Association
Snobbery because it's fast food?
Prejudice because Stevenson is a black entrepreneur?
Classism because most of his customers and employees will be from households making less than $20,000.

Imagine if someone was trying to bring a Wal-Mart to a poor neighborhood to provide inexpensive, accessible merchandise within walking distance and new jobs.

Thursday Thirteen Posts

Here are links to my Thursday Thirteen posts.

The last 5 days The first Thursday of 2006, and what I’d done since New Year’s Day.
Parenting Hind sight is always 20-20, isn’t it?
National Popcorn Day Thirteen places or events where I’ve eaten popcorn.
Appliances and equipment Thirteen things that will go wrong.
Prayer job jar It’s on the kitchen table.
13 magazine subscriptions It’s not all of them, but most.
13 cookbooks on my shelves There’s more where these came from, but these have family ties.
13 things I blog about
13 illnesses and conditions
Singing in the choir It's so much fun
My date to the St. Pat's Ball
Thirteen Poems on my blog
Thirteen things about librarians
Thirteen things to write for Monday Memories
13 things about my cat
13 things I absolutely know
13 enjoyable things since last week
Exercises and Excuses
13 things about DaVinci Code
13 numbers about illegal immigration
13 things about our cars
13 things for Thursday night dinner
13 things that puzzle me
13 things we did when the budget was tight
13 things to make the world better
13 Medical studies
13 places we visited in July 2006
13 food and health myths
13 food triggers
13 points about women and finances
13 thoughts and proverbs about money and finances
How to become a sweet old lady
May 3rd 13--painting the master bedroom
Thirteen items on the Thanksgiving Menus
13 American attitudes and beliefs
13 discussion starters
13 phrases I could do without
13 ways to save money for gas

2176 The Left's Love for Islam

It's a puzzle isn't it, considering that if they were in power, their heads would go first. Open minds often have holes you can drive a small hybrid car through.

"Western journalists and intellectuals' reaction to what the columnist Charles Krauthammer has called the "studied frenzy over the Danish Muhammed cartoons" in the Muslim world is by no means an isolated event, nor should it be a puzzling one. In fact, the Western Left has had a remarkably consistent and predictable set of attitudes toward religion in recent decades. The contrasting treatment of Muslims on the one hand, and of Christians and Jews on the other, reveals the real priorities of the Western Left and their most immediate political concerns." Pieties and Piss Christs

2175 Mashups

It's a good article, well written, beautifully paced, but I still don't get it.

"Indeed, this is one of the paradoxes of the mashup: as the mashup artist busily deconstructs pop’s history, plundering beats and verses from hither and yon, somehow he is putting that history together. After you listen to a few mashups you start to feel not so much that the music has been stolen from its original place as reunited with its story, rescued from the atomized world of pop singles and the segregated landscape of decades-based radio ("Oldies of the ’50s and ’60s!” “Today’s hot hits!”). The Beatles and the Beastie Boys get to play together. How cool is that?"
Culture Makers, "Let's do the mash."

2174 America's Drug Problem

My husband's high school friend Mickey sent this to us. I think it's going around, but may be worth repeating. He's our age, so your mileage will vary.

"The other day, someone at a store in our town read that a methamphetamine lab had been found in an old farmhouse in the adjoining county and he asked me a rhetorical question, ''Why didn't we have a drug problem when you and I were growing up?''

I replied: "I had a drug problem when I was young":

I was drug to church on Sunday morning.

I was drug to church for weddings and funerals.

I was drug to family reunions and community socials no matter the weather.

I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults.

I was also drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak with respect, spoke ill of the teacher or the preacher, or if I didn't put forth my best effort in everything that was asked of me.

I was drug to the kitchen sink to have my mouth washed out with soap if I uttered a profane four-letter word.

I was drug out to pull weeds in mom's garden and flower beds and cockleburs out of dad's fields.

I was drug to the homes of family, friends, and neighbors to help out some poor soul who had no one to mow the yard, repair the clothesline, or chop some firewood; and, if my mother had ever known that I took a single dime as a tip for this kindness, she would have drug me back to the woodshed.

Those drugs are still in my veins; and they affect my behavior in everything I do, say, and think. They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin; and, if today's children had this kind of drug problem, America would be a better place."
~author unknown~

Our kids (raised in the 70s and 80s) were "drug" to church, family gatherings, community events, concerts and art shows, but I don't recall they were required to do any service projects for others, but they know how to volunteer when needed. When I was a child, if I was at a friend's house when it was time for chores, I had to pitch in or go home. I never did much in Mom's garden, but I sure did in the Masterson's.

Oops. Blogging is fattening

I had my annual physical this morning (actually it was for 2005, but I never made it in), and the doctor says everything looks good (he had to take my blood pressure several times though because we got started our public library that is totally unresponsive to community needs and wishes). I usually have really low blood pressure, so when it's high he knows to either change the topic or do it over. HOWEVER, since 2002 I've gained 14 pounds, and 12 of that is since September 2003. I started blogging in October 2003. But also, I think that's the date the rec center where I walked in the morning closed for early morning walkers. Still, keeping your weight under control isn't rocket science as I've said maybe a hundred times: eat less, move more.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

2172 Podium as a verb

If you've been watching the Olympics you may have noticed that 'podium' has been used as a verb, and that has some language lovers upset. Benjamin says that using podium to mean making it to the medals podium has been around for about a decade. He has the story here. Actually, I noticed the snowboarders, but missed the verb.

2170 What will you be doing in 4 years?

There is a quiz in the February 15 JAMA based on data from 11,701 Americans, 50 or older who took part in a 1998 national health survey. It determines your death-risk. It's like golf--you want a very LOW score. I think if you're reasonably careful, and have chosen the right grandparents (my paternal: 88 and 92; my maternal: 87 and 94) you're probably in good shape, if that shape isn't an apple, and if you're not a smoker, and if you exercise.

Later, I found the quiz in the Columbus Dispatch, but don't know if it was complete. I scored 2.

Link to quiz which is free on the JAMA site.

2169 Timeline for the Cheney shooting accident

The Wall Street Journal has published a timeline to help you figure out who knew what when and how outraged you should be. I, on the other hand, have already reported on why and how these things happen. Maleness. Not politics.

2168 Australia will be Muslim in 50 years?

"AUSTRALIA could become a Muslim nation within 50 years because "we are aborting ourselves almost out of existence", a Government backbencher says. . . "There are 250,000 children born each year," she said. "There are 100,000 abortions and 70 adoptions. Termination is more acceptable than adoption." " Story here.

2168 Turn down the volume

At my other blog today I write about the noise level in churches. We've got 10 services, so I can pick and choose by noise level that isn't painful, but what about the children? Read it here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

2167 Jesse Jackson's Worst Nightmare--Ohio's Ken Blackwell

"Right now, Ken Blackwell stands at a pivotal point in American politics. He’s taken an early lead in the race for governor of a state that was key to reelecting George W. Bush and that may well be even more crucial in picking the next American president. Moreover, Blackwell has built his early lead not by tacking toward the center of this swing state but by running on an uncompromisingly conservative platform that’s won him grassroots support from both Christian groups and taxpayer organizations—a novel coalition that makes the old-boy network in his own Ohio GOP as uneasy as it makes the state’s Democrats, who have begun a “stop Blackwell” campaign.

Ken Blackwell has so many people worried because he represents a new political calculus with the power to shake up American politics. For Blackwell is a fiscal and cultural conservative, a true heir of the Reagan revolution, who happens to be black, with the proven power to attract votes from across a startlingly wide spectrum of the electorate. Born in the projects of Cincinnati to a meat-packer who preached the work ethic and a nurse who read to him from the Bible every evening, Blackwell has rejected the victimology of many black activists and opted for a different path, championing school choice, opposing abortion, and staunchly advocating low taxes as a road to prosperity. The 57-year-old is equally comfortable preaching that platform to the black urban voters of Cincinnati as to the white German Americans in Ohio’s rural counties or to the state’s business community." City Journal

Thomas Sowell recently wrote about Blackwell in his column which appears in the WSJ and other papers.Read it here.

Blackwell for Governor