Saturday, October 10, 2009

Facebook = Fun and Flattery

Yet another reason to love Facebook....

I had quite a surprise this week when a friend of a Facebook friend (Darren), who I friended through a blogger friend (Milwaukee Dan #2), made a comment on Darren's update following my comment. Are you still with me? Okay, let's try this: Darren posted a status update, I made a comment, and then one of his friends commented. That comment was that he thought he was falling in love with Beth R. (that would be me). HBChicksGreat googly-moogly! Just like the Spanish Inquisition, I wasn't expecting that! Okay, so Darren left a comment to that saying that I definitely qualified as a Hot Brilliant Chick. Haha! That was cool, too, and have I mentioned how much I enjoy flattery? I thought Darren was just making a joke, but he sent me a message, and come to find out, he really does have a Hot Brilliant Chicks folder in his Facebook photos. Long story short, I am now one of four of Darren's Hot Brilliant Chicks, joining an astronomer, an art historian, and a biochemist. Thanks for making my day, Darren, and thanks to the friend who initiated the whole thing. I am pleased and humbled by this award, and look forward to traveling to Winnipeg to accept my $1.4 million prize. Ha! Also, it turns out that Darren knows of the bar that my ex and our friends used to frequent in Winnipeg, a place called the Zoo, and his Alice Cooper tribute band once played there. AND he knows of the band we used to see there all the time, the Chocolate Bunnies From Hell. ♪♫♪♫ It's a small world after all... ♪♫♪♫

45 rpms I went to Goodwill yesterday to try to find some funky clothes (for reasons I'll explain after this). I didn't find the funky clothes, but I did find a basket with a couple hundred 45 rpm records in it! Ohhh, I was a happy girl! Three records for a quarter, and I got nine, spending a whopping 80 cents. I'm such a spendthrift, I know. [hanging head] I didn't get them to play them, I got them for decorating the soffit in the basement. That is sort of our "rec room," and I think it would look cool to put up a few 45s. I got some songs that I remember well, like The Cars' "Just What I Needed" and the Stones' "Miss You," and others were real blasts from the past like Status Quo's "Pictures of Matchstick Men," and "Simon Says" from the 1910 Fruitgum Company (remember them?) on the Buddha Records label. It was so much fun looking through them and finding a few really cool ones! There were even some that I remembered having when I was a kid. I'll put these up on the soffit and then see if I want to get anymore, but I was so excited to look through those.

Hey, I just remembered that I might have a stack of 45s downstairs in my boxes of albums. Whoops. I can't believe I didn't think of that until just now. I might have enough to be able to wallpaper one of the basement walls with them, now that I think about it. I need to pull out those boxes, anyway, because one of our recent purchases is a turntable that plugs into the USB port on the computer. I'll be able to save some of my rarer albums to the computer! That will be a good winter project.

Beatles fan The reason I thought I'd try to find some funky clothes is because tonight we're going to my sister and her husband's house for a Beatles Rock Band party. I know I've mentioned at some point that my sister is still a Beatlemaniac (she even got to see them play at the Indiana State Fair in 1964), and when she heard that there was going to be a Beatles version of Rock Band, she went out immediately and bought a Wii, then ordered the instruments (including Paul's bass guitar) and pre-ordered the game. She's encouraging everyone to wear appropriate clothing, so that's why I made a trip to Goodwill. That was a just don't see the funky clothing there like you used to. (When I was in college, I bought a pair of yellow moon boots that I wore for years. I saw enough Christmas sweater vests yesterday to burn my retinas and leave me scarred for life, so the selection of funk just ain’t what it used to be.) I had a backup, so I'll be wearing an hombre-dyed pink tunic with hiphugger jeans. Kind of funny that what we used to call hiphuggers are now pretty much the usual style when it comes to jeans. I love 'em, and think they're much more comfortable than regular high-waisted "mom" jeans. But then I hate wearing pants, anyway, so don't trust my opinion.

I plan on taking my camera and Flip Wilson, and figure that I may be able to make a few bucks on some blackmail photos and videos. Of course, I may have to contend with a few directed towards me, too. This could be interesting.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Grind it, baby!

I'm sorry to see that someone didn't find the humor in my entry yesterday about Conservapedia. Mean commenter make Beth cry. :*( It was suggested that instead of making fun of a "book," I focus on issues affecting our nation at the moment.

Evil Dead2 Exsqueeze me? Someone hasn't been paying attention in class! I write fairly often about issues, and in fact, I'd be willing to bet there are more than a few out there who wish I wouldn't write about issues quite so much! Oddly enough, one of my favorite issues, right up there at the top of the list, Number One with a bullet, Top of the Pops, it's got a great beat and you can dance to it, happens to be health care reform. I've written about it extensively here, I have not been shy about my opinion, and I've stated very clearly that I support health care reform.

Hey, I've got an idea, kids. I think it's great that people are concerned about things and would hope that they would spend at least a little time investigating the truth rather than simply spouting talking points like a mindless drone. So if you are interested in such things, yay for you! But here's an idea. Instead of spending your time hijacking the comment section of my blog in order to state your opinion, one that you would know, if you spent any amount of time here at all, that I am diametrically opposed to, how about you do your research, think about what you want to say...and write it on your own blog? [holding up a hand] I know, I sounds crazy, but give me a chance. This would ensure that you can write as much as you want, as passionately as you want, and at the same time, you wouldn't be exhibiting what is widely considered to be incredibly rude blogging behavior. That's what I do, and although it may seem a little unconventional at first blush, it really does work pretty well. If I really disagree with another's point of view that they state on their blog, I don't leave them a long comment about it. I go write about it on my own blog. A novel approach, don't you think?

Nutwood Junction is not some sort of clearinghouse for personal axe-grinding. If you do happen to have an axe to grind, do your grinding at your own place.

Now, on to other things!

You know, something strange happened early this morning. I was happily snoozing when I heard a loud sound, almost as if a bomb had gone off. It startled me out of sleep, and as I struggled to think of what it might have been, I rememberedExploding head that they were shooting a missile at the moon this morning as part of an experiment. Since our planet wasn't vaporized, I assumed that all had gone well, and the gravitational balance hadn't shifted and sent our planet careening into the sun. I went back to sleep.

When I got up a little bit later, the big news was that President Obama had received the Nobel Peace Prize, and then I knew what I had really heard.

That large boom was the sound of Glenn Beck's head exploding.

I've had more than one person write to me today saying that they wondered about my opinion on this, and who am I to disappoint?

Just as with the IOC decision about the 2016 Olympics, the predictable response from the right was that it was a travesty, it made a mockery of the Nobel Peace Prize, and that its prestige was tarnished by the choice of our President. Man, buy a new record, because that one is broken. We get it matter what he does, or what good things happen, you're going to hate it because you want him to fail. Of course, that ignores the fact that the Nobel committee has the right to make the decision using whatever reasoning they wish to use. It's their prize to award, so why are they being second-guessed? How rude. It also ignores the fact that most nations and most people consider the Nobel a prestigious award, and most countries are proud of one of its citizens receiving it.

The Democratic National Committee issued this statement after the right responded as expected:

Republicans cheered when America failed to land the Olympics and now they are criticizing the President of the United States for receiving the Nobel Peace prize—an award he did not seek but that is nonetheless an honor in which every American can take great pride—unless of course you are the Republican Party. The 2009 version of the Republican Party has no boundaries, has no shame and has proved that they will put politics above patriotism at every turn. It's no wonder only 20 percent of Americans admit to being Republicans anymore—it’s an embarrassing label to claim.

Ouch, man.

Nobel prize I was surprised by this selection, too. Obviously, I'm a supporter of our President, and I think this is great, but he really hasn't been in office for long, so what was their reasoning? Alfred Nobel's wishes, as laid out in his 1895 will, were that the peace prize should go "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses." The members of the Committee said that their choice was an "early vote of confidence" in Obama. They praised the change in the mood around the world upon Obama's election, and appreciate his efforts to reduce the world's stock of nuclear arms; they feel his efforts to reach out to Muslim nations and to work with the world in combating climate change will make the world a better and safer place.

In short, I get the impression that they issued an unspoken challenge to our President: we like your ideas, and we want to see them implemented. We want to see you succeed.

It's too bad that more people here in our own country don't feel that way.

President Obama does indeed seem to be taking it as a challenge, and I hope this makes him even more resolved to get things done.

The Committee's choice of Obama is also obviously a reaction to eight years of President Bush. I'm not bashing the guy, I'm just stating fact. Our image as a global leader was severely damaged by our belligerent attitude and warmongering ways in the past few years. While it might seem paradoxical to award the Peace Prize to the leader of a nation which is fighting two wars—and some have criticized the choice for exactly that reason—these were not wars initiated by our current President. I think we can all certainly agree that we want to get the hell out of there, but once we have gotten ourselves into such a situation, getting out is not as easy...sort of like quicksand. However, President Obama has shown that he is willing to use diplomacy as much as possible before being forced to use military options. This is a positive step in our efforts to repair the damage that has been done.

Obama's election and foreign policy moves caused a dramatic improvement in the image of the U.S. around the world. A 25-nation poll of 27,000 people released in July by the Pew Global Attitudes Project found double-digit boosts to the percentage of people viewing the U.S. favorably in countries around the world. That indicator had plunged across the world under President George W. Bush.

Obama2 It is time for us to lead once again. The best leaders utilize compassion and diplomacy and teach by example; the worst merely bludgeon the enemy into submission. I am glad that President Obama sees the Nobel Committee's award to be the throwing down of the gauntlet that it is, and I am hopeful that he will meet the challenge. In fact, I hope he succeeds. I hope he succeeds beyond anyone's wildest imagination. In his doing so, our country and our planet will also succeed. Safer, peaceful, and cleaner. Why would anyone wish for anything else?

So how long do you think it’s going to take before “hilarious” pictures of Obama wearing the Nobel Peace Prize like a piece of bling start showing up on the Web? They’re probably already up. Again…boringly predictable.

The White House has announced that President Obama will give the $1.4 million dollar prize to charity.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fright Right

Liberals2 After my discovery of Conservapedia (I know it's been around for a while, but it was new to me) yesterday, I've spent a few enjoyable hours exploring the site. I've gasped in astonishment, I've laughed with delight, and I've marveled at some of the unintentionally funny entries on various topics. It struck me as if the sites of Landover Baptist, The Onion, and America's Best Christian, Betty Bowers, were all rolled into one. And the best thing about it is that they really aren't trying to be funny!

Before I get deeper into this, let me reiterate that I don't hate conservatives. I have several in my family, and I love them dearly, although we disagree on a lot of things. That's okay. It's a big world, and finding common ground is important. I am highly bothered, however, by the distortion and ignoring of facts, especially in the field of science. What can I say? That is what I studied, so that is what I tend to focus on.

As I was exploring the site, I came across some random things that I really enjoyed, and a search for hot button topics turned up some other intriguing the entry on Barack Hussein Obama, which opens with the statement that he was "allegedly" born in Hawaii. Haha! I'm going to share a few with you, and don't be surprised if this becomes a running feature here. Some of this stuff is just way too much fun to not write about! I also noticed that access was sporadic at best; the site seems to crash frequently and with regularity. As I wrote on Facebook, if Conservapedia wants to reach the heathen liberals, it had best be getting some better servers!

One of my favorites popped up when I was checking random pages:

Waitress: A waitress is the female eqiuivalent [sic] of a waiter. Some extreme feminists and Liberals seeking to alter language and police thought wish to refer to both male and female table attendants in restaurants as waiters, as an expression of their desire to wipe all out distinctions between male and female. Some have even coined the "word" waitron to show their abhorrence of gender distinction!

The term server is now used as a "gender-neutral" term, though ironically this word derives from the gendered Latin servitor (masculine). The feminine term in Latin is servitrix.

Liberal brain Well, to be technically correct (which Conservapedia doesn't seem overly concerned with), it comes from the Latin root servire, which means to serve. As with many languages, there are different forms denoting gender, and in some languages, like German, nouns have gender, which is indicated by the article used before it: der Mann, die Frau, das Buch. What cracked me up about this was the fact that whoever wrote that entry seemed morally outraged that Liberals (note the capital L) seem poised to wipe out the distinction between genders! And then there's "waitron." Seriously? Have any of you ever heard one single person say, "Oh waitron...could I get a glass of water, please?" Where do they come up with this stuff? I posted this on Facebook, and some of the comments were hilarious, including words like vagenus, vagitron, and skank. Nicely done, Commenters!

Then there was the entry on "liberal style." (The picture above, of a “socialist brain,” actually appeared on the Conservapedia site. While captioned as a satiric representation, it seemed a little out of place on a site that purports to be an encyclopedic reference.) I'd like to think I have a sense of style, but the Conservapedia take on it seemed to be more about behavior than style. It was a lengthy list of infractions, so I'll pick and choose some of my favorites of the liberal style characteristics, with my commentary in red:

  • A never-ending need for attention (e.g., Hollywood types and politicians Bill Clinton and Chuck Schumer)
    • Yes, those Hollywood types...can you believe they want attention? You'd think that they thrive on publicity or something. ::rolling eyes::
  • A high word-to-substance ratio, as in using many words to say little of substance (e.g., Obama and the 90/10 rule here)
    • There's that wordiness again. Should we start leaving out adjectives, prepositions, what have you? Would that help?
  • Feign offense as a way to silence criticism, or censor prayer and conservative viewpoints (e.g., ACLU)
    • Yes, every complaint levied uses feigned criticism; that's where the Hollywood types come in...ACTING!
  • Pretend to know more than he does; Isaac Newton admitted that he knew almost nothing, yet a liberal pretends to know much (e.g., Al Gore)
    • I object to the use of "he" in this! This is gender specific, and I am feigning deep offense! Hey, was Sir Isaac a conservative?
  • Demands answers to questions, but after receiving answers then the liberal himself tries to avoid answering similar questions
    • We're sneaky that way, in demanding answers.
  • Refuses to admit the truth in debate, even if a conservative compromises in a conciliatory manner
    • Sometimes there is no compromise. Sorry.
  • Like to use the phrase "reflects poorly on the site" when talking about the liberal articles on Conservapedia
    • Considering that I only learned of this site yesterday, I don't think you're all that high on our radar, Conservapedia. This seems rather self-serving.
  • A lack of originality and a predominance of copying and imitating
    • Huh?
  • Call something disliked a "conspiracy theory," but don't use that term against wacky liberal theories like global warming
    • Oh, that wacky global warming!
  • Respond with "sigh" when presented with repeated examples of harm caused by liberal culture, yet persist in denying the harm despite overwhelming evidence
    • ::sigh:: (How could I resist?)
  • Thinking in terms of what someone likes or doesn't like, or has or doesn't have, or belongs or doesn't belong
    • Again, I say Huh? Setting aside the twisted grammar...isn't that kind of how you think in order to determine if there is a problem? I.e., 45 million Americans don't have health care; I don't like it; and such a travesty does not belong in our country, so let's see what we can do to fix that. Is that what they're talking about here?
  • Insistence on talking more and having the last word in a discussion or debate, or last wordism
    • Nuh-uh.
  • An obsession with and exaggeration of artificial scarcity, such as wealth, rather than focusing on creating more
    • "Artificial" scarcity? I wonder what the roughly 13% of the US population, over 39 million people, who are living in poverty would have to say about that "artificial" scarcity?
  • Calling conservative free speech "hate" speech
    • Only when it's hateful.
  • Preference for obscenity and profanity
    • Fuck, yeah!
  • Over-reliance on mockery
    • You mean like this entry? Fair enough.
  • Believing that conservatives will fail, and refusing to accept when they succeed, as when George W. Bush won in 2000
    • And then proceeded to fail for the next eight years.
  • Using hyperbole instead of fact-based logic in an attempt to tug at people's emotions rather than appealing to their sense of reason
    • I think this is the most outrageous thing I've ever heard! I am deeply offended, and I don't know how I can go on.
  • Often long-winded and verbose, and in debates liberals often consume more than their fair share of the alloted [sic] time, leaving less time for the other side
    • I think we've addressed this already. Why do you keep bringing it up?
  • Dismissing legitimate criticism as "a joke"
    • Hey, I can't help it that some of this makes me laugh.
  • Denying something widely known to be true but difficult to prove, such as observing that men are far more likely to work in gas stations than women.
    • ...Wha...? See the item above.
  • Using non sequiturs in argument, such as responding to the point [snip] that liberals over-rely on accusations of hypocrisy by citing an example of conservatives' observing liberal hypocrisy. But their example does not help their argument. Quite the contrary, use of that example tends to prove that liberals do over-rely on accusations of hypocrisy (relativism). Think about that.
    • Okay, I will....
    • I'm done. Now what?
  • Inability or unwillingness to differentiate between genuine conservative arguments and parodies of conservative arguments

Liberals I think my absolute favorite thing, though, was the Lenski Dialogue. This was my favorite because it dealt with Microbiology. Professor Richard Lenski and his associates conducted a 20-year study on mutations in the E. coli bacterium. You read that right—20 years of research on a single project. When Lenski posted it on Conservapedia, Andy Schlafly questioned his data (despite having no training in Microbiology) and an exchange of letters ensued. (Lenski's research proved a significant mutation in the bacterium, which has definite implications on evolution, something to which Schlafly gives no credence.) To give Conservapedia credit, they have also posted the four letters that were exchanged; the Wikipedia article provides background and further discussion of the incident. If you read nothing else, at least read the letters. Dr. Lenski's letter is one of the single best scientific smackdowns I think I've ever seen—and I am not being hyperbolic.

What bothers me most about this Conservapedia site is that it doesn't even pretend to be comprehensive or rational in its entries. A respected professor with years of research experience is subjected to the rather rude questioning of someone (Schlafly) whose self-listed qualifications include "teacher of pre-college students." Would that be high school? Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it does not constitute the qualifications or knowledge necessary to interpret complex laboratory data and methods.

Conservapedia is only marginally about facts. It is primarily about political ideology…an encyclopedia in sheep's clothing.

Stay tuned for more entries about fascinating things like waitrons.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Yea verily, time for a rewrite

BibleI posted a story about this on Facebook earlier today, and now I'm seeing more "buzz" about the project, so it's definitely blogworthy. Besides, I find it funny.

Did you know that there is a conservative alternative (a conservaternative?) to Wikipedia? That's right, Conservapedia was founded in 2006 by Andy Schlafly, AKA Son of Phyllis (she who is known as the Great Slayer of the Equal Rights Amendment, effectively shooting herself in the foot), because he felt that Wikipedia showed a "liberal, anti-Christian, and anti-American bias." I look forward to spending a little more time at Conservapedia and seeing their interesting interpretations of history and the world around us. I really wish there will be an entry about dinosaur wranglin', but I hate to get my hopes up.

Here's the deal. The folks at Conservapedia have decided to work on a new, conservative interpretation of the bible, because they feel that it's just too goldarn liberal. This Conservative Bible Project calls for a new translation using the following guidelines. (I was only going to pick a few, but they're just all too good—I can't leave any of them out!) Open up the good book and let that conservative light shine!

  • Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias
  • Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, "gender inclusive" language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity
  • Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level
  • Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop; defective translations use the word "comrade" three times as often as "volunteer"; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as "word", "peace", and "miracle".
  • Combat Harmful Addiction: combating addiction by using modern terms for it, such as "gamble" rather than "cast lots"; using modern political terms, such as "register" rather than "enroll" for the census
  • Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of Hell or the Devil.
  • Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning
  • Exclude Later-Inserted Liberal Passages: excluding the later-inserted liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story
  • Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples: crediting open-mindedness, often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels
  • Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word "Lord" rather than "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" or "Lord God."

Some of my favorite parts are how they want to dump "gender exclusive" language--way to carry on the fine tradition of your mom's self-directed misogyny, Andy! Then there's getting rid of outdated terms like "peace," and we have got to stop using nasty words like "comrade" and "laborer" and "fellow" (as in "fellow worker") because such “socialistic” words "improperly encourages the 'social justice' movement among Christians." *gasp* NO! Social justice must be stopped! Oh, and let's see...let's ditch the adulteress story, because that whole "let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone" crap has gotten waaaay too many of us in trouble lately! And let's be sure to put in stuff about the Free Market—in parable form, of course—to show that Jesus would have been against the stimulus package. Then there's the "liberal wordiness" to contend with.

Okay, I'll cop to that last one.

Nutwood Apostolic[gales of laughter] Oh. My. God. The more I read about this, the funnier it gets. I have to laugh about it, otherwise the sheer arrogance of these people in thinking that it is in any way appropriate to put their own conservative political spin on the bible might just make my head explode. Granted, human bias has shaped the bible ever since the first scribes started writing stuff down. It's impossible for even the best journalist or reporter to completely keep their own biases out of a story, and I'd say that's been happening since the beginning of reporters, including those who "reported" on events in the bible. Subsequent translations would include further biases. But to try to parse it in political terms like liberal and conservative is just the height of idiocy and arrogance to me.

Hey, Andy Schlafly, what would Jesus do? I bet he'd call you an asshole, tell you to mind your own business, and advise you strongly to stop politicizing his message of love and compassion to all.

At least that's my wordy liberal take on it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The X Files

Breaking up Breaking up is never easy. You might even say that it's hard to do.

I'm certainly glad I don't have to deal with that mess anymore, because at their mildest, they're unpleasant, and at their worst, they can become ugly.

I've been the breaker upper and I've been the breakup-ee. As the giver, I've run the gamut from "Okay, that's cool, I understand" to "You are such a cold-hearted bitch." As the recipient, I've taken it hard enough where it took me a good month to come out of it, and other times I felt a sense of relief. With one notable exception, someone who I consider a good friend now (I chalk it up to him being just a really nice guy, and it was many years ago…he knows who he is), I don't stay in touch with exes.

People handle things in different ways. Some people remain friends, and seem to feel proud about that. "Yeah, we broke up a couple of years ago, but he's still one of my best friends." Screw that. What planet are you living on? My way is that once I get to the point where I'm done, I am really done. It takes a lot to get me to that point, so there was never any going back for me. I don't recall one instance where I broke up with a guy and then tried to get back together with him. I had a few who tried to do that with me, but if I was the one who called it off, that was it for me.

Breakup candy hearts I am not an impulsive or mercurial person. I do not make major decisions lightly or quickly. Whether or not to stay in a relationship is a major decision, and although there were times when I was pretty miserable, I stuck it out until I couldn't take anymore. But once I do make that decision...yes, Regis, that is my final answer. I am also not one to threaten, or give ultimatums. "If you don't like it, why don't you just leave?" or "Either you do this, or we're through." That seems immature to me, and you just back yourself into a corner with ultimatums. You also might not get the response you want or expect. "Why don't you just leave?!" "Well, now that you mention it...okay, I will." So once I get to that point where I say I want out, you can bet that I've thought about it long and hard, and I'm going to be firm with my decision. (By the way, I'm just reflecting on the past. I'm glad all this stuff is behind me!)

What I've always found irritating is those who just won't let go, and maybe that's why I came to have the attitude of when it's done, it's done. When I say I'm done, I really am, and I am not just being coy or playing hard-to-get. That means don't call me up, don't cry about how much you miss me, don't pull that idiotic (and unhealthy) guilt trip thing and tell me that you don't know how you're going to live without me. Man up, for Pete's sake. I remember one trying to get me back and asking me, "Whatever happened to stand by your man?" I think my sarcastic response was something like, "Gee, I don't know. Whatever happened to not calling your girlfriend a fucking cunt?" I remember one instance of being ditched and devastated, and when I got over it and moved on, I got a letter from the guy asking how I was doing, and saying he hoped to be a better friend to me than he was a boyfriend. Seriously? You refuse all contact with me and then decide you can just stroll back into my life and say you want to be my friend? I don't think so!

Candy heart2 I've had to deal with "other" exes, too. Before Ken and I got married, he got a call asking "Are you sure you want to do this?" Then there was the one who kept calling for him after we got married, and when I said that he was at work, and could I take a message, she'd say no and hang up. He finally had to get on the phone and tell her to stop calling our house. There was a memorable phone call in which I was told, "If I were the person I am now, I think Ken and I would still be together! ::sob::" Really? Who actually says that to a guy's new wife? Boundaries, people, boundaries! That's downright embarrassing. That's a special level of pathetic, right there.

I suppose there are people who have self-esteem issues, and feel that there will never be another relationship like the one that is lost. Maybe it's a control thing, and they feel they have to insert themselves into the game, although their piece has long been removed from the board. I came to have a sort of slash-and-burn policy...once it was over, that was that. If I was the one dumped, I had too much pride to grovel, and resolved to move on and not give the guy any satisfaction. (It didn't happen overnight. I had some craptacular failures that got me to that point.) If I was the one who ended it, I did it for good reasons and only after much deliberation. (Again, that took some time to get right...I made some stupid decisions when I was young and immature, and I've done my best to apologize for that when I had the chance.) As I got older, I came to trust my instincts and judgment, and to realize that I'd made the right decision for the right reasons.

And finally...I made the best decision of all.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A loss in the family

Peanut Yesterday Ken and I were very sad to learn from Cousin Shane that one of his sweet kitties, Peanut, had passed away in the morning. She's been pretty sick for a while; she used to be this compact chunk o' cat, but was diagnosed with diabetes and dropped a whole bunch of weight. She was a tiny little thing, just as sweet as could be, and although she was always shy with me at first, she'd always let me pet her and brush her when I took care of the cats when Shane was out of town. She really was a sweetheart of a cat, and I hope you'll all send positive thoughts Shane's way as he deals with this. I think almost all of us know how tough it is to say goodbye to a pet--they really do become part of the family. As you can imagine, Sheeba got plenty of hugs and squeezes yesterday.

Rest in peace, Peanut, and I wish you a safe journey.


After I took out the recycling today, I thought I'd toddle on out to the garden and see if there wasn't a stray tomato or two still hanging on. Great googly-moogly! I couldn't believe how much stuff was still out there. Even the beans are still producing. There were plenty of tomatoes (although some of them are green and had dropped off the plants...I hope they'll mature inside) and peppers, and one whopper of a Veggies 2009zucchini. I don't even remember seeing one last time I was out there, and here was this monster! I even measured's 16 x4 inches (about 40 x 10 centimeters). It probably is too big to stir fry it, but it will be great for stuffed zucchini, and that's what I'm making tonight. (You scoop out the innards and parboil the shell, then stuff it with a mixture of hamburger, cheese, onion, and a couple of other things, then bake it. Pretty tasty.) I was honestly surprised to see so many things out there still. It gives me great hope for next summer's garden, although I'm going to have to plant my tomatoes in containers on the deck. There is a fungus in our soil that causes Verticillium Wilt, and you just can't get rid of it. Even varieties bred for resistance to it eventually succumb, and the plants start to wither and die from the ground up. I'm glad I was able to get as many tomatoes as I did this year.

That's okay--planting my tomatoes in containers on the deck will leave more room in the garden for experimental things like Brussels sprouts and...EGGPLANT! I swear to God, man, I'm planting a couple of eggplants next year. I've always wanted to try them, and maybe I can even find a way to fix them that Ken will like. What do you think, Kenny-Pig? :)


I was amazed today to see a hummingbird at the feeder. Time to get a move on, little's getting chilly out there! It's a myth that you should take down your feeder when fall comes, or else the hummies will stick around. They're on their own timetable, and they leave when they're ready. Leaving your feeder up can help migrating hummies coming from farther north. They can make a pit stop at your place and refuel before they hit the air again. I just could not believe one is still hanging around here. She was a chubby little thing, too!


Brat Looks like I'm not the only one disgusted by the gloating behavior we've witnessed in the past few days concerning Chicago's Olympics bid. Paul Krugman of the New York Times wrote a fantastic op-ed piece about the irrationality of such behavior. My favorite line was "For one thing, we learned that the modern conservative movement, which dominates the modern Republican Party, has the emotional maturity of a bratty 13-year-old." Couldn't have said it any better, Mr. Krugman. My hope is that people will take a good, hard look at what we're seeing here and come to understand the lunacy of these people who claim to love their country (and, in the Imbecile Beck's case, show it by weeping like a little girl) but in the next breath express great satisfaction and glee over its loss of the international games. This is Bizarro World behavior, in which love is expressed by scorn, devotion by disdain, and loyalty by abandonment. Maybe it's just me, but I'd like to return to our regularly scheduled world, one that doesn't make me feel like Alice down the rabbit hole.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Snip Snip

Cutting off your nose With the announcement on Friday that the 2016 Summer Olympics were not going to Chicago, it came as no surprise to me to see the level of happiness exhibited by those who delight in any perceived failing of our President. I felt it was inevitable, but even I was surprised at the level of schadenfreude and malicious glee we've seen. It certainly seems to me to be a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face. Here are a few choice tidbits.

From Glenn Beck's radio show (read the full transcript here):

STU: Ya, sure. The first round of voting is up for the Olympic games, and the first...

GLENN: Wait for it! Wait for it! Enjoy this. Savor this moment.

STU: And the first city to be eliminated is... Chicago. Yes, our president flew all the way over there to fail.

GLENN: Not one plane. Just in one plane?

STU: No. Two planes. We need more breaking news. There we go. Two planes.

GLENN: Two planes.

STU: His wife Oprah Winfrey, all the jet fuel needed to lift them.

GLENN: All the massive amounts of corruption that was promised.

STU: All the greenhouse gas emissions, all the publicity, all the excitement.

GLENN: For nothing.

STU: For as the kids call it, an epic fail.


GLENN: Are you saying that the president failed?

STU: Glenn, there is no honest observer who could disagree with that statement.

GLENN: Let me ask you this, Stu: In his failure to bring the Olympic games, didn't Putin go over and get the Olympic games?

STU: Yes, he did, Glenn.

GLENN: Wasn't Tony Blair the first to go over and get the Olympic games?

STU: I believe you're correct on that, Glenn.

GLENN: So this would make the is it possible that this is the first head of state of any major country that has ever gone over and made the pitch in person and then failed?

STU: I don't know if that's true, but I'm choosing to believe it, Glenn.

GLENN: We can always hope.

STU: And Glenn, by the way, I don't know if you're noticing this. This is the first absolute undisputable [sic] proof of Rush's comment being true: I hope he fails because we're going to need the money. Well, he's failed and guaranteed we've saved money by his failure.

GLENN: Unbelievable.

STU: So it's actually, it's proven to be true.

GLENN: Do you notice there in Daley plaza they have a sign up on one of the buildings: Imagine.

STU: Imagine failure, Glenn.

GLENN: No, no. It says...

STU: You don't need to imagine it anymore. It's here.

GLENN: It says Chicago 2016, imagine. And that's exactly what they're going to have to do. In 2016 they'll stand around and imagine what it would have been like to have the Olympics in Chicago.

STU: Welcome to the 2016 imaginary games.

From Rush Limbaugh's radio show:

The worst day of Obama's presidency, folks. The ego has landed. The world has rejected Obama. For those of you who are upset that I sound gleeful, I am. I don't deny it. I'm happy. Anything that gets in the way of Barack Obama accomplishing his domestic agenda is fine with me.

From the conservative blog Red State's Erick Erickson:

Hahahahaha. So Obama's pimped us to every two bit thug and dictator in the world, made promises to half the Olympic committee, and they did not even kiss him. So much for improving America's standing in the world, Barry O.

From the Weekly Standard editor John McCormack in a post titled "Chicago Loses! Chicago Loses!":

Cheers erupt at Weekly Standard world headquarters. As a citizen of the world who believes that no one nation can or should try to dominate another nation, I'm glad that the Obama White House's jingoist rhetoric and attempt to pay back Chicago cronies at the expense of undermining our relationships with our allies failed.

"Jingoist?" This, after eight years of President Bush? Good grief. I'm surprised his tongue didn't leap out of his mouth and run screaming down the hall.

Here's an idea. For any of these folks who are loving the fact that Chicago didn't get the Olympics because they see it as a failure on President Obama's part, I recommend that you make a pilgrimage to Chicago. Stand on any street in the city and shout to all passersby that you are thrilled that Chicago didn't get the Olympics. Confront Chicagoans as they walk to work, or walk on their way to the unemployment office, or as they hit the streets trying to find a job because they've been out of work for months. Although the city was split on getting the Olympics, you can bet there were plenty who were hoping for the work the Games would bring to the city. Stand on the corner and assail those passing by and tell them how glad you are that they lost the Olympics, because you want so desperately to see President Obama--a guy who has lived in their city for several years now and calls it home--FAIL.

Go on. I'm sure they'd appreciate your thoughts and feelings, and would love to hear what you have to say about it.

I have to say that I am stunned by some of these comments from right wingers who hate Obama. If you didn't pick up on it, they are quite happy we failed in our bid to bring the Olympics here, simply because they feel it is a failure on Obama's part. They are happy that Chicago didn't win, and they are happy that our country didn't win. It is always a great honor to host the Games, and people around the world would have focused on our country and the great city of Chicago, and it would have been a great chance to continue to repair the damage that has been done to our international relationships and to our standing in the world.

These people were happy that our country failed.

Chicago Olympics2 It seems obvious to me that their hatred of Obama has overtaken their ability to think rationally and to think of things that would mean a lot to our country and to one of our greatest cities. When you cannot get beyond your own blind and irrational hatred, you have lost your capacity for reasonable discourse and logical thought.

If any of you support these people, or think that they make sense, I urge you to stop and take a look at what they have said about this, and ask yourself if they have the best interests of our country at heart. Take a look at the faces of Chicagoans who were so disappointed to see their bid rejected, and take time to wonder if people like Beck, Limbaugh, et al, had those people in mind when they made these remarks on their show or in their blogs. If you also found it amusing to see Chicago lose its bid, if you got a real kick out of it, if you got a good laugh....

Pay a visit to Chicago. Really. Feel free to tell everyone how you thought it was so funny that they didn't win their bid.

I just hope you have good health insurance.