Saturday, September 26, 2009

Still paranoid

Paranoid Jesus I'm reading last week's issue of Time, the one with Glenn Beck on the cover. I swear, I have to turn the magazine face down, because I can't stand having that mug looking up at me. The article itself wasn't all that substantive (but then, neither is Beck), but what I loved was the editor's opening letter to readers. He referenced a paper written by Richard Hofstadter, who was a historian and history professor at Columbia. The paper, The Paranoid Style in American Politics, was published in 1964, but it is incredibly relevant to today's situation and to our larger history.

I won't tell you that you have to read the full article, because I'm all about you reading what you want to read, but I can tell you that I found it completely fascinating.

Hofstadter's essay is about the prevalence and persistence of conspiracy theories in American politics. They have existed since we, as a country, have existed, going back to the late 1700's, with various campaigns against the Illuminati, the Freemasons, Communism, the UN, even Catholicism. They persist today in vague theories of the threat of the Bilderberg Group, as well as with the Birthers, and most recently, the Deathers. Hofstadter attributes this to a pervasive paranoia among a small segment of society. In reading the article, I've distilled it to several pertinent points and characteristics of this sort of belief system.


Those who are quick to believe that there is some sort of secret society intent on destroying our country feel that their "way of life" is in danger from outside forces. There is a resistance to change, including changes in social mores and societal attitudes; in order to combat this nebulous threat, they find a conspiracy or group of "others" on which to place the blame for what they see as our moral decay.


The government, the "international banks," the media...all are run or influenced by the above subversive agents. It is incredibly difficult for the paranoid to fight such all-encompassing conspiracy, and there is a feeling of futility in getting others to believe him/her.

Red Menace Elimination

There is a sense of absolute good vs. absolute evil. There can be no compromise through normal channels of political discourse, so the enemy must be totally eradicated, either physically or politically.

As a member of the avant-garde who is capable of perceiving the conspiracy before it is fully obvious to an as yet unaroused public, the paranoid is a militant leader. He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated—if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began, and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes.

The embrace of "renegades"

Those who escape the clutches and tell the secrets of these "hidden societies" are automatically believed. Whether a former Freemason telling tales of discipline or a former nun speaking of widespread sexual abuse at the hands of priests as if it is all an expected aspect of ritual, anyone who reinforces the paranoid's beliefs which are already in place is welcomed and believed. This also serves to show the paranoid that the secret organizations are not omnipotent; they can be overcome, and redemption is possible for those who have been subjected to the group’s evil ways.

Anti-Catholicism Extensive "evidence"

These paranoids will compile lengthy lists of facts that support their theories. This is not necessarily to convince those who disagree—after all, the paranoid is visionary and can see things that others cannot—but to bolster and protect their own beliefs.

Resistance to enlightenment

Because of their extreme views, these people are often left behind and ignored when it is time to make decisions. They create a self-fulfilling prophecy, in effect. With their strongly-held beliefs and unwillingness to listen to opposing views, as well as their denial of irrefutable facts, they place themselves on the periphery of the discussion...and then point to their ostracism as evidence of the wide reach of the group which they oppose.

Perhaps the central situation conducive to the diffusion of the paranoid tendency is a confrontation of opposed interests which are (or are felt to be) totally irreconcilable, and thus by nature not susceptible to the normal political processes of bargain and compromise. The situation becomes worse when the representatives of a particular social interest—perhaps because of the very unrealistic and unrealizable nature of its demands—are shut out of the political process. Having no access to political bargaining or the making of decisions, they find their original conception that the world of power is sinister and malicious fully confirmed. They see only the consequences of power—and this through distorting lenses—and have no chance to observe its actual machinery. A distinguished historian has said that one of the most valuable things about history is that it teaches us how things do not happen. It is precisely this kind of awareness that the paranoid fails to develop. He has a special resistance of his own, of course, to developing such awareness, but circumstances often deprive him of exposure to events that might enlighten him—and in any case he resists enlightenment.

Hofstadter asserts that such paranoid behavior is not unique to any party, or even to this country. At the time of his article was published, the Communist threat was still very much a part of our lives and our policies as a nation, so it primarily addresses right wing conspiracy theorists. Of course, we've seen it happen on the left as well, with those "Truthers" who believe that 9/11 was a Bush-driven plot to get us into war. I'm sure this happens in other countries, too, but our nation is somewhat unique in its rugged sense of individuality along with its ethnic and religious conflicts. I see this as much riper soil for the rampant growth of conspiracy theories. Hofstadter concludes:

We are all sufferers from history, but the paranoid is a double sufferer, since he is afflicted not only by the real world, with the rest of us, but by his fantasies as well.

Paranoid cats I found myself oddly—and you would think paradoxically—comforted by Hofstadter’s essay. I've been very uneasy and quite disturbed by the current tone of the political debate. I find it hateful and counterproductive. This piece showed me that we are experiencing nothing new. This sort of behavior has been a part of American politics since our country has been in existence. I don't agree with it, and I don't understand it, but at least I've recognized it. Despite the turmoil and despite the hatred of a small, vocal few, I believe that we will weather this storm, and I hope we'll come out stronger. We are strengthened by discussion, but diminished by blind opposition and senseless arguments.

This article was published 45 years ago, but speaks truth to power today. I have to what point does healthy skepticism turn to complete distrust? There is a big difference between disagreeing with policies and believing in a secret plot to take over the country...if not the world. Let's stay rooted in reality, and address the problems at hand, rather than trying to banish non-existent bogeymen or quixotically tilt at windmills.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A little paranoid, are we?

Beth's traffic jam Yeah, I'm talking to you.

One of the hazards of blogging, one that any of us who have been at this for a while have experienced, is the strange phenomenon in which someone thinks you are writing specifically about them. It hasn't happened to me often, but I've gotten an occasional email from someone wondering if I was writing about them. They've always been friendly in tone, more apologetic than anything, wondering if something they had written in a comment had offended me. I'm always flummoxed when I get such responses, and I usually email them back with an emphatic "No, not at all!"

It's always a good lesson, though, to be reminded that sometimes things can be misconstrued to an extreme degree. I was exchanging emails with someone about this recently, a long-time blogger, and she wrote that it's been her experience that there is often an underlying feeling of guilt in such a situation; something we've written has struck a nerve in someone, and they believe that you were targeting them specifically. I doubt if that's true in all cases, but probably in some. Writing is the poorest form of communication (although I find it the most entertaining) because it takes away body language, tone of voice, and subtle innuendo. It's not always easy to express yourself in writing, and it can be a challenge to retain clarity while still getting your point across.

For the most part, I write about things in general terms, trying to look at the human condition rather than targeting a specific person. I'll write about people in the news, but I'm always specific when it comes to that. If I want to address someone in particular, I will usually send them an email or, rarely, leave an additional comment here. You won't see me dishing dirt about fellow bloggers here, mainly because I really don't operate that way. Everyone seems pretty cool and even-keeled here, at least as far as I can tell. After all, this isn't high school.

Caution sign - blogging Of course, I suppose there might be a few flying under the radar that are raging paranoiacs or obsessives and believe that everything I write is somehow a special message just to them. All I can say to them is that it's not all about you. I've been pretty lucky in not attracting an inordinate amount of such people, knock on wood. (I hope I didn't just jinx myself.) I will break with protocol and send a special message to any of those types of people who happen to be reading: I hate to break it to you, but my life does not revolve around you, and chances are good that I am not writing about you. If you choose to continue to believe that I am doing so, your paranoia and obsession may be getting the better of you. (I’m also not the sole resident of South Bend. There are over 100,000 of us. Private joke.)

I do believe that the vast majority of instances in which someone thought I was writing about them were innocent misunderstandings. Perhaps I inadvertently and randomly hit upon something pertinent to their situation. (Sort of like Michael Scott spreading false rumors in "The Office," and accidentally hitting upon the true one, that Pam and Jim are having a baby. I love that show!) Such misunderstandings are easily rectified by sending me an email, and I will respond and reassure you that I did not have you in mind when I wrote whatever I wrote. For those who consistently believe that I am addressing them or their situation in particular, well...that seems a little egotistical to me. It's a safe bet that you do not hold such an important place in my life, and I'd also be willing to wager that it is wishful thinking on your part. Almost everyone I encounter here is reasonable and super-cool, and I consider most to be friends…but it's that occasional paranoid loon who can really make you wonder what goes wrong when it comes to some people's internal wiring.

Beth's BBQ (Please note that this sign is just a joke, based on the age-old question of a wife asking her husband, “Do you think I look fat in these pants?”)

I'm not talking about simple neuroses or personal issues; we all have those to deal with in our lives. I'm not talking about those who disagree with my opinions; that's your right, but I appreciate civility if you choose to voice your own opinions here. (A better option would be to voice them on your own blog—that way you can be as vociferous as you like.) I'm talking about those who seem to hate me, yet they just can't get enough of me. That Anon a while back who wrote as multiple people, leaving comments that disparaged me or Ken...but couldn't seem to stay away. I honestly don't get the point of such behavior. I don't like everything I read, but sometimes I read things that I really disagree with because it makes for good blog fodder—it gets me to think about larger issues and situations. (It can also be highly entertaining, although sometimes I feel I need to take a bleach bath to clean off the slime.) I certainly don't feel the need to lash out at someone on their own blog, and I definitely don't believe that they are speaking directly to me, unless they make it obvious by quoting something that I've written.

I like this quote from Jean Cocteau: “What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you.”

Sounds like good advice, Jean, but I'll modify it a little. I enjoy flattery—who doesn't? I believe I'll choose to consider the source of criticism. If it comes from those who I know care about me and consider me a friend, I'll understand that it is constructive criticism and that they have my best interests at heart, or simply disagree with something I am saying. If it comes from those who want nothing more than to hate on me, my life, my family, my opinions, or my integrity, I will know that I'm doing something exactly right, and I shall cultivate it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kickin’ it old school

This morning, I had a doctor's appointment, a routine checkup. Everything went very well, and when we were done, my doctor said, "You're perfect!" She's too kind. Have I mentioned I love my doctor? I'll head up to my former lab soon for some bloodwork, but she said everything looks good, and that she can't yell at me for anything. It was a very good visit.

Lakeville HS My doctor's office is in the same building where I went to elementary school. I've always meant to stop in and look at the rest of the building that is open, and today was my opportunity. I wish I'd had my camera with me, but got an enthusiastic okay to come back and take pictures, and I look forward to doing that.

The building was built in 1931 as Lakeville High School, but by the time I got there in second grade (around 1969), the new high school had been built, and this building became Lakeville Elementary. They had added onto the old building by the time I got there, and in grades 2-4, I was in the newer part. The fifth and sixth grade classrooms were in the old part. A few years ago, they built a new elementary school by the (newer) high school, so Lakeville Elementary stopped operating as a school. Happily, it was not torn down, continuing as the Newton Center, and includes a couple of offices (like my doctors'), and an auditorium where small productions are held. It operated as a library branch for a while, but that moved out recently when a new branch was built. It is used as a banquet and reception hall, as well as a meeting place. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

It was the spookiest feeling when I walked through those doors. The main office is right by the entrance, and when it was a school, it was the principal's office. I explained that I went there in grade school, and wondered if I could have a look around. The director said "Sure!" and one of the workers there, Jan, even took me around and unlocked different rooms for me and showed me around. She went there, too, but was a few years behind me. She thought my face looked familiar, but we didn't recognize each others' names. Jan said the building is very well-built and structurally sound, so I hope it will be there for years to come. It's been so long since I've been there, and there has been so much renovation, that it was hard to remember what was what. Jan filled in some gaps for me...she showed me their new, modern kitchen, and said, "And next door here, some people have told me that this was the dining room, but I don't remember eating in here." I said, "No, we ate in the gym." She agreed, and said, "I think I remember going through the cafeteria line here, and then we'd go across the hall and eat in the gym."

Old classroom She remembered the fifth and sixth grade teachers (I had Mr. Barger for fifth and Mrs. Keel for sixth), although we couldn't remember which rooms were whose. I'm pretty sure I remember where the school's library was, on the second floor by the stairs. Although all of these rooms have been remodeled, most retain the brick walls, at least partway up. The original, heavy wood doors are still there, with the transoms above. The same tile floor is in place, with the stairs worn just the way I remember them, from thousands of passages of small feet. Some of the lockers are still in place, and I still remember the general location of mine.

The gym is now the theater, because it did triple duty even when I was there. There was the basketball floor with the bleachers on the sides (the bleachers have been removed); they set long tables up for the lunch hour; and the stage was also there. Jan even took me up onstage, and I said, "I'm sure this is the original floor." (Wood slats about two inches wide.) I wasn't into getting parts in school plays (I was usually the prompter, because I had such a quiet voice...a nice way to let even untalented kids take part!), but I took part in a few chorus productions. I seem to recall being one of the nine ladies dancing for a Christmas production. Haha! She took me down into the basement, which I don't ever recall being in before, and that's where they have dressing rooms and lounge areas set up for actors. Very nice!

They have some display windows where some of the lockers used to be, and most of the items within come from when it was Lakeville High School. I saw several names there of the parents of some of my classmates.

Blackboard It brought back such a feeling of nostalgia that it was almost mind-boggling. Not that I want to be that age again--I was painfully shy, and although I have many fond memories from that time, I'm happy with where I'm at and with the person I've become. It's not a matter of wanting to be back in that's walking those hallways that I walked 40 years ago; seeing the paned windows of Mr. Cox's office (the principal...he was an elderly gentleman, as kind as could be, and took me under his wing because he was also my Dad's principal for a few years); remembering my brief sojourn as a fourth-grade cheerleader (I was terrible), doing cartwheels in front of where the bleachers used to be; queuing up in the brick-lined hallway for a fire drill or a walk to the auditorium; hearing the remembered squeak of tennis shoes on the basketball court; the echoes of young voices in the high-ceilinged rooms, especially during the exuberant return from recess, and the slam of lockers; recalling the clamshell desks of younger grades and the larger ones once I was an "upperclassman"; the smell of chalk dust and the feeling of a job well done when it was my turn to wipe down the chalkboard and see it clean and ready for more math problems; the wooden floor of the small library, and the smiles of the two librarians when I would come in, because they knew I loved to read--even letting me pick out books for them to order.

I don't want to be that little girl again, but I was happy to remember her five years at the school, and I couldn't help but wonder if I'd left a little of my psychic energy there over those five years. Do some of the echoes of young voices from years gone by contain my voice--as quiet as it was?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

Falling apple I chatted with my folks on the phone today (they're doing fine, just busy), and I had a funny moment when talking to Dad. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow, just a routine checkup, but we got on the subject of cancer.

Dad: Cervical cancer can be treated pretty easily now, as long as they find it quickly. Not like that other cancer women can get...what is that one...?

Me: Ovarian?

Dad: Yeah. I guess women can have that and not even know it until it's too late.

Me: It's a bad one. I've tried to learn about the symptoms so I can recognize it if something is seriously wrong.

Dad: What's that other one that's so bad?

Me: Pancreatic?

Dad: Yeah. That's what Patrick Swayze died of.

Me: Yeah, that was sad.

Dad: You know, I felt really bad about that. I liked Patrick Swayze. I never saw "Dirty Dancing," but I liked that one...which one was it where he's a bouncer and comes in to run a club?

Me: "Road House"! It's one of my favorites! We watched it the night we heard he'd died.

Haha! It just cracked me up to hear that my 86-year-old Dad digs "Road House"! We talked about a few of our favorite parts (Dad said, "Boy, he could really take care of those bad guys, couldn't he?"), and it just tickled me. This was almost as great an epiphany as when Dad told me, "You know, if I hadn't gone into the National Guard, I always thought it would be neat to run an office supply store." I told him, "So that's where I get it from!" and we laughed. We agreed, though, that we'd never turn a profit, because we'd constantly be buying out our own stock.

There are certainly worse tendencies to inherit from your parents. I'll take the quirks of loving "Road House" and office supplies over nasty traits any day!


Hummy girl I'm amazed that our hummingbirds are still here. I think this is the latest they've ever stuck around. The boys left a couple of weeks ago, but the girls are still coming up to the feeders, trying to bulk up for their flight south. I'm guessing they'll be gone in the coming week. I hate to see them go, but I look forward to their return every spring!

In the meantime, our barred owl has been very vocal lately. I hear him often at night, and Ken got to hear him the other night, too. It's such a spooky sound...I love it! Now we need to get the coyote howling at the same time. Ooooo!


Does anyone else watch "Hell's Kitchen"? Ken and I love it. It's a little bit of "Iron Chef," with a whole lot of the foul-tempered (and foul-mouthed) Gordon Ramsay thrown in the mix. "It's RAW!" "Feel's STONE COLD!" [throws pan in the trash] "Come ON!" Last night, someone was blubbering about how they couldn't take it anymore, and I asked Ken, "Had they never watched the show before they tried out for it?" Would I want to take that kind of abuse? No way. But I wouldn't try out for a show like that, knowing that is how the Big Guy operates.

We also watched the premiere of "The Good Wife" with Julianne Margulies and Chris Noth. I thought it was quite good, and although I'm not committed to watching it faithfully, I'll definitely tune in again. Neat premise--woman's politician husband gets caught in a sex/money scandal and goes to prison, woman goes back to work as a lawyer. Very topical!

It's nice to see some of our favorites begin the fall season, even though this means the end of our summer movie watching. So many movies, so little time!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Teacher teacher

School of Rock Ken heard from his Cousin Ros today, and it was great to hear that she's doing well. She lives in California, and she is that woman you think about when you think "California Blonde." Tall and beautiful! But the best thing about Ros is that she has an incredibly good heart. I'm so happy to call her family now, because she is a real peach.

Ros is a teacher in the San Bernardino area, and I was saddened to hear that she has decided to stop teaching. This year she had 32 kids, 20 of them with discipline problems, and with the continued lack of support from administration, she just couldn't take it anymore. When we've been out to visit in the past, she's told us stories about some of the problems she encounters, and the uphill battle that she faces every day. Like every other teacher I've known or spoken to, she spends plenty of her own money on school supplies, and often spends long hours working on projects after she gets home. (I'm sure this is sounding all too familiar, Miss A.) In hearing her speak of her kids, I could always tell that she loved them and wanted to help them, and wanted to teach them. But it got to the point where the stress was affecting her health, raising her blood pressure and causing a 20-pound weight loss (and she didn't need to lose any weight at all). I'm happy for her that she has decided to get out of it, purely for her own health, but it dismays me to see that dedicated, wonderful teachers like Ros are getting out because of what they have to deal with in our school systems.

You all know that I'm a big fan of education, and not just the School of Rock! I'm grateful for the wonderful teachers that I had in grade school, high school, and college. I was fortunate in that I had teachers who encouraged and challenged me. In grade school, they saw that I was a reader, and pushed me to read more, read "up," and to continue to develop that aptitude. In high school, there were some who recognized that I liked to write, and tried to teach me to let it flow, increase my vocabulary, and think about things beyond my comfort zone, as well as the science teachers who set me on the path to my eventual career in Microbiology. In college, it was a lot more science (Including Dr. Young, my Immunology professor, who was doing amazing things with cancer research--she taught me the relationship between the immune system, cancer, and potential cancer treatments. It's still fascinating to me.), with plenty of electives to round me out.

Blackboard JungleI'm willing to bet that each and every teacher I ever had would thank my parents for instilling a love of learning in me. My parents still have that love themselves, and even 25 years after college, that enjoyment of learning just for the sake of learning has never left me. So I find it upsetting and disheartening to see our schools lagging behind, and to see amazing teachers like Ros have to get out because of the horrible stress and lack of support. The situation seems especially dire in public schools, although it depends on the area. In areas like Ros's in San Bernardino, or like Miss A's in Detroit (although she doesn't teach in the DPS), it is not good. Not good at all. I got a great education in public schools, but in a rural area, we didn't have many of the problems that plague inner city schools. I got a great education from a state university, too. Public schools can work and can provide a quality education, but what are we doing wrong?


Oh...were you waiting for me to answer that question? Sorry, 'cause I got nothin'. I really don't know what the answers are.

I do have a thought, though. It seems to me that the underlying problem is a mindset among so many that discourages education rather than encouraging it. It's the "don't get above your place, kid" attitude. Neither of my parents went to college, but it was pretty much an expectation that I would go. They wouldn't have been mad at me if I didn't, but it was just a given that I would go. I never thought of doing anything else. Even among those who on the surface seem to encourage education, I've seen an ugly attitude of "anti-elitism." (I'm not sure when getting an education meant that you were a member of the "elite.") Call it the Uppity Argument. Writing about various and varied interests is uppity. Using big words is uppity. Having a grasp of issues and wanting to learn more about them is uppity. When did it become acceptable for people to look down on others for having a degree or continuing to learn? When did writing above grade-school level mean that someone is a "know-it-all?"

It's a pervasive attitude among many, whether it's a parent discouraging their child from being "too smart for their own good," or those who would ridicule others because of their education. I believe it's a fundamental problem, and if we can get past that and get people to respect education and realize the importance of it, maybe teachers like Ros will find the support they need to continue with the good work that they do.

Here's Rockpile singing "Teacher Teacher." (Isn't Nick Lowe cute?) This one goes out to all the great teachers that I've had over the years, and all those who continue to do good things for students everywhere, including people like me who never get tired of learning.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Baseball Fever – catch it!

Beth and Mike Bielecki A while back, I mentioned a conversation with my most excellent brother-in-law, Tom, in which we talked about attending a Cubs Fan convention quite a few years ago. He mentioned his "Hugh Hefner" moment, walking into the banquet with my sister and me. Ha ha! I found the picture he took of me with Mike Bielecki, a Cubs pitcher at the time. This had to be around 1990 or so. Check it out…his pitching hand is on my shoulder. Oooo. You really can't see much of my dress, but who cares about the freakin' dress?! Look at that guy! I look pretty happy, don't I? Wouldn't you be, with that guy standing next to you? I have a picture of my sister-in-law Christine with him, too, and she looks just as happy. Honestly, he's one of the best-looking guys I've ever encountered in person. It was a meet-n-greet, so it's not like there was much conversation taking place, but I recall him being a nice, polite guy, and a good sport for letting so many people take his picture. I looked for a current picture of him, and hey, he's on Teh Bookface! We'll see if he 'friends' me. He's still pretty darn good-looking, too.

But of course, my hubby is the handsomest guy in the world to me, even if he doesn't play baseball! :)

Today has been a puttering day, chatting with my mother-in-law, getting some things done that I needed to do. The MacAfee antivirus that AOL provided expired, and in doing a little research, a lot of people weren't too happy with MacAfee's renewal rates and policies. So I went with Norton and got that installed on all three computers today. I feel so protected!

Spider corpse I did a load of laundry, and as I was putting the clothes in the washer, a spider dropped out of a pair of pants, and scuttled into the machine. I did one of those "Gahhh!" things and jumped back. He was a good-sized one, of those brown spiders that make funnel-shaped webs in the grass and on shrubs. (There's one that has made a home on our mailbox. I leave him be, except I always blow on him when I go out to get the mail, and watch him run back into the bottom of his web.) Spidey went through a wash cycle, so I'm guessing that's one spider that won't be crawling up the spout again. Just watch...when I put on one of the T-shirts I washed today, a little spider corpse will drop out and freak me out all over again.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I jinxed myself

ND football Some of you may have seen that Notre Dame won the game against Michigan State yesterday, 33-30. Whew, it was a heart-stopper! I even called my Dad afterwards to ask if he was doing okay, because I sure wasn't! Their offense looked good, especially Jimmy Clausen who really seems to be coming into his own this year. He's stronger and tougher, and seems to be reading the defense much better. He's also getting better protection than he has in the past couple of years, so it's giving him time to find a receiver. I'm afraid we've lost our best receiver, Michael Floyd, though, possibly for the year--broken clavicle. Their penalties almost did them in, and I hope they work on that this week. I thought they used the clock better, although MSU was threatening right at the end and could have won it, if not for a very timely interception by Kyle McCarthy. I believe that saved them the game, and was THE play of the game. (The NBC analysts agreed with me.)

I was very encouraged by yesterday's game. No, I still don't think they're contenders for a national championship. I'm a realist, remember? But they looked better than they have for a while, and they had a toughness that has also been missing.

Next week it's Purdue, and the week after that, Washington. We have tickets for the latter game, and I hope for more nice weather for tailgating and the game!

That's enough football for the day--at least here on the blog! I have games on now, we'll be watching the Bears later this afternoon, and the Colts play tomorrow night. Ooooo, football! It makes me as happy as a little girl!

Gay Agenda On Friday, our friend Rebecca had had it with a couple of trolls, and brought down some righteous smackdown. In my comment, I mentioned that I hadn't had any anonymous trolls for a while, and damn if I didn't jinx myself! One of the bottom-feeding lurkers felt the need to weigh in with their oh-so-wise thoughts concerning my opinion on gay marriage. A little problem with their insistence that marriage is traditionally a religious institution, though, since marriage is a government entity. You can get married in any church that you want, but if it's not filed with your local government and with your state, you aren't legally married. Silly Anon. Nothing from them so far today. I'm guessing they're at church, scrambling frantically to find a way to foil the dirty homersexticals' (thanks David!) plot to take over the country with their gay marriages and gay agenda.

As always, if they have such a strong opinion, perhaps they should get their own blog and write about it there, rather then inject their ridiculous argument into mine. I won't bother you, I promise. You have the right to be as narrow-minded and judgmental as you want to be; if you choose to do it here, I have the right to call you out on it. As always, it's amusing to see an Anonymous commenter try to stand up for their convictions...but I guess those convictions aren't quite strong enough to attach their name to them. Go figure!

Over on my sidebar, you'll see the "tag" I made for I Stand Corrected (the tag is also linked). It is a blog created by Lori of Dusty Pages, and Guido of Atlantic Lines is also a contributor. So am I, and you all know how much I love words and word origins; I also love good grammar, and appropriate usage. I'm far from perfect when it comes to writing, but I always like to learn, and I Stand Corrected is a fun way to do that. I hope to contribute a little more often to it, because I do enjoy writing on it, and Lori tells me that she is working on an entry for it herself. Stop by if you get a chance. If you want to out yourself as a word geek, you'll be welcome there!