Friday, October 31, 2008

Frickin' Freet

It's Hallowe'en. Have a good one, I guess.

Can you tell I am not a big fan of Hallowe'en? We teach our kids not to take candy from strangers 364 days a year, then tell them it's okay to do so on one day, just because it's "Hallowe'en".

Which, by the way, was shortened from "All Hallow's Eve", hence the apostrophe between the ees, where people dressed real scary-like to chase away the evil demons before November 1st...All Saint's Day, a holy day in many church calendars. Like the Saints couldn't do that demon-chasing themselves? Shows you how badly planned out this holiday is.

I'm just so glad I no longer have little ones to drag through the streets (daddy's idea, not mine). No, wait, my sixteen year old just announced to me last night she is dressing up as a pirate and traversing the neighborhood with her bf and bbfs. Ask her, I get confused with all the acronyms these days. It's bad enough that I know one of those acronyms stands for Boy Friend...but, I digress...at least I don't have to accompany her, as I am sure it would totally cramp her style. Totally.

But, I will still run out to the store at the last minute and buy bags of candy (once again, not my idea) and hand it out to the rugrats who come to my door, with me basking in the knowledge that I won't be the one dealing with their sugar rushes come bedtime. Maybe I'll even get into the spirit of things by dressing up as an acerbic, cynical menopausal bitch. Oh, wait...nevermind.

And, in conclusion, what the hell is "candy corn"? It doesn't taste like corn. It really doesn't taste like anything. Besides, I thought corn was more a symbol of Thanksgiving, not one of zombies and mummies. "Oooh, here, have some scary corn, you scary kid. Now, get off my scary lawn!"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Early voting



I wasn't going to take advantage of early voting, but dh came home from work this afternoon and declared, "Let's go"... so off to the government complex we went to cast our votes. This the first year my state has implemented early voting.

There was a line. In all my years of voting, I have never stood in a line to vote. I see this as a good sign, regardless of who the people were voting for. It's good to see a lack of apathy concerning one of them most important decision one should make every four years.

After a stomach-dropping announcement of "We don't have you in the database", I asked her to spell back my last name. My inept lip has problems with "B" and "P", so she heard the latter instead of the former when I initially spelled out my name. After that, the process went smoothly.

Now, I just hope I don't forget that I remembered to vote. I can see myself waking up in the wee hours of the 5th in a panic.

If your state has early voting and you mind has been made, take advantage.

Commercial time in the end stretch

Last night I watched Obama's "infomercial", as it has been called. I thought it was well done. It hit the right notes, it tugged at the right strings. It showed a man in control, who talked in dulcet tones, elegantly and precisely. Even though it was a well crafted piece of theatre, Obama delivered his lines with belief and conviction and a true caring...something W. could never do, for the smirk in his voice would give him away.

I'm sure though, all it did was "preach to the choir". Maybe a few who are supporting the opposing side tuned in to watch, in some bizarrely curious way, kind of in the way I will occasionally sit and watch Bill O'Reilly, screaming at his bloated, talking head.

Hopefully it swayed the fence-sitters, help shift their view, make it harder for them to perch on the pickets. I just hope the sway is in Obama's direction.

This morning, I turn on the morning news to McCain talking about Obama and his "broken promises". Promises of sitting down together and discussing public financing. A chat across the table that never materialized, for whatever reason.

"Talk me down!", as Rachel Maddow pleads in one of her segments of her nightly show on MSNBC. Please explain to how Barack Obama's commercial (and the millions that it cost to produce) isn't going to be his demise in the end.

It's a valid question. Was a promise broken? And if so, why? Or is this just McCain crying "sour grapes" because his campaign didn't light fires like Obama's? I admit, I am not very savvy when it comes to politics, and even less when it comes to the financial side of politics.

In hindsight, maybe it wasn't the wisest choice for Obama to run a thirty minute spot on most of the major networks. Actually, if one wanted to see the mettle of the man, all one had to do was go back to his 2004 keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, a young man not running for President, but just at the very beginnings of his Senatorial career. Four years later, his message is the same. It shows his message from last night is not merely the rhetoric of presidential aspirations, it is a true message of hope.



Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mocked effigy

In West Hollywood, a man has decked out his home for this "holiday", and for whatever reason cannot understand the hoopla that is surrounding said display.

John McCain poping out of his chimney as Satan. Sarah Palin hanging from a noose.

McCain aside, the effigy of Palin is the one that is creating the most outcry. And I couldn't agree more. We all know that if it were Obama in place of Palin, it would be considered a hate crime because of the color of Obama's skin.

The Feds eventually gave Chad Morrisette, the creator of the macabre tableau a visit yesterday and determined that no violent intentions were afoot. Morrisette declared that, "If it's a political statement, it's that (McCain's and Palin's) politics are scary to us."

Okay, make Palin a witch, then...don't hang her from a tree. Mock lynchings are not cool. I don't care who is at the receiving end.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mad Libs for Bloggers

Geez I just got hit on the head and recalled that I have not updated this since you last visited... You would not believe I spend all my time in front of a computer. Seriously!.

I am absorbed with setting fire to people wearing Crocs, selling my soul to Google, just generally being of great concern to society in general, my day drifts aimlessly from sun up to whenever. I am not being a whinging Pom or anything. as well you should know.

I declare solemnly I will try to remember my blog password more often in future. No, really! What do you mean you don't believe me?

Have a go at it...

Medicated troops

According to a news story on tonight's "ABC News with Charlie Gibson", reporting on the issue of re-deployed soldiers:

Twelve percent of soldiers in Iraq and 17 percent of those in Afghanistan reported taking antidepressants, anxiety medications or sleep medications in the Army's most recent mental health survey.

A few years ago when my eldest daughter decided she was bound and determined to join the Army, despite the fact that at the time she was not only was taking medication for ADHD, but also a beta blocker to control a potentially serious heart condition. I was told, not by her recruiter, but by someone higher up in the chain of command who I had sought out for an opinion not based on quotas, that as long as she was taking a needed daily medication, she could not join the Army. It was added if in the future that she found herself not needing to take medication, she was more than welcome to enlist, which today, if my daughter wished could, since she is thankfully no longer in need of medication.

It goes without saying that someone with a heart condition would most likely not be physically fit to join the military. But what is the military's stand on medications for ADHD, such as Ritalin, the medication my daughter was taking at the time?

According to a military statement, "Because Ritalin is a controlled drug with considerable abuse potential it cannot be to be taken by recruits in basic or advanced training".

Anti-anxiety medications have a very high instance of dependency and abuse. Xanax is probably one of the most abused of psychriatic drugs, as are most drugs in the Benzodiazepine family. Knowing form personal experience, they are usually fast-acting in dealing with anxiety, but have a short shelf life in the body. As soon as the drug has left the system, the panic and anxiety comes crashing in, thus a dependency is developed. A dependency that most likely would keep one from being accepted into the military in the first place, according to the Department of Defense.

So, is drug dependency, or the possibility thereof a disqualifier, or not?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sarah goes shopping!

The RNC must not have taken well to Sarah Palin and family's cold-weather duds, so, they decked them out in new threads form Neiman Marcus and Saks 5th Avenue at the tune of $125,000, this according to Politico.com.

The down-to-earth hockey mom didn't insist on shopping at Kohl's? Wal-Mart? After all, she's just like us every-day Americans.

That's okay, may the new wardrobe be a nice parting gift November 6th.

Confident Blogging

I was reading an article on the subject of confident speaking, and I came across this tip:

"Only say something when you have something to say"

I feel this is pertinent to my blogging.

There have been many times when I'll start typing away on some inane subject when the thought shadows my mind, "Where the Hell are you trying to go with this?" It is then when I realize that I am blogging for the sake of making a post. Or, sometimes (like this morning when I actually went back and deleted this morning's post) I'll find myself posting about some timely subject, just because I feel I have to put in my .02 cents.

Even at this moment, I find my fingers wanting to hit the correct combination of keys that will delete this post.

Maybe blogging isn't for me and I should go back to "Dear Diary".

Maybe I'm a frustrated writer who can't devise a story or create characters out of thin air (such is my brain), so I have turned to foisting my opinions on the browsing mass (not enough people read here to be considered 'masses') who accidentally find themselves here through a keyword search.

Maybe I'll just keep on blogging, inane as it is. Confidently inane, to be more precise.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The New Pharaohs

"We need slaves," my friend says. "We need slaves to build monuments. Look who built the pyramids - they were slaves."
--From the online issue of The Guardian, Oct. 18, 2008

Sadly, this is not an unique condition, where the richest of men stay rich upon the backs of the poorest, building monuments to their vanity. When I first saw pictures of the Burl-Al-Arab Hotel in Dubai, looking like it had just majestically sailed into port with it's unfurled sail design, I was amazed. The man-made islands, the spiraling skyscrapers...beautiful architecture that should be heralding the expansive imagination and the amazing innovations of building techniques of the new millennium, instead have become shrines to Avarice and Hubris.

Architecture speaks of a people. It makes a statement of who we are, how we want to be remembered. When the message is tainted by inhumanity, it becomes propaganda. It becomes a lie.

It becomes a fa├žade.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

From Disney to Hollywood

First, it had been pointed out in different blogs and mentioned by pundits that the meteoric (or is that mediocre? The words sound alike, I tend to get them mixed up) rise of Sarah Palin was something that could have come from a Disney screenplay. Hockey-mom becomes one "Oh, Shit" away from the big chair in the Oval Office.

Now we have a story that reeks of Hollywood..."Joe the Plumber".

Oh, sorry, Hollywood already did that. How one man gets thrust into the center of a Presidential election. The movie was "Swing Vote", starring Kevin Costner.



Gawd, I can't wait until after November...

The Home Stretch

In past postings where there was a political theme. I spent most of the time bashing Sarah Palin (because she is such an easy target) and John McCain, than highlighting what I thought were positive aspects of Barack Obama, and why I feel he should be the next President of the United States.

I guess it's more entertaining to rail against than it is to rally for, definitely a trap I fell in. Is it to easier to drive the point home in a negative, rusty old land shark that's spewing foul exhaust, clunking through an alley than in a shiny, perky electric scooter-car, humming quietly down a tree-lined avenue?

That might have been an unintentional analogy, but anyway...

In political circles, I am sure that there is nary a one who has tread the political waters who hasn't sat in a room, or dealt with a group who at one time or another had less than shining reputations. That being the case, every politician probably is or was guilty of something at one time or another, if one wants to take the 'guilt by association' route. So, last night when McCain, without segue, threw out the Bill Ayers gauntlet, Obama took the gauntlet, examined it, and explained it for what it was. It was a simple glove. He then set it aside and went back to the issues.

But, such is life in political debates. Mob mentality dictates a Jerry Springer atmosphere, if the past rallies are any indication. They want to see the folding ladders and chairs thrown into the wrestling ring, because they know that is when the fight is really going to get bloody.

Last night, Barack Obama looked at the ladders and folding chairs and pointed out that they were made of light-weight aluminum. He cold have easily picked up the folding chair and hauled off with "The Keating Five", but he didn't. Instead he calmly, rationally spoke about what America is really interested in hearing...what are the problems, and how he believes his path is the one to take in fixing them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Last weekend at the Goose

Columbus Day weekend here in the States gave the family a four day weekend, so we drove the old camper to Wisconsin to help my dad close up camp for the Winter and to enjoy the Goose's last weekend for the year.

Our camper is down there, somewhere.

When Nature provides hills, one takes advantage.

The weather was more like Summer than Fall. Days in the mid 80's, cool nights that allowed us to have the windows open...no need to fire up the furnace. The trees were just coming into color in the valleys, but the higher elevations were bright with orange and yellow. With the exception of hordes of lady bugs, it was a picture-perfect weekend.

One of the many cart-ridden paths. Oh, I guess one could walk on it, but why? Oh, exercise...

Speaking of ladybugs, I remember ladybugs as cute-as-a-button things that didn't deserve the title of "insect". I wouldn't flinch if one landed on my arm...in fact, I would watch it crawl around for awhile, like it was was some minuscule cat. Now, they bite and let off an offensive smell, like damp, rotten leaves (well, that is what they eat all the time, what else would they smell like?) And don't even get me started if I discover them en masse, tucked away in a crook of a tree or a corner of a shed. **shiver**

Before we pulled up stakes and headed back to Illinois, we took the golf cart (preferred mode of transportation in the campground) for one last drive around the park. The semi-permanent residents who were still there were rolling up their canopies, stacking various items in garden sheds, making sure windows were locked and blinds closed. Making last-minute checks to make sure everything would be secure for the Winter. As we drove past one older couple that we had befriended, we waved and wished them a good (and short) Winter, and that we hoped to see them next year.

"We hope to see you, too", was the reply, tinged with bittersweet.

It made me think that 'next year' for many of the campers is most likely not an assumed given, either due to age, or health. Then I realized that for any of us, the 'next', whether it be year, month, day or second, should never be assumed.

That's what makes places like the Goose, the people who call it a part-time home, and time spent there precious. But then, such is life. Even as I sit here, at home, mundanely typing away at an entry for my blog.


A reflective Moon on the Rock River


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na...today is his birthday!


This is my dad. I've been told I look a lot like him. The last person who pointed this fact out to me, I replied, "Thank you!" I'm sure if I was male, I too would be considered handsome, although being female, I really don't know where that puts me in the looks department. Doesn't really matter, as long as I have his blue eyes.

We also share an odd sense of humor and a quiet demeanor. We both share not wanting to be the center of attention, which in my case is strange, considering I write a blog...a somewhat egocentric thing in life to do, I believe.

The name of my blog comes from my dad. He may not be the originator of the line, but I remember him stating it many times in my life, and I found it very profound. Maybe that is an ability my dad has...that he could take a simple phrase and deliver it in a way that makes it rival Confucius. Either that, or he's the consummate bull-shitter.

Actually, if he wasn't so confounded by the art of writing, he'd make a good blogger.

Happy Birthday, Dad. You've given me more than I could ever repay.

This sums up my teen-aged life

My daughter pointed this video out to me the other day. She said it "made her feel old".

She's nineteen. What the *frell does that make me?

Anyway, enjoy, reminisce, feel old.







*I'm a Farscape f-bomber, not an Battlestar Galactica f-bomber, which has nothing to do with the 80's, but, what the hey...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Why so serious?

According to the Boston Globe website, on Fox News "Hannity and Colmes" show tonight, there was a joint interview with John McCain and Sarah Palin, and one of the subjects that came up was the debates. Here is what Senator McCain had to say about how he and Governor Palin "advise" each other before an upcoming debate:

“Well, the only advice we give each other is to have fun -- two words. And we talk before the debates and just -- have fun. And it was obvious that certainly Sarah was having fun at her debate, and I was trying to have fun at mine. And I think we did.”

Is the McCain camp even taking this election seriously? Maybe they think they are so certain of victory they feel they can have a laissez-faire attitude about a very serious process. McCain asks a relative unknown to be his running mate, and she admittedly doesn't even blink before she said "Ya betcha!" (or something to that effect), and this is okay with the Senator? I put more time and effort into deciding what flavor toothpaste I want. But, hey, that's just me.

Maybe it's a "Maverick/Pitbull" thing. Last time I checked, though, mavericks were loose and reckless and pitbulls were unpredictable and dangerous.

I understand that the whole debate process has turned into another form of entertainment, like survival shows and celebrity dance competitions. Maybe that's the reason for the "fun" attitude of McCain/Palin. But when you add that to McCain's hasty pick of a VP, one who winks when debating the issues, his announcement of his sudden "suspension"of his campaign so he could rush back to Washington and deal with the financial crisis that left many shaking their heads in one big massive "what?"...it's a pattern of short-sighted planning and highly questionable moves.

But, hey, it's all in fun. At who's expense? I just hope it isn't at the expense of the American people in the end.

Ikgla wants to convert your children!

I don't know who or what "Ikgla" is, or why it's "the lye", but this doll has many mommies worried.

BEWARE OF IKGLA!!!




Isn't there enough real issues in the world without feeling the need to report on a doll spouting "Ikgla"? Evil doll, just evil!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Oh, sweet irony

Husband O' Mine came home today with an armload of Green Bay Packer swag for the semi-resident Cheese-head, my eldest daughter. One item in the pile of offending green and yellow was a car flag. At closer inspection of the flag, I find this:




*snorf*

Monday, October 6, 2008

I won't pop her blisters, but...

I usually don't do this, but if you have the time, please head over here where you can read about my sister's plans of walking sixty miles in 3 days in the Susan G. Komen Walk for a Cure for breast cancer in Chicago, 2009.

When she plans on doing anything, that usually means she's going to do it. Determined and committed, she is, and admittedly crazy. She's a fellow blogger...she and her husband write the Cozy Kitty blog listed over there on the right somewhere, where you will find a link to her training blog. Just reading it makes me tired.

And proud.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Internet vs. "IRL" diatribe

The local newspaper of the town I live in has been reporting an ongoing story about a local couple wanting to open a Bed and Breakfast inn. Neighbors voiced objections, and when the initial story broke, many people, as their want, left comments about the article, voicing their opinions. A few of the comments took on a slanderous bent when an anonymous poster alluded to bribing the Planning Commision by the couple. After the couple withdrew their petition due to city ordinances, they cited that the opinions made in the comments section of the paper were libelous and a defamation of their character. The couple then attempted to go through the courts to order the local paper to give up identifying information on the person who made the bribery comment.

Today in a Chicago courtroom, the judge dismissed the couples' effort that would have forced the local paper in giving up such information, agreeing with the local paper's attorney when she stated that "no reasonable person would give any credence to comments posted online."

I want to put aside comparing comments, opinions and out and out heresy, since I never read the offending comment. I'm talking about not what was said, but the medium it which it was said. Do the opinions and ideas I expound, the words I choose, carry less weight because I type them using a computer? Is the meaning lost because they are reduced to so many ones and zeroes, and when I hit 'enter' they reappear once again as my thoughts for all the world to see on many other computers, opposed to let's say, having the same comment printed in a newspaper someone holds in their hand? Does standing on a soapbox at the corner of First and Main and yelling my words make them even more real still?

The people I talk with online, are they less so because I can't touch them? Are they less real? I remember when I first went online in the late nineties, I spent time chatting with people all over the world. It was a big deal for me back then. For example, if I mentioned that so-in-so in New York was getting married, my husband would give me an odd look and reply, "Oh, that's your Internet friend." No, she's my friend. Period. I talk to my sister online...is she less my sister at that moment, is her life less because we are not relating "IRL"?

Is this how people thought when the telephone was introduced? It's a good thing that Bell's assistant, Mr. Watson didn't think a disembodied voice was just that, less than the whole of the person deploring "Watson, come here, I need you!", or the acid Bell had spilled on his leg would have burned through to the bone.

According to a website that tracks Internet trends, about 40% of adult Internet users read newspapers online. The Internet is becoming less and less 'disembodied' and more 'IRL' as more people depend on their computers to deliver them information.

I commend my local paper for sticking to freedom of speech and the right to privacy, and a person's right to stay 'anonymous'. I can't agree though with the fact that somehow a person is not 'reasonable' because they choose to take to heart something they read online, that since it was just on the Internet, it should be taken with so many grains of salt.

Yes, there are many things about the Internet that should cause people to "pass the salt, please" when reading, just as there are many things found on any newsstand around the world. I just don't believe a judge should determine which source is more valid. I believe that is up to the reader. To me, ideas are ideas, no matter where I read them and I don't need a judge to tell me which words or comments I should deem relevant.




Friday, October 3, 2008

Two cents, for what it's worth

Just a few points about last night's debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin:

Sarah Palin did exactly what I expected her to do last night. I did not expect her to "crash and burn", and honestly, I didn't feel like watching another train wreck. After the Katie Couric debacle, I am sure Palin went through a crash course in VP 101. So, her ability to auto-pilot her way through the debate was no surprise.

I've read that she is a "good" debater, albeit a snarky one, in my opinion. In the 2006 Alaska Gubernatorial debates when asked rhetorically what positions in her administration would there be for her opponents if she were to offer, Palin suggested that former Governor Tony Knowles would make a good chef.

Her ability to toss zingers at her opponents to me isn't a sign of a "good debater". It's like faling back on curse words when one has a limited vocabulary. Yes, I know all politicians have and use quips and barbs. They make for good sound-bites. It seems though when Palin quips, she comes off as being catty. Even when she is trying to inject personal sincerity, like when she mentioned Biden's wife who was killed in a auto accident, adding, "Her reward's in Heaven, right?" it comes off like a non sequitor. Or at least an oddly placed thumb.

Maybe Palin thought she was bringing light-hearted banter to the table when asking Senator Biden at the start of last night's debate, "Hey, can I call you Joe?" (like, what else would she call him, yeah, don't ask, I can imagine). But the chummy, cutesy banter falls flat for me. When she "talks" to the American public, denoting them as "Hockey Moms and Joe Six-Packs", it shows that she really is insular to the rest of the country, and I don't mean location-wise. Does she really feel a need to slap on some stupid label on the people she is trying to reach, as if that makes them more tangible for her? It's ingratiating and patronizing.

Obviously, I have a problem with Sarah Palin that goes beyond politics. It's visceral, guttural and most likely not logical. When she keeps on harping, "I'm just like you!", all I can think is how much she isn't like me. Or anyone else I know, for that matter. I don't know who "Joe Six-Pack" is, whether he's a beer drinker or likes to hang out at the gym a lot...either way, that isn't my husband, or my dad, or my neighbor. Hockey isn't a practiced sport in my area, but if "Hockey Moms" are anything like "Little League Moms", that even distances me further from feeling any connection.

Oh, was that me waxing stereotypically? Just going with Palin's line of thinking, that's all.

In all honesty, I don't want a President or his Second in Command to be like me at all. The only connection I want to feel is one of security knowing that the persons that were elected by the people, work for the people, and that once elected, know what the hell they are doing.