Saturday, March 31, 2007

Great Grandma Iva

In March of last year, I saw the below-mentioned blog entry (I clipped it and saved it to my hard drive).

Anyway, I was thinking of Grandma Iva today; she also died a little more than one year ago. I did not know her, but I knew of her. She died at 111, and the local paper ran this story after she died.

Great Grandma Iva
She's as old as the hills. She remembers when the Wright brothers flew. She partied like it's 1999 in 1999 and 1899. She's my great grandma and she's 110. Her birthday is March 8th so she'll be 111 in a few months.

I wrote an article about her for The Ottumwa Courier when I was a senior in High School. Just this past spring when she turned 110 years old I contacted a writer at the Des Moines Register who wrote an amazing piece on her. I've attached both articles for ya'll to look at if you're interested.

So needless to say, longevity runs in my family- Joe's fucked.

I can't find the pictures I have of her, but I'll post them soon.

Des Moines Register Article

Hansen: 110 candles today, and no limit to her wishes

March 8, 2005

First she wanted to live to be 100. Done.

Then she wanted to live longer than Rose Kennedy, who died at 104. Cleared that hurdle, too.

Then she wanted to be able to say she was around to see three centuries. Made it.

Without much remaining on her lifetime to-do list, Iva Crouse of Sigourney then began looking for the ultimate test. She decided she wanted to live long enough to see the Chicago Cubs win the World Series.

"But there is a limit to everything," Iva told the Ottumwa Courier four years ago on her 106th birthday.

The Cubs are proof. Iva turns 110 today and is still waiting on her beloved baseball team.

I'm not sure whether she has much to complain about, though. Unlike most fans, she was around the last time the Cubs won the World Series. The year was 1908, and she was 13.

Iva, for the record, is much older than Wrigley Field. And up until a few months ago, she was in better shape than Wrigley Field.

She'd rise before dawn at the Sigourney Manor House, her home for the past 28 years. She'd dress and read the newspaper from front to back. Then she'd tell her breakfast companions what they needed to know to be informed citizens.

Until a few months ago, she was reading a book a week.

Then around Christmas, Iva came down with pneumonia and things changed. It's been a struggle. She's losing weight and sleeping more.

But even after the pneumonia, she still has none of the aches and pains normally associated with growing old. And Iva still was able to nail 17 of 24 questions on a New England Centenarian Research Group survey.

Who's in the room? What day of the week is it? When did World War I and II start?

A breeze.

What was your husband's name?

"John, the best man who ever lived."

Iva stumbled when they asked her to recite the alphabet backward, but show me a 40-year-old who can cruise from Z to A.

Iva never smoke or drank. When asked for the secret to her longevity, she used to say:

"God forgot me," or "I must be made of stone."

She was 8 when the Wright Brothers got off the ground. She was 17 when the Titanic went under. She remembers both.

She has voted in almost every election since women won the right to vote in 1920. She adored Theodore Roosevelt.

Today a party will be thrown in Iva's honor at the Manor House. Her two children, 87-year-old Horace and 82-year-old Betty, will have some cake. So will Marlene, her 64-year-old granddaughter.

You don't run into many 64-year-old grandmothers with grandmothers.

Iva is still very much the matriarch in this five-generation family. Until recently, many big decisions passed through her. When Horace decided to remarry seven years ago, it was important to receive his mother's blessing.

Iowa is known for its surplus of old folks. In the last census, only South Dakota had a higher percentage of residents in their 100s.

The Iowa Department of Elder Affairs says 728 centenarians live in Iowa - 656 women and 72 men.

Today Iva moves past mere centenarian status, joining Hazel Bleach of Des Moines in the supercentenarian club. Hazel turned 110 in November.

She and Iva are the two oldest Iowans. They're also among the two oldest people in the world.

The list changes constantly, but as of Sunday, 55 women and five men showed up on the Los Angeles Gerontology Research Group's list of "validated living supercentenarians."

Hazel ranks 55th in the world. Iva makes the cut today. As I write this, she appears to be the 19th-oldest person in the United States.

Emma Carroll of Ottumwa turns 110 in May.

How do you live to be 110? You don't, as a rule, but the experts seem to agree on a few things when it comes to longevity.

Have good genes and good luck. Be social. Be active physically and mentally. Don't smoke. Don't sweat the small stuff.

There was a woman in France who lived to be 122. On her 120th birthday, someone asked her if they'd be seeing her a year from then.

"Probably," she said. "You look healthy enough to me."

Cubs fan or not, a good sense of humor also seems to help.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Randomness Friday

YouTube Spam: Monday
The "subscription invitation" is a form of Spam on YouTube. I have had many people who want to share videos with me, and they don't want to share (give and take); they want me to watch their videos. And what is bad, is that their videos are generally good. So do you reward spam and subscribe. Yeah, I do, but I don't like it.

Trump on Bush
I recently say a video that was an interview with Donald Trump. I don't know a lot about Trump – I read "Art of the Deal" a long time ago, and I was unimpressed with his intellect. I have never watched the "You're Fired" show that Trump hosts, but I know that's what he says on it. I have never liked his hair. But listening to him on the interview makes him sound smarter than I have given him credit for. I never really thought about it, but the US sort of blew an opportunity after 9-11. We could have turned things around on the love-hate America front, and we didn't.

Tooting Dominance
A few weeks ago, I was visiting with my family. My nephew is a hoot. He is six, so I think his fascination concerns farts and poop, not girls. Anyway, when I was visiting, he ranked people by the noxiousness of their toots. My brother was numero uno, and then came him, then my hubbie, then his mother, then his little sister, and lastly me. I was tickled that I registered least likely to cause discomfort with my toots. He calls them farts, with an emphasis on the "f". Funny thing is that I felt more like a lady than my sis-in-law because my toots are less smelly. Weird.

Bristol Boys Spam: Thursday
Last night I got what I consider spam from YouTube. Somebody I don't know asked me to look at their videos, and basically there are three showing women scantily clad, dancing little sexy dances with either copies of a DVD of the Bristol Boys or dancing in front of a wall, plastered with the Bristol Boys logo (think film festival photo shoots but more tacky). There were actually a couple of clips of the movie, and the movie seems to be a violent movie dealing with drugs. And I think a strip club is involved. Why do all of the violent movies have to have sex in them? I mean, like sex and violence are intertwined.

Wanting to Sing
I can't sing, and could never sing. I love to go on YouTube and listen to those who can sing. I have visited Austin, TX, one of the "hot spots" for talent. I wonder if that is how Detroit was in the 1960s and early 70s. I sometimes wonder if American Idol and similar things are a poor substitute for what happened in "Motown." And when the Super Bowl was in Detroit, how come Motown was not featured? Still scratching my head over that one.

Cleaning out my Drafts: History Repeats
I saw the following last year and wanted to write a post about it. You know, I will never get to it, so I figure I’d just cut-and-paste it to my randomness and delete the draft blog entry.

YEAR 1981

1. Prince Charles got married.
2. Liverpool crowned soccer Champions of Europe.
3. Australia lost the Ashes tournament.
4. Pope died.

YEAR 2005

1. Prince Charles got married.
2. Liverpool crowned soccer Champions of Europe.
3. Australia lost the Ashes tournament.
4. Pope died.

In the future, if Prince Charles decides to remarry, please warn the Pope.

I saw the following:
Don't get soaked. Take a quick peek at the forecast

with theYahoo! Search weather shortcut.

and I saw, "Don't get soaked. Take a quick pee in the forest."

What does that say about me?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lazy Eye

Yesterday, I bumped into someone with a lazy eye1, and it reminded me of someone I went to high school with.

Her name was Lara, and she had a lazy eye. For those who are more detail oriented, the left eye was her lazy eye, though if you were to ask me about it without having known the girl, I would have said it was the right. I always get the left-right thing backwards on others. Guess I am self-centered that way. "Sure, it is your left arm, but it is to the right from my perspective." I remember it was her left because she called it her sinister eye, "sinister" being Latin for pocket, but when I was in grade school, I thought it stood for left (those crazy Romans had their pocket on the left).

Back to Lara. Her lazy eye, to me, was not the most memorable physical characteristic she had. You see, she had the most clear and monotoned skin I have ever seen. That is, there was little pigment variation in her skin. It sounds weird, but if you look at most people, their skin has color variations, sometimes subtle, but there nonetheless. Lara did not have any of that.

Of all of the people I have known, Lara reminded me more of a fairy than anyone else I have seen. She was thin, both in her body and arms, and because her skin was all one color and was light-colored, she almost did not look human in a beautiful-sort of way. It was as if God gave her the appearance that some cinematographers try to give characters on film.

Her hair was straight and fine, and she looked as if she should inhabit a large oak. She was very conscious of her "lazy eye," and on more than one occasion, I heard boys making fun of her.

The reason I am discussing her physical characteristics is because I really did not know much about Lara. She was extremely shy, and when she spoke, you sometimes had to strain to here her. She had a best friend, who I cannot now, even remember her name. The other girl moved away some time in middle school, which must have been hard for a girl who was shy and slow to make friends.

She killed herself at 17, and although I will never forget her, I wonder if she realized how beautiful she really was. She hated her eye, and thought her eye represented her whole being, at times. She could not see past her eye to realize that I (and others) loved her skin, and although it made her look like a fairy, I would have loved to have such unique skin.

She was the first young person who I knew that died. And I remember asking how she killed herself, and was hushed, as if that was not a question that should be asked. I found out years later that she ingested pills, but even now, I am not really all that certain. This was a subject that was of interest to most of us and discussed by few.

I can't say that this saddened me, though I remember crying. Not crying for the seventeen year old that I really did not know, but crying for her when I knew her better, the sixth-grader who was inseparable from a girl I did not know and who looked like a fairy. I guess I also cried because we were in the same school for so many years, and I really did not know all that much about her.

Lara, I hope you have found peace, and likewise, I hope your family has healed from this tragic suicide. Somehow, I don't think Lara realized that when she plucked herself from this world, like a gardener removes a flower from a bed, she left a whole. Tragically, I don't think 17-year-olds realize this.

1I will admit that I don't know if lazy eye is a medical term, and I am not going to google it (too lazy today). If this is an offensive term, consider me ignorant on the subject.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Penny for your Thoughts

See a penny, pick it up and all the day you'll have good luck.

When I was a little girl, I learned the above nursery rhyme. Is it a nursery rhyme or just a rhyme?

On the way to work today, I found two pennies and a dime. I pick up change when I find it.

In the past, people have commented about the propensity for me to gather loose change. And some people have ridiculed me for it. I figure, when I am in the grocery store, I look at two similar items, and if there is a penny different, I pick the one which is a penny cheaper. Why not reach down and pick up loose change?

I have been finding nickels, dimes and quarters recently. Well, over the past several years, I guess. When I was a little girl, finding a nickel or dime was an experience. It brought me some satisfaction, some joy. Not that I was money-hungry. Especially on hot days, I would hold the penny in my hands and feel its warmth. Then I might think about who last held the penny.

Lazy days of summer. Just wasting time, finding an occasional penny, and thinking about how that penny connected itself to me and my small hands. Spring will drift into summer over the next several weeks, and I sometimes wonder if children today still let their minds drift to such unimportant things.

With Game Boy, iPods, cellular phones and other things that plug us into constant visual and auditory stimulation, I wonder about daydreaming. Laying on the freshly cut green grass and gazing at the clouds. Do kids still do this?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Not Another Awards Ceremony

Please note: Rebecca informed me late yesterday, that "The Thinking Blog" Award was created to spread a virus. I don't do memes, so I did not know that you normally link back to the original meme. Anyway, the original link would have had you download a little virus or Trojan or whatever. I did a quick search to look for some documentation of this, but, well, when I googled it, I could not find anything that looked credible. I did see a link to the site that spreads the virus.

 The Thinking Blog AwardsIan tagged me yesterday with "the Thinking Blog Award." Now, I know what you are thinking, "That SOB Ian awarded Ms. Leesa and not me." Well, this is what I have to say on the subject: this is not really an award; it is a dressed-up tag, and you know, I don't do tags regularly.1

I wanted to write a post, railing on tags, how they are uninspired, how they are sort of like blogging chain letters (except you don't get decapitated by an elevator if you don't do them2). But then I thought, you know, I don't have a darned thing to write about today, other than to note that neither Paris Hilton nor Britney Spears was photographed coming out of limos without wearing panties last night. That might count as news.

Then, embarrassingly, I looked at my blogroll, and I thought, who the heck would I consider a thinker? I guess thinker to me means "guy who is really smart but can't figure out how to get laid." And I don't regularly read people like that. When we think of thinkers, I am going to have to expand the normal definition. Hey, buddy, back off, I have a golden award now and I can conk3 you over the head with it. When we think of thinkers, we normally think of people with high IQs. But there are EQs (emotional quotient) as well. And street smarts, and lots of other ways I consider people "thinkers." So I am going with another definition.

Okay, Quasar is the IQ-type of guy. I read his stuff, and it is mostly about astronomy. This is one of the branches of science that I have trouble with. I mean, you can't touch it, unless you are talking about Earth, or for a very few of us, an asteroid or the moon. Anyway, I read him, and I pretend to know what is going on. I throw around stuff about sub-atomic orbits mirroring asteroid projections, and Quasar doesn't call my bluff. And I get some of his jokes because I like to watch Nova.

~Deb is my blogger buddy who has a high spiritual quotient4. She is a lesbian who knows a heck of a lot about the bible. She quotes scripture, and seems to have studied on the subject rather extensively. She also is a published author (book entitle A Prayer Away from Healing). Bright lady, and if you think about it, she really has a high relationship quotient as well – she knows a lot about relationships.

Cinderella5 has an extremely high Fashion Quotient (FQ). She is a self-described mall rat, and I doubt she has taken a bad picture in her life. If it is okay for a gal to hate, then I would choose to hate her. Unfortunately, she is so darned sweet. She has blown up her blog several times, so there are only a few posts right now, but she is a doll. She is a sweetie, and she remembers what goes with red pumps or that tube top. Are tube tops in again? I don't think so, but Cinderella would know for sure.

Prata is a technophile, and so he gets my vote for someone with a high Technical Quotient (TQ). Whenever I want to slam a blog with some sort of denial of services attach, he is the guy I go to. Okay, just joking. But if I mis-state something technical, he is quick to inform my readers what the real deal is.

Okay, this is not some self-gratouitious award that I am handing myself6; it is for a blogger that I initially called "Bitch Leesa." She is a talented photojournalist (not sure if that is the word), a devoted wife, and a clever gal. She seems to have "it" all together, and that is what most of us want. This, I think, is what is behind EQ. She has successfully grown up, has not shot anyone, has not taken anyone hostage in a liquor store, and overall, seems to be a real grown up.

Well, that rounds out my five votes. If you were not mentioned, it is because I couldn't think of a way to ridicule you. You know, Ian, I am not really feeling very smart today. Are you sure you meant to tag me?

1I did one recently for Memphis Steve, and it was only because he was in the blogging competition I had. He really pimped the competition.
2Okay, this is a huge assumption. To my knowledge, there have never been any double-blind studies to support this fact, but you know, there have not been too many decapitations by elevators recently. If this were true, heads would be rolling down the hall all of the time. Okay, that is really gross.
3I get "conk" and "conch" mixed up all of the time. One is a threatening maneuver, and the other is a shellfish. Not sure you can conk someone with a conch for the simple fact that you can't tell someone what you have done. Their head will explode, trying to figure out what you did.
4I was going to call it SQ, but that is a bit weird.
5I know her real name, but I won't use it here. I don't think she wants people to know.
6I know at least one blogger that does this sort of thing; really sad, sad state of affairs.

Monday, March 26, 2007

An Addict Waking Up

For a long while, I have not been making the blogs I want to make. There is nothing real to them. You see, I was allowing myself to be numb for so long. I did not deal with the emotional aspect of things. I felt the need to be stronger, to be everybody's rock. To tell you the truth, I am in a bad place now.

I feel like I should be on some sort of Oprah special. I would want Oprah to put her loving arms around me, tell me it will be okay, and then spend $10 million to help me and people like me.

You see, I am a Diet Dr. Pepper addict. I am tired of saying everything is okay. I am tied of pretending I don't have a problem. I am tired of sneaking Diet Dr. Pepper's at work, after I told everybody about my Lenten sacrifice. So now I am coming out.

Being a Diet Dr. Pepper addict1 does not make me a bad person. I mean, with the rich taste, the zero calories2, the inviting dark brown and yellow container, how can a girl resist.

If I continue to write about my affliction with Diet Dr. Pepper, I will just go out and get one. I really do. I better stop while I am ahead. Yeah, I have nothing to write about today. Sorry. There it is.

Until next time, have a good day, and take care. I know I will have a better day. And if you want to make a girl's day and have a YouTube account, watch this video and subscribe. It is fairly clever for its 2:30 minutes. A love story. Between a girl and a cardboard cut-out man.

1Okay, this is a spoof, and I am not intentionally making fun of those with addictions. Hey, I know kicking a real addiction can be rough. People don't really want to change, and with an addiction, it just makes it that much harder. Habits, which seem to be the sissy step-brother of addictions, are hard enough to beat. I have known and seen people with real addictions, struggling for their lives. I am not trying to belittle their struggles. And this footnote reminds me of some Shakespearian play, not for how it is written, but because one of the characters reads this short note, and then says, there is a bit more. And the bit more goes on for like two pages. You just don't get that sort of humor on Beverly Hills Cop III.
2When I was growing up, Diet Coke had one Calorie (the big "C" is for kilocalorie). How come Diet Dr. Pepper has zero Calories?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Randomness Part 17E

Convenience Stores
The other day I was in a gas station's convenience store. I was buying about $2.50 worth of stuff, a water (though I was pretending it was a diet Dr. Pepper) and a snack (it had lots of chocolate on it because I roll that way).

I hand the clerk a $20 bill, and she said, "I'm sorry, I just opened and I don't have change. Do you have anything smaller?" I said no, and then she said, "Do you have a debit card?" Again, no. I left my stuff on the counter and said, "Guess I can't buy this," and I left.

On the way out, she said something about being able to make change. So she could have made change, but it would have been inconvenient for her. So instead, she made things inconvenient for me.

If I would have had change, I would have given her a five spot. Okay, I have no street cred (typing "rolling" and "five spot" just doesn't suite me). But it seems like the convenience store was not very convenient.

Screwy Times
I hate the Congress. This daylight savings time change has really got me peeved. On top of that, the phrase "Winter Forward, Fall Back" doesn't make a bit of sense.

Your Business is Important to Us
Have you ever been on the phone, calling up some 1-800 number, and been told that all of our operators are busy, but ""your business is important to us." That phrase ticks me off. If my business was so freakin' important to them, they would pay for a couple more operators.

I heard an example recently that went something like this: "A black man robs a liquor store, and two days later, another black man robs a liquor store. One should not naturally assume that all black men in this town rob liquor stores." My question is this? Why assume the race of the person; how about the gender of the person? Both factors were common to the two incidents; shouldn't the reasons for conclusion be about the same as well.

I don't have a tattoo and don't want to get one, but you know, I like those little tattoos in the small of one's back. If I was not so OCD (needing to keep everything "the same", not even coloring my hair), maybe I would have something there.

Lack of Energy
I really did not want to post today. I lack energy. I almost called in sick. Maybe I will feign illness later today. You know you are getting older when after a night of passion, you sort of wish you would have gone to bed earlier. Well, half-wish.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Grandma's Opinion

When I was a little girl, one of my grandmothers was very opinionated about bras. At the time, I took everything she said as the "absolute truth." Over time, of course, I realized that what she said was not all true, and then later, I waffled back to understand she really knew what she was talking about on most things.

Anyway, when I was in fifth grade, I can remember her and my mother talking about training bras. She did not speak to me directly about this, but I used to eavesdrop on "the adults." I think they knew and used this to their advantage. Grandma thought that training bras were silly. She thought they were unnecessary. She could not understand why growing girls needed them. She never said this directly to me, and I loved her for it. You see, she knew even though it was not necessary, it had become a "right of passage," and she did not want to spoil that for me. Training bras were rare when Grandma was a little girl. Sure, Ida Rosenthal, was marketing them, but they were not popular like they are now.

Anyway, when I was a teen, I visited Grandma for a week. A week alone with my grandparents. Some time during that week, she was discussing bras. She said something about the importance of wearing bras because if you did not wear one, your breasts would stretch to your knees. For years afterwards, that conversation was attached to any thoughts of this Grandma, and I thought either she had breasts knocking her knees, or she had friends who had suffered this fate.

She also told me that if I wore slacks, I would not have to shave my legs because my hair would be pulled out by the constant contact with the slacks. When I asked if pantyhose worked in the same manner, she frowned and said that pantyhose were not strong enough to get the hair to break off. I actually tried this experiment in college, and it did not work for me.

Funny the things we remember about people who are close to us. The strangest small conversations are forever etched on our brains.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wanting to be like Lise

You know, I originally called this blog "Leesa's Stories" because I started with my erotic stories. Even after I started blogging, I did not want to change the title. Part of it was because my readers knew the site as "Leesa's Stories." But a different part, a greater part, thought of my conversations as a series of unrelated stories strung together. That's how I talk; I tell stories.

I sort of got dinged on that by a reviewer who have recently critiqued my site. I have changed a few things around – not sure if you have noticed. Not big changes, but changes nonetheless.

I think some additional changes will be my dedication to telling short snip-its of stories, and removing myself from the contests and other fluff. I will still give you my views on stuff, but hopefully they are written in a story-teller's voice.

When I was in college, there was a way-cool girl, from I think Denmark, and her name was, and as far as I am aware, still is Lise. In the US, we would call her Liz. It was in knowing Lise that I came to the conclusion that I think college campuses should actively recruit foreign students, if for nothing else, but to expose young minds to people who have different cultures.

I always wanted to be like Lise because she was so cool and worldly. One time, early on, at a party, she was talking with three or four guys. They were hanging on every word she said. Here is how the conversation went:

Lise: When I first got here, I was so happy to have such a wonderful reception. Many friends in my dormitory would stay up to all hours of the night talking with me. They also included me in all of their activities.

Lisa, as I recall, did not truncate many words when she got to Georgia. Being in Georgia for a while, though, corrupted some of her language.

Random Guy: Can I get you another beer?

Lise: No, thank you. As I was saying, the girls really made me feel welcome, and they invited me to go swimming and laying out around a pool. In Denmark, we lay out every chance we get, because the sun does not come out to play that often.

Lisa learned English when she was young, and her words seemed almost like poetry because she would mix up sayings that sounded better when she said them. Having the sun come out to play – what a wonderful thing to say.

Lise: Imagine my surprise when I spring into Heather's room, and she looks at me like I am from another planet. She tells me that I need a bikini top in order to go to the pool.

All the guys laugh.

Lise: You see, where I come from, we only use the bikini tops to tie up our hair!1

More laughter from the guys. They were just drooling over this woman. She further explained that she brought several bikini bottoms but no tops when she packed for school, not knowing of the different rules in the US.

I really wanted to be Lise. She was very attractive, well-spoken, a really good student and fun. And around her, I felt like a girl and she was a woman. I am not sure exactly why, but I felt like she was so much ahead of me in terms of maturity.

And her story – I did not buy her story for a second. Sure, she did bounce to Heather's room topless, that was true, but I think she knew that Americans did not sunbathe topless routinely. She knew so much about American culture and I could not help think she was just wanting to do something to make herself stand out.

1I had the overwhelming urge to type "or our wrists." When I heard this, I swore I heard someone whisper that, but if it were really true, I would have thought the laughter would have been more boisterous.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


The breeze blew through her light grey hair as she moved the broom's head back and forth over the pavement. Right, left, moving pine needles and the occasional leaf out of her concrete path. She pauses a moment, looking high into the pine trees and laughs. She wonders if she would have planted them 10 feet from the path, how much sweeping she could have saved over the last thirty years. Still, the shade is a blessing during the late summer days.

She goes back to her sweeping, something she has done in the early morning, most mornings, now more out of habit than necessity. People rarely visit her anymore, but she loves to see a clean sidewalk. If you go to her tool shed, you will see three broom handles, remnants from the three other brooms she has owned over the last ten years. She had her son saw off the broom head, thinking that the handle was still useful, but in all of these years, she has used the handles but a few times. Still, to have a smooth-handled stick seems so useful.

She sighs and continues her sweeping, right, left, right left, expertly moving the pine needles out of the way. Sweeping seems to comfort her; sweeping is her medicine, her exercise, her habit.

She pauses and places a hand on the small of her back, as if she were straightening herself up, but arthritis seems to have fused her spine into place.

When she looks at the path, she sometimes remembers people in her life, people who have died. When she was a young girl, she was afraid of her parents dying. She would think about it, wondering if she could stand it, wondering what it would be like. That's when she was a little girl. She soon forgot about fearing death, that is, until her grandparents died, when they were very, very old.

Sweep the path, right, left, a rhythmic pattern that reminds her of her grandmother, sweeping a similar path years before. Her grandmother, she just remembers, loved to sweep. The old woman laughs as she finally figures out that her grandmother swept nearly every day, and when she was a little girl, she thought it was a waste of energy.

Sweep right, sweep left, but don't sweep the memories away.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Battle of the Blogs: Final Results

Battle of the Blogs has lasted four weeks, and the final results are in. First, I would like to say that results were counted by the fine folks at Although they are no Arthur Anderson, well, we know what happened to the auditors at Arthur Anderson.

Third Place: Past Imperfection

Second Place: Straight White Guy

And First Place: Where the Bees Are

For those of you who would like to display your accomplishments, Shephard's Alley has graciously made some the artwork for this.

I hope you can grab the appropriate image for your site. I have shown the URLs for the various images, and, if I did the HTML correctly, you can click on the URL to go straight to the image in your browser.


Sweet 16

First Place

Second Place

Third Place

Again, thanks to all for participating. I hope you had fun looking at others blogs!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

YouTube Gem #10: communitychannel and velvetcowgrl

YouTube Star: Community Channel
Natalie, aka communitychannel, is one of my favorite "popular" YouTubers. She is an Asian from Australian, and she did a really good video explaining what that means to her. Of all of the VLOGgers I have seen, I think she does some of the most thoughtful videos (and like HappySlip, she occasionally plays several characters, which may indicate she does not have a "crew" behind her either). I am going to embed one of the most recent videos, partly because it speaks to my OCD, and partly because it reminds me of the YouTube non-star (below). It is about germs and hand washing. Completely wonderful.

a little example of what goes on inside my mind (reposted)

YouTube Non-Star: velvetcowgrl
I think I started watching velvetcowgrl from a video called "God Loves His Gay Children." And at first, I did not know, that velvetcowgrl included my very own ~Deb (I get the impression that this is Deb's and Amy's VLOG. Maybe its just one of theirs; I subscribe no matter what the truth may be.)

They did a really cute weather video (one of the two disappeared but I think there were some overlaps in the two videos). Anyway, it was cute, and although I know little about snow, I found it enjoyable.

The embedded clip is from a short video of Deb playing a 12-string guitar. Lead Belly1, eat your heart out.

Deb on her 12-string

1 Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter was perhaps the most famous 12-string guitar player in the world (don't I sound all authoritative when I say this?). Wikipedia has information about him, but I have not read it to ensure its accuracy. Apparently Wikipedia is wrong a lot of the time. He is a fascinating individual, as is ~Deb.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Virtual Meanies

Over the past few weeks, I have been reminded on several occasions of what I will dub "virtual meanies." The phrase is not exact, because I believe they are really mean, but it sounds nicer.

Email Meanies
I long time ago, I posted a blog entry about a particularly catty email message1. But I have seen many other emails that have been particularly mean-spirited. And from my personal experience, if the same information was transmitted either on the telephone or in person, the exchange would have been much nicer, and the essential message still would have been transmitted. What I mean is that the message, without some of the nastiness, would have been sent and received.

Blogger Meanies
Have you ever gotten a comment that had thirteen words, ten of which were swear words, two of the remaining words were conjunctions2 linking said swear words, and then your name. Did it make you feel special? Did deleting the comment feel better than reading it?

I know of very few real people who would say that to someone else in person. I can think of two people that would say this, and both had very serious mental illnesses. These people do exist, but you rarely see them, because they are either living in group homes, living on the street3, or have no friends. But in blog-land, they can post lots of comments and have virtual friends who enjoy doing the same.

Vlogger Meanies
I saw several YouTube videos recently which were, more often than not, mean-spirited. Response videos that just ridiculed people. I may blog again on one particular instance, not from the YouTube perspective, but from another perspective. It is in my brain and I might expand this a bit. But you get the idea.

Bottom Line
I think this occurs because we are one step removed from the person. I could talk about non-verbal communication and all of that garbage, but I think the bottom-line is that when we make a comment, send an email or even talk to a telemarketer, we de-personalize the person we are communicating with.

Here is what I would like to say to those meanies. You know, I am Leesa. I am a real person. I have hopes, I have fears. I am not smart at everything, and I am sure you are better at some things.

I sometimes wonder, meanie, if you need to belittle others in order to feel more important. I wonder if you are loved at home, or what has made you the way you are. Are you generally a nice person but flame4 people on email and through your comments? Do you enjoy trolling5 blogs or vlogs? Do you separate your online and real personal life? Do you think that online is just not real? Do you discount your actions online because you don't consider them real?

Okay, I know that meanies don't really care what I think. Heck, it is hard enough having any sort of impact on people you love. After more than a dozen years of marriage, I have taught hubbie to put the toilet seat down, a minor accomplishment that took much more energy than it should.

Conjunction Junction, what's your function. And, but and or, they get you pretty far. Where was I?

1If you read the email, it appears as if the message has been re-arranged so that the earliest message is shown first. You know, over time, I have learned to read in reverse order when it comes to emails, so if you follow the link, be warned.
2Whenever I say or write the word "conjunction", I start hearing, "Conjunction Junction, what's your function. And, but and or, they take you pretty far." This is sad for two reasons: (a) I have no children, and (b) I can't get rid of that song. Ever.
3It is rather sad that many with mental illnesses are homeless in the US.
4Flame: to verbally attack someone online in a chat with harsh, unnecessary words.
5Troll: to post controversial or provocative messages in a deliberate attempt to provoke flames.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Today is the last day – last morning until brackets are due. And why I doubt what I write will matter to any needing to complete their brackets, it is an intellectually stimulating discussion.

Okay, first, I know squat about basketball. I mean, I know that there is a ball, a hoop, cute shorts and betting, but that's the extent of my basketball knowledge. For most of us, actually, that's all we need to know about the NCAA tournament. And here is why.

They split up the 65 teams into four brackets, so things don't look so daunting. Then they seed teams 1 through 16, one being, in their views, the best team of that bracket, and 16 the worse. So even if you don't know Drexel from Duke, you know who should beat whom most of the time. Problem is, the teams play once, so sometimes a lower-seeded team (and, confusingly, the lower-seeded team is the higher number) will beat the higher-seeded team. Life is unpredictable, sort of, and I guess this is an example of this. My point is that there is lots of data – how basketball experts rank the teams, you have their schedule, you can look at the last 10 games, lots of things.

There are two types of contests that I am familiar with: office pools, and large, national pools. Now I don't know about office pools (most of them involve betting, and you know, they are sort of illegal). The larger pools have prizes, and, well, the strategy is different.

Office Pools
Office pools are rather small, ranging from a few people to hundreds. The participants are generally part of the same geographic location, which can be a benefit to the person who can put their team loyalties aside for betting purposes. Let's say, for instance, you lived in Columbus, Ohio (a commenter mentioned this devotion recently), most people in the pool would probably have Ohio State go to the Final Four, or even winning it all. Most people in your pool will choose this, so if you want to win, find a game where they may not win and pick that other team to win. Maybe have them lose in the Sweet 16. Point is, if you are right, you are a leg up on most, and that is great, especially since you know little about basketball. My point is not to bet against Ohio State, but if you are in an area where most bet on a particular team, bet against them prudently.

Don't bet on too many upsets. Number 1s rarely bear number 16s (if ever), and 2s don't beat 15s. 3s rarely beat 14s, but they do so occasionally. Play the odds. Randomly picking teams, with just seedings, works as good as knowing things, I think. How often do non-sporting guys or gals win these pools? As often as those who are experts. While sporting fans overall do better than average, winning the whole thing seems to be a bit more random.

Large Pools
I suggest playing the lottery. Your odds are about as good, but you know, but the payout is a lot less. Spend the buck and go after millions legally. And support education!

I finished my pools a few hours ago; now that I think of it, I should have gone to the nearest 7-11 and purchased a lottery ticket. Go GA Tech! Go Jackets!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Mammary Glands and Perceived Performance

One year ago1, on a lark, I applied for government grant. I was talking with an old Psychology professor. He was bemoaning the fact that said government grants have been drying up because of the current administration's emphasis on commercially applicable studies, and I wanted to prove him wrong. I applied for and received a government grant, and I would like to briefly describe my study and findings.

It has been well-documented that taller men are trusted more; they get better jobs, have hotter wives, drive more expensive cars, and get elected President 88% of the time. Similar studies have been made for women, but no link has been made to a woman's height and any measurable difference in getting jobs, having fast cars or dating attractive lesbians. This scientific study attempts to link breast size, not height, with preferential treatment.

In order to conduct this study (in which we spent an incredible amount of government funds, all accounted for, by the way), we hired attractive prostitutes exotic dancers who posed as job applicants. We then selected students to evaluate these "job applicants." We standardized this study by ensuring that all exotic dancers were between the ages of 21 and 27, and that they were attractive. We also selected them to ensure a wide range of breast sizes, from petite/perky to round/curvy. Furthermore, we wrote resumes for the job applicants that were essentially identical (similar degrees and work experience).

Initially we incentivized2 the "job applicants," but we soon learned that this was a mistake in study structure. Many of the "job applicants" performed fellatio3 in order to receive their financial incentives, and thus we had to cease this once we took videos of these indiscretions for both documentation and personal use.

We asked the subjects, whose job it was to select the most qualified applicant, a series of questions concerning each applicant. Here are our results:

1. Women with smaller breasts were described as smarter 87% of the time.
2. Women with larger breasts were described as "team players" more frequently.
3. Women with smaller breasts were described as more qualified.
4. Women with smaller breasts were described as more knowledgeable in the field of study, independent of field type or hair color.
5. Women with larger breasts were described as more "outgoing", though there was little evidence that this was the case.
6. Women with larger breasts were selected for the job in virtually all mock job situations.

In summary, even if the woman was thought to be (1) smarter, (2) more qualified and (3) more knowledgeable in the field, she was still not offered the position. Large breasted women with the more "soft attributes" of being (1) a team player and (2) outgoing, qualities much harder to quantify were offered the jobs nearly every time.

From examining the evidence, and spending the remaining grant money on a graduate level statistician, we were able to statistically prove that breast size is directly proportional to job selection but inversely proportional to many of the attributes most find important in job applicant. With additional resources, we may be able to draw additional conclusions concerning breast size and perceived performance.

Is it any wonder that Wonderbra®'s tagline is "your not so secret weapon"?

Disclosure Statement: Leesa has no commercial interest in Wonderbra®, and received no personal compensation for this study.4

1Nothing in this post is real. This post is a joke, and I did not receive any government money to study anything. The sad part about this is that I have to explain this because it seems plausible. I was inspired by Hugh for this post. He posted about the Circle of Beauty. He posted an intelligent VLOG about his "circle of beauty."
2Is this a real word?
3Doesn't fellatio sound more scientific than blowjob? How many people actually read the footnotes I wonder? I better get back to writing this essay.
4Leesa did, however, accept some of the exotic dancers generous offers of performing cunnilingus on her.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Receiving a Hummer

Several years ago, I had to change dentists (the dental plan changed, so I had to find a new dentist). Trust me folks, the story gets better.

I am sitting in the dentist chair, and my dental hygienist walks in to greet me. I have forgotten her name, but let's call her Sally. She introduced herself, took some paperwork from my hands, and adjusted the chair. Her job, more than anything, was to clean my teeth. Not so wonderful of a job, but you know, she chose the profession. Or I should say as you will discover, she embraced her job.

During the entire cleaning, Sally hummed to me. I was taken aback by this at first, but her humming comforted me. Completely comforted me. I don't like going to the dentist, but Sally made the teeth cleaning so comfortable. She, I believe, really is passionate about her job, and her humming took me back to my childhood. I can't fully explain it, but her humming resonated with me. If I were in a psychiatrist's couch rather than a dentist's chair, perhaps I could have figured it out.

The other day, I read a blog – a new blog1, and I got the same feeling. Not the feeling of getting my teeth cleaned, but the feeling of having something familiar resonate within my soul. Have you ever read someone and just love their writing? Like it speaks to you? Like it moves you and places you in harmony with the world?

That happened to me last week. I was feeling really crappy, and reading those words comforted me. Even now, as I recall the feeling, my eyes are filling with tears. Tears of joy.

I love Charlotte Brontë!2 Now my new blogging buddy is not Charlotte Brontë, but you know, Charlotte, is not she either. Okay, before you say you don't care for Ms. Brontë – that's not the point. Brontë resonates with me, and this blogger does so as well. It is so comforting to read the words, sort of like eating warm bread.

I hope you know have something that resonates with you, that rekindles the spirit. And, you know, something as special or more so, is to be that dental hygienist that hums to comfort.

1No, I am not going to link to the blog. My friend is shy.
2Oh, and I love writing umlauts, those little dot thingies above vowels of some words. I also love referencing stuff with footnotes. Makes me feel smart and all. It also keeps some of my randomness out of the blog entry.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Battle of the Blogs: Final Round

Well, boys and girls, this week is the final round of the Battle of the Blogs.

1. I would like to thank all those who participated. I really enjoyed reading a number of blogs I would not otherwise have seen.

2. Instead of continuing with the pairings, I am pitting all winners of Round Two together. Highest point total at the end wins. Pimping your blog takes a lot of energy, and I know my readers would grow tired of voting for me for six straight weeks. Plus I need to work on my basketball brackets. And well, I also need to get some work done at work. I think that's why they pay me, although the link between performance and pay is a loose one at best.

3. I am not going to go to sites and tell them that they are in the finals. Those who are interested will find out; others will just be glad I am not bothering their blogs anymore. I have gotten some comments about how I am just spamming people's blogs, and well, I am a bit sick and tired of it. Really.

So without further ado, here is the poll. Good luck to all!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Continued Randomness

Last Friday, I did not do a Random post. I had done them for a few weeks, and really, I was not feeling random. Anyway, one missed week does not make a trend.

Spam Comments
A long time ago (August 2006), I wrote a blog entry called, "Spam E-mail Message from Claire". It was not particularly good, but a few days ago I got a comment by Anonymous, that said, "Very nice site! Gendron wheelchairs Upskirts and pantyhose casblanca swimsuits Marian keyes books no dress rehearsal svenska Newest 5 reel free slots Review 1990 bmw 735 Boing dog toy Pdas finder Brookline regional catholic school" So a blog entry about spam produced spam. That had to make me laugh. I have sense removed the comment.

Word Stink
Have you ever noticed that some words, despite their origins and meanings, are always coupled with a common or trite phrase? For instance crock, whose definition is "an earthen jar; made of baked clay". It is frequently associated with poop (sh*t). I feel sorry for such a vessel. A very warm and earthy vessel, forever entwined with poop. Tragic.

Blog Names
I added someone to my blogroll recently, and you know, the person had the same basic blog title as someone else. Here is an idea for a book – common blog names. You know, they have baby name books, and now that blogging and vlogging are popular, why not a comprehensive book for selected blog/vlog titles.

Here is something weird. I have another blog – that I don't publicize here – and now that I did not post for a couple of weeks, traffic has increased. What the heck is going on here? Absolutely bizarre. So when I wrote about traffic the other day, it turns out that I did not know what I was talking about. Apparently bad writing and infrequent posting may drive traffic.

Harry Potter
Someone told me Harry Potter's butt is now on the Internet. Isn't that child porn? I mean, I don't know how old Daniel Radcliffe is (I had to google the name, and after googling it, it appears he is underage), but he is a boy. And, no, I have not seen his tush.

I don't give out my phone number, and I find it interesting how loosely others give out their phone number. Several businesses ask for it, and I always refuse. One actually said they needed it, so I proceeded to walk out of the store without purchasing the item. The clerk said, "No, I can sell it to you without the phone number." I still left. I figured anyone who would lie to get a home phone number was not someone I wanted to do business with.

I never want to have to type with my thumbs. I don't play video games so my thumbs are fairly dumb. I can type fast, but I use all of my fingers. How can I un-learn to re-learn with just thumbs.

Are our lives so dull that we want to watch others on national shows (reality shows) or vlogs? Do we want to know what people eat, what they think, how they part their hair? I hope we are not all that dull.

Rate My Blog
I have recently heard about blog explosion, and now that I signed up on it, more to figure out what it is, I think it is sort of a waste of time. You basically can browse blogs, and if you do so, they send you a little traffic as well. That being said, if anyone is on Blog Explosion and you feel inclined, you can rate my blog. And if you want me to, I can rate yours as well. I don't quite get the site (meaning, I have not wasted a bunch of time browsing through it). When I ask it for a random blog (blog browsing), I did not find any worthwhile. Anyway, if anyone has signed up, I would be willing to rate your blog. But please send a link because I don't want to figure out another way to get to the site.

Don't you love playing with slinkies?Slinkies
I saw a slinkie the other day, and you know, slinkies are no longer made of metal. I could not believe it. They are made of plastic. What is this world coming to? Well, you may be able to get a metal one, but in the toy store they only had plastic ones.

Rate My Blog Part II
Er, since I just got rated by ITTM and the crap beat out of me on the rating (really, the comments), perhaps I really don't want you to rate me. Or if you rate me, don't call me the C-word. There are lots of other words at your disposal.

Have you ever looked at someone else's computer desktop and wanted to just throw the person out of their chair and clean up their desktop. Well, that's how my computer desktop is right now, and I am waiting for someone else to clean it up. Not really, but sort of really. I need to clean my computer desktop.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I Got Smacked

I just got smacked. I was reviewed by I Talk Too Much. Okay, I did not get a very good review (one of five), but you know, it was sort of right-on.

Here is what I really did not like. Some guy in the comment section called me a [c-word]. A [c-word]! That word burns me up. Completely burns me up.

You know, I asked to get reviewed about 18 months ago, and the review focused on one particular post (that was a really bad post). Now I get reviewed again, and two things happen: I posted a really lame post earlier today (see below) and I am hosting this Battle of the Blogs thing that has somewhat transformed my blog into something that it is normally not.

I was sort of hoping for a review that was a bit more fair, and what bites is that, well, the review was fair.

Have you ever seen parents with an ugly baby? I mean, all kids are cute in God's eyes and all, but you know, seeing a baby that would scare couples out of having sex for a week. And the parents say, "Oh, isn't he/she the cutest thing." Well, they usually know the sex of the child, but you may not. And you can't say, this baby really looks ugly. In fact, you want to mention that you have not seen such a child ever, and although staring at him/her is gruesome, you appreciate the chance to do so, because perhaps you don't know when you will ever see such an ugly child.

Anyway, I am sort of this way with this blog review. Right now, I have an ugly blog, but I don't see it as an ugly blog. I just see the good parts because I pour my little fingers into writing it. I mean, no body parts were slipping and sliding into one another in the creation of this blog, unless you count the stories, and well, the intent was not to publish the escapades.

So here I am, looking through Google to find some sort of virtual hex to use on that guy that called me a cunt. Oh, how I hate that word.

Oh, and for those of you that are coming from ITTM, use the pull-down under my stories to get to the erotica. The reviewer did say something nice about that, though that's like admiring the clothes on an ugly baby!


I watched a 21-second video the other day from one of my favorite vloggers, IveGotaTheory. Hint: I was subscriber 15, and they have 40 now – join before the wave to say, "I was there when they were doing videos for each other."

Anyway, they have this twenty-one second video that asks the question, "What if you had the power to re-do any moment of your life. Would you do it?" It reminds me of the line in City Slickers where Mitch says, "Your life is a do-over." Okay, I looked for the exact quote and could not find it, but it seems to me that many thirty- and forty-something young adults wonder if they are where they are supposed to be. Is this all life has to offer?

Again, from City Slickers:
Mitch Robbins: Have you ever had that feeling that this is the best I'm ever gonna do, this is the best I'm ever gonna feel... and it ain't that great?
Station Manager: Happy Birthday.

When I saw that clip (the YouTube clip, not the City Slickers clip), especially when the clip suggested a moment and not a series of events, was there an event that I would like to do over? Immediately, I would have said the first time I cheated. That was a huge deal for me (cheating the first time), and the second time was much easier, the third time was even easier. It was the first time that I had to have some sort of inertia to "get over the hump" and, oddly enough, start humping. Without having whatever it took to cross the line into infidelity, would I have cheated later? Probably, if things did not change. But I would have liked to take my chances.

Okay, part of me, probably would have chosen a related event instead of the infidelity, that is, telling my doting husband. The look in his face – not just his eyes, was so painful for me to watch. I crushed him with my infidelity, and we are still healing years later. I have tried to sway people from cheating to having a good monogamous relationship. Because for me, it has made all the difference.

But, from all of this thinking, most things I have done that have turned out poorly I would not change. I don't look at my life and wonder what would have happened if I had done this or that differently, because, well, I can't redo this or that. And as time goes by, I am much less impulsive than I was when I was younger. So there is less for me to want to do over. Now that I look at what I have wrote, just watch the video. It is awesome. Perhaps I should have written this again as my do-over.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Gifts to your Readers

Goodbye Blogroll Buddies
Recently (in the past few months), Mal (Mal's Mulblings), Grant (Discombobulatingrant), Muse (private blog), Amber (Absolutely no exaggeration or sarcasm Here) and Monica (My lovely and charming life), have either declared that they are on a hiatus or they have been on one. Furthermore, Ddot (The Palace) has not been blogging. And they were all very good reads, and more importantly, they were virtual friends.

When I wrote about traffic last week, I mentioned cleaning up hyperlinks that were no longer active. I appreciate when people have two blogging lists – one for active bloggers, and one for occasional bloggers. Well, I have taken the plunge and removed bloggers who no longer add posts from my blogroll; this was a painful experience. The most painful was removing Ddot, the self-described king of the bloggers or the blogosphere, or whatever. Oh, but I felt compelled to at least link to them in this post (I will look every once in a while). Ddot was my first link, so removing him was tough. Too bad I don't keep alcohol in my top desk drawer.

These bloggers probably really did, more than anything else, force me to start Battle of the Blogs. I really did not want to do it (because I really thought it was going to fail). And I have really lost a lot of blogging buddies. I understand them not wanting to continue to blog. I won't list the reasons – that would be the opposite of what I want to do – I want to encourage those to write and possibly share their writing with others. I really think this helps, in some small way, make our world a better place.

Giving Gifts to Your Blogroll
I have had posts in the past that have been clever, and also have given back to those who read my posts. Once, I had a post where I gave "virtual Christmas presents" to some of my frequent commenters. The post went over really well, as I knew a bit about them from their blogs and made the gifts personal. I also made a post for Academy Awards, and which of my blogger buddies would win which award (again, being bother personal and hopefully funny). It may have all started with a post about assumptions I make about the people who frequently comment on my blog.

I have not done a similar post in some time, for two reasons: (1) these posts take a lot of work, and (2) I have a much smaller audience now. For those of you who have a loyal following, this is a way of giving back to your most frequent commenters. Granted, it does not have appeal outside of your group, unless of course, you incorporate a bit of humor into the post.

This suggestion will not drive traffic, but may help ensure that your readers stay loyal to your blog. I sometimes wonder if I cared more for doing stuff like this, if I would have more loyal readers. Whether we like it or not, when we blog, we become connected. In a world where real connections seem to be disappearing, perhaps this is a good thing. Perhaps it is driving us not being connected. This, my virtual friends, is a discussion for another time. Me, I just want a Diet Dr. Pepper.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

School Indoctrination

We have a problem in our schools. There is a methodical, subtle, and disturbing force at work in our schools. I am talking about indoctrination. And it has been going on for at least one generation. Let me explain.

When I was small, it started. My kindergarten teacher insisted that we color in the lines. And then there was the whole "don't color faces blue" rule that the teachers enforced. The first little sign about indoctrination. Granted, I did not know what the word "indoctrination" meant, but I did realize that school was organized to squash the crap out of original thought.

The next thing happened was a few years later. One plus one equals two. Our school system forced this piece of "knowledge" down our throats. Not-so-subtle indoctrination. I heard years later that for higher math, that one plus one equals something other than two. Now I tried googling this, but I could find no evidence of what I am saying. The reason for this is clear: the school systems are suppressing this knowledge, part of their overall scheme of indoctrination.

Later we learned about pollination. Yeah, the part of sex education that did not make me blush. Well, I learned years later that those supposed facts were, in fact, wrong. Easier to teach so we learned them. Freekin' indoctrination.

The reason for this post – I heard some right wing nut talking about "school indoctrination." He has a new book out and is trying to get people to buy it; no crime in that. But some of his reasons for pointing to school indoctrination were, at best, weak. One example he gave was that there was a school paper assignment with the subject: "Tell me why you think the war in Iraq is unjust." Someone wrote that it was a just war and received a D. Two things occurred to me: (1) the student did not follow the assignment and should have been given a lower grade anyway, and (2) maybe it was a crappy paper.

If the student wrote about sun spots, for instance, even if it was a good paper, why award them a good score. If that were the case, I could write one freekin' awesome paper and hand it in for all assignments. I would revise the same paper and just keep racking up "A-" grades. School does not work like that. I once had to write a paper from some English man, explaining that the colonists should just shut their traps and pay taxes to England. That did not mean I believed it; just that I was able to write from a different point-of-view.

I did not read the D paper, and sometimes bad writing and poor content makes a paper a D paper.

So I was thinking, people really are extremely sensitive. I think in school, people ought to learn how to discuss things even if they don't agree with the teacher/professor. Furthermore, when you are in college, you are preparing yourself for "the real world." How real world is it when you don't agree with the professor but have to work with him anyway? You normally don't tell your boss to feck off, do you, if he does not agree with you?

Anyway, I just wanted to play with words today – but I still think I should be able to color my faces blue. Maybe I gave someone an idea for Blue Man Group.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Battle of the Blogs: Round 2

Addendum to Battle of the Blogs
The battle of the blogs will continue this week, as planned. But I think instead of continuing with the pairings, I will just throw up the sixteen blogs next week, and have you chose one of the sixteen. Then, the following week, the top two vote-getters can go mono-on-mono. Pimping your blog takes a lot of energy, and I know my readers would grow tired of voting for me for seven straight weeks. I should have done the math before now, and I probably would have had foursomes instead of pairs of competitors.

The "Battle of the Blogs" really went well for Round One. Lots of people voted, and most of the contests were very close. It really went down to the last vote or two. So here we are at Round 2.

Why Have A Competition?
Congratulations for all of the contestants who were nominated. Just being nominated means that you have readers who like what you are doing. For many of this, this is not the reason we blog, but it is such a nice benefit. And part of me is sad to know that some may see a "defeat" in the competition as a "my blog is not as good as so-and-so's blog." I might feel that way myself (I didn't in the last competition I was entered it, now known as the darned pink website contest). The contest is really not set up to pick the best blog, just the favorite of those who cared to vote.

I have been asked why have a competition. Why not just link a bunch of blogs that people like? As this has a March Madness theme, I will answer with the March Madness analogy. Unless you are an avid college basketball fan, the regular season for college basketball is okay. You can see some great basketball, but most sports fans do not care (except, again, for avid college basketball fans). Fast forward to March Madness – where there will be one winner (and gambling), and then you have people interested that are not normally interested. I could not care a bit for college basketball, but come that time of year, I fill out a bracket. I don't know many of the teams (Georgia Tech beat a ranked team last night – North Carolina or someone like that), but I will fill out my bracket.

The format was chosen to add interest. Nothing more.

Is There More Voting?
As in tournament-style format, there is more than one round of games. Each of the winners will be pitted against one another in the second round. A few blogs – 7 to be exact, had byes to the second round. This was done quite randomly. Not fully randomly, because if I blogrolled you before the competition, I made sure you did not get a bye. Just call me bitch Leesa if you would like, but it was so I did not play favorites (being a favorite was, actually, a bad thing).

People want to know when each round ends. I have not looked at the calendar to see if I have taken a Monday off in the next few weeks, but my intention is to post the new competitions on Monday. The voting ends on each Sunday evening (technically I think I actually put 12:01 AM on Monday morning, because it was easier to enter). I notified all of the blogs – via spam – when I started this. I was hoping not to do so this time. We will see.

I hope all of the blogs who were nominated have seen an increase in traffic. I have noticed that a number of people who enter my site, have left via the competition pages. That tells me that they are jumping off there, and it leads me to believe that they are either voting and/or viewing other sites.

Sex Blogs
I got the sweetest note from someone who asked me if sex blogs were part of the competition. I decided against it, but I did reply to the woman who writes Ramblings From An Insatiable Submissive. I don't often view sex blogs, but hers seemed very nice, meaning it seems to have original content (not taking pictures or stories from other sites) and was well-done (meaning you don't log onto the site and have her shaved muffin staring you in your face). Okay, that might be the intent for some sex blogs, but I would favor a sex blog that was more like a lovemaking session – a bit of foreplay before you do the deed, please. Now, I am not encouraging you to view her blog, but if you like sex blogs, hers is quite unique. And, yes, boys and girls, there are naked pictures of her on the blog so be forewarned, this site is not "work safe".

Call to Vote
All of this being said, now is the time to vote for Round 2. Good luck to all, and more importantly, browse outside of your normally blogging boundaries. You might find a new favorite blog. And none of the contestants will have a picture of some nice woman's muffin staring you in the face.

Here is the Code
For those who would like, there is some code below that point to the different brackets. Oh, and I mixed up the order for Round 2. Not sure if it matters all that much, but it allows others to be read first.

Eastern Bracket
<a href="">Eastern Bracket</a>

Western Bracket
<a href="">Western Bracket</a>

Northern Bracket
<a href="">Northern Bracket</a>

Southern Bracket
<a href="">Southern Bracket</a>

Round 2: Southern Bracket

Southern Conference Game 1
There was a tie in round 1, so that three blogs will be competing for one spot in this game.

By whatever name you call the Supreme Being --Jehovah, Allah, Goddess, the Divine Spark-- iGoddess is the state of being when the Divine Wow within connects with your inner Funk. It's about taking that swig of mystical habanero juice that clears out the mystical sinuses. It's about playing poker with the Gambler With A Soul and losing everything, so you can then be blessed with everything. It's about a good, hard poke in the third eye. The Universe is secretly conspiring to shower you with blessings, and I'm just doing my part to let people know where to find the party. A little humor, a little real life, and a lot of funk.

Once in a Lifetime
No description to date.

Miss Britt
It's been said that I am a woman who can use the word f*ck in a sentence and make it sound like art. My blog is a masterpiece. ;-) I'm just a woman with a job, family, sense of humor, opinion on everything - and no life.

Southern Conference Game 2
Party Vikings
Party Vikings was originally started to promote my fledgling acting/comedy career. Since it apparently takes hundreds of years to get that kind of career started, the blog became a place to vent my frustration at the daily setbacks of the struggling actor with the struggling day jobs. The stories are true and meant to be comedic because if I can't get on a stage and tell 'em, at least I can put them here for anyone to read and get a chuckle.

Straight White Guy
Nothing sent to date about his blog.

Southern Conference Game 3
An Editorial of Life
I am a twenty-something, new mother to an exuberant daughter, Maizie, and happily married to Joe. We live in rural Wisconsin in our new home that is more work than its worth. I work semi-part-time in government administration (licking stamps and collating); a gigantic step-down after five ambitious years in sales and marketing management. My hobbies include showering, going to the bathroom alone with the door shut and sleeping more than eight hours. No really, I enjoy the basics; tasty food, cheap wine, a book to escape and something inspiring to listen to.

Past Imperfect
I am Pat ; grand mother but still a girl at heart. Married to MTL(my true love)after a separation of 30 years. Had three careers: trained paediatric nurse, National photographic model and business woman. Now settled in SW and enjoying our five children and ten grandchildren and making the most of what time we have left.

Southern Conference Game 4
Amy's Musings
The blog of a 30-something woman who is trying to evolve into some kind of unattainable perfection. Until that moment of enlightenment I’m sarcastic, opinionated, reserve the right to use foul language profusely when necessary, and usually always have something to say no matter how completely asinine it might be.

Shelli's Sentiments
My blog is about my life experience as I interpret it. Sometimes it is funny and sometimes it is sad. I talk about my children, my husband, my friends and my granddaughter. I also write about things that I observe happening to me, my family or just life around the world. Most of the time, I am non-confrontational, but I have been known to throw in a rant or two here and there. I love writing and that is what drives this blog.

Round 2: Northern Bracket

Northern Conference Game 1
The Dutch Files
DutchyFul * DutchyLicious * DutchyMazing * DutchyBitchious
The personal diary of the DutchBitch, a 37 year old, single full time working chick and Mom of The Kid (9 years old) whose signature footwear are the red latex thigh high stiletto heeled boots. Polluting the airways of the blogosphere with anything and everything that occupies her mind, from internet dating, to NyQuil, to pimping up her bathroom, to fucktards, to parenting, to being the greatest management-assistant ever recorded, to PFKAF (people formerly known as friends), to snale porn, to life in Dutchyland, to ... everyday bitching! Leave your brains at the door and hear me roar!

Writing Away on a Cedar Key
Musings on the writing life and relocating to a small island off the west coast of Florida.

Northern Conference Game 2
Quilly's Quips
I believe in approaching life with humor. I mean, there's no point in taking it too seriously, it's not like we're going to get out alive. So step inside and prepare to laugh...

Memphis Steve
Steve lives in Memphis. And he's not happy about it. Neither is his wife, who constantly reminds him that he is the one who brought them there and thus he should be the one who gets them out. Daily blogs from Mr Memphis Steve involve really stupid drivers and their cell phones and/or SUVs, battles with fat "all about me" women in parking lots and shopping centers, chocolate politics and the ever-busy FBI, drug dealer neighbors, and a lot of ranting about the world in general. If you like sunshine and daisies then Nude Memphis will probably piss on your garden, but if you like to laugh at other people's miserable lives then this is the blog for you.

Northern Conference Game 3
The Peanut Queen
Dubbed "Queen of the Peanut Gallery" at work, I share with my loyal subjects life as I know it...both whilst I toil away at work and the chaos that sometimes ensues at The Peanut Palace. I reside with The Peanut King, three furry royal brats and one short little chain-smoking Peanut Mother. You never know what kind of crap us royalty will get into next....there's always something going on."

Timeless Boulevard
Let me take you to a journey... Free the mind... Free the heart... Free the soul... For there is this place... One you have never even imagined... Live the journey. This is basically a photoblog site. Mostly I treat as abstract photographs. Like a painting, I live it up to the "reader"/"viewer" how the blog of the day speaks to him/her. Sometimes, I may include more words than usual. This blog is about life and living life to the fullest, just like a good journey.

Northern Conference Game 4
Lightning Bugg's Butt
Flashes of insight from the Everyman. Daily observational posts. Part comedy, part philosophy, part temper tantrum, Lightning Bug's Butt is always good for a laugh and/or a place to send your hate mail. Thanks for visiting. All rights reserved. Comments welcome.

The Further Adventures of Blogger Girl
Good Heavens, it's difficult to write something brilliant that will entice the blogging world to fall at my feet or, you know, even stop by The Further Adventures of Blogger Girl. What can I say? Normal girl, normal blog. Well mostly. My blog follows the minutia and minor adventures of me, BethanyC, a 30-something accidental librarian. In the course of things I take an insane number of photos and a few of these find their way to my small little corner of the blogosphere. If you stop by, you'll find a diverse tangle of thoughts and anecdotes that are in turn serious, silly, or painfully mundane.

Round 2: Western Bracket

Western Conference Game 1
It's a Dog's Life
I am a Labrador-Collie-Cross in Norfolk , England, and my blog is called "It's a Dog's Life". There are other blogs around featuring dogs but mine is different because I do actually write it all myself.I hope it gives all you bipeds out there a dog's-eye view of the world from a wise and attractive canine! My little brother is Oz, a Tibetan Terrier, and I live with grumpy old Mr P. and the lovely Mrs Rine. I'm currently trying to get my petition for better dog food onto Mr Blair's Downing Street Web site but I think he thinks I'm barking.

Boobs, Injuries and Dr. Pepper
I have a girl, Virginia, who is six and a boy, Devon, who is thirteen and baby Harmony is fresh outta the oven. I'm married to Chris. This is not a mommy blog. My kids aren't perfect & I cuss a lot. I think that disqualifies me from the mommy blog club.

Western Conference Game 2
Random thoughts of a forty-something lesbian living the happily ever after, white picket fence life.

Reading the Signs
It’s a blog about how it is to be a writer and creative when you live with a bastard illness like M.E. which is against all things creative, and about process and poetry, which is stronger than the bastard. It is also about a dark and complicated relationship with chocolate and the house who is human and sings. I am a time-rich, single-tasking space-gazer who does not juggle her life and has time to look out of windows.

Western Conference Game 3
Omniscience Inc.
The musings of an Omniscient Entity trapped inside a regular run-of-the-mill chauvinistic pig. The ramblings presented here are a collection of fairly recent thoughts of their collective intellects. Fairly recent because the pig had decided to delete the earlier blog, facing claims of him getting off exclusively to his religion bashing. As they struggle to gain control of the keyboard, both these entities would like to apologize any cheekiness or unpardonable parts of concentration of brutal psychoanalysis, respectively. Furthermore, judging by the lack of self-importance implied in these words, the Omniscient entity would like to make it explicitly clear, you may not approach him for Weather or Stock-market or Derby forecasts.

Where the Bees Are
my blog is about how retarded my kids and husband are. Its not a mommy blog, cuz I use swear words, good mommies dont swear.My blog is a fun place to drop by if u need a hoot, I am a comedy writer to begin with, so it comes natrally. I seldom spell anything right, and I am to lazy for spell check some days...That about sums it up..good night and thank you for coming.

Western Conference Game 4
The Kept Woman
[Note new address!]
The Kept Woman was started as a place where I could use poor grammar and swear guiltlessly since my very first site was dedicated to how cute and clever my children were and had to be family-friendly. I talk mainly about life experiences and how I frequently screw things up. I find it extremely frustating to live in Suburbia where everyone is perfect, goes to church and shops at Pottery Barn. I burn and break a lot of things, have a down payment on a condo in hell from doing naughty things and get great satisfaction out of knocking off the Pottery Barn look without paying their outrageous prices. This is my place where I can be me, swear and freely threaten to sell my children without my neighbors calling Child Protective Services on me.

Confessions of a Psychotherapist
The problem is I spend a lot of my day listening. And asking questions. And sometimes offering observation or interpretation, but never saying “Hell, you should dump him – he sounds like a real tosser to me.” So one night this blog was born, written by my unreasonable twin who has an opinion on most everything, who likes to rant and rave about trivialities and who generally says and feels things that therapists are supposed to process internally. Occasionally, I get a look in and write about politics, psychotherapy, the politics of psychotherapy and even the psychotherapy of politics. But mostly it contains the thoughts and musings of my unreasonable twin as she accompanies me on my daily business. Oh, and my melancholic twin, too, although that makes triplets and rather spoils the metaphor, doesn’t it? So this blog is an expression of the various ramblings of my multiple selves….and I promise you I really am quite sane.

Round 2: Eastern Bracket

Eastern Conference Game 1
An Audience of One
I am a middle school administrator enrolled in a doctoral program and a father of two. My blog is mostly dedicated to issues involving raising children, public schools/education, relationships/love, and culture. I write from the point of view of a twice divorced single parent who is passionate about his kids, his work, and his life. My blog is also a journal of my personal journey, failures, and triumphs.

That's So Pants
My blog is subtitled 'What is wrong with everyone?'. That's so pants is a polite English way of saying 'that sucks'. It would probably more accurately translate as 'that's ever so slightly sucky'. It's a snide poke at politicians, industrial emperors, environmental vandals, celebrities and twats in general. I write about my frequently surreal spats with the rest of the world, ranging from the ubiquitous anonymous call centre drones that feature in every aspect of day to day administration to irritable Argun the stationer whom I have to boldly confront every time I need a new 2B pencil.

Eastern Conference Game 2
Anecdotal Evidence Life Exists On Planet Earth
A humorous blog that recounts the often slap-sticky travels (and travails) of Scott from Oregon, from Aboriginal beer thefts to his Mum's vagina. AELEOPE is full of warmth and self deprecating humor and contains a wonderful trove of life's silly occurences. AELEOPE not only amuses you with Scott's "tales of woohoohoo", it asks you to offer up some of your own . With an archive full of goofy tales and a mind full of way too many more, this blog is as essential as the Sunday Morning Comics, (and way more worldly). It's like a fire-ring story-swap with beer and mosquitoes. Check it out.

Shephard's Alley
You round the corner and turn down an alleyway you've never seen before.
Admist the red brick and lamplight, you read of adventures in Southern California and beyond, as the alley's resident writer shares thoughtful perspectives, uplifting reminders and humor (and often photos of the quirky and lovable alley-cats). Graffiti is encouraged.

Eastern Conference Game 3
The Yellow Duck Pond
Lighthearted musings from a migrant duck resident somewhere in Central Europe on all things that take his fancy: some culture, some politics, some philosophy and some photography. The Pond is an open and friendly place with lots of quacking and banter thanks to a lovely band of regular commenters and there is always room for one more.

Shadowscope is a daily journey of whatever is floating around my sick little mind at the time. Posting several times a day I offer completely useless drivel interrupted occasionally by something poignant and witty, just not too often. Wouldn't want to fool anyone. Shadowscope is not generally considered safe for work, as I tend to drop the "F" bomb quite a bit, and there is no telling what you might find in the pictures.

Eastern Conference Game 4
Ah, Yes, Medical School
Join me as I half-ass my way through medical school, encountering all sorts of freaks (patients, classmates, myself, etc.) along the way.

In Search of Adam
My /In Search of Adam/ blog started in August 2006 and the posts were about how to approach literary agents with a finished manuscript. Three weeks later, a publisher stumbled on my blog and requested the manuscript. I was offered a publishing deal. The blog has since developed to combine my journey from unpublished to published, along with the hassles and tassels of my life. It is largely tongue in cheek, with a few fancy fonts and melancholic moments thrown in.