Monday, April 30, 2007

Reading and Literature

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a party and we were talking about reading. One man said very proudly that he read 50 book the previous year. He said he set a goal for 100 books for the year, but after the first few weeks, it was obvious that he could not make that goal. So he changed his goal to 50 books for the year.

I made the comment that I was extremely impressed for reading 50 books in a year. I actually, probably a dozen years ago, read 52 books in a year. An average of one book per week, and we are not talking about children's books.

The conversations unfolded like this:

Leesa: Wow, when did you get the time to read 50 books in one year. I have only done it once, and it was incredibly difficult.

Book Reader: I use my time very effectively.

Leesa (thinking to herself): Arrogant prick.

Leesa: And no children's books?

Book Reader: No, we are talking novels, mostly. Books on tape.

Leesa: So you didn't actually read the books, did you?

Book Reader: Sure, it is the same thing. The words are the same.

Leesa (thinking to herself): Arrogant prick. You used Cliff's Notes to get through high school, didn't you?

Leesa: I actually read 50 books one year. Real books.

I sort of felt like a book snob, but I could not imagine anyone equating reading with listening to a book on tape. I am not saying that listening to books on tape is not pleasurable. I have done it in the past. I just don't get it confused with reading.

< /hr>I saw on The Moon Topples that there will be a literary contest that starts on the stroke of midnight on Tuesday. Here is part of the post:

And, of course, we have the GBA(s)FC #2 starting at the stroke of Tuesday. The rules and prompt will be posted at or around midnight. Once you see that post, the contest is live, adn entries are welcome. Last time, there were 44 entries, and I'm hopeful that we can repeat that success. Any help in spreading the word is greatly appreciated, and I'm still accepting applications for jurors to help in selecting the Jury Prize.

Now I have read this twice, and I don't know if it starts Tuesday morning (at the stroke of Midnight on Monday night), or the following night. I think the former is right, but you know, I am a bit clueless. I don't know really what this is about (the writing part is obvious), so if you want, go on over and check it out.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Shocking: Recently Shy

I met my husband at the door the other day at the door, and it was fairly bizarre. I felt, really, like a dog meeting her master at the door. Not that way, but I was eager to see him.

Me (looking at him with wide eyes and a smile): "Let me take your briefcase."

Him: "I thought we talked about this. I just need a few minutes to change and gather my thoughts."

Yes, we have had the same conversation for years now. When he gets home, he needs a bit of space to, as he puts it, gather his thoughts. I know, he needs to transition from work to home, and it takes him a little time. But I have been home for an hour or more and I just wanted some attention.

Just fuck your wife.

Anyway, he goes to the bedroom, the room I want him in, and he changes. He reappears in ten or fifteen minutes in comfy clothes, and without talking with me, he goes into the backyard. Okay he went to check on the garden.

I go into the kitchen and see him examining the beds. Again, wrong bed, oh, husband of mine. He is poking around in the wrong bed. Sometimes men can be so clueless when it comes to signs. I am feeling a bit shy today, but you know, I am also feeling amorous. Husband, come inside, and . . .

just fuck your wife.

I start to make dinner. My duty, I suppose. When we were first married, he cooked a lot. He would cook the manly part of the meals – if you could grill it or the food, at one time in its life, walked, flew or swam, he would cook it. I don't mind cooking; I rather enjoy it most of the time. Sometimes, strange as it may seem, cooking seems to be part of the courtship ritual, and it can be highly arousing. Strange as that may seem,

just fuck your wife.

Husband, you and I can talk about so many things, things of great importance and of little significance. I almost force you to talk when you really would rather stick your nose in a book, and I thank you for it. Yes, husband of mine, you and I can talk frankly about sex most of the time. There are times, however, that I want you to read my mind. There are times when I want you to read glances as easily as you read the book you place at your bedside each night.

Sometimes, when your wife is eager to talk, looks at you with puppy dog eyes, greets you at the door, we doesn't want to talk. You should take my advice, dear husband, and . . .

just fuck your wife.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thursday on Empty

There are some days when I just don't want to write. I don't want to work. I don't want to do anything. This is one of those days. You know, I have had those days before, but normally, I am a few blog entries ahead of myself, so I just post the next blog and go about my business. So it appears like I am running on all cylinders, and I am not.

And the strangest part of this is that I don't really know what "all cylinders" is all about. I am sure it has something to do with car mechanics, but if you placed a cylinder and a gasket on my desk, I could not tell the difference.

When I was dating my hubbie, he worked on cars, and I would talk with him while he was working on the cars. I would say random things like, "Did you check the distributor cap" and "sounds like a starter problem to me." The point was not really to help him fix the car; the point was to appear to be some car-smart hottie. Some men like women who can do some of these car things. Of course, since I was talking complete crap, he just thought it was cute. He would then say something like, "Can you hand me a crescent wrench" and I would be completely busted. You know, I would give him a box end wrench or needle nose pliers, but I cocked my head and smiles sweetly, so it was all good.

For me, I would love to go back in time today. My mind is not working properly and I figure I have some sort of plaque on my brain that is making me not think straight. Perhaps tomorrow. Me, I have to look for a mortise saw.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bigger than Television

Everybody knows, I love taking baths. No, that's not how I wanted to start this blog entry today. Everybody knows I have recently found YouTube.

I started out with a post on YsabellaBrave, and I still listen to her. I mostly listen to her VLOGs. I love the way she sings; I am hooked.

Anyway, I am not really wanting to post on her again – for one, you will think I have a girl-crush on her, and, well, I don't. I wish I could sing like her though.

A few weeks ago, I heard a couple of VLOGgers talk about YouTube being bigger than television1. Er, not sure what they were smoking (actually, one of the people who made the claim is a medical-marijuana-carrying-card-member), but television is still bigger than YouTube. I just thought the VLOGgers were feeling all self-important and predicting the future. I have no problem with being self-important or predicting the future (my futurist post). But this thought leads me to thinking about technology that seems to be going out-of-favor.

I have a VCR, and I have not used it in more than one year. I am thinking if you don't have a ton of homemade porn, you probably don't use the VCR too much either. Convert those VCR tapes to DVD – they will last longer. Oh, and do the same to the homemade tapes of little Johnny and Mary when you taped them at birthdays, Christmas or on family vacations. Just don't mix up the DVDs.

Land Line Telephones
I have a telephone that actually attaches with a phone cord and plugs into the wall. I only get phone calls from telemarketers. I just thought about it, and no person I want to talk with ever talks to me on the "land line." Now, I make calls from it, but only when I am at home. It is not that I love my cellular phone, but it is so convenient. I think about calling people, but if I wait until I get home, I often forget. Bad memory for making phone calls. Plus I like to call people while I am at work, and since my employer doesn't like paying for the calls, I use my cellular phone. I just don't know if cellular phones are spelt "cel" or "cell" phones.

I have heard that some people think books are becoming obsolete. I don't think so. Books have been around for hundreds of years, and I remember several companies (including Apple) try to have some digital devise that would replace a book, but for most books, this is not going to happen. Yeah, I know about e-books, but I don't think e-books will ever replace "normal" books. I love the feel of books, and cannot ever imagine replacing my books with an electronic version of the books.

Besides, I love reading in the tub, and from my limited knowledge of electronics, electronic devises in a tub is a bad idea.

1It reminded me of a quote from John Lennon of the Beatles, "We're more popular than Jesus now." Actually, later, John Lennon did say, with regards to his statement, "I should have said television was more popular than Jesus, then I might have got away with it...." His statement had as much to do with Christianity not being as popular as it once was than anything else. The whole line was, "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me"

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Earth Day

Sunday, April 22, was Earth Day. It came and went, and did anything change. Probably not.

No, I did not celebrate Earth Day, but that does not make me a bad person. Let's say there is some big celebration in a park where they have food, balloons, speeches and games to celebrate the Earth. It seems a bit non-Earthy to do so.

I have been listening to the "global warming" debate, and on Earth Day, I thought more and more about it. I don't want to debate the subject – because both sides seem to me to be unreasonable.

Here is my take on things. I don't believe humans will doom the planet, but we are doing things that definitely are bad for the planet. Does this cause global warming? We really don't know. In the early 70s, we thought we were going into a global cooling phase, and now, many experts say that we are in a global warming phase. Well, when I was conscious in my geology1 class, I learned about global warning. How the Earth goes through periods of global warming and cooling – that geologists saw this in ice or tree rings or whatever.

Personally, I like minimizing my impact on the world. I like recycling (no curbside yet, but that doesn't bother me). I just throw the recycling in the car, and the next time I am near the drop-off, I drop it off.2 But really, recycling does not lessen the impact as much as reducing.

You know, I have tried to start and start this entry, and I am boring myself. Not a good sign. I know Reduce – Reuse – Recycle. And over the years, these ecological concepts have become habits. It does not feel like sacrificing.

We have the environmentalists on one side that say we need to sacrifice, and sacrifice equals pain. Then we have the conservative wackos3 who believe that polluting is something we ought to do because (1) it shows nature who is boss, (2) it pisses off liberals, and (3) there is something in Genesis about it.4

Personally, I just want people to be a bit more reasonable. We may or may not be causing global warming. I do know we are polluting the planet, and are not good stewards in doing so. I just wish the environmentalists would be a bit less doom and gloom, and that conservative wackos would be more reasonable about what we know we are doing to the planet. Having fresh water is nice. But I guess being reasonable does not drive talk shows and it sells few books. Me, I am going to a used bookstore today – I want to give new life to a well-loved book today. And maybe, just maybe, I will walk to the bookstore on my lunch hour. What the hell; I won't use fossil fuels and I will be reducing my rump at the same time.

1I did not really take geology. All rocks look the same to me, and I knew I would have been horrible at that class.

2This sort of would be silly to waste gas in order to recycle.

3Not all conservatives are whacko, but I did not know of how else to categorize these people.

4God said to them, 'Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'" (Genesis 1:28)

Monday, April 23, 2007

From Newsprint to Blog Entry

There was a brief blog entry (really only a newspaper headline) from Plain Simple English, that I thought I would make into a blog entry.

The Toler Tribune simply read, "Ernest Payne, found in the Tug River near Iaeger, had been missing since Wednesday last and is supposed to have been murdered." This remarkable entry was unremarkably buried in the back of the city section, the first entry among police reports.

Ernest Payne, however, was not surprised with the placement of this information. You see, before he was murdered, he was a quite unremarkable person. Or so it seemed.

He was not a member of polite society; he was not invited to parties, though he did frequent the country club. He was a groundskeeper, constantly battling weeds, bugs and divot-making golfers. Little did he know that his job would cost him his life. Well, not his job, but his curiosity, his habit of listening to golfers on the greens.

The Toler Tribune would not reveal anything else about Mr. Ernest Payne, because powerful men in society have friends at newspapers, and these friends know when to set type and when to look for other stories. More polite stories. More typical stories.

Mr. Ernest Payne was well-named. His work could be described as earnest, for he was serious and diligent, emotionally intense and solemn on the greens, on the fairways, always at work. And he had pain in his life as well, the pain of love lost, of not realizing your true potential, of forgetting how to dream. A hardened gumshoe would have said something about the murderer doing a favor for Mr. Payne. But I am neither hardened nor a gumshoe.

Oh, well, I just wanted to do a bit of playing with words today. To take one headline and expand it a bit. None of this is true, of course, except that the words were written in July of 1946.

Friday, April 20, 2007

YouTube Gem #10: JackDanyells

JackDanyells is one of my favorite VLOGgers. I first saw one of his videos when he was asked by YouTube to recommend several good videos. His analysis was thoughtful and humorous, so I subscribed to him. Well, one of the things I noticed was that he does a series called "The Dictionary of Jack." I love words, and I really like these videos. He talks about words that are misused, meanings of words and in the above-mentioned video, differences between the American and English languages. Anyway, if you like language, you will like JackDanyells.

Have a great weekend!

A Befuddled Mind: Randomness Friday

Recently I was walking out of the car for church, and it was drizzling. I man had an umbrella up, and a woman was trying to do the same. He commented, "Wow, that's a big umbrella." Her reply, "The size won't matter if I can't get it up."

All I could do was giggle to myself. I nearly said something rude. In a church parking lot. Certainly Satan1 was tempting me.

In a Mexican Restaurant
Okay, I will admit it. I eat at Mexican restaurants in Georgia. I feel sort of bad about it because it seems weird. Sort of like I should not be eating at them because I am so far from Mexico. Were I in Texas – that would be better. Chinese restaurants are different. I know I am half-way around the globe from China, but it does not seem as weird.

I was eating in a Mexican restaurant with my hubbie recently, and there were three extremely attractive women at the next booth. We could not see them, but we could here them. They were talking about their recent VS2 purchases – bras and how they made their boobs look good – and talking about men's penises. I don't remember talking about these subjects eating nachos and waiting for the waiter to take my order.

I want a new television. Not often, but our television (yes, we have one) is sort of old. Since we don't watch much television, we really don't need a new one, but in the last 5 years they have looked really cool. They are slim, have a great picture and seem so "James Bond"-y.

Virginia Tech
I have not been watching/listening to the news, partly because I don't want to know more about Virginia Tech. I sort of feel bad about it, but not really. I empathize really easily, and I just don't want to go through the emotions. Once the media's feeding frenzy is over, I think I will think more about this tragedy.

Please don't take this as sacrilegious (it is, but don't take it that way), but I was thinking about how new religions are formed. What I don't understand is that for many Christians, we have some form of communion3 – and the food is normally some sort of wafer. If I was coming up with a new religion, I would probably replace wafer with chocolate. Not really, but what a marketing campaign. The downside would be that you would need towelettes after communion. Oh, and another downside is that chocolate is not really supported in religious writings I have read.

There are certain sounds I really miss. One of them, I thought about today, is the dot matrix printer. For those of you too young to remember dot matrix printers – too bad. They are sort of like 8-track tape players. Something that was left in the 80s because they were really not a great item, but we did not have better stuff. If I was writing an SAT question, I would say:

8-Track Players : Audio CDs :: Dot Matrix Printers :

(A) Guttenberg Printing Press
(B) Pens
(C) Laser Printers
(D) Princess Leah

The correct answer, of course, is C. Remember learning that a colon (:) means "is to" and two colons (::) means "as". Who came up with this? Somebody at Princeton, I would guess.

1I don't think it is a coincidence that Satan and satin are so close in spelling. I misspell Satan all of the time. Satin is a sinfully delicious fabric.

2VS = Victoria's Secret. I used to shop there a lot, but not so much anymore. Guess I am getting older, so I don't plan on wearing "something special" for a sexual rendezvous. I always thought their panties were sub-standard, and would not last a good three washings, and their bras while they look nice, are not really made to be warn for more than a little while. Good for them that their bras usually fly off the woman within minutes of being seen. Coincidence? Probably not.

3Communion is either a sacrament or a symbol, depending on the flavor of religion you practice.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Gravitating towards the Mean

You know, I remember college and grading on the curve. Not sure I understood it completely, but the gist is that in any given population, most people tend towards the mean (C average), and there are a few outliers on both tails (As and Fs). Now I think in college the curve was a bit forced – I think there were more Bs than Cs.

You know, in life, people tend towards the mean. After school, most people work for a living. My goal was to be a trophy wife, but sadly, I did not achieve that endeavor. I mean, I could give great head (a prerequisite), but alas, I did not find the billionaire husband. Drats.

Being a trophy wife, if you are looking at income or comfort level, would have placed me squarely in the right-side tail of the bell curve.1

But I was thinking about it the other day – thinking about not wanting to be "normal" because normal sort of sucks.

Normal sort of sucks economically.
Normal people have about $8,000 in credit card debt, owe pretty much the entire mortgage on their homes, live paycheck to paycheck, owe several thousands of dollars on their cars, and have student loans that are, well, huge. Being smack-dab in the middle of normal does not look like a lot of fun. And I am not talking about wealth-building or having crap. I am more worried about not worrying constantly about money. That sucks, and life is too short to have it suck.

Normal sort of sucks socially.
Normal people watch 8 hours of television per day.2 Normal people rarely hike, bike or swim. Normal people watch the ball drop on New Year's Eve, rather than being somewhere crowded and dancing one's ass off. Or spending the evening just reading a good book – doing something that most people aren't doing. Normal people read two books per year. Normal people (52% of the population) get divorced. Normal people who remain married don't seem to be able to sustain a very healthy marriage (myself included).

Normal sort of sucks physically.
Normal people gain 1 to 2 pounds of weight per year (over ten years, yikes, that is a lot of weight). Normal people can't run a mile once they hit the big 3-0, and although they may have a gym membership, they do not actively attend. Normal people can't climb stairs without feeling winded, can't touch their toes or don't like their figure.

You know, I don't want to be normal. I want to live an extraordinary life. I want to be more than normal. Normal people don't write books, and I desperately want to be abnormal. I want to write a book. And you know, more and more, I think the difference between being normal and being extraordinary is in setting goals. Simple, really, and that is the difference between being in the middle of the curve and being on the far right side of the curve. And it took me thirty some-odd years to figure this out. Holy crap, and I normal.

1Giving good tail to be on the right-side tail. Actually, I have heard trophy wives have to be presentable, look down their noses at others and eat salads at every meal. Clearly, that is not what I would have liked, even if it meant country clubs, high teas and theatre every Saturday evening.

2Okay, all of these numbers are made up. Not that they are completely made up. I heard something in the past, but I am too lazy to actually look them up, though Google would probably help me out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Laundry Mats and "Getting Along"

When I was just out-of-school, I did not have a washer or dryer. I imagine many people were in this boat, though not-so-much anymore with instant credit for college graduates. But in the late 1980s or early 1990s, I frequented Laundromats. Not for dating, but because I had no washer-dryer and occasionally I wore clean clothes (a joke).

Now, for some of you who have been reading for a while, I have OCD. Think about this for a moment – young, college grad woman who has OCD and is using the Laundromat. Yes, using appliances to wash her undies where other people who have less stringent hygiene habits who are also washing their undies in the same appliances. Completely grosses me out. But without cash or a place to put the washer/dryer combinations, I was using the Laundromat down the street. Well, not just down-the-street, but close-to-home.

Anyway, I was sitting on one of the tables, reading a book one evening, doing my laundry. I can't remember the book I was reading, but knowing me, it was some really big book (that, in my mind, I could have used as a weapon on others, since I was by myself in a Laundromat). A big book that I wanted to read. To this, you would need to think, "How utilitarian of you, dear Leesa."1

I look up from my book, and an elderly black man is sitting in a chair fairly near me. He had a thin frame, salt-and-pepper hair, more salt than pepper. Nice smile. When I looked up, he caught my eye. I smiled.

He said, "Friday night, and you are reading. I bet you are smart."

I giggled. I did not mean to giggle, but I did. And we started talking.

We started talking about race relations. Not sure how it got there. Okay, maybe there was basketball on the television, and we started talking about basketball. He thought it was odd that I did not like Larry Bird – I did not like him because my Daddy did not like him. I knew squat about basketball, but I Daddy always said that if Larry Bird played as good as the announcers said he played, he would be a great player. My Daddy said Larry Bird's accomplishments were overblown because he was white, and I believed him. Anyway, this started the conversation.

This gentleman was a grandfather. I don't remember the whole conversation, but I will never forget something that he said. He said his grand-daughter and my children may live in a better world, a world where the color of one's skin is something to note, but not to overshadow other aspects of their being. He said that he learned to hate white people from his upbringing, and when he was talking about this, I recalled small things that "colored" my thinking. He said it was too late for me, that I had already been brainwashed, but that my children would have a chance to live in a more colorblind world.2

You know, at the time, I did not believe the grandfather, but over time, I have come to realize his wisdom. Not that I think I am a lost soul, as it relates to my ability to judge others on their own attributes and not the color of their skin, but as a society, it is extremely hard to change one person, let alone many people in society. The grandfather, I have come to realize, was saying that he had no hope that his generation nor mine would change their views deep down, but perhaps the following generation may have a better chance at starting from more scratch and looking past certain physical traits.

The Rodney King trial in the 1990s. Who was on trial? The four police officers? Society as a whole? If so, why do we still call it the Rodney King trial? He was not on trial.

Laundromats and baseball parks. That's where you think about race.

1Now I am slowly teaching you how to think. In a few short months, I will take over the world with my mind control. Well, maybe not the world. Maybe take over New Zealand.

2Part of me laughs and says "Ha, didn't know I am infertile." The bitter part of me, that is.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Taxing Subject

I wrote this after I heard about the VA Tech shooting. I just could could not compose myself to address the shooting, other to say that I am praying for the families of the victims. I read an interesting blog at ~Dr. Deb's page. She has a lot more experience in this than I ever will. Something else I am thankful for.

April 17th – Tax Day in the US this year. This was a weird day for taxes because it normally should have been on April 16, which was the Monday following April 15. But April 16 was Emancipation Day1 in Washington, DC, so the day was moved one day.

That in itself made limited sense. I mean, no taxes are processed in Washington DC. That's the place they spend money, not collect it. Well, the people who live in Washington DC probably did not have mail service, but since the area is surrounded by Maryland and Virginia, both places that had mail service, last minute taxpayers could travel to these nearby states to drop off their tax returns. And it sounds worse than it is. People from DC travel to these states to shop – DC is small, and you can mistakenly drift into Maryland or Virginia when making a wrong turn. Dropping off taxes – not so much of a problem.

Anyway, I was thinking about taxes today, and yesterday, and a few days ago. Not that taxes were not completed, but scraping up the little bit extra to pay Uncle Sam this year. And, no, I was not doing a 20% tip for a job well-done. The Church only wants 10%, a bargain considering Federal Taxes for me were at a much higher rate this year. The Federal Government gives me, what, roads and national defense. The Church – donuts on fellowship Sundays and the saving of my immortal soul.2

The IRS and Christian religion have a lot in common, when it comes right down to it. First, there is the compensation piece. The IRS administers a voluntary tax code, which some take to mean you pay the Government what you want to pay them, adjusting your tax obligation by filling out various forms. This year, people with phones or hybrid cars get a bit of a break. People who manufacture alternative fuels get a break. For the Church, they say to tithe 10%, but you know, you don't send in your check stubs or copies of your tax returns. And 10% of what? "Off the top" is the most common answer, but does that include interest income, gambling income? Do hookers have to pay for their income? Seems a bit hypocritical?

Then lets look at the guiding principals. First you have the Bible – where smart people read the same things and interpret them differently. Part of this has to do with the Bible being translated so many times, part of it has to do with the Bible being copied from generation to generation, and having differences in the oldest surviving copies of the scrolls. Jesus did not have a book. People were read scrolls at that time, scrolls that were copied and saved.

The IRS has their IRS Manual – I think it is called the IRM (Internal Revenue Manual). Congress passes laws, it gets incorporated into this book, and reasonable tax preparers disagree as to the intent of the rules. One of the money magazines sends mock returns to 50 (I may have the number wrong) tax preparers, and they all do the tax returns differently, some of which are very different than others. We are talking CPAs, accountants, whatever, reading the same stuff and coming up with different answers. Discouraging.

And then people's reactions when reading either the Bible or the tax code – people pray or their eyes glaze over. Hardly any other reaction. Interesting.

As a Catholic, I would get extra points for having children (part of the point of marriage). I also get points for being married. With the tax code, I get preferential treatment for having children or having a spouse (this was not always the case, in the spouse area – darned marriage penalty).

And if you think of this, now the Government/IRS does not recognize homosexual marriages, and most churches don't either. Mine doesn't, and I wish it would. But that is a topic for another day.

Today I am crying over the tax code. Happy Tax Day!

1On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia, and in 2004, the mayor of Washington DC signed this holiday into law.

2Tongue-in-cheek people. And, yes, a vengeful God would send my soul to hell for this, but I don't think She is vengeful.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Jackie Robinson and Don Imus

Jackie Robinson and Don Imus
Sunday was Jackie Robinson Day for Major League Baseball. But if you think about it, it was Jackie Robinson Day for all of us.

As many people believe, Jackie Robinson was the first black man in Major League Baseball. This is not really true1, but he was the first black player who crossed the "color line" in baseball in the modern era.

Sixty years does not seem like much time, within a person's lifetime, and if we try and remember back to then, what Jackie Robinson did was truly remarkable. Robinson was not the best negro player at the time, but he was partly chosen because of his metal. Imagine a 28-year-old man battling every day, receiving death threats, having team members who did not want him in the line-up, let alone opposing players and fans. He received death threats, apposing players even imitated gun fire with their bats to remind him of these threats.

And his job? Part of it involved being in a box where the apposing pitcher threw 90-mph pitches in the region of his head. Nice.

What fascinates me is that in 1947, as people were shouting death threats during games, there was no huge public outcry to silence this abuse.

Fast forward to 2007. Don Imus makes some stupid racially insensitive comments, and there is public outcry. I have resisted commenting on Imus because it seemed that everyone was talking about it. Matt Lauer even goes One-on-One with Don Imus. And when Matt Lauer gets in the act, you know it is oversold.

Okay, first I would like to tell you a disclaimer: Although I have heard many different talk show hosts, I have no idea who Don Imus is. Yeah, I have heard the label "shock jock", but I have never listened to a program, and the first time I heard his voice was with Matt Lauer.

I have heard lots of takes on the whole Don Imus circus, and everybody is wrong. Just joking.

Here is what I have heard:

1. Firing Imus limits his Freedom of Speech. I have two things to say about free speech here: (1) Imus was on public airways and there are limits to speech on public airways (he was not censored for this anyway), and (2) he was still free to say what he said. There are consequences for one's actions.

2. The government should not be telling us what to do. Well, the government actually did not step in on this situation.

3. Imus ruined a backetball team' s celebration. Yeah, he did do that.

I have no problem with CBS firing Imus. They are his employer and they wanted to fire him. He gets paid boatloads of money, some of the compensation being paid because his job is always at risk.

Sort of sad, though, that we have spent way more time on Imus than on Jackie Robinson, a man that crossed a line years ahead of Rosa Parks, of Equal Opportunity Legislation, of Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech.

1Black ballplayers were excluded from participation by the National Association of Baseball Players on December 11, 1868 when the the governing body voted unanimously to bar "any club which may be composed of one or more colored persons." This was the first appearance of an official "color line" in baseball. When baseball attained professinal status the following season, pro teams were not bound by the amateur association's ruling, and two brothers, Moses Fleetwood Walker and Welday Walker, even played in the major leagues in 1884.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922 — 2007)

Most of us remember Mr. Vonnegut from his landmark book, Slaughterhouse Five, which focuses on the bombing of Dresden during World War II, an event that he witnessed personally (one of 7 American's Dresden-located prisoner-of-war to survive).

His work can be described as "dark", but consider these personal experiences.
  • His mother committed suicide in 1958.

  • He was in the Army during WW II and became a prisoner-of-war.

  • He adopts 3 children (the good part) after his sister, Alice, dies of cancer the same week her husband is killed in a commuter train accident (the bad part).

  • His son, Mark (named after Mark Twain), has a major psychotic breakdown in the late 1960s.

  • The third floor of his home catches on fire (in 2000) and he is in critical condition for days (the bad part for him); in the fire, he looses most of his personal archives (the bad part for the rest of us).
I find it interesting that when he was in high school ( Shortridge High School, Indianapolis, Indiana), he worked on their daily newspaper, The Daily Echo. His words, his wisdom and his incite will forever echo in the United States. He will always be remembered.

I will end the way Kurt Vonnegut's official website put it, much more eloquently and simply than I could have stated myself:

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
1922 — 2007

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Infidelity and dementia

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned

You know, I have written a lot about my infidelity (not as much recently as in the past), but what I have not really said a lot about is that hubbie cheated as well. I did not say a lot about it because it seems not to have mattered about what I was writing about at the time.

I received the picture above from a reader. I suspect that perhaps she is having marital problems right now. Just a feeling, nothing that she has mentioned. So I will not link back to her, especially since this was sent via email and not a blog entry.

Anyway, I was thinking about some of the ramifications of cheating that are, um, not so pleasant.

Down-the-Road Problems with Cheating
1. Running into the ex-lover. Never a good thing. First, it is uncomfortable for you, and if your spouse ever finds out, well it is uncomfortable for him. Then, the guy you bump into figures, hey, maybe she will sleep with me again. And so you have to fend off his come-ons and advances.

2. Dreaming about the ex-lover. If you have cheated and are no longer cheating, these dreams are more "shocking" than sexy. I mean, you spent all the time and energy forgetting the person. Actually, you spend lots of money on psychotropic drugs to forget the indiscretions, and then your subconscious bites you in the ass.

3. Having to work with the ex-lover. It is never a good idea, when married, to take another lover. I mean, you know, you may have some cute co-workers and you are thinking that lunch could be a lot more fun (wink-wink), but the aftermath sucks. First, there is probably some sort of employee rule about screwing in the lunchroom, citing FDA regulations about not having bottoms touching food preparation areas. And then afterwards, there is this awkwardness, when your boss asks you to give input on their "performance evaluation." It happens more often than you might imagine.

4. Confusing your spouse with the ex-lover. Let's say your spouse's name is Ron, and a former lover's name (which Ron knows) is John. Never, never call Ron John. Makes for a bad evening.

5. Betraying a special bond. Okay, all of the previous reasons were in jest. It just sucks that you had this special bond with someone, stood before God and parents and said all of those wonderful things, then spent the next several years working on that special relationship, your souls, minds, and bodies becoming one, and then you betray him. That is what really sucks. And nothing will ever make it right.

He will forgive you as you do he. But no one forgets. Until dementia settles in.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pumping Gas

And your penis is how long?The other day I got my car washed, and as with most gas stations, if you purchase gas at the car wash, you get a $1 discount. Pretty typical. But I just got gas from a cheaper gas station.

How to get my $1 discount? I was going to pump a couple of pennies worth of gas into my tank to get the discount, but since I parked on the wrong side of the pump (and the pump had a really short hose), I decided to just squirt out a couple of pennies of gas.

I took the gas pump and squeezed a short squeeze. I spilled a bit of gas, and in that moment, my mind went back to Onan1 and the spilling of his seed on the ground.

I have never really gotten penis envy, but in that short moment, with the gas pump moving in my hand, the gas surging and then spilling onto the pavement, it seemed so powerful, so . . . I don't know.

And at that moment, I sort of understood penis envy. I understood wanting to have a penis. And my cheeks flushed bright red. Fuck.

I remember first hearing about penis envy in high school. I cannot remember the reason for it. I am thinking Shakespeare. Anyway, at the time, and since, I had not really gotten it.

I mean, having an appendage that sticks out in front, having to adjust oneself, having something that "signals arousal" very publicly, seems to be something that has obvious disadvantages. Having something that throws off one's balance. Disadvantage.

But the power of having that gas pump in my hand, spilling gas. Powerful. Weird. Not that I want to go out and by one of those strap-ons. That is just plain weird.

But I will be saving a dollar each car wash from now on.

1(Genesis 38:9) - "And Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so it came about that when he went in to his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground, in order not to give offspring to his brother." Personally, I don't believe that this has anything to do with God being upset with Onan for masturbation (something that many people believe). I think God was mad at Onan for not fulfilling his family obligations (to impregnate his brother's wife after the death of his brother). Talk about "family values."

Monday, April 09, 2007

Teach your children

Have you ever heard about things coming in threes? I don't know why, but three seems to be one of those numbers that brings people comfort. And when I say people, I mean me.

Well, I have been bumping into education a lot lately, and I don't even like education. Well, that is an overstatement, but still. I saw a series of YouTube videos concerning education, then Ddot, after months of blogger inactivity, chose this subject to investigate, and late last week, some polster called me concerning this subject (sort of related, at least). I will focus on the dinner-time phone call for this blog entry.

I got a call from the Centrist Policy Network, asking to complete a poll. I know, I know, why would I spend ten to twenty minutes of my life talking with at quasi-telemarketer concerning my views on anything. Well, I know these polsters call between one and two thousand people, and really, I have much more impact on voicing my opinion here, than on voting.1

So I take a twenty minute poll concerning establishing a government-funded savings account for every newborn in the US. I had not heard of the bill, but when I googled2 it later on, I found an article and then a blog entry that seems much more recent.

Bottom line is that the polster wanted to know how I felt about the government giving every child $500 at birth for (1) college, (2) first home, or (3) retirement.

I am not some Republican or Democrat, more of an independent, but I can't help but ask myself, "Why should the government directly give money to people to save for retirement, college or their home?"

Because of the questions, it seems like some congressmen want to pass this "bipartisan" bill, and part of the funding will also teach our children3 about finances. And I start thinking about having our government teaching kids about finance. Our government, who does so well with finances already, is going to teach our kids because Americans don't do well at saving.

We have a problem in the US concerning education – all sorts of education. Consider the following:

1. There is a crisis with African-Americans in the DC area on education, source: Ddot.
2. There is a crisis with American Children – No Child Left Behind, source: jenluv37
3. Americans are dumb – YouTube user, dumbassamerican, not that I believe this, but I have been exposed to this

And there have been lots of other things I have heard the previous few days.

Today, I just want to write about how the government thinks it can save our kids from themselves. How they can teach them – because our schools, our parents, are failing them.

Today is more of a rant than anything. But not a passionate rant. Or deeply passionate. I can't really discern the difference. Probably passion. I just don't think big government can solve this, and the kids themselves can't solve this. We don't trust our parent or our teachers, hence the bill.

Instead of giving our children $500 and telling them about savings, investing and such, why don't we get local and solve the problem. Personally, I think we need to expect more out of our children, but to do so, perhaps we need to expect more from ourselves. If members of Congress think our children are not getting what they need for their financial education, perhaps we need to expect more of ourselves. Children emulate their parents, their mentors (see Kathi. Why don't we become better with our own money – better stewards of the money? I am not saying we need to become the next Donald Trump. I think we need to be purposeful about using our money – to donate money to worthy causes, to save some to be financially independent, to spend money on important and frivolous things. Once we are better role models, our children will have better models to follow.

And that goes for financial emulation, becoming better students, better citizens. But if we do that, we will not need to rely on the government. And I am not sure our congress people want that.

1Okay, I vote too. I do vote. But oftentimes I feel that my vote does not count for much.
2I almost can't believe that google is a proper noun and a verb. Amazing.
3Okay, not my children, but "our" in a sense of society as a whole.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Randomness Part G

Broken Lists
I have read a couple of blogs that have the following embedded in their "lists":


I can't help but thinking either IE can't read the page right (no shock there) or they did some sort of "code" that got messed up somewhere (again, no shock there). My money is on the former, but I could be fooled.

Expiration Dates on Water
I have always seen expiration dates on water, and I ask myself, "if there is only water in the bottle, how does it 'go bad'"? I am looking at my mountain spring water, and it only contains water. It has no calories, no fat, no saturated fat, no cholesterol, no sodium, no carbohydrates (from either dairy fiber or sugars) and no protein. What is in my water that makes it go bad?

Also, does water cost more in California? I want to know, because if I were in California, I could get a cash refund. Not sure how much cash is involved, but it has always intrigued me.

Forwarding a Warning
Before you forward me a piece of email about the latest crisis, please look it up on Snopes. If you don't, I will, and if I find it there, I will reply to all, so that you, your Aunt Gladys and your three co-workers will understand what an idiot you are.

Kissing Girls with Tongue in EarYikes
I was looking at my traffic the other day, and I was surprised that the traffic has actually increased after the blogging competition. Turns out, people are googling me more often than not. Not return customers, but googling customers. Interesting.

Blogger Tweaking
A week or two ago, I made some changes to my blog, and I felt like no one noticed. Then Prata said something about it in his blog, and I was a little surprised that he noticed my tagline change. Okay, I am not surprised that he noticed, as he tends to notice small changes. I think of Prata as some super spy type that notices small changes in curtain movement and then riddles the curtains with gunfire to snuff out some counter-spy. I guess I was more surprised that no one else has said anything about it. I got reviewed a few weeks ago, and one thing she said was that the tagline was too darned long, and I completely disagreed that day. The following day, with a more critical eye, I had to 'fess up and agree with her assessment. So I changed it. I made some other small changes as well.

When I was tweaking my blogger, I found several articles about changing header graphics, and a whole site dedicated to helping out new bloggers. I think I may have used their suggestion for adding a picture to the banner. There was a little HTML involved, but like Prata spraying bullets across a room, I just had to be my bad-ass and do it.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Wonderment of a Grown Woman

The other day, I read something by g which I did not want to read:

Did you know that the sound you hear when you put a sea shell to your ear is the echo of blood flowing against your tympanic membrane (aka your eardrum?)

My response was something like this:1 "G, I can't believe you, dumb bitch. You are so wrong. The tympanic membrane actually hears sound waves and does not emit sound."

But I really did not mean it. You see, there are some things you have to believe in, even if they may not be based in truth. Sea shells, for instance. I can remember the joy I felt when I put my small, pink ear up to a sea shell and listened to the ocean. I heard the ocean, my little toes wiggling in the sand with excitement, me just wondering how the ocean stays inside of shells. I needed to believe that the ocean resides in these shells, and thus, I still believe in them.

Similarly, I always believed in the Tooth Fairy. Now I cannot remember my last tooth, but when I tucked it under my pillow, I knew the tooth fairy would come. To me, the tooth fairy was much more plausible than Santa Claus2 or the Easter Bunny3. I mean, look at the volume that those two have to do each year. Santa gives toys to millions on the same night. And the Easter Bunny has to hide eggs for all boys and girls, not just the good ones.

The bad thing about the Tooth Fairy, however, is that she doesn't seem to get a break. Little kids seem to loose teeth at all times of the year, not just on specific days. If she calls in sick, is there a junior fairy she can call to do her work for her? I wonder.

The bottom line for me is that we need to still wonder at the world, and it seems to be more of a child's prerogative to wonder. As an adult, wouldn't it be grand to have something like a fuck fairy. Let's say you were masterful in the bedroom one evening or morning. Wouldn't it be grand for the fuck fairy to give you a little treat like a piece of candy, or a single flower? It would be her way of saying, "Saw the fuck and it was masterful. Thanks for paying homage to screwing."

Not all wonderment is innocent, after all.

1My real response was this, "Okay, I think sea shells do capture the sound of the ocean. I need to believe it." I am not that much of a bitch. And she is no bitch. Really. Read her. She is a writer. I love writers.
2Santa, I believe in you, too. I just am writing something and this seems to lend itself to my point. Loved the fuzzy slippers; I always love the fuzzy slippers.
3I sure am glad that bunnies can't read, even if they can make nugget-filled eggs and deliver to millions of yards per year. And I don't like the Easter Bunny playing favorites with the president's lawn. Pisses me off.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Intentional Procrastination

I meant to do my work today . . .

But it was so warm and inviting outside. The early morning lunch drifted into several hours of daydreaming, me just soaking in the cool morning rays. While others were tolling inside, I was appreciating the sun, the trees, the flowers. It is important to appreciate nature, and in so doing so, I helped maintain a balance. I helped ensure that visitors to our fair town saw business people relaxing in one of the picturesque squares. Tourism is important to our city, and my soaking up the sun helped with said tourism.

I meant to do my work today . . .

But a friend called with a problem. She needed my attention, my ear, my compassionate, my sighs at all of the right places. She needed me to be present to her, to help her through her personal crisis. Had I not helped her, I most certainly would have spent much time and energy thinking about her, her family, her problems. Had I not helped her, I may have been rude on the phone, and you would not have wanted that. So you see, I was thinking about the greater good, both at work and in her life.

I meant to do my work today . . .

But I still have not done my taxes. You would not want me to go to jail because I failed to timely submit all pertinent copies of the forms and attachments. By the way, thanks for the use of the copier, the Internet, paper and pen. It really helped me complete filing my taxes on time. So I am contributing my part so that Congressmen and Senators can feast on pork.

I meant to do my work today . . .

But I started watching teen angst on YouTube, and I had to watch, had to comment. I had to tell a teen boy that it is okay to feel pain, okay to feel isolated, and it is not okay to hate your own mother. I had to watch people lip synch badly to popular songs, see them violate terms of agreement and copyright laws. I had to watch farting babies, singing dogs, and talented artists, strumming on their 12-string guitars. I had to participate in Web 2.0, to keep the connections live, to keep the "packets flowing". I really don't know what flowing packets are, but it has something to do with the Internet flowing through our lives.

I meant to do my work today . . .

But when I awoke, I smelt the aroma of a willing lover, needing my warmth, my moistness, my body. Had I not called in sick to participate in a day of passion, my mind would have most certainly wondered to other things. And you would not like my attention on other things when I am filing such important documents.

I meant to do my work today . . .

But I had to finish this blog entry. Well, maybe that is stretching the truth a bit.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

No Shortcuts Here

Last night, the Florida Gaters won the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. Okay, I did not see the game, but I will pretend I know about it for the purposes of this blog. Florida's team was essentially the same team as last year. Somebody Noah is the tall guy, and he would have been offered wheelbarrows full of money for entering the NBA last year. Three other guys, all tall as well, would have been offered wheelbarrows or buckets full of money for entering the draft last year. Well, they must have gotten together, discussed the pros and cons of it all, and since the cafeteria food rocks, they decided to stay at Florida.

You see, they delayed gratification1. They decided to work together for another college championship, to delay their dreams of playing in the NBA for something else. You know, this was a sacrifice for something that they achieved this year, something I think they will always treasure.

The four talented college players did not take the shortcut.

Okay, most of us don't play college b-ball for a 1-A school, or are that tall, or can even dribble a ball without "walking." I never understood while they called it "walking" because you are walking or running while dribbling normally. Again, it is basketball, so it does not have to make sense. But sometimes we take shortcuts.

I mean, we borrow money to go to school. Remember "It's a Wonderful Life"? George saves money to go to college and then plans to go – but he sends his brother. He delays gratification. I did not borrow money to go to school – I worked my ass off while going to school, and when I was finished, not only did I have a degree, but I also had no huge bill to pay for school. And I had a better appreciation for the sacrifice I made.

If you would have given me a choice, I would have much rather been one of those Daddy's Girls – sorority type whose outfits cost as much as a semester hour or two. I would have signed up for that, and I don't think there is anything wrong with it, but if your circumstances don't find you taking wads of cash from Daddy, paying your way through college seems like the way to go.

Each year, thousands of college students don't take the student loan shortcut.

I am watching, at work, an interview process. I am not doing the interviewing, but I do see the resumes and experience. Several of the applicants don't have the experience necessary. As I listen to others discuss the candidates, they bemoan an attitude of entitlement. That a degree alone entitles an applicant to a mid-level management job. Forget learning from previous jobs. Forget climbing the corporate ladder, slobbering kisses on bosses' tuchies.

Each year, thousands upon thousands of graduates expect mid-level jobs with entry level skills, education and experience.
Sometimes we need to delay gratification so that we can achieve, earn or learn so that when we do advance, we do so because of our actions, choices and . . . .

Screw it. I am going to buy a lottery ticket. Can't wait until the drawing Wednesday night!

1By writing that they delayed gratification, I am not saying they were celibate the whole time they were at Florida. I am talking about not "cashing in" on their athletic ability. If they needed to remain celibate, I am thinking they would be NBA stars, driving Hummers, getting hummers. A little joke that detracts from the intent of this blog.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Sunday: April Fool's Day

I don't think April Fool's Day should be wasted on a Sunday. I mean, the people we want to fool are normally not in Church, at the supermarket, or at the movies.

Church Fool
Woman: Father, I am Catholic and all, but I notice that you don't have confessions at all this week. What happens if I need to go to confession for sins of the flesh? Will someone be available for confessions?
Priest: My child, planning on committing a sin would not be using the confessional for what it is meant for. No, my child, we will not hear confessions this week.
Woman: That is actually a relief. I told my neighbor the only way I would fuck him would be in a confessional, so it looks like this week is looking up.

Obviously that would not be a good use of April Fool's Day.

Supermarket Fools
Woman (to hunky stock boy):I am looking for Iams dogfood. My neighbors dog is keeping me up at night, and I want to get the tainted food.

I think perhaps hunky stock boy may call the police on you.

Movies Fools
Woman sitting alone in crowded theater.
Woman (to man two seats over):Psssss. Could you scratch my breast. It is itching something awful.
Woman (leaning over):My nipple itches and it is driving me crazy. I told my husband that I would not scratch my nipple in public. Would you pplllleaaase scratch it for me?
Man:Er, okay.
Man reaches over to woman's breast.
Before he can scratch her itch, she slaps him.
Woman (in a raised, annoyed voice):Perv.

Again, not a really good April Fool's joke.

At my work, we really like doing stupid stuff for April Fool's. With one clueless person, we simply unplug their computer. It worked two years in a row. We hang streamers from the ceilings, on occasion, but only on the boss' office. We like to do stuff.

So I was majorly (not a word, I know) bummed when I saw that April first fell on the weekend. I mean, that's like having Easter on a Tuesday. I guess I better check my calendar. Who knows what else is screwed up.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

An Incongruent Truth: John McCain on MySpace

I just wrote a guest piece on Shadowscape, and I figure I would re-post it here because I don't know if I saved it properly.

I am a fast reader. I read lots of blogs, and when I saw on shadowscape the call for guest bloggers, I immediately emailed and said, "Pick me."

What I did not do was read the one line, "You just can't trash the place too bad." I mean, I read the line, but I thought it was sort of a dare, meaning, don't worry what you write about because you can't trash this place too bad. But then I started thinking about a double meaning in this and thought to myself, "What if he means that I need to be careful not to trash the place too much." I sort of leaped at the opportunity because I wanted to try to trash the place, but you know, now that I re-read the line, I am not really sure what he meant.

I mean, I wanted to post pictures of upskirts and have a contest to see which one was Britney Spears, though from the looks of things (no pun intended), people have become experts at spotting Ms. Britney. But really, if I was famous at 17 or whatever, was making tens of millions of dollars each year, had to "play the part" of a teen with the media, how different would I be? Please pass the assorted drugs, and I'll hike my skirt up. That's what everybody expects, anyway.

I just learned today that John McCain has a MySpace account. John McCain, presidential candidate, has a MySpace account. This completely baffles me. I mean, I know John McCain is running for president in 2008, not 1976, but still, I can't quite get my head around the fact that a 70-year-old presidential candidate is on MySpace. So you can be virtual friends, PM and whatever, with someone who wants to be the most powerful leader in the freekin' world. I am so sorry, but knowing that McCain is a war veteran and having him in the same type of environment with teens picking each other up or showing their bodacious ta-tas seems incongruent with the universe I know.

Actually, I learned most of the stuff I know in public school, and this information – for instance, how the government runs – seems similarly inconsistent with what I hear in the news or read in the newspaper. I thought the electoral colleges were designed to help pick the best candidate from each party, but if you look at outcomes (well, we did not really go into outcomes and performance in school – you see, those things were of little consequence) – if you look at outcomes, perhaps the current electoral college system in place does not pick the best candidates.

Now I could continue this train of thought, but let's face it, you are just searching for titillating words and I am actually mildly disturbed by the prospect of enduring another round of primaries next year. Good news is that they will end sooner. More good news, is that I have run out of steam and have lost most of the eyeballs that started reading this guest spot.

Let's see, what I have I forgotten about? I mentioned what an honor it . . . Er, no, I didn't.

Let's start over. It is an honor to be a guest blog on Shadowscape, and I, Leesa, am blessed to have this opportunity to share my views with you. My views are not necessarily the views of this blog or the shell company which backs this blog financially. If you want to read more of my spastic drivel, I can be found at Leesa's Stories. And, no, I don't have pictures of Britney on my site.

Er, I just added John McCain as a friend on MySpace. Does that mean I have influential friends now? What is this world coming to? Geesssssss.