Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Under the Influence (be warned: she streams audio, which I normally hate but started to endure to read her stuff; her music choices are good, I just have a dislike for streaming audio on blogs) wrote about sexting the other day, and I had not heard the term before.

Apparently the Today show even highlighted this issue. A young girl took her life after sexting turned into teasing and cruelty.

When I was growing up, the only way to have a nude picture of oneself was Polaroids. If you took a pic of yourself with a regular camera, the drug store would not process nude photos either (actually, I think they would process and keep them).

And Poloroids at the time could not be copied. So even if a Polaroid was taken, the number of people to see the photo is limited, and if you were to get the photo back, you could destroy the evidence. So when I was growing up, taking nude photos of oneself was not common, and if done, the damage is limited.

Hitting the send button on a cell phone is can be done without thinking. Remember drunk dialing? With drunk dialing, there is normally not any evidence to be disseminated to friends. Heck, when I was slutting it up years ago, a friend asked for a photo of me, and I took a photo downstairs only, thinking at the time that I was hiding my identity. The next day I was so embarrassed that I had sent the photo – and I don't have proof it was shared. Now that I am clear-headed and removed from the situation, of course the photo was shared. He probably sent it to all of his buds. Oh, was I stupid. And I was a grown up.

The story that started this deals with teens. On the Today show, they said that the sender of the photo, if under 18, could be convicted of child pornography (and registered as a sex offender). While I am okay with it being a crime, I hope it is listed a tad differently. I mean, if I am scanning the neighborhood for sex offenders, I think there is a difference between men and women who take pictures of little girls and boys or do things with them. I just don't want a 17-year-old girl who sends a nude photo to her boyfriend get placed on the list. I want to be disgusted by sex offenders, and once you place some on the list who are less gross, you make the sex offender list less toxic. And that needs to be a toxic list.

I don't watch Today, but after clicking on the story on sexting that I was writing about today, I saw the following, "Human-like robot makes runway debut". It premiered on March 23. Apparently, a human-like robot takes to the runway during Tokyo's fashion week. In the story, the robot looks like a Japanese woman and weighs 95 pounds. Luckily it costs around $200,000. When the price drops and there is an optional attachment to make other parts more interactive, it will mean the downfall of civilized society.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Thank You Notes

Brown-Eved Girl wrote a post about etiquette issues, not sending thank you notes, among the issues. And she got a few crappy comments about offending readers. She later apologized for offending folks.


Isn't this kinda backwards? She writes about etiquette and gets rude remarks. Sort of baffles the mind.

Anyway, when I was a child, I had to write Thank You notes. When I was in earlier grades, these notes sort of sucked the air out of some of the fun in getting stuff. About 2:30 PM on Christmas Day, my mother would say, "I want you to have all of your Thank You notes written in the next two days.

So for the next two days, I thought about Thank You notes. I would look at my pile of toys and sigh. Darn it, I needed to write Thank You notes. And I would look at my gifts differently as well. Oh, Aunt Mary got me a dress for my Drowsy Doll. She doesn't really like pink all that much and will probably not wear it all that much. But I still have to spend hours writing Aunt Mary her freakin' Thank You note. Ten minutes in those days seemed like hours. I actually think if children were allowed to play with nuclear material, the Manhattan Project would have taken two weeks, or a week-and-a-half without nap time.

As I matured, I started enjoying writing Thank You notes. I had special paper, would write my Thank Yous in flowery prose, and I would place the stamp up-side-down on the envelope. It went from being a chore to something I really wanted to do. Oh, and I could tell on my siblings for not writing their Thank You notes. An added bonus.

Now I still write the notes, and now, I think it sets me aside from others. Everyone is so busy with this and that, twittering about what they are doing, downloading music for their iPods, writing Facebook entries. They don't have the time to write a Thank You note and send it in the mail. At times, I have thought about e-mailing Thank Yous, but it just does not seem the same. It won't have the same impact, I guess.

I know most people have stopped sending Thank You notes, but it doesn't seem like these people should send Brown-Eyed Girl a bunch of hate comments so that they feel better about not observing this custom. Thank You notes may be dying out, but good manners should be observed.

I feel like I should be ironing my husbands shirts, watching Ozzie and Harriot, and preparing a pot roast for dinner tonight. Yikes.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Random Friday #31

Semi-Inspirational Quote
The other day I saw an inspirational quote by William Jennings Bryan: "The greatest things ever done on Earth have been done little by little." And the quote was accompanied by a picture of several pyramids. So I thought to myself, "The greatest things ever done were done little by little, while enslaving those less powerful than ourselves."Afterwards, the quote seemed less inspirational.

Baby LeRoy
The other day I saw a movie that had an old movie in the background. I did not see the title of the movie, but one of the actors in the credits was Baby LeRoy. I don't think I have ever heard of him (I am not a silent movie buff), but I looked him up.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Baby LeRoy (12 May 1932 – 28 July 2001) was a child actor who appeared in films in the 1930s.

Born Ronald Le Roy Overacker in Los Angeles, California, Baby LeRoy's career began when he was less than a year old, co-starring with Maurice Chevalier in A Bedtime Story, and ended with a cameo role as himself in Cinema Circus (1937). He is best known for his appearances in a number of W. C. Fields films, including Tillie and Gus (1933) and It's a Gift (1934).

A starring role in the 1940 film The Biscuit Eater was to have been his comeback, but an accident during filming forced the director to choose between recasting or holding up production until he recovered. The director chose to recast, and the film became one of Billy Lee's best-remembered roles. In 1957, as an adult, he appeared as a guest challenger on the TV panel show To Tell The Truth.

The actor died in Van Nuys, California.

Every once in a while, you get the impression that it is nearly impossible to be a well-rounded individual, exposed to all kinds of art. This is one of those times.

Simple Analysis
I saw a YouTube clip of Bill Maher on Healthcare: Politics Simplified. Basically Bill Maher says the government should be involved in healthcare because they do a good job with the post office. How does the successfully delivery of a letter translate to rationing out healthcare? It makes no sense whatsoever, though it sounds good in sound-bite form.

I saw an interview with Farrah (on David Letterman). She seems as if she were on something. And then I found Farrah on The Partridge Family. Let's just say that you will recognize Farrah if you have ever seen her poster. The hair is different, but . . .

A Different Spin
I saw a post the other day, and I was a bit horrified by the post. Then I saw the two comments (one made by the poster, the other by a crazy person, and it really placed a different spin on the whole issue. I don't know why, but I thought it was so funny at the time.

YouTube Copyright Infringements
I missed the president's news conference, and I went to YouTube to get it. Some guy just posted it. This was not from ABC, though there was an ABC logo on the video. I know there is a fair use of copyrighted material, but this does not seem to be part of it. I mean, I got what I wanted and I that was fine. But YouTube gets money from advertisers and this seems like ABC would be a bit pissed. Maybe.

Browsing Blogs
The other day, I read a blog, and one of the comments was, "You are my kind of girl. You should read my blog." So I went over to see why this person was hawking her blog. She is a waitress in Hollywood. She says she has a fairly good chance of being either a writer or an actress. She has black fingernails and rainbow-dyed hair, but she claims that she doesn't prance around, doing things to get noticed. If her writing was better, her blog might be entertaining. And you know, I really don't want to read a blog just to make fun of it. It just does not sound like much fun anymore.

Monsters vs. Aliens
I was looking at a computer this weekend (I won't buy, I had thought I was going to find a deal), and there was a bunch of Monsters vs. Aliens advertisements. One of the main characters is akin to the 50 Foot Woman. I have thought about giants, and most of the more human-looking giants are women. My first thought was, "I would not want an ass that large." But then I wondered if men were a bit scared of a giant man's penis. You know, for comparison purposes.

Man 1: "You think yours is impressive, you should see the 50 foot man's penis. His wood is bigger than your tree out front."

I almost said that the 50 foot man's penis could not go down a manhole. You know, the manhole covers in the street – I mistakingly was going to call it a manhole (is it a sewer hole?). And then I thought of what manhole suggests. And now I am giggling.

I think I should go now.

Oh, and I was going to say that men are perfectly fine with a woman with huge breasts.

Man 1: "Silver dollars. Shoot, the 50 foot woman's breasts are more like the size of dinner plates."

Man 2: "I'd like to eat off of them."\

Okay, I am going now. I wanted to talk about the economy, but ended up talking about huge penises and eating off nipples. Oh, boy, this has been a week.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Nipples Galore

I have gotten a bit of "fan mail" concerning my recent post about Farrah Fawcett. Oh, the post was on self image, and there was a picture of Farrah. Most just saw her nipple.

Growing up, I think that was the first nipple I ever saw – Farrah's nipple. I wonder if having a famous nipple is a bit of a hindrance in Farrah's life. It is one thing to feel the gaze of a man on your chest area and think he is staring, but quite another for a whole nation to stare at the nipple for years, the posters fading but the nipple still standing erect as everything around changes. I typed nipple into Google, limiting it to images. I half-expected to see Farrah's poster, but instead got an image of Rihanna.

The second nipple I noticed actually was brought to my attention by a nosey neighbor's mother. She was talking to someone one the phone about the picture in Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, and I overheard the horrors. Naturally I had to see for myself.

Anyway, I thought it was a cover of SI (it wasn't), and I finally found the model and picture. Cheryl Tiegs made appearances in SI's swimsuit issue 15 times, including appearances on the covers in 1975 and 1983. I did not know it at the time, but this was the rest of the story concerning the picture: "But it was her appearance in 1978’s edition that garnered her the most attention. During the shoot, she retired for a quick dip in the ocean and emerged to a flurry of flashing cameras. She obliged the photographers for nearly an hour, only to find out later as she examined their prints that her white fishnet bikini was completely, wonderfully translucent." (Ask Men Magazine)

I remember that when I was growing up, half of the reason for a bra was to hide any nipple erection. I am not trying to be funny or sexy, just matter-of-fact. Because a strong breeze can occasionally cause a nipple erection – even being embarrassed can do it. Even clothing rubbing just so can cause a nipple erection. It does not have to be sexual (though most guys read it that way).

Guy 1: "Oh, Suzy likes me. Did you see her twin peaks when she was watching me in the weight room.

Guy 2: "All right. It was pretty cold in the gym, but I can tell she was really into you. She was giving Debbie all kinds of attention, just so she could peek at your pecs."

What is interesting to me is that I see a lot of these old television programs and many of the actresses were not wearing bras, and their nipples were clearly visible. I did not notice it at the time – staring at boobs was a bit more of a guy's thing, I suppose.

And yeah, the title is a tip to the James Bond character. Not that I have seen the movie.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Readers' Comments

I was reading Cliff the other day, and he was talking about a comment by a co-worker. I have had a few comments that are classified as "neat." And by "neat", I mean different. I have had my share of neat comments – sure, my regular commenters are insightful, funny, inquisitive (insert additional ass-kissing remarks here). Truly I have seen some funny comments.

But I have had a couple of the comments that seem to be, well, more unique.

A few years ago, a staff producer of a television show made a comment that indicated they wanted to talk to me about being on their show concerning cheating spouses and recovery. Okay, I am writing this blog anonymously, but they wanted me to go on camera in New York City to show about me screwing around on my husband. Yeah, that seems like an idea. Let's rip open some of the healing so that someone's TV show can get some ratings. No thanks. [I am fairly certain that, at the time, if you typed in "cheating whore", my blog was in the top ten.] Okay a bit melodramatic, but you get the idea.

For a little while, I was writing YouTube reviews. It was a bad idea, and most people didn't like it. But I got a note from someone who is a YouTube celebrity. She is a teenager from Australia, but a YouTube celebrity. She was on some news show (60 minutes?). That was kinda neat. But again, she is a teenager. It is not like Zac Efron left a message. [Is it wrong to think he is a hottie?]

Of course, the first comment I received was from Ddot. He no longer blogs, but it was a thrill getting my first comment. He is African American and most of his readers were also African American. I felt like the white chick in the room. It was kinda cool.

The first comment that hurt my feelings was from Deb. She misunderstood what I was saying (because it was not clear). This was years ago (2005), and since then, I have become one of Deb's biggest fans. Weird how life works.

The first comment that was unsettling was from Grant. I don't remember the comment, but it involved violence and humor (and no, those two adjectives together will not get you closer to the comment I first remembered).

The first commentor that pissed me off on a regular basis was Prata. I even would cut-and-paste his comments to a new blog entry and argue with him. I just needed that much space. He is very intelligent, and for a while, he had some time on his hands so he would argue with me. He rarely reads me anymore, and I am fine with that.

Anyway, the next time you make a comment on someone else's blog, it may mean the world to that person. Does this sound too cute and pink and adorable? Sorry. Perhaps tomorrow I will post pictures of a little Asian girl with a couple of weapons.

I missed the president's news conference, and I went to YouTube to get it. Some guy just posted it. Every time I think YouTube is going to shrivel and die, I do something that confirms my own mind that it is not going away at all.

Is the "scheduled post" feature working for you? It has not been working for me.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Coffee Barista Tipping

I don't buy coffee often. I consider myself a social drinker – I will drink coffee to blend into a crowd, but I am not much of a coffee drinker. It is not really that I don't like coffee, just that I don't have the time and energy to devote to figuring out how to drink coffee. You know, the blends, the sizes, the chants you have to use in order to make a good pot of coffee. You get the idea.

When I go to a Starbucks (or any coffeehouse), I generally order what the person in front of me orders. Again, I don't have the skills and knowledge to order a cup of coffee.

I can't believe I don't have the necessary skills/knowledge to order coffee.

The world has just gotten so complicated. I think coffee used to be "regular" or "decaf". Now not so simple.

Anyway, when I am paying for my coffee, I notice a tip jar. Barista's seem to expect tips. This confuses me.

When I am at a restaurant, I understand tipping. The server provides a service, the restaurant pays part of his/her wages, and restaurant patrons make up the difference. I get it. Pay for performance and all.

I go to the mall and order an Orange Julius, the person prepares the drink and I pay the exact amount. No tip requested or necessary.

I go to the mall and order a fancy cookie, the person selects and hands me the cookie and I pay the exact amount. No tip requested or necessary.

I go to the mall and order a coffee, the person pours or prepares the coffee and I pay the exact amount. And I see the tip jar; the barista expects a tip.

I like patterns in my life, and tipping of baristas doesn't seem to fit my pattern.

Now, I don't know if baristas deserve tips or should have tips, but here is a common-sense approach to the problem.

If I visit a barista every day, I am tipping that barista (considering he/she knows my coffee wants/needs). And here is why: I don't know exactly how I would most like my coffee, but I am fairly sure that I would most like my coffee without saliva in it. If you go to someone often and there is a tipping situation, it makes sense to tip. You will more likely be rewarded for tipping well and punished for tipping poorly.

If you visit a barista only once or very infrequently, tip if it makes you feel guilty, and don't tip if it doesn't (and you are opposed to tipping for the barista). Me, I feel guilty and it is better for me to tip, because the dollar infrequently makes me feel happier. But if you take some philosophical stance against it, perhaps you just like patterns. See above.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Self Image

When I was growing up, I can remember entering my best friend's bedroom. Not my first best friend, but my best friend in my middle school years.

The first time I entered the room, I saw the famous picture of Farrah Fawcett, taken before she was Farrah Fawcett Majors. Whether I realized it or not, I was probably subconsciously thinking, "This is what boys want, a woman who looks good in a bathing suit and has way big hair." I don't remember much about Charlie's Angels, which is weird because it was such a huge show. But what I remember is inconsistent with small clips I have seen of the show since I have . . . matured.

What I remember is three beautiful women take orders from a man on a speakerphone, and the women have mad skills and are respected. What I have seen from the clips, though, tell another story. That the women are beautiful, yes, but they are less agile than the crooks and sometimes win by pure luck. They never are stronger than the people they catch, but they manage to do so by teamwork or dumb luck.

I don't know about you, but I would sort of like to catch bad guys because I was smarter and had mad skills. I just don't really like what I see in the clips of the show. Perhaps the clips are the worst parts of the show, or the funniest, but if they are representative, my perception of the show through a child's eyes seems to distort what the show was really about.

But you know, when I was growing up, I remember thinking a lot about weight and body image. I thought of myself as rather flawed, but in pictures, I looked good. Again, the image I had as a girl and young woman were not consistent with what I think now. I don't know if it has to do with me lowering my standards or that I did not have the experience to realize that every 4 ounces was not the end of the world. Perhaps the lenses at the time did not capture the true picture. Cheap Kodak cameras take away ten pounds? Could be. Film cameras add weight.

Actually, I wonder if film cameras really do add ten pounds. I mean, how many of us have ever been on camera and have seen the difference. Most of the people routinely on camera are a bit vain and may have a perception that they are skinnier than they actually are. Then, when faced with the facts, they have to adjust them as to not have their world view change. Either that, or there is some sort of physics in the camera lens that makes it such that it stretches the view a bit (wide angle?) in order to work.

Changing one's world view can be fairly traumatic, or it can be a bit healthy, or both.

How are your brackets holding up?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Random Friday #30

Monsters vs. Aliens
When I first saw the previews for Monsters vs. Aliens, it looked really good. But then they showed previews, a bunch of others, with different clips. I imagine I have seen the whole movie, four minutes at a time. I don't like to see movies if I have already seen the best parts in the previews. Like everything else, you ought to hold a bit back. It applies in resumes/cover letters, in initial conversations, and in the bedroom.

Millionaire's Row
I saw an interesting article in the online Forbes that starts like this:
In today's tough economic climate, Warren Buffett is setting a good example. The world's second richest man lives in the same five-bedroom, gray stucco house he bought in 1958 for $31,500.

That's right. Legendary investor Buffett, 78, still calls his humble digs in Omaha, Neb.'s Happy Hollow suburb home, despite a $37 billion fortune. That famous folksiness is, of course, in keeping with his investment philosophy. "If you don't feel comfortable owning something for 10 years," he once told a reporter, "then don't own it for 10 minutes."

Second richest man in the world and you can own a bigger house than his house if you can get a loan. I looked at the richest zip codes in Georgia and found one near me. Median home price: more than I can afford.

No. 18 Sea Island, Ga.
31561, Glynn County

Median home price: $1.94 million

Once described by Vladimir Nabokov as a "millionaire's colony," Sea Island is an oasis of golf courses, beach clubs and stately homes off the coast of South Georgia, a few hours from Savannah. This north-end property, done in Spanish style, has four bedrooms and five bathrooms, as well as a two-car garage and 3,668 square feet of interior space. It is listed through Hodnett Cooper for $2.7 million.

Getting Eaten
Wednesday, I had sort of a silly post about someone I knew in college with a vestigial tail. Someone asked why I did not ask her about her vestigial tail. Well, I also said in the post that I was a bit scared that she could be a lizard alien. Now think, if you think someone is a lizard alien but they are pretending to be a humanoid, if you go along with the deception you probably have a better chance of not being lunch. Well, that's my thought on the matter.

Everybody is upset with AIG, and some are upset with the government as well. Think about this: Barney Frank wants all of the names of the AIG execs that have received bonus checks (the bonuses that are part of the $165 million)? So if they have this, what are they going to do? Tell everyone? And if even one gets murdered because of this disclosure, do you think that the family will be the slightest bit litigious?

NCAA Basketball Brackets
We are all bitching about the $165 million that is being wasted by AIG, but we are also spending lots of work time filling out brackets for the NCAA March Madness gambling event. No one is talking about the wasted effort because the NCAA BB people give us the best betting opportunity of the year. Better than the Kentucky Derby. Better than the Superbowl. Just better.

My blog entries have been hit or miss lately. Sorry about that. I have had a few other things on my mind. And I can't figure out how to get some of the AIG money. Have a good Friday.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

We Deserve AIG's Actions

I have heard for several days that people are pissed with AIG. If you have been avoiding the radio, late night television, political blogs or the newspaper, you may want to check out my last blog entry. This blog entry will be political – yuck.

The government gave AIG a bunch of money. I am sure there is a whole section of AIG that is in charge of collecting this money. I have heard that they received a bunch of billions of dollars that they could do whatever with. And then more money that Congress gave them that was for such-and-such, with no strings attached. And then there was more money that they were given to AIG for "other stuff" that may have some strings attached to it. I think that they can't buy nuclear weapons or teach abstinence to high school students. There are probably other strings attached, but I have not really been paying too much attention.

AIG is not a bank – more of an insurance company. And AIG got into trouble when their judgment on assessing risk was impaired. So the government is giving a company with questionable judgment a lot of money. Oh, and the government and the press has basically said, "We can't let AIG fail." (Even yesterday, President Obama said: "One is to withhold money from AIG that could potentially lead them into a spiral that could affect the entire financial system.")

If I had questionable fiscal judgment and everyone said "you cannot fail", and thus bailed me out several times, why would I change my actions. They seem to be working for me. I mean, I am getting all sorts of money, and I need to pay my executives, the same ones with questionable judgment, money to stay because they are so important to overall operations. I don't see what the big deal is.

I heard Obama speak about this on the radio Wednesday, and I was floored. President Obama said, "Well, look, rather than going sort of the details of finding it out, ultimately, I'm responsible. I'm the president of the United States. We've got a big mess that we're having to clean up. Nobody here drafted those contracts. Nobody here was responsible for supervising AIG and allowing themselves to put the economy at risk by some of the outrageous behavior that they were engaged in."

So he said, ultimately he is responsible, but qualified it with "nobody here was responsible for supervising" AIG.

We can blame AIG and get mad at them, but they are just reacting rationally to the situation. They are doing what is in their best interest. Perhaps the next multi-billion-dollar payment will have more strings attached. Of course, we won't change our voting habits (it is always the "other guy's" senator or representative that is the problem), so maybe the strings won't be their either. I guess one investment AIG made in 2008 paid off, their lobbying efforts.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Of Cocktails and Vestigial Tails

When I was in college, I had a friend named Carly. Okay, that was a lie (even though you may not have picked up on the micro-expressions), but I still occasionally see her so I am hiding the name.

Anyway, she was a couple of years older than I was, but she stayed in the dorms.

Over time, her room was a room of refuge for two reasons: she always had wine, and she had a nice stereo system with lots of good tunes. I mean, think about it, after studying in the evening, we would go to Carly's room, she would have the stereo on softly, and we would talk and drink. What a way to unwind before bed on a school night.

There are a few things that this may indicate: I was a functional alcoholic. Well, not sure if I was really a functional alcoholic, but I drank a lot.

Anyway, the wine that Carly enjoyed, after a while, was box wine. We would go through a couple of boxes per week, maybe more. She called it her truth box. It was kinda cute in a alcoholic denial sort of way.

Well, she, me and several others would chat about this or that, listen to music and just have a good time. It seemed to be a relaxing time, and we discussed all sorts of things. I mean, we would discuss religion, politics, teaching assistants, foreign films, drinking games, musical groups, whatever.

And we would go out together – generally on Thursday nights because the clubs were full and the cover charges did not apply to us. We would get ready, and go over to Carly's room, then start drinking out of the truth box. Even though we did not pay covers, we still had to pay for drinks. And most of us would just drink the free water to keep hydrated at the bars.

Carly generally changed while we were in the room, and I can still remember looking at . . . her ass. Unlike normal people (okay, me), when she changed to go out, she would change her undies as well. Her back would be to the group, so that there was no "frontal nudity", so to speak, and she would slip off her undies, pause, and then slip on the other pair that she would have in her hands. She was a fairly thin girl/woman – we all were, come to think of it – and her spinal column could be seen, each vertebrate clearly shown in a line, running down her back. But it appeared as if she had a few extra vertebrae, forming a bit of a tail near her butt. Actually, after the first time I saw it, I made it a point of looking at my backside with a mirror. No vestigial tail for me.

Now, I have probably seen her ass more than any (unrelated) woman I have ever seen. The first time I saw her butt, I was a bit embarrassed, but over time, I got used to Thursdays with Carly's ass. I secretly suspected she was an exhibitionist.

Actually, one night I started wondering if she were perhaps an alien. I mean, I figured that aliens would resemble lizards. I am not sure if it was because I used to watch Land of the Lost (with the Sleestak) or because I was a little too tipsy while thinking, but I began wondering if she could be some sort of lizard alien. You know, these lizard-aliens did something to make her look humanoid, but there was still a vestigial tail after the transformation to humanoid form.

And then I started thinking about her truth box, the wine-in-a-box. Did I have any missing hours after consuming the alcoholic beverage? Oh, I was not sure. And the soft music and conversation about all sorts of things – was this someone who knew how to host a group of friends, or was this was a lizard-alien who was getting intell from a bunch of college co-eds? I never really found out.

I continued to partake of the truth box, the wonderful music and the conversation because it was a wonderful time in my life. That, and a Thursday night ass view. It was almost as if I was a frat boy who frequented strip clubs. Well, strip clubs don't have good music, do they?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hoops, Anyone?

Oregon Basketball CheerleaderIt is that time of year again – March Madness. This is a somewhat magical time of year – the time where college sports and gambling collide like peanut butter and chocolate. Each is good on its own, but together you get an orgasm in your mouth.

A few years ago, I participated in something with fellow bloggers – someone set up a group (I think it was in Yahoo), and anyone who wanted could submit a bracket. Winner got bragging rights. Well, I sort of want to do the same. I have set up something on ESPN.com. It is an easy way to track winners and losers, and, who knows, if all of your picks are right, you could win $1 Million (the odds are better than buying a lottery ticket, but the payoff is worse).

Here is how you can fill out your own bracket (taken from the ESPN site); it also has a group name as well, something you need in order to participate within groups:

Get in on the excitement of this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Compete against other fans as you fill out a bracket and earn points for every correct pick! Come out on top and you could win $10,000. Get a group together and earn plenty of bragging rights amongst your friends by winning it all. Best of all, it’s free to play and win.

Get in the action now:

Group: Blogger Hacks

The brackets need to be completed by tip-off of the first game on Thursday (the play-in game does not count).

If someone knows of another blogger doing this, please let me know. And if you don't know of anyone doing this and you want to publicize this on your site (and take credit; I don't care), you can do that as well. I just want to join a group, not lead the group.

And in memory of conformity and St. Patrick's Day, I tried to find a basketball cheerleader wearing green. Well, she looks like she is a football cheerleader. Oh, crap. This pic was less blurry than the basketball picture I found.

And if you want something a bit more St. Patty's Day, perhaps this will do (neither are work-safe):

St. Patty's Pinch
Girl Scout Cookies

Monday, March 16, 2009

American Education

Have you ever seen a 20/20 show or read an article about the American Education system. How Americans don't know crap about where Argentina is, or Australia, or perhaps our kids get confused between Australia and Austria. Then there are the test scores, especially in math and science. It makes Americans look bad.

And how do we respond? Some Americans say really stupid things like, "Well, we may not know where Iraq is, but we sure did blow the country to hell and back." And it makes us look arrogant and stupid.

Then we look at our University educational system, and, well, the US has some of the best Universities in the world. I saw a stat recently that said that of the 100 best universities in the world, American Universities represented 75% of them.

To summarize: American primary and secondary education sucks but higher education is among the best in the world.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately.

How can the educational system fail so many so early, and then do so well after Americans become adults? And I think it is not about money – it is about competition.

For the most part, primary and secondary education is a monopoly. The local government funds, with some help from the state or the Federal government. Sure, there are private schools, but most of us are in the public system. And I know, people will talk about how we are not spending enough on education (we spend more than most countries per pupil). It is not that we don't spend enough but that there is no real incentive to change. Anything. Sure, there are some dedicated teachers doing a fine job, but when we look at a system, we need to look at how everyone fares.

We can talk about the school year being too short or the teachers teaching to a standardized test, but that does not get at the heart of this non-competitive environment we find ourselves in. If you live in a particular neighborhood, you go to a particular school. That's it. If they do a good job or a bad job, it does not change where the neighborhood girls and boys go. In fact, relatively better schools just improve property values of a neighborhood because people realize we don't have much of a choice.

I have been against school vouchers for quite some time, but that is really inconsistent with what I am now realizing: that school choice matters. The problem is that if we initiated a voucher system, some schools would fail. And as Americans, we don't like seeing schools fail. Heck, recently, we don't like seeing banks, auto companies and others fail because of their own actions as well.

Now, if you want to discuss longer school days or school terms, that could be decided in the marketplace. Or school times – why have all of the high-schoolers get up at 6:00 to get to school early? Just have different times in the marketplace, perhaps? Or a more flexible high school experience where you could start at second period and just finish the day up later.

I mean, look at the university system. People decide where to send their children, and the universities in the US are really good. That is because if they were not good, they would fail. And good is such a self-definable term. If they are good enough for the parents to send their children, then they are good enough to succeed.

I know this type of thinking is foreign for most. I mean, people like all of their children to go to the same school, have the same mascot, play in the same band. But you know, you could choose to do that if that is important to you. Or if parental involvement is important, choose a school where the parents have to volunteer.

Right now, we have lots of kids being educated by parents with no formal teaching experience. And some of these kids are doing so well. Some of them, it seems, are more apt to be working at Burger King. Which may be fine. I just think kids should not have limits placed on them by a school system.

See, this whole education thing is not very market oriented. And neither is the government bailout of the banks, the auto companies, etc. Sometimes, as Americans, we need to trust the markets. I mean, sure, use the government to make sure companies are not out of control (as in pollution, or monopolies, or workplace safety), but let the markets work.

I love Jimmy Carter, but I never really liked that there is a cabinet-level position for Education. That seems like a way to retard innovation. Just my two cents. I don't want a half-hearted effort of giving vouchers to some or rebates to rich and middle class parents who send their children to private school. I want an overhaul of the system so that these kids can support me in my old age. We need tax revenue from somewhere, and I would rather be getting it from people who are curing cancer and devising new ways of using technology than from people who are serving me the best soft-serve ice cream in the mall.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Making of Candyman Video

This seemed like a lot of work just to make a video. It is interesting, though. I tripped on the video after doing a bit of research for part of a post on Friday.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Random Friday #29

Listening to the Radio
I heard a song on the radio recently, and I loved it. But I don't listen to popular music much, and it took me forever to figure out the artist/title of the song. It sucks growing older. I used to know all the popular songs. Not now.

Funny Headline
I saw a picture and loved it. It was a headline from the News & Observer. I don't know exactly why it was so funny. Guess it is just my morose sense of humor.

Country Song
I heard "Put a Girl in It" the other day; I think someone had an internet station on, and I could hear it.

Too Ambitious
There is a YouTube channel called TheRealNews. Anyway, they did a sixteen minute video entitled, "Why we are in Afghanistan." I am all for hard-hitting news, but this seemed a tad bit ambitious to me.

Blown Talent
Christina Aguilera is one of those singers who has talent. She had a hit video (Genie in a Bottle), and it appeared as if she was going to be a major star. I mean, she was part of that Disney brat pack (Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears; and Academy Award nominated actor Ryan Gosling). She has strong pipes and could dance well. She was cute. And yeah, she is well-known, but she is not a sensation like she could have been. She started slutting it up, calling herself Xtina. And then she went glamorous for a while (e.g., "Hurt", Candyman, other songs). Doing 40s hits. Sure, she sells out venues, but she is nothing like what she could have been. I mean, I guess she had a strong act one, week act two, but the curtain has not closed. She has a strong voice . . . perhaps the decision-making has not been the greatest. She reminds me of a less-talented Madonna.

Talking Back on YouTube
I made a comment on The Resident concerning healthcare, and I got the following response from Luke: "where have you seen examples where socialized medicine doesn't work. take a look at canada and england. both have socialized medicine and both are far better of then the states. know what your talking about before you comment."

I fired back, "The US has made more advances in medicine, and the time to treat for those with insurance (including govt insurance) is much better than in Canada or England. Of the people who are uninsured in the US, about half have turned down insurance subsidized by their employer (because they are young and stupid). Many economists believe that both methods of delivering healthcare are inefficient and need to change. Just because I think differently than you doesn't mean I don't know what is going on."

Luke's response: "Im sorry but you have no idea what your talking baout."

I was going to shoot back something, but you know, his argument is "You don't know what you are talking about." Not heavy on the analysis. So I gave up. I might be talking out of my ass, but you know.

Grantichrist the Superhero
Have you been watching Grant's recent posts. The last four posts have been about super-powers. The posts are long and well-thought-out. And they are cute because I can tell Grant has put a lot of thought into which super-powers are better, this one or that one. As if someone would knock on his door and say, "Grant, we are with this international justice league, and we would like you to join our team. We want to expose you to Gamma radiation so that you can have super strength." Anyway, he is always interesting, but this seems so cute. And this from a guy who could probably kill someone with a Bic pen and some dental floss. Or just the pen.

Dutch Treat
I read that a baseball team from the Neatherlands beat not one but two baseball powerhouses in the World Baseball thingie. I don't know much about international baseball, but I am pretty sure more Dutch don't even follow the sport. The best quote from Jair Jurrjens, who said earlier this spring, "I don’t want to go there for one game and come back." He would have been the best player on the team but passed on the experience. Two or three other professional baseball players have done the same. Weird.

On that note, Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Zalman King's Red Shoe Diaries

Okay, I have been posting five days/week lately. Did not know if you had notice? The Monday-Wednesday-Friday posts are the types of posts I always write, and the Tuesday-Thursday posts may be a bit shorter. Anyway, for a better post, look at Wednesday's post, "On Death".

Before DVDs, before Netflix, before internet movies, there was Blockbuster. I would frequent Blockbuster in the mid 90s, and I watched all sorts of movies. I did not have cable (still don't) and did not watch much television, but I loved movies. At the time, we did not go out much for movies, but we watched them at home. Frequently.

I would love Tuesdays, because that was the day that Blockbuster got new movies. I still think that is the most common day. I would watch musicals, romantic comedy, humorous, and occasionally drama. Blockbuster is a company that likes its reputation, and they don't have the curtain in the back with the adult movies. Instead, they have some drama that is really light porn. Zalman King's Red Shoe Diaries is one of those movies.

Anyway, Red Shoe Diaries starred David Duchovny as Jake, who would read a letter to his dog Stella. His character always had such a wonderful voice, and although the contents were salacious, they seemed to be introspective as well.

I have not thought about those naughty movies for years, but I actually saw them on Fancast - complete movies online. Anyway, this is a shocker to me. No curtains, no waiting in line at Blockbuster to get the movie, just click and watch a salacious movie.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On Death

Last week, I saw that Ian lost someone who touched his life. That got me to thinking about a post I wrote one day while swimming in the pool. I love to swim, and I think of all sorts of things while working out. It was in mid-December, and the subject happened to be death. Unfortunately, I can't swim and write, and when I got toweled off and showered, the inspiration for the post sort of went away. Post lost, until I read what Ian had to say, and it reminded me of that swim.

I was thinking, as I was swimming, about an interaction I had with a neighbor. She was really distraught because he older sister had died. I have known this woman for years, and she is tough. Really tough. But she was completely broken up over her sibling's death. And it got me to thinking, in general terms, what relationship death is the hardest on someone's emotions.

Disclaimer: Before I get anyone saying that I don't know what the hell I am talking about, I will beat you to the punch. I don't know much about death, personally, but I observe people. And I am not saying that someone can't be destroyed by the loss of a cousin or their dental hygienist, while not blinking an eye over the loss of their spouse. I am making general statements – death can be painful, and I am not trying to diminish anyone's pain. This is more of an intellectual exercise. So, bitch at me if you think I am a cold hearted whore. Er, that was a little over the top. On second thought, don't bitch at me.

Your Children
This is the easy one. This has to be the most horrible thing to experience. Well, I am sure someone can come up with worse things, but to lose a child. 'Nuff said.

Your Siblings
This one really has surprised me. I have talked with many people who have lost loved ones over the year, and it surprises me that many people hit hardest have lost siblings. I guess it is a bit surprising because from my experience, it does not matter whether siblings were terribly close or not. Universally, everyone I have known who has lost a sibling – older, younger, living close by and far away – seems crushed.

Extremely strong people . . . crushed.

Perhaps as we grow up, we have our lives interweaved with our siblings and when they die, a part of our childhood dies as well. Or it could be that we face our own mortality with a siblings death. Since I have not experienced this, I am not sure what would be going on in someone's head. And I am too chicken to ask.

Your Spouse
It surprised me to place siblings above spouses, but that has been my experience in looking at others. Perhaps if you don't really like your spouse, this may move down the list. And I am not sure if time plays any real factor in this. I mean, during WWII, a lot of women were marrying right before their husbands were going overseas. At least, that's what the movies show. Is losing such a spouse you have known briefly in a war when so many others have lost husbands any easier? I don't know. And if you are 95, and have lost your spouse of 75 years, are you crushed or do you feel lucky for having twenty (forty?) more years than the average married couple? I am not sure lucky is something people feel after the death of a loved one. I remember reading about someone who lost her grandmother and the grandmother was 111. Oldest woman in the state and among the oldest women ever. And everyone was extremely sad for having a grandmother 30 years longer than most of us. So age may not be much of a factor either.

Your Parents
Losing parents can be extremely hard, I am sure, but I have placed three groups above them. And I have done this precisely because that has been my experience in dealing with grieving friends. I have helped a few friends though losing parents, and it seems that this sadness lasts for a few years. I read somewhere that it takes about two years to grieve for a loved one that is close to you. Not sure how the psychologists and scientists came up with that one. It's not like you can place a rat in a maze and get your answer.

When you lose your parents, you lose people who cared for you, who taught you about love, trust, and so many other things. And they are partly – perhaps mostly – responsible for your childhood memories; if they are predominantly good or bad.

Your Grandparents
Most of the people reading this have lost a grandparent I would imagine. Well, I imagine this because most of my audience is a more experienced crowd. I remember losing my first grandparent, and I was sad, but not crushed. I mean, I cried, and I was sad for a while, but I was not crushed. Actually, I wanted to be sadder than I was. Strange, I know, but she lived a full life and . . . I was okay with her dying.

I remember losing a pet when I was young, and it was really hard on the family. I saw my mom cry for a couple of days, and I felt so sad and empty. When a fish dies, I don't expect the same reaction, but I am not really that emotionally attached to most fish. And I am purposefully placing this way up in the list.

Aunts, Uncles, Cousins
I place animals above people, bad Catholic girl that I am. It is not that I place these lives under the lives of Mr. Snugglepus, but it is that I have seen the impact of pet deaths on my friends. And they seem to hit harder than rationally they should.

Past Lovers
Okay, I really don't know about this one. I have not had anyone come up to me and say, "My on-the-side guy died last week, and I am crushed." I am just hoping that we place lovers, present and past below Aunt Mary and Grouch the Oscar that eats mice.

A mental exercise, that is all.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Personal Days

Okay, the HR department where I work sucks. I know some of you probably admire people in your company's HR department (well, probably because you run it). For most of us, HR is the department that keeps us from hiring the person we want to hire, keeps our relatives from getting through the screening process while the Media Relations Director's bum child gets a cushy job, or takes away our vacation time because the new fiscal year has started.

I saw a blogger who said the other day (just to piss me off, I am sure), "I hate having my vacation and sick time lumped together in personal time because when I am sick and take a day off, it is one less day for me to take as vacation, where I can go to some secluded island and buy overpriced drinks.

Okay, I probably got the quote wrong, but it still pissed me off. And we should be focusing on my emotions, not some guy (or gal) with what he/she thinks is a hard luck situation that I would kill for. Okay, I would selectively kill (the HR director; maybe the media director). The point is that I would love for all my leave to be "personal leave." I mean, if you are puking in an old pot by the couch while listening to Dr. Phil tell a psycho-Mom how she is screwing up her children's lives, it reeks of being personal anyway.

You see, I am a Catholic, so I have a heightened sense of shame. That's good for some things, but bad when calling in "sick" because it is 90 degrees outside, I am not feeling bloat-y, and a neighbor is house-sitting a relatives place on Tybee Island.

I go to work most days, eager to write blog entries, take phone messages, and move paper from one pile to the next. That's sort of my life. It would be a bit nicer if I could use my hundreds of hours of accrued sick leave to visit nearby cities (by myself or with my hubbie), stay home and read all day, or just spend the day window shopping.

I mean, if I am away from work, does it make a difference if I am convalescing because I caught the flu the one year I did not get my flu shot or if I am drinking margaritas down in Florida?

I am sure someone in HR got a bonus by drafting a position paper stating that sick days and vacation days should remain separate because we have hired a bunch of ethical schleps who feel shame when calling in sick. If we were less honest, perhaps we would have personal days. Well, that's what I am telling myself. As I write this blog on company time.

Oh, yeah, HR makes those memoranda concerning "Internet usage" as well. I am sure some guy in HR is surfing over to the Dilbert page (or "bodacious ta-ta thumbnails") as I type this. I feel a bit sick. Cough. Cough.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Highlighting Not So New Blog Tricks

There is a sort of new feature called Blogger Following. The feature lets readers/viewers publicly subscribe to your blog and, if you want it, can add a "Follower" list to your blog so that people can see who follows your blog. It lets you know who is reading, and they don't miss a single sentence fragment. Against my better judgment, I have added a follower list – but not because I wanted to show followers on my blog. I guess I did it for two reasons: (1) so that people could click on a hyperlink to follow me, and (2) because I can more easily add to another feature, Blogs I’m Following.

Of course, after starting to use the Followers, they sort of upgraded it. Now you can click on the followers to see their blogs and who they are following. Sort of cool. I really think this follower thing sort of increases the social networking aspect of blogging. Maybe.

Blogs I’m Following
If you are customizing your Blogger blog, there is a fairly new feature called "Blog List" You can click on the link to read more about it. Oh, and if you want video to do this, you can see it here. Anyway, it is cool because you can import subscriptions, import followers, or import . . . well, any site. For some options, like snippits, the webpage/blog will need a valid RSS feed. Yeah, I don't quite know what this means, but it was on the video.

Oh, and the reason I am writing this post today is because Deb wanted to know about the Blog List. Problem for Deb, is that I think she still is using Blogger Classic, and I think you have to upgrade to Blogger Whatever in order to use this feature.

Next Blog
I started clicking on the Next Blog feature. Why, I don't know. It was a random, or semi-random impulse. The blogs started out tame. A few that only had a few posts. One from a "best selling author" and stress free advocate/guru. And then some scary crap.

About every tenth site I visited had no "Next Blog" controls. Of course, I wanted to flag them, but since they don't have the helpful bar, they don't have a flag feature either.

I have used the Next Blog a few times, and each time I have used it, I have not found a blog that I have liked. Not a single one. That is a bit sad, really. Because I want to follow a blog or two. Really I do.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Random Friday #28

xmlchar with an Attitude
When you look up Xmichra on Google, you get one smooth-talking Canadian. Actually, you get a suggestion that you really meant xmlchar, and it drones on about xmlchar stylesheets. But then if you surf to read about stylesheets, you miss Xmichra 's Life List.

Hostess with the Mostess
WIXY invites new people to his blog, and well, I just don't do it. I am not that much of a hostess. I used to be a great hostess. I have had posts in the past that have been clever, and also have given back to those who read my posts (which is essentually what WIXY does). 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.

Funny YouTube Video
I saw this video, or more precisely, someone who had linked to it. It is all about smelling undies, and it is not disgusting at all. It is actually kinda humorous. Which led me to another video. The second video sort of creeped me out a bit. And I sort of wondered if my panties have been sniffed before. I mean, with me out of them.

Walk Scores
I was on Zillow the other day, and they have incorporated "Walk Scores" into their site. Way cool. So now I not only know that my house has lost 12% of its value over the last . . . month (kidding, year), I can also find other faults with the location.

Hyper Hyperlinking
This will be my worse/best hyperlinked blog entry . . . ever.

Recommended Books
I have five or six books, all recommended by others, that I hate. I have thought of saving them for book exchanges, but I am just too kind. I just don't want to unload them and look kind doing it. I will do the world a favor by burning them. You see, if I recycle them, someone may read the books, and I can't take that chance. I know there will be a little more carbon in the air, but that is going to be the deal I make to keep these books away from other people's eyes. I make better decisions just thumbing through a book in a used bookstore and thinking, "I think I want to read this treasure."

I was reading Relationship Underarm Stick last week. This is a blog that is about . . . hating Cosmo. I mean, I am sure there are other subjects. Actually, I am not. But it got me to thinking about Cosmo.

When I was growing up, I would see Cosmo in the newsstands and if I was not reading the words, I would have thought it was a men's magazine. I remember my grandfather ogling over the big-breasted women on the cover (please insert a disgusted "ewwwww" here). I really don't want to know that my grandfather ever thought about women. And the covers have not changed all that much. I read Cosmo in college - but really read other people's mags or when I was waiting for the dentist. I had no cash for magazines or tennis shoes (my father always bought me shoes when I would come home; always). Enough of tennies, back to Cosmo. In Cosmo, I would read about moves to make to make him feel better (and by him, I am talking about the Cosmo guy that we all have to have in our lives or else we are not fulfilled women. The magazine may cast some men in a bad light, but it was normally all finding the right site to put him through the roof, easy ways to look good for the date with him, or how to catch his eye at a party. Jan Brady has a Marsha complex, and Cosmo has a him complex.

Fast Fingers
I was typing so fast an erratic the other day, that the web browser, instead of going to blogger.com, brought me to blogbus.com. I have no idea of the site is work safe. It is written in . . . Chinese (I think). So I have either gone to a blog site or a porn site, and I can't really be sure which. Well, let's hope the Chinese government is still doing something about squashing the Internet for its people. Well, not really.

The Cook, the Thief, the Wife & the Lover (and the Liar)I so like a new television show, Lie to Me. The main character is Tim Roth, and as I was trying to figure out how I know him, I searched IMDB. While looking for something I saw him in, I noticed a film I had seen while in college: The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover. I remember seeing it in a different city because it had a small engagement. It was an extremely controversial film, and Time Roth happened to play Mitchel, a dim-witted goon in the thief's gang. The movie was artistic, powerful, and sick. Anyway, it was an important film, which is indicated by for the movie connections for the film.

I occasionally use the Yahoo Chat as sort of a email account, just responding quickly to messages. Never thought I would write this, but to one response, "Sorry. Gave up watching guys blowing their load for Lent." Not sure the Pope would be happy with that one. And, no, I had never chatted with the guy before. Or since.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

It's the Economy, Stupid

I don't really know what is going on with the economy. I mean, you can watch The Real News, and they say one thing.

Anyway, The Real News has an interesting take on the economy. I think they got it a bit wrong. I mean, sure, there are different reasons for what is happening to our economy, but let's look at the housing market for a moment.

We have banks who are lending money to people, but as soon as the loans are out there, they sell the loans to someone else. So someone qualifies someone for a loan, then they sell that loan. So does the bank really care if the person can pay the loan since the loan has been sold? Hmmmmmmmmm. It would seem to me that there would be a tendency to qualify everyone for the loan. And because wages have not really gone up in 30 years (which is highlighted on the video), we Americans can pretend that we are doing better than our parents by qualifying for a house that is bigger than the house we grew up in. It makes us feel better, and while we are feeling better, we can roll our Visa/Mastercard bills into the new house at the same time. Nice.

I was reading somewhere else that the 800 Billion that was given to banks was sort of wasted money because they did what was in their best interest, suring up their positions, paying their key executives, whatever. And we get mad when they do what is in their best interest because Congress did not anticipate this.

Obama has been in office a short time, and he has already pushed through one bill (worth about $800 Billion), and then he introduced a big ass budget (about 1.3 Trillion deficit). Oh, crap. I mean, George W Bush was a big spender. Problem is, when times are good, we don't want to pay down debt. So when times are bad, we increase our deficit, and when times are good, we really don't make headway – we just start different "programs" that make our elected officials look good. Even The Resident asked a bunch of people, and most on camera did not trust the government with the stimulus package.

Okay, this is more for me than for you. I am just a bit pissed. Just click to your next blog. Me, I am going to start drinking. Well, that is something productive.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Flannery O'Connor

I am not big into biographies, but I noticed one that was recently published: Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor. Many of you, especially if you were educated in the South, have read some of Ms. O'Connor's stories, the most famous being "A Good Man is Hard to Find." Flannery O'Connor is known for a few things:

1. She wrote mostly short stories.
2. She was a stream of consciousness writer.
3. She was Catholic, and it shows in her stories. For those of you who don't realize, being a Catholic in Savannah can be difficult – and more so, when she lived here. Think large Baptist faith community who don't associate with or trust Catholics. Remember, we are talking 1930s to the early 1960s.
4. She is from Savannah, Georgia. Okay, most people know she was a southern writer, but don't know she is from Savannah.

Anyway, this biography is just the second of Ms. O'Connor. Surprising, you say, since she has been described as one of the most important American writers of the 20th Century. Well, she is a self-described "pigeon-toed child with a receding chin and a you-leave-me-alone-or-I'll-bite-you complex." And that sort of sums up her life. She would joke that the highlight of her life was when she was six, and was filmed with her chickens. A local television station filmed her because she taught them to walk backwards. Quite a feat considering chickens have such small brains. I mean, chickens eat their own poop, cluck and scratch for food all day, and can't even tell when they are dead, running around with their heads cut off.

She died early, of Lupus (an inherited disease – her father died of Lupus when she was 15). And the reason there are not a lot of books written about her life is that it was probably not very interesting. I mean, she even said that it would be hard for someone to write about her biography, since not much happens between the chicken coop and the house. Yeah, chickens were a big part of her short life.

She was sheltered but wrote about subtleties in the human condition. Anyway, she is one of my favorite writers, and I may read this biography. Just because I love her work and want to know more about her. Her words speak to me. I don't know if it is because of the similar background (geography, religious). Or just her words. If I could be one person, I think it would be Betty Hester, someone Ms. O'Connor corresponded with for nearly a decade. Of course, I would not shoot myself as she did, but it would have been so rewarding to be close to someone as talented as Flannery O'Connor.

I have known a few authors in my lifetime, and they always bring me joy, even if it is just for a lunch or a brief conversation.

I will leave you with my three favorite Flannery O'Connor quotations, all which relate to writing:

Everywhere I go, I'm asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.

It seems that the fiction writer has a revolting attachment to the poor, for even when he writes about the rich, he is more concerned with what they lack than with what they have.

The writer can choose what he writes about but he cannot choose what he is able to make live.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Handle With Care

I have been reading a number of "Book Club" blogs lately. They make me feel smarter.

Book Club Girl has ten copies of Jodi Picoult's next bestseller, Handle with Care to give away. The ten copies will be given out by a random drawing.

Enter to win by:
1) posting a comment here about why you love Jodi Picoult
2) Get two entries by commenting AND posting about this contest on another blog
3) Get three entries by commenting, posting on another blog AND tweeting about the contest. Follow her on Twitter, so she can follow you!

Ideally, include links to your post and/or tweet on the initial comment.

Ten winners will be chosen from all entries received by midnight March 5th (given away by Book Club Girl, not me)! Good luck, and follow the links to comment, post, twitter, whatever!

Dr. Seuss Google

I went to Google sometime tonight, and what did I see? Oh my gawd!

I typed "Leesa's Stories" into the field,
and paused to see what it revealed.

After posting this, 74WIXYgrad said...

I will make a quick trip here
When I want to see things clear
When the sky is dark or gray
Leesa will make bright my day

Stories here that she has spun
Maybe a tale of having fun
She's a southern belle who shows
Many talents from this site flows

Use MS Word on Forms

You may not know it, but for years, I was a secretary-type. I mostly hated the work, but I enjoyed certain aspects of the job. Like merging a mail list successfully. It sounds lame, and mostly is, but I sometimes even now get excited by secretarial stuff.

This post is one of those times.

1. Scan the form and save it as a picture to your My Pictures folder, or any folder where your picture files are kept. For this example, I scanned a tax form and saved it as a .PNG picture (Figure A).

Figure A

2. Open a blank document in Word.
3. Go to View | Header and Footer. (In Word 2007, double-click in the Header pane of your document.)
4. Go to Insert | Picture and then click From File. (In Word 2007, position the insertion point in the Header pane, click the Insert tab, and then click Picture in the Illustrations group.)
5. Navigate to the file containing your form and click the Insert button.
6. Crop, resize, and reposition the picture as necessary to fit the page.
7. Right-click the picture, go to Format Picture, and click the Behind Text option. (In Word 2007, make sure the form is still selected. Then, under Picture Tools in the Format tab, click Text Wrapping in the Arrange group and choose Behind Text.)
8. Double-click anywhere in the document outside of the Header pane. You can then enter the desired text. (Figure B).

Figure B

To type the data as shown, I decreased the font size to 9, changed the paragraph formatting to single line spacing, and applied 0 spacing before and after the paragraph. This made it easier to use the Enter key to move from one line to another, as if I were using a typewriter.

Monday, March 02, 2009

All the News That's Fit . . .

I have decided that I will get my news from the Internet. And by news, I mean, I will be watching Gnooze. It is pronounced "news", the G being a silent G. Sort of like gnome. Gnooze is hosted by Marta Costello. Looks like she started in news, then did stand up comedy, and then she decided that streaming video seemed like an easy thing to do. Well, that is a bit of a simplification, but there you have it.

I have thought about the news a lot lately, and I am thinking of not paying attention to stuff. On purpose. And not just because it is "work" and I have to read and retain and make sense of all of the different media bias. It really does not have anything to do with that.

I don't think I want to monitor the news because it is counter-productive with being a happy, resourceful and contributing member of society.

When you read or watch local news, you take in the facts. Problem is that your brain treats these facts as representative of the world. We are wired that way. So when you read "child fell down a well and has been trapped there for days", your brain files away something that indicates that there are a bunch of wells around, potentially trapping lots of children. And we don't think, "Hmmmm, if it is in the local news, it must be extra-ordinary or out-of-the-ordinary. You know, newsworthy.

We have the same brains, more or less, that people did ten thousand years ago, when - between mounting the slow chicks - you would see who died when eating which berries. Green berries, bad. Small red berries, really bad. Large red berries, good. Special mushrooms, really good.

So we can't really get that what is on the news is not really what is happening all around us. Even the Amber alerts, they scare the pee out of us when we see one in the local area, but really, children are not getting snatched every day in your community. But if feels that way because our brains are meant to group events because we need to know what kinds of berries to eat.

Not only are we bad at interpreting the frequencies of local news events, but a lot of the time, we get news fragments and cannot put together the big picture of things. I have already heard a few people saying that history may treat George W Bush very well, after we have had time to think about all of his accomplishments. Okay, I nearly spit out a mouthful of Diet Dr. Pepper when I heard that on the news, driving into work.

George W is a boob with some sort of father complex. How can history treat him well. Well, I don't think it will, but the point is that we lack proper perspective as we are digesting these news sound bites.

So if news does not give us proper perspective, what good is it? I mean, let's say I was in tune to the business news for years. Would I be better prepared for what happened in the markets in 2008? No, not a bit. And after the economic decline, meltdown or whatever you want to call it, lots of people said, "Well, we should have known this was coming."

I remember listening to people proudly say that they did not listen to the news . . . when I was in college. I always thought, "What an ignorant, lazy Frat Boy person." Now I wonder if I am the one who has it all wrong.

Maybe it is better to get news from Gnooze, where they at least crack a joke. The one thing I don't want you doing is relying on Marta's blog. I mean, if you want to read a blog, you ought to read this one. Nary a newsworthy item, and occasionally a naughty picture. At least with my blog, you can count on a happy ending or two. Not so with traditional media.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Paul Harvey Dies

Earlier today, I heard that Paul Harvey died on Saturday at the age of 90. I can still hear him saying, "Hello Amer-icans. This is Paul Harvey. Stand by for the news."

Here is some audio of Paul Harvey from November 1963. From Savannah. It is Part I of II. Before my time, but very interesting.

I remember listening to Paul Harvey in the back of an un-airconditioned auto (make/model unknown because I didn't care about cars when I was little; still don't). Conversations in the car ceased when he was on the air. He will be missed.