Thursday, April 30, 2009

Moving the Needle

I wrote today's post (below) last night. And as I wrote it, I knew it sucked. I felt that I needed to write it, but it sucked, nonetheless. It reminded me about a term that is used in the radio business, "moving the needle."

I heard this term on a radio show, a host who did not want people to purchase his show if it was purchased "just to move the needle." Meaning purchasing it just to put on a time where it was just to fill air, you know, like moving the needles of audio equipment (picture old-fashioned equalizers, but newer and much, much more expensive).

So my post was just to have a post for today. Sorry for that. You can scroll down and read the post if you must. But it sucked. Er, perhaps that's not the best way to hype my blog. I have never been much of a marketer.

On unrelated news, I have been tweeting on twitter. And I can see the addictive nature of it. Perhaps I will post about it.

I saw a tweet by johncmayer20, and one of his tweets, "seconds to remember...". John Mayer is a musician – and I guess most of you knew that. I didn't. When I was in college, I knew a few semi-famous musicians. All of them were talented, self-absorbed assholes. I prefer writers. But this guy seems okay, whoever he is.

Day 101

There have been lots of people talking about the president's first 100 days. And from what I have seen, there is not a consensus on how President Obama has done. Here are some of my thoughts. Truth-be-told, I am more of a libertarian than anything, but I really want any president to do well. I just don't get democrats or republicans wanting the other side's president to fail once he/she takes office.

Obama is really popular. Four of the last six presidents has similar approval ratings – between 62 and 67%. That makes sense. I mean, I doubt the approval ratings could get much better than that. But this is the honeymoon period, where things should be going well.

100 days is not a long time for a party to do much. Let's take a gander at what Obama has done:

$787 billion economic stimulus package. I really wanted the government to spend on infrastructure. And originally, this was supposed to be an infrastructure bill. Roughly 100B of the bill is for infrastructure. My reasoning: if we are going to spend boat-loads of money, let's spend it on things that will be around for 100 years. A whole lot better than how the $800B was spent as Bush was leaving office. I am still saddened that it was not all infrastructures.

Non-concentrated large initiatives. One thing that bothers me is that Obama wants to spend a lot more on education, renewable energy and expanding health care. He wants to do this while shrinking the national debt. Well, it can't be done. I don't want expanded healthcare coverage – we already cover most of the poor people (with Medicaid) and a portion of the old people. I am neither poor nor old, and I say "don't cover me." I just want Obama to focus on the economy and ending the Iraq War. I think education and healthcare spending should be more local, and it is really expensive. Focus, Obama, focus.

Terrorizing New York City. I saw deb twitter and write about how there was a 747 and fighter jet buzzing NYC for a photo op. Although Obama didn't know anything about it, his statement disturbed me.

Political Appointments. One of the first things that any president does is make a bunch of appointments. Obama's appointments have been disappointing, mostly because his team picked a bunch of tax cheats. I mean, not to have someone heading the Department of Health and Human Services when the swine flu outbreak is in the news. Not a good thing.

Talk Shows. The Tonight Show was a disaster for two reasons: (1) he made a remark that appeared to slight mentally/physically challenged people, and (2) he had nothing to gain really from appearing on the show.

Commander-in-Chief. Obama is moving to take troops from Iraq, doubt troops in Afghanistan (where terrorists are actually living/training), and close the Guantanamo Bay detention center. I think this is a win for Obama.

I don't think Obama had a terrible first 100 days (Clinton did), but it was not terrific, either. If only he didn't spend like a drunk sailor on shore leave (you know, like George W Bush). Then I would be a bit more positive.

If I had to give him a grade, it would be an "incomplete." If pressed for a letter grade, perhaps a C+. What kinds of grades would you give him?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Leesa's Cube

The other day, I was reading one of Lauren's posts concerning a psychology game. You picture a cube . . . blah . . . blah . . . blah. You want to have sex with your psychologist . . . blah . . . blah . . . blah.

No, it is not like that at all. Hold on, let me go back and read the links - and pray that they make sense with what I want to write about today. If they don't make sense, I guess I will have to adjust what I will say (highly unlikely) or remove the hyperlink and make a bunch of stuff up (cough, cough).

Okay, I read the cube routine paper. And it reminds me of what I would think would be in those "How to Pick Up Women" books. You know, while it has never occurred to me to actually find one of those books, if I ran across a book entitled, "How Straight Women Pick Up Lesbians" I would buy the book. Not to read it and use it, per se, but because I would be curious as to the contents of the book. I mean, if Grant wrote "An Idiots Guide to Raising Atomic ChickensTM", I would read it, but I would not ever think of raising those birds.

Oh, a bit off what I meant to write about.

When I was in high school, I took a touchy feely class as a senior. It was taught by a teacher who never really left her hippie days. We wrote affirmation notes to each other to help build self esteem. We did trust exercises. And we did some psychology test where she described in an open-ended way us being somewhere, and we described it, described our actions.

I don't remember the test, but I am going to try and find it.

The only thing I do remember was one of the answers I gave (which is similar to the cube test in some ways) was shockingly accurate. The one question/answer I have remember asked us to describe a body of water and how we interacted with the body of water.

I described a very still and peaceful lake. The lake had not a ripple on its surface. It was so peaceful, so beautiful, so awe-inspiring. I was a bit surprised that there were no ducks in the lake, no fish striking the surface, no dragonflies grazing its calmness. And I sat by that lake and was completely in awe of the stillness, the beauty.

After we finished writing our answers, we would share them with the group, and the teacher would interpret them. The water part of the test was the bit about sex. Well, when the teacher got to mine, she said this indicated that I was a virgin, that though I was interested in sex, I had not experienced it. I was not afraid of it, but that it would be perhaps a more spiritual experience once I was involved with someone intimately.

Her description nailed where I was in my life sexually (I guess, years later, the body of water would be choppy, with a water spout working its way all over the lake). I was a bit mortified because there was a guy in the class I really liked (he had no idea), plus one of the hottest guys in school (he showed me more attention after this, probably because he wanted another virgin; he was hot and very sexually active).

Interesting how reading about "The Cube Routine" can bring back memories buried for so long.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Real Geniuses

Someone tweeted about this video the other day. The videos title is "2 Year Old Genius - Part 1 (World Capitals)". One of the comments made on the video was "prodigy, not a genius. a prodigy is someone who learns abnormally fast the things that are already known, a genius discovers new things." I am not going to talk about the difference between prodigy and geniuses – the commenter sort of nailed it in a sentence.

Here is what I thought was fascinating – lots of comments about how amazing this child is. But I wonder, if the child was able to match football teams with their cities, or pictures of dinosaurs with their names, would we be as impressed? Probably not. I have seen 2-year-olds do both things, and my reaction is "how cute." A child does this with country capitals and we are amazed. Similarly, if he were to do this with countries and currencies, we would think he was a genius, or intelligent or gifted. All of these words mean something different, but in America, we see them as sort of synonyms.

We value some information – country and state capitals (the 2-year-old can nail both Jeopardy categories), and other information – sports teams associated with mascots, for instance – we think of as more trivial.

If we had a child in school that was flunking a subject, we would rather they flunk art than English, social studies rather than math. And perhaps this has to do with how this information may help us in our future. Though I am a little fuzzy on how knowing state capitals will help us in business.

I also remember that when I was in elementary school, if a girl did not do well in English (I think it was called reading or language arts, actually), you could see panic on the teacher's faces. If a boy fell behind in reading, it was a bit more acceptable. Similarly if a girl did not do well in science, that was okay as well. And, actually, doing too well in science was social suicide. That was a boy's class.

In school, doing well did not automatically mean that you would do well in the "real world." I mean, the construct for school through high school and much of college focuses on individual effort. Although, there were a few classes where team-oriented work was graded, it was rare (and not done very precisely). How many had to work on a project with a partner, and the smarter of the two did practically the whole project so that he/she would get a grade he/she was used to getting?

I like school movies, or education movies. You know, like "Lean on Me", "Good Will Hunting", "Mr. [what's his name's] Opus". These movies inspire me. I don't watch a 2-year-old reciting state capitals and get chills. Just does not do it for me. But if the child could read at two – wow, I would be impressed. Or if the child could change the oil in my car, that would be something to see. I mean, they are short enough and generally don't mind getting dirty – but I am sure people might be upset, especially if he/her made his allowance by changing the oil for neighbors. But it would be useful, no arguments there.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Life's Sauce

The other night, I was eating Chinese food, and it was soooooooooooo good. I made a comment about how good the food is, and my husband said, off-handedly, "The secret is in the sauce."

Sure, there were fresh vegetables, and the chicken had no gristle. The presentation was pleasing, but the secret is in the sauce. It made the meal special.

I sometimes wonder if that is what is the secret to life in general, the secret being in the sauce. I mean, we construct our lives to be lives that work for us. Perhaps some feel that having lots of money is important – so they skimp on personal relationships (don't spend the time connecting to spouse, parents, children. Or others want a service-oriented life (think of the clergy) – so they put lots of effort into helping others. We focus on the large things (family, job, mission), just like a restaurant focuses on the different meats and vegetables.

But perhaps in life our overall outlook will color how fulfilled we are, much like the sauce can generally make even a so-so Chinese meal seem not only palatable, but something you want to order again and again.

Maybe in order to have a life worth living, one's overall outlook is important, much more important than IQ, EQ or beauty. I have known people who seem to never catch any of the breaks in life – they lose a spouse too early, are stuck in a dead-end job, or just are not that bright. But that does not seem to have as much of an influence on the quality of their life as their outlook.

I had a grandmother who figured out that the secret was in the sauce. If we were stuck in traffic for two hours because of an accident, and the mercury in the thermometer was dancing around 100, she would come up with a game to pass the time, and what could have been a disastrous car-ride seemed to be nearly as much fun as when we finally made it to the beach, where we could make sand castles, bury small children, or cool one's toes.

The secret is indeed in the sauce.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I am in the midst of a bout of depression. It is not as if anyone died, or I moved, or I had to do any public speaking (I read somewhere that moving or public speaking is nearly as stressful as having a relative die. I don't know how that can be – unless they averaged some stress tests, and some people were thrilled with dead in-laws and such. Oh, I can't carry a thought in a bucket tonight.)

I had a run-in with a neighbor this week. It is not as if we are close (or want to be close, for that matter). Because I have been depressed, this little run-in seems much more important than it really is. I have not been to the gym in a week or two, so I think I may do that to see if it helps.

I have been trying really hard to post every day that I am at work – but Monday may be an exception. Unless of course, I call into work with swine flu-like symptoms. I really think it would suck to catch the swine flu. I mean, having the flu that could kill you would suck, of course, but also having to tell people you have a disease named after a pig. That has got to be embarrassing.

Well, I am doing my part by washing my hands 200 times per day. I think I need more lotion.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Random Friday #34

YouTube Video
I did not know about this one, but more than 120K people have viewed it. If you want to view something interesting, watch this. I am not going to say more about it.

Barney Miller
When I was young, I never watched Barney Miller. I have not watched it since, either. It was in the background sometimes. I don't know if there are re-runs with Barney Miller, but I remember the opening song and that's about all. Some bass riff.

Beautiful Video
I saw this video recently. It is called "I Thought You Knew". I love the lyrics, the voice, the cut-out paper puppets. It is just a fun video. But the only bad thing, for Shawn Pigott, is that I liked it. That spells commercial doom.

Medical News
I heard about a man who was growing a tree in his lung. There was a picture in the article as well, and I am feeling a bit sick myself. Apparently the guy inhailed the seed, and they operated, thinking the man had cancer. I breathe day in and day out, and I wonder what makes its way to my lungs. I am really weirded out.

The Harry Situation
I was looking at a tinyurl picture (someone twitted about one, and so I followed the link), and I thought, what kinds of pictures are used by tinyurl. Well, the pic was something weird – some type of mask uploaded by a comedian. I still don't get it. Well, I found a tinyurl that linked eventually to The Harry Situation. The subtext to this blog is "the true story of the rise and fall of the show you'll never see." It looks like it is a fake show, but I can't really tell.

I just saw a video about twitter that was so good. The best like that describes twitter: "randomly bragging at your unexceptional life." It is a bit of a knock-off of Never Ending Story, without the wolf that eats everything so that the nothing grows. Something like that. I have not seen the movie in ages (Never Ending Story). I wrote down the phrase "randomly bragging at your unexceptional life". I'll probably never use it because it sounds mean-spirited, but I like the phrase.

Oh, So Sad
You know, I was looking at what I have been writing, and instead of Random Friday, it seems a bit more like video Friday. Oh, so sad.

Happy Friday. Me, I am going to unplug the television, disconnect the Internet, and then read a book. A good book.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Shopping for Husbands

I saw a story from a blogger the other day – she did not write it, but she posted it on the web. It would be considered spam if you got it in your email (I goggled a fairly unique phrase in the piece, and there were hundreds of thousands of hits).

I liked the sentiment though, so I thought I would re-write it today.

My name is Leesa, and I am a professional shopper. Instead of being good at suggesting additions to your wardrobe or saving you time and money in the grocery store, my job is to help you navigate the husband store. I know, I know, you think it is unethical to think of husband shopping, but that's what we do, isn't it. We are looking to snag the best deal possible with the assets we were given or have developed. Trouble is, we want to make but one purchase – so once we make a choice, we need to be committed to that choice.

Life has a sucky return policy. If we return our husband, we have spent some of our assets – we are older, may even be considered damaged goods. And the selection in our "size" is greatly reduced.

So here is my advice as a professional husband shopper.

When you start looking, please take your time. Try your husband on for size. I mean, date him for more than six months. This isn't because you are making him wait for something special – it is because most men can act differently for about six months, tops. Afterwards, they will reveal who they really are. So be sure to try him out for that period of time.

Some may wonder, should I try all of his features before purchasing (marrying)? If you are coyly asking if you should have sex with him, there is no easy answer to the question. Sex clouds the brain, and it clouds judgment. Before you find a good fit, this sexual feature may seem to make up for other areas in which a husband is lacking. If the husband you are trying on doesn't have a job but can flick his tongue just so to . . . well, you know what I mean, you may convince yourself that you can change him or motivate him into adding that feature (a job). Odds are, you cannot. Now that does not mean that he might add the feature once you start raising children, but it is a risk you have to take.

And there are certain features you may think are not important at all. If he has an annoying add-on feature (let's call this feature, mother-in-law-from-hell), you might think that once you purchase, you can simply discard these extraneous add-on features. You can't. Furthermore, mother-in-law-from-hell may not improve with age; it is normally quite the opposite.

So at 20, you will find lots of husband models available to you. Most will either be in school or have entry-level jobs. It is hard to distinguish from model to model. Problem is, your family (who you think are a bunch of idiots) will probably be able to help with the shopping process. But you will not let them. You think your family is dumb, has bad taste, and does not know that you can change the husband you chose. Your thinking is faulty, but you do not know it.

If you wait a few years, you will have some sort of non-buyer's remorse. Your college roommate will send you a lovely wedding invitation, alerting you that she has found a suitable model (perhaps even a model that you would have liked, or a model you tried out but passed on). Okay, if you passed on the model, you probably won't get the invitation.

So you see that you have fewer assets (not a smaller ass, perhaps one a tad bit larger) and a dwindling pool of husbands to chose from. Your cousin has her first child, and you start shopping with more resolve. You notice that some of the husbands resemble showroom models – a few scratches, a dent or two, definitely they have been tried out by others. You start to wonder if perhaps your list for your husband was a bit too restrictive.

You think perhaps you don't need someone with a Master's degree, who likes poetry, who can bench press 400 pounds and cries at romantic comedies. A steady job is still a must, but that means that you will pass on some of the exotic models – the actor who does not come into his own until he is thirty-one (Harrison Ford was in American Graffiti about that time, had mostly minor roles until then and really did not hit it big until Star Wars, 6 years later), the entrepreneur who discovers a revolutionary way to drill for oil, the crime boss that the law cannot touch. But in waiting, you also pass on the guys who can't keep a job, the people who keep getting into prison (dumb criminals), that sort of thing.

If you wait until then, perhaps you also know whether the husband is good with children, can cook on their own, can fix things around the house, that sort of thing.

If you still think you can find someone better than the men you date, then you wait. Some get snatched up by others, some get turned in but are more damaged goods. Some women start to think, "I have waited this long, I am going to wait until the perfect guy comes."

For some, it happens. For some, their time to shop passes. They may have tried on a few husband-types, but never commit to purchasing them.

You know, when I was growing up, I had a friend of the family who never married. Later in life, I thought perhaps she was lesbian, but she wasn't. She just was really picky. She was picky about a husband (never found someone good enough), picky about a job (once laid off, never worked again because no decent job ever presented itself), picky about where she lived (lived her whole life in once city, and while in that city, only in the house where her parents lived and in the apartment she had until she moved into a nursing home). She had not siblings, and we adopted her into our family. But I always thought that the reason she did not have the life she wanted was because she lacked proper decision-making ability (even ordering at a restaurant was hard for her).

I have met several people who married the first person they ever loved. Most are still with their mates, surrounded by children and in some cases grandchildren. They seem charmed, sometimes being fired from jobs, then landing on their feet with another job. Marital problems seem non-existent (how can that be?). Kids are well-adjusted. [I hate those people.]

Bottom line is that you can do everything right and still end up with a sucky choice for a husband. Or you can do everything haphazard and be eternally happy. It seems a bit random to me. I guess my suggestion as a professional husband shopper is to try before you buy, to be open to possibilities that you did not think of when playing house when you were twelve.

But once you make your choice, don't have buyer's remorse. Rip up the receipt and don't think about returning the husband unless he is truly defective (beats you mentally or physically, doesn't allow you to be who you are meant to be).

Sorry. This story does not even resemble the story I started to tell. And it is more preachy than I wanted it to be. And it is a bit girly for some of my guy readers. Perhaps I need to add something about hand grenades or jock itch or bird dogs.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

Today is Earth Day. I saw a video that highlighted an Earth Day celebration last year – could have been the previous year. People were partying at a park, listening to music, drinking whatever, eating, having a good time. Then the video showed the overflowing trash containers. When you go to a park, environmentalist or not, apparently you eat and drink in containers and don't recycle them.

So I was wondering how to spend this Earth Day. There is a movie coming out today from Disney called Earth. I don't know if watching the film is Earth friendly.

There is all of this talk about carbon footprints, a term we did not even use a decade ago. I remember hearing an article about an actress who took 3 minute showers and unplugged the power strip to her entertainment center. This was a well-known actress, and I was thinking "You live in a 10,000 square foot house and you talk about unplugging a power strip." It is about perspective, about making choices.

I understand this actress – she probably wants to feel like she is doing something good, so she takes three minute showers and unplugs a power chord.

While I am not going to downsize my house, I do look at ways to recycle. I read something that states that we should recycle about half of our trash. Well, I have been recycling like a mad woman, and my recycling is about at the 50% mark. Maybe a little less, but still more than I was doing 5 years ago.

I have a passion for a specific beverage – San Pellegrino-brand mineral water. This sparkling mineral water is bottled in Italy, so these bottles have to be sent over the Atlantic Ocean, placed on trucks, sent down an interstate, and arrive at the local supermarket. The carbon footprint for my bubble water is probably really large. I never really thought about it, but I was entertaining a friend who suggested that my drinking habit was not consistent with an environmental stance.

I still drink San Pellegrino-brand mineral water, but not daily or weekly. I drink it on occasion, but only on special occasions. I know it is a little thing, but it reduces my carbon footprint a little and it makes me feel better.

When I read about Earth Day, I sometimes think we are just deluding ourselves with some of the things we have been asked to do. Things that make us feel better but don't really change our environment. I helped clean up a patch of highway one time. I wore gloves and had one of this sticky-thingies, but the whole experience was completely gross. People are pigs, and I was cleaning up after the pigs.

I don't have an answer for Earth Day. I guess I should bid you to do a pointless thing today that makes you feel better about helping the environment. After all, isn't that the point of Earth Day? Oh, that, and profiting from the commercialization of environmentalism.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Town Hall for Hope

Dave Ramsey's Town Hall for HopeI was on Cliff's blog the other day, and I saw what I thought was an advertisement. Normally I just ignore ads (really), but this one looked curious (I placed a similar ad in my blog entry today), and I clicked on it.

Cliff's ad was a bit smaller so I did not see Dave Ramsey's name or any particular's of the event. Then I started reading about it, and I was intrigued for two reasons: (1) I actually know who Dave Ramsey is (national radio talk show host, and I am familiar with his show), and (2) he is attempting to do social networking to promote his Town Hall for Hope (and it appears a bit amateurish).

The two ways that looked most promising for me was that he has a blog for the event, and that he has a twitter account for this as well. He also has a YouTube channel. What is really bizarre is that the numbers for most of these seems low. For instance, on his You Tube channel he has 336 Subscribers and about 16,341 Channel Views. That seems low for a national radio show guy. He has 4.5 million listeners per week, has written several best sellers, and tours frequently, addressing sold-out venues from coast to coast. But these social networking ways of reaching people . . . just not Dave's think, I think.

Now, I don't believe everything Dave Ramsey believes, but I appreciate his was of taking personal responsibility for one's actions. I can't go to the event because I have a prior engagement, but I would think attending and writing about it on your blog (if you go) would be terrific.

I have written a number of posts that are "oh, crud" type of posts. Posts of diminished independence, of we-can't-really-do-anything. Personally, I see my wealth and property values decrease (but I am not in debt so I am not going to lose my house or my car). Retirement may be delayed – but it was so far off that it may not matter. I am more concerned with a flat economy over more than ten years now, as if the markets are being manipulated so that more and more of the profit is being sucked out of the economy. I tend to be a conspiracy theorist (technical term = nutjob), but you know, if there were no conspiracies, then I wouldn't think this way. And I see our government continuing to try and spend us into prosperity (and I am the nutjob?).

I could go on and on about this, but I won't. I would, however, suggest that you look into this event because it looks positive, hopeful, and something that may matter. I just did not think the Tea Party Tax Protests (the current ones, not the ones in the 1770s) were that way at all.

If you want to attend an event, look here. Most of the venues are churches, which I love. Some people believe religious people are nutjobs that had over their personally responsibility to Christ, or a tree god, or whatever. Perhaps they may thing a bit differently if they go to this event.

Anyway, instead of me going on and on about this event (which I have been, to spite my promises to the contrary), I am clipping an article from the Savannah Morning News. It has more information about the event, written by a non-nutter.

Dave Ramsey to host 'Town Hall for Hope'

Personal-finance guru Dave Ramsey has called a meeting. And more than a million Americans are making plans to show up.

Ramsey's "Town Hall for Hope," a presentation promising straight talk about the economy - how we got here, where we're going and how it's affecting the average Joe - will be broadcast live Thursday night from LifeChurch in Oklahoma City, Okla., to some 6,000 locations across the country.

The public has been invited to attend the 90-minute presentation and question-and-answer session free of charge at a location near them - and they've been signing up in droves.

In the Savannah area alone, more than a dozen venues - most of them churches - will open their doors for the meeting, which begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.

Across the river in South Carolina, some half-dozen churches - from Hilton Head Island to Bluffton to Beaufort - are gearing up to host the event. More than a few are already filled to capacity. A note on the Web site of LowCountry Community Church in Bluffton advises, "This venue is already packed, so please look for another location!"

Sign of the times

There was a time not so long ago when Ramsey was considered pretty radical.

After all, his suggestion that we cut up our credit cards, pay off all our debt, live below our means, save money and actually pay cash for our little luxuries seemed the complete antithesis of the American way.

"Now, I think we're beginning to realize the way we have been living in this country is part of the reason we're in this mess," said the Rev. Darwin Meighan, pastor of Live Oak Community Church on Savannah's southside.

In addition to serving as a host site for Thursday's meeting, Meighan's church is one of 26 in the area currently offering Ramsey's 13-week "Financial Peace University" course.

"The course offers a lot of hope to people who may otherwise feel overwhelmed financially," he said, adding that most of the people in the class are also planning to attend the town hall meeting.

It's a scenario that's being played out across Savannah.

At Wilmington Island Presbyterian Church, retirees Bill and Betty Grubbs signed up for FPU in the hopes it would help them learn how to hold on to more of their money.

"We're relatively comfortable, but our 401(k) now looks more like a 201(k)," Bill Grubbs said, laughing.

"We wanted to find out what else we could do."

Now 10 weeks into the course, Betty Grubbs says the couple are putting Ramsey's teaching into practice.

"We're following a budget and using cash, rather than a credit card," Betty Grubbs said.

And they'll be in the audience for Thursday's town hall meeting.

"I'm really interested in hearing what he has to say about the situation we're in today," she said.

A message of hope

At Thursday's town hall meeting, participants will hear Ramsey, a syndicated radio talk show host and New York Times bestselling author, offer his take on the economy, the recession, foreclosures and more, providing real statistics and steps to take now.

The presentation will be followed by an hour of live questions from viewers via phone, e-mail, Twitter and Facebook.

For so many Americans living in fear about the economy, Ramsey said, the meeting will provide an opportunity to sit down with people in their own communities while joining in the larger national community to talk about issues and answers.

"The solution to America's economy is to get people to believe again," he said in a statement released this week.

"It's time to connect with families to instill hope and optimism in our economy and our country. We the people are the healing agents."

About 'Town Hall for Hope'

A free, live event, Dave Ramsey's "Town Hall for Hope" - a presentation and question-and-answer session on the economy - will be broadcast live from 8-9:30 p.m. EDT Thursday from LifeChurch in Oklahoma City, Okla., to more than 1 million people in some 6,000 locations. In the Savannah area, more than 20 locations will serve as host venues.

For more information and a list of host venues in your area, go to

About Dave Ramsey

A personal money management expert, Dave Ramsey is a popular national radio personality and best-selling author of "The Total Money Makeover," "Financial Peace" and "More Than Enough." He is also host of "The Dave Ramsey Show" on Fox Business Network.

Ramsey knows first-hand what financial peace means in his own life - living a true rags to riches to rags to riches story. By age 26 he had established a $4 million real estate portfolio, only to lose it by age 30. He has since rebuilt his financial life and now devotes himself full-time to helping ordinary people understand the forces behind their financial distress and how to set things right. His books and courses are designed to help people eliminate debt and credit cards, learn to budget, avoid bankruptcy, build wealth and find financial peace.

"The Dave Ramsey Show" is syndicated to more than 400 radio stations nationwide with more than 4 million weekly listeners.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Chemistry 101

I love storytellers, and I was looking at a blog recently with Storyteller in the title, "Confessions of a Sultry Storyteller". She had an interesting post the other day, that started like this:

Would you rather have great chemistry or great sex? If you had to choose which would you want? I have rarely met a couple that has both.

Which leads me to wonder can one live on great chemistry alone and no sex, or great sex and no chemistry?

I am not sure how to answer the question, though I think it is an interesting question.

When I met my husband, we had chemistry. We had good (not great) sex, but the kissing. Oh, the kissing. It was chemistry.

Now that I have been married for many years (more than 10, rapidly approaching 20), I have had a number of great sexual expenses. The sex has been good, great, and forgettable. And the interesting thing is that there will be weeks that are simply great – two or three wonderful sex sessions in a week. Sex that curls the toes it is so good. And then there will be weeks of "ho hum" sex.

The chemistry is about the same. I still melt when my husband calls me at work. And at other times, I can't wait until he has a business trip so I can soak in a tub and read. His stubble on a Saturday morning can be so wonderful or irritating. It just depends.

The sex turned into great sex, perhaps because my husband learned a bit about me. Perhaps because I changed a bit. Perhaps from a variety of things.

For me, I would rather have chemistry. I know you can learn how to be a better lover, and so that even if the sex is good but not great, you can improve upon it.

Until a few years ago, I would have thought the chemistry part is not learned. It was just the way it is. I don't think that anymore. When I was cheating on my husband, our chemistry had gone. Completely gone, and I figured that's what happens after nearly a decade of marriage. We went to counseling afterwards, and the therapist said that love is an action verb. We can choose to love, and when we do loving things, we start feeling more love. And when that happens, the chemistry seems to have been rekindled. A weird thing.

I get back to the question: would you rather have great chemistry or great sex? Do we really have to choose between the two if we want both?

On a completely unrelated note, I just notice that word verification is forming many more words than it used to. To make comments on many blogs, there is a word verification. Usually it asks you to type something like this: asdfioqw. Well, I have seen a bunch of words lately. Snacky. Boogers. Riskqe (almost a word). What if aliens have started communicating through word verification and we have not paid attention? The first words were not really well-spelled. What can you expect from aliens, anyway? And not they are learning words. The next thing is sentence structure. I think an alien is using my blog to tell us that they are observing people pick their noses (a booger snack?). If I disappear, blame the aliens.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Random Friday #33

Wonder Woman
I read the other day that people are tossing ideas around concerning a Wonder Woman movie. Megan Fox is one of the names being offered. I have never seen this woman before. Then I looked up the movies she is associated with. The Transformers? Is that really a movie. And the rest of the movies seem to be highlighting her body, not her acting talent (Whore, Jennifer's Body, and some yet to be filmed mermaid movie). I sort of hope Wonder Woman is better than a brunette who has a nice body.

Swing Blade
I never watched Swing Blade (this just did not occur to me - I read something about the actor from Ian earlier in the week). I think it came out at a time I had no money. And by the time I had money, I had seen so many bad BB Thorton impressions I passed on the movie.

Book Bloggers
I saw a post the other day, and it was really interesting. These book bloggers started out with about three visitors per day, and now they are more popular. My blog is not a book blog, but for the first time, I realized that there are different "blog communities." I mean, here are the different flavors I have run across:

1. Book Blogs. I just realized that recently. See above.
2. Mommy Blogs. I avoid those blogs. I am not a mommy, though I want to be one. These are just too painful, a bunch of mommy's complaining because they don't have enough time for baths and the reading of trashy novels.
3. Bitch Blogs. There are a few bloggers, more than a few, that could be called bitches. They are mostly "Sex in the City" chicks. They think they know everything, and occasionally tell the rest of us we are stupid.
4. Erotica Blogs. Self-explanatory. Is that a real word? Not the word erotica, but the other word.
5. Religious blogs. Interestingly, some of these blogs really are close-minded. Sort of like me.
6. Support blogs. People blog about sick children, cancer, all sorts of things. I even follow one of these blogs (a blogger whose child has Williams syndrome), but I do it because the woman is a terrific writer.
7. Military wife's blogs. An interesting sub-culture, and interesting to hear these women's stories.

Anyway, I guess blogging subcultures are interesting.

 Actress Eliza Dushku is baring almost all at the last series of promotional images for a new television science fiction series called Dollhouse.A Spy in the House of Love
You know, each television show has an episode name. Most of them we don't remember or even think is important. Anyway, Dollhouse's last episode name was A Spy in the House of Love. That name sounded familiar, like it was the name of a book or a play. Well, I googled it and got the name of a book by Anaïs Nin (published in 1954) with the same title. Anyway, the plot of the story seems to have been inspired by the book. Now, I don't imagine the writing for Dollhouse is very good (I doubt it will lack a season, so it will probably be on for five seasons). Perhaps the episode title is some way to play homage to Anaïs Nin. Or perhaps this is another exhibit that points to the fact that most story ideas are recycled, and we have not had an original story in a very long time. My guess is that the writers of this episode were reminded of the book after an episode of The Simpsons (The Ziff Who Came to Dinner).

Members Only
I read other people's profile in blogger, and what frustrates me to no end is that there are blogs that I can't get to because they are for invited guests only. I saw a blogger recently, let's call him Tim. He has a crapload of blogs that he is a member of, and guess what, it is by invitation only. Now I don't know if I want to be invited because I can't see the blog. They may be bad blogs, crappy blogs or good blogs. But I can't tell. Xmichra is another one with an exclusive blog. Who knows, Xmichra may be a doula and this site is full of birthing plans and videos of women having babies. That, I don't want to see. But if it is cool stuff, and let's face it, if we can't see it, it must be cool, I want to see it. I feel like I am 12 years old again, and girls aren't allowed in the treehouse.

Writer's Block
I never have writer's block, but I often have writer's mediocre output disease.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Boycotting the News

I wrote a blog entry yesterday about the Tea Party Tax Protest. And I was sort of wondering – why bother? But I have to wonder if I should even pay attention to the news.

I mean, I hear about how the politicians screw things up all of the time. I get mad at them, and perhaps you do as well, but did you notice that we normally get mad at politicians that are not representing us? The Alaskans probably love Senator Stevens (he brings home the bacon), but the rest of us see him as why our government does not work, you know, because he wants to build a bridge to nowhere. So if I pay attention to the news, I get pissed at other people's representatives, and I have little recourse to get them out of office (other than training with and using a high-powered rifle, but I just don't have the time to train to because a sharpshooter; plus it is illegal and goes against the teachings of the Church, unless you are talking about the Crusades, and then you could kill infidels after torturing them and chanting from Psalms).

And if I start listening to other news, it just gets me more pissed.

I mean, here is a sample of recent news items:

From Reuters UK: U.S. agents seize suspected Nazi guard. Apparently some 89-year-old guy may have been a Nazi during WWII. And he may have been responsible for a bunch of deaths, but after the war, he moved to Cleveland, Ohio and started living the American dream. And the American Dream does not deal with marching Jews into ovens and killing them. From the article I read, he is a retired auto worker. Anyway, some judge doesn't want him going back to Germany to face charges because he is old and he probably has not killed a bunch of people recently. Oh, I am improvising a bit. Me, I want the American system to hand him over – we get all pissed when we can't prosecute people who have fled to other countries, and then we don't give people back when it is another countries turn to prosecute people for entertainment value and posturing. It just makes me mad, and I can't do anything about it (unless we go back to that high powered rifle solution above).

Then I read about some proof of massive sea monster:

Apr 3 - Just 800 miles (1287 km) from the North Pole, paleontologists believe they have found the fossilized remains of a massive sea monster that lived 150 million years ago.

Predator X -- a new species of a Pliosaur -- is said to have been the most dangerous creature to have lived under water.

The creature was about 50 feet (15 meters) long, weighed approximately 45 tonnes (40,823,000 kg), had a head ten feet (3 meters) long and jaws armed with teeth the size of cucumbers.

Dr. Jorn Hurum, and his team of paleontologists discovered Predator X in northern Norway last October and says the new species of a Pliosaur was more fearsome in power than the land-based Tyrannosaurus Rex.

And there is a link to a 2:12 minute video.

I know the sea monster has been dead for 150 million years, but I once saw an episode of Scooby Doo where a frozen caveman came back to life and chased a bunch of kids around while listening to funky rock-n-roll music. Come to think of it, those meddling kids found out it was not really a caveman, but I still have a fear that someone will thaw out this creature (if it were more than bones and rock), and it would splash around for a bit and then take a bite out of the ship that found it.

News just produces feelings in me that are counterproductive and uncomfortable. And I can't really do anything about it. Sure, some people will say that I should not vote unless I know a bit more about the candidates, but you know, I would argue that we don't generally make good choices about who to elect when we have a bunch of facts. It is all a crap shoot.

Wouldn't it be easier if we just let those suits behind the political machine do their thing, line their pockets, etc., and let the scientists get eaten by large frozen sea monsters while we spend our time figuring out the Wii Fit. And who really thinks that they will get in shape in front of a video game? Maybe those of us who decided not to listen to the news.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tea Party Tax Protest

I was all set to write about the Tea Party Tax Protest that will be occurring today, and after a while, I thought, "Will it really matter?"

Right now, we are spending future generations into the poorhouse, and we really don't care as long as we have the cash to keep the cable on, pay for text messages, or purchase $600 shower curtains.

President Obama said something yesterday about us no longer being able to spend, spend, spend in government, but I guess that does not include the healthcare reform Obama wants, the stimulus package we "need" or else the Earth will start hurling into the sun, or for the US to either bail out or purchase the US automakers.

I look at things in simple terms, and here is how I see things:

Some people made some really foolish moves when purchasing homes – people who could not really afford homes purchased them on really shaky grounds because they figured that the housing market would go up 10% per year. Then when it looked like this was not going to happen, people started defaulting on loans, banks foreclosed on houses they did not really want to own, and property values fell in many areas of the country.

The government got involved because elected officials need to appear to be helpful. What I never understood was that some Federal oversight failed, regulators were sleeping at the wheel, so as rational beings we wanted the same people who made the mistakes to fix the problem. We did that because they have the expertise. I am still scratching my head on this one.

We passed a bunch of spending bills, and some of them did very little to help the economy. So our legislators decided to spend money in other ways. It reminds me of seeing someone on the side of the road, head bend, hood popped open, wondering why the car has stalled. He (face it, it would be a "he"; a "she" would call AAA) takes a monkey wrench (or other item in the toolbox) and whacks part of the car. If it doesn't fix the problem, he whacks another part of the engine. We are kinda doing the same thing right now, but our monkey wrench is 1 Trillion Dollar spending bills.

Here is what people are not talking about: (1) Unemployment is on the rise, but people are still making mortgage payments. What happens in several months when people start blowing through their emergency funds. (2) Most ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages) have not ratcheted up, yet. The first wave will hit in a year or so. What happens when this occurs.

Both of these events are what I like to call "Holy Cow" events. They are big, may affect housing prices and the economy, and will probably need our legislative bodies writing hundreds of billions of dollars in spending (because that's what legislatures do).

Part of me wants to dress like a native American and attend one of these tea party events – though I think dressing like Pocahontas is not really PC unless you are on a Disney property.

Me, I am looking at the stock market gain more than 1,000 points over the last month or two, and I still think about the bad news on the horizon. But stock brokers are smart, right? I mean, they are a bit smarter than mortgage brokers and bank regulators, right?

I have started thinking about this tea party tax protest some more. Why could it not have been some wine tasting tax protest instead? I mean, that would have more appeal to me, and after thinking about this, I could use a drink.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter and the Church (or Leesa Is Going to Hell)

It you have read me for a while, you probably know I am Catholic. If the guilt and Holy Water are not a tip off, my moral views are similar to that of the Church. Yeah, I am a total whack job.

And for those who don't do the whole Catholic Easter experience, Church is a big part of Easter. Here is the run-down:

1. Holy Thursday. This is the start of Holy Week, where the priest washes 12 people's feet. Those with foot fetishes must enjoy this mass. I had my feet washed once by a priest, and the whole time I was thinking, "I hope I don't have fuzz in between my toes." The next Easter I paid closer attention to the feet washing thing, and you really can't see other people's feet unless you are on the alter.

2. Good Friday. This is the mass which is, in my estimation, the most depressing of the masses. It is all about crucifixion, and you exit the Church in silence. One year, a priest actually made us drive nails into a board to symbolize the crucifixion. I wonder how much counseling was generated after that.

3. Holy Saturday (aka Easter Vigil). This is the marathon mass. It is normally 4 to 5 hours. Yes, folks, a whole lot of stuff happens at this Mass. The new Catholics are entered into the Church, normally a mixture of 2nd graders and adults.

4. Easter Mass. This is the most well-attended mass all year, where the C&E Catholics are found. C&E = Christmas and Easter, for those who just like to go to Mass on the big occasions. You know, like the relatives you see at weddings and funerals. They are part of the family and loved, but you don't really know them.

This is not really what I wanted to talk about, though. Consider this as background.

My husband attends Church with me, but sometimes he will skip if he thinks he can get away with it. When we were dating, he would attend Mass four days in a row. Now, however, he may attend two of the four Masses. Perhaps three.

This year, I attended Easter Vigil by myself. I mean, my husband did not want to spend that much time in Church. And this year, someone sat by me. Some guy sat by me, and it may have looked like we were a couple. In Church, I felt . . . uncomfortable. Not because I was doing anything wrong, but because others may have mistaken me for someone else's wife. Sounds weird, but it was an extremely uncomfortable feeling.

Here I was in Church, thinking about the gift Jesus gave us, feeling ashamed of how things appeared to others. Of course, then I started thinking about the kind of company Jesus kept. I hear Mary Magdalene was a real J-bunny. Crap, I think I just made fun of a saint, and I just went to confession last week.

Where is the delete button?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Demon Candy

Leesa has a tummy ache this morning.

Normally Leesa doesn't eat much Easter candy. I don't like peeps, though at one time they were as addictive as crack (I assume crack is addictive).

Leesa is not her normal self. Leesa normally does not talk in the third person about herself, but Leesa has eaten a lot of candy over the last 18 hours.

Leesa got a large white chocolate bunny, and Leesa thought she would only eat the ears, but once she had devoured the ears, the bunny looked out of proportion. Leesa did not want the bunny to look that weird, so she devoured the head. One thing lead to another, and soon enough, Leesa was placing teeth into bunny ass and enjoying it way too much to make her feel comfortable.

Leesa is not going to come to work today, not because she spent all weekend in prayer (Catholics have Church 4 days in a row) but because she ate bunny ass.

[No cute bunny ass picture today. I typed bunny ass into the computer and either got Hef wanna-bes bent over or real rabbit butts. Nothing I could use on my site.]

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Work Relationship

It all started innocently enough. I was chatting with a co-worker, in his cubical, and she was listening to the conversation. He was ignoring her, but she caught my eye. She would shake her head, sometimes at my words, sometimes at my co-worker's. I can't remember the conversation, but I remember her.

Next time I stopped to chat with the co-worker, she was in his cubical again. She looked the same, a fresh face. I am a bit embarrassed about this, but I was drawn to her . . . tail. Oh, you see the other female in the cubical was a goldfish.

And until recently, I thought fish were more like decorations than animals. You know, you see the Beta in an oversized brandy snifter, and you think, nice decoration. You don't think, this is an animal with its own thoughts and needs and desires.

But this fish, I will call her Goldie, changed all of that. My co-worker took a two week vacation recently, and he asked me to watch his fish for the time he was away. And by watch, he really meant feed his fish. He gave me some flakes and no instructions and he left Goldie to my care.

I looked at the amount of flakes left, and I thought to myself, "This is not going to last two weeks," so I went to the store to get a bit more food. The nice person at the store convinced me to buy a different type of food, in pellets instead of flakes.

So I started feeding the goldfish pellets. They were cleaner than the flakes for sure, and they seemed to make the goldfish come out of her shell. Not that goldfish have shells. After a few days, the goldfish seemed to interact with me more, almost starting to beg for its food. At first I was feeding the fish the first thing in the morning – feed fish, log into computer, read blogs, get coffee, start to work. I would do things in that order. Then I started feeding the fish a few pellets when Goldie begged for them.

And by the end of the two weeks, I really thought Goldie had started to have a personality. She would recognize my blur as I went by, I would swear, and she would beg for food. Plus she was really, really happy to see me.

I know, I know. Rational people don't think goldfish can think. Perhaps Goldie is extraordinary.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Internet Crap

At least once per week, I get a forwarded email that should not have been forwarded to me. Much of the time, the email contains facts that seem alarming (and are false). But sometimes it is something that most of us have seen . . . way too much.

I found this list somewhere. For better or for worse, here are a list of things that most "Internet savvy" people have seen at least a dozen times. Bad news for me; most of these things look new. There were some bonus items, and I did not list them because "Two Girls One Cup" was among the items. And that is just wrong.

01. Grape Stomp
02. Charlie Bit Me
03. Chocolate Rain
04. Dancing Baby
05. Post Secret
06. Charlie The Unicorn
07. Mentos and Diet Coke
08. Numa Numa
09. Peanut Butter Jelly Time
10. George Lucas In Love

11. You're The Man Now Dog
12. Yatta
13. Star Wars Kid
14. Bubb Rubb
15. The Flying Spaghetti Monster
16. Dramatic Chipmunk
17. Homestar Runner
18. GI Joe Pork Chop Sandwiches
19. Fail Blog
20. Skateboarding Dog

21. All Your Base Are Belong To Us
22. Winnebago Man
23. We Like The Moon
24. I Can Has Cheezburger
25. Barney Vs. Tupac
26. Shining
27. Cute Overload
28. Rick Roll
29. Lazy Sunday
30. David After The Dentist

31. Powerthirst
32. Christian The Lion
33. Bert and Ernie Rap
34. Lady Punch
35. Leprechaun in Alabama
36. Where The Hell Is Matt
37. Boom Goes The Dynamite
38. Breakdancing Baby
39. Drunk Jeff Goldblum
40. Scarlet Takes A Tumble

41. Sepultura - Refuse resist (cover) By Gauchos
42. Gay Mount Everest
43. Afro Ninja
44. Cop Shoots Himself In Leg In Classroom
45. Tron Guy
46. "Leave Britney Alone"
47. Laughing Baby
48. I'm the Juggernaut Bitch
49. The Chairperson Falls
50. Take On Me The Literal Version

51. Bill O'Reilly Flips Out
52. Don't Tase Me Bro
53. The Landlord
54. Breakdancing Baby Kick
55. The Pet Penguin
56. Ms. South Carolina Answers A Question
57. I'm F*#king Matt Damon
58. Will It Blend
59. Spaghetti Cat
60. Tom Cruise Kills Oprah

61. Little Superstar
62. Chad Vader
63. Pretty Much Everywhere It's Going To Be Hot
64. I Like Turtles
65. Who Needs A Movie
66. Jake E. Lee Shreds
67. Hawaii Chair
68. Aussie Party
69. Hitler Plans Burning Man
70. Flirting with Magic

71. Look At The Horse
72. Asian Backstreet Boys
73. Leroy Jenkins
74. Pinky The Cat
75. Monkey Sniffs Finger
76. Sneezing Panda
77. Prison Inmates remake "Thriller"
78. Techno Viking
79. Ask A Ninja
80. Best Man Trips and Ruins Wedding

81. Best Wedding Toast Ever (Amy's Song)
82. Kitten Surprise (how to break up a cat fight)
83. Katana Sword Infomercial Goes Wrong
84. Matrix Ping Pong
85. La Pequeña Prohibida
86. Angry German Kid (translated)
87. Evolution of Dance
88. Ok Go – "Here It Goes Again"
89. Battle at Kruger (lions vs. buffalos vs. crocodiles.
90. Daft Hands

91. Human Beatbox
92. Most T-Shirts Worn At Once
93. Zero G Dog
94. Cuppy Cakes Song
95. George Washington
96. Scary Maze Prank
97. Gay Referee
98. Tranquilized Bear Hits Trampoline
99. Reporter Gets A Fly In The Mouth

You can guess I just did not want to post anything today.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Race Relations

When I was young, quite young, I remember listening to my grandfather. He was . . . a bit of a racist. No way to sugarcoat it. He used the N-word an awful lot. And not the N-word that most people think about. The older N-word. Again, think racist grandfather. He grew up listening to and saying that N-word. He heard untrue things about black people and believed them. That's part of his past, and it shaped my view of him.

And something happened in the 80s. I did not know what it was at the time, but my grandfather became less of a racist. The way I see it is that everyone tries to make sense of the world, and in their mid-twenties or so, people try and figure out the world. They take info from when they were younger, then what they have learned and figure out how to react to a bunch of situations.

He grew up in Georgia, not the center of the universe. He remembers being jumped by many African Americans. That is his first vivid memory he has of an interaction. Through years, he hears that African Americans are not as smart as he is, that they are lazy, etc. This is what he learned. This is an opinion he had.

The older people of his generation start dying . . . I mean, they are older, and all, so they start dying. Those influential racists start dying. And he continues to experience things throughout his life.

He notices that an African American neighbor moves into his "good neighborhood." He expects the neighborhood to "go downhill", but it doesn't. He also starts observing his neighbor. The first things he says about his African American neighbor (to others but granddaughter is listening) is not encouraging. It is full of hate and anger. Things he has learned.

But you know what begins to happen? He notices that the neighborhood does not "go downhill." He notices that his neighbor's yard is not only well-maintained, but it becomes the best yard in the neighborhood. The neighbor spends time mowing his yard, fertilizing it, everything. The neighbor begins to change my grandfather's mind, changing his heart in the process.

A couple of years go by, and little by little, my grandfather uses the other n-word a bit less, and without the preceding "damn" at all. The neighbor hunts and shares his kill with my grandfather. My grandfather responds with fish he has caught. They are developing a polite friendship. The friendship is not more or less than other neighbors, but the important thing is that it seems about the same. Regardless of race.

By the time he died, he seemed like much less of a racist. There were shadows of racism, but it was not like I remember as a little girl.

I remember talking with an elderly black man . . . it must have been twenty years ago. We talked about many things, but something he said I still remember. He said that race relations would begin to improve, not in his generation, but in his grandson's (and in mine). He seemed to know that past experiences would be difficult to overcome, to look past. Some healing could take place, but not the type of healing that would improve race relations within the culture.

I heard someone a few weeks ago say that they are sick about talking about race relations. It had to do with the aftermath of Barack Obama's election. For me, I am glad that the dialog is still taking place. I think it is important.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Toilet Paper Shortage of 1973

Sometime in 1975 or so, I remember going to my grandparents house and seeing so much toilet paper in a closet in the spare bedroom. There were rolls and rolls of one type of toilet paper. Years later, I saw less and less of the toilet paper, and I just assumed they got a great deal on TP.

Until today.

I was fairly young in the early 70s, so I don't know what was going on politically. Nixon tapes? Had not a clue? The stock market stagnation? Had nothing to do with my drowsy doll.

I sort of remember the gas crunch in the late 70s, when we would all pile in the car on different days and sit in line for gasoline. But I did not really understand what was going on.

There was a toilet paper shortage in the United States in 1973.No, I did not say Russia. The good ol'
U S of A.

This toiler paper shortage started with a Johnny Carson Tonight Show monologue. On December 19, 1973, the writers for the show had heard earlier the federal government was falling behind in getting bids to supply toilet paper and that it might be possible that in a few months the United States could face a shortage of toilet tissue. They took the words of this Wisconsin congressional representative, Harold Froehlich and decided to add a joke for Carson for the evening show.

Carson did in fact use the joke in a monologue stating, "You know what's disappearing from the supermarket shelves? Toilet paper. There's an acute shortage of toilet paper in the United States."

Twenty million people that watched the Carson show that evening ran out in the morning and bought as much toilet paper as they could carry. My grandparents must have been among those who started hording the stuff (thus their very large supply of toilet paper for many years). By noon on December 20, 1973, practically every store in America was out of stock. Many of the stores tried to ration this valuable paper but they could not keep up with the demand no matter what they did.

A few nights later, Johnny Carson explained there was no shortage and he apologized to his viewers. However, this did not help with the scare. As soon as people noticed the empty shelves, they wanted this paper even more. It took three weeks to get the shelves stocked again, ending the shortage caused by a joke in Johnny Carson's monolog.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Tipping Part II

Last week, I wrote a blog entry on tipping. It was basically about tipping of coffee baristas. I thought it was a really good blog entry, but not a lot of people commented on it. Perhaps not a lot of people enjoyed or saw it. Who knows.

Well, since not a lot of people enjoyed/liked it, I thought I would continue writing about tipping.

First, I am not sure I understand the point of tipping in restaurants. I mean, I understand it is to reward good service, and perhaps encourage the service in the future, but I doubt it really does that. I mean, people generally tip in a certain range, no matter how good or poor the service is. If I have crappy service, I tip 15%. If I have good service, I tip 20%. So the difference between crappy and wonderful service is only about a third more. Plus, let's say I want tipping to benefit me. I have already received the service I will receive, and unless I have that person as a server again (and they remember I tipped well), the odds of me affecting how they treat me are almost nil. This seems terribly inefficient to me. There is no real effort/reward connection, and it doesn't affect how I get my service.

So I really think tipping in this context just shifts costs from the restaurant owner to the patron.

Then there is tipping of my hairdresser. I tip her extremely well. The percentage is higher than tipping in restaurants, and I am fine with the percentage I tip. I actually derive some sort of benefit from the tip. I see the same person each time, and she should know I tip generously. She also has squeezed me in with an appointment time when she really did not have time, and I like to think she spends a bit more time on my hair. Also, I get the impression I am charged a bit less than they can charge. Not all costs are publicly posted, and my costs have not increased in four years. While this may be a coincidence, I think she has discretion on what she charges her customers.

Then there is tipping of the sky caps. I have heard $1 or $2 per bag, but if you think of it, that is a wide range. Also, my tip may vary, as my perception of time saved with normal check-in varies. I don't give this a lot of thought, and I hope that over or under tipping does not flag people to search me before the flight. Oh, and I hope sky caps don't handle bags differently because of the tip given, but I have to admit, I am a bit more generous because I suspect this is the case.

I also don't know about tipping when you drop off a car for a medical appointment. I was escorting my mother a few years ago, to and from some appointments in a hospital, and I could not tell if the valet parking was discouraged from taking tips.

Then there is picking up food from a restaurant. Do you tip when you order take-out and pick it up yourself? I have no idea, so I tip sporadically. I know sporadic tipping is definitely wrong, but I do this because I am confused.

Tip jars are popping up in all sorts of locations. I know they want tips when I see the jar, but in some cases, I just feel like it is extortion if it is in a place where tipping is not customary.

Tipping should not be difficult, but it is to me. I just wish there was a definitive guide.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Random Friday #32

The Hailey Project
Someone just told me about The Hailey Project. I can't believe there are less than 1,000 subscribers to the project so far. It seems to have some good production value for YouTube. Not sure why it is not more popular. Guess there is limited masturbation opportunities (aka Lonely Girl 15).

Reduce Cancer Risk: Is Ihere Any Proof?
I saw something about cutting cancer risk. Here were the things one needs to do:

1. Don’t smoke (a no-brainer).

2. Limit red meat, alcohol, fat, and salt.

3. Eat fruit, veggies, and whole grains — lots of them!

4. Exercise regularly.

5. Watch your weight.

I saw the list, and this seems like something my parents would say. I get the impression that this is just common sense or order to stay on this earth longer. I read this on some "heath" site, but they don't list any studies.

Jennifer Aniston's Nipples
Last week I got a few comments about Jennifer Aniston's nipples (when she was on Friends). Apparently she was quite perky. I googled it, and it seems that others have noticed as well. I don't know if it is more disturbing that (1) I am still talking about nipples, (2) I am getting comments about other nipple-related events, (3) I never noticed Jennifer Aniston's nipples when I would watch Friends, (4) that there are people who splice together bits of TV programs that show perky nipples, or (5) I typed in "Friends nipples" into Google.

Almost 10 years ago, I saw a movie called Gattaca. Yeah, I was one of the two dozen people who saw the film. The movie was bad, but I really think the philosophical questions are interesting and made a viewer's interaction with the movie entertaining. So Gattaca was a movie that I did not think was well-done, but I enjoyed watching it because of the discussions I was having in my brain. Does that make it a good movie? Maybe not.

I can't believe I had not seen this video: Paris Hilton for President. I have not seen The Hills, Desperate Housewives, or Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Well, from the jokes, perhaps no one has seen more than an episode or two of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Twitter Impaired

I have a confession to make. I have a Twitter account, and I don't really twitter. I follow Deb and Ambeer. You know Deb, a writer and blogger. Ambeer (I can't remember her real name) used to have a blog that was pretty interesting (she is friends with Pete Wentz, I think, but I can't be sure; he is some band member, which probably means he sleeps late and gets laid often). She was a stripper (PC job description: exotic dancer). And I was going to tell you who else I follow, but you know, you can see for yourself. That's part of how twitter works. And I don't twitter.

One of the people I follow said, "i have to remember to update this thing.. im slipping out of the social network little by little it seems...." You can tell it is not me writing this because I use capital and lowercase letters, and I don't really know all of the shorthand. You see, I don't twitter.

I guess I don't know any of the short words because I don't have a Blackberry or other phone device that is sort of like a cyborg phone. More robot/computer than phone. If I had to use my thumbs to update stuff on twitter, I would know text shorthand. I get that 121 means "one to one", but why is 1174"nude club"? Are the 1s polls, and the 74 is a stick-finger stripper? I mean, if that is so, who has the time to figure this stuff out. You see, I don't twitter, and that means I don't understand text shorthand.

While typing this blog entry, I got a message from Deb: "How can you write a blog entry on Twitter? Not enough room! ;) Good luck." She was responding to my comment: "Writing a blog entry on twitter. How weird is that?" Of course, you could follow this conversation right now on twitter. All 6 people following me can, at least. This would be common sense to most, and I just figured this out. This is because I don't twitter.

I guess I would not be good at twitter, anyway. I mean, if I had the application running I could write random things, but I don't do random well.

"3rd trip to the bathroom this am; 2 much diet dr pepper or I am becoming diabetic"

"co-worker just left after giving me a memo; her perfume (stench) lingers – I hate that"

"@BarackObama. Can you get your presidential ass off twitter and re-write your budget? You can't expand healthcare and shrink the debt at the same time"

See, I suck at randomness. Oh, and Barack Obama has a twitter account. Lots of famous people do. And it would be better to make TheOnion a friend than for me to be your friend. There is randomness and humor in their twits. Again, if you have forgotten, I don't twitter.

I just am not that interesting and I have too much stuff to do than twitter. Twitter will fail. I mean, how many self important people with too much time on their hands are there in the world? Okay, there are tons of those people. Perhaps that's why twitter is so popular. See I don't twitter.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Aging Gracefully

I remember a girl who I grew up with: she was very popular. You know the type: a cheerleader, liked in public by all the girls and boys, and really pretty. She was four inches taller than me, and if she wore more adult clothes, she would be confused with the teachers. In high school, she looked like a woman among girls.

Yeah, I hated her privately.

I never told anyone because that was sort of like social suicide. I was pleasant with Karen, but we were not friends in middle school and high school. She was just out of my class. You know, the cheerleaders and the popular athletes.

Well, I saw Karen the other day, and she did not look so hot. I sort of felt bad for her. When she was in high school, she was one of the prettiest girls in school. Now that she is approaching middle age – okay, firmly in middle age – she is not the prettiest woman in the room. I guess I feel bad because that must be a change for her.

I have not attended any of the reunions, so I don't know if all of the popular girls have not aged as gracefully as I would have imagined.

I reminds me of some of the comments about Justine Bateman a few years ago – she was the middle child in the Keating household in the 80s television show Family Ties. I was looking for some images to prove this point, but I really don't think she has aged poorly. Perhaps someone has stooped up the really horrid images already. I was chatting with someone about this, and they suggested Erin Moran (Joanie from Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi).

Anyway, I don't have much to write about today, but I was wondering if there is some sense of karma in the world. Do really beautiful young adults age more quickly than others. I mean, I remember Karen always sunbathing (something we did back then, not sure if it is done as much anymore). That could have contributed to her looks. And there are many examples of people who have looked good for 50 years and more. Audrey Hepburn is one person – I remember seeing a picture of her with an Ethiopian child on her back and she looked so beautiful. She was a bit wrinkled but she must have been in her 60s.

I look at people on the street and assume that beautiful people have always been beautiful, but that may not be the case. I have run into some people I knew in high school, then later raced to their pictures. Oh, that is the person, someone who seemed so plain looking at the time. A late bloomer.

I always look for assumptions that can make my life easier – but perhaps there is no rule-of-thumb concerning beauty as people get older. Perhaps the world is a bit more complicated. For every Erin Moran, there is an Audrey Hepburn.