Thursday, October 22, 2009

Editing Letter

Lara Zielin, who is a young adult author (Make Things Happen: The Key to Networking for Teens, and Donut Days, first published novel) and YouTuber. Think John Green but not as popular. Since I am lazy today, I thought I would just throw up a video she made and uploaded to YouTube.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Of Doe Eyes and Broken Hearts

Last week, I embedded a YouTube video by katethegreat011.

LarryLilly said, "Quirky person; interesting lyrics, a bit of personal angst."

Knot, a musician, added, "Same chord progression as that Goo Goo Dolls song 'Slide'. Refreshingly funny. Good voice. Ya, I'd do her."

But the most interesting comment was by Xmichra: "Love the chick below, she is like an oxymoron for the song she sings. She is cute and looks doe-eyed, while the song is bitter and realistic. Pretty neat."

Anyway, I think she struck a chord with some of us. Sorry for the pun. Well, anyway it is a bit strange listening to a cute young girl write with such angst. I agree with Xmichra; pretty neat.

When I was in high school, one of my best friends was a doe-eyed, brunette with straight hair. She was cute and shy, and well, easily overlooked in a class. She had this dimple on her chin, and that, along with big, dark eyes, brought me to thinking of her while listening to Kate, if that is her real name.

Oh, when I was in high school, I would use that phrase, "If that is your real name" a lot.

Fred, if that is your real name, please pass me the pepper. I was goofy like that, and I loved telling running jokes. Anyway, I had this friend who was sweet as can be, looked innocent and tried to go unnoticed in school.

The thing I remember most about this girl, however, is that she took a baseball bat to someone's car one day at school. I don't have all of the particulars (whether it was a wooden or aluminum bat, for instance), but there were two things that stand out in my mind: (1) unlike the movies, when someone takes a baseball bat to a windshield, the damage is not that impressive. (2) at that moment, I learned that people could act one day in school and a different way out of school.

I was a school friend of Missy's. We would meet before school and chat in the cafeteria before school started. Her mother dropped her off on her way to work, and I liked getting to school early. My parents would wake up insanely early. 4:30 AM. In Georgia, if you are going to wake up that early, it usually meant you would grab a flashlight and shine deer on the county roads.1.

Missy and I would chat before school about all sorts of things. We gossiped about other girls, who broke up with whom, that sort of thing. But we also talked about teachers, and their relative fairness. We were both good students (As and Bs), so we enjoyed talking about school.

I saw her for 45 minutes nearly every morning when we were juniors and seniors, and I thought I really knew who she was. We never saw each other's homes; we were school friends not friends that saw each other after school. I got the impression from the mornings and some class time who she was. I never dreamed she could explode like that.

So when I hear "Kate" sing about all of this heartache, I wonder what is going on behind what we are seeing. Teen angst has always been popular, in part because teens (and I did at the time) think that everything is so important. Loves seem more rich, disappointments cut more deeply. Things seem like the end of the world, when they just make memories that will mellow with age, taking the sting out of the experience. When people say, "Still waters run deep," I sometimes think of doe-eyed Missy.

1 For the non-rednecks among us, shining deer involved shining a flashlight in a deer's eyes, thus making them freeze. Then you would take your time and shoot them. Very unsportsmanlike. Oh, and very illegal as well. The venison tastes the same, however. Well, that's what I have been told.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Minimalist Meme

That's Sassy has a meme I wanted to attempt. I have not done a meme in years, really, so this should be . . . painful.

The rules: (1) You Can Only Use One Word; and (2) Pass this along to 6 of your favorite bloggers.

Sassy did not follow the first rule. Go to her blog and shame her. Just kidding. Read her stuff; it is good.

1. Where is your cell phone? lost
2. Your hair? unmanageable
3. Your mother? kind
4. Your father? storyteller
5. Your favorite food? Asian
6. Your dream last night? Orwellian
7. Your favorite drink? X-rated
8. Your dream/goal? impactfulness
9. What room are you in? office
10. Your hobby? writing
11. Your fear? spiders
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? published
13. Where were you last night? bed
14. Something that you aren't? boisterous
15. Muffins? pistachio
16. Wish list item? contentment
17. Where did you grow up? Georgia
18. Last thing you did? giggle
19. What are you wearing? glasses
20. Your TV? unused
21. Your pets? digital
22. Friends? talented
23. Your life? spastic
24. Your mood? frazzled
25. Missing someone? family
26. Vehicle? non-hybrid
27. Something you're not wearing? bra
28. Your favorite store? bookstores
29. Your favorite color? Autumn
30. When was the last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? yesterday
32. Your best friend? hubbie
33. One place that I go to over and over? restaurants
34. One person who emails me regularly? spammers
35. Favorite place to eat? Mall

This is really a minimalist post. I so want to explain these answers, but that is not in the spirit of this meme. For instance, I want to let you know my favorite place to eat is the mall, not for the food (Cajun Chicken), but because I love to people-watch. And the mall is great for people-watching.

And I pass this along to the first six people who leave comments - not that six will.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Belated Canadian Thanksgiving

Well, I failed to celebrate another holiday: Canadian Thanksgiving, or as the Canadians call it, "Thanksgiving." (It was October 12 this year.)

I found this YouTube clip that describes the celebration – I will not ruin it for you, Ay.

Here is what I find remarkable about this YouTube channel: all of these shorts are directed by Ryan Rickett. Okay, that is not remarkable. What is, though, is who he has in these shorts: Ellen Page & Justin Long in this short (they are B actors; you can tell B actors because they give away their talent on YouTube). And Ginnifer Goodwin is in my favorite of these shorts, Crappy Easter. And Crappy Easter also has Lisa Nova, a YouTube persona. Anyway, it seems like the director has a bunch of semi-famous friends who like him enough to give away their acting talent for free.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Paranoid about Comments

I have been absent from blogging for a while. I have also been absent from my Google mail account, where blog comments find themselves. And while cleaning out that inbox, I found a lot of chatter regarding one of my older posts, entitled Temptation. And when I see someone comment months afterwards, I normally think they Googled something and landed on my page, because even if you have 1,000 pages of crappy posts, Google sometimes sends people your way. Of course, I thought these posts would discuss my incite, but they didn't.

The posts, and there were a bunch of them, were in Japanese. I placed a few of the posts through a Japanese to English translator, and none of the comments had anything to do with the original blog post.

My immediate reaction, of course, is that some branch of the Taliban is using my blog in order to communicate back and forth. You see, they are crafty bastards. And none of them speaks Japanese, probably, so American intelligence would easily dismiss Japanese comments on a second-rate blog. Freakin' brilliant, those bastards.

I imagine that those bastards are using some translation software, then they have code books or whatever, and some comment about seeing a girl walking out of a restaurant is really code for strapping explosives to your body and entering the (insert country here) embassy.

Okay this is totally ridiculous, but it sort of makes me think it is a great idea for a screenplay. Not one I would ever write, but a screenplay nonetheless.

If I fail to post tomorrow, I am in Guantanamo Bay.

Friday, October 09, 2009


Yesterday I shared a Richard Le Gallienne poem on my blog. And today I wanted to share how I first heard the poem. The story is a bit more convoluted than one would imagine.

When I was in elementary school, I had a record player. Me and my friends would put on records and bounce on the beds to the music. One of the 45s was Island Girl by Elton John. Then in high school, I was at a garage sale and saw a an LP by Elton John. I was not a huge Elton John fan, but since the LP was 25 cents, I figured I would spring for the vinyl.

The album was called Friends, and it was not until I got it home that I found out it was the soundtrack to a movie called Friends. Yes, before there was the television show, there was a movie. The shortest track on the album was an instrumental piece with two young voices, reciting the poem. And a few of the words were slurred, but I remember listening to the song/poem. I can even remember, on getting my first turntable, listening to the song in my dark bedroom, the only light being the red and white light on the turntable. A beautiful poem.

Years later, I saw the movie in a Blockbuster and rented it. My husband was out of town for the week on business, and I needed something to pass the time. I am so glad he did not watch this film. I found the movie in IMDB, but I don't remember much of the plot. All I remember is two naked teenagers in a cottage, and eventually the girl/woman has a child. Certainly they were of age to make the movie, but I think they were supposed to be 14-1/2 and 15 years old in the movie. It was weird, bizarre, and it left me feeling a bit violated. Oh, I think it was supposed to be a French film, but it was released in the UK.

Still, it is a beautiful poem.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Dirty Shoes

This is a new performer on YouTube. Her lyrics are disturbing, original and interesting. Oh, and she has a nice voice. Just thought I would give her a plug.

National Poetry Day

Today is National Poetry Day. I looked up to see if their was an official site, and here it is. And you know what bothers me about this website – it is a dot uk site. I mean, which country invented poetry? I mean, the most famous poet of all time is William Shakespeare, and he is American, right. Oh, crap, he may be from another country. Well, I heard about him in my American school's English class. Hmmmmmm.

Well, then the limericks that we have all heard. "There was a man from Nantucket." Certainly the origins of this is American. Nantucket is in Massachusetts, right? Oh, Nantucket is actually named for a city in Ireland? And limericks are Irish as well? Holy crap.

I am beginning to think that it may be unpatriotic to celebrate National Poetry Day in this country.

All kidding aside, one of my favorite poems – I enjoy the images this poem instills.

I Meant To Do My Work Today
by Richard Le Gallienne

I meant to do my work today,
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand--
So what could I do but laugh and go?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Twitter Novels

When I was in high school, it seems like there was a chasm between subjects. What was Language Arts in elementary and perhaps middle school became Literature. American Literature, English Literature and World Literature. Okay, I was kidding – in the 1980s, Georgia schools did not care about world literature. But you get the idea.

And with changing from language arts, where we would read short stories and write a bit, now we would have to read entire novels and remember certain aspects of the novels. That is when I first was aquainted with small, pamphlets, black and yellow, which probably saved many a lazy student. They were called Cliffs Notes, and instead of reading several hundred pages, you could read forty pages, learn not only what happened in the book, but also what it meant. Alliteration, themes, comparisons to other similar works, it seemed to be a cheating way of getting through the great novels.

I was fairly poor growing up, and I had no money for Cliffs Notes. I actually had to read the novels. I was not even bold enough to rent the movies and just get the gist that way. I figure the English teacher probably formed questions based on what was in the book but not the movie. And that fear helped me experience great literature.

I remember reading The Great Gatsby, and my English teacher would almost blush at some of the passages. The subtle sex was lost on this teenage girl. I knew nothing of sex, and the code words F. Scott Fitzgerald used to describe the trysts in his novel.

The other day, I thought about Twitter, and wouldn't it be great to tweet about novels. Instead of the 40 pages of black and yellow, I would attempt to summarize novels in 140 characters. Quite a challenge.

I mean, we have gotten into this frenzy, where no one has time to do much of anything. The students reading Cliffs Notes in high school have more to do than ever. Might as well condense what they need into 140 characters.

I remember laying back on cars, parked in fields, looking at the sky and just watching the clouds. That was a memory in high school – and in college, drinking beer on parked cars in a drizzle before a thunderstorm. Just chatting, sipping and killing time. No computer, no cell phone. Nothing to interrupt life. And I think that is disappearing, slowly . . . or quickly.

I think I will call this Twitter Novel. It kills a bunch of characters, but that's okay. It will take less time to type out the novels.

My first foray into this new experiment:

Twitter Novel, Ulysses: If you fit the Odyssey into one day, 16 June 1904, add a newspaper office, a brothel, a funeral, and public houses, and stir. Nora Barnacle, you should be so proud.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Another Argument for Healthcare Reform Debunked

Someone (I suspect someone working for a political party) answered my short missive on healthcare yesterday:

Leesa your point is valid to a degree, however the debate is not simply that health care costs have increased it is that medical insurance premiums have increased some 119% over the last decade while wages have stagnated or fallen during the same time for the vast majority of Americans. According to the The National Coalition on Health Care, "Employer-based family insurance costs for a family of four will reach nearly $25,000 per year by 2018 absent health care reform." This is only for those who have employer based medical insurance.

Those without any insurance (which are rising) have only Emergency rooms or go without treatment as options. Of course the oldest and the poorest have Medicaid and Medicare so they are covered.

I appreciate your opinions on this issue, but cost increases are not solely due to advances in medicine and without some restructuring it will eventually bankrupt the country.

Thank you for your blog

Mike - NC

This brings us to another argument: look at Medicare/Medicaid. They provide healthcare far cheaper than traditional employee-based health insurance.

Hospital systems basically have three kinds of payers:

1. Those with health insurance. Most people with health insurance have one of just a few types in a given location. Some people refer to this as "Big Blue", as Blue Cross/Blue Shield is the biggest payer in many locations.

2. Medicare/Medicaid. These are government-paid claims. For certain locations, Medicaid goes by a different name, if the state subsidizes Federal money. Anyway, people have cards and the government is billed for the care.

3. Self-pay. These people don't have insurance and pay out of pocket. Most of them don't pay out of pocket; they just receive the care, and avoid the bills. These include members of certain religious sects – Amish and Mennonites, for instance, who believe that they should care for one another. The thing is, none of them are invasive radiologists or cardiovascular surgeons.

So hospitals get money from these three sources, and I have heard arguments that Medicare and Medicaid are so good because they are cheaper than health insurance. Well, traditional health insurance helps pay for Medicare/Medicaid and self-pay patients. Hospitals don't turn patients away – and even though most Medicare/Medicaid patients cost the hospital money on overall care, they get enough so that they take the patients.

A boring technical area of healthcare finance is dividing the cost of care into fixed and variable costs (they do this in all sorts of businesses and teach this at business schools). Generally, if your last customer covers variable costs, it makes sense to take the customer. And that's what hospitals do.

Traditional healthcare coverage is paying partially for the fixed costs of the Medicare/Medicaid patients as well as all of the costs of its uncollectables.

I am sorry that Mike did not leave a link to his blog, or I would have explained this to him.

In short, I believe that the healthcare issue is very complex, and we have a bunch of simpletons that have not even read the language of the bill. Even their staffs have not read the various bills.

And think of another thing – part of doing this is to bring the 46 million health insurance. Many of these people have made a choice not to purchase health insurance. They would rather purchase a big screen television than to purchase health insurance, perhaps because they have little assets to guard (yes, when I first got health insurance as a healthy 22-year-old, I almost did not get any because I had no assets). I decided for myself to get health insurance, not because I was altruistic, but because the $25/month (catastrophic only health insurance) guarded against me having to file for bankruptcy.

Tomorrow I will write about something more interesting.