Monday, December 19, 2005

George W. Bush hates white people

As more and more people dig into what happened before, during, and after Katrina in New Orleans, those things we were told are being exposed by the light of the truth. Now, I understand that in the chaos that followed the hurricane it was difficult to discern the details and nuances of every situation and fact. And reporters have to report what they are seeing; it's their jobs. But jumping to conclusions of opinion, based on pre-conceived expectations when there are no facts that support or refute your opinion is a whole other story.

We've found out that no, 5,000+ people didn't die as was expected, and seemingly wished for by those hoping to hold the federal administration responsible for something worse than that which was already so terrible (so far, it's 1,095 in Louisianna) - only to justify their own hatred.

And, now, we're finding out from a study by the LA Times.that the demographics of those who died are pretty spread out among economic and racial lines. As a matter of fact, it seems that while NOLA's (city) population is 28% white, 33% of the dead are white.

Admittedly, the sample is unreliable because of the difficulties of this job, and 19 bodies were pulled completely from the numbers because of inability to identify where they came from. So that 5% difference is probably not exactly accurate. And it could be 5% in the other direction.

The information used in The Times analysis was incomplete, due to difficulties in gathering data in the days after Katrina struck and to bureaucratic problems that followed.

The private company that was contracted to collect bodies was supposed to mark the GPS coordinates of each recovery, but state officials said they soon determined that data was "worthless." They had to reconstruct the locations where bodies were found but in some cases could provide information no more specific than "Canal Street." Although it is the most comprehensive data they have released on storm fatalities, state officials acknowledge that the information is still riddled with errors and probably will be corrected constantly in coming months.

The state data also include locations such as the interchange of I-10 and I-610 where rescuers in motorboats were directed to deposit bodies they found floating in the floodwaters. There is no way to determine where some of those 19 bodies came from, and all have been excluded from The Times analysis.

"The data you have leaves a lot to be desired," Cataldie said in an interview Friday. "I don't know if it'll ever be 100%."

Of the 1,095 people killed by Katrina in Louisiana, the state has formally identified and released demographic data on 535. Many other victims are tentatively identified, though 93 remain unidentifiable. A couple of bodies are recovered every week, and officials say other victims may have been swept into the Gulf of Mexico, never to be found.

Taking all that into account, though, it's interesting to see. A difference like this is often screamed from the rooftops as evidence of sexism or racism in other situations, using no other factors in the consideration. Women are 53% of the population, so if women don't make up 53% of any industry, it's obviously an industry rife with sexism. Same for ethnic representation. Well, if that's the case, then George W. Bush clearly hates white people.

"The affected population is more multiracial, multiethnic and multicultural than one might discern from national media reports," said Richard Campanella, a Tulane University geographer who has studied which parts of the city were hit the worst by flooding. His research showed that predominantly white districts in the city were almost as likely to flood as predominantly black ones.

And he hates the middle class and the rich just as much as he hates the poor - because, turns out, it wasn't only the poor who died because of Katrina.

The analysis contradicts what swiftly became conventional wisdom in the days after the storm hit — that it was the city's poorest African American residents who bore the brunt of the hurricane. Slightly more than half of the bodies were found in the city's poorer neighborhoods, with the remainder scattered throughout middle-class and even some richer districts.

"The fascinating thing is that it's so spread out," said Joachim Singelmann, director of the Louisiana Population Data Center at Louisiana State University. "It's not just the Lower 9th Ward or New Orleans East, which everybody has heard about. It's across the board, including some well-to-do neighborhoods."

... The state official in charge of identifying Katrina's victims, Dr. Louis Cataldie, said he was not surprised by the findings. "We went into $1-million and $2-million homes trying to retrieve people," he said.

Finally, it really makes me sad that the writer felt the need to include this sentence, "Not all white residents who died in the storm were well-to-do; not all African American victims were poor." Well, no kidding Sherlock. Don't they have rich black people in LA? I thought I'd seen a few on TV. Maybe they don't have poor white people there, and that's the confusion.

Yeah, I know I've built something of a strawman here, but my strawman can beat up Kanye's any day.

Hat tip Opinion Journal Best of the Web

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Good Stuff

From Morgan Freeman. Good for him.

The only people who insist on continually hyphenating Americans are those who profit from racism - in money, power, or both.


Flipping channels this morning, I caught a woman saying this, "radical, pro-choice, lesbian feminist," and I started to turn the channel. But she followed that with something about the power of the individual. I was intrigued, so I didn't turn the channel. Then I find out it's Tammy Bruce, a woman I have never heard of. And she's talking about her book The New American Revolution.

I know nothing about this woman, but I think I'll do some more investigating. She seems interesting.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Another death penalty case - from another angle

The Cory Maye story one is worth watching.

The War on Drugs is, at a minimum, pointless and at its worst, tyrannical. I'm not overstating it.


Well said response to "Tookie" Williams story.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Pastel Sport Coats and No Socks

Ahhh, I just love this tv schedule. Miami Vice 24 hour marathon! Caught Smugglers Blues this morning. Fantastic. Too bad I actually have stuff to do today. Not too much of a loss, though, since I already own this, and season two is due out soon.

While I'm stuck in the 80's today, I should watch this, too.

And, yeah, both shows are dated, especially Miami Vice, but they're still so entertaining.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I can be girlie, too ... sometimes

Got this dress a couple of weeks ago for the company Christmas parties. Yay! I LOVE it!

OK, so there's not a link. Sorry. I found pictures online the other day, but now they're not there. Oh well. You may have to take my word for it, unless I can find them tomorrow. Anyway, it's a fabulous dress.

Found it! The one I got is a bright royal blue, not this lavendar. Anyway.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

New Phone

So, I'm really interested in this phone. It gets great reviews, and most are already set up for service with Schmingular, which happens to be my provider. The problem is that this phone is no longer listed as an available phone on the company's site, and even on eBay, they're about $250.

One thing I don't know: If I get one of these phones on eBay (some are locked, some are advertised as unlocked), how much will it cost me to take one of those lovely little phones to a shop and have it activated as my phone on my current plan? The hubby already got a new phone in July, and renewed the plan for another two years, too, so I won't be extending our plan.

Second thing I don't know: I hear that the provider has these phones refurbed for much much cheaper, but I can't find anything about that anywhere. Is this true?

Is there someone out there who can help me with this info? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

What's in a Name

You know, I love my name. Always have. It's a pretty name, and it's different. And up until about 10 years ago, I didn't mind sharing it with this person.

But then, on Tuesday night, I'm watching a show about a certain hotel-owning family. How Conrad was married to Zsa Zsa, and how Conrad's son Nicky was married to Elizabeth. And how another son Rick and Kathy Richards started dating and got married young, and have a happy marriage almost 30 years later. And in 1981, Rick and Kathy had Paris. Well, at least she doesn't go by her middle name.

I don't go by mine, either. But maybe I could start.

Very Exciting News

No, I'm not pregnant. At this stage, that would NOT be listed as VEN.

Anyway, there is now a Wild Wing in Alpharetta. And this band plays there twice a month on Thursdays. I plan to be there next Thursday night. See you there?

Maybe this band can play there soon, too?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Walk the Line

Yep, saw this last night. And I like it even more today than I did last night. Biopics aren't usually my favorite types of movies. Trying to fit someone's life into a standard plot formula doesn't usually make for great fare - more movie of the week than blockbuster. While I think Jamie Foxx did an incredible job as Ray Charles and I found the story interesting, I didn't really find it compelling. Interestingly, though Johnny Cash's story very much parallels Ray Charles' around his relationship with music, drugs, career, and women.

The funny thing about this one is that I was on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what happened next, even though I knew. As you've no doubt heard already, Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Whitherspoon are fantastic. He picked up the voice (so did she), and he even picked up the way Cash sings out of the side of his mouth, and the stage mannerisms. It's all there. Even though I went in expecting the acting from the two of them, what I didn't expect was the chemistry. They had fantastic chemistry. I wanted to cheer when they kissed the first time, even though he was married.

It does take some getting past the fact that he was married with daughters at home while he's trying to get June Carter to be with him. Looking back, you can see that he and June were "meant for each other," but at what point does that justify how you treat someone you once loved? I don't know that it does, and the movie doesn't even try to say that, which I applaud. It just puts the story out there for us. But it is hard for me to watch a man, even an incredibly charismatic and talented one, cheat on his wife and get upset over her frustrations by explaining that he's bought her the house of her dreams, and asking what else she wants. I certainly felt her frustrations at times, and think this woman was nothing but justified in her own reactions.

But I guess that's the thing about biopics, they are warts and all. And even after seeing the warts, you really can't help but root for Johnny and June to finally get together and live their happily ever after, in spite of the woman he left behind.

PS On a more selfish note, three cheers for a movie that portrays the south and southerners with all heart and zero cliche. The Thanksgiving scene brought me to tears, not only because of the strained relationship with his father, but when Mother Maybelle Carter tells of learning music in church and reading shape notes. There are so many things about the way I grew up that my own children won't experience: sitting around the piano while my grandmother played and sung hymns, heading to a local pond to go fishing after digging up your worms in the back yard, and walking railroad tracks by the cotton mill. Kids, don't roll your eyes when your parents wax nostalgiac about how they grew up.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Oh, the irony.

Or is it ironic? I don't know anymore.

Reading one of my daily work newsletters, I came across this tidbit...
Blogging: About one in four workers average 3.5 hours a week reading online blogs that are not work-related, according to analysis by Advertising Age. All told, U.S. employees this year will waste "the equivalent of 551,000 years reading blogs" that have nothing to do with their jobs. Also, a white paper on blogs by public relations firm Edelman and Intelliseek reveals that "nearly 70 percent of companies have no policies or guidelines" for employee bloggers, raising liability questions. And while employee blogs have "helped enhance the reputation" of companies like Microsoft and Sun Microsystems, they also have "hurt reputations in the case of several high-profile firings" at Google Inc., Delta Air Lines, Waterstone's and Friendster, according to the Edelman-Intelliseek research. Even so, IBM is giving employees "blogging tools" and views blogs as a way to forge new relationships with business partners, as well as market new products.

So, naturally, I decided to blog about it.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Trip

By singular demand I am posting the trip.

I don't know if I do summaries very well, but I'll try it - enter the joys of a one-week trip to the other side of the world.

Saturday morning we flew from Atlanta to LA, then LA to Sydney. The best part is that because of the time change in the States and Australia, instead of flying over night as is the usual itinerary, we were able to fly "during the day" and land Sunday night Sydney time. This allowed us to get there, and pretty much go straight to bed and get a full night's sleep, rather than having to start in the morning. I think this was the key to the fact that neither one of us experienced any jet lag in Austrlia. Upon check-in at our hotel, this was our view.

Not bad, I say.

The next day was Monday, and I worked from 10-5 while Dave walked around Sydney and figured out where things were. After work, we walked around and went to dinner. Some of the sites:

Seriously, we were really there. At the Sydney Opera House. I still don't know if I believe it.

On Tuesday, I worked 7-12, and Dave went to the aquarium. Then we met my colleagues at a pub to watch the Melbourne Cup. This is a horse race that shuts down the country. Think the Kentucky Derby's influence on Kentucky, and apply that to Australia, which is the size of the US's lower 48. I looked out the window of the pub during the race, and there was no one on the street, not even cars. Well, unlike the Derby, these horses can race multiple years. And the favorite was on her third race. We picked her, and she won. This is the first horse to win three in a row. We won $37 on a $10 bet. Good times.

Then we went to the airport to fly to Melbourne - a one hour and 20 minute flight south. Since the cup was there just a few hours earlier, and the week-long Carnival was still going on, things were crazy in Melbourne. Our hotel was a few miles outside of the city - probably similar to Decatur, if you have to compare it to Atlanta. We were about two miles from the Italian area, and that's where we ate. I've never seen anywhere like this. All the restaurants are right along the same street, one right after the other. They all had their sidewalks full of tables and chairs. We had about five feet to walk between the restaurant and tables along with everyone else going in our direction and the other. Meanwhile the restauranteurs were accosting us to come into their restaurants. Bizarre. So we went across the street to one that didn't attack us.

Wednesday was another 7-12 day, while Dave walked around. We ate on the river

and then took a tram for about 45 minutes to this little beach.

Something we started to realize is that modern cities are modern cities. Outside of something like the Sydney Opera House, if we had been dropped off without knowing where we were, these could have been pretty much any city in America. Well, ok, and driving on the left side of the road. But still, the buildings could be just about anywhere. The key is getting outside of the cities. And we got to do that when my boss gave me Thursday off, and directions to Mooloolaba beach about an hour outside of Brisbane. Turns out, this is where he was a member of the Mooloolaba Beach Surf Lifesaving Club. These are lifeguards, but they also participate in competitions.

The drive was beautiful, with these cool mountains that would pop up. Then the beach was incredible. Blue, cool water, nice sand, and huge waves. Huge waves. Waves like I've never seen in my life. I couldn't stand up in them. They knocked me over until I figured out that I better go under them or get out entirely. The pictures don't do them justice because there's no context, but they were at least five foot breakers. We had such a good time. This is somewhere we hope to go back to.

The beach

Apparently this is a protected beach, and the waves "aren't that bad." Thank you to my boss for sending us to this one.

Brisbane was a short day, and our flight left at 3pm. We then headed to Auckland, through Sydney. The flight created some cool shots. We could see how big Sydney really is. This shot is only one part of Sydney.

Ah, and then there's Auckland, New Zealand. We actually had a good bit of free time here, so this was great. Kayaking, driving around hills and beaches in a Suzuki Samarai, and then a visit to the Auckland Museum.

Some Auckland shots...
From the ferry

Waiheke Island Kayaking and Driving

A beautiful park in the heart of the city.

A different park, also in the city.

I guess that about sums it up.

The flights? Long - 14 hours LA to Sydney. 11 hours Auckland to LA. The jet lag? None going over. At first it seemed there wouldn't be any coming back, either. Ah, but there was. And has been all week. I'm still wiped out at about 3pm every day.

All in all, an amazing trip. I was ready to get home, but I definitely want to go back. We'd like to see more of the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast in Australia, plus more inland. And we definitely want to go back to New Zealand and hit the south island. That's where the truly amazing stuff is supposed to be. I can't even imagine.


Someone else I know will be sad about the first one, but my day has been marred by the announcement of the cancellation of Arrested Development.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Trent Reznor

I may be the last one here, but has anyone out there seen Trent Reznor lately? He was interviewed for a clip on VH1 that I saw this morning, and I didn't recognize him. Even after they said it was him, it took me a minute. It's interesting that so many of the "rebellious" types take on a more conventional look as they get older. I mean, he was not that alternative looking before - just long hair. But his new look certainly doesn't fit the sound of NIN from back in the day. Anyway, I'm just rambling.



Um, yeah, that's him - second from the LEFT.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

To Sum it Up

Having dessert - tempura banana - at the Harbourside Restaurant,

after a day of kayaking

Waiheke Island New Zealand...

The radio plays "Wish You Were Here," Pink Floyd.


Friday, November 04, 2005

Language and Dialect

Fun stuff from here. And not surprising one bit.

Your Linguistic Profile:

60% General American English

35% Dixie

5% Yankee

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern

Friday, October 28, 2005

In case you're wondering

this is the sticker I've decided to get.

A favorite columnist and a favorite blogger

The Agitator comments on a Thomas Sowell column.

As usual, they both say it so well that there's little more I can add.

Gratuitous post for Stacy

Trying to wrap things up at work, and we just had a wine tasting. As Stacy knows, I work much better after a drink, or two. Do you think that's a problem?

Anyway, must get back to tying up loose ends before the awesome trip for which we must be at the airport at 6:30am tomorrow morning, and I haven't packed a thing.

Listening to Duran Duran right now. Yay! (See, Stay, I told you it was for you)

Also, had a great time at a screening for Motor Home Massacre last night. So campy, and fun. If you get the chance to see it with a group of people, then it's totally worth it. If you're by yourself, or with someone with no sense of humor, you'll be miserable. Luckily, we were in a group, and with fun people last night.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Not the best idea

to watch a scary movie countdown alone.

A Band Question

Does the band Coheed and Cambria kind of freak anyone else out? I mean, they are nothing too unusual to look at,

at least in terms of rock music. I mean they don't make themselves up like Marilyn Manson - just some funky hair, really. But then the guy sings. With a voice somewhat similar to Geddy Lee. Get the videos here, for a sample.

I think it's the combination of the hair, the music, the smirk on the singer's face when he sings in the Suffering video, then that voice. Is it just me?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


I LOVE I Love the 80s. As Dave likes to say, Madison Ave. has my number for sure.

What I learned tonight that I, sadly, didn't know:
Rosanna by Toto was written for Rosanna Arquette, who was dating the lead singer of Toto at the time.
How did I miss that?

Meant to post on this a couple weeks ago

Dave, my mom, three of my coworkers, and I all got certified in CPR on October 8. It was a good class, and I truly think I could help in a bad situation. Honestly, it's a really cool feeling.

It's Halloween; who are you?

Hat tip, Stacy

vampire-- reserved and you love your privacy and
space. you enjoy spending time with only a few
close friends and are a bit of a loner

What halloween icon are you???
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, October 24, 2005

Big Trip Coming Up

So, I said I wouldn't believe it until I was on the ground in Sydney, but I'm comfortable enough to say that Dave and I are headed to Australia and New Zealand next week. I think that apprehensive is the word I will use to describe my state of mind regarding this trip. I'm excited, but nervous about how my body will react to four cities in seven days, keeping in mind that Australia is roughly the size of the US. Our itinerary:

Saturday 8:30am leave Atlanta for LA
1pm leave LA for Sydney, arrive 9:35pm Sunday - local time
Monday and Tuesday in Sydney
Tuesday 5:30pm leave Sydney for Melbourne, arrive 7pm
Wednesday in Melbourne
Wednesday 6:05pm leave Melbourne for Brisbane, arrive 7:10pm
Thursday in Brisbane
Thursday 3:10pm leave Brisbane for Auckland, New Zealand, arrive 11:45pm
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in Auckland
Sunday 7:40pm leave Auckland for LA, arrive 10:30 am (the same day!)
1:50pm leave LA for Atlanta, arrive 9pm Sunday (still the same day)

So, maybe you see the apprehension. (Adding to this Dave's business trip this Wednesday and Thursday). I've never traveled so far, but I've also never traveled so much in such a short time-period. And I'll be working most of the time. But I still think it will be lots of fun, and I'm so excited that Dave gets to go along, too. Here's to kayaking the New Zealand coast on Saturday, November 5.

Increasingly Libertarian


And if you're interested in libertarian bumper stickers, check these out. There are also stickers for the other political options.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Fun with IMDB

Did you know that Jason Bateman is married to Paul Anka's daughter?

Nothing much

Work has been strange lately, and it's got me feeling a little odd - and down. So, conveniently enough, the second disc of the first season of Arrested Development came in the mail today.

Yay! I felt better after just one episode. And there are eight on the disc.

Friday, October 14, 2005


Coming from a photo-journalism background, I once fawned all over Macs, too. Until I got one of my own that froze and crashed, just like PCs. It's just a damn computer. Anyway, interesting article for those obsessed with Mac, or those who find the obsession curious. It's really all about marketing and PR, after all.

Hat tip, the agitator, as usual.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


They do come from somewhere, don't they?

Dad = Jim Bob
Mom = mullet
Location = Arkansas

Monday, October 10, 2005

More Pictures

From last week and weekend.

Newport has to be the most overtly wealthy place I've ever been. Mansion (castle) after mansion. And yacht after yacht. The biggest sailboats I've ever seen.

See that white speck on the far boat. That's a man.

Supposedly Steve Wynn's "boat."

From the wedding (none from the Oct. 2 wedding, because those are film. Will post later.)

Old friends.


Just catching up on last week's episode. Best line ...

Lindsay, "How do you think I feel? Bob Loblaw's a handsome, professional man, and I'm only use to, well, none of those things."

Tobias, "OK, Lindsay, are you forgetting that I was a professional twice over? An analyst and a therapist. The world's first analrapist."

Lindsay, "Yes, and you were almost arrested for those business cards."

Tobias, "I know, it didn't look good on paper, but I didn't quit because of the police inquiries. I quit to raise our little daughter."

Sunday, October 09, 2005

It's been a while

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but I was here for this wedding last Saturday and Sunday ...

in Medford, MA Monday and Tuesday ...

in Newport, RI Wednesday through Friday

and then here for another wedding Saturday

I'm recovering.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Conversation of the episode

from Arrested Development...

(probably not EXACTLY, but well, you'll get the idea).

Talking about GOB's recently discovered son...

Michael, "Could it be, GOB, that this feeling that you’re feeling is ... a feeling?"
GOB, "I don’t know what this is. It’s not pain, or even hunger."
Michael, "Could it be that it is love?"
GOB, "No, Michael, I know what an erection feels like! This is like the opposite, like my heart is getting hard."

There were also hilarious references to Andy Grifith (Ron Howard narrating), and to "meaty leading-man parts."

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Thank you Dean Kamen

Is that how you spell your name? If not, I'm sorry. But thank you. I'm sure you didn't intend your really complicated, technically spectacular invention to be a tourist's mode of transportation in random cities. I'm sure you had loftier goals for this invention. And they are probably being realized elsewhere. But on Tybee Island, we had a great time on the off-road XT version. So, thank you.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Ivy-Leaguers Staying Home

Here's an interesting critique of the article I posted earlier this week.


Off to here for a couple days. It may not be the nicest hotel in the world, but it only needs to have one thing to make me happy ... a beach out front. It does. I'm set.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Thank you, Erica

I have to give a big thank you to Erica for letting me buy her Keane tickets, so she could go see the Doves tonight. What a show! There are few bands or singers who put on live shows that illustrate how woefully inadequite recorded music can be (is). Well, CDs, actually. My dad has a reel-to-reel of Madame Butterfly that is the best recording I've ever heard of anything. I digress.

Turns out, Keane is one of those bands whose CDs do them no justice whatsoever. And I like their recorded music. But live. Damn. Just damn. The lead singer's stage presence is incredible. The band's presence as a whole isn't choreographed or contrived. Even the lighting is well-done. Their stage show is on par with some of the best, but they do it in places like the Tabernacle instead of Philips Arena (for now).

"Successful" Women

It seems that many women are deciding they want to stay at home with their children, even - gasp - women graduating from Ivy League universities.

First of all, I must put aside my initial reaction about best laid plans, especially those we make in college. After that, it's very interesting to see what's happening, at least anecdotally.

Thankfully, this is a balanced article. There are a couple of folks on one side who seem to believe that the definition of success for a woman can mean many things. The president of Princeton, for instance:

For example, earlier this month, Shirley M. Tilghman, the president of Princeton University, welcomed new freshmen, saying: "The goal of a Princeton education is to prepare young men and women to take up positions of leadership in the 21st century. Of course, the word 'leadership' conjures up images of presidents and C.E.O.'s, but I want to stress that my idea of a leader is much broader than that."

She listed education, medicine and engineering as other areas where students could become leaders.

In an e-mail response to a question, Dr. Tilghman added: "There is nothing inconsistent with being a leader and a stay-at-home parent. Some women (and a handful of men) whom I have known who have done this have had a powerful impact on their communities."

But this one in particular is my favorite:
"They are still thinking of this as a private issue; they're accepting it," said Laura Wexler, a professor of American studies and women's and gender studies at Yale. "Women have been given full-time working career opportunities and encouragement with no social changes to support it.

"I really believed 25 years ago," Dr. Wexler added, "that this would be solved by now."

Permit me to build a straw(wo)man...
This quote says so many things about the way people with this view see the world. To them, how a woman chooses to raise her own children is not a private choice for her to make. Let's not even talk about this being a choice she would most likely make with her husband. How dare a modern woman view this as her own choice. Anyone notice something interesting here? I'm guessing that Dr. Wexler screams from the rooftops her support for a woman's right to choose many other things in her life. Once she becomes a mother, though, she no longer has a right to her own private decisions?

Or is she saying that these women are brainwashed by our patriarchal society and, therefore, incapable of making their own decisions? If so, who should overrule a woman's decision to stay at home with her children?

She also says there are "no social changes to support [working mothers]." I wonder when was the last time she worked in corporate America. Any guesses? I know of many organizations that strive to keep women onboard once they've had children. In order to do this, they build lactation rooms, and they implement teleworking and flexible scheduling policies. They offer more maternity leave than legally required. They understand that these women are contributors they don't want to lose. So companies do what they can to keep these women. I work for one of these companies. Many of the mothers that have come back to work after maternity leave haven't done so because of financial need. They love their jobs and our company, and our company makes it possible for them to be both successful mothers and salespeople, programmers, and customer support reps - to name a few.

And finally, Wexler hopes this "would have been solved by now." First, she assumes that women choosing to stay at home with their children is a) a problem and b) something that women are forced to do. I'd also be interested to know what exactly Wexler has done to create a solution for this problem that so disturbs her. Maybe she's not a very good women's studies professor if she hasn't been able to teach even the smartest women (students at Yale, for instance) that being a stay-at-home mother is clearly the wrong decision.

link via Wall Street Journal Best of the Web Today.

You got people coming at you from the front, from the back, from the side, at the condiment exchange; kids on bikes

Reality Bites is the 90s' Breakfast Club, no? It probably lines up more appropriately with St. Elmo's Fire, the whole post-college adjustment thing, but I was more into Breakfast Club than St. Elmo's Fire. So I'm feeling the Breakfast Club vibe. Can't really explain it, I guess.

Is it wrong that I want to not go back to work from lunch because it's on AMC right now. Damn, college was fun.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Feeling posty tonight

Stretchy Kitty

The Other Show

My other show started tonight. Great, bizarre humor, as usual.
George Sr. is a Blue-Man
GOB has a son
Kitty is off her post-pardum meds after 32 years

Favorite line so far...

When asked why she has stopped taking drugs for post-pardum depression 32 years after her youngest son was born, Lucille answers,
"Mood altering drugs lead to street drugs, according to a handsome doctor on the Today Show."
Michael, "Mom, that was Tom Cruise."
Lucille, "Oh, they said he was some kind of scientist."

I'm Oscar is the website Oscar started in prison to convince people that he's not his twin brother George. Anyone recongnize that inmate number?

What did I learn this weekend?

That frat boys at Clemson, Florida, Tennessee, and Auburn can buy seersucker shorts in orange (pardon me, that's melon).

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Politicians Suck

Many despicable things happened before, during, and after Katrina. This is one of them.

From The Agitator, as usual.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

As Usual

Radley Balko says it best.

Everyone is screaming about what the government didn't do for the victims of Katrina. But the real tragedy is what the government - local, state, and federal - did do. And that is stand in the way of those willing and able to help.

In his column, he also points to a fantastic visual presentation of why exactly the government cannot possibly respond quickly or appropriately to, well, anything, actually.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Working late

To say the least, I'm working late tonight. This is not usual for me, but this is a funny situation. I have been slammed at work lately. Spinning the wheels, ggetting lots done, but not getting anywhere. Well, I'm taking tomorrow (today in three minutes) off, but there is one item I wan't able to do today before I left for a dinner engagement with family. So, here I am - typing up meeting notes. I just absolutely don't want to do any work on my day off. Well, not after I wake up in the morning, anyway. There's plenty to be done around the house, and errands to be run.

Anyway, just felt like posting.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Reading that is more than worth the time

Whether you read business books typically, or not. Whether you read philosophy books typically, or not. Whether you read ANYTHING typically, or not. It doesn't matter. Get this book.

Leadership and Self-Deception is a book I'm reading for management training at work. The last book we read was ok. So I wasn't especially geared up for this one. But last night, I was flying back from Minneapolis with a couple hours on my hands, and nothing else to read. Before we landed, I had finished the book.

I would try to explain it, but it's too easy to butcher. Basically, though, there is a philosophical theory of self-deception, which says that we often deceive ourselves into a way of thinking about and treating other people because of refusing to do what we know we should. This creates a cycle in which people push back, and we cannot resolve the relationships. It's a cycle that prevents us from focusing on results - professional and personal - because we are focusing on ourselves and how others treat us.

From an editorial review on
The authors use examples from the characters' private as well as professional lives to show how self-deception skews our view of ourselves and the world and ruins our interactions with people, despite what we sincerely believe are our best intentions.

The theory (?) is told as a story, and is very easy to read. Sometimes it's pretty clear that they're simplifying the content to get across to a mass audience, but still good. It's not so easy to get the whole thing right up front though, so I'll probably read it again to get clarity on a couple of questions I still have. I'm excited for the discussion to begin at work. (what a geek)

I haven't done this book justice, though. Go out and get it. Read it. It will make a huge difference in how you think about and react to everyone around you.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Lazy today

Posting lyrics.

Artist: Barenaked Ladies
Album: Born On A Pirate Ship
Title: When I Fall

Words by Steven Page & Ed Robertson
Music by Ed Robertson

I look straight in the window, try not to look below
Pretend I'm not up here, try counting sheep
But the sheep seem to shower off this office tower
Nine-point-eight straight down I can't stop my knees.

I wish I could fly
From this building, from this wall
And if I should try,
would you catch me if I fall?

My hands clench the squeegee, my secular rosary
Hang on to your wallet, hang on to your rings
Can't look below me, or something might throw me
Curse at the windstorms that October brings.

I look in the boardroom; a modern pharaoh's tomb
I'd gladly swap places, if they care to dive
They're lined up at the window, peer down into limbo
They're frightened of jumping, in case they survive.

I wish I could step from this scaffold
onto soft green pastures, shopping malls, or bed
With my family and my pastor and my grandfather who's Dead

Look straight in the mirror, watch it come clearer
I look like a painter, behind all the grease
But paintings creating, and I'm just erasing
A crystal-clear canvas is my masterpiece


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Want to have kids?

My stepfather often says that there is no way he would bring children into today's world. While I don't feel as strongly, and understand that it has always been said that yesterday's world was better than today's, stories like this one do sometimes send me in that direction.

Short story ... cops launch a full-scale assault on a party, tear-gas and all. Their reasoning? The promoter didn't have the necessary permits. Some party-goers video-taped the raid. Cops then violently make efforts to confiscate the video. Some got out.

As always, thanks to The Agitator.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Wow, Mortality

So, our class (Dunwoody High School 1993) has experienced its first loss. Kelly died in a car accident in Denver and had been married less than a year.

All around, our class had been blessed. We never lost anyone while we were in school to the standard (sad as it is) suicide or car accident. And it's been 12 years now before we've lost anyone. The classes all around us have lost many people. I don't know why we'd been spared this long, but that doesn't make it any easier to hear about someone you've known since you were nine years old dying so suddenly.

I'm hit with this for selfish reasons, mainly - realizing that it can happen to anyone at any time, which means my loved ones, too. I'm so sad, though, for her family and friends. It's hard enough to think about someone you knew when, but I can't imagine if I were still close with Kelly like they all are. These things bring us all down to earth a bit, but the real tears are for her friends and family, left to be here without her, imagining everything she could have been and done had she only had more time.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

One of many reasons

that my husband is wonderful ... he cooks me healthy dinners.

You see, when I get home and he's taking a nap, I have an entire can of Cheetos for dinner.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Yes, indeedy

I'm 30 today. Honestly, as a young adult, I never thought I'd make it this far. Since I couldn't picture my life at 30, I assumed that meant I wouldn't make it. I have. And it's a wonderful life. So today is a day for celebration. I think that tonight I will watch Elvis movies, after BBQ with Dave, since most of the celebrating happened this weekend.

Thank you, Funkle Ester, for the recognition at Wild Wing. I got to play tamborine on stage, in front of family, friends, and strangers!

Now, it's off to meetings until 2:30. Yippee.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


The new Nickel Creek CD came out recently, and it's got a killer breakup song on it. Love the end of that third verse...

I hope you finally find someone
Someone that you trust
And give him everything
I hope you meet someone your height
So you can see eye-to-eye
With someone as small as you

Jealous of the Moon
Starin' down the stars
Jealous of the moon
You wish you could fly
But you're stayin' where you are
There's nothin' you can do
If you're too scared to try

And finally, Doubting Thomas:
What will be left when I've drawn my last breath
Besides the folks I've met and the folks who've known me
Will I discover a soul-saving love
Or just the dirt above and below me...

Can I be used to help others find truth
When I'm scared I'll find proof that it's a lie
Can I be led down a trail dropping bread crumbs
That prove I'm not ready to die

Please give me time to decipher the signs
Please forgive me for time that I've wasted

I'm a doubting Thomas
I'll take your promise
You've always kept me safe
Oh me of little faith

Friday, August 12, 2005

Oh my!

I'm sure you all do this, too, but sometimes I see myself from the outside and it scares me a little. Ok, a lot. Case in point...

Today, I'm working on the reconciliation report for our Australian distributor, and it's always unbelievably complicated (even though it shouldn't be), and it never matches up the first time around. In June we had a pretty complicated order go through, so just to get it out of the way, I started with that one. It matched up the first time. So, being very excited about this, a)I did a little dance in my chair. Then b), I found myself singing Get Down Tonight, and dancing even more.

Yes, so there it is. I think I'm ready for the Funkle Ester show tomorrow night.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

So bad

I've been so terrible about posting. I even had a great idea the other day that must not have been so great, because now I can't remember it. Oh well.

Anyway, thought I'd cheat and put some fun lyrics or something in here. Honestly, though, I just want to get home and relax (or move furniture, hang pictures on our newly painted den wall, and clean for Dave's friend's arrival into Atlanta this weekend).

So sorry to be a tease, but I'm headed home now.

Will try to post more later, but I will leave you with a well-reasoned post from The Agitator. Once they've nailed cigarettes, you know they're going after alcohol, right? It doesn't matter that it didn't work before. Just like communism, I guess prohibition just wasn't done right the first time.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Yeah, yeah, yeah

I know it's been a while. I guess there's been a lot going on, but not much to really write about. We've successfully painted our living room and dining room now. The den is next, then the hallway, entryway, spare bedroom/current office, downstairs bath, and finally the kitchen. Then installing a new sliding glass door, banister, and fixing the shower downstairs. Oh, and new hardwoods where to old furnace killed our existing ones. Exciting, huh?

Let's see, last weekend, we stayed at the Ritz Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation. Wow. Fantastic place. If you ever have the occasion to stay there on someone else's tab, by all means, do NOT pass it up. If you ever have the occasion and pocket money to stay there on your own tab, I recommend it.

We shot our last wedding. Woohooooo! It went very well, and the pictures are lovely.

And the company I work for successfully began the merger process with another company. This is very exciting news, and I think the combined company will be one to be reckoned with in our industry. However, during a conference call with my new boss, he let slip something that my old boss hadn't yet let me in on. I was very much aware that my role will be changing, as they have someone at that company that does something similar to me. He's actually at a director level, though. Yikes. But what I didn't know was how significantly. Turns out, they are taking away my most lucrative business to let me focus on that in which I am not strong. My heart almost came out of my mouth. Let me say, though, that this company has always treated me extremely well, and given me nothing but opportunities to prove myself, contribute, and earn more money. As a matter of fact, I have the opportunity this year to earn a decent chunk of change in bonuses. That's what scares me to death. It's the partners I'm giving up that earn me those bonuses, not to mention trips to Australia and England. I'm terrified. This week should be interesting. I get to learn more about "the plan." I sure as hell hope the plan includes things staying the same through the end of the year and a nice little salary increase to make up for lost bonus pay next year. Somehow I doubt it. I imagine they are going to give me some new goals and new bonus opportunities. I just know that I don't like the idea of losing those that I've become adept at dealing with, and that have proven successful pieces of our business strategy worldwide.

Anyway, it's way past time for bed.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

More libertarian every day

Thanks to The Agitator for directing readers here.

"Free Market Environmentalism" as some are calling it, is getting some traction out west. It seems that heavily subsidized ranchers have figured out that selling their land to environmentalists - of their own free will - is more profitable than ranching. The sad thing is that the government is standing in the way, and it's not the government folks you would think. No, it's the Republicans who claim to believe in the free market over government intervention, who are upset about a fading way of life - ranching. Nevermind that in this particular area, supporting this "way of life" costs the government millions of dollars. Why not let these landowners decide for themselves what they want to do with their own land. How pathetic. Oh well, I guess it's just in line with the recent Supreme Court rulings on private property.

The political parties are about nothing more than power - regardless of their stated interests. If the Republicans gave a damn about private property rights and the free market, as they so claim, then they would stay out of these private transactions. Of course, what do you expect when the administration considered filing a brief in support of New London (not the property owners) in the now infamous Kelo decision?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Saved by the second opinion

Turns out, our AC compressor is just fine, and actually only a few years old. The condenser coil is clogged, though. But instead of just replacing the coil, we will replace that and our 20 year-old furnace (since it's likely to go soon, and they have to be in that general vicinity to get to the coil). The entire job will run us $2300.

Yippeee! Normally, I wouldn't be thrilled with spending that kind of money unplanned, but, well, it's a hell of a lot better than $6400.

And they're coming in Wednesday to do it. We'll be staying at my mom's the next couple of nights.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Movie and housework

I'm not sure that I mentioned that on top of having no AC, we are also in the middle of painting our living room, so all our furniture is shoved to the middle of the room. As if it wasn't already enough of a mess. So, we tried to work through the pain yesterday, and get something accomplished by getting some more painting done. You see, I'm one of those folks who when she feels like there's something she can't control (spending thousands of dollars that she doesn't have on a new AC unit, for instance), must find something that she can control. The good thing about this is that I get things done, when I'm in this kind of mood. The bad news is, is that while I'm getting these things done, I'm in a pretty pissy mood. At least until the shock has worn off. FYI, the shock has worn off, and I'm in a pretty good moood today. This is great news for me, but especially for Dave - poor guy.

Anyway, back to the point. We'll at about 6 last night Dave was de-stressing by playing X-Box in our newly centralized living room. He had mentioned painting some more. At first I was having none of it. Then, with manic fervor, I began. We got a little done, but I was so frustrated in general, that really not much got accomplished.

So here we are to the point of this post, really. We needed to get out, and I needed a laugh. So we went to see Wedding Crashers. All I can say, is please please please go see this movie as soon as you can. It's pretty obvious what kind of humor it is, so if you are the kind that likes that kind of movie (American Pie, Animal House, Old School (even though, sacrilidge, I didn't really like this one)) then go see it. Though I do have to warn a couple of you who don't like the song "Shout," (I still don't get that), that this is a movie about weddings, and, therefore, the song abounds. There's even a special tribute, if you will, to the song. At least they didn't pick YMCA, the Electric Slide, or the Macarena.

Vince Vaughn is better than ever here - even over Old School, of which he was the only redeeming factor. So is Owen Wilson. Christopher Walken is his usual weirdly cadenced self. Jane Seymour has a funny part, but that story line disappears about halfway through, never to return. I think there was some editing, and her character got left behind.

Generally my favorite way to see a movie is with a full, but respectful, audience. Luckily, this was the case last night, with the entire audience busting out into laughter, applause, and even a huge cheer during one scene in particular.

It was stupid and silly and crass and funny as hell. This movie did its job well - it took my mind off my problems and to another world (ok, yeah, yeah, another soap opera reference - they're all over the place today). For that alone, it was well worth the price of admission for two, a small popcorn, a medium diet coke, and a small coke.

And when we got home, we finished painting the living room. Now it's onto the dining room, when we have AC again. We found out last night (1am this morning) that when your house is 92 degrees, paint dries really really fast and makes it virtually impossible to get an even coat.

To catch you up...

Because the "fix" is estimated at more than we spent on one of our cars, we are going to get a second opinion. Because it's the weekend and we're in the hottest days of our year, that second opinion cannot come out to look at the system until at least tomorrow, which pushes any repairs out probably a week. So yep, that's right, in the hottest days of our year (cue cheesy long-standing soap opera music), Dave and I will be without AC for a week or so

Four bright sides:
1 - We'd both rather be hot than cold any day
2 - At least our July power bill won't be $211, like June's was. (Or maybe it will be, since all last week, the AC had to stay on 24/7 to keep the house at 84 degrees.)
3 - We're not in the midwest right now, or Arizona
4 - In order to escape from this heat mid-day, we're going to take a trip to Ikea.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

New System

Yippee. It is an entirely new HVAC system. To the tune of $6400. That's our first estimate. We're going to get another. Can't wait. And here I was all excited that we're getting our debt paid down. So much for that.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Ah, the joys of home ownership

So, our ac hasn't been up to snuff the last couple of weeks, so we've called the service folk to come look at it tomorrow. Wednesday, I changed the filter, just for good measure, and I noticed a small leak in the furnace where the filter goes. A couple drips here and there. Thought nothing of it, just that I would mention it when the nice repairman comes to fix the ac. Until tonight, when I noticed our 7 month-old hardwood floors just outside the laundry room (where the furnace is) are now nicely bowed, and black around the seams. Well, sn't that just lovely? I guess the leak is worse than I thought. It's not like there is a pool of water anywhere, either. It's simply made its way via the path of least resistance underneath our new floors.

A few things to be thankful for here:
We have a slab foundation.
This is a small area (maybe 10-12 ft square), so the replacement floors shouldn't be too expensive.
We just paid off a decent amount of credit card debt, which leaves us room for some more if we have to replace the furnace and floors.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Still can't seem to get myself to bed.

Then I start finding things like this, from my favorite poet. Does that make me pretentious, that I have a favorite poet? Oh well. I'll just be pretentious then. Because having a favorite poet is worth it. Because when you can't sleep, and you can go online, and find something like this, without fail, in spite of the fact that you haven't read any of his work in years - there is no better thing. Even when what you find is crushing. Especially when what you find is crushing.

The Vanishings
Stephen Dunn

One day it will vanish,
how you felt when you were overwhelmed
by her, soaping each other in the shower,
or when you heard the news
of his death, there in the T-Bone diner
on Queens Boulevard amid the shouts
of short-order cooks, Armenian, oblivious.
One day one thing and then a dear other
will blur and though they won't be lost
they won't mean as much,
that motorcycle ride on the dirt road
to the deserted beach near Cadiz,
the Guardia mistaking you for a drug-runner,
his machine gun in your belly—
already history now, merely your history,
which means everything to you.
You strain to bring back
your mother's face and full body
before her illness, the arc and tenor
of family dinners, the mysteries
of radio, and Charlie Collins,
eight years old, inviting you
to his house to see the largest turd
that had ever come from him, unflushed.
One day there'll be almost nothing
except what you've written down,
then only what you've written down well,
then little of that.
The march on Washington in '68
where you hoped to change the world
and meet beautiful, sensitive women
is choreography now, cops on horses,
everyone backing off, stepping forward.
The exam you stole and put back unseen
has become one of your stories,
overtold, tainted with charm.
All of it, anyway, will go the way of icebergs
come summer, the small chunks floating
in the Adriatic until they're only water,
pure, and someone taking sad pride
that he can swim in it, numbly.
For you, though, loss, almost painless,
that Senior Prom at the Latin Quarter—
Count Basie and Sarah Vaughan, and you
just interested in your date's cleavage
and staying out all night at Jones Beach,
the small dune fires fueled by driftwood.
You can't remember a riff or a song,
and your date's a woman now, married,
has had sex as you have
some few thousand times, good sex
and forgettable sex, even boring sex,
oh you never could have imagined
back then with the waves crashing
what the body could erase.
It's vanishing as you speak, the soul-grit,
the story-fodder,
everything you retrieve is your past,
everything you let go
goes to memory's out-box, open on all sides,
in cahoots with thin air.
The jobs you didn't get vanish like scabs.
Her good-bye, causing the phone to slip
from your hand, doesn't hurt anymore,
too much doesn't hurt anymore,
not even that hint of your father, ghost-thumping
on your roof in Spain, hurts anymore.
You understand and therefore hate
because you hate the passivity of understanding
that your worst rage and finest
private gesture will flatten and collapse
into history, become invisible
like defeats inside houses. Then something happens
(it is happening) which won't vanish fast enough,
your voice fails, chokes to silence;
hurt (how could you have forgotten?) hurts.
Every other truth in the world, out of respect,
slides over, makes room for its superior.

What's next, then?

I guess I need to figure that out.

And get some sleep.

Goodnight. Here's to meaningful days ahead.

Time to let go...

I guess sometimes it just makes sense to let go of things ...

I think that's what I've been trying to do for a while now. There are a couple more bits and pieces, but I'm getting there.

Midnight Radio

Driving far from home.
On a midnight radio.
Reckless and alone. On a long black road.
The city is burning like a dream. Like a lady smoking in the night.
And she lets out a silent scream. So far from the morning light.

And I don't know where to go.
And I don't know where I've been.
And I don't know If I'll still be here. When the sun rises again.
But somewhere in the distance. There's a tower and a light.
Broadcasting a resistance. Through the rain and through the night.
Hold me in the darkness.
Love is playing in the darkness.
On a midnight radio.

So grab your little sister.
Wake up your children and your wife.
Cause a new train's coming mister.
Around the boarders of the night.
Wavelengths of love are playing on a midnight radio.
Through the static and the rain.
On a midnight radio ...

-- Big Head Todd & the Monsters

Monday, July 11, 2005

Ben Stein

Y'all know Ben Stein. That odd fellow we all first got to know when he repeated the name "Beuller" several times to his high school class in that classic deadpan.

Then he was a gameshow host and a pitchman. And we found out he was also an economist.

Well, he's also a great columnist. I'm sad that I didn't know this column existing until its end. But Ben Stein's last column for E!Online is wonderful.

Check it out here.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

They aren't kidding.

Ugliest dog contest in Santa Barbara, CA. Seriously. You can't even imagine. Consider yourself warned.

First go here for the story.

Then go here for the proof.

More Mina

Can't help it. I just have nothing of substance to blog about right now.

Work is slammed. Can't even catch my breath.

Working on several projects at home. Painting and moving rooms around. Office and den both moving downstairs to a currently un-used room. Office becoming third bedroom. All these rooms must be painted, as should the living room, dining room, hallway, spare bedroom, and downstairs landing area. FUN! Wouldn't be so bad if we were going to be home any amount of time over the next four weeks. So, yes, we get to work all day, come home, cook, eat dinner, clean dishes, then start moving stuff and painting. What a blast. But it will be fabulous when it's done.

Anyway, back to Mina.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

So, what do I do?

This weekend, someone paid me a very nice compliment. The bar we were in was extremely loud, and I don't think I was able to thank him properly. So thank you. You are very kind.

I was also unable the answer his original question, "So, what do you do?"

Well, for eight or so hours every day, I assist my company's resellers, both domestic and international, in helping their clients hire the best employees by using our products. Strategic Accounts Manager is my official title. Oddly enough, I really enjoy my job. Well, the job is a job, but I really enjoy the people I work with, and I truly believe that my company provides a great service. Good stuff all around. I'm one of the lucky ones.

So, the other 16 hours of the day, what do I do? Well, I play and coach soccer. Dave and I are also photographers, though we're going back to more of the amateur route. I'm also a wife, and parent (dog, two cats, and a fish), a daughter, granddaughter, a daughter-in-law, a sister-in-law, an aunt, a cousin, and a friend. I'm a homeowner, which also translates into an amateur repairwoman, painter, and maid. Luckily, I'm rarely a cook. Oh yeah, and I'm a groupie.

What I am, but I don't do, is a degreed writer - UGA, Grady College of Journalism, Class of 1997, in Magazines. I'm also an English minor.

What do I want to be that I'm not, yet? Well, I'd very much like to be debt-free. And a kayaker. And I'd like to be a mother in the more small-human-being sense. And, well, for a little fantasy, I'd like to be an absolute badass with a rockin' body, like Jessica Biel in Blade Trinity.

So what about you? What do you do? What are you? What did you study to be? And what would you like to be? Beuller, Beuller. Anyone?

Friday, June 24, 2005

Pet Peeves II

Biggest blogging pet peeve?

Comments trolls who make random (an usually anonymous) comments unrelated to the original post. Especially when they are negative and completely against the tone of the blog on which they are posting.

For example, the first comment on the "Big Oops" post at Jen's blog. Grr.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

RIP US Constitution

On its deathbed with the Ashcroft v. Raich decision, the Constitution has now passed on.

The latest Supreme Court decisions have been utterly devastating to liberty. These are not obscure decisions, and both will affect millions of people. The government can now stand in your way at nearly every turn.

I'm sad.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Pensive Whitney

I think I may be coming out of this finally. A few days is all I usually need during these little episodes. This one seemed particularly tough a week ago. But maybe it wasn’t.

How do I know I’m coming out of it? Well, I’m starting to tire of the Pensive playlist on my mp3 player. On the Pensive playlist are songs that in my life for years, and recently, I have been able to listen to over and over and over again during these times. I lose myself in these songs. Artists include those already mentioned – Guy Clark, Radney Foster, and Lyle Lovett – and others: Jimmy Buffett, Fleetwood Mac, Don Henley, Nickel Creek, Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen, Annie Lennox, Melissa Etheridge, Angie Aparo, Otis Redding, and Everthing But the Girl. There more, but those are the ones this time around.

So this is a good sign.

I think I’ve figured out the source of the Pensive-ness (ivity?), though. And that’s the second step on the path. While Dave D. was brought to his own reflection during an event that pulled so much to the fore, my own epiphanies are the opposite. I need to be away from everything in order to sort it all out … stand back, and look again.

I think it’s that I don’t feel like I’m doing anything lately. Well, I’m doing plenty, as evidenced by my calendar. I guess a better word would be accomplishing. I’m not accomplishing anything.

This is something that is distinctly different about childhood vs. adulthood. From day one through college, there was always an accomplishment on the horizon – the end of the school year, the beginning of the school year, graduation, some sort of goal for whatever activities we were involved in. Constant end-points in front of us. As an adult, it’s not so much like that anymore. Yes, there are promotions and raises, marriage and children, but these are not as defined as goals before. And what do you do in between these defining moments in your life? How do you figure out who you are and what you’ve accomplished without these rites of passage?

I catch myself spinning my wheels, doing lots, but getting nothing done. So I have to remember to set some goals for myself. Maybe this is why people make New Year’s resolutions. I never really have. And I probably won’t. But what I will do is keep an active list of things I want to get done, and really focus on those. (I hear Dave groaning now, “Not ANOTHER list!”). Also, all of these have to require little cash, since something we have managed to accomplish is an uncomfortable amount of debt.

Finish painting the kitchen cabinets
Paint the living room
Paint the dining room
Pay off Dave’s car

I’m not saying that painting and paying off bills will define who I am. That’s what my relationships and daily life and the rites of passage are for – the way we treat other people and the larger accomplishments. I think I have a handle on these for now. What’s got me weird is whatever happens in between. Apparently, I need something to fill the in-between.

These can all be done relatively quickly – before the end of the summer, if I put my mind to it. So then what? Well, I’ll deal with that then. I’ve considered martial arts, but that means I’ll have to give up at least one soccer team and something financially. We’ll just have to see. But I will find something. I can’t go through this again in a matter of months.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Slightly better shot, but not by much. The story of the tag on the end of the guitar is kind of fun. The guitar was stolen at a music festival in Houston back in the 80's. Eventually, he got a call from the police. They had the guitar. The tag is the evidence tag from the police department. It hasn't come off since. Posted by Hello

Pictures from the show. Moved around a little to get better shots, but it was still pretty dark. And red lights stink, especially with a red curtain. Anywho... Posted by Hello

Chin deep in it

Going to see one of my favorite singer-songwriters tonight at Eddie's Attic couldn't have come at a better time. I'm chin deep in music right now. I sit at my desk at work with my headphones on listening to the three big guys in my book: Guy Clark, Lyle Lovett, and Radney Foster.

Tonight at Eddie's Attic was Radney Foster. The crowd was no more than 150. Radney and a couple guitars. I can't say much more than that.

There was a song that I'd not heard before. I can't explain what it's like to go to a show like this by yourself and hear a song like this one. I just hope you can understand. If you can't, well, I'm sad for you, because it truly is one of the greatest experiences in life - in its pain and its glory.

"Half Of My Mistakes"
(Radney Foster/Bobby Houck)

Half of my mistakes I made stone cold sober
Half of my mistakes I made at closing time
Half the time I never saw it coming 'til it was over
Half of my mistakes I made with love on the line

Half of my mistakes I swear I should have known better
Half of my mistakes were just amongst friends
You get a little distance on it the truth is clearer
Half of my mistakes, I'd probably make 'em again.

So if I had it all to do over I'm sure I'¹d win and lose just as much
Spend less time on right and wrong
And a lot more time on love.

Half of my mistakes I made 'cause I was moving too quickly
Half of 'em were made 'cause my heart was moving too slow
Nobody can tell you a damn thing if you ain't listening
Half of my mistakes I made 'cause I couldn't let go

(Repeat chorus)

Half of my mistakes I'd give anything to change how it ended
Half of my mistakes, God, I wouldn't change a thing
You can lean too hard on regrets, but I don't recommend it
Because half the good things in life came from half of my mistakes

Yeah, a lot of good things in my life come from half my mistakes.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


May not hear from me for a while. By that I mean a few days or maybe a couple weeks. There's just too much going on, and I have to focus and re-evaluate some things. One of those times.

Will leave you with a song:

Boats to Build
Guy Clark

It's time for a change
I'm tired of that same ol' same
The same ol' words the same ol' lines
The same ol' tricks and the same ol' rhymes

Days precious days
Roll in and out like waves
I got boards to bend
I got planks to nail
I got charts to make
I got seas to sail

I'm gonna build me a boat
With these two hands
It'll be a fair curve
From a noble plan
Let the chips fall where they will
Cause I've got boats to build

Sails are just like wings
The wind can make 'em sing
Songs of life songs of hope
Songs to keep your dreams afloat

I'm gonna build me a boat
With these two hands
It'll be a fair curve
From a noble plan
Let the chips fall where they will
Cause I've got boats to build

Shores distant shores
There's where I'm headed for
Got the stars to guide my way
Sail into the light of day

I'm gonna build me a boat
With these two hands
It'll be a fair curve
From a noble plan
Let the chips fall where they will
Cause I've got boats to build

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Weekend Movies

Saw a couple of movies this weekend. Wanted to see one more, but oh well. And since Batman Begins starts this coming weekend, I don't know that we'll get aroung to seeing Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Went last night to see Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but the showing we were there for was sold out, and the next one wasn't for another hour. So we saw Cinderella Man. Wow, absolutely loved it. Don't know that I'll be buying that one, but I'm really glad that I saw it. Dave asked if I needed to be rehydrated afterwards. I cried a lot. But, well honestly, I cry a lot anyway. I'm sensitive, sentimental, empatheitic, sympathetic - whatever all of the words are that means someone who cries easily. The scene when Russel Crowe's character goes to ask for money just about tore me up. I now have an understanding as never before about what people went through during the depression.

But, while that one is rough, the movie I saw this evening takes the cake for weekend sadness. It's a movie called Sometimes in April, done by HBO about the Rwandan genocide in 1994. I'm ashamed to say that I had no idea this was going on at the time. But I do remember Kurt Cobain's death, which happened at the same time. I haven't seen Hotel Rwanda yet, but had planned to before seeing this one, and certainly will now. I would like to see another story of this horrible tragedy. September 11 galvanized our nation (briefly) when 3,000 people died. A much smaller nation - tiny by comparison - was torn about when its own people began targeting each other and 1 million people were killed - 800,000 of them Tutsi's who were killed solely for being another Tutsi's and not Hutu's. I thank God that I cannot comprehend hunting down the people in my neighborhood simply because they, their parents, or their spouses were originally from Sandy Springs, while I'm from Alpharetta. That's the only way I can think of the tribal differences. Or maybe because their great grandparents came over from Ireland and mine from Scotland? 800,000. Women, children, people in churches, homes, in the street, in schools.

Unfortunately, it seems the Rwandan situation followed a little too closely to Mogadishu, Somalia, for the US government's comfort, and we did nothing. Watching the clip of some silly bureaucrat dance around even naming it genocide is infuriating and heartbreaking.

The UN, that bastion of rescuing the world, only sent 400 troops. France had some there because the Belgians had originally wrestled Rwanda from them years earlier, and given favor to the minority Tutsi's. And so the Hutu resentment existed, even though they had ruled the country since 1959. That's the short story.

A great movie - sad, infuriating, and touching. The rebel army was able to gain control of the country after 100 days and 1 million deaths. And the man who took over as president is still president today. I do not know more than that.

Please, don't think that this movie is all about bashing America for not doing more. It's not. It's about two brothers and the world trying to deal with was happening. One Hutu Army member married to a Tutsi and his brother a Hutu political radio host fanning the flames of the hatred and bigotry. It leaves no one unaccounted for, but isn't about blame. It tells the story. Even after seeing this, you don't necessarily know what America should have or could have done. At least, I don't. There was really no leader to displace. It was anarchy. How do you deal with that? We learned in Somalia that it's no easy task. And we were gun-shy for having that experience.

Someone in the movie asked if it was because they were African, but we sat by and did the same thing with Yugoslavia.

I certainly have no answers. Does anyone? Maybe we'll be willing and able to help next time.

It's a movie worth watching.

Friday, June 10, 2005

More thoughts on the Rat Pack

Really translates to celebrity, but follow along with me...

If people are ok with the fact that they weren't necessarily great people to those who lived outside of the Rat Pack stage life, that's fine. I'm ok with that in listening to their music, but it's hard to convince me that they are worth all the obsessing outside of the music.

It's like the way I can rationalize hollywood liberals and my enjoyment of their movies, in spite of my disagreement with their politics. 1 - I enjoy their movies or whatever art they practice (movies, music, etc). 2 - I can enjoy that and not like them as people. 3 - I can't convince other people who can't enjoy their movies or music that they should. I do enjoy the art only if I can separate that from the person. If I can't separate the art from the person, then I can't enjoy it. I don't enjoy mafia stories generally, because I can't separate the intriguing story from the horrible characters in it. I can enjoy Sinatra's, Martin's, Springsteen's, and Mellencamp's music because I can separate who they are, their politics, and anything else from their music.

Look at the worldwide love for Michael Jackson. Most people can still separate who he has become from who he was during Thriller and earlier albums. Less so with Bad. And then it all went downhill when people could no longer separate his psychological problems from his musical persona. The people who are still his most loyal fans seem to only remain that way by continuing to separate their love of the music from the love of the man. The worse his problems show through, the more this ability to love him moves from separation to outright denial. In order to still love his music, many people have to deny that he is a creepy person at best and a pedophile at worst. The more the art and the artist become one, the more difficult it is.

I think that's why love of the Rat Pack's music and lifestyle so often translate into a love of the Rat Pack - by the end, they seemed to be one and the same. The Rack Pack worked very hard either become their stage personas or to convince people that they were their stage personas. People feel they were who they presented on stage, and therefore, indiscretions outside of that image are either not really who they were anyway or are ok, because the rest was great. Was Sinatra a great guy with a great voice who did stupid things or was he only a thug with a great voice?

We all make mistakes or do things that aren't great, and our friends love us anyway. We all believe that those bad things are not who we are; we are the good things we do. How you feel about the Rat Pack itself (and possibly, but not necessarily the music) seems to fall along the lines of whether you think they were truly more of the good parts of themselves or more of the bad parts of themselves.

Rat Pack Love

I know people on both sides of the Rat Pack spectrum, especially regarding Sinatra. Lileks has a great Bleat today after reading a book about Skinny D'Amato - his influence on Atlantic City's heyday, and his influence on 50's culture because of his friendships with members of the Rat Pack.

Lileks looks none too kindly on the Rat Pack, and nicely ties it to Mob Chic. Those two always seem to go hand-in-hand, which I guess is appropriate.

Sinatra plays a large role in the book, and reminds me again how much I
don’t like the man. And how that extends to his music. There’s something false
and seductive about being a modern-day Sinatra fan, and by “fan” I mean someone
who thinks they can get a few photons of reflected coolness by conspicuously
immersing himself in the Capitol oeuvre, with all its world-wearing romantic rue
and barroom charm.

The Rat Pack Myth works best from a distance, preferably 1500 miles and 30
years; you don’t see them feel up the hat check girl, kick the waiter (or have
him kicked), or stare with vacant eyes from the bottom of whatever well of
drunkenness they toppled into that night. We cut them slack because they wore
cool suits and had short hair and smoked a lot and one of the spoke
ever-so-cultured, and because they either slept with a Kennedy or pimped for
one. Mafia Chic requires the same removal from the scene.

I'm somewhere in the middle on this one, and seemingly opposite of Lileks. Lileks admits to being a Sopranos fan, but no fan of Sinatra.
I do like a lot of Sinatra's songs, and I adore Dean Martin. But I do not like the people they were. I'm rather ambivilant about the rest of the Rat Pack scene, as I'm typically not a fan of "scenes."

And I certainly have no love for Mafia movies - have seen most and don't need to see any of them again. I'll never understand what's so romantic about people who can compartmentalize their lives so much that they can "love" their wives while cheating regularly or can espouse honor while having people murdered and beaten.