Dec 29, 2003

"It's normal for part of the population not to know who their biological father is ... Therefore one can't demand every child's right to know its biological parents."

This is normal? Not to know your heritage? Not to know your family's history? It's these stories that keep civilization alive. Our roots. Who are ancestors were. The lives they led. The talents they passed on. It's what keeps us connected to the past and gives us hope for the future.

Civilization is not recreated from scratch every day. It uses the lessons from history. It's the sense of pride I get reading the story of my Highland ancestor and the hardships he faced coming to this country in the 1600's. It's knowing that I come from hearty stock that helps me to keep going when things are tough. I can call on the strength and perseverance of my ancestors. It's an invisible connection, an invisible strength.

That's what these children will never have. And it leaves an important gap. Just how effectively could Mr. Schou run his company if he had no idea of its history?

"Oh, didn't you read your policy? You should have read your policy."

How about "you should have been able to understand your policy." I swear, insurance companies should be required to supply interpreters.

Dec 26, 2003

Ok, I love my pets, but employers offering pet benefits? A little over the top.

They are not your kids. You are not required to send them to school. You are not required to get them a babysitter if they are under a certain age. You do not have to take them to the doctor for required shots so they can go to school.

They are not going to grow up and discover a cure for AIDS. They will not become the next president. They will not be be growing up to lead society in any number of years.

They are a living thing, and deserve the respect that all living things do. But they don't deserve company benefits any more than your potted geranium does.

Dec 24, 2003

Having an interfaith organization as one of my clients, this rings familiar.

While reading thru my favorite blogs, I noticed that Melly is having some trouble with the diet. Here's one someone sent me a long time ago that I think her little guy can help her with:



One scrambled egg, one piece of toast with grape jelly. Eat 2 bites of egg, using your fingers; dump the rest on the floor. Take 1 bite of toast, then smear the jelly over your face and clothes.


Four crayons (any color), a handful of potato chips, and a glass of milk (3 sips only, then spill the rest).


A dry stick, two pennies and a nickel.

Bedtime Snack

Toast piece of bread and toss it on the kitchen floor.



Pick up stale toast from kitchen floor and eat it. Drink half bottle of vanilla extract or one vial of vegetable dye.


Half a tube of "Pulsating Pink" lipstick and a handful of dog chow (any flavor).
One ice cube, if desired.

Afternoon Snack

Lick an all-day sucker until sticky, take outside, drop in dirt. Retrieve and continue slurping until it is clean again. Then bring inside and drop on the rug.


A rock or an uncooked bean, which should be thrust up your left nostril. Pour iced tea over mashed potatoes; eat with a spoon.



Two pancakes with plenty of syrup, eat with fingers, rub in hair. Glass of milk: drink half, stuff pancakes in glass. After breakfast, pick up yesterday's sucker from rug, lick off fuzz, and put it on the cushion of your best chair.


Three matches, peanut-butter and jelly sandwich. Spit several bites onto the floor. Pour glass of milk on table and slurp up.


Dish of ice cream, handful of potato chips.



A quarter-tube of toothpaste (any flavor), bit of soap, an olive. Pour a glass of milk over bowl of cornflakes, add a half-cup of sugar. Once cereal is soggy, drink milk and feed cereal to dog.


Eat crumbs off kitchen floor and dining room carpet. Find that sucker and finish eating it.


A glass of spaghetti and chocolate milk. Leave meatball on plate. Stick of mascara for dessert.


We're already overrun with them in areas where we've taken over their territory for our swanky homes. Now we're cloning them so we can hunt them down and slaughter them?

Top of the food chain, maybe. The "brain chain" is obviously a different story.

He thought that if you were admitted to the hospital as a patient, things like smoking would be off limits until you got better or finished your treatment.


"It's going to change my whole life, because the expense (was) not factored into my retirement"

Boo hoo.

How about "factoring in" that you knew this child existed all along. How about "factoring in" that you COULD have set up a bank account for her that eventually could have been making enough interest to cover part of the obligation. How about "factoring in" that the responsiblity to support that child was as much YOUR responsiblity as it was her mother's responsibility. How about "factoring in" that her mother may not even HAVE a retirement account because she's been carrying your burden all these years. How about "factoring in" that YOU could have gone to court to take care of your responsiblity instead of trying to avoid it.

Your life was changed the day you whipped it out, buddy. It just took this long to finally make you come to terms with that.

Dec 23, 2003

Not to mention the fact that hiding an accuser's relevent past promotes the notion that only the chaste need apply and does little to change the attitudes that women have a right to engage in activities purely for pleasure.

It also does little to make women responsible for their actions. While we should be as free as men to walk down the street to our car after dark, we must also realize that going to a man's hotel room, especially under the influence of alcohol, may be sending a message ripe for misinterpretation. That the man be the only one responsible for the outcome is just wrong, and does little to promote personal responsibility.

It also will never make a clear distinction between consent and attack if women are still being portrayed as innocent, non-s--ual, people-pleasing beings. As long as women are afraid to say a resounding "yes" without fear of being negatively labeled, we will never be able to voice a definitive "NO."

“What someone reads doesn’t necessarily say anything about what they might do—there’s no link between interest and intent. "

Good lord. What kind of a profile would they do if they listed all the books I've checked out of the library in the past year? Certainly not one I'd consider accurate enough.

Happiness has a monetary value.

Ok. So let's assume you're a single mom raising your kids with little or no help from anyone. How do you factor that into the "how much additional salary people demand to assume additional risk" formula? Are we talking risk of the job, or risk of losing the job? Does "willingness to spend" include ability to spend? I might shell out $1,000.00 for an alarm if I had $1,000.00 to spend on an alarm rather than have pay the electric bill that would enable it to work.

How do you factor "lost happiness?" Do you includes statistics on the average divorce rate and realistically evaluate the number of times long-married couples are intimate when determining loss of consortium? If so, I'd think damages would be a lot lower.

Not one of us is guaranteed happiness. Not one of us is guaranteed that our world will stay a place that will give us joy every day for the rest of our lives.

The only thing we are sure of is that if jury awards for continue to rise to include "hedonic damages" good doctors will leave the profession when they can no longer afford malpractice coverage. Parents will no longer have to be diligent when watching their children since so many things that inattention allows to happen will be somebody else's fault. People will no longer be required to develop a little common sense.

Great. A world full of selfish, lazy, demanding, helpless idiots.

Yes, there are some situations where compensation for medical expenses is not enough. But let's stop going overboard. Sometimes you just have to play the hand you're dealt.

Dec 21, 2003

One for the history buffs.

It's not just an American phenomenon.

Whew. I'll admit, my parents are a big help. I get my car inspected for a Christmas present, heating oil for my birthday. Although not the most fun when it comes to opening presents, these gifts take a load off my mind. And as a single mom receiving little to no help from the dad, I'm grateful.

But I also do not take advantage of the situation. It really frosts me to see people taking from their parents for necessities like insurance and rent, then feeling entitled to go off on a vacation to the Caribbean. Who want the Bank of Mom and Dad to finance the groceries so they can have a little money to kick back at the bar with their friends. Who could actually make it on their own if they gave up the cable tv, unlimited calling plan cell phone, fashionably over-priced clothes. You don't need a gym membership. Clean your parent's house. There's your exercise.

Yes, the economy sucks. Being a single parent is hard, both emotionally and financially. There are things neither my parents nor I can control, like the costs of housing, insurance, and basic necessities. But there's a difference between necessities and luxuries.

Some "kids" need to learn that.

So now comes the debate on Bushy's success, now that Libya has "backed down." But have they?

I can tell you as the mother of a teenager, the strong-arm tactic may win the battle, but doesn't do much to win you the war. Bullying never generates respect. Bullying feeds fear. Bullying feeds revenge. And right now, I'd be a lot more concerned about someone who is willing to blow themselves up just to take you down than I would be about someone pressing the button on a nuclear device.

You may have gotten control of their WMD's, Georgie, but might not it be a hollow victory?

They are designing a car for affluent, independent women.

And brain dead?

Gull wing doors? Obviously these women don't have to load a kid into the car. Oh, that's right - the nanny does it.

Don't want to be bothered by maintenance? Yeah, that's for the affluent. I jump at the chance to spend 10 times the actual cost for a simple friggin' oil change. And I'm sure there are more than a few mechanics salivating at the thought that a car will now contact them to say ok, here's another opportunity gouge this idiot chick behind the wheel for repairs she doesn't really need.

An electronic emergency brake? If I got an emergency, buddy, I want something I can grab and hang on to. I'm not gonna be looking for a friggin' button somewhere.

No gas cap. A perfect hiding place for little Johnny's Tonka truck.

I can get behind the easy to clean and easy to park. Just make me a car that I can depend on. That reminds me when to change the oil, when to get gas, when my tires need to be checked. Where I can actually see to put the damn dipstick back in.

Make it heat up fast in the winter. Make windows I can open for fresh air without blowing my hair into my eyes. Easy to get roadside assistance from someone I can trust when it's late at night and I'm stuck on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Something I can load the groceries in and not break the eggs at the first traffic light. Go crazy at the garden center and not have to go crazy vacuuming out the back.

Forget making room for my damn ponytail. Give me a car that gets me where I want to go, stylin' and easy maintenance.

Yeah, that.

Dec 20, 2003

I came up with Intrinsic Warrior. Hmm.

Pet peeve of the day...

Websites with writing prompts that contain incorrect spellings.


1. When you were in elementary school, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A teacher. Almost got there, too. Now I'm glad I switched majors. Don't think I'd have much fun dressing for work in full battle gear.

2. How old were you when you stopped growing?

Well, I haven't stopped growing yet. Upwards, certainly, but sideways is a constant battle. And mentally, well, I hope that never stops.

3. What do you think are the three most significant events to occur so far in your life? Have you ever written about them?

Going off to college is number one. Seeing the "Me" in the dorm room mirror, without the glasses. So vastly different from the Me that grew up in a small town and went to high school feeling oh so much less that those popular girls. Seeing for the first time that I actually was so much more attractive that most of them. I think back now what a waste those years were - the only thing that had held me back was me.

The birth of my child. The battles with cancer.

I have only started writing about them. Going down deep and writing out the pain is hard, but cathartic.

4. What weird food combination do you really like?

Don't do much in the way of food combos. There's the chocolate milk and soda thing, but I don't consider it weird. No. It is not. Come on. Have you tried it?

5. In our Tuesday chat with Steve Simpson (Macfisto), author of our current Absolute Blank article, we discussed the differences between writing longhand and writing on the computer. Do you write your first drafts longhand or on the computer? Why?

I alternate. Just can't write fast enough longhand, but I am addicted to the feel of a good pen on quality paper. Wish I had that Catholic school penmanship, tho.

Questions from Toasted Cheese

They say what's missing is a real-world incentive to convince companies to move beyond arguing that software can never be perfect. We don't need it to be perfect, they say, we need it to be safe.

Ah, yes. Another round of lawsuits. But really, in what other industry is it so acceptable to put out a sloppy and incomplete products with no repercussions?

Dec 17, 2003

Many years ago I sat in a bland, sterile hospital room while various chemicals coursed thru my veins on their mission to destroy any and all cells in a propagating frenzy to take over the nice, clean, helpful cells in my body. Old magazines and TV re-runs were the only comfort. Nurses and an occasional doctor provided minor distractions.

And there was that smell. Sometime prior to my appointment the room was always cleaned with some kind of faux lemon cleanser, leaving a lingering odor. Sickeningly sweet, not quite the true odor of lemon drops or made-from-scratch lemon meringue pie.

Sights, sounds, and smells stay with most chemo patients long after treatments have stopped, bringing back memories of the haunting taste and queasy feelings the drugs gift you with. I once heard a story about a patient who ran into her doctor on the street many years after her treatments had stopped - and promptly threw up. Such is the power of memories.

It's been a dozen years since I was on the front line of that battle between the good and bad cells. Most of the smell-based memories are long gone, but occasionally I'll get a whiff of a faint, fake, lemony aroma and give an involuntary cringe. And I'm again thankful for that kind soul who warned me not to eat, wear, or use any of my favorite things for comfort during the cell-wars, or they would no longer offer the comfort desparately needed at that time.

I can now enjoy a home-made lemon meringue pie but still can't stand the smell of cheap lemon-scented cleansers. My doctor unfortunately succumbed to the ravages on his heart from his own cell-wars, so those memories, although bitter-sweet, only bring feelings of immense gratitude.

Bless you, Dr. Sig. You saved my life.

Thanks for not using anything chocolate.

Dec 14, 2003

Sitting here listening to the news and jumping the blogs, I came upon this gem. "When a society tries to codify non-offensiveness or enforce some mutable standard of taste, we all end up living in a room devoid of furniture but full of eggshells. "

I think I like this one.

"We got 'em."

Forget the interrogations, forget the trial.

Just put him in a room with all those women oppressed and abused, whose lives were forever changed by his rule. Five minutes. Just five minutes.


I recently made a change to a cd at a local bank that's undergone several changes since the cd was first opened, with degenerating effects each time.

An appointment that was supposed to take only an hour took an hour before I was even called to the desk to start the process. [Comfort #1] For which I got a (whoopie!) $10 AE thingie. The delay, actually, turned out to be a good thing, as it gave me the opportunity to see the appointment before mine try to get into their safety deposit box only to have the person handling that process be completely unable to find any record of them having one. [Comfort #2]

When my turn finally came, it seems the forms for all the necessary documentation were not complete. Ok, so running out of forms has happened to me - on a busy day it's hard to keep track, so I'll give 'em that one.

A phone call ensued, with a lot of "no, not that form" on the end I was privy to hear. A fax came. The wrong form. [Comfort #3]

The transaction was finally completed, and I went on my way. That little voice in my head was faint, but there. Should I have just closed the account and moved to the friendlier bank I have more trust in?

Then comes Comfort #4. I recently received a mailing to check on my address. Seems they've been sending my statements to the wrong town and have sent this mailing to both addresses so they can figure out which is the correct one for me.

Note my beginning paragraph. A local bank. We're located in the same town.

Sheesh. Obviously, I'm moving my account.

"A strange man wearing a disguise who asks small children to sit in his lap. You make the call."

The game ... depicts horror, cruelty, crime and violence in such a manner that its availability was likely to hurt the public good. "

Now, while I am for free speech and all, there comes a time when we need to accept that the greater good must take precedent. Like yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre. With more and more video-obsessed kids prone to violence and less in touch with reality, it's time to face the fact that this "whatever floats your boat" attitude may be sinking the future generation.

Geez. With all the resources at hand and pulling in a few favors, don't you think they could have designed a more attractive website?

A drunk driver received a reduced manslaughter sentence after he paid $100,000 to the victim's family," prompting criticism that he was buying more lenient treatment"

While I agree with the sentiment that "if you have money you can get your sentence lowered", simply throwing a drunk driver in jail does little to help the victims and their families. Isn't that more what a sentence should be about? Simply putting someone in jail does nothing to help with alcoholism, and even less to put a face on the crime. If more drunk drivers had to deal with the consequences of their driving while intoxicated, couldn't that do more to make them face up to the fact that they have a problem?

I'd rather see sentences that have a set amount of jail time (no matter what the consequences of the drunk driving) and incrementally add punishments like restitution to the victim in long term payments (as a regular reminder of the crime) and additionally, punishments that bring in the human element - helping with therapy, or taking over some of the duties the victim can no longer do. Or some volunteer work on a regular and continuing basis.

No more commit the crime, do a little time, go on about your business like everything's fine.

Time to put the brakes on that little ditty...

Dec 13, 2003

"That's what it said on the form he brought home in his backpack."

A school form that Marcus McLaurin brought home last month said his use of the word was the reason for his punishment.

The boy is 7. S-e-v-e-n.

He said his Mom was gay. Which she is.

Marcus' feeling about what he should have done? "cep my mouf shut."

Seems the teacher should be spending a little time in detention. How about writing a 1,000 word essay about getting your facts straight? Not to mention tolerance? Sensitivity, maybe?

And I can think of quite a few community service projects the school board can spend some time in. A literacy project, maybe?

Keiko Dies at 27: "Keiko the killer whale, star of the 'Free Willy' movies, has died at 27 of pneumonia in a Norwegian fjord, ending campaigners' hopes of returning the people-loving mammal to life in the wild."

Dec 11, 2003

"The researchers found that, on a per-serving basis, the antioxidant concentration in cocoa was...two to three times stronger than in green tea..."

Woohoo! Don't get me wrong - I like green tea, but it just doesn't hit the comfort level of a steaming cup of cocoa.

Dec 10, 2003

"'We must come to the stark realization that a major Achilles heel is our computer networks."


When you have a company that has done everything (legal or questionably so) to make sure that you use their software and only their software for your business; when that same company has to issue patch after patch because the software is so buggy it's a constant hazard; when that same company continuously puts out new versions of this buggy software at astronomical prices (compared to quality) and FORCES users to upgrade when they refuse to support prior versions of said continuously buggy software, when they have been permitted to indulge in this behaviour...


Dec 9, 2003

There's an interesting survey on about holiday cards. Should they show the kids only, show parents and kids, or be banned. Personally, I prefer the latter, given the state of "families" these days.

Just what is the proper etiquette for the modern family? Do you schedule a sitting and just get it all over with at once? Or do you book the whole week?

What combination of parties is appropriate? Biological parents? Custodial parents? Step-parents?

Are half-siblings included?

Do the kids need to wear a different outfit for each portrait? Who pays for the clothes? Can you recycle the shoes?

How many copies do the relatives get? How many are they expected to display? Do they recycle them according to who comes to dinner?

It's too damn complicated for me. Stick a Santa hat on the dog and be done with it.

Dec 7, 2003

1. If you were a member of a Mars colonization team, what item would you be sure to bring with you? Why?

PDA. So I could remember the names of everyone else on the team and why they are there. My memory’s worth squat.

2. What brand of toothpaste do you use?

If it’s on sale, it’s a name brand, it whitens and prevents plaque, it’s in my cabinet.

3. What book is guaranteed to make you cry no matter how many times you read it?

Can’t say I’ve found one yet. Plenty of movies, but no books. Of course, there’s that memory problem and all.

4. Have you ever witnessed a natural disaster (fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, etc.)?

No. And I appreciate the fortunate consideration. Just some minor flooding, and some people in the kitchen.

5. In his Absolute Blank article this month, Stephen Simpson (Macfisto) writes, "It’s a good idea to enlist supporters before starting your novel marathon. Have somebody waiting at the ten-mile mark to read your first few chapters. After that, ask them to drive down to the finish line and wait for your first draft." Who are your writing supporters?

I can think of several people I’d enlist. Just can’t remember their names.

Toasted Cheese

Dec 6, 2003

"Parents want to cover a lot of ground and keep children from getting tired at a big event. "

Bull. They're either too damn lazy to keep an eye on the little darlings or they can't find a sitter that can tolerate them.

The parents, I mean.

Children are difficult. They are voracious sponges of "I wanna know" gathering all the sights and sounds they can process at lightening speed. It's a good thing. But it takes a lot of energy to cope with that. And when your primary focus is on impressing other parents with what a good parent you are, how you give your little darlings the very best of everything because you're, well, so financially successful and all, you are creating a child with more problems than just obesity.

For state's doctors, tidings of gloom: "People get sick. They need doctors. In a state with 16 percent of its population over 65, far higher than most states and the national average, doctors need to stay in practice."

BB Gun Shooters Get Unusual Sentence: "Two boys who fired B-B's at a group of children and a teen in a wheelchair have been sentenced to spend two days sitting in a wheelchair at a mall. "

DUI Suspect Sentenced to Give Speeches: "A man responsible for the death of his friend in a drunken driving accident will avoid prison time by giving speeches to teens for the next 15 years. "

Now that is some creative sentencing. And they get more than the "Dummy's Guide to Being a Better Criminal."

"Selina lives and works... a 13 to 14 hour daily shift. During the busy season, she works a gruelling nineteen-and-a-half hour shift every other day. She and her colleagues sleep on the floor. They work seven days a week. She gets paid seven cents an hour. Selina has had just two days off in the last four months. She works sewing... for the largest company in the world....Selina is 13 years old."

Crissy Field Tidal Marsh

What just a little effort can do. What a handful of bureaucrats sitting around with their thumbs up the asses fail to do. Now some joker will come along and deliberately fall in the trench and get "injured" thinking it's an easy way to make a million. And we'll reward them instead of saying "don't be an idiot, watch where you're going, fool!" Which is why a bunch of bureaucrats have to sit around with their thumbs up their asses instead of just getting out and taking care of the problem.

Work together, people. Amazing things can happen.

Dec 3, 2003 | Unconscious Mutterings:

  1. Scrooge:: Dickens
  2. Ribbon:: candy
  3. Physical:: labor
  4. Income:: deficit
  5. Dream:: state
  6. Notebook:: journal
  7. Disney:: magic
  8. Combo:: plate
  9. Booty:: call
  10. Skin::conditioner

"He exposed more than 1,200 people, including politicians and entertainers, who lied about or exaggerated their claims of serving in the Vietnam War"

Shocking. And how unexpected. Being the most honorable professions and all.

Dec 1, 2003

"...the priority ought to be creating small schools and training teachers. If so many of our children are starving academically, doesn't it make more sense to put our money first into feeding them, then into weighing them?"

Excellent statement!

(Found via Number 2 Pencil)

"'I've had parents fuss about a student having an hour-and-a-half detention,' he said. 'It's not popular for there to be real consequences anymore.' "

Well, of course! We're down to a tight schedule! Ballet lessons, soccer practice, karate, and piano! Groceries, dry-cleaning, manicures and haircuts! Everything is timed down to the milli-second. You want to throw that into complete disarray for a little character-building and consequences!?!

I do not have time to have my entire schedule thrown off so that you can teach my little darling some ridiculous things like respect, compassion, and personal responsibility.

Honestly, can't you see that I'm creating a future business leader here, and possibly a president?


"Two decades later, countless companies and individuals are still paying for that mistake. "

Ya gotta luv the news.

One headline says:

"Roy Disney Forced Off Board, Wants Eisner Out "

The other:

"Roy Disney resigns, urges Eisner to follow suit"

Uh, yeah. Same thing.

And yet, as mentioned in a previous post, we have companies using resources to make turkey flavored refreshments.

Ahhhh, priorities...