Friday, May 9, 2008

Which way the wind of change?

I'm always kind of fascinated when I see this kind of stuff out of countries like Burma. (I say Burma because officially the governing body of the URJB (United Repuplic of Julie B) does not recognize the military junta that operates under the name Myanmar. I had a referendum on it.) At what point do they get pissed off enough as a group to overthrow their government? Where is the tipping point?

Every country must have a set point at which they boil. For the US, it's obviously pretty low. We overthrew a regime that we considered repressive, basically because we didn't heart our representation in parliament. Okay, yeah, good stuff came out of it. You know democracy and whatever. But what initially burned our forefathers' collective butts was that they didn't have enough say over how their tax dollars were spent. But for the most part, as far as despotic rulers go, King George was bit of a pussycat. Compare and contrast: King George v. Pol Pot. In that light, Georgie-boy was a sweetheart. The French had it far worse, and it took more than a decade for them to jump in on the revolution bandwagon. And they had been starving.

Granted, our founding fathers appear to be a little hot headed in the context of history (in a good way). So, what does it take for Burma, and other countries that have watched racial purification, people jailed for political speech and leaders that would rather watch you starve than jeopardize their hold? I think, at long last, the US has learned that you can't bring change to other countries. Hell, in Iraq, we threw a revolution and nobody came. So what is the impetus that instigates change in Burma? What makes them say, the chance that I may die is better than this?

Bad advice

This is, without a doubt, the most wrong-headed article ever put on Yahoo. Worse than salmon and yams for lunch. I can't believe that they'd pass this off as advice. I don't know who this woman is, but I can assure you, that she is not qualified to speak for all Mommies.

First off in the wrongness - a KitchenAid mixer with the caption "a definite no". What are you insane? I know many, many women who'd kill for a new KitchenAid stand mixer. Especially since they started coming out with the cool colors (have you seen them? Wicked cool). And also pictured as a no, the Dyson. There are a lot of Moms who'd cut the other kids out of the will if you showed up with one of those on Mother's Day.

Second in the wrongness stakes, assuming that every Mom is the same. Not every Mom is June Cleaver. Some are Annie Romanos. Some are Claire Huxtables. Some are, lord love 'em, Roseanne Connors. And you can't buy them all the same gift. My Mom is a one of a kind. One anniversary, my Dad bought her a fishing boat. And she loved it. And if your Mom is the type who never buys anything new for herself, and has been wearing the same nightie since the Reagan Administration, a brand new granny gown might be the most thoughtful thing you could give her.

So here's my advice, to replace this nonsense from Yahoo, think about who your Mom actually is. Don't give some generic, one-size-fits-all gift. Prove that you know she's a real person and not just some incubator unit that popped you out in a laboratory. And if you guess a little wrong, it's not a big deal. With Mom, it's actually true. The thought counts for a lot.

Though Yahoo is probably right about the lotions. Most Moms have all of that stuff they need. Let's ease up on that one this year.

How to tell if you're smoking too much pot;_ylt=Ak7...

Does this sound like a good idea? Yes?

You smoke too much pot.

[whoops! sorry. forgot to double post this one, so it's a little out of order. so muc to remember.]

Hanging out

There are lots of ways you can divide up the world. Dog people and cat people. Introverts and extroverts. Drinkers and teetotallers. Early birds and night owls. Inies and Outies. Currently, the division that I'm finding hardest to navigate is the one between the "the more the merrier" people and the "who's coming?" people.

Because when it comes to organizing a get together that's the dangerous question - "who's coming?" Because it will almost always be followed by "I'm not coming if they're coming." Sigh. Oy.

Personally, I'm a "the more the merrier" type. Which is kind of strange given that I'm also an introvert. But I find that there's very few people who can ruin a gathering for me. Sure, there are some people who aren't optimal. Gloomy people who never jolly up, even for $1 wells and half-price appetizers. Conversation dominators, who won't let anybody else get a word in edgewise, lengthwise or with a battering ram. Wallflowers who want to spend the night staring at the wall. Sure, you could let them ruin the night. Personally, I see it like a living game of Tetris. Put the Conversation Dominator next to the Wallflower. The CD gets to yak all night, and Wallie doesn't have to say a word. Which they like! But never put Wallie next to the Gloomeister. Because, guaranteed, they will hate each other like fire.

And what's the worst that could happen? You get a dozen sad sacks sitting at a table together. So what? Maybe you spend the night crying in your beer. That can be fun too. Or you end up listening to somebody you don't like very much yammer on all night. Maybe you'll learn something about them that will make you finally understand, and maybe even like, them. It could happen. Or not. But then, nobody's ever died from hanging out with somebody they didn't like. Well, maybe Claus Von Stauffenberg. But that's kind of a special case.

In fact, I'm thinking now's a good time to plan a shindig. Hmm. The wheels are turning. Everybody come. The more the merrier.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What's for lunch?

So, I see the link - "What you should really eat for lunch". Good topic. Inquiring minds want to know. Click.

Who are these people? Grilled salmon and a sweet potatoe for lunch? Are you kidding me? I don't even know how that would work. Aside from the issue that it's pricey, how do you heat salmon in the lunch room without making everyone for 3 floors hate you deeply? Or was I supposed to throw it on the hibachi that I keep on top of the filing cabinet and grill it right there? And a sweet potato? Who has a sweet potato in their lunch bag? Yes, indeed, they are yummy, but they aren't exactly a side dish for the gal on the go.

The other options are more feasible, strictly speaking. It would be within the realm of possibility to do a dark, leafy salad with steak for garnish. But considering that I'm between personal chefs (good help is so hard to find), unless I start dating Danny Boome (and seriously, Danny, call me) and he starts packing my lunches for me, I consider it a major achievement that I'm able to throw a frozen dinner and a piece of fruit into my lunch box. Martha Stewart ain't got nuttin' on me.

Dear Old Mom

My Mom is always hard to shop for at Mother's Day. Practical people always kind of are. They don't want you to waste money, so the standbys of flowers or brunch don't work ("Why go out to eat, when I can make us a nice breakfast here?" Um. Because you cooking kind of defeats the purpose?) And forget mani-pedis or spa treatments. And definitely nothing to sit around the house - they're downsizing. I fall back on jewelry a lot (she just got her ears pierced for the first time a couple of years ago), but I feel bad always doing the same thing.

This year, I heard of a new bluegrass singer that has the kind of high, pure voice that Mom likes. The CD came out on Tuesday, but through the miracle of internet shopping, I'll have it for Sunday (Thanks, Amazon!!). So basically, I'm off the hook. But not quite.

Mom had bought a knitting kit for a table runner, and asked me to knit it up for her - whenever I have time, no rush. Which basically means she's told me what she wants for Mother's Day. The only problem is that whenever Mom picks out something for me to knit for her, it's always something that starts out as a big square in garter stitch (shawls, purses, scarves). This is, bar none, the most boring knitting that you can do. Knit to the end, turn, knit to the other end. Yawn. And you can only do this for so long before you start to go a little nuts. I've been working on the runner off and on for a week (in my defense, she only gave it to me 2 and a half weeks ago - actually, that's not much of a defense is it?), and I'm only a foot into what should be about 3.5 feet. The only way I could possibly finish it, is if I lock myself in a closet with no distractions all day on Saturday. Oh, I could keep going the way I am and have it for her by the end of the month, no problem. But then it wouldn't be Mother's Day would it?

I don't think I'll finish it in time. I just don't have that kind of stamina. So, it's just going to be the CD, and if I work it right, maybe a big trip to Luby's for lunch (mmm-mmm-mm). I think my out is that I can give it to Mom when we go up for my cousins wedding, if I finish it in the car on the way up. Never underestimate the value of showing sisters "Oh, look what my daughter just made for me!"

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Down the Rabbit Hole

You know, I actually love taking care of my bills online. I'd far prefer to jump onto the computer and whip out my bills all at once. And I really hate getting paper bills (fills up my mailbox, kills trees, etc.). Plus, I'm a reasonably computer savvy customer, who can navigate most websites with minimal difficulty.

Given all that, why does it seem as if some companies have bill pay websites that were designed by Rasputin? I mean, my phone company's website is so diabolical it's hard to tell if they are really, really insane or really, really stupid. It's like they have these little trapdoor links that they've designed to send you down the rabbit hole. You click something that looks promising, and wheeeeee! You're sliding off into some random part of their website where you can do something like order a long distance card in Russian. Which, funnily enough, wasn't what I was looking for today. And in order to get back to where I was, I have to log in, yet again. Son of a boogersnot.

In spite of having approximately 800 links that you could possibly click in an almost infinite number of combinations through out their pages, I've only found 2 that actually do anything: look at your bill and pay your bill. Personally, if that's all you're going to offer, I think that's fine. Just be honest about it. I'd be perfectly happy to have an account manager that has 2 buttons: [Look at my bill] and [Pay my bill]. Oh, and one that says [Rabbit hole]. Just for a fun. Wheeee! Hey, look! Phone in Russian is телефон! So educational.

In honor of Mother's Day

Good quiz from the good folks at the Chicago Tribune. I got 91% - whiffed the one on where Rob and Laura Petrie lived. Dang it! I truly do watch too much TV.

The Fall in the Summer

Have you ever had somebody try to talk you out of something, and all it does is talk you straitght into it? Like somebody says "Don't bother ordering Chocolat Fantastique Cake. It's just chocolate on chocolate on more chocolate. Dipped in chocolate." Um, yes, please. "Don't bother going to see the new Vin Diesel movie. It's just him mostly naked running around firing a big gun for 90 minutes. No plot whatsoever." Please, sir, can I have some more?;_ylt=Akt09zTGDZ7KjPlnL9Oum7ZxFb8C

That's pretty much the case for this review of The Fall. I had it on my short list of movies to see this summer, based on it being by the same guy who did The Cell. Which, though containing some of the na-hastiest images I've ever seen on film, was a truly fascinating mess of a movie. And he did the R.E.M. Losing My Religion video. (And if you hear the words Losing My Religion, and you don't want to put on a white shirt with rolled up sleeves, and fall on your knees Michael Stipe-style in front of a guy with wings, you need call an excorcist because a demon has sucked your soul.) So, the pump was already primed for me to go see this one.

But, somehow, I get the feeling that this reviewer wants me to not go. But then she throws out a bit like "Too often the images, shot over several years in countries including Bali, Fiji, South Africa and Italy, seem to exist because they're cool-looking and weird, and for no other reason." Cool-looking and weird? Uh, yeah. Is there another reason to go to the movies? And she seems to be really hung up on this logic thing. Okay. Whatever. If I want logic, I'll go read the latest Christopher Hitchens, thanks much. Especially in the summer. I want to leave my brain in it's handy carrying case, and just get swept away by the images. The summer is no time for the worthy documentary or the family drama. Was there ever a chance they'd release the new Indiana Jones in February? I think not.

So if reviewers got commission checks, this one would have a little something coming her way. Cause I'm definitely going.

Ordinary Joe

I was watching some of the coverage of the primaries in Indiana and North Carolina last night on CNN. And it looks like we've moved into the stage of kissing the butt of working class America. I guess it's their turn. This time around, hispanics have had their shot. So have single women, white middle class men, blacks, Christians and college students. One of the benefits of the race going on so long is that, eventually, everybody will get their butt kissed. And now it's the regular working-class Joe's turn. And in order to appeal to the working class Joe, you've gotta show your Joe cred. And knocking back shots and talking about how much a gallon of milk costs, Hillary Clinton seems to be winning the match on this count.

Then I see this. In order to "stay in the fight" she's loaned herself $6.4 million. Now I'm no mathmatician. But it would seem to me that in order to loan yourself $6.4 million, you'd have to actually have, oh, I don't know, $6.4 million in the first place. More or less. I'm guessing more. There may be some finance tricks I don't know. But, I'd put it right in the ballpark of $6.4 million.

How many regular Joes do you know that have $6.4 million jingling in their pants pockets?

I'm not saying this makes her unable to represent "the little people." To whom much is given . . . noblesse oblige . . . yadda yadda. And none of the candidates are exactly poor. Obama doesn't buy his underwear at K-Mart. John McCain doesn't clip coupons. And Hillary doesn't sit around the house with Bill drinking PBR. (Though John McCain might sit around drinking Natty Light. His father-in-law is the biggest Annheuser-Busch distributor in the southwest. Ka-ching.) And that's okay.

Politicians have to be rich these days. It's a fact. And most of them wouldn't know a coupon from a savings bond. But, in truth, they don't have to feel my financial pain. They have people to feel the pain for them. You don't have to be one of us to do a good job. Women aren't asking that John McCain where a dress so that he can show that he understands womens' issues. (Taking a moment to picture that one. Whoo.)

Would I like to see some poor but honest schlub make it to the White House? Sure. But that's not currently one of my choices. So just own up to it. The next time one of them is offered a cold one at the local bar, it's fine by me if they say, "No, thanks, really. But I'd love to see the wine list."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hail to thee! My alma mater!

Well, of course. If you want footage of naked and/or drunk college students, who ya gonna call? ASU, that's who! Ya-hunh, baby! You don't just get a Sun Devil as a mascot, you have to earn it. I feel a certain amount of pride as my future fellow alumni proudly strip off and do something that makes parents question their decision to send their little darling off to these hallowed halls. Sniff. Sniff. Tradition. A school only an alum could love.


Okay, settle down. Not as exciting as it sounds. Unless you're 8. This weekend was my niece's b-day, and I went to help with the festivities. It was out at a very cute little city park over on my sister's side of town.

Helpful Hint: If you've been walking along in an area, and look down and think to yourself. "Hey! That looks like the back of my phone!", do not treat this as just a curious coincidence. Stoop down and pick it up. Then look at the back of your own phone. It may not be a coincidence. It may actually be the back of your phone. Which is an unfortunat thing to discover 4 hours later, when you can't do a damn thing about it. Just a word to the wise. Don't ask me how I know this.

My sister, who is truly the hostess with the mostest, had a few activities planned (nature trails scavenger hunt, marshmallow & toothpick building contest, pin the antenna on the bee), and some general "goof off on the playground" time as well. Pretty simple, pretty affordable, and pretty dang fun. And for anyone who thinks that kids are really jaded these days, you'll be glad to know that one of the kids looked at me and said, "This the best party ever." No moon-bounce, pony rides, magicians, clowns or party DJ needed. They did get party favors, but you'd be surprised how happy a candy lipstick can make a kid.

I got to run the marshmallow & toothpick building contest while my sister made a run with a few of the girls to the little girls room. The kids ran from 3 to 9, and they were all able to participate. You have to balance helping the littler ones, while not making the big kids feel like you're hanging them out to dry. At one point, I said to one of my nieces, "You've got a lot of marshmallows to help stick it together, but you need something to make it tall. What makes it taller?" And another little girl yelled, "Toothpicks!" In much the same tone that Einstein must have said, "Oh, you square the velocity of light!" It's so much fun to watch when a kid suddenly gets it.

Anyway, cupcakes and fun had by all. My niece raked in the birthday bucks, so she's feeling like Miss Moneybags. A good day.

Monday, May 5, 2008


Probably no posts today.

TIME: Quotes of the Day