Sunday, January 30, 2005

"...they shared chocolates."

Early reports describe the elections going better than I had hoped. From what I have read, most eligible voters are not people who resented the opportunity to participate in free elections. Apparently, many welcomed the opportunity and did choose to participate. And some brought candy.
My kind of election.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Hmmm, an interesting post at What-tha?

This post at What-tha? struck me as seeming to offer some input that may tie together a couple of my recent posts, about Hilary Clinton and political posturing/scheming. I didn't actually use the term *scheming* in my post about political posturing, but I do think it might apply in the situation Martyr reports.

Martyr (as always, thank you for digging) points out that 13 senators voted against Dr. Rice's confirmation, two senators didn't vote, and one that I know I thought would have voted against her did, in fact, vote to confirm Dr. Rice. Interesting. And yeah, I am suspicious. Hilary Clinton has never struck me as the type who would cut a sister any slack.

Political posturing & profile...

Not long after fellow democrats in the senate failed to defend or join in Mark Dayton's decision to close his DC office prior to the presidential election, his fellow democrats in the senate appear to be giving him reign & profile in the prescription drug cost arena.

I know that prescription drug costs for seniors has been his *pet issue* at home in MN. I have been less aware of how much profile or influence that issue has brought him outside of his home state. I do know that his perceived panic prior to the presidential election got him some not so flattering national press.

I don't understand why a person who is widely considered in many circles to be a flake is being given leadership on any national issue at this point. Sympathy? Is there some kind of protocol for incumbents? No matter how vulnerable their seat really is, rather than finding a viable substitute & convincing the flake to fly home, they give him an issue. Go figure.

He can't afford to bankroll his campaign again this time, & I am not sure how much fundraising leverage he actually has, though I know there are many democrats out there with more money than sense, so who knows. What I do know is bug-eyed, sweaty kids from *special class* shouldn't be in the Senate.

Monday, January 24, 2005

A mouse sneezed into the petri dish...

and that is GWB's fault, too.

All human embryonic stem cell lines approved for use in federally funded research are contaminated with a foreign molecule from mice...a setback to the Bush administration's controversial policy that provides federal funding only for research using embryonic stem cell lines that were created before August 2001.

I passed college-level biology only by the S of my A, so I am nobody to monday morning quarterback a geneticist, but what does GWB's policy have to do with this? That policy limits funding from the federal government. Surely there must be some wealthy funder with diabetes out there who would fund this type of research. Raise your heads from the microscope, write some grant proposals & wait- just like everybody else who wants to do something but doesn't have the money to do it.

The researchers said the safest course was to create fresh batches of stem cells that were free of contamination from animal molecules — a process that could also take years.

Safest for whom? Surely not the lab-created embryonic stage human beings whose lives have no more value than a rhesus monkey. Whose lives are more valuable, and who determines that value?

And if anyone stumbles across this post who thinks I live in some glass house somewhere, look around. I have a child with a neurobiological disorder. I can say with certainty that I would give years of my life just to see him well and whole again. My life. Not someone else's.

You may check the source of this soapbox here.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Why Hilary?

I'm back in school. Night class, one at a time, after *mumble mumble ahem* years.

Last week the discussion came around to whether a woman would be able to run for president (or be elected, I can't remember) in our lifetimes. Three of the four black women in the class said yes, Hilary Clinton. Professor asked about Condoleezza Rice. They said no, she's too much of a yes-person. She's too passive, they said. Hilary was *the girl* the one who could do it.

Huh? Let's just say that I was the fourth. Even the white women in the class didn't register as vocally or as vehemently in support of Hilary Clinton. None of the guys, multiracial group, said much.

I don't think that a woman will be elected to the office of president in my lifetime. I don't think Hilary Clinton could do it, either way.
I don't think that blacks should just blindly support other blacks, high profile positions or not, but I really didn't get where that opinion came from.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

We'd taken the kids to the gunshop...

to check out the really cool civil war era rifles, all banged & gouged up with history.

Afterwards, we went to a nearby burger & beer place, not so the kids could have beer, but so we all could have burgers. While waiting on line in the cafeteria-style ordering area, spouse saw a mouse run across the area toward the kitchen.

Of course.

The kids were whiny & hungry, else we'd have left then, but rush hour with hungry kids... I'd have fed them the freakin' rat to avoid that nightmare. Anyway I asked to see the manager. The place was not that busy, not at all crowded, more empty tables than occupied ones, but the manager still looked stressed & harried.

I told him the place was infested & politely suggested he comp our meals. He refused, but then relented & comped us the kids' food. Later as we sat in the unacceptably crumb filled dining area trying to rush the kids & encourage them not to touch anything but their food- just the meat, really, he came over with a contrite attitude & an apology & an appointment with the exterminator. And a certificate for spouse & I to come back for a burger & beer on the house.

As if.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Can't follow that up...

Yesterday's post was kind of draining, emotionally.

Recently that same kid & I were watching the movie Man in the Moon, it's a few years old with Sam Waterston & Reese Witherspoon. During the scene when the male teenage love interest meets the older teenage sister, I said to Robby, "Looks like he's in love. Are you in love with anyone?"

He looked right at me and said "I'm in love with you."

The heck with Freud. I love that kid.

Check out this timely post from Tony at Red Mind. I love the quote at the end. Now I'd better get back to work.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

A strange personal story...

Consider yourself warned.

A few months ago, an ex-bf from high school contacted me after something like 12 or 13 years. A few days into an awkward correspondence, he asked me to share something more personal about myself. I wrote him the following:

My eldest child, Robert, was stricken with a rare form of autism late in his 7th year.

He was 7 yrs 9 months, actually, when I noticed that he wasn't talking as much. He'd previously, as recently as the previous month, been a real talker- frequent chatter- and he had one of those really high pitched little boy voices, so there was no ignoring it.

Upon reflection, I realized that he'd become withdrawn also. He hadn't pestered me to visit his playmates. I got chills a day or so later, when one of his friends showed up at the door- I recall Robby seeming like a little ghostly figure- he kind of floated into the room & just drifted away.I started thinking that maybe it was environmental, he was too isolated. I was homeschooling him, and I began to work hard to connect with other homeschoolers more purposefully, though in my gut I didn't think that was the issue. I simply didn't know what the issue was.

A couple of months later, he began to develop debilitating fears. He could not be left alone. He could not fall asleep alone- not even with us in the next room. He would scream in terror at things we didn't recognize as frightening. He became even more silent, was not making eye contact, was not initiating interaction, would not respond when spoken to.

A psychologist we finally consulted (we didn't know what else to do) began to treat it as a family problem. We were to never speak for Robby, just wait for him to respond to others. I did not know how to make him understand that it was more than just some kind of wallflower syndrome. It was something else and whatever it was had stolen my happy, laughing, forgiving little boy and replaced him with a silent image of himself. I remember being terrified.

One day, about 9 months after I first realized something was different, Robby woke up talking more than he had in months. He was about 8 years 5 months old. He was more animated also. What he was saying did not make sense. It seemed as though he was trying very hard to tell us something, and he seemed to grow somewhat anxious, then agitated when we didn't understand. I remember one of the things he said: There are 2 Robbys, the high Robby and the low Robby. If the high Robby goes away, then the low Robby will go away. Then the trees will go away, and the grass will go away, and the cars will go away, and the houses will go away, and all the people will go away, and everything- will- be- gone!

His voice had grown more insistent as he spoke, and he cried and raged when he finished. He became more agitated as the day progressed and we made increasingly frantic calls around the region trying to find out what to do when you fear that your 8 year old is having a nervous breakdown. We finally were told, in the 5th call to our pediatrician, to take him to the children's hospital ER. We bundled him and our 1 year old daughter into the van and drove in silent fear. We only had to stop twice to settle Robby down and to keep him from striking his sister. He was admitted to the hospital that night.

It was awful.

He later reached a plateau of sorts. He began to exhibit baseline behaviors that remain today. He looks like an adolescent with moderate autism & several accompanying behavioral issues. Unless you knew about the onset of his condition, there would be no way to know that he absolutely had not been born that way.

I was 4 months pregnant with our second daughter when his breakdown occured. Had I known what was to come, I think I would have only one child.

Had it occured without my husband, neither Robby nor I would have made it.

I recently acknowledged that fact to myself & to my husband and I believe it to be absolute truth. We (my husband and I) are only recently coming to a point where we are beginning to fathom the depth and significance of the intimacy we share. We have been through so much together.

I believe that God Himself brought spouse to me because He knew Robby and I would need him. Spouse saved a woman and a child. Our family just doesn't work without spouse. I hope he always knows that.

I don't have room or need for a correspondence with an ex-bf from high school. I expect no further contact from him.


Friday, January 14, 2005

"End zone jackassery"

Who, exactly, is the model for etiquette in the end zone?
Jack Gordon
January 13, 2005 Minneapolis StarTribune

On Jan. 9, 2005, a date that evidently will live in infamy, Randy Moss pretended to moon Green Bay Packers fans after scoring a touchdown at Lambeau Field. This piece of end-zone jackassery enraged the entire football-commentating industry, from the Fox announcers calling the game to local TV and newspaper sports pundits throughout the known universe.
Fox announcers: "Disgusting!"
Howie Long, back in the studio: "Classless!"
Terry Bradshaw: "Weak!"
Jimmy Johnson: "Makes my two eyes like stars start from their spheres, my knotted and combined locks to part, and each particular hair to stand an end like quills upon the fretful porpentine!"
To date, the football-commentating industry has failed to enlighten us on the only really interesting question, which is this: What makes Moss' gesture more offensive, lame, juvenile, classless, dorky or tedious than all the other displays of jackassery we've been looking at in NFL games for the past 20 years?
Moss' moon was insulting to the Green Bay fans? So is every other end-zone bugaloo, sack dance and interception strut that takes place in an opposing team's stadium. So is the "holding my finger to my lips" gesture that means: "I just made a tackle! Me! Finally! So you hometown fans have to shut up now."
Juvenile? The whole point of modern professional football is to rub the world's nose in the fact that you occasionally do the thing you get paid millions of dollars to do. Like catch the ball. Or block somebody. Or run out on the field without falling over your own feet. Right?
There are those among us who could live without ever seeing another Lambeau Leap or Mile High Salute or Icky Shuffle. Hey, it would be OK with me if Daunte Culpepper threw a touchdown pass and forgot to do the cute little fist-revolving thing that means he's "getting his roll on." He could lose the treehouse and the GI Joe dolls, too. I'd be fine with it.
If a particular kind of celebration gave commentators the vapors, you'd think it would be the one where a player lays the ball on the ground and then squats over it. A Vikings defensive back demonstrated the league-wide technique after intercepting a pass during the same game in which Moss fired the moon shot heard round the world. The announcers didn't say a word.
The precise significance of the squat-over-the-ball celebration has been lost in the mists of time, and we can only speculate about what it is meant to symbolize. But after the first merely nerdy possibility, that speculation quickly takes us places that Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson ought to find disturbing:
The ball is an egg, and the player is the proud chicken who has laid it.
The player has relieved himself, and the ball is the result.
The player intends to sit down hard on the ball and draw it into his body in the manner that Mr. Slave absorbed Paris Hilton to win the "Whore Off" showdown in an unforgettable episode of "South Park."
When running back Barry Sanders was still playing for the Detroit Lions, the occasional old-school announcer had someone to point to and plead: "See? That's how you score a touchdown. Act like you've been in the end zone before. Hand the ball to the ref and go sit on the bench."
Alas, since Sanders retired, it's hard to figure who Terry Bradshaw has in mind as a player whose debonair scoring behavior makes Moss look particularly like a horse's ass. These things are graded on a curve, you know.
I blame "Jerry McGuire" for dooming us to dorkdom once and for all. In that tragically popular movie, Cuba Gooding Jr. plays an excellent wide receiver who refuses to do minstrel-show routines after catching the ball. "I don't dance," he says.
Well, thank heaven for you, Cuba Gooding Jr., the viewer thinks. But the viewer is wrong. The movie's great lesson turns out to be that Gooding will benefit both financially and spiritually when he sheds his silly prejudice and stages an end-zone display that makes Stepin Fetchit look as laid back as Perry Como. He doesn't just get a new multimillion-dollar contract for this. He grows as a person.
Nuts to the idea that the NFL should fine Randy Moss for fake-mooning the Cheeseheads and then resume business as usual. In the Vikings' first regular-season game next fall, Moss should run onto the field dressed only in his helmet and a fur-lined jock strap with a tiger tail on the back.
In the unlikely event that he won't volunteer, we could take up a nationwide collection and slip him a million bucks, under the table, to do it.
Then we fans, in our titanic outrage, could demand sweeping changes in NFL rules for game behavior -- changes that would put us out of the groaning misery we experience every week, in every game, all season long.
The new rules would be simple. All NFL players gather for mandatory meetings in which they watch a short film of Barry Sanders scoring a touchdown. The head coach then reads an official statement, as follows: "That's it. Anything dorkier, for any reason, and we'll have you killed."


Jack Gordon is a freelance writer and editor in Eden Prairie.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A couple of links...

No, not sausage.

What-tha is the source of my first "It f***ing figures" moment today. Hilary hates Chertoff, surprise surprise. Interesting reason why. Whitewater, of course. I hadn't heard that before, so thanks, Martyr. Hil really is a vindictive bitch.

The other link is from Steve H at HOI. At first read, it may appear that Steve hates women. I so often find myself agreeing with him that I've since come to realize that I must hate women, too. At least, certain women. That said, I appreciated this post at HOI. Now I can tell those who accuse me of being a man hater that it just seems that way because of the media.

I don't think, based on what I've read, that Steve hates women in the all-men-are-pigs sort of way that bitchy feminists keep whining about. I think that some bitchy women have encouraged a climate where men are denigrated for all of their uniquely masculine qualities. How these crazy bitches are raising their sons is beyond me.

Kinda reminds me of what I told spouse this morning. I love him, in part because his shoulders are broader than mine & he has a penis.

And the truth is, I hate everybody.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Just drop it already.

In a recent interview, the ESPN one, I think- receiver Randy Moss responded to a question about his actions with something like, You guys [the media] blew it up. It wasn't that big a deal till the media made a big deal out of it.

Now they are proving him right by still blathering on & on about his post td reception pantomime. 2 seconds, like 2 seconds of pretending to do something & I am still hearing about it & a photo of it has been in the local paper for 2 days now.

C'mon. Does this really merit that kind of attention? I am positive that nobody really cares. Especially because that was one of the less offensive things one might see on Fox.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Updated the old blogroll...

Belatedly.

Thanks, guys.

Oh, and if you hear anything about a certain black annoying nfl receiver with an attitude issue- just ignore it. He doesn't care anyway.

It's tough to be a Vikes fan. Just when you want to be pissed at them & sulk til spring training, they go and pull some crap like yesterday. Keep sucking me back in. Dammit.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Why do I keep hearing the term "indictment" in the same sentence with "Hilary Clinton?"

She's like the Gordon Gecko (or however you spell it) character from the movie Wall Street. Okay, that analogy probably sucks, but you see what I'm getting at.
Apparently one can't work for that woman and be completely law-abiding at the same time.

Nobody really wants to hear what other people dream, anyway.

It's boring. We've all been trapped in those endless chasms of listening to a friend drone on & on, when we know that if they were a real friend they wouldn't be babbling to you about how they dreamt they had sex with Dudley Moore & woke up really turned on...

*ahem*

Anyway. I certainly don't want to encourage that kind of thing.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Contemporary Christian music & my guilty pleasure...

...South Park. Which I haven't watched much in the last, oh, two years or so because the charm kind of wore off. It was f***ing funny the first few times I watched it, but the whole Mr. Hanky thing (among others) started to drag.

So last week when I happened to see an episode of Cartman betting Stan he could get a platinum record sooner by making contemporary Christian music I ended up watching & laughing my ass off (quietly, the kids were in bed) cause it was true.

So much of that music just sucks that it is a joke, a bad joke. I always kind of thought that the artists probably meant well, but nobody had the heart to tell them they sucked. Watching that episode actually made me wonder!

Logic Monkey got some music as a gift by a group called Low. Says it's pretty good, especially compared to most of the crap that's out there. His post made me chuckle, thinking about that SP episode. Wonder if he watched it.