Rest in Peace, Mr. Newman

Love The Sting. SO much. But, love the way Newman looks in the picture. Godspeed, Mr. Newman. 1925-2008.



Post of Many Things

Haven't Stumbled around the Net lately, but had a chance to tonight. Some of the more interesting findings:

The anti-theft lunchbag is an interesting concept. Is sandwich theft in company breakroom refrigerators really this rampant?

I'm always a wealth of unnecessary knowledge ... ask any of my friends or family. So, I think this site is worth a bookmark. I'm not sure of it's actual value, as "facts" can be uploaded by anyone on the Net pending "aprove"-al (sic) by the site admin.

All writers occasionally are blocked. Maybe you can't call your actual 911 line, but 911 Writers (sic) Block might be able to help you out.

I'm actually a big supporter of singing karaoke after a couple of cosmos at Bennigan's on a Thursday night, or anywhere and anywhen the blood-alcohol content and peer pressure, etc are appropriate to overcome whatever stagefright you possess. But, I find the idea of singing karaoke to your computer at home alone in your office/family room/bedroom/dorm a bit sad. Of course, without just such videos, YouTube's library would be significantly depleted.

Whatever happened to reddish bricks with a big ol' oak mantel, maybe a wrought iron rack of tools alongside?

I'm not entirely sure all of these are as "irresistable" as the title claims, but some of these are surely gadgets that prove that 1) there's a market for just about anything and 2) folks in Taiwan or China or wherever this stuff is manufactured spend a good part of each day thinking, "What the hell is this? Really? I mean ... really?"

Enough for now. Time to tell the kiddos reading time is up. Time for lights-out.



I Just Love My Dog

We got her for the whole family, but she's really mine. When we're both in the house, she's at my feet or as close as she can be. She lies there waiting until I get up and then follows me into the next room.

She's the best dog I've ever known. Smart, friendly, gentle, playful, quirky, fluffy and soft as all get out.

While I'm lying on the sofa, barely awake, she's been lying on the floor next to me, occasionally sitting up to rest her nose near me and whine a bit. She knows I'm sick and just doesn't know what to do. Periodically, she runs upstairs and barks at Joe before running back down to whine at me.

When I shush her, she lies down near me again to wait.



OK, Just Can't Get Over How Much This Woman Bugs Me

I don't want to keep thinking about Sarah Palin. I really don't. I want something horribly scandalous to come out of the woodwork, and have her removed from the ticket and have her go back to the relative obscurity she'd enjoyed up until her nomination. In the meantime, I'll soothe myself with these items.

and ...

Palin: wrong woman, wrong message
Sarah Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Hillary Clinton. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.
By Gloria Steinem, September 4, 2008

Here's the good news: Women have become so politically powerful that even the anti-feminist right wing -- the folks with a headlock on the Republican Party -- are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vice president. We owe this to women -- and to many men too -- who have picketed, gone on hunger strikes or confronted violence at the polls so women can vote. We owe it to Shirley Chisholm, who first took the "white-male-only" sign off the White House, and to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who hung in there through ridicule and misogyny to win 18 million votes.

But here is even better news: It won't work. This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie.

Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for -- and that Barack Obama's still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."

This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden's 37 years' experience.

Palin has been honest about what she doesn't know. When asked last month about the vice presidency, she said, "I still can't answer that question until someone answers for me: What is it exactly that the VP does every day?" When asked about Iraq, she said, "I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq."

She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, and she's won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a $1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain's campaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income or sales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long that he doesn't know it's about inviting more people to meet standards, not lowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate's views on "God, guns and gays" ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is filling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.

So let's be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out of change-envy, or a belief that women can't tell the difference between form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues; the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq; someone like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against Women Act.

Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.

I don't doubt her sincerity. As a lifetime member of the National Rifle Assn., she doesn't just support killing animals from helicopters, she does it herself. She doesn't just talk about increasing the use of fossil fuels but puts a coal-burning power plant in her own small town. She doesn't just echo McCain's pledge to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade, she says that if one of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest, she should bear the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a human right but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it also protects the right to have a child.

So far, the major new McCain supporter that Palin has attracted is James Dobson of Focus on the Family. Of course, for Dobson, "women are merely waiting for their husbands to assume leadership," so he may be voting for Palin's husband.

Being a hope-a-holic, however, I can see two long-term bipartisan gains from this contest.

Republicans may learn they can't appeal to right-wing patriarchs and most women at the same time. A loss in November could cause the centrist majority of Republicans to take back their party, which was the first to support the Equal Rights Amendment and should be the last to want to invite government into the wombs of women.

And American women, who suffer more because of having two full-time jobs than from any other single injustice, finally have support on a national stage from male leaders who know that women can't be equal outside the home until men are equal in it. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on their belief that men should be, can be and want to be at home for their children.

This could be huge.

Gloria Steinem is an author, feminist organizer and co-founder of the Women's Media Center. She supported Hillary Clinton and is now supporting Barack Obama.



Do as I Say, Not as I Do

Teaching my kids about money at ages 7 and 9 has been and continues to be a tricky process. I want them to have money, to learn how to use it, more importantly to learn how to save it. But, teaching about money is really a whole host of other lessons all rolled in, as well.
There's teaching them the idea of delayed gratification ... don't spend a little now, when you can save it and maybe get something better later.

There's the actual math involved ... no, three $1 bills isn't more than one $5 bill.

There's concepts of value ... your $10 birthday gift from Aunt Suzy isn't enough to buy a Wii.

There's ethical considerations ... it's not okay to take money from your brother's bank just because yours is empty.

But, the hardest concept of all, both for them and for me ... be smarter about money than I am. Save for the future even when I don't. Tithe. Wait and see if you really, really, REALLY want something before buying it.

I'm not very good at that. I go into Goodwill looking for a pair of khakis and leave with three turtlenecks, a corduroy jacket (seriously ... I must have four corduroy jackets), and a new purse. And no khakis. I see, I like, I buy. Sorry, I don't have enough Latin to translate that beyond the vidi part.

And the kids aren't very good at it either, so it's definitely something we have to work on. This summer for whatever reason (we've lived here for eight years and this has never happened before), an area Blue Bunny ice cream man discovered our small development. At least three or four times a week, he'd cruise through and park right in front of our house, The Entertainer wafting its tinkly, crinkly way into our home. And at least two or three times a week, my kids would meet him there, waving dollar bills over their heads. Until mid-August.

They'd run out of spending money. The gravy train had run dry. They were devastated. "Please, Mommy! Please give me a dollar!" they'd cry. Um, no. That's not how it works, kids. I was proud of myself for standing firm that first day. The second day they whimpered a bit, but didn't actually ask for money. The third day we heard the music running by, they didn't even look up. The fourth day, Blue Bunny man didn't even stop.

We have a simple money system in our house. The kids get no regular allowance. They do chores and participate in household activities because they are part of the household, not to get a paycheck. We sometimes have extra special jobs we'll pay out for (like the icky, but all-too-important "We'll pay you a dime for every gypsy moth egg sac you scrape off a tree." expedition). But mostly, as I tell them ... we share what we have in the house. When I have cash in my purse (which is seldom in this world of plastic, plastic, plastic), I give them each a few bucks. When they truly need money for something important or special, I give it honest consideration and share some of what we have with them.

They take the cash and divide it among their three canisters: Spend (can use any time, anywhere, mom and dad's opinions pretty much notwithstanding), Save (must be spent in $10 or greater increments), and Share (for church or other chritable contributions). Birthday money, coins they find on the ground, etc go into the same containers.

It's not a perfect system, and at some point Joe and I are going to have to discuss what we're going to continue to pay for and what the kids will be responsible for. We're not at the designer sneakers, cell phones and dating years yet. So there's still time.

Special thanks to The Parent Bloggers Network and Capital One's Financial Education Program for inspiring this post. I needed to give this some thought, anyway.



Not Too Bad

We got some wind, some heavy rain, but nothing really noteworthy. Hanna is well past us now, so I guess that was it.


CSA Startup

We've signed up with a CSA for next year. It's something I've wanted to do for awhile, and a subscription has finally opened up just half an hour away. The folks are super-nice, too. (maybe that goes without saying? I have no experience with CSA stuff before now)

Anyway, they're letting us pick up for the remainder of this season, even though we really paid for a 2009 subscription. So we went there this morning with our reusable grocery bag and filled it with lots of wonderful goodies...

...a big bunch of kale, a big bunch of collard greens (we were entitled to 2 bunches each, but I didn't think we'd eat them all), 12 ears of corn, a red bell pepper, 3 beets, a huge bunch of fresh basil (roots still on, so it's in a vase keeping fresh for now), and a watermelon. If we'd remembered to bring an empty jar, she'd have given us honey, as well.

So, Joe is currently making Bean Soup with Kale for dinner. I'm hoping to talk him into some fresh pesto to slather some Italian bread I bought, as well. But frankly, I feel terrible and can barely taste anything, so it'd probably be completely wasted on me.

Anyway, will let you know how our recipes turn out. We're going to be using veggies I'd likely never have purchased in a store, and eating more veggies that we usually do. I'm way excited about both prospects!



Palin in a Bikini

Palin in a bikini Whoo-hooo! Check it out!

There, now that should garner me about a jillion hits on Google searches. Seriously, this is apparently a big issue out there right now. I mean, I'm not entirely sure why McCain picked her for VP, but it's not an entirely bizarre selection.

Still, if you're looking for reasons to vote in any particular way, I suggest perusing sites like this, rather than trying to figure out whether or not a woman is qualified to help lead the nation based on how she looks in a two-piece. This is just as bad as folks analyzing Hillary Clinton's political prowess based on her hairstyles.


Ps. Now the fact that she's currently under investigation for the alleged abuse of power in firing her Public Safety Commissioner, and the fact that her 17-year old daughter is five-months pregnant ... those could be considerations in her credibility, reliability and leadership. That is, if you weren't already turned off by her gun-totin', gay rights-denyin', intelligent design-promotin', oil from nature reserves drillin', polar bear hatin' attitudes.