Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Peace Carol

To wish you all the merriest of Christmases, here is one of my favorite songs from the best Christmas special of all time (yeah, I said it!), John Denver & The Muppets: A Christmas Together:


video

The best line:

Add all the grief that people may bear,
Total the strife, and the trouble and care,
Put them in columns and leave them right there.
The peace of Christmas Day

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Parody Up With Which We Dare No Longer Put

I realize I'm a bit behind the times here, but upon catching myself watching this clip for about the millionth time, I decided I'd be remiss if I didn't go ahead & post it.

Any of you who have visited here previously will certainly be aware of my deep and abiding love for my secret boyfriend Keith. So is it wrong that I laugh so hard at this every single time? I think not - one of Keith's most endearing traits is a healthy sense of humor, especially of the self-deprecating variety.

For any of you who haven't seen this yet, be forewarned that this sketch is extremely lo-o-ong. They took a creditable stab at reenacting an entire episode of Countdown in about 9 minutes. But if you have the time, I recommend you give it a viewing.

Indeed, justice and decency demand you so to do.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hey, Obama!

I'm going to add this more permanently to my media blog, but I wanted to post about it here, too...

This is a new video created by the fabulously talented Andre Moore of Stykman Studios. If you like it (which you will), be sure to check out Andre's very own website at fastfunnies.com for lots of short video content, including movie reviews & clips from his standup. You'll be glad you did!

My Major Award

"It reminds me of the Fourth of July!..."

Sorry, but I can't help it... I'm excited about my major award. Buckets of thanks to my good friend Linda at Saoirse Daily2 for nominating me - you're the best!

So, here are the rules:

*Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.

*Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.

* Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.

* Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit This Post (same as above) and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!

*Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.


Alright, so here's the fun part... In no particular order, I hereby nominate:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Feeling Blue

Late last night - actually, early this morning - a strange thing happened.

As I lounged on my sofa somewhere in suburban Indianapolis, leafing through a travel magazine, I suddenly felt the oddest chill... It started in my shoulders, then quite literally sent shivers down my spine. For some time after that, I felt tingly all over, yet strangely warm at the same time. It was an unprecedented feeling, which startled me enough that I actually took a moment to assess the situation and check the time - you know, in case it would be helpful later to the ER staff.

It was 2:07 am, Eastern time.

I suppose it's possible that my chills were due to the cool fall breeze blowing in through my open window. Or perhaps I was finally coming down with that nasty cold that everyone else around here has had recently. But I don't think so.

As it turns out, 2:07 was the exact moment that MSNBC announced that the projected winner of Indiana's electoral votes for the 2008 presidential election was... Barack Obama.

See - there are those chills again!

There are no words to adequately sum up how it feels to finally see my home state turn blue... I still get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it. It's not something I ever thought I'd live to see - and it's more beautiful than I could have possibly imagined. If only that blueness had spilled over into the governor's race... But even Mitch "C. Montgomery Burns" Daniels can't spoil this momentous occasion for me.

And how about that speech, huh?

This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes We Can.


Finally, after 44 years in the wilderness, we Hoosiers who long for peace and justice and equality and social responsibility have reason to also say: Yes We Can.

And now the chills are back.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Back Again

It's been a busy week around here, and it may be a few days yet before I get all my ducks in a row so I can post some photos & recaps of our 4 days of travel.

In the meantime, I just posted an update on my media blog about the Ben Folds concert we attended on Friday in Fort Wayne (you can read about how we landed the tickets here, if you missed it before).

Here's the short version: Ben Folds spat on me, and I liked it.



For more details on the show, check out the full report here.

I'll be back here soon with the scoop on our fun-filled long weekend on the road.

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Now playing: Ben Folds - Ben Folds Live - 007 - One Down
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Cat Daze of Summer

Oh, my poor little girls!

As I mentioned yesterday, the extreme heat and lack of central air in our house have had a noticeable effect on the cats' behavior... I didn't think it possible that they could be even more lazy than they already were, but yet again I have been proven wrong.

Anyone wandering our halls today would have been witness to scenes of carnage such as these:





Apparently, the goal here is to remain as low as possible. It was downright dangerous to walk through the house today, riddled as it was with comatose felines. This is the most I could get Annie to lift her head for me:



And poor Blackie ran out of steam before she even made it to the food bowls, although I see it hasn't yet affected her healthy physique:


I did have a bit more luck getting Blackie to raise her head off the floor & look at me when I called her... although the results would indicate that I probably should have left well enough alone:



Aahhh! Get thee behind me, Satan!!

Luckily for all of us - and just in time, if that last photo was any indication - the talented & delightful Steve from AirTron hooked us up with some new A/C parts this afternoon, and consequently the climate in our lovely abode is becoming more hospitable by the moment.

If you need proof, here's Blackie about 5 minutes ago, back in one of her normal snuggly places - on the bed, nestled in her daddy's warm comforter:



Still lazy, to be sure, but oh-so-much more comfy!

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Now playing: Cracker - Low
via FoxyTunes

Monday, September 1, 2008

Things I Learned This Weekend

  1. It is nearly impossible to find anyone to service a broken air conditioning unit on a major holiday weekend.
  2. It is HOT on Labor Day in Indiana.
  3. You know the documentary footage you see on Animal Planet showing lazy lions and tigers basking on cool rocks during the heat of the day? Well, once the thermostat rises past about 85 degrees in our house, the cats go into survival mode and mimic the behavior of their larger cousins. This would be cute, except that in this scenario, Mark & I are apparently the rocks. Nothing like wearing a 30 lb. fur coat - a coat that follows you from room to room, mind - during a heat wave. Delightful!
  4. Regardless of what the advertisements may claim, surgical stainless steel is NOT hypoallergenic. I guess I'll add it to the list of things that make me break out into a nasty, itchy rash: penicillin, cephalosporins, ibuprofen, nickel, silver (raw or sterling), 10k gold, elastic, rubber, latex, nylon, and apparently some plastics. Of course, those are just the inanimate allergens... Oy!
  5. If you want to make a nasty, itchy rash even more miserable, just add 90 degree temperatures and buckets of sweat. Then try to sleep - but only with a plastic mask strapped to your face, of course. Sleep apnea, you know. Luckily for me, the part of the mask that is actually in contact with my skin made of silicone, not plastic... Otherwise, I'm sure that nasty, itchy rash would be all around my nose, too.
  6. I don't care what the Surgeon General or Major League Baseball say: steroids are AWESOME! I'm undecided about human growth hormone - but if rubbing it on my neck would get rid of my aforementioned nasty, itchy rash, I'd be all for it.
  7. I've narrowed down my remaining options: a) special-order a medical ID bracelet or necklace made entirely from 14k gold or platinum (hoping, of course, that I don't break out from that, too), which will easily cost upwards of $250, or b) just get the word D-I-A-B-E-T-I-C tattooed on my forehead. For that second one to work, I'd have to find a larger body part on which to list all my allergies, but that shouldn't be a problem. I think one asscheek would do it, leaving plenty of room on the other one for all my meds. Of course, with my luck, I'd be allergic to the tattoo ink, too. *Sigh!*
Wow. I know it's been a while now since I've had a job, but I seem to remember long weekends being a good thing... Maybe that's the key here: I've angered the Labor Day gods by my lack of actual labor.

I was going to say that tomorrow is another day - but a bit of research tells me that it will also be another 92 degree day, which is not much consolation. Oh, well - at least I don't have to go to work! ;>)

Hope you all had a great Labor Day!

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Now playing: Ben Folds Five - Regrets (Album Version)
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Complications

Apparently, the good Lord has decided that my life isn't complicated enough already. Fibromyalgia, vertigo, nausea? Too easy. Having to strap myself into an apparatus & breathe through a Hazmat mask everytime I want to get some sleep (AKA the horror of sleep apnea)? Come on! Attempting to live peacefully in the same house as my parents (one of whom has only a tenuous grip on her sanity)? Cakewalk. Flooding in my basement & siding popping off in chunks? Girl, please!

So, here's what happened: I went for my semi-annual checkup with my rheumatologist a few weeks ago, which always includes some basic bloodwork to check for possible side-effects from all my various meds & treatments. All went well, so I scheduled my next visit for 5 months from now & went on my merry way. A week later, Mark goes to our family physician for a routine check, just to get his prescriptions refilled for another year. He comes home that afternoon, looking a little frazzled. Concerned, I asked him how it went... Wrong move! Mark then proceeds to tell me that he is fine, but that our doctor told him that I had type 2 diabetes. Um, what?!

Apparently my rheumatologist had checked my sugar as part of the bloodwork he did, and had sent a copy of the results to my primary care doctor. "Aha!" thought I. "Well, that explains it. He didn't tell me to fast before having my blood drawn, and I know I had breakfast and lunch that day. So I'm sure that result wasn't accurate." Still, I thought it would be smart to take some random glucose readings at home, just to see how things were on a regular basis. My mom has a meter that she doesn't need to use anymore, so I borrowed it for the 2 weeks between hearing this news & my next appointment with my doctor.

Suffice it to say that I was less than thrilled with the results... My first reading, taken before breakfast, was 237 mg/dl (for those of you who may not be familiar with normal glucose levels, my understanding is that fasting glucose is supposed to be 110 mg/dl or less). The following days were no better: 256... 197... 243... 222... 195... 281. The best (?) reading I had in that two week period was a 165. Subsequent testing ordered by my doctor reinforced the ugly truth.

And that's the story of how Mark gave me diabetes. I mean, what the hell?! He's no longer allowed to go to the doctor without supervision - the last thing I need is for him to come home one day & tell me that I've got the plague or something. Unbelievable!

Seriously, though, I think Mark has been more worried about all this than I have. Poor guy! As much as I like to tease him about the circumstances of my diagnosis - and I really, really do - it would have to suck to be in his position & have to tell someone you love that they have a life-altering, potentially fatal disease. As I expected, he has also been nothing but supportive and understanding, signing up to go to diabetes care classes with me (4 weeks in a row!) and listening patiently as I obsess about all the new information I'm trying to absorb. Mark has always been my hero, but now I might seriously have to look into getting him a medal or something.

As for me, I'm still feeling a little shell-shocked by the whole experience. I can't say that the diagnosis was a real surprise - I'm very overweight, more sedentary than ever before, and I usually base my food choices on what's the most convenient at the time. Of course, I can blame some of this on my fibromyalgia, but the truth is that I knew better and still did nothing to avoid the possible ramifications of my lifestyle - including diabetes. I take full responsibility for my predicament and the poor choices that led me here... well, except for the part where Mark gave me diabetes. Bastard. ;>)

But the first choice I made in dealing with my new lifestyle was to look at all the positive things that I have going for me. Again, as much as I love to tease about it, I was actually very lucky to have been diagnosed at all in these unusual circumstances. I don't know why my rheumatologist chose to check my sugar to begin with, but it certainly would have been at least 5 months from now before he discussed it with me - assuming he noticed it at all. Had the nurses or staff at my primary doctor's office not noticed the result & flagged it for the doctor - which happens all too often, in my experience - I may never have heard about it at all. So I feel lucky to have doctors & nurses who didn't let my potentially life-threatening problem slip through the cracks.

I know it sounds bizarre, but I also think that being disabled has actually worked to my advantage in this situation. I don't have to worry about juggling meals, glucose checks, meds & insulin around a job, for example. I have plenty of free time to do research and learn all I need to know to keep my sugar as normal as possible. And most of the research I've done has stressed the psychological effects of a diabetes diagnosis, pointing out that most people go through some permutation of the 5 Stages of Grief when they learn of their condition - grief primarily based on the loss of a normal life, and having to face the future with a chronic, incurable illness. Well - been there, done that! I know that I'll have to make a lot of changes in my lifestyle over the coming months and years, but my past experiences with debilitating health conditions have prepared me for this in ways I would never have imagined.

Unfortunately, my existing health problems may also be the biggest stumbling block for me in getting my glucose under control. The best treatment for me right now is to lose weight and get lots of exercise - things that are exponentially more difficult to do with fibromyalgia. But I feel really positive about making whatever changes are necessary, and if I'm lucky, I could end up healthier and feeling better than I have ever been.

Of course, all of this could have been avoided if my husband hadn't given me diabetes in the first place. *Sigh!*

Thursday, August 14, 2008

There's Always Someone Cooler Than You

... and today, it's ME!

Okay, maybe not. But I am feeling very proud of myself at the moment. I should backtrack a bit:

Things have been a bit gloomy around the old homestead lately, due to some unwelcome health news. (I plan to post in more detail about this after tomorrow's doctor appointment, when we will hopefully have a bit more concrete information to share.) Nothing earth-shattering, mind you - although it will quite certainly be life-altering. But mostly, it's just a Bummer with a capital B (we hope).

Accordingly, the past 2 weeks have seemed to go by in slow-motion, forcing us to hover in a seemingly-endless holding pattern until we finally get some anwers and a sense of the new direction in which we will inevitably be heading. To paraphrase the philosopher Petty: the waiting is indeed the hardest part.

But this afternoon, fate brought along a little nugget of sunshine to drag me out of my thoroughly unfunky funk. As most of you know, the hubby & I went to see Ben Folds perform live at Purdue University last February. It was a predictably awesome show, and a swell time was had by all - although it took poor Mark a few weeks to recover from the pretzelling caused by the severe lack of leg space in our seats at Elliott Hall. So, when I first noticed that Mr. Folds would be returning to Indiana in October for another show, I dismissed the idea out of hand, reasoning that it would essentially be the same show we saw in February.

Then today, as chance would have it, I happened to run across another mention of the coming concert, which is scheduled for October 3rd in Fort Wayne. "Hmmm...," thought I, "that would have made a fun anniversary present for us." (Our 14th wedding anniversary is on Oct. 1st.) Then I noticed that the venue is the Embassy Theatre, a 1920's era movie house & vaudeville theater which has been renovated & restored. I've always wanted to see it, and this would be an excellent excuse to go. So I started to poke about the web to find out whether there were even any Ben Folds tickets still available, since I had no idea when they had actually gone on sale.

My first stop was the ubiquitous Ticketmaster, but they had no record of this show. Next I tried the Embassy Theatre webpage, which in turn referred me to the Fort Wayne Philharmonic site. Wait a minute - the Philharmonic? No Way! A bit more research told me that, Yes Way, Ben Folds would be appearing with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra. Naturally, now I REALLY wanted to go! This would not only be a much different show than the one we saw in February, but it would also be one of his excellent live orchestral collaborations. So on to the Philharmonic website I went, but the link they had for tickets gave no joy. It kept timing out, which I feared was a sign that perhaps they had no more tickets available. Finally, just on a lark, I checked some online ticket resellers... Holy schmoley! A minimum of $220 for a balcony seat?! Uh, no. Dejected, I decided to give up my pipe dream & instead soothe my soul with some Ben Folds tunage.

Feeling a bit better after the judicious application of some irreverent piano rock, I mused that it had been awhile since I had checked out Ben's website, and decided I'd click on over to get the skinny on his new album. As I perused the main page, the "Tour" button at the top of the page caught my eye, temporarily bumming me out again. But then I thought, what the hell - let's see what they have to say about his upcoming dates. Imagine my surprise when the listing for the Embassy Theatre gig indicated that pre-sale seats were now available for BenFolds.com readers only. Really?!

Of course, no prices were given - you have to actually start to purchase seats to find out how much they cost. This suited me fine, since I had every intention of buying some as long as we could afford them without being forced to sell our organs on the black market. Turns out the cheap seats were only $46, and the better seats were $60 - a chunk of change, to be sure, but peanuts by modern concert standards. In my heart, though, I was still looking at this as an academic pursuit - I was sure that, having come to the party late, all the good seats would undoubtedly be taken. I felt we'd be lucky to be allowed to squeeze our ample frames into some balcony seats.

With my fingers crossed, I chose 2 $60 seats & clicked the "Find" button, hoping that my laptop Keith wouldn't just start laughing at me without even submitting my request. Seconds later, I was offered 2 seats on the main floor, second row center, on the freakin' aisle. Are you shitting me?! I had 6 minutes to frantically call Mark & tell him what he was getting me for our anniversary before the computer released our seats. As I had expected, it didn't take much coaxing to get him onboard, especially after I gave him all the details. He has very little interest in visiting Fort Wayne or the Embassy Theatre, but quite a bit of interest in seeing Ben play with the Philharmonic. Plus, now he doesn't have to shop for our anniversary. Hey - whatever works.

So now my gloominess has turned to giddiness, and I'm floating on a soft, fluffy cloud of smugness and self-congratulation. I'm sure I'll eventually drift back down to earth. To paraphrase the philosopher Folds: yeah, I'm the shit but I won't be it for long. But until then, I'm just gonna bask.


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Now playing: Ben Folds - There's Always Someone Cooler
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Ovaries Are Aching...

Nothing like some adorable baby pics to make me feel really old...

Here's my baby cousin's baby girl (Argh! Just typing that makes my brain hurt! I feel an urgent need to wear knee-hi stockings rolled down to my ankles & yell at the neighbor kids to get out of my yard). This was taken at the county fair, where she won a blue ribbon in the Baby Contest (Prettiest Girl 14-18 months). To which I say, was there ever a doubt?


Isn't she just too cute?!

Mingling amongst the crowd at the contest was this little peanut, only a few days old. And - as if I didn't already feel geriatric enough - this is where I'm obliged to point out that he is my cousin's baby's baby. (Slightly older cousin this time, but still...):


Like I said - adorable.

It's a good thing these kids are so damn cute. Otherwise, I might have to resent them a little for emphasizing my decrepitude...

Nah. Can't do it. They've weakened my defenses with their cuteness. *sigh!* I guess I'll just have to be madly in love with them. :)

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Now playing: Kim Ferron - Nothing But You
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Is It Just Me, Or...

Is anybody else missing Rachel Maddow?

Don't get me wrong - I'm very happy to have my Keith back from his summer vacation. Countdown is and always will be his show, and nobody does it better.

But somebody needs to give Rachel her own TV show, for crying out loud! I've been a fan of her radio program for years, so I'm not surprised that she did such a good job guest-hosting for the past 2 weeks on Countdown. I know she'll still pop up as a regular commentator on MSNBC, but I'm sorry - that's just not good enough.

Until this egregious error is remedied, I'll have to make do with some of my favorite video clips from the guest-hosting stint. This one is doubly good because it also features comic genius Michael Ian Black (who will unfortunately always be known to my husband only as Johnny Blue Jeans):





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Now playing: Jet - Move On
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Better. Faster. Keith-ier.

Okay, so we all know I stole that line from the Countdown commercials, but it was just too perfect for my needs. But first, I feel the need to backtrack a bit...

If you've dropped by this blog at any point over the past 3 or 4 months, you will probably have noticed the lack of posts and updates. I could give any number of excuses, not the least of which being my grandfather's grave illness (he passed away on April 17th) and all the family drama which ensued, but the heart of the matter is that I just wasn't feeling very bloggy. I'm sure the problem wasn't helped by my fibromyalgia, which is always exacerbated by any kind of stress - and the stress that a death in the family brings is an especially potent type indeed. But the truth is that I have felt relatively well for quite some time now... I just didn't have it in me until now to get back on the blogging horse, so to speak.

So, please accept my genuine apologies for my sudden and prolonged absence. I will endeavor over the next few days to catch you all up on what has been going on around here... I'm sure something has been happening, but for the moment I'm at a bit of a loss. Well, I guess there is one exception...

My trusty laptop Keith has been struggling for quite some time with the many burdens of living with me - such as my constant, unreasonable requests to run applications that required Windows XP even though he was very clear at the start of our relationship that he could only provide me with Windows 2000. Ultimately, we made a mutual decision to part ways, although we will always remain close. After much deliberation, he has been put out to pasture as a 24/7 conduit to my bulky external hard drive. It's a low-stress position, but still a vital role in my computing life. He seems to be fitting in well.

All this is to explain the presence of my fancy new laptop, which has been duly dubbed Keith 2.0 (I hope this doesn't lead to any resentment issues within the network...). As the title indicated, he is indeed better, faster and Keith-ier than my first love. On top of running Windows XP Pro, he also includes some fancier hardware, such as the built-in DVD-RW (yay!). We're still getting to know each other, of course, but I predict a long, beautiful partnership in our future. He has already helped me to tweak my blog layouts and to backup a lot of my data. And I'm sure that it is in no small part due to his inspiration that, at long last, I finally find myself feeling bloggy again.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Blog Against Theocracy

I've decided to participate in the Blog Against Theocracy blogswarm this weekend, March 21-23, 2008. I'm sure it's only a coincidence that it falls over the Easter holiday...

Bloggers all across the country will be posting articles or thoughts about one of our most fundamental freedoms: the separation of Church and State. While I have some rudimentary background in political science, I have no desire to hold forth on the fundamental Constitutional guarantees which are currently being compromised by the irrational, morally bankrupt religious extremist who claims to be our Commander-In-Chief...

Okay, maybe I do, but instead I wanted to address a particular issue which is directly relevant to my daily life: reproductive rights. And I'm not talking about abortion, although I could... No, no, I'm going to stay on point.

When I was 16, my mom took me to see our family doctor to discuss the increasing symptoms I was having - which, back then, were still only referred to as "female troubles". To be more accurate, I had cramps. REALLY BAD cramps. Horrifically painful, debilitating, "waking up with slivers of wood under my nails from gripping the bedpost in agony" kind of cramps.

After an exam, my doctor explained that the best way to combat my symptoms would be to prescribe a regimen of birth control pills. Being Catholic, I was unsure how my mom would react to this news, but she was cool with it. After watching me suffer for years, I think she would have agreed to anything, but she also explained that this would actually be allowed under current Church teaching anyway, since there was a valid medical purpose.

Unlike some of my friends (you know who you are!), I was not sexually active at this young age, so my use of the drug I was taking - and have taken ever since, in some form - was purely medical in nature. Within a few months, my symptoms subsided to a somewhat more tolerable state, and everyone was happy - no harm, no foul.

Then I went to college. (Well, for awhile, anyway. But back to the point...) In this one instance, my complete and total dependence on my parents worked to my advantage. Since I still came home every few weeks, I continued to have my prescriptions filled at my home pharmacy.

Some of my new college friends, however, were not so fortunate - they were stunned to find that many local pharmacists refused to fill birth control prescriptions. This was particularly hard for freshman girls, who were required to live in the dorms and were not allowed to park cars on campus. The local girls just went home for their meds, like I did. But for a few, the only option was to take a bus to Planned Parenthood, where they could usually get their medications, although most found that their HMO or PPO insurance coverage would not apply for these out of network drugs.

I was baffled - and frightened. What would have happened if I had chosen to attend one of the out of state schools to which I had been accepted, and therefore couldn't get my prescriptions filled at home every month? Memories of the excruciating pain I had experienced years before flooded back... Plus, I had always heard that college towns were usually more liberal than their surrounding areas. How pervasive was this problem, if it was this bad at a state university?

The whole situation was so infuriating and downright ridiculous. The idea that some random redneck could make arbitrary decisions about my body and my right to treat my life-changing medical condition filled me with rage and disgust - it still does.

Looking back, I feel so naive - things have gotten much worse in this regard since my college days in the early 90's. And that's one of the many reasons why defending the separation of Church and State is so important. Just as all Americans have the right to worship how (and if) we choose, we also all have the right to do our jobs, raise our children, treat our bodies and live our lives free of interference from anyone else's religious beliefs.

Or, at least we should.

(If you think so, too, check out the First Freedom First website for details on their nationwide live simulcast event next Wednesday, March 26th. It's a free broadcast hosted at many theaters across the country - you can find one near you here.)

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Now playing: The Cranberries - Salvation
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Five Years...And Counting


"I must say, I'm a little envious. If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed. It must be exciting for you … in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You're really making history, and thanks."
---George W. Bush, March 13, 2008


Moron.
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Now playing: The Weepies - World Spins Madly On
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Six Little Words

So, it looks like I got tagged by Saoirse Daily 2.

Here are the rules:

1. Write your own six word memoir.

2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.

3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post.

4. Tag five more blogs with links.

5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!


So, with no further ado, here are my six words:

Secret Assistant to the Regional Manager


I hereby tag:

Laura's MySpace blog

Repressed Memmeries


Live from the Wang of America

Sack Of Monkeys In My Pocket

Mom, Mother, Wife, Daughter

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Mr. Elrod Goes to "Wahington"?

Once again, I'm brimming with Hoosier pride.

As some of you may know, my congressional district here in Indy - the Fightin' 7th - is currently without representation in the House, due to the somewhat sudden (although hardly surprising) passing of longtime local politician Rep. Julia Carson in December.

Hoosiers will be hitting the polls this coming Tuesday for a special election to replace Carson for the remaining months of her term. As expected, the Democrats have thrown their support behind Julia's grandson, City-County Councilman Andre Carson.

And then there are the Republicans. Granted, winning this contest only guarantees a few months in the Congressional seat, since the regular elections are scheduled for this November. Still, a victory now would be a big publicity boost for any candidate, and would certainly give him or her a leg up on the competition this fall.

So it would seem that this might be a fortuitous opportunity for the Republicans to attempt to assume control of the 7th, which has been one of the few solidly Democratic districts in our exceptionally red state. Nonetheless, it doesn't seem like the GOP candidate, state representative Jon Elrod, is getting much support from the party.



Well, either that or Republicans are morally opposed to spell check. You know, maybe: "That Bill Gates shouldn't interfere with God's true plan for our spelling..."

(As an aside, I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that, while the nice people at Taking Down Words and Blue Indiana were kind enough to circle the misspelling of "commercial" in the above ad, the word "television" on the previous line is also misspelled. In for a penny, in for a pound, I suppose.)

And now for my favorite part of the story... the one and only Jon Elrod television commercial. While it is not normally my practice to post Republican campaign ads on my blog, I had to make an exception for this. Pay particular attention to the on-screen graphics at the beginning:


video

Wow! Now you know that's got to be one smooth campaign operation.

Stay classy, Indianapolis!

Monday, March 3, 2008

What Did YOU Do This Weekend?

Here's what I did this weekend...


video

I claim no ownership of this video - our seats weren't nearly this good. It's just from the same Ben Folds concert we attended this past Friday at Purdue.

I've been to plenty of concerts in my time, including lots of piano players (Billy Joel, Elton John). But I'm pretty sure this show marked the first time I've witnessed anyone playing a keyboard with another keyboard. Or playing 3 keyboards simultaneously: one with the left hand, one with the right hand, and a third with the right foot. Granted, both of these tricks sound a lot like things my 7 year old nephew would try if given the opportunity... and I can see that for free pretty much any time I want. But somehow it was still pretty cool.

So we enjoyed the concert tremendously (we give it 2 enthusiastic thumbs-up), but it was kind of bittersweet to be puttering around the old campus. And poor Mark is just now getting the feeling back in his legs from squeezing into the doll-sized theater seats in the 2nd balcony of Elliott Hall. But all in all, we had a great night.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Trying to Contain My Hoosier Pride

When I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash
How I long for my Indiana home.

Somehow, I don't think John McCain shares my love of the Hoosier state... at least, not today.

Fellow Hoosier (and my new hero) Thomas Cook of Blue Indiana filed an official complaint with the Indiana Election Commission this afternoon, contesting the inclusion of John McCain on the ballot for our May 6th primary. Seems that Senator McCain's local campaign organizers (including our esteemed Governor and King of Creepy Comb-Overs, Mitch "Montgomery Burns" Daniels) failed to collect the required number of petition signatures in one congressional district to qualify for the ballot. Huh. (You can read all the details here.)

Predictably, the Republican Powers-That-Be have already approved McCain for the ballot despite this little technical snafu, and I'm sure that they will either ignore the complaint or finagle some way around it. This is what politicians do, after all.

Still, I never thought I'd live to see the day when a Republican candidate - ANY Republican candidate - would have trouble finding signatures for anything in Indiana. I bet could get 100 names in my own neighborhood tomorrow on a petition advocating drunk driving with orphaned cancer puppies if I said I was collecting them for the Republican party. How hard should it be to get 500 names in any district for the acknowledged national Republican front-runner in this overwhelmingly red state?

I kinda wondered why McCain was coming to Indianapolis this Friday... We don't usually get a lot of visits from national candidates. There's not really much reason for it - it's a waste of time for both Democrats and Republicans. For Democrats, there's not much return on the time invested during such a busy season; and for Republicans, our state is typically a slam-dunk with or without a local campaign stop. In light of this new information, though, the hastily-arranged visit is starting to make sense. If McCain's staff is at all competent, they have to be concerned about what appears to be waning support for their candidate in the heart of one of the reddest states in the country.

I think my favorite part of this story, though, is the DNC response:

Despite the fact that the McCain campaign clearly failed to qualify for the ballot, Republican Attorney General Steve Carter and Republican Secretary of State Todd Rokita (who recently endorsed McCain) rubberstamped it anyway, trying to sneak McCain onto the ballot. Clearly, the Republican Culture of Corruption is alive and well within the McCain campaign.

Clearly, the Democratic National Committee spokesperson hasn't spent much time in Indiana. The "Republican Culture of Corruption" is just business as usual around here.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Grandma Would Be SO Proud...

...although she might be a bit disturbed that I matched Reagan at 50%. She'd be even more disturbed to see his name on a list of "great" American presidents.

Well, Reagan did spend half his life as a Democrat, so I'm just going to assume that I just matched that earlier half - you know, before he sold his soul.





Which Great US President Are You Most Like?
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as John Kennedy

35th President, in office from 1961-1963
Born: 1917 Died: 1963 (assassinated)


John Kennedy



74%

Franklin Roosevelt



69%

George Washington



62%

Abraham Lincoln



59%

Thomas Jefferson



50%

Ronald Reagan



50%

Dwight Eisenhower



45%

Theodore Roosevelt



41%

Lyndon Johnson



38%

Woodrow Wilson



22%

Harry Truman



19%


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Investigative Entertainment Journalism

Once again, I apologize to all of you for my continued absence from posting. As I've said before, I just haven't been feeling very motivated to write lately, even with minute by minute changes in the political landscape. Well, that is, until today...

Unfortunately, the topic which finally struck a chord with me falls squarely in the realm of television and entertainment, although it does also deal peripherally with politics. So, even though I had originally intended to post it here, I felt the story was more appropriate for my media blog (which is humbly entitled The Queen of All Media).

But I hope you will take a few moments to check out my attempt at investigative entertainment journalism on here (the post is titled So Who REALLY Made Huckabee?). Actually, it may be more than a few moments... the first video clip alone is probably about 8 minutes long, although the second clip is much shorter. But it's well worth the time - and if you've been watching Conan, Colbert and/or Stewart over the past few weeks, you can probably skip the longer clip.

And I promise to post something interesting here soon.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sunday Seven - What's On My Mind

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION:
Name seven things on your mind today.

Either answer the question in a comment or answer it in your journal and include the link in a comment. (To be considered “first to play,” a link must be to the specific entry in which you answered the question.) You may include this link in the URL space when leaving your comment, or in the comment itself. As long as it’s there in one spot or the other.

  1. Saturday was the 16th anniversary of the day Mark proposed to me. Yes, that's right, he chose the most romantic day of the year: Groundhog Day. He also hadn't gotten around to shopping for a ring yet, so he instead gave me packets of "engagement ketchup" from Wendy's. Just drips with sentiment, doesn't it? But it was one of my best days ever, because it was the day when I became the luckiest woman on Earth.
  2. The writers strike is hurting me in a very real, physical way. I have only myself to blame, though, for allowing my TV dependence to grow to such epic proportions. I will probably need medication if I find out that the continuing strike will cut short the final season of Scrubs. Not fair! And I miss all my other shows, too...
  3. I can't hold my liquor like I used to back in the day.
  4. Do I come off as a racist? Or a xenophobe? Because people keep forwarding me the most vile, reprehensible trash, including the well-known Barack Obama slimefest email and lots of similarly sleazy attacks on others, such as immigrants (even those who are here quite legally). As shocking as the content is, I'm not surprised that it's out there - unfortunately, there are plenty of small-minded, mean-spirited buffoons out there to circulate this garbage. What really concerns me is the fact that this crap keeps appearing in my inbox... What on earth would make anyone who has ever met me think that I would appreciate this sort of bile? Does anyone out there really think I'm that small? The thought of it saddens me.
  5. It would be nice if I could get all my Christmas decorations put away before Lent begins this Wednesday...
  6. Universal healthcare needs to happen soon. And I don't just mean that everyone has to buy a policy - I'm talking full-on socialized medicine, that treats and bills every patient equally, no matter what their job happens to be or how much money they have.
  7. I wish Mark & I could take a real vacation sometime soon... We will hopefully get to go away together at some point this year, but I really think he needs it right now.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Don't Say I Didn't Warn You

This clip, while highly entertaining, has tremendous capacity for bodily damage if watched incorrectly. So here are some ground rules:
  • Do not eat or drink anything while watching. The probability of choking or snorting liquids through your nose is quite high.
  • Make sure your bladder is as empty as possible prior to viewing. I missed this step myself, which resulted in lots of embarrassment and extra laundry duty.
  • Don't view this clip in the company of anyone who enjoys Fox News. Your inevitable amusement just might push them over the edge.
I think that will suffice. So, here is Keith Olbermann's Worst Persons segment from this past Friday, January 25th:


video

Saturday Six

I don't know why, but I thought I'd give the Saturday Six from Patrick's Place a shot this week...

Here are this week’s “Saturday Six” questions. Either answer the questions in a comment here, or put the answers in an entry on your journal…but either way, leave a link to your journal so that everyone else can visit! To be counted as “first to play,” you must be the first player to either answer the questions in a comment or to provide a complete link to the specific entry in your journal in which you answer the questions. A link to your journal in general cannot count. Enjoy!

1. You go to a restaurant and order alcohol: based on past experience, how likely are you to be carded? (Are you of legal drinking age?)

Not very likely. I do still get carded at the grocery occasionally, though. And yes, I am well above the legal drinking age.

2. You’re selecting a new physician and you learn that the doctor you are visiting is in his twenties: would you feel any less confident about his ability?

Not at all. In my experience, younger doctors are more likely to really listen to what patients have to say & go the extra mile to treat them. I might have to call him Doogie, though.

3. One must be 35 years old or older to run for president. Based on arguments about experience, should the age be increased to 45? Why or why not?

No... I've always felt that the random Constitutional age requirements were arbitrary and a bit silly. There should be a mandatory IQ test instead - like a Presidential SAT.

4. Take the quiz: What age do you act?


You Act Like You Are 27 Years Old

You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel like an adult, and you're optimistic about life.
You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

You're still figuring out your place in the world and how you want your life to shape up.
The world is full of possibilities, and you can't wait to explore many of them.

5. When you were in high school, what age, in your opinion, qualified someone as being “old?”

Oh, probably retirement age, which at that point was around 55.

6. Do you find yourself better relating to people older than you or younger than you? (Sorry, your same age group isn’t an option in this one!)

It depends on the situation. Physically, I definitely identify with people older than I am, due to all my medical issues. Psychologically, I often identify with younger people, since I don't have any kids or a career.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I'm SO Tagged!

I've been sorta lurking around my usual haunts in the blogosphere for the past few days, catching up on everyone's recent posts and trying to get myself back into the flow. I keep wanting to jump back in, but I just haven't felt really inspired to say a whole lot. Not too surprising, I suppose. I think I'm still feeling a bit shell-shocked.

So I take it as a sign from above that my good friend Saoirse Daily2 tagged me on her blog today. I think maybe it's just the nudge I needed to get my act together...

Hopefully it will also get my creative juices flowing again, if only to a slow trickle.

So here are my answers:

FOUR JOBS I HAVE HAD:
1. Customer Service Representative (head teller) at a bank
2. Medical Records chart prep for a neurology practice
3. Flavored popcorn vendor at a local mall
4. Market research for a local radio station

FOUR MOVIES WATCHED OVER AND OVER:
1. Garden State
2. The Godfather (mostly 1 and 2, but sometimes 3)
3. Shaun of the Dead
4. Just Friends

FOUR PLACES I HAVE LIVED:
1. Indianapolis, IN
2. Muncie, IN
3. Beech Grove, IN
4. Loehne, Germany (for, like, 3 weeks)

FOUR SHOWS I WATCH:
1. Scrubs
2. Flight of the Conchords
3. Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
4. The Colbert Report

FOUR PLACES I HAVE BEEN:
1. Gatlinburg, TN
2. Munich, Germany
3. San Antonio, TX
4. Cleveland, OH

FOUR PEOPLE WHO EMAIL ME:
1. Laura
2. Ali
3. Cindy
4. Patty

FOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO EAT:
1. Mu shu shrimp at Lotus Garden
2. Club sandwich
3. Fish & chips from Claddagh, with a Guinness
4. Sauerbraten with red cabbage

FOUR PLACES I WOULD RATHER BE:
1. Anywhere with a beach, good weather & not too many nasty bugs
2. Bavaria
3. Ireland
4. Disney World

FOUR THINGS I LOOK FORWARD TO THIS YEAR
1. Taking a real vacation with Mark
2. Electing a REAL president this November! (knock wood...)
3. The end of the writers strike
4. Good health & happiness for everyone I know

FOUR PEOPLE TO TAG:
1. Laura
2. Repressed One
3. Gidge
4. Effrenatus

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Select A Candidate

Sorry for my prolonged absence from the blogosphere... As you know, we had a death in the family recently, so things have been a bit more hectic than usual around here. I'm going to try to get back in the saddle over the next few days.

Warm thanks to all of you who expressed your sympathy for our loss & offered your support in our time of need. Please know that your kindness is greatly appreciated.

So, on to business... I came across this quiz on Patrick's Place, and thought it might be fun to post here. As usual, my answers matched me with Dennis Kucinich - which would be fine, if he had even a snowball's chance in hell of getting elected. *sigh*

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Jack Raymond: February 28, 1929 - January 10, 2008

As some of you already know, Mark's dad Jack passed away this morning from complications due to a massive heart attack. Jack was a warm, wonderful man who was always full of vitality and energy. When his heart attack struck him, he had just been driving home from one of his favorite activities: square dancing with his Seniors group.

Coincidentally, the local newspaper just recently recorded a short video report about the Square Dancing Seniors, which was posted on their website on Monday - just one day before Jack's fateful car accident/cardiac arrest. I wanted to share the video with all of you (for those of you who never had the pleasure of meeting Jack, he's the handsome, silvery-haired rapscallion in the light blue shirt):

video

Farewell, Jack... you will be greatly missed. And wherever you are now, I hope you're still dancing.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Political musings...

As the good people of New Hampshire file through their polling places to cast their votes today, I thought it would be an auspicious time to talk a bit about my take on the primary season so far...

Last week's Iowa caucuses were historic and inspiring, with a record turnout, especially for the Democrats. In the current climate of political cynicism, it was refreshing to see so many new and young voters turning out to support their candidates. On a personal note, I was glad (though not totally surprised) to see that ALL 3 qualifying Democratic candidates received more votes than any of the qualifying Republicans, reinforcing the feeling that any Democratic nominee will have a good chance at reaching the White House this year. Much was made of Hillary Clinton's 3rd place finish, but even she was several percentage points ahead of Republican winner Mike Huckabee.

Of course, the big story this week has been Barack Obama - both his Iowa win and the momentum he's gained as a result of it. Obama's Iowa victory was stunning not because it was a surprise (he had been the frontrunner in the polls for several weeks) but rather due to the margin by which he won. I think that, while Obama has picked up a lot of support over the months of his campaign, most pundits - and voters, for that matter - were not sure if this would translate into actual votes. It seems like everyone was hedging their bets, waiting to see if anyone else would dare cast their votes for him before they would publicly back him as a candidate. I know that's sort of how I've felt... Obama seems like a decent guy who shares many of my beliefs, and he certainly has the charisma and presence to be a contender. But all the scuttlebutt over the past year revolved around the theory that Hillary Clinton was the clear frontrunner whose nomination was almost inevitable. So, I felt, why get invested in a candidate who doesn't have a chance? I think a lot of others have felt this way, too, whether they want to admit it or not.

But after Iowa, the floodgates opened - suddenly, it's not so unreasonable to back Obama. And with each passing day, his poll numbers continue to rise. I don't believe this is because people all over the country are unduly influenced by the opinions of Iowa caucus voters. What Iowa did for Obama was prove that people in the heartland have heard his message and not only support it, but are also not afraid to vote for him, despite the fact that he is young, black and somewhat unproven. Now scores of closet Obama supporters are stepping out from the shadows to be counted.

As for myself, I'm still officially undecided, but I find the groundswell of support for Obama to be inspirational. Politically, my beliefs would probably align more closely with Dennis Kucinich, the former candidate Chris Dodd, or (lately) John Edwards. But Obama has been the most charismatic from the beginning, and I can't help but pull for him to some extent. My main concern with Obama has nothing to do with his age, color, background, or lack of experience. No, what bothers me is that his actions don't always seem to match the rhetoric. He talks a lot about change, but I haven't seen much effort on his part to initiate that change. He's against the war, but has voted to fund it (a tough political spot to be in during a presidential campaign, admittedly).

But I would have no problem casting my vote for Barack Obama as president... Of course, I would have no problem voting for any of the other remaining Democratic candidates, either. This may have something to do with why I'm still undecided... Any of them would be so-o-o-o-o much better than what we've had for the past 7 years that it's hard for me to quibble over small platform differences.

The only one I can't get really excited about is Hillary Clinton, which is a shame. I think it would be cool to have a woman as president. But of all the Democratic candidates, she is the one that worries me most. Primarily, I'm concerned that she would be less than supportive of rolling back the unconstitutional powers that have been ceded to the Executive branch by the Patriot Act, which is a major issue for me. How can you be a Democrat and not stand up for civil liberties and basic rights like habeas corpus? That being said, I think Hillary Clinton has a lot of qualities necessary for a great American president, and I would certainly vote for her were she the chosen Democratic nominee.

In all honesty, I feel that most of the Republican candidates would be reasonably capable in the Oval Office, too - not that I would ever vote for any of them. But despite our differences in values, I feel that the majority of the Republicans have the potential to at least be effective executives - and any of them would be an improvement over Dubya (faint praise, at best). Not that I wouldn't still complain about them, as I have done about every previous Republican president in my lifetime (and a few before my lifetime, too!). But I don't think I'd be quite as worried about the future of our country - heck, of the entire planet - as I have been during the Bush/Cheney years.

I guess that may be the only positive legacy of the current administration: they really put things into perspective. I remember feeling frightened by the concept of Dan Quayle being only one heart attack away from the presidency.... Ha! Little did I know what depths of incompetency were yet to come. I used to think Ronald Reagan was evil, but now he just seems like a big, fuzzy puppy dog. Nixon? A bad apple, sure, but no longer the anti-Christ. He almost seems like an amateur compared to Dick Cheney... Once again, I guess the apprentice surpasses the master.

Puppet Theatre, January 7, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, break out the popcorn! It's time for the latest installment of Bill O'Reilly Puppet Theatre (clip courtesy of Crooks and Liars):


video

I just love good theater, don't you?!

Monday, January 7, 2008

I've been saying this for years...

What political ideology do you have?
Your Result: Democratic Socialist
 

You are the standard European socialist who believes that the government should spend large amounts of money on social welfare programs. You also believe that these social welfare programs are mandated by the people who vote in your ideal democratic government

Communist
 
Libertarian
 
Anarchist
 
Authoritarian Capitalist
 
Fascist
 
What political ideology do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

We're Famous!

My good ol' home state of Indiana made it onto Crooks and Liars today... I'm so proud.

For those of you who haven't heard, a few years ago our duly elected legislators, in their infinite wisdom, decided to pass the strictest voter ID law in the country. Of course, it has been challenged, but so far every court has upheld the law, despite evidence that it has already disenfranchised a number of indigent, elderly &/or disabled voters. Let freedom ring.

The issue is due to come before the Supreme Court this year, but considering the current balance of the court, I'm not holding my breath.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Typing Test

59 words

Learn Touchtyping



Not too shabby... I was actually pretty impressed with myself here. Of course, if I tried to type like that for more than 60 seconds at a time, I'm sure my arms would just fall off at the elbows... ;>)

Still, it's nice to see that I haven't lost all my skills yet!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Official 2007 Christmas Play

Here's some video of my precious niece & nephew, who decided to put on an impromptu Christmas play for us after our annual holiday extravaganza this past Saturday.

There's not a lot of character development, and the story has some plot holes, but darn it if those kids aren't cute!


video