Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Moken

Today I'd like to talk about the Moken; unusual people who live on the seas in Asia. They are often called "Sea Gypsies" because they live on the water for 8 months out of every year. They only build shelters on land to wait out the monsoon season, when the waters are too violent to live upon.

I was always a fan of the concept behind Waterworld (though the movie stank) and I read a fantastic SciFi book years ago about a culture that lived only on the water. Perhaps that is why this culture seems so charming.

The Moken live an easygoing life. They are very poor, owning only the basic necessities of life. It keeps them safe from pirates and predators, and allows them to be very mobile.

Their food is caught daily and it's all from the sea; sandworms, crabs, fish, turtles, and anything else edible which comes their way. (I must admit, I cringed a little when I learned that they eat turtles because I love turtles so much. The sandworms I could deal with, as long as they were fried and salted).

They're a primitive culture with animistic beliefs, although they've been exposed to other religions. At one time, there were thousands of Moken, but now they've been reduced to only a thousand or less.

The Moken are a dying breed. Right now there are efforts to raise money in order to supplement their lifestyle, but is that the right thing to do? Something that once worked, works no more. Perhaps we should let nature take it's course and allow the Moken to die out through attrition.

Yet, it's the magical charm of this lifestyle which appeals to so many of us who have grown beyond such simple things, and it's the pull of a life on the water that reaches out to the adventurer in us.

Below are some photos which I found of the Moken people. As you can see, it's a completely different world and, in some ways, a better one.

Sadly, there are governments that are trying to force the Moken to settle down. The Thais have created a "reservation" where their Moken have been grounded and forced to live on land. As Erik Rogers writes, "Alcoholism is rampant, children have traded timeless customs and survivial instincts for candy, Coca Cola, and DVDs, and most of the villagers looked lost, destitute, and most notably bored. It’s like every American Indian reservation I’ve ever spent time in."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Do Career Women Make Rotten Wives?

An anonymous contributor asked for my take on an article concerning the latest Career Women Debate: Do career women make rotten wives? My answer is... yes they do, and no they don't.

If a man is looking for a traditional Betty Crocker style wife, then a career woman would definately be the wrong choice. If a man is a muslim extremist or a member of the Shantar Religion and believes in the subjugation of women, his best bet would not be a career woman.

However, if a man wants someone who is a mental equal, is dynamic, interesting, and exciting, then a career woman might be just what he's looking for. NOTE: there are stay-at-home moms that also fit this description. I was one, once. But I am not the sort of woman that can remain a "shut-in". Most career women will agree.

Interestingly, this questionable article is based on American studies. Many European males cannot fathom the American male's perspectives, or so my European friends tell me.

This article says "If a host of studies are to be believed, marrying these women is asking for trouble. If they quit their jobs and stay home with the kids, they will be unhappy. They will be unhappy if they make more money than you do. You will be unhappy if they make more money than you do. You will be more likely to fall ill. Even your house will be dirtier."

Let's tackle this, one statement at a time. First, "If they quit their jobs and stay home with the kids, they will be unhappy." Yes. I agree that most of us would be unhappy. However, this doesn't mean that there isn't room for compromise. Children are not helpless forever. At a certain point, women can certainly return to the workforce. Additionally, men could step outside of the traditional role and become the caregiver, instead.

Second, "They will be unhappy if they make more money than you do. You will be unhappy if they make more money than you do." Ahh, but why would a woman be more unhappy if she makes more money than her husband? So often, these studies neglect the why.

I surmise that the career woman would be more unhappy only if her husband is. After all, money is a nice thing which provides all sorts of extras. So it can't be the money itself which would upset her. But a surly husband who feels that this is somehow de-masculizing could make a career woman wish she were as poor as a church mouse.

So why would a man be unhappy if his wife makes more? If he falls for the traditional American expectations, then ultimately he believes the wife should be "barefoot and pregnant" and at home. But perhaps its time for the American male to become a little more civilized and grow beyond his neanderthal roots. For the men who have such a poor self image that they are threatened by a woman with earning power, I suggest... "get some therapy!"

Third, the article asserts that men "...will be more likely to fall ill." Perhaps that's because in a traditional setting, the woman stays home and nurses the sick children and gets the brunt of the sicknesses. In a true partnership, husband and wife take turns and therefore the husband is exposed to more "yuck".

Fourth, we hear the warning to men that "even your house will be dirtier." Well, duh! Learn to pick up after yourself, then! If you want to hire a maid, look in the yellow pages. Why is it that women must clean? Are the duties somehow attached to sex organs? You've got a vagina, so you must cook and clean. You have a penis, so go mow the lawn. Aren't we past all this silly sexual stereotyping by now?

Finally, we're cautioned that women are more likely to cheat on their husbands if they're career women. Well, of course that's true. If a woman isn't isolated at home, she will have more opportunities... just as men have always had. The key to this is that a man can no longer take his wife for granted, any more than a wife could ever take her husband for granted.

I remember reading of a book that was written in the 50s, admonishing women to make sure they are clean and pretty and attentive to all their man's needs when he got home from work at night. There is no mention of how the husband should behave.

The tables are turned, and we now have equality. It's high time that we have a book written for the neanderthals which still skulk about in our society. They need the social and marital skills which have always been expected of us women.

One more thing: I am not saying that a woman who stays at home is less than a real woman. I stayed at home with my baby for 3 1/2 years, and it was the toughest job I've ever had. But I prefer to do something other than that now, and I prefer a companion who understands and accepts that. Until I find one, I am happy to live alone.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

John Karr / Hurricane Ernesto

Karr Guilty of Much, but Innocent of JonBenet's Death

Creepy John Karr will not be charged with JonBenet's death. His DNA samples didn't match what was found under her nails. They released his notes and telephone conversations recently, in which he fantasizes sexually about her. All I can say is... hold on... gotta go barf...

I certainly hope he doesn't escape the charges in Thailand. At least he'll face the charges in California. Of course, he may have been setting all this up for an insanity plea. Which is exactly why I don't believe that the insanity plea should be an excuse to get out of punishment.

Hurricane Ernesto

As The Lazy Iguana pointed out yesterday, this is generating a lot of news here in Florida. Although we may escape it, it certainly appears that it will impact the Miami-Dade area where he lives.

Right now the Cone O' Death is slanting away from the Tampa Bay Area and it looks as if Orlando is dead-center. But hurricanes have a way of surprising everyone, so I'm not ready to say we're home-free yet.

Having grown up in Florida, I have always kept my pantry stocked with canned goods. It's a weirdness that I've never been able to shake. Years ago, when no one understood the power or danger of a hurricane, my friends would often laugh at me. Now their cupboards look like mine.

Yesterday I went out and bought enough bottled water for 72 hours (3 gallons of water per person for 3 days). Michelle's hubby has been helping to get my house ready by buying plywood and sawing it, attaching spring loaded clips which allow the boards to be easily snapped in and out of the windows when the storm has passed. He's already pruned my massive oak trees out back.

All there is left to do (should the hurricane come this way) is to secure the stuff that is lying about, and then just ride it out.

However, most of us natives here believe that this isn't the one that will get us.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Cupcake Controversy

The St. Pete Times discusses The Cupcake Controversy today. Our schools are now limited to offering cupcakes or cakes only three times a year.

"The new elementary school guidelines also eliminate fried foods and limit sugar to 30 grams per 8-ounce serving. In middle schools, the policy limits french fries to three portions per week and reduces servings of carbonated beverages from 20 ounces to 16.9 ounces. French fries must not exceed 4.5 ounces per serving in high schools, and students may only purchase one serving at a time."

Some parents are angry. Apparently it's become a new tradition to send cupcakes to school when it's your kid's birthday but these high calorie, nutritient-deficient goodies are not a healthy choice!

We have become America The Fat. 61% of us are overweight. Additionally, we struggle with other health issues which are related to eating poorly. Do we really want to continue with these new habits that are literally affecting "the bottom line"?

When I was growing up, cakes, cookies, candybars and pies were all considered to be treats. They weren't a daily or weekly occurrence. When one of us had a birthday, it wasn't accompanied by cupcakes.

This is just symptomatic of our nation's problem as a whole. We have become so self-indulgent that we forget our past and assume it's our due. Parents should be happy that the school system is concerned about their childrens' nutrition. And instead of complaining about the banned cupcakes, they need to begin to find creative alternatives.

"I think it's good to be healthy, but I think we're losing sight of the bigger picture," said Debi Turner, the principal at Blanton Elementary in St. Petersburg. "Chances are, these kids aren't having cake every night at home."

She's most likely correct. They're probably having a boxful of Twinkies, instead.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday Tidbits

Zookeeper Fired

In this article yesterday, The Times announced that Lowry Park Zoo fired the new zookeeper who left the latch off the tiger's cage. Talk about finding a scapegoat! When will the zoo also accept their responsibility for placing someone who is unqualified and minimally trained in such a position?

Read 180 Poorly Implemented

In this article in today's Times, we learn that a very expensive program with a high success rate wasn't as effective as it should have been, due to mismanagement in our public school system. Gee, should we be surprised? Florida has long been limping behind most of the country when it comes to education.

Although I feel that Dr. Clayton Wilcox (our current Superintendent) could be doing better, I have to admit that anything is better than his predecessor, Howard Hinesley. As a matter of fact, a troupe of rabid monkeys could have done better than Hinesley.

Let's hope that Wilcox whips this program into shape and demands that the administration gives the teachers the support which they need to make this a success.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Pedophiles Unite

The title of this post isn't a rallying cry. It's a warning. According to this article in The Times today, pedophiles are banding together and creating a strong network of child molestors.

These molestors even have signature jewelry to identify themselves, apparently. But although others have claimed to have googled this and found the jewelry, I couldn't. I wonder if this is simply another urban legend.

I did discover that these molestors prefer to be called "pedosexuals" now, so that the "taint" of being a molestor is somewhat lessened. These molestors have begun to delve into marketing in order to project a better image.

My ex-boyfriend's daughter may be a kid going out of control. She's only 11 1/2, but I recently found out that she was projecting herself as a 15 year old girl on Her mother was alarmed, obviously. is a notorious stomping-ground for these predators.

The St. Pete Times is correct in calling for investigations into the growing pedophile market. If we don't make this a serious issue now, it will become one later, because children aren't born with discernment. A child can unwittingly put himself or herself out there, and become yet another statistic. Since they don't have much common sense, they need to borrow ours. We are the only things standing between them and the pedophile.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Black Males Need Saving?

According to this article in the St. Pete Times today, local politicians believe that black men can't take care of themselves and they're so stupid that they don't know what's causing them to murder, traffic in drugs, and commit other crimes.

Hmmm. Could it be that they're simply out of control?

We've been dealing with this problem for decades now, and the easy answer is never the politically correct one. So, instead we are spending " estimated $182,751 annually for three full-time employees, office space and other expenses" to "...create a 19-member council to be appointed by the governor that will "make a systematic study of the conditions affecting African-American men and boys, including, but not limited to, the homicide rates, arrest and incarceration rates, poverty, violence, drug abuse, death rates, disparate annual income levels, school performance in all grade levels including postsecondary levels, and health issues."

While everyone is busy kissing each other's butts over this, I'd like to save them the time, energy and money by telling them that it's hardly believable that this will help. Similar task forces have been formed in similar cities, states, and in think tanks over the entire nation for as long as the problem has existed.

The answer is easy. The problem is that the easy answer is also a hard one: these particular black males lack self-control. This isn't due to the color of their skin. It's due to the quality of their culture. They're allowed to run amok and it's encouraged by both their immediate community and society as a whole.

We're so busy making up excuses for them that we spend money to form task forces and order studies, when the true answer costs nothing.

We are so frightened of being labelled racist, that we do the black youth of America a great disservice by excusing away their behavior. It's OK to be bad! You're black! You grew up in poverty! But what about the black men and women that did make the right choices? Are they mutants? If so, someone needs to break the news to my succesful black friends. Are their achievements that impossible for the average black youth to aspire to?

As Thomas Sowell writes in Black Rednecks and White Liberals:

"Those who provide black rednecks with alibis do no favor to them, to other blacks, or to the larger society in which we all live. In American society, achievement is what ultimately brings respect, including self-respect. Only for those who have written off blacks' potential for achievement will alibis be an acceptable substitute. The liberal version of blacks' fate as being almost wholly in the hands of whites is a debilitating message for those blacks who take it seriously, however convenient it may be for those who are receptive to an alibi."

I saw a recent protest march in south St. Pete (where the majority of violent blacks can be found, including the Uhurus and various gangs). The people were picketing to stop "black on black violence" and beg their youth to start obeying the law.

The irony is, these same people who were picketing are the people who continue to enable the youth in their own families. They just want everyone else to stop misbehaving.

Until the black community stands up and starts demanding that their own kids behave, nothing will change. The rot comes from within, and that is where it must end. All the task forces in the world will never solve a problem which they cannot control.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Enshala Killed at Lowry Park Zoo

My friends and I discussed this incident yesterday. Enshala, an old female Sumatran tiger, was shot and killed by zoo officials yesterday due to human error. A new zookeeper left her cage unlatched, she got out, and when a vet tried to shoot her with a tranquilizer, she apparently turned on him.

Employees that have always trained for such a possibility stood nearby, with shotguns, prepared to take her down. The one that actually shot and killed her was Lowry Park Zoo president Lex Salisbury.

I remember when Enshala was a cub 15 years ago. There were several cubs that had been born here. She was our tiger, and perhaps that's what makes this more painful for many of us in the Tampa Bay area.

Yesterday, Michelle said "You should blog about this! It wasn't fair to the tiger!" I was surprised, because (as Michelle will tell you) she's not an animal person.

My friend Brian was equally outraged. He pointed out that Enshala died very painfully. A shotgun blast is scattershot: Instead of one bullet, there are many which fan out and pepper the subject.

Brian also pointed out that if we choose to put these animals in captivity, it's up to us to ensure that their confines are adequate. Apparently there was a danger of Enshala breaching a low 7-foot wall which would have put her out amongst the public.

Sadly, this could have been prevented. The new zookeeper claims that he wasn't properly trained, and officials at our nearby Busch Gardens agree with him in today's article. So do experienced ex-employees from Lowry Park Zoo.

The only blessing, if there is any to be found, is that no humans were hurt and Enshala was old. A Sumatran tiger's lifespan only goes to 17 years. But it was not her time to go. Due to human error, we have lost our tiger.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I'm Just Full of Opinions Today!

Giselle & The Crazy Ex

You have to admit that the title sounds like a fairy tale. I'm sure Giselle would wish that it was as easy to discard as a tall tale; something to read at night, put down by the nightstand, and forget about until the next evening.

Giselle, unfortunately, shares a child with an ex-husband that is out-of-control obsessive. In an attempt to punish her for leaving him (he's an abusive alcoholic) he continues to do everything in his power to place roadblocks in her path.

When Giselle made the decision to attend Al-Anon (in order to cope with him) he made up an excuse to avoid taking the baby on the only night she could attend. When she switched nights, he suddenly developed a new reason to not take that baby on that night.

When Giselle needed to refinance her home, and required his signature to do so, it took a court order to force him to do it. Happily, he violated that court order. He has also repeatedly violated the court order to leave her alone and communicate only about their child. Instead he continues to snipe at her, verbally and through email, badgering her incessantly.

Finally, the police are getting involved. Now Giselle wonders (as she did at the time of their divorce), what comes next? When this goes to court, what will happen? His other ex-wife is so terrified of him that she is afraid to testify, for fear that he will come after her and her entire family. Giselle wonders: Should I share that fear?

I wonder that, too.

Teacher Injured Due to KOOC

A special "shout out" to "Sam", the Special Ed teacher who was one of 3 men that had to tackle and hold down a 16 year old boy who was out of control last week.

The Pinellas County School system must have one helluva workers comp policy. It's taking quite a hit now, because Sam (a physically fit man with arms like a professional bodybuilder) has developed a tear in his aorta as a result. He also has other injuries which are very painful but are minor in comparison to this life-threatening injury.

When will we stop babying Kids Out of Control (KOOCs)?

Our Poor & The Illegal Alien

In this St. Pete Times article today, the writer points out that our poor continue to suffer because there are very few jobs available for them.

Well, duh! If we start getting serious about our illegal alien problem, we would open the doors wide for our own indigent poor. Instead, we continue to punish American citizens while we reward people who violate the law and adversely affect us, costing us billions of dollars in lost taxes and increased medical bills.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Rosie Still Very Ill

I couldn't post today, because I left early to pick up Rosie and get her to the doctor's for a breathing treatment. She has to get this bronchitis licked before they can biopsy her for thyroid cancer.

Now my workday's in full-gear and I simply can't take the time to give you what you deserve today; a well-written column. But please feel free to read the previous post (Dinner at Suegos) which is the 4th in the popular John and Esme series, or take part in some of the controversy that is still going on in the post before that.

This is also a great time to dig into The Best of Saur, if you'd prefer. Click on the icon to the right, and enjoy!

Have a wonderful day today. Regular "programming" will resume tomorrow.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Dinner at Suegos

Esme called Yolanda in a panic. "Yolanda! The black dress you gave me is perfect for tonight but I can't get the zipper unstuck! I can't get in or out! Help!"

A tinny laugh came through the phone. "OK," said Yolanda. "I'm on my way."

While she waited, Esme frantically snatched out a baby wipe and started wiping off all her newly-applied lipstick. It simply wasn't working. It made her look too harsh. She needed a softer color. Yolanda was knocking on the door by the time Esme was applying Passion Pink.

Esme went darting out of the bathroom, sliding down the hallway in stockinged feet, skidding to a stop in front of the door. She unlocked and flung it open.

Yolanda was greeted by the sight of a wild woman, hair in disarray, lipstick partly finished, with a smudge of mascara on one cheek. Esme twitched up the shoulder of her dress and plucked at it, with a pleading look in her eyes. "Omigawd, Yolanda. I don't know if I can go through with this!" she whined. "I'm thinking about calling him and telling him that I'm suddenly sick!"

Yolanda sighed and rolled her eyes, pushing in past her. "Oh give me a break," she said, flatly. "You are only going out with John tonight."

"Yes," squeaked Esme, "but this is our first real date. This is the "going over to the dark side" date. It means we're no longer just friends. And this could be the end of our friendship if something goes wrong."

Yolanda muttered something.

"What?" asked Esme. "What?"

"It's a spanish curseword that you have no business hearing right now," said Yolanda. "Come here. Lemme see that zipper." With a deft movement she got the zipper up.

Esme hiccupped.

She hiccupped again.

"Oh no!" screeched Esme. "No no no no! I can't get hiccups! I ..." and she hiccupped. She threw a hand over her mouth and stared at Yolanda with wide-open eyes.

"Oh no. No you don't, missy," said Yolanda firmly, steering her back to the bathroom.

"But I..." Esme started. She hiccupped.

"No. You will not cancel tonight. If you do, you'll have to face him sooner or later. You need to know. And if nothing else happens, you guys will remain good friends. I'm sure of it!" Yolanda said, planting Esme in front of the mirror. "Now. What do we need to do here?"

Within half an hour, Esme looked beautiful but she was still plagued with hiccups. They tried everything; she held her breath, she blew into a paper bag repeatedly, she drank a cold glass of water rapidly, and swallowed a spoonful of sugar. Finally Esme had enough. "Stick a fork in me, I'm done!" she declared. "If I *hic* drink any more water, I'll get so bloated that I'll have to wear another dress. *hic* Forget it!" She grabbed her keys and headed for the door.

"Er, OK, girl! Have a great time! Call me when you get home!" said Yolanda, waving as Esme walked to her car.

"Thanks *hic* for everything, Yolanda," said Esme as she left. Yolanda remained behind, staring at the retreating car with her fingers crossed behind her back.

Suegos was an authentic Spanish restaurant that came highly recommended by Yolanda. It was crowded that night, and Esme pushed through the throng, peering into the dining room to look for John. At first she glanced at him and looked away, perhaps because she'd never seen John in such a setting. Her gaze slid back to the table nearest to her, by the window, and she did a double take.

There he sat, wearing an elegant Haspel seersucker suit, looking as comfortable as a Marquis surveying his domains. His thick, dark hair lightly brushed his collar. His jawline, usually strong when arguing or attempting to be persuasive, was softened tonight as he gave the wine menu his full attention. "Handsome as a greek god... *hic*!" muttered Esme.

"I beg your pardon, madam?" said someone nearby.

"I, uh, see the person I'm supposed to meet," said Esme hastily. She hiccupped again.

"I see," said the maitre d', rather sniffily. Esme made a beeline for John.

John looked up from the menu and saw a breathtaking vision. For a moment, the clouds opened, the angels sang, and all was right with the world. Then the vision hiccupped rather noisily.

"Oh bother!" said the vision. "These darned hiccups will not go away!"

John gave Esme a rather lopsided grin, and stood up to help her into her chair. "Thank you," she said gratefully, as she hiccupped once again. "Oh no!" Esme cried. "Here we go out on our first real *hic* date, and I get this horrible case of hiccups. I am so *hic* embarrassed and miserable over it. Maybe we should leave? Maybe I should go home *hic* and we could reschedule this?" She grabbed a glass of water and took a swig out of it. It didn't help in the least.

"Nonsense," said John. "Anyway, this really isn't our first date."

"It isn't? What do you *hic* ...mean?" asked Esme, confused.

"Look. Let's put this out on the table tonight, so that we can enjoy our meal. We are in love," said John.

"I've loved you from the moment I met you, years ago, and watched you stumble into the punch bowl at the McGruder fundraiser. The only thing that got in the way was that miserable relationship you had with that damned sailing instructor for four years. By the end of those four years, I was hesitant to jump right in, because I wanted to give you some time to heal. Also, our families have been friends forever. If I did anything to screw that up, I'd never forgive myself. But in the end, I realized that life is short and I would never forgive myself if anyone jumped in and took away what might possibly be the last chance in my life to find happiness," John continued. Esme stared at him, not moving, barely breathing.

"So," said John, "it was a pretext the first time that I called you up and asked you to meet me for a business lunch. I was willing to hear your pitch about life insurance. If you'd been selling vacuum cleaners, I would've bought two. Of course I was willing to simply be your friend. I was willing to be anything that put you in my life. But now I want more. I want so much more."

Esme smiled, like the sun breaking through the clouds on a rainy day. Her smile curled up at the edges as her eyes fluttered and she breathed a long, low sigh.

"I don't have hiccups any more," she said softly. "Isn't it glorious?"

c. 2006

Esme & John, Part 1
Esme & John, Part 2
A Moment in the Life of Esme & John

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Failing Sarah

There is a sappy article in the St. Pete Times today, named Failing Sarah. It asks us "The last 26 hours of Sarah Rinaldi's life started off as a party. But it spiraled out of control. A lot of people had the chance to help, but who is ultimately responsible?"

I could have saved them all that newspaper space for a really important story, because if *I* had written the article, my answer would be two words: Sarah was.

In a nutshell, Sarah was an out-of-control 17 year old drug addict and alcoholic. Despite repeated warnings, drug interventions, and run-ins with the law, she persisted in her toxic behavior. We can just be thankful that she didn't take anyone else with her, and chose to party too hard at someone else's house where she ultimately died from an overdose. Thank goodness she wasn't driving.

Her mother talks about how she was out of control. Obviously if the mother had done a good job, she would have curbed that behavior early on. However, we are all ultimately responsible for our own lives and our own choices in life.

From even the most impartial account, Sarah was a spoiled princess who was allowed to live a licentious lifestyle and died because of her choices.

Instead of looking at everyone else and wondering what amount of blame should be apportioned to each of them, the Times would have served us all better by asking a much simpler question: When a child is out of control and making all the wrong choices, what can be done to stop the damage she is inflicting and will continue to inflict on others?

As many of you know, I have an ex-boyfriend who is a crack addict. He reformed briefly for a month and then returned to his habit (and all the behaviors that support it). He is toxic to society and has no value as a human being. I don't say this from a bitter perspective - I believe this to be the case when any human takes this path in life.

He was out of control from the time he was a teenager, but his parents kept cutting him a break. If he went to jail, they bailed him out. They called in favors, they enabled him. They gave him money, knowing that it was going to drugs, but reasoning that it was better to give him the money than to "force" him to steal it from someone else. So he took their money and stole, from age 16 to age 41... both from them and from true victims. His parents continued to enable him by keeping it all a secret so he could go on to victimize others. To this day, none of their friends and acquaintances have any idea.

Until we, as a society, become verbal about such toxic people, nothing will change. Who is ultimately responsible for their behavior? They are. When an addict is on the road to destruction, all we can do is take away their keys, post warning signs, and get out of the way.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Name That Tune

I've discovered Song Tapper - a fun site that guesses the song that you're thinking about, simply by having you tap out the rhythm using your space bar. It got it when I tapped out "Somebody Told Me" by The Killers, but didn't catch on to "Rock Around the Clock" (by Bill Haley) or "Wait In Vain" (by Annie Lennox).

"Wait in Vain" by Annie is one of my favorite songs of all time. Now, this song was originally done by Bob Marley and usually when someone remakes a song, they are never as good as the original. It's brave to take on something that was previously sung by the legend that made it popular.

Since I wanted to share the song with you, I did a little hunting about and discovered the video to "Wait in Vain" and another song that Annie sings hauntingly: "Something So Right". I was excited to have found the videos until I viewed them. Obviously Annie should be legally banned from all video production from now until eternity. What's with that damned Minnie Mouse outfit? Was this a lame attempt to be fashionably egalitarian? It failed miserably. And the second video was merely appallingly boring.

So, without further ado, I present the two videos. However, I must recommend that you close your eyes and simply listen to the music. You don't want to see this train wreck of a music video. Trust me.

Friday, August 18, 2006

No Liquids or Gels

Here's something I've been complaining about to anyone who can stand another tirade from me without rolling their eyes excessively. Why do they let baby formula on planes? Do they think those nice terrorists are thinking "Wow. No liquids or gels allowed except baby formula. Good thing we're not ruthless, godless, vicious killers or we might try sneaking it on board in baby formula, instead."

Of course the airport could keep baby formula there, courtesy of the American taxpayer, and substitute it for any baby formula that someone was attempting to bring along. But no. We'd rather spend the money on exotic foreign aid programs that don't benefit us in any way.

Silly me. Of course we benefit from sending tons of taxpayer money overseas. We're being very nice, and that should be reward enough, right? And perhaps this will influence them to view us favorably. We know how much we need to incur the goodwill of the hottentots.

But I digress.

As a columnist points out in today's St. Pete Times, we're allowed to bring nail scissors onboard planes, but not lipstick. I'm thinking that our Rule Makers have Natasha in mind here (from Rocky & Bullwinkle). Please let me know what I'm missing, but lipstick seems to be a poor delivery system for a serious bomb.

The Rule Makers are probably being paid massive salaries to come up with this constantly revised list. Why don't we fire them, and use the money we save to provide baby formula on all planes (thus eliminating the possibility of any liquid bombs).

We can fire the Rule Makers by simplifying the luggage rules. Clothing, books, and necessary electronics (such as computers) only. There, see how easy that is? We act as if there isn't a drugstore at the other end of every flight. I will go out on a limb here and assure both the American public and the Rule Makers that once a plane has landed, every passenger on board will be able to procure what they need.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

JonBenet Ramsey

Along with so many others, I must say that I had thought JonBenet's parents had killed her. Although it goes against any natural instincts to molest and kill your own child, the case seemed to point in that direction. We all know that there are monsters out there, lurking behind the eyes of your neighbors, your friends, your loved ones. I've known people that seem normal, even charming, who turn out to be a seething mass of putrescence underneath.

Now we find out that, after ten years, the killer has announced himself. He is 41 year old John Mark Karr, a former elementary school teacher. Karr was arrested in April 2001 in Sonoma County and charged with five counts of possession of child pornography, but fled the U.S.A. before he could be prosecuted. Now he's being extradited from Thailand: "Child Pornography & Prostitution Central". Hmm... I wonder what he was doing there?

Interestingly, Karr had been named by the Ramseys at one point. Of course, as Crime Magazine rather smarmily points out, the Ramseys campaigned vociferously to protest their innocence and mentioned several other possible suspects. What a pity that their words fell (for the most part) on deaf ears.

But despite the parents' innocence in JonBenet's actual death, they still must be held accountable for the way they sexualized this pretty little girl.

No child should be paraded about like this, in frocks and makeup that rivaled Tammy Faye Baker. To do so is to advertise to every child molester that this child is more than desirable. It's like waving a red flag in front of a bull. The Ramseys aren't alone in this mistake, but they paid a higher price than most.

I look at children in the malls and I wonder what their parents are thinking. How could a loving parent allow their daughter to dress like a tramp? What sort of father allows his child to wear a shirt that says "Maneater", "Get me drunk and enjoy the show", or "Free Samples"?

More important than catching JonBenet's killer is the lesson we've learned from what happened. We learned that lesson, didn't we? Didn't we? Hello?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Saur Greeting Cards

I went into a nearby Winn Dixie yesterday to buy a new book. When I walked in, I was startled to see it was going out of business and there was really very little left but Haagen Daas Lite icecream and some sappy greeting cards.

I didn't think "Oh! Winn Dixie's closing after all these years! What a shame!" I didn't think "Oh goody! Lite icecream! I'm stocking up today!" No. I thought, "Well of course the sappy greeting cards were left behind. How many of these things does anyone buy in a lifetime?"

This got me to thinking. One of my blogging buddies, Jenn, is a cartoonist. She sells artwork to various greeting card companies. Jenn, this one's for you! I've gotcha covered, baby. Think big! Think Greeting Cards for the Disgruntled.

Hey! This would sell! Especially in the Tampa Bay Area, which was recently rated as one of the Top Angry Cities in the U.S.A. Now there's a distinction! Let's make the most of it!

Above are a couple sketches of mine (copyrighted, of course). Jenn, if you want first dibs, you'd better move quickly! I think Hallmark will be eyeing these.

I'd also like to see cards that say something like:

"If I never hear from you again... it will be too soon"

"You make me want to... become a nun"

"If you can read this card... you've come too close"

"If we were stranded on a desert island... I'd move to one side of the island and put up No Trespassing signs."

...and my all-time personal favorite: "If you and I were the only two people left on this earth... we would still have one person too many."

I read these over the phone to Rosie, who's still in the hospital. Here's her contribution:

"You should be the poster child for Planned Parenthood."

"You're like herpes: the gift that keeps on giving."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Most of you probably remember my friend "Rosie" - a warm, wonderful black woman who missed her calling as a stand-up comedian. We get together when we can, but her poor health often gets in the way.

A week ago, she was rushed to a hospital with acute bronchitis. Her asthma was so affected that she could barely breathe. She has been on oxygen and antibiotics and has been stuck in that hospital for over a week now. I had left her alone, knowing that she would call me when she felt like it.

Yesterday I picked up the phone to hear a cracked, hesitant whisper. At first I thought it was my friend (Jack) pranking me. But it was Rosie. She was almost in tears. All she wanted from me was a little of my time and a hug.

Because work sometimes must come first, I had to delay my visit for a couple hours. Then I rushed out and bought her a dogbone pillow (hospital pillows are so uncomfortable), an electric waterfountain (for relaxation), and a sketchpad with pencils. As you can see from my drawing below, I like to sketch when I'm stressed and I knew she does, too.

When I got there, I was happy to see that she looks better than she sounds right now. She's hoping to be released in a couple more days. As we talked, I drew a couple pictures for her and we chatted about what's going on inside her body.

Although it seems unfortunate that she ended up in the hospital, she may actually be quite lucky. During routine testing, they found a growth on her thyroid. It's very possible it may be cancer. With any luck, they've caught it in time. They'll be biopsying the tumor when she's better (next week sometime).

Rosie's already had cancer and chemotheraphy, and the cancer went into remission. Then she had a stroke last year, and an inexplicable swelling of the brain which leaves experts baffled. Now this. She's only 40 years old.

Rosie is a positive, happy person and even at her worst, she remains optimistic. She's a fighter. If anyone can beat this, she can. But we all need prayer, and she needs yours now. Please keep her in your prayers.

Monday, August 14, 2006

For Princess CarlyJo

For Princess CarlyJo. With much love.


My friend "Jana" is about to become a show host for The Home Shopping Network (HSN). She is debuting near the same time that they're rolling out a new system; shop by remote. It's currently being tested in New York and Hawaii. Viewers can select what they want using their remote control or calling a specialized number which is assigned to each item. We may have this service in the Tampa Bay Area within the next 12 months.

Yet, I still don't understand who wants to sit in front of the TV, staring at some inane talk show host blathering on about the wonders of a simple watch that you could buy at WalMart. I get tired of watching them reach desperately for new adjectives, or attempt to show enthusiasm for something which can realistically not be called exciting. The conversations go something like this:

Show Host: "Just look at this gumball! It's grape flavored, which is one of the top 10 flavors used by candymakers today. Ha ha! Candymakers! I think the more sophisticated word is confectioners. And you know what? Only a confectioner could create this darling little gumball. Why, look at how richly purple it is! Look at how the lights dance across it's surface! Why, it's a mini work of art! And yet you can eat it!

Not many people can order such a product at this low price of only $9.99. That's right! $9.99! And what a bargain it is, too! The kids can't find something like this at your nearby 7-11, no siree! It's practically a one-of-a-kind, and it's selling out fast, isn't it, Marty? It sure is! We only have 98 left!..."

They usually lose me at the "ha ha" part.

You know what would make me buy from HSN? If they had products posted on the computer, with a running tally of items remaining and an easy "click n' buy" feature. If you are masochistic and want to hear the host spout off about the product, you can click on an icon that will give you the entire patter. The current HSN website isn't as interractive and it doesn't instill that sense of urgency that they try to convey on the TV shows.

That would be a great compromise, don't you think? I think I'll give Jana this idea for free.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Dark Blue by Jack's Mannequin

Here's a cute fan video made by someone that loves "Dark Blue" by Jack's Mannequin, and Kingdom Hearts (a PlayStation game). Since SaurKid and I are a fan of both, I had to share:

Friday, August 11, 2006

Katherine Harris

Many of you outside of the state of Florida probably think of "chads" when you think of Katherine Harris, the woman who oversaw the Florida elections in the notorious 2000 Presidential election.

However, Katherine is now running for Senate and embarassing the heck outta the Republicans while she's doing it. She simply won't go away, and the more controversy she causes, the more the 2000 elections are brought up.

This is very embarassing to Bush, who's approval rating is only just beginning to rise. Additionally, "if the election were held today, 48 percent of Americans say they would vote for the Democratic candidate in their congressional district and 30 percent for the Republican candidate." *

Therefore, the Republicans are doing their best to throw her under the bus. As we see reported in an article in the St. Pete Times today, Katherine Harris is a tyrant to work for. She is mercurial, easily distracted, vicious, and manipulative. Sadly, I see this trait more in female executives than in males, incidentally, and there are interesting studies on this (another topic for another time). I have no reason to argue with these allegations, I'm sure that they're true.

But this used to be my playground. I'm very aware of what's going on behind the scenes. What's interesting to me is that anyone leaving a campaign keeps their mouth shut about why they left. To do otherwise is political suicide. You won't get a chance to work in any other campaigns.

So why are so many ex-staffers talking to the press about how difficult she is? The only way they'd do that is if they got the OK from some very major Republicans. They've been assured that they'll actually be doing the party a favor if they come out and speak publicly against Katherine.

Who are these major Republicans? Although any Republican running for office needs all the help he/she can get, these assurances must have come from higher up. They're assurances that really count. That means they're assurances that are coming from either the Florida Governor's office, or an even higher one.

Whoever said that politics is boring was a person that had never seen the inner workings of it all. Politics is far from boring.

* Fox News

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Fashion Guide to Choosing a Mate

This is Travis Barker and Shanna Moakler. I had never heard of this couple before they announced their divorce. I wish they'd called before the marriage. I would have willingly counseled them to run like hell. Hello?

"One of these things is not like the other, can you tell me which thing does not belong?"

They look like characters from two different comic strips: Daphne from Scooby Doo meets Mutant Boy.

Other unlikely couples: Pee Wee Herman and Angelina Jolie, Roseanne Barr and Ben Afflack, David Duke and Tina Turner. Now these people had the sense to stay away from each other. What in the world were Travis and Shanna thinking?

At what point did Shanna not realize that Travis is an attention-seeker who's only solution is to look like an idiot? He could only look dumber if he were wearing a clown suit with a big red nose that honked when you squeezed it. This guy has the sex appeal of an unwashed street bum. He has a heart of gold? Great. Then he needs to stop sending mixed messages. This fashion statement says: loser!

And at what point did Travis not think that he might have a little more in common with a girl that doesn't look and dress like a Barbie doll?

Inquiring minds want to know.

FASHION GUIDE TO CHOOSING A MATE: each partner should have roughly equivalent tatoos, body piercings, and medications. Ex. If he has a death's head tat on his arm but you've got a large stripper tatoo in the small of your back, it's all good. Break this rule at your peril.

And girls, unless you're willing to share the vanity with him, pick a guy with lower maintenance hair. Of course Travis is single now, and he obviously uses Elmer's glue in his hair, so the fighting over the hairspray would be minimal.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Friend's Response to Yesterday's Post

My friend "Marcus" is a highly intelligent recovering alcoholic/addict. I respect him and value his friendship, and I think he deserves to be heard. He chose to discuss yesterday's post with me in private, via email. Here is his note to me, and my response is at the bottom:


Suffice it to say that although I respect your opinion and the arguments you made in support of it, I disagree. I don’t have the time right now to research the equally impressive body of evidence in favor of the disease hypothesis (notice the terminology – I am not willing to call it a theory, that implies conclusive evidence). I will say this: The mere reality that so many medical professionals support the position does lend some credence, at least for me.

Beyond the scientific arguing, there is another reality that makes perhaps more sense, and that is perception. Alcoholism and addiction are obsessive/compulsive disorders – particularly nasty ones, but psychological disorders all the same. If one is will to grant disease “status” to the likes of bulimia, anorexia, obesity, compulsive shopping or shop-lifting, then addiction has to be included. If not, then the whole lot must be thrown out. But I’m ok with that.

As you know, I have dealt with addiction all my life. Even today, at two years clean and sober, it is a battle I must wage everyday. To me, you can call it what you want, at this point in my recovery it really doesn’t matter. Moral weakness? Perhaps it was. What is important is that when I first got into recovery – and it was a 12- step program that worked for me – it was functionally beneficial for me to view my addiction as a disease. It wasn’t to excuse my behavior to the rest of the world – it was a tool to get the footwork started.

Which brings me back to perception. In my mind, it was helpful to know (or think) that I had a condition that I was not responsible for. However, that is only the very start – immediately I must move beyond that to realize that although it may have been an inherited condition, the treatment is now my responsibility. That was the first time in a long time that I actually owned up to the fact that I must deal with a condition I am stuck with – like any other disease that demands treatment. Again, it was a necessary perception to get started.

From there I was able to take responsibility back in other areas of my life. I used to do things to get high that I would never do now - for any reason. I believe that I have high moral standards – always have. I was, for sure, taught them by my parents but also believe I was born with them as well. Regardless, I still crossed those imaginary lines repeatedly. I understand how these substances can overtake a person. However, I also believe there are bad people in the world and many of them are made worse by the dope – and are still bad if they get clean.

These are the ones that bring recovery, 12-step programs and other disorders a bad name. They go around doing shameful things and then say they can’t help it… they have a disease. They take what is a recovery tool and twist it into a perverse excuse to do as they please while whining to the many receptive co-dependants like Oprah that they are just as much a victim as the real victims. Spare me! Once an addict or alcoholic accepts the disease premise, he (or she) can no longer be a victim because proven treatment programs are available and they know it – but acceptance is the beginning. Accepting that one has a disease is one way of doing that. However – once I say that I have a disease – I no longer have an excuse for my behavior.

Which brings me to the strength vs. weakness argument. Something smacks of inconsistency when I am called weak for pursuing a lifestyle that is miserable, filthy, dangerous and painful. Indeed, it takes a fair amount of strength to maintain that lifestyle. I find it far easier to work and live in the daylight rather than the shadows. Why would anyone choose such a way of life? I can’t answer that question and I don’t know exactly what took me there – but I do know how I finally escaped - with my life. The sad fact is that the vast majority never make it back. My own brother is one – and I understand how the rest of the world feels because I often catch myself thinking the same of him – I have to stop and remember what it was like for me.

I don’t expect the rest of the world to stand up and applaud that I have found the help I need and can contribute to society in a meaningful way. In fact, I expect most to say “It’s about time,” and they’re right. However, for those who have never actually been there, it is impossible to relate – and I understand. My final point is this: If calling it a disease helps even one alcoholic or addict return to the world of the living, isn’t that worth it? Why not let them?

PS: I have no problem with you sharing this on your blog or elsewhere – I only ask that you leave my name out of it.

Thanks Saur…
You’re a good friend, and a very smart cookie!


Thank you SO very much. I greatly respect you and your opinion and (since I have your permission) I will post this tomorrow (anonymously of course). I think you are very correct to lump this in with bulimia, anorexia, obesity, compulsive shopping or shop-lifting as well.

However, studies DO show that anti-depressant therapy does significantly reduce the eating disorders. This is also true for addicts and alcoholics, for the most part. That's because some (or even most) of them have a chemical imbalance in their brain which causes clinical depression. The addictive behaviors are a way to self-medicate this. The problem with self-medicating is that it often is an unregulated, poor solution with bad side effects. So certainly the treatment for such problems is not JUST admitting to wrong behaviors and choices, and sucking it up. What I'm saying is that no one should hide behind the shield of the "disease" label.

I think it takes MORE strength to admit you're wrong, and take the steps to live an honest, hardworking life than to pursue the pleasures of addiction. Because, let's face it, addiction is a poor attempt to solve life issues that would be better solved by turning to a higher power, and being responsible in daily living. I think it's a LOT harder to live that way, and I mean it.

I was worried about hurting you, because I consider you to be my friend. I hope I didn't. And I meant what I said when I said that recovering addicts are to be applauded because it takes WORK, dedication, and determination to make the daily decision to fight off the easy solution.

*hugs* -Saur

There are a couple things I would like to add. In a sense this is merely semantics. Here's an exerpt of an exchange between Tracey and I yesterday:

Tracey: AA teaches that alcholism (or drug addiction for NA) is a condition (if you do not want to use the term disease) that is not curable,

Saur: Yes they do. And they're wrong. But the main reason they're not challenged is that everyone is relieved that what they're doing simply works! It doesn't mean they're right, though.

For instance, what if a savage discovers that penicillin cures venereal disease but mistakenly believes that the penicillin is something that forms on an orange that has been breathed on by an angel? Does it make the penicillin any less effective because the belief system is wrong? Still, if we know exactly what we are dealing with, we can treat it even MORE effectively than what we currently are doing.

Finally, even the concept of depression is simplified for the lay person. Often there are times that the question of when the chemical imbalance arose. Was it hereditary, or a result of poor choices which were made, that subsequently plunged the patient into the depression in the first place? In other words, alcoholics, addicts, bulimics, etc. may not have started out with depression but ended up with it as a result of their behaviors. Although this is beside the main point, it is interwoven with the "disease" concept.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Alcoholism is NOT a Disease

Roughly 90% of all lay people are under the mistaken belief that alcoholism is a disease. It's taught in schools, it's mentioned in the press, it's bantied about the watercooler. These same people will be shocked to hear that alcoholism is most assuredly NOT a disease. Then why claim that it is?

Alcoholics and drug addicts have moral failings and poor self-control mechanisms. It has become politically incorrect to say so, in a society where morals have become a questionable concept. "If I question your morals, you may question mine. I'd rather not have you look under that rock, so let's just excuse it all away."

Incidentally, my hat goes off to all the ex-alcoholics and ex-addicts that have made the difficult choice to take the proper steps to stop their behavior. This editorial is actually giving them far more credit than they have been given, because I am about to tell you that it is all choice. And now they are making the right ones.

"You need to start going to AlAnon meetings," a well meaning friend (Tracey) told me recently. I asked her why she would say that, since I wasn't in a relationship with an addict or an alcoholic. (Trust me, I'm familiar with AlAnon and I was simply trying to see where she was coming from).

Tracey is actually unaware that she is attempting to justify her own life choices: an abusive alcoholic ex-husband that she repeatedly returned to, and a current relationship with another alcholic. Being her friend and not her counselor, I chose to not point this out.

"Well, because it's helpful to you!" she said. "It teaches you how to cope!" I'm coping just fine, actually, I told her. I am very in tune with myself and I do a mental check on a daily basis. I know where I am, where I'm going, and what it takes to get there. I even know my quirks and why I do them, and I allow myself the luxury of having some.

Simply because one of only many exes and friends had a drug problem doesn't mean that I need to attend meetings where victims and family members sit around and moan about their bad luck, and try to assess how much of it was their own fault. I don't care to be involved in a recurring Jerry Springer Show. This doesn't mean I'm not coping or that I'm avoiding the issue. The truth is, the issue doesn't exist for me.

Tracey also brought up that addiction is a "disease". This absolves addicts and alcoholics of some of the responsibility. As a recovering addict told me recently, he is responsible for the choices he made but that his "disease" makes him more vulnerable. "So what you're saying is that it's not entirely your fault?" I asked. Oh no, he assured me. It was his fault. Kind of.

As Tracey put it, "Addiction is a disease just as schizophrenia is a disease!"

That's when I turned around, faced her and looked her directly in the eye. "Tracey," I said, "the two are not equivalent. Does the schizophrenic go to the local schizophrenia dealer, ask for some illegal schizophrenia and pay for it, go to the nearby headshop and buy schizophrenia paraphanalia, go home, lock herself in the bathroom, and smoke schizophrenia all day?"

"Er, no..." answered Tracey after a pause.

Certainly there are flawed studies which suggest that there may be an alteration in the brain of addicts and alcholics. But these studies are highly questionable and their results have not been upheld. (Go here to read the debunking of these studies by the famous Stanton Peele).

Alcoholism is not a disease. Addiction is not a disease. They are poor choices made by people who have little to no moral compass. Until we face that, we will never be able to give them the help that they truly need. We are standing at the door, handing bandaids to amputees.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Your Questions & My Answers!

Uncle Joe: Comment vous-appelez vous?

Saur: Yes, but only with cinnamon and sugar, and the piecrust must be light and flaky.

Tabasamu (TC): OK, as you know, I have a recipe blog (I'm home sick today, which is why I have the time to post!) I'll be you could have guessed that I want one of your favorite recipes!

Saur: I’ll share one which is almost an embarrassment, since I’m a gourmet cook and I grew up with gourmet cooks. But I also make allowances for wonderful shortcuts and this is a great recipe to whip up when you’re feeling lazy but the kids want fresh-baked cookies. Note that I really do not advocate using cake mix to make cakes *shudder*. And don’t use margarine, whatever you do! Ewwww!

Cake Mix Cookies

1 pkg. cake mix, any flavor
½ C. butter, softened
1 egg

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl, combine all ingredients at low speed until thoroughly moistened. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto aluminum foil covered cookie sheets (cleanup is SO much easier). Bake for 9-13 minutes or until set. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets. Makes roughly 30 cookies.

Lazy Iguana: What flies faster, an African or a European swallow? NOTE - both swallows are unladen. Neither is carrying a coconut.

Saur: OK, the real answer is “faster than the other ones carrying the bricks”. Don't let anyone else tell you differently.

Mike Althouse: Why is the sky blue???

Saur: Because God didn’t like green as a refractive color. And it’s hard to let anyone predict the end of the world if the sky’s already blood-red.

Susie & Anonymous: is the EX keeping his distance? or better yet, are YOU keeping your distance from the ex? oh, you knew that was coming didn't you. heehee

Saur: Define distance. I really am not being a smart-aleck or avoiding the question, but to go into any detail takes more effort than I’d like to here. Suffice it to say that I know what I’m doing, I’m not dating him again and will not.

I wish him well in his recovery, but we’ve been broken up for 8 months now and he's been gone for over 2. Although our lives continue to intersect, and I wish him well, I keep my distance and have chosen to move on. I would make a rotten match for him now, anyway. For him, I think I make a better friend. That is all I have to give.

Reverberate58: What part of Tampa Bay do you live in? Just curious as to which of the tri cities!

Saur: The Largo/Clearwater area. There are parts here that allow you to live a peaceful, quiet life although you can still take advantage of the busier cities nearby.

Ellen: Do you ever plan on running for a political office someday?

Saur: I’ve always enjoyed running things from behind the scenes. I’m great at spin control and writing speeches, but I currently don’t have any desire to be in the limelight.

Perhaps I’ll change my mind some day, if I see a pressing need arise. But I can’t envision what would put me into that rat race.

Ted: What are your dreams like?

Saur: I don’t know if you mean this literally or as hopes/plans, but I’ll take it literally. I dream in TechniColor. They’re very vivid, follow plot lines, and are almost always very exciting. Sometimes they’re nightmares, sometimes not. I usually conquer whatever monsters or demons that need to be conquered. I fly a lot.

When I’m stressed, I dream of the indoors and underground mazes I can’t escape from. When I’m happy (or at least at peace), I dream of the outdoors. Nowadays, I mostly dream of the outdoors, I fly a great deal, and it's incredibly detailed (as they always are).

Snicksnack: What do you wish you could do better than you do? And are you starting to date again or are you considering it?

Saur: I would like to be able to paint consistently all the time. When I feel wildly artistically creative (which is very rarely) I can draw and paint like a master. And of course I'd like to get over my stage fright when it comes to singing.

As for dating, I certainly have considered it. Up until recently, it was simply finding the time and energy needed to do it!

lou martonishi: I've read your blog a lot, and you have the ability to always make it interesting. What is your IQ? Have you ever been tested?

Saur: Thank you! It’s been tested, it’s genius level, but a number’s a number. The truth is, IQ can be “increased” despite the common belief that it’s set in stone. There are books that help (do a google for Mensa books)! So, if IQs are easy to manipulate, what is their true worth?

Let’s face it, most people who know they have high IQs think that this makes them special. What makes each of us special is what’s in our hearts as well as what’s in our heads.

Jef :

1. Would you ever pose nude for money?

2. What would your last meal be and who would you dine with if you had to pick 3 people?


1. I would possibly post nude for a famous painter, I definitely wouldn’t pose nude for photographs. One is artistic, the other merely prurient, IMHO.

2. My parents and my son would be with me. If I were to pick anyone other than they, I would probably want to surround myself with spiritual leaders. If I were allowed to throw a party (and I felt like partying) my guest list could be quite large!

As for food, it would depend on if I felt like partying or not. Comfort food is probably the best for last meals, which would mean poached eggs mixed with sliced, hot buttered toast and a glass of diet Coke. I realize this is a foodie's nightmare.

Mr. Fabulous: This is timely. I was going to ask you this anyway, since you are very knowledgable about so much. I may, in a week or ten days, take my "dooced" story to the media. Any tips on where to begin? This weekend I will be compiling a list of email addresses so that when I get the go-ahead I can let fly.

Saur to Everyone: I’ve already addressed this with Mr. Fabulous via email now. He has a very interesting story (having been dooced) and I look forward to seeing what publicity comes from it!

Senor Caiman:

1. How big are your feet?

2. How long does it take you to fix your hair?

3. How often do get a pedicure?

4. What type of deoderant do you use?

5. Do you snore?

6. Can you make yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting?

7. Do you make your own coleslaw or buy it from the store?

8. How much flab do you have under your upper arm?

9. Have any of your boyfriends accused you of having bad breath?

10. Why are you frustrated with your hair?


1. Size 7 ½ - 8 most of the time.

2. 15 minutes, tops! But then, I’m very used to doing it by now.

3. Every 2 weeks.

4. Whatever’s strongest! I am a girl with a high metabolism who sweats, not perspires.

5. I’m not awake when it happens, so I can’t verify it, but I’ve been told by some people (who undoubtedly have malicious agendas) that I do.

6. I can! But I don’t. In fact, I never have!

7. I hate coleslaw. With a passion.

8. None. But they’re very muscular.

9. Not that I recall (ah, the benefits of dental hygiene!)

10. What woman isn’t???

...and why is it that I think you could use these answers with a very different set of questions that would make Pamela Anderson blush...?


1. Do you pick your nose while driving (men normally are guilty of this)?

2. Do you have a lucky charm?

3. What is your favorite drink and food?

4. What country would like to live in, other than the USA?

5. Do you speak another language?

6. What make-up item(s) do you carry in your purse?

7. What is your favorite color?

8. Name a pet peeve of yours.


1. No. Ew.

2. Actually, I do – despite the fact that it’s superstitious claptrap. It’s a silver dollar.

3. Fave food and drink? I have so many! OK, let’s choose Diet Coke and sushi.

4. One that I rule over.

5. Only very little, very badly.

6. Lip gloss!

7. Blue. Most of the time. Except when it isn't.

8. People who misuse the word “myriad”. The word is simply a substitute for “many”. Do we say “There are a many of cars on the highway today, Julie, and traffic is at a standstill! Back to you!”???
I don't think so!


OK, these are political.
1. I would like _________ to be the next Governor of Florida.

2. Out of all the potential (and viable) candidates known nationally, the best one for President in 2008 would be_____________________.


1. Hulk Hogan. Hey! Jesse "The Body" Ventura could do it! All right, all right… If I have to choose from the current candidates, make it Tom Gallagher. But I’m not thrilled with any of the candidates. I actually think Hulk could do better. And if not, he’d be much more entertaining.

2. Elizabeth Dole. But she won’t run. Actually I’d love to see Christine Todd Whitman throw her hat in the ring. Otherwise, I’d back Lieberman.

TS: if you could rewrite US policy on Cuba, what would it be?

Saur: Tighten up the sanctions and do not allow travel between the countries. We are currently sending them some aid and allowing some limited trade. I believe that to be a huge mistake. But then, I am one of the rare people who feels that America needs to be isolationistic, with a zero-tolerance policy for governments that abuse and repress their citizens (as Cuba and China do).

Mindless Dribbler: Capital punishment or no?

Saur: Yes, but with swifter results and a limited appeals process. I'll even save them a little on their budget by volunteering to pull the switch.

To everyone who is gasping in shock at this revelation: Yeah, yeah. I know. How heartless. Next!


1. Why do cats always want out when you are catching up on your blogs?

2. Why has blogger been eating all (ok, MOST) of my comments the last two weeks?


1. Because cats are secretly space aliens from the planet Ziburon. They have a hidden agenda; which is to suppress free speech, disrupt our lives, and make smelly messes. George Bush is also from the planet Ziburon.

2. The cats are interfering. Shhh!

Seriously, everyone is having problems with Blogger. I'm hearing a lot about problems with posting pics. Many of us are going to a free hosting service and using our own code, because Blogger's become so unreliable. And, of course, there are the cats.

Aunt Josephina:

1. What is the one beauty product you absolutely cannot live without?

2. Will you come and visit us? (If no, can we come and visit you?)

3. What kind of car do you drive?

4. What is your favorite piece of jewelry?


1. chapstick / lipgloss.

2. Yes! And yes! I have room, this is Florida, and I’m near all sorts of places that people are dying to go to: Bush Gardens, Disney World, and the world-famous Chimp Farm.

3. A new-ish Honda and I love it. I never thought I would love a car. I beat the hell outta them and back, but this one keeps on chugging right along!

4. My white gold necklace with large matching princess-cut CZ pendant (remember, I won’t buy diamonds and I won’t wear them). To be fair, this is only a current favorite. You know how that goes with me.

Some Random Girl: What do you look like? When will you post a picture? Even a partial picture.

Saur: I actually look similar to this icon, but older (of course) since the icon looks like it’s in it’s early 30s and I just turned 40. My friends will tell you I look similar, but they could be lying to both of us, for all I know. However, I am pretty well-known in certain parts of the community and it’s much better (and I’m much more effective) if I stay anonymous. That means I’m stuck with the icon.

Dave Away From Home:

1. Name your guiltiest pleasure. And no, not something like "chocolate, because I shouldnt eat it". I want true guilt, of the public embarrassment variety.

2. When you load a roll of toilet paper, does it hang down in front, or in back?


1. Well, because this is PG-13, I’ll simply have to go with a weird food quirk. Have you ever seen those carmel candies with the cream centers (called "bullseyes" by some)? I love the centers, but the carmel could choke a horse! When I want a sugar rush, I’ll buy a bag, suck out the cream, and spit out the carmels. Ew. Not a pretty sight, and one that only my son has seen me do (he may need counseling for this later).

It’s not as bad as chewing tobacco, but I’d guess it’s a close second. My only defense is that I do this rarely... Which is the same thing that Clinton said about Monica.

2. In front! What hottentot positions it to hang down in back, so that you bark your knuckles reaching for it???

Jenn: Do you believe in hell?

Saur: I would love to believe that there isn't one, but I do believe in hell. Of course, that also means that I believe in heaven. As to what it takes to get to either place; follow directions. I'm a Christian; in some ways classically so, and in some ways I'm a non-conformist.

OK, I ponied up the answers. Now it's your turn. Pick a question and give me your answer!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Lazy Sunday Mornings

Thank god for lazy Sunday mornings, when the sun is dappled across the slats in the windows, tapping on the filmy curtains, and telling us that it's all right if we want to come out on a beautiful Florida morning, but it's all right if we want to sleep in a little more.

The windows, open a slight crack, bring a faint breeze and the scent of fresh earth and overnight rains.

Roseate spoonbills and white ibises graze on the lawns, eagerly snapping up the insects which have risen to the top due to the rain and early morning dew. Squirrels frisk through the trees, running down the electrical lines and chasing each other about.

The mourning doves call out, and their cries could break your heart if you didn't know that they were mourning for nothing at all. Wild peacocks in the distance sound like frightened children, calling to one another: How did you sleep? Are you OK? Have you found anything tasty yet?

Dogs, energized because This is The Special Day and their owners are still at home, yap excitedly at the birds and squirrels and tear about the backyards in an endless session of tag. But even they are more leisurely in their endeavors, as if to say "I have all day. I'll get you eventually."

Hardly any cars go by. They slumber, like their owners.

Trees remain still except for their leaves, which flutter in the occasional breeze.

And for a moment, just for a moment, all seems right with the world.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Another Bad Mother

There is an article today about an abused 10-year old who has an indignant mom testifying against the neighborhood drug dealer that repeatedly abused her son. She self-righteously proclaims that she doesn't want this dealer to abuse any other child.

Huh? Who's buying this load of horseypoo?

It's a rotten mom that doesn't know what her kid is doing. It's a negligent mom that doesn't know where he is in these troubled times. It's an idiotic mom that dismisses the signs of abuse (including strangulation, bruising, and cigarette burns all over the child's face). It's a horrible mom, when the child can't believe that he can confide in her (unless she already knew, that is).

This mother would rather be seen as all of the above, since the truth is much uglier. She knew. She had to know.

When the grandmother finally insisted that the police come out, the police eventually got the kid to confess to what was happening, and he led them to the dealer. (Look what drugs are doing to us, to our country. Every user is also responsible for the crimes which were committed to bring them that elusive high. But that's not my focus at the moment.)

The grandmother insisted. Mom was too stupid to see it. Or was she?

Friday, August 04, 2006

What Would You Ask?

What burning question do you have for me? I saw this done in another blog over a year ago, and I thought it was a good idea and a lot of fun. Today I'll give you the chance to ask me anything you'd like. I may not answer, but the chances are excellent that I will. There's little that I run away from!

I'll publish the questions and answers on Monday. All I ask is to please keep it rated PG-13. Incidentally, this is also a good time to let me know what you might like to see in upcoming posts!