Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Although most of us really would like to believe that our parents and grandparents never had sex, the truth is, we often know more than we wish we did.
I remember being in my teens when my dad's father was taken aside by his cardiologist and told that he had to knock off making love to my grandmother if he wanted to live longer. My grandfather was in his 80s. "Doc," he said, "I'd rather die happy."
We cringed when we heard that story, but we also had a grudging admiration for the old man (and woman!).
And although my parents are very modest, and not showy people, I've seen the gleam in Dad's eye when he looks at Mom. So, I assume he's following in his father's footsteps. But they were never overt about it. We never came home to find Mom and Dad under (or on top of) the kitchen table, and they never flirted wildly. But we knew.
Since Mom and Dad were always circumspect, it could be argued that the kids wouldn't have a strong sex drive, and yet we do (I am confident enough to speak for my brothers, too). So I would agree that sex drive may not always be patterned off what we see, but what we've inherited. Apparently scientists agree.
This indicates that there may, indeed, be couples that are sexually mismatched and there may be no amount of meds which will help that built-in, core function. Interestingly, this study comes out shortly after the announcement that Viagra sales have dropped significantly. It's as if men thought they'd try it to make up a supposed deficit, and then decided it simply wasn't worth bothering with.
It would be very interesting to do a study on the sex drives of adults who were adopted as babies and raised completely apart from their biological families.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
As I walked by one of the bathrooms, I stepped in a puddle. Again. This the was third time in a day and a half that I had stepped in that annoying puddle, I thought crossly to myself, reaching for a towel to mop it up. Then I stopped. "What? What is it?" asked Michelle.
"I think I have a problem," I said, or I said something similar to that. My mind racing furiously, I wiped up the water, then stepped on the board again. Water welled up from underneath, through the cracks. "Oh crap!" I said. "I think I have a leak. I'll call you back."
I called the boyfriend, who rushed home to see what was happening. Later that day, with 1/3 of my hallway torn up (the Pergo was ruined) we determined that there was a small, slow leak in a nearby wall. It may be the result of a leaky pipe, it may simpy be the accumulation of water over a long period of time and our recent bout of warm weather may have accelerated the mold.
I woke up that next morning to see a few bumps on my face. I hadn't had acne like that since I was a teenager! Miffed, I applied Clearasil and went about my daily routine. But the next time I checked, the bumps had spread all over my face. I looked like a raspberry! That's when I realized that I was breaking out into hives. I switched from Clearasil to cortisone cream but it didn't get better.
I'm allergic to anything that is alive or ever was alive. I can eat all foods, thankfully. But when it comes to mold, I'm especially allergic.
So that's when I decided to pack everyone up and stay in a hotel for a couple days while the house dried out and the mold died. I called Michelle to tell her, and asked her to throw a comment up telling everyone that I was AWOL for a short time.
If you think staying in a hotel is fun, try staying in a hotel room with two pent-up kids who haven't been allowed to go home all day. Kids who have just seen Over the Hedge and think it's a fantastic movie (who said kids had good taste?). These kids were w-o-u-n-d-u-p. Tighter. Than. A. Top.
They decided to reenact The Matrix, jumping between the two beds and slinging pillows at each other. I tolerted that for a short time before I calmly told them that I was about to skin them alive. Then they settled down into a nice, quiet game of "he's poking me, no I'm not." By the time my boyfriend got to the hotel room (around 10 pm) the lights were out and the kids were lying there quietly, in fear for their lives, while I was reading a book by the light from the bathroom.
"How come the kids are in bed?" he asked.
"Because they need to be," I snapped.
"Uh, OK, then," he replied, tiptoeing to the bathroom.
The next night the kids went to their other parents' houses and we stayed in the hotel by ourselves. He had worked on the house all day, I had gone through another day with the kids. I had taken them to see X-Men 3 (this one was somewhat bleak and very disturbing). It seemed to sober them up a bit. Jim Marsden a.k.a. Cyclops was killed off early in the movie so if you're going so that you can see Jim shine, don't bother. He apparently ticked someone off. It was also strange to see the nerdly Kelsey Grammer as Beast. But these problems are just the tip of the iceburg (as you'll see if you click on the link to read an excellent review of the movie).
It's hard to sleep in a strange bed, but I took a couple of benadryls and was out like a light. Early in the morning, someone opened our door and started to come in. "We're sleeping in here," I hollered, but by then we were wide awake. The hotel has no idea who did it, or how it was done. But it was enough to make us pack up and head home again to the embrace of The Mold.
Here we are, several days after the initial discovery, and I still have bumps on my face. Too bad that's the only thing I have in common with a teenager.
We're back at the house, and we'll see how we do. The boyfriend thinks he got all the mold, but on the advice of a friend (thanks, John!) he's going to tear out a little more to see if there's any more lurking there. With any luck, it's been caught in time.
Goodness knows, I don't want to spend another night in a hotel room.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
I am the product of New York parents, but I was raised here in the heart of Florida. I've had many marvellous and unusual opportunities which have given me unique insights into the world (and life in general).
I have all types of friends and readers, who range in interests and personality. The only commonality is that there is something which brings them back. What is it? I can't say. But perhaps this will give you some insight into me.
These stories are listed in the order in which they were written, not in alphabetical order. Some are repeated in a couple places because they fall into a couple categories.
The Business World
Customers From Hell
The Biker Babe
How I Climbed Out of Poverty
The Shop Dog
The Doll Maker
I Hate Starbucks
Strip Clubs: The New Business Meeting Place
Sexual Harassment at Tastee Twistee
My Experience With the New Lie Detector
Do Career Women Make Rotten Wives?
Recommending the Wrong Person
Selfish, Careless Bosses
Hollywood, Pop Culture, & Entertainment
I Nominate Tom Cruise as Moron of the Year
Mel Gibson: Racist
Fashion Guide to Choosing a Mate
The Fall Color Scheme: Smoky but Not
Moronic Radio Stunt Kills Woman
Heroes With Blemishes
Worst Movie Accents of All Times
Diamonds are a Girl’s Worst Enemy
Saur's Recommended Jewelry
The Diamond Merchants Lie
Survival of the Fittest
Hysterically Funny or Awkwardly Painful
Discrimination at KFC
The Verbal Abuser
No Santa? Shocking!
Parents Punished for Kids Playing Hooky
Molester Gets Plea Bargain
Debra LaFave: The Molestor’s Role Model
The Bad Mother
Kids Out of Control (KOOCs)
Things You Should Never Have to Ask Your Teen
Should the HPV Vaccine be Mandatory?
Stay FAR Away From the Bridge to Terabithia!
The Need to Control Child Molesters
My Incredible Father
Pranking the Parents
Pranking the Parents Part Deux
Family Ties (That Bind and Gag!)
Dinner at The 5-Star Restaurant
My Dad's Surprise Party
The Christmas Fart
How Dumb Was She?
The Mexican Surprise Party
The Big 4-0 (and my friends)
My Geography Lesson
Stairway to Heaven
Life is a Fair (by Greg)
My Life & My Interests
Apartment Living Nightmares
The Drama Teacher
Candles: Their History & Usage
How to Make Candles at Home
The Weeki Wachee Mermaids (& Video)
Saur's Top 10 Reasons Why Heavy Metal is Better Than Rap
Scene From a Restaurant
My Tangle With NASA
How I Climbed Out of Poverty
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
RATS: Apocalypse Now!
The Weirdest Marriage Proposal
6 Strange Things About Me
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To...
My Resignation from Match.com
I'm Too Pushy?
Your Questions Answered About Me!
The Ferret Cage
My True Ghost Story
Politics & News: Florida
Florida's New "Kill Bill Law"
Tampa's Corrupt Government
Florida’s Alligator Problem
The Local School Bus / Terrorist Incident
Florida’s Worst Public Defender?
Gabe Cazares: Dead at 86
Florida's Corporate Welfare
The Big Grouper Scandal
Lethal Injection: Let's Try Something Else
Politics & Issues on a Larger Scale
China's Continued Ban on Free Speech
Illegal Immigrants & Child Sex Abuse
Increased Funding for Africa
Aids Funding for Africa
America Losing Key Jobs
Doctors: Just What Did Their Transcripts Read?
Prison Reform Needed
How to Fix the Oil Crisis
The Bird Flu
Pork Barrel Spending
The Dangerous Encroachment Upon Our Liberties
More of the Encroachments Upon Our Liberties
The Muslim Cartoons
Should Churches and Charities be Taxed?
Congress Approves Increased Debt (More Pork Barrel Spending)
What Should be Regulated? -and- Concentration Camps HERE!
How Much Should We Weigh a Candidate's Past?
America The Fat
The Flag Burning Amendment Loses
Alcoholism is NOT a Disease
No Liquids or Gels
Addicts Are Responsible for Their Own Behavior
Business Freedom of Speech
Perverts in Politics
Voting With Kitty Litter Convictions
Why the Republicans Lost 2006
America's Lack of Deductive Reasoning
The Cost of Saving Idiots
The "Free Puppy" Scam
Government Claims the Right to Open Your Mail
Wiretapping: Oops! Nevermind!
The Confederate Flag
Should Smokers be Allowed to Smoke in Public Places?
Treating Female Politicians Equally
Sex Change Operations: Are They Choice or Necessity?
Intrinsic Problems With Veterans' and Military Health Care
Racism & Reverse Racism
Racism in America
The Lingerie Customers From Hell
Walmart Racially Discriminating in Tampa?
Black Males Need Saving?
The Perfect Man
What is Respecting the Dead?
What is Love?
Celebrating a Divorce
My Employee’s Addicted Daughter
Do Career Women Make Rotten Wives?
Some Top Reasons to Leave a Relationship
Match.com: The Little Gray Lie
The Foster Baby
Morning With a Crack Addict
Why Buy the Cow?
Is Chivalry Dead?
Missionaries & Proselytizing
People Who Misuse “God”
Frankincense, Myrrh, Biblical Lore Surrounding the Birth of Jesus
The Biblical Canon + Abraham
The Woman in the Pantsuit at Church
Should Churches and Charities be Taxed?
A Muslim’s Conversion to Christianity
The Separation of Church and State & The New Shantar Religion
7-Eleven Hymns of the Modern Church
Pat Robertson: False Prophet
Does the Bible Condone Slavery?
Saur as Your Tour Guide
The Strawberry Festival
Mutt Strut at Honeymoon Island
The Beginning of the Trip to St. Augustine
The Trip to St. Augustine, Part 2
The Trip to St. Augustine, Part 3
The Trip to St. Augustine, Part 4
The Trip to St. Augustine, Part 5
The Trip to St. Augustine: The Final Chapter
The Doggy Cafe
Lazy Sunday Mornings
Saur Meets The Lazy Iguana & Tours Miami
The Peacock at Breakfast
The John & Esme Fiction Series
Esme & John, Part 1
Esme & John, Part 2
A Moment in the Life of Esme & John
Dinner at Suegos
Etc. (I Can't Categorize These)
Shampoos of Ages Past
Conversation at Dinner
Hottentots & Spaetzle
The Origins of Valentine’s Day
Letter to the Woman in the Black Hummer
You Never Know Who That Stranger Is
Saur Greeting Cards
For Your Protection
Fitting Room Etiquette
Please don't leave comments in those individual posts, as I rarely get around to checking them and probably wouldn't reply when I eventually got around to seeing them. Just drop a comment or question in here, and I'll be happy to answer!
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Exhibit One: Dave Grohl of The Foo Fighters. Even though at his best he looks like a malnourished rodent, here he is in the most scorchingly sexy video I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It makes me want to take him by the hand and lovingly feed him a sandwich:
Exhibit Two: Hugh Laurie of House. Either you get this one, or you don’t. Heck, I’m not sure that *I* get it, but if I ever ran into this guy, I think I’d choke to death on my own tongue before I could say “hello”.
Exhibit Three: Jeff Goldblum. He had me from the moment I saw The Fly.
Although I’ve dated some men that most people would find startlingly attractive (including Jim Marsden) I think that they pale in comparison to this collection of thuglies.
And don’t think that this is limited to men only. If you’re attracted to Uma Thurman or you think that Charlotte Gainsbourg is wildly attractive, then you, too, are into thuglies.
Friday, May 26, 2006
I thought he was kidding, but casually logged into the St. Pete Times blog section just to check it out, since I'd sent them a link about a week ago. A moment later, I was squealing! OK, yeah, sometimes I can act like a sissy-girl.
Michelle and I were floored. A special thank you to the Times for this promo (our picture and link are about halfway down the page). For those readers who don't live in the Tampa Bay Area, the St. Pete Times is our biggest newspaper with a daily readership of 669,800 alone. Their websites "are the most visited Tampa Bay area news and information sites," and this is a big area.
I actually blushed! Michelle got off the phone to supposedly call her sister, but it could have been due to my shrieking in her ear, instead.
We are now famous. I expect to be getting a call from Madonna at any time. Madonna, I'm sorry. We can't join the tour. Please accept our heartfelt regrets.
And This Blog is Listed at TBO.Com!
Unbeknownst to me until today, this particular blog is listed in The Tampa Tribune's "On The Pulse: A sampling of the top area blogs". The Trib is our second biggest paper with an average daily circulation of 211,725 with a daily average web traffic count of 7,544!
I guess I know why my hit counter is registering a lot of people in here lately.
A special thank you to every one of you who finds it worthwhile enough to return here regularly. I hope that I enrich your lives as much as you enrich mine.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
I took my ex-boyfriend's 11 year old daughter ("Bugs") to the nail salon with me last night. I can take her with me everywhere, because she is the most perfectly behaved, ladylike young woman I've ever met in my life. I've helped to tweak it over the years (her mother is completely uninterested in her as a person so she never interracts with her much). But Bugs is largely responsible for this herself.
She's an incredible child who made up her mind at age 5 about what she wanted to be, and has never looked back. I'll write more about her at another time. By the way, she's very pretty and the nickname "Bugs" doesn't come from her having buck teeth. People are amazed wherever I take her, and I commonly hear that she looks and acts like a tiny adult. It's not contrived, she simply has a maturity beyond her years.
Anyway, Bugs and I were at the nail salon getting our nails done and visiting with the owner of the salon (let's call her Lori), who happens to be a friend.
An overweight, unkempt lady with stringy, greasy, badly bleached hair had just had her nails done, and was sitting over at the drying station. She was accompanied by a teenager, a kid who was about 4 years old, and a baby.
I've seen many badly behaved kids in my life, but her 4 year old took the cake (he was a blond, blue-eyed Damien). He was running about in the salon, stopping only to grab anything to destroy it and get attention. Apparently Lori was good and sick of this already because she was past "polite" on the e-meter and on to "f*ck it". Every couple of seconds she'd scream "Damien! No!" and his mother would look up and say crossly "Now Damien! Stop it!"
Finally when Damien tried to topple a column, Lori had enough. "YOU! Get outside now!" she demanded. The mother looked confused for a moment. Lori stomped over to her. "Now!" she hollered, as nasty as Lindsey Lohan. "I want him out now!"
"Uh, OK," said the mother, and instructed the teenager to take Damien outside.
Lori sat back down to doing my nails, muttering and twitching. "I can't believe it! This kid is outta control!" she exclaimed. Bugs was wide-eyed.
"You did the right thing," I said. "If the kid had injured himself, you would've been sued over it."
The mother finished drying her nails and came up to the front to pay. She looked about her hesitantly and her eyes latched onto me. Why, oh why am I always the person that people suddenly feel compelled to speak with? It's served me well when I was more actively counseling people, but it's also a darned nuisance. From the time I was little, my mother has called me "The Trouble Magnet", and with good cause.
"You know, I don't know what to do with him. I've tried everything," she whined.
"Really?" I said. "Like what?"
"She's a counselor," Lori chimed in helpfully. I shot her a look.
"Spanking, yelling, time outs don't work..." the mother trailed off.
"I see you have a pen. Good. Write down this book. It's called Dare to Discipline, by James Dobson. I highly recommend it," I said.*
"Really? Because I've tried everything else..." she said doubtfully as she dutifully wrote it down.
I paused for a moment. "Do you want a piece of free advice?" I asked.
"Sure," she replied.
"Consistency," I said, "plain and simple. You tell Damien to stop, he ignores you. You yell at Damien to stop, he ignores you. When you finally scream at Damien to stop, then he stops. You know why?" She shook her head. "Because Damien has you figured out. He knows that you don't mean what you say. You have to retrain Damien. He has to learn that you can tell him no, once, and that means no. When he disobeys, that's when you punish him immediately. No screaming, no shouting, no extra energy. And you probably need energy for the baby."
"Yeah, the baby's sick. He gets seizures and has to be on medicine," she said. Until now, I hadn't really looked at the baby (I'm not a "baby person". I like them much better as they grow up and develop those interesting minds). He was there, snoozing, having been left exposed in the sunlight throughout her entire nail appointment, apparently.
"Do you realize you've left that baby in the sunlight the entire time?" I asked, incredulously. "That's not good for him!"
She hastily pulled the bonnet up over him but continued, unabashedly. "The doctors have him on klonopin (an anti-seizure medicine) and..." she named something else. "He sleeps 20 hours each day, and we have to intubate him to feed him. He's on the waiting list for physical therapy so that he can learn to swallow and speak eventually."
"How old is he?" I asked. "Seven months," she replied.
"First of all, have you told your doctor that he's sleeping so much?" I asked. She hadn't. "Talk to your doctor. You need to ask him if there's an alternative." I added that although I have a doctorate, I'm not an M.D. so I can't discuss medications. I just felt she needed to do some research on her own and really get to know what she's giving to her baby. But, privately I thought that if klonopin is considered to be very bad for fetuses (which it is), it can't be much better for babies.
"Well, the doctor did say there was an alternative, but he'd have to get approval for it," she admitted.
"Well then, take charge and tell him to get approval," I said. "You want as many options as possible. And this is an even stronger reason to get Damien under control. You need to give the baby more attention."
I went off to another part of the salon to get my pedicure (yeah, I was very self-indulgent yesterday). When Lori came back a little later, she said the lady was gone.
"With any luck, she'll get that book," I said. "It would do her a world of good."
"I doubt she will," Lori said drily. "When she left, she told me that she hoped her pediatrician had made a mistake in the medicine he's prescribed for her baby. Then she could sue him for all he's worth, and get some extra spending cash."
*NOTE: I normally don't recommend this book, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Three days ago, two Saudi men here on temporary student visas boarded a local high school bus. One was wearing shorts and a black trench coat.
When alarmed students alerted their not-so-alert driver, the driver alerted the school officials. Then the school officials called the cops. Then the men were arrested and taken in for questioning. Um, am I missing something here, or would it simply have been wiser for someone to dial 911 to start with? Don't students carry cell phones?
Here's a more detailed report of what happened next. But I'll summarize it here for you. When the men were taken into custody, they lied repeatedly about:
Where They Came From: First they told the police they were from Morocco. Then they were from Saudi Arabia.
Why They Boarded the Bus: Even though they were enrolled at USF, they had decided they wanted to take easier English courses at the high school. No! Wait! They really did it for kicks, to see what an American high school is like. No! Wait! They couldn't tell the difference between a yellow school bus and a public one.
Yeah, I'm serious.
Then these guys were were held on bails of $250 each on misdemeanor trespassing charges. Oops, no wait a minute. Maybe there's something suspicious! (Could there be something suspicious in the state where the 9/11 terrorists went to flight school? Let's face it, we're Terrorist Mecca here). OK, let's play it safe and revoke bail, the judge decided. Oh brilliant, bravo. That took the mental alertness of Britney Spears.
Yesterday (only 2 days after the incident) the two men were released with no charges filed. Strangely enough, that didn't make the paper. However, we were treated to seeing them on our local news channel as they were released. They looked delighted, while their attorney explained that it was all an easy mistake and simply the result of a culture clash.
Sure! That explains it! I forgot in the Saudi culture that it's natural to give several opposing versions of the same story. And goodness knows that the Sauds are our friends, right? What? Most of the 9/11 terrorists came from there? Get back, Jack!
Let's face the facts. This was a dry run. And you know what? If we don't take it seriously, we will see Mana Saleh Almanajam and Shaker Mohsen Alsidran again. Well, if they're suicide bombers maybe we'll just see pieces of them. But they'll be scattered among the remains of children.
We need to demand that all students carry bus passes, and all drivers must check the passes before allowing them to board. This won't prevent a terrorist with a gun, perhaps, but it may help deter one.
We also need to ask why Pres. Bush continues to court the Sauds "with the more open policy part of larger efforts at improving relations between the two nations." Bush can't have it both ways. Either the terrorist threat is real, or it's a contrived campaign of terror which our own President has conceived to justify the continuing war overseas. Let's make up our minds.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Mandy had been a successful business woman who met the wrong guy. She fell in love with a smooth talking blue collar businessman. They got married, and then he proceeded to try to break her in every way he could. In the end, she was left a quivering mess, crying on the phone to her mom, afraid of leaving the relationship for fear of what he might do to her. She was abusing prescription drugs to disconnect and "forget everything."
Gail asked me what she should do. I told her to get Mandy out of there as soon as possible. I suggested that she wait until Mandy's husband was gone, and then she should drag her off by the hair, if necessary.
One day, Gail had had enough. When Mandy's husband was gone, Gail hired a truck to go to the house, packed up as much of Mandy's stuff as they could pack, and then they got out of there.
Mandy's husband was livid but there was little he could do. By now, Mandy was hooked on the prescription drugs. She would lie, cheat, or steal to get them. "What can I do?" Gail asked me in desperation one day. "I can't restrict her access because there are so many unethical doctors out there that will write a prescription for whatever she asks! They don't care!"
I told Gail to report these doctors and clinics to the police. Perhaps that is what led to the eventual arrest of 6 of these doctors, although there are others out there.
Mandy's heart stopped the other day. She was rushed to the hospital where they were able to revive her. But her body cannot take much more of this abuse. She has to get clean, and she can't do it when she can get easy access to the drugs which are killing her.
Gail is planning to Marchman Act Mandy soon. (The Marchman Act is just like The Baker Act but it's used when someone is killing themselves through substance abuse). With any luck, when Mandy gets out of there, she won't face the same temptations because the streets will have fewer of these dealers.
Hopefully these recent arrests will send a message to the other scum out there: whether the drugs are legal or illegal, you are still nothing more than a common dealer. You need to be taken down.
Monday, May 22, 2006
I rarely get involved in Sweet N' Saur, which is a blog I share with Michelle. I turned the reins over to her some time ago because she is usually better informed on some of the intricacies in the school system here, is more neutral than I am, and happy to moderate.
However, I've been more involved in the last week because there have been some controversial local issues which recently caught my eye.
In my weekend post, I mentioned that Sweet N' Saur was receiving a great deal of attention. In fact, in the current post we've received over a hundred comments in a short period of time. And when there's an issue that generates that sort of interest, you can be sure it also generates controversy.
I frankly believe that our local school superintendent, Clayton Wilcox, is below par. But when I commented that he was "a ninny", one participant was hugely offended. "I was surprised by Saur's comment about Wilcox. It will make him uncomfortable to visit the site..." she wrote.
I am tempted to say "frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." But I will explain why.
I believe that blogs should be an open forum. They are our last bastion of the Freedom of Speech and of the Press. Sadly, the majority* of America no longer realizes these are guaranteed in The Bill of Rights! I treasure this guarantee. As long as I'm not being deliberately incendiary or foul in my speech, I should be allowed that privilege. In fact, many would argue that true freedom of speech would allow me to call him something much worse than I did.
Clayton Wilcox is a public figure. That means he's free game. If he's going to be offended by frank opinions, he needs to toughen up or get another job.
* The McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum commissioned a poll to see how many Americans could name all of the five rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Only one in a thousand Americans could name all five rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. 41 percent could name at least two of the three American Idol judges. 22 percent could name all five members of the cartoon family The Simpsons.
Horrifyingly, only eight percent could name three of the five rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. Only 11 percent knew that freedom of the press was one of those five. Worse, many people think they have rights that aren’t even in the Constitution! Consider, for instance, the 21 percent who think that the First Amendment guarantees the right to own pets.
(NOTE: I believe I got this original material (which I've edited) from here, though I didn't save my source, since these facts are commonly known and reported)
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Michelle and I met through Wilcox's blog, became pen pals, and then friends who see each other occasionally when our busy schedules allow for it. She's a beautiful person inside and outside (seriously!) as well as being highly intelligent. She is much more qualified (and patient) to run the forum than *I* am.
But yesterday morning she called and sent me an urgent message, telling me that the site was in need of a quick revision since Clayton Wilcox had finally decided to take down his long controversial blog.
Why was it controversial?
His blog was simply frustrating. I think it contributed to the general ill feelings people had about him.
No one usually monitored it, least of all Clayton himself. So it became a badly written blog (full of his writing errors) with no moderator.
Most participants felt that they really weren't listened to, and the crackpots were often the only ones which were left. I grew discouraged by it rapidly, feeling that Clayton had created it to pander to the masses, when the reality was that he wasn't at all interested in anyone's opinions.
Finally they announced yesterday that they were shutting it down. So we scrambled to get a message up, letting everyone there know that Sweet N' Saur was open for business. And I dropped everything to redesign the site.
Michelle requests: "Come over and share info about your state and local schools. Maybe our district can learn what we can do better. Maybe you have tried something we don't want to ever do and we can learn from your districts experience."
Friday, May 19, 2006
Inside the doors was a massively carpeted entryway which swept left. Well-dressed people were milling about. It appeared to be some sort of a social function, such as a grand opening.
As I walked into the entryway, a woman casually approached me. She appeared to be older than me by about 15 to 20 years. I smiled at her and then, suddenly remembering my wheat stalks, I crossed them rapidly in front of my face in a ritualistic manner as I walked toward her.
"You got that wrong," she said with a friendly, conspiratorial smile. "You should've crossed the stalks first, then smiled."
"You're right," I admitted. "I guess I'm just a little rusty at this."
"Never mind, dear. You're doing just fine," she said. "Come with me. Let me introduce you around." We started walking together toward the main room to the left, which had beautiful clothes displayed on mannequins amidst people who were milling about with cocktails in their hands.
"What's your name?" she asked as we walked.
I told her. Now, as I've mentioned before, my name is somewhat unusual. She quickly put up a hand to her mouth and gave a trilling laugh. "Oh you're kidding," she said, giggling. She wasn't being malicious, she was simply genuinely amused.
I grinned. "What's your name?" I asked, in return
"Ebola," she answered.
"Wait a minute. Your parents named you after a disease, and you think my name is funny?" I asked, putting a hand on my hip in a "get out, girl" manner.
We both ended up laughing so hard about this that we were soon surrounded by her friends, demanding to know what was so funny. When we told them, through gales of laughter, some were confused. "I thought your name was Enola, honey," said one woman. This made me laugh even harder, when I thought about her being named after the Enola Gay (the airplane which dropped the bomb on Hiroshima in WW2). Either way, the poor woman couldn't win.
I woke up still grinning.
Now, I know that some dreams have meaning, and I'm pretty good at interpretation. But I think this one was probably just good, clean fun. Still, why would my brain spin out such a sequence, and was it random?
Or, am I really the Goddess Ceres, dreaming of Saur♥Kraut?
Thursday, May 18, 2006
And I can tell you that they're engrossing fiction, and all you have to do is suspend belief when you read them. The "history" they're based on is easily disproved. So why should Christians be so nervous about the movie's release?
Well, things have a way of leaching into pop culture. Christians are worried that people may actually begin to believe some of the allegations made in these faux historical novels. But they're so easily refuted that even the mainstream media is doing so (there's a great article here at salon.com about it). Books which go into even greater detail are listed here.
But now all Christians can breathe a sigh of relief. The DaVinci Code is getting terrible reviews, everywhere. It appears that it will die a death much quicker and less painful than the controversy it's caused.
P.S. Does anyone else think that this picture looks a little bit like Lee Ann??? Hmmm, I think we may have a conspiracy here...
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
For instance, my ex-husband and I befriended a clown who was doing charity work at a local McDonald's one day, only to find out later that he was Emmett Kelley Jr. Everyone else that day thought he was "just" a clown. We stayed in touch with him for years. He was (and is) a very nice man, with a big heart.
A local rental car company employs two musicians who are very famous overseas for their carribean music. They work part time at the company so that they don't get bored sitting around until the weekend when they play at different local clubs here. The funny thing is that their music is played on radio stations in other countries such as Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.
I've often wondered if their fans would be surprised to find out that they get so bored in America that they detail cars. It's weird to see the college grads, with their $20,000 incomes, bossing these mild-mannered guys around when their carhops are making at least four times their salary.
I've seen these musicians get patronized by these schlubs, and it's infuriated me. But my friends tell me not to say anything. They're content, and they feel they know who their true friends are by how they're treated when they're "nobody". Of course my friends are not the standard egomaniacal musicians, I'll grant you.
Yesterday, I went to Publix to buy groceries. For those of you who aren't familiar with Publix, it's our premier grocery store here. I prefer it because the baked goods and produce are superior to every other store in town.
Most Publix stores hire retirees part time to bag groceries. It gives the retirees something to do (just like my musician friends). What's odd is how many people don't realize that a retiree is someone who is probably very cool, with a vast amount of life experience.
So the guy who was bagging my groceries got to talking with me about housecleaning. I said how I had very little time to devote to it, and he said he had the same problem because he was very busy with this (and he showed me a brochure). This guy's a great artist! Here is his website.
I can't wait to show my son (SaurKid) the robots. He'll love them! But my favorites are the fish.
This local artist, Robert Freeman, will be retiring from bagging the groceries soon, so that he can devote himself full time to marketing his artwork. So if we hadn't struck up a conversation, I probably would never have met him.
This just goes to prove: You never know who that stranger is.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
This quote is the epitome of understatement. Yesterday it was announced that a local woman was killed by an alligator, which brings the death toll to three people killed by alligators in this month alone.
As all of you know, Florida has never been known for it's wealth of intelligentsia. As we've grown and attracted educated people, we've gradually built a small pool of individuals that can walk and chew gum at the same time. (My own family was imported from New York when I was a baby).
So it's no wonder that when I was growing up, we saw a spate of alligator attacks due to moronic old women who would feed wild alligators marshmallows. They'd take jumbo marshmallows, impale them on the end of a stick, and tempt the alligator to come up and eat the marshmallow off the stick. Alligators began to add it up: people = food.
Alligators were everywhere, and no one was happy about it. So it was to everyone's surprise when the government declared the alligator an endangered species in the 70s. "Endangered?" my father, the Scientist, snorted. "They breed like rabbits and they have excellent survival skills. They've been around since the dinosaurs roamed the earth!"
"Well then, why don't you write and tell them, Dad?" I asked. I don't remember his exact reply, but basically he told me that politicians are a frightening lot which continually make terrible mistakes but refuse to be corrected by anyone with an informed opinion. Writing to them about this mistake would have been useless and simply a waste of time.
I thought that was a little harsh, but then we recently had chads, George Bush, and Katherine Harris and I was a political advisor for 5 years, so I stand corrected. Kidding! I do think we can make a difference, but it takes more than one person to do it.
In 1981, the government realized that alligators do, indeed, breed like rabbits. But being unwilling to appear entirely idiotic, the politicians downgraded the status to "protected." Meanwhile, we eat gator ribs, nuggets, and patties in our local restaurants. If you want to buy gator meat, you can go here.
We all remain confused.
Monday, May 15, 2006
On Saturday, she called. "Hey Saur, let me ask your advice about something," she began. She had been minding her own business, had been walking from one part of the pub to another, when a drunken waitress slammed into her, knocking her down. Remember, Zen is already in frail health.
The waitress apologized, slurring her words and staggering slightly. "You alright?" she asked.
"Get away from me!" Zen said, crossly, as other people helped her up. She was in a lot of pain, her wrist especially was hurting.
A little while later, the waitress came by. "See that guy on the dance floor?" she said, indicating a sloppy drunk. Her esses were soft, as she strove to sound sober.
"Uh, yeah?" replied Zen, tentatively.
"Well, don' dance wit' him," pronounced the waitress. "He's the one tha' pushed me into you. I think he's really drunk."
Oh yes, brilliant save. It's so brilliant that it scintillates, gleaming, in all it's sparkling glory. Not!
Zen may be blond, but the peroxide hasn't permeated the scalp yet. The waitress should've tried the old "space aliens temporarily possessed my body." Zen believes in space aliens, and there's a .001% chance that she might buy that one.
The pain worsened, so she shortened her evening and went home early.
The next day, her wrist hurt even more and she was nearly in tears. She was calling to ask if she should go to the hospital, when she couldn't afford it. "Yes! Go!" I said.
"But... I can't get ahold of the owner," she said. "I've been calling his cell phone and it won't allow me to leave a message."
"Do you have witnesses?" I asked.
"Oh yeah, tons of them," she said. "I got lots of names and numbers. They're willing to swear that the waitress was drunk. But I can't afford the hospital!"
"You need to go, it could be fractured," I said. "Besides, that's what their general liability insurance is for. And if they don't have it, you can sue the business itself."
So she went. And it was fractured. I have her set up to see my attorney today.
In the meantime, Zen is still fighting her newly diagnosed diabetes and now has something else which has set her back. It is very frustrating for her, but Zen's a trooper. I'm trying to think of ways to get her back working for me as soon as possible. I think I'll get her set up with a tape recorder so that she can dictate her notes.
She only works part time for me (about 10 hours a week) and she's a 1099 (she sets her own hours and days) but perhaps I can put her on payroll through my other company and give her the option of health insurance. It's something I hadn't considered before.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
I don't know what my earliest recollection of my mother was. Apparently here I was having early blond fantasies, because neither one of us is naturally blond.
My mother was always conservatively fashionable and extraordinarly beautiful. She turned heads although she didn't realize it for the most part. She still does, I'm sure, because she posesses great genetics and looks about 15 years younger than she is. The only thing which frustrated her was her black, naturally curly hair. Curls weren't "in" for most of her life, and she fought them.
During the history of her hair, Mom tried a relaxing perm made for black women in the 70s. Unfortunately, her hair is caucasian and the perm damaged it a great deal. Hairdressers weren't that good then (neither were their products) and no one else had any other ideas.
Mom tried roller sets to tame it, with little luck. When blow dryers came around, she would try blowing the curls out of it (with her hairdresser's encouragement). She would end up with large, fluffy mounds which she tamed into leonine hairdos.
Mom's finally resigned to her hair (which I always envied). People assume she perms it, which she thinks is pretty funny.
Mom is the most complex, complicated person I've ever known. She shares that in common with her own mother (which she might not like to hear). I believe she'd admit that part of her life has been spent in the arduous attempt to be unlike her mother as much as possible. They shared a difficult relationship, and I know it was hard on Mom at times.
Her mother was a "clutterbug" (this horrible trait apparently skips a generation, I have to admit). Mom's house is as neat as a pin and very minimalist (I have no earthly idea how she does it). Her mother was a "social drinker" which Mom believed bordered on alcoholic. Mom's a teetotaller. Her mother was agnostic. Mom's a Christian Fundamentalist and her mother despised her for that for many years, until she finally became a born-again Christian months before she died.
Mom has a strength of will that surpasses anyone's. You can't say it's stubborn, because "stubborn" implies a wrong intent and most of the time Mom has the will to do the right thing, even when it would be infinitely easier to do the wrong one.
Mom is highly organized in all ways. Her mind and her checkbook are as organized as her house. She was the first woman I knew that carried an organizer with her, everywhere.
Mom has never stopped learning. She was intelligent when intelligent females weren't fashionable. She fought to get her college degree while raising me (with Dad's complete approval and encouragement). Through the years, she has learned Greek, Hebrew, and a smattering of Aramaic. She was already fluent in French. She studies the Bible like a fiend, and is familiar with all the commentaries and opinions of every theologian known to mankind. Although she has to fight her natural shyness, she is a famous speaker and writer in this field. People who think I'm brilliant in this area have never spoken with her. She leaves me in the dust.
Mom wouldn't let me play with Barbies because they send the message to girls that it's what you look like that counts. She wouldn't let me wear makeup before I was 15. She wouldn't let us watch more than an hour of TV a week, so I was forced to read and enrich my mind. She made us do book reports over the summer. She forced me to throw out something for everything I bought. She made us clean our rooms and clean our plates. She taught us about nutrition and insisted that we eat healthy. She dragged us on walks and through exercise. She insisted that I read Letitia Baldridge and Miss Manners so that I would shine in any social setting.
Because of Mom, I never "thought like a girl" and I have a work ethic and social skills that have caused me to be successful and stand out over my peers.
Thanks, Mom, for being a real mom and not simply my friend. You and Dad have made it possible for me to have a better life than I ever dreamed of. I love you.
Happy Mother's Day!
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Mr. X: Wow. Geez. As I mentioned in my blog a few weeks ago, I was changing it from being somewhat censored and an attempt to get people to like me to a "hell be damned, I'm going to be myself and express myself uncensored and if it makes people go away, I don't care." So people were forewarned.
I'm not suicidal, nor am I passive/aggressive. I've just been blogging for over year and finally just accepted the fact that my original purposes for it were unrealized, and that my auxiliary purposes for it were unrealized and so that I needed a new purpose for it. And that purpose is for it to be my journal, for myself, for later in life, that I can look back. If it serves as an outlet or even a toilet for my negative moods, so be it. If my life turns around and suddenly I'm going to gush, I'll gush there. Either way, it's a free world.
FYI, my email has and always will be on my profile page. And just for the record, you have the chronology wrong... I was complaining about people not commenting and it did bother me some, but then I decided that it wasn't worth it and turned off comments. So there was a progression in thought there. A rational progression IMHO.
Although I would still argue that a true documentation of your life should probably not be in blogger (an unreliable platform at times) and there may be some psychological justification here, I felt he made a very fair argument and I respect him for it.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Here's an excellent rundown on the political parties in the U.S. There are droves of them, but most have a membership that would fill a small schoolroom.
Of all the parties, the one that came closest to my own beliefs was the American Patriot Party, which was Jeffersonian in nature. It was disbanded in 2006.
The Republican Party lost its focus long ago, and (aside from superficial differences) there is little difference from The Democrats. Both of these parties wish to control and regulate too much; they only disagree about whom they should choose.
I think there are areas that require regulation, however. My litmus test is: Where's the victim? If you can assign a victim, it is a crime.
Of course there are times when you could say that society as a whole is a victim, which would allow regulation of a certain practice which may not have a particular victim. The Rebublican party makes that claim when it's discussing the issue of gay marriage. As I've said before, the only definable impact on society would be additional court costs, thus additional taxation, to deal with all the additional divorces that might ensue. If that barrier was removed, it might be argued that it would harm no one.
NOTE: I'm not saying I'm pro gay marriage. I am actually relatively ambivalent about it since I question defining marriage as a union which is sanctioned by the government.
I'm anti-abortion, since I believe that growth connotes life and a growing fetus is a live one.
But when it comes to a mother killing her baby after its birth, no one disagrees that its murder. Here is an article today about a crack whore who drank and smoked crack all through her pregnancy and left the baby to die, abandoned in an alley amongst debris and broken glass. And there are other mothers listed here who recently killed their babies also.
This is why I would love to see mandatory sterilization for all citizens, which could only be reversed when the mother can pass a parenting test and be tested for drugs and any serious disease which would doom a baby from the outset (such as AIDS). I know it's just a fantasy, but I can dream.
So what's my beef with making all drugs legal, then? Don't we have the right to kill ourselves off in any way we deem appropriate? Not when it impacts the bottom dollar.
I don't fancy my taxes going to treating some derelict who smoked so much pot (which is a known carcinogen) that he's coughing up lungs in his final stages. I don't see paying for heart surgery for the cocaine addict, or tooth repair for the crack addict. If I have to part yearly with money that I've earned the hard way, I don't want to see it going to that.
You may agree with some or all of what I say here, but I think that we all can agree that the government has grown to a point where it is stifling us. Some people are making the argument that we are currently under martial law now, and they actually make an excellent point. We may be. And the government only wishes to strengthen their chokehold on the American people.
I am not an alarmist, and I am not a conspiracy theorist (for the most part, although I'm old enough now to know that it can and does happen). But Bryan recently did a report on the Concentration Camps Being Built in America. My initial reaction was to roll my eyes. Then I decided, what the heck, I'll watch the video for a couple minutes. What I learned shocked me. And when I researched it, I found out that it's completely true.
These Concentration Camps are currently only used for prison labor, but a recent government report by Homeland Security says that they are considering using them for political dissidents or anyone that protests the war.
My posting this could certainly be seen as threatening to them, so I do it with trepidition. However, I think it's important that we stop burying our heads in the sand.
No, I haven't gone nuts. See and research it for yourself.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Right now, her parents should be kicking her butt, too. But that's not gonna happen either. Instead, we now have another "victim" when the real victims are the teachers and our educational system.
Sure the teachers overreacted. But then again, wouldn't you be a little miffed if some snotty kid came up to you and assaulted you, knowing that she had impunity? And yeah, she knew it, trust me. She may be a first grader, but she wasn't in Special Ed.
Sure, sure. We're adults. We're supposed to be able to restrain ourselves better. But let's face it, we have unreasonably indulgent standards for kids, when they should be held to higher expectations. I can understand a two year old being out of control, but this is another example of a first grader that is a classic Kid Out of Control (KOOC).
And I admit that rubbing the kid's face in the sand and screaming at her to "eat dirt!" is wrong. In fact, it's downright assault and battery. That alone should send those teachers packing.
Until we begin to hold parents liable for the monsters they're creating, we will continue to have a decline in teachers and the quality of education. Because other students can't thrive where KOOCs are allowed to behave badly, and surprisingly there aren't enough masochistic teachers to go around.
Michelle recently did this post discussing discipline. Perhaps it's a post that needs to be made weekly until something is done!
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
He's 12 now. When he was about 6, his father started trying to teach him how to ride. But it was an unpleasant experience, and SaurKid associates the pain of skinned knees, scraped hands, and bruised legs with riding a bike. At the time, I was too poor to afford to get him a bike and try to teach him myself, so eventually the attempts were abandoned.
But things are different now. I can now afford to buy him anything he wants (and doesn't want!). I've been wanting to ride a bike again, and SaurKid is the "lucky guy" that I've chosen to go on excursions with me.
Before the Big Event, we took a trip to Target and bought knee and elbow pads and (of course) a helmet. Then we came home and SaurKid reluctantly strapped everything on. We went outside, I rode the bike to demonstrate, discussed the different features, and then he got on.
At first I walked beside him, holding the bike while he got the feel of peddling. We tried practicing on the grass where a fall would be softer, then we tried it on the street. His starts were wobbly and hesitant, while he got the feel for the balance. But suddenly he had gone a couple feet on his own, then a couple more... all within 15 minutes! Soon he was riding up and down the street, around the corner, and down another street.
He was so excited, and so proud of himself! He had finally conquered one of his inner demons. And he has now realized that repeated failures don't mean permanent failure.
"I know what Dad will say. He'll say "that's good, buddy," and that'll be it," said SaurKid woefully. We both knew his father wouldn't be thrilled that *I* had taught him how to ride a bike. His father is highly competitive with me, and I try to let him be Top Dog unless he neglects something like this.
When his dad came by that night, SaurKid was anxiously waiting outside to show him what he could do. The moment his dad and stepmom were out of the car, SaurKid was down the road like a shot.
"Ah," said his father in a smarmy tone of voice. "I see he learned to ride."
"First time, too! He got it in 15 minutes!" I said happily.
"Uh, after doing it about 5 or 6 times already. Well..." and then he faded off into a mumble, because he knew that wasn't true and he wasn't finding anything he could use to diminish the victory. I think he was trying to say he'd already taught the kid how to ride, but everyone knew that wasn't true. Not being exactly swift of mind, he had started to lie and suddenly realized it would be patently obvious. He's a quirky person.
Ignoring him, I yelled encouragements to SaurKid. When SaurKid arrived back in front of us, his stepmom was whooping and jumping up and down! I could've kissed and hugged her right then.
"Uh, that's good, buddy," said his dad.
P.S. Go over to Michelle's blog and encourage her to come clean about her colorful past. There's strength in numbers and I'm hoping that she can't kill us all.