Friday, March 14, 2008

Some Things Friday for March 14, 2008

I will not go into detail, but it just has not been a great week.

Some Things I Love:

1. This Granny is an awesome example of how an old girl can really take care of herself!! She was trapped in a locked closet for about 20 hours and when no one came looking for her, she bashed a hole in the wall and crawled through it. Her advice to other grannies who might find themselves in the same predicament? "Keep a hammer in your closet, tie your cell phone around your neck, and be in shape." You go, girl!

2. This quote: “I refuse to enter a wet T-Shirt Contest until my breasts look more like breasts, and less like something I should tuck into my pants.” ~ Kelli Jae Baeli . It's unfortunate, but I relate to that.

3. Only 6 more days until Spring and we are finally headed for warmer weather! Right now I'm wearing flip-flops, but my toes are cold.

4. Arkansas is a backward state, there is no doubt about it, and we are often ridiculed in the media and elsewhere for our staunch resistance to change and almost rabid refusal to accept that anything worthwhile exists outside our borders. I have friends and family who refuse to visit our state for fear the "redneck cooties" will infect their very being and life as they know it will cease to exist. Some of them make jokes about us, as if our entire population lived in shacks with rusting autos parked in the yard, drove pickup trucks with gun racks, sipped our Budweiser through rotted front teeth and spit our "chew" into empty beer cans. It is, apparently, inconceivable that anything civilized or purposeful could exist here. It is true that as a former Californian and very liberal Democrat, my adjustment to the evangelical Christian, right-wing Republican culture here has been difficult. I have written many times that I wish we had never moved here, but I am, in the final analysis, a realist and deal with the here and now and continue to plan for what can be in my future. That said, there are some things about Arkansas of which I am very proud. One of them is how local law enforcement agencies so aggressively protect our children from predators. Our own Conway Police Department has a task force dedicated to this project and they have arrested many men, some coming from as far as Oklahoma and Texas to central Arkansas to sexually assault young girls. Heber Springs is a small community of only about 7,000 people on Greers Ferry Lake about an hour north of Conway. Their county sheriff's office and city police department work in tandem to catch internet predators. A recent edition of the Heber Springs Sun-Times reports that they succeeded in arresting a 55-year old man who drove from northern Arkansas to meet with what he thought to be a 13-year-old girl. Earlier this year, they arrested a 26-year old man for the same offense. Pretty darn good for such a small, fairly rural community. But, the deputies and officers speak with an accent so thick you can barely understand them? Undoubtedly. Do they eagerly anticipate the opening of deer or duck season and hunt and fish like it is a religion? Probably. Do they drink beer on their days off? More than likely. And some of them may live in mobile homes and probably chew tobacco (one of THE most disgusting habits on this planet). But these right-wing, tobacco chewing, beer drinking rednecks have made protecting our children a real priority with limited support and resources. I thank them for that. Job well done, guys!

5. Many of our current high school students are so much smarter and more aware of the current issues and political contradictions than those students of my generation. I didn't really start considering the impact of political issues on daily life until I graduated from high school and left home for the first time. Even then, my understanding of the issues and political positions were not as well formulated as Choate high school senior, Marla Spivack, the student who challenged Karl Rove last month by asking him “to explain how giving gay people the right to marry would endanger other people.” Rove dismissed Spivack's question by saying that the issue “should be resolved by a legislature or a referendum, not a court.” But Spivack was relentless and said, "You never actually answered, how does it threaten anyone?” Rove asked her, "What’s the compelling reason to throw out 5,000 years of understanding the institution of marriage as between a man and a woman?" To which she replied, "What was the compelling reason for society to allow interracial relationships when they had once been outlawed." When Rove invoked the Declaration of Independence, the student argued that its reference to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” seemed to support her claims. Astonishing, isn't it? So when is Marla Spivack eligible to run for President?

Some Things I Hate:

1. Did you read about the new federal study that found that 1 in 4 of U.S. teenage girls has an STD (sexually transmitted disease). Okay, time out! What are we NOT teaching our kids? We have become so focused on talking about abstinence that we are NOT teaching them how to protect themselves if they decide to have sex. Don't you think that kids need to hear the dual message that STDs can be prevented by abstinence and condoms?

2. I didn't think I needed another reason, besides Meredith Vieira, not to watch the Today Show, but the producers have given me another reason anyway. Just in case I might be tempted to give it a try just once, I only have to remember that Kathie Lee Gifford is joining the show as a co-host. Oh boy, another opportunity to hear more about Cody, Cassidy, Cody, Cassidy, Cody, Cassidy and Cody and Cassidy! Uh... NO!

3. We no longer have to worry about feces and rat droppings in our water. According to an article on this website, "A vast array of pharmaceuticals -- including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones -- have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans......How do the drugs get into the water?.....People take pills. Their bodies absorb some of the medication, but the rest of it passes through and is flushed down the toilet. The wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes. Then, some of the water is cleansed again at drinking water treatment plants and piped to consumers. But most treatments do not remove all drug residue." Okay, I saw the words "pharmaceuticals," but all I can think of is: Ewww, ewww, ewww, I'm drinking PEE WATER!

4. I have developed another undesirable habit. I wake up in the middle of the night about 3:30 a.m. I try not to look at the clock, but I do anyway and knowing I am awake in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping makes it that much more difficult to fall back to sleep. I lay there and hear every little noise (the tick, tick, tick of the ceiling fan when the chain hits the globe, Tom's breathing/almost snoring, water dripping from the roof to the ground outside because it's been raining) and my mind begins racing, trying to write paragraphs into my memory so I don't forget. I have to force myself to stop by controlling and relaxing all of my muscles one at a time and repeating to myself "quiet mind...quiet mind...quiet mind." Minutes later, my mind wanders again, and I have to bring myself back... quiet mind... repeating this process for at least an hour and a half until I fall back to sleep. I don't wake up rested. I don't wake up ready to face the day. And, I've forgotten everything anyway!

5. The house we purchased to remodel and resell has not resold. I think the Real Estates Gods are trying to tell us something.

Some Things I Just Don't Get:

1. Elliot Spitzer, the former governor of New York ~ as of Monday. Oh my God! He obviously didn't learn anything from Bill Clinton, David Vitter, Larry Craig, Mark Foley and Bob Allen, What was he thinking?? He wasn't... that's his problem.

2. Did you know there was a website that teaches our men (or at least those who want to learn) the "Art of Manliness ." Yes, indeed, men ~ and women who wish to steer your men in that direction ~ you, too, can learn the art of grilling the perfect steak, the art of a virtuous life by merely shutting up, how to shave like your Grandpa, talk like Frank Sinatra, and learn the rules of wearing socks (I presume this one is for all you old farts who think it's cool to wear black socks and sandals). By far, though, the most important lesson is how to give a proper Man Hug. And this, my dear gentlemen, is NOT it:

3. Charla Krupp is a former beauty editor and author who has launched a new website to sell her book, "How Not To Look Old." Charla wants to give us aging women what we need: information on hair, makeup, lipstick or back pain (yes, all in the same sentence). Charla wants us to be ready to reinvent ourselves! Charla, honey, I don't need reinvention... I need renovation!

4. A New Haven, Connecticut middle school has a no-tolerance policy. And they take prisoners. According to this article, eighth grader "Michael Sheridan was stripped of his title as class vice president, barred from attending an honors student dinner and suspended for 3 days after buying a bag of Skittles from a classmate. An administrator busted Michael with the candy in his pocket." Of course, it's a well known fact that most of our school kids are strung out on Skittles during and after class, and there are Skittles pushers in every elementary and middle school bathroom trying to hook more and more of our children. The next step for the unsuspecting Skittles user is Pixie Stix and we all know that once they are into Pixie Stix the only alternative is rehab.

5. I would like to understand how Barack Obama can say he rejects Rev. Wright's very twisted view of this country, but continues to attend the church led by Rev. Wright. If you attended a church and the leader of that church continually taught something you knew or felt was fundamentally wrong or completely disagreed with, would you continue to attend? Or would you find a church more consistent with your fundamental beliefs? It seems to me what Barack Obama says contradicts his actions. So which is it, Mr. Obama? Are you proud that Rev. Wright has been your mentor and spiritual guide for the last 20 years, or have you just spent the last 20 years putting up with Rev. Wright's racist, anti-American rhetoric in order to use the church's influence for your personal campaign goals?

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