Same job, different uniform.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Covering my October 31 bases

I have wished you a Happy Halloween. Now I wish you Happy Reformation Day.

Today is the eve of All Saints Day or All Hallow's Eve.

A minor thing occured on this day in 1517, too. A German monk nailed his 95 Theses to the door of his church in Wittenburg, Germany, decrying the practice of indulgences and raising questions about the authority of the Pope.

He intended to reform his beloved Catholic church.

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"Positive energy"

I noticed there hadn't been an entry in a few days, so I was going to share today's entry from my blog. But girlfriday beat me to the punch. Great photo! It's amazing how cute the Day of the Devil can look, eh fam? (there was a smiley face here, but it has since been revoked ... insert happy thought instead!). Can't wait for nephew-adoring festivities to commence this evening.

Well, I'll share anyway. Here it is:

Due to the influx of negatively oriented individuals I've been acquainted with over the years, "being positive" is now second nature to me. (Not to say I'm a bubbly person with no "down" moments; I just see the silver lining, etc.)

But lately I've begun to feel a noticeable energy drain from the positivity. I love that I'm not as pessimistic as I was when I was young. Sometimes, however, I wish I would have come about it honestly. That is, just matured into a well-adjusted adult instead of being forced into rose-colored glasses only to keep my sanity around "woe-is-me" roommates, co-workers, etc.

I now know that people who begin sentences with "I hate it when" or end them with "just my luck!" are undeniably self-centered. Not self-centered in the way of putting themselves above others (in fact, they often berate themselves and are willing to do a LOT for their friends). Self-centered in that what occupies 99% of their thoughts is THEM: "Why didn't he say 'hi' to me?" "Nobody ever remembers my name!" " of course my car broke down..." "My hair looks like crap, but thanks for lying" -- you get the idea.

For Christians, the problem runs even deeper than self-centeredness. It goes directly to lack of faith -- lacking faith that God made you the way you are so you have worth, that He wants good things for you and DOES bless you on a fairly consistent basis.

I have melancholy tendencies (just ask my fam). So the positive thing has been a conscious decision for me, almost like a survival tactic. And I love the results. I'm more content, less worrisome and have tapped farther into faith. It's become effortless. But when I'm face-to-face with the negativo types (as described above), I kick into over-drive, bending over backward to keep the glass half-full. And then it becomes not so effortless, which is when I feel the drain.

There's probably no real solution to this. I will keep "fighting the good fight" around those with furrowed brows ... or occasionally give in to the temporary mysery. But the truth of it is being negative zaps way more energy than choosing to be content.

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Happy Halloween, I suppose

We weren't big Halloween revelers growing up. Mostly because it's a day of the Devil!!!!!

But now that we're enlightened adults we enjoy the harmless dressing up, candy-gorging, and nephew-adoring activities associated with the day.

Here are the children who paraded through our office trick-or-treating.

My favorite was the 3-year old Batman with the bat-gloves that didn't fit, and the lisping child who recited the Pledge of Allegiance to us. (Nothing says Halloween like the Pledge of Allegiance.)

By the way if you're looking for interpreter services these kids can recite the alphabet and 1-10 in Spanish. Shouting.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

The Immigration Imbroglio

There are two basic unspoken propositions behind much of the debate about the lack of controls to immigration in this country. Both propositions serve to illustrate why the lunacy of de facto open Southern borders is not only not recognized as lunacy, but is rather seen as an opportunity for profit or political power.

1. Unlimited immigration, or massive illegal immigration which is effectively unlimited, which is the case today, benefits the wealthy, the political parties (primarily the Democrats), and identity group ideologues.
2. Unlimited immigration does little or nothing for the poorest US citizens and legal immigrants financially, but (incremetally) increase their potential political clout.

There is no doubt that illegal immigration from Mexico is out of control. The massive influx of Mexican nationals into California and Texas has changed the politics in those states, perhaps forever, but certainly for the short run. The Democrats see these new residents and potential citizens as the opportunity to re-construct a grand coalition of interests nationally. Winning the Hispanic vote is essential to continued Democratic political success, and they must win it decisively. Any inroads that Republicans can make in the Hispanic voting bloc reflect not only increase Republican support, but also decrease Democratic support. Bloc politics is a zero sum game, and both parties are playing to the crowd.

Immigration reform is a tar baby. Politicians who attach themselves to it can only be elected in states where immigration is not a dire problem, unless the “reform” in question allows for more immigration. President Bush, for instance, has made inroads into the Hispanic vote by taking on issues important to them, immigration amnesty being the most notable. The problem with Republican me-too-ism is that regardless of how much they pander to pro-immigration Hispanic voters, the majority of those voters will nevertheless vote Democratic. Democrats continue to support the massive naturalization program instituted under President Clinton, and will always be willing to bow more to the Hispanic lobby because the two groups share interests in the expansion of federal power and redistribution programs that the Republicans can never support if they desire to remain a viable political party. What all of this means is simple: President Bush’s inroads into the community of Hispanic voters is temporary at best, and probably will not carry over to the party in general. In the long run, Hispanic voters will join black voters, government workers and teacher’s associations as reliable Democratic allies.

Given the foregoing, Republicans must become the party of immigration reform. A compelling case can be made for it, but there must also be a recognition that the long-term health of the party and the Union are wrapped up in potential short-term political losses. But the gain at stake could be enormous if reform is sold correctly. The fact is that those who will benefit MOST from proper immigration reform are the poorest of the poor in the United States, who will necessarily see their wages rise as the pool of cheap labor dries up. They must be made to understand that each new undocumented worker that crosses the border is taking food from their mouths and money from their pockets.

Action plan.
Labor is aware of the risks of increases in immigration. Union laborers have to recognize that more workers mean more people competing for the same work. And given the number of Right-To-Work states, there will inevitably be a lessening on wages throughout each particular state as more workers, undocumented and legal alike, enter.

Blacks and other minorities need to understand that with government money becoming ever tighter due to mandatory funding of particular programs, increases in immigration mean increases in mouths to feed and dilution of money available to fund programs of concern to them.

Other immigrants who have entered the country legally must understand that their positions and those of their relatives and others from their old countries are threatened by unlimited immigration across our Southern borders. There will come a point when immigration will be forced to tighten, and the easiest immigrants to stop are those who must fly here from other places.

What this effort will require is a bold, tactically exact and straightforward series of public statements and proposed acts of Congress that are specifically targeted to those portions of the population most affected by unlimited immigration. Appealing to the self-interest of our poorest and most vulnerable citizens and documented workers is the best, and I think the only way of achieving immigration reform.

The political stakes are enormous, and the conversation has scarcely begun.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

"When you wake up feeling old. . . "

I received an e-mail today from a friend with whom I graduated high school, and attached to it was a picture of the first baby she delivered on her own at her new job as a labor and delivery nurse.

Good for her.

I'm the same age as her and still in my Junior year of college. And at a community college this semester, to boot.

To my credit, my friend lived at home all through out her college career and had her education paid for by her parents, so she was able to finish in the standard four year time frame. I've had to take time off here and there to either gain residency in this great state or earn the money to put myself through school.

So she's delivering babies at her job, and I'm changing diapers at mine. She's probably getting decent sized paychecks each month, and I'm trying to decide where my next $30 should go: to finishing up repairs on my brakes in my car so I can get a warranty on them? to paying off bills left over from my old apartment with my former roommate? or to getting health insurance for myself, which I won't need once I'm back at the University next semester.

I spend my days taking care of little ones then return home at night to an 85-year-old man, who has all his faculties, yet still manages to be less competent than the kids I babysit.

I try to dismiss the resentment that I sometimes feel brewing in me by reminding myself of what a sense of accomplishment I will feel once I'm completed with the education I've supported myself through.

But some days, like today, it's not so easy to remind myself of this. Not only do I not see a light at the end of the tunnel, I'm not even sure the tunnel ever ends.

Good times.

But at least it's November next week which means "The O.C." will be back with new episodes. It's the small things.

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Oil for Food Scandal Part II

ihearttexas posted earlier about the liberal media bias especially in regards to the UN Oil for Food scandal. Powerline has a link and comments here about the independent inquiry and the report that has been released subsequently.

The "liberal media bias" mantra gets old really fast, but it's hard to ignore hard evidence. Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise get more press than this.

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I ran this on my own blog, but I thought I'd share it with ya'll:

Yesterday the media front-paged a 2,000 milestone -- the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq. This number got me thinking...

About 4,500 soldiers died on D-Day alone in 1944.

Nearly 3,000 Americans (civilian, by and large) died on Sept. 11, 2001.
And how many more citizens have been killed on our soil by foriegn terrorists since?

I honor the memory of every solider who's paid the ultimate price. But again I'm drawn to the albeit uncemented conclusion that, at least in terms of the United States of America, this Iraq thing can't be a total disaster.

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In Case You Still Think There is Nothing Wrong with Unions

Ford Motor Co. is going to be cracking down on bathroom breaks at its Wayne, MI plant because they say excessive breaks are slowing down production of SUVs. . . the excessive breaks are occurring despite the current FORTY EIGHT MINUTE PER SHIFT allowance that autoworkers get under their union agreement with Ford . . .

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You could call me a kind of religious conservative and I'm glad Miers is out.

So there, Mr. Danforth.

He isn't referencing the Miers debacle but I'm assuming it is implied.

As Brett over at Blognostic has been pounding into my head all morning, it was the "conservative intellectual community" of the Republican Party not the so-called Religious Right that brought this nomination down.

He and I agree on this.

As I have been trying to pound into HIS head, that is NOT how the liberal Democrats will frame it. They will blame right-wing fanatics for pushing out a moderate and ignore her lack of qualifications (that have been widely noted throughout the blogosphere).

He has posted on the issue here.

Republicans need to be ready to be on the offensive when Bush announces his next nomination. There is a storm brewing.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

If you say so

Lucky for you, Texas lover, Ann Althouse has commented on the Colbert Report here.

Keep in mind that this is the woman who thought there was a latent pro-family, pro-religious message in The Forty-Year Old Virgin.

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Mainstream Media Bias: What Oil for Food Scandal?

Do you ever wonder why you're hearing nothing on mainstream television about the U.N. oil for food scandal? If I didn't listen to Laura Ingraham, or get updates on Fox News, I would have no idea there was even an investigation for this. So I've been thinking about why that is, and it seems like the answer is pretty obvious. Whenever people denounce the Iraq war, one common argument is, "We went in without the backing of the U.N." Well why would they want to invade a country that was slipping them money under the table? Wouldn't anti-war protesters have to completely rethink their rhetoric if a majority of Americans became aware that the U.N. had ulterior motives for not wanting to start this war against extreme Islamic jihadists in Iraq?

And this is off topic, and I know I really shouldn't like shows with such a liberal slant, but the new show the "Colbert Report" on Comedy Central is side splitting. I highly recommend it.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

If you can't get to Camden Yards . . .

. . . for one of those incredible handmade soft pretzels, made in the kiosk behind the homeplate seats, then may I suggest getting one at the Costco "eatery." I know, I know, it sounds impossible that Costco could have fabulous soft pretzels, but Wyatt and I just had one this morning, and I almost curled my toes. I doubt they are homemade on the premises, but wherever they come from, they are fresh, warm, soft, buttery and well, need I go on . . . (oh, and they are $1, straight up, including tax).

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"A Man For All Seasons"

This past Sunday I was scrambling on the internet trying to find a play to see in Austin so I could write a review of one for my Theatre class. The paper is due Thursday, but no plays were showing past 2:00 on Sunday (I was surfing the web at 2:10). Finally I came upon Austin Theatre Playhouse's 5:00 p.m. production of "A Man for All Seasons." I'm sure at one point in my life I've been familiar with the story of this play, but had completely forgotten by the time I showed up for the performance.

What an incredible story. And the actors were superb. The theatre was quaint and modern (if you can be both), and small enough to create an intimate atmosphere. The play was three hours long, and I had girl sitting next to me from Texas State (NOT where I go, if you're curious), who was also writing a review for a Theatre class. She left at intermession, and even though I probably could have written my review by what I'd seen in the first Act, I was riveted, and had no desire to leave early.

I will definitely go back to this Theatre, school project or no school project. This is one of those rare times when I appreciate my education for more than the paycheck with whichi it will, hopefully, one day help me. Even though I've always enjoyed going to plays, I had never been motivated enough to make myself look one up online and get off my butt and go watch it on a Sunday afternoon. But now I've been forced too, and next time I will do it on my own volition.

And if I haven't mentioned it already, "A Man for All Seasons" is incredible. I'm sure all of you already know this, but there are my two cents.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Mom, Dad, meet my fiancee, a 65-year old nutcase with a computer, a .22, pent up agression, and a thing for 15 year old girls

It has never been safe to meet people over the Internet so I will not introduce this post with "Just when you thought it was safe..."

Read this.

I had no idea this many people had been murdered by wired predatory freaks.

I know a lot of people have met, even married, people they met through this or that chat room or dating service. I also realize that making friends and lovers is always fraught with peril, but the web provides an unparalleled amount of anonymity. Don't be excessively fearful, but don't be a fool either.

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Reason # 5 Pride and Prejudice will stink

Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennett. I can't stop snickering.

Will Judi Dench and Brenda Blethyn be able to save this one?

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From the file: "Who cares?"

One word: Really?,2933,172994,00.html

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Just a little tolerance, please?

I am a tolerant man. I have strong opinions about pretty much everything, but I also understand that many of those opinions are not widely shared in the world at large. And that’s fine by me. Likewise, other people have opinions that they hold strongly as well, and that suits me just as well. The world is too interesting and complex to have uniformity of thought about anything, and individuals bring all sorts of baggage and experience to their thinking that is unique, and often novel. So one might think that, in such a world, a simple understanding of that sort of diversity of thought would be acknowledged, understood, and, perhaps, even generally tolerated. But while one might think that, one would be, mostly, wrong.

What I see, generally, is stark demonization across the political and social spectrum. The Left demonizes the Right as racist, greedy, uncaring, stupid swine out to make a buck and put the old and the poor out on the street dressed in rags, while the Right demonizes the Left as apparatchik Communist sympathizers out to steal guns, money and property while releasing violent criminals and sexual deviance on the society at large. Now, is it true that the Right, generally, spends more time worrying about individual economic rights and property protections than the Left? Obviously. Is it also true that the Left spends more time pondering the inequalities of society and the problems encountered by those people it considers to be marginalized by capitalism or social circumstance than the Right? Also obvious. And each side truly has a point, but each only sees the half of the picture encompassed by its ideology. And, in seeing that half, each believes that it is has a coherent vision of the whole. And each extreme is dead wrong.

It seems to me that simple tolerance is what we ought to be looking for in public discourse. The simple willingness to sit and listen politely when someone has something to say has much to recommend it, and a genuinely free society absolutely requires it.

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Our Blog's Rules

We're glad you're here. Please behave yourself in the comments. Remember that discretion is the better part of valor.

All posts by contributing writers girlfriday, Lois E. Lane, ihearttexas, Jeb, and Snarky the Moonbat, are the sole property of the authors. Unauthorized reproduction of anything original we have written or will write is strictly prohibited. If you're going to quote us (and many will) you'd better attribute it. If you're going to steal it--don't.

You may obtain permission or otherwise contact us by emailing girlfriday, who is Kate Barbour, here.

Thanks again.

Bye bye.

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And a pinch to grow an inch!

It's someone special's birthday today, and I won't say who. But she happens to be a charter member of this blog, a marketing guru, the best second-born ever and a total knockout.

Happy birthday, girlfriday! Guess I just blew my cover ... but now you might get ever more presents :)

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Nothing makes you feel inept like...

...putting together a U.S. map with your 2-year-old nephew. I had the Northwest down pat, confidently secured Montana and was making my way down South. I guess I should have played Geo-Derby with my Dad and little sister more often, because I found myself matching up the soft, puzzle-like corners based way more on the hope they fit than "what state comes next."

I might add that once we got California and Arizona in place, the "little man" wanted to move right on to Texas. I told him that first we had to add New Mexico. He glanced around at the 30 or so remaining pieces and picked up a purple piece reading "New Mexico" (insert a joke by my husband about him going on to solve a physics problem). Nice, W ... very nice!

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Don't you love it when...

you're leaving a message for someone. The person taking the message is saying, "yes, mmhmm," as if they're busily writing your important message down.

When you start to tell them your phone number, you hear, "Mmm, hold on here...just a minute..." while they fumble around for a piece of scrap paper and a pen.

What were they doing BEFORE that??!!

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To Hear is to Obey

Okay, ladies, I have been to

Now what?

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Forgive Us Jane Austen

Trailers for the latest Pride and Prejudice are now showing.

First mistake. Producing the film too soon after the near-perfect BBC production.

Second mistake. Casting the attractive but not-period-piece material Keira Knightly as one of literatures most important and complex heroines.

Third mistake. Howie Day Collide.

Fourth Mistake. Ending the trailers with a tight shot of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy locking lips.

Why don't they just spit on her grave?

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Another sad story

I watched the "Today" show in horror this morning, as Couric and company related the story of a mother in California who dropped her three young children off a pier into the cold bay. It was reported she had mental problems (duh), but this seems to happen to typically "stable" women more and more.

It's one of those things too sad to dwell on.

But I heard Jodie Foster say something interesting related to men and women and their patterns of criminal violence. She said the reason most serial killers are men is because they focus their rage outward. Women tend to look at themselves in fits of rage, perhaps judging their own mothering skills, and strike those closest to them.

I'm not sure what I think about that as a rule, but it's certainly a thought-provoking insight. Thoughts, anyone?

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Sex is Not for Dummies, or Something Like That

Two comments posted after my therapeutic regurgitatation of my friend's sex buddy admission nicely dissect the problem with unrepentant casual sex.

Snarky attacks the sex buddy claim from the cultural level: Feminism is a failure if it nourishes a lifestyle that objectifies women. This is not an original claim (though no one can say it quite like the Snark), but it needs to be revived whenever possible. If smart, successful, hitherto rational women like my friend are soliciting sex buddies, then women aren't getting the message.

No man is going to buy the jar if you're giving out the cookies for free.

Sky fiercely defends the position that sex is designed and thus best enjoyed within the happy confines of marriage. If you read her blog you will discover that she is a happily married military wife with two young boys, dirty dishes and a husband who enjoys talking to her; who misses her when he's on duty; who shakes his head in amazement at what one woman can accomplish in a day. We should be chartreuse with envy.

Try to find that kind of satisfaction from a casual sex partner.

Sky is the kind of woman Dianne Feinstein hates and fears: normal, plain spoken and happy. A shameless example of America's middle class.

Aristotle would be proud.

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Caution: Religious Post Ahead

Just when you despair of anyone taking religion seriously, you read a paragraph or two from First Things. It is easy to feel affection for men like Richard John Neuhaus, even while disagreeing with him, because he can be discouraged by the state of the Christian church but still persevere.

This week he discusses the ordination of homosexuals and its effect on the Church, intended or otherwise (via the First Things website):

"...I expect that fifty years ago absolutely nobody entertained the possibility that in the mainline/oldline Protestant churches, and in ecumenical relations more generally, homosexuality would be such a decisive issue in defining Christian orthodoxy. But...the division is about much more than homosexuality. That is simply the immediate issue that has forced the question of the status of normative theological truth, if indeed there is such a thing as normative theological truth, in these bodies. [Please explain "normative theological truth" for me. Someone? Please?] Many Catholics and evangelical Protestants are inclined to dismiss these controversies in Lutheran, Episcopal, and other oldline churches, simply offering a thankful sigh that it is their problem and not ours. But it really is our problem, too. Those in the oldline denominations are also brothers and sisters in Christ, and we who are supposed to think in terms of centuries should try to think at least ten or thirty years ahead, asking what our relationship will be with these Christians who are, as Vatican II puts it, in "a certain but imperfect" communion with the Catholic Church.

[What unfortunate nonsense. When will the Catholic Church see that the holy, catholic church IS One? Its imperfection is an indication of our nature not our denomination.]

It is hard to know what the future of these communions might be. Their reborn vitality in Europe is difficult to envision. There are strong Anglican and Lutheran churches in the Southern hemisphere, mainly in Africa. In this country, there are energetic "confessional movements" in these bodies, as well as in Methodism, but these movements know they are fighting an uphill battle. It is conceivable, and perhaps likely, that in the next thirty years the oldline denominations will continue to shrink in size, self-confidence, and influence. As the oldline continues to segue into the sideline, there is no guarantee that evangelicals and Catholics will take up the slack."

He is right of course. There is no guarantee who will take up the slack. But there is a guarantee that God's universal church will not fail because Christ is in charge. Isn't that our comfort in life and death?

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Sex Buddies for Dummies

I knew she was getting divorced and we went for drinks so I could hear the tale.

She is a friend whose manner I would describe as thoughtful and sober, whose good opinion I craved.

Mid conversation she unflinchingly remarked that she has a sex buddy. "A sex buddy?" I stammered. "What's a sex buddy?" Somebody you have sex with, she replied with a smile. It's a guy I used to work with. I called him. I know I blushed, and I don't blush at much.

Is this common practice? Did I miss the "Tips for Rational Women to Dispose of their Heart with Reckless Abandon" Memo?

I'm really happy, she gushed.

I have never seen her so impoverished.

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She is not a prolific poster, but I can't get enough of Amilia Rait Ibid.

If you've ever cheered for your kid brother at a football game, read her latest post. A kid brother contending with a broken collarbone and for the state championship, no less.

"He hasn't slept much tonight. If there is a miracle, I too may find myself weeping, and not because I think football is terribly important. Like those boys; like anyone, I want to see the skinny kid catch the winning touchdown in the State Championship. Not just because he's my brother. Because (like anyone) I think I am the skinny kid."

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Friday, October 14, 2005

Elizabethtown: A Review

The venerable VT Mrs has reviewed Elizabethtown, Cameron Crowe's latest. I have to confess to not knowing that she went to the theatre.

Seen it? We want to know what you think.

Guest Post

Surreal, self indulgent, artsy, sometimes insightful.

[Orlando] Bloom’s Drew is a lost Odysseus, bright and successful who crashes and is totally lost in his self denial and lost self confidence. [Kirsten] Dunst’s Claire is a magical, “clair”voyant, guiding Athene who keeps turning up with a broad, self confident smile and gently nudging or definitely nagging or shouting orders. She starts out the relationship by drawing him a map and ends the relationship by sending him on a voyage into himself. She’s a kind of enabling therapy goddess.

The movie has some very touching and exalting moments nevertheless and lots of gorgeous American scenery and even some significant history icons thrown in for emphasis.

The best truth about relationships in Elizabethtown is that the reason they’re getting along so well together is that they’re on the phone--and another point where she says it’s better not to get physical because then a couple can still be good friends.

But alas, why in Hollywood do all sensitive guys have to be lost and all secure guys have to be incommunicative and action oriented? Why does this all-knowing goddess throw herself at this guy without any commitment? Does she have a magical salve for sexually transmitted disease and unplanned pregnancy? Sigh.

The portrait of Southern small towns and especially Southern women hits so true that it’s the funniest thing in the whole movie. But I can’t find any hunk in Mr. Bloom, though my teenage daughter would beg to differ.

Don’t worry, we had a long talk about it.

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Sometimes it's hard to be a woman

Like always.

Stupid header. Live with it.

This week has been a fog. I'm having trouble turning my thoughts into something readable so I'm just going to string together this and that.

If you've been thinking, "I wish I were a single female looking for a meaningful relationship in America today," read this (h/t Lone Prairie). I really hate modernity.

Speaking of women. While we're here battling ourselves and the corrupt politics extracted from bored, gender-bending, broken feminists, African women are fighting for their lives. In Africa rape is a weapon that is frequently wielded to achieve a handful of sinister ends: the spread of HIV, the demoralization and degradation of one ethnic group, death. If you read the post, linger for a moment on the petty comments at the bottom of the article and think of my junior high camp speaker who memorably said that, "Everyone talks about changing the world, but nobody wants to change himself."

If you haven't been to The Hot Zone yet, go once in a while. Kevin Sites is a thoughtful reporter attempting to cover every major conflict in the world in a year. He is running into a lot of Christianity and its variations in the Congo. He quotes an Assembly of God pastor in the region. "'The problem,' he says, 'is...people believe that they can get what they want right away with a spell. With God and prayer -- it takes a lot longer.'" It sounds like people everywhere are trying to accomplish the impossible: feel spirtual without the hassle of holiness.

Bully to Nick Park, award-winning creator of Wallace and Gromit, who, after a fire destroyed the warehouse containing hundreds of valuable props, models and sets from older Wallace and Gromit adventures and Chicken Run, "played down the fire's impact given that Pakistan and India lost thousands of people in an earthquake over the weekend. 'Even though it is a precious and nostalgic collection and valuable to the company, in light of other tragedies, today isn't a big deal,' Park said" via ABC News.

George Bush is getting on my nerves. In addition to being impossible to listen to (we agree on that, VT Mrs)--sending his wife out to peddle the "conservatives are sexist because they don't approve of Harriet Miers " theory is offensive.

I am becoming my father. After I fuel up the car, I jot down my mileage to track miles per gallon. (Getting about 28 miles to the gallon. Yeah buddy.) After an email from a certain Dalry minister, I did the math on the price of gasoline in Scotland, and they're paying close to $6 per gallon. Hard to complain about gas prices anymore, eh.

Why do most of my friends either live in another state or move away? This has got to stop.

Though I was a mediocre master, I miss my dog. And I love you all for patting me on the back.

Especially you, Betty.

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Monday, October 10, 2005

All Dogs go to Heaven

Or that is the cherished hope of every dog lover.

Tonight we put our beloved family dog to sleep. She had a wise face that did not lose its nobility in death. A Border Collie, she was exceptionally smart. There are too many examples of this, but the most obvious (and familiar) was her ability to anticipate our walks. Even the simplest dogs understand the word "walk" in English. We tried communicating it in French. She understood. We spelled the word. She wagged her tail and perked her ears. There was no deceiving her.

She knew how to get our attention, too. Her equally loving but less bright son would perch by the sliding glass door hoping we would walk around the kitchen counter that obstructed our view of him, subsequently notice him, and open the door.

Not Ariel. As my mother recalls, she would position herself in the yard in clear view of the kitchen window so anyone who happened to look out would spot her.

When we walked outside to feed her, she would turn in happy circles. As I try to remember the moments spent with her, this recollection is one I cherish.

She was an incredible jumper. The fence into the backyard was close to six feet high. In thunder storms she would jump the darned thing. (We tried to train her out of this but often ended up just bringing her inside.) She would have made a champion hurdler. As it was, this bad habit undoubtedly led to the hip and joint problems later in life.

Until recently she didn't seem to age. We noticed the advancing white hair a few years ago and the "any day now" speculation started. But her youthful energy defied death. Though it may seem counterintuitive, I think the sole litter of pups she had just six years ago kept her young. Two of the three that survived were given to good families; one we kept. My sister named this lovable mutt with the crooked tail "Bono."

The dogs were affectionate--he seemed to draw her out of herself, provoking her to bark at the squirrels, play and fight with him, prance around on the kitchen floor when they heard the jingle of dog leads. I wonder how he'll fare without her.

I know she was a talking dog. I thought she might give up the game at the end but she did not.

She was my dog for half my life. With a quick flick of the doctor's hand, she is gone.

A couple years ago I read a short sermon by a man answering the question of whether or not our animals "go" to heaven. I have reason to believe there will be animals in heaven. There were animals in Eden after all. And why not my animal?

Anyway, as he pointed out, if our animals are going to heaven, what good will it do us if we do not avail ourselves of arriving there as well?

Rest in Peace, sweet old dog.

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Saturday, October 08, 2005

I Hate Bumper Stickers

I cannot possibly express, without extensive cursing and waving of arms, how much I despise bumperstickers. I know countless people who find it desirable to let the people in the rear view in on their opinions about politics, sex, the environment, their religion and other drivers, but I can pretty much do without any of them.

There is a smugness attached to the driver of an older Volvo who packs slogans proclaiming that the “Goddess is risen,” that “Men are fashion accessories,” or that “Tofu is What’s For Dinner.” Or a crowing surliness associated with the guy in the pickup with the gunrack and stickers announcing his affiliation to the Marines, the NRA and his preening “Bad boys drive big bad toys,” or some such crap. Or the realtor whose car proclaims his/her/its status as a “Million Dollar Producer”and directs you to follow its driver "to your new home!" Yeah. Whatever.

My basic problem is simply this: people who express their opinion with slogans have usually never bothered to think about what it is that they are saying. They argue with slogans, chant slogans at public meetings, swap slogans and stickers (in much the same way they swap wives and spit), and broadcast the utter vacuousness of their mental processes with arrogant simplemindedness in conversation with others of similar acuity.

I must confess that in random moments in traffic, I have considered legislation that allows other drivers the opportunity to run bumpersticker clad autos from the road into abutments in an effort to improve the breed. But I suspect it would go nowhere; politicians use bumperstickers, too.

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Friday, October 07, 2005

Civil Rights and Gay Marriage

In the continuing public spitting match regarding the desirability or viability of gay marriage, it seems to me that a number of valid points are being lost in the whirlwind or evaded because they are simply not debatable. And while it is true that heat produces light, in this instance, it seems, all heat produces is more heat…and, perhaps, hot air.

One must begin a discussion of this sort bearing in mind that gay activists have taken great pains to align their cause with the civil rights movement, even adopting the precise verbiage of that struggle. There is always a problem, however, when one is attempting to treat dissimilar items in identical ways: the results will not be the same. And so it is here with gay marriage.

In the civil rights world, the salient facts are that African Americans were denied the rights to vote, own property and go to schools their tax money helped to support…rights that whites both had and exercised. There can be no doubt that these rights were withheld in many places within the United States, and for many, many years after the Civil War. Further, there can be no doubt that equivalence of treatment as defined in the law required equal treatment for equal citizens, either male or female, born in the United States or naturalized as a citizen thereof. A citizen is a citizen.

Again, in regards to interracial marriage, the same principle applies. It is clear that men and women had been marrying each other in the United States for a long time during periods when interracial marriage was banned, and the only marked difference in the marriages that were proscribed and those that were now was the relative color of the participants. Men and women desired to marry, just like men and women had always married in the US…and some racial combinations of men and women were not allowed, the singular difference being one of melanin, not of type or gender.

Now. It is not even debatable that gays and lesbians are not and have not been actively discriminated against in regard to marriage. They have precisely the same rights as any other citizen of the United States, and, indeed, many, many gays and lesbians have gotten married over the years; some remain married today. Women are married to men, and men to women, regardless of their sexual orientation. There is no discrimination; in this instance, homosexuality is not an issue. If a gay man chooses to marry a woman, he may. If a lesbian chooses to marry a man, she may. What they may not do, just as any other citizen may not do, is marry someone of their own sex.

There are a good many possible varieties of marriage, in addition to gay marriages, that are proscribed by the law. Close relatives are not allowed to marry. Children younger than a particular age are not allowed to marry; at another, older age, they must have parental permission. People are not allowed more than one spouse. People may not marry animals. People may not marry inanimate objects (there is a story extant about the man who desired to marry his Trans Am, but it may be apocryphal).

Up until recently, these bans were never a problem. Then people with a different definition of particular words began to argue that the word "equality" as stated in the law meant that all actions involving two people must be treated equally, neatly dancing around the general understanding of civil rights, which is that all actions that are the same in actions in fact must be treated equally. There is a huge difference between these two understandings and this disagreement serves to bring into question all other societal and legal distinctions that set forth marriage as a one man/one woman proposition.

At this point, I am still uncertain in my own mind whether I truly have a problem with gay marriage qua gay marriage. I suspect that love is rare enough in the world that anyone who manages to find it, wherever they might find it (so long as it is a mutually consenting love between adults), ought to be encouraged and not condemned. Still, I find a significant, long-term difficulty with the idea that “We the People” ought somehow to be construed as the opinion of four or five people in black robes. The question of whether gay marriage should be allowed is manifestly a political decision, not one subject to adjudication by the courts. After all, when the courts attempt to move political questions beyond the purview of politics, such as in the Dred Scott case or Roe v. Wade, the question never truly dies…and is usually never truly solved without significant social, societal and cultural unrest, up to and including war. And those are truly the stakes of this question.

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Speak the speech, I pray you

As an artiste, perhaps Snarky will comment on this post via Powerline.

According to the post, another misguided director is "updating" Shakespeare, this time going to the effort of writing an additional scene into Two Gentlemen of Verona to cater to a more sophisticated audience than Shakespeare enjoyed, namely the anti-Bush crowd.

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Welcome Mr. Moonbat

"Snarky Moonbat."

Proof that there is no accounting for taste when it comes to the selection of one's username.

Expect some excellent posts from him, though we will not always agree. He is a Libertarian, of sorts.

Nobody is perfect.

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Disturbing, no?

Last night, while watching "Invasion," I saw an ad for the premiere of ABC's scary new "Night Stalker." The critic's review they advertised was from the New York Post and said, "You won't believe they can do this on television." Does anyone else see this is a good reason NOT to watch the show?

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Moonbat Sighting

I am happy to have received my commission and pleased to be assigned to the prize crew aboard the good ship girlfriday. I shall take care not to offend anyone, unless I forget or the target in the gunsight desperately needs it.

Questions of necessity per the above are determined in accordance with the quality of the snark. In other words, if I like it, you need it.

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Expecting the Unexpected

According to the latest, Katie Holmes is expecting Tom Cruise's baby.

She has my pity.

Kinda blows your whole theory out of the water, doesn't it Ms. Lane?

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Confessions of a Correspondent Pack Rat

When I die it will take my remaining nieces and nephews a short lifetime to sift through my emails, postcards, letters, greeting cards, shoes, and piles of crap.

If you have ever sent me anything, chances are good that I saved it. And I could probably quote you.

But remind me that I promised to call you? Blank stare.

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Monday, October 03, 2005

Men are from The Land of Loving Little?

Just read this quote on some obscure blog:
"Man loves little and often, woman much and rarely."

Is this true? Doesn't seem quite right to me.

Weigh in if you like.

UPDATE: Silence. Am I to understand that you all agree with this statement? No exceptions?

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Calling all gourmets!

Am preparing Fondue tonight. Any tips?

UPDATE: Fondue did not happen. The evening was spent in the cold night air watching my friends, who are moving, frantically finish the landscaping job in their backyard. Settled for ice cream and hot fudge around the card table.

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Nostalgia for the unknown

Listening to My Fair Lady on the way to work today and feeling cheated that I didn't grow up in the era of great Broadway musicals. Imagine being a part of the audience experiencing Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison sparring on stage.

The end of live theatre as the dominant performing arts experience is, in my judgement, a loss. Electrifying if it's well done. Carefully rehearsed yet unpredictable--something the movie can never achieve.

Yes, I WAS listening to My Fair Lady on the way to work. Suppress your snickering.

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