Same job, different uniform.

Friday, December 30, 2005

I Told You the Mountains Were Visible

What a lovely night for a wedding.

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It Never Rains but it Pours

Your girlfriday at 5:05 PM.

I was confounded in my efforts to capture the snow-covered mountains behind me. They are visible again now. Really they are.

Those are galoshes. That is a raincoat.

So much for slave to fashion, eh Ms. Neidlinger?

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

If we legalize pot, can I get one of these in my local park? I hope so!

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Bodies Identifying Bodies

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - A Sarajevo-based body which helped identify victims of the 1990s Yugoslavia wars and last year's Asian tsunami said on Thursday said it would help identify victims of Hurricane Katrina.

It took me a few times to understand that this sentence is referring to the forensics company as a "body." What an unfortunate choice.

Via Reuters

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Accuracy, Demanded Everywhere Except Newspaper Stands

These things are bound to happen from time to time, but I wonder when an LA Times writer, acting on her "familiarity with the way [someone] talks and acts," runs text from a false press release and something serious is at stake. It would do these smug newspapers well to remember that they are not above acquiring, relying on and finally spreading false information (however insignificant).

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Taking You Seriously Shouldn't be this Hard

One of the things I appreciate about blogs like Powerline is the respect the writers show to the dimmest wit and the meanest spirit. This is not to say they don't engage in ridicule, but there is a way to ridicule that extracts the ridiculous without stooping to banal name calling.

I also enjoy the occasional inflammatory rant. It's refreshing that not everyone has been suckered by political correctness into demonstrating false courtesy. And few can rant like Dallas Boyd.

Dallas Boyd can be delightful to read when he is not offensive. He channels his opinions with ferocity. He is a fearless writer, but he is also rash. When he is not directing us to his latest article in the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Student Newspaper, he is hurling profanities or childish insults.


If you're a blogger or writer and are referencing something you find foolish, let the text speak for itself. Good readers will recognize the absurdity. Is "His crappiness is so deep, so broad, so all-encompassing that the human mind can scarcely comprehend it" clever or just amateurish? Is the writer inaccurate? Set out to prove it. Use words that make us resort to our dictionaries, not wince. Do you want us to laugh? Chesterton, Wodehouse and Waugh managed it without calling a world leader a "dork." Save "holy s**t" for water cooler talk. Avoid profanities altogether. Refine it--then post it!

This blog is just a small space for one glorified runner, her sisters and one hell-of-an actor to write about what someone called the "fiddle faddle of daily life." If you read nonsense here, that's to be expected.

There is a problem, though, with a blog like Blognostic that has a pattern of posting on sensitive political subjects and embarks with the kind of fanfare that includes this description of its contributors: "four attorneys, two fathers, six Southerners, one Rhodes Scholarship finalist, an immaculately coiffed Chihuahua owner, two motorcyclists, one Harvard graduate student, five Christians, [and] four Citadel graduates"--then hurls elementary insults.

I expect more from the caliber of writer that Blognostic offers. We're ready to read. Give us quality.

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Monday, December 26, 2005

Irrefutable Evidence of Global Warming

Incidentally, if it's warming up, why am I always cold?

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Saturday, December 24, 2005

He Makes the Nations Prove the Glories of His Righteousness

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

Merry Christmas.

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Friday, December 23, 2005

There May be a Story Here

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I drive through downtown on my way home every night. Since it's frequently late when I make the drive, it's not unusual that I pass handfuls of bar-hoppers, movie-goers, late-night snackers and sundry other passers-by.

Tonight I passed three men turning the corner to stop at, I assume, Hannah's, the dark, loud bar where a fire is waiting to happen.

One of the men wore a sideways cap, long white t-shirt and those obscenely baggy pants that women everywhere swoon over. One of the other men had on a sharp-looking blue blazer and jeans. Very Hugh Grant.

This is how it is.

You pick your friends, not their clothes. One night you spend two hours conjuring the perfect outfit and meet up with the group of sweat-pant clad girls you used to call your friends. Next time you slip into your ripped jeans, black fleece and dirty blue tennis shoes and flop into the booth next to your pals who apparently robbed a Gucci shop in preparation for the evening. You're now competing against the peddler you meet on the corner for "outfit most deserving of sympathy."

Blissful incongruity.

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Dinner Time at the United Nations

Once in a while a writer seamlessly merges metaphor with stark reality.

What if we raised our kids United Nations style?

If the mothers in the grocery store are any indication, we already do.

If your children don't respond to a threat, repeat it, several times if need be. If they still don't listen, slowly weaken the threat. They'll eventually get it, or the whole thing will slowly go away until they finally move out of the house. Either way, it won't be your problem anymore.

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The Best Day of the Year

I am no fan of the dark or the cold, which is why I find myself slouching toward June 21 and in a state of elation around December 21. I had nearly forgotten today was that happy day.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Prevent Harassment Against Women: Beat Them.

NEW DELHI. Outrage and protests mounted in India Wednesday after TV channels showed police officers repeatedly slapping, punching and pulling the hair of young women on a date in a public park in a north Indian city...

Since Tuesday, shocked TV viewers in India have been watching images of female officers pummelling and abusing crying young women in Meerut in what the media is calling "moral policing."

TV footage also showed male policemen with sticks surrounding the scared women and taking them to women officers who beat them. Several of their male companions were beaten also.

The police operation, termed "operation Romeo," in a popular park in Meerut Monday was touted by police as a move to prevent sexual harassment of women.

We don't want you to get hurt. Whack! We're just looking out for you. Smack! This hurts us more than it hurts you. Bam!

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Make Pops Happy. Buy a Thune T-Shirt.

My dad enjoys few things more than scorning the Democratic Party. And who represented the long face of that Party for so long? The dethroned Tom Daschle.

It follows that Pops would be happy to know that I HEART THUNE t-shirts are up for bid on E-bay. Proceeds benefit a group of crazy college Republicans. Click here to bid!

(Beats those other conservative t-shirts.)

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

More Thoughts on "What a Country"

I am not a teacher and I am not a scientist. On certain issues I am perhaps dangerously simplistic. But it strikes me that, since no one can scientifically prove any of the prevalent theories of our day regarding the origin of man, each one requires a kind of leap of faith. While the Judge who ruled on this case is not making the claims that the lecturer below does, I think we can imply that the general consensus is, Darwinism claims at least neutrality on the question of God's existence.

On the December 13 online version of First Things, Stephen Barr, a physicist at the University of Delaware offered a guest post on the issue of Design:

"The philosopher Daniel Dennett visited us at the University of Delaware a few weeks ago and gave a public lecture entitled “Darwin, Meaning, Truth, and Morality.” I missed the talk...Friends told me what I missed, however.

Dennett claimed that Darwin had shredded the credibility of religion and was, indeed, the very “destroyer” of God. In the question session, philosophy professor Jeff Jordan made the following observation to Dennett, “If Darwinism is inherently atheistic, as you say, then obviously it can’t be taught in public schools.” “And why is that?” inquired Dennett, incredulous. “Because,” said Jordan, “the Supreme Court has held that the Constitution guarantees government neutrality between religion and irreligion.” Dennett, looking as if he’d been sucker-punched, leaned back against the wall, and said, after a few moments of silence, “clever.” After another silence, he came up with a reply: He had not meant to say that evolution logically entails atheism, merely that it undercuts religion.

Jeff Jordan’s question underlines how the self-appointed defenders of the scientific method are trying to have it both ways. Don’t allow religious philosophy to intrude into biology classrooms and texts, they say, for that is to soil the sacred precincts of science, which must be reserved for hypotheses that can be rigorously tested and confronted with data. The next minute they are going around claiming that anti-religious philosophy is part and parcel of the scientific viewpoint.

One of the glories of science is that people come together to do it who have all sorts of religious beliefs, philosophical views, cultural backgrounds, and political opinions. But as scientists they speak the same language. It is a wonderful fellowship. I have written research papers with colleagues (and friends) who are fierce atheists and think my Catholic beliefs are for the birds, and they know that I think their atheism is for the birds. Yet we respect each other as scientists. People like Dennett who wish to equate science with their own philosophical views (presumably out of vanity) risk doing immeasurable harm both to science itself and to its prestige. He is entitled to his philosophical opinions, but he is not entitled to claim them as the utterances of Science."

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What a Country

And freeom of speech, thought and expression be damned...

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Monday, December 19, 2005

A Fantasy League for the Rest of Us, Part III

Best Screenplay, "in the running."



*Won't see the light of day.

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Oops, I guess mainstream media overlooked another story about the persecution of Christians

What a shock.

Then again, there are so many it would be difficult to report them all.

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Big Fireworks. Just Now. In the Dead of Winter.

At 11:30 PM. Across the street from my apartment.

Scared the daylights out of me.

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If you've been wondering how to behave when you're in public, this post is for you! Contrary to the nagging voice of your conscience, and possibly your mother, it is entirely appropriate that you:

One. Leave your shopping carts in the middle of the road, jacked up on the side of the planter or in the handicap parking space.

(The front of the store is at least a yard away.)

Two. Sift distractedly through the racks while chanting: "Devon. Devon. Devon, I'm serious. Stop it. Devon. Stop it, Devon. Devon. Stop it. Devon. Right now. Devon. Knock it off. I'm serious this time. Devon!"

(You're his parent, and you have the right to be a disaster.)

Three. Leave your item from the frozen food section next to the Grape Nuts.

(The frozen food section is at least a yard away.)

Four. Try on limitless amounts of clothing in the aisles and leave them on the floor if they don't fit.

(Your arm is tired.)

Five. Speak in loud tones on your cell phone.

(You're very interesting.)

Six. Shove me if I'm in your way.

(I shouldn't have been standing there.)

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Wondering what a BoBo is?

Here's an excellent example.

A self-proclaimed Bohemian who essentially adds her CV to her blog: "Holtcamp has over 10 years of writing experience, published in Sierra Magazine, Audubon Magazine, Discovery Channel Online, Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine and others. She has a M.S. in Wildlife Ecology and is currently an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and Ph.D. candidate at Rice University."

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Dan Hawkins, We Hardly Knew Ye

"They call it 'Hawk Love' up in Idaho -- that personal, even intimate, touch that coach Dan Hawkins seems to put on every aspect of the thriving program he runs at Boise State."

And now we're losing it. Yesterday Boise State's Dan Hawkins accepted the position as head football coach at University of Colorado, Boulder.

I've been asking myself why we're losing ANOTHER excellent coach (third in a row, the first one to cancer). Then I noticed that his new contract is for $900,000 a year plus a lot of bonuses. That's a powerful incentive to make the move, and from what I read, Boulder is attractive to Hawkins and his family. (Colorado is also spending $700,000 to buy out the remainder of his contract with the Broncos.) That's a step up from the $525,000-a-year contract he has now and the $500,000 contract BSU is signing with the new head coach, Chris Peterson, who helped the Broncos lead the nation in scoring for 4 out of 6 years. (I have no idea what this means, but he did it.)

Peterson choked up during the press conference yesterday and finally said, "I just want to thank Coach Hawkins."

Bryan Harsin, a fellow high school graduate and former BSU quarterback, is getting promoted to offensive coordinator. Do I have to get used to hearing that blue-eyed punk called "Coach?"

As a rule I don't get wound up about sports. But BSU's football record is exciting and I feel a lot of affection for Dan Hawkins. He strikes me as an all-around nice guy, he demonstrates a commitment to the community (he's not above putting in a plug for local companies), and obviously he's a great coach (a 53-10 record with Boise State). Most importantly he reminds me of my cousin Joe. It's a nice face.

"I have no other but a woman's reason. I think him so because I think him so."

I don't begrudge him the move, I'm just so sorry to see him go.

Postscript: A vote of confidence from the Alumni Association at CU. Apparently a director on the alumni Board is "disappointed we didn't pick a black coach...but I also have enough confidence in Mike Bohn to believe that his choice was the best available choice."

"The best available choice" is what I would call high praise. Welcome to Colorado, Coach Hawkins.

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Are the Beatles Responsible for Britney Spears?

We were discussing the Bing versus Elvis debate that is sweeping the United States and the conversation became an impassioned defense of the Rolling Stones. I don't know how this happened other than it was one person's effort to explain why the Beatles mean nothing to her musically and Elvis means everything. Next to the Stones, of course. (Let's be honest here: It's hard to compare Bing Crosby with Elvis Presley. She simply drew a more relevant parallel.)

But it does make you wonder: What exactly did the Beatles contribute? Bubblegum pop, she postulated.

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A Fantasy League for the Rest of Us, Part II

According to Variety:

Russell Crowe, "Cinderella Man"
Ralph Fiennes, "The Constant Gardener"
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Capote"*
Anthony Hopkins, "The World's Fastest Indian"
Terrence Howard, "Hustle & Flow"
Heath Ledger, "Brokeback Mountain"
Tommy Lee Jones, "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada"
Joaquin Phoenix, "Walk the Line"*
Jonathan Rhys Meyers, "Match Point"
David Strathairn, "Good Night, and Good Luck"*
Johnny Depp, "The Libertine"
Jeff Daniels, "The Squid and the Whale"
Jake Gyllenhaal, "Jarhead"
Nathan Lane, "The Producers"
Viggo Mortensen, "A History of Violence"

Eric Bana
Pierce Brosnan
Cillian Murphy (I'm stumped. "Batman Begins" or "Redeye." Seriously, which movie with him did I miss that he would be nomiated for an Oscar?)
Bill Murray
Tom Wilkinson (A perennial favorite. Has he ever won it? I think he was nominated for In the Bedroom.)

Clifton Collins Jr., "Capote"
George Clooney, "Syriana"
Matt Dillon, "Crash"
Paul Giamatti, "Cinderella Man"* (Someday, Paul. Someday.)
Jake Gyllenhaal, "Brokeback Mountain"
Bob Hoskins, "Mrs. Henderson Presents"
Richard Jenkins, "North Country"*
Peter Sarsgaard, "Jarhead"
Donald Sutherland, "Pride & Prejudice" (I'm giggling uncontrollably.)
Ken Watanabe, "Memoirs of a Geisha"*
Roger Bart / Gary Beach, "The Producers"
Don Cheadle, "Crash"
Frank Langella, "Good Night, and Good Luck"
Robert Patrick, "Walk the Line"

Anthony Anderson
Matt Damon
Colin Farrell
Woody Harrelson
William Hurt
Greg Kinnear
Jesse L. Martin
Ian McDiarmid
Barry Pepper
Geoffrey Rush

*My money's on this guy. ihearttexas is deadly accurate with these useless awards shows, though. Is it because she sees the movies?

Labels: ,

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Jeb vs. ihearttexas

The perfect storm has been brewing on the web. It will bring out the Bing lover in ihearttexas and the Elvis lover in Jeb. Who will win? Who SHOULD win?

We report. You decide.

Elvis vs Bing.

H/T SDP (which, incidentally, thinks Bing is the clear winner).

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Here's the Deal, Boys

If you are four attorneys, two fathers, six Southerners, one Rhodes Scholarship finalist, an immaculately coiffed Chihuahua owner, two motorcyclists, one Harvard graduate student, five Christians, four Citadel graduates, one hip-hop Emcee, and a long-haired, home-schooled, cat-owning gentleman who very much hopes that you'll take your next vacation to Florida, you do not launch a blog with much fanfare, then, one balmy day in December, stop posting.

One of you appears to be back at it. (Where was Joan Baez when Tookie Williams was on trial for murder?) The rest of you need to follow suit. Give us some of those inflammatory rants!

UPDATE: Back with a vengeance!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Baby Whisperer

I've created my own blog, and here is the link:

When I want to talk about movies, politics, or anything besides kids, I'll still be posting on girlfriday. But when I want to talk about babies, which I often do, I'll be posting here.

Check it out if you don't mind reading about the life of a babysitter (I'll warn you now, it's very glamorous)

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The Awards Show Season is Upon Us

And today the Golden Globe nominations were announced.

I know the Acadamy Awards are the epitome of all award shows, but I personally enjoy watching the Golden Globes more because they combine the best of both worlds - movies and television. Unless it's a boring year where there are no upsets, it is usually a very entertaining show to watch, with the exception of the ever boring presentation of Cecil B. Demille lifetime achievement award (however this year it's Anthony Hopkins, which should be better than most, especially the recent tribute to Barbara Streisand . . . vomit).

So even though the show's a lot of fun to watch - at least it is for me - it's hard to take it seriously, because they separate major awards into drama and musical or comedy. Which usually means they're stretching to find nominees to fill both categories. Case in point: Two actresses nominated are Michelle Williams, formerly of "Dawson's Creek," and Kiera Knightley. Oh, and Sarah Jessica Parker for "The Family Stone," a movie that looks funny, but is surely not awards show material.

And "Pride and Prejudice" got nominated for best comedy or musical. Are you freakin' kidding me??? Without even seeing the movie, I can tell you this is a joke.

Okay, enough of my ranting, for now. But the season is just beginning, so expect many future rants!

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The Road to My Demise

Started here.

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Monday, December 12, 2005

The Scarlet C

I am a conservative. How will you know? In addition to having won an Ann Coulter look-alike contest, I have just purchased my "Down with that Latino Radical about whom a Much-Acclaimed Movie was Produced Last Year."

It prevents me from having to use my mind to defend my political persuasion. "Tell me, who will you be voting for in next year's congressional match-up?"

I merely point to my chest. This unambiguously means I will be voting for a Conservative.

My t-shirt speaks so I won't have to.

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What a Relief that Michael Schiavo Isn't a Political Opportunist

As evidenced by his launching a political action committee in the name of his late wife. On the homepage of "Terri's PAC," he includes this language from a Florida editorial:

"The most disgusting display of political opportunism in recent memory was the Terri Schiavo case, where officials ranging from Gov. Jeb Bush to Rep. Dave Weldon, R-Indialantic, tried to usurp the courts to curry favor with the religious right."

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

I have been instructed to discover the kernel of truth in everything, even when every instinct is against it.

The kernel of truth is buried in the mire of Planned Parenthood but it must be this: not every Planned Parenthood employee is as entrenched in the culture of death as Planned Parenthood may hope.

That's it.

I had forgotten how, when I consider I live in a free country that shook the bonds of religious and political tyranny, defeated slavery, and poured its blood out for our European brothers--but legalizes infanticide, my blood boils. After a stirring speech by one of those nutty pro-life activists, I was reminded.

I direct you to Planned Parenthood's Christmas Card, spreading cheer and peace everywhere it's mailed.

"Choice on Earth." And death to Her weakest.

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"Faith is a Sheepdog," he used to say.

Now of that long pursuit
Comes on at hand the bruit;
That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:

"And is thy earth so marred,
Shattered in shard on shard?
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!

Strange piteous, fuitile thing!
Wherefore should any set thy love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught" (He said),

"And human love needs human meriting:
How has thou merited—
Of all man’s clotted clay the dingiest clot?
Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art—
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
Save Me, save only Me?

All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come."

Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
"Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me."

from Thompson's overlooked miniature epic

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Friday, December 09, 2005

The Sound You Hear is the Laughter of Lewis Lovers Everywhere

"However, in the role of Jesus Christ is a lion named Aslan who, no matter how holy he may be, is still a lion, and when he paws an enemy to the ground, he then bites its head off. That's pure big carnivore and a long way from Christ's admonition to turn the other cheek."

UPDATE: More on that sound from Lone Prairie: You continue on, forgetting that all stories are a retelling of one or two basic themes; all stories find their home in the heart that adheres to them, the person who finally understands a truth through eyes that had not seen before. You forget the stories in your own life that made you see something differently even when it had been in front of you, in another form, all along. You forget the parables.

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Pansies are Everywhere

An accurate, funny and devastating summary of the persistently anonymous. By the only person who can string together facist, Hieronymous and midget in one post.

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Everyone is Receiving Their George and Laura XMas Card

Except me.

Since you got yours, you know that "Christmas" is missing from the card. And here is the dear Lyn Nofziger on the subject.

It's regrettable.

When it's Talk Like a Pirate Day, we don't wander about wishing people Happy Talk Like a Chimp Day. That's what Talk Like a Chimp Day is for (or it will be soon if all goes as planned). On Independence Day we don't wish each other Happy Bastille Day. Bastille Day is for the French. In France. On July 14.

If someone said Happy Hanukkah to me I might chortle but I would not be slighted. I can't imagine Bush supporters being insulted by Merry Christmas anymore than the verse of Holy Scripture included.

Ignore Christmas if you like but you can keep your doublespeak.

(Incidentally "doublespeak" is "tablespoon" to my spell checker.)

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Laugh Out Loud Header

"Is That Gouda in Your Pocket, Or Are You About to Whack Me?" Better when you read the story. Via Glib and Superficial.

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Oh, and this . . .

"Does your dog bite?"
[reaches down to pet dog, who snarls, snaps and bites]
"I thought you said your dog did not bite?!!"
"That is not my dog."

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For your family that; for my family this:

"So, who is this guy?"
"No, no, Bib. You know, like, uh, Bib Dylan?"
"Oh, Bob!"
"Oui, Bahb."

"Meanwhile, his lover..."
"Don't ever use that word again."
"All right, this bastard woman..."

"Do you believe in love? The kind that lasts forever?"
"I loved my mother."

"Those French! They hate us, they smoke, they have a whole relationship with dairy products I don't understand."

"Happy - smile. Sad - frown. Use the corresponding face for the corresponding emotion."

"Fester, fester, fester. Rot, rot, rot."

"What do you think, the plane is going to crash and we are all on the ground in a thousand pieces dead? I promise you, if it happens, you won't feel a thing."
[an announcement is made in French]
"What was that? That sounded important!"
"The pilot said there is a crack in the engine, but not to worry, he'll take off anyway."

"Did you know there are 452 official kinds of cheese in this country, isn't that amazing? To find 452 ways to classify what is essentially a bacterial process?"

"When people tell me they are happy my a** begins to twitch."
"You'll be one of those grumpy old men sitting in the corner of a crowded cafe, mumbling to yourself, 'My a** is twitching. You people make my a** twitch."

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

"It's not just a radio show. It's an addiction"

For those of you who aren't aware of Laura Ingraham, you should be.

She's one of those "crazy conservative" radio talk show hosts, except she's not.

She's a University of Virginia Law graduate, but with much more of a head on her shoulders than that other alum, Katie Couric.

I was introduced to Laura in the summer of 2004 by JEB, who began listening to her when she moved to Austin. We now have gotten my dad hooked on it too. I get at least a biweekly phone call from JEB with another example of how she and Laura were separated at birth, and I think it just might be so.

The thing that makes her show worth listening to is that she's not a mouthpiece for the Republican party, she's a Conservative Thinker. And her show isn't all politics. She'll make just as much fun of John Kerry as she will of Jennifer Aniston. She books guests on her shows who talk about issues I've never thought of, and are usually fascinating. Her show is anything but ordinairy, and as much as the left would like to classify her as "just another Ann Coulter," (or a Conservative Stepford wife as I heard some lefty refer to them recently) her rants have more substance than most popular conservative talk show hosts out there right now, on radio or television.

I'm pretty sure she comes on at noon on A.M. 590 in Boise, and she's on at 8:00 a.m. on 1370 A.M. here in Austin. If you're not familiar with her, I suggest you become so soon. And don't blame me if you get addicted.

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I think I have a problem

I don't know if this is an addiction, an obsession or just a (hopefully) humourous little quirk. But in the past two days I have discovered that I own 12 tubes, tubs, and jars of lip balm- all in varying degrees of usage. There are two tubes of Dermatone spf 23 , two Chapstick tubes (spf 15 and spf 30), a jar of Mentholatum, a tub of Carmex, a tub of Rocky Mountain Lip Repair, a squeezable tube of Lee Lip Ex, a squeezable tube of a generic brand of "lip treatment" (unopened)," a tube of Sun Shadow spf 30, a tube of Burt's Bees Waterproofing Lip Balm, and a small jar of plain old Vaseline.

I found three of these lip balms in my purse. I keep one in the car; one in a kitchen drawer; one in the downstairs bathroom drawer; one on my nightstand; and the other five in a storage box under the sink in the master bath - presumabley in the now clearly unlikely event that I run out of lip protectant. So, what say you? Addiction? Obsession? Quirk? Or am I just turning into a batty almost middle-aged woman who apparently lives in mortal fear of the devastating calamity that leaves me without lip balm?!

By the way - the above inventory does not take into account the rather large number of lipsticks that I also own - and I barely wear lipstick . . . . . . . yeah, okay, I'm with you - BATTY!

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Killing Me Softly With His Song

Is there any more tender, heartbreaking, emotionally accessible and relatable scene in all of recent moviedom than the scene near the end of "About a Boy" when Marcus gets on stage at his school's talent show to sing, OF ALL THINGS, "Killing Me Softly" by Roberta Flak? In front of an auditorium full of teenagers who couldn't be any more viscious if they had four legs, fangs and empty stomachs?? I mean, when Marcus steps out on that empty stage, alone, without even back up music and starts to sing "I heard he sang a good song; I heard he had a style . . . " . . . . it just wounds me every time. I think I could more easily walk to the guillotine than do what he did.

I was a nerdy, awkward kid for most of grade school and high school and I'm not sure I've ever seen a movie that more accurately captured the sense of it, without being maudlin or tragic about it. Because it's not tragic - it just is, and most of us experience it in some way or another.

Nonetheless it's usually painful as hell and this movie and that moment in particular strike such a perfectly pitched chord in that regard. Who of us wouldn't have thanked God for an angel like Will to step out from behind the curtains and help carry some of the load in our most vulnerable moments?

Marcus is truly the hero here, his mother's knight in shining armour. He is selfless, despite his extreme awkwardness; aware of the danger that awaits him; sure that the task before him will save his mother, but unsure of how to accomplish it without dying himself.

Then there is Will, the "anti-hero" as finely portrayed as any Clint Eastwood cowboy. He is extremely reluctant and knows it - to care, to be a friend, to be honest, to be less vain, to do anything more than eat, drink, watch TV, and acquire material comfort.

And yet, there he is, watching a child who is clearly more of a man than he is, about to be socially devastated and it is so painful to him that he pushes past all his fears in one moment - not to wrench Marcus from the devastation, but to bear it with him. THAT is love.

Who of us wouldn't pull a child out of the path of speeding car? I think most of us would without thinking twice. But I'm not sure at all that I could step out on a stage, where a friend was being mocked and jeered and allow myself to be mocked and jeered as well. I even knew what it was like as a kid to be treated that way and I never stepped out from behind the curtains to help anyone else who was in a similar situation.

The beauty of this scene is that you can relate to it from both sides. We've all been in pain. We've all helplessly watched those we love suffer. But no man is an island and sometimes the most and the best thing you can do is to just help carry the load.

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What About Princess Joe Versus the Hunt for the Field of Future Cinderella?

A Play in One Act*

"Good morning, Gil."
"What are you sayin, Ray?"
"You’re not going to make me say that again, are ya?"
"My name is Joseph or Joe!"
"But in your office you said that I could call you Doctor Marvin."
"You’re killin’ me, Smalls."
"You’re in a rotten mood."
"It’s the sunshine, gets me down."
"Did I tell you, the first time I met you, I thought I’d seen you before?"
"That’s heavy."
"You keep on using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
[noise outside] "Good Morning America is here."
"Cinderella, answer the dooooooorrrrr."
"Baby steps to the door."
[Opens door.] "Hello Patricia."
"Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."
"Live like a king, die like a man. That’s what I always say."
"Oh, ha, ha. Very funny guys."
"Would ya like to hear it again?"
"Yes, yes."
"I’m George McFly. Your density."
"Ah, that’s so sweet." [Pause, then] "Is this heaven?"
"It’s Iowa."
"Welcome to the new world."
"I would like to have seen Montana." "Can I go now?"
"It’s always gonna be something with you, isn’t it, Joe.?"
"I’m just not very good at…confrontation."
"You need a vacation."
"I’m ON vacation!"
"I gotta go." [Leaves]
"I’m gonna miss that little bugger."

*My family's existence defined.

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Where the City Ends and Our Imagination Begins

It has been snowing in Idaho and I have been yearning for wide open spaces.

It also snowed the early June day I arrived at Safari Club's American Wilderness Leadership School (AWLS) a few summers ago. I stared, dismayed, as it fell in silent paths outside the meeting room window. My roommates, from Florida appropriately, raced outside, cameras in hand. I was more than eager to see the snow melt, having emerged from a long winter in Idaho and anticipating the carefree days of summer.

Yet the snow could not hide the loveliness of the valley where we were tucked away—the Gros Ventre Wilderness area southeast of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Each morning the bell rang for breakfast between 7 and 7:30. I fought my late-rising tendencies while a cabin full of teachers, accustomed to early mornings, bounced out of bed. Every meal at AWLS is preceded by a "thought" (Is praying before meals forbidden in the outdoors?), so we gave thanks for our food silently.

I spent one of my first mornings attempting the delicate art of fly-tying, looking like an elf in Santa's workshop, bent over my vice, hook extended, bobbin in hand, carefully threading the yarn, the chenille, the feather—one by one over a small hook. I couldn't imagine what all the fuss was over this tedious process, but what appeared at the end of the experiment was worth the tying and retying, winding and rewinding: my own pseudo-insect, suitable for fly-fishing. Fancying myself a pro, I daydreamed about making fly-tying a hobby but promptly forgot the entire process when I left the room.

Our second day, on a tour of the School’s grounds, we were warned about getting between a moose and her calf that frequented the salt lick, strategically placed a safe, but unobstructed distance from the cafeteria windows. We were warned about the bears, too—Grizzly and Black. And, oh joy! the Grizzlies had grown in population at an astonishing rate. The year before our visit about 24 sows gave birth--an average of 3 cubs apiece. While I know this marks a triumphant return for the Grizzly, I had mixed feelings about it.

From the history of the most insignificant hilltop to the name of an obscure wildflower, our instructors turned every inch of that rugged land into a lesson. But I learned more than the statistical data and anecdotes could teach me. I discovered the importance of the wilderness: It captures our imagination, when the photos and the movies are just cheap imitations. It reminds us that we are small and that there is more to life than email and the nightly news. The mountains bear down upon so that we don't forget we are, after all, a breath; that there is so much out of our control; that there is something stronger and Greater than we are. Creation silences the noise of our everyday lives and sings the song of eternity in our hearts.

One night around the campfire, someone commented on the wonder of the lifestyle out here in the "West." I had to smile. Most people "out West" don’t live the way we got to live at AWLS—surrounded by like-minded, amiable friends, unburdened by the demands of work and family, and eating three square meals a day prepared by someone else.

And it is foolish to think we all should stay in this happy place, all of the time. It’s even more foolish to lock up the land so we cannot reasonably enjoy it. But to able to return to it—that is the true gift, the real message of the outdoors.

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

I assure you that this won't become a cartoon blog


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Friday, December 02, 2005


An entire blog devoted to the sport.

What is with men and sports, anyway? I venture to say the obsession is unmatched.

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Break a Leg,


"...and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed that knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!"

UPDATE: It comes as no shock that our resident snark was the show-stealer. Imagine the most jovial laugh you've heard. Now double it. That is he. Wreathed and robed in Christmas Present Finery.

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Buddies of a Nature We Try Not to Discuss

I'm sorry to report that my post on "sex buddies" brings the most unsolicited (bad pun?) traffic to this blog.

Wouldn't it be great if this post did?

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