Archive for March, 2006

I-Pod Update

Friday, March 31st, 2006

In December, for my 30th birthday…again, my dear husband and blog-uninterested sister bought me an I-Pod. Remember? I still love, love, love it.

Dr. Helen and Glenn Reynolds finally buckled to peer pressure and bought one. It’s about time! One can hardly call oneself a “techie” and not own an I-Pod. I mean really!

Dr. Helen is ashamed of her taste in Pop music. I am not. After my last post, how could I be? Life is Short!

My recent downloads include Ashlee Simpson-L.O.V.E., Roy Blunt (an explicit version, oh my!) You’re Beautiful, Carrie Underwood-Jesus Take The Wheel and more Kelly Clarkson-Walk Away. Old favorites include Justin Timberlake. Don’t laugh. Cry Me A River is one of the best revenge break up songs ever.

Dr. Helen claims an otherworldly ability to accurately pick Pop Mega Hits. Man, I thought I was the only one with that talent. The first time I heard the Eminem song/rap from Eight Mile (a better movie than you would think, I liked it, don’t be hatin’) Lose Yourself, I cried and ran into the house from the car asking my husband if he had ever heard of this guy. My liberal brother had (of course, he’s seven years younger than me) and burned me the CD.

In case you think my taste totally runs to the low-brow and Top 40, I also have Toxic by Brittney Spears (the anthem for dysfunctional relationships everywhere), Fighter by Christina Aguilara (I’ve recovered from the abuse–post dysfunction rant), and my all time favorite pop song ever Let’s Dance by David Bowie.

Oh, I’ve got Cat Stevens, Dylan, Billy Joel, Queen, everything by Coldplay, selected Arias by the world’s greatest sopranos, Simon and Garfunkle, Norah Jones, a little Roy Orbison, a lot of Stevie Wonder, Sarah McClachlin, Kate Bush, Tina Turner, The Cranberries, Howard Jones, Five for Fighting, Diana Krall, Bette Midler, The Eagles, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Hootie and The Blowfish, Stray Cats, Prince, Carly Simon, Blu Cantrell, Fiona Apple, OMD and even some Beyonce. And there’s more. Much more.

If you haven’t bought an MP3 Player, dude or dudette, you do NOT know what you’re missing. Every listening experience is like a delicious, unique meal created by a world famous chef: music by you!

Simple Pleasures

Friday, March 31st, 2006

Life is short. The older you get, the more uncomfortable you get acknowledging this brutal reality. Time is running out. This very minute, around seventy heart beats, scores of respirations, millions of thoughts, the smells of home, the light over your shoulder, the music you’re listening to, the hug you gave your kid goodnight, they’re gone. They are just a memory. And that can go, too.

If you have a really bad day, permanently bad day kind of day tomorrow, the way you spent tonight will really matter to your family, to your friends, to God and, to you.

Now, you might think I’ll say, stop fooling around playing internet poker, you juvenile loser! But I’m not going to say that, although taking a break probably wouldn’t kill ya.

No, my advice today, dear readers, is to enjoy the simple pleasures. Too often, we are doing so many “important” things, we ignore really important things: like gazing at a picture of Orlando Bloom dressed as the Elf Legolas Greeenleaf, Prince of the Woodland Realm.

Let’s all take a moment and enjoy Orlando. Mmmmmmm, Legolas. Some simple pleasures are simply delightful.

People who have experienced near-death adventures, had a child die, been diagnosed with some grave disease often do the strangest things, simple things, fun things, and they do them without regret or shame. Why? Because they have nothing to lose, that’s why. They’ve lost everything, in a sense, so the things that become important rarely are what was important yesterday. They are simple. Simple pleasures.

Laughing is a simple pleasure. Gazing at a beautiful piece of artwork is a simple pleasure. Sitting in the sun is a simple pleasure. Taking a leisurely walk is a simple pleasure. Soaking in a bath is a simple pleasure. Eating a perfect truffle is a simple pleasure. Watching airplanes take off and land is a simple pleasure. Holding hands in silence gazing at the stars is a simple pleasure. Revisiting a well-worn city path with friends is a simple pleasure.

A simple pleasure is a a moment wholly devoted, completely consumed with the thing at hand.
Fear, anger, blame, bitterness, anxiety don’t touch these moments. They are light and full and satisfying in a soul-filling way. They are the moments you remember on your deathbed and wish you made more of while you still had the chance.

Simple pleasures are not magical although they seem so in retrospect. Simple pleasures are created when, in full awareness, you decide to abandon your inhibitions, your self judgement, your competitive desires and give yourself to the moment.

Today make sure you enjoy at least one simple pleasure.

Life is short.

More Sex Less Brains Better Blog

Friday, March 31st, 2006

An early reader clicking through my blog said I’d get more readers if I posted about sex and would get even more if I showed pictures, too. So I posted a post on sex lives to temporarily satisfy my insatiable readers.

This link, via Seth Godin of Purple Cow fame, goes to Scott Heiferman’s blog where he lists 50 reasons no one reads your website/blog. This got me to thinking. Uh oh. You see, I’m plateauing at the 50 readers/day level. I’d like about 5000/day. Let’s do some math. If each discreet reader got 10 friends hooked, who got ten friends hooked……..oh my goodness! Watch out Daily Kos! A little self-awareness might be necessary. So, I’m going introspective here as to why I haven’t gotten over the hump, so to speak.

One problem, he says could be “college words” or writing above your readership. So, since I am not interested in the gazillions I invested in higher education going to waste, I’ll just put a dictionary link to any word my kids (ages six and eight) don’t understand. Solves that problem.

Another problem is the “no sex thing” and the “no sex-celebrity thing” which is related to the “you’re a complete dork thing”. Well, I’m sorry people, my interest in celebrities runs from completely disinterested to not interested at all. Every now and again, one, like Tommy-Boy Cruise, will get my attention and I’ll give an opinion about their weirdness/plastic surgery/political views/closeted gayness/cult membership, etc. Most of the time, I really don’t care about them or the fashion that clothes them, either. But for those who are desperate to read my take about popular culture you can go HERE and HERE.

So why should you read my blog? There are better political blogs, no doubt. There are better, more rigorous scientific blogs, no doubt. There are better business trend blogs, no doubt. There are better humorist/satire blogs, no doubt. There are better futurist blogs, no doubt.

There is no place, however, where you can get ALL of the above in one capsular format AND, and this part is free too!, possess an informed opinion about it too!

My sister, who reads a newspaper only under duress, would read this blog if she realized how smart, informed and up on the current events she would be if she only took five minutes of her day to stop by. That she doesn’t stop by daily only reveals a lifetime of accumulated passive aggression and/or she doesn’t like any post that is longer than two sentences. Either way, it bugs me, when a week late, she says, “Did you hear that there were Mexican Marches last week?”

“Uh, yeah! If you had read my blog……”

This statement now cause gales of laughter amongst my extended family. I try not to let the humiliation get to me. I’m a blogger, I have no shame. In fact, I don’t care if Harrison Ford (the old leather cranky pants) hates my guts. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, IF YOU READ MY BLOG……


Borders Buckles to Bigoted Buffoons

Friday, March 31st, 2006

Borders refuses to carry a magazine that has the Danish cartoons inside. Are you kidding me? Cowardly and just plain business stupid, too. It’s a fair assumption that Islamists won’t dirty their minds with the intellectual fair found in books that are found….in bookstores. Why would Borders irritate people who actually read–their main customers, I’m guessing.

Robert Bidinotto, editor of The Individualist has some theories and a complete round-up. It is a must read. He says,

It IS serious — deadly serious: our fundamental right to freedom of expression is at stake here. How many more bookstores, universities (NYU is the latest), publishers, TV networks, newspapers, and others in the business of transmitting ideas are going to submit to this naked intimidation…and then, in turn, compel their employees, reporters, commentators, editors, students, and faculties to shut up and go along with the jihadists’ demands?

Pardon me, I thought I was living in America…not Germany circa 1940.

AMEN. This IS serious. If Americans are brave enough to go to work and shop at Borders, Borders should be brave enough to put a magazine on the shelf. Sheesh!

Mexica Movement

Friday, March 31st, 2006

Mexican pride on display.

I’m all for ethnic, country-of-origin pride. In fact, being of Scottish origin (the Cambell and Cameron clans, please don’t hold it against me) I’ve enjoyed the Scottish games and even have a plaid blanket here or there.

But what you see at this link is not that, it is something else altogether. Glenn Reynolds asks why there isn’t much going on in Florida. There really isn’t much going on in Texas either, at least not in Houston, except a couple kids are enjoying skipping class and trying to get a flag up a pole, but that’s kind of juvenile fun. If you experienced the weather here, you’d understand why they are trying to bail.

Anyway, I lived for three years in Southern California and the way immigrants were treated was not the same as here in Texas. They were clearly second-class citizens, openly treated harshly and out-righted demeaned publicly. I saw that routinely there.

I have never seen it here in Texas for the nine years I’ve lived here. The worst public incident I saw was one Mexican guy yelling at another guy to get to work. 99.9% of the time, I’ve seen respect.

My church is fairly representative. Tons of racial intermarrying between Mexicans and Anglos. No thinking about it. Just the way it is. Lots of the second generation know less Spanish than I do. Integration isn’t really an issue and there are loads of babies to prove it.

So maybe it’s a respect thing. Maybe the kettle is boiling over in California where the communities are less integrated. Don’t you find it ironic that the Left Coast suffers this–they are so progressive and open-minded and all.

Assimilation: Peggy Noonan Voices America’s Fear

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

Every week, I read Peggy Noonan. She is always provocative and always has something important to say even when her views seem wrong to me. Today, though, her views about immigration are spot on.

In a nutshell, she believes that America’s worry about the immigrants both legal and illegal is that they are part of us culturally, but have not fully assimilated. They don’t see the grandeur of America and she gives examples. They don’t know the amazing history and she recites some.

She doesn’t blame media and the academy or hold them to much account at any rate and that is where her opinion differs from mine. In the aftermath of WWII, American pride was at a zenith. And why not? We had saved the world from a terrible fate and this is not overstatement, much as some might bristle at the idea.

Watergate and Vietnam changed this. For the first time, the press not only reported the downfall of our greatness, the coverage took a gleeful tone, as if it was no small thing that the very trustworthiness of our most highest places was is in doubt. And then, those politically opposed to Vietnam used their bully pulpit to sway and push and prod public opinion. It went beyond reporting. Television gave those reporting the news power that their predecessors in print media could never imagine. The visual media people revelled in it. It will be, make that is, their downfall.

This frenzied energy surrounding the Clinton scandels bothered me for the same reason. While Bill Clinton’s cigar usage in the Oval Office is beneath contempt, what is worse, in my opinion, is that everyone knew about this. America had come to this despicable place and some, mostly again, in the press revelled in it. Mostly, I think that those in the press who believe it is their mission to “right all wrongs” are naturally cynical beasts. Authority is not to be trusted and when authority falls, it just proves what they already believe.

But the problem is, most people I know don’t believe this. They see how a damaged president, damages America. They don’t like it. That, more than any other reason, is why people did not want to see Clinton impeached. Not because he wasn’t wrong: he was a liar and user of people and everything else, but he was the President. When the President fails, the failure is felt for a long time. America feels it for a long time. The press, generally, is glad of this. They don’t like a high-falutin’ leadership, a noble bunch. Fallibility makes great news and jokes and stories. Dignity doesn’t.

Well, we’ve enjoyed about fifty years of seeing in raw, gruesome detail the failings of the greatest nation on earth. But what we have seen is hardly the whole story, or half the story, or even one teeny-weeny part of the story. But when you see murder, rape, burglery, homelessness, displacement, “slow government response” to a natural disaster relentlessly, daily, hourly, visually in your home, it is easy to forget that criminals get due process, that they receive the benefit of a jury trial and are innocent until proven guilty, that the government does respond to disaster not just our own but the worlds and generously too, over and over and over. In fact, Americans seem incapable of donor fatigue, but that my friends is coming and I’ll tell you why: when you do your best for people you don’t know, who don’t know you, simply because you imagine how it must be, and those people don’t appreciate it, in fact, they HATE you it breeds frustration and indignation and finally resignation and eventually apathy. It doesn’t matter what we do anyway….

When your allies spit on your hand ala France. When your allies join with your sworn enemies to make a buck. When countries all around treat you with disdain when you could have consumed them for a light snack in one afternoon, but don’t because you DO believe in the notion of a sovereign nation. When the press ignores all the good our people, our soldiers, do, people get irritated and turn their energies where they believe they will count. When the press doesn’t report the news but seems eager to destroy people, especially those who represent America, it angers them.

The internet, is a relief from this reality and also a sharper view of this reality, too. No smiling faces to couch the venom. No images of neutrality just raw, uncensored ….. for lack of a better word, hatred. Yes, hatred. There are those among us who seem to hate who and what America stands for, stood for and what made her great.

Now, I’m not saying that anyone who disagrees with me hates America. That kind of strident rhetoric is what is abominable. But it does seem that there are those whose contempt for our stature in the world hides under sneering elitism and in the case of the illegals marching all over God’s green earth and highways and by-ways the contempt represents itself in a flag from another country and the American flag flown….. upside down. Upside down on her own grace-filled, blessed and giving streets. Upside down.

The average American sees this and it only confirms a suspician held for quite some time: America is great to count on in time of need, she will protect and fight for the safety and freedom of all free peoples not just her own, but she can be treated like dirt and be counted on to still do the generous thing.

That can change. And much as President Bush and the know-better-than-you Senators would like to pander for votes to ILLEGAL people, they confirm the belief that America no longer stands on principles. Don’t give me the B.S. about being built on immigrants. America was built by immigrants–people who deeply desired to come to America and stopped speaking their native tongue immediately because they wanted to be AMERICAN–not Polish or Scottish or Italian or Irish. American.

I still have friends, even Mexicans, this way. They refuse to speak their native tongue. They want to be viewed as American not Mexicans who live and work here. My next door neighbors work their butts off every day to learn the language and fit in–even though the vulgarity of the M-TV culture offends them. It offends me too, I tell them. Good grief! These are the people we WANT here. Legal immigrants, small business owners who want to be good Americans because AMERICA IS GREAT and a land of GREAT OPPORTUNITY if you’re willing to work.

America is still this place. I am sorry that whole sub-sets of our society is breaking down almost beyond repair and have become intergenerational slaves to the state. Some are almost beyond help. That does not mean that there isn’t opportunity here. But you won’t see it if you’re doped up, strung out or watching the news. You have to live it these days to see it.

The media does contribute to this or even creates this nasty UNGRATEFUL atmosphere where every other country but America and every other religion but Christianity is portrayed in a charitable and noble light. Even Bill Clinton opined the other day that Britain is envyed in America. No it isn’t. Not by me. Give me a break! You can’t take a good shower or get clean teeth in that corner of the world. I love America. And when I leave, I’m always so glad to be back. It is the best country. By far. No question. No competition. END OF STORY.

With the greatness called into question, a very common-sense reaction could be: fine, we’ll bring our soldiers back–from EVERYWHERE (except our loyal allies like Britain, Australia, Spain and Poland to name a few)–fend for yourself, we’ll start up our factories, export the illegals, eat our own produce, build our own stuff. Our people are not above manual labor, much as those in high places would like to portray it so. And those who think every other country is heaven compared to the U.S., good-bye.

It’s not just the lack of assimilation, Peggy, it’s the unbridled contempt for what America is, was and stands for that galls most Americans. That there is so much self-loathing that the marching nonsense is even tolerated, that’s what worries Americans. Assimilation will never happen if the preservation of what America is, is lost–and lost by her own citizens. We won’t have to worry about fighting an enemy, we’ll just spend our time consuming ourselves.

Black Men Not Doing So Good

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

Read this NY Times Article for a sobering reality check. The truth of the matter comes deep in the second page:

Terrible schools, absent parents, racism, the decline in blue collar jobs and a subculture that glorifies swagger over work have all been cited as causes of the deepening ruin of black youths. Scholars — and the young men themselves — agree that all of these issues must be addressed.

Joseph T. Jones, director of the fatherhood and work skills center here, puts the breakdown of families at the core.

“Many of these men grew up fatherless, and they never had good role models,” said Mr. Jones, who overcame addiction and prison time. “No one around them knows how to navigate the mainstream society.”

When the state took over for men–instead of making men meet obligations, when women entered the work-force and began to take care of themselves, when parenting a child in the absence of a father became politically correct (but unsubstantiated by any rigorous scientific studies validating this “choice”), when women got comfortable with “having it their way” and preferred it to compromise and partnership (marriage is for white people), when men glorified sex and violence and the easy way and got the message reinforced by media, and then….

when hopelessness and despair bred of these realities took root and nobody, most of all the men themselves, believed it would ever change, we got to this place.

Will the masses ever come around to appreciating a family that includes mother and father? Or, more likely, will people justifying their parents bad choices, try to find evidence to support a family without a dad at home? No one wants to think their parents are wrong, do they? Some people spend their whole life repeating their parent’s mistakes to try and “make it right”.

But sometimes, a whole bunch of people get it really wrong.

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg blames the Black Caucus.

Victimology: Marxism is Mainstream

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

Are the students today more conservative? asks Maxed Out Mama. Read the answer by Pedro The Quietest here.
Mama also points us to Sigmund, Carl and Fred where popular ideology finds its roots. Then Dr. Sanity talks about the Marxist Dialectic.

Basically, the conclusion, to simplify points to an argument I’ve made before and Dr. Santy makes clear here:

In fact, you will notice that for the most part, there are only two templates that exist for journalism on the U.S. military: (1) they are the poor helpless victims of an oppressive military system and the current political administration which horribly abuses them; OR, (2) they are the brutal, savage, sadistic psychopaths that enjoy inflicting death and misery and who are encouraged to do so by the oppressive military system and the current political administration.

Do you notice something about those two templates? They just happen to coincide with the marxist view of the world, where you are either one of the “oppressed” victims or one of the brutal “oppressors”. Apparently that is the only context in which journalism is taught these days.

Caught up in the hidden marxist agenda of their postmodern rhetoric (with which they hope to “make the world a better”, the graduates of these journalism schools march in lockstep with the other “oppressed” people of the world, including the poor victimized terrorists and all the helpless and persecuted dictators and tyrants who also only want to make the world a better place (with them in charge, of course).

Even though politically conservative moreseo than liberal for quite some time, being raised American these days imbues a person with certain beliefs that we often fail to acknowledge because we are so conditioned in the ideology. I have been no exception.

What do I mean? I was schooled in victimology as a youth and so were you, most likely.

The child of two misunderstood underdogs, language and action revealed our victim mentality even if unconsciously: include so and so or else they will feel bad, go on a date with someone you don’t want to because a boy’s emotional state is very fragile, tears got you what you wanted–plain speaking never did, manipulation was de rigeur, passive-aggression the only means of expressing differences, etc.

The take-home message: you are not responsible for you, someone else made you feel or behave that way.

This message pours every day, unchecked, into heads all over the U.S. It is nurtured in public school where “fairness” supercedes “greatness”. It is reinforced by Oprah, inadvertantly, when the down-trodden and used and abused are showcased daily. It comes into full bloom at college where disgruntled theorists (their ideas are rarely tested in the real world) expound about racism, ageism, sexism, VICTIM-ism.

What is wrong with this? It isn’t true. And even if you have been victimized, what good is there in staying there? Good grief! The greatest achievers in our world do not keep a list of wrongs with them to pull out at the first bump in the road. But it seems to me that the leaders in the U.S. are less interest in creating achievers and more interested in achieving fairness, equalness and comfort for the masses. This is also known as Socialism. We can see the results in France where young people are throwing a very public fit about jobs-for-life.

A person of import in my life and I argued the other day about Victimology. A social worker immersed in the victim culture, she worked with women abuse victims, getting them to safe houses, “saving them”.

“They aren’t victims,” I said. “Their children are victims. Their children are stuck between two moronic parents–one playing the role of the predator, the other playing the role of prey, both getting something out of it while the children suffer.”

“Yes, but these women, they are just worn down after so much time,” she said. “They didn’t know what kind of person he was.”

“I dont’ believe that for a minute,” I say. “They saw all kinds of signs and proceed willfully to ignore them. Family pleads with these ladies. Friends share their fears. And the lady defends the indefensible and then claims shock when she’s on the receiving end of a hay-maker. Bull.”

She couldn’t really argue with this, of course, because her own experience now bore this out. But holding these women responsible, not for being beat up, but for choosing an unstable man likely to direct his considerable anger at her, finally– holding these women responsible for that choice, meant holding other people responsible for their choices. It means holding ourselves responsible for our choices.

I’m not suggesting that sexism, racism, ageism, name your-ism, is okay or good or that people are responsible for being the brunt of these -isms. But they are responsible to how they respond. They can take in the words and actions or they can choose differently and act differently.

The truth is that we all label, judge and even condemn people for irrational reasons. We all act at times anti-socially, do mean things to helpless people–even if unintentionally, and we all can be cruel and neglectful. That does not excuse this behavior. Hopefully we repent, make the wrong right and never do it again. Or, if bad enough, we go to jail and do our time and get out convinced that the consequences of being a stupid-head outweighs the pleasures of being a stupid-head. Or not.

There is a scale of goodness and badness. Some of us are great parents and horrible employees. Some of us are diligent tax payers but neglect our spouses. Most of us try to do better, be better. Through our religion or other belief system, we repent (change) and try to be what God wants for our life. That doesn’t mean that there is no objective right or wrong, there is and we are all somewhere along the good-bad continuum.

A staunch Victimologist though, wants to separate the world: fat and skinny. Fat people are lazy, undisciplined and stupid and never have sex. Skinny people are hard-working, disciplined, smart and enjoy block-buster sex lives. Mean and nice. Conservatives are harsh, selfish, rich and mean. Liberals are kind, giving, moderate to poor and nice. Good and bad. Men are borish, brutish, aggressive and abusive. Women are gentle, protective, passive and innocent. Black and white and brown. Black people are open-minded, welfare recipients with lots of children. Whites are racist, tax-paying people with one kid. Brown people have good families, work hard, and live thirty to a house. Rich and poor. Rich people have everything given to them, are stingy, and greedy. Poor people work hard for nothing, are generous and share what they have.

You name it, there is a category. The categories are cast in moral tones. In fact, Victimology survives on the us and them dogma. Dogma, doctrine, beliefs. Insiders and outsiders. Us and them. Oppressors and the oppressed.

No one makes a choice. No one is in charge of those decisions. No one is responsible (response-able). Everyone at someone’s mercy. Life is a food chain. The haves and have nots. The weak get vanquished by natural selection. It’s a dog-eat-dog world. Eat or be eaten.

While this worldview serves our sanctimonious self-righteousness–as a victim I am beyond reproach–it is limiting and damaging, mostly to ourselves. Locked in a prison of our own making, our beliefs hold us in long after we have been victimized by a robber, thief, abuser, cheater, scumbag. Victimology, while satisfying in the short term, leaves a bitter aftertaste.

Spring of Discontent…But Remember Summer of Hate?

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

With life so busy do you even remember the Summer of 2005? Yes, I do, vaguely. Hurricanes and Sheehan and ….. hmmm.

Perhaps a reminder is in order. Over at Sundries by the FutureMD, our dear sweet, virus-filled friend recounts for us why we should not be surprised at the immigration nonsense currently happening everywhere.

Immigration from Mickey Kaus

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

He’s up-to-date today. Read his take here.