Sunday, August 31, 2008
This made me think about the mix tapes I made. Most of them were to listen to favorite songs. Some I made for special men. Sometimes it's easier to let someone know how you feel with songs. Do you think anyone has made a break-up mix tape? That's a lot of trouble to go to for that, but I know some good songs for one. The best one is definitely "Positively 4th Street" by Bob Dylan. I've wanted to say all of those words to someone! My favorite line from it is, "I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes, and just for that one moment I could be you. Yes, I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes, and you'd know what a drag it is to see you." Yes, I can be mean! A few others are Bob Seger's "Still the Same," Linda Ronstadt's "You're No Good," and Townes Van Zandt's "The Tower Song." Check those out if you don't remember them. They're probably all on YouTube.
The good thing about singling out certain songs is that they (and we) still think of that person when we hear the song again. Unfortunately some songs have been ruined for me because of that. I still associate songs with various memories. It's like having a soundtrack to your life. I think about songs that would be on the soundtrack of my life even while some of it is happening. Do any of you, or is that just me?
What memories do you have about mix tapes?
The other night, James Dobson's ministry asked all believers to pray for a storm on Thursday night so that the Obama acceptance speech outdoors in Denver would have to be canceled.Amen!
I see that You have answered Dr. Dobson's prayers -- except the storm You have sent to earth is not over Denver, but on its way to New Orleans! In fact, You have scheduled it to hit Louisiana at exactly the moment that George W. Bush is to deliver his speech at the Republican National Convention.
So the last thing John McCain and the Republicans needed was to have a split-screen on TVs across America: one side with Bush and McCain partying in St. Paul, and on the other side of the screen, live footage of their Republican administration screwing up once again while New Orleans drowns.
So please God, let the storm die out at sea. It's done enough damage already. If you do this one favor for me, I promise not to invoke your name again. I'll leave that to the followers of Dr. Dobson and to those gathering this week in St. Paul.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
McCain's stunning choice of the ex-beauty queen, evangelical half-term Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin may be one of the biggest political gambles in modern political history. But if the Democrats can avoid over-the-top sexism in belittling her, the pick could be a major boon to the Obama-Biden ticket.I had to add these, too:
And as an added gift to Democrats, The Anchorage Daily News reports, Palin is scheduled to be deposed before the election in a blossoming scandal involving the apparently improper firing of the state's top public safety officer as revenge for not sacking Palin's former brother-in-law.
She is so manifestly unqualified to be a "heartbeat away" from the Presidency, just three years away from being a small-town mayor, that the selection could be used to add to the unfolding "temperament" narrative the Obama campaign is seeking to apply to McCain. And it neutralizes the "dangerously unprepared" mantra that McCain has used as the centerpiece of his campaign's lowball attacks on Obama.
On top of that, the pick could reinforce the deserved sexist reputation of John McCain, because the selection of Palin reflects a condescending view of women, especially Hillary supporters, as being so stupid they'll rush to back the GOP ticket just because Palin is a woman. It's not unlike the way George H.W. Bush picked Dan Quayle in part because Bush's team thought Quayle was so good-looking he would draw women to the ticket.
She's a clueless foreign policy naif anti-choice evangelical who faces an ongoing corruption investigation.
But surely she could help bolster McCain's perceived weakness on the economy and chumminess with Big Oil, yes?
Not quite: She's essentially overseen falling job growth in the once-booming state, and is largely in the pocket of Big Oil at a time of sky-high gas prices at the pump. She also dismisses the notion that global warming is man-made. As the Center for American Progress sums up:
With the choice of Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) as his running mate, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is not backing down from oil drilling. Palin is a champion for drilling, the Bush-Cheney approach to energy policy that brought us $4.00-per-gallon gasoline and the rising threat of global warming.
Like McCain, Palin believes that oil drilling is the only solution to our energy problems. "I beg to disagree with any candidate who would say we can't drill our way out of our problem," she says. She supports more drilling in protected areas of the Outer Continental Shelf and the Alaska Natural Wildlife Refuge, once attacking McCain for his "close-mindedness on ANWR."
But the Department of Energy believes that offshore drilling "would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030." Moreover, about three-quarters of all the oil in public lands in the continental U.S. are already open to drilling - and yet only one quarter of this oil is under production. Opening the Arctic Refuge would cut gasoline prices by two cents in 17 years. For that, Palin would destroy the home of America's native polar bears. Not even T. Boone Pickens still thinks we can drill our way out of this crisis.
Palin rejects clean renewable energy that is an alternative to oil. Earlier this month, she claimed that "alternative-energy solutions are far from imminent and would require more than 10 years to develop."
Alaska has become the "poster state" for the threat of global warming as the climate gets hotter and dryer and sea levels rise. More than 100 towns are vulnerable due to eroding sea lines. Polar bears are threatened by the melting ice floats, and this month bears were spotted swimming as much as 50 miles offshore.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Palin is known for her support of drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.
Her past occupations include commercial fishing company owner, outdoor recreational equipment company owner and sports reporter.
She is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association
She fishes and hunts.
She was born in Idaho and is a longtime Alaskan.
Her husband is an oil production operator. They have five children.
She was born Feb. 11, 1964, just making the baby boomer generation.
Here are a few statements from articles:
Michael Seitzman wrote this in McCain Would Rather Win an Election Than Pick a Qualified Running Mate:
Does John McCain think about actually governing? Or is he merely focused on winning? Because a man of 72 years old with a history of health problems has to consider the possibility that his Vice President might actually have to govern. No, he's not thinking about that. He's not thinking about you or me. John McCain is thinking about John McCain. And his running mate is thinking about next year's salmon run. And your uterus.Linda Bergthold wrote in her article The VP Choice that Lost the Presidency for McCain:
It's a slap in the face of other Republican women like Kay Bailey Hutchison, bless her heart, who was forced to stumble through an interview on TV trying to make the case for Palin whom she has never met. There are certainly women in the Republican party who were "in line" for this before Palin. Did the Rovian type advisors to McCain just cynically think that throwing a young attractive inexperienced woman into the mix would satisfy women who long to see a woman president? Women, and Republican women, are not so stupid as to fall for that! It is reminiscent of the Republicans putting up Alan Keyes to run against Barack Obama for the Illinois Senate just because he was black. Voters saw through that pretty quickly.Fred Barbash & David Mark wrote in Scholars question Palin credentials:
John McCain was aiming to make history with his pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and historians say he succeeded.
Presidential scholars say she appears to be the least experienced, least credentialed person to join a major-party ticket in the modern era.
So unconventional was McCain’s choice that it left students of the presidency literally “stunned,” in the words of Joel Goldstein, a St. Louis University law professor and scholar of the vice presidency. “Being governor of a small state for less than two years is not consistent with the normal criteria for determining who’s of presidential caliber,” said Goldstein.
Palin has no experience in national office. Before becoming governor in December 2006, she served as a council member and mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, which had a population of slightly more than 5,000 during her time in office.
“The first thing that hits me,” said Stephen Hess of the Brookings Institution," is that it suggests that John McCain is a gambler. This is a high roller decision.”
“The next thing you have to ask yourself: Is it worrisome to have a gambler in the Oval Office? That’s an important question," he said, “perhaps more important than anything else today.”
This is really scary. What if, heaven forbid, McSame is elected and dies? She doesn't have the background or experience for sure!
Barack Obama's speech last night was so good it could have been written by Aaron Sorkin. I hope he did have input into it, and he could have. It was right out of West Wing and The American President, which Sorkin wrote, but was not fiction. It looks as if we might have a president like Jeb Bartlett only better because it's real life!
I don't plan to watch the Republican Convention because they'll just piss me off, but I did notice that McSame chose Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his VP running mate. This will be interesting.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Gathering material by going through this isn't worth even the best David Dust story or recap! So Gustav needs to stay away from land and scurry back out to sea. So let the good times roll, or as they say in the Crescent City, "Laissez le bon temps rouler!"
Update: David decided not to go. I am relieved. I know he has to be disappointed, but he doesn't need to be foolhardy. I sincerely hope that hurricane by-passes the coast. They have been through too much already, and I'm glad David won't be in the middle of it if it happens.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
• Toni Braxton and season one DWTS champ Alec Mazo
• Lance Bass and Lacey Schwimmer
• Ted McGinley and Inna Brayer
• Cloris Leachman and Corky Ballas
• Warren Sapp and Kym Johnson
• Rocco DiSpirito and Karina Smirnoff
• Kim Kardashian and reigning DWTS champ Mark Ballas
• Maurice Green and two-time DWTS champ Cheryl Burke
• Misty May-Treanor and Maksim Chmerkovskiy
• Susan Lucci and Tony Dovolani
• Jeffrey Ross and Edyta Sliwinska
• Cody Linley two-time DWTS champ Julianne Hough
• Brooke Burke and Derek Hough
For more information about the dwarf stars and commentaries that echo what I think, check out Jim's post here.
There are some new dancers this time and some who haven't been there for a while. I dout that Edyta will get to stay long because she's dancing with comedian Jeffrey Ross. I'm glad Corky Ballas, Mark's father, is partnered with Cloris Leachman, who will be a hoot. Toni Braxton and Alec Mazo (Edyta's husband) will look good together. Married couple Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebynskya aren't returning this season, I notice. From what I hear, the pros make more money in dance competitions than they do on this show. It depends on how long they stay on. I hope they are getting better deals now that they have their own fans, too. Possibly the publicity helps them branch out to other things, but they are already well-known in the dance world. Besides, how well would the celebrities do without them?
Monday, August 25, 2008
An invisible two-caste system of Olympic athletes feeds the randy village dynamic. "The reason there is so much distraction in the village is because there are two kinds of athletes there," says Maurice Greene, the American sprinter who took two golds in Sydney. "You have Olympians and Olympic tourists. The Olympians are there to win. But, let’s face it, there are other athletes who know they have no chance; they’re just there for the experience."This is the best article though. It's written by Matthew Syed, a former Olympic athlete, now commentator.
The athletic tourists - from more than 200 countries - are in the vast majority. "Athletes who are knocked out early have basically a two-week, all-expenses-paid vacation with nothing to do," says American shot-putter John Godina, a silver medallist in Atlanta. "And that’s when things happen."
I have sometimes wondered if the finely toned super-hot athletes who stay in the Olympic Village have sex like wild rabbits. I cannot say for sure why I’ve wondered but haven’t you? After all 66% of you think that the gymnasts would be great in bed.
I am often asked if the Olympic village - the vast restaurant and housing conglomeration that hosts the world's top athletes for the duration of the Games - is the sex-fest it is cracked up to be. My answer is always the same: too right it is. I played my first Games in Barcelona in 1992 and got laid more often in those two and a half weeks than in the rest of my life up to that point. That is to say twice, which may not sound a lot, but for a 21-year-old undergraduate with crooked teeth, it was a minor miracle.Here's another excerpt from an article about safe sex:
There are a lot of things athletes may run out of at the Olympic Village in Beijing but condoms should not be one of them.Interesting and not surprising.
Organizers have supplied 100,000 for the 10,500 athletes housed in the village. Organizers have handed out condoms at every Olympics since 1992 in Barcelona to raise awareness of AIDS prevention.
At Sydney, the 70,000 condoms supplied, ran out and officials ordered an additional 20,000 more.
So not to offend any athlete, the condoms are not put in rooms but are available at medical sights and at the athlete's center.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
I have a thing about Vancouver and definitely want to visit and often want to live there, sight unseen. Looking at the city, the Rockies, and Pacific Ocean make me want to go there even more. It's going to be wonderful to get to see more of it in two years. In the meantime, I wish I could go there on vacation. In some ways I'd like to go to the Olympics and thought about it seriously when it was in Atlanta, but the crowds and expense have kept me from making that a reality. I would have also liked to go to Wimbledon when Bjorn Borg was playing. I will go to Vancouver someday, though.
She's relieved to know what it is and can now learn all she can about it and follow the treatment prescribed. Although she might never know the cause, she knows some triggers for the seizures. This is scary. She's had all the symptoms, which have progressed, so it's good to know what's going on and what to do about it. Sleep deprivation and skipping meals are two triggers. This is why both of us feel better when we're on vacation. We eat regular meals, exercise, and get sleep. Now all we have to do is take better care of ourselves in our own environment. And go on more vacations!
I've been reading about what to do if she has a seizure while I'm around. I'm not good in medical emergencies, so I'm so glad she hasn't had one when we've been somewhere. I'm going to review those guidelines over and over and be prepared and not panic.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
This led me to reminisce about my own blog, which I began in June 2002 to let people know how I was doing during treatment for lymphoma. Some of my former students had been telling me for quite a while to start a blog, but I told them I didn't have anything to say. They told me that had never stopped me before. True. So when my lymphoma changed from indolent to intermediate, I decided to blog. So much misinformation was spread in 1996 when I was first diagnosed that I decided to name it Joy's Updates - Straight from the Horse's Mouth because that's what it was. It gave me the opportunity to write about what was going on and let people know where to read it. That way, they'd get correct information. It definitely served its purpose. The Nashville Tennessean newspaper even included me in a story about local bloggers. The link to it no longer works, which is too bad since it was a good article. Back then I had no idea that anyone could find me by googling, so it was a surprise to hear from the reporter a well as to discover people from all over the place were reading my blog. She conducted her interviews with me on the phone and by email since I didn't feel good enough to do it in person.
I think maybe three of the original readers are still with me. Thank you, Jill, Cindy, and Barb! Along the way others have joined them, read a while, left, and a few stayed. It's interesting to notice the ebb and flow of readers. I've done the same with blogs I read and have read/abandoned or that no longer exist.
My blog has definitely changed. It's become more mundane and frivilous which is a good thing. The drama that originated this is a relief to be without. For a while and still sometimes now, someone will ask me a question, and I'll tell them I blogged about it. I try to resist that since it's not an effective conversational skill. Some of my closest friends don't read it unless I mention something I want them to read on here. I can understand that. They hear enough from me as it is. LOL Some people really close to me do read it, though, and I appreciate it but wish they'd call or email me, so I can hear from them. We Libras like balance, you know. :-)
So for those of you who read my blog, thank you! I appreciate everyone who has read it, reads it now, and will read it in the future. What I like even more is to hear from all of you and them. Some people don't like to comment, and I know how that is. It means a lot to have reciprocal communication, though. I find out that people read my blog that I had no idea even knew I had one.
Anyway, thanks, David, for reviving some memories. I've blogged for six years and two months and have written more than 1600 posts! Wow! I can't believe it's been that long in some ways. I've learned so much and have met some neat people and made new friends. How about that!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
So what could we possibly have in common? Did you notice that black tape on her shoulder? It's Kinesio® tape. I have worn it, and here's information about it. I had it on my neck to help it heal after that surgery. Debbie Hicks, an MLD therapist and massage therapist, put it on my neck while I was getting treatment. It helps circulation and promotes healing. I'll have to continue to have MLD for the rest of my life because of the lymphedema in my neck.
My experiences with kinesio tape are on this page under November 8th and 9th posts. The lymphedema and MLD posts here. My neck has been through too much.
What Ancient Civilization Are You
You wouldn't fit in just one ancient culture, you'd rather visit them all. You are smart and adventurous and all you want to do is have some fun. You would go between any of the ancient cultures and be fine in each one.
I like this description. I'd love to be a Time Traveler! Wouldn't that be cool?
|What American accent do you have? |
Your Result: The South
That's a Southern accent you've got there. You may love it, you may hate it, you may swear you don't have it, but whatever the case, we can hear it.
|The Inland North|
|What American accent do you have?|
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz
Well, yes, since I've lived in the South all my life (so far). How did those other accents get so many points? I don't get that. Philadelphia? The northeast? Charlie acts like he can't understand my accent! He says he's pinecones and I'm magnolias.
|What Be Your Nerd Type? |
Your Result: Literature Nerd
Does sitting by a nice cozy fire, with a cup of hot tea/chocolate, and a book you can read for hours even when your eyes grow red and dry and you look sort of scary sitting there with your insomniac appearance? Then you fit this category perfectly! You love the power of the written word and it's eloquence; and you may like to read/write poetry or novels. You contribute to the smart people of today's society, however you can probably be overly-critical of works.
|What Be Your Nerd Type?|
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz
Again, this one totally makes sense since I'm a retired English teacher and also taught speech/drama and art. I was in plays and love all that!
Of course, I have to watch Dancing with the Stars when it's on. After it finishes, I can watch Big Bang Theory and Chuck by recording one and watching the other. During DWTS I have to wait for reruns on one of them and record the other. I try to avoid getting another DVR because I'd never get anything done. It's bad enough as it is now. Fortunately, there is nothing at all I want to see in some time slots and can watch what I recorded when others are on at the same time.
Some I'm sticking with and looking forward to their return are Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone, Samantha Who? (get well wishes to Christina Applegate), Criminal Minds, Boston Legal, House, Bones, NUMB3RS, Law & Order - et al, Army Wives, Brothers & Sisters, Dexter, Ugly Betty, Old Christine, Two and a Half Men, How I Met Your Mother, Life, The Closer, Saving Grace, In Plain Sight, Without A Trace, and Project Runway.
I hope My Own Worst Enemy will be good because Christian Slater is talented and could do well if the material is well-written and complex. The writing got so bad on House that it's amazing that the multi-talented Hugh Laurie could rise above it. That can't have been easy and didn't succeed at times. I don't know how he stood it. I also hope The Mentalist will provide Simon Baker a challenging vehicle. True Blood sounds intriguing. It's on HBO and is written by Alan Ball (Six Feet Under). These have potential.
Privileged has a good cast (Anne Archer and Marsha Mason) but doesn't sound that interesting. Not sure about Fringe, which sounds sort of like The X-Files and Lost. I still watch Lost but periodically lose interest in it, so I doubt I'll watch Fringe and never got into Heroes. I probably won't watch Stylista because I'm about to OD on competition shows.
I'm disappointed that October Road and Shark were cancelled. I want to know more about those characters and thought the shows were good.
Well, that's about it for my TV commentary. What about those of you who watch TV? What are you looking forward to again and what are you going to check out?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
One of my homebound students lives way out on the northern edge of the county, and I'm going to the high school where I last taught which is 10 miles from my house and 18 miles from the homebound student's. I have also been going to school to do mentoring duty and to drive Tina home. I'm not complaining about any of it but just saying. About Tina - she has been forbidden to drive until the doctors find out why she passes out and has other symptoms. They think it might be seizures but need to be sure before putting her on anti-seizure meds. I enjoy driving Miss Tina because we get to visit. Today she had a school improvement meeting, and I opened the door to make fun of them and got roped into being on the committee. When will I learn? I thought I was finished with that stuff. I like the group, so that part will be fun unless they try to get me to do work.
I got another homebound student who is supposed to be on homebound for only two weeks. Both of the students are honors students. I can handle all of the courses they are taking except for pre-calculus that one of them is taking. I don't even know what it is. My only experience with calculus is watching Stand and Deliver many times since it's one of my favorite movies. It's based on Jaime Escalante, a real teacher in California, and his calculus students' outstanding scores on the AP test. Edward James Olmos played him. I'm a sucker for those inspirational teacher movies. I'll have to get help for this student. Fortunately, his girlfriend is in the class, so she can explain things to him. When he gets better, he might be able to go in for that one class. One of the committee members who taught math explained part of it to me after I looked at the assigments and asked, "What does this even mean?" I think I might have been able to learn this if I'd taken it but probably wouldn't have really understood it.
Tomorrow I go to the homebound student's who lives so far away and then to Creek Wood to sign papers for the new one. I'm planning to see Lillian, and the guidance teacher who used to teach those remedial algebra classes is going to talk to her about how he did it. I asked him if he would. She wasn't expecting them to be as remedial as they are. On a quiz she gave them, they were supposed to simplify some fractions and for 4/12 over 90% of them wrote 3 for the answer! Sheesh! A few got it right and put 1/3. I told her to tell them that we'd like to go to a party they had because I'd like to know how 12 people could divide 4 pizzas and each get 3 whole pizzas. It's frustrating. Based on what Kris told me, I think he can give her some helpful pointers.
Well, I'd better get to bed so I can do more driving and interacting tomorrow. I finally caught up on my regular blogs and hope to see what all of you write tomorrow.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
His appointment with the orthopedist had good news. He's supposed to wear the temporary cast for about three weeks and then will get a short cast, which means he can bend his elbows. He'll see the doctor every five days, which will determine how soon he gets the short cast. Kathy is holding up pretty well, too.
Monday, August 18, 2008
The surviving chicken we saved from its mental mother became a pet. We kept her in a box but took her out and played with her pretty often. She would follow us when we walked. The sound her little chicken claws made on the hardwood floor were similar to that brush thing drummers use or maybe a rain stick. Very cute running behind each foot. Then she'd get on my shoulder when I talked on the phone. I'd pick her up, and she would climb to my shoulder and walk around while I talked. Sometimes she just perched there and other times I had to change clothes.
Later on she was assimilated back into the chicken pen and lived among her own kind. She grew up to be light brown which made her name sort of odd. We could go out and pick her up and pet her, and she would come running to us when we went out there. Later when she had baby chicks (which she did not kill but took care of - glad that wasn't hereditary), she let my brother and me pick them up. Mother hens don't ordinarily do that, either. They will flog you and peck your eyes out. Not brown Whitey though! We bonded.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Here's the menu with an asterisk by what I ordered. What would you have chosen?
Field Pea Hummus served with parmesan pita points
BLT Bruschetta with basil-garlic aioli *
Heirloom Tomatoes with house-made green goddess dressing*
Watermelon and Prosciutto Salad on organic baby arugula
ENTREES (with choice of salad)
Savory Greek Torte
Layered hummus, tabouli, roasted eggplant with tomatoes, with a savory feta crust. Served with marinated chicken skewer.
Pepper Peach Shrimp
Sauteed with organic red peppers, Roma tomatoes, and peaches. Served atop sharp-cheddar grit cakes with a spicy peach chutney.
Roasted Pork Chops *
Roasted until tender and topped with green apple and golden raisin compote. Served aside butternut squash cornbread dressing.
Sparkling Peach Floats *
Key Lime Pie
Friday, August 15, 2008
My daughter Kathy called while ago after they spent five hours in the emergency room at Childrens Hospital in Chattanooga. They live on Signal Mountain where the kids are in school. They called Kathy from school to tell her he'd been hurt and then met her at the door when she came to school. They said they didn't tell her the extent of it until she got there because they didn't want to upset her too much. The school nurse rode with her to the hospital to keep his arms steady and to be there in case he got sick. She splinted them.
An orthopedist set his arms and said for Luke to see him in a week. Of course, he won't be in school for a while. He can't do anything for himself with both arms broken. The doctor said for him to be really careful walking because our arms help us balance, and he needs to keep from falling. We keep thinking of more and more things he can't do. Everyone will have to help him eat, brush his teeth, dress, do his homework, and everything!
He kept asking to see Kari. She's the middle child (13). Kathy asked if he didn't want to see Kelsey (15) too, and Luke said yes but he really wanted Kari. They all play ball and are active and also good students. Kathy said she was just going to have to accept help getting the girls home from ball practice and would have to miss some games because she needs to be home with Luke. She's a stay-at-home mom and such a good mother.
Luke is the sweetest boy and always has been. Kathy said he apologized to her because she has to do so much for him. Bless his heart, I just hate that this happened. I don't know of many people who have broken both arms like that. Poor little Luke.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
"She had learned, in her life, that time lives inside you. You are time, you breathe time. When she’d been young, she’d had an insatiable hunger for more of it, though she hadn’t understood why. Now she held inside her a cacophony of times and lately it drowned out the world. The apple tree was still nice to lie near. The peony, for its scent, also fine. When she walked through the woods (infrequently now) she picked her way along the path, making way for the boy inside to run along before her. It could be hard to choose the time outside over the time within."
- David Wroblewski, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
As the Boomer Generation ages, we'll see more and more elegiac novels about time and memory. Premium T. and I read a terrific one this summer -- The Secret Scripture, by Sebastian Barry. Barry is an Irish novelist whose work is starting to be published in States. He writes like a dream. (comment by "Citizen K")
Monday, August 11, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Catching the Wrong John: Why Are the Media Talking about John Edwards' Infidelity If They Aren't Going to Talk about John McCain's?
My first thought upon hearing Friday's "big news" on all the cable stations -- straight from the pages of the nation's leading investigative newspaper, the National Enquirer -- that John Edwards had been caught with his trousers down, was, "Oh, no, what if this cuts into the story of that little girl who disappeared whose mother hasn't seemed to figure out that someone is recording her jailhouse telephone conversations and putting them on the news! How will I ever get the news I need tonight?"
Let me be clear. I'm not a proponent of infidelity. As a clinical psychologist, I've seen its corrosive impact on many a marriage. But Edwards isn't running for president anymore. He's not running for Pope as far as I know. And he's not even a sitting elected official. To watch Larry King interview two "journalists" from the National Enquirer on his show Friday night was as pathetic as seeing the Edwards affair on the front page of the New York Times. If the media ran stories on every former or sitting elected official who ever had an affair, those stories alone would fill the news or sports sections of every newspaper (depending on how they classified them).
Rationalizations for Running the Story
I know what you're going to say. "He was running for president, and had he won the nomination, imagine what that would have done." True enough, and for that reason perhaps the story merited a migration from the Enquirer to the coupon section of the print edition of some newspaper somewhere. What he did was unbelievably reckless for a man who was running for president and could have put the Democratic Party in real peril had he won the nomination. And to paraphrase another Democrat who wedded restlessness with recklessness, Edwards should not have had financial relations with that woman, his videographer. All fair criticisms.
But Edwards didn't win the nomination. Personally, my primary feeling is sadness for the Edwards family. This would be tremendously difficult in private. It must be excruciating in public.
But this is an issue of character, you say. After all, he lied. But every affair involves deceit, and denying the affair is what people confronted with infidelity usually do, as they see their marriages potentially crumbling before their eyes -- and that's without the glare of the camera. It's not clear in this case (as in other such high-profile cases) to what extent Edwards' original denials were primarily motivated by self-protection, protection of his wife and family from humiliation, protection of his gonads from an angry spouse, or, most likely, all of the above.
So is lying about an affair a good predictor of other forms of deceit and corruption in office? By all reports George W. Bush has been faithful to his wife. If only he had been so faithful to the Constitution, the American people, and those silly little things we have in this country called laws.
But Edwards' infidelity was even worse because of the circumstances. His wife was ill. How could he do such a thing?
That's a compelling question, and those without sins should certainly cast their stones. An equally compelling question, however, is how the media humiliating his wife publicly in the final years of her life at this point serves any purpose than selling papers and boosting ratings. The man's children are already dealing with their mother dying. Do they really need to know -- and to know that everyone who ever meets them will know -- this level of private detail about their father's indiscretion?
As someone who has practiced psychotherapy for 25 years, there's one thing I've learned: that it's a lot easier to judge than to withhold judgment. Life isn't easy. Most people try to live good and decent lives, and most people fail at many points along the way. If fidelity over decades of marriage were so easy, I suspect more people would practice it.
What's Sauce for the Donkey out of the Race is Sauce for the Elephant in the Room
But this media "affair" raises a more serious question. If John Edwards' infidelity is news, and he's not a candidate for anything, why isn't John McCain's? He reportedly had numerous affairs in the years after returning home from Vietnam to a beautiful wife who had been disfigured in a car accident, and ultimately, by his own reports, he zeroed in like a laser on beautiful a 25-year-old heiress upon meeting her one evening in 1979 while he was still married, promptly lied to her about his age, and almost as promptly left his wife for her. We all extol John McCain for enduring 5 years of extreme hardship in Vietnam. But aren't his first wife's circumstances much like Elizabeth Edwards'? After all, the first Mrs. McCain waited in agony (and presumably fidelity) during those five long years for her beloved husband to return from Vietnam, raising their children while he was away and undergoing dozens of painful operations herself, only to be repaid by a philandering husband who ultimately left her for a younger woman.
Now personally, I don't think anybody's sex life has any bearing on a campaign, except to the extent that the candidate runs as a hypocrite, extolling family values, fighting gays while fighting his own gay demons, etc. But John McCain is increasingly making this campaign about character, and his actions over many years suggest some worrisome patterns that fly in the face of the entire story he tells about himself. Setting aside his cheating on his first wife, what about his attending to something other than the people's business as a member of the Keating Five (and ultimately contributing to a bailout that cost middle class American taxpayers the equivalent of nearly half a trillion in 2008 tax dollars -- imagine the middle class tax break we could offer if we weren't still paying off the principal and debt on that boondoggle); or hiring the most dishonest, amoral campaign team money could buy in 2008; or generating one fabricated or grossly misleading charge after another against Obama in the last three weeks (as in his sleazy new tax ad where, for example, he says Obama would raise taxes on small businesses when Obama has never proposed anything of the sort)? Like George W. Bush, he doesn't seem like a man who once was lost but now is found. He seems more like a man's whose principles are soluble in self-interest.
The Obama campaign seems reluctant to attack McCain even when the attacks are both true and on point, such as his standing on every side of virtually every issue, so they certainly won't go after his private life. Nor would I recommend they do so, unless McCain continues to raise issues about Obama's character, in which case Obama might want to take a public shot over the bow to let McCain know that if he wants to make this election a referendum on character, he can do that, but it would not be in his interest. McCain would get the message, and I suspect he would call off the dogs. Similarly, if McCain tries to mobilize anti-gay sentiment, or (more likely, since I suspect he's more libertarian at heart) colludes with those who do, it would be perfectly fair to ask him where in the Bible God prioritizes homosexuality as a sin over adultery, since there's a Commandment about one but not the other, and adultery is a far greater threat to the institution of marriage than gay people entering into committed relationships (McCain's first marriage being Exhibit A).
Washing the Media's Mouth Out with Soap
In any case, the media either need to be an equal-opportunity Enquirer -- in which case if John Edwards' infidelity deserves three or four days of media attention when he's not even running, McCain's deserves three or four weeks -- or they need to grow up. Personally, I vote for the latter. If the media decide that McCain's sexual transgressions, like virtually all Republican transgressions as long as they're heterosexual, are unworthy of media attention, they should do some serious soul searching about why they went after Edwards, and they should stop reporting on the sex lives of politicians in the future, whose personal foibles and frailties are none of our damned business.
And that leads to a final point. I have long thought that we need a watchdog on the watchdogs. Like most Americans, I watched in horror as the impeachment process was abused in 1998 with the complicity of a ratings-frenzied media that made a fortune turning the Congress into a reality show and the grand jury system into an adjunct to The People's Court. We now have a watchdog: the blogs. I suggest we use the blogosphere to teach journalists a lesson about privacy, humility, and humiliation, and put them on notice that if they continue to practice gutter journalism, bloggers will publish the same data kind of data on them that they publish on politicians. After all, journalists' objectivity is of the essence, and if they're purging their own sins by attacking them in others, the public has the right to know. And surely journalism requires the same level of honesty as public service.
So call it empathy training. My guess is that media enthusiasm for sex scandals would drop within days of the first report (replete with photos) on the sexual indiscretions of a television news anchor or reporter, and that the kind of rationalizations we have heard for two decades---"we had to cover it because the newspaper that brought you 'Woman Gives Birth to Four-Headed Reptile" was covering it -- would disappear as fast as you can say "zip it."
Drew Westen, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Emory University, founder of Westen Strategies, and author of "The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation," recently released in paperback with a new postscript on the 2008 election.
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn also died this week. He was a dark and complicated man. This is his name in Russian - Алекса́ндр Иса́евич Солжени́цын - that I just had to copy and paste it for some reason. Brian studied Russian but doesn't remember much of it. Terry Gross discussed Solzhenitsyn on NPR because she interviewed him several years ago after the USSR was dissolved and he could return to his homeland from Vermont where he lived in the US. He was critical of both Russia and the US.
It was good to see the USA basketball team play so well together.
LeBron James made some awesome shots, rebounds, and assists, but what happened to him with the free shots? Did he miss all of them or just most? Otherwise, he's almost unstoppable when he breaks free to the goal. I had no idea how popular the NBA is in China. That was interesting to learn. Yao Ming helped that happen, but according to the report, Kobe Bryant's jersey is the top-seller at the NBA Store.
Gold for Michael Phelps in a close race with fellow American Ryan Lochte. I hope the pressure and media won't get to him, but so far he seems to have his head on straight.
I'm looking forward to seeing Dana Torres in her race. The relay team she was on won a silver medal. I hope she wins another gold medal to add to her others. I have a girl crush on her. She's amazing!
I am so in awe of the dedication, commitment, and sacrifice of the athletes and their families. I've said it before and probably will again. How inspiring to see the crème de la crème of the world excelling at what they do best. Just to qualify for the Olympics is a feat almost no one has accomplished. I salute them all!
On the other hand, I wonder how much it is worth it for some of them. There is a flip side to all that time spent working toward a goal. What do you think?
OK, now to figure out how to pace myself! So many events, so little time!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
I went to Creek Wood Friday afternoon to confer with Lillian, the teacher I'm mentoring. She's doing a good job and has great instincts. It's so hard the first year and can be overwhelming, but her attitude will help her get through it. We need good teachers, and she's already better than some who have been teaching a while. I hope she'll stay in the profession for the kids' sake.
I'm so glad I'm doing this at a school where I taught and know about. I've known Janie, the principal, for ages, and that definitely helps, too. If I do this again, there are things I'm learning that I'll continue and some I'll change. This is new for me, too.
After CWHS, I went by Mother's for some of her homemade vegetable soup made with fresh vegetables from neighbors' gardens. That soup and some hot-water cornbread tasted like home! We had a good visit, too.
Last night was the awesome experience of the opening ceremonies of the Olympics! Beautiful, intricate, and precise! Wow! That little boy who saved other students in his school after the earthquake was so cute and poised.
Today I've been watching the games while getting chores done and searching the net for sites and math activities for Lillian. When the US bicyclists arrived in Beijing, they wore masks because of the pollution. I wonder why they aren't wearing them during the race.
The women's beach volleyball outfits are definitely scanty as always. The US won all three medals for the women's fencing team. How horrible for the coach of the men's volleyball team that his father-in-law was killed when he and his mother-in-law were stabbed. The women's indoor volleyball coach is from China and treated like a rock star since she was an outstanding athlete.
More later ....
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
It's a long day - from 6:30 until after the polls close at 7:00. If anyone is in line at 7:00, we have to let them vote. The first time I worked there it took forever because no one knew how to use the machines and thousands of judges were up for election that almost no one knows. So think about me.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Although I've never been to New Mexico, I'm sure I'd like it there, too, and want to go as soon as possible. Now while the heat index is at least 105 with orange and red alerts, I dream of being there. I am so miserable with this suffocating, cloying heat which is like a hot, damp blanket wrapped oppressively around me. I can't breathe or be the least bit comfortable. I'll stop now. You get the idea.
This photpgraph of Oak Creek Canyon is copyrighted by Brian Klimowski. You can see more of his beautiful photography on his site here.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008
I have to take a minute now to comment on Joe Lieberman, who was on Meet the Press with John Kerry. I don't know why in the world Al Gore chose him as his running mate. Now he calls himself an "Independent Democrat" but supports John McSame. Apparently, he drank the Republican Kool-Aid. He is disgusting, and I can't stand to look at him or type his name. By the way, I don't think she'd be hired, but I'd love to see Rachel Maddow host Meet the Press. She definitely has the credentials and can be objective and do all the research it would take. She is wonderful when she guest hosts Countdown on MSNBC.
This has been a lazy weekend. I have such a busy week ahead that I guess that's OK. I probably shouldn't admit this, but I haven't even had a shower and washed my hair since Friday! I can't remember the last time I went more than one day without a shower. Thank goodness no one came to see me. I've gone from Bernice to Moonbeam McSwine!
Matt and Jennifer are both so nice and were supportive of each other during their final design. Tracee is still delusional and said she only got positive emails and comments. Well, I doubt most people would bother to email her to say something bad. Who knew Tracee and Stephanie (Jennifer Coolidge) became such good friends?
I'm having trouble enjoying it because of what they did to Mikey V. Seeing him in some of the clips made me sad. At least they didn't totally ignore him. He should have been allowed to be on this finale.
The New Orleans families were there, and I'm glad they gave them gift certificates to help with what needs to be done on their houses. I hoped they would do something for those other rooms.
Jennifer won, so she'll have her own show which unfortunately is on HGTV. I like many shows on there but will never feel the same about them. I hope David Dust has another interview with Matt to find out how this has had an impact on his design business. It brought his family together, so that's great. I also hope DD finds out what went on with Mikey V and not being on this show.
OMG!! I kept the TV on while writing this and noticed a new show, Summer Showdown, where Design Star judges Vern Yip and Cynthia Rowley with carpenters James Lunday and Steve Hannaman are competing against each other to redo identical rooms. Now here's the OMG part! Sparkle Josh is one of the judges! They voted him off of Design Star!
Hebrew Punk (book cover)
Guardian at the Threshold
Ring Around the Moon
Maiden of the Mountains