October 31, 2003
How would you like to tell your cellmates you were beaten up by a mob of teenaged girls?
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A man described by authorities as a known sexual predator was chased through the streets of South Philadelphia by an angry crowd of Catholic high school girls, who kicked and punched him after he was tackled by neighbors, police said on Friday.
Rudy Susanto, 25, who had exposed himself to teen-age girls on as many as seven occasions outside St. Maria Goretti School, struck again on Thursday just as students were being dismissed, police said.
But this time, a group of girls in school uniforms angrily confronted Susanto with help from some neighbors, police said. When Susanto tried to run, more than 20 girls chased him down the block. Two men from the neighborhood caught him and the girls took their revenge.
"The girls came and started kicking him and punching him, so I wasn't going to stop them," neighbor Robert Lemons told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Susanto was later treated for injuries at a local hospital. Police said he would be charged with 14 criminal counts including harassment, disorderly conduct, open lewdness and corrupting the morals of a minor.
I like the punching and kicking approach mucccch better.
October 30, 2003
You Know You're Tired When
You lose the entire "I'm home, and I promise to read you all" post that you've kinda carefully crafted because you merely shut down the browser. Ugh.
So, briefly, I promise to read you all. I cringed when I saw the Bloglines totals of what remains unread. Cringed. I promise two large linkfests, and one will pertain only to the goodness coming out of MuNu.
I have mixed feelings about the cancer posts, so that's why I turned off comments. They're timely in that I can write them without needing reference material, and so that did make them good for the business trip. I find I remember things I leave out - like today's. I didn't mention that I lost quite a bit of hair on the right side and in a funky pattern. So, there you have it. It grew back normally, and life goes on.
One piece of advice from this business trip: Don't drink your dinner. In San Francisco, all of the restaurants and bars are non-smoking. This means I don't have to vacate the premesis in 5 to 10 minutes when I start to feel absolutely lousy because I'm chewing the air and each bite assails all of those lovely tissues that have been thus irradiated. It also means that I spent from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday at the hotel bar, in effect drinking my dinner. Yes, this from someone who advises my gentle readers to severely limit liquid calorie intake. Blush.
There's supposedly a pic of me from last night (another poor example of following my own advice, but I did manage to eat) where I'm trying to coax one...more...drop of wine out of the table's second bottle. And I trumpeted feeding the homeless with the leftover pizza. Yes, THAT much alcohol. Matt would've been highly amused. I stopped short of howling in public, though. So no hangover.
Ah, business trips.
Wayward Parotid Gland, Part 4
I've turned off comments for this post. If you do have something to say or a similar experience, my e-mail is email@example.com.
Part One is located here.
Part Two is located here.
Part Three is located here.
Sometime during the week of January 6, 1992, I attended a radiation preparation appointment. You might not think that a lot of preliminary work goes into something like radiation treatment, but you'd be mistaken. For one, the field of radiation for me would be a significant portion the right side of my face, extending well into my hair, toward the back of my head. My neck all the way to my thyroid on the right side was also in the field.
One of the first items to be done was tattooing. I have six of these puppies. Basically, you are "marked" so that your field can be realigned from day to day, and these marks are permanent. Early in the process, I learned, lines would be drawn on my skin each day, sort of connecting the tattoos, to aid the process. I had been concerned I'd have to walk around with lines semi-permanently drawn on my face for six weeks, but that turned out to be unnecessary with this process. Since the tattoos are just tiny green dots, each just felt like a shot, and then it was over. Six times. Over.
Then, it was time to make the mold so that my head would lie immobilized during each session. This proved problematic after a couple of tries and scrapped molds, but we quickly learned that my neck was flexible enough to lie flat consistently without a mold. Then, we practiced the process strapping my head in place, probably trying to lessen the freak-out factor on radiation commencement day.
During the consultation we reviewed the possible and probable side effects of the radiation. The list is extensive, including nagging persistent sore throat, skin irritation akin to a very bad sunburn, mouth sores, loss of appetite, changes in taste, general malaise, and difficulty swallowing.
I can best explain the general malaise part as an athletic "bonk." You're exhausted. Your head isn't with your body, and, while you're not necessarily hungry (you may even be nauseated), you feel like you haven't an ounce of energy in your body. But I didn't know that yet.
There was some good news. A good portion of my facial function was back. I began to talk more normally and smile, and this would improve eventually to normal facial function and about half of the numbness remaining after the surgery.
And then it was the 13th. I was working full time at my long-time job, shift manager at KFC. We were short on management at the time, so, since I was not going back to school for that semester, I was managing four to five day shifts during the week. I opted for very early morning radiation at 7 a.m., so I could finish the process, arrive at work, wash off the markings, and begin a "normal" day. I tried to keep everything as normal as possible.
Radiation takes about 15 minutes each day. This includes preparation, morning greetings (the social aspect of any medical procedure when you see the same people consistently), and unstrapping/leaving. The actual radiation treatment process took less than a minute, I believe that process being the point where I'm strapped under the linear accelerator and the machine is running.
That first week, I felt all right. I had no appetite, but other than that, I was able to function normally. I lost 6 pounds and was barked at for this behavior, but I was able to gain a couple back during the next week or at least hold steady, so it didn't seem so bad.
It was during the third week that life began to change fairly dramatically. Somehow, I had mentally settled into working-not-school mode, and that was just "life." I seem to be able to adjust fairly quickly to most things, and I'd say this qualifies as a quick adjustment. But, during the third week, I sat down in the KFC office to eat a snack of cherry pie (mmm, healthy!). I grabbed a fork, opened the package, and then took the first bite.
Salt. And a hint of cherry.
I was fairly disbelieving, so I tried again. Perhaps someone was playing a joke. No. Salt.
This will mess with your head.
Needless to say, I didn't finish the piece of pie. Over the next few days I would lose ALL sense of taste but salt. Water = salt. Lettuce = salt. Salt = salt.
I learned a lot of food things pertaining to my new strange condition by trial and error. I learned that purified water tasted MOSTLY normal. So did hot dogs because they have a hint of salt. I could eat one hot dog and then the sheer emotional effort of eating became to be too much. I learned I could tolerate grilled cheese sandwiches. And breaded mushrooms. This was over the course of the next two weeks.
I was supposed to be consuming 2500 calories a day - the ideal being a mostly healthy diet with a lot of lean protein. As the days passed over the third through fifth weeks - even as I discovered the things I could force myself to eat - I was lucky to be consuming 1000 - 1200, and those were by sheer force. Oh, and by the third week I was plagued by a constant sore throat which continued to worsen to the point of dreading to swallow. Vitamins were soon out of the question.
Essentially, I was starving myself. It wasn't on purpose, but I wasn't hungry, and I certainly did not WANT to eat because eating was such an exasperating experience. But, as a result of the process of not really feeding myself in addition to the "general malaise" brought on by the radiation left me unable to work (too weak) in the middle of the process. There was at one point also talk of IV feedings, but I found the hot dogs and grilled cheese right about this point and was able to avoid that.
I don't remember too much of the time frame between the fourth and sixth weeks both because of illness and the similarity of one day to the next. I know that I had an appointment with Dr. Wolfe and that he asked me if I had started to sweat while eating. I was confused - this was a new thought, and it hadn't yet happened. That's where he mentioned Frye's syndrome why it might occur, and darn it, it popped up the NEXT DAY.
I had to take a Thursday and Friday off of treatment because my skin was too irritated to continue. This pushed the "end date" of radiation into early March.
Which came eventually, and though radiation was over, I experienced much of "what they don't tell you." What they don't tell you is fairly important, like, these side effects you experience don't go away when radiation ends. Like, you'll feel them for another six weeks, and eventually and slowly you'll return to normal function. I was very optimistic during the first three weeks that in three more weeks it would all be over. At the end of radiation, it was very apparent that only my morning appointments were ceasing, not the sore throat, eating issues, and "general malaise."
Posted by hln at 08:29 AM
October 29, 2003
Wayward Parotid Gland, Part 3
I've turned off comments for this post. If you do have something to say or a similar experience, my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Part One is located here.
Part Two is located here.
Gilda Radner once said that there isn't a thing funny about cancer. Or something like that. She would later die from the disease.
Not all forms of cancer are a death sentence, of course. Some are mere hindrances, and others give a person a life extension of sorts - five years, ten years, six months. Children get cancer; athletes get cancer, and grandmothers get cancer. It seems that often there's no rhyme or reason to most cases. Environment and heredity play parts as well.
But, if you had told me that at 19, even after such a rare surgery for a large tumor, that I would have to also be among those who "got cancer," I still wouldn't have believed you. It did not sink in immediately, really. I went to dinner with my parents since my father was at the appointment and the hospital/doctor's office was pretty much adjacent to my parents' home.
Dr. Wolfe had recommended a follow-up visit with a cancer clinic, MD Anderson in Houston, TX. We made plans to visit in mid December and did. Houston is Texas' largest city, but it seemed a large blur, like everything that preceded it, because of the trip's reason. I don't remember much of Houston but the cancer clinic and the Olive Garden in which we ate. The trip was scheduled for three days, I believe, but the visit at the clinic lasted only one, and a course of treatment was set - radiation therapy.
Dr. Wolfe and these follow-up physicians all agreed that it was likely that all of the cancer was removed with the surgery. The radiation is an extra measure to ensure that nothing, if anything remains, spreads. The cancer was encapsulated within the tumor, so that was an especially good thing. In order to administer radiation to a patient's head and neck, though, there must be little risk to future serious problems with his or her teeth. Radiation kills healthy cells along with cancer cells, and radiation to the teeth will diminish or kill the possibility of bone regeneration to protect against infection. Basically, if you lose a tooth, glands called osteoblasts will produce bone cell material to seal off the area and reduce risk of infection. If I lose a tooth, then it's a bit of a crap shoot all the way to the worst case, which is osteoradionecrosis. So, there was some debate about two or four of my back teeth - whether or not they should be pulled because of their proximity to each other, I believe. Also, one doctor recommended a mouth stint to cover the teeth on the right-hand side and shield them from as many harmful rays as was possible.
My wisdom teeth were still in place - hadn't come in yet. So, one of the first items of business was to schedule a removal date for them, which would be immediately after Christmas of 1991. Radiation would last a total of 6 weeks, 5 treatments a week with weekends off. This would total 30 treatments. There would, of course be side effects. The list was fairly comprehensive of what could go wrong, temporarily or permanently. And then, of course, there was a risk of a second cancer later in life CAUSED by the radiation because I was so young. But, the incidence of return of the cancer was just too high to gamble and NOT do the radiation.
After the appointments, or in between some (I can't remember), we sat in the treatment facility's cafeteria to eat a light meal. This afforded some good people watching, though it's not quite the same as at the airport or watching strollers around a city's downtown.
I saw a man who had no remaining nose. I saw other people, varying ages but mostly older, accompanied by friends and mostly relatives. The notable aspects of the disease in various stages and severity.
Treatment in Houston was an option, but my parents and I felt that Springfield, MO, which is where I lived and attended school, was large enough to provide good treatment, and we opted to return home and commence treatment there a few weeks after the wisdom teeth incisions had healed. It was at this point that I was faced with a decision. Would the course of treatment be so much that it would affect my ability to continue in school that semester? Should I take a reduced class schedule, or should I take the semester completely off, thus taking off that additional possible pressure and stress. So much facing me for the short term was unknown.
Posted by hln at 08:19 AM
October 28, 2003
Wayward Parotid Gland, Part 2
I've turned off comments for this post. If you do have something to say or a similar experience, my e-mail is email@example.com.
Part One is located here.
I was in the hospital until midday on November 2nd. This is not very long considering the duration and seriousness of the surgery, but you get better care at home anyway. I was sent home with a prescription for Percocet, my drain (because it went where I went), 27 staples holding the incision together (forgot to mention those, didn't I), and whatever else my parents brought with us. I actually don't remember what that would be.
The first few days are a blur. I know there was a lot of Nintendo played under the influence of Percocet, and I know that relearning to sleep was interesting, to say the least. The numbness isn't like when you go to the dentist - at least mine isn't. This is all external, not internal, and it affects my face from about the midway point from my cheek near my nose to my ear. The ear is completely numb. Part of my face can detect cold, and everything detects pressure, even though it's numb.
Showering was an adventure. I basically had to shower backwards (face away from water) with my mother holding the drain over the shower door. We laughed through it because it took twice as long as a shower should, and, well, what else can you do? The drain came out on Wednesday or so, I think, so it wasn't that many days of incapacitated showering.
On Thursday, I decided I was going to class. Why on earth would I do that, you ask? That's a good question. The answer is: I didn't want to miss my Economics class, you know, the one where the professor didn't uderstand the meaning of the word "tumor." My poor face was still quite swollen, but well fixed hair covered that pretty well. The turtleneck obscured the Frankenstein neck, and if I cut down on the Percocet, I could actually sort of function. My kind father drove me to school (since I couldn't do that yet), and I sat in the back of the Economics class and listened to the professor explain the results of the test.
After class ended, I walked up to the front of the room, purposefully waited until just about everyone had left, and asked for the professor's attention. I said (with half of my face, of course), "Well, I had it done!" And I bared my neck - a 27-stapled, still slightly bleeding swollen mess. He turned slightly green and then recovered. In the end, he double counted my final and didn't make me take the test I missed. And it's a fond memory.
I returned to the dorm on Sunday, a week and two days after the surgery, starting to rebuild my life. I took a walk at the track - a couple of miles - a thinking walk. Classes would be normal for the most part. Well, not really. I was a music major - a trumpet player. You need your whole face for that. Same thing with my low brass class. I still attended, but I couldn't do much. For marching band, I just held the trumpet for the remainder of the semester and marched my spot. You do what you can.
That first week back, I had some trouble eating. The area where the parotid used to be decided to painful every time I tried to eat. It was actually quite excruciating to the point where I could only sneak in a few bites and then had to abandon the effort. But, this lasted only for a week, and then that too was just a memory.
It was soon time for staple removal. I saw Terminator 2 in 1994 in the theater, and I remember laughing when Sarah Connor removes the bullets from the Governor's back and drops them in a metal thing. Ching! Ching! That's what staple removal sounds like, so the movie had a whole separate meaning for me. No pain, though. Left some funny railroad tracks in my neck for a week.
And everything seemed to be on track for healing and adjusting. Until it wasn't. I had a doctor's appointment to discuss pathology results one night after class. I decided to walk from campus to the appointment, which was about five miles and right by my parents' house. This was something I did fairly frequently, get some exercise and go see my parents, and then one of them would return me to the dorm.
My father met me at the appointment. I don't remember much about it because the only remarkable thing was the drastic change in what I saw the next few months of my life to be. The pathology had come back, and the suspicious section was indeed malignant.
Posted by hln at 12:00 AM
October 27, 2003
Travelling - safe in California, in a part of the state that is not burning, thankfully.
The flight was jam packed - maybe two empty seats. I sat between two gentlemen, all three of us plugging away on our laptops. All three of us taller than the average human (well, I'm probably the average man's height, but that still doesn't make for airline comfort).
A three-hour flight is actually a good, productive length. The one-hour flights basically leave you room to read an article or two or three chapters in a book. I like to watch take-off and landing...and basically anything else I can see out of a plane.
I retrieved my luggage, following the Heather rule that every other woman should heed. Do not pack your luggage to be heavier than what you can lift and carry by yourself. This is actually a newer rule, and possibly nothing has changed but my strength. I digress. (What was the point of that paragraph? I think I'll leave it anyway).
And so it came to pass that I found a cab to take me to the hotel. The driver was a Russian immigrant. I didn't pick up on that until he spoke. He asked me what my accent was. Funny, I have an accent? I guess so. A mix if Michigan and Missouri. Perhaps "ten" comes out a little less like tehhhhn and more like tihhhn. I hope not, but it's possible.
And so I asked him where he was from, and he said "Russia, sad to say." I asked how long he had been in the US, and he said 33 months. You or I, we would've probably said, oh, about a year and a half. Or just over a year. This man knew to the month and told me so.
Then, the obvious question: "How do you like California?" He said, "California is like heaven." And he said, "Were you born in the US?" I said, "yes." He said, "Lucky." And then he reiterated, "I'm from Russia, sad to say."
Unfortunately, at this point we were on the freeway, and talking wasn't much of an option. My hearing isn't so great when there's lots of background noise, and he was concentrating on the road and the cell phone that would occasionally ring and into which he would occasionally respond in Russian (I'm guessing).
I met a grateful man today. I've given it some thought. He loves this country. I do, too.
No matter where I travel in America, it's still America. I've seen about half of the states, and while there are some obvious differences, there are more similarities. Such was illustrated again in slow motion to me when I took an afternoon walk from the hotel out into a residential area.
It started as a quest to find the eventual dinner restaurant, which I was never able to do. I was just itching for a bike because the roads are perfect for cycling. Wide enough to share with the cars. The weather, too. But, alas, no bike. Just Heather and her tennis shoes and a time limit because of the midday California sun.
I put in about 2 1/2 miles in just over a half an hour, I'd guess. I passed Electronic Arts and Oracle, and then I found myself in a completely residential neighborhood complete with a child in a green shirt piloting a skateboard. It seemed like Florida because that's something I can compare it to, but there were no palm trees. And then it just seemed like another day in another city that is still America.
And so few of us notice it, sad to say.
The Story of the Wayward Parotid Gland
All stories have a beginning and supposedly an end. I'm not sure where or if this one ends, but I want to tell it now, twelve years later. It begins in the fall of 1991. I was 19 and a sophomore in college.
I've turned off comments for this post. If you do have something to say or a similar experience, my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE: Since this is now finally all written, and it's been linked to, I'm coming in after the fact to add the links to the other posts. Thanks for reading.
Part Two is located here.
Part Three is located here.
Part Four is located here
Part Five is located here
In late August of 1991, I noticed a bump on the right side of my face, down near the jaw. There was no pain associated with it, but over the next couple of weeks it continued to grow. My fatherss birthday was September 26th, and I was eating dinner with my parents when I pointed out the bump and asked for advice. Brows furrowed, and we decided as a group that I would make an appointment with my mother's family doctor.
And thus it came to pass. The doctor provided a similar reaction to that of my parents. Specialist, she said.
This is how I came to know Dr. James Wolfe, whom I believe has retired now. In mid October of 1991, I met with Dr. Wolfe and he pronounced this bump, which had grown in the four weeks since I had noticed it, a tumor. I was expecting a cyst. My body likes to produce those for some reason, and a tumor was out of the question at 19. The next word was "biopsy," of course, and Dr. Wolfe sent for another doctor or member of the medical staff who returned with a long needle. They performed a fine needle aspiration (several, actually) and sent me on my way. This is NOT a procedure for the needle squeamish.
The offending gland was the right parotid gland, which, hopefully is something you've never heard of. Billy Bob Thornton's character in Bandits actually thinks he has a problem with one of his partoid glands (he's a hypochondriac), but he mispronounces it as PARotid. It's paROTid. Just a bit of trivia. You, normal human, have six salivary glands, three pairs. These are the parotid, the sublingual, and the submaxillary. The function of the parotid gland is to add the water to the saliva mix.
A week or two later, we discussed the results of the biopsy. Benign. Of course, right? Who has cancer at 19? No pain - not even discomfort at the site. At that point we also decided that, obviously, the tumor must come out. This is late October -I believe a Monday. We scheduled surgery for Friday, November 1, 1991.
And then it all became very real. To get to the tumor, Dr. Wolfe would have to make a six to eight-inch incision. I would likely experience several side effects, including limited to no movement in portions of the right side of my face for an unknown period of time, possibly up to six months. Any numbness or lack of movement I was still experiencing at that time would probably be permanent. I had thought this would be a little one to two-inch slice in my face, pop the offending mass out, and stitch me up. No.
That week, I made arrangements with all of my professors to be out for the following week, possibly beyond. All were very understanding save one. My Economics professor said, "well, if you're going to miss more than one class, you may want to drop. I suppose he didn't understand the word "tumor." You'll enjoy what I do to this man later.
I also bought several turtlenecks.
I moved back home for the recovery period. I had been living on campus, but my parents lived in the same city, and coming home only made sense. On Halloween, the night before the surgery, I remembered thinking and knowing that my life was going to change forever on the following day but not knowing at all what to make of it.
Surgery comes early in Cox South hospital for those whose operations might last all day. And I was one of them. I don't much remember the sequence of events that morning, but I do remember the fuzzy general anesthesia haze. It's usually the same - the spinning clock once you notice where you are, the voices of the medical staff in their communications with others. The extreme chill. The first words from a nurse when he or she notices you're fighting the effects of the anesthesia. Nausea. Lack of control.
I later learned, when I was fully conscious, that the surgery took six and a half hours. That the tumor was not just a little bump, but rather it was a mass the size of three-and-a-half golf balls. That it was wrapped all around my facial nerve, and that somehow, some way, Dr. Wolfe managed to save most of the nerve's function. Oh, and that there was a suspicious "section" within the tumor that would require some significant testing by pathology.
One word to well-thinking visitors. The day of major surgery is not the best time to visit. The patient is likely to be highly nauseated, mildly to heavily disoriented, and just plain tired. I had many caring visitors that evening, most of whom were scurried away gently by my mother after a short visit as I needed to take yet another trip to the restroom. Violent retching and facial surgery are not good bedfellows, either.
And it was then that I saw it, of course. Horribly swollen face from all of the trauma. The very non-natural drain positioned in the middle of the incision. The non-moving right side of my mouth when I tried to speak, and the long purple wound starting from next to the right ear and travelling around underneath it to take residence in a crease in my neck, following same to the bottom of the neck. It looked like a worm that'd been washed up by rain. Purple and angry. But, considering all alternatives, not bad at all.
Posted by hln at 12:00 PM
October 26, 2003
Babies, Toddlers, and Food, Oh My
Is anyone really surprised by this study that finds that America's young children aren't eating a very healthful manner?
Even before their second birthday, many American children are developing the same bad eating habits that plague the nation's adults — too much fat, sugar and salt and too few fruits and vegetables.
A new study of more than 3,000 youngsters found significant numbers of infants and toddlers are downing french fries, pizza, candy and soda.
War and, Well, War
I'd like to note a couple of war-themed posts this evening. First, there's this post from Shark Blog that I found via Free Will. The author traces the words "imminent threat" through the media over time.
I link to Robert Prather a lot. There's a reason for this. He spends a lot of time putting together thought-provoking posts about economics and foreign policy. This particular post addresses thoughts and questions from a commentor from a previous post regarding Iraq, timing, justification, and the future.
Taking One for the Bartender
A quiz, that is. Hey, Bartender. Here you go.
Congratulations! You're a Long Island Iced Tea!
What Drink Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
Origin of the Puppy Blender
I was talking on the phone with my mother yesterday, and she told me that her father, who was born in 1901, told her stories of the Igorots at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904.
"Igorots?" said I. "I've never heard of them."
She proceeded to tell me that a tribe from the Phillipenes ATE DOGS at the World's Fair. Furthermore, the Dogtown neighborhood is aptly named BECAUSE OF THIS EVENT. Truly, I was shocked.
And then I made the connection. Glenn Reynolds and his family must be from St. Louis. The idea was born HERE!
Why else would I keep running into him? It's been a while now - almost a month - since our paths crossed. I need to hang out in Dogtown to find him.
At any rate, here's a bit more information, possibly more than you ever wanted to know.
The head-hunting, dog-eating Igorots were the greatest attraction at the Philippine Exhibit, not only because of their novelty, the scanty dressing of the males and their daily dancing to the tom-tom beats, but also because of their appetite for dog meat which is a normal part of their diet.
The city of St. Louis provided them a supply of dogs at the agreed amount of 20 dogs a week, but this did not appear to be sufficient, as they had also encouraged local people to bring them dogs which they bought to supplement their daily needs.
The poaching of dogs became so common in the area near the Igorot Village such that the neighborhood was warned to watch for their dogs; even then, many dogs were disappearing in this neighborhood, angering and upsetting many people.
There were obviously many people who objected to the supplying of dogs to the Igorots, particularly the St. Louis Women's Humane Society, but there were also many people, perhaps much more, who sympathized the Igorot's need for dog meat.
As one Missourian, who had been to the Philippines and realized the difficulty of not being able to eat the food that one is used to, noted, "Every dog has his day, and every man his meat." He donated 200 fat Missouri dogs to the Igorots!
I have no doubt that the name "hot dog" was picked as a label for the sausage-on-a-bun to attract the attention of potential customers at the Fair by riding on the popularity of the eating of dogs by the Igorots, which had inspired the creation of the name.
Nothing Says "I'm an Individual" Like...
...posing naked with 449 of your "closest friends" in the name of art.
Hey, grandkids, that's me - see, number 332! I was so special.
New Blog Showcase
Another week, more blogs. This week, I'd like to vote for Demosophia's long Totalitarianism post. Also, Sebastian Holsclaw talks abortion.
October 25, 2003
Grumble Clothes Shopping Grumble
If you were to ask me the downside of being female, I would give you an immediate answer. It's shopping for clothing.
Rant warning in effect. Semi-long post.
Oh, yes. I lamented last evening about about being a member of the physically weaker sex. That's okay - I just need to be stronger than the rest of the women in the gym, or at least most of 'em, and that's not really too much of an issue. But this clothes shopping thing has many dimensions to it. If you're male, you may appreciate your significant other's or sister's perspective to it all. Or, maybe I'm just so far afield of "normal" human females that everyone will leave scratching their heads.
I have this instant business trip that came pretty much out of a known but long-ago-dismissed nowhere. Work clothing for me is usually jeans and a nice shirt, but this will be business casual. I don't have much by way of business casual clothing, and I've been looking to more often wear some nicer things, so it's time for some new dress pants.
The first issue here is sizing. Sizing seems to be such a bigger deal with women than it is with men. We have two distinct problems here. One - HIPS. Hello - those are always different, no? And then there's the top half problem - breasts. Major variance. To contrast, when I shop with Brian, I know he's a 33 - 30 or a 34 - 30. Easy!
Those are the obvious things. The non-obvious things are - am I poochy today in the belly (you know - ate in restaurants the past two days, so things aren't as taut as normal) - What time of the month is it? Am I carrying water weight? These affect fit within a size more than size, but you still have to figure this all through. The sizing algorithm, when applied, will tell the woman whether it's all right to buy that slightly-too-tight miniskirt.
I ended up buying two pairs of size 10 pants and one pair of size 8 pants, so that sounds consistent, no? Heather's a 10. Au contraire, for, you see, I had in my hands at various times size 12s, size 10s, and size 8s. Because womankind, myself included, likes to wear the smallest size it can fit moderately comfortably into, when I saw that the 10s would work on the whole, I didn't even bother with the 12s. The 8s were a mystery, though. It was like, uh, did the printer goof the sizing chart? I believe the 8s are the loosest of the three. Boggle.
And then there were the skirts, and these were a pain. I prefer skirts, but they have to be either short or ankle weight because otherwise my legs look like, uh, I lift a lot of weight with them - I have some pretty full calves. Calf-length skirts are good for women who would like their calves to look more shapely. Not I, says Heather. I took a bevy of skirts back to the fitting room - 10s and 12s. The 10s were too big. I mean, tooooo big. So I found a collection of 8s. Yeah, you guessed it - buttoned and were comfortable, but they were too tight to actually look good. So, no skirts. If I NEEDED a skirt, I could've gone somewhere else, but, well, who NEEDS skirts when pants will do.
And, the final point - the most irritating of the three. OTHER WOMEN! IN FITTING ROOMS! Catty whiny female voices wafting over the fitting room stalls. I heard the word "cute" in so many connotations today I wanted to cleanse myself. "That's cute, but it doesn't fit me right." "That's so CUTE!" What is cute, ladies? What does it mean? I can't abide by "cute" for my body. It needs to be professional or sexy or functional. Not cute. And the whining. I realize some people just whine - that's all they do, their only vocal inflection. This one woman whined about every cute piece of clothing her mother or daughter (not sure which she was) brought her. Ugh.
And then the fitting rooms themselves. Because this is Saturday, the fitting rooms were fairly full. I found myself in one on the end whose door wouldn't quite close. I was changing into a skirt when another woman, whose brain must've been trapped in Kohl's shopping oblivion, backs into my little room area. She proceeds to get ready to hang up her things. Just because you THINK someone's not in the little room doesn't make it so, sugarpie. She seemed quite startled when I said, "hello." My natural reaction (curbed, of course) was to say, "Yes?" It happened again, and then I got smart and put my shoes to where they could be seen under the door.
So I'm home. I have pants. It's over. So, men, when your ladies come home exhausted, realize that a lot of that is mental. Too much estrogen in the fitting room. And "sizes" aren't sizes.
More Boobage Terminology
You guys think that manboob thing is getting old? Well, today I learned about the quadra-boob. (Blogspot blog - so Control+F quadra should get you there).
October 24, 2003
Soreness and Hindsight
Some words of wisdom for you.
Men have more testosterone than women. We all know this - it makes them physically stronger than the female sex. I failed to remember that last evening.
Tuesday and Thursday evenings were Noggles-working-same-body-parts nights at the gym. On Tuesday, we worked our chests, and here I'm smart - I KNOW I'm not as strong as he is. Really, I do. We worked free weights - barbell that night. Put on the Heather weights, took them off, put on the Brian weights, blah blah blah. From incline to flat to decline presses and then pec flyes with a machine. This went well, but the disparity was apparent. I worked up to 60 or 65 pounds on the flat press, don't remember (bar plus 7 1/2 on each side or bar plus 10s). Brian's considerably stronger than that with his chest.
So, fine. Where I get into trouble is legs. My legs can really take some punishment, and, well, I tried to keep up with him. And, for the most part, I did. Mostly, er, ow.
We did a leg press machine, plate loaded. Started at 220 pounds - 15 reps I think. Then just kept adding 20 and slightly dropping reps. Up to 240. Up to 260. Knees back to almost touching chest. Then Brian jumped to 280, and, on my 4th set, I stayed at 270 and squeezed out 5 reps before I declared the legs to be jello. Then we went and did another press, an angled one (more emphasis on quads and thighs). Less weight here, but three solid sets at something like 180, 200, and 220. That's guessing, but I'm sure it's close and may be low.
Then hamstrings, calf muscles, and quads. We both wobbled out of there.
A day later, I can tell I'm going to be sore like I haven't been in weeks tomorrow. Was it worth it? Hell yeah. (Plus, now you know I can lift more than the average dude with my legs but definitely not my chest). Actually, about two weeks ago, I had a guy comment exactly that to me - that I was lifting more weight than him. I never know if that's true incredulity or general flirting, but I smile and am nice but curt (if that's possible) and serious still the same. All business at the gym unless I'm actually working with Brian, and then I loosen up a bit.
And, ladies, if you're fearing you'll bulk up if you lift heavy weights - don't. Remember this pic?
Tomorrow's agenda is my back, and probably no bike ride.
Jennifer interviewed Blackfive - check out the results.
October 23, 2003
Battle of the Bars
No, it's not what you think.
Rather, this post is all about carbohydrates, money, and, well, whatever else pops out of my head in the next 30 minutes.
You see it everywhere now, especially this past two or three years. LOW CARB! LOW CARB! Everywhere you look, it's carbs carbs carbs - from the radio commercials that now tout the glories of light beer to the weight-lifter Michelob Ultra water, er, I mean beer (or so I hear) billboards.
I've never really worried too much about carbohydrates as an isolated group. You know - those things that with exercise burn away. Stored glycogen in the muscles. I have, though, in recent years watched calories pretty closely as I honed my food intake plans and execution to where they are now, which, on a day where I'm especially diligent, might pass for a low/controlled carb diet (but I eat a WHOLE lot of fruit and salad with fruit, and there's no way I'd give up the Kashi, so perhaps not). I don't much care.
I got this idea a couple of weeks ago, though, because you see SO much marketing, as I mentioned earlier, for low-carb diets and dieters. I mean, there's a whole new section in the grocery store just filled with this stuff - pasta made out of soy flour, tiny tiny chocolate bars for a buck and a half apiece. Now, granted, there's a whole section of the store for me, too - sometimes a whole STORE (Whole Foods) - with the Luna Bars and the Genisoy Extreme Bars, and the whole wheat pasta. Mmmm. So, in this spirit, I bring you the side-by-side comparison of two chocolate bars (okay, so one's "Pecan Chews" - humor me).
In the upper corner, weighing in at ONE, yes, ONE ounce, I bring you the Russell Stover Low Carb Pecan Delights. And, in the bottom corner, weighing in at TWO ounces, the Reese's Fast Break. I've never eaten either of these - have no idea on taste. But, here you are - pictures.
Ooh, aah. What does all of this mean? Well, here's the other side of the wrappers. The top is the Pecan Delights, and the bottom is the Fast Break.
(Forgive my ugly, boring table)
|Russell Stover Pecan Delights||Reese's Fast Break|
|Weight||1 oz||2 oz|
|Total Fat||9 grams||13 grams|
|Saturated Fat||4.5 grams||4.5 grams|
|Protein||2 grams||5 grams|
|Carbohydrates||16 grams||35 grams|
|Price||99 cents||69 cents|
Okay. Statistics. We can prove anything we'd like now, right? We could start with the "candy bar" that's cheaper than the "healthy low carb bar" if we believed that. We could, rather, talk about serving size of 1 oz versus 2 oz of something. Someone want to put up a placard with "Obesity" on it - bigger font, please. But, what I'd really like to focus on is equalizing the information - basically, what happens if you make the serving size the same - 2 oz.
This is basically the size of my mid-morning snack, but I usually don't exceed 200 calories. So, this would be for a "light" breakfast or lunch day - the day I consumed two packages of the Russell Stover's candies or one Fast Break. (Here's the table "equalized."
(Again, forgive my ugly, boring table)
|(2) Russell Stover Pecan Delights||Reese's Fast Break|
|Weight||1 oz||2 oz|
|Total Fat||18 grams||13 grams|
|Saturated Fat||9 grams||4.5 grams|
|Protein||4 grams||5 grams|
|Carbohydrates||32 grams||35 grams|
Okay. I went to a two-ounce serving rather than cutting the Fast Break in half because 130 calories is not ENOUGH to satisfy you as a meal - even a mid-morning snack. To illustrate, 130 calories is about what I consume every hour I'm on the bike when I take my little break. EVERY hour of biking. And that's after having eaten a full, nutritious breakfast.
What do you see here - wow, these are SURPRISNGLY similar. Actually, if you're like me and you watch saturated fat, you're nearly gawking. And the Reese's provides more protein, which is probably of no matter if you're on a low-carb diet - you're likely already getting plenty.
The packaging for the Russell Stover's Pecan Delights states "For Low Carb Dieters." On the flip side, it also states that the Net Effective Carbs - also often called Impact Carbs - are only 2.4 g per serving. Having never seen a "real" nutrition (not stilted toward a carb-controlled diet or really ANY diet but rather an overall nutrition site) even mention these little wonders, I tried to find a good definition anyway. So, here we have it - don't take it to the bank, though.
The FDA previously allowed a disclaimer on all wrappers, which was an asterisk noted on the bar stating that glycerin, maltitol and fiber had been omitted from the total carb count as they have a neglible impact on your blood sugar.
What dieters and diabetics are trying to avoid is a spike in their "blood sugar" as this releases insulin. Dieters are trying to avoid this, as insulin is a trigger to store fat. Diabetics must avoid this as well. Carbohydrates cause this spike in blood sugar. Simple carbs cause it quickly and Complex carbs more slowly. (Simple carbs are all sugar, pasta's, all white flour and rice. Complex carbs are veggies and salad greens)
I could go on and on. I won't. I'll consume these two sometime in the next two weeks (but not together, of course), and I'll point back to this post. About the only thing that could convince me that, of the two, the Pecan Delights are the way to go would be EXTRAORDINARY taste.
The info's just here for you to decide. And I'll provide the standard disclaimer now. Heather and Angelweave do not endorse chocolate bars such as these as good nutrition. If you say I did, I'll deny it. Treats are okay every once in a while, but they should not supplant more healthy, more important food options. Blah blah blather blah.
UPDATE - 10/24/03. I ate the Pecan Clusters for a snack this evening. Wonderful - heavenly. When I opened the packaged, they seemed very small, but because of the carmel and basic consistency, they actually took a while to eat.
Definitely a good treat when they go on sale. I'm surprised I'm endorsing them.
Labels on Menus?
Our beloved federal government is hopefully just planting the seed and won't insist on laws to water the plant, but...
Yahoo reports that the government is "encouraging or even requiring" labels on restaurant menus to detail calories regarding food items.
Restaurants doing this voluntarily: fabulous! And do more than calories, please. I want info all the way down to fiber grams.
Unfortunately, this is spearheaded by the radical Center for Science in the Public Interest, which is probably why the word "require" even appears in this article. Yes, this same center that pretty much says, "if you're fat, it's not your fault." Gag. I have Restaurant Confidential, which I should've mentioned earlier in my post about calorie counters. There really isn't anything earthshaking in the book - a lot of it is common sense once you start learning about nutrition, but there may be one or two eye openers.
No time to make this yesterday's letter of the day, but enough time to get 'em out here quick before making the morning commute to work
1) Alpha Patriot tells a tale of two immigrants.
2) Serenity of Serenity's Journal defines conservativism. It's very nicely done.
3) Wizbang: tch tch tch tch tch tch tch-ching!
4) Swirlspice shows us the mullet! Uh, yeah, I DO remember that joke we played on...
5) Mooooove away, said the cow. It seems as if this behavior is not limited to kangaroos any long.
6) Thanks to Boots and Sabres for the blogroll addition. I'll probably continue to sneak in via my RSS thingee, but I'll get you added soon (probably during the week next week).
7) CommonSense & Wonder discusses "Frankenfoods." This appears to be the same article I mentioned this weekend.
8) Here's Arthur Silbur on brains, weight, and food.
9) This is the "I laughed out loud" post for the morning - Thanks, PhysicsGeek. 10) I'm very late with this, but Jennifer interviewed Daniel, and here are the results.
11) Harvey links the same interview (Daniel's), but he has an interesting little thought at the end. I've been scratching my head all morning but while laughing.
Got George Clinton's "Sloppy Second Chance to Make a First Impression" going through my mind. Can't find the lyrics, but the title's the gist of the song.
Today's my three-year anniversary with my current company, and I have to say things have gone well. I'm in the tech industry, and thanks to some good timing and a solid company, I've not felt the dot com bust or really any of the pain experienced by the sudden glut of technologically capable workers who are or have been recently in the job-seeking realm.
So, I have my review today. I decide to dress nicely (something other than the normal jeans). Since the esteemed spouse has been working a new job that requires him to iron everything but his underwear, the iron and ironing board are usually nearby. Not today, no. I find the iron, but I don't ever uncover the hiding place of the board. So, hey, a dresser works, right? Problem: iron (plugged in) will not reach the dresser. And curious cats abound. So I take out the pants and splay them across the dresser all while the iron is heating atop a bookcase (I have moved the clock radio out of the way).
When I feel the iron may be hot enough to commence ironing, I unplug it, iron one pant leg, and then, as the iron seems to be cooling down, I replug the iron in, shoo the white cat away from the general direction of my black pants (why is it NEVER the black cat that wants to sit on your black pants), and kinda rinse, lather, repeat the whole section.
Today may be...disjointed.
October 22, 2003
So, y'know, I forgot to submit to the Carnival of the Vanities this week.
And, of course, the fun with this is that I'm getting more traffic from this Carnival than from any ever before. Why? Here's why.
Everyone's like, uh, who's that? I'm sure. Thanks again for the link, James.
Look out Copland - You're Next
Okay, so Aaron Copland's dead. But he wrote this lovely little catching piece called Rodeo. PETA would have us change its name. For, you see, it's asking exactly that of the town of Rodeo in Contra Costa County.
PETA has sought politically correct titles before. The group recently asked officials in Hamburg, Germany, to consider the name "Veggieburg," Franzetta said. And, to no avail, they suggested Fishkill, N.Y. try on "Fishsave" for size.
As for challenging more cattle-inspired locations, Rodeo Drive in Southern California could be next.
"That would be a great candidate down the road," Franzetta said. "It's definitely a possibility."
Someone call Crayola; salmon's no color.
What else would you rename?
Yesterday, the Opinion Journal put out a piece about nuclear proliferation and detailed the results of a nuclear attack. I read the article in the morning but never got around to posting about it. Several others did.
If you're 25 or under, it's likely you didn't really experience the mindset of "nuclear war is imminent." I actually had a CLASS on nuclear war in a program I attended in 8th grade. All of the good, solid buildings were designated as shelters with signs. The Day After was controversial; at what age should your children view the movie? It wasn't a question of should they, really, but of age. Even to the young - people like me who saw the original Star Wars movie in a theater - a DRIVE-IN no less, a mention of Star Wars in a realm of anything political regarded Reagan's plans for a missile defense system. The USSR was a big bad empire with its finger on the trigger, ready to strike at any time...at least in our minds.
We learned about radiation sickness/poisoning. The after effects as shown by survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And the thought of conventional war of the scope of Desert Storm or the Second Iraq War, circa 1985, was nearly non-existent.
So it's with that mindset that I read this piece. I need to read it again because I was a bit rushed. This is a new nuclear age, and the players are more dangerous due to levels or lack of sanity, different aims and goals, and yet, somehow, perhaps because I'm an adult and "it hasn't happened yet" the threat seems more distant.
Take a look at this Corima Puma brought to you in this post by Scott of Taco Flavored Kisses. Sexy frame on this bad dog, no.
Read the post, too - it's quite good. Don't mean to slight the post...
October 21, 2003
What He Said
Brian has a post about box cutters. With pics.
I have only a little to add. I carry a purse. I'm a woman, so that's not going to attract much attention. Do not doubt that at any time and not by design but merely function that I have many, many small weapons contained therein.
Pens, pencils, paperclips, keys. Multiple of these items. No nail file anymore, though, of course. One could put an eye out with that.
I stopped by Tech Central Station today and happened upon this post, which talks about the EU and its economic state as well is its 10-year forecast and the prospects of achieving same based on data now that we're three years into those 10 years.
(I think that's Bonfire worthy just due to the length of that sentence).
At any rate, the article reminded me a lot of this post by Robert Prather that I linked a couple of weeks back.
Milk and Jail
Helllllllo PETA. What now, you ask?
Vegan means NO milk, no? And since when has PETA carried about your waistline. Tsk tsk.
The lobbying group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed an official complaint with the Florida Department of Education (news - web sites) on Monday demanding that it stop the sale of "unhealthy" chocolate, strawberry and other flavored milks in high school vending machines.
"Flavored milk drinks contain more fat, sugar, cholesterol, and calories than even soft drinks do," the complaint says. "Dairy representatives should be in jail for foisting this high-fat, high-sugar toilet water on the nation's children," said Bruce Friedrich, director of vegan outreach for Washington, D.C.-based PETA.
Yahoo's snippet extends into the full story, where the Herald milks it for all it's got.
In Miami-Dade, the complaint got instant action. Penny Parham, in charge of school lunches, drove to a high school, checked a milk vending machine and discovered it was selling the exact, 460-calorie Nesquick chocolate milk product referred to in the PETA complaint.
''It's coming out immediately,'' she said. ``This isn't the right way to fight obesity.''
But that nasty word, OBESITY. There it is. Everyone cringe.
Here's what it's really about. Remember that other word: vegan.
PETA attorney Matthew Penzer said Monday's Florida complaint is the opening salvo in efforts to counter dairy industry vending machine programs in several states.
PETA's complaint also says serving milk violates Florida laws that require schools to ``efficiently and faithfully teach kindness to animals.''
Found this while perusing the news.
MONDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDayNews) -- Kicking the smoking habit can extend the lives of breast cancer (news - web sites) patients who've been treated with lumpectomies and radiation, says a study by researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.
The study included 1,039 breast cancer patients, smokers and nonsmokers, treated with lumpectomies and radiation at Fox Chase from March 1970 to December 2002. Median follow-up of the patients was 67 months.
The researchers compared overall survival rates and deaths from breast cancer among the smokers and nonsmokers.
Nothings surprising here, but it'd be nice to see some numbers. The alarming statement comes near the end of the short article.
"This analysis shows that smoking, either past or present, was associated with increases in distant metastases and deaths from breast cancer," Fox Chase radiation oncologist Dr. Khanh H. Nguyen says in a prepared statement.
Quit now. As if you needed another reason. Cancer's amazingly easy to catch - at any age. No need to go knocking door to door, asking for handouts.
October 20, 2003
So, it's getting close to bedtime, and I've not blogged a thing here today. I wrote the mustard post yesterday. I did put something up at The Alliance but that hardly counts.
So I'll link.
Matt at Blackfive posts a chilling anecdote about a social event with some Pakistani friends, now known as less-than-friends.
Look Left for the League of Liberals
Trey Givens provides me with another Enclave logo
Michael Williams (I have to be careful to link the proper Michael. It is indeed Williams this time) offers thorough analysis of the box cutter/airplane situation and why the items were not found for so long.
Carnival of the Captialists is here. That's tomorrow's reading that'll keep me from blogging.
Wizbang posts a pic of the woman who stole my Halloween costume. 'Cept she has no talons. Meow.
This is a couple of days old, but I said I'd link it, and so here it is. Robert Prather waxes economic, as he does so well, that Percentiles Are Not People.
Fritz enriches our "vocabulary" with a new buzzword. Hans, I don't want to hear this one. Ever.
I don't remember where I saw this. It was Friday. And when I went there, I couldn't leave. It was so riveting...in a disgusting sort of way.
That's enough. Yawn. 5 a.m. comes early.
The Mustard Story
Okay. When I was 22, I was a single female living alone in Columbia, MO working full time and going to grad school. I had a weird-looking neighbor who lived in the apartment above me. The guys, two brothers, who were in the apartment across from me had mentioned to me that the guy was weird.
Often, I’d hear things crashing in his apartment. One morning at about 6:00 a.m., I heard a loud BOOOM! CRASH! I wasn’t due to wake up yet, and I was pissy about this, so I yelled “what the hell!”
That night, after work, I was doing some laundry, and the laundry area for the apartment complex was very close to my apartment – just around the corner, really. I was carrying laundry back, and this man emerged from his apartment screaming “I KNOW WHAT YOU DID! I KNOW WHAT YOU DID! AND I CALLED THE POLICE!”
He has this long, gray hair, and his face is all scrunched up, and he’s just livid. I think I’m carrying my whites. I don’t remember what I said to him, but I went back into my apartment pretty shaken up, set down my laundry, and tried to figure out what to do.
The easy solution was to visit the two guys across the way who had once said, if you ever need anything… So I did. I knocked, they opened the door, and I related the story. One said, call the police.
I did. From there.
The police come. They go and talk to the man. They come back over to the guys’ apartment. They say, “He accuses you of putting mustard on his door this morning.”
Which, of course, I did not do. First, I despise mustard. I don't own any unless I'm planning a cookout or something where others who like the condiment may wish to partake of it. That wasn't the case in my small apartment. No mustard.
I was so shocked that I laughed, and then I related my story, and the officers said, "do you want to press charges." I was pretty taken aback by that - I mean, for what? So, no, I did not.
At the time, I worked for a bunch of attorneys. I told my boss, one of the attorneys, the story the next day. He said, "Do you want to send him a letter?" I said, "Hell yes." And he said, "You write it. I'll sign it."
And thus this came to pass. The letter basically said, "Leave my client alone."
This was probably a Wednesday. On Friday, I was out most of the day in Jefferson City at a workers' comp seminar. When I returned to the office, and the reception staff was quite abuzz. The main receptionist said that a man with long gray hair stormed into the office holding the letter, but all he did was shake it within a closed fist - he never spoke, but he appeared to be shouting. And then he left.
The next week, the man complained to the apartment manager about my noise levels (HA), who did not take it seriously but did come to "talk with me."
And that was really the end of it. I avoided him. He probably avoided me, too, but that was easier with me avoiding him.
Turns out, though, that the man was having a lot of stress in his life - had throat cancer at the time. The noise was that he was dropping weights on the floor (bad form, dude), so there was no violence occurring at 6 a.m. save his weight dropping. The throat cancer was why he couldn't speak when he was in the law office. And he was actually a minister. Strange strange strange.
The mustard? Who knows. Wasn't me.
The Interview's Up!
Jennifer posted it today - learn all about me (well, what you asked, anyway).
October 19, 2003
Dimed: The Second Half of the Book
I finished Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed On (Not) Getting By in America today. And, to shake things up a bit, I'm going to post my analysis first and the supporting information in the extended entry.
The second half of the book is the story of Barbara's move to the Minneapolis area. This section is immediately followed by Barbara's general analysis of her experience.
In Minneapolis, Barbara has trouble finding housing. She meets almost immediate success in finding jobs - two, actually, and ultimately she decides to work for Wal-Mart. This is not without a bit of drama, for, you see, Barbara is concerned that she cannot pass the drug test, which, very quickly, you can tell she ideologically disagrees with. Nonetheless, drug tests are very prevalent in gaining employment, and I find Ms. Ehrenreich very irresponsible for "transgressing" with drugs during her science experiment, as she calls it. Yes, I realize this is dripping with distaste, but I actually threw the book after reading a few pages of Barbara's experience with this, so forgive me. (It didn't dent until I threw it a second time, at which time it made a loud SPLAT against the wall and frightened three cats).
At any rate - Barbara works at Wal-Mart. She makes about what one would expect to make at Wal-Mart. She brings to light the overwhelming prevalence of Theory X in management (my words), and I've seen this, too. It's disturbing, and I have to agree with her when she says it drags the workers down. Basically, Theory X states that people don't want to work, they'll not want to help or do anything you don't specifically MAKE them do, and that they're unwilling or unable to effect positive outcomes without intense supervision. Theory X means you have to ask management to use the restroom.
The Wal-Mart job goes about like I expect it would. It's got a bunch of corporate hoo-hah that Barbara correctly identifies, and throughout much of this section I agree with her assessment of the job as a whole.
The problem here is housing. Barbara can't find something to suit her needs at a decent price. This happens for her everywhere, though, and I'm not sure if it's just that I've only lived in Missouri as an adult, but I can ALWAYS find affordable housing. The only place I've paid anywhere NEAR $500 was when I moved to St. Louis and had a job that paid me well enough to accommodate that. On Page 170, she mentions something close to what I stated in the review of the first part of this book. Housing costs should not make up more than 30% of your income. Period.
Barbara wasn't ever able to live by that. I can't be a good judge of why without talking with her, and I may shoot her an e-mail. It's possible she picked cities without knowing enough about where to find good, cheap housing in a decent neighborhood. It's possible she was too rushed. Who really knows? This does seem to be the biggest thorn in her side in each experience, though.
The last section of the book is Barbara's analysis. Overall, I'm impressed with this. It's much less personal than the rest of the book and contains well-written analysis with cites from others regarding the points she wishes to make. One thing I must pick at. Again Barbara rails on the drug test, but she uses it as a singling-out of "indignities imposed on low-wage workers." Barbara, I hate to tell you this, but the drug tests are pretty ubiquitous across pay scales and companies. Sorry, that point fails.
All in all, a good read. It could have been done better, though, but, of course, this would have made for a more scholarly, less interesting book. Ideally, Barbara would not have moved. Ever. She would have found steady, accommodating housing, and then tried this experiment in that manner. I believe the book would have been more plausable and would more have mirrored the life of someone who is working in jobs such as these. Basically, I think I could've taken a decent stab at something like this. Of course, my focus would've been completely different - how to make the most of an experience like this (my low-wage jobs were accommodating of daytime graduate school and still full time).
Thanks for reading - individual points below.
Page 121: "Not to mention my worry that the Latinos might be hogging all the crap jobs and substandard housing for themselves, as they often do." Grr.
Page 127: Barbara basically asserts that a breathing, non-moving, non-functional slab of human cheese should make $11.77 an hour - a "living wage."
Page 129: I'm irritated that Barbara "needs" a furnished apartment. Really, one piece of furniture will suffice for a bit - bed/couch.
Page 140: Barbara rails that one of the furnished places at which she is looking does not come equipped with a microwave.
Page 147: "My watch battery ran out, and I had to spend $11 to get it replaced." (Emphasis mine). As Brian pointed out, she could have BOUGHT a new watch from Wal-Mart for far cheaper if she NEEDED the timepiece-on-wrist functionality.
Page 156: "I feel oppressed, too, by the mandatory gentility of the Wal-Mark culture." Feel isn't is, baby.
Page 163: "Melissa probably wouldn't think of herself as poor." Well, okay. Barbara then comments that Melissa knows about discounts and informs Barbara. Hey, does Barbara Ehrenreich use coupons? Scoff. I'm going to guess not. Perhaps I'll ask her that, too.
Also Page 163: Barbara seems surprised when her schedule changes from week to week. Welcome to shift work, Barbara.
Page 178: Barbara notes that the people with whom she works don't seem unhappy. That's probably because they are NOT unhappy, Barbara.
Page 187: "What you don't necessarily realize when you start selling your time by the hour is that what you're actually selling is your life." This may have been the second book-throwing point.
Page 196: In her analysis, Barbara believes she was thrifty enough. I agree with everything but the housing.
Page 209: Barbara explains "at-will" employment...at least the half that says your employer can let you go for any reason. There's no mention of "you can leave, too."
Page 211: "If you're made to feel unworthy enough.." (my emphasis).
Page 213: Barbara points out that most Americans earn less than $14 an hour. Well, yes. That's quite a bit of money.
Page 221: At the very end, Barbara wants us to feel shame. But I don't see hers. Isn't she an oppressor, too?
Page 122: Barbara lives briefly at a friend's place and cares for the friend's bird. She's afraid of birds.
Page 153: Barbara coins the phrase "Wal-Martian." I laugh - that's great.
Page 158: Sewage backs up in Barbara's motel. I feel genuinely bad for her.
Page 160: She makes fun of Survivor, and she gets some points for that until she compares her situation to it.
Page 166: Barbara "takes ownership" of the clothing. It's emotional, and it's well written. I identified with her here.
Page 168: Barbara has a small run-in with another employee. Again, her mental response to it is well written, and I find it similar to what mine would be.
Page 177: Barbara thinks to the reader, "I never see anything sold." It's very insightful. I have a similar experience in working for Barnes & Noble. Straightening up books - exasperating. It never ended.
Page 204: "Employers will offer almost anything - free meals, subsidized transportation, store discounts - rather than raise wages." I agree.
Hey, Didn't I Say That?
When you get past 30, you need resistance training whether you know it or not. It slows bone loss and makes it a lot harder to hurt yourself doing everyday things. Muscles and ligaments protect your back and your joints.
New Blog Showcase
Yes, another week has passed. Yes, this has to go on both blogs in order to be counted.
1) This post from She Who Must Be Obeyed is wonderful. Beth's style reminds me of Big Arm Woman.
2) Vox Popoli appealed to my geek sense.
Quite a few good ones this week; getting harder to pick.
Buck buck buck BWACK!
We've all read the news. Pamela Anderson...KFC. Yawn.
But Hans sent me this, so let's all go stare at Pamela's fake boobage for a bit and discuss amongst ourselves.
Pamela Anderson has joined the ranks of celebrities who are urging the public to boycott KFC because of the supposedly uncivilized manner in which the handle breasts...um...chicken. Anderson says, "If people knew how KFC treats chickens, they'd never eat another drumstick." Maybe she meant breasts but that's besides the point because this article is supposed to be about breasts...I mean chicken, not breasts. Hard to concentrate here.
Soon, please. (I notice PETA didn't dispatch her to David Novak's neighbors and church. Yet.)
I've found some more trolled blogs/bloggers - those offended by the Offender.
$ - Blogcritics.org (it posted under the name MacDiva) on this post.
$ - Winds of Change.Net it denigrates Misha after Misha apologizes.
This troll has been plauging Usenet since 1996. I don't find anything from it before then. It likes to lurk around political groups and bite the unsuspecting.
And, if you have no idea what I'm talking about when I mention the Enclave, read this.
Last, but not least, I offer you two logo possibilities for your blog. I'll be making my link list today. If you do borrow a button, please link it to the original post.
Image design by Jennifer Larson.
Image design by Cherry of Cherry's Ramblings.
October 18, 2003
Cleaning the Office
So, I have spent pretty much ALL day ripping apart my office and reorganizing/throwing things away (since I'm in that frame of mind for some reason).
I found a Thighmaster PLUS in the closet. And I laughed and laughed. And threw it out.
I hope you smiled. That's from college. How naive I was. Spot training. Ha!
WILMINGTON, Ohio (AP) -- The sharply rising number of obese Americans is leading medical-equipment manufacturers and ambulance crews to supersize their stretchers.
Bet the company that makes these is raking in the bucks.
Whom Does This Serve?
I've read this short article three times now, and I still can't fully answer that question.
Bad dogs? 115 non-by-the-book plantings. But then this sentence is thrown into the mix: "The department said none of the 115 infractions since 1990 resulted in any harm to the nation's agriculture, the food supply or the environment."
And that confuses me. Why is it there?
On Thursday, this article came out of Great Britain. Though the articles are not related, this one contains an equal or greater amount confusion as well.
The world's biggest scientific experiment into the environmental impact of genetically-modified crops, conducted on British farms, has shown that GM rapeseed and sugar beet are more harmful to wildlife than conventionally grown plants.
The results, published on Thursday by the Royal Society, are vital for helping ministers in Britain and other European countries in deciding whether to lift their ban on the crops and approve the commercialisation of GM technology despite consumer opposition.
However, the trials yielded a mixed message, with some groups of wildlife faring better in fields sown with genetically modified, herbicide-tolerant maize.
Scientists unveiling the results at the Science Centre in London said some insect groups, such as bees in beet crops and butterflies in beet and spring rape, were recorded more frequently in and around conventional crops because there were more weeds to provide food and cover.
In contrast, there were more weeds in and around the GM herbicide-tolerant maize crops, more butterflies and bees around at certain times of the year, and more weed seeds - an important source of food for birds.
Researchers stressed that the differences they found were not a direct result of the way in which the crops had been genetically modified. They arose because the GM crops gave farmers taking part in the trials new options for weed control.
Former environment secretary Michael Meacher, who originally launched the trials but has since become a leading critic of GM crops, said the results made a "decisive" case for banning genetically modified sugar beet and rapeseed.
I note that maize is not under "attack" in the article's results, but the headline surely indicates differently - that GM crops 'harm wildlife.' Perod. End of story. No need to read confusing article below.
More, on a slightly different but related topic.
Monsanto, the US agrochemicals group, said it remained "absolutely committed" to introducing GM crops in the UK, despite a decision on Wednesday to close much of its European seed breeding headquarters in Cambridge.
"Monsanto's announcement [to close its seed business] doesn't affect GM in any way. They are all conventional crops. Monsanto's GM research is all done in the [United] States," the company said.
The UK trials were carried out over a three-year period using only herbicide-tolerant GM crops, not those bred to be insect-resistant. The conclusions over GM maize may be affected by the proposed European ban on atrazine, the weedkiller, which was used extensively in the experiment.
October 17, 2003
Gotta Link That
The post ends with
In the words of John Galt, (no, not those words) "Get the hell out of my way."
But, no, seriously, if you haven't already, check out Trey Givens. The man cracks me up (and writes well...one IS the prerequisite of the other, of course).
The above-mentioned post smacks Wired magazine right out of his subscription list. Buh-bye.
When I picked up this tidbit from the headline, I didn't get what I expected.
The World Health Organization (WHO) unveiled plans on Thursday to cut the number of deaths from bathing accidents every year — nearly half a million in total — and those caused by infection from polluted waters.
But this is MSNBC. That's all I get unless I take the bait an scroll down. Which I do.
OFFICIALS OF the United Nations agency said poorer countries would be able to boost their tourist trade by adopting the preventative measures laid out in its new 220-page guidelines for governments and local authorities.
“Deaths from accidents and drowning, and often long-term illness resulting from pollution in rivers and coastal waters, are a big challenge to public health administration on all continents,” WHO water and sanitation expert Jamie Bartram said.
October 16, 2003
Gold Enclave of Privileged Capitalists
I'm not sure I can properly categorize this post, so I went for the generic.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to present to you the Gold Enclave of Privileged Capitalists.
Why, ask you? Well, it's sort of a long short story that I'll make even shorter with a few lovely links. The Nickel and Dimed threads on this post are the result of the Nickel and Dimed thread on another blog, where I commented that I thought the assertions made by said blogger were erroneous. This prompted some general dis-ease and, well, name calling by another visitor of the other blog.
It deteriorated from there.
In my post My First Endorsement, I quoted the "other visitor of the other blog," hereafter to be known as "the troll."
It is from these words that reader Harvey decided that I am "a shining example of the Great American Success Story." Amen.
As are we all.
As we sit here today privileged reading and writing blogs from computers (as TheYeti pointed out), most of us from within the United States of America, surely we must realize that we are, indeed, blessed. Most, if not all of us, have functional, working bodies and minds, temperate homes, and access to nutritional food. I recognize and embrace this. We are Americans - lucky citizens of democracy and capitalism, proud purveyors for our families, and generally good people (at least the bloggers who read me).
No troll with its unfounded personal screeches of "oppression" and "racism" can change this.
And so, in dual purpose of recognizing our great individual wealth (spiritual, mental, and material), I present to you again the Gold Enclave of Privileged Capitalists.
Why Gold? The troll's name is JadeGold.
Why Enclave? Because I like the word. Don't confuse it with Autoclave.
I think I've covered Privileged. But if you want more trolly discussion of the word in a negative connotation, feel free to visit any of the trolled blogs.
And Capitalists? Well, I'm guessing most of us are conservatives - economic conservatives. I certainly am. Cha-ching.
I am putting "founding" people in the enclave if I find they have been harrassed by said troll...so I'm going hunting. I'm happy to take joiners, too. E-mail me. I'll have a list of links with the Enclave logo in the left-hand side of my blog. (You can also e-mail me if I have you in here and you think I'm off my rocker and you want to be removed.)
Without further commentary, here are the founding members:
$ - Uh, me (even though it wasn't my blog - that isn't a qualification).
$ - Mister Green, for this post.
$ - Susie of Practical Penumbra (in the Nickel and Dimed original thread)
$ - Ted of Rocket Jones (also in that thread)
$ - TheYeti of Tales From A Yeti Suit for this post
$ - Dean Esmay for being scored in the comments of TheYeti's above-mentioned post.
$ - Steven Taylor of Poliblog for this post.
$ - Robert Prather of Insults Unpunished for this post
$ - North Georgia Dogma for this post.
$ - John Cole for this post
$ - Matthew Yglesias for this post.
$ - Outside the Beltway for this post.
$ - Just One Minute for this post.
I'm not done yet, but I am out of time at lunch, so I'll have to recommence at a later time. If I've missed you, let me know.
Extra special thanks and mention to Jennifer Larson of Jennifer's History and Stuff for the graphic.
And have a good day.
Jennifer Larson of Jennifer's History and Stuff is interviewing me. She needs questions! She needs 'em quick, as the cut-off is midnight CST...today!
I will, of course, link to this when it's available to be read. Jennifer's e-mail is email@example.com.
She's interviewing others as well, so please be sure to tell her that the question is geared toward me. All questions will be anonymous in origin.
(If you don't send her questions, then I'll be forced to answer such inane standbys as "what are the names of your neighbors' 10 gerbils?)
Pizza Hut Might Finally Give Me the Proper Amount of Cheese
So, you know, I'm fairly normal. I like pizza. But everytime I order it, I have to explain to the people working exactly how I want it, and their computers probably can't adequately display to the pizza makers what that is.
The company, a unit of Yum Brands Inc., launched a new Fit 'N Delicious pizza that contains half the cheese of a regular pizza served on the brand's thin crust. The pizzas will also use lean meats for toppings.
"Consumers today are paying a lot more attention to what they're eating," Peter Hearl, Pizza Hut's president, told Reuters.
A slice of the new pizza has 3.5 to 5 grams of fat, depending on the toppings. That's about 25 percent less than the usual thin-crusted slice, the company said in a statement.
I should save this for future ordering.
October 15, 2003
Gates the Benefactor
Bill Gates has set aside $25 million dollars to fund nutrition infusions into food.
WASHINGTON - A collaborative effort to get more nutritious food to the world's poor received a $25 million boost from a foundation set up by Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates.
HarvestPlus, an alliance of research institutions and agencies, will use the money for a four-year project on biofortification, which crossbreeds crops with high nutritional value and those that are high-yielding and disease resistant, the organization's director, Howarth Bouis, said Tuesday.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said the goal of the initiative is to provide people in poor and developing countries with food already fortified with vitamins and mineral nutrients.
Worldwide, "half the instances of death among children have malnutrition as important contributory causes," said Dr. David Fleming, director of the foundation's global health program.
HarvestPlus offers a strategic approach that would address the problem of malnutrition, he said.
The programs hopes to get improved varieties of crops to the world's farmers within a decade, Bouis said.
The organization also will conduct research into more controversial genetically modified crops.
"We're very convinced that this is where the breakthroughs will come in the future, but ... societies, themselves, have to decide whether they're going to be comfortable with genetically modified foods or not," said Joachim Voss, director general of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture.
Victor, my MuNu Godfather, has a very good post up about the cyclist who was stuck and killed by the former Miss America.
Actually, it STARTS off about that but quickly morphs into a very honest, very good rant about why one should wear a helmet while cycling.
Cancer and Exercise
According this article, 9.5 millions of Americans are living their lives post cancer.
I'm one of 'em, so I look around for information like this. The article, brought to me by Yahoo via the AP, mentions that cancer survivors recover better with an exercise program.
Okay, so maybe that's not relevant per se - I'm nearly 12 years past, but it is nice to see my lifestyle validated in terms that directly apply. Here's some text from the article.
Nearly two-thirds of cancer patients live more than five years after diagnosis. And starting during treatment, they face choices about food, dietary supplements and physical activity that can affect quality of life, sometimes even survival.
Yet it's difficult to find consumer-friendly information that separates the fads and frauds from scientifically backed choices. Hence the cancer society's new guidelines, published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
Topping the advice: there's no magic lifestyle choice that will keep cancer from returning. Beware fads like Gerson therapy, with its emphasis on vegetable juices and coffee enemas. Talk with your doctor about even the seemingly innocuous — high doses of vitamins, for instance, may actually block certain cancer treatments from working.
In fact, the No. 1 protection against another bout of cancer is to avoid being overweight, Doyle says.
And, for more information on the topic of exercise and cancer, well, there's always Lance Armstrong, who is in town today for the Tour of Hope.
A strange thing has occurred within Google; for some reason it has ranked a sonnet I wrote for Brian as it's #1 hit for Sonnet 2
I slapped the 2 on it when I posted it on the old site because it, well, it had no title. Now it has many, many viewers, which I guess isn't a bad thing.
It's ranked above Shakespeare's, which is third. Some other sonnet (or so it SAYS it's a sonnet. I can't find the meter) is below mine.
October 14, 2003
John Galt Update
Galt is recovering. He is happy to be home, and he should be healthy. The tumor removal was a success.
Ain't he dapper? The deal was pretty expensive, too - about $418.00.
And, yes, I realize I could have fed dinner to 418 homeless crack addicts for that hefty sum. I CHOSE NOT TO.
My regular good humor should return soon.
Good night, all.
I Think I'll Play Letter of the Day
Because I have a bunch of linkage to do, here's the letter of the day, Heather style. Today's letter is H, so that's fitting.
Do you believe in hell, higher powers, heaven?
Hell again. As a destination.
Headline I missed.
My First Endorsement
Yay! I am LOVED! Loved, I say! LOVED!
Exalted! Read these words!
Once again, Heather goes into attack mode (a common trait among high school-level objectivists). Her indignation is that we don't hold her aloft as a shining example of the Great American Success Story to those she believes remain mired in subsistence-level jobs because they don't possess Heather's strength of character, will, moxie, spunk, etc.
The facts remain, however, that Heather's very brief foray into the entry-level world was not without a safety net. And, in fact, she worked with multiple safety nets and was unencumbered by burdens and/or responsibilities.
As Ehrenreich's book vividly illustrates, many people simply don't have the advantages and safety nets Heather had. For these people, an illness, car problems, a sick child, a job loss are not mere inconveniences--they are often cataclysmic events all too often resulting in homelessness.
Of course, underlying Heather's disinclination to look at the facts is her unwillingness to realize her current lifestyle is largely subsidized on the backs of these people she scorns. Like all High School Ayn Rand-wannabes, she regards her lifestyle as an entitlement; there's a fair amount of insecurity involved as well.
Isn't it amazing when others know you ever so much better than you know yourself? They're able to grasp your every thought, circumstance, history, word, idea, and possible consequence!
Perhaps this person is a psychic! I've been waiting for an endorsement fit enough to describe this blog. Which paragraph should I use?
(Oh, and, as my mama always told me, "Never take to heart the opinions of those whom you do not respect.") Kate, we have our snark.
Visit Harvey of Bad Money
Why is today the day to visit Bad Money? Any day's a good day, really. Harvey posts a lot, usually five or six good-sized snippets a day - often more - to keep one interested.
And then there's the currency graffiti. He also links to Blackfive a lot - always a good idea, exalts his wife on a daily basis (ALWAYS a REALLY good idea), and has recently been blogrolled by the Great Emperor Misha, who has not yet noticed MY grace, wit, and not-so-surreptitious stops and comments.
But this post is about Harvey! It's about to get quite cold in Wisconsin; perhaps that'll mean he'll post even more!
October 13, 2003
Nickels (Dimes in about a week).
As you all know if you've been visiting this site, I've tasked myself with reading and critiquing Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.
This will be a long post. I plan to offer the book's premise, talk a little bit about how Barbara defines science, illustrate what I find to be unrealistic, offer places where I identify with the author, and then conclude the analysis of what I've read. I'm 119 pages into the book, which is a natural stopping point because of the book's structure.
The author tasks herself with working low-wage jobs and then writing about how she fares. She works (so far) as a waitress, a housekeeper, a maid, and a kitchen worker in a nursing home. (There are other jobs, but I've not read that far) and then chronicles her experience for you, for me, and for anyone else who is interested.
Barbara, as I will refer to her from here on out, calls this a science experiment. Unfortunately, there's nothing scientific about it, as the setting is not real. In the illustration section, I'll point to snippets from the book that seem like vagaries to me, since I'm someone who's had to subsist on a pretty small budget for a lengthy period of time. But, I'll jump right in, in the interest of keeping the post short (HA!)
1) On page three, while still introducing the book's concept, she states:
But if the
question was whether a single mother leaving welfare could survive without government assistance in the form of food
stamps, Medicaid, and housing and child care subsidies, the answer was well known before I ever left the comforts of home.
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, in 1998 - the year I started this project - it took, on average
nationwide, an hourly wage of $8.89 to afford a one-bedroom apartment...
2) Page 5, on setting her boundaries:
First, I would always have a car. In Key West I drove my own; in other cities
I used Rent-A-Wrecks, which I paid for with a credit card rather than my earnings. Yes, I could have walked more or
limited myself to jobs accessible by public transportation. I just figured that a story about waiting for buses would
not be very interesting to read.
3) Barbara also decides to spend a month in each setting. How is this realistic? I suspect this was done again for the "interest" factor, though this is not stated.
1) Page 12.
My first task is to find a place to live. I figure that if I can earn $7 an hour - which, from the want ads,
seems doable - I can afford to spend $500 on rent, or maybe, with severe economies, $600 and still have $400 or $500
left over for food and gas.
2) Page 12 again, in talking about how expensive Key West is and how she must "settle." "Still, it is a shock to realize that 'trailer trash' has become, for me, a demographic category to aspire to." Gee, Barbara. How nice of you to call your $500 a month digs, "trash." What does this serve except to anger some readers (me) and incite others with a rally cry of "oppression."
3) Page 15.
I had been vain enough to worry about coming across as too educated for the jobs I sought, but no
one even seems interested in finding out how overqualified I am
There IS no overqualification with manual labor. I'm a software developer. I type really well - upwards of 80 to 100 wpm error free. Does this make me overqualified to be a legal secretary? Goodness, no. I go to the gym regularly and can lift heavy objects above my head with general ease. Am I overqualified to be a rearrange shelves that are 5 1/2, 6 feet tall?
No. There IS no overqualified. And that's part of the beauty of it. There are jobs available for unskilled workers who might otherwise be unable to find work.
4) Page 16.
- I want to say, 'Thank you for your time, sir, but this is just an experiment, you know, not my actual life.
5) Page 18. Barbara talks with pride about her father, and then, er, doesn't.
Or so said my father, who must have known
what he was talking about because he managed to pull himself, and us with him, up from the mile-deep copper mines of
Butte to the leafy suburbs of the Northeast, ascending from boiler-makers to martinis before booze beat out ambition.
6) Page 36 - 37. Barbara is talking about the crew with whom she works:
We talk about the usual girl things - men,
children, and the sinister allure of Jerry's chocolate peanut-butter cream pie - though no one, I notice, ever
brings up anything potentially expensive, like shopping or movies. As at the Hearthside, the only recreation
ever referred to is partying, which requires little more than some beer, a joint, and a few close friends. Still, no
one is homeless, or cops to it anyway, thanks usually to a working husband or boyfriend.
7) Page 39. Barbara moves. Yes, within Key West she moves. Why? "So I take the $500 deposit I have coming from my landlord, the $400 I have earned toward next month's rent, plus the $200 reserved for emergencies, and use the $1,100 to pay the rent and deposit on trailer number 46 in the Overseas Trailer Park, a mile from the cluster of budget hotels that constitute Key West's version of an industrial park." Why does she move? Because gas is "eating up $4-$5 a day." Why is gas so expensive? Because Barbara wasn't frugal or thoughtful about where she lived in relation to where she would be working. And, quite simply, you must be if you're on a tight budget.
8) Page 41. Barbara makes me guffaw. Why, you ask? Because she says this about an accusation (possibly/probably unwarranted) made about one of the cooks with whom she works.
So why didn't I intervene? Certainly not because I was held back
by the kind of moral paralysis that can mask as journalistic objectivity. On the contrary, something new - something
loathsome and servie - had infected me, along with the kitchen odors that I could still sniff on my bra when I finally
undressed at night. In real life I am moderately brave, but plenty of brave people shed their courage in POW camps,
and maybe something similar goes on in the infinitely more congenial milieu of the low-wage American workplace.
9) Barbara takes a second job because she is cramped for money. I've done that, temporarily. You? It makes her tired, of course, and it lasts only one day. The author walks out on her waitressing job. She offers enough objective evidence that a reader can conclude, yes, it was a hellish night. What would you or I do if this job was, at the time, our only means of viable support. Deal. Barbara does not; she leaves. This is not mature or sensible behavior. Some of my best stories from fast food are from "the night the store got hit by lightning during rush hour," etc. This does not gain her respect in my eyes. In the middle of this parting diatribe, though, Barbara invokes the name of "science" again. "I had gone into this venture in the spirit of science, to test a mathematical proposition..." The redeeming part, though, if any, is that she's not proud, in retrospect, that she walked out.
Actions/feelings. Paperrockscissors? Actions win every time.
This is really more of the same, so I'll try to pick fewer snippets, as I'm certain this is getting long.
1) Barbara begins. "I chose Maine for its whiteness." Heather rolls her eyes. Yes, Barbara snaps her fingers and another thousand dollars appears - "let's start over." Realistic? No, certainly not. Whimsy? Yes, certainly so.
2) Page 52. The rental car surfaces. I assert again that one does not rent a car for a long period of time for day-to-day living when one holds a low-wage job. It's not economical, and it's not wise. But this is "science." Talking about picking up and moving, Barbara states:
This is, admittedly, an odd venture for anyone not involved
in a witness-protection program: to leave home and companionship and plop down nearly two thousand miles away
in a place where I know almost no one and about which I am ignorant right down to the most elementary data on
geography, weather, and good places to eat. Still, I reason, this sudden removal to an unknown state is not all
that different from the kinds of dislocations that routinely segment the lives of the truly poor. You lose your job,
your car, or your babysitter. Or maybe you lose your home because you've been living with a mother or a sister who
throws you out when her boyfriend comes back or because she needs the bed or sofa you've been sleeping on for some
other wayward family member. And there you are.
3) Page 53. Barbara calls the Hampton Inn a "low-rent motel." Really, I kid you not. Funny, I think they're kinda nice. And not cheap. Yes, this has little to do with the book, but I believe it says a lot about perspective.
Barbara takes a job with Merry Maids and tells a very interesting story of her life as a maid. This is much more compelling than the first section, and I'll talk about it a bit in the section where I list positives about the book.
4) Page 78. Barbara describes the lunches of her coworkers. She defines for us, her audience, a "pizza pocket."
5) Page 92. Barbara lets off a "shit tirade" (my words), making it painfully obvious she's never cleaned a public restroom before. I have. Yawn.
6) Page 100.
Then there's the supermarket. I used to stop on my way home from work, but I couldn't take the stares,
which are easily translatable into: What are you doing here? And, No wonder she's poor; she's got a beer
in her shopping cart! True, I don't look so good by the end of the day and probably smell like eau de toilet and
sweat, but it's the brilliant green-and-yellow uniform that gives me away, like prison clothes on a fugitive. Maybe,
it occurs to me, I'm getting a tiny glimpse of what it would be like to be black.
7) Page 107. And here's the line that sums it ALL up so far:
Anger is toxic, as the New Agers say, and there is no
evidence anyway that my coworkers share
my outrage on their behalf.
8) Page 108. Furthering point 7.
For the most part, my coworkers seem content to occupy their little niche on the sheer cliff face of class inequality. After all, if there weren't people who have far too much money and floor space and stuff, there could hardly be maids.
9) Page 117. "Work is supposed to save you from being an outcast." No, Barbara. Work isn't first about self-actualization. It's about food and shelter.
Barbara has some human moments, when individual scenarios affect her in ways that she speaks without her outrage lens. I'll stop the annoying choppy format of above and post this portion as a narrative.
On Page 7, Barbara does note that the car she'll be using does give her an advantage. This is just good writing - to recognize an asset that doesn't quite make her life an even comparison with another person working in a similar situation. On Page 17, she notes that initially she feels incompetent as a server. Again, a very human moment that anyone can relate to. A page later on 18, she states "because, to my total surprise despite the scientific detachment I am doing my best to maintain, I care." As well you should, Barbara.
On Page 34, Barbara adds a little flavor when talking about some of the interplay with coworkers. It seems real, which is what a writer strives for. I can put myself in her place as she's waitressing. And near the end of the last section, Pages 114 - 119, she describes a run-in with management for sticking up for a wounded coworker. It's there that I actually have some hope that this will take a turn for the objective - that perhaps some of the snarky asides and pretentious tones will fade back into the introduction. I won't know until I finish the book. I'll be sure to tell you later.
This book is well written. There's no doubt about that. There's nothing objective and detached about it, though, both to the credit and detriment of the subject and author. Barbara wrote the book to prove a point - there is no "science" and no "experiment." There's outrage, but it's pretentious, snooty, and carries a distinctive tone that Barbara, in her ignorance of "this life" is better than these people who live it day to day. Barbara, yes, people ARE better than other people. I believe this. Why? Because of their ACTIONS, not because of their social standing or ability to hobnob with literary and other elites.
If this book presented only facts and no commentary about the facts until the last and final analysis section (that I've not yet reached), I'd be sold. The book is fascinating when I'm not coughing and chortling. (I haven't thrown it yet).
However, I believe there's enough information within the long section of this post to show that this book, so far, is directed whim. Well-written and directed whim.
Finally, If anyone doubts the "science" aspect to this, I'm happy to author a second, separate post directed at just that issue.
Nickel and Dimed...a Prelude
I've now read 106 pages of the book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. I have another 10 or so to go before I've completed the third section - the second section that's actually about Barbara's work experiences.
Expect a long, long, long post tonight. I probably won't finish it until after the gym, though, so it may not be up until 9:30 p.m. CST or thereabouts.
Oh, and I commented on Andrew's blog about this again. Please, everyone, be the courteous and wonderful people I know you to be (and thanks for the support). Andrew is my former boss, and I believe some of this is tongue in cheek - for purposes of discussion. Anne is his wife and has done some wonderful things with educating children in other countries.
I agree that there is injustice in this world and that, as one of you said, "life isn't fair." I also believe in charitable work and charity organizations and the wonderful things they do. I just don't believe they should be run by the government and mandated thus (yours an my tax dollars).
Frank J's "In My World"
These are hits or misses with me. This one's a hit.
The screen then showed O'Yama, eyes glowing red with evil, giving a speech before a crowd of reporters. "When I am president, the oceans will boil, the cities will be destroyed in fire, and there will be universal health care!"
Quick Links (Otherwise Known as Massive Backlog)
In 15 minutes, how many links can I make? We'll see.
Wizbang links to a blogger who translates Baby Got Back into the romance languages and beyond.
Kelley of Suburban Blight has a new Cul-de-sac.
I missed entry for the Carnival of the Capitalists. I don't suspect I'll miss it again.
Aaron of Free Will drop-kicks the logic of the Democratic Underground. And, oh, so eloquent is he.
The Agitator tells a tale of To Kill a Mockingbird and politcal correctness.
Eugene Volokh cashes in on the strange mess that is Missouri's Conceal and Carry law (at least, I thought it was a law).
Robert Prather provides an excellent view of the EU's economic failings.
Pregnant cows killed by lightning (okay, it's early, and _I_ found it interesting).
Oh, and my spouse called me a sex symbol. I think perhaps he's a bit biased.
Headline of the Day
US surgeons part twins.
I always thought it was that humans were all twins or not twins at all. What one can learn from Europe!
October 12, 2003
10/12/2003 is my six-month blogiversary, one week after Brian began.
And, a couple of weeks ago, I moved to this "shiny new site," as someone put it. I've spent a bunch of time tonight putting together a list of my early posts that it's likely that no one's seen. Also, visit my About Me page; I've put my 100 things up (finally). Thanks for reading!
- Extremely Disjointed First Post
- Turkey Vanquished
- Pineapples for Peace
- Shut Your Seed-Cracking Beak
- "Are McLawsuits Legit?"
- The Search for the Sympathy Card
- Botox! Botulinum Toxin Type A (baby)
- Oh, THAT Appointment
October 11, 2003
Housekeeping, Blog and Otherwise
Today is a "do" day instead of a "write" day, so I'll be pretty much absent (as I have been already). But, tomorrow should be good.
Tomorrow's my 6th month blogoversary, if that's how you spell it. I plan to finish the 100 things about me I've been working on and put that up on the About Me page. I'll put a post up and link it when it's done. Also, I'm going to pull together some of my best posts from the first month (ones that no one saw because, well, I was under the radar). So, that's the deal.
In the meantime, Brian posted today about the phrase "Sanity Check." I told him he misused it, but he said the project manager from whose lips those words were spoken used it in that manner. The post is amusing, nonetheless.
If by some odd chance you've not caught John Cole's post yesterday about The New Definition of Quagmire, please visit. John's Balloon Juice is one of my early discoveries. Blackfive also links to this (as did a myriad others, so you probably have NOT missed it.
Munuviana's own DFMoore educates us on selenium
And, finally, the grocery strike (I have a post about it below) means most of the main stores are sparsely stocked, says Brian. What a fabulous excuse to do this week's shopping at Whole Foods. Insert maniacal laughter here. (I like Whole Foods a WHOLE lot.)
October 10, 2003
Now I've Done It
I have to go read Nickel and Dimed On (Not) Getting By in America. Here's why. I don't think/feel I can make an effective argument until I have, and, believe me, I want to be effective.
Just grabbed it offa Brian's bookshelf.
He ranted about it for quite some time, so I suspect I'll enjoy in that macabre sort of way. And I'll head off the argument that I'm "not making up my own mind" by stating that da spouse and I don't often disagree about matters such as these, having both worked blue/pink collar while being classically educated. And made far less than $14.00 per hour.
John Galt, Vomit, and Sundry Other Bodily Excretions
Who is John Galt?
This John Galt.
|(Though a veterinarian once asked the same question, and the only answer he got from me is "exactly.")|
Galt is my first cat - he's 7 1/2 years old. I've had him longer than I've known Brian, and, for the most part he's a great cat. He likes to produce these little benign tumors on various parts of his body. I'm thankful they're benign, but they are still tumors, so we have them removed. I found the third one this morning and flipped out, assuming the worst (malignant until proven benign, etc.).
I got an appointment set up for him - 2:40 this afternoon.
That was the easy part.
See, Galt HATES the carrier. But woman is stronger than cat, so in the carrier he went. I have some experience with this considering the seven years we've been together. First, it was just a bit of vomiting. Now, every time he's in a car, he usually vomits AND performs some other excretory function, the least of which is frothing at the mouth. That's not so bad.
When we moved him from the last house to this one, we didn't use the carrier (moved three cats, had two carriers) and rather kept him on my lap while Brian drove, thinking that he'd be more docile and that the CARRIER was the problem (not the cat - should've known better). About halfway from one house to the next, the cat exhibited pre-stress vomiting behavior. About four blocks from the house, the cat let forth a mildly fetid spew (could've been worse) of Friskies - all over me.
Well, what can you do? I laughed. I laughed so hard I'm sure it was disturbing to the other four people in the car, only one of whom knows me well enough to understand that the only ways for me to react in that situation are to intensely freak out or, as we all say, laugh my ass off.
Today's trip to the vet went a little like this.
Heather arrives home from work and sets the cat carrier out (open) before going to sweet talk the cat into being as docile as possible. She places towels in a plastic bag for clean-up of any messes cat will make. Cat reads Heather's intentions while she approaches him and hides under the sofa. Other cats watch, bemused (because they're cats). Heather scruffs Galt and takes him upstairs. Battle of wills ensues. Cat loses.
Cat in carrier goes in car. About halfway there, cat vomits (quite unceremoniously, which is odd for him, as I mentioned). I shrug it off; I'm "prepared."
Another 1/4 mile, and cat defecates. I know this from the smell. He's in the carrier, and I've got the sunroof open, so I make unpleasant faces, scrunching up my face to avoid the smell as much as possible and ignore Galt's yowling for the remainder of the trip.
When we arrive, I formulate this great plan, whereby I will open the cat carrier (because once the cat's in, he doesn't want out, y'know) and clean the front part where the vomit is, then remove the cat, clean the back, more offensive part, and then replace the cat in the carrier.
Uh, no. Cat escapes. Heather quickly closes the sunroof. Cat has nowhere to go. Yowling still, cat paces on the dashboard while Heather cleans out the carrier. The cat has defecated on the towel, so the carrier is actually clean when the towel and vomit from the front are removed.
Now, to place cat in carrier yet again. Because of Heather's seated position in driver's section of car, cat actually wins this battle.
Heather scruffs cat, opens door, and drags screaming cat (all 13 lbs of him) into Page Animal Hospital. Veterinary workers view distressed mother and cat.
The rest of the time, of course, cat is docile, sweet, loving, and kind, even during the biospy.
It's benign. I'm at my emotional wits' end, though. You'd think I'd be relieved, instead.
But... His surgery's Tuesday. We do it ALL OVER AGAIN!
I told them to expect a dirty cat.
October 09, 2003
Kelly, The Patriette, has moved off of Blogspot. Migration is good.
Ode to the Puppy Blender (A limerick for Michele)
Michele of A Small Victory is having a limerick contest. I entered with this:
Glenn Reynolds, that mad Puppy Blender
Insisted his food dogs be tender.
Two slices of bread,
"Thanks, PETA," he said,
And, smiling, he hat-tipped the vendor.
Bikes and Haters of Bikes
Nic has a post up today regarding why she's wary of road riding these days.
Aren't Headlines Fun
Computer Associates Shares Sink.
At first I thought the "s" on Associates was a typo. Damned literalist that I am.
Oh, that Vatican.
"The Aids virus is roughly 450 times smaller than the spermatozoon," Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Vatican (news - web sites)'s Pontifical Council for the Family, told the program.
"The spermatozoon can easily pass through the 'net' that is formed by the condom."
He said that just as health authorities warned about dangers like tobacco, so they had an obligation to issue similar warnings about condoms.
The Catholic Church is against condoms. Sex is for procreation. Sex belongs in marriage - without condoms - to make babies. These are our views. Don't use condoms.
Thank you, that is all.
Pretty dull, isn't it? He had to sex it up a bit, work in some controversy.
And then there's the business of "stopping" AIDS. Nothing, to date, has STOPPED AIDS. But you, Cardinal Trujillo, may be responsible stopping what's stopping AIDS so far in some individuals.
While in Luak near Lake Victoria, Gordon Wambi, director of an AIDS testing center, said he had been prevented from distributing condoms because of church opposition.
And in other news, grocery stores in the St. Louis metro area have undergone some unplanned and unexpected staffing changes...temporarily, at least. Here's today's report.
I have a Schnucks near me, and a Dierbergs near work. Milling strikers clutter the parking lot entrances. People honk and the strikers wave.
Unions are foreign to me. I understand the concept, but, in my experience working in Human Resources, the benefits don't go to the little guy - the same "guy" whom unions are purporting to protect.
Custodians for the University of Missouri, Columbia had a pay range with four steps and a "Lead" title that could allow one to achieve a fifth "step." These were non-negotiable (having already been negotated by someone other than the singular custodian, of course). When you'd been with the University x amount of time, you received y pay. Period. End of story. No merit increase, pure seniority.
You could clean the toilets twice a day, use fewer cleaning supplies than the other 27 custodians, bring up the mood of others around you, and do twice as good a job as anyone who'd ever worked there. Guess what - doesn't matter.
And that's the problem I have with unions.
Back to the case in point, though - the grocery store lockout. Not many facts about this strike/lockout are available. This is from an article on 10/6/03:
Union workers who gathered this morning at America's Center voted 4,252 for a strike, 1,670 against the strike. That means 72 percent approved the strike, more than the two-thirds necessary of those voting.
Just two weeks ago, union leaders and supermarket officials were working closely to win ratification.
The four-year pact would give many workers a 75-cent-an-hour raise over three years; baggers would get a 15-cent-an-hour raise during that period. All workers would have gotten a 20-cent-an-hour bonus if the contact had been ratified. They still would receive the bonus if there's no strike, grocery officials have said.
The contract also would require employees to pay a greater share of their medical costs through new annual deductibles and co-pays on services, such as emergency-room treatment and chiropractic visits.
The proposal would no longer cover spouses who are offered health insurance at their own workplaces. But workers still would not pay health-care premiums.
Supermarket executives say they need the concessions to remain competitive with non-union rivals, including Costco Wholesale Corp., Walgreen Co. and particularly discount giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
For the first time, union leaders used a mail-in ballot on the original vote, a move intended to maximize response and increase the chances for passage, experts say. Both the companies and union officials hoped workers would have time to study the 47-page contract in the privacy of their homes, not in a noisy mass meeting.
I was a yes. This thing's gonna last a while.
Letter Phrase of the Day
Letter Phrase of the Day!
Yes, Venemous Kate's one-upped herself. I find this far more fun and await SNAFU day.
Where I Stand
Good morning! I just took the Political Compass test again, and I scored very close to what I scored before, probably 4 or 5 months ago. (And thanks to Robert Prather for referring to the site on his blog)
I scored thus:
Economic Left/Right: 3.25 Libertarian/Authoritarian: -.31
I consider myself to be a bit more libertarian than that, but some of the questions that would score me that way, naturally, were a bit too narrow.
Why on earth am I posting this at 6:38 a.m.? Well, I got some interesting e-mail that pushed this post further up into the queue.
The e-mail states thus:
"I'm sure with the proper facts, you'd be a lot more left...it's what happened to me."
First, it's horrible, I know, but it's such a hanging curveball, and I have a bat in reach. What are "the proper facts"? I'm puzzled.
Second, this put me into thinking mode quite early in the morning, and I penned a response, though, sadly, it was in Hotmail, and so I don't have a copy.
But, here's where I stand on eight different issues.
1) Environment - individuals should do what they can. Corporations shouldn't be given loopholes to circumvent laws. Lots of shoulds, no? Brian and I are recycling fiends, throwing away basically only non-recyclables and cat litter. I despise litterers, too. I have a whole post on litter waiting for merely the inspiration to offend a few people. It'll come.
2) Abortion - in all honesty, keep it legal. It's not morally right, in my opinion, but the simple fact remains that, despite its status as legal or not legal, it will continue to happen. And you cannot legislate morality anyway.
3) The war - I refer you to here since this is already written.
4) Racial issues - Yes, there is racism in America. No, I don't believe the attitudes that affect racism can be legislated. Ideally, treat everyone as individuals; get to know all you can about other cultures, and broaden your perspective. I have met racists of many races. None is right. I glossed over this; I know. I believe that some people are better than others - by their ACTIONS, not their origins.
5) Social Security - privatize it immediately for those who are willing to accept the responsibility for the money they pay into the system.
6) Legalization of drugs - I waffle on this and can see good and bad coming from it. I voted "no" on the question within the Political Compass test.
7) Personal responsibility/lawsuits - I am disgusted by people who make excuses for their bad actions instead of accepting responsibility. Good example: Chante Mallard. Just about anything on Overlawyered.com. Obesity, blaming "someone/something else."
8) Gun Control - we have laws. We likely have too many gun laws, but not being too particularly interested in either direction, I don't have an exact number. The recent CDC survey stated that it was unsure the effect of gun laws on violent crime. I grew up with guns and know that they are merely tools. If guns were illegal, there'd still be guns on the streets in the hands of criminals. But not in the hands of the common man.
I know I just picked a few, but I do have to get to work. I am most closely aligned with the Republican party, though I do cross party lines and decide on an election-by-election basis for whom I vote.
I have some issues with the Libertarian platform. Basically, it fails to recognize that people (en masse) are sheep. Unthinking, but, thankfully docile at most times. Sheep don't take personal responsibility to better their lives and are poor examples of adult behavior. These are the people for whom disclaimers like "do not paint your face with house paint" are made. Go read Overlawyered.com if you're still skeptical.
The left is fond of taking responsibility away from individuals for their actions. Oh, person X "couldn't help himself" because of BLAH. And I can't stand for that. I've said it before - if you take away my responsibility, you take away my accomplishment.
And that's disgusting.
October 08, 2003
I was at the Parkway North High School gym playing volleyball this evening, which is exercise.
Upon my return, I noticed from a hit shown on Sitemeter that I am the #4 Google hit for exercise manboobs.
An Aussie hit me, no less.
Nice, eh? Drink up.
Today the World is Senseless
This will likely upset many of you as much as it has upset me.
A 19-year-old woman has been charged with first degree murder in the beating death of her 2 1/2-month old daughter who, according to shocked witnesses, was held by the ankles and her head slammed on the pavement Tuesday evening in the 5500 block of Pamplin Avenue, near West Florissant Avenue, St. Louis police said.
The mother, Jilanda Daniels, was charged late Tuesday evening. Her daughter, Destiny Daniels, was pronounced dead at St. Louis Children's Hospital as a result of severe head trauma.
"She was under the influence of drugs and quite possibly not aware of what she was actually doing because surely a mother would never do that to her child," police Lt. Rochelle Jones said.
And, Rochelle, a mother did. Take off the Pollyanna glasses and quit defending this woman.
Exception to the Rule
Yes, a bear mauled and killed Timothy Treadwell, of whom I'd never heard. He was, as this article pens it in the title, a "Grizzly Advocate, Friend."
I would suggest, gentle readers, that you not "befriend" wild animals with the capability to easily wipe you from existence with a one-two punch of paw swat and tooth hold. This is the second incident in a week; you know of the other of which I speak. (Ick, that rhymes, but it amuses me, so I will leave it). But, size may not matter; ask the victims of the killer rabbit.
Mr. Treadwell may well have "lived among the grizzlies" (the article states he got within inches of the bears.) And while Mr. Treadwell may have survived and thrived (wow, I'm on a roll) quite well in the previous 50 encounters, the exception to "the rule" just might getcha.
Links of Links
Venemous Kate's been busy again, this time giving the letter "L" some love. (I was mildly disappointed there was no "lascivious" link. Perhaps next time)
The Bonfire has burned its way onto Wizbang's site. The Noggle clan is well represented.
And, for more Vanity reading, visit this week's Carnival at Dancing with Dogs.
Also, I notice that Jennifer Larson and Blackfive have been doing some serious linking of late as well.
Bill Whittle comments on the recall election in CA and the results.
It's short, for Whittle, and he manages his commentary without ever using the word "recall."
October 07, 2003
Filthy Lie #5
Brian and I arose at 4:30 this morning to be at the gym by 5:00 a.m. We arrived on time, and though it was dark, I quickly recognized the small child's bike propped against the outside wall.
I said to Brian, "Glenn Reynolds." Brian frowned, "Really? He hasn't left me fan mail in a while." I scoffed, and we parted ways to work on different body parts.
I spotted the bike's "owner" hanging from the gym's Roman Chair. His left bicep sported a bright new tattoo. I stepped closer out of curiosity but still hoping not to interrupt the Puppy Blender's obvious concentration.
I squinted. Yes, that's right. It was a tattoo of PETA's LOGO!
I gasped and pointed, but I was so aghast that all I could say was "PETA!" Glenn finally noticed me and chuckled.
"Yes, PETA," said he. "They let me do an article for Slate and promised me free puppies if I give it a positive spin and sport this nifty tattoo."
Speechless. I was speechless. I dropped the 10 pound plate I was holding, narrowly missing my foot.
Glenn continued, "I think I have an in with the ELF, and that's good because I've been itching to try a mink julep."
What does one say to that? In my previous encounters with this man, I've been more eloquent, but, for now, the choice was clear. I must leave his company. I did an about face, kicked the fallen weight, exclaimed "YOW," and stormed off to find Brian.
This man is an enemy. He's an enemy of the people, and most certainly now we know he is an enemy of ALL animals.
Take heed and prepare.
Picky By Evolution, Baby
Of course, this makes me laugh, but the headline says, "Is Fussy Eating an Evolutionary Trait?"
The article goes on to state:
The refusal by children refusal to eat new foods may not be due to fussiness but an evolutionary trait designed to protect themselves from harm, scientists said on Wednesday.
BABIES WILL put almost anything in their mouths. But as children get older, they become more selective about what they eat, particularly if they have not tried it before.
Green vegetables and meat can be particularly troublesome.
But scientists at the charity Cancer Research UK said thousands of years ago toxins in plants could have harmed children, and meat carried a high risk of food poisoning.
“So it makes sense that humans may have evolved to be highly suspicious of certain food types as youngsters,” said Lucy Cooke, the lead researcher, who reported the findings in the journal Appetite.
She and her colleagues questioned 564 mothers of young children about their eating habits. The fussiest children liked potatoes, cereal and cakes but avoided vegetables, fruit and meat.
Not much time left - spent most of lunch researching what I'm going to write about tonight, but, a few things deserve quick mention.
Yesterday's Letter of the Day was V. What will it be today?
Groping! (brought to you by On the Fritz)
Fired and gun in the same story. Not related.
Government by team.
Soon to be called Governors (idea from Brian).
Frank J. notices my move (and grumbles about my incessant e-mails asking to update my links).
And, back to work...
October 06, 2003
Reviewing the War
Jon of QandO does an amazing job of enumerating the justifications for the war in Iraq.
With the end of the Iraq war, comes the question...was the war justified?
Of course, one must define the justification for war first. Was it human rights? Was it terrorism? Was it WMDs all along, with the others only claimed after the fact?
Well, there's only one definitive answer, and it always suprises me that this is still debated. The justification for war has long been codified and official. It is described in the October 10th, 2002 "House Joint Resolution Authorizing Use of Force Against Iraq", and it is quite clear.
So, in light of the recent progress report from David Kay, let's examine the justification for war, and see what we get. We'll list the justifications and see if they have been confirmed, or found wanting.
This story was just too cool.
WASHINGTON - Abe Cohen works out every day, and the workouts include at least a couple hundred crunches. Cohen is 92. His wife, Esther, who works out with him, is 86. Her daily ab exercise total is 400.
The Cohens typically are at the gym at 6:15 a.m., just after it opens. He does 30 minutes at a fast walk on the treadmill, works his legs and arms on the machines, and then does his famous crunches.
She also does arm and leg exercises, along with stomach exercises, but no aerobics. The club no longer has the track she used to walk, and the dance exercise classes are too fast-paced, so she lets her housework handle her aerobics. "I keep myself busy going up and down to the basement," she said. "That's enough walking."
The Cohens' workouts get attention from members and employees of the club. "They fuss with us," Abe Cohen said.
So do other seniors. "All the guys say, 'We want to be like you,'" he said. "I give them incentives, they say."
See you in the gym in 50 years.
Exercise and Breast Cancer and...BREASTS!
While this is still a MAY, can't hurt to follow its advice, ladies.
And, men, if you're exercising, perhaps your wives will come along too, and this'll be beneficial. And, men, if you're exercising, perhaps you can avoid or tone down on those manboobs(I couldn't resist). Drink up, people.
In other news, visit the Blogger Boobiethon (yes, there is such a thing) and donate and/or view the busty ladies. Almost 5,000 raised. Yes, Heather's endorsing soft core porn for a good cause. Wahoo.
Who Are These People?
No, seriously. The article states in its title, False Beliefs Threaten Cancer Patients.
Well, yeah. But this is astounding
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly 40 percent of lung disease patients believe that surgery can spread cancer by exposing the tumors to the air -- a false idea that could cost them their lives, U.S. researchers said on Monday.
Reasons for said belief?
Margolis said he found that many patients refused to go see a surgeon, even when told they needed surgery to take out a lung cancer tumor.
"They say, 'Not only do I not want lung surgery, but I don't even want to see the surgeon because I know the cancer will spread once you expose it to air,"' he said.
In the survey, Margolis and colleagues asked patients where they got this idea.
"Most of the patients said very non-specific things, saying 'I heard it from the gossip mill' or 'I heard it from friends' or 'Everyone knows that,"' he said.
Decision-Making Tool Conference
That's right, folks, it's the 2003 Rock Paper Scissors International Championships.
Ohhhhhhh, baby! I like this tool. This is how Brian and I decide who's driving and who's drinking (and, darnit, he is pretty good at guessing my pysche at any given moment and knowing when to pull that paper move, sigh).
Still - got an argument over something stupid and inane? Rock Paper Scissors it. There, you feel much better now.
The Blogger Drinking Game
Matt of Blackfive brings us The Blogger Drinking Game.
I think this was inspired by something called...the Cubs?
October 05, 2003
But they're still going to fry 'em, right?
Oh, and get this...
CHICAGO (AP)--McDonald's plans to introduce a new, all white-meat Chicken McNugget with less fat and fewer calories, the latest move by the fast-food giant to offer healthier fare.
In the next six weeks, McDonald's will begin offering the smaller McNuggets in all of its 13,600 U.S restaurants, the Chicago Tribune reported in Sunday's edition.
I knew this one, too. Just validated it.
ESTJ - "Administrator". Much in touch with the external environment. Very responsible. Pillar of strength. 13% of the total population.
Kelley of Suburban Blight points readers to this site, and I just started taking the tests. New tests are fun. Here are my results from the Enneagram; very accurate.
Restaurants and Nutrition
Here is the post as promised. I'll follow up on this as I gather more information.
First, I'll give the links. Here's what made the cut from everything I perused online.
- Calorie Counters: Restaurant Links
- About.com's Fast Food Nutrition Links
I'm a Google hound. If I'm going to a new restaurant, and I know what it is ahead of time, I'll find the website and pick through the menu to decide what to eat the rest of the day to possibly accommodate that half order of lasagna I'm going to consume at dinner (yum!).
Another thing - I try to never order something that's cooked in butter. Cooking in butter's okay, obviously, but you really should control how much. Same thing goes for fried food (except occasionally) - try not to order fried food at a restaurant. For french fries, most restaurants will substitute something like cottage cheese, broccoli, or, my favorite, sliced tomatoes.
I found some other general nutrition links that I'll also share.
Minky! Part II
In Minky!, I mentioned that, of course, releasing 1,000 mink would make a mess.
Well, it appears we're on mess part deux.
Great "liberation," Animal Liberation Front. You rock. Minks eating each other - what a vast improvement! Am I against raising animals for fur - yes. Why? Because we can clothe ourselves with things made from plants and from other animals that're killed for food reasons. I'll never support the fur industry. But, it's legal, and private property is private property. What's next, "freeing" the oppressed house cats and dogs?
Jail, then prison. Enjoy. It'll happen.
Oh, too bad pics of this didn't turn up.
A few mink have been seen recently eating fish along local rivers and one turned up last week at a fruit stand on the edge of this town about 40 miles northeast of Seattle.
Kitten Punching and Legumes
Jared expounds (and quite gracefully so, but brief) on the media's Arnold smear campaign.
And, everybody, remember to wipe down the bench.
Proper Use of a Gun 101
In St. Louis on Friday, two men attempted to rob Larry's Last Stop Liquor store.
I cannot think of a better illustration of "there are consequences for your actions."
October 04, 2003
I have Dave Matthews' song Gravedigger looping. I can't turn it off.
Not a radio listener, I first heard this song on MP3.com last week, probably later than the rest of you. I bought the album last night, based on it and on my big thumb's up for DM and da band's When the World Ends off of Matrix Reloaded's soundtrack album.
I had a Dave Matthews Band cassette - Under the Table and Dreaming. It was often background music while studying (grad school) or something playing behind a conversation. When I lived with Adam, we always had music on - that's his thing.
So I was somewhat surprised how much I liked these two. I played the live CD first last night - not bad, not bad at all. And then I put on Some Devil. It's been in the CD player since - probably about 5 times through now. And then at about two today, I put Gravedigger on single-song repeat, trying to isolate what it is that's tugging at me. Here we go.
First, musically, the gradual build-up of instrumentation and volume, thus the emotional swell. Nicely done without being overdone. Second, the build in emotion of the mini obituaries that Matthews is offering. First, we've got Cyrus and his legend. "Made his great-grandchildren believe you could live to 103." Nicely said. Then the equating of 103 with forever. Equally nice.
The chorus, soft the first time, then building.
Muriel. "She lost both of her babies in the Second Great War." World fits here, too, syllable wise. I'm a wordplay freak - Second Great war works beautifully - never heard it coined that way, though I often hear WWI was "the Great War," one of my favorite books being Solider of the Great War.
Then the nursery rhyme - okay, that's a pet peeve. Ani DiFranco is always off on Rockabye Baby, and that irritates me - it's usually a detriment to her work. But, here, I'm okay with it, really - the innocence, and then "ashes to ashes" - of course that's fitting.
And then the whammo. Musically, it's very loud here.
Little Mikey Parsons, 67 to 75
He rode his bike like the devil until the day he died
when he grows up he wants to be Mr. Vertigo on the flying trapeze
oh, 1940 to 1992
I can count on one hand the songs I'd put on a single-song loop, having done it. The list includes this song, Tori Amos' Horses, Sheryl Crow's Do What We Can, and The Church's Under the Milky Way Tonight.
They say that your demons can't go there. Indeed. Wistful.
Tomorrow, I'm going to post some nutrition information I've been gathering today. I just need to tidy it up a bit and organize it.
Harvey Olson of Bad Money decided that I am the strongest woman in the blogosphere. I'm not sure why; perhaps it was this (Control-F and look for Noggle - permalink doesn't work.). Yes, that's my arm.
The first advice I'd give is to never take anything you read about fitness/nutrition as gospel. Follow up on everything, including my posts, before committing anything to memory or lifestyle.
That being said, I thought I'd give you all a bit of insight into what's going on in my fitness/nutrition world.
I'm probably done playing cyclist for a while. I may take a good long ride tomorrow, but it's not scheduled. Weather's supposed to be gorgeous, but I have this small problem of, oh, the fact that I went back on a bodybuilder's weight training split this week. And, essentially, everything hurts except the first body part I worked - my chest. That was Wednesday, so that's why.
What's a split, you ask? (No, I don't want to look like THAT guy). Well, if someone shows you a full-body workout, typically you hit a muscle group maybe once, maybe twice. You might do some curls for your biceps and then move on to a chest exercise. You may be advised to do this routine three times a week, and then, POW, you're fit, assuming you stick with the program.
There's nothing wrong with this whatsoever. Eventually, though, doing the same thing over and over will cause you to plateau, meaning, well, you're performing some maintaining (funny word to type), little more. So maybe you go back to a trainer and shake it up a bit - learn some new exercises, hit everything from another direction. Instead of the standard bicep curls, you turn the dumbells so that your palms face in toward your legs - voila, hammer curls. Then, perhaps a few weeks to months later you switch it up again and learn preacher curls (arms immobilized on a surface - really isolates the muscle). You now know three distinct ways to hit your bicep.
A split usually isolates a body part, two, or three to a day. Mine's pretty simple - chest, legs, back, arms, shoulders. I try to do different things (read: torture moves) to my abs every day. So, this could be a five-day workout, or, if I'm feeling motivated, I might work one body part in the morning and one in the evening - whatever.
I've been on a wham-bam-leave-the-gym-ma'am full-body workout since May - maintaining what I've got in favor of more cardiovascular (cycling) work. I've been itching to get back to this for a while, though. But I had forgotten what it feels like to truly shock your muscles when they've been all but napping for a few months. I remember now.
My legs are sore. My legs are sore from a HOME workout. Oh, indeed. I can do everything I need to do weights wise at home except my back, and, if I HAVE to make do in an emergency, I can squeeze out a back workout at home. Chest is easy - I outlined it a couple of weeks ago in that how-to-avoid-manboobs post. Arms - well, all you really need is dumbbells. As you can see, I have a few of those.
And, check it out - plenty of room for more dumbbells - we're going to need 35 pounders soon, seeing as I can squat pretty effectively using both 30s. I have little 1 1/4 pounders called Plate Mates, which are awesome. They allow you to gently progressively add weight; strength rarely accommodates a 5 pound jump.
So, there're some creds at least with the fitness arena. I prefer to use the gym because of the many different ways to do things, depending on my mood - do I use barbells or dumbbells or machines tonight - some combination, maybe. Who's to say?
One more small thing - training and training hard doesn't mean you're going to add size. Yes, I'll post a pic in a couple of months if everything goes as planned, and I will not be bulky. Few people can REALLY bulk, and that's due to genetics. You can train and train intensely but with the goal to add strength without size. I know early on I was afraid I'd bulk up because I add muscle easily, but it's just not going to happen. My calves are thicker from training for cycling (and cycling), but they, my most hereditarily gifted muscle, won't add considerable muscle mass. Fear not the weights.
(Gratuitous leg shot)
There'll be more. I'll list some of my favorite sources to illustrate free weight exercises soon, I'm sure, as I emphasize more on this in my private life. I looked in the mirror and decided I look like the before version of a fitness model. You see them in adds, basically fit women with bodies a bit too soft to be dressed in THAT bikini. But, still, definitely not a poochy, flabby woman. I am, of course, aiming for the after picture. Who isn't, eh? About 15 pounds, and I won't be. What color bikini looks best on a redhead with reallllllly pale skin?
New Blogger Showcase
Two new blogs of note this week.
1) I liked Eliminate the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, but I have a small complaint to the blogger. Tom - use spell check. You write well; you probably know you don't spell perfectly. Appease the readers; cut down on eyesores.
2) Also, I liked Trey's 111 things. I'm having trouble finding my 100 without going radically personal - I think there's a fine balance there, really.
I'm a Minority in YET ANOTHER WAY
This didn't go into the link queue about what to blog about. It's going straight from read to blog.
An increasing number of entrepreneurs have discovered there's big money to be made out of catering to Americans' bulging waistlines -- without seeking to trim them down.
It's big business.
Freedom Paradise, a 112-room resort south of Cancun, Mexico, bills itself as the world's first resort designed for obese people. Its amenities include large armless chairs, wide steps with railings in swimming pools, walk-in showers instead of bathtubs, stronger hammocks and a staff steeped in sensitivity training.
"We are no longer a niche market. Overweight people are the majority in this country," 324-pound Mindy Sommers said, referring to the 64 percent of Americans who are overweight. "Businesses that don't cater to us are stupid. There are a lot of us, and we have a lot of money to spend."
An expanding obese population is providing lots of demand for businesses that supply things that are plus-size -- from larger towels to larger beds, larger clothes to larger jewelry, larger furniture to larger coffins.
Amplestuff.com (http://www.amplestuff.com), an online retailer, sells nearly everything to the obese market, including seat belt extenders, larger umbrellas, larger clothing hangers, larger towels and weighing scales that can accommodate up to 1,000 pounds.
For some reason I'm in a "feeling" mood today, so I'll tell you the whole thing makes me feel uncomfortable, somehow like it's a victory won, a celebration. And then I snapped out of it when I read this.
"What we need is a solution to the obesity, but what we have is people feeding the problem to make money off the obese people," said Epstein of Euro RSCG Tatham. "Sadly, this is to be expected in a capitalistic economy."
Probably my own fears of obesity weighing in earlier. The other gem in the article - kayaks for the obese. I mean...wow.
The Hunt of the Snark is super-sized this week. Go visit!
Blogiversary - Brian!
Tomorrow is Brian's 6th month Blogiversary, and mine follows a short five days afterward.
Please visit him - he's a better writer than I, and if he'd just MARKET himself a little more (you know, comments, RSS feed, at the very least), I think he'd be surpassing my readership by leaps and bounds.
Of course, he doesn't post an over-the-shoulder-in-black-dress flirtatious pic, either, as he often points out.
I told him he could borrow the dress, and I'm pretty handy with the digital camera.
October 03, 2003
Better than Lemons to Lemonade
When comments bring him hate spam, Frank J. gives the rest of us a really good post.
Bless Ronin! (Is that grammatically correct, Frank? I don't think so.)
You Go, Nic!
I think I've said this before, probably not as well.
I can probably count on my hands the number of people in the country whose health actually concerns me. If everybody else wanted to eat three Big Macs a day I really don't care. I don't care if people smoke unfiltered Camels and shoot heroin either. Or if they ride motorcycles without helmets. My only objection to any of that is the economic cost I need to absorb when the consequences of their decisions catch up to them, but hey. I walk and hike in tax-supported public parks that the morbidly obese, hypertensive, diabetic, arthritic non-exerciser doesn't use. So maybe it evens out in the end.)
She beats up the Center for Science in the Public Interest. She does this with a burrito (I always thought those were soft). Well worth reading.
What Kind of Thinker Are You?
I found this test via The Speculist
I liked it, and it appeared to be fairly accurate. The results came up with two types, one, a Linguistic Thinker (oh, definitely), and the other was an Intrapersonal Thinker. I'd have to say that's true, too.
PHRASE of the Day
The phrase of the day is "frisky unibrow." No, seriously. Unibrow came from the same wordsmith, just several hours later.
Incorporate THAT one in your blogs for me (or not).
Crazies, All of 'em
Aaron at Free Will got to this before I could (it was in the queue - at least the Shaklee part), so I'll just make mention and also point you to Virginia Postrel's great quote on her piece.
Don't you "militants" have anything better to do? Bombs are so...gauche.
The Proper Way to Eat Carrots
Interested-Participant informs us that the British know the government-approved way to eat carrots.
Whatever will I do? I've done this all wrong my whole life. Is there redemption?
The Word of the Day is...
But make sure you use it with a Spanish accent for the proper effect.
When You Leave a Post Without Saying Enough
Susie pointed out in the comments of my last post that perhaps the tone of that wasn't so positive as I made it out to be.
Fair enough - I probably should've added at least two more paragraphs, one of which is in my comments section in response to Susie.
You can read the whole thing either way. Me, I'm amused, and in my mind the scientists are scratching their heads commiserating, "that's not the results we expected to find."
My whole point can be summed up as such: legislation proves nothing. Because a law is there, doesn't mean people will follow it. We've all heard the saying that "if you outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns." I firmly believe it. You can substitute anything for guns that you'd like, but the simple fact remains: criminals are criminals. Laws don't stop 'em now.
So, take it as that.
October 02, 2003
The Happy Gun Dance
Spoons, Rachel Lucas, and Kim du Toit (along with a star-studded supporting cast!) are all doing the Happy Gun Dance! Yet more sunny gun evidence to tack up to the panelling. Everybody, repeat after me: "Guns are inanimate objects." Good.
Oh, and someone really ought to legislate those knives, no? I mean, sheesh, the harm they do to the children - the harm they COULD do to the CHILDREN. Hysteria! Hysteria!
(By the way, I find it funny that this is categorized in HEALTH by Yahoo. Perhaps I should link it with fitness and nutrition as well).
I'm surprised Electric Venom didn't snap this puppy up with a giant gulp.
Man bitten in Wal-Mart by a snake?
What sorts of scenarios can we paint here given such limited information?
I'll give you two, but these are dull. It happened this way, or it didn't. Oh, I guess the snake could be a reincarnation of Sam Walton, and it was displeased with the man - that's kinda a sub-situation.
Comments section is open - what do YOU think?
Quickly Found PETA Post
So, I hit the Center for Consumer Freedom, as I often do, and, there it was, gleaming, screaming, teeming with shouts for my attention:
PETA's Latest Excuse For Funding Terrorists
In 2002 the Center for Consumer Freedom first revealed that PETA had donated $1,500 of tax-exempt funds to the FBI-labeled terrorist Earth Liberation Front (ELF). Now, in a story about recent ELF arsons, the Associated Press has published the eighth in a series of different explanations PETA has offered for this misguided (and possibly illegal) cash grant.
Yesterday's AP story notes: "PETA said the money was used to send two people to Washington to testify at a congressional hearing on behalf of an ELF spokesman." Funny -- PETA officials never mentioned this in 2002, when they offered the following explanations:
For some reason, I'm thinking of Masterpiece Theatre, complete with Pachelbel's Canon - too slowly done to promote some director's idea of dramatic emphasis. "And tonight, on PETA Theatre, we present the EIGHTH and final excuse..." You can hear it, can't you?
Oh, the drama. Tune in next week for the encore, where we hear our beloved Bruce Friedrich crying amidst young chickens slated for YOUR dinner plates. "Oh, chickens, whatever will we do? Our non-profit status is sure to vanish!"
Cut, and that's a wrap.
Chicken. No mayo.
October 01, 2003
Let's Do The Time Warp Again!
Alternate Title: How Soon is Now?
First, scroll ALL the way to the bottom. Blogspot isn't being friendly with permalinks.
Anger Management is now part of Munuviana. I must permalink him posthaste.
A is A, Don. Got a little sticker on my car that says so.
Ooh, Very Bad
Brian is a cooler operating system than I, who have worked WAY too much today.
Which OS are You?
Hoping and Praying
..that we have some objective evidence for the whiners and the wary (I fit in the second category).
As seen in the news earlier and on Electric Venom. I'm certain this will be widely discussed for the rest of the week.
Mono and Cancer
If you've had mono, please be sure you're specifically screened for cancer of the lymph nodes. Hodgkins lymphoma may be a disease attached to mononucleosis.
I'm sure follow-up studies will be conducted, and I'll keep watching.
Front Line Voices
Front Line Voices is live.
If you haven't yet stopped by, it's worth your time. If you know a service member with a story, please pass on the information about the site.
List o' Links
I'm trying to keep up. Here's the best of what I sampled today.
1) This morning, Dean Esmay posted about Domestic Terrorism. He said this:
I was not too worried about that because such people are usually so stupid and drug-addled that they aren't good for much of anything. Besides which, I said, I'm not sure there's been a single decade in American history that hasn't had incidents of domestic terrorism.
Then I came up short. Yes, we've definitely had many domestic terrorists in my lifetime. In the last 40 years, we've had the Symbianese Liberation Army, the Manson Family, the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers under Huey Newton, Ted Kaczynski, abortion clinic bombers, the Oklahoma City bombers, and the Earth Liberation Front, and I'm sure I've forgotten some. Just in the period from 1967 to 1973 there were something like a thousand terrorist bombings in the United States--funny how many people don't remember that.
2) Interested-Participant has the PETA Post!. I haven't done one in a while. Perhaps tomorrow.
3) Michael Williams: Would you rather...
- ...have super strength, or super speed. STRENGTH - easy.
- ...be able to read minds, or be the greatest orator to have ever lived. I have to answer this one as I don't want to read minds - the world would become a very ugly place. So I take the orator.
- ...be a vampire or a werewolf. Vampire. I don't think the hirsute look is very feminine.
- ...give up the Internet, or give up solid foods. Internet - bye bye. I eat about 80% by texture, and so I'd vanish to almost nothing on liquids. No thanks.
4) More from Overlawyered. Injured Student Sues Goal Post Maker. People. This is the reason we have fine-print blurbs on commercials that state things like "Do not paint your face with house paint."
5) I saw this yesterday and forgot to link it. Long live Scrappleface. CNN Produces Positive Reports On Iraq.
6) Yikes, a bike accident... in Japan.
That wraps it up for now.