October 23, 2006

The Joel Quotient

The name Joel means "God is willing." I looked this up because I know only four males named Joel, and three of them serve in a ministry capacity in my church. Three! There are not that many positions in the church, so I found that to be a large cluster of Joels.

If you know Joels, are they Christian? Just curious. I only know of one other, and we were 8 years old at the time, so I really don't have a way to follow up.


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Election 2006

So, elections a week from tomorrow. Heated times here in Missouri. Because the Cardinals have done so well in the baseball playoffs (and, let's face it, because I have three to four times a day when I flip on the television while feeding the child), I've been exposed to political ads like never before. How amazingly disgusting the whole process is, proponents and opponents of propositions, Democrats and Republicans. A sampling.

Senate Race
Ok, here we have Jim Talent and Claire McCaskill. First off, I'm disgusted with both of you. Attack the opponent instead of saying anything of substance is so junior high. Talent in his incumbency has brought us such lovely lifestyle changes as forcing me to get my Claritin-D by asking a pharmacy representative (because without that extra step my fellow fall allergy sufferers and I might be tempted to produce large quantities of meth?). And, ooh, pink my Arch. Without that, NO ONE WOULD KNOW BREAST CANCER KILLS. But that "awareness" thing is another post.

McCaskill - a Democrat - also purports to be a Catholic (if membership in a Catholic church satisfies that requirement). Yet she supports "stem cell research" (which I'll get to - in other words she supports embryonic stem cell research/application which requires the destruction of human embryos). Last I checked, the Catholics - the most vigorous pro-lifers on the pro-life circuit - don't favor the destruction of embryos for the promise of THE PANACEA that may be years off or may never come. But what do I know? I digress into the next topic.

These two individuals have spent millions flogging each other on picky points and almost non-sequiturs. Attack one's character with harsh music, praise the other with green grass, lots of natural light. Endorse the message. (And don't forget smiling senior citizens). Next. You have McCaskill beating up Talent on his record in the Senate. You have Talent slogging insults about McCaskill's nursing home audit record and her husband's property tax returns. I'm disgusted with you both and the money you spend on your opponent thrashing.

"The Stem Cell Initiative"
Crafty, crafty. That's what I have to say about this. The Post-Dispatch sums up the ads for me nicely. So I won't bother beyond conclusion. Let's play "deceive the public." Too bad the opposers of Proposition 2 are not clearer in their argument. Vote this thing down. If I have to sum it up in one sentence that doesn't divide the pols: "It's about funding."

The Tobacco Tax
If you've ever read this blog, you know where I stand. ANYTHING to get rid of/reduce tobacco products around non-tobacco users. So, yeah, hike it up. Brian, though, is good to point out the bad side of "where is government going to replace that money when smokers buy fewer cigarettes." And that is a good question. I don't care.

The ads: the proponent ad is actually quite good, but I'm tired of the attacks on "Big Tobacco." They're trite. The opponents use Brian's argument as a tactic - not a whole lot of tobacco mention, more attacks on governmental spending.

Minimum Wage Increase
Haven't seen much about this other than Claire McCaskill's ads saying she's for it (and how dare anyone morally oppose it, essentially) and a few articles in the newspaper about the issue making the Sunday pulpits and people's outrage and/or support for the combination of sermon and politics. The proposed minimum wage hike is to $6.50. Federal rate is $5.15. I'm not really keen about putting a state's minimum wage higher than federal, but at the same time, the federal hasn't been adjusted since 1996. That's 10 years. Don't know about this one. A factor to consider - cost of living in Missouri is pretty low. Another - raising the minimum wage doesn't help with personal responsibility.

So, there's the Missouri round-up of the hot contests (the ones with television ads). Please let this thing be over.


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October 16, 2006

Wherein Heather States the Obvious

Hey, if you stop blogging for a while, your readers go away! hln

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October 14, 2006

Fast Food Circa 1978

Hey, everybody, think back to the 1970s with me for a bit.

In 1978, I lived in a small town called Kalkaska, MI. Kalkaska was home of very few restaurants, but it did have a McDonald's, which opened up somewhere around 1978. I remember the craze when it debuted, and I was a wee six year-old or so (might be off by a year, but I don't think so).

Now, I was never much of a hamburger fan, found them bland, and that's something from someone who at that age ordered everything plain. In 1978 or so all that was available at McDonald's for someone such as me was a Filet o' Fish, which was introduced in 1963, according to Wikipedia's entry for that particular sandwich. No grilled chicken. Oh, no, nothing like that. No salads. Remember those fries in the paper bags, though? I bet you do.

Now, it's possible that the food attackers were out back in the 1970's, but I was a young one, and it wasn't important. Certainly we didn't go to McDonald's often, but I have some memories of orange-tasting/orange-colored water (on the same tap on the soda fountain, and water's all I drank, lifelong soda hater that I am). Memories of wishing for Happy Meals with something other than those stinking hamburgers. Memories of my first sundae (the eating of which occurred because I had a crush on the pastor's son and everyone else around us wanted one. We were out with that family on a Monday night after Monday School (think Sunday School on Monday night)). McDonald's wasn't vilified, and its menu was nutritionally AWFUL. Is it the Internet that's facilitated the fast food witchhunt? Is it the culture as a whole because we're all fatter (myself included - blame my crazy life during pregnancy). Do we need to shake our fingers at someone to feel better about ourselves?

I spent more than a few meals at McDonald's during the pregnancy. My two big cravings were grapefruit and McDonald's fries (no idea why on either). Since we were home buying, moving, and home selling during my third trimester, it was highly convenient. And, you know what, there's some pretty good food at McDonald's if you find yourself stuck there. Compared to 1978 or so, one can eat a decent meal. Consider too the bottled water (oh what heaven that would've been to a 6 or 7 year-old who was oh-so-tired of that orange-tinged stuff). That's another post entirely, though, how bottled water would've affected my quality of life as a youngster.

Not sure I have a point. Brian and I stopped at McDonald's today for his lunch since Big Macs are $1 each on Cardinal day games. I sampled, er, ate, 7 of his fries and thought all this through. Cravings are long gone, thankfully, but I thought I'd share.


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October 13, 2006

Call to the Bullpen

Watching the Cardinals and Mets. Chris Carpenter was just pulled by my son's call here...

Call to the Bullpen


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October 11, 2006 Anyone?

Hans showed this to me a few months ago. Figured I'd point it out since I plan to pick up the blog again.

angelweave's Profile Page
(the times are European). tracks what you listen to via iTunes or WinAmp or a bunch of other means using a plug-in called AudioScrobbler. It also offers radio stations based on your musical tastes or similar to an artist. Good fun.


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Ok - so this happened back in August, but I live in a time warp now. changed her name back to Karin Robertson.
"I think maybe its time had come and gone," said Karin Robertson, who had been known as since March 2003.
I wonder if friends called her Go or Veg for short. Doesn't matter anymore.


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October 10, 2006

True Love: Priceless

Jennifer Wilbanks, the "Runaway Bride" still hasn't found what's she's looking for. And apparently that's about $500,000.

LAWRENCEVILLE, Georgia (AP) -- The runaway bride is taking her former fiance to court, claiming he took advantage of her hospitalization to defraud her of her share of the proceeds from a book deal about their adventure.

Jennifer Wilbanks' lawsuit follows a dispute in recent months over personal items -- such as a new vacuum cleaner, a ladder, a gold-colored sofa and various wedding shower gifts,

She claims ex-boyfriend John C. Mason never returned the items.

Wilbanks, then 32, ran off four days before she was to be married in a lavish wedding in 2005. She turned up in New Mexico, claiming she had been abducted and sexually assaulted.
She later recanted, saying she fled because of personal issues, and pleaded no contest to telling police a phony story.

She was sentenced to two years' probation and performed community service that included mowing the lawns at public buildings.

In a lawsuit filed September 13, she and her lawyer said that while she was hospitalized and under medication, she granted Mason power of attorney to negotiate the sale of the couple's story to a publisher in New York, and Mason struck a deal for $500,000.

But she said Mason used the money to buy a house in his name only, and later evicted Wilbanks from the home.

She is seeking $250,000 as her share of the home, and $250,000 in punitive damages for alleged abuse of the power of attorney.
I find the use of the word "defraud" amusing, and I somehow suspect that $500,000 isn't going to bring her amazing happiness.


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"Giving" False Hope

Hope is defined (first definition) rather inelegantly by as "the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best."

In the last two weeks, I've heard the term "giving false hope" twice - once in a very personal situation with a family member and once on a television show. It got me thinking.

What is false hope? If hope is merely a feeling, an attitude, how can it be false? I know, I know, someone's feelings can be based on illogical premises. But the hope itself isn't logical, after all. If there's false hope, there must be true hope, no?

So I googled the concept of false hope. Here's what others say. - "Don't Let Any Woman Give You False Hope." I don't need to read this - the title alone covers it - someone else responsible for your hope or lack thereof. calls the promise of stem cell therapy false hope. And while the web page begins with some nice comments about hope, it lobs the term "false hope" a couple of times. Here's an example:
To offer false hope to the desperate as a means of advancing a political, social, or economic agenda is worse than merely cruel, it is objectively evil. Valuable resources are being diverted from other, perhaps more promising, areas of research, and, in the meantime, patients and their families are serving as pawns in a political arena. People facing the prospect of suffering and death deserve better than this. As patients, they deserve the best that science and medicine can offer. As human beings, they deserve honesty. No amount of false hope can alter the fact that after more than twenty years of unrestricted research on animal embryonic stem cells, this field has failed to yield a single cure for any human illness.
Unfortunately, "false hope" isn't ever defined for me. So I move on.

On July 2nd, the Washington Post ran an article "The False Hope of Biofuels," but the words appear only in the title.

I'll quit now - it's a buzzword. Why do we use the term?


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October 04, 2006

Up at 4:25 a.m. Musings

So we have this baby. And he started out as this cute-while-sleeping and/or not-wailing bundle of...something. "They" tell you to get ready for changes, but no one really gives you objective advice other than the vague "it gets better" that helps you through the first several weeks of "when do I get a human?" instead of Fussbucket-whom-I-cannot-console.

And then something happens - this human becomes HUMAN. He smiles. He develops at this amazingly rapid pace, both physically and mentally. My baby just turned 3 calendar months old. He's in primarily 6 - 9 month-old clothing. He makes this obnoxious, "thhhhhhhhhhhhh" noise that cracks me up. He laughs. He likes the mirror. He likes to kick on the floor to trance music. And he LIKES me...wild.

I've never been especially maternal. Wasn't too comfortable with the thought of amazing responsibility involved in rearing a child (but at least was cognizant that that responsibility is there if one chooses to do so). But here we are. Child. Rearing. Wow.

The first night he was home from the hospital I listened for him to stop breathing. I prayed and prayed and prayed that he would be healthy. That I would be competent. I think I set the record for human praying. I adopted a mantra of "every moment is a gift" which I repeated ad nauseum (I know, that's what one does with a mantra) even through nearly gritted teeth as the wriggling lump wouldn't stop crying. I watched myself become competent and then good.

It's weird to be all about "other" when most of life has been all about self. Other is far, far more rewarding. But, I'm also glad I was able to get "other" back to sleep. Now, for self...


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