Monday, December 08, 2003

Mad Magazine Of Course

I was trying to figure out where I get that smart-assy blog tone that suddenly creeps up on me ... and then I remembered! Mad Magazine of course! Spent many of my formative years reading it cover-to-cover and then meticiously folding the back cover into the graphic joke. Love you, Alfred E. Newman!

Should You Give Your Boss A Holiday Gift?

Okay, someone tell me please to turn off CNN Headline News -- this is the dumb kind of story they love to do and one they just did a teaser for. Can't wait to hear what they suggest.

Of course, the answer to "Should You Give Your Boss A Holiday Gift?" is yes! It's best to keep it simple -- no big packages -- something small.

If she's a woman boss, try this. And for your male corporate drone of a boss, any of these will do. Be sure to give it to them the night of the Xmas party -- the one your company was too cheap to invite spouses and significant others to. You don't think your gift would give them the wrong idea, do you?!

Now let's see what CNN suggests ....

Gore Endorses Dean

Boy, oh boy, the plot thickens. This is incredible. I have to say, I can't wait to hear Andrew Sullivan on the subject.

CNN Talks Bloggers

CNN is doing a story about Google Bombing with "miserable failure' like a few of us mentioned already today.

The TV anchor lady drops the word "blogger" like she's been saying it her whole life.

Give 'Em Healthcare, Howard

Great slogan! Give them hell in New Hampshire.


There was a good discussion at the BloggerCon Convention in October about the amazing comments on the Dean Blog. I just witnessed them, growing from 17 comments on a post about tonight's parties, to 45 comments in about 5 minutes to 83 comments. Very interesting.

Also for the old time bloggers here like us, we found it very telling that many of the people using the comments called what they were doing "blogging" -- not commenting -- where the more traditional bloggers among us usually distinguish between blog posts to be "blogging" and comments to "commenting."

What it said to us was that the whole experience of sharing thoughts was a communal, tribal process and there was no sense of authority or dominance by the the first person who posted the first blog post. They were considered an equal with all others in the discussion. This is another bit of evidence as to how Dean is demolishing barriers between people. It's amazing.

Just checked back on the Dean blog -- 105 comments now in about 15 minutes!

Dean Party

This will be great tonight. Absolutely terrific and fun!

The Halley Show

Did a lot of driving this weekend which means a lot of thinking and pondering.

Alan Webber once told me over lunch, "Blogs are performance art." I thought he had hit the nail on the head.

And this weekend, I was thinking they are like having your own 24 hour cable channel -- All Halley All The Time -- which might be incredibly annoying if you don't want to tune into my mind continuously.

Christ and Christmas -- I'm the first one who'll admit even I don't want to tune into my mind 24x7.

So that got me thinking about what a bully this medium is. Blogging is a bully's medium. It lets narcissists and egomaniacs (me included) run wild and pollute your mind with their thoughts. I was thinking of some of the arrogant obnoxious blogs that really get on my nerves -- there are some, but I'm not naming them. But it's like being married to a big arrogant bore who never stops telling the same stupid jokes over dinner. BOR-ing!

Feel free at any moment to turn off The Halley Show.

And Now This -- Unabashed Amy Wohl Pitch

If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting Amy Wohl at a conference, she's terrific and terrifically smart. (I know, I know, it sounds like a commercial. But I like her! Actually we don't know one another well at all. I just saw her on Daivd's JOHO blogroll while looking at his snow pix and remembered how impressive she is.)

Sentimental Education

I'm not talking about this, but rather this. I have had a sneaking suspicion for a long, long time that Dads are a lot more sentimental about their kids than we give them credit.

I love this picture of Larry Lessig, his baby and his wife on Joi Ito's weblog. The professor is taking up some new concerns. There's a person in his life who surreptiously refers to him as "Dear Old Dad" and one day soon -- and it's always wonderful and spooky when they start to speak -- will say those great syllables. Da-da!

Shall I Crank Up The Machine?

I have built a new machine here that I can't wait to demo for you. And it's high time some innovator got around to building it.

It's simply a black box with a big funnel input device where you can put crazy shit people write on their blogs that pretend to be informed opinion, but are obviously just sour grapes rants and thinly-veiled character assassinations against other bloggers who've achieved some honor or privilege, or hell, even an invitation to a cool party or conference. You flip the switch and it conveniently translates the blog post into one of the following output statements:





I think my machine will be a big hit. Now what to call it ... let me think ... I'm sure I can come up with something. Something to do with complaining and whining ... hmmmm ... the ACME COMPLAIN-A-LATOR?

Over The Border

Don't those funny signs that say WELCOME TO NEW HAMPSHIRE and WELCOME TO MASSACHUSETTS with their girly curly scripty font look silly as they welcome you home -- silly and wonderful and much appreciated. The font is a wee bit corny.

I started out this morning at 9:30, not at all sure what to expect, but the drive wasn't bad down from Vermont and I'm back in Boston now.

I've been in complete LOL MODE here because iBoston has SO MUCH SNOW. It's an embarrassement of riches and wet britches. I rented a car for the trip which turned out to be a good idea, since my car is completely buried. Boston's got a heavier, wetter snow than Vermont where it was a lot colder and the snow removal uip there was akin to blowing on a dandelion puff of little white fuzz and all of the little parachute seeds scatter. Not so here. This is serious stuff.

BTW, graphic artists, please take a bow, I was thinking a lot about FONTS on the drive home. Some of the trucks with the better brands really are build on EXCELLENT FONTS AND LOGOS. Just as God created the world with a WORD, it's really essential to clothe your idea in a great font with good design. I was looking at the 18-wheeler spewing grey snow vomit in my face, thanks, man, from MARKETBASKET and their tagline is in this total CHEESEBALL 1950's Helvetica rip-off font saying something like "Good Food For Less" and I was thinking not only how I happened to hate that particular truck, but their markets suck and are dirty, unorganized and shotty like their font.

Hope all you artists (I'm thinking swirly excellent Coca-Cola logo, I'm thinking Apple, I'm thinking simple stuff like John Hancock, with his signature) are getting paid what you deserve. You set expectations for the whole brand experience. You guys are incredible. I salute you today.

Big Thanks Britt

Just wanted to say a big thanks to Britt Blaser for convincing me to come up north to visit, being super-gracious and helpful all weekend to introduce me to folks here at the Dean campaign and especially for being really fun despite certain mishaps -- "Who Towed My Car!?!" and other memorable events on this big snow weekend.

Webber On Dean Web

Alan Webber has a cool piece in USATODAY today (sorry, that sounds confusing, doesn't it?) about Dean's "Super Web Site" -- don't miss it.

I love his analysis of how the other candidates' websites rate. Not happy reading for some of these guys.

We WISH You A Merry Xmas From Dean HQ

Even after a short weekend visit, it's clear these folks know how to work hard and need some convincing to leave their desks and get into the "party hard" mode, but they seemed to make the transition. . Once the party got going, it was a ton of fun. How could you NOT have fun watching Joe Trippi and Cathy Lash dressed up as Mr. and Mrs. Santa, giving us the requisite number of "Ho! Ho! Ho!" 's and handing out gifts? Matt Gross in elfish attire was also not to be missed.

The 20 inches of snow in Burlington VT surely added to the holiday spirit. Right before the party kicked off, everyone had to go out and move their trucks, SUV's, VW bugs and every other kind of car out of the parking lot so the snowplows could take a crack at clearing it.

Joe Trippi knows how to rally his troops and especially how to appreciate them and praise them. Harvard Business School and General Patton combined don't have as much natural gut leadship ability as this guy. He says the right things and it was a moment of family business, so I won't quote it.

After Joe's couch pillow had fallen out of his santa tunic three times, and the room seemed to be near 90 degrees, he decided to retire the very HOT outfit, heading down the hall saying "Santa has to go find that guy Joe Trippi who's missing all the fun."

A group hit the conference room which was decked with all manner of meatballs, hummus, veggies, baked ham, you name it, to warm themselves around the tri-corner hat shaped conferenece phone to call the other Dean state HQs -- Iowa, NH, etc. -- to sing a loud "We WISH You A Merry Xmas" -- of course, not without some terrific spoofs and trick voices to see how well the volunteers on the other end of the line could handle whatever they threw at them.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Get The Party Started

There's a party here at Dean HQ and we still can't get away from the computer. Someone just came up and said, "Guys, we have to ask you to stop taking back the country and come in and join the party."

I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started
I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started

Get this party started on a Saturday night
Everybody's waitin' for me to arrive
Sendin' out the message to all of my friends
We'll be lookin' flashy in my Mercedes Benz
I got lotsa style, got my gold diamond rings
I can go for miles if you know what I mean
I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started
I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started

Pumpin up the volume, breakin down' to the beat
Cruisin' through the west side
We'll be checkin' the scene
Boulevard is freakin' as I'm comin' up fast
I'll be burnin' rubber, you'll be kissin' my a**
Pull up to the bumper, get out of the car
License plate says Stunner #1 Superstar

I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started
I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started
Get this party started

Makin' my connection as I enter the room
Everybody's chillin' as I set up the groove
Pumpin' up the volume with this brand new beat
Everybody's dancin' and their dancin' for me
I'm your operator, you can call anytime
I'll be your connection to the party line

I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started
I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started
I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started
I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started
Get this party started
Get this party started right now
Get this party started
Get this party started
Get this party started right now

-- Pink

Greetings Again From Vermont

[Wrote this this morning about 9:30am, but Blogger was down.]

Safe and sound up here in Burlington VT as my visit to Dean Headquarters begins to grow longer and longer ... VT has serious snow which started yesterday Saturday, around 10:00am, as Mike O'Neill, a Dean guy and I were
watching out the window. Actually I'm happy to report on an early Saturday morning the place wasn't packed and Mike and I almost needed to break-in to get in. We were the early birds, and made it in before
the snow started.

But then it just came down non-stop. At noon, a bunch of folks rolled in just about the time I was ready to
take a break and go for a walk in the snow. It was a fine walk one way, but a stinging snow blowing in your face walk back the other direction. Still it's beautiful stuff -- an inch or two or three of it.

But the stuff won't STOP! I peeked out my hotel room window at different times last night when the
scrapping and clunking metal blades of the snowplows went by. Under a tall light in the parking lot, there was a slightly orange glowing triangle of snow showering down, the cars getting more and more covered, like camels in a sandstorm, heads buried, legs folded beneath them, getting slowly blanketed, just trying to wait it out.

At dawn (still dark) the parking lot was still a snow factory, snow relentlessly pouring like it had all night. For all the snowplows' hard day's night of work, it didn't seem to have made much of a dent.

No room service, as this is a simple hotel (and very cozy and the staff are very very nice btw). I had a meal of vending machine delicacies for supper last night -- two slim jim small salami sticks, trail mix with blue and red M&M's, two bags of big Amish pretzels, 3 cups of Twinings English Breakfast I always stash in my suitcase. Like bathtub gin, I brewed my tea from very hot tub water out of the big tap.

I was starving this morning and the complimentary breakfast was much appreciated.

Rumor has it there's a party this afternoon at Dean HQ which I may attend, now that I'm stuck here. I had originally planned to return to Boston today, but that is certainly NOT in the cards.

Stay safe and warm if you're in a cold climate ... more soon.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Weather Outside Is Frightful

It's really beginning to snow. Heavily. Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooohh it's beautiful.

Vermont in snow -- perfect.

About The Snow

I leave Boston yesterday where there was no snow. I arrive in Burlington, VT yesterday where there was no snow. Now Boston's getting pummelled with a big snowstorm. And this morning, I get up in Burlington and THERE'S NO SNOW. First time I've ever travelled NORTH to Vermont to avoid the snow.

Meanwhile, just to give you the up-to-the-minute report. I'm here in Dean HQ again looking out the wnidow and YES, it's snowing finally. Mike O'Neil is here next to me, getting a mailing together. This place keeps on keeping on.

What's Up Doc?

Do you know how long I've resisted that headline ... I've known Doc a while now and I have been tempted SO many times to use it, but today's the day. Cause that's what Doc was doing with us last night, taking a tour of Dean Headquarters and everyone got a chance to say "What's Up, Doc!?"

He was on Britt Blaser's super supped-up MAC with a video cam saying hi to all the folks here. I have to say though, Doc did seem a bit like one of those prisoners cosmonauts on the falling apart MIR space station.

Great to see you man, Britt and I say a big "Hi!"

Friday, December 05, 2003

Shhhhhhhhhhhh! Secret! At Dean HQ!

Secret cool stuff going on. No can tell. Secret sauce. Secret cool blogging happening. Shhhhhhhhhhhh! I'm undercover with my red santa hat on.

Hot Date With Howard, Rob And Joe

Talk about a hot date with three Alpha Males! Howard Dean, Rob Reiner and Joe Trippi all in the same room, all on the same night! Looks like they're booking my dance card on December 8th. But it's hush-hush so I better not talk about it. Of course, we love Howard and Rob ... but Joe's the Alpha Male heavy hitter of that group.

Stocking Stuffers For Girls Who Misbehave

There are a few paperbacks I want rolled up and tied with a big red ribbon and slipped into my Christmas stocking this year. For starters, and let's give credit where it's due, Betsy Devine told me to get this one. Women Don't Ask: Negotiation And The Gender Divide -- this one is a humdinger about how women don't get what they want NOT because men or anyone else is taking it away from them, but because they just don't ask. Wait, it's not a paperback, but hard cover. No problem, just wrapped it up and slip it under the tree.

And then there's always. Why Good Girls Dont Get Ahead But Gutsy Girls Do. It's one of those books that give it to you in NINE steps. I love that kind of thing ... 18 Easy Lessons ... 10 Easy Steps ... 3 large easy-to-swallow pills ... 5 easy payments of $87 Billion Dollars.

and you can't do all books and no music, got to be sure to get this too: Christmas The Cowboy Way

Kwanzaa yenn iwe ha heri!

I'll bet you didn't know all this stuff about Kwanzaa. I know a lot of it was news to me. Hallmark Cards has the scoop on Kwanzaa here. It sounds fun. Maybe I better STOP Dreaming Of A White Christmas.

More than 15 million people in various countries now celebrate the holiday, which begins on December 26 and ends on January 1. Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, and though families and friends exchange gifts during Kwanzaa, it's not a substitute for Christmas. It is a time for people of African heritage to come together and celebrate the unique cultural identity and heritage that they share.

Each day of Kwanzaa is dedicated to celebrating one of the Nguzo Saba, or seven principles, which represent values and beliefs traditionally found in African cultures. These principles, which are all described using the African language Swahili, are:

Umoja (unity)
Kujichagulia (self-determination)
Ujima (collective work and responsibility)
Ujamaa (cooperative economics)
Nia (purpose)
Kuumba (creativity)
Imani (faith)

Kwanzaa begins on December 26 with the lighting of the first candle in the kinara, the special candleholder that holds seven candles. It continues for seven nights, and each night, more candles are lit. The candles are black, red and green — black for the people, red for their struggle, and green for their future and their hope. The kinara, along with six other important Kwanzaa symbols, is displayed on the Kwanzaa table. Each night, all of the people at the celebration talk about what that day's principle means to them. On December 31, families and communities hold a Karamu, a special feast including readings, remembrances and a festive meal.

O Tannenbaum

I have to say, I just love my Christmas tree. It's only been here a week and when we got it I thought I was jumping the gun, but it's so cheerful and pretty and elegant in it's dark green velvety majesty, turning one end of my livingroom into the dark, mysterious winter forest. The little white romantic restaurant lights make it all the more dreamy. And NOW, it's got a big necklace of brightly wrapped presents at the base, boxes just ready for shaking and guessing at. All the familiar ornaments are like old friends visiting for one big holiday party and instead of breaking up the place and drinking too much, they are politely hanging off one branch or another with metal hooks in their scalps. I especially appreciate Barbie doing this, since she can be a bit of a wild party girl.

One ornament in particular that I love, and I might do a tree next year completely in thess ornaments alone -- is the tiny Dunkin Donuts white stryofoam coffee cups -- about 2 1/2 inches tall, suspended on a green ribbon, complete with the take-away lid on top.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

And Once More For The West Coast

Love to watch my stats on my site meter as they track to Pacific Standard Time. You can really forget the West Coast tracks three hours back. And everyone seems to wait until they're at work to read blogs. Don't worry I won't tell your boss.

Vermont-bound With Pie

Heading up north tomorrow. Want to talk to these guys about weblogs and women. I'm baking Matt Gross and Britt Blaser an apple pie. Nothing as American as motherhood and apple pie, right?

Just Wait

I keep getting very funny email about my post below -- Kitchen Closed -- where I described how my 8-year-old is eating everything not nailed down.

Every email says, "JUST WAIT!" and then tells me by the time my kid's a teenager, it will be nearly impossible to keep him in food and drink. A friend just mentioned that their mom actually rationed the milk -- only reasonable considering he could nearly drink A GALLON of the stuff in a day or two.

I'll have to get a cow.

This is Turning Out To Be Some Flu Season

In case you weren't worried enough about war, terrorism, economic disaster, or slipping on a bar of soap in your bathroom, check out this sad story about an 8-year-old boy dead from flu in record time. Colorado sounds like it's getting hit hard.

Paternity Fraud: When Men, Women, Technology and The Law Part Ways

Interesting piece in Men's Journal by Paige Williams about Paternity Fraud which puts you front and center in the midst of a hot issue -- how DNA testing is letting men find out if their kids are theirs or NOT.

She profiles a dad who's been paying a hefty chunk of child support to his ex-wife for the benefit of a much-loved daughter, only to find out, you guessed it, the 11-year-old daughter is not his biological daughter.

What I found particularly interesting is that the law has not caught up with technology. The law in most states would not allow a father to STOP paying support even if the technology allows him to prove he is NOT the father of a particular child.

One interesting pull-out quote:
It's said that 10 percent of the U.S. population are not the biological offspring of the men they presume are their fathers.
You may not know much about child support, but start with the hypothetical that you might be a spouse for 2 years, father or mother a child, get divorced and end up paying child support until that 2-year-old is 18, or more likely 21. You pay or you go to jail. As tough as that is, imagine finding out you never were the biological father!

Next Gen Conference

TTI Vanguard's Next Generation Technology Conference kicks off today in Arizona. Here's some of the schedule

8:30 am Conference Welcome and Introduction
Leonard Kleinrock, Vanguard Advisory Board

8:45 am Conference Overview
Gordon Bell and Peter Cochrane, Vanguard Advisory Board

9:00 am The Million Book Digital Library Project
Raj Reddy, Professor of Computer Science and Robotics, Carnegie Mellon University

9:45 am Flexible Electronic Displays
Emily De Rotstein, CEO, Commotion Displays

10:45 am TensorTextures and TensorFaces: New Ways to See
Alex Vasilescu, Research Scientist, New York University

11:15 pm How to Understand 100 Years of World History in 10 Seconds
Ola Rosling, Software Inventor and Designer,

11:45 pm Label-Free Intrinsic Imaging
Stuart Hassard, Head Biologist, deltaDOT, Ltd.

12:15 pm Bridging the Healthcare Information Gap: Wearable Body Monitoring Hits its Stride
Astro Teller, CEO, BodyMedia

2:00 pm The Value and Realization of Large Displays
Gary Starkweather, Member, Hardware Visualization Group, Microsoft Research

2:45 pm Human-Computer Interaction for Large Display Surfaces
Mary Czerwinski, Senior Researcher and Manager, Visualization and Interaction Research Group, Microsoft Research

3:30 pm The Future of Storage
Michael Leonhardt, StorageTek Fellow, Storage Technology Corporation

Stephen Petranek, Editor-in-Chief, Discover
7:00 pm Reception and Dinner


8:45 am Nano-Switch/Matrix Technology
Stan Williams, Senior HP Fellow and Director, Quantum Science Research, Hewlett-Packard Laboratories

9:30 am Nanostructured Materials
Daniel Branagan, Chief Technical Officer, The Nanosteel Company

10:00 am The Next Generation of Global Positioning System
Per Enge, Co-Director, GPS Laboratory, Stanford University

11:00 am High Degree-of-Freedom Interaction with Graphical Models
Ravin Balakrishnan, Professor of Computer Science, University of Toronto

11:30 pm Real-Time Language Translation
Robert Levin, CEO, Transclick, Inc.

12:00 pm Technologies That Rewrite The Rules
Padmasree Warrior, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Motorola, Inc.

12:45 pm Lunch

2:00 pm Automated Machine Invention Techniques
James Kowalick, Founder, Renaissance Leadership Institute

2:30pm Next Generation Space Exploration
Daniel Clancy, Director, Information Sciences Directorate, NASA Ames Research Center

3:00 pm Interactive Alert Systems
Rob Welton, Executive VP Marketing & Sales, Knowledge Vector, Inc.

3:30 pm Conference Wrap-Up
Bob Lucky, Vanguard Advisory Board

Hey, bloggers, who's blogging it?

[Disclaimer: I used to be Regional Sales Director for Vanguard. They're a great group.]

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Kitchen Closed

This kid will eat me out of house and home, one of these days, I swear. He can eat so much already at 8 years old -- what future am I looking at? The worst part is he chows down pretty darned well at 6:00 and then wants another meal at 8:00! He had potatoes and roast chicken for dinner and then just begged me for a Halley's Comment Egg McMuffin, egg, cheese, bacon on white bread (sorry, man, no English Muffins).

I know he's growing and he needs to eat, but it keeps me in the kitchen for hours on end and makes me EAT things I should NOT be eating.

Hey Gnome-Girl

I better get this one for you! This is gonna be a very merry Christmas!

She Is On My Tree

Yes, Padme Amidala in full battle fatigues with gun and a triad of slash marks (slightly bloody) on her back, is on my Christmas Tree!

That Was Me In The Santa Hat

I got out early this morning. I'm bound and determined to spend part of the day outside even when it's really freezing and it was this morning -- about 17 degrees! So you start with your silk skiing underwear, then you can still get away with cotton blue jeans (when you should be wearing wool pants honestly) and then I threw on a white tee with long sleeves, a pink checked flannel shirt, pink wool sweater, my silver down parka, and my red and white Santa hat -- it's really warm actually.

I was at Peet's Coffee before 9:00 am and didn't mind the cold all that much. If I stay in the house, I never ever want to leave.

I had an early morning stunt to pull off too. A friend of mine and I went shopping at Target a week ago and she saw this funny funky kitschy metal sign that said "SKATING LESSONS HERE" with a 1950's retro graphic of a girl in a skating skirt printed on it. She wanted it for her front yard, but is so careful with her money, she was torn.

She put it in her shopping cart, she took it out, she put it back in, she took it out. It was frivolous, but golly, it was only about $8.00.

I talked her into buying it but as we were at the check-out counter, she balked again and decided to put it to the side and not buy it.

So I bought it and she nearly flipped. She was jealous, but of course, I BOUGHT IT TO GIVE TO HER AS A GIFT.

So about 9:15 this morning, if you saw some woman in a Santa Hat in your garden, sticking a skating sign on your front lawn -- that was me.

I can't wait until she discovers it.

Great French Networking Vocabulary Lesson

I have to admit it's fun to get a little netowrking lexicon from the French spam I just got. I've learned a lot of new words like:

envoi/reception = send/receive

reseau = network

email = email

PC portable = portable PC

glisser = slide into

acceder = access

information = information

la solution Mobile Data = the mobile data solution

sans fil = without wires ... so I guess this means WIRELESS! That's very useful, thanks.

applications = applications

Le Spam Francais

Okay, guys, which one of you signed me up for a nice helping of French spam ... or maybe you call it pate?

Découvrez la solution Mobile Data qui donne des ailes à votre PC portable ...
Où que vous soyez, la Vodaphone Mobile Connect Card glissée dans votre PC portable vous permet d’accéder sans fil et via le réseau GPRS de SFR à des applications aussi importantes que ...

L’envoi/réception de vos emails.
Vous envoyez et recevez facilement vos e-mails et restez en contact permanent avec interlocuteurs.

L’accès à Internet.
Vous pouvez accéder à tout moment à une information vitale pour votre activité et à tous les services de l’Internet. etc, etc, etc.
I don't think I want anything or anybody to "glisse dans mon PC portable" without asking me first.

Vermont This Weekend

Trying to figure out how to get up to Dean HQ, throw in some very snowy weather, a few snowboarding lessons, some cross-country skiing, a bit of downhill, some Iowa letterwriting. Just another dull weekend.

Anniversary Waltz

My blog's coming up on her 2-year-old birthday next month and I want to get the same crew who celebrated her birthday last year back to do a Harvard Square lunch. If you're in these pix Dan Bricklin took of my one-year anniversary party, drop me email and we'll figure out a good date and time. January 10 is a Saturday this year, I think we'll shoot for January 12 instead.

Any other bloggers in the Boston area who would like to join us are welcome. Don't you just love two-year-olds!?!

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Challenging Gray Christmas

News from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the Chicago executive outplacement and consulting firm that there should be an surge in job creation in ... yeah, get ready ... 2008! The November job cut numbers are grim.

Don't miss this link to their Adobe document called HOW TO FIND A JOB IN A JOBLESS ECONOMY which has rather radical but very right-on advice.

Giving Thanks

John Porcaro was busy giving thanks last week to a long long list of folks. Worth reading. I still can't get over him being one of 11 kids as well as a father of 4, now that's FAMILY! Thanks to you John, too, for all the day-to-day stuff and interesting markeing info you share with us in your blog.


First snow of the season here. Lovely.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Sexual Globalization

When I was away for Thanksgiving, doing family things and taking care of my son, I wasn't thinking about Fleshbot* very much. I was thinking how unsexy I felt and how little I was thinking about sex and how inappropriate it felt when I was preoccupied with the big family holiday of Thanksgiving to even consider sex.

When I got home, the holiday was over, my kid was asleep in his bed, our suitcase unpacked and dirty clothes in the laundry, I did go check in to see what they'd been up to while I was away. I went to look for all the reasons everyone else goes to look -- I felt a little sexy and it's a sexy blog.

And I was thinking about how we integrate our work selves, our parent selves, our public selves, our sexual selves, now that all this sexual content is available on the web which surely blurs the line between public and private.

Even when I was a kid and my older brother had Playboy magazines hidden under the bed, they could easily be revealed by my mom vacuuming and he could be "found out" and perhaps feel ashamed or somehow dirty. There was a lot of sneaking around in the old days to real world locations OUTSIDE your home to get sexual materials or experiences -- with sexy magazines, sexy clubs, sexy videos, or just plain sex from paid escorts, masseuses, prostitutes. And I think it's fair to say, mostly men pursued these sexual outlets and it was deemed inappropriate for women to be involved in such pursuits. Now this sexual content is available to anyone with a computer, men and equally women.

But the enormous availability of sexual content (notice I'm trying not to say porn, because I'm still not sure what that word even means) online which allows one to privately pursue sexuality in great range and depth is changing the world we know. Changing it fundamentally. We are not only experiencing sexual content from many countries, but we are experiencing sexual culture from many other countries. What they do in Amsterdam, Osaka, Abu Dhabi and Alabama and HOW they do it, are not the same. This is another reason I'm writing about "alpha males" as I believe all the assumptions about how men and women relate in one culture are being challenged by how men and women relate in many cultures. I'm trying to understand who we are, or perhaps who we were and who we are becoming.

I think fundamentalists of many religions (in many countries) are being buffeted by gale force winds of sexual globalization. Women are right in the sweet spot, or not-so-sweet spot of these seismic sexual rumblings. I really don't know where it will lead us, but I think it's changing our lives very quickly and we may not even notice how much and how fast it is happening.

[*Fleshbot is a new sex blog, or I might call it an online review and digest of sexy digital content. ]


Halley Suitt is a blogger, writer, editor, mom and all-purpose provocateur
who lives in Boston, Massachusetts, last I checked. She's been blogging at Halley's Comment
since January 2002, at the urging ... no, at the relentless nagging of David Weinberger.
She also blogs at Misbehaving.Net where you can find a more detailed bio and a
picture of her
speaking at the BloggerCon conference at Harvard Law School in October 2003.

Why Do We Read Our Horoscope Or Buy Lottery Tickets?

Sometimes I think we are all so odd. We live in a secular world, surely a scientific one, but still we believe in superstitions and luck. We all know better, but we still do it.

We just like to imagine the future or have someone else predict it. And despite all the odds (a zillion to one) printed on the back of the little lottery ticket, we keep buying them, expecting miracles.

The Desires Of Young Men Revisited

I read something Scoble wrote about walking around the Stanford campus, in particular, about Leland Stanford the man and railroad baron who started the university. He goes on to ponder the many businesses founded in Silicon Valley and what was behind their spawning.

I started to think of what young men see in their lives that make them strive to build things in the world, want things, desire power, position, prestige. I only mention young men because my son is already desirous of building buildings, inventing things. Do girl children see the world the same way? What is behind a young woman's desire to change the world, start businesses, gain power?

I posted a mention of this title yesterday "The Desires of Young Men" and said I'd write about it later. The first person who asked me about it was Scott Johnson, an entrepreneur, a founder of a number of companies and the co-founder of Feedster. He's obviously reading his feeds, and is just the kind of young man full of desire to improve the world that I was thinking about.

Danger Zone

I knew if I sat down at the computer this morning, instead of jumping to get this messy house cleaned up, I would end up emailing a few zillion fascinating people and never get a damned thing done and that's exactly what I've been doing, so DEVIL MACHINE, get away from me. Exactly why I don't do IM or IRC anymore. I'd never leave the screen. Heading out.

Trim A Tree

Well, I got my Christmas Tree up yesterday and beat my last year's tree trimming efforts by nearly two weeks. The pine branches have opened up to a more full shape overnight and it smells so good this morning. I'm still having trouble figuring out how to fix a strand of white tiny lights. I can't figure out why replacing one of the little bulbs didn't make the rest of the string light up. Surely it's not that EVERY bulb in the string is out ... have to think about it.

God Get Me Some Coffee

I am having so much trouble waking up today. Yikes! Those holiday weekends will kill you. Today's plan: Keep Eyes Open.

Sunday, November 30, 2003


Great to go to church today and hear about the Advent season which is starting now. There's so much going on at my church in the next three weeks, it's incredible. They were drafting angels and shepards for the Christmas pagent, a tradition that takes place on Christmas Eve. We act out the nativity and sing about 50 Christmas carols, it's lots of fun. My friends with a new baby are playing Mary, Joseph and Jesus this year ... they do have a girl baby, but no one will be the wiser. I met one of the teenagers in the youth group at coffee hour who was really unhappy to hear she couldn't play Mary this year. She looks a bit like Brittney, "I can't believe they want a real mom and a real dad with a real baby this year." She looked a little pissed off and a lot disappointed.

Church is just about the best antidote for the commercialism of the season. They keep your mind on caring about people who are really having a hard time and giving you opportunties to help them out.

Big Present For Single Parents

If you're married, or never been married, think long and hard about how the holiday season feels for divorced or widowed parents -- it's tough sledding sometimes. Here are some things you can do to help them.

Don't ask them how they're feeling. Ask them what they need help with.

They'll tell you not only what they need help with, but also how they're feeling will probably come out in the mix.

Single parents with opposite sex kids often need help with shopping for toys or clothes because it's not so easy for a mom to know how to put together stuff for a boy, like bikes or Legos or videogames sometimes and not so simple for dads to buy cute purses, barrettes or make-up for their girls. Moms can use help dragging big things home in small cars, or better still, in your big car. All volunteers welcome.

Also, there's an ongoing tension for a single parent (or double parent, as a friend aptly calls himself) to try to be BOTH mom and dad during the holidays, but also desperately needing, but never getting time to themselves. All aunts and uncles, real and honorary, can really give the parent a break by taking the kids to a kiddy movie, which btw, if you don't know, kids have no problem seeing about 15 times anyway. One free afternoon with your kids well entertained can make the difference between sanity and an insane asylum visit.

Be sensitive about inviting single parents to an event. I'm often invited to events requiring kids when I don't have my kid with me. It makes it awkward. There's no easy way to negotiate all these social situations, nor should the party-giver have to keep track of all those details, but at least, make it clear if a party is a grown-ups only party or a grown-ups plus kids party or a grown-ups plus kids, but I'm welcome without my kids anyway party.

Also be sensitive about inviting single parents to dinner parties with 3 married couples and one single person. If your intention is matchmaking, make it clear in advance. A lot of single parents are not ready for dating and will not appreciate your good intentions. A lot of single parents are not interested (or are already dating without you knowing about it). A lot of single parents are gay, without you knowing about it.

And of course, there's the invitations for kid parties sent to the wrong house problem. Invitations come to my house (or horrors, are found at the bottom of my kid's backpack) for an event taking place when my son's with his dad. If you know the parents are separated or divorced, try calling and leaving a phone message reminder with ALL the details for the party. I get a lot of "just doing our final RSVP's" calls for parties that I have no invitation for and ZERO information about and I have to call back like an idiot asking for a clue.

The Desires of Young Men

This is a title to something I want to write. It's knocking around in my head. Might be a blog post, might be a poem title, might be a short story, might be a book, I don't know. Just want to write it down.

Thank The Lord!

I have to say, if I'd only known there was such a wealth of info online to help kids AND MOMS win videogames -- I wouldn't have hesitated so long when it came to buying my kid the Sony Playstation 2. He's so into it and so am I! The net continues to save my butt when it comes to helping him figure out how to defeat some digital bad guy. It's opened up this new culture to me as well. Really cool.

Work-out Sweat

I'm all sweaty from working out and I feel ... SO .... GOOD. And once again, I nearly talked myself out of working out, feeling lazy and pathetic and thinking of a million reasons I really didn't want to work out. Glad I didn't listen to myself.

Today I had good strength and luck with my lower half, but my arms felt so weak and flimsy. It's odd how one day you're all biceps and another your legs are full of strength and another you're weak as a kitten in all areas.

Sometimes I don't think I rest enough between workouts, but I worry if I rest TOO much I won't bother to work out at all.

I started at 5:05 and was done by 6:15 and best of all, didn't even wake up my son. That's the reason I have to do it so early. If he gets up we have a cartoon war and he talks me out of the last tough abdominals part and into Bugs Bunny.

Mail On The Floor In The Hall

Used to be when you came back from a vacation there was a pile of mail in your mailbox, or maybe pushed through the slot in the door and all over the floor in the hall. Now there's a pile of email unanswered in my inbox -- sorry, all -- but while I was visiting my friend, I didn't want to spend too much time online, just quick hits to blog and then I had to jump off, so I didn't get to take a crack at my email. I will today.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

My Dad's Birthday Today

My Mom and Dad were born 5 days apart, same year. Dad, hope you're having a helluva time in heaven!

William Wallace Suitt
November 29, 1918 - April 9, 2002

Danah Boyd Great To Meet You

Great to see Danah was in the NYTimes on Thanksgiving, and thanks to Misbehaving.Net for pointing it out. Yes, yes, I know I'm a member, but I missed the post completely. Too much time thinking about cranberry sauce this weekend.

And as for "the online self" and other things Dana studies -- I still haven't met her, but feel as if I have. It's one of the fun things about Misbehaving.Net. So far I've only met Liz, Meg and Caterina in person, so must enjoy the rest of the women's virtual selves until I get around (and get half way around the globe) to meet them all.

Google Monster CV Database

I was thinking that Google and should set up a CV database that lets you pull together a pool of people based on certain unique life experience criteria. For instance, when I wrote this post the other day and asked "who were the five reporters, five photographers, camera crew and producer that went to Iraq with the President?" I got thinking it would be interesting to "reverse engineer" an employee or pool of employees. So you could ask questions just like that -- who was in Iraq w/Bush -- very unique experience.

You might say, "I want someone who's started three businesses in San Diego, been a silver medalist in the Olympics in swimming and knows how to scuba dive." Or "Show me everyone who's been a Fulbright Scholar and currently belongs to SAG (Screen Actors Guild)" if you had a reason to hire a good looking person with acting ability and brains. Maybe this kind of people indexing is already being done?

Back Home And Catching Up

Back to Boston which is really chilly and zipping around the web reading this and that as I toss in the laundry. I wish there were some sort of great software app to help me pack a suitcase with the right stuff. I always come back with stuff NOT worn and stuff worn twice and never seem to get it right.


Is it even a word? I hear it everywhere I go from every undecided Democrat I meet.

"We'll go with whoever's the most electable."

Isn't time to stop holding back, and by stepping up to it, MAKE one of these guys electable?

Don't People Look Funny In The Morning?

My friends are good old friends of mine, so I don't care if they see me looking just terrible in the morning. I guess I don't look terrible, I just look weird. They look weird too. We all pad around in bare feet and pj's trying to get some tea or coffee to kick start this crew. My pj's are pink flannel with white coffee cups flying around on them, filled with brown coffee. The kids wear mismatched superhero pjs. Why does your hair look like a bird's nest in the morning?

They have parakeets here and they let them out in the morning to fly around the room off the living room. I hate birds. My friend's husband warned me that they might want to nest in my hair, just to tease me. I went upstairs and put on a new baby blue sheepskin hat I brought with me.

"They love blue hats," he told me when I came back downstairs. I gave him a grumpy mean face and drank my tea.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Off To Dinner

Yes, we just haven't been eating enough lately! Now I know why they have a traditional Thanksgiving food called STUFFING. It's a verb unfortunately, not a noun.

Sorry Scrooge Gotta Go

I feel the rumbling. In the last two weeks, I've had three experiences where I noticed a "new hire" -- someone was training a new employee or a person told me it was their "first day."

Employers are about to lose a lot of "loyal" employees who have been sticking around through the bad economy, but are more than ready to jump ship as the job market snaps back.

Business Week wrote about this in October, but I think it's coming on even stronger now. BW suggests employers are in for a rude awakening:

"It has been three long years of doubled-up workloads, minuscule raises, and ungrateful bosses -- and American workers are fed up. In the late 1990s, when even modest performers could drum up multiple job offers, such treatment would have led to a mass exodus. Today, it has many workers quietly updating their résumés and biding their time.

After three rounds of layoffs in three years at her magazine, one New York editor says she's now pulling all-nighters every other week. With an out-of-work husband, she can't afford to quit, but she'll depart as soon as hiring picks up. "You feel grateful for having a job, but because of downsizing I'm doing two other people's jobs," she says. "It has just been hugely stressful."

How many people are in the same boat? Sibson Consulting says one out of six is ready to bolt. Walker Information says its survey of 2,400 employees found that 34% were at high risk for departure. And Accenture says half of all U.S. middle managers are actively looking for new jobs or will be soon. The bottom line: After years of cracking the whip, employers who want to win the coming war for talent need to start giving their troops a compelling reason to stay."

This Is Supposed To Help You Sleep

I find it hard to believe that this or this or this would really make anyone sleep. I mean ... yes, I guess ... eventually you would find yourself sleeping like a baby, but for another reason most likely.

Jax II Much Appreciated

We've got the new Jak and Daxter and it's getting raves reviews here. So much for the "no new toys or games before Christmas" rule.

Brave and Cool

It was brave and cool for Bush to go to Iraq. It just was. I'm sure it boosted the soldiers' morale incredibly.

Gin Rummy

We go down to the shore to my friend's mom and dad's house for lunch -- all the leftovers from last night's 20-person Thanksgiving ended up over there -- I wondered where it all went, it wasn't crammed in their fridge this morning. It's a rainy foggy day, their house is on the water but you can't see the 5 feet off the porch to even see the sea.

A houseful of people and I'm playing cards with a Mexican guy, an Israeli guy, my friend's sister and thinking how often these days I'm with people who aren't American. Another reason foreign policy just doesn't feel the same, when you are always sharing the table with people from the whole wide world. World wide web. Whole wide world. Thinking about this notion.

They are confusing the hell out of me with the rules for all these new variations on rummy. Open rummy. Gin rummy. 7-card rummy, 11-card rummy.

My mom taught me to play gin rummy. We argue about the rules and one of the sisters says, "We better give up and google it." She comes back to report the real rules, which I smile inwardly to realize were my mom's rules. In other words, my mom taught it to me straight, right out of the book. I should have known. For all her funny zanny attitude (my genetic legacy) she was rather classical in her approach.

I keep winning and they're getting irked with me. I have the blond way of looking like I don't know what I'm doing ... and then winning.

Six Shoes

If you think getting three boys under the age of 13 out the door is easy -- think again. And if you've seen six shoes, two each of size 5, 9, and 13 1/2, please let me know.

Mighta Been My Life

I like to visit my friends in Connecticut, because I grew up here and in many ways, this should be my life if I'd married a lawyer or a doctor and settled down like my buddies.

Settled down ... hmmm, I was never one to settle down. I lived in Old Greenwich, CT after college for a while and used to work in New York City and would take the Metro North commuter train into Grand Central every day and I found it unbareably dull. It was like being trapped in a John Cheever short story. Even then I was pretty clear I did NOT want to live in a Cheever story, I wanted to write one.

Still, my son is really very conservative and I think would rather I had a more conservative life ... the big house, the big yard, the big job. This morning we are sitting in my friend's big livingroom, poking at the fire in the big fireplace. We're talking about how to build fires, the names of the tools, the tongs, the poker, the bellows. It's a beautiful room and I love my friend and her family (her husband and two sons) and I'm really happy to be here with my son. The living room has a next lower level, a room that's like a conservatory, slate floor, plants, bird cage with chirpy birds, sliding glass doors on the far wall that give to one lower level -- an indoor pool that glows blue. A counterweight to the red glowing fire in the fireplace.

Nothing in the life of a writer is predictable I'm afraid, and I think this will prove disappointing and hard for my kid. Or maybe one day he'll see there was something unique about it. Nah, I doubt it.

Okay, Who Were They?

"Five reporters, five photographers, a camera crew and a producer" went with Bush on his surprise visit to Iraq. Who were they?

Don't Name That Baby Cranberry Please

Big Congratulations to blogger mom Denise Howell and her whole family -- she had her baby yesterday while we were all sitting around stuffing ourselves.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

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Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Polishing Silver

We're finally here in South Norwalk after a fairly PACKED train ride down from Boston and I'm helping my friend set the table for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. My friend Dede in Connecticut has a pile of sisters like I do. Her mother's silverware ... one sister mentions it needs to be polished, a standard ploy, criticism without an offer of help ... we both look at one another. Seems like so much work and maybe even after we bother that sister will still find it lacking.

But I say, let me do the knives. I know what will happen. It's like a haircut where you cut a little off on this side and then the other side really needs a little chop .... The knives will look so good, we'll have to do the spoons and then ... and that's just what happens.

In their big house, one son is upstairs on the phone to his girlfriend, the dad is down in the basement with two buddies working out, they actually USE their treadmill and weighlifting equipment, another son is in the kitchen with me and Dede making pecan pies. I'm stealing pecans, they taste great. Martha Stewart is on the kitchen TV teaching us how to make something ... cranberry something, I'm not watching. My son's wandering between cartoons on the TV in the den and helping us dry the silver.

The knives shine with a glorious glow. There's no going back. We do the big forks, we do the salad forks, we do the dessert forks, we do the big spoons, the little spoons. All of it like a lovely orchestra and shiny sound, but in fact, silent. We talk about whether they're giving Martha Stewart a fair shake or just giving her a hard time, we decide they are harrassing her and should quit. We are Connecticut daughters in arms.

Her sister was right, ishining the silver makes all the difference. The pie is baking. It smells good. The silver is almost done. The table looks great. We're washing twenty wine glasses and twenty water goblets. We're getting glad it's Thanksgiving.

And Thank YOU

And a big big THANK YOU to all you readers. You jump in trying to figure out our funny blogs, you link there, you link back, you guys rock.

I'm not writing too much sad stuff this Thanksgiving. Here's some stuff from my last Thanksgiving. Just click the link and WHOOSH it's 2002.

Thank You

Special THANKS to the million or so bloggers for all the great writing, all the breaking news, all the bravery to think, write, imagine a new way to show us this world.

You're up early, you're up late. You're funny, you're serious. You do it for free most of the time. How the hell do you do it, anyway? You guys are just too cool.

Experts Required?

Are experts reallly required to predict that a large number of people might be travelling over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend? Couldn't they be doing something a little more useful?

Pork Chops Thanksgiving

Grilled up some pork chops I had in the fridge since we're heading out and they'll only spoil if I leave them. I get my son early from school at 11:00 am (he's so excited!) and believe me, even at the relatively young alpha male age of 8, he can eat a mess of pork chops and a pile of boiled new red baby potatoes with butter, salt, pepper, which will save us prowling for sandwiches once we board an undoubtedly PACKED Acela train from Boston to Connecticut. Hope I can get him to eat something green like broccoli or peas. A mom's wishful thinking.

Wish I Could Write Like This

Some people are sure good at this pen and pencil business. I can see, feel, touch, taste the whole scene here:

Unraked leaves frost-fuzzy as peaches soften the winterhard ground, and around the trunk of our shrubbery four small grey birds huddle in a nest of green branches, broad needles, and wings wrapped like blankets around them in a bid for a few more minutes’ sleep.

He IS a trained professional, or perhaps better stated, a professional in training. Don't try stunts like these in your own home.


I have colored in a lot of Pilgrims and I still find those big buckles on their shoes and hats just plain weird. You can never find the right crayon for them unless you've got a Crayola box way bigger than 128 colors ... you need 256 or 512 or something. What are they brass, pewter, tin, iron?

Giving Thanks

I give thanks no weirdo producer has decided to do a reality TV show based on locking up 10 A List Bloggers in a fancy condo in La Jolla until they basically kill one another with broken links and misdirected blogroll URLs and then vote one another off into RSS oblivion, while one of them makes tuna sandwiches with bad mayonnaise in the kitchen to try to kill off the remaining few who are wandering the beach, stealth discoing innocent bystanders.

Boob Tube

These announcements about who won the TV November Sweeps ratings puzzle me. I guess I just don't watch much TV anymore. I didn't see ONE of the shows mentioned. I didn't even see the Victoria's Secret Special, which I actually wanted to see. I just don't turn on the box anymore -- except for the Weather Channel actually and a bit of CNBC when the markets are open.

When my son is here, we do watch TV but it's a straight diet of Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network cartoons and anime, with some Simpsons on Fox thrown in for good measure. Even he's not as keen on it as he used to be -- and we'll build Legos or play Sony Playstation or do other stuff many evenings. When I'm here on my own, I'm either reading, bloggiing, IRC'ing, writing or out with real people ... what are they called again ... oh yeah, friends. I think I'd rather play Go Fish with my kid any night of the week most of the time. Do you have a Queen? No? Go Fish? Okay.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Alpha Males Look Good

Interesting piece from The Guardian about how politicians are Alpha Males who must keep up their physical strength to hold their own in the political arena. They suggest Tony Blair's recent heart trouble made him stumble a bit in the eyes of the tribe.

More Dot Edu Folks

My dad used to say to me when I came home for vacations during college and GOD FORBID I would cuss, he'd get all red and say, "I'm paying good money for you to learn to swear like a sailor!" Actually I don't think Mount Holyoke had a program, nor did Columbia University for that matter, that made any pretense of instructing me in Nautical Language and Literature. I'd just say, "Sorry Pop!" and remind him that in fact , I was learning English, French and Russian and could swear as well as any member of their naval fleets in all three languages. I also looked pretty cute in one of those flat hats from the Russian navy. He did not appreciate my saucy retorts.

Anyway, I just took a peek again at my referrer log and I've got more visitors from such esteemed institutions as Berkley, edu,,,, and others on my site tonight. Run! Get off my site! Get outta here! Your parents are going to be so pissed off at me if they find you're spending their hard-earned or borrowed tuition reading blogs. My parents are dead, so they won't take me to task over the Thanksgiving table, but I sure don't want YOUR PARENTS after me. Shoo! Back to your books. Hit the carrels. Study, study, study and pass those exams.

Thanksgiving Travel Tomorrow

Be really careful. I pick the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as the world's worst travel day. Everyone travels on that day for the most part. There are very few other days all year that have that level of concentration of travel. Even with a big holiday weekend, you can slip out Friday evening, Saturday morning, whenever and not miss a Monday holiday, but with Thanksgiving, everyone funnels into Wednesday. I hate it. I remember insane drives up from LA through the grapevine following the 5 north to San Fran or Sacramento. I can hear the cattle (and smell them) at Harris Ranch as I type.

We're off to Connecticut tomorrow, but thank god, by train, NOT driving.

Hi Dot Edu Guys

There are folks currently here on my site, if my referrer log is correct, from,, and Aren't you guys supposed to be studying for exams ... no wait, you're almost off for Thanksgiving vacation. Cool! Thanks for reading.

Rather Fascinating

I often see parts of things I've written on other people blogs -- people I don't know and who don't know me. I was just looking at a cut and paste edit of my Alpha Male 18 Lessons on a person's site. They cut out what they didn't like and kept what they did like. Total hatchet job actually.

I suppose as the author I could get all upset about that, but actually it's rather fascinating as you give your words away, it's every interesting to see what people do with them. When I was in school doing my masters' degree in writing (MFA) and we would critique a story, one of the toughest teachers made us do an exercise like that. We had to say where we lost interest, where we got interested and rip the thing apart in that way to show the writer where it worked for the audience and where it did not work.

This type of radical surgery is often very painful but also very helpful. I really like to hear what people think of my stuff and also feel as if it's no longer mine anyway, once I publish it, it belongs to readers and how they interpret it.

The original post did not credit me as the author, but others who commented did know my name and put a link up to the original source. This is a good neighborhood, this Net.

Ed Cone Daily Minimum Requirement

He's a favorite vitamin supplement of mine. Did you read him today?

All You Want For Christmas

When it comes to unwrapping gifts for the holidays, why not start by unwrapping your partner? Jodie over at ScoreBrowniePoints has the inside info.

Go on, guys, there's nothing wrong with a naked holiday, is there? Another bit of shecommerce for you all to enjoy.

Dear Dear Diary


Dear, dear diary, I want to tell my secrets
Cuz you're the only one that I know who'll keep

Dear, dear diary, I want to tell my secrets
I know you'll keep them, and this is what I've

I've been a bad, bad girl for so long
I don't know how to change what went wrong
Daddy's little girl when he went away
What did it teach me? That love leaves

Dear, dear diary, I want to tell my secrets
Cuz you're the only one that I know who'll keep

Dear, dear diary, I want to tell my secrets
I know you'll keep them, and this is what I've

I've been down every road you could go
I made some bad choices as you know
Seems I have the whole world cradled in my hands
But its just like me not to understand

Dear, dear diary, I want to tell my secrets
Cuz you're the only one that I know who'll keep

Dear, dear diary, I want to tell my secrets
I've been a bad, bad girl

I learned my lessons
I turned myself around
I've got a guardian angel tattooed on my shoulder

She's been watching over me

Dear, dear diary, I want to tell my secrets
Cuz you're the only one that I know who'll keep

Dear, dear diary, I want to tell my secrets
I've been a bad, bad girl

Dear, dear diary, I want to tell my secrets
Cuz you're the only one that I know who'll keep

Dear, dear diary, I want to tell my secrets
I've been a bad, bad girl

I've been a bad, bad girl

Can't Get It For Free

My new short story is finally on the newsstands in the new issue of Penthouse. Okay, here's the deal. A lot of you guys are feeling a little shy about walking up to the newsstand man and asking for it. If you're feeling a little bashful, you can get it here.

The newsstand price is $7.95. With tax, you're looking at about ... $8.25. If you want to Paypal me $15.00 or MORE -- my tip jar can use it -- I'll trot into Harvard Square, buy you a copy, slit the plastic, autograph it and mail it to you.

And as for you loyal fans who already bought an autographed copy of the first chapter of Alpha Male a few months back -- it's payback time -- I'm sending you a autographed Penthouse on the house. I really appreciated your support at that time. You'll never know how much.


Britt Blaser is writing some amazing stuff. Take the time to read it.
Every warrior knows that perfect safety is a fool's paradise. The premise of the current war on terror is that we can entertain our way out of the terrorist threat. It's entertainment to feel an illusory omnipotence that will hunt down every evil-doer and infidel–a kind of adolescent road rage, really. The old heads in your squadron know to protect such greenhorns from their enthusiasms, at least until they learn or die. "There are old pilots and bold pilots. There are no old, bold pilots."
I keep meaning to point out this post or that, but at this point, all I can say is, JUST READ EVERYTHING!

The Wonderful World of COBRA

Jeneane's post is a must read. This is what is really happening in our real lives in the really wonderful country. If she doesn't pay for COBRA, she knows she, her husband and her baby daughter are at terrible risk, but who the hell has that kind of money when there are so many other bills to pay? If you pay $1300 for COBRA, but can't eat or pay the rent, remind me how healthy you are anyway?!

And of course, she's lucky to even HAVE health insurance. So many of us don't have it at all.

Miss Spelling

Some day someone will explain how all our pern, I mean parn, I mean PORN now comes across your email inbox full of your standard filth but also full of misspellings. This I understand is a way for it to slip past filters, but it's so dumb.

I guess all these misspellings are supposed to look even filthier. If guess if you're Strunk and White, watching all these spelling and grammatical taboos get broken, might be so shocking they get you all in a lather, but I'm finding them completely LOL crazy.

I had email from a naughty young e-lady the other day that implored me to remove her clothes ... I think ... she said dramatically, "TAKE MY CLOTH OFF!"

I had to reply, "Take your own cloth off, and get outta here!"

Dervala's Urban Outfit

You can take Dervala out of the Canadian wilderness, but you can't take the Canadian wilderness and warm appropriate clothes off of Dervala. She recounts a misguided attempt to go urban by hunting down and slipping on a miniskirt. I bet she looked great but she decided to bag it in the end.

Brisk Morning Walk Good Night's Sleep

No surprise to me that a study reports getting early morning exercise helps you sleep at night. I have to wonder if the correlation is so direct or that something else is at work.

I've been walking a lot lately, and not just for exercise, but trying to see how many of my errands and real life activities I can do walking instead of driving. I live in a surburb of Boston where most people drive EVERYWHERE, so when I show up at a party or the store or meeting someone for coffee at Starbucks and they find I walked an hour or more to get there, they are stunned. I find it stunning to see how much of my life is structured around DRIVING EVERYWHERE which I hate.

I guess I feel a little like Forrest Gump lately. You remember he started running and just kept going. Once I start walking, some days I just want to keep on going.

Monday, November 24, 2003

D'accord, Jean-Yves

Donc, qu'est-ce-que tu racontes? Il faut que je blog en francais maintenant? D'ac, je vais essayer.

Je te remercie pour le ... WHAT THE HECK DO THEY CALL A LINK IN FRENCH .. oh yeah, le lien a Technorati avec Les 100 Plus Super Chouette Blogs Francais. Et merci a Loic aussi.

Voila. Ca va?

Ut Oh ... Key Lime Pie

Wow! That was a bad idea -- to look deeper into the Joe's Stone Crab website. They have a receipe section and a picture of their terrific Key Lime Pie. I'd kill for some.

When we were kids my dad used to drive us down to Florida for vacations in this old 1965 station wagon. We went nuts for the Key Lime Pie and of course, the coconut patties. I looked like such a weird kid. I had big green eyes, a very big head with a big big head of hair, straight, full, strawberry blonde -- completely wild when not in two thick braids -- and a stick body. I was sick all the time and a real 48-pound weakling for the longest tmie. I should dig up a picture around here somewhere. I showed my kid one a few weeks ago and it made him laugh and laugh. He thought I looked like those head bobber dolls.

Someone is eating a piece of Key Lime Pie somewhere in Florida right now and I am so jealous.

Ever Been To The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables?

What an amazing hotel. I had to go check it out once when I was working for a conference series to see if we would book it for an event. They put me in the bridal suite, alone. It was one incredible suite of rooms. I lost my luggage in the suite, because I didn't notice which closet in which room the the bell boy put away my bags.

They have a football field length swimming pool. I've never seen such a terrific pool.

It has some great history. BTW, if you're in Miami, go to Joe's Stone Crab for me. I love the creamed spinach there.

Ever Been To The Coke Museum In Atlanta?

It's really weird. For you guys that get off on brand, it's a helluva place. I left thinking, "they are making millions of dollars with sweet brown bubbly water. Go figure."

How Did People Used To Meet Anyway?

After reading that NYT Sunday Magazine piece about online dating, I suddenly couldn't remember how people used to meet before email and online stuff ... let me think back. Oh yeah, I met some of my early boyfriends ...

in college,
at my first job,
through family friends one summer weekend,
at a party at a friend's house,
at grad school,
at grad school,
at grad school,
and then my husband ...
he was a friend of a previous boyfriend and came to speak at a conference I was running.

I got a chance to know them, (and they me) by watching them, working with them, knowing their friends, even knowing some of their past girlfriends, long before we were doing anything intimate. But one thing that surprised me, reading that article is the "disconnectedness" and lack of social screening there is now, which you could rely on in the old days. Most of the guys I dated came through our social network so you knew a lot about them through family or friends or co-workers right off. There wasn't a sense they were just floating out there in cyberspace. That part is a little frightening. To really know nothing about someone ...

Romance 2.0

The story in yesterday's The New York Times Magazine by Jennifer Egan called Romance 2.0 about online dating really needed to bring blogs into the conversation. Seems like that is surely part of the mix. Focusing only on the personals and online dating services seemed pretty flat.

Hey Accordion Guy

How the heck did I miss hanging out with you at BloggerCon? I think it was a plot that Boris and Joi hatched, acting like big brothers -- trying to keep us both out of trouble.

Where do I sign up for accordion lessons, anyway?

Speaking of which, little known Halley factoid here -- I had an accordion when I was a teenager, but could never seem to get the hang of it.


Yes, I vote for PAPER.

Andrew Sullivan on the GOP and Dean

Am I getting mixed up or is Andrew Sullivan a liberal?

"The GOP has now no crediibility as a party of fiscal discipline or small government. It's just another tool of special interests - as beholden to them as the Dems are to theirs. Its pork barrel excesses may now be worse than the Dems, and the president seems completely unable or unwilling to restrain them. I know I'm a broken record on this but we truly need some kind of third force again in American politics - fiscally conservative, socially inclusive, and vigilant against terror."

And don't miss his essay on Dean.

I Pray For The Moms Today

I pray for the moms and all their kids.

I pray for the moms who worry about all of us.

I pray for the moms who cook for us, who clean for us, who care for us, who cheer us up.

I pray for the moms of soldiers.

I pray for the divorced moms.

I pray for the widowed moms.

I pray for the moms who've lost children.

I pray twice for them.

It's My Mom's Birthday

Miss you Mom. Kiss you Mom. Love you Mom.

Kathryn Suitt

November 24, 1918 - September 26, 1997

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Some Kid From Utah

I heard John Kerry's wife interviewed today and she made a crack about Dean having "some kid from Utah" who knew a lot about the internet but that didn't really mean anything.

No comment.

Cold Winds Will Blow

This morning the post I did about this book spoke to a very big problem America is facing -- the eradication of the middle-class in the US. Instapundit points out the outsourced jobs trend and it's political impact and then sends us over to this terrific blog and then don't miss this comment to that post:

I'm living this nightmare right now.
As one of nearly forty thousand aerosapce workers let go by Boeing, I know and understand what is happening quite well.
Most of the new 7e7 jetliner is going to be built overseas, and the remainder in right to work states who made big payoffs to Boeing for the priveledge.
It's simple. I cannot compete. It's not that I don't want to.
I cannot compete with a chinese or malay who works for 75 cents an hour. By the same token, I cannot compete with a BETTER paid Japanese worker, who's government is willing to shell out billions in development costs to Boeing to get the work. Instead of pressing for government action against airbus subsidies, Boeing gets it's money from foreign governments, and gives away American jobs as a reward.
Then it takes billions in taxpayer dollars for defense contracts and has those for dessert.

The upshot of all this will be increasingly vitriolic class warfare and political division.
I fully intend to participate when not busy trying to keep my family's nose above water.
I am in technical school learning to be a cook.
It's about all I could afford under the government program for aerospace worker retraining.
It probably won't be the last time that I belly up to the government's bar for a drink. The BEST I can hope to earn is half my former wages. And at 44 years of age, thats a hit. That means working until I am DEAD.
Yes,I have given up on the idea of retirement.
I don't like taking public money, and I don't like the idea of no retirement.
But America is no longer the land of opportunity. Sure, you can get lucky, or be born that way.
But I played by the rules of the game, and the rules have changed.
This is my adaptation to those new rules.
Don't like it? I don't either. You won't like the strife and social upheaval that are bound to follow either, the kind that always happens when an underclass is created an penned in with little chance of something better.
It will be the Gen-x's and those that follow on, the ones without wealthy parents who will lead the revolt. Outnumberd and out voted by greedy baby boom geezers (think the latest medicare bill, only a hundred fold more onerous)they will get tired of low wage jobs and onerous taxation and just opt out of the society that put them in that position.
Think of that. The baby boomers facing a redeux of their own 60's dissaffection.
It's going to be interesting, but horrible.

and the commentor's own blog.

The cold wind that will blow is the ongoing erosion of the middle-class and the social upheaval this will bring. It will not be pretty. Blogs will enable the story to be told. When it's clear that blogs are the tool -- they will see how radical they are. They will pull the plug.

BTW, anyone notice how many bloggers there are in Boston? Anyone notice the Democratic National Convention (DNC) is going to take place in Boston next year? Anyone noticing anything?

Don't Be Fooled

The weather looks great for the coming week here in Boston, but I bought a new sheepskin hat and sheepskin mittens because we are going to get walloped by a winter we've been managing to avoid so far ... just wait!

I've got my boots, hat, mitts, long johns all ready. I'm seen this routine before. I've got all my son's stuff at the ready too. The kids don't get to go out at recess time when it's cold (and fun to play in the snow) unless they have snow pants and all the other accessories. Even if it's blowing a gale and snow is dumping, as long as it's above 20 degrees, they have outside recess here all winter, IF they have their gear (snowpants, boots, mittens, hats, scarves). Nothing's worse than having to sit inside watching your pals playing in the snow.

All you warm weather parents -- can you imagine keeping track of all that clothing all winter? The worst part is that they leave one mitten here and one hat there and on and on and on. They never remember to bring home their snow clothes. By March, when it's still snowing, they have nothing to wear, but are still able to bring home another bout of flu for the family to share. :(

Still Ruminating

Just wanted to throw some pointers at Jeff Jarvis' notes on Andrew Sullivan speaking at the Online News Association Conference, in Chicago, two weeks back which are full of important ideas I'm still thinking about.

There's this:

: "I think it's going to get more revolutionary. We're going to see self-publishing of books... and taking power away from editors and publishers and media magnates."

: In the news media now, he says, the public "knows there is a man behind the curtain."

And this:

: What sets apart weblogs, he says, is economics: He talks about the economics of thoughtful journalism: The New Republic has never made money and loses more. The Nation doesn't make money. "And then I experienced blogging as an alterantive. It staggers me to realize that last week, is now reaching more people online than the magazine I used to edit, which is still losing... hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. That's a big deal... We haven't just made the economics of journalism cheaper.... We haven't just lowered the barriers to entry to journalism, we've completely revolutionized it."

And this too:

: "I think of blogging as the first genuine innovation that came out of the Internet itself."

Way Tuckered Out

Steve and Sage and I were going to do dinner tonight, but I was so tuckered out, I asked if we could please rearrange, so we did. Meanwhile, I'll just have to wait a few weeks to cook up a One Pot Meal for them, but I think it will be worth the wait. By then we might have some real cold winter temperatures and we'll all work up a big appetite for home cooking. Thanks for being flexible, you guys.

In The Balance

I got so many interesting comments -- I mean emails, I know, no comments here -- this weekend about how people balance their lives after I wrote about balance. Much appreciated. Here's a few:

From Werner:

> I have found that balance in the way we want it is
> not something
> natural, and our stress about it it is more a thing
> in our heads. Like
> that we are OK if we manage to give all of these
> things our equal
> attention.
> Not that I am terribly successful at it, but when
> trying to balance
> things I like to borrow something from 'chaos
> theory'. Sometimes it is
> very difficult to see order (balance) at the level
> that you are looking
> at. If you look at a too detailed a level everything
> seem chaotic and
> you get totally overwhelmed by the chaos of things.
> To find the order
> you sometimes have to take one or two steps back to
> look at the 'bigger
> picture' and suddenly see order appearing.
> I find that for balance in your life the 'steps
> back' you have to take
> are steps back in time. While at a detailed
> timescale it sometimes seems
> as if you are not capable of achieving order and
> balance, it is
> important to take a step back and see whether you
> are able to achieve
> balance at the next level up, with maybe a couple of
> days or a week.
> Micromanaging a life is impossible; there are so
> many unknowns, plus
> that it is not fun. Or at least I think it is not
> fun to live your life
> with a strict schedule after day. Where is the joy?
> As you write it is important to let the energy of
> those things we think
> are fun charge our lives. It is almost more
> important than anything else
> we do. Without that we turn into sour, cynical
> middle-aged parents. And
> we can't have that can we. No fun at all.
> So what if you go totally overboard on skiing the
> first week when the
> slopes open again. Or take a weekend and watch all
> the 24 episodes or
> that television series on DVD. As long as you manage
> to find some
> balance at the next level up or the level above
> that.
> Of course there are deadlines, and your body reacts
> if you don't
> exercise for a few weeks. But not everything should
> be a deadline.
> Because this is life, not business.
> Evaluating our balancing act at the wrong timescale
> can totally stress
> us out. We typically pick a day as how to evaluate
> our balance. If you
> have done x or y that day you feel horrible. We hook
> up our lives to
> this notion of 'a day'. 'If I haven't done exercise
> today I feel
> horrible and I feel stressed all day because I still
> try to get to it'.
> Sometimes it helps to step away from cramming
> everything in a day and
> find balance the next level up. gets all these bad
> stress and panic
> chemicals out of your body, etc.

And this from Jerry:

>> I was
>> a single parent of three children and see that as a
>> primary issue. I had a
>> "work at home" job and daddy's time when working was
>> not to be violated. It
>> was of course but rarely and on the whole "the
>> schedule" worked fairly well.
>> And I am not a "scheduler." But I got things done.
>> I see the consulting work I did much like your
>> writing. You simply have to
>> set a time for it and do it -- regardless. I recall
>> that Hemingway was
>> religious about writing at the same time per day and
>> when a few hours had
>> passed he quit, something not always easy to do.
>> I don't know if you are a "scheduler" or not. But I
>> found it useful for
>> doing my work and for guaranteeing time with my
>> children. Other important
>> things took second place and fell into a slot here
>> and there and always
>> seemed to get done.
>> Your columns have made me think of what I could have
>> done better and I thank
>> you. But hating schedules as I do, I think that one
>> who leads and
>> interesting life must set certain priorities,
>> certain times, and see that
>> they get done. Scheduling everything is for fools
>> or those who have nothing
>> better to do than write schedules.

Adam Curry's Take on Michael Jackson

I like what Adam has to say about Michael Jackson. I'll say what I said before. Michael Jackson is innocent until proven guilty. So far his major sins seem to be the fact that he's wealthy, famous and an artist -- things that Americans secretly envy and resent.

And Rod's Rocking

And Rod's busy rocking and rolling his Saturday Night away. Some people have all the fun (and warm weather -- notice the pix -- I'm jealous). His blog piece satirizing my sports post is funny as hell.

Samedi Soir

That's an old French tune called "Saturday Night" and goes on to say "everybody loves Saturday Night." Here's what Skadz was up to last night. I guess I was all wrong about bloggers hiding behind their blogs on Saturday nights. They're all out partying after all.

Another Saturday Night

Betsy's Saturday nights sure sound like way more fun than mine. She's chilling champagne waiting for Catherine Zeta-Jones to drop by, while I'm just eating at Sandrines (which is terrific actually). Holy Mackeral!

Hey, Redhead

Wow, I've been getting a lot of email and blogging about my Saturday Night comment. Honestly, I'm home most nights as a radically early-to-bed-early-to-rise girl, but of course last night, after expecting to be home, I was asked out to dinner and a movie.

I liked your "out every weeknight" problem. It's getting more and more that way, isn't it?

Andrew Sullivan On Marriage

Sullivan's comments on ABC This Week on marriage were well-informed and well-founded. I especially liked "I don't want to marry anyone, I want to marry someone. At this point, we don't have the right to marry anyone."

George Will brought up the real problem with the heterosexual marriage issue -- this gay marriage legislation has little to do with stoping the cultural erosion of heterosexual marriage. Legislating the popularity and appeal of marriage is essentially unworkable. Conservatives should be thrilled that anyone in this culture wants to get married anymore -- gays or straights or anyone.

Instapundit On Marriage

Glenn has some great Alpha Male things to say about enjoying many partners BEFORE marriage. There's going to be a lot of talk about marriage in the next few weeks with the recent ruling in Massachusetts and David Brooks' op-ed on gay marriage in The New York Times kicking off the discussion. I think heterosexual marriage is disintegrating as an institution. It will be interesting when there are more gay marriages than straight marriages one of these days.

Andrew Sullivan On ABC TV This Morning

Blogger Sullivan will be on ABC's Sunday morning show at 10:30 am today.

Sunday Mornings

Sunday Mornings have two things going for them -- 1) the Sunday morning political TV programs which most informed people like to watch; 2) church. If you're a church goer, you have to choose between church and state, so to speak. [I guess that depends on whether church starts at 10:30am like mine does, the same time these political shows air on the major networks ABC, CBS and NBC.]

I have to wonder also if there is a split between men and women here and I know this is a generalization ... but at least in my church, there are more women attending church and I suspect more men home watching political TV programs.

I suppose Tivo allows us finally to choose church AND state, but I don't have Tivo. When I ditch church and learn more about the state of the nation by watching those shows, I'm always sorry I missed church and only feel like praying.

Hug Them Close

Peter Riddell's new book, "Hug Them Close: Blair, Clinton, Bush & The Special Relationship" sounds really good. There's a panel discussion of the book on CSPAN Book TV this morning. Sounds like a quick, interesting read.