Wednesday, November 27, 2002


Off to the Bijou. Can't resist. Big popcorn with lots of greasy butter please, big Coke, maybe go all the way and get some Raisinets. It's good movie weather, with a freezing cold night, always good to be inside. Just like those way-too-hot August afternoons -- off to the movies we go.

One Thanksgiving

One Thanksgiving I got sent away from the table for being a “smartmouth” as my dad said. My brother was doing grace and I was just in a giggly mood. It was one of those, “Thank you Father for all your gifts seen and unseen, heard and unheard, spoken and unspoken, …” on and on and on. I don’t remember what I said, but next thing I knew I was spending the meal in the TV room, with no dinner. Whoops.

Another Thanksgiving

Another Thanksgiving I made the idiotic mistake of buying a turkey sandwich with mayonnaise in a grungy little deli in Grand Central Station on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I was starving and we were going to take the train from Grand Central to Greenwich, Connecticut (we often got out at the seedy Port Chester station which was closer to our side of Greenwich) and I figured I just had to eat or I would be too ravenous by the time I got up to my parent’s house.

Can you spell s-a-l-m-o-n-e-l-l-a? The mayonnaise was bad on the sandwich is all I could figure. I was so sick, my mom said I looked green. I spent most of the Thanksgiving holiday vomiting and taking a medicine they gave me to stop me from vomiting, which, of course, I instantly vomited up. That was the big slimfast Thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving That Never Was

Have you noticed that this late-in-the-month Thanksgiving has been pretty much squeezed off the calendar and the store shelves by Christmas and Hanukah? I’ve seen Christmas gifts and Christmas cards and Christmas decorations being pushed in the malls for the last two weeks. And what the heck’s with Hanukah, starting one day after Thanksgiving!? Yikes! Like what’s the rush? And then, don’t look now but Christmas is already over. I heard “Aude Lang Syne” on the PA system in a drug store the other day and thought, “Holy Ramadan, Batman, is this a new terrorist plot? Are the evil doers speeding up time and trying to confuse the heck out of all of us?” We’ll be saying “Erin Go Braless” and wearing of the green by next week if this keeps up.

River Horse

Last night, on the spur of the moment, I took my 7-year-old and his friend swimming at the health club pool and we were literally horsing around having so much fun. I was a river horse and they jumped on my back and I would gallop and sway and splash from side to side and they would yell, “Giddy up” and snap my bathing suit straps like a whip and I would snort, stop short and they’d go ass over tincup into the water on their heads. We also played surfer dude, where I’d descend to the floor of the pool, stretch out like a surf board, let them stand on me like they were surfing, until I can barely breathe and I’m almost drowning, then slowing, the board (that’s me) comes alive and I get up and toss them off again – on their heads.

I have been criticized by real grown-ups for having too much fun. Some see me as hedonistic, self-indulgent, immature, puerile and even irresponsible. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!

M is for More

There’s a new magazine called “More”. You may be thinking of Dicken’s Oliver, holding up his begging bowl, “Please sir, may I have some more?” No, that’s not the idea. It’s for women age 40 and over. More. Maybe they have more to offer? Maybe they expect more? You figure it out.

They ran a interview with Cybill Shepard that was really something. She’s 53 and looks pretty terrific. They asked her how she screens the new men she meets. “People introduce me. It’s interesting trying to screen your dates over the phone. The first thing I said used to be, “Are you pro-choice?” If they said, “What do you mean by that?” I would say, “You know, I think this is not going to work.”

Then they asked her what she asks men now? “I ask if they’ve ever masturbated in front of someone. Not in the first conversation, though! If they say no, I ask how often they masturbate. If that say, “I’d rather have somebody else do it,” that’s a bad sign … Next!”


Yesterday at work, we were given pies. Not my favorites like Boston Cream Pie or Strawberry Rhubarb or Coconut Custard. No, these were the seasonal pies – Pumpkin, Pecan and the pie of all seasons, Apple. And it was a nice thing to have a big white pie box to carry out instead of the usual stack of books, papers, manuscripts we drag home most evenings.

We had to wait in line to get these pies. In the queue which was fairly long, I was lucky to be instructed my someone wise in the ways of pies, who pointed out that all pies have a certain appropriate season. One must not be caught dead eating Cherry Pie at a random time, but it is best digested around President’s Day, when that president cut down the cherry tree and all. And of course, a peach pie just shouts late August. I could feel my skin slightly sunburned as he mentioned that obvious fact. I had to agree.

Driving home, with my pecan pie keeping me company in the passenger seat, I was thinking of a pie recipe I read once that seemed so totally depressing, I hope I never get to taste one. It was an Amish Funeral Pie, made of raisins and some spices. They had even bothered to print a photograph of it. It looked dreadful. A dark grey pie. Ugh.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

I'll Stand By You.

[This was originally posted on 4.19.02. This is about my dad's death on April 9, 2002. It's for Dave. So glad he isn't facing this and his father is recovering. We'll all keep praying.]

Can I talk about this? It's a little grizzly, a little scary. Turn back now if you like. It's about what happened when my dad died last Tuesday morning (4.9.02).

Over the weekend, he had been very ill in the ICU with an infection — sepsis — which is a poisoning of the blood. It's rough. Very hard to come back from. Dire.

It makes your body shake and shiver. So my very tall, once very athletic, handsome dad, looked like a very skinny shivering rabbit, his frail paws clutching the sheets, tubes and needles and IV's and lines jammed into him everywhere. The nurses and the doctors were doing everything they could, but my dad looked more like their science experiment than a person. It was a heartbreaker.

We were there many hours, as time would melt and pool, sometimes flying by, sometimes leaden, always sad and surreal. By early Monday morning, we'd summoned all the siblings who lived out of town to make sure they could get there if they wanted to see him one last time. The doctors were still trying to keep him going, but he wasn't responding to 4 days worth of their efforts with antibiotics and everything else they could come up with. His blood pressure was something dreadful like 60/40, a number I'd never seen.

My dad, now 83, had never wanted to be on life support and we had it in writing from a time in his 70's when he was sharp as a tack. He had a "Do Not Resuscitate" order on his chart. Still, we thought we would have to tell the doctors to just give it up and let him go.

It was wrenching. It was like being forced to kill someone. My sister and I were prepared to tell the doctors Monday morning, but in fact, the doctors told us they thought there really was no hope and had we considered "comfort care" — which means letting him die naturally. They did us a favor by suggesting it and supporting our decision to do that. They let us off the hook. You can't make a decision like that without thinking, did I let him go or did I kill him?

By noon, all my family had decided together in a dingy little waiting room, decorated with someone else's lung xrays, that we should let him go. They remove all the tubes, IV's, catheters, everything. At last, he was free of all the apparatus. They gave him more than enough morphine to be very comfortable.

It was a little like inducing labor for a pregnant woman. You know what will happen, you just don't know WHEN. But as joyous as the birth of a baby can be, this waiting turned us all to stone, but we knew we had to stick by him.

We all stayed until late, but finally I was just too exhausted, so I went home around 6:00pm to take care of my son and husband. I felt like a rat doing it, but I knew I had to.

I actually slept that night — not well, but better than I expected to. I woke like a shot at 4:45am Tuesday morning. I got dressed, out the door and to the hospital by 5:45am. Per usual procedure, I had to call into the ICU to get permission to see him, but ask first if he'd made it through the night. The nurse said he'd made it through the night comfortably, whatever the hell that meant.

I went in. I was the only one there with him. He was breathing with difficulty, sucking each breathe, as if his last — which of course they were. I talked to him, held his hand, prayed. The nurse saw him stir and told me he knew I was there. At about 6:30am, his breathing slowed, and since I'd been with my mom when she died, I knew what was coming. I was just quiet with him. I told him mom really missed him, it was all right to go.

Do you wonder if there is a soul? I don't. You can feel it fly out of the room. I did with my mom. And I did with my dad. It's beyond religious. It's primal and basic. It's a lively vital force of nature that has gone out of the body it once animated. I knew when he went. I was happy for him.

The young nurse came in in a bit of a fluster. She seemed to require scientific proof. I said, "It's okay, I know he's gone." She rushed out and got a stethoscope to check his heart. I thought she was so stupid, anyone could see he was gone. It's as if we are hardwired to see death, know it and then turn away from it — tend to the babies and children with their great silly liveliness.

She nodded yes and said, "I'll get the doctor." I sat down in a chair like a lump. I was alone with him. Why me, Dad? Why was I the only one there? I suppose it was an honor, perhaps I could handle it best? I don't know. I sat quietly until the doctor came. He was kind. I was crying. He asked me to step out in the waiting room while they tended to my dad — "tended to the body", no, they didn't say that, thank goodness. A nurse let me use the phone to call my husband who was getting my son ready for school and then, I called my sisters.

In the waiting room, there was a funeral on CNN, by satellite from London, the Queen Mother had died. It was great to hear them talk about how much fun she'd had, how she loved to dance — very similar to my Dad. It was a wonderful thing to watch. I watched it for an hour, glued to it, me and Christiane Amanpour, watching the lovely hearse. I was waiting for my other sisters and their husbands to come over to the hospital. They arrived and I was glad not be alone anymore.


Feel so thankful for so much today. I'm especially thankful to all my friends, especially bloggers, many of whom I barely knew a year ago -- that alone seems impossible.

In church this Sunday we sang this hymn which I love:

We plow the fields, and scatter the good seed on the land,
But it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand;
He sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain,
The breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain.

All good gifts around us
Are sent from heaven above,
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord
For all His love.

He only is the Maker of all things near and far;
He paints the wayside flower, He lights the evening star;
The winds and waves obey Him, by Him the birds are fed;
Much more to us, His children, He gives our daily bread.

We thank Thee, then, O Father, for all things bright and good,
The seed time and the harvest, our life, our health, and food;
No gifts have we to offer, for all Thy love imparts,
But that which Thou desirest, our humble, thankful hearts.

I like to know God has a hand in what happens in our lives. I like to yield to God. I like to let God be in control, acknowledge that I am not.

I hope to drive down to Plymouth Rock on Friday with my son. It's not far from where I live. I can't imagine being a Pilgrim mom with her child, arriving on terra firma after a voyage like that, to a BRAND NEW WORLD and all the guts that took.

Speaking of Pilgrims, I'm very thankful my church, Pilgrim UCC Church, passed a resolution this weekend that we are an "Open and Affirming" church. Some of the congregation found this hard to understand -- why we need to let gay and lesbian Christians know they are safe and welcome with us -- in writing. It brought on quite a big debate. I'm so thankful for everyone feeling free to voice their opinions. Amazing to think the original Pilgrims left England because their religious freedom was threatened. They risked life and limb for that.

RSS Help

Can anyone help me out with an RSS error ? A reader named Siegfried has just emailed me about it.
Just tried to look at your rss-file and I got the error: Line 33, Column 947 with IE6 sp1
Drop me an email if you can give me a clue.

Monday, November 25, 2002

What's A Weblog?

Every few months it seems like all bloggers are called upon to answer the big existential question, "What's A Weblog?" Whether it's over a light dinner of Beef Wellington for 24 in the formal dining room after riding to hounds in my friend's weekend house two hours out of London, at 14th and 2nd waiting for the bus by the New York Eye and Ear Institute, at The Body Shop at the Denver International Airport in front of the Oceanus shower gel or simply on Sand Hill Road driving too fast in a Lexus SUV sucking down Jack-In-The-Box Cappacino shakes and tacos, or eating a pita at a lunch joint in Georgetown, the question keeps coming up. What's A Weblog? I'll try to answer it. Here goes:

1. A weblog (or blog) is a daily online diary on the Net where you write and publish at the near-same moment to a few million of your closest friends, except only about 20 people actually read what you write. Each entry is called a "post" and the person writing a weblog (or "blog") is called a "weblogger" or "blogger."

2. A blog is a love letter, scribbled on three-hole paper and scrunched up all sweaty in your hand that you try to pass to the cutest looking guy in class and he drops it and walks on it and then your friend goes to retrieve it and bring it back to you, unread while you die a thousand deaths.

3. A blog is a new medium as new and weird as the novel was a few hundred years ago. It's a medium that has embedded news, non-fiction narrative, fiction, poetry, graphics, music and most importantly hyperlinks to all other media which gives it its quintessential differentiating characteristic -- it can NOT exist outside of the web. It's a purely networked form. Writers love it because (oh shit, shall I spill the beans, it's EXACTLY how they think and experience the world. Scary, eh?) Talk about baggy monsters.

4. It's telepathic training wheels -- that is, it's a very early stage on the way to the REALLY big next big thing -- brain-to-brain telepathic transfer. Bye bye telephone, bye bye writing, bye bye fortune cookies, bye bye every other way you used to communicate. Blogs open up people's minds, you travel the road with them, see it all through their eyes. It's all we've got now, but soon enough we'll all be in bed with each other, embeded with each other I mean.

5. Blogs are embarrassingly textual and visual now, but will soon be audio/video. Don't hold it against them. They're trying to get there asap. You will hear them talking soon. Yes, that A/V guy who was a putz in 8th grade will be king. Just get used to it.

6. Blogs are one of the last places where you can still tell the truth.

7. Blogs are one the first places where women are finally telling the truth.

8. A weblog is good way to make friends, visit friends, love people and not leave your house.

9. A weblog is my head, open to you, day and night, at your convenience. Come on in. Please take your shoes off at the door, I hate having to vacuum after you leave.

10. A weblog is watching brains at work, especially watching brains with the ultimate prosthetic device -- everyone else's brain and the whole net connected. Weblogs let you watch people learning at lightning speed. Awesome to witness.

[Bloggers I forgot to link -- forgive me! I could link about 50 more brilliant folks but running out of room and time. You KNOW who you are.]

Come, Come, Come

I'm listening to Donna Summer singing a pretty racy disco classic and thinking, where have I heard this before and it escapes me. She is saying that "come" word a lot, and saying it in a pretty explicit sexy way. And I'm thinking, hell, isn't this a cover of someone else's song? Man, who the hell wrote this? (It's almost as overt as "Love To Love You Baby," where this good girl gospel god-loving gorgeous woman gave us the closest thing to an actual audio orgasm recorded to date. Hell, you can practically hear the pillow-jamming, toe-curling, head and hair-tossing, mascara-smearing moment of truth.

But that song ... I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but then it comes to me in a flash ... It's called "Could It Be Magic" Yikes, it's Barry Oh-So-Unsexy-To-Me Manilow!! But he sure can write a song, I'll say that much. Now I know what those matrons on tour buses to Vegas were getting so excited about. Oh, Barry, "Lady, take me high upon a hillside. High up where the stallion meets the sun." Oh, yeah.

"Spirit move me every time I'm near you
Whirling like a cyclone in my mind
Sweet Melissa, angel of my lifetime
Answer to all answers I can find

Baby, I love you, come, come, come into my arms
Let me know the wonder of all of you
Baby, I want you now, now, now, and hold on fast
Could this be the magic at last?

Lady, take me high upon a hillside
High up where the stallion meets the sun
I could love you, build my world around you
Never leave you till my life is done

Baby, I love you, come, come, come into my arms
Let me know the wonder of all of you
And baby, I want you now, now, oh, now, oh now and hold on fast
Could this be the magic at last?

Could it be magic?
Come, c'mon, c'mon, come oh-oh come into my arms
Oh, let me know the wonder of all of you, all of you
Baby, I want you now, now, oh now, oh now and hold on fast
Oh, could this be the magic at last?
Could it be magic?

Come, c'mon, c'mon, come oh-oh come into my arms
Oh, let me know the wonder of all of you
Baby, I want you now, now, oh now, oh now and hold on fast
Oh, could this be the magic at last?
Could it be magic?

Baby You Can Drive My Car

Something going on over at Rageboy. He's behind the wheel. That alone is terrifying. Okay, where will we go? And love? A girl uses her imagination. You know what they say, "A woman out walking is a woman walking easy."

Friday, November 22, 2002

What Ever Happened To Feminism?

I'm having lunch with four really bright guys at work and one says, apropos of the Victoria's Secret Lingerie Show on CBS the night before, "What Ever Happened To Feminism?" And I say, "It's over," and then I say, "and you guys are in big big trouble."

This brings the appetizer munching to a slow halt. I start to explain. We entered the work force in the 70's in those ridiculous women's suits with bowties. We wanted a level playing field. We wanted to play fair. We wanted the same opportunities and privileges men got. We won a few of those, but mostly we lost and we weren't taken seriously. We cried "foul" with sexual harrassment in the 80's and 90's and then the game changed completely. We went back to basics. We found our old power -- girl power -- and we added that to what we'd learned from men. So now we knew how to be professional but we also remembered how to be subversive, subversively female, subversively feminine.

"There is no more feminism," I explain. Game Over. But it took me a day or two to name the new game. It's "girlism" -- women want to be sexy girls and use all the tricks girls use. Crying, flirting, begging, winking, stomping their feet when they don't get their way, general trotting around showing off their long legs and whatever else they decide to show off thereby distracting and derailing men.

It's about power -- girl power we've always had but forgot about combined with all the stuff we've learned in the workplace. Needless to say, if you're a man and you call us on it, we deny it. The new double double standard. We learned how to stop playing fair.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Hospital Visit

Thinking of my dad again -- the holidays must be bringing it on, Thanksgiving's a week away and this is the first without my dad -- this is from last March, he passed away in early April. It's about how hard it was to visit him some days.

March 13, 2002 -- I go to see my 83-year-old dad in the nursing home. You never know what to expect. Your heart falls when you look in his room and see an empty bed, you figure the worst has happened, but he's down the hall in a wheelchair, with a nurse fussing over him. Visit for a half hour, neither of us can take too much more. Say hi/bye to many seniors I know by name now, as I make my way towards the exit door. I type in the code -- the door is locked because the Alzheimers patients are a tricky crew. Later I write to a friend about it.

Also, just back from visiting my dad and I need to think/reflect on it. The most frightening moment is entering the room, not sure what you'll find. It's an emotional bungy jump, and always semi-terrifies me
> --
> but of course, it's always okay, once I see him and start to comfort him.
> Today, my dad was tightly grasping the corner of his blankie, sucking on it like an infant. With dementia and slurred speech (dentures out) and fatigue, it's hard to get any coherent words from him. I think he was scared, sad, cold. I wrapped him in two fuzzy polartec blankets, one grey, one burgundy, I bought him at Target and hugged him. He was beaming when I left.

I feel sad when I come home. Pick up a magazine, new Fast Company, see David Weinberger's office — if it is his actual office — think, "David, your office is a mess." Look at my home office. Start laughing — it's ten times worse. Decide to clean up my office. Change out of "tough mom" blue jeans and black cashmere sweater into exercise clothes. Make a cup of Twinings Earl Grey tea.

Really clean my office. Stem to stern. Vacuum. Feeling much better. Find my dictionary — wondered where it went. Check email to see if I've gotten a YES from a company I've pitched a project to — nothing. Worry about getting some real live paying work soon. Decide to stop worrying. Thank God my husband's working. Read, write, blog, read other's blogs, read web news, do email. Think about exercising. Go out to see if the mail's come. It hasn't.

Read, write, blog, do email. Make Progresso Chickarina soup for lunch. Eat Manischewitz Savory Garlic Matzos and drink more Twinings Earl Grey tea, read The New York Times. Cheering up considerably with a clean office and good lunch. Pay some bills, mail them.

Read, write, blog, get an email from a friend I haven't seen since junior high school! What a treat! Do laundry. Answer more email. Don't exercise. Feel happy to be home. Feel like I have a perfectly wonderful life.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Really Big Show -- Victoria's Secret on CBS Tonight

So we've come to the point where this is considered editorial content. Serves us right for using the degrading and perverse term "content" anyway. Still, don't miss it. And of course, it's best watched sans vetements.

Die Another Day Coolerific Effects by Framestore

Framestore in the UK is the group behind all the cool effects in the new Bond film. Check it out.

Doc Suffering From Eating Disorder Known As Blogeremia

Holy Heck! You're wasting away Doc! Blogeremia has now been identified as a serious eating disorder where one vomits so many words on their blog, that they can lose as much as 25 pounds within a very short time. .

2nd Avenue Deli Menu Online

I'll take the Matzoh Ball Soup and I'm crazy for Kasha Varnishkas. Or as the lady in When Harry Met Sally said, "I'll have what SHE's having."

Just In The Nick Of Time

I see my folks, they're getting old, I watch their bodies change...
I know they see the same in me, And it makes us both feel strange...
No matter how you tell yourself, It's what we all go through...
Those eyes are pretty hard to take when they're staring' back at you.
Scared you'll run out of time.

When did the choices get so hard?
With so much more at stake.
Life gets mighty precious when there's less of it to waste.
Hummmm...Scared you'll run out of time.

-- Bonnie Raitt

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Halley's Comet Is A Big Black Opal

Boy, I could use one of those around here as a blog mascot. And cheap at twice the price, eh?! I'll buy two.

The Elite Meet Greet Eat

Michael Wolff of New York Magazine gives us the skinny on an elite conference for media moguls in NYC. "There were seven or eight tables, each with six men and one woman, with everyone served a very big piece of meat."

Going Steady For 40 Years?

I'm awfully worried about Ken. He's been going steady with Barbie for 40 years and I'm not at all sure he's getting it. Can't he close the deal after 40 years? Don't miss his Timeline.

With some of these outfits I can see why Barbie wasn't coming around. I mean check out his totally pathetic look from 1962 on the Ken Timeline. He's "Ken With Painted Hair." Not too sexy. And then there's Ken with Bendable Legs in 1965, I guess that's an improvement. But Ken A Go-Go with the Beatles wig in 1966 is pretty pathetic. I won't even talk about "Now Look Ken" in the 1976 -- watchout Rageboy!

Home Sweet Home

I mean, work sweet work. I was trying to give someone directions to where I work and it's not so easy. Here's a link and a map. During the Civil War these buildings were the arsenal for the army.

Having recently moved from California to the Northeast, I can never get over how much brick construction there is here. I still look at buildings with a earthquaker's eye -- brick would be rubble in about 5 seconds in California -- you just don't see a lot of it out there, it's a joke when it comes to the Richter scale.

Dutch Help Please

A client just wrote this to me "mar als je Nederlands praten wordt het niet so netjes" and I have no clue what it means. It sounds like something good to eat. Please send words to me ( Je parle francais mais je pige que dalle quand il s'agit de ... Dutch.

Monday, November 18, 2002

Choco Choco Chocolate

Oh boy oh boy. Can I live here in Cadbury's Chocolate Kingdom?. Check out the Chocolate Delights recipes.

Something Sad

I was thinking of my dad today. I wrote this in April about a week before he passed away. It feels more like 1000 years ago now and about 5 seconds ago. Go figure.

DNR -- It means "Do Not Resuscitate". They have it on my dad's hospital chart — in big letters. It was something he requested years ago, long before he was so ill. They ambulanced him fast yesterday out of the nursing home, with a serious infection, high fever and 70/40 blood pressure into the hospital's intensive care unit.

My sisters and I noticed the waiting area on the ICU floor is not very welcoming. People don't stay there for long, we figure. The other waiting rooms we'd been in over the past few months were bigger, more comfortable, decorated for extended stays, adorned with thicker magazines, a box of toys for toddlers in the corner of the room.

His heart went into arrhythmia, they gave him a drug to stablize him, almost needed to try the paddles. His head looked dead, with no blood pressure to bring oxygen up there, he had the pallor of the pages of a brand new coloring book.

We stand by his bedside, but you can't connect with him — he's got an oxygen mask on, other tubes going here and there. DNR means no ventilator to breathe if he might need that. It means let him go.

Outside the ICU in the un-waiting room, I pray and I ask God if it's allright to want him to find a way OUT of here. Surely, it's time. He is wasting away and at 83 is so tired. Is it a bad thing to pray for — someone's death?

I think of all the people who have sat in this chair, in this place and all the prayers spilled all over the waiting area, I'm knee deep in them. A ticker tape parade of prayers — most begging their loved ones will recover. I can pick them up and read them, love letters all — mothers praying for young children to bring them back to life, back to their arms to cradle, lovers praying for their fiances to come back to them, to make it through surgery so they can marry and grow old, siblings praying for younger siblings to make it through a frightening illness. And I pray too. God, take my dad gently, show him the way.

Barbie's A Bond Girl

What is she moonlighting as a Bond Girl, getting gigs on the side? Hmm. She hardly compares to the lovely Pussy Galore or the more intellectual Dr. Holly Goodhead?

Gone Fishing

Boy, I'd love to go off to Halley's Camps up in Halley Country for some fishing. Check this out. Yes, nothing beats Halley's One Man Lake Lodge.

Gary Turner About That Hat

Hey, Gary, listen man -- that picture of that scary guy in that hat on your site is too spooky, get rid of it. And BTW, I see you had the nerve to climb up Rageboy's blogroll and usurp my exclusive top of the heap position. What gives man? You pushy agressive Brits are all alike, always cutting in front of shy, retiring American girls like me. I mean cutting "the queue" or whatever the heck you call it. You better make restitution. That means giving me top slot on your blogroll, or talking 3 other guys into giving it to me.

Harvard's Digital ID Conference Coverage

Donna Wentworth over at Corante did great coverage of the conference and also don't miss this. My coverage below is at best spotty and selective and full of Halley's Comment editorial bias, needless to say.

I Am A Pirate King

When I'm not listening to Eminem and Hailie's Song (not Halley's Song as many people keep calling it) I'm grooving on Pirates of Penzance lately. It's really fine. I have a tape of the Linda Ronstadt and Kevin Klein Broadway version.
Oh, better far to live and die
Under the brave black flag I fly,
Than play a sanctimonious part
With a pirate head and a pirate heart.
Away to the cheating world go you,
Where pirates all are well-to-do;
But I'll be true to the song I sing,
And live and die a Pirate King.
For I am a Pirate King!
And it is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Pirate King!
For I am a Pirate King!

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Caribbean Blue Waters

I'm headed for the blue pool to swim, won't let that grey weather get me down. No way. Did you know what it looks like here? Well, keep reading. I'm resisting the slide into a big late autumn funk. Snap the strap on my Speedo and dive, dive, dive.

Dreary, Drizzly, Dreadful Day

But the perfect day for staying inside, getting cozy, reading or watching dumb old movies, drinking tea or coffee ... hell, I might go really crazy and actually pull out the Hoover and do some vacuuming. Wow-di-wow.

No question we have some seriously Novemberish weather happening here -- even snow last night. Colors featured include grey, gray, greyish gray, grayish grey, slate, ardoise, gunmetal, birchbark, charcoal and black.

Harvard Wrap-up

Still ruminating on the full day of Harvard's Digital ID conference yesterday. I'll fill in more soon, but here a few subjects I want to write about. Also, there's killer detailed blog coverage elsewhere. I'll find the links and add them.

Brand Panel The branding guys were good. Jeffrey Rayport calling Harvard a big amusement park for smart people (this is a dreadful misquote, but he was going so fast, it's hard to catch the exact words.) was incredibly spot on. The issues of prestige and excellence and reputation continued to rear their not-so-ugly heads. Without trying to be too snobby, there is something extremely precious about having some of the world's best teachers and students all in the same place. We all tried to pin down that ineffable quality of inspired classroom activity that can't be made digital and stuffed down an ethernet cable. Something happens in the room that distance learning just can't do.

Underground World of HLS Big thanks to John Palfrey who showed me a way to follow the mysterious underground snaking hallways lined with fiesta-ware colored lockers UNDER the Harvard Law School buildings, saving me from freezing as we went to another building for lunch. That was very cool.

Esther Dyson Unannounced, unscheduled Esther appeared and had some choice comments, per usual. I liked her suggestion when a student mentioned that although the classrooms are WiFi enabled, the professors turn it OFF so they keep the attenion of the students. Esther says, "Tell the professors to try being more interesting."

How much fun can four deans be? Actually a lot. The Deans of the law school, business school, school of ed and extention schools were a interesting bunch.

Lunch: You study WHAT?! and you're at the Graduate School of WHERE?! [The most terrific thing was meeting people who were at Harvard studying the most unusual and fascinating things and I met a bunch at lunch and then a ton the rest of the day too.]

Back later to fill in all the details.

Friday, November 15, 2002

Off To Dinner And Put On The Cheerleader Outfit

Not really, but I have to lead the discussion and get people pepped up about discussing Harvard's Digital Branding Challenges over pasta and wine. Wish me luck. Remember on my letter sweater the "H" is for Halley's Comment.

Attractive Experiences

The president of Harvard, Larry Summers dropped by to open this conference. I was particularly intriqued by one issue he brought up. He described all the benefits of watching a football game in your living room -- good seat at the 40 yard line, instant replay, comfortable couch, 72 degree temperature, clean bathroom easily available, etc. and then the unfavorable conditions in a stadium -- usually poor, distant seating, no instant reply, hard bench, freezing conditions at time, dirty bathroom at the end of a long concrete ramp. He asked, "What is the nature of an attractive experience?"

In other words, why the heck would anyone attend a football game? What attracts people to a group experience? What is it that makes a shared classroom experience better? Is there something irreducible about an in-person classroom experience? (Most of us believe there is.) What is it about distance learning that just doesn't cut it? Where do the digital and the in-person experiences compliment one another? Do they conflict? Answer in 25 words, do not fill the entire blue book, pass your exam in by 5:00pm.

Yes, I Lust For Watson And Crick

Richard Losick teaches Introduction to Molecular Biology to sophmores here at Harvard. You think when you read this you know what that means. You don't. (Maybe you do if you're in his class.) Try a few of these ideas on for size. Whatever your college experience was like (unless it ended last year) I'll bet it wasn't like Professor Losick's class.

His students watch 3-D animated videos of DNA Replication Forks -- and this stuff is sexier than porno sites, I'll tell you. When he shows two strands of DNA, the leading strand and the lagging strand (which he affectionately calls Watson and Crick) coming together and apart like zippers zipping and unzipping -- you can really see how this works. You can experience it. Sure beats a mimeographed hand-out. And then when you layer on the protein players -- well, don't get me going!

He takes us through the website resources these sophomoric sophmores have at their fingertips -- I'm so jealous. They can read this month's issue of the journals Nature and Science and write about what's going on NOW in molecular biology. One of his students already published in one of the journals ... while she was in high school.

This was just one example of how Harvard professors are using the resources of the Net to make a classroom experience enormously rich. We all came up with the same question -- how do we make it available to people (young, old, rich, poor, national, international) outside of Harvard. Much to discuss there and we will be discussing just that today and tomorrow.

@Harvard's Digital ID Conference -- Bottom Line

This afternoon seems to have opened up the classroom windows on some lovely brick buildings. It's caused Harvard Square to levitate -- it's floating 10 feet in the air. It's taken the big old seated statue of John Harvard and let him get up out of his chair, dust off the seat of his pants and stride out into the world. He's on quite a tour of the world.

Which is all to say, if the Net can open up what goes on here to the whole wide world and still retain the quality and integrity and excellence of the experience of learning at Harvard, but make it as far-reaching as possible, I say "wow, how exciting is that possibility. Let's do it."

Bin Laden: Spectacular Attack Planned And I Have A Really Big Penis

Yeah, right, sure. When will this jerk just go away?

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Madonna's Flash CV

If you haven't seen Madonna's website lately, check it out. She does a timeline of her early years through 2002 and it's a cool way to put together a CV. This woman's got a helluva CV, it's true, but it would be cool for mere mortals too. Why don't companies put together history pages like this -- fast and attractive -- you might actually get to a site and find out what the hell a business does. Okay, all the people who hate Flash, start whining and moaning about it.

Is Your Blog Killing Your Email?

I suppose it's a compliment, but people who know me -- family and friends -- often say how much they like my blog, because they can find out how I am, WITHOUT BOTHERING TO CALL, EMAIL OR WRITE ME. Glad to have all these happy customers, but, hey, wait a minute. They know what I'm up to, but what about me -- I don't know what they're up to. C'mon guys. It means I never hear from YOU.

My email is just a cesspool of spam at this point. If I get 12 messages every hour or two, I can guarantee about 10 are spam. So does a blog ultimately render your email obsolete? What's left -- smoke signals? How about a message in a bottle, just float one by my island, feel free.

Miss Cleo's Fortunes Turn

Didn't she see it coming? She IS a psychic. Miss Cleo has agreed to pay back $500 million to unhappy customers. (Don't mi$$ the amount of ca$h they were taking in.) Here's what Howard Beales, director of the FTC's consumer protection bureau had to say
" ... during three years of operation the service charged people about $1 billion and collected half of it. The callers did include many satisfied customers, he said. The service's business fell sharply in the past year following the FTC lawsuit and is now shutting down ... The FTC voted 5-0 to approve the settlement. The amount involved eclipses the record $215 million that Citigroup Inc. agreed to repay customers in September to settle deceptive lending charges involving mortgages and credit insurance."

Harvard's Digital Identity Conference

The conference starts tomorrow and unfortunately is only open to Harvard-affiliated folks. That alone might help you solve the question of "What Is Harvard's Digital Identity?" -- try "exclusive" or if you're in a nasty mood, go with "elitist". No wait, wait, I think they just didn't want to make it a big event with a ton of people.

And now the big question -- can I blog it? I haven't even asked. I just kinda figured, yeah, sure, why not. .... hmm ... better check on that.

BTW, where do the terms "digital identity" and "brand" intersect? Seems they are quite closely related.


Remember that show with Chuck Connors from the 1960's called "Branded"? The opening segment had them ripping the poor guy's uniform half off. Actually, I think they were taking away his stripes and epaulettes. What did he do that was so bad anyway?

No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

Yes, at the Harvard Digital ID Conference, I'm hosting a dinner, but don't think it's all play and no work. We have to answer a serious question during dinner Friday night and get our answers back to the conference folks in time for them to post them on Saturday:

How is Harvard's brand managed, controlled, and developed in the digital context?
I have some thoughts about it. For instance, listen to this "When I graduated from Harvard Business School, I decided to go to Europe and travel for a while before settling into a job." and now tell me if this sounds different "When I graduated from Upper Saddle River Technical Institute, I decided to go to Europe and travel for a while before settling into a job."

Paint a different picture? Wanna talk brand?

[Editor's note: At a recent speaking engagement, before a crowd of hundreds, Christopher Locke was seen on his knees, genuflecting on stage when uttering the word "brand".]

Whattya Worried About?

Here's a book called "Worry" that's pretty great. Check it out.

These days, I think you can worry about almost everything -- taking planes, trains, you name it -- and your worries may be well founded. Good to have a book to help put it all in perspective.

Amish Tech Support Slice 'O Pie

There is a pretty irresistible jumping slice of pumpkin pie on this blog. Not to be missed.

Exercise Slug

Needless to say, since advertising my zeal for exercising last week here on my blog, I've been a completely lazy slug for the whole week ... except this morning, I really really really did work out. And I paid for falling off the wagon, jeez, it was tough this morning.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Bumped His Head

Raining, pouring, old man snoring, etc. Drive carefully. It's a big mess out there.

Gretchen and Robyn's Wet Tee-Shirt Contest

I've been thinking about this quite a lot. The most unusual wet t-shirt contest I've ever seen with photographs of heads separated from photographs of bosoms. You'll have to go look at it to understand what I mean. There's something ingenious about it. Why is it okay to show your head in one place and your tits in another place? Somehow that makes it slightly more modest. Not sure why. And how ironic it is to raise money for breast cancer by showing breasts not connected to bodies? Despite all this, I must say, bravo to all the pretty girls and their pretty bodies raising money for this cause. (And one boy.) Most unusual.

Getting Naked

I loved to watch my kid in his nakedy happy birthday suit when he was little, around two or three. There was a time there when it was really tough to keep clothes on him. He tore everything off in an instance and then trotted around the house au naturel. He saw no reason for clothes. He'd stretch his pretty body out tall and long, reaching for this or that from a high shelf, tossing his bare bottom up on the couch ready to read a story or plop himself down on the rug to play with a toy.

It was a skin of such luxurious suppleness, he just about convinced you that wearing clothes was completely pointless. With a strong, flexible body like that, and such perfect skin, why would you need to put anything on it. Sometimes we actually managed to get one white cotton tee shirt on him, his round belly peaking out from below, his proud bottom sticking out royally from behind, his legs pink and fleshy and determined toddling him in every direction. We could not catch him to diaper him.


We would just get into the car and drive. It was a great thing to do when things were getting you down. Sometimes we didn't even know where to go. We would just drive. When we lived in Manhattan Beach, there was always ocean. Up to Paradise Cove past Malibu on Sundays. Or down to Abalone Cove past Palos Verdes, the green hills, the red tile roofs on a holiday weekend Monday. You could find something pretty and hopeful, better than the bad mood you left home.

It was easier to talk to him when he was looking straight out at the road. You could say almost anything and you knew he had to keep his eyes on the road. You could say the tough things. You could say funny things. You could see his smile start to erupt and then a grin, but only on the right side of his face. Even going south on the 405 towards San Diego, stopping off at Oceanside for pancakes for dinner, it was always better than getting all worked up about something that would probably change by the next day anyway.

And then when we came east, we would drive from Boston to Crane Beach by Ipswich. There was a place one winter day up by Glouchester, a bricky bistrot, warm with hot cider inside, as a helluva storm blew up the coast outside. He explained the word "bistro" was Russian -- it mean "fast." But we weren't going fast that day, just taking our time. It was always better to just drive.

Russian Roulette Vending Machine

There's a very special vending machine upstairs on the fifth floor in the Cafeteria, which isn't a full cafeteria -- rather a place where lonely tables, chairs, vending machines, microwaves and packets of salt and pepper call home.

This machine has a bunch of little cells, metal boxes that are filled with sandwiches in triangular boxes, yogurt containers, muffins and they snake around vertically inside the machine, allowing it to display its wares. There's a button that reads, "Press Button Below To Rotate Product Into Vend Position."

You push a button and the continuous snaking metal boxes rotate and show you a new set of boxes, sometimes with food in them, sometimes with nothing. On a rainy day when you don't want to go out and this is about the best bet for something to eat, you start to take this machine more seriously.

When you push the button and the two new slots are ... empty ... you find yourself furiously pushing the button to see the next two boxes. You are suddenly foraging for food and if another hunter or gatherer enters the cafeteria, you notice a certain survival instinct kicking in and you'll be damned if you'll let someone else take control of the button. If other hungry people are lurking near you and the rotating boxes keep coming up empty, you start to experience some real existential dread.

There is a moment of truth. After much fruitless button pushing, a tuna sandwich comes into view. You see in your peripheral vision another hungry employee shutter slightly and move ever so slightly towards the machine, suggesting if you don't take the sandwich, they will. You start jamming your quarters, dimes and nickels in the machine.

The moment of climax is surely when you press the selection code, "J7" the window for both boxes is now open, but first a little metal safety panel rises to keep your greedy hands off the other box you didn't pay for. They probably call it an "honestly panel" or something in the vending industry.

The Russian Roulette aspect is obvious ... you actually get to see if there is a bullet in the chamber -- or a sandwich in the little cell ... and then when you buy it, the tension is heightened as you speculate on how long the thing's been there and whether it may, in fact, kill you to just eat it. This makes these relatively unappetizing sandwiches exquisitely delicious. Served with the condiment of victory over the competition, watching your fellow employee go away empty-handed, the meal is to be relished.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Halley's Hairspray Strategy

This morning, I heard the weather -- heavy rain -- so I knew I was going to have to really lay on the hairspray if I wanted the do to do its thing. I've been channelling Angie Dickinson circa 1969 lately, little flip in the back and sides and you just wrap your hair around a brush and spray the hell out of it.

Little problem this morning though. I hairsprayed my ear closed. Well, not completely closed. It wasn't like I glued the flap over the hole. I just wasn't aiming very well and shot a wad of the stuff in my ear. I created a little muting effect. So for most of the day, I didn't really hear a lot on the right side, but you'd be surprised how little you miss. For instance, there was sexual harrassment training today and I wasn't invited for some reason, but I think it probably would have been lots more fun with one ear hairsprayed shut. It was for full-time employees, and I'm on a contract. I'm not at all sure whether this means I'm still a free agent in terms of sexual harrassment. Can I be the agent provocatrice, or even a freelance target of such behavior, not having been trained like the rest of the group? I'll have to check on that.

This raises another concern. If someone who has been trained, threw caution to the wind and decided to whisper sweet nothings in my ear -- what with my Angie Dickinson flip and all -- well, I guess I wouldn't hear them anyway, if my ear were hairsprayed shut. Case closed. That is, if they were whispering in the right ear. Hmmm. Have to think about this.

Real Cool Tools

Terrence Real is doing a workshop here in Boston in December. He plans to teach people the five core relationship skills -- cool tools -- they need to make a relationship actually work. Not to be missed.

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday To You, You Belong In A Zoo, You Smell Like A Monkey and You Look Like One Too. This is the highest praise in 2nd grader's language. And this is a book!

People who ordered this book also ordered CLEAN UNDERWEAR from Amazon's Gap Store and CASHMERE SWEATERS from Amazon's Lands End store, not to mention TONY BAHAMA SHIRTS from Amazon's Nordstrom's Store. (Whole lot of scary brand mingling going on there.)

Monday, November 11, 2002

As The Registrar of The University of Blogaria

I may have to expel some of the UBlogaria wise guys, I just wanted to give fair warning. There's been a lot of horsing around going on in the blogging frats. Delta Delta Delta's a veritable bordello.

I'm especially concerned on the eve of Rageboy's birthday. We didn't appreciate the fire caused in the girl's dorm last year after the panty raid scheduled to celebrate his birth. The new dorm was rebuilt to the tune of $5M and is just re-opening tonight. The coeds are throwing a party. We asked them NOT to invite Professor Locke.

We're Having A Heatwave -- A Tropical Heatwave.

There's a weird, warm, wet wind blowing through town here. It's going to hit 69 degrees allegedly. Most unusual weather for Boston. Put on those pineapple headdresses and hibiscus sarongs. Yes, we're having a heatwave.

Car Trouble

See, this is the kind of thing that happens here in Massachusetts. You park your car in Harvard Yard and you come back and the local firefighters have made mincemeat of it. This is a really scary place to live. Okay, it was in nearby Framingham, a Boston suburb, not Harvard Yard, but I tell you Boston's still a scary place to live. I'm beginning to think there's a not-so-subtle war raging between the Ph.d's and regular guys around here. I'm betting on the regular guys.

Victor or Victoria, Victorious?

Supreme Court will hear another boring trademark case tomorrow as Victoria's Secret and Victor's Little Secret battle it out. Victoria's Secret is worried that the other small store's "racy product lines could harm the image of the larger firm," per CNN. Now there's an image you want to keep pristine.

I can see Victoria's Secret Legal Team all dressed in their legal briefs ready to present their case. You know what they say, If You Habeas Corpus, Flaunt It.

Friday, November 08, 2002

Big Hits And Ass

Jeneane is trying to figure out why we get big hits on certain days and posted a copy of my site meter from the past month. It shows a big spike on October 16th. I used a title about Terrence Real's reference to pornography, "Real Porn" and I think this may be the reason I got a lot of hits that day. Boy, that audience must have been disappointed. Hardly a turn-on. Real's point is that men who are into porn are fixated on mother lust, it's a pretty heavy thing to read from another man.


Like the weather out there in California? Sounds like they're getting a real soaking. Here in Boston the 20 degrees last night (brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr) has metamorphosised into 60 degrees!! Go figure. Looks like we might just have a little Indian Summer heading our way.

Here's a good rain song.

Like the Weather
by 10000 Maniacs

The color of the sky as far as I can see is coal grey.
Lift my head from the pillow and then fall again.
With a shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather.
A quiver in my lips as if I might cry.

Well by the force of will my lungs are filled and so I breathe.
Lately it seems this big bed is where I never leave.
Shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather.
Quiver in my voice as I cry, "What a cold and rainy day.

Where on earth is the sun hid away." I hear the sound of a noon bell chime.
Now I'm far behind. You've put in 'bout half a day while here I lie
With a shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather.
A quiver in my lip as if I might cry, "What a cold and rainy day.
Where on earth is the sun hid away?"

Do I need someone here to scold me or do I need someone who'll
grab and pull me out of this four poster dull torpor pulling downward.

For it is such a long time since my better days.
I say my prayers nightly this will pass away.

The color of the sky is grey as I can see through the blinds.
Lift my head from the pillow and then fall again
With a shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather.
A quiver in my voice as I cry, "What a cold and rainy day.
Where on earth is the sun hid away?" I shiver, quiver, and try to wake ...


And of course, the classic song for a rainy day. I suppose there are others but I can't think of any as good as this one.

Rain On The Roof
(John Sebastian)

You and me and rain on the roof
Caught up in a summer shower
Dryin' while it soaks the flowers
Maybe we'll be caught for hours
Waitin' out the sun

You and me were gabbin' away
Dreamy conversation sittin' in the hay
Honey, how long was I laughing in the rain with you
'Cause I didn't feel a drop 'til the thunder brought us to

You and me underneath the roof of tin
Pretty comfy feelin' how the rain ain't leakin' in
We can sit and dry just as long as it can pour
'Cause the way it makes you look makes me hope it rains some more

You and me and rain on the roof
Caught up in a summer shower
Dryin' while it soaks the flowers
Maybe we'll be caught for hours
Waitin' out the sun.


I remember the rain in California -- pretty rare in LA when I lived there. About 3 or 4 days in January now and then, every year or so. Best movie to rent to see great scary California rain -- Sunset Boulevard. Young screenwriter ends up in the clutches of an older woman (fading star). William Holden and Gloria Swanson. The scene when he looks out on the rain from the little bungalow window she keeps him in -- nothing short of frightening. He realizes he's being kept like a canary and may never get out. They use water in that movie in some very interesting ways. Remember the first scene? I won't tell -- go rent it.


For all our rainsoaked friends in California today -- some music from The Hollies.

Bus stop, wet day, she's there I say
Please share my umbrella
Bus stop, bus go, she stays love grows
Under my umbrella
All that summer we enjoyed it
Wind and rain and shine
That umbrella we employed it
By August she was mine

Every morning I would see her waiting at the stop
Sometimes she'd shop and she would show me what she bought
All the people stared as if we were both quite insane
Someday my name and hers are going to be the same

That's the way the whole thing started
Silly, but it's true
Of thinking all the sweet romance
Beginning in a queue

Came the sun, the ice was melting
No more sheltering, now
Nice to think that that umbrella led me to a vow

Let's hope Doc's cars don't float away, yikes. Dave's enjoying candlelight -- romantic, yes, but a helluva way to run a technology empire. Peterme is also talking about the elements.

Exercise -- Why I Started

Jonathon Mays asks me how I started exercising which actually leaves me ... puzzled. I can't remember a time I didn't exercise -- except maybe in school as a kid when I hated gym, but I still went home after school and rode my bike and roller skated and pogo-sticked and bongo-boarded and ice skated and swam and walked and ran.

Also, we spent the summers in a really rural place in a rented summer house with no TV and spent nearly every minute outside, swimming, sailing, walking, bike-riding, skinny dipping under the moon.

This recent bout of exercise, I started to do a lot more exercise about two winters ago when I realized after moving from California, that a Boston winter sitting inside all the time was going to be very unhealthy and very boring.

Exercise -- Can't Help Myself

Warning, warning, warning! I'm writing about working out today and if you don't want to think about that -- TURN BACK NOW!

Exercise -- Every Man For Himself

You need to do this, no matter how fit you are. Go to a nursing home. Sadly they have the worst security in the world, so you can pretty much stroll right in. Tell them, if they ask, that you wanted to find about about volunteering there once a week to read to seniors. They will be so flabbergasted, since no one ever volunteers, they'll let you right in.

Okay, look around. Notice the overweight folks with heart conditions, strokes, every other ailment. Smokers, don't miss the ones with lung cancer -- opps, they aren't in nursing homes, they die too fast to get there -- try spending time with the emphysemics instead. Don't miss the ones with diabetes, no circulation to the legs, really hanging on by a thread some of them. It's a rough place to visit.

Get outside. If you're between 40 and 55 remember this is nothing compared to what your baby boomer generation faces. These current senior citizens have Medicare, pensions, retirement savings, friends, relatives, families, wives. Baby boomers won't fare so well. Have I terrified you enough yet?

Go for a walk. Today. Go for a walk tomorrow. Decide you'll go for a walk every day for the rest of your life. Start thinking seriously about putting exercise into your life. Start walking the stairs at work, in parking structures, at airports, everywhere you see stairs, THANK GOD for them.

Chances are it really will be "every man and woman for him/herself" when our generation hits retirement age with heathcare resources stretched thin. Being fit over a lifetime makes a difference. Even if you're not fit now, you can be in a year and it will make a tremendous difference in your life.

Exercise -- I Think I Can

Okay, I won't go on and on about it, but exercise sure gets you thinking like The Little Engine That Could. In fact, exercise has almost NOTHING to do with your body and EVERYTHING to do with your mind.

In the morning, I crawl out of bed around 5:00. I really don't want to exercise and can think of a few thousand reasons I shouldn't bother. But I tell myself to shut up, I get into my workout clothes (which if I've been smart I put out the night before next to the bed) and I go to the living room putting all the excuses aside. I put in a tape -- either Rodney Yee's AM YOGA or ABS YOGA, or if I'm really energetic a tape that combines weight lifting with aerobics from THE FIRM or an old vintage Jane Fonda tape w/step aerobics. I just do it.

I whine and complain in my head half the time while doing it. I groan. I yell at the teacher. I hate the women in it who look so damned good. I make up stories about how they always looked that good and they don't have to work and grunt and groan and sweat for it like me. I hate them. But I keep doing it. I notice how much my abs hurt when I do the abs exercises without breathing properly. I hate the lunges. The push-ups are extruciating. I wince when I do the gluts. It's NOT EASY. People who don't work out every day think people who work out every day have some magic recipe -- not really. It's always hard. We just know it's worth it.

Then I'm done and something weird happens ... actually it's been happening all along. I'm getting a rush of endorphins and I'm feeling really good. I'm also realizing that "Hell, if I can do this at 5:00am, some of the stuff I was worried about at work isn't such a big deal." And it clicks, working out is NOT about my body, it's about my attitude. When I'm done working out, I take away the following mental state, "If I can do this -- I can do anything."

Exercise -- Self-Steam

Exercise is about taking care of yourself -- the basic bedrock of self-esteem. I hate the dreaded term self-esteem, but the psychologists have a point. When you take care of yourself and workout and look good, it's a lot easier to do everything with confidence.

See all those pretty clothes in fashion magazines -- what really looks good is the people with great bodies wearing them.

Next time you're at a conference or at work -- notice who is in charge -- it's not always the case, but there is definately a correlation with attractive, fit people running things and having higher status. Do I think it's fair, no -- it's discriminatory, but it's life.

There's not one thing you do all day that wouldn't go better if you were in good shape. You choose, walk down to the corner to get a newspaper, easier fit or fat? Walk into a meeting with 20 other people there around the conference room table, more fun to arrive looking good or not? Lunch with clients -- rather be the healthy fit person, or the person who's clothes barely fit? You're invited to a party -- isn't it great to be lean and just throw on anything, instead of doing the mirror parade with everything you put on looking terrible and you finally deciding NOT to go. Someone asks you to dance, wouldn't you rather shake a good-looking booty?

I'm not saying brains, wit, charm, and all the rest don't matter. They do. But, hello, wake up, we live in an increasingly visual society and how you look matters. And with exercise you can look and feel a lot better. It's worth all the effort.

Exercise -- Bottom Line

So ... by now, you've got to be somewhat convinced. What else can I say? I guess it's a choice you make every day to be more alive than less alive. To have a body that gives back to you because you take care of it. To have a bottom that looks more like this, than this.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Corante Au Courant

Finally getting to meet Donna Wentworth and Diane Cabell today for lunch in Harvard Square. Hope the weather holds. We had a near monsoon yesterday, but it looks like it's clearing.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

J-Lo's Wedding Registry at J-List

Yes, guys, she's out of the running. Jennifer Lopez is marrying that flat-footed Boston guy, Ben Affleck. But you still have time to shop for a wedding gift for J-Lo at J-List.

Lobster Lament From Boston

This is my kind of news. Thank God for the Onion on a day like today.

Rates Drop

The Fed cut interest rates so banks can borrow from one another at a whopping 1.25% but don't forget, your credit card is still around 18.25% -- it's a wonderful world.

Some Good News Today

Jeneane's blog is a year old wow and Dave's dad is well wow and here are some other things that are more fun to look at than the election results. Andrew Sullivan is happy today, I know that.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Point of Pride -- Voter Privacy

My mom always made a point of telling her daughters (all 4 of us) to keep their vote private. She never told my dad who she voted for. There was a lot they shared, but she always dug her heels in about this. No need to tell all secrets in a marriage. "None of his business," she would say. Don't forget to vote today.

Monday, November 04, 2002

Top Ten Reasons To Witness Your Dad's Demise

[This is a rerun post from April 2002: My dad has been gravely ill for four months. My family and I have been through a roller coaster of ups and downs, as his health has improved, only to crash again and again. I've spent a lot of time in nursing homes, hospitals, ambulances. I can't help but think God's got some reason for showing me these dark and sometimes bright moments. I like God. He's a good guy, really. So, here's my attempt to see the good in these bad times.]

1. It lets you say a long, slow "I love you" and "good-bye."

2. It reminds you that it really is "ashes to ashes, dust to dust."

3. It lets you see tons of sick people and that makes you hit the gym big time.

4. It gives you a kick in the pants to make a will and especially a "living will".

5. It gives you a grip on what the hell matters and what doesn't.

6. If you're an entrepreneur/se, you realize the aging population and it's not-yet-invented but desperately needed products will be a goldmine of opportunity.

7. You get to see your own genetic "wheel of fortune" played out.

8. Sure helps you think of your retirement savings in a brand new way.

9. Makes you brush and floss your teeth and pray you'll have some at 80.

10. Opens your heart to all the dreadful shit everyone else in the world is going through.

How's A Mom Supposed To Work?

My son's school has a vacation day tomorrow -- reasonably since they need the gym for the voting booths. But they had a 1/2 day on October 30 for no good reason and then of course, there's no school on November 11th next week, Veteran's Day -- but I work that day. And then there are teacher's conferences this week on Thursday morning. It's completely nuts. How is anyone supposed to work? The school calendar, based on of all things, the agrarian model of harvesting the crops in the summer is so antiquated and inconvenient for parents who work -- I don't know how people manage.

A new book that's coming out soon might give some help. Check it out. It's written by Linda Mason who founded Bright Horizons, a terrific daycare company I had the good fortune to use when my son was little. They were a lot easier to deal with than the elementary schools.

Dave's Dad

Really sorry to hear Dave Winer's dad is ill in the hospital in NYC. We're hoping the best and praying when hope doesn't go far enough.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

About 28 Degrees

Don't tell me this is seasonal weather. Yikes, it's so cold here. At the gym, hoping the pool isn't too icy. Sure makes the hot tub a big draw. I may give up and not even swim. Can't shake the chill from outside. Start in the sauna, then warm up to swimming a few laps.

Something You Learn At Church

We be saints and sinners all. No way around it. And we're all just barely muddling through this life. And we need one another a whole helluva lot.

Thanks Muchly

Jen Balderama is writing about why visiting blogs is so much fun and thanks muchly for mentioning mine. You know, I am really trying to think through what the discrete charm of blog bourgeousie is about too lately and sometimes the reading is even more fun than the writing.

Enjoyed reading Mike Golby's near brush with skateboard death. Yikes. Also, always one to outdo me, David Weinberger's completely rebuilt the alphabet -- and high time it is, thanks David.


I prayed for you and you and you and you and you and you and you. Did you feel it?

Saturday, November 02, 2002

Legal Lunch

I'm at Legal Seafoods eating a spicy hurricane soup with Thai spices and scallops, cod, shrimp, then a full plate of salmon, broccolli, garlic mashed potatoes. Really delicious. And there are tables all around me and I can't help wondering about the folks. I gotta know their stories. I can't actually hear much conversation. So I guess I'll just have to guess.

I was in a Chinese restaurant in Palo Alto, a while back with a friend when we saw a table of 1950's debutantes one Friday, all dressed to the nines in party dresses, about 6 of them -- all girls, no boys, college-aged. He wanted to know what they were up to. He didn't want to go ask. I guess he couldn't really, a guy hitting on 6 debutantes, so I went over. "You guys a rock band?" I asked. "No, just friends, we're doing girls night out." Cool. I like to look at the other tables in a restaurant, try and guess what they're up to.

Legal Lunch -- Table One

He leans forward with the terrific easy physique of a footballer, rugby boy, his muscles are busting out of that odd flesh-colored ribbed turtleneck. Why's he got a sweater on anyway --yes, it's 20 degrees out but there's so much heat coming off this guy, he might as well be in a clothing optional world. You got a love him. He's sunny and happy like a pretty eager golden retreiver. And he's trying in every way to lean across the table and let her know it.

But check her out. Crash, heart ache heading your way boy, when I look into her icy porcelain face. Pretty english girl looks -- china shop white skin and black straight hair, but more than English, something mixed in there to make her more exotic, maybe half Japanese, and very beautiful. But may I tell you, kind eager guy, run for your life. She's fine and special and complicated in ways you will be so sorry to learn about and she'll do you serious damage dear. She leans back in her seat, stretched as far away from him as she can. Nothing on the menu is right. Something he did last night, brings a slightly sour expression to her face. Run now.

Legal Lunch -- Table Two

She is MIA, must be in the ladies room. He is probably 65, but looks older, expensive light blue shetland pullover sweater, baggy butt khakis, must be an engineer, his face looks old and weathered like the Glouchester man of the sea. She is still not there and finally finally arrives. She's pulling off 55 but is probably 65. Much ROI from her investments at the Clinique counter.

Legal Lunch -- Table Three

A year ago this was my table. Three oldsters, a mom of 72-ish, a dad in a rakish yachting cap with almost no hair and obvious chemo distress of maybe 78, another woman not a day over 90, but easily 89, the dutiful son taking them to lunch on Saturday, dying a thousand deaths. It takes them nearly a half hour just to read the menu and order. I think of taking my dad out last year -- how painful it was, how much he loved it. All the kind male relatives who would take him into the men's room and make sure he came back out in some variation on the theme of clean and dressed.

I think of the son in his 40's trying to hold it together and obviously having a very stressful day -- don't worry, they KNOW they're all nearly dead, you're the one who's really dying. You still have life in you to snuff out, they are flickering before our very eyes. Just start saying goodbye.

Legal Lunch -- Table Four

He's a hunk a hunk a hunk, good looking young black guy, doesn't notice how much his white girl blond friend wants him. Oh man. I can see why. Come on, think about it. She certainly is.

She is cool. Pretty as Faith Hill and dressed like a pole vaulter. Lean, mean, ready to roll.

Legal Lunch -- Table Five

At Table Five, there is a sociological study for us to dissect. Two lesbians in leather coats with a Chinese baby girl toddler.

Okay, call me crazy, but the day will come -- it may take about 20 years -- when China realizes most of its girl babies were adopted by Cambridge lesbians in the mid- to late 1990's and live here in Massachusetts. The Sino-Cantabrigian War will be a strange one. Their brothers will come to claim them and they will find a fairly feisty set of American-Chinese sisters to do battle with. Watch out. They won't want to go "home."

So at the table behind me is just such a couple. The Alpha Mom is nearly 6' 2" and a real knock-out. She's in a really expensive sexy black leather jacket, very tight black blue jeans, bending over to push a toddler in a stroller. Something to see. Most men turn to stare until they get the picture, then turn away. Her partner is a smaller, rather homely Phd in ... maybe ... comp lit and also wears black leather which doesn't fit and makes her look shorter and fatter. The girl toddler is a typical terrible two tyrant letting out intermittent firestation siren-decibel -level shrieks. All of us wince when we hear them. If there weren't enough, she's pounding bloody hell out of the table with a wooden toy, a veritable death knell, boom, boom, boom. Someone stop her.

Friday, November 01, 2002

Going Swimming

I had slipped up and hadn't been swimming a lot lately and then went for a big dip this past Wednesday night and it was so great. It's not easy coming out with wet hair into the icy weather, but still, it's such a treat to go swimming. I forgot how much I missed it. I'm going tonight.

You don't have to change your life a lot for it to get kindof lousy, you can just forget to do the things that you really like to do. You can forget to workout in the morning. You can forget to go swimming. You can forget to eat right and then all of a sudden, your life starts to pretty much stink. And you go, "Hey, wait a minute, my life is kindof stinking here, what happened?"

Spirals down and spirals up. You can REMEMBER how to treat yourself well and change your life too. You can remember to go sit in the hot tub. You can remember to call someone you like to talk to. You can remember to clean up the house and make the bed at the beginning of the day. And then you'll notice, "Hey, my life is pretty great." It's all the simple, dumb stuff my mom taught me and she was right.

Helluva Way To Build An Alphabet

I just looked up "impenetrable" in the dictionary. Of course, someone here at work came by and gave me a horrified look to see me using a dictionary. Thanks, guy, yes, I've heard of spell checkers.

Thing is, I like wandering around in the dictionary. I mean, if I just ran a spell checker on "impenetrable" (I thought it started with "in" not "im") I would never have run into "impetigo -- an acute contagious straphylococcal skin disease characterized by vesicles, pustules and yellowish crusts." Now, there's a word!

But there's one thing I still can't deal with after all this time. Say you were building an alphabet and you came up with this perfectly great letter "n" with one hump. Wouldn't you put the two-hump letter "m" AFTER the letter "n" in alphabetical order. I mean, you start with the simple "n" and then you take all that time to hammer on another hump to the thing and anyone can see the "m" should come second. Just like they made the "v" and then they made that handy "double-v" which they decided to call a "double-u" and write like this "w" for some reason. At least they got them in the right order.


I got spam today in a language I don't read or write or speak. I just looked at it, noticing how it was completely impenetrable. It was totally without meaning for me, I had no feeling about the words, except that I wish they had not arrived in my mailbox to take up space. It might have been trying to induce me buy something, or enlarge something, or go to some remote university, but I'll never know. I found it very interesting that we can put a bunch of letters together in our own language and they can be as powerful as "I love you" received in email from the right person at the right time and then we can take the same alphabet soup, stir it up again and the results are utterly meaningless, they move us in no way whatsoever. Strange.

All The Leaves Are Brown

All the leaves are brown (All the leaves are brown)
And the sky is grey (And the sky is grey)
I've been for a walk (I've been for a walk)
On a winter's day (On a winter's day)
I'd be safe and warm (I'd be safe and warm)
If I was in L.A. (If I was in L.A.)

California dreaming (California dreaming)
On such a winter's day...

Stopped into a church
I passed along the way
Well, I got down on my knees (Got down on my knees)
And I pretend'd to pray (I pretend'd to pray)
You know the preacher likes the cold (Preacher likes the cold)
He knows I'm gonna stay (Knows I'm gonna stay)

California dreaming (California dreaming)
On such a winter's day...

All the leaves are brown (All the leaves are brown)
And the sky is grey (And the sky is grey)
I've been for a walk (I've been for a walk)
On a winter's day (On a winter's day)
If I didn't tell her (If I didn't tell her)
I could leave today (I could leave today)

California dreaming (California dreaming)
On such a winter's day...
California dreaming
On such a winter's day...
California dreaming
On such a winter's day...