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.


My son, at eight years old, is getting very tall and very strong. He keeps doing rough-housing moves on me, plowing into me like a blocking back, trying to throw his weight on me to knock me over, trying to tackle me and he doesn't seem to know how strong he is. He's really been doing it a lot on this vacation because there are older boys in the house and I think he's showing off his strength.

And I am strong too, but not that strong. I'm about 5'8" and lift weights and I'm in pretty good shape, but when he plows into me -- he can really hurt me. I ask him to cool it, but he doesn't calm down that easily, so I think it's about something else.

He wants my attention and he wants to get physical with me. I like to hug him but don't like to roughhouse with him. He spends a week with me and week with his dad, I guess there are days in that week with me when he wants to play rough and tumble like he does with his dad. And I guess there are days in his week at his dad's place when he wants a mother's cuddle. But I wish he knew his strength.

I'm getting bruised! This guy is going to be taller than me soon I think. He's up to my shoulder already. He's very tall for his 3rd grade class. His dad is nearly 6' tall -- my dad was 6'4" -- my brother's 6' 1" or so -- my sister's 6' tall and his cousin is 6' 6" so I'm expecting one big kid. I need some football pads or something. Yikes!

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.

More Good Guys From Vermont

An interesting piece by Danielle Stein about good guy Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's company SweatX. He's started a clothing line that is out to show the garment industry we don't have to manufacture clothing based on a worker-destructive sweatshop paradigm:

Thank goodness for Ben and Jerry. They are the men who have brought us Chubby Hubby, Cherry Garcia, and Festivus (a tasty new flavor named in honor of George Costanza's made-up family holiday.) They have given us chocolate-covered pretzels in our ice cream and have made us feel good about consuming a pint chock full of brownies and cookie dough merely by labeling it "Frozen Yogurt." They've given us counterculture references for flavor names and quirky commercials filmed in Vermont. And now they're giving us fashion.

Well actually, only Ben (he does have a last name -- Cohen) gets credit for this one. The ice cream king, who has long been involved in social activism, has combined his politics and his entrepreneurial talents in a clothing line called SweatX. The company's goal is to create clothing while giving workers quality of life -- paying them $8.50 per hour (much more than the average sweatshop factory employee receives) plus benefits, a pension, and profit sharing as well as top-of-the-line equipment and a pleasant environment in which to work. SweatX is out to prove that it's possible to be successful while still treating employees well. And in Los Angeles, a hotbed of sweatshops where workers are regularly paid less than minimum wage for long hours in unsafe conditions, this is a crucial message.

This new clothing firm, which will produce casual clothing like T-shirts and sweatpants, is perhaps the most hopeful step in the fight against sweatshop labor. Because there are many concerned people out there -- myself included -- who might deplore the way most of our clothing is produced, but who have few apparel alternatives. For instance, I know that Nike is a glaring example of abhorrent labor practices, so I avoid their products. But I don't have the statistics on most of the other clothing lines out there, and I would believe that many of the companies I do patronize are paying South American workers 15 cents per hour to make my cable-knit sweater. And for the average consumer who does not spend her life as a labor activist, it is difficult to avoid the products of all offending companies.

But SweatX gives us an entirely new angle from which to wage this battle. Instead of asking consumers to stop buying from companies with less-than-perfect labor policies, it invites us to support one that passes the test. Instead of making activism require a decrease in consumerism (which is an unsuccessful tactic in our consumer-driven society), it allows us to make a statement and simultaneously get cool stuff! Throwing a little support in SweatX's direction contributes to its success, and the financial success of a garment business that practices humane treatment of workers would serve as proof to the industry that its trespasses are inexcusable. And if the industry loses its justification -- that it needs cheap labor to profit -- sweatshops are on the way out.

SweatX seeks to market its clothing in sports shops and college bookstores, drawing on the recent increase in anti-sweatshop activism on campuses across the country (as is evident here at Cornell). But the director of the California Fashion Association, Ilse Metchek, was quoted in the L.A. Times expressing her skepticism that students would support the project: "Students protest. They yell and scream. But when push comes to shove, they go to Wal-Mart and buy clothing made in Saipan."

It's time to prove people like Metchek wrong. Many of us may not have enough willpower or alternatives to shun big clothing labels like Nike, but this does not mean we won't rally around causes we support, especially if they require little effort (often a prerequisite for college student participation) and result in cute additions to our wardrobes. Ben Cohen and his colleagues have created something that has both innovation and integrity, and they deserve our support.

Ben Cohen's SweatX has the potential to revolutionize labor practices in the garment industry. If successful, it could become the prototype for other companies who could no longer claim they can't turn profits without exploiting workers. But it's a new project and has yet to prove itself. As its success would mean progress for labor practices, its failure would mean regression. Support of this endeavor -- in the form of consumerism, publicity, whatever -- by college students is essential. It could make worker's rights the flavor of the future.

Who Will Tell The People

William Greider's earlier book, "Who Will Tell The People: The Betrayal of American Democracy" looks like another must-read.

When We Wake Up

Very interesting interview with William Greider on CSPAN about his book "The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths To A Moral Economy" and the future of American workers and American families.