Saturday, January 24, 2004

Dean's Critics

Dean is subversive by being honest and direct, emotional and passionate. His critics are quick to point this out. Just as they destroyed other men for crying, they seem to attack him for being vulnerable and human. But the results are paradoxical. Every put-down seems to help him come back stronger.

There is another group of people constantly underestimated, criticized for being too emotional, too passionate, disrespected for telling the simple truth. Those people are women. I think Dean's stance resonates with many women. His love and support of his wife is nothing short of revolutionary. This campaign only gets more and more interesting.


I'm heading out for a cub scout trip to see a battleship.

Take It Easy Scoble

Glad to see he's taking the weekend off! The man is a blog machine. Have a great weekend.

America As A One-Party State

Amazing piece by Robert Kuttner. Do read. Thanks to Doc for the link.
America has had periods of single-party dominance before. It happened under FDR's New Deal, in the Republican 1920s and in the early 19th-century "Era of Good Feeling." But if President Bush is re-elected, we will be close to a tipping point of fundamental change in the political system itself. The United States could become a nation in which the dominant party rules for a prolonged period, marginalizes a token opposition and is extremely difficult to dislodge because democracy itself is rigged. This would be unprecedented in U.S. history.
In past single-party eras, the majority party earned its preeminence with broad popular support. Today the electorate remains closely divided, and actually prefers more Democratic policy positions than Republican ones. Yet the drift toward an engineered one-party Republican state has aroused little press scrutiny or widespread popular protest.

We are at risk of becoming an autocracy in three key respects. First, Republican parliamentary gimmickry has emasculated legislative opposition in the House of Representatives (the Senate has other problems). House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas has both intimidated moderate Republicans and reduced the minority party to window dressing, rather like the token opposition parties in Mexico during the six-decade dominance of the PRI.

Second, electoral rules have been rigged to make it increasingly difficult for the incumbent party to be ejected by the voters, absent a Depression-scale disaster, Watergate-class scandal or Teddy Roosevelt-style ruling party split. After two decades of bipartisan collusion in the creation of safe House seats, there are now perhaps just 25 truly contestable House seats in any given election year (and that's before the recent Republican super gerrymandering). What once was a slender and precarious majority -- 229 Republicans to 205 Democrats (including Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who votes with Democrats) -- now looks like a Republican lock. In the Senate, the dynamics are different but equally daunting for Democrats. As the Florida debacle of 2000 showed, the Republicans are also able to hold down the number of opposition votes, with complicity from Republican courts. Reform legislation, the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA), may actually facilitate Republican intimidation of minority voters and reduce Democratic turnout. And the latest money-and-politics regime, nominally a reform, may give the right more of a financial advantage than ever.

Third, the federal courts, which have slowed some executive-branch efforts to destroy liberties, will be a complete rubber stamp if the right wins one more presidential election.

Taken together, these several forces could well enable the Republicans to become the permanent party of autocratic government for at least a generation. Am I exaggerating? Take a close look at the particulars.

Keep Reading --->

Political Blogs Allegedly Exist

Another report for non-bloggers about political bloggers. I don't mean to be so critical, but this kind of news isn't exactly news to us bloggers, eh?

Interesting that they picked up on bloggers scrutinizing business-as-usual political journalists and keeping them in line.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Numbers Numbers Numbers?

I'm sorry, but is this more NUMBNUTS non-story reporting, or what? This AP story is allegedly about the polling numbers and in the first paragraph mentions the word numbers a number of times. Read it. Did you notice there are NO NUMBERS OR CURRENT POLL RESULTS reported here? Is it me, or is the political media completely losing their grip?!? Is this news?

I'll put all numbers in bold -- you tell me, are there any actual polling result numbers here? Don't the American people deserve some real information -- a few facts -- instead of this fast food smear job disguised as news? It's what we're talking about over here.

N.H. Polls Show Dean Support Eroding
Fri Jan 23, 7:37 AM ET

By WILL LESTER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Numbers have been Howard Dean (news - web sites)'s friend. Numbers of campaign dollars raised. Numbers of supporters drawn to his candidacy through the Internet. Numbers of backers crammed into schools and auditoriums.

But the latest poll numbers in New Hampshire could only create a sense of foreboding in the Dean camp just days ahead of Tuesday's New Hampshire primary. The overall totals show rival John Kerry (news - web sites), winner of the Iowa caucuses, erasing Dean's once commanding lead and surging to the front of the Democratic presidential pack.

And these signs of distress for the former Vermont governor go beyond the top line.

One-time front-runner Dean has been losing support among several demographic groups, especially middle-age and older women, pollsters say. His supporters have been dwindling, leaving largely his original core of younger, liberal adults who helped launch his campaign last spring.

Dean has even lost support in the rural counties in western New Hampshire bordering Vermont that have been his stronghold. Whereas seven in 10 New Hampshire voters saw Dean favorably late last year, a third now see him favorably, a third unfavorably and a third remain undecided, according to the ARG poll.

Earlier this year, Dean seemed a sure bet to win New Hampshire. His lead of 25 percentage points or more started to fade after Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) was captured Dec. 14 and Democratic voters focused on other issues, such as electability, pollsters say.

"Dean's slide started before Iowa, Iowa compounded it, and the (concession) speech in Iowa raised serious questions, even in the minds of people who were with him," said pollster Gerry Chervinsky of KRC Communications and Research in Newton, Mass.

Dean finished a disappointing third Monday in Iowa behind Kerry and North Carolina Sen. John Edwards (news - web sites). Then Dean tried to cheer his supporters with a bellowing concession speech that is fast becoming a cult classic on the Internet and late-night comedy shows.

Aware of the need to stop Dean's slide, the candidate adopted a more subdued approach, tried to explain his outburst as his no-holds-barred style and tried to soften his image with an interview with his wife with ABC News' Diane Sawyer and an all-in-fun appearance on the "Late Show With David Letterman."

"I was having a great time, look at me. I was," Dean told Sawyer as he watched a tape of the Monday night rally. "I am not a perfect person, believe me, I have all kinds of warts. I wear ... cheap suits sometimes, I say things that I probably ought not to say, but I lead with my heart, and that's what I was doing right there, leading with my heart."

Judy Dean, in her first television interview, told Sawyer, "We've been married 23 years, and he is very easy to get along with. ... I can't remember the last time (he got angry)."

On the Letterman show Thursday night, Dean announced the "top 10 ways I, Howard Dean, can turn things around," ending with No. 1, "Oh, I don't know — maybe fewer crazy, red-faced rants?"

Dean aides, meanwhile, dismissed the pollsters' gloomy take on his prospects.

"People in New Hampshire will have their say in five days and that's what important," said Dean campaign spokesman Jay Carson. "I think everyone has seen how much can change in five days."

And Carson was quick to remind that the Dean campaign has a financial and organizational advantage built through a very successful 2003 when Dean raised roughly $40 million and amassed a formidable grass-roots network with the help of the Internet.

"We're the only campaign that's built a 50-state operation to compete with and beat President Bush (news - web sites)," Carson said. "That kind of operation can certainly handle the competition from these guys."

The intense level of public and private polling in New Hampshire suggests that's not the direction things are going in the days leading to Tuesday's primary.

The results in Iowa changed the dynamic of the New Hampshire campaign where Dean was already facing a close race.

Wesley Clark (news - web sites) skipped Iowa and was gaining on Dean in New Hampshire, eager to challenge him head-to-head on the issue of national security. After Kerry's victory, Clark's plan of being the main opponent to Dean in New Hampshire was foiled and he has stalled in the polls.

Now, an energized Kerry brings his strong credentials on foreign policy, domestic policy and electability to New Hampshire, said pollster Kelly Myers of RKM in Portsmouth, N.H. Kerry is a decorated Vietnam veteran who is serving his fourth term in the Senate.

"Coming out of Iowa, Kerry got an enormous bounce," Myers said. "Suddenly voters here were thinking Kerry was a better alternative to Dean than Clark."


EDITOR'S NOTE — Will Lester covers polling and politics for The Associated Press.

Women In Technology -- Body At Work

Just posted a piece at Misbehaving.Net about women and technology and of course, about Victoria's Secret. Can't help myself.

Jarvis on Conches

Interesting post from Jeff Jarvis about group blogs. Got that conch shell ready?
There is no more special privilege or power given to the guy with the conch because now everybody has a conch.

Dave Is Right

Winer has wise words this morning. Don't miss them. Listen to what he reminds us about Dean, the man:

He's not an actor, he's not a commercial, he's not a deodorant, he's not a product, and I'm glad we have a chance to have this discussion. I'm not a Dean supporter (yet, but I'm getting there) and they didn't ask me to say this, but please, it's time for the press to let us have an election, or maybe it's time for us to have an election without them.
To be fair, I AM A BIG SUPPORTER OF DEAN, and I am partisan, but I'm partisan for all the same reasons he lists here and also because I've been inside the campaign too. It's a campaign about letting citizens vote -- not media people, not other pundits, not other candidates -- it's not JUST about taking back the country, it's about taking back the political process.

Tom Payne.Com

Jay Rosen is writing great stuff (no surprise) over at the new blog Tom Read this:
The answer involves an open secret in political journalism that has been recognized for at least 20 years. But it is never dealt with, probably because the costs of facing it head on seem larger than the light tax on honesty any open secret demands. The secret is this: pssst... the press is a player in the campaign. And even though it knows this, as everyone knows it, the professional code of the journalist contains no instructions in what the press could or should be playing for. So while the press likes being a player, it does not like being asked: what are you for?

In fact, the instructions are not to think about it too much, because to know what you are playing for would be to have a kind of agenda. And by all mainstream definition the political reporter must have no kind of agenda. The Washington Post, National Public Radio, CNN, Newsweek, The Des Moines Register, and all similar competitors, are officially (and rhetorically) committed to "no agenda" journalism, also known as the view from nowhere. So while it might be recognized that the press is a player, journalists also see an unsolvable problem if they take one more intellectual step. So they dare not.

Great example of non-issue political horse race reporting this morning from AP writing about the notion that the Democratic debates were all about who can beat Bush.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Virtual Watergate?

From the Globe, don't miss it:

Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary
Commitee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year,
monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on
copies to the media, Senate officials told The Globe.

From the spring of 2002 until at least April 2003, members of the
GOP committee staff exploited a computer glitch that allowed them
to access restricted Democratic communications without a
password. Trolling through hundreds of memos, they were able to
read talking points and accounts of private meetings discussing
which judicial nominees Democrats would fight -- and with what

The office of Senate Sergeant-at-Arms William Pickle has already
launched an investigation into how excerpts from 15 Democratic
memos showed up in the pages of the conservative-leaning
newspapers and were posted to a website last November.

With the help of forensic computer experts from General Dynamics
and the US Secret Service, his office has interviewed about 120
people to date and seized more than half a dozen computers --
including four Judiciary servers, one server from the office of
Senate majority leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, and several
desktop hard drives.

But the scope of both the intrusions and the likely disclosures
is now known to have been far more extensive than the November
incident, staffers and others familiar with the investigation

The revelation comes as the battle of judicial nominees is
reaching a new level of intensity. Last week, President Bush used
his recess power to appoint Judge Charles Pickering to the Fifth
Circuit Court of Appeals, bypassing a Democratic filibuster that
blocked a vote on his nomination for a year because of concerns
over his civil rights record.

Democrats now claim their private memos formed the basis for a
February 2003 column by conservative pundit Robert Novak that
revealed plans pushed by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of
Massachusetts, to filibuster certain judicial nominees. Novak is
also at the center of an investigation into who leaked the
identity of a CIA agent whose husband contradicted a Bush
administration claim about Iraqi nuclear programs.

Lights! Camera! Action!

Joe Trippi from the Dean Blog says something I suspected:

I’ve been around campaigns for a long time. On most campaigns, if you come in third in Iowa with 18% and you go to the after party, you’re lucky to find 4 people there. Most every one by the time it’s over has left to find another party and another campaign.

But on Monday night Howard Dean walked in to the ballroom in Des Moines and there were 3500 people there. And the energy was higher than most victory parties I’ve been to.

The Governor looked out at the room and saw 3500 people who had come from all across the country because they believed in changing their country and he wanted them to know how proud he was of them and their efforts. And he wanted them to know that we’re going on no matter what.

He wasn’t thinking about the cameras. It was the people right in front of him who had done so much because they believe in a better America that he was speaking to.

I Wish Andrew Sullivan Would Run For President

I find I agree more and more with him. Maybe we can talk him into becoming the third party BLOGGERS PARTY leader!?

This line gets my vote: Why can't a grown-up have a complicated position? Elect that man!

Remember When Kerry Was Shit On Toast?

Remember When Kerry Was Shit On Toast? Like LAST WEEK?!?!

Honestly, people sure have a short memory. I still love Dean. I still think Dean can win. I think Dean's message was co-opted by Kerry and Edwards -- and prettied up. So yes, you can put lipstick on a pig (the pig being the blatant anti-Bush message) -- at least in Iowa. Read some of the rhetoric of the other campaigns. Kerry and Edwards won by taking "Take Back The Country" and making it a little more candy-coated.

But there are a lot of voters who don't want any candy-coating.


I am really bad at receiving help from others. I'm almost an Alpha Male in that respect -- not wanting to show my neediness or vulnerability -- but I'm learning it's completely silly to be that way. People really want to help others. And many people really want to help me and I am learning how to LET THEM do that. (Thanks Annie for opening this conversation with me.)

As I'm healing my eye, I feel a great healing of my stubborn pride -- as if it had been removed surgically -- and a new thankfulness and ability to receive care from others suddenly growing in its place.

First I want to thank Betsy Devine for taking me to my surgery appointment and being there with me, after my sister wasn't able to do it, as she was sick. It was really kind of you. And Matthew, you were a total doll to get me over to Betsy's to start this whole trek. Asking nightowls to do early bird driving stunts is terribly rude I know, but let me just send a big big thanks, for doing this early Monday am duty, especially after a very busy weekend for you. A bunch of folks from my church wanted to help me out after my surgery and did just that, but I wanted to thank Annie and Lisa in particular for nice things they did for me this week. Also my friend Adam brought me soup and movies on DVD's and took me to the doctor the day after surgery. And so many people called and emailed to check up on me. And flowers from AKMA and Margaret were a terrific treat.

Thank you everyone and I hope I can reciprocate soon, just ask.

Itchy Eye

I'm healing up, now it's Thursday after I had cataract surgery Monday, but my eye is itchy and I keep wanting to touch it and I'm not really supposed to and it's




Memory Lane: January 2002

A year ago, I was saying nutty stuff like Larry Lessig reminded me of Betty Grable, the pin-up babe and beginning to write the Alpha Male stuff and also, I hit a dog!

Memory Lane: January 2001

I was reading back in my archives and remembered that winter. My dad was still alive, but not doing well, and I was pontificating -- pundification? -- about weblogs which were so new then, or maybe just new to me. Here's a link.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004


I was talking to a friend about worrying. We all worry about so many things. So today I propose you make a list of everything you WORRY about and then a list of everything you consider FUN.



Look at the WORRY LIST. Write down everything you worry about. Number it. Put a big red circle around the things that you are able to improve by worrying about them. Things you have control over. Things that you're busy fixing by getting upset about. Lot of red circles? Or none?

Look at the FUN LIST. First of all, make sure you have twice as many numbered entries on the Fun List as on the Worry List. Number them. If you have 10 worries, for instance, give yourself 20 numbered (even blank at this point) slots on the Fun List. If you can't think of anything fun to fill up the 20 slots, get to work imagining some or ask others, friends, family, co-workers to give you ideas.

Something To Look Forward To

Hi Valerie, glad to hear you're planning a vacation to Florida for you and your family. My sis tells me you're terrific --- I already knew that (since you read my blog) -- but you're a real genius at the ART OF LIVING. You juggle so many things, helping your husband get over a heart attack, doing seriously excellent grandmother duty, being wonderfully creative and getting my award for just plain knowing how to live. It's a high high art. Most people don't get it.

And now you're so smart as to plan a trip to Florida to give you all something to look forward to as we battle this cold weather. Who wouldn't look forward to a trip to Florida? It sounds wonderful. Have a great day -- which I know you will, because YOU'RE GREAT!

Tuesday, January 20, 2004


AKMA and Margaret you are both so sweet -- THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE FLOWERS! What a treat for my new eyes. Love, Grace, Peace -- H

Marilyn Was Fat

A Guardian biography of Marilyn Monroe, with Elizabeth Hurley's famous comment:

She is still today one of the world's most instantly recognisable faces, with no shortage of modern day imitators. Her status as one of the world's sexiest women is undisputed, although by modern standards her vital statistics - somewhere around 35-22-35 - would make her fat. Skinny British actress-cum-model Liz Hurley remarked recently "I'd kill myself if I was as fat as Marilyn Monroe." American actress Claudia Shear retaliated: "Most of us would kill ourselves if we were as talent-free as Elizabeth Hurley."

Swinging Chick Supreme

Marilyn. That's all I need to say, right?

January 20, 1961

Not at all sure this is true, but I like it. I'll go check on it and be back to correct it if it isn't true:
On this date in 1961, after four-and-a-half years of marriage, Marilyn Monroe is granted a divorce from writer Arthur Miller in a Mexican courtroom. Also on this date in 1961, JFK delivers his inaugural speech that includes the line, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

Just Call Me Agent 99

Now I understand what Betsy was talking about yesterday with her Feedster Top 100 feeds listing. I love being 99. I thought I had dreamed it up under anesthesia.

Not A Dry Eye In The House

After eye surgery you have to keep your eye from getting wet. It must not get liquid in it. This sounds easy until you've tried it for a week or two. Try washing your hair without getting water or shampoo in your eye.

After my surgery yesterday, I was feeling a little emotional. Why? Well, honestly when DON'T I FEEL EMOTIONAL? As a writer, I've learned over a lifetime that I'm very emotional. I can be very very emotional. Only recently have I really understood this and also understood when it's good to let those emotions rip and when to hold back and keep things balanced. When the emotions end up on the page, in my writing, the results are good. When I'm just trying to go about my life, pay bills, do my taxes, paint a room, not so good sometimes. [Though I must say, rare is the policeman who can give me a ticket after the torrent of real tears I can make.]

So, I called the nurse to ask "Is it okay to cry?"

She found this funny for some reason. I didn't go into why I felt like crying. It was complicated.

I'd seen a red red red red red red ... did I mention red? ... cardinal on the white snow outside my kitchen window. Just a little red bird looking for little yellow and brown seeds in the snow on a winter day. It was shockingly beautiful. I was worried about this new eye. I knew with the improvement I experienced with one eye, getting two eyes fixed would be a little overwhelming.

I haven't written about this yet because I've been crying a bit -- good crying with joy, some sad crying too. Just a lot to get used to these eyes.

I can't help feeling these eyes and all this beauty they see are just about the most awesome gift from God anyone could receive. How the hell'd I get so lucky?!?

Then I got it. We've made a deal, me and God, I've finally figured it out. This is the beginning of something brand new for me. A born-again experience, but not that kind that holy roller type-thing crazy religious freaks talk about. More like he's got some work for me to do. And with this awesome set of eyes, it's got to be some awesome work.

I think he wants me to look at things. And then he wants me to tell you what I see. Write it down. And then he wants me to do that again and again and again. And then when I'm done doing that work, I'll die. It's such a simple job and I am so honored to have it.

I have to look at red birds. I have to look at kids bending over sand pails at the shore on a cornflower blue sky day. I have to look at big round pink babies' bottoms. I have to look at old people having a lot of trouble walking down a sidewalk as kids skateboard past in death-defying manoeuvres. I have to look at my lover's jawline, lips, kiss them, then neck, chest, watch his arms encircle me, wrapping me safely and softly like a most comfortable blanket. I have to look at the boy in school everyone is laughing at and tell you how his body slumps in sadness and embarrassment, his shoe scuffing a black mark on the linoleum beneath his seat. I have to tell you about a spring morning with everything blooming beautifully, giving everyone the wonderful feeling of a new start as they stride by the hospital, but a new mom in a window of that building, in a bed that morning crying her eyes out over a baby she just lost. I just have to go look and tell you what I see. It's a wonderful thing to be called to do. I can do that.

So when I asked the nurse "Can I cry?' The nurse said, "Yes, you can cry, just don't rub your eyes. That's the only thing. Can you do that?"

Yes. I can do that.

Ah Shucks!

All these cool folks subscribe to me via RSS. You guys rock! If you're not on here, please join the club! BTW, I hope you don't mind if I make this public. Drop me email if so, I'll take you off the list.

> 1. Adam Gessaman
> 2. Adam Gaffin
> 3. AKMA
> 4. Amanda Murphy
> 5. Troels Sønder Olsen
> 6. Betsy Devine
> 7. Euan Semple
> 8. Richard Soderberg
> 9. Julian Elve
> 10. Brian D. Buck
> 11. Chris Heathcote
> 12. Cesare
> 13. Chris Woods
> 14. Chris Pirillo
> 15. Christian Hougardy
> 16. Jordon Cooper
> 17. Critt Jarvis
> 18. Curtis Seyfried
> 19. Daniel Berlinger
> 20. Dave Seidel
> 21. Elizabeth Albrycht
> 22. enoch choi, md
> 23. Erik Stattin
> 24. Bryan Strawser
> 25. François Granger
> 26. Gaspar
> 27. George Kelly
> 28. Hans Martin Kern
> 29. Jort Mentink
> 30. Jack Hodgson
> 31. Jason Butler
> 32. James McGee
> 33. Joi Ito
> 34. Julia Lerman
> 35. James Lynch III
> 36. Jonathan Smith
> 37. Coyote Gulch
> 38. Kevin Marks
> 39. Kevin Schofield
> 40. Lisa Williams
> 41. Marie Carnes
> 42. Mark Alexander
> 43. susan mernit
> 44. Jonathan Trull
> 45. Nick Baker
> 46. Ole Eichhorn
> 47. Panthère noire
> 48. Ray Ozzie
> 49. Rod K
> 50. Robert Scoble
> 51. Roland Tanglao
> 52. Chuck Welch
> 53. zephoria
> 54. Seyed Razavi
> 55. Richard Chlopan
> 56. Tara Liloia
> 57. Tom Harpel
> 58. travis johnson

Sexy Games

Do you really need "Sexy Games" like these featured at Red Envelope to have fun on Valentine's Day?

Girls, I figure you can do just fine with a little box like this. Only costs $8.99 and I'm sure he'll get the idea.


Just wait, just watch. I agree with a lot of folks saying he seemed angry last night. He made the mistake of thinking he was rallying the people in that room -- instead of doing a television performance. But is it a mistake to be a human instead of a TV star?

My Eyes

Thanks for all the nice emails checking on how I'm doing after eye surgery. I'm doing fine, but really tired and oddly, don't feel like going into the whole surgery thing in detail. I probably will in the next few days. I actually ended up needing an additional procedure in my left eye, in addition to the surgery in my right eye, so I've got TWO eyes healing. It's a common thing for people who heal quickly, as I did before.

Recovery involves taking eye drops (three different kinds) in the right eye every three hours -- and one type of drop in the left -- which isn't a big deal -- but annoying enough that I find it boring to go into. I'm really glad I finally got the surgery completed.

I Promised I Know

I promised to offer you Alpha Males some help with great Valentine's Day gifts. It's easy to find gifts. What's hard is to pick the appropriate one. It all depends on your situation.

If you've been married 25 years, or 10 or 2 you're looking at a very different scenario. If you've got a new girl you're courting and haven't even kissed, be VERY careful. Buy her this and you come off looking like wolf -- Little Red Riding Hood may run for her life. Buy her this and she'll think you're just not interested, or think you're dissing her coffee making abilities.

There are time-tested solutions, especially for early relationships. Try the old standards -- yep, flowers and ... if she's not on a diet ... maybe chocolates, but eat them with her, better still, feed her.

Hey Mr. Wonderful

There's something funny about these. But I do think it's sinful to spend $25 bucks on a pair of boxers.

Jury Selection For Martha Stewart

Her lawyer asks you:

__ Have you ever slept on sheets with less than 100% Egyptian Cotton? Say yes, you're out;

__ Can you go all the way with hand-whisked Hollandaise Sauce made from scratch, or, God forbid, have you made it from a powdered mix? No whisk, no go;

__ Do you know chartreuse, ochre, aubergine and celadon on sight, or do you have to refer to your swatches? Prove it or get the hell outta here.

__ Do you own a dibber? Do you keep it in your potting shed? No dibber, no tickey, no laundry

__Do you think this is a witch hunt designed to ruin a successful woman executive that did very little wrong, besides being successful and wealthy? Answer Yes, take a seat -- try the sack-back with the comb windsor chair on the left.

Skilled Crane Kid

Here's a story about a kid who really loves that Skill Crane game where you try to pinch stuffed animals. This is the kind of thing my kid might do. Thank God he never went this far.

Stuffed Animals

News out that a stuffed animal or a blankie helps a kid feel secure and encourages their independence. Nice to hear these cozy objects getting a good review for once. I love stuffed animals.

I've got a pile of them on my bed and same with my son. I've got five teddy bears. Two big ones are the parents -- Mocha's the mom, Coco's the dad. She's light brown, he's dark brown. Their three smaller bear kids are Pinky (yes, pink), Snowy (yes, white) and Kiki, (same brown as Mocha, the Mom). I've had them a long time. I often pack one of them when I travel on business. My bears don't want to miss out on the fun at high tech conferences for instance, (especially Snowy who seems to be leaning towards a degree in Computer Science these days.) I've had colleagues really tease me about this. Screw them. I even have three stuffed Linux penguins -- tell THEM they can't attend LinuxWorld. You don't have a leg to stand on.

Just as China had to face a population boom, if you have kids who love stuffed animals, you can very quickly be in need of a population control program. Here's some solutions -- when it comes to keeping them from becoming a bed-breaking mob and unruly pile, build your bears some furniture, buy some hammocks, or if you're really good, explain to your kids how there are kids without any bears who would really love to have Goodwill or The Salvation Army give them some bears. This altruism rap rarely works, but you can supplement the program by paying your kid $5.00 a pound for bears willing to participate in the relocation program.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Eye Surgery Thumbs Up

A Okay.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Bush And The Press

Ken Auletta's piece in The New Yorker is a must-read. He had an interview with Bill Moyers today on NOW about the piece calling the White House "Fortress Bush."

His book "BackStory" came out at Christmas. It's an investigation of the way news organizations are run these days.

Water Into Wine

Great sermon this morning about Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding at Galilee. Our minister, Judy Brain, spoke to the notion that some would consider this miracle a bit showy, not terribly serious, a bit beneath Jesus, especially for his FIRST miracle. What kind of a show biz trick was this -- being invited to a wedding and turning water into wine when the guests were running out. Not exactly healing the lame or parting the waters? What was he up to?

She gave us a whole new way to look at it. She reminded us of the lovely weddings in those days -- some as long as five days -- with feasting and dancing and families joining together over long distances, happy to be reunited. She asked us to imagine the group dancing and feasting and then the word starts to spread through the crowd, at this early point in the festivities, the first day, the first evening -- the host was running out of wine!! Very bad news.

So what does Jesus do? He saves the day. He makes sure they can keep partying. He makes sure the feasting and dancing and joyfulness continue.

Still sounds pretty trivial. But what if the wine isn't wine. What if the wine is the symbol of love and abundance and joy that a spiritual life affords. Perhaps you can get drunk on the abundant joy of Jesus' and God's love. Perhaps the simple joy in every ordinary day can give a Christian a reason to party. Perhaps that's the miracle of a life full of love, joy, God and nice dancing shoes?

Pilgrim Church -- Just Add Snow

I love my church. It continues to be a difficult temptation to ditch church and watch all the Sunday morning political shows, but I resisted today.

Glad I did. Church is like exercise. You can think of a million reasons NOT to bother exercising and NOT to bother going to church, but when you push yourself to go work out or go work out spiritually, you're so glad you did and it gives 10 fold back.

The program was about Martin Luther King and most of the hymns were gospel songs -- great ones -- which I'll blog about. It was good to think about Martin Luther King and give politics a break for a while. Not that MLK wasn't political, but in a very different way.

This is a picture of my church, but just add a soft snow, like bits of cold fur falling on your face and you'll get the idea.

What We Know About Love


Eye Surgery Tomorrow

Betsy Devine is taking me to the eye doctor tomorrow. My sister is sick with the flu and can't do it after all. I really appreciate it Betsy, thanks! Getting my house tidy and food in the fridge so I don't have to worry about it next week. I'm using my blog to remember what it felt like during the recovery period last time. It's funny I don't remember how it went exactly, expect I think it went well. Mostly you are recovering from the anethesia, not the cataract surgery.

And it takes more than a few days, especially for your brain to get used to all the new input. Even a month after my surgery, I was still recovering and seeing new things.

Another difference this time -- I won't be so madly eager to see how much of a difference my eyes will experience. I know now how incredible it will be and I don't have to make my eye jump up and do tricks right away. I plan to sleep and maybe answer the phone a bit, but mostly do nothing. Eyes Wide Shut. Last time I really wanted to use my eye a lot right away. My new toy. I don't feel that urgency this time.