Thought You'd Never Ask

Just mouthing off -- because I can.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Still too busy to blog (mostly)

I've been enjoying the news coverage by the few favorite bloggers I've dipped into, and the talk of my favorite radio hosts (Rush, Medved, Glen Beck, Laura Ingraham, Neal Boortz) I've heard as I go rushing around. But haven't taken the time to comment here. Have too much other stuff to do.

Managing head lice is time-consuming, but I am hopeful all the efforts will put an end to the problem by this weekend. Been freezing items in the freezer overnight, putting things outside on the back porch, vacuuming, washing and drying on "HOT" settings, and disinfecting with ammonia. I have a very clean house and no inclination to invite anyone into it. Fortunately no one besides my poor daughter has caught the cooties, it seems. And they seem to be diminished, all traces almost gone. Thankful for that.

I think it all came from trying on demo wigs at the costume store. And that came from my daughter falling in love with crazy wigs thanks to watching the "Hannah Montana" TV show on the Disney channel. The Hannah Montana character (played by Miley Cyrus) leads a double life in this rather air-headed but mostly harmless sitcom. By night she is rock star Hannah Montana (in long blond wig) and by day she is mild-mannered, unassuming Miley Stewart, "the hippest 14-year-old transfer from Tennessee to Malibu" ever scripted (talk about a Californiacentric fantasy). Her best friend, Lily, has found out Miley's secret, and accompanies her to her rock concerts similarly disguised as "Lola LaFonda" in wild-colored wigs. My daughter has been saving her allowance and now owns three cheap, crazy costume wigs. It's all been good clean harmless fun through Halloween and beyond until she tried on a few sampler wigs at the costume store before deciding to spend her dough on the Barbara Eden/"I Dream of Jeanie" blond pigtail wig a while back. I had stupidly assumed the store properly fumigated the sample wigs, but I won't make that mistake again.

It reminds me of when my son was about three years old and a huge fan of "Sesame Street's" Oscar the Grouch, the grumpy furry puppet who lives in a trash can. My son began to plunge his arms into the trash can in a public restroom one day, looking for Oscar (or pretending to BE Oscar) and I fortunately was able to nip that behavior in the bud before he was stuck by any needles or contracted any foul diseases.

Whoever says the media doesn't influence children's behavior doesn't have children. Or isn't paying attention. Or has an agenda (usually to make money).

Okay, back to my "To Do" list.


UPDATE: Monday morning, Dec. 3rd: Regarding information I gathered from the internet, the two websites I relied on most to combat the head lice were:

The comprehensive but always-to-be-suspected Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head_louse

and the University of Nebraska Extension Service page:
http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/lice/headlice030.shtml

So far, 8 days after using and exactly following the instructions on the box of Nix (one of the two over-the-counter treatments my pediatrician's office recommended):

http://www.nixlice.com/

we see no further traces of the head lice or their eggs. Keeping our fingers crossed that is the end of it.

I am offering no endorsement of products, only sharing our experience.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Returned, but not much blogging

My family drove out-of-state to spend Thanksgiving with old friends. We had a fabulous time and returned safely. Then unfortunately we discovered my daughter has developed a case of Pediculus humanus capitis (a first for us). Been dealing with that, which involves a lot of washing, cleaning, and combing. Will get back to blogging when time permits. Will probably start organizing my Christmas card and gift lists and composing the annual holiday newsletter first.

Another case of real life coming before blogging.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving

I pack his lunch with a homemade ham sub sandwich, a juice box, trail mix, Pepperidge Farm cookies, carrot sticks, two napkins. He wishes I’d gotten to the store to get pretzels, but says it’s still better food than what the cafeteria serves. I tell him it’s colder out today, and run to get his Dr.-Who-looking scarf from where I threw it on the shelf in the hall closet last spring. He’s no longer interested in dressing like Dr. Who, but it’s still a warm scarf from the Gap. He bundles up. I brush the lint from his coat lapel; he rests the bottom of his freshly shaved chin on the top of my head and out the door he goes. He’s one of several “kids” who wait for the high school bus at the end of our driveway. Man, they’re tall now. Doesn’t seem that long since they were all less than shoulder-high, waiting out there for a similar bus (and the same bus driver) to go glue yarn and macaroni onto construction paper and cut with rounded scissors. Now instead of making Thanksgiving pictures and listing what they’re thankful for, they’re studying for their AP courses and learning to drive.

I brush her hair because she can’t be bothered with it—and because she still wants me to. While I brush, she tells me about the latest Lemony Snicket book she’s reading; yells at me in frustration because I can’t keep the plot points straight. We grin. Lemony Snicket’s phony book cover featuring a “pony party” is hilarious to both of us. I kiss her cheek and tell her if nobody else tells her they love her today, let me be the one. Yeah, yeah, she says. She goes out of the house and cuts across the front lawn to walk to her bus stop down the street. Orange and yellow leaves drift down on her and all our visible world as she walks. She turns back and sticks out her tongue at me as she waves. Her backpack is bulging, too heavy for her but she doesn’t have far to lug it before reaching her school locker. Both my kids are on the honor rolls at their schools.

I think of all the places in the world where children can’t go to school, can’t read books, can’t get enough to eat, can’t live or travel in safety, and don’t have a loving parent at home standing watch over them and making sure they have what they need to succeed when they venture out into the world. And I think these are the happiest days of my life.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Found: good stuff

Stumbled across on the internet:

Keep the Coffee Coming - a blog of retro-enjoyment of good music and vintage photos

Boston 1775 - a blog about the beginning of the Revolutionary War in Boston (including, right now, detailed descriptions and screen shots of new graphic comics of Revolutionary War stories and heroes for children

Then there's the history of Benjamin Moore - no, not the Revolutionary-era President of Columbia University, but the paint company brothers:

The company's origins date back to 1883, when Benjamin Moore and his brother, Robert Moore, started a family-run paint business in Brooklyn, New York. At the time, the paint and coatings industry was still in its infancy; not until the mid-1880s did paint producers move decisively toward bulk production and distribution of their products....

And speaking of Revolutionaries and interiors, how did Ethan Allen's name get caught up in a furniture company headed today by somebody named Farooq Kathwari? Only in America, my friends.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Only in America

Compassionate volunteers shampooing birds in distress.

Is this a great, wealthy, big-hearted country, or what?

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What he pays/she pays for casual sex

Both of my children are taking "health" classes at school this semester, including sections on "sex ed" (more about that later). In doing some research I've been coming across some websites and comments that reflect a current body of "wisdom" that seeks to encourage young people (including very young people) to make "healthy choices" and "take responsibility for their own bodies" when they "choose to have sexual activity," and to "experiment" and "have fun" in "exploring their sexuality." Here's what I have to say about that:

Possible Medical Costs
of “experimenting” and “having fun” with casual sex:

He pays:

  • $20 for ample supply of condoms

  • $20-$30 for enough music and liquor to get the “experimenting” girl in the mood

  • $100 for doctor’s visit and a round of antibiotics for syphilis, gonorrhea, HPV warts, or chlamydia (repeat as needed)

  • $100 for diagnosis and treatment of herpes; repeat periodically for rest of life

  • $400 his share for the abortion and subsequent crisis containment, including transportation and psychiatric counseling for him/her/both, if any

  • $20 for first installment of disposable baby diapers (see “Medical costs of having a baby/paternity and custody suits/court-ordered visitations/child support”)

She pays:

  • $15 for drugstore treatment for the first yeast infection (repeat as needed)

  • $100 for diagnosis, tests, and treatment of first episode of cystitis (bladder infection) (higher costs if weekend ER visits needed; repeat as often as necessary)

  • $80.00 for first yearly pelvic exam, PAP smear, and STD screen
  • $30-$95 for HPV vaccine (add more for complications)

  • $50 for first supply of birth control pills, after he starts balking at using condoms

  • $50 for doctor’s visit after pills give her bad side effects

  • $50-$100+ for trying other birth control methods that may or may not work (repeat as needed)

  • $5 pregnancy testing kit when her period is late (repeat as needed)

  • $50-$100 for “morning after pill”

  • $100 for doctor’s visit and a round of antibiotics for syphilis, gonorrhea, HPV, chlamydia, or one of the other 20+ current STDs (repeat as needed)

  • $100+ for doctor’s visit to burn or cut HPV warts off cervix

  • $100 for diagnosis and treatment of herpes; repeat periodically for rest of life

  • $400 for her share of abortion fees and subsequent crisis containment, including transportation, psychiatric counseling, and/or Prozac, as needed

  • $10,000-$90,000 twenty years later for infertility treatments after chlamydia scarred her Fallopian tubes (include more for ectopic pregnancy)

  • $5,000-$50,000+ for treatment of cervical cancer from HPV

  • Giving up goals and dreams of an upbeat lifestyle to raise a child alone in poverty OR giving up dream of ever being a mother to her own biological child or children: priceless.

Note: This chart optimistically assumes no contraction of the HIV/AIDS virus.
Emotional costs are not included.

Get out your checkbooks, ladies, if you’re going to experiment with these experiences. This is only a part of what is involved when you are encouraged to "take responsibility for your own body" if you "choose to be sexually active."

And if you think your college health clinic will make it more affordable for you to "choose to be sexually active" without financial consequences, proceed to “Emotional Costs of ‘Experimenting’ and ‘having fun’ with casual sex.” Or just imagine how there is nothing quite like facing a delayed period, abortion, biopsy, or betrayal by your "friend with benefits" during Finals Week.

And gentlemen who claim to love women should realize and appreciate the full price women risk paying when they say "yes."

Hat tip: Dr. Miriam Grossman (a true feminist) and her book, Unprotected. I will make sure my kids read it.

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DSL down

Construction crews in my neck of the woods nicked the phone cables on Wednesday afternoon so we were without telephone or internet service for over 24 hours. Had to drive my son to the local library so he could do his homework (how old-fashioned is that!?). Now the DSL service has been restored, but there's still no life or dial tone in the telephones. How's that possible?

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What the money says about the 2008 Presidential election

When you get tired of listening to the public blowhards, pundits, and spinmeisters speculate about who's going to win the Republican or Democratic nomination or the Presidency next year, you can go check out the Iowa Electronic Markets. Here you will find an online futures market based on real-world events, with active trading, for real money, by anyone around the globe who cares to invest in what he/she thinks is going to happen. The markets are run by the University of Iowa Henry B. Tippie College of Business faculty as an educational and research project.

As economists know, with real money on the line, you do capture some true data about expectations and more, even if it does still remain impossible to predict the future.

So far, right now, these markets show that investors are expecting Hillary to run against Guiliani (with a big plunge by The Fred reflected). The expected election winner is predicted here. Reflecting investors' moods, the market changes daily. It's quite interesting not only to look at the ongoing graphs for the current election cycle, but also revisit those for the 2004 election and other events.

I wonder how these expectations track the expectations of those who make political campaign donations to the actual candidates themselves. I imagine the markets are more predictive, the donations more based on wish-fulfillment, yet the two must intersect at some points. Is somebody writing that thesis right now?"

(Hat tip to That Certain Bayesian.)

UPDATE: Speaking of political calculations, this is also a fun site: Political Calculations (via Captain Capitalism). Here you can find out "What are the chances your marriage will last?" and calculate your life expectancy, among other nifty things.

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You can't legislate morality

unless you are the all-powerful, all-pious government of Iran, which is also regulating attire:

Iranian police have unveiled a list of "vices" -- including makeup, un-Islamic dress and decadent movies -- being targeted in an ongoing moral crackdown, a conservative newspaper reported on Monday.

The list was published in the Jomhuri Eslami newspaper as part of a police drive launched in April which has seen the arrest of "thugs", raids on underground parties, seizures of satellite dishes, and street checks of improperly dressed individuals.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week urged police to keep up its crackdown on social vices, saying they must "fulfill their duties regardless of some opposition and propaganda."...

The list, which does not make any reference to gender, highlights the fight against extortionists and drug dealers as well as what it terms "inappropriate" clothing which is short, tight or seethrough....

and oh yes, they are also hanging and torturing homosexuals.

Meanwhile, the government of Egypt is jailing Christians for "defaming Islam and destroying the reputation of Egypt," while it denies necessary vital records to anyone not professing to one of only three officially recognized faiths, Islam, Christianity, or Judaism.

I'm sure the Muslim world's a better place for these well-intentioned ministrations.

And thank goodness some vigilant individuals are seeking to bring such rigorous morality to the Western world as well:

Muslim forces anesthetist from operating room

Here's a glimpse into the New Europe, courtesy the ReligionNewsBlog (thanks to all who sent this in):

A Belgian anesthetist has filed a complaint against a Muslim who blocked him from entering the operating theatre where his wife was to undergo emergency surgery.

The woman was operated with the male doctor shouting instructions from a hallway to a female nurse.

Doctor Philippe Becx from Bree, Belgium, was called to the hospital in the middle of the night because a woman had to undergo an emergeny caesarean section.

However, her husband blocked the door and demanded a female anesthetist. The latter was unavailable.

After a two-hour discussion proved fruitless, an imam was summoned. The imam permitted the doctor to apply an epidural injection, but only if the woman was fully covered with only a small area of skin showing.

During the surgery itself, performed by a female gynecologist, the anesthetist was to remain in the hallway. Through a door that was slightly ajar, he shouted instructions to a nurse who was monitoring the anesthesia.....


This is Islamic morality?

I call it uncivilized and anti-human. It is as benighted, ignorant, and superstitious as witchdoctery or cannibalism (and shares distinct resemblances to those practices). For every Westerner who asserts "you can't legislate morality," there seem to be a host of Muslims, from individuals to national governments, who are not only willing and able to legislate their own sick breed of "morality," but also enforce it with the sword.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

What better way to celebrate Veterans' Day?

You can donate now until November 11 to help wounded soldiers and sailors and Marines receive voice-activated laptop computers through Project Valour-IT sponsored by Soldiers' Angels. Just for fun, I've made my contribution go for the Navy, since they're lagging behind at the moment. If everyone does his or her fair share (a pittance, compared to what these brave people have done for us), no soldier will go unloved.






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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Can't take the heat

Do you think a public school district has the right to sue an individual parent criticizing them on her own website? The Galveston, Texas school district thinks so (via Instapundit). The question is, what is libel and what is opinion? Another question: what is the standard of allowable criticism and publicized opinion about public figures (including governmental bodies)? Another question is, how can you libel a school district?

GALVESTON — The public school district has officially demanded that parent Sandra Tetley remove what it says is libelous material from her Web site or face a lawsuit for defamation.

Tetley received a letter Monday from the district’s law firm demanding she remove what it termed libelous statements and other “legally offensive” statements posted by her or anonymous users, and refrain from allowing such postings in the future. If she refuses, the district plans to sue her, the demand letter states.

Time to call F.I.R.E. -- for starters. The Galveston school district seems to be proving the blogger's point that they don't have a good moral compass and don't know how to spend money wisely. (Oh, am I libeling the school board by saying that??)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I have returned...

on two fronts, actually. The kids and my mother and I returned home last night from a whirlwind two-day blitz visit to Epcot and the Magic Kingdom at Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida. And my massive attack of poison ivy (did Reagan get poison oak when he was out "clearing brush" on his ranch?) is finally retreating from its most painful outposts on my body. Starting today, it will still take me a little while to get the household back up to speed (laundry, groceries, cleaning, and dealing with a plumbing emergency, etc.). After that comes finding out about what's new that I missed; after that comes the blog.

In the meantime, here are a few new blogs I've discovered and gotten some laughs from, while looking around and casting my votes in the 2007 Weblog Awards poll. Check them out:

Nice Deb

Small Dead Animals

Slublog

You can still cast a vote in every category from a single computer once each day, today and tomorrow. Don't forget to vote for my personal favorite, Bookworm Room.

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