Specifically mine, but I'll get to that in a minute.
Much to my mother's chagrin, I have a theory about old people and cars. After a certain age (any year older than me--that would be 38), people should be tested for reflexes behind the wheel. As their reflexes slow, they should be forced to buy smaller cars.
Right now, the opposite is true. Old people tend to drive huge cars like New Yorkers, Buick Centurys, Olds Cutlasses, Buick Riviaras, Chrysler LeBarons, Cadillac Devilles... You get the idea. These two-ton tanks wipe out anything in their paths. Loping ride, loose power steering (so you only have to drive with a finger, don't you know) and heavy weight combine lethally. If you're in an accident with one of these beasts you're in trouble--especially if the gas is hit "accidentally" instead of the brake.
Nope, old people should drive proportionally smaller cars ending up on Mopeds. When they lose the motor control for those--they get to drive, yup! you guessed it, Scooters. What happened to good old fashioned bipedal transportation (walking) is anyone's guess. The logic for this is flawless, if I do say so myself. If you get in a wreck with a Chevy Aveo, all ten pounds of it, you don't do much damage--except to yourself. But that doesn't really matter, does it? You're at the end of a rich and storied life, your reflexes are nearly gone (otherwise you'd be driving a tricked out Hummer) and so it's a good way to go. Even better, no one else get's killed because you lack the self-awareness that you are not just past your prime, you're (shhhh!) geriatric.
There is a caveat in there for civil liberties nuts: if at 85 you have the reflexes of Mario Andretti, enjoy. Drive your semi, deisel dually, or monster SUV with pride--just make sure you stop before rolling over pedestrians.
But I digress. My real reason for writing this is not marauding old people, but rather marauding people yacking on cell phones. This destructive habit cuts across all demographics: old, young, male, female, black, white, purple, stupid, dumb, mentally challenged.
There was a time when a car driving outside the lines meant a drunk driver, that a crushingly slow driver meant illegal aliens or old people, that distracted drivers meant cowboys in pick-up trucks or women doing their make-up. You could be sure that someone doing all of the above being a blue-haired lady squinting over the steering wheel.
No more. Now, a perky blonde in a revved-up Mustang could be driving slow because she's IMing her buddy instead of driving.
Driving home from Aikido today during rush hour, one lane was driving snail-pace slow. Why? Of course, some little gnome with an earplug was hunched over having an EXTREMELY IMPORTANT CONVERSATION.
I'm convinced that car phone blabbers are really talking to you and me, the person at the other end of the line is secondary. What's the message?
"Hello dahling. I am so popular, so important, so rushed, so, so, so! I have the power to STOP TRAFFIC, that's how cool I am."
These people bugged me in High School. Now I want to run them over. Fantasies of big black Suburbans smashing Toyota Camrys and Mercedes C230s flicker through my consciousness. Visions of Kathy Bate's character in Fried Green Tomatoes causes me to internally smile. Then my children scream at each other and my fantasies fiz out and it becomes clear that I'm trapped.
Trapped, isn't that what these narcissistic yackers desire? Perhaps it is a subversive action to extend control where they feel helpless. Or maybe these people are incapable of being fully present. Being present is not the easiest is it? Lot's of us create BUSY-NESS so we can ignore what is right in front of our face--whether driving or in any other aspect of our life.
Or maybe, my helplessness and rage are manifested around these people. Okay, okay, since these people don't appear to be going anywhere, maybe I can learn to enjoy the ride--anyway, but I doubt it.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Specifically mine, but I'll get to that in a minute.
I don't know what President Bush or his Democratic opponents will talk about tonight. Military, economics, social policy, healthcare, border control, jobs data, big sweeping vision...that kind of thing, I'm guessing.
Me? I'm going to talk about some social issues that are shaping our nation and will eventually shape our nation's economy (already is) and ultimately future world standing.
Is America losing the middle class? For some time now, people have been saying so. Note these statistics--a bit old, but the trend has worsened over the past five years while the economy is getting better.
A middle-class life means big money in big cities across America. That money requires education, motivation and a good economy to support jobs.
The days of working the line seem to be coming to an end. Unions decry executive wages, especially CEO wages, (and rightly so, in my opinion) but ignore the fact that their average uneducated employee receives pay and benefits few white collar middle managers enjoy anymore. In short, there is a disconnect all the way around.
GM and Ford will be getting rid of an average-sized city's worth of employees over the next year. Will they cut the fat at the top? Doubtful. Even if they do, thousands of families will be affected by this major change.
Add to the by-gone industrial phenomenon, the influx of low-wage earners from South of the Border doing entry-level work. The argument that average Americans won't do that work, does not hold for me. Because cheap, illegal labor is so ubiquitous, wages are depressed. While a day-laborer might earn $10 an hour, an American citizen might demand $15 an hour. They are being beat out of the market or must accept lower wages. Ofcourse, we piggish Americans are to blame for this. We want our cheap products and to have all those jobs, too. High wages and low cost products don't go together.
The market is further unbalanced by the fact that most first-generation, illegal immigrants do not pay taxes. They live on more money for the dollar than a tax-paying peer.
But the real problem, besides the economic pressures, on middle class people shows up clearly in bankruptcy statistics. Here are the Top Ten reasons for bankruptcy.
While the average person's income has remained fairly constant, his appetite for things has not remained constant. A friend of mine lives in a trailer with an X-Box, hundreds of games and videos, the best digital cable and relies on government healthcare subsidies.
Consuption causes some of the problem, but an even bigger problem is divorce. The data regarding whether divorce causes bankruptcy (the stress of the dissolution of the marriage, lawyers fees, etc.) or bankruptcy causes divorce (the spending habits of one partner jeoprodizes the relationship) is in question. A good analysis of the subject here.
No matter what causes divorce doesn't matter ultimately. What we know for sure is that the vast majority of impoverished children are in single-mother homes, whether she is single by divorce, separation or choice. We know that 40% of boys live in a home without a father.
The trends for the future are discouraging. With a greater percentage of the population relying on public assistance, children getting left behind because of educational costs and then those who do get educated staggering under debt their parents didn't have to face, an average person is behind almost from the beginning of adulthood. True, fewer people were receiving higher education a generation ago, but good jobs simply didn't demand it. Baby Boomers had the luxury of coming into job markets that didn't require a four-year degree, never mind an MBA. My own father, for example, never graduated from college and was recruited as a Junior by GM.
Today, GM is cutting jobs. And if you desire to work for GM you better have a degree (debt) and better be willing to get paid proportionally lower wages than a generation ago even though you receive more education. Still, even these young people have better economic chances (the ones who are educated).
What happens, though, when a family experiences divorce? Half of barely getting by is not good at all. One family I know, wealthy and above middle-class standards, resulted in a stay-at-home mom having to support three children, while her ex married his "special friend". She is expected to support the kids? How, exactly? She has been out of the job market and who is going to supervise these mountains of mutating hormones? Already, their standard of living has dropped. They live in an older home with an old car. Meanwhile, the ex is living large.
Enter public schools. A teacher friend lamented:
If the current trends continue, the best and brightest kids will all beKids go to school, 50% children of divorce, 80% with both parents working (no supervision), a huge percentage work themselves, and when they don't work or study, they play violent video games, listen to aggressive music, enjoy "friends with benefits" (the time for most teenage sex is not at night--its from 4-6), instant message and hang out on MySpace.com with predatory middle-aged men. It's a wonder that only 60% of kids are sexually active.
homeschooled or taught in private schools by teachers that generally are not
certified as teachers by the state, the fed or by any university. I think
about myself - what certified teacher ever inspired me, shaped me, made me
who I am? none that I can think of. ...
So?? where do we go? am I part of the solution or part of the problem? Do
we need more teachers like me? Or do we need less?
Does this paint a hardened society to you? It does to me.
What I see happening is a divergence: incrementally more and more people are growing up under-educated (for the market), amoral, economically-stressed lives where human relationships are reduced to anonymous "experiences" with only one, constant parent. The have-nots.
Meanwhile, a minority (incrementally less and less) experience a care-free childhood, happily married parents, comfortable economics, little debt-burden, college and graduate school, and connectedness in relationships. The haves.
Having a majority of our society suffer from the loss of emotional and economic stability seems dangerous to me. Having a majority of alienated, undersocialized, undereducated, people who end up in the "servant class" does not bode well for those who enjoy a job, marriage and education.
To me, a society cannot function with intelligentsia alone. There must be a place for the muscle work. If there isn't, whole sections of society will falter. Detroit, Michigan, Flint, Michigan--my home state is the perfect example. It is a wasteland. Unemployment at 14%, whole towns empty of families and filled with drugs and crime. I lived in Michigan and watched Flint die. The Union guys were convinced the jobs would come back. They never did. Those days are gone.
What will take it's place? Do you cringe when you see a paunchy guy who would have weilded a wrench work at Best Buy? I do. Hawking Flat Screens seems like too flimsy a job, should the economy tank. What will he do?
What will we do? Yes, this post is rather gloomy. Failing social systems--marriages, education, unions--will affect everyone eventually. Will staying tuned out on an I-Pod or lost in an X-Box or mesmerized by TiVo or high on meth or numbed by casual sex anesthetize people to the losses they suffer? Maybe.... at least for a while.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:07 AM
Monday, January 30, 2006
This sounds hopeful: maybe it's not Coca-Cola's fault afterall. Couldn't possibly be my fault!
Again, Scientists are losing the forest for the trees:
"It makes people feel more comfortable to think that obesity stems from lack of control," Whigham said. "It's a big mental leap to think you can catch obesity." However, other diseases once thought to be the product of environmental factors are now known to stem from infectious agents. For example, ulcers were once thought to be the result of stress, but researchers eventually implicated bacteria, H. pylori, as a cause.
"The nearly simultaneous increase in the prevalence of obesity in most countries of the world is difficult to explain by changes in food intake and exercise alone, and suggest that adenoviruses could have contributed," the study said. "The role of adenoviruses in the worldwide epidemic of obesity is a critical question that demands additional research."
Ulcers are too caused by stress. When we are stressed, our stomachs become alkaline allowing bugs including viri and bacterii to grow. While H. pylori, a bacteria, is associated with ulcers, the reason why the bacteria grows isn't considered. The bacterial infection may be the effect not the cause.
This doesn't mean, however, that just because my immune system is ineffective and results in a virus and/or bacterial infection, I would skip a magic pill that would get rid of the weight--'cuz I just might.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 7:30 PM
Some time ago when Dr. Melissa Clouthier was just Dr. Melissa, I posted about using Functional MRI for Lie Detector tests. The thinking goes that physiological changes occur when someone lies rather than tells the truth--parts of the brain light up like a Christmas Tree when we lie. It takes far more effort to lie than tell the truth. (Just like it takes far more facial muscles to frown than it does to smile--some people I know enjoy exercising their mouths by frowning as much as possible.)
I am going to review for everyone what the shortcomings are to ALL lie detectors, why they should never be used in court--even these new fancy, schmancy ones and what it has to do with how we practice.
All Lie Detectors are based on a FALSE premise: that a person knows the absolute truth. A lie detector can only pick up on what the person believes is true. Or, more specifically what facts the body is congruent with conscious mind. A person can believe he saw the whole crime committed and completely pass a lie detector test but that doesn't mean what he believes is true is true. The problem with Psychopaths is that they BELIEVE their own lies. They will pass lie detectors very easily. That will remain true on a brain scan--it will cause them no more physiological effort to lie than to tell the truth. This proclivity is what makes them so dangerous.
(For smooth liars, watch Andrew Fastow when he gets started during his testimony at Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay's trials. The man is pathological. My interpretation might be all wrong, but Fastow strikes me as completely psychopathic and able to lie with absolutely no effort. In fact, I think it is probably easier for him to lie. Bill Clinton also had this trait. He seemed far more believable when he told a lie than when he told the truth. Now, if you watched his body language, he would give himself away. But his words....wow was he good.)
Conversely, people who are very nervous will cause "artifact" and fail a Lie Detector because of the stress of the situation. Their brains are firing everywhere. Very few people, when accused of a heinous crime can sit with comfort and calmly answer questions. Words like rape, murder, knife, strangle, molest, etc. will cause huge emotionally stressed responses even if they are totally innocent.
Then you get to the interpretation. A good Lie Detector Test examination relies on the proficiency of the examiner. Some examiners are very, very good and can catch even the most sophisticated recipient in a falsehood which will cause a reaction indicative of lying. Likewise, Functional MRI is a delicate, new technology. Not everyone knows what they are looking at. It should alarm you that Chiropractors have far more radiology than a Medical Doctor. Only Radiologists rival Chiropractors and Chiropractic Radiologists and Medical Radiologists fare about the same when tested for diagnostic accuracy. Who will be administering and then interpretting these tests?
Functional MRI is very expensive. Will tax payers be paying for this? I hope not.
Now, in our practice Mr. Dr. and I use a technique called Muscle Testing in conjunction with some Emotional Release Techniques. That is, when a person vocalizes a statement, the physiology of the body interferes with the strength of the muscle for just a moment if the statement is INCONGRUENT. A novice at this technique would call it a "false statement". That would not be true.
A patient could say "The sky is orange" when it is clearly blue and be utterly congruent with it and be totally strong in the muscle test. Some people would say that the person is "psychotic". Not necessarily. There are many false statements that some people are congruent with.
For generations, people were congruent with a flat earth. Mothers are notoriously congruent with the statement "My child would never harm another person." Does not make it true.
I have worked with people who have not been congruent with their own name. The muscle tested weak. Once the emotional problem associated with the weakness is removed, the muscle tests strong. Was their name a lie?
Be wary of doctors, scientists and experts who claim to be able to uncover the "truth". More factors come into play than what the physiology reveals.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 8:25 AM
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Well, well, well.... Dr. Helen posts about grandparents doing their own thang and ignoring their grandkids. She suspects that these grandparents were probably not great parents. Maybe.
I dunno. Many grandparents are helping to raise their grandkids to help out the working parents. Not so strange really. When society was more agrarian, the younger people worked on the farm and the older people did what they could at home.
Some grandparents we know who spent their golden years in Florida came back home because they knew they would need the kid's help in their ending years. That strikes me as selfish. Let me understand, you don't want to watch the kids, hang out with them, help the parents in any way, but these are the same kids you'd like to help take care of you? It seems that a lot of old people are counting on their children being far more benevolent then they were.
I can hear the older folks say, "But I didn't ask my kids to have kids! They aren't mine afterall!" No they aren't. You are absolutely correct. And everyone is relieved when the responsibility lifts from the shoulders post-child rearing. It is something I look forward to, in fact.
But where are our priorities as a society? I'm torn. Once the kids move out and on, lots of women go and get jobs not just for the money but because they want to accomplish something for themselves. Since in my life, I've tried to balance this, it is hard for me to imagine that goal as such a burning hunger once the kids move out. Grad school: been there, done that. Interesting work: there and doing that. Travelling, yes. Writing more, yes.
Still, what is life without my kids? That is life. And once they have kids, even more wow! Friends of ours have very busy, yet very involved parents who split their time between their Winter home and up North. They make sure and have the Holidays together--Thanksgiving in Florida. Christmas in New York. The grandparents take all the grandkids for two weeks every summer to give the parents a break--the parents come for a week if they want. The grandparents play tennis, or work part time or do whatever for fun. Grandkids figure into that.
Perhaps a bigger issue is that families move all over the country for the success of business. Grandparents who are homebodies don't especially relish the idea of jetsetting cross country to see the grandkids. Or they worry about a fixed income. Or they are just plain not interested in kids all that much, never mind that Oswalt the III looks just like Grandpappy and acts like him too. Who cares, right?
Society is more disconnected, no question. There doesn't seem to be the affection for the grandkids, or children anymore, just generally. Kids seem to be a nuisance to be tolerated--and not just by old people.
Several friends of mine said, "ARE YOU INSANE?" When we considered another kid. Kids are soooo expensive! When we put our sons in the same bedroom people say, "Why do they share a room?"
Why not? Have we got so disconnected that sharing a room, having companionship is bad for kids? Heaven forbid we (shhhhh!) share.
While I can't put my finger on the problem exactly, it does seem to me that a big chunk of society suffers from narcissitic disorder. The underlying belief seems to be: if I give to someone else, I must give up something I want coupled with the belief that sharing with anyone is a loss.
Mark Twain has a quote: To have the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with.
Is it any wonder that we have people who are old and alone while children languish alone with their X-Box's at home? There is something wrong with this picture.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 7:35 PM
This interesting pair has hatched a plan which includes the record-busting shooting of the other night to redeem Laker Cred. A loyal reader writes, saying:
The inside story is that this is set up for Kobe tobreak the old records. It not about team workas it is normally thought of. It is about fans and $$$.The team work is feeding the ball to Kobe so he can breakthe records. I think it is a deal he and Phil made toplacate disgusted fans after Kobe's Sh** with themountain queen in Colo.
Sounds plausible to me.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 6:41 PM
Much to my chagrin, the posts where I create all of the content receive the most traffic. That is in contrast where a pithy quip is attached to some news event. That means, of course, more work for me.
Time is not on my side when it comes to this blog. My days are filled with endless minutiae related to kids and work and family. When I do get a chance to write, these topics are often my subject.
It would seem that I have a paradox: in order to write posts regarding my harried, often embarressing family life, I have to have a busy family life. No wonder I'm tired.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 6:37 PM
Friday, January 27, 2006
Some people will want to say that certain people, lesser people incapable of governing themselves, don't mesh well with Democracy. They cite the Hamas victory in Arab-run Palestine as proof.
This would be a wrong assessment. Democracy worked in Arab-controlled Palestine and we are going to see the fruits of this noble endeavor. You see, the people in Palestine have certain expectations of their elected officials. The Hamas leadership was elected because they promised (as so many candidates do) to "clean up the corruption". Ha! When the leadership fails to deliver, what then? Hamas clearly states their hate for Israel. How will that belief be manifested?
For so long now, wide-eyed idealists have painted the Arabs as victims, painted their few terrorists and terrorist methods as noble and portrayed Israel as a big, bad, merciless bully when Israel beat back and now, enclosed a seriously dangerous beast. But the Arab people have spoken, haven't they? Clearly and unequivocally their voice is heard.
Iran leadership claps their hands in malevolent delight while other leaders rub their aching temples in frustrated dismay. Why? There is nothing better than bringing a little light to the subject and this Democratic vote has done just that. We know where the people stand. Or do we?
The Arab people will decide whether they prefer war or building a better life. Either way, a change must happen. Some fear a civil war. Again, why? The Arabs in Palestine must decide what they really want. A little bloodshed might clarify their desires, or they may anihilate themselves, either way the problem hopefully will once and for all resolve.
Should they unite and decide to "push Israel into the sea". Let them try. A clearly declared war is much easier to fight than a nebulous "skirmish".
Before you accuse me of warmongering, consider this: Israel and the Arabs have been warring now for many years. Just because it hasn't been declared, doesn't make it so. No doubt some on both sides feel battle fatigue and seek peace. I'm guessing that the current Democratic vote has been strengthening all around. Israel should now know that appeasement never satisfies anyone.
The people have spoken. What will they do?
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 2:26 PM
Many years ago in Detroit, Michigan, my dear mother spurned on by an unconventional friend, picked through the garbage dumpster behind local grocery stores on the days when the stores removed past date food. While some of you might find this distasteful, I personally found it exciting in a publicly humiliating yet culturallly liberating kind of way--the way many street people feel. "Ha ha! You think that I am the ignorant one, but I don't have to put on a suit every day and be a slave to The Man and get to eat free and live on my own terms. Buwahaaahaha!"
Besides the outside-the-mainstream fun of dumpster diving, good food sometimes managed to make it to our table this way. My always trendy mom (that was the very early 70s) was a health-food nazi and was put in a double bind by free, yet unhealthy food. My first taste of CoCo Krispies, poured from a bent, but perfectly intact box, was from dumpster diving and I never looked at breakfast the same way again. Go happily back to nasty granola? Nevuh!
Seems my mom and her crazy buddies were ahead of the curve. Now called "Freegans", marauding people go from resteraunt trash bag to dumpster scavenging for edible, free food. As long as it passes the smell test everything is a-okay. More power to 'em.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 2:03 PM
You'll notice less posts this week. Sorry about that. Been very busy and dear Dr. Husband been using the computer at the end of the day to do work. It is my conclusion that two computers are necessary as marital strife can ensue.... It hasn't yet. That was a prediction of future events.
Anyway, must buy a new computer and soon!
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:13 AM
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
You have to go watch this clip. I don't watch SNL anymore (no TV, don't you know), but if they are spoofing the likes of Ray Nagin, Jesse Jackson and Hillary Clinton on a regular basis, I might get the rabbit ears out. Do they ever spoof Ted Kennedy or is he beyond spoofing being a living caricature?
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 12:08 AM
Monday, January 23, 2006
Read here about why breastfeeding is so important.
What is difficult to calculate is the emotional, relational and social benefits to the child. Breastfeeding literally connects the child to his mother. Eye contact, laughing and playing are often associated with breastfeeding.
Most moms I know that feed their child bottles, praise their children when they "hold it on their own"--the earlier the better. The child eats alone. Even the U.S. military has a policy against soldiers eating alone. They know that it negatively affects the psychology of the soldier. Eating and socializing go together from the beginning.
Breastfeeding requires the mom to slow down and focus on the child. Some call that a negative. Some days it feels that way. But the hormones released when the child nurses, I can actually feel dump into my system like a endocrine high--relaxin, relaxing me, oxytocin, making me love. Ectasy, who needs it? Breastfeeding provides it with no side-effects.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:35 PM
This four question quiz should answer the weight question for you.
Answer questions, then tally your SNAQ score using the numerical scale.
My appetite is:
a. Very poor
e. Very good
When I eat:
a. I feel full after eating only a few mouthfuls.
| b. I feel full after eating about a third of a meal.
c. I feel full after eating over half a meal.
d. I feel full after eating most of the meal.
e. I hardly ever feel full.
a. Very bad
e. Very good
Normally I eat:
a. Less than one meal a day
b. One meal a day
c. Two meals a day
d. Three meals a day
e. More than three meals a day
a = 1, b = 2, c = 3, d = 4, e = 5. The sum of the scores constitutes the SNAQ score; 14 or less indicates significant risk of at least 5% weight loss within six months.
When families and doctors know that a patient is at high risk for weight loss — frequently linked to chronic pain, depression, dental problems or the cumulative effects of multiple illnesses and medications — they often can do something about it, Wilson says. Patients whose SNAQ scores indicate high risk should see a doctor for a nutritional assessment, she says.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 12:14 PM
Big deal. Yeah, you read that right. His shooting percentage was almost 52% from the floor including his three-pointers. His freethrows were 18 out of 20--90%.
Kobe Bryant is the world's biggest ball hog and was before this game, too, which is why no team he's on ever wins when it counts. It's called teamwork. He should look up the definition.
How do you feel as a teammate to a guy who took 46 shots? Okay, I guess, as long as you win. Which they did. Congratulations LA!
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:29 AM
Its difficult to watch talented teams (Astros) never quite make it to the finishline. Coaching means so much in big games--big games reveal team discipline, cohesion and strategy against new opponents. In short, they reveal coaching.
Like Larry Bird so sneeringly commented about Phil Jackson when Jackson got so much respect for winning over and over (admittedly with egos the size of stadiusms), that when you have a Michael Jordon on the team, the players kinda matter, too. And while that is a definate starting point, coaching can destroy good potential just as easily or not encourage their stars to overcome their weaknesses.
Anyway, it's nice to see Cowher making it happen after all this time. Good luck Steelers!
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:17 AM
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Glenn Reynolds says something profound every once in a while and today he hit the nail on the head:
is an information war. Terrorists want a certain idealogical outcome which will lead to cultural outcome which will lead to economic outcome (almost assuredly bad for the common folk but good for the ruling Mullah Class), which will lead to a strategic outcome which will form a bigger platform to spew the ideology they want to seed and spread.
As the UPI's Pam Hess noted a while back, the press seems relatively unconcerned about being manipulated by the insurgency, but deeply afraid of anything that might slant its reporting in favor of the U.S. military; this is just another illustration of that phenomenon. But terrorism is, of course, information war disguised as military action, and manipulating the press is what the terrorists are all about. If the press were more resistant to such tactics, the terrorists would be less effective -- and, ironically, the press would be a less appealing target.
UPDATE: Dave Price has related thoughts.
Because the terrorists know American and other Western journalists bias (which is, for all of you who haven't figured it out yet, that the U.S. is bad and mean and bullying and a huge, vast gluttonous Imperial power) they can easily manipulate them to their own ends, and have, very effectively, in fact. So when the media portrays Iraq going to hell in a bombed out Hummer (yippee! the insurgents are winning, those peace-loving, country-defending goody-goodies will triumph!) and the bully is going down thanks to the homeboy's grit it, works well for the terrorists. They don't need Bin Laden or Zarchari or any other wacko mouthpiece, they have better, more "well-reasoned", culturally acceptable mouthpiece dressed up in the clothes, make-up and language acceptable to the enemy.
This strategy, a good, smart and efficient one I might add, has hit a snag. More Iraqi people, even a few Sunnis (gasp!), are seeing the way of the future and car bombs are impeeding that future not speeding it. Imagine that! The Iraqi people are getting sick of being used as cannon fodder by other Muslims and former regimers who claim to be serving them. It is getting to be a tougher sell every day.
For a while, Iraqis complained (and some still do) that the U.S. isn't protecting them, that they are sitting ducks. While that criticism has some roots in truth, the greater truth is that to protect their own self-interests they need to get on board with helping those who can protect them. In this case, it means their own Iraqi army and police, those brave people willing to risk life and limb for their own country. These people, the real heros, are the ones defending Iraq and being a force to build a stable country for the future.
Well, guess what? Iraqis are jumping in and helping themselves. Infused with the hope of an election, seeing real progress, sifting through the propaganda and seeing the truth for themselves, they are joining the effort to build their country.
Foreign-born fighters, those "noble" (insurgents) violence spreading cancer cells, need nourishment to survive. Like human tumors, they survive on blood supply--energy in the form of money, food, protection. Slowly, they are being choked and starved of what they need--at least in Iraq. Iran, Syria and other forces are happy to oblige and fill this need.
Now, if the Western media could step out of their hotel fortresses without fear of death at the hands of these noblemen, they would see, even with their jaded eyes, hope in the form of schools, hospitals, commerce and....progress. They might even report it. Might.
That's a chance the noblemen don't want to take. Since their mouthpieces are changing their tune (or might) they revert to their typical mouthpieces. Crazy men, yes, but at least they spout the desired information.
Enter stage left: Osama Bin Laden. Ding-dong American and other Western journos will make their own interpretation of this beast raising his ugly head, but what will the average Muslim think? Won't they have to balance his rhetoric against the images of the suffering their Muslim brothers and sisters experience at his supposedly benevolent hands? There was a reason why he was expelled from Saudi Arabia. Thanks to that country the cancer metasticized.
So the common people in the West are waiting, really. The common people of the Middle East have a choice. They've seen the nazi regimes at the hands of tribal and religious leaders. The Iraqi people, the Lebanese people, the people of Jordan, the Palestinian and other brave Muslims and Christians and agnostics can form a new Empire just west of Persia based on art, music, math, science, learning, freedom and informed by religious principles of love rather than hate. Or not.
The patience of the American people and the brave citizens of the world who stood by her in Iraq and Afganistan must surprise the despots and journalists, too. Who would have thought in a nation where attention span is impaired by every sort of distraction and materialistic thing, that the common people would remain stalwart, firmly planted, waiting for freedom to take root in a world so far away for people dismissed as beneath the ability to handle choice? Who would have thought? Certainly not the people who have contempt for any common person--American or Iraqi.
Iraq, we wait. Many more people than you know earnestly desire freedom's spread. We wait. We hope you ignore the mouthpieces of doom and gloom and know that they rarely represent the common man, just like we know that Bin Laden rarely represents you. We wait.
Freedom for one is freedom for all. One person deprived of freedom is a loss for all. We wait.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 10:01 AM
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Having been born and bred into a GM family (please don't hold it against me--I went to public school too so there you go), GM cars are to me what human bodies are to my kids. When the midwife asked the older two if they knew a pregnant lady's innards, they said "that's the placenta, that's the spine, that's the large intestine, those are the lungs, etc." Isn't nice to know that we're breeding nerds? But I digress.
Anyway, GM, and this will astonish noone, is stupid, stupid, stupid. A few years back, the genuises over there decided to get rid of a very hot selling rear-wheel drive Impala. It is a good-looking car, even today and boy could it move. It looked uniquely American. For those of you who think that's a negative, may I point you to all the bland-looking Euro/Asian sedans that all look like tight-arsed little silver boxes. GM couldn't keep up with the orders for the Impala. So the logical solution? That's right! Close down the line and discontinue all rear-wheel drive chassis because no one wants them anymore.
So, like the ladies late to the dance yet again, GM reissues another rear wheel drive vehicle--the Camaro. Frankly, this company fatigues me.
Automotive News asks, "But will it appeal to new drivers?" Yes, you ninny-headed nincompoops! Who doesn't like a Rear Wheel Drive car? People loved it when it was discontinued! Let's see, it peels out, you can spin it, it starts fast and if the engine is decent it rumbles under your butt. While the Baby Boomers buy it for nostalgia, the younger set will buy it for the same reasons kids always bought Camaros and Impalas:
Fast, animal-looking, zippy and cheap (in comparison to high performance cars like the sterile imports).
Car predictions for 2006:
- Boring bland BMW-ers are out and fun-color American cars in
- Customization, customization, customization--people will do more and more as Pimp My Ride trickles down to the average Joe
- Companies will perform, for extra dough, more customization off the line finding ways to do more colors and more other fun stuff efficiently
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 7:07 PM
Hey old people! Have you been to MySpace.com--the place where teens everywhere post everything about everyone hot and not?
Here's an example of a personal friend of mine--B Smiddy he calls himself.
I've given some thought to these pages. Some people feel that they are terrible because they limit interaction--real, human interaction. Other people they are just the New Millenium way to communicate. At least you know where your kids are!
My concerns are that sickos know way too much about innocent kids. I won't point you to some of the spaces, but essentially all the information you could ever want about some kids are nicely packaged and so easily accessible it's scary. Another kid of a friend of mine has so much information, you could drive to her house with mapquest without any trouble at all. You'd have to get by her Daddy's shotgun, but still....
Beside the nutjob factor, what is presented on these pages really represent what the kid wants to portray himself or herself as--kinda like a movie star. You can read fifty profiles about a Hollywood-type, but do you know them? On one level, the answer is yes. On another, not at all. That's these websites. Without advantage of voice inflection or expressions or body language or experience you make a judgement about this person. Who know's if its the truth or just plain fiction?
You might say, that that is the problem with the Internet, but it may be the benefit, too.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 4:30 PM
Chelation, removing a metal from the blood using a binding agent, gets a bad rap from those in the ignorance (as opposed to those in the "know"). A big case was the child who "died from chelation" when he died from druggus mistakus--or oops! we gave him the wrong stuff.
A metal like lead or arsenic or mercury or antimony can be clawed from (literally chelate) the body orally or intraveneously. The former is achieved by competitive inhibition: that is, by introducing a substance that more easily binds to the cell, the offending substance can't find a recepter and is excreted. There are I.V. drugs that do the same thing and pose more dangers because the body dumps the metal and other needed substances much faster.
Oral chelation often uses Calcium in large doses to compete with lead and other metals. It can be extremely effective.
The characteristics of mercury and lead poisoning are eerily similar to Autism. Aluminum and antimony toxcity causes problems too as does arsenic. Well, duh!
Remember that pesticides, herbicides (used on golf courses) and any other agent used to kill bugs, including bleach, work by destroying reproductive ability or are neurotoxins or both. If you live near a golf course, your intake of antimony and arsenic is sky high. Antimony, like mercury, is used to stabilize all injected drugs and immunizations. All sorts of heavy metals are used in cosmetics--that trend is changing in Europe but not in US.
Anyways, the child died not from chelation--which can be beneficial--but from the wrong drug used to chelate which pulled all his Calcium out. That will stop your heart--ever hear of calcium channel blockers? Too much causes death, but that's a subject for another day.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 1:48 PM
According to Drudge, there's a big fight because Brokeback Mountain (the aforementioned gay cowboy flick) is getting all the studio love while Munich (the morally "neutral" biopic of a sympathetic Olympic bomber). My favorite quote:
"Gay romance is easier to sell to the academy than a complex study of an Israeli assassin." Even in Holywood (misspelling intended), there is a heirarchy of politically correct thinking.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 12:46 PM
Don't know what to make of Houston's increased crime rate--attributed in part to our 150,000 new neighbors.
I do know that the schools around here, north of Houston, have experienced problems with integrating the NOLA hurricane kids. The schools are already racially integrated, that's not the problem. It seems more to be a cultural problem....dunno.
Also, while abundant jobs are available in Houston and people are taking advantage of better work possibilities, other evacuees are sitting around waiting for benefits to run out while enjoying free housing and loads of charity. I predict that the crime rate will go up in six months when the last of the handouts ends since jobs are here for the taking but they are not being taken.
Another controversy is how to deal with the damaged homes. This post laments the "taking away of homes". What is meant by "taking away" I'm not sure. These homes need to be bull-dozed to the ground. They are mold havens and breeding-grounds for sickness. Any homes that end up in the Ninth Ward or anywhere else in the most damaged areas will need to be rebuilt, plain and simple.
Still another contoversy is homes being ransacked while people are away, but it has been a long time to be away.....yet the pain of discovering your house (not really damaged by the flood) being robbed and nothing left but a mess seems to be cruel on top of many sorrows.
And, let's remember, that while that narcisstic city NOLA caught the edge of the storm, Missippi took the real brunt of it. Why isn't the gulf coast getting any press?
Also, people aren't moving back to New Orleans even though jobs are plentiful due to the rebuilding. Mayor Ray Nagin (from Brendan Loy--read this) wants the city to be "Chocolate" (what a complete moron he continues to prove himself to be, Oy!), but he better like White Chocolate 'cuz I think that's the flavuh it's going to be.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 10:39 AM
The Cassandra Page listing the Great Media Lie(s) of 2005 may be of interest to you. Not little white lies, mind you, not even sweet confections to dull emotional pain--no these lies are the mendacious kind meant to change minds and hearts because of some injustice or terrible wrong inflicted on the weak and innocent except that they're not true. These are the Worst kind of lies because they harden people, causing them to lose faith and disbelieve so that when true injustice occurs it seems rational to ignore it.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:09 AM
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Judges showed their preference for films with a gay or unconventional theme in further awards. Brokeback Mountain star Ledger was beaten to the award of best actor by Philip Seymour Hoffman for his depiction of the gay novelist Truman Capote in Capote. Felicity Huffman, best known for her role as Lynette Scavo in Desperate Housewives, won the best film actress award for the road-trip tale Transamerica, in which she plays a man preparing for sex-change surgery.Ya don't say....
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:26 PM
It has come to this in American suburbia: for a fee, one may hire a person laden with bucket and shovel, to remove canine excrement from a usually pristine yard. Think I'm making this up? As this is written, a sign advertising this necessary service sticks to the community mailbox.
Cleaning lady. Yard man. Pool boy. Mobile pet grooming. Car Doctor. Rug Doctor. Personal valet. And now, the piece de reisistance: Personal Pooper Scooper.
When the hurricane decided to get friendly with the Houston area, I wondered what us helpless suburbanites would do? No lawnmowers, no yard cleaning devices, no back-up car stuff, no buzz saw, no nothing to clean up anything--never mind the withered muscles that couldn't hold said equipment even if we possessed them.
What would our Depression-era grandparents think of this? Maybe nothing. The people I know are living in apartments with cleaning ladies, yard men, pool boys, pet grooming, hair grooming, doctors of all kinds, and personal pooper scoopers to boot.
Perhaps our generation is just accelerating the process--play on computers for pay and play card games and watch TV for fun and hire otherpeople for the rest.
Could this explain our generation's reliance on mood-elevating medications? Diagnosis: Isolation passivism (as opposed to pacifism) acceleration with resulting depression.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 3:17 PM
While interesting, this (and neither does most gene research) doesn't explain why a gene is expressed or isn't. If it is there, why doesn't it work? For example, you can have the Breast Cancer gene and not get Breast Cancer. Why? What stress, at what level, causes the expression? Gazillion dollar question.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 11:23 AM
The Monolo calls her a Scrawny Raccoon baby--huhlarious.
My sister almost gave up, but still hasn't quite, on my fashion unawareness. Only one friend I know is worse than me. J. you know who you are. Otherwise, fashion escapes me. Or more than escapes me, I just don't care. If I have a choice between comfort and beauty, I'll choose comfort every time. In fact, if I could be the female Hugh Hefner, I would. Wearing my pajamas everywhere, sipping a mixed drink and being surrounded by beautiful young men, now that's style (you'll have to decide for yourself if I'm being sarcastic or not).
That doesn't mean, of course, that I'm not above being snarky about other people's (celebrities--regular people get a nice long rope unless they wear thongs that I can see in any way--then they get a well-deserved thumping) lack of fashion sense. Which is why I drew you attention to The Monolo--he actually uses the word biotch to describe Shannon Doherty. Ha! I love it.
But then he turned on me. In his Gallery of Horrors, it's as if he went into my closet and pulled out every pair of my favorite shoes, and spit on them. With the exception of Betsy Johnson's atrocity and those Uggs I could never get around to justify buying--I live in Houston afterall--but I really, really liked them, every other shoe/clog inhabits my style sphere. In fact, I wore my fuzzy clogs yesterday. My partially-Italian husband is, of course, horrified.
A girlfriend, from church no less, came right out and asked me, "Melissa, are you a lesbian? Because I read that only lesbians wear clogs." (She must be forgiven, she is from the hills of Arkansas and exposed to very little culture--cliches are lost on her.)
"Ah, no, Princess, I'm not, but I'll suffer your implications for comfort anyway!"
Ah well, fashion is fleeting, but comfort lasts forever. The Anchoress lets her inner gay out Out OUT! to kvetch about the Golden Globes. The Monolo, predictably, has some astute observations, too.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:44 AM
Peggy Noonan likes his spirit. She muses, and this went through my mind too, that Sam Alito's ability to remain placid whilst listening to bull dookey was impressive. Roberts, too. How do they do it? And, is the ability to remain absolutely neutral in the face of complete dull-wittedness the new threshold for judicial greatness?
While Ms. Alito and some of Sam's underlings chafed at the personal invective (and shed tears too), I wish they could have had a more wide-angled view with a very long telephoto lense, like from where I sit. From this perspective, Sam Alito looked like a normal guy just trying to do his job and maintain his sense of humor while facing questioners who possess a fraction of his I.Q. and were therefore unworthy of parlay.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:21 AM
Monday, January 16, 2006
Television in your bedroom is bad for your sex life--50% worse to be exact. Feng Shui also says TVs should never be in your bedroom (or mirrors for different reasons)--the EMFs are terrible for you. According to Feng Shui, your bedroom has two purposes and the first is sleeep. I'll let you guess the other one.
I guess that cheap flat screen we bought needs to go to the guest bedroom (it's ultimate home anyway) sooner rather than later. The idea of guests exercising conjugal relations is blechy. Maybe we should put two T.V.s and some clocks and anything else that buzzes in there. Maybe we can bring the *ahem* ratio down to zero.
Hat Tip: Dr. Clouthier
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:51 PM
For all his personal shortcomings, Dr. Martin Luther King showed America, like Ghandi showed India, how one person can make a difference without resorting to violence. Both men demonstrated the difference between wielding power versus using force to obtain their ends.
Power comes from true strength and has love at the foundation. While force is motivated by fear and the manipulation, coercian and at worst violence that results causes at least as much destruction as compliance.
While Dr. King's hopes and dreams have been partially met, much work is still left to do. Perhaps his greatest legacy isn't what has been achieved in his name, but the power of his methods. It seems that if more people would adhere to his methods, more of his dreams would be reality today.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:33 PM
While intuition should never be underestimated as a powerful decision-making tool, decision-makers who consistently only "go with my gut" will miss opportunities to grow and reach customers that defy feelings. Data is important for decision-making.
In my perfect world, everything would be measured. How often does this action work? Never. Won't do it again. How often does this action work? 75% of the time with 20% of the people--maybe I need to be more focused. Every action could be measured for efficiency.
Somewhere in a company near you, a mathamatician is doing this kind of work. Read more here.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:01 PM
Some time ago, Glenn Reynolds brought my attention to The Monolo. Just wanted to remind you that he is very funny and has a Carnivale of Couture up. I'm going to permalink to him, so fret not. Or perhaps that makes you fret. Whatever.
Thanks Instapundit again.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 3:14 PM
The myth. The legend.
You know, when I heard that a movie about gay cowboys was rolling down the Hollywood pipeline, one thought occurred to me: well, I know what the Oscar will be this year.
Surprise, surprise. Without having seen the glorious film let me write a review:
With windswept vistas, heart-rending score and a traditional love story, Brokeback Mountain hits just the right note. Heath Ledger, all leather and stoic strength reminds one of a young Clark Gable circa Gone With the Wind. Rich character development, quietly played with dignity by Mr. Ledger and the object of his secret affection, Jake Gilleynhall, makes one forget that the aching sadness of unrequited love is between two gorgeous men. Brokeback breaks down barriers one brawny bale at a time. Go see it. I give it five fabulous stars out of four!
The annoying thing is that anyone with half a brain knows, just knows to their toes, that a movie "outside of mainstream" will burst forth like an exploding rocket with the dimwitted Academy and Golden Globes voters. Let's see: Monster--lesbian serial killer, Chicago--murdering misses set to musack (I actually liked it), Midnight Cowboy--a 70's "classic" that makes one pine away for understatement, Million Dollar Baby--assisted suicide, to name only a very, very few.
Is it dark? Check. Is it pessimisstic? Check. Is society portrayed as unfair and ruthless? Check. Will it shock middle America, preferably offend them--thus expanding their pea-brained, narrow-minded, calcified-world-view consciousness? Check.
We have a winner.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 10:31 AM
You can't quite call them Hearings now can you? Unless the only people hearing were the people, masochists all, hearing them on the radio or watching them on TV. A better name? Bleatings. Dressed up like pompous, ponderous self-important professors, the inquisitors bloviated but in the end it sounded weak and small and helpless--bleatings. Other people, like Mark Steyn, feels the same way. Thanks Instapundit.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:29 AM
When we cavorted at Disney in October, the ride wasn't opened yet but look AWESOME. The Animal Kingdom is my favorite park, by far. It is so beautiful, richly detailed and complex with layers and layers of stuff to discover. Alas, when the little Big One (my new name for the youngest addition to the Clouthier clan--he is little still but solid as Ahnold) got sick and the hurricane blew through, only one day was spent in this gorgeous place.
I couldn't find any information at Laughing Place (the "it" stop for all Disney needs--Doobie and Rebekah know EVERYTHING about Disney) but Boing Boing has a post linking to this site where you can listen or watch a podcast about the new Everest Ride.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 8:49 AM
Sunday, January 15, 2006
How is this helpful? Like people, I suppose computers will freeze up even more once they know, without a doubt, that we hate them. Right now, our computers slave away in ambivalence. Does my master like me? Does he hate me? I guess I'll keep working then.
But once all doubt is removed, we're in trouble. The computer knows were angry at him (her?). What does the computer do? He either apologizes (rarely--especially if he is of the Y chromosome gender) or more likely he plots revenge. This scenario is wholly unacceptable to me.
My computer is a big enough pain in the arse without having to worry that he will "mistakenly" delete a very important paper or project or client or photo because he's angry that I'm angry.
"Oops, there goes that .jpg file."
"Ooops, not really a fan of Tina Turner." (Suddenly songs mysteriously disappear.)
"Oooooops, maintaining that firewall seems like just too much trouble these days."
Or even worse, what if my computer displays emotion like one of those stupid little dolls or robots that were popular a few years ago? My son had a robot given by a well-meaning Aunt that would cry if it didn't get it's teeth brushed. If he spent too much time alone he would yell louder and louder. It freaked me OUT! No, way! My life is already too complicated. Would I have to deal with a weepy keyboard or hard drive? Would I have to soothe frayed nerves and be a bridge over troubled computer waters? Would my computer pout and stomp his feet in frustration at my stupidity--"I am so sick of this moron's misspellings! I damn the spell-checker to heck. All correspondence henceforth shall be laden with garbled grammar and non-sensical words."?
The whole technology is fraught. If this idea goes too far (and artificial intelligence including talking gizmos is way too far), I'm going back to pencil and paper, period. The only screams of frustration I want to hear are my own. My computer can keep his opinions, feelings and ideas to himself.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 10:39 PM
Insurance agent shot dead. Greatest guy in the world, everyone said. Except...
The records show that Schiller was charged with distribution and possession of heroin and that a judge dismissed the distribution charge. The judge ordered Schiller to be evaluated for drug abuse and to undergo random drug tests. If Schiller did not get in trouble again by August, the possession charge was also to be dismissed.
And does this sound strange for you (emphasis added)?
Joanne Bolanes, Schiller's next-door neighbor for seven years, said he baby-sat her children and came over for dinner regularly.
''Eddie had a lot of friends," she said. ''He was always a handshake and a smile."
Bolanes said Schiller, an avid motorcyclist, took her 10-year-old son, Zachary, to motorcross events and taught him mechanics. ''He was like Uncle Eddie to him, showing him how to work on carburetors," she said. Bolanes said Schiller was at her home for dinner Wednesday and seemed to be his usual fun-loving self.
He loved his Yamaha motorcycle and rode it in a recent leukemia fund-raiser planned by a neighbor, friends said. He held popular Christmas bashes. And he played hide-and-seek and other games with the Bolanes children as if they were his own.Grown men don't play hide-n-seek and babysit unless there is something wrong with them. At least not any grown men I know.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 8:24 PM
Anyone who thinks about getting depressed, gets undepressed thinking about electrodes connected to their skull and amperage being juiced right into the brain. But according to the AMA, it's the second best hope out there.
Drugs and electricity is the best medicine, medicine has to offer? That is so depressing.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 8:19 PM
Ha Ha Ha! Infecting others is soooooo funny! NOT!
Update on flu drugs here.
More research showing that viri are so mutable and able to change that they are nearly worthless. During the Swine Flu outbreak that DIDN'T happen, more people were damaged by the vaccine. Around eight people died in the US from the Swine Flu. Even that number is suspect.
How to prepare for the Bird Flu:
- Don't go to China or any other country with a Bird Flu outbreak and work on a chicken farm.
- Should it come to America: don't work on a chicken farm.
- Should it be transferred among people: Use quarantine methods--don't take Nyquil and stupidly think that you're not contagious.
- Use common hygiene. Wash your hands (50% of you don't after you pee, at least 30% don't after going poop--what are you, some kind of sicko?). Stay away from public places.
The problem that will occur if a Pandemic hits, will be that people have zero common sense. Used to drugs that suppress symptoms (but the virus and bacteria are still active) they wrongly think that they are ok because they are on their feet. They're not.
I bellyache about this at church all the time. People come in looking like the Bride of Frankenstein, all spaced-out and glassy-eyed. Church is a public place. School is a public place. Work is a public place. Spare everyone and STAY HOME! My one friend recently said, "I was glassy eyed because I was on this really good drug. It really helped."
"But you were STILL SICK!" I protested.
"Naw," he said in his "aw shucks" tough cowboy way, "I was fahn (fine)".
Should the Avian Flu hit, God help us.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 7:31 PM
Friday, January 13, 2006
It's a Friday. Like hospitals, nothing notable happens on Fridays and the Weekends because doctors and news people don't want it to happen. It certainly seems true today. After reading various news sources, it has become abundantly clear that there is no new news. Boring, boring, boring, boring.
Let's see, Maryland, and all people except the millions of consumers who shop there, hates Wal-Mart. Snooze.
Alito will get confirmed but the Democrats will harrumph about it. They make me tired.
Most movies stink. Critics being paid to be critical.
The weather is unpredictable. Ha! Try telling weathermen that.
GM will survive by cutting 4 Billion in overhead, but just barely. Last week, Business Week said they were doomed. What changed?
The Donner party didn't eat each other after all. Well, isn't this just a fine how-do-you-do?
What is so not surprising or newsworthy? Almost every extreme news story you hear--secret conspiracies (Kennedy's death), murder and mayhem and millions dead(New Orleans), stolen elections (2000, 2004), their alive! (miner's deaths), bird flew pandemic (if we're lucky, it could happen next year--wouldn't that be like sooooo exciting for news people?), Bush is Satan incarnate, Angelina is pregnant--is FALSE, except for that last one.
The truth is, people are boring and predictable. Most people are decent and trying to do their best--the New Orleans citizens were notable for not going cuckoo (most of them anyway), the miners showed love and kindness to each other and their families as they each slipped away, people the world over benefitted from charitable neighbors they didn't know cared.
Even the love-to-hate-him George Bush may be short-sighted or hard-headed or whatever you want to ascribe to him, but it is a tough sell saying that he is trying to damage our country or wants us to fail or secretly doesn't care if we're attacked--he's just in it for the oil companies--come on.
And the Angelina-Brad Pitt story is so moldy old and predictable. A scoundrel husband messes around on a wife he was already tired of but just didn't have the guts to extricate himself from until he got (in his pea-sized mind) a better offer. That happens every day people. We have many families, unfortunately, split at the seams by one or both selfish parties. While excruciating for everyone involved and unquestionably destructive, it has happened since the beginning of people. That these narcissists get any breathless press just fuels the beast. What if no one published a picture of them--let them wither. By the way, you know they will have the ugliest kid ever. Poor Nell Newman daughter of the beautiful Paul and Joanne Woodward. Homely as a hedge fence, that girl and with the genes she has you'd think she'd come out looking goddess-like. Don't hold your breath for the little Pitt.
People are boring and simple and base and dull and often more kind and generous than thought possible. Underneath, we expect this. In fact, these newstories are news because they seem extraordinary and then we're disappointed when even these people are mundane--the same as us.
The true stories, the reallly scary ones we like to ignore. A good book about this is Fear Less by Gavin De Becker a risk consultant for people in corporations and the government. (Buy it used--I got it for $1 at the Dollar Tree.) If you would really like to know what to worry about and relax about the rest, read this. Or, twiddle your fingers about most of the nonsense that makes news.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 11:36 AM
Go see the movie if only to see Will Ferrell dance the Hitler Polka and say the word "lederhosen". The man is insane.
If gay Nazis offend you, if Hitler flouncing around makes you uncomfortable, if a screaming Nathan lane sounds like nails on a chalkboard to you, don't go see the movie. It's over-the-top vamp.
Critics and everyone seem to hate it, but I liked it. All twenty people in the audience laughed the whole way through. Life is short. Not everything has to be serious and edgy. This certainly was not.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 12:37 AM
Sometimes it seems like every person coming into our office takes some sort of medication. It turns out that 50% actually do (the numbers are probably higher in Houston. Nationwide 29% of women have Caesarean Sections to extricate their babies. In Houston, the number is between 40 and 50%.) To the medical profession this is normal.
THIS IS NOT NORMAL PEOPLE!!!!
While life expectancy has creeped up, most of the numbers are from better infant mortality rates (less babies dying ups the average life span--see how statistics can be BS?). This has nothing to do with quality of life.
Here is a typical cycle:
Bad thing happens. Feel bad. Take anti-depressent. Get hungry. Gain weight. Clog arteries. Take statins and cholesterol drugs. Lose sex drive (depression drug) and ability to maintain erection (for men who take statins) take Viagra. Experience mind-blowing headaches. Take anti-seizure. Get dizzy. Take diuretics and blood pressure meds. Bloat up like a balloon. Get joint pain. Take joint drugs. Get stomach ache (they cause G.I. bleeding) take GERD (a newly named non-condition) drug. Die a bloated, immobile, miserable, yet somehow complacent, shaky mess at a ripe old age.
Is this really, really how you want to live and die? There are alternatives. Just sayin.....
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 12:24 AM
Death penalty foes were dealt a serious blow when they found out that their Cause Celeb was in fact guilty--guilty of rape, guilty of murder, guilty of being a big fat liar all the way to the chair.
James McCloskey, who heads Centurion and investigated Coleman's case, said he was "numbed by this new truth that has been revealed" and was "mystified" that Coleman had allowed so many people to believe in his innocence - and work so hard to try to prove his innocence - in spite of his guilt.
What is "mystifying" is that anyone finds it mystifying that a sociopathic rapist and murderer would also be a liar. When you have it backwards though--that a person declaring his own innocence must be innocent because criminals wouldn't claim innocence--then it must come as a shock when the "exception" happens.
Like "peace" workers kidnapped, tortured and killed while defending the enemy, some people want to deny the existence of evil at all costs. Or, they want to believe that the only evil is the big, bad government (which can be evil, big and bad, of course). This is so stupidly naive it'd be funny if so many people didn't "work so hard" to avoid acknowledging the obvious--time wasted that could be spent helping TRUE victims.
I don't want one falsely accused person to suffer one moment's of discomfort. It is wrong. This should be avoided. I favor DNA tests whenever possible. They aren't necessary to prove guilt, though--not every time.
I just wonder if these same people will apologize to the victim's family for defending a piece of excrement whose denial of responsibility compounded their grief. Nope. Time to move on to another case--another innocent man no doubt.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 12:00 AM
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Senator Kennedy frets (in his own sweet bellicose way) that American Citizens are being wired tapped--oh yes they are Al Quaeda members and some have congenial connections with Osama Bin Laden, but they're Americans.
Two conservative thinkers (blasphemers to those who are inclined to believe anyone who doesn't go to the ACLU for church) explain why Americans care--but not about privacy violations. Read Coulter here and Buckley here.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 10:32 AM
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Know the signs. Could save a life. Chiropractic friend dx'd it in a guy who had been turned away from the hospital. Called an ambulance and sent him back. The dude spent six months there.
Here's the diagnostic test for Meningitis: have sick person bend neck. Shooting "lightening like" pains into arms and hands is almost always Meningitis.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:17 PM
....in all the hot places.
Study co-author Steven W. Gangestad, a psychologist at the University of New Mexico, said studies he has worked on have shown that women prefer men whose faces, voices, odors and demeanor are deemed masculine. It makes sense then that they should be particularly inclined toward such men when they are ovulating, particularly if their usual partner is something less than a 10 on the stud scale.Yup, happens to me: during ovulation day after working, feeding the kids, reading bedtime stories, cleaning up, tucking in, listening, praying, and lumping down the stairs and falling into my Aeron chair for two moments of peace I get the primal, genetic urge to stray. Happens every month. I'm a very loose canon--if you know what I mean. Wink. Wink. Yeow!
Just what women are they studying anyway?
...was based on responses from 38 coeds from a large unnamed U.S. university. They were asked to rate their partner's sexual attractiveness and submitted 35 diary-like entries rating the strength of their attractions to men other than their mates and the frequency with which they flirted or otherwise acted out those attractions.Oh yeah, that is a VERY reliable sample to study. Give me a break. This is my favorite part though:
For a second study, Haselton recruited 43 women who similarly rated their partner's sexual attractiveness on a day near ovulation and on a non-fertile day.
But the researchers, from the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of New Mexico, also contend that men who are generally less attractive to women tend to guard their ovulating wives with particularly attentive and possessive behavior.
"What is at stake is not just the loss of face or the loss of love," said co-author Martie G. Haselton, an assistant professor of communication studies and psychology at UCLA. "This is about Darwinian prosperity. Males who did not successfully guard their mates are not our ancestors."
While I think these studies are probably bull dooky--everyone is horny when they are "coeds" and the choices for "more manly" men is much greater due to numbers in college--this is a fun study. Just think, some Darwinian scientist got money for doing this research.
I love America!
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 9:02 PM
Cold medicine doesn't work says a new study. My personal experience validates this research. While temporary relief comes from some drugs--the side effect is that the nasty mucous (is there any other kind? And don't you love that word?) gets thicker and greener. It makes me feel worse ultimately. Clogged up, miserable.
You're better off eating chicken soup (stick your nose over the hot vapours) and drinking hot water laced with fresh-squeezed lemon. Load up on Vitamin C and Ginsing NOT Echinacea as you may have read in times past--it doesn't work. Ginsing and Vit C do, though.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 8:54 PM
Those who read my posts know that I am anti-abortion for a variety of reasons. Here's one more:
"We conservatively estimate that prenatal sex determination and selective abortion accounts for 0.5 million missing girls yearly," said one of the authors, Prabhat Jha of St. Michael's Hospital at the University of Toronto, Canada, on Monday.
"If this practice has been common for most of the past two decades since access to ultrasound became widespread, then a figure of 10 million missing female births would not be unreasonable."
The "girl deficit" is far more prominent in educated women, the investigators found.
The number of boys born as second children was twice as high among this group than among illiterate mothers.
However, the deficit did not vary by religion.
The study published by the London-based medical journal comes on the heels of a report last October by theUnited Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which warned that infanticide or abortion was driving India towards a gender imbalance with alarming social consequences. Afghanistan, China, Nepal, Pakistan and face similar problems, the UNFPA said.
One might argue that these girls would be doomed to a life where they are discriminated as second-class citizens. But my response would be that the abortions and infanticides perpetuate the problem--more boys in future generations to imbalance society further.
As Democrats are learning, he who has the mostest people wins. Population, sheer numbers, matter in matters of politics--including changing the status of minorities. The more minorities, through race or gender, snuffed out, the more the majorities grow greater. Literally, minority rights are being squelched before they are heard.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 8:34 PM
Monday, January 09, 2006
I am a sympathetic puker. I am a low blood sugar puker. I am a motion sickness puker. Ironically, I hate to puke. Even more so, I hate seeing, hearing or smelling someone else puke. It makes me want to...well, you know.
This constitutional weakness reared it's ugly head as I herded the wayward lambies to the car to go to the airport to pick up my meticulous mother when....
Baruup, urrp, urpp. "Mamaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Harrison's throwing up! Mamaaaaaaaaaaaa! Come NOW!"
"Harrison, GO TO THE BATHROOM! N O W!" I yell, knowing full well he is yacking all over the last remaining unmarred surface in the house.
You see, my dear son, like his mother, also hates to puke. He resists. He holds back. Once, when he and his sister got the flu within five minutes of each other, while dealing with her projectile vomiting--she honks totally, completely evacuating her upper digestive tract and then is done with the nasty business--he was barfing behind every piece of furniture in our newly carpetted family room. Nice neat little piles of puke stinking from every corner. Lovely.
His mother, too, has wretched in some pretty nice places. A five star restaurant in Chicago. Bennigan's parking lot (not a big deal, it probably happens a lot, I'd guess). Herod's of London department store at closing time in the Chocolate Department. That was the best. Herod's has a architectural design problem--one bathroom for all ten floors. At closing time, the elevator operator didn't want to let me go up to the bathroom. He wanted me to go down and get out. During the haggling, I turned green, my parents started to yell and then it was too late. And there you go. Based on the chocolate ladies (very nice chocolate) reaction, British people don't puke. Or don't puke in Herods at any rate.
Free associating here, that reminds me of the time my Shih Tzu Winston got the flu at the same time I did while pregnant for my boys. While I ralphed into the pan next to the couch, Winston ralphed all over the room. Watching helplessly, my weak legs and quivering stomach couldn't handle cleaning up his mess. "Welcome home honey!"
This time deep in the heart of Texas, with bright red vomitous spewed all over my kitchen floor (what Genius said Jello is good for sick people?), all over the kitchen chairs and all over my dear son, there was no waiting for "Honey". It was up to me. In precisely one hour, my anal mother, the one who cleans while sleeping so she can relax, would be rolling up to my house after a long wearisome flight wedged between smelly people on a full plane from Philadelphia.
My house must be clean. I must do it.
Mind you, this means juggling an irritated nine month old during his "witching hour" when he would much rather be roaming around the floor and playing with, why, what red stuff do we have here? This looks yummy.
My daughter bounces as she walks perilously close to the fetid mess. "Mama, it says six oh oh on the clock. Weren't we supposed to leave when it says six oh oh?"
"Are we going to be late for Grammy?"
"Are we going soon?"
"Are we taking Harrison?"
"We can't leave him."
"Ew. That is like, SO GROSS!"
I'm wondering when Valley Girl talk got popular again. With six year olds.
"Thank you honey. Go keep your brother company while I clean up."
Moving in to wipe up the offending yuck, my thoughts wander to having children. Why again was it that children sounded like such a good idea? I HATE puke. I hate poop. I hate pee. I hate diapers. I hate snot. I hate drool. I hate rashes. I hate unspecified goop. I hate anything smelly.
Proctology? Out. Dentistry? Out. Urology? Out. Basically any bodily function that involves excretions? Out. That's why I'm a Chiropractor. Everything stays internal and if it doesn't--a brain bulges externally for example--that usually means the patient is dead and no longer in need of my services.
Gingerly, holding my nose, looking away, my foot pushes the rags around sopping it up. The job isn't getting anywhere near done. Time is ticking. Must move in closer. My brain starts barking computerized demands. Must use hand. Must not throw up. Must get rid of stickiness. Must spray airfreshener. It smells like the local Intensive Care Unit after the weekend. I'm GONNA HURL!
Why, oh why, I ask you, did God create us with such disgusting design? Surely there is a better way to expunge toxic biohazards from the mammallion body than spewing. Coughing cats with furr balls, gurgling dogs undulating like a volcano about to erupt and humans, vile humans hunched and bent and contorting with spasmed compressive and then expulsive force. It is all so ewwwww, like grosss.
One day, my kids will snort and say indignantly,"You just don't care! If you loved me, you wouldn't be ruining my life! I HATE YOU!"
They won't remember all the times I subjugated my selfishness, overcame my delicate nose and got on my hands and knees scrubbing after lovingly washing and changing their clothes, cleaning them up, and tucking them in on the couch near me. They won't remember that this was done going out the door on the way to something important. They won't remember that I willingly lost sleep literally and figuratively nursing them to health and vitality. No kid remembers this.
That's why I'm writing about yacking right here right now. Proof. Proof of love. You all are my witnesses.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 10:02 PM
Sunday, January 08, 2006
How comfortable would you feel driving on the local overpass if your knew that it had a problem with structural integrity? Just a little problem. Not a huge deal...as long as a storm or flood or earthquake doesn't come along it will be okay.
I wouldn't drive on it either.
How about people you know? That friend you caught in a little white lie. The guy who fudged his score on the golf course. Did you make a mental note?
How about you? Are there areas in your life that you compromise just a little bit to get by? What nags at you so that you are less confident when presenting you or your product?
Integrity: "1. The steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code 2. The state of being unimpaired, sound 3. The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness."
When our word can be relied on, when we work honestly, when we do our best even though we may fall short, we can look in the mirror at ourselves without shame. We can look at our friends and family, we can stand by our work, without shame.
Integrity is the stuff of reputations and honor. It means everything. Do whatever it takes to create a structurally sound life. Do whatever it takes to build the character to withstand temptation, difficult times and the storms of life. People count on you. Be worthy of their trust.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 12:05 AM
Friday, January 06, 2006
One reason to eschew voting for guys like Teddy Kennedy is because his answer for everything is more money thrown at problems--just as long as it's your money not his. So GW gets in office and promptly holds hands with said Senator and throws money at a problem--my money not his.
Yuck. Here's the list of what makes a conservative, just as a reminder to my state reps like Kay Bailey Hutchison and yes, Tom DeLay:
- Small government
- Strong military
- Constructionist judiciary nominations
- Moral fortitude
How about government intrusion? Eminant Domain still has me riled. And this opinion was written by liberal justices who are supposed to champion the "little guy"? Unbelievable. More and more, corporate interests seem to supercede the individuals. And forget the government's interest--theirs matters most.
It is impossible to be a truly law-abiding citizen if you make enough laws, isn't it? Do we really want to live in a world where the only reason we're not in jail is because our crimes don't rise above "normal". Meanwhile, truly vile criminals seem to enjoy extraordinary rights in comparison, because before the law, we are all now falling short. CRAZY!
This might seem contradictory to have a strong military. But no it isn't. To me, a nation ceases to be a nation when it no longer has a territory. We need our territory protected. A strong, technologically advanced military is necessary for this. With Iran, China, North Korea, Russia and her footstools and wacko Terrorists skipping around the remote corners of the earth ready to do who knows what, America cannot, nor could she ever, afford to sit around singing "Give peace a chance". A hammer. That is what some countries respect. Strength is the language they understand. We must always be willing to speak that language when needed.
And what of moral fortitude? Am I for invading a person's bedroom? Well, yes, if a person get's murdered or abused in there. What a stupid argument. The government makes all kinds of laws, including ones that can put a damper on your sex life, if you're so deviant. Can we stop this canard?
What I mean, though, by moral fortitude is that a conservative should put principle over politics even if it means losing votes at times. Not the guys out there now. So worried about losing power, the Republicans seem to forget why they came to power to begin with. It wasn't to do deals with Teddy Kennedy, I can assure you. In fact, I don't give a rat's ass if Teddy HATES every conservative in Congress. The fact that the conservatives care boggles my mind.
With the Republicans acting so weasily, I've wondered if many of them have sins that they have been blackmailed into fearful silence about. The Abramoff thing doesn't surprise me at all. In fact, it seems to be putting pieces of the crazy Washington puzzle together. From the beginning, the Republicans have seemed to run scared even though they won! Why?
Peggy Noonan thinks it's because they fell in love with the "steamroller" and the steamroller called Big Government, who is noone's friend, is rolling them now. Maybe. I think that's optimistic. I think that moral weakness is rolling the Republicans right now. Doing wrong things with the wrong people for the wrong reasons even with the right motives like "this law is important, I need to do ANYTHING to get it passed" is WRONG. Big Government my hiney, big egos and wacked out Washington D.C. moral compases more likely.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 10:47 PM
Is everyone being blasted like we are with outrageous gas bills? We have decided to layer the kids pajamas ala Pa Ingalls and turn off all heat. My mother, too, is banned from the house as she prefers to heat the outdoors by keeping the dryer running 24/7. Yes, I'm biting the hand that helps with laundry when it is in town.
Posted by Melissa Clouthier at 10:31 PM