Sunday, August 31, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
When I was a little girl, my favorite books were those written by L. Frank Baum - the most famous of which is the Wizard of Oz. I wanted to climb in and live as a character in those books; they had everything a little girl could want - princesses, queens, oodles of jewels and beautiful gowns, magic wands, animals and a the right amount of danger and adventure. I envied Polychrome her ability to travel around in the rays of the rainbow wearing gowns made of moonbeams or sunbeams and diamond slippers on her feet. (Actually, I still do!) I think most people would agree that that is pretty girly stuff.
Fast forward 10 or 12 years and we find me newly enrolled at the University of California at Santa Cruz - that's right! that bastion of left wing lesbian/feminist militant thought and school of choice for upper-middle-class white kids who don't get into Berkeley.
Now I was aware of none of this as my parents drove me up the long entrance road to the campus in our station wagon which was packed full to the brim with all my worldly possessions. I recall being very concerned that there were so many trees and steep hills and that it seemed like one could easily fall off of this place or get lost.
The full force of Santa Cruz wouldn't hit me though until about three or four weeks later when my proctor roommate and I decided to organize a dance and we came up with the theme of "Pimp and Hooker". Seemed just dandy to me, what better of a mix for getting to know one's fellow students than lots of alcohol, scantily clad females and men without morals? (for an evening - and just for pretend) And as for being too risque - I recall telling my roommate that the fanciest country club in Santa Barbara had one of those every year for Halloween. Nope we were on solid ground socially. Except that I had absolutely no idea where I really was.
On the night of our dance we headed up to the cafeteria which had been transformed into our hall of lechery during the day and as we approached I could not quite understand what I was seeing. All the pimps and hookers were standing outside looking not at all happy, and not dancing either. Then I saw the reason why! There were hordes of frumpily dressed, rather unattractive females in Birkenstocks and no make-up! lying flat on their backs all over our dance floor. They wouldn't move and we weren't allowed to step on them so the dance was pretty much over before it started. In retrospect, it probably didn't help our cause much that it happened to be the very first National Women's Week and that they paid attention to such things there in Santa Cruz. Who Knew?
I spent the next hour or so on the phone with my mother screaming that I wanted to come home. And how could she send me to a place full of lesbians and feminists - I was, up until that point in my life, unaware of the existence of either.
I didn't go home though, and I came to really love Santa Cruz - even the trees.
Now I'm no dummy and I wasn't then either and it didn't take me long to figure out that my "girly-airhead-valley-girl" persona, that would open doors in Southern California, wasn't going to fly at UCSC. So I adapted, and I guess some of Santa Cruz had sunk in because by the time I graduated and had my first job in the City, I was writing checks to organizations like NOW and Planned Parenthood etc. Yup, I had learned that women were perpetual victims of white male oppression and the best and only cure for this was to become just like them.
So I bought a business suit at Ann Taylor with shoulder pads in it that made me look not unlike a football player.
Yes, they had convinced me that anything girly is bad and is simply a way for men to objectify women and keep them down and that includes beauty pageants and I never wanted to be a fairy princess when I was a little girl because that would mean I wasn't strong and all women must now be strong.
And that's what I've been pondering these days as I paypal off my little sponsorships to these girls who really, really want to compete in beauty pageants. I think that is fantastic! And I hope they never let anyone tell them otherwise.
It is only now that I realize what his little dalliances are going to cost us. Because President Clinton couldn't keep his grubby hands off his fresh, young intern, he wants to inflict his wife on the nation for as long as possible to appease his guilty conscience.
Thus the great big Hillaryfest at the Enormous Ego Convention taking place in Denver (We may be facing a Smug alert soon - keep Clooney away from there!) So to the former president I make this appeal.
Mr. Clinton, please, get some counseling! Please don't try to use us Americans as your 360 million strong group therapy session. Take your wife home and give her a good toss in the hay! Buy her some flowers, take her to France - but get her the hell off the stage. It's over and she never should have been up there in the first place.
There are no turnsies for the presidency and I am sorry if she is going to make your life a living hell, but you made your bed - so lie in it.
Look on the bright side... If the going gets too rough, maybe you can give Monica a call!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Mother: (Poking her head out of the house)
Children: (Where they are everyday from 8:00 AM till dusk - On their trampoline outside)
Mother: "What are you doing with the hose?"
Oldest Child: "What?"
Mother repeats question
Oldest Child: "We made a lake!!!"
Silence while mother recovers from the aneurysm
Mother: "Well you better turn off the hose before Daddy gets home and starts yelling!"
End Of Conversation
Don't get me wrong, I am not criticizing Mom, in fact, unbeknownst to her, she is the affirmation of my own parenting skills. She is me and most likely millions of other mothers out there who invoke the Fear of Dad when faced with a situation that requires quick obedience on the part of the children in order to avoid disaster.
In this case, the "disaster" will only be experienced by Mom in the form of muddy footprints in the house, mud soaked clothing and shoes, baths for all and then scrubbing out the bathtub as well as getting the muddy hand prints off the walls that the littlest ones made whilst getting undressed for the tub. Nope, I don't blame her one bit - definitely a wait till your father gets home moment.
Now what about Dad? Is he some kind of maniacal terror that installs fear in the hearts of his children?
No, quite the opposite! He is a teddy bear but somehow commands the respect of a grizzly bear. (In fact, I have never heard Dad yelling... only Mom - bless her heart!). It was this way when I was growing up - at my house and at those of all my friends. Dad was the final authority - and what Dad says goes! (Never mind that Dad was just the executioner in Home Life Court and that Mom was judge and jury - we kids weren't aware of the nuances of the balance of power that existed between our mothers and fathers.)
When my own children were young, the politically correct feminist in me at first tried to resist the urge to invoke the Fear of Dad. At first.
Reality is stronger than any social or political theory - (just ask Lenin) and once I realized what an effective tool it could be, invoke I could and invoke I did!
So it made me smile this morning when I heard those familiar words and I had to think of that old saying - "The more things change, the more they stay the same."
All is still well in this little corner of the world.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Now that my daughter is a high school senior, though, I find myself having a rather odd reaction to tales of wild, drunken college parties; I am mildly horrified!
In my youth, such tales would have meant an automatic check in the "plus" column for a school.
(OK, so I was a bit of a dumb-ass - can I help it that movies like Animal House and Fast Times at Ridgemont High came out when they did? I couldn't wait to go to my first Toga Party! TOGA! TOGA! TOGA!)
Now I wonder to myself just how badly I would stick out if I went off to college with my daughter -this time to chaperon, not plan the parties. OK, Scratch that.
A recent article in the LA Times caught my attention: "College leaders hope to renew debate on a lower drinking age" It seems that kids under the age of 21 are drinking alcohol even though they are not supposed to! You don't say! And in order to get away with it, they are doing it on the sly which causes them at times to get really, really drunk. So drunk, in fact, that occasionally one or two drop dead. This upsets the college leaders. It upsets me. It would probably really upset the kids involved were they not dead.
Is lowering the drinking age to 18 the answer? I am not sure how I feel about this myself yet.
On the pro side, dealing with reality is usually better than wishful thinking -the drinking age has been 21 now for eons and the problem does seem to be getting worse.
In Germany you can buy beer and wine at age 16 and the hard stuff at 18 and while it is quite common to have alcohol at parties or a few beers at the disco it is not at all common for kids to get stinking-staggering-fall-down drunk. That is viewed as just plain TACKY. It also strikes me that they are also much less willing to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking - of course they actually have viable alternate means of transportation in the form of subways, street cars, trains, buses and taxis. The US is just not there yet.
On the con side, just because it works for the Germans, though, doesn't mean it'll work for us. (Some) Kids here seem to think drinking till you drop is just fine and dandy - a right of passage even. Making it easier for them to get their grubby little hands on booze will surely lead to more drinking, will it not? More girls than ever will down pitchers of margaritas and then think it is a good idea to flash the dork with the video camera! (A bit of advice - whatever you do when drinking - don't let anybody videotape you! That is really, really, really stupid.)
But then I can't help but thinking that since drinking is such a potentially hazardous endeavor, shouldn't parents be able to legally take a stab at teaching their kids responsible drinking - instead of say, horny frat boy?
Sign me betwixt and between on this one,
September 2008 Update: My daughter tells me that the son of one of her school's beloved teachers nearly died of alcohol poisoning - on his 21st birthday. Seems they found out at 11:00 that morning that his condition had stabilized and that he was expected to live. The doctors were not so optimistic the night before. All the teachers had the same message for the kids: "If it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone" - see he's a really good kid - smart - bright future - and absolutely no experience drinking.
Monday, August 18, 2008
"The Dunkin Donuts franchise is a member of the National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR), which is a member of the Essential Workers Immigration Coalition (EWIC), which lobbies on Capitol Hill for amnesty for illegal aliens and an expansion of cheap labor import programs.
In other words, Dunkin Donuts is just another megacorp that puts its profits ahead of the well-being of the people who live in the communities it serves. And the Dunkin Donuts franchisee, which already has an advantage over the locally owned shop in purchasing power and advertising, puts part of its profits toward lobbying in Washington against the best interests of the very people who patronize it.
Meanwhile, the locally owned shop is part of the community it serves. Its profits go back into the community. And if the owners of the locally owned shop hire legally, even the wages it pays to its employees support the community."
I just want to make it clear that I strongly believe that legal immigration to this country is a good thing, and is good for the country.
What I don't like: Illegal Immigration! This is very BAD for the country as it lowers the overall wages for citizens and legal immigrants - and penalizes companies who follow the law. It's cheating and I don't like cheaters. It also costs taxpayers insane amounts of money (See California try to balance its budget) whether they voted for it or not.
When you have no voice in your government, you no longer have a democracy - Taxation without representation is what started the revolutionary war.Thoughts from a Housewife!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
As we plunge deeper into the current banking crisis and the government contemplates one of the biggest corporate welfare programs since forever, it may interest you to know that one of the presidential candidates has significant experience in dealing with financial institutions in crisis, and the corresponding taxpayer funded bailouts. He should at least, he helped put them there.
When federal regulators denied Lincoln's request for exemption from the 10 percent investment rule and began to probe its questionable dealings, Mr. Keating called in the big guns. Edwin Gray, Mr. Wall's predecessor, says he was pressured in 1987 by Sens. Dennis DeConcini, D-Ariz., John McCain, R-Ariz., Alan Cranston, D-Calif., and John Glenn, D-Ohio, to look favorably on Lincoln's request. Seven days later, they were joined by Sen. Don Riegle, D-Mich., and allegedly badgered federal bank examiners to go easy on the S&L. That is precisely what happened on Mr. Wall's watch.
The "Keating Five" are now targets of two federal investigations to determine whether the $1.3 million they received from Mr. Keating, his friends and associates constituted payment for services rendered. Although the senators deny any wrongdoing, Mr. Keating was more candid during an April press conference. Asked if he had bought influence with these contributions, he replied: "I certainly hope so." Aiken Standard, November 29, 1989
How stupid are we? Last year Fannie and Freddie CICs (Crooks In Charge) made over 34 million dollars and were too stupid to put the brakes on the practice of buying up of loans made to people who can't afford to pay them back. They are supposed to be experts, are they not?
I suppose in this Boomer world of ours, the folks in charge of overseeing the CICs didn't want to risk damaging their self esteem - so they let them keep their trophies.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
June 2009 Update Comment: I just noticed that this video had been removed from youtube:
Weak, Weak, Weak! Forget the fact that I was basically providing free advertising - did you have to take away this little bit of happiness from people just to make a buck? Hooray for greed!
I saw the DVD of this story for sale the other day, and because of this youtube video, which was freely available to all, which I loved watching, I was just about to buy the DVD. I stopped by my blog along the way to remind myself of just how good a story it was, and how it was worth the $24.95 I was about to shell out - and what do I find?!!!
The reason I am now NOT going to shell out $24.95. So there!
Friday, August 08, 2008
Back in July there was a rather large fire in Goleta/Santa Barbara, California. This fire was particularly annoying to me because it was aiming to burn down my parent's house - my childhood home - along with the rest of the neighborhood.
The Santa Barbara police department had evacuated the entire neighborhood July 3rd but on the 4th, my father returned to the house and I followed with my SUV so that I could rescue a few items if need be.
As soon as I arrived, I turned on the TV to the local news station to see if I could get the latest information on the status of the fire - all of the news programs in Ventura are from Los Angeles and are not very useful unless you need to know the whereabouts of any high-speed-chases occurring in LA - and I caught the tail end of an update report.
OK, I thought - they will repeat this now... so I sat and waited. They did repeat the update report, but in Spanish. So here I am sitting in front of the TV - outside huge plumes of smoke are billowing - helicopters are flying overhead - and the only local station decides to broadcast in Spanish.
Thinking that they would just issue a quick update and then revert back to English - the language of 100% of the people in the affected area - I waited. And waited. After 10 or 15 minutes I started to pack up a few things, while keeping an ear out for a fire report that I could understand. After half-an-hour I turned off the TV because they were still yapping away in Spanish and it was starting to really make me mad - which was not going to help much in the current crisis situation.
I ended up leaving without ever hearing a full report on the current location of the fire.
I wish to thank all the politically correct morons out there who are trying to push Spanish on us in every way possible. I only hope that some day, when you find yourself in urgent need of information such as I was on July 4th, 2008, that you are able to find it... but only in Chinese.
Fuego: Here is a picture I took the night of July 3rd in my parent's neighborhood... Those big white blotches that look like snow are actually ash from the fuego. Ich musste wegen der Polizeisperre die letzte Strecke zu Fuß laufen. Ärgerlich wenn man nicht verstehen kann, daß was man eigentlich sollte verstehen können, nicht?