Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Miss America 2007

John Bonus's commentary on last night's crowning of Miss America 2007 is funnier than this blog, and you can read it here. Since you are still on this site however, let me regale you with my version:

I watched the last 37 minutes of the pageant. When I say I watched it, I mean that I curled up with a book and turned away from the TV, using it instead as white noise. The adorably dimpled Mario Lopez was not entertaining enough for me to actually face the TV. Neither were the plastic smiles of the contestants. The dresses weren't even interesting enough for me to "MST3K" them. (That's MST 3000... Mystery Sciene Theater 3000?? Oh, nevermind).

For a moment, I allowed nostalgia to creep in during a commercial break. Growing up, the one TV set that existed in my grandparents' house was always turned to the Miss America, Miss Universe, Miss USA, Ms. America, Ms. Rich Divorcee... whatever pageant the "main 3" aired. Usually I would've preferred whatever else was on another channel, but it was my grandfather's call, as he ruled the get-up-to-change-the-channel TV set.

My grandmother used to comment on the gowns, the hair, and the smiles. My grandfather used to comment on the talent competitions when they showed them. My dad used to stay long enough to leave without drawing attention to himself. Lucky him. And sadly, because I was micro-managed, my homework was always done, so I was without a better thing to do than spend time with the family watching aforementioned pageant.

What I remember about the Miss America pageant as a child is that it was always on CBS, ABC, or NBC. Last night it was on CMT (??!!). I missed that transition to cable. I also remember that the questions were slightly more relevant and that the answers attempted to make sense and not be a platform for comedic one-liners, or jumbled (badly jumbled) feel good blubber that left the audience asking "what did she say?"

Through the white noise, I did hear the question and answer portion of the evening, and I thought Miss Texas gave the best answer. The relevance of such a pageant can be summed up in my next point: I don't remember the question, and I don't remember her answer. I just remember thinking that of the three finalists, she did the best.

Still nostalgic about the pageant and my childhood as they pertain to each other, I have come to understand that some things stay the same. Despite Miss America's hundreds of appearances during her reign, I've never seen "her" in any year, nor heard of "her" appearing anywhere near me. I suppose the best girl won, in that subjective sort of way that the judges wield their decision-making power, and next year I won't remember her when she crowns the new Miss America. Hell, next year, much like last year, I probably won't even notice.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Conversation in a restaurant

I went to one of my favorite local spots for dinner tonight... just me and the munchkin. It's a 50's style diner, small, booth seating, and old-style fountain drinks. You know what I'm talking about, the ones where the syrup and the soda are perfectly mixed....

The place was empty except for "little man" and myself and one little old lady toting a paperback book. So the waitresses (all two of them) and "us customers" got to talking about traffic, the weather, driving in snow and ice and rain... the usual stuff that "old timers" talk about when they get together. Only we were hardly old....

Seems times are a' changin'. Or maybe things are as they ever were, only the younger are beginning to care. Either way, for a moment, I felt myself become my mother and father, my grandparents and their friends. I felt maturity press on me. And it felt like a comfortable pair of shoes.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Head's Up on a Scam

The following story is an actual account by the vitim it happened to. My buddy Mike reported this to me, and I thought it was important to get this message out to all of my faithful readers as soon as I could, so you could all better protect yourselves....

A "heads up" for those of you who may be regular Home Depot customers.

Over the last month I became a victim of a clever scam while out shopping. Simply going out to get supplies has turned out to be quite traumatic. Don't be naïve enough to think it couldn't happen to you! Here's how the scam works:

Two seriously good-looking 20-21 year-old girls come over to your car as you are packing your shopping into the trunk. They both start wiping your windshield with a rag and Windex, with their breasts almost falling out of their skimpy T-shirts. It is impossible not to look.

When you thank them and offer them a tip, they say "No" and instead askyou for a ride to another Home Depot or Lowe's. You agree and they get in the back seat. On the way, they start having sex with each other. Then one of them climbs over into the front seat and performs oral sex on you, while the other one steals your wallet.

I had my wallet stolen September 4th, 9th, 10th, twice on the 15th, 17th, 20th, & 24th. Also on October 1st, 3rd, twice on the 7th, three times just yesterday and very likely again this upcoming weekend. So be very very careful. (Pick up extra wallets ASAP)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tit for tat, or Trading Vices

No American Idol for me this week. It's because I had better things to do. Now there are arguments among the public for what would be a "better thing to do", and those opinions range from "my house was on fire and I had to leave for the firefighters to put out the fire" to "colonics". For me, it's a bit simpler. I needed to rip someone a new one that desperately deserved it. And since that person asked me to do it... I obliged. That's what good friends do, right?? (evil grin...)

I didn't go into a depression, I didn't even miss my missing A.I. How refreshing. Instead, I watched a bit of HGTV and now I want to repaint my house. Pleasant enough of an idea, but it's not my house, so I can't. But I've got some great ideas that will be good and outdated when I finally get around to buying another house.

If there's a new addiction in my life... it's DDR. Yes, Dance Dance Revolution (on PS2). I can spend hours jumping around in a square, sweating like a pig. The good news is that I got it to be my indoor cardio routine.. and it's working, too! My clothes are getting too big (oh, darn! I'm gonna have to buy new clothes!!), my body is getting firmer, and I'm feeling better than I have in years. And I can dance a mean 4-step to an Asian rave tune I can't translate.

I wonder if that song has anything to do with my sudden craving for somen noodles with dried sardines and bean curd?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Researching the Big O


The Health Benefits of Orgasm


A staggering number of scientific studies clearly show that orgasms are good for you! There are the obvious physical benefits: the heavy breathing and elevated heart rate that occur during sexual arousal and orgasm help keep tissues and organs healthier by circulating oxygen. As an exercise, it burns off just slightly more calories per minute than playing tennis. However, there are a number of additional benefits that medical science is discovering.

The latest research comes from Australia. A study led by Graham Giles of The Cancer Council Victoria in Melbourne concluded that the more men ejaculate between the ages of 20 and 50, the less likely they are to develop prostate cancer. Other research shows that regular male orgasm can also help prevent a condition called nonspecific prostatitis, which causes painful urination.

Serious research on sexuality began in the U.S. in the 1950's with Alfred Kinsey and his famous Kinsey reports. Kinsey reported that sex reduces stress, and that people who have fulfilling sex lives are less anxious, less violent and less hostile.
In the 1970's, a study at Duke University found that the frequency of sexual intercourse for men was associated with lower death rates, and that the enjoyment of sexual intercourse by women was associated with a longer life.

Similar conclusions were reached in a study done in Caerphilly, Wales, and published in the December 1997 British Medical Journal under the title, "Sex and Death: Are They Related?" The authors studied nearly 1000 men aged 45 to 59. The study found that men who reported at least two orgasms a week at the time of the study had less than half the risk of dying from various causes over 10 years of follow-up than those with a lower frequency of orgasm.

A 1976 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine suggests that a failure to reach orgasm may have a negative impact on women's hearts. In the control group, just 24 percent of the women reported sexual dissatisfaction. In the group of women who had heart attacks, the report of sexual dissatisfaction prior to their attack was 65 percent.

A study from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality conducted by Dr Ted Mcllvenna looked at the sex lives of 90,000 American adults. He found that sexually active people take fewer sick leaves and enjoy life more.

According to gynecologist Dr. Dudley Chapman, orgasms boost infection-fighting cells up to 20%. Psychologists at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania found that students who had regular sexual activity had a third higher levels of immunoglobulin A, an antibody which boosts the immune system and can help fight colds and flu.

Research done by Dr Winnifred Cutler, a specialist in behavioural endocrinology, indicates that women who have intercourse at least once a week are more likely to have normal menstrual cycles than women who are celibate or who have infrequent sex.

Dr. Cutler also reports that women who enjoy regular weekly sex have significantly higher levels of oestrogen in their blood than women experiencing either infrequent sex or no sex at all. The benefits of oestrogen include a healthy cardiovascular system, lower bad cholesterol, higher good cholestrol, more bone density, and supple skin. There is also growing evidence that oestrogen is beneficial to brain functioning.

Another important hormone that seems to be affected by sexual activity is DHEA. Right before orgasm, the level of the hormone DHEA in the body spikes to several times higher than normal. DHEA is believed to improve brain function, balance the immune system, help maintain and repair tissue, promote healthy skin, and possibly improve cardiovascular health.

Both testosterone and estrogen levels increase through regular sexual activity. Testosterone can help strengthen bones and muscles, and is also beneficial to a healthy heart. For women, the health benefits of estrogen include keeping vaginal tissues suppler and protecting against osteoporosis and heart disease.

A study from the South Illinois School of Medicine found that having an orgasm can cure migraines. Working with 52 migraine sufferers, 16 reported considerable relief after an orgasm and another eight had their headaches completely gone.

Other studies show that orgasm can help treat other types of pain. In research by Beverly Whipple and Barry Komisaruk at Rutgers University, women found that they had a higher pain threshold through regular orgasms that helped with conditions ranging from whiplash to arthritis.

A man's orgasm can even be beneficial to women, according to research that indicates that semen can reduce depression in women. The study was headed by Gordon Gallup, a psychologist at the State University of New York. The researchers believe that mood-altering hormones in semen are absorbed through the vagina.

Regular orgasms can even help you look younger. According to research done by David Weeks, a clinical neuropsychologist at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, making love three times a week in a stress free relationship can make you look 10 years younger.

It only makes sense that something as important as orgasm would have so many benefits. The male orgasm is the sperm delivery system, and the female orgasm, through the rapid vaginal contractions that can pull sperm in, makes it more likely for her to become pregnant. Both are important to the reproduction of our species, and both our important to our health and happiness.

Would you?

This question was included in a recent myspace survey circulating:

Think of the last person who you know that died. You have the chance to give them 1 hour of life back, but you have to give one year of your life. do you do it?

And my answer is NO.

Why? Isn't my life just as fulfilling one year shorter for one hour of life of the last person I knew that died? Yes.
But that hour of life isn't the kind of life I'd like to be able to gift someone.

My father's life was a morphine-induced catatonic state, where time knew no passing and communication was beyond reach. No, that it no way to give a gift.

But most people will automatically and emphatically answer "YES" to the above question, because as humanitarians and all-around good people, we're supposed to be so self-sacrificing.

Would an AIDS patient, dying painfully, wish for one more hour? Would a sufferer of Alzheimer's want another hour of confusion and disorientation? How about a coma patient? A burn victim? An accient victim suffering internal injuries or head trauma? My father was a cancer patient, and I wouldn't wish another minute of that existence on anyone.

I'm not arguing that the question deserves a "no", and am only partially arguing that it is worth careful consideration before spouting off at the mouth all the resounding "yes's" you want before thinking about the consequenses.

I'm arguing that it's a stupid question.

Who in their right mind ponders this stuff? (other than me, of course....) One hour of their life for one year of yours? And of what real value are either? What can they possibly accomplish in that hour that the preceding years failed to accomplish? (realistically speaking here, not Hollywood ending....) And your last year of life? What if you're an AIDS/cancer/alzheimer's/coma patient that would love for one year less.... It would be like pre-gifting yourself! Only it's more like pre-gifting a crap shoot, but that's another argument altogether.

All said, it's a stupid hypothetical and rhetorical question that shouldn't be answered because even the warm and fuzzies it might create in you or those you know are shallow and vapid. But for you to agree with me, you might actually have to think about it first. Don't hurt yourself.

When In Savannah, don't miss...


Anyone for some Shusi? I hear it's *the* place in town to go....


(photo by me)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Tax Season kick-off...

With the end of Jan. anticipation of W-2's and investment records... I share this opinion with you as it was passed to me:


Tax, tax, tax and more tax

What Happened?
At first I thought this was funny...

then I realized the awful truth of it.

Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table
At which he's fed.

Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
Are the rule.

Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.

Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries, then
Tax his tears.

Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his ass

Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won't be done
Till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers,
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
He's good and sore.

Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he's laid.

Put these words
upon his tomb,
"Taxes drove me
to my doom..."

When he's gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax.


Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax,
Fuel permit tax
Gasoline Tax (42 cents per gallon)
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Interest expense
Inventory tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service charge taxes
Social Security Tax
Road usage taxes
Sales Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone federal excise tax
Telephone federal universal service fee tax
Telephone federal, state and local surcharge taxes
Telephone minimum usage surcharge tax
Telephone recurring and non-recurring charges tax
Telephone state and local tax
Telephone usage charge tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

COMMENTS: Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago,
and our nation was the most prosperous in the world.
We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class
in the world and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.
What happened?
And I still have to "press 1" for English!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

American Idol sucks me in with diversity

Okay, I admit it (begrudgingly). I love American Idol. There are weeks that I miss the show, and don't go into depression over it, but I gotta say, this is entertainment as it's best (for me).

The audition shows are the greatest. I love that so many people will go so far to get a few seconds of TV fame, albeit a few seconds in front of millions of people. And if you're bad enough, those seconds will be aired from time to time throughout the season. I also love it that we do get a preview of some of the talent to come. For me, cheering for the talented is what it's all about. Growing up dreaming that I could become a singer myself, I think it's great that undiscovered talent has a shot at a recording career that may otherwise not exist for the contestants. Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson have certainly proven their ilk since their appearances on the show. The days of blowing off the real potential of American Idol for the contestants are over.

But man. If you're one of those that make a complete idiot of yourself in front of the cameras, do you ever live it down to those that inevitably will recognize you? In gluttonous amusement, I've turned in already to see how bad the talent can be. And how good. So far I have not been disappointed.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Ponderings

So I ask myself what I could've been if I'd wanted to be anything other than what I am. I can do advanced mathematics, what if I'd wanted to go into roller coaster design? I can draw, what if I'd wanted to be a cartoonist? I can cook... where would I be if I'd wanted to be a chef? I am quite capable at the biological sciences... I could've been a dolphin trainer or could've gone to India to study the decline of the tiger population.

I could've done anything. That was what I was always told. Growing up, I had teachers encourage me to study art, linguistics, English, the sciences (biological and social, specifically), history, politics, economics.... No one ever encouraged me to become an actor, even though I'd occasionally audition for parts. So I could've done almost anything.

I became a mom, and dedicated myself to it.

But what if....

Other successful women I know drive new sports cars, live in custom-built new homes, make substantial incomes, have a great benefits package, a good retirement plan, and husbands just as successful as they (or no husbands at all). They have titles after their name, like "vice president of marketing" or "Dr." or "PhD". I have high school, elementary school in common with these women; I did not meet them at their jobs. Chances are we would've had litte to talk about if I had.

Sometimes a dear friend of mine will say "I wish I had what you have. Two kids, the freedom to raise them yourself, a loving husband, and all that goes with it." She says this just before returning to her prestigious job, after we have eaten lunch together according to her busy schedule. I wonder if she really means it, when she vacations for two weeks at a time out of the country in exotic places.

Sure, it's a grass-is-greener thing. I would change places with her, although at the end of the day I would've missed my kids more than the job title and benefits would justify. And maybe it would be the same with her, who knows.

What I do know, when I get to the end of the day, is that no matter how much I've forgotten since my secondary metriculation, no matter how much the world seems to have passed me by, hugs and kisses from my kids make it all worth while.

Friday, January 05, 2007

passing it on

This was sent to me by a friend of mine, so I'm simply passing an opinion on for once, instead of voicing my own vehemently. Nonetheless, I appreciated the sentiment enough to share it with all my readers.


THINK ABOUT THIS FOR A MOMENT.

Colorado News

This text is from a county emergency manager out in
Colorado after the snowstorm.

WEATHER BULLETIN

Up here we just recovered from a Historic event--- may I even say a "Weather Event" of "Biblical Proportions" --- with a historic blizzard of up to 44" inches of snow and winds to 90 MPH that broke trees in half, knocked down utility poles, stranded hundreds of motorists in lethal snow banks, closed ALL roads, isolated scores of communities and cut power to 10's of thousands.

FYI:

George Bush did not come.

FEMA did nothing.

No one howled for the government.

No one blamed the government.

No one even uttered an expletive on TV

Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton did not visit.

Our Mayor did not blame Bush or anyone else.

Our Governor did not blame Bush or anyone else, either.

CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX or NBC did not visit - or report - on this category 5 snowstorm.

Nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards.

No one asked for a FEMA Trailer House.

No one looted.

Nobody - I mean Nobody demanded the government 'do something'.

Nobody expected the government to do anything, either.

No Larry King, no Bill O'Rielly, no Oprah, no Chris Mathews and no Geraldo Rivera, no Shaun Penn, no Barbra Striesand, no
Hollywood types to be found.

Nope, we just melted the snow for water.

Sent out caravans of SUVs to pluck people out of snow-engulfed cars.

Truck drivers pulled people out of snow banks and didn't ask for a penny.

Local restaurants made food and the police and fire departments delivered it to the snowbound families.

Families took in the stranded people - total strangers.

We fired up wood stoves, broke out coal oil lanterns or Coleman lanterns.

We put on extra layers of clothes because up here it is "Work or Die".

We did not wait for some affirmative action government to get us out of a mess created by being immobilized by a welfare program that trades votes for 'sittin at home' checks.

Even though a Category "5" blizzard of this scale has never fallen this early, we know it can happen and how to deal with it ourselves.

"In my many travels, I have noticed that once one gets north of about 48 degrees North Latitude, 90% of the world's social problems evaporate."

It does seem that way, at least to me.

I hope this gets passed on.

Maybe SOME people will get the message. The world does NOT owe you a living.