Saturday, April 14, 2007

Call me "shorty," and I'll fire you!

Not to beat Don Imus with a dead horse (but come on--how much fun would that be?), but I did want to say something else about the issue. Yes, there's a double standard at play, in that not everyone using offensive terms gets chastised the same way. However, the difference between Don using "ho" and rappers calling women "bitches" and "hos" is that Don used a disrespectful term (and good Lord, let's not forget "nappy-headed," as Anita pointed out--I think I'm more aghast at that term than "ho") over public airwaves. To hear most of the offensive terms used in songs, you have to buy the CD, although I realize plenty slip by on some radio stations and in music videos on TV. As I haven't watched a music video since approximately 1987, I wouldn't know. I don't mean the medium or forum in which something is said should be used as a moral yardstick, but in terms of whether firing someone is justified, it could make a difference. Possibly.

Let's be honest, though: Don was fired not because he used an offensive term, but because sponsors were pulling ads from his show. Money talks, and no way was MSNBC going to lose that much money. So applying the same "punishment" to others who use offensive terms is difficult. How are you going to "fire" Mel Gibson or Michael Richards? As a movie or TV producer, you can decide not to hire them, of course, and as a consumer, you can always refuse to watch whatever TV show or movie they're involved in. I don't know about Mel, but I suspect Michael Richards's career is dead in the water, anyway.

I'm still surprised there weren't any major repercussions for Isaiah Washington. Did any sponsors threaten to pull commercials from Grey's Anatomy? I don't recall hearing about many people threatening to stop watching the show, either (but that's probably because they HAVE to know what's going to happen after George and Izzy sleeping together). What bothers me is that his use of "faggot" was motivated by hate, whereas Don was downright ignorant. Not that ignorance is an excuse, but hate-filled epithets seem worse somehow. I don't know. Being that ignorant is pretty appalling, too!

So that's my 42 cents worth on the topic. Should have been 2 cents, but I'm incredibly wordy.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A stupid quiz and stupid people

A woman I barely know, but who is very sweet, added me to her e-mail list and is sending me up to 10 e-mails a day with warnings about "dangers" (all decade-old hoaxes), exhortations to get a mammogram and other breast-cancer-related info (thanks, just had mine), "jokes" (and I use that term loosely), and hug certificates (shudder). She's so nice--and I am such a giant wuss--that I'm reluctant to tell her to lose my e-mail address. So I'm answering a survey she sent out today to . . . I don't know. Make me feel better about getting her stupid e-mails? Also, no way in hell am I e-mailing my responses to her. I don't want to encourage her! Y'all probably know most of this stuff about me anyway, so feel free to skip to the end of entry, in which I rant about stupid people.

1. Were you named after anyone? Nope, my mommy just liked Lisa Michelle--and she swore my dad would name me Inez after his mother over her dead body. Heh.
2. When was the last time you cried? Last night thinking about Picard.
3. Do you like your handwriting? Yes
4. What is your favorite lunch meat? Lemon-pepper turkey
5. If you were another person, would you be friends with you? This kind of question makes my head hurt. And seriously, what kind of psycho would say no??
6. Do you use sarcasm a lot? I use it when I deem it’s called for.
7. Do you still have your tonsils? They were taken out when I was six and grew back. So far I've shown no signs of regenerating other body parts.
8. Would you bungee jump? Maybe if I could read while doing it.
9. What is your favorite cereal? Kellogg's Start Smart
10. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Not for tennis shoes, but sometimes for boots.
11. Do you think you are strong? I'm freakishly strong, like Monica Geller.
12. What is your favorite ice cream? My current favorite is Ben & Jerry's Dublin Mudslide, but I love any coffee-and-chocolate combination.
13. What is the first thing you notice about people? I had to think about this answer pretty hard. I think I look for a general air that I'd find appealing, such as a sense of humor or a look of intelligence. To be honest, I check to see whether someone's home upstairs, if you get my drift. Vapid or blank people annoy me.
14. Red or pink? Blue-green.
15. What's your least favorite thing about yourself? My indecisiveness. I think. Or maybe my lack of height. I'd have a great figure if you stretched me out about eight inches.
16. Who do you miss the most? Leslie. You would have been 53 on Monday, honey. I wish I could have teased you about it.
17. What color pants and shoes are you wearing? Denim blue pants and white socks.
18. What was the last thing you ate? Coconut yogurt
19. What are you listening to right now? The sound of my freaking furnace blowing because it's 30-something degrees and SNOW FLURRIES fell this morning!
20. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Periwinkle.
21. Favorite smells? The top of Daniel's head when he was a baby, Kevin's neck, oranges, freesias, honey. I could go on and on--I didn't realize I liked so many smells.
22. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? The tech support guy to find out why my e-mail is acting up. (Answer: "We're experiencing latency issues for which we have no ETA for resolving.")
23. Hair color? Red
24. Eye color? Blue-green-gray. Like me, my eyes are Libras and can't decide.
25. Do you wear contacts? Occasionally
26. Scary movies or happy endings? Uh, a happy ending to a scary movie?
27. Last movie you watched? For Your Consideration. I'd watch anything Christopher Guest did.
28. Hugs or kisses? Gah, I hate questions like this one! Both during sex. How's that?
29. What book are you reading now? I'm rereading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix because the movie comes out in July, and I'm a complete HP geek. I'm also reading Hominids and The Queen of the Big Time.
40. What's on your mouse pad? It looks like a miniature Oriental rug.
41. What did you watch on TV last night? Haley finally getting booted from American Idol. Oh, and Medium.
42. Favorite sound? Daniel laughing. I like the sound of my wind chimes when I'm on the front porch reading, too.
43. Rolling Stones or Beatles? Well, I like early Stones stuff, but the Beatles top them any day.
44. What's the farthest you have been from home? California
45. Do you have a special talent? Yes, it involves a cherry stem. Oh, I kid! Close your e-mail windows.
46. Where were you born? Macon, Georgia

Now for stupid people. I just read Jane's entry, and she was saying no one in the "blogosphere" (heh) had said anything about Don Imus, which surprised me. For years, I'd get annoyed whenever I turned on MSNBC in the morning and saw him slurring and mumbling away; I couldn't seem to remember MSNBC aired his show in the mornings, and I always changed the channel as fast as possible. So clearly I didn't think highly of Don Imus, but I never thought he was a big enough moron to call a group of young women HOS. Correct me if I'm wrong, but "ho" is a shortened form of "whore," right? So Don Imus, exactly how much DID you drink before you aired those comments? Does the name "Michael Richards" ring any bells for you? Did you think people would chuckle indulgently and forget the next day?

Since that incident, I've read about the camp he runs for children with cancer and all the money he gives to charity, and I'm sure he has many fine qualities, but none of that negates his downright idiocy. My opinion isn't based solely on the racist tone of his comments, either. As I recall, his remarks included his assessment of the attractiveness of the Rutger's women's team, and I'm sick to death of stupid people judging women on their looks when their looks have no bearing on what they do. If you're judging a Miss America contest, your opinion of the contestants' beauty is relevant. If you're making fun of Madeline Albright because she's not Miss America material, keep your damn mouth shut. I don't want to hear it.

OK, one more stupid people rant, and then I'll shut up. People who take nekkid pictures of themselves to a photo-developing center are idiots. Generally, naked pictures aren't supposed to be developed, but in practice, many photo developers do it as long as the pictures aren't extremely graphic and don't involve children and animals. Most people use digital cameras, so I didn't think racy photos were a concern anymore. I was surprised to find out how many people get prints made from their digital photos, however--AND photos of themselves in various states of undress. You don't know who's developing your photos! He or she might be a twisted pervert who takes home a few copies for personal "use" (ick) or gets the bright idea of using them for blackmail purposes or posting them on a public forum, such as, oh, I don't know, the Internet. Highly illegal, of course, but why risk it?

Also, your photo developer might know you. Personally. Why, one photo developer I know (ahem), in the eight months he's been processing pictures, has come across naked pictures an average of once a week and recently developed a batch featuring a young woman he worked with at a different job--and sees occasionally around town. She had taken her photos in to her local drugstore in a neighboring small town, but that drugstore routinely send its photos to a store here for processing because it has high-volume machines. Gah! People's capacity for stupidity never fails to astound me.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Good News and Bad News

Which do you want first: good news or bad news? Good news is better, so I'll start with that, but you can read this entry from the bottom up if you prefer the opposite, right? That's me: accommodating readers since 2002! (That's actually when I started writing online, although at a now-defunct place.)

The good news: I had an appointment Monday for a mammogram, which I look forward to with all the anticipation of Christmas Eve. I think the worst part is not being able to wear deodorant, powder, or perfume; I feel so unclean without all my girly stuff. I kept hoping I wasn't giving off visible stink rays in the waiting room, although an elderly woman kept eying me suspiciously. Actually, the whole experience is one assault on my dignity after another, I suppose. After I'd changed into the spiffy front-closing gown and walked into the x-ray room, the technician asked me to open my gown and show her my boobs so that she could see whether she needed a different size film plate. There's no graceful way to flash a complete stranger, you know? The request threw me a little because no one's asked me to do that when I've had mammograms previously, and I almost asked her if she planned to toss some beads at me. I restrained myself and opened my gown obediently, but I did turn beet-red when she said hurriedly, "Oh, yeah, I'd better change plates!"

The second worst part is the Positioning of the Breast on the x-ray plate. You'd think after enduring 30 years of pelvic exams; going through labor and childbirth at a teaching hospital, with my lady business on display for every doctor, nurse, intern, and janitor in a 50-mile radius; and breastfeeding in front of a variety of lactation consultants, I'd have not one shred of modesty left, but clearly I do when a strange woman is hauling my boob around like a sack of oranges. I noticed that after the technician pressed the button to take the picture, the plates separated automatically to release my breast from the death grip. What a cool feature, I thought, and said so to the technician. "Oh, I know!" she exclaimed. "Can you imagine if it didn't? What if I fell over in a dead faint after taking the picture? You'd be trapped there!" We stared at each other for a minute, with that image crystalizing, and then burst out laughing. That's the funniest mental picture I've had in a while, and we both kept giggling and snorting while she finished x-raying my other breast.

The results came in the mail yesterday, and I opened the letter to find this sentence at the top in bold print: We are very happy to inform you that no evidence of cancer was found in your mammogram. Isn't that sweet? They're very happy--and so am I.


And now for the bad news: My cat Picard is gone. I noticed last Monday that I hadn't seen him all day, but I was on my way to the hospital for my appointment and worrying about visible stink rays and all. Later that evening, both Kevin and Daniel said they hadn't seen him all day, either. We searched the house, looking under beds, in closets, and all his favorite hiding places. Kevin took a flashlight down to the basement and poked around in the crawlspace, where Picard likes to prowl around sometimes. No portly black-and-white cat anywhere, though.

The few times Picard has gotten outside in the past, he's always stayed nearby. Once he climbed the neighbor's tree and had to be coaxed down, and another time he ran up on the roof, and Kevin had to climb up there and carry him down. So we checked likely places outside, but no sign of him. I put up a few flyers, but no one called. It's been almost a week, and I've about lost hope. He's such a sweet, friendly cat that I'm hoping he's wormed his way into a new family's affections. I keep thinking I see him parading by out of the corner of my eye, with that cowlick he always had near his tail sticking up. It always reminded me of a scruffy little boy. Or I imagine I hear the floor-jarring thud as he jumps down from the windowsill, where he liked to gaze hungrily out the window at birds. Every time I walk into my bedroom, I expect to see him curled up on the corner of the bed. I miss you, big guy. If you come back, I promise you daily catnip for life.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Operation Spring Cleaning: Mission Accomplished (Well, Almost)

Even though I'm much busier with work now, when I do have time to update, I sit and stare at an empty Word document. I have writer's block! Oooo, how dramatic of me. I'm a tortured, artistic soul, you know. Riiiiiiiiiiiight. I think my problem is frustration over not being able to do the 349 other things I want to be doing but CAN'T because I'm working all the time. And frankly, when I stop working for the day, the last thing I want to do is come back here in my messy office and open yet another document in Word. On the other hand, venting here does ease a little of my frustration, so . . . gah.

One thing adding to my frustration is that spring has finally arrived. My forsythia bushes have been blooming all week, the daffodils are popping up everywhere, and my crabapple tree is covered in little buds that will turn into gorgeous pink flowers soon. At this time of year, I always want to fling the windows open and clear away all traces of winter. I want to pack up sweaters and clean out flower beds and wash windows and mop floors; in other words, I want a fresh start. I've been fretting all week because I've been so busy with work, and warm, breezy days have been going by with nothing getting cleaned.

I decided that with Kevin gone this weekend at the convention, I had the perfect opportunity to get some cleaning done without him getting in my way or distracting me. So yesterday, I dragged the big area rugs out on the front porch and shampooed them, and then while they dried outside, I mopped the wood floors. I shampoo the rugs outside because I can't do it while they're ON the wood floors. At least, I don't think I can. If I can, don't tell me because I damn near killed myself hauling them outside. I can't believe how heavy those rugs are! My arms are killing me today, even though Daniel helped me carry them. Pushing that shampooer around makes me feel like Sisyphus shoving a boulder uphill, too.

Also, I washed windows in the living and dining rooms, which doesn't sound like much, but in those two rooms alone, I have six tall windows. I gathered up tchotchkes and knickknacks and bric-a-brac (all of which sound funnier and more interesting than "junk sitting around," right?) and threw them in the dishwasher. While I had the Windex out, I cleaned the glass on all my framed pictures. And the dusting. Oh my God, the dusting I did! If I didn't know better, I'd swear my furnace filter has never been changed, but Kevin does that twice a year, I think. He SAYS he does, anyway. Hmmmph. I still need to take all the--what do you call them? The metal thingies that go over the heating/AC vents? I need to take them outside and hose them off. The ones I have are big and squarish, which is just more surface area to collect dust and pet hair.

Aaaaand when I finish, I get to repeat all this work upstairs, much to the delight of my aching muscles. I'll have help, though, because Daniel's on spring break this week. I'm sure he'll be delighted I've come up with activities to fill his week. Hey, that's the kind of thoughtful mom I am!