Sunday, October 23, 2005


One day a co-worker told me, in a not so complementry way, that in the mornings I looked like a person that had only recently come to life. I looked in the mirror and had to agree. Despite good grooming and a daily morning shower my face was puffy, eyes droopy, and lips looking chapped, dry, and swollen. And furthermore, she told me she knew what caused it and how to cure it.

The problem, she said, was from sleeping in a warm room. I thought for a bit and had to admit this was true. More often than not, when I went to bed, the thermostat remained on 70 or 72 degrees F.

So that night I turned down the heat a couple of degrees. I slept better and the next morning felt better. So a few nights later I turned it down a couple more degrees. I slept better and felt even better the next morn. So I added a few more cozy blankets to the bed and continued this routine. Eventually the thermostat was down around 60 degrees.

That’s when Hub started to complain. "God, woman," he said, "do you know what is going to happen here? How cold does it have to be before you are satisfied? If you turn down that thermostat one more degree, we are going to wake up to a disaster – bloody frozen pipes in the basement!"

Now he had me running scared so I cautiously set the thermostat to 65 although I would have preferred to set it lower. After all, ‘the cool room theory’ made good sense to me. You can prevent rapid decay or spoilage of flowers, fruit, medicine, juice, pretty much anything if you keep it cool. (Even psychologically. Where cool heads prevail, things remain in sync.) So it seems totally rational to me.

And this therapy was certainly working better than that menagerie of beauty products that I had been sucked into buying to keep myself looking youthful.

So I’m convinced the theory is right. It does work. If I sleep in a cool room I wake up without that morning puffiness. Better preserved as well. So now I seek an expert opinion on this whole matter. I can’t ask Hub. He won’t tell me because he thinks I will go there. So maybe you can tell me how far I can turn down the heat before Hub will end up repairing broken water pipes?

And I’m also curious if anyone agrees with this theory.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


You already know that I have crazy notions but that is not to say that sometimes I can’t have a clever notion. At the same time, because of this variance, it is probably best that I remain anonymous. But who would write anything and sign it “Anonymous”? How silly. Everyone knows that “Anonymous” writing has no weight or substance – it isn’t even worth reading.

This supposition, I expect, is why media sources reject anything written anonymously. Anonymous is so not good. But there’s an irony here. Sometimes it must be good. Did you ever try and get past the anonymity of the nameless people within the telephone company, the insurance company, even the newspaper or television studio? All you get, if you ask for a specific contact, is “my name is Dick or Jane, but I cannot give you my last name.” Meanwhile this same individual works with no less than 63 people (9 of which are dicks and 17 are Janes). Seems like someone should be letting these people know, that in our present world, “Anonymous” is not acceptable.

But, at the same time, these same secret nameless agents require that any participants in discussion with them give them a surname, a Christian name, middle initial, mailing address, physical address, e-mail address, telephone number, age, occupation, and oft times annual income and Visa number though none of this might be relevant to the information required. Last week this happened to my neighbour and I was so proud of him when he told his Insurance Company that his income is in no way relevant to his insurance fees – so don’t ask.

On the other hand, maybe I could understand it if I think about why one would choose to be non-anonymous. It seems to me, if it is not out of self-ego, what is it? If I were an expert, the number one reason to sign my name would be to let others know that I am an authority in my field. To let others know I have initials behind my name. To build notoriety or a reputation. But most of all to give common man or woman cause to think that their opinions alongside mine, with my academic privilege (A special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, a class, or a caste) have no value or weight.

You know, I often question how much self-ego evangelical ministers have who need to slap posters all over town with their name in the biggest and boldest font and large pictures of their pretty faces and pretty families to promote their next revival. Seems to me that when the mandate is saving souls, this is a demonstration of personal ego being allowed to take precedence over the message. But I digress so let us return to our original discussion.

When it comes to Anonymous writings, I think you will admit, as readily as I must, that you have read a lot of witticisms that contain in four words or less, far more wisdom than experts have ever contemplated. Or perhaps just because I am a woman, I see value in anonymity, as expressed by Virginia Woolf:


Publicity in women is detestable. Anonymity runs in their blood. The desire to be veiled still possesses them. They are not even now as concerned about the health of their fame as men are, and, speaking generally, will pass a tombstone or a signpost without feeling an irresistible desire to cut their names on it.

Author - Virginia Woolf

So now, in conclusion, I am thinking once again about the outcry against the “Ten Commandments” being housed in the Halls of Justice. They probably could have stayed there without any offense if the authority of this writ was signified as “Anonymous”. And that is yet another irony, because if I am to assume that 50% of the protesters were atheists or even another religion, that means since there is no God, and for other persuasions, no Christian God, that the whole business was written by someone as “Anonymous” as anyone could ever be. And we all know, that anything written by “Anonymous” isn’t worth the tablet, clay, or paper it is written on and subsequently the content of that writ can be, and should be, totally disregarded.

Monday, October 17, 2005

# 67 STRENGTH IN NUMBERS & the power of prayer

Self-fulfilling prophecy has to do with the way our expectations become results. It is accepted theory that a negative state of mind leads to a negative outcome, but at the same time, a positive state of mind can overcome insurmountable obstacles. Now add to that the power of prayer. Though the jury is still out, I know that most of us, all of us, even atheists, would fall to our knees and plead for spiritual intercession if suddenly we found ourselves in the midst of massive floods, mud-slides, or an earthquake. And Doctor’s? Though no doubt somewhat skeptical about the power of prayer, more doctors than we will ever realize go into operating rooms with a simple prayer for guidance on their lips.

And then there is power of the mind. That’s another process that defies hard scientific proof but still it continues to demonstrate itself in ways that make scientists and researchers suspicious that it works.

Now normally prayer is a request for intercession from a God. So perhaps ‘prayer’ doesn’t correctly define what I am talking about today. I am talking about mental supplications without addressing them to anyone in particular. But even at that, without addressing a deity, without a conversation opener that says, “Hello, God”, we tend to be mindful that God, or the forces of nature, or power of the mind, or something of a spiritual nature is listening.

And how many of us that believe in the power of prayer, or the power of life’s forces, or the power of the mind, also believe that this power is strengthened to its ultimate maximum when people all over the globe engage in the same hope and the same petition. Strength in numbers is a philosophy that is solidly attached to our context of mind when it comes to internalized thoughts, prayers, and supplications.

So where am I going with all this ramble? Back to our undeniable assumption that there is strength in numbers. All over the globe, in the hearts and heads of thousands, tens of thousands, maybe even millions of people, a unity of thought is taking place. Floods, fires, and earthquakes have solidified us in one common thought. Our faith is in doom and destruction.

A huge population is of the common mind that “it is going to get worse before it gets better”. Some because of the ‘Greenhouse Theory’, some because of the melting polar cap, some because of pollution, some because of Bible prophecy, or other phenomena. And you know it. The worst of all these negative supplications is the supplications of the religiously self-righteous who look around them and literally wish and hope for a disaster to befall all of us because alongside them we are so boldly sinful. So now, for all these various reasons, we have hoards of people, inadvertently engaged in a common supplication without even realizing it. And if our theory is the power of change is dependent on strength in numbers, it just won’t do for us all to be of this kind of common mind.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Every day without conscious awareness, we all harvest ideas from people around us that we stash in our heads. And then, if we are reasonably discriminate thinkers, eventually we turn to a set of encyclopedias or other resources to find out if the information we have stashed is true or false.

Now I have some pretty uncommon notions in my head, that I have gleaned over the years and with so many notions to sift through, there are quite a few that I have neglected to check the authenticity of. It’s pretty evident to me that if I had existed prior to navigation of the globe, by now I would have written several posts warning you with all seriousness not to step off the edge.

But that notion was cleared up some time ago. I know the earth is round and none of you are in danger of tumbling off the edge. But in thinking about this, other examples of notions that I have not verified come to mind. I was once told that hummingbirds are too small to buffet winds and weather to migrate to their winter resort so they travel by secretly stowing away under the wings of bigger birds. That is a notion that I have some skepticism about but I have never verified if it is truth or fiction. Other notions I have never verified; the notion that heaven is up; the notion that God is in those heavens; that Jesus actually came to earth in a space ship and when he was crucified, he went into a deep coma. By cooling his body in a dark cave, he recovered and the next day he was gone from his tomb because he was spirited away for further medical treatment on his home planet. That the wheel-within-a-wheel mentioned in the Bible was actually a space ship. I have the notion that Henry the VIIth died a horrible death from leg ulcers caused by syphilis. These are notions, many of which I harbor with a great deal of skepticism. But my purpose in telling you this is to provide enough examples for you to know what I mean.

But the other thing about the notions I have in my head is how they affect my perception of what is right and what is absurd. Particularly from a visual perspective. When I see a man in a well-tailored suit, I assume he is a successful business-man. The woman in the mini skirt with the fishnet stockings is probably a hooker. The man driving the mauve Cadillac is probably a pimp. The old man with a tattoo is probably an old soldier. The young person with a tattoo is probably a street-hardened individual, a biker, or someone who once belonged to a gang. You see, no matter how much I may wish to think I am not guilty of stereotyping, I am. Even if the limit of my stereotyping is if a doctor has greasy hair or a wrinkled smock, he is not a good doctor.

Some of the above notions are pretty indelicate, but there are more. Notions that people don’t even talk about. Notions that I hesitate to share with you. But today I have decided to break my code of silence.

One notion I have, stemmed from a conversation with a Professor of Women’s Studies. She told me that tongue piercing is not just decorative, it has purpose. One purpose is to enhance oral sex stimulation in lesbian relationships and the other purpose is to signal to others in a crowd that one is lesbian. To me that notion suddenly made tongue ornaments as absurd as young men hooking condoms to their fly-zippers and walking around that way.

So with ever-increasing abhorrence on my part to tongue piercing and the ever-increasing acceptance of tongue piercing by the general public, yesterday I just had to start looking for the truth in this matter. In doing so, I discovered that the Professor was right in part – about the oral sexual stimulation thing – but I found nothing to support the rest of her theory.

But I did find something even more far-fetched. Something that really makes me cringe. Particularly since no one idolized Queen Victoria and her husband’s moral righteousness more than my Mother. The information I found was about Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, and his body-piercing escapades. Something that today is still referred to as the "Prince Albert piercing".

I discovered that in Victorian times, men of high fashion wore skin-tight trousers and in order to prevent their private parts from creating an unsightly bulge a craze developed that is as wild and woolly as any I have ever heard. Prince Albert favored tight pants so he had a hook called a "dressing ring" attached to his penis so that it could be modestly hooked (after all the Victorian era was all about modesty) to one side of his trousers rather than immodestly forming a lump in the crotch area.


Egads. Isn’t that appalling? After that kind of trivia, guess what I’m going to do with the rest of my crazy notions. I’m certainly not going to do any more research. I’m just going to independently decide when to hold them and when to fold them.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Last night I watched an interview on 'Larry King Live' with Tracey Lindsay Melchior. Since then, I have to admit, I have been in a nasty mood. The topic of discussion was Tracey’s new book, “Breaking the Perfect Ten”. A kind of autobiography about a disheartening life wrought with hardships. Difficulties of greater rank and importance than one can ever hope to realize.

Now I am too empathetic a person to wind myself around everyone’s troubles because it ends up being too much. There has to be a certain level of discrimination over what is worthwhile grieving for and what is not. Anyway, for some reason I was skeptical about this person’s difficulties right from the get go. And even more skeptical when early in the interview she stated that her troubled life had stemmed from her exceptional looks. More than once she stated how her beauty had been such a terrible bother. She even made a point (with a laugh) how young boys ditched their steady girlfriends when she appeared on the scene.

She obviously wanted to impress on Larry and his audience one thing above all else – how beautiful she is. When she spoke of her physical beauty, and she did so without embarrassment or reluctance, it was with such conviction. But it was with less conviction, with some obvious insecurity, that she sought for an appropriate response to why she wrote the book. Eventually she derived from some simple cortex in her mind a scripted line to deal with the problem. Tracey wrote the book because she is now a born again Christian and she wanted to write this book to encourage others. To be a witness.

It was all too much for me. It probably wouldn’t have been if there hadn’t been so much of that God-factor involved. How can anyone empowered with so much concern and God-given grace towards others go on television and whine about a terrible life that stemmed most prominently from her (self-defined) incredible beauty? That’s like saying that everyone else is too plain, too not-beautiful to understand her life.

There’s an extreme vanity here that is far too puffed up. And there is an obscene lack of understanding as well. A lack of understanding that in this old world there are plenty of people living with the curse of marred faces – scarring or disfigurement from wounds, birth defects, or disease who would be deeply offended by this nonsense. And the rest of us, Plain Janes’ like me, found no encouragement in this discussion either. It is hard to swallow the nonsense that for those scarred and disfigured and for those Plain Janes’ like me, there is nothing for us to whine about – we are blessed and so incredibly lucky. After all, look how dreadful life could be if we were beautiful or looked like her, assuming that the two are one and the same. In addition, I don't think anyone appreciates being congratulated on having an ugly house, an ugly dress, an ugly car, or an ugly face. And in an oblique way, that is what her comments suggested.

Tracy pretends that life would have been so much better, the events so much sweeter, if she hadn’t been ‘cursed’ with such beauty of face. Give me a break. If it was such a curse why didn’t she pour battery acid on her face to simmer it down?

What seems to make more sense to me is that the root of Tracy’s problems may have been her own vanity and in acknowledging that, she probably could have written a better book. (though, admittedly I haven’t read the book and after watching that interview, I don’t intend to).

You know me. I’m not generally this negative. But maybe its just that right now, amidst the horrors of individuals ravaged by earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes, it is too difficult for me to switch to a similar ranking of the horrors of an existence ravaged by beauty.

Monday, October 10, 2005


It’s one of life’s bedtime rituals. A most pleasant ritual. When night falls, after a hot bath, I wrap myself in the cool cotton sheets of my bed and began planning, scheming, and creating blueprints.

Tomorrow. Yes, Tomorrow.

Tomorrow I will construct a stone garden wall, prune perennials, start another quilt, paint the deck – and so I lie in bed drafting blueprints, assembling equipment, walking slowly step-by-step through each of these appointed endeavors. I bury myself in creative ways to accomplish everything with total efficiency. The blueprints are reviewed in my mind to ensure there is no gaps or misalignments. The equipment inventory is audited again and again to ensure all will be in readiness. And as I mentally rehearse tomorrow’s work, and step through the processes, I feel such enjoyment. None of it is drudgery. With such great planning, there are no difficulties. Already I can revel in that overwhelming sense of personal worth and self satisfaction at what I will accomplish.

I look forward to tomorrow’s sunrise. Tomorrow will indeed be a most profitable day. So with the planning complete, I finally drift off to sleep. Morning comes so soon and as sunlight streaks through the blinds and tweaks at my eyelids and birdies chant morning songs to each other, I am so exhausted. I attempt to recapture a bit more repose, preferably REM repose, but any repose will do. But it is no use.

And that one fly, just one, that has somehow invaded the room, stomps on me with heavy feet. There seems to be no escape from its annoying buzz and swaggering rambles across my face and forehead. So I drag myself out of bed and throw on my housecoat only to find that the fuzzy-headed accompaniment of sleep has ruined everything. It has ripped up the blueprints, trashed the equipment, and erased the will. The damage is so thorough that today is quite hopeless. I no longer have the clarity of mind or motivation to do anything. I mean anything.

Now I know it doesn’t take much to brew a cup of coffee, but despite last eve’s alacrity of mind, I can’t even figure out how to do that simple task. And when my mind is like this I know what can happen. Languishing at the kitchen table waiting for coffee only to find that I’ve brewed a ten-cup morning fix of nothing but hot water. Or misplacing the filter and ending up with coffee that needs to be chewed. Or setting the coffee decanter askew and then wondering why the kitchen counter and floor is suddenly flooded with coffee-colored slop. Or I plug in the coffee and forget to turn it on. Or I turn it on and forget to plug it in.

So what a blessing when I hear Hub’s cheery voice. “Ready for coffee, my dear?”

And as I sip that coffee and the fuzziness falls away, I know that the extent of today’s endeavors will be nothing more than routine reactions to necessity. But that’s okay; not to worry. Tonight, I will climb into bed and once again I will formulate even bigger, better plans for tomorrow. Things so innovative, so wise, so creative, that you will be sick with envy. Tomorrow will indeed be a most profitable day.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


When a situation requires the forfeiture of life, and when that sacrifice goes on and on and numbers increase daily, how many have to die, before the participants are oppressed participants rather than willing participants? When does sacrifice (willing forfeiture of life) leave off, and tyranny (an unjust exercise of power and authority by a country’s leader) begin?

This was the thought that struck me as I listened to President Bush’s address on "The National Endowment of Philosophy Democracy" this morning.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


I am getting quite tired of all the talk about “nutritional food” vs “junk food”. It seems like we have talked and talked about nutrition until the word has lost all meaning. It is now in the same ball-park as other overused words like “democracy” and “freedom”. But the talk continues and now I see that some schools in England have dispensed with dispensing machines and are only serving hot “nutritional meals” to the kids and they are hoping and pushing for the same effort to be made in other developed countries.

So what is the context of nutrition in your mind? Anything that isn’t deep-fried? Any drink without sugar? Is it anything without salt, or sugar, or chemicals to retain freshness? Or is it anything that is so completely free of calories that it is one step removed from cardboard? Or does your mind just skip to six servings a day of fresh vegetables and fruits calculated by multiplying the amount of food you can hold in the palm of your hand? Or is it only brown eggs, and organic fruits and veggies? Is it only products made with whole grains? Or maybe its foods like apples, carrots, and potatoes with skins on. Maybe it’s just stuff high in fibre and low in fat. You see what a problem this nutrition business is.

But it becomes an even greater problem when one realizes that “nutrition” and “food” are one and the same. Either is any organic substance that contains or consists of essential body nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals, and is ingested and assimilated by an organism to produce energy, stimulate growth, and maintain life.

Now obviously, poor people can eat much cheaper by eating high fat, high carb stuff in moderation rather than switching to raw fruits and veggies. Is it fair what they are doing in England? Is it fair when children from families who exist on a repetitive diet of beans at home cannot have a plate of fries and a hamburger at school? How can this obesity-watching trend be democratic when it overlooks the children who are literally starving? When it seems to cater so strongly to those who just have too much money, too much food, too many choices.

Another problem with this Nutrition stuff is that it doesn’t take climate into account. Anyone should know that if you are sawing and splitting wood in minus thirty degree temperatures for four hours, a dinner of a lean piece of dime-sized meat, a palm-full of mashed potatoes, and four pineapple chunks ain’t going to cut it. But on the other hand if you are doing hard labor in a hot sun in the heat of the day in a tropical clime, a cold beer and a banana will suffice nicely for lunch.

But the experts know. And if we, for one minute, doubt the reliability of the experts, they will cough up a highly complex formula for calculating nutrition. Kilojoules vs kilocals, or else a differing formula that adds, subtracts, and finds the cosine of one’s height, ideal body weight, and ultimately nutritional requirements. Don’t even go there. The common man needs a more common solution.

So the oversimplified common solution is that when fat is less, calories are less, and mineral or vitamin content is high, that is nutritional food. So is nutritional food just stuff that allows us to make a total pigs of ourselves without becoming obese? (And if that is the case, why were all of the five Dietitians that I’ve ever been referred to, grossly overweight?)

You know nothing is so great an advantage to anyone in all aspects of life like a bit of self-discipline. How much more are we going to fuzz this nutrition business before we eventually swing to a new ideology that teaches variance and moderation. Or an ideology that has us listening to our bodies telling us what we need.

Now to tell you the truth I’ve never yet seen a comprehensive article written on Nutritious food. God knows, it was like uncovering some secret strategy of war to discover what a “serving” was. Nobody seemed to know. But finally, just yesterday, as a matter of fact, Hub told me what it is. A serving is the amount of peas, potatoes, or meat that you can hold in the palm of your hand. Oh please. Is this for real?

So just because Hub has little hands and short fingers and I have large hands and very long fingers, does that mean I can eat three times as much as him even though physically overall, he is much bigger than I? Does that mean that our rate of body metabolism is directly relative to the size of our hands? That’s about as rational as Big Sis was when she was in charge of splitting up a bag of the candy treats when I was a kid. Her adage was the smaller the child, the smaller the stomach, so as the youngest I got ten jelly beans, Brother, who was a year older got 12, and because she was three years older, she got 40.

Now I shouldn’t even tell you about my research. After all it wasn’t Academia-delegated or Government-funded, so it is quite unreliable for those reasons. Nevertheless, while in a busy airport watching a long line of travelers going through a baggage check, I grabbed a pen and paper and did my own Obesity Study. Out of 117 people, there was a ratio of obesity of 1 obese person to every 9 of standard or skinny proportions. And even at that, the ratio would have been less, because amidst the segment of people I labeled obese, there would have been a percentage that were not obese. They were simply the preferred weight they were meant to be – according to bone structure, height, rate of metabolism, and palm dimensions.