Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Meter Is Running

I finally got one of those site counter things. Now I'll be able to tell how many people are actually reading this blog. I hope this was a good idea.

I have been tracking the "check profile" numbers, and thanks to you wonderful 2,428 people out there! I realize my profile leaves a bit to be desired. I'll try to beef it up. I'll have to think of something to say about myself first.

Hm.

This could take a while.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Hoodwinked Indeed

Anyone who is contemplating spending precious family dollars on "Hoodwinked" should save his money.

Apparently some creative Hollywood genius got the bright idea to retell the Tale of Little Red Riding Hood, Rashomon- style. This means despite a lot of screen time give to a a very strange and sour-expressioned LRH, there really is no central character and no hero. This is not the kind of story that will make Americans stand up and cheer. Or keep their interest very long.

There's a bad guy, yes, but you figure out who he is immediately. (He's pretty obviously gay, by the way. Ever notice how Hollywood makes gays the bad guys?) Even the kids figured it out. The rest is all filler, with some remarkably dull pop tunes and old jokes.

In an audience full of the under-twelve set I counted ten laughs.

A waste of time and money.

Friday, January 27, 2006

NRO

Ahem. I too have a piece on NRO this week. Published yesterday, that is Thursday January 26. If you scroll down to the articles archive towards the bottom of the page, look me up under "Vigilante."

My husband is out of town this weekend, so Sophia and I look forward to a long, leisurely weekend of takeout food and DVDs. We're going to start with "George of the Jungle," one of the finest man-and-ape films ever made. By tomorrow night we will both be releasing our inner Queen of the Jungle. I love empowerment!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Je Me Reviens, I Think...

For a hilarious read go to www.nationalreview.com and check out Stephen Week's piece on the art of the memoir.

And somebody call Oprah, quick!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Dancing On Their Graves, Part Two

The "Rock For Roe" show was emceed by a young lady who calls herself "Indigo," a white chick with cropped hair and a full "ethnic" style skirt, representative of which ethnicity I couldn't say.

"We stand in solidarity with the GLBT community and all indigenous peoples!' Indigo declared. "Women are intelligent and spiritual! Deal with it!"

The crowd cheered. And I'm pretty sure they weren't all drunk.

"There are many ways to be pro-choice," she went on. "You can buy a bumpersticker and put it on your car. You can buy one and put it on somebody else's car. You can write articles, you can go on the internet, you can talk to people about your own--"

There was a brief but unmistakable hestitation. Then she finished:

"--happenstance circumstances."

"Happenstance circumstances"?

I didn't think I'd be taking notes at this shindig, but when I heard that I pulled out a pad and wrote it down. I didn't want to wake up in the middle of the night thinking I'd dreamed what I just heard.

"Happenstance circumstances."

The only thing Indigo could possibly have meant was "your own abortion." But for some reason, she choked. She had to stop, and come up with an awkward and meaningless phrase.

Why? If all these girls were so proud of being in favor of abortion on demand- so proud they were throwing parties about it, for God's sake-- why couldn't this woman proclaim it? Why couldn't she say, "Talk about your own abortions. Tell the world what a great thing it was, how it changed your life, how your choice led to freedom and peace."

She couldn't do it. At their big celebration, in front of a friendly crowd, she could not them that.

Which made me hope that perhaps even she knew it was a lie.

The evening wrapped with a performance by the Shim Sham Shufflers, a trio of tap dancers in tight shorts and black fishnet stockings. Back on the East Coast they'd probably be described as zaftig. Especially the one with the particularly impressive bosom and and even more impressive tattoo spanning that cleavage.

They did a number to the theme from "Peter Gunn." Gung-ho girls, they gave it the old school try. Big smiles, big boobs, lots of spirit.

But I think The Rockettes' reputation is still safe.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Dancing On Their Graves, Part One

You know rap music has been around a long time when even I can tell good rap from bad.

"Bad" is how I'd have to describe the act I caught last night. Three white boys in ghetto sweats demanding "respect." Call me picky but it's impossible to respect a man who doesn't have the sense to pull up his own pants.

The crowd at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis was 97 per cent white and 85 per cent female. I base these statistics on the fact that I counted heads. Although there was some changeover towards the end- the proverbial "margin of error"- I counted three "people of color" and fifteen men out of a crowd of one hundred. The rest were white chicks ("people of non-color").

I mention these numbers because this was clearly a set that respected statistics. I could tell by the enormous poster on the wall: "77% of anti-choice leaders are men. 100% of them will never get pregnant."

I really wanted to know how they arrived at that stat. Who were these anti-choice leaders, how did they define "leader," etc. I didn't get the chance to ask- too much noise in the place, no one would have heard me anyway.

Judging from the action going on among the ladies, though, I'd say only a minority of the women present were in any danger of getting pregnant. Certainly not last night, anyway.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Violins, Please. Make Them Electric.

One of the most constant mantras of the pro-abortionists is "safe, legal, and rare."

Abortions should be "safe," meaning for the docs who perform it and the poor women who are hoodwinked into it.

It should be "legal," meaning unfettered access to abortion for all, including children without their parents' knowledge.

And above all (violins here, move in for the soulful closeup) it should be "rare." Rare, because its such a painful decision. And painful decisions are bad for you, as every civilized person knows. Bad, bad, bad.

So what are they partying about?

Yesterday at the YWCA I noticed a bright new poster on the bulletin board.

"ROCK FOR ROE!"

"Celebrating the 33rd anniversary of Roe V. Wade, the decision legalizing abortion in the U.S."

Two concerts- an "all ages" concert at five, and a "21+" beginning at ten- preceeded by a reception at the Macalester Alumni House. "Enjoy wine, music and appetizers as we celebrate the 33rd anniversary of Roe V. Wade!"


If you go to www.rockforroe.com you can see the poster for yourself. I had to go to the website because, oddly, there were no directions or mention of a venue on the poster at the Y.

I wonder why.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Black Sheep

Monday January 16: "Gay shepherd movie" wins top Golden Globes.
Friday January 20: Dow tumbles to a three-year-low.
Coincidence?
DIH thinks not....

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Mayor Predicts Chocolate City! Butter Pecan Lobby Outraged!

Ray Nagin is growing on me.

When he first started screaming his head off in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I thought he was just a pathetic excuse for a leader. Not to mention an ignoramus: Katrina was "the worst disaster in the history of the country"? Did he miss, oh I don't know, the Civil War? the influenza pandemic? World War II, maybe?

Now, though, I'm beginning to see the guy can be a real hoot. In his Martin Luther King Day speech, Mayor Nagin explained that the reason there were so many hurricanes in 2005 was that God was angry at a) black people and b) the U.S. for being in Iraq.

The good news is this certainly shuts up those pesky "climate change" types.

The bad news is-- well, the bad news is a loony like Nagin still holds public office in the United States.

But after yesterday's performance maybe he won't for much longer.

While he's around, though, I'm going to be sure to check out his remaining speeches. They ought to be a riot.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Brokebaaaack

The Golden Globes are upon us, and if the hype is to be believed, "Brokeback Mountain" leads the pack.

The PR for this film keeps insisting that it's not just just a "gay cowboy"movie.

And they are right: it's not.

It's a gay SHEPHERD movie.

These guys wrangle sheep, not cows! And do we really have to ask what young men and sheep get up to all day?

Full disclosure: I haven't seen the movie. But I read the story.

The film critics keep dancing around the central scene, saying things like "the filmmakers avoided the more graphic depictions of the relationship between the two men " yadda yadda.

Let me spell it out for you: they mean they left out the "Deliverance" scene. Presumably so they can pretend "Brokeback Mountain" was really a lovely, tender, romantic story.

It has all the tenderness of "Deliverance." And none of the "Duelling Banjos."

Just what one wants in a date movie.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Mea Culpa Again

A reader asked, tactfully, if I'd welcomed my new readers who found me via Ann Coulter's site.

Let me do that now. WELCOME COULTER FANS! I am happy to meet you all and I am delighted you're enjoying this blog!

Now a question. Many of you may have noticed I do not publish a blogroll. If you're wondering why: I dont' know how to.
Can anyone out there tell me how to establish a blogroll?

Anyone? Anyone?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Husbandspeak

Wife's translations provided.

"We have to clean out the garage."
You have to clean out the garage.

"I put a ton of money in your account."
You have sixty dollars.

"Whenever I've done the laundry, I've always matched up the socks!"
All three times.

"I'll take you out to dinner."
If you pick the restaurant (and no Indian, Thai, French, Italian, or any of that "new food" stuff), make the reservation, get a sitter, and oh yeah, bring your credit card.)

"It's on my list."
Right down the memory hole....

"I'll help you look for it."
I will peer over your shoulder commenting on the state of the closets as you look for the desired item.

"Where are my (suspenders, striped shirts, pants...)?"
Did you unpack my suitcase from that trip I took six weeks ago?

"Do you think it's time we took down the Christmas tree?'
How come you haven't taken it down yet?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

My LIfe As A Kennedy

News item:

Senator Kennedy Writes For Children

If Madonna can do it, and Jamie Lee Curtis and Bill Cosby and LeAnn Rimes and Maria Shriver and Sarah, the Duchess of York, why not Edward M. Kennedy? Yes, the senior senator from Massachusetts is joining the ranks of children's book authors. Come May, Scholastic will celebrate Splash, his Portuguese water dog, and take readers through a day in the senator's life and the legislative process by publishing "My Senator and Me: A Dog's Eye View of Washington, D.C."- New YorkTImes, January 10, 2006


Hi! I'm Splash. I am a Portuguese water dog. I live here in our nation's capital, Washington, D.C. with my best friend in the whole world, Senator Kennedy. And I want to take you through our day!

It's morning here in Washington, and it's time for me to wake my Senator up. I jump up on the bed and lick his face. Boy, he sure is sleepy today! He keeps rubbing his head and groaning. Is "sh*t-faced" a people word?

I bring him the newspaper. There's a picture of a blonde lady on the front page. She must be important because her picture is in the paper a lot. I think she must not go to a very good groomer- man, her hair is a mess. She must have a dog, too- a girl dog. At least, the Senator always mentions a girl dog whenever her name comes up.

Time to go to work! The Senator and I jump into the car. We never have to sit in traffic. When the other drivers see us they all get off the road quick.

The Senator's office is in a big white building. Time for my morning walk! We stop in front of a door that says "Majority Leader." I don't know why those people get so mad every morning. This is my "walk," for Pete's sake. You'd think none of them ever owned a dog.

In the Senator's office I curl up on the floor. I tried to curl up under the secretary's desk once but the Senator told me to get lost. So I had to find another place.

We take a break and go down to the tennis courts. Uh-oh! There's someone playing on our favorite court! The Senator give me a wink, and I run over and bite them on the calf. They decide to leave early. The Senator gives me a pat on the head for that.

Well, we've had a busy day. But there's one more thing to do. I know it's important to the Senator because we do it every chance we get. We stop at the National Archives and look at a big, old document in a glass case. The Senator stands there, reading the words. "We the People," he sighs, "we, the people. Okay, Splash."

I jump up and pee on the case.

The Senator smiles.

"Good dog," he says.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Wave of the future

Today we observe the first appearance of the Howard Stern show on Sirius satellite radio.

Depending on who you listen to, this is either a great leap forward for the communications biz or a sign of the Apocalypse.

I was living in DC when that airplane took off from National Airport for Florida and then slammed into the 14th Street Bridge, killing I dont' remember how many poor people. The stories from that crash never left me. I'm thinking of one right now and I cant' even bear to type it. Anyone who was in DC then probably knows the one I mean.

I remember how Stern called the airline the next morning and asked how much was a ticket from National to the 14th Street Bridge.

Obscene! the critics cried. Heartless! Wrong, wrong, wrong!

No, people. What was obscene, what was heartless, what was wrong, wrong, wrong was the fact that the airline let that plane take off with ice still on the wings. Stern rubbed the airline's nose in it, yes. But he sure as hell didn't kill those people.

I admit, even though he could be way over the top sometimes, years ago I liked Stern's show. Yeah, it was idiotic. But I liked Stuttering John asking Gennifer Flowers "Did Governor Clinton use a condom? Do you plan on sleeping with any other presidential candidates?" And I loved Robin Quivers' voice.

But what I really appreciated about him was the fact that Stern was different: he was married. He was married to a woman he'd met in college. He moved from job to job, worked insane hours. She believed in him and stuck with him. They had daughters. And even after fame struck, at first anyway, he stayed with her. That alone made him different: that he had commitments that were tough to keep and he kept them.

But then Stern-- after the books and the movie and the superstardom--got divorced, left his wife, and took himself a trophy wife, a stunning super-model type who wouldnever have dreamed of giving him the time of day before he was a superstar. (Note to Howard: hope the money holds out.)

He turned out to be just like everyone else.

People like that aren't at all interesting.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Time To Make The Donutzzzz...

I dont' like to brag but I am the official "Donut Coordinator" for Holy Family Catholic Academy. This means that once a month I am in charge of organizing a passle of schoolkids (and hopefully their better-coordinated moms) to serve coffee and donuts after the nine o'clock mass at the church. Today is my day.

Note that it is already 7:27 am. Significance: I am already late.

Our little family is not feeling so great this weekend. There's a nasty tummy flu going around; Richard had it yesterday and I feel its stirrings within myself even as I type.

But I am Donut Woman. I must forge on.

I must turn on the coffee machine (it takes an hour to warm up), set up the tables, line up some 43 dozen sticky messy sugary pastries on trays, collar a few kids to run the dishwashing operation, soothe the moms who've never done donut duty before and are having performance anxiety, avoid eye contact with the octogenarian usher who doesn't like the way I make the coffee (too strong; this is Minnesota, after all, not Rome), start pouring and keep smiling.

If I dont' throw up. That's the key.

If the whole parish comes down with the flu tomorrow, pretend you never read any of this.

Friday, January 06, 2006

And There Really Is A Hogwarts, Too

I finally got hold of Ann Coates, the mastermind behind the Adult Academy in Eden Prairie.

First of all, let me say that Ann Coates is a woman of excellent literary taste. It took her a year and a half to read "The Da Vinci Code" because it was so stunningly boring. "I just didnt' think it was that good. And I am not interested in reading anything else by Dan Brown."

She decided to host the seminar anyway, though. "Between the movie and the book, I thought it would be good to offer a forum."

I asked her what it was about Opus Dei that was so frightening.

"Well," she said, " for one thing, nobody even knows if they exist or not!"

AlI I could do was try to break it to her gently.

"Are you Catholic?" she demanded.

"Yes."

"Well....that's why you know about it, then," she said. "I'm not Catholic so that's why I didn't know."

[Full disclosure: I am not a Buddhist. But I know who the Dalai Lama is. I'm not a Protestant, but I know what Campus Crusade is. I'm not Hasidic but I can tell you who Rabbi Schneerson was, I'm not a New Ager but... well, you get the idea.]


"Look," she went on, "I don't even know what Opus Dei is. All I know is from the novel. " And as to the "frightful" bit , "I just go with what the teacher write. I didn't question it."

Well. There's really only one word for it:

Inspiring.


So I've decided to submit a few course proposals myself. You can sign on online at www.publiceducationiswortheverytaxpayersdimeIswear.com


"Paul *Is* Dead!" A renowned Minnesota "symbologist" examines the clues in the famous 'Abbey Road' photograph and unravels the secret behind such *masterpieces* as "ebony and Ivory" and the Coca-Cola jingle."

" In Synch!" Guest instructors Milli Vanilli show us how to break into the pop star biz.

"Leibe Diary." A close textual examination of the famous "Hitler diaries" discovered in 1983. We will pore over such entries as "Der Bingle- ach, meine herze!" and "MONTY IST EIN FRAULEIN!!"

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Meanwhile...

I called the local diocesan newspaper. "Hey, are you guys following the Da Vinci Seminar story?'

"Oh yes. Yes we are. In fact I'm going to the lecture myself."

"You're kidding."

"No no. Tonight at 7 pm."

"Um-- this lecture isn't until April."

"Oh."

I read her the catalog description.

She could not get her mind around the basic issue. "I don't have any problem with people calling them frightening. A community college-"

"Community center, " I corrected.

"-- is not a church institution, they don't have to be in line with church teachings."

"But that's the point. This is a tax-supported center. A public program. I dont' have any problem with people teaching this stuff either, but not on my dime."

[Full disclosure: actually I have a big problem with teaching myth and prejudice and passing it off as fact-- ignorance is a BIG problem - but that gets us back to the public education debate.]

"People can make a choice to go or not go," she said, playing the sacred "choice" card. She probably thought I'd drop dead from the weight of its sheer awesome power.

"They can't make a choice about paying their taxes," I said.


"We are not the Catholic Defense League," the woman said huffily, and the conversation ended.

I love the Catholic press....

Be Afraid. Very Afraid.

Although he is not Catholic and not connected to Opus Dei, and although he has no direct experience of the organization, Mr Tkach had plenty of complaints about it. "They're elitist. If you want to be a member you'd better have a master's degree and a couple hundred thousand in the bank. They own a 47-story in midtown Manhattan, you know."

"What's wrong with that?" I asked.

[Full disclosure: Boy, do I wish I owned a 47-story building in midtown Manhattan! I bet Dan Brown does, too!]

Mr Tkach didn't have an answer to that. Maybe he was having real-estate dreams, too.

I told him that for me the really interesting point was the description. In particular, the line "Opus Dei frightfully exists right here in the USA, today!" (The description was written by Mr Tkach.)

I asked George Tkach what he found frightening about Opus Dei.

He told me he wished he hadn't put the word in, and if he had it to do again he would have left it out. In fact, he'd had concerns about the word at the time, and discussed it with Ann Coates, the Program Coordinator of the Adult Program at Eden Prairie. Mr Tkach was afraid the word might be too controversial. But Ms. Coates, he says, told him to leave it in.

He expects controversy. He even thinks protestors might turn up at the seminar. "But I know how to handle them," he said.

I've called Ms. Coates four times now. Last time, I was told she was out of the office; then in a meeting; then out of the office again. "But she got the message," the lady assured me. "We emailed it to her, and I've left a note on her chair as well. She'll call you back, I just dont' know when."

So, I'm waiting.

The Professor

The gentleman who is teaching the Da Vinci Code Historical Seminar in Eden Prairie's "Adult Academy" is a retired Navy officer named George Tkach (pronounced "t'kosh"). When I talked to him yesterday he described himself as a "major fan of art history" who is "deeply interested in the Gnostic Gospels and Coptic Christianity." He was trained as an engineer, he said, and Da Vinci had always been a sort of hero to him.

George Tkach is a nice man. He chatted amiably about the lecture he's planning. But not until he'd asked me a pretty blunt question.

GT: Are you a Catholic, by any chance?

DIH: Yeah. Sure.

GT: And have you read the book?

DIH: Yes....

[Full disclosure: I read as much of it as I could stand. It's a really lousy book.]

GT: That's good. Some dioceses have outlawed the book, you know. Several bishops have forbidden their members to read it.

[Full disclosure: I called the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and asked if this was true. After an astonished "What?", the spokesman there said, "I never heard of such a thing."]


Mr Tkach is not a Catholic and has no direct experience of Opus Dei. He did have some friends who were members, and he found his experience with them "unsettling." I asked if his friends found it unsettling. He said no, in fact they were still members.

Opus Dei, he said, is "Not a part of the Catholic Church.It's an arm of the pope. They're patterned on the Jesuits. The Jesuits' motto is 'The end justifies any means.'"

[Full disclosure: This makes Mr Tkach an even crappier Latin student than I was. The Jesuit motto, Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam, is most commonly translated as "To the greater glory of God."]

This guy is teaching a seminar?

Developing.....

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Teaching the Da Vinci Code In The Public Schools

The Winter & Spring 2006 Community Education Catalog of the Eden Prairie Schools (that's public schools, folks; you know, your tax dollars at work) is out. Ready for the very first course offering?

"Da Vinci Code Historical Seminar"

"Did you find the historical events in the 2003 fictional best-seller interesting but too fantastic to believe? Actually, most of the background items cited in the book were tied to events purportedly recorded in history."

"Purportedly recorded"? What on earth could that possibly mean?

But I digress. Take it from me, the rest of the description reads no more clearly.

One thing is clear, though: the purpose of this course, offered by a public institution, is to persuade us to take the anti-Catholic fantasies of Dan Brown's book seriously.

Any doubts about that are erased by the assertion, "The Priory of Sion actually existed since 1099, and Opus Dei frightfully exists right here in the USA, today!"

Developing.....

Monday, January 02, 2006

Nyquil Psycho

Three days ago I gave up on denial: I do not have allergies, I have a cold. That's why the eyes are streaming and the nose is itching and my head is so full of fluid I'm sloshing when I nod.

Unfortunately there is only one thing that makes it possible for me to sleep through the congestion: Nyquil.

The trouble is Nyquil gives me nightmares. I haven't had dreams this sick since they put me on steriods in the hospital fifteen years ago. (The dreams involved the never-made-it pop duo Nelson and a flannel pajama factory. Dont' ask.)

I read the ingredients on the Nyquil label. Then I went to the NIH website searching for clues as to why I was turning into a midnight psychopath.

Big waste of time.

There are basically three ingredients in Nyquil: acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and doxylamine.

Acetaminophen is a fever reducer. No interesting side effects but lots of warnings about your liver.

Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant that may also make you drowsy, dizzy, lightheaded or restless. I'm not convinced you can be drowsy and restless at the same time, but maybe you can if you knock back enough of this stuff.

Doxylamine is an antihistamine sometimes prescribed for short-term treatment of insomina. In other words that's the stuff that's supposed to make you sleepy. Unless it makes you nervous and/or excitable, both possible side effects, along with vision problems, dry mouth, and a few others. Nothing about nightmares.

The only thing I came away with from the NIH website was the extraordinary display of pointless warnings our government agencies are capable of churning out.

Favorite non-warning: "Although studies on birth defects with hydrocodone have not been done in humans, it has not been reported to cause birth defects in humans."

Maybe that will be my next nightmare: I'l find myself trapped in the NIH, forced to write warning labels on OTC cold remedies.