Sunday, September 30, 2007

Weekend Journal

SATURDAY. Take child to her soccer game; further attempts to housebreak dog; attend pro-life fundraising banquet with Bible Babes. Go out for a beer afterwards.
SATURDAY NIGHT/SUNDAY MORNING: take dog out at two a.m. in thunderstorm. Return to bed.
RESULT: dream that Oprah Winfrey buys the Drudge Report.

I know there's a connection in there somewhere, i know it...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Candidates Take A Few Calls

Wall Street Journal Wednesday, September 26, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

"Most Americans understand it takes an extra chromosome to run for President, but there are some limits on odd behavior. Which makes us wonder what Rudy Giuliani was thinking last Friday when he accepted, and even flaunted, a phone call from his wife Judith in the middle of his speech to the National Rifle Association.

"This was no emergency call. His cell phone rang in his pocket during his speech, which is itself unusual; most public officials turn theirs off during events, if only out of courtesy for the audience. Mr. Giuliani went on to answer it and carry on a routine "love you" and "have a safe trip" exchange with Mrs. Giuliani while the crowd (and those of us watching on C-Span) wondered what in the world that was all about."

[Sound of a ring-tune, "We're In the Money"]
MRS CLINTON: Excuse me. Hello? Oh, hi- um (to audience) Just a minute, my fellow Americans! (sotto voce) Ell-say those utures-fay, I'll get back to you later...

(Ring tone: DOINK-DOINK!)
SEN, THOMPSON: Hang on, folks. Yeah? Nuh-uh. No way. Not for less than 2 mil an episode. Tell him he can take that Emmy of his and---

(Ring tune, "Paper Roses.")
GOV. ROMNEY: Excuse me- Hi, honey. Hi, honey. Hi, honey. Hi, Honey.....

Monday, September 24, 2007

Cheap Shot

"WASHINGTON- After two weeks of denials, the New York Times acknowledged that it should not have given a discount to for a full-page advertisement assailing Gen. David Petraeus. The liberal advocacy group should have paid $142,000 for the ad callling the U.S. commander in Iraq "General Betray Us," not $65,000, the paper's public editor wrote Sunday.

"We made a mistake, " Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis was quoted as saying.

"The Times also violated its own advertising policy, which bars 'attacks of a personal nature.' [Public editor ] Clark Hoyt added that the episode 'gave fresh ammunition to a cottage industry that loves to bash the Times as a bastion of the 'liberal media.'"

I hear you. Clark, The nerve of some people. P.S.- that "cottage industry" is also known as "the internet." Which makes it one big old cottage if you ask me.

Marcel Marceau

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Friday, September 21, 2007

The Price of Fame!

Well this is exciting.

Yesterday DIH emailed her incredibly chic and slender NYC buddy Lisa and, not to put too fine a point on it, whined that Lisa never seems to read her blog. Lisa, being charitable as well as chic, copied this address and tried to find this site.

Well, not exactly.

There was one little problem: DIH had madea teeny, tiny typo in the address. I instructed Lisa to go to something called

See the mistake? "Blogpsot", not "blogspot."

Anyway Lisa went to that address. And guess what she found?

Go on, guess.

Nope. Not porn this time.


A "Bible College" site.

If you make that same typo you too will be directed to something called "Bible College Online." It bills itself as "a mega-site of Bible, Christian and religious information and studies."

Who runs this site, I wondered? It turned out that none of them would give their names. The only "author" information given is "A team of many people have combined their knowledge and efforts to make this site possible. Among these are several missionaries.. and an author of one of the most extensive Bible Prophecy books ever published."(They actually give that guy's name later, but you can't contact him- he's dead.)
They give a mission statement, too: "This web site is dedicated TO SEEK AND TO SAVE THAT WHICH WAS LOST-Lk 19:10." Also to get people to donate to the website- there's an address for your checks. It's a post office box in Florida. Again, no names.

Ok, OK, call me suspicious. But does anyone else smell a rat here?

I mean, come on. This blog is blatantly if ineptly Catholic, right? And anything that calls itself a "Bible College" is, well, not.

I turned to the site's "Catholic Information" page. What a read! Man, if half the stuff they say here is true I am living one wild life!
Quoting Revelations : 17: "AND I SAW A WOMAN SIT UPON A SCARLET COLOURED BEAST. The woman is pictured as a city in Rev 17:18...17:4-AND THE WOMAN WAS ARRAYED IN PURPLE AND SCARLET COLOUR, AND DECKED WITH GOLD AND PRECIOUS STONES AND PEARLS. The city is portrayed in these colors and glittering. Do these previous words also fit the church at Rome? What colors have the pope and his cardinals worn in the past?"


" 17:9-AND HERE IS THE MIND WHICH HATH WISDOM. THE SEVEN HEADS ARE SEVEN MOUNTAINS, ON WHICH THE WOMAN SITTETH. The city is shown to be sitting on seven mountains or hills. There is a city, that is a trade capital, that does sit on seven mountains, having a worldwide religion that is part of the city itself. That city is Rome. The religion is the Roman Catholic Church."


There are so many gems on this stie it's hard to choose. "All outstanding festivals of the Roman Catholic Church are of Babylonian origin. " "Nuns are nothing more than an imitation of the "Vestal Virgins" of pagan Rome." "607 Boniface III made first Pope."

Well, all I can say is I'm proud to do my part to keep this here worldwide conspiracy going. Oh gosh, look at the time- must run, have to pick up my pearls.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gossip Girl

With the spouse away for a few days, DIH is in full possession of the remote. And last night she took advantage of the situation by checking of the new TV series "Gossip Girl."

"Gossip Girl," for those of you who (choose one) a) are hopelessly out of touch or b) have better things to do with the few days God allots us on earth, is based on the novel of the same name. Basically it's filthy rich high school- oh, I'm sorry, "prep school" kids in Manhattan. They do cool things like wear designer clothes, cut class, snark about each other and commit statutory rape. All in the spirit of "finding themselves," of course.

In the interest of saving the general public the time and the tedium of watching "Gossip Girl" DIH will share her observations.

1. Only in Hollywood do girls' school uniforms include neckties. Probably feeds some kiddie porn image somewhere.

2. Sooner or later DIH expects a class-action lawsuit against the producers of "Gossip Girl." The clear case of discrimination: a simple matter of black and white. All the good girls are blondes, all the bad ones brunettes. They might as well have worn cowboy hats.

3. The bar at the New York Palace Hotel is a lot more attractive on film than it is in real life. This bar features promintently in Gossip Girl. It's a pretty distinctive setting: there's a huge tent-like structure behind the bar that thanks to LED lighting is constantly changing colors. DIH and the spouse stayed at the stunning hotel a couple of weeks ago with a group of fellow Minnesotans. Being Minnesotans, of course, at first we all thought somebdoy was camping in the bar, but that turned out not to be true. In real life thebar is way too noisy- loud music in a freakin' cave, for Pete's sake, On TV the sound is well modulated. The characters can actually hear each other speak.

4. No matter how cruel, shallow, and vicious the children in "Gossip Girl" may be, they will never, EVER commit the unpardonable sin of SMOKING A CIGARETTE. Not once. That would violate all Hollywood's ethics. And since it only has the one, they like to make the most of it. So don't worry that your kids will get tth idea that smoking is cool from wathcing "GG." They're safe on that one.

5. They will, however, get to see a lot of cool kids drinking martinis. And let's be honest, martinis are undeniably cool. Those long-stemmed glasses, that crystal-clear liquid, that 100% alcohol... and there's some Vitamin C in the lemon twist, don't forget. Health, health, health, darling!

6. The coolest thing about prep school life: there doesn't seem to be much "school" involved. Wild parties, lavish apartments, eye-popping wardrobes, and an obscene amount of money to spend, but no actual school. How cool is that?

DIH expects a storm of protests about "Gossip Girl." Most of them will come from concerned parents' groups, or maybe even TV critics. But she will bide her time waiting for the big one: surely the New York Palace Hotel will sue for defamation. If half the underage drinking goes on in that bar as "Gossip Girl" suggests, they're gonna lose their license pronto. So if I were you, Palace lawyers, I'd get on the stick right away.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Has The Time For Atkins Come At Last?

From today's LATimes:

"High wheat prices take the cake

"Bad weather has ravaged crops worldwide, making everything from pasta to Twinkies cost more.
By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 18, 2007
From pastries to pasta, the price of just about everything made with wheat is going up.

"Blame the trend on a biblical bout of bad weather -- drought, freezes and floods -- that has decimated wheat crops and created shortages around the world.

" 'It's tough. Wheat is in everything we do.'
— Charles Feder, Pastry business owner

"Wheat futures hit a record of $8.87 a bushel in Chicago trading last week before retreating to $8.75 on Monday. Still, that's a huge jump from $3.95 a year ago.

"'This is a historic level. There is no way we can cut costs fast enough or deep enough to handle this type of huge increase in wheat,' said Bill Nictakis, president of the fresh bakery division at Sara Lee Corp.

"Sara Lee raised the prices of its own bread and bagels by 5% last week, and the cost of what it bakes for the private labels of retailers by 6% to 7%.

"And it's not just Sara Lee and its customers who are feeling the pinch.

"Shoppers in Rome are threatening pasta boycotts to protest rising prices. In Lanzhou in western China workers are complaining about paying more at the industrial city's 3,000 noodle shops. And in the United States, parents are shelling out more for all the Wonder Bread and Hostess Twinkies that are stuffed into school lunchboxes."

I don't know about you, but DIH is hyperventilating. Does this mean we wil have to go low-carb if we want to put the kid through college? Must I turn to the "Hunter-Gatherer Diet," where all you eat is nuts and berries and animals you've killed yourself? (Actually I hear that diet does wonders for one's skin. Hm.)

Today's agenda: go to Costco. Buy a dozen of those humonguous chocolate layer cakes they sel that as soooooo gooooood..... Buy a freezer. Preserve cakes against shortage.

But take some deep breaths first.

Monday, September 17, 2007

"If Mothers Ruled the World...."

When I first heard the Fox broadcast of last night's Emmy Awards shortened a speech by Sally Field, I thought, That was nice of them. I mean, she's never really lived down that "You LIKE me!" gush, has she?

But I read on. Sally was apparently giving an anti-war speech. As the LA Times reports:

"Producers of Sunday's Emmy telecast bleeped best drama actress winner Sally Field in the midst of a controversial acceptance speech attacking U.S. involvement in Iraq. 'If mothers ruled the world, there wouldn't be any god -' she said when the sound went dead and the camera suddenly turned away from the stage so viewers would be distracted. Chopped off were the words "god-damned wars in the first place.' (The phrase was not censored in the Canadian telecast.)"

Now here is food for thought indeed. DIH had two, a record before her second cup of joe.

1. Thought number one: How many kids did Catherine the Great have again?

2. Thought number two: OK, say mothers really did rule the world. We'd all be in therapy for the rest of our lives. Oh sure, kids would pick up their toys if they wanted to avoid the hoosegow, and you might see a few more beds get made. But ask yourself, would it be worth it?

Oh Sally, meditate on the wise words of Woody Allen in "Manhattan," when he tells Diane Keaton that his son is being raised by his ex-wife and her live-in girlfriend.

Diane Keaton: Oh, they've done studies on that. It's fine. It's like having two mothers.
Woody: In my experience most people barely survive one mother.

Somebody e-mail Sally and remind her about the Amazons.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Virtues of One of My Vices

Laziness is a vice. One of the seven deadlies, in fact.

But have you ever considered its virtues?

This is more and more obvious to DIH as she notes good blogs dropping all around her. First Amy Welborn, then Wuzzadem... they keep hanging up their keyboards, one by one.

And why, one asks? DIH's theory: they thought the had to be actually good.

Now there's a poisonous thought for a writer if ever there was one. Once you believe you have to be actually good, you start thinking you have to work at your blog. You do foolish things like research and linking and videos and labels and "pings" and whatnot. All that takes time and effort. Just the sort of thing that wears one out.

DIH, on the other hand, has never entertained such goals of excellence. She neither links nor pings; heck, she still hasn't fixed the blogroll. And that Sitemeter thing? Fugghedaboutit.

Low standards allow me to blog on uninhibited. This is a good thing, from my point of view.

I'm not so sure about the reader's.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Oh Goody, Another One

In Zimbabwe, scandal fells Mugabe critic

"Pius Ncube resigns as archbishop after lurid photos and allegations of a 'love nest' are published. His supporters say the regime is behind the stories."
By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 12, 2007
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA -- -- A camera planted in the bedroom of Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube has felled President Robert Mugabe's most prominent and outspoken critic in Zimbabwe.

The Vatican announced Tuesday that it had accepted Ncube's resignation from his leadership post, which came after the Zimbabwean state media in July splashed lurid photographs and video footage of a naked man resembling Ncube in what they called his "love nest."

The stories, and a civil lawsuit filed at the same time, accused him of having sex with a married woman, Rosemary Sibanda. They also claimed that Sibanda, a secretary for the Catholic Church, was not the only woman with whom he had broken his vows of celibacy.
The scandal stories were published at the same time a $170,000 civil suit was filed by railway worker Onesimus Sibanda, Rosemary's husband. Skeptics questioned how such a low-salaried worker could afford to hire a private detective, Ernest Tekere, who claimed to have planted the camera and collected the evidence."

On the other hand,

"Shari Eppel, a human rights activist who has worked closely with Ncube for 12 years, said the archbishop was tormented by the pain release of the photos has caused others.

"And the pain for people around here has been immense. I haven't seen such emotion around an issue in Zimbabwe for a very long time," she said.

"I think one of the most ironic things about this resignation is that he has done the honorable thing. We have a government which has tortured and murdered people with impunity for decades and we have never had a resignation."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11, Six years Later

[DIH posted this last year on the anniversary of 9/11. She posts it again today. ]

Where were you when the planes hit the Towers?

I was in California, at a resort near Lake Tahoe with my husband and the baby we'd brought home from Cambodia just ten days earlier. We were there for a conference. I remember I woke up ridiculously early, around five. At the time I attributed it to still being on East Coast time. Now I'm not so sure.

I tiptoed out of the bedroom so as not to wake Richard or baby Sophia. I remember looking at the huge TV in our sitting room. wanting to turn it on but unwilling to make any noise. So I sat there, staring at the blank screen. I felt like I was waiting for something.

The something came in the form of a phone call from one of the conference managers. "There's been this huge terrorist attack!"

I got on the phone and tried to call my family in New York. I needed to find my brother , who worked in the city for an investment house. But no calls were going through.

We went down to the conference command center, where ten or fifteen New Yorkers were gathered around the TV screen. The news was confusing and devastating. The room was virtually silent, except for the drone of the TV and the occasional person wondering aloud where their roommates/boyfriends/sisters were, trying to keep the panic out of their voices.

I must have started hyperventilating or something, because all of a sudden I realized I needed some air. I put Sophia into a stroller and took her for a walk on the woodland paths near the hotel. I thought, Ten days ago I brought this child out of Cambodia so she could have a better life here. Now I can't even promise her safety?

They cancelled the conference. They had to, since no flights were being allowed. The huge resort was like a ghost town, with only a handful of people drfiting through its lounges and passageways. Everyone talked in whispers.

Church services were organized. We knelt together in a small rustic church that usually had only vacationers as its congregation. We sang God Bless America. We cried.

The next day we were able to call New York. My brother and all my family were fine; one friend had had a close call, late for work and just getting off the subway when the first plane hit, a couple of blocks from her office when she saw the second plane strike the other tower. In the coming week I would learn about friends who weren't so lucky. We all did. And we all grieved.

9/11 is a day everyone who lived through it will remember the same way they remember where they were when Kennedy was shot, or when the Great Blackout hit New York. I know that I cannot forget the devastation of that day, or the realization that came afterwards: that we were at war with an enemy who refuses to show himself until he was slitting the throats of helpless flight attendants, or murdering fathers and mothers and children.

There is one other thing about that day that will live in my memory until I have no more memory left. In the conference office we stood around the television in a big semi-circle, our eyes glued to the screen, our ears straining for any new information, any sign of hope. Suddenly one of the staffers cried out. "Hey!"

He pointed.

Across the empty space of the semi-circle, on the carpeted floor of the conference room, Sophia Teresa Vigilante was taking her first steps.

I had my sign of hope.

God never gives up, people. And neither should we.

Friday, September 07, 2007

There's No Other Word For It

...but "disgusting."

From today's LA TImes:

SANTA BARBARA -- For 43 years, Sister Angela Escalera has lived and often worked out of her order's small convent on this city's east side, helping the area's many poor and undocumented residents with translation, counseling and other needs.

Now retired and partly disabled at 69, the nun thought she would live out her days here, in the community where she is still an active volunteer and in the dwelling that was built for the order in 1952.

But she and the other two nuns at the Sisters of Bethany house recently received word that their convent, which is owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, will be sold to help pay the bill for the church's recent, multimillion-dollar priest sex abuse settlement.

The nuns have four months to move out, according to a letter from the archdiocese. The notice, which was dated June 28 but not received until the end of August, asked the women to vacate the property no later than Dec. 31 -- and noted that an earlier departure "would be acceptable as well." Signed by Msgr. Royale M. Vadakin, the archdiocese's vicar general, the letter offers the nuns no recourse but thanks them for their understanding and cooperation during a difficult time.

"We're just so hurt by this," Escalera, the order's local superior, said this week. "And what hurts the most is what the money will be used for, to help pay for the pedophile priests. We have to sacrifice our home for that?"

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Radio Bit

I was just listening to Laura Ingraham duke it out with a woman who represents a group called "Mexicans Without Borders."
They were talking about immigration reform.

OK. Tell me.

Am I the only one who heard "Mexicans Without Borders" and thought it was a comedy troupe?

Luciano Pavarotti

We note with sadness the passing of Luciano Pavarotti, surely the greatest tenor of his day in anyone's book.

DIH has all his operas on CD and will listen in memoriam this week. She only heard him sing live once, in concert, on a tiny stage when she was in college. Afterwards she even got him to sign her program. Was particularly gratified by the way he blew off the obnoxious Dante scholar on line ahead of her.

Pace, Luciano. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Mean Greens

"19 bicyclists arrested after rally turns into melee"
Minneapolis Star Tribune, Saturday Sept. 1, 2007

"Police arrested 19 bicylcists, including three juveniles, after a protest ride took an ugly turn in downtown Mineapolis Friday night.
"About 200 bicyclists were riding on La Salle Avenue with two officers monitoring the protest that called for reduced reliance on automoblie transportation. The ride was also linked with weekend protests of next year's Republican National Convention in the Twin Cities.
"When officers tried to arrest a rider they felt had been trying to provoke them, a scuffle broke out, said Minneapolis Police Lt. Marie Pryynski. 'When the officer went to arrest him, his buddy came up, and they started to struggle with the officer.
A group surrounded the officers and began to chant 'Let them go!" Then several people tried to prevent the officers from arresting the indviduals,' she said.

"Soon the two officers were surrounded by about 30 people, and they issued the call 'officer needs help.'
That brought 48 officers from six deifferent law enforcement agencies racig to the scene, where the situation escalatde and the officers used Mace in an attempt to control the crowd. Police then called in medics to examine people who were sprayed, Nobody was seriously injured.

"It was unclear, Pryzynski said, if the first people arrested were affiliated with the convention protest."