Monday, April 30, 2007

Social Graces

It's amazing how much one can learn from giving a party. Even the most casual, impromptu gathering can be an opportunity to expand one's knowledge. Especially if said gathering includes 15 or so schoolchildren.

For example:

Helpful Hints on Menu Selection. "Mrs. Vigilante? Am I to understand there will be no root beer floats?"

Decorating: clearly a majority felt some rooms just look better with the curtains on the floor.

The Proprieties Will Be Observed At All Times: this is thanks to whichever kid taped a sheet of paper over the nude drawing in my livingroom.

When Philosophers Are Invited, Serve The Chocolate. Or they will tear your house apart hunting for it.

But Always Hide:

the Sharpies
the remotes
the little handle that opens the upstairs windows
anything flammable

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Superheroes We Could Really Use

"String Theory." Lassoes wandering children and rounds 'em up.

"The Green Man." Dashing superhero appears whenever you're late for school and magically turns that pesky light at Lake and Minnetonka to green.

"Latte Lad." Whenever a mom is about to fade, Latte Lad is there with a large skim latte with an extra shot. Sugar on request.

"CROC!" Kitchen specialist. Makes the stuff in your crock pot taste like real food. Sometimes assisted by his sidekick, Herb.

"Iron Man." One look at him and the wrinkles in your linen shirts know resistance is futile.

"Primo." With his help you can proceed directly to that final coat of paint. Sidekick: Xander.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I Didn't Know Al Was Coming to Town!

OK, who's been messing with the weather site?

Every morning I turn to the National Weather Service website, a service of your ever-lovin' federal government. It's at http://forecast.weather.gov. I set mine for Minneapolis reports, which I do by entering my zip code. Then it tells me whether or not my kid and I have to have a fight about wearing a sweater to school this morning. You know the drill.

So this a.m. I call up the website, and at first I thought I'd entered an alternate universe. This is the forecast for the week:


Today: Sunny and cold, with a high near 0. Calm wind.

Tonight: Clear, with a low around 0. Calm wind.

Thursday: Sunny and cold, with a high near 0. Calm wind.

Thursday Night: Clear, with a low around 0. Calm wind.

Friday: Sunny and cold, with a high near 0. Calm wind.

Friday Night: Clear, with a low around 0.

Saturday: Sunny and cold, with a high near 0.

Saturday Night: Clear, with a low around 0.

Sunday: Sunny and cold, with a high near 0.

Sunday Night: Clear, with a low around 0.

Monday: Sunny and cold, with a high near 0.

Monday Night: Clear, with a low around 0.

Has little pictures of some poor guy trying to walk in a blizzard and everything.

I don't know what's going on, but I suspect the former vice president is headed to Mini-apple to warn us about global warming. Man, I wish he'd take his act someplace else.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

You Gotta Love Those Ivies

"Yale limits use of toy weapons in stage plays."

"In the wake of Monday’s massacre at Virginia Tech in which a student killed 32 people, Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg has limited the use of stage weapons in theatrical productions.

Students involved in this weekend’s production of “Red Noses” said they first learned of the new rules on Thursday morning, the same day the show was slated to open. They were subsequently forced to alter many of the scenes by swapping more realistic-looking stage swords for wooden ones, a change that many students said was neither a necessary nor a useful response to the tragedy at Virginia Tech.

According to students involved in the production, Trachtenberg has banned the use of some stage weapons in all of the University’s theatrical productions. While shows will be permitted to use obviously fake plastic weapons, students said, those that hoped to stage more realistic scenes of stage violence have had to make changes to their props."

Hm.. Wonder what they'll limit next. Scalpels in the med school? Forks in the dining halls? How about lawyers in the law school? Nah, I guess that's too much to hope for.

The weird thing is this actually is the Ivy League idea of "responsibility." Put up some kind of fake front then call a press conference. It's all about looks. "We'll still promote abortion and promiscuity and other truly destructive things, but don't we look good pulling the stage guns? Aren't we just so socially responsible?"

I'll say one thing for the Ivy League ( where DIH spent her undergrad days): there is no better training ground for recognizing b-s when you hear it. I'm pretty sure they didn't intend the lesson that way, but it was effective.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Anybody Else See an Episode of "South Park "Here?

Doctors Remove a Gallbladder Through the Vagina

By DENISE GRADY, New York Times
Published: April 20, 2007

"Doctors in New York have removed a woman’s gallbladder with instruments passed through her vagina, a technique they hope will cause less pain and scarring than the usual operation, and allow a quicker recovery. The technique can eliminate the need to cut through abdominal muscles, a major source of pain after surgery.

"Dr. Christine Ren, an associate professor of surgery at New York University’s school of medicine, called the vaginal procedure “repulsive” and said: “As a woman I find it very invasive, physically and emotionally. To me it’s quite distasteful. You will really have to prove to me that there is a benefit.”

"Dr. Ren questioned whether women would accept it, and pointed out that even though conventional laparoscopic surgery required cutting through the belly, it had an excellent safety record and patients recovered quickly. She said the idea of puncturing internal organs and then sewing them up was cause for concern.

"But she also said, “I give them a lot of credit for trying new things.”

It's Soooo Worth the Fight!

There are few spectacles more entertaining- or revealing- than that of the New York Times losing it over abortion.

The editorial in today's NYT is nothing short of hysterical- in the "ha ha" sense and the "foaming at the mouth" one as well. DIH is having trouble finding her favortie paragraph. Maybe it's this one:

"As far as we know, Mr. Kennedy and his four colleagues responsible for this atrocious result are not doctors. AND DOCTORS KNOW EVERYTHING, GODAMMIT!!. Yet these five male- DID YOU NOTICE THAT? THEY'RE ALL MEN!! OK, ONE OF THEM'S A BLACK MAN BUT THAT DOESNT' COUNT, HE'S STILL A MAN, AND WHAT DO MEN KNOW ABOUT THIS ISSUE? UNLESS THEY'RE MEN DOCTORS, IN WHICH CASE THEY KNOW EVERYTHING!!-- justices felt free to override the weight of medical evidence presented during the several trials that preceded the Supreme Court showdown. Instead, they ratified the politically based and dangerously dubious Congressional claim that criminalizing the intact dilation and extraction method of abortion in the second trimester of pregnancy — the so-called partial-birth method -- SO-CALLED! SO-CALLED!~ AND AS SOON AS WE COME UP WTIH A BETTER NAME FOR IT WE'RE GOING TO START USING IT, TOO! HOW ABOUT 'SKULL-SUCKER?" THE KIDS WOULD GO FOR THAT ONE!!— would never pose a significant health risk to a woman. NEVER EVER EVER! EVEN THOUGH AS WE'VE BEEN TELLING YOU FOR YEARS, CHILDBIRTH IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN ABORTION! SO THAT MEANS IF A WOMAN HAS AN ABORTION IN THE MIDDLE OF CHILDBIRTH SHE-S' SHE'S- UH, LET ME GET BACK TO YOU ON THAT ONE!!!"

Well, yes, DIH did add the caps. But it's all there, really. I hope they had a couple of oxygen masks on hand over at the Grey Lady yesterday.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Waveless

We have been waveless now for weeks, and it's not a good place to be.

I will never forget the trauma of that last wave. There I was, minding my own business. waiting for the timer to tell me the spaghetti sauce was thawed, when WHOOOSH!! a comet shot out of the microwave. Then all was blackness. Well, actually just the inside of the microwave was blackness. But still, I was impressed.

Things went downhill fast. Can't reheat the teapot. Or the coffee. Or the curry from the Thai takeout place. I'm telling you, we're roughing it here.

Sure, we've learned a lot. Did you know you can thaw frozen marinara sauce on the stove top? It's not fun, but it's doable. You can "cook" oatmeal, too. I beleive the expression is "with a flame."

Unfortunately we have also learned that the four- FOUR- microwaves we've brought home since the comet dont' fit in our microwave place. This is inspite of careful measuring. Something about the bulk of the plug.

This week we're going to take one more stab at it. If the next one doesn't work we may have to move. Because I will be damned if I'm going to remodel the kitchen.

Because face it, how many times have we all heard that sorry remodeller's tale: "Well, it all started when the microwave broke....

Thursday, April 12, 2007

So That's Why Rosie Keeps Calling!

From today's NYT:

"Gay By Design, or a Lifestyle Choice?"

"...A few years ago, Meghan Daum, an op-ed contributor to The Los Angeles Times, wrote about a promising first date with a man that never led to a second one because, she later learned, the guy saw that she drove a Subaru Outback station wagon and concluded she must be a lesbian.

"Subaru has been the most prominent company to embrace the gay market. As long ago as 2000, the automaker created advertising campaigns around Martina Navratilova, the gay tennis star, and also used a sales slogan that was a subtle gay-rights message: “It’s not a choice. It’s the way we’re built.” Little wonder that many lesbians refer to their Outbacks as “Lesbarus."

[Phone rings. DIH answers.]

"Hello? Oh, Miss Navratilova. Um, ok, 'Martina.' Yes, that was my car. Uh-huh. Subaru Outback, champagne color. ... Why? Well, I live in Minnesota, I wanted something that would be reliable in the snow..... No, really, that's it. You what? I'm sorry, I don't play tennis, so 'working on my backhand' isn't something I'd be interested in... No no, don't take it personally, I just don't play-- I'm not... No, I am defintitely NOT up for 'a few sets.' Listen, I have to get dinner. Goodbye."

[Phone rings. DIH answers.]

"Hello? Ellen who? Oh, hi. Loved you on the Oscars... your cousin works at the DMV, huh? Well, I'm sure you must be very proud... Yes, I remember Anne Heche. I agree, she did manage to get quite a career going...Um, actually, Ms. Degeneres, I'm a writer, not an actress- uh, actor. Whichever.... Well, I'll certainly keep that in mind. Bye now."

[Phone rings. DIH sighs, answers.]

"Hello. Yes, hello, Rosie. I thought I asked you... Hey, don't get all steamed at me, I wasn't... Well for your information I think Barbara's a very nice woman! ..I did NOT say 'Babwa'... OK, O'Donnell, I don't have to listen to this. I hope you don't eat with that mouth!"

Sigh. Why, oh why didn't they keep that cute Australian guy in the ads?

Now This Is Interesting

From today's LA Times:

"A man whose family agreed to donate his organs for transplant upon his death was wrongly declared brain-dead by two doctors at a Fresno hospital, records and interviews show.

Only after the man's 26-year-old daughter and a nurse became suspicious was a third doctor, a neurosurgeon, brought in. He determined that John Foster, 47, was not brain-dead, a condition that would have cleared the way for his organs to be removed, records of the Feb. 21 incident show."

Mr. Foster, an automobile mechanic, had collapsed three days before the incident and was diagnosed with a catastrophic brain hemmorage. Within hours the hospital notified the California transplant network that they had a, ahem, "live" one. His daughter, Melanie Sanchez, agreed to donate her father's organs.

Then the donor network staff got into the act. Ms.Sanchez says "she got calls "at least twice a day" from the organ group, saying: "We have to get the body parts in a certain time. Your dad can be a life-saver to someone else. How is he doing today? Did he go up or down?"

"It kind of blew my mind," she said, "like they were waiting like vultures, waiting for someone to die so they could scoop them up."

California law requires that two physicians declare a patient brain-dead before the patient's organs can be harvested. On February 21 two doctors did so, but according to Ms. Sanchez, the second doctor seemed to be in a rush. (His examination consisted of shining a flashlight into Mr. Foster's eyes.) After the exam, "he just came in and threw the paper on my dad's legs and said, 'We got two signatures. We're pulling the plug,' He said, 'That's hospital policy.' "

That's when Ms. Sanchez demanded a third opinion. That's also when a nursing supervisor did her own exam and determined Mr Foster had a strong gag and cough reflex and slightly moved his head, signs inconsistent with brain death.

So the hospital finally sent in a neurosurgeon, who examined Mr. Foster. The man, he said, was not brain-dead. And he should know. He's the brain doc.

Foster, died 11 days later at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno. By then his organs were not viable for donation.

The Times continues:

"The apparent close call is the second in recent months to raise questions about whether, amid a national organ shortage, doctors might be compromising the care of prospective donors. Law enforcement authorities in San Luis Obispo County are investigating whether a transplant surgeon tried to hasten the death of a 26-year-old patient last year by ordering high volumes of pain medication."


So what are the morals of this story?

1. Never get sick in California.
2. Or at least don't do it in Fresno.
3. Think twice before you sign that "organ donor" card.
4. No, better make that "think thrice." Twice was clearly not enough here.
5. Next time you hear someone sneering at the memory of Terry Schiavo, ask him if he'd consider a trip to Fresno.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Memo 3:

TO: Desperate Irish Housewife
FROM: God
RE: Happy Easter!

Hi again Desperate-

So. I bet you thought I topped out when I let your niece throw up all over the car. Hope it didn't put everyone off Peking Duck forever.

But as you saw, I still had a few tricks up My sleeve. I know some would question the symbolism of My letting those "caterpillars" into the kids' Easter candy (nice save with calling them "caterpillars." by the way. Personally I find the word "maggots " much more disturbing). But be honest- wasn't it exciting for your daughter that she was the one who made the discovery? And wasnt' it nice of Me to let her make it BEFORE eating any of the candy? And, OK, I confess- the look on the face of your nephew- the one who'd already eaten a handful- was pretty darn priceless! We're still chuckling over that one up here.

So today was Easter Sunday. You all went to Mass at the local church in Potomac, Maryland. Boy, they're not kidding when they call it "Our Lady Of Mercedes," are they? With all the mink coats I saw there this morning you'd think it was Christmas. But I guess with the snow and all it was appropriate.

Well, rest up, Desperate. You've got a long trip ahead of you tomorrow. And I mean long- oops! Forget I said that!

Love, God

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Memo 2:

TO: Desperate Irish Housewife
FROM: God
RE: Springtime!

Hello again Desperate!

I'm telling you, I couldn't be happier with the way this D.C. trip is turning out for you. Admit it, those azaleas look much prettier with snow on them, don't they? And think about this: now you don't have to fight the traffic around the Lincoln Memorial just to see those puffy white cherry blossoms. Look around you- everything's covered with puffy white stuff! Saved you a trip, didn't I?

So today you and the kids are coloring Easter eggs. A word of advice: don't go with pastels. You'll never find them in the snow. Stick with bold colors and you should be fine.

As for today, well. Holy Saturday's always been a long day (trust Me, it was long). Maybe you should go to a movie or something. That's what you'd do in Minnesota, right?

Love, God

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Memo:

TO: Desperate Irish Housewife
FROM: God
RE: catching up

Hello there Desperate!

I know you wanted to make this a really great Lent- reform, repent and all that. And I'm not saying you didn't try. But let's face it, you slipped up a lot in the last few weeks, no? Well, now that we're in Holy Week, I decided to step in and help you out.

You know your sister-in-law's invitation to spend Easter with the family in D.C.? Actually that was My idea. I had to get you to the airport somehow. I know, I know, the four-hour delay at Minneapolis-St.Paul was no fun, but think what an opportunity to do some last-minute penance you got! And that 50-minute delay once you were on board? That was Me, too.

I know what you're thinking (don't I always?); "Well, Lord of the Universe, OK, but why did you have to reroute my flight through JFK if I'd already suffered enough?" Because, My child, you HADN'T suffered enough, yet. What better way to slip some perfectly avoidable suffering into your life than to route you through JFK? See, you're getting the point now!

But I will say, the fact that once you got to JFK you were 475th in line for takeoff, well, that you'd have to chalk up to the control tower. I know, you're thinking "Well if it wasn't Your idea why didn't You just make us first in line?" At JFK? Are you serious? I'm almighty, but get real.

So today you're going to take the children to see the sights of the Capitol. Good for you! Wait 'til you see what I have in store for you at the Air and Space Museum!

Love, God

P.S. And in case you were wondering, I sent that little snow flurry this morning, too, just for fun. Ha ha.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

So What's It Worth To You, America?

"DENVER - The 2007 Atlantic hurricane season should be "very active," with nine hurricanes and a good chance that at least one major hurricane will hit the U.S. coast, a top researcher said Tuesday.

Forecaster William Gray said he expects 17 named storms in all this year, five of them major hurricanes with sustained winds of 111 mph or greater. The probability of a major hurricane making landfall on the U.S. coast this year: 74 percent, compared with the average of 52 percent over the past century, he said."

But DIH knows for a fact that the hurricane season hinges entirely on her decision whether or not to take a beach vacation this year.

I go to beautiful South Carolina: major storms, possible evacuation, In fact probable.

I stay home: well, I stayed home last year. And look at the results:

"Last year, Gray's forecast and government forecasts were higher than what the Atlantic hurricane season produced."

Hello, Global Warming Committee? I think we can make a deal. I'd kind of like to see Tuscany again and since you obviously freak out at the sight of high winds and heavy seas, what say we make a trade? You send me to Italia. I leave your coastlines alone.

That's fair, isn't it?