Monday, March 29, 2004

The Care and Feeding of Your Introvert

John Clark, the author of The Money Is The Gravy, dropped me the link to this introvert article at The Atlantic. If constant interaction sucks out your will to live then check it out. You'll find out that you are perfectly normal after all.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

What's to Celebrate?

I was just flipping channels and on VH1 they were doing another one of those 'celebrity' shows - all about how fab all those Hollywood stars are and how much they spend on clothes. The older I get, the less patience I have with what I consider obscene misuses of money. I always say that the only purpose of great wealth is to do great good. It is NOT to spend $1,000 on one "Grungy, I don't care how I look" outfit. (Their numbers, not mine.)

As I was grousing about these 'celebrities' to my sister over the IM it occurred to me to question the word celebrity. I think that the word has gotten co-opted. On I got what I expected. Definitions that included, "the state or condition of being celebrated; fame; renown".

The state of being celebrated. Hmm. That sounds joyous and somehow solemn. It is something best suited, I would think, to heroes. Police officers. Teachers. Soldiers. Nurses. Counselors. People whose mission in this life has been to defend, to enlighten, to aid. The everyday heroes who, ultimately, those 'celebrity' actors portray.

Actors, for all their glamour, are usually on a mission to entertain. It is a worthy mission, and I'm glad that there are so many talented and interesting entertainers around (actors, writers, et al). But for my own peace of mind I think that I will stop thinking of them as 'Celebrities' and start thinking of them as 'Celebrators'. Because any truly great work of art transcends the reality it hopes to portray and becomes a celebration of that reality.

It doesn't excuse the $20,000 shoes, but it makes me feel a little better....

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

When the wrong antidote is like a bulge in the throat...

(Cross-post from 2 + 2 = 5)

In a never-ending quest to make myself regret my wasted life as I lie on my deathbed, I've found the official website of The Fixx. Look at their discography; is it legal for a band like The Fixx to HAVE that many albums? Mind you, I say this as a fan.

But this is it. I'm NOT going to Google Men Without Hats in an attempt to find their website. You can do that if you want to, and leave your friends behind...

UPDATE: Here. I utterly despise myself.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

It's All Relative In West Virginia

In Strange News From the AP today comes this funny little story about a state, a t-shirt, and negative stereotypes.

Ok, so here's what happened. Abercrombie & Fitch loves to make spoof t-shirts. We love that about them, don't we? Their state t-shirts include: "New Hampshire. 40 million squirrels can't be wrong." But apparently they crossed a line with "It's All Relative in West Virginia". The Governor of that Wild and Wonderful state has sent a blistering letter saying the shirts promote "an unfounded, negative stereotype of West Virginia." He says, "I write to you today to demand that you immediately remove this item from your stores and your print and online catalogue... In addition, these shirts must be destroyed at once to avoid any possibility of resale and proof be given thereof."

Wow. Guess all that inbreeding leads to a lack of humor.... Hey! Stop throwing tomatoes at me. Actually what I have to say about the subject is this: Get over it. It's funny. Have a sense of humor. At this rate you will only exchange one negative stereotype for another.

And I know what I'm talking about. I'm blonde - and one of the world's greatest collectors of blonde jokes. I'm Irish - and one of the world's greatest collectors of drunk/lazy Irish jokes. AND I have (by marriage) *gasp* relatives in West Virginia. Because I am familiar with that Wild and Wonderful state, the t-shirt actually strikes me as funny on two levels. There is the obvious negative stereotype of inbreeding - which is amusing only because it is about as true as all blondes being stupid or Irish being drunk. (I'm neither drunk nor stupid, in case you wondered.) The deeper level to me is that in the parts of West Virginia that we visit it still matters "who your people are". Since I lived in parts of southern Mississippi with this same sort of closed society but without any relatives (we were transplants for Dad's job), I find this sort of cliquishness fascinating. It really is all relative in West Virginia, or at least it's important who your relatives are. My husband's great-grandfather was a minister in a small town in the 1930s and it still means something there. We were married in that church even though the family has been away for years. (It was the perfect church - beautiful!) As way of introduction the church coordinator would say to the others, "Do you remember Frances or his son Lyle? This is Lyle's grandson." That was all we needed and we were in like Flynn.

So chill out Governor Wise. It's all relative, anyway... ;)

Monday, March 22, 2004

Nevsky is Doing Higher Math

In case you missed it, Nevsky has branched out into another blog - 2+2=5. Check it out!

Friday, March 19, 2004

As sixthdoctor says, "Thank God they didn't go see Kill Bill..."

In the ironic portion of our news today, we read about a couple coming to blows at home after watching The Passion of the Christ.

My favorite quote?

"Really, it was kind of a pitiful thing, to go to a movie like that and fight about it. I think they missed the point," said Gene McDaniel, chief sheriff's deputy.


Saturday, March 13, 2004

Whistle While You Work

In my continuing quest for self-improvement (see INFP Questor, right), I have found yet-another-book with interesting information. It's not amazingly different from Finding Your Own North Star (highly recommended) or Divine Intuition, but it has a few kernels of it's own.

Basically, they contend that you have a mission in life, a calling, that you will struggle to express no matter what your conditions are. Some people are encouraged to pursue their callings. Others (like me) are diverted onto other paths by well-meaning parents, and still others grow up with horrible environments. Your calling is a seed within you that struggles to grow, no matter how many wrong turns you take in life. As you can imagine, if you take the seeds for a cactus and a mangrove and tried to grow them in the others' environment - you wouldn't get much growth. Because a cactus MUST be a cactus, no matter where you plant it. No matter how tenderly you care for it as a mangrove - the amazing mangrove opportunities it is provided - it will stubbornly refuse to flourish. Does this sound like you?

You will struggle to express the seed of yourself no matter your conditions. To get you started on seeing your "you-ness" they have a list of 52 common callings in six categories. You sort through and find the ones that you instinctively feel fit you the MOST. This doesn't mean you are the "best" in the world at them, just that they are what you bring to the world around you - and you are definitely the best at doing them your way. When I sorted through I ended up with my top five being:
  • Advancing ideas (Investigative)

  • Researching things (Investigative)

  • Adding humor (Artistic)

  • Creating things (Artistic)

  • Solving problems (Practical)

Once I looked at them for awhile I ended up with my very top being "adding humor". When I thought about it I realized that no matter what the situation, no matter what is going on - I value humor. Both from myself and from others. So, all those cartoons posted in my cube (Dilbert, Garfield, Foxtrot, etc.) are a sign of the seed of my being struggling to push through the soil of my life. Why God thought it was a bright idea to plant a cheerful Double Daisy in the cold, hard earth of accounting, I have no idea. But here I am. For now.

The authors encourage us to emphasize whatever portions of our workdays involve our callings. And to minimize whatever seems in conflict with them. In this way, they contend, we will soon learn how to whistle while we work. Because even the dullest of endeavors can become something of a masterpiece if done with great enthusiasm. How does the saying go? There are no great acts, only small acts done with great love.

Oh, and this is a big plug - this blog posting was written from The Daily Grind on South New Street in Staunton. They have wireless internet. Stop by sometime and enjoy the coffee and sandwiches!

Tuesday, March 9, 2004

Too Funny

NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno":
    "President Bush has unveiled his first campaign commercial featuring all of his accomplishments in office. That's why it's a 60-second spot."
Wow, We're Famous!

Just got the note from The Nation last night that they are publishing my response to William Greider's article on "Dean's Rough Ride".

Dear Editors,
In William Greider's article "Dean's Rough Ride" he muses over the age range of Dean's supporters. The profile reported by the media - namely that Dean supporters are mostly young - had always confused me because I have participated in MeetUp, blogforamerica, and chatforamerica since last summer. You could argue that people were lying about their age online (though WHY you would want to say you were an 80-year-old grandmother for kicks, I don't get), but the ages at MeetUp were definitely right there for me to see. I'm 33 and there are plenty of others in that age group (let's call it 30-somethings), including one of the organizers. But most of the attendees are older than me. There are a few poignent exceptions, like a new attendee at the February MeetUp who had JUST turned 18 and was excited that she could make her first presidential (primary) vote for Howard Dean. At the same meeting one beautiful and vivacious older woman (at least 60 if she's a day) reported on her trip to Iowa and her enthusiasm for the Dean campaign. She had lived in both Vermont and Massachusettes and had VERY strong opinions on the differences between Dean and Kerry.

But you know the greatest part of MeetUp, and the Dean campaign in general? The young listening to the old. The old listening to the young. The liberals listening to the conservatives. The conservatives listening to the liberals. We all feel that there is something much more important than our own agendas afoot. My sister has said for a long time that we all want the same things, we just disagree on how to get it. Howard Dean helped us to rise above our petty squabbles by effectively framing not only what he wanted, but how to get it. One of his big messages was about rebuilding America's sense of community. When I go to my March Dean MeetUp I'll know that he's done a good job of it. Because his campaign wasn't just about Howard Dean becoming president, it was about learning how to change America for the better. And we're not going to give up on that.

Thanks for your time and attention, Susan

Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Things to yell in the movie theater while The Passion of The Christ is showing...

"Who's that guy again?"

(during the scourging scene) "Oh, that's so fake!"

(when Pilate and Jesus confront the angry mob) "Two men enter, one man leaves!"

"This film makes me want to punch my accountant!"

"Jesus Christ, this film sucks!"

Feel free to add your own responses in the comments section...

Monday, March 1, 2004

Where's The Lockbox?

I've been saying recently that I thought Al Gore probably meant a REAL (not metaphorical) lockbox and that he would right now be sleeping with it under his pillow if he were president. Instead, we had the 2002 Federal Financial Statements come out last year with the news that Social Security expenditures will exceed revenues starting in 2018 which will lead to the trust fund being exhausted in 2042. One of the things that makes this even more amusing is that the 'trust fund' was wisely invested in the world's safest investment vehicle - US Treasury Bonds. So by 2018 (if not earlier) the US will have to deal with a complete turn around in cash flow from one of its cash cows.

As for Dub-ya's idea about personal retirement accounts (i.e., funneling the money to the banking and investment businesses) UH, HELLO!!! That's why we HAVE Social Security. It was formed with the idea that we would never, ever make our citizens be fully dependent on the banking and investment industries, which could collapse and lead to another depression. Never again, was the government's pledge. We'll be damned if we let one snot-nosed rich boy surrounded by Daddy's friends undermine our core social program.

(The above was my comment post to Gregory Jefferson's "Where's The Lockbox?" article from Axis of Logic, posted on Smirking Chimp.)