Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Little Red Hen, Revisited

So, one day the Little Red Hen was watching TV when she saw an ad that says if you buy 64 drinks at Wendy’s, you’ll get a round-trip ticket anywhere AirTran flies.  The catch:  you have to accumulate the cups by December 31.

The Little Red Hen was ready for a vacation, so she began drinking large Frosties as fast as her little gizzards would let her.  Along came Cat and asked why the bird was drinking so many Frosties.  

“Because I want to fly to New York to see Chicken Licken,” replied the Little Red Hen.  “Want to come with me?  You can, you know!  We just need 128 cups between us.”

“Sure!” said Cat, and she began drinking Frosties, too.

Then Mouse came along and asked, “Why are you drinking all those Frosties?”  

The Little Red Hen responded, “Cat and I are going to fly to New York to see Chicken Licken, and we need to collect 128 cups.  Want to come along?”

Mouse said, “You bet!” and she gulped down a large Frosty right then and there.  After all, they now needed 192 cups to go see Chicken Licken in New York.

After the threesome had downed about 25 drinks between them, it dawned on Cat and Mouse that 192 Frosties is an awful lot, and they began to doubt the wisdom of the mission.  Soon they voiced their doubts.

“I don’t think you can even get 64 cups,” Cat said.  

“I can too,” said the Little Red Hen (who was a little worried herself), and bought another Frosty for each of them.  

Mouse and Cat were beginning to grow tired of drinking nothing but Frosties, and began to complain.  “Can’t we eat somewhere else for a change?” squeaked Mouse.  “I’m sick of Frosties!”

“Shut up and drink!” snarled the Little Red Hen, and shoved two more Frosties in front of each of them.  

After a few weeks, they had 40 cups between them, and even the Little Red Hen was growing sick of the sticky chocolate mess.   But she was stubborn, and refused to let up on Cat and Mouse.  

One day, when each of the friends had just gulped down a Frosty, the Little Red Hen presented Cat and Mouse with three more Frosties each.  

“Uggh, no!” said Mouse, whose tummy was bizarrely swollen.  “If I have another sip of Frosty I’m gonna puke!”  

As if to punctuate the point, Cat belched loudly.

The Little Red Hen was fed up.  “Fine!” she said.  “Go ahead and bail out on me.  I don’t care!  I’ll just go see Chicken Licken by myself!”

“Hey, we’ve been drinking them,” Mouse protested, wiping froth from his whiskers.

“Yes, but we only have 58 cups, and tomorrow is December 31.  If only one of us goes to New York, by God, it’s going to be me!”  

So Cat and Mouse, having no more incentive to drink Frosties, waddled away, leaving the Little Red Hen to drink the remaining 8 Frosties by herself.  The next day, she proudly cashed in her 64 cups for one free round-trip ticket to see Chicken Licken in the Big Apple.

Unfortunately, the Little Red Hen had become so fat from eating Frosties that she took up two seats on the airplane and had to buy another ticket.  Consequently, she didn’t save a dime.  

MORAL:  If you’re stupid enough to drink 64 Frosties in two weeks, you deserve whatever you get.

Lynne Rhys-Jones is a freelance writer in Georgia who has a collection of 69 Wendy’s cups.  Her friends are quietly avoiding her until after the New Year.  

Monday, December 26, 2005

Time to Make the Donuts

I hope everyone is having a lovely Ramahanakwanzsolchrist holiday. I'm in the middle of a marathon resume-writing gig, which is why I've been remiss about posting of late. I've been up all night so I have no idea if I'm making any sense. Oh, well.

Anyway, I'll post more when I get a chance. Thanks for sticking with me!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Part of the Gig

It took me thirty-five years, six months, and eighteen days (give or take) to become a mother.  Three of those years were spent thinking about getting pregnant, and eleven more were spent actually trying to get pregnant.  So I’ve had a lot of time to think about this whole parenting thing.    

Zeze’s dad and I worked it all out before she was born.  We figured we had only three jobs as parents: love her, let her be who she is, and enjoy her.  The rest, as Hillel once said, is commentary.  If we could keep it that simple, we thought, she would turn out all right.  

That’s pretty much how it’s been, and now she’s thirteen.  Of course, I make her do her homework and I make her buckle up in the car.  I talk to her about politics and fair play and God and music and all the dangers she’s bound to face as she gets older.  Ok, so I’m a terrible housekeeper and I’m terrible with money (I mean, I’m really terrible), but I’m pretty sure she knows I love her and I’m hoping that counts for something.  She’s kind and funny and talented.  Once in a while she’s not so nice.  Just your basic, terrific, perfectly perfect kid.

I know I can’t take too much credit for her successes, but I’m proud of how I’ve done as a parent.  Even as Zeze heads into adolescence I believe she knows she can come to me about anything.  Drugs.  Sex.  Cigarettes.  Alcohol.  Shoplifting.  Boyfriends.  Girlfriends.  I mean, I’m ready for anything!  

Or at least, I thought I was.  But then, it came into her life.  Even now, it’s hard to say the words.  How could it have even gotten my daughter’s attention, much less her devotion?  How could she have been drawn in without my knowing?  Hadn’t I been diligent?  I Hadn’t I provided adequate discipline?  I never let her watch Power Rangers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  When she was little, I watched Barney so much I still wake up humming “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.”  So how did these people sneak past my watchful eye?  I didn’t see how they could have, but there in my own living room, in glorious living color, was the incriminating evidence.  

Now, I know she’s not supposed to like the same things I do.  I learned that from my mother.  I remember how carefully she listened to everything I said, even though everything I said was about horses.  My mother once got a second-degree sunburn from spending a whole day with me at an Arabian horse show.  And yet, gradually, and despite the sunburn, she learned to love horses – maybe not with the same fervor I had, but she loved them just the same.  

So as part of this parenting gig, I knew that my daughter would have interests that might not match my own.  And I actually looked forward to it, because that meant learning about something new and maybe even exciting.  Sometimes I fairly shivered with anticipation when I thought about it.  What would it be?  Skiing?  Engineering?  Astronomy?   Firefighting?  Stamps?   Spelunking?  I didn’t care what it was, as long as she was happy – although secretly, I hoped she wouldn’t join the Young Republicans Club.

But as children often do, my daughter chose an altogether unexpected path.  It’s … this is so difficult … my daughter’s love is television wrestling.  

Overnight, I found myself awash in tales of wrestlers whose names seemed interchangeable . . . and then started to become despairingly familiar:  Rey Mysterio.  The Undertaker.  Triple H.  Miss Jackie.  Scottie Too Hottie.  Eddie Guerrero, my daughter’s favorite (may he rest in peace).  Oh, and that other guy.  Ask me next week; I should know his name by then.  

Suddenly the Young Republicans Club didn’t sound so bad.  Especially when she told me she wanted me to watch with her.  

I resisted as long as I could, but finally I told her I’d watch it – just so I could decide whether to allow it in the house.  Good parent that I was, I decided to keep an open mind, although I knew I was going to hate it.  To me, television wrestling was about a bunch of muscle-bound rednecks in their underwear beating up anybody who says wrestling is fake.  

But since I promised, I watched with her once.  And then I watched again.  

The second time I watched, something horrible happened to me.  It happened when a wrestler known as JBL – who is sort of a mix between J.R. Ewing, George W. Bush, and Arnold Schwarzenegger with a Texas accent – walked into the ring.  Now, JBL always makes his entrance in a limo with cow horns on the hood, and he always – always – sports a 10-gallon Stetson.  But supposedly JBL had been injured the week before, and he walked in with a ridiculous-looking neck brace that had wires sticking straight up to about six inches above the top of his head.  JBL wore his trademark cowboy hat balanced delicately atop the wires.  

And that’s when it happened.  Honest, I couldn’t help it.  I couldn’t help but laugh.

And that’s when I got it.  Don’t ask me to explain it, because I don’t understand it myself.  But I get it, which is quite different and, I suspect, more important.  

So I watched a third time, and a fourth, and I started to ask questions.  I learned about tag teams and frog splashes and tapping out and 619 and choke slams and lumberjacks and divas.  I learned new uses for folding chairs and television announcers.  And every now and then – G_d help me – I laughed.  Damn television wrestling!  

So now, whenever we can, my daughter and I watch wrestling together.  I can’t figure out if that makes me a good parent or a bad parent.  If it makes a difference, though, I have at least refrained from yelling “You suck, you suck!” whenever Kurt Angle comes out.  Even though he does.

So what do you do when you’re supposed to love her, let her be who she is, and enjoy her, but she’s into television wrestling?    

Well, I guess you do the equivalent of getting a second-degree sunburn at a horse show.   You watch with her.  You learn.  And every now and then, completely involuntarily, you laugh.  You laugh along with your interesting, talented, slightly wacky, terrific kid, and you thank your lucky stars she still wants your company.  In short, you start looking forward to wrestling night.

Oh – except for next week.  Zeze wants to go see MacBeth at the local Shakespeare theater, so we might miss the first few minutes of SmackDown.  But only the first few.


Saturday, December 17, 2005

And now for an excellent editorial...

...on the theocratization (is that a word?) of the U.S.

It's this column by one of my favorite journalists, Cynthia Tucker at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Here's a taste:

It is curious that President Bush values the principles of secular democracy so highly in Iraq but gives them so little support here at home. That's a shame, because those principles, embedded in the Bill of Rights and meant to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority, desperately need a boost in the United States.

Good stuff.

Friday, December 16, 2005

I've been Hit!

By a meme, that is, courtesy of Brian. So here goes. Nonbloggers, I may tag you too, so don’t skip this one!

The rules for this particular meme are as follows:Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot. Easy, no?

1. Vince
2. Spider
3. Mr. Secret, Woe
4. Mr. Brian
5. The Subversive Librarian

Then you get to select five people to pass the love on to. This is the best part. Check the following blogs in the next day or two (or my comments, if they don’t have blogs) to see what they have to say about me and my meme.

1. Redneck Mother
2. The Velveteen Rabbi
3. James D.
4. Joey C.
5. Ms. Monkeythong

Joey and James, you can post your answers here, or send me an email and I’ll post it for you.

If I didn’t tag you, please feel free to consider yourself tagged anyway!

Now, answer the following:

What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was living on the Navajo Nation working as a librarian/attorney for DNA People’s Legal Services. Maybe eating real green chile. Sigh.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Living in a trailer freezing my ass off.

Five snacks you enjoy:
1. Baby carrots
2. M&M's
3. Mocha latte
4. A good navel orange
5. Anything that says “Hostess” or “Little Debbie”

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:
1. "Peel Me A Grape" by Diana Krall
2. "Amazing Grace"
3. "No News" by Lonestar
4. "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story
5. "Angel from Montgomery" by John Prine

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. Pay off all my debts!
2. Buy a car and a pick-up truck
3. Take Dr. Wife to Hawaii
4. Take daughter Zeze to every amusement park in Orlando
5. Write full time.

Five bad habits:
1. Not getting to enough AA meetings
2. Compulsive spending
3. Staying up too late
4. Procrastination
5. Eating way too much.

Five things you like doing:
1. Cuddling
2. Dancing, although I haven't done much of this as of late.
3. Watching TV (a rare treat these days)
4. Surfing eBay – very dangerous!
5. Going treasure hunting (garage sales, etc.)

Five things you would never wear again: 1. Turtlenecks. Too clunky for my build.
2. Wool anywhere near my neck. Too itchy!
3. Skirts above my knees.
4. Girdles.
5. Rollerskates.

Five favorite toys:
1. My PDA
2. Um, not telling
3. A construction set my brother had when we were kids
4. Destructo-Match on (I know, it’s a game, not a toy)
5. Some house-planning software I have.

And There you have it folks, the meme for the day. Even if you weren't tagged, you're more than welcome to play!

For my non-blogging buddies...

Ssome of my readers are new to blogging, and I've gotten several questions on how to post comments. So here are the instructions. It's really very easy. You do not have to have to register with to do it!

Careful, there will be a test afterwards!

1. Below the post, you'll see the word "comment," or something to that effect (mine says "noisy library patrons"). Click there.

2. On my blog, that brings you to the comment page. If you want to see the original post while you're writing, click on "Show Original Post".

3. Type your comment.

4. Below where you typed, you'll see where it says to choose an identity. Click on "other".

5. Enter, if you want to, your name (you can make one up) and/or web address. Both fields are optional.

6. My blog requires word verification, which prevents spam. So under "word verification," type in whatever it says.

7. Now hit "Publish."

That's it. Easy, yes? Most blogs work approximately the same way, give or take.

Now for your exam:

Please post a test comment.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Is there a war on or not?

Thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful responses to my Reader’s Challenge.  I’ve got a few ideas of where to look now to see whether there really is a war on Christmas.

To give you a taste of what’s to come, I’ve done some extremely preliminary looking around and have the following information to offer.  For the moment, I won’t attempt to draw any conclusions.

Step One:  Basic Demographics.  For an excellent study on religious demographics in the United States, check out American Religious Identification Survey 2001 by Ariela Keysar, Barry Kosmin, and Egon Mayer of the City University of New York.  In 2001, the breakdown was as follows:

Christians 76.5% (down from 86.2% in 1990).
Jewish:  1.3%
Muslim:  0.5%
Buddhist:  0.5%
U/U:  0.4
Hindu:  0.3

Step Two:  A First Look at Retailers’ Websites.

Target – searches on their website
39152 match(es) for "christmas"
302 match(es) for "chanukah"
913 match(es) for "hanukkah"
236 match(es) for "ramadan"
286 match(es) for "solstice"
252 match(es) for "kwanzaa

1604 match(es) for "nativity"
177 match(es) for "menorah"

102 match(es) for "seasons greetings"
601 match(es) for "happy holidays"

Walmart – searches on their website
7921 items found for “christmas”
77 items found for “kwanzaa”
203 items found for “chanukah”
203 items found for “hanukkah”
77 items found for “kwanzaa”
19 items found for “ramadan”
68 items found for “solstice”
16 items found for “seasons greetings”
153 items found for “happy holidays”

Step Three.  Basic Internet Searches.

I did some basic googling to see whether people on the Internet are feeling censored.  Here were my results:

“merry Christmas”                        9,400,000
“happy Chanukah”                             89,400
“happy Hanukkah”                           305,000

Christmas                         300,000,000
kwanzaa                             3,470,000
"winter solstice"                        1,870,000
Ramadan                             5,890,000
Hanukkah                             7,070,000
Chanukah                             2,450,000

“seasons greetings”                        1,050,000
“happy holidays”                      18,900,000

Step Four:  A search of a government website:  (I’d write more but my dear doctor-wife is telling me to hurry up!)

City of Atlanta
34 instances of Christmas (many having to do with the City Hall Christmas tree or recycling of Christmas trees after the holidays)
0 of Chanukah
0 of Hanukkah
0 of Ramadan
0 of Kwanzaa
0 of solstice
95 of “happy holidays”

More to come…..

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Readers' Challenge

Just when I got good and self-righteous about Bill O'Reilly's war-on-Christmas thing, a friend of mine indicated to me that O'Reilly's argument actually resonates with her. She really does feel censored from mentioning Christianity in public, and she really does resent the "happy holidays" thing.

My first reaction was . . . well, no need to go into it here. Let's just say . . . um, no, never mind.

Anyway, my first reaction was definitely reactionary, and that's the very thing I bitch about when I see it in other people. So I find I need to step back a bit and do a reality check. After all, this is someone whose opinion I respect. Are we, as a culture, censoring Christianity? Or are we simply acknowledging the diversity among us? If this is happening, is there some way, other than anecdotal, to document it? And if it is happening, what is the solution?

So here is my challenge to you, Dear Readers, in the form of two questions:

1. If a person -- oh, say, a reference librarian -- wanted to investigate this issue, what objective measures might she take a look at? Not anecdotes, not what happened to someone's Aunt Sally, but measurable, researchable indicators that would help us determine whether or not we as a society are being exclusionary. For example, a blog I saw yesterday (and I'm so sorry, I can't remember which one so I can't give you credit, but if you tell me who you are I'll fix that) noted the number of times Christmas was mentioned in the TV listings, versus other holidays. Stuff like that.

Keep it simple, folks. I have a budget of zero and I didn't do all that well in statistical analysis.

2. This is especially (though not exclusively) for those folks who are feeling excluded, whatever your religious persuasion. When one doesn't know a person's religion, what should one say? What would you have storekeepers do? Perhaps "Seasons Greetings" is better than "Happy Holidays (holy-days)"?

Okay? One. Two. Three. GO.

No Minor Goddess, She

Echidne of the Snakes may have named herself after a minor Greek goddess, but she herself is definitely in the majors. She demonstrated her considerable powers in yesterday's post, where she showed an interesting (though probably not causative) link between Ford Motors and the "war" on Christmas.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

George, You've Done it This Time!

"This clearly demonstrates that the Bush administration has suffered a loss of will and that they have capitulated to the worst elements in our culture."

Well, yeah, we knew that. But why is this guy saying it?

Let's see. Is it because the Bush administration started an immoral and unwinnable war that has killed tens of thousands of people?


Uh, because Bush has consistently ignored scientific evidence in favor of big business, bringing the world to the brink of an environmental collapse?

Well, no, it wasn't that either.

What George W. did this time is apparently far worse: He sent cards wishing 1.4 million American households a "Happy Holiday Season."

Good L-rd, is there no stopping this man?

Note that the card does have a passage from the 28th Psalm. This apparently saves the card from Jerry Falwell's condemnation, but a lot of people are still very upset. You see, it's from the Old Testament and doesn't mention Jesus.

I don't know -- In ten years will this country have a place for people like me, a Jewish lesbian? It barely does now, and we seem to be going backwards. I don't want to seem paranoid or anything, but I am beginning to get creeped out.

(composes herself and puts librarian hat back on). The source of the quote is William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. Read the article.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

No, you won't have to marry your goat if gay people can marry in Massachusetts.

Some talking points, in case you find yourself in the middle of a gay-marriage discussion...

Will the Full Faith and Credit Clause really require states to recognize same-sex marriages from other states?

No. The Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that the Full Faith and Credit Clause does not apply to matters about which the home state is competent to legislate, particularly where such legislation would violate the home state?s public policies. States have applied this precedent to issues pertaining to same-sex and transgendered marriage.

But what about Loving v. Virginia, which prohibited laws against interracial marriages?

Loving v. Virginia did not address the Full Faith and Credit Clause at all. The issue in that case was whether prohibiting interracial marriages violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. It is the Equal Protection Clause, not a particular state?s marriage law, that the Court found was binding on all the states.

Here are a few cases, in case you're feeling adventurous enough to do some research:

Franchise Tax Bd. of California v. Hyatt, 123 S. Ct. 1683 (2003).

The Full Faith and Credit Clause does not compel " 'a state to substitute the statutes of other states for its own statutes dealing with a subject matter concerning which it is competent to legislate.' " Sun Oil Co. v. Wortman, 486 U.S. 717, 722, 108 S.Ct. 2117, 100 L.Ed.2d 743 (1988) (quoting Pacific Employers Ins. Co. v. Industrial Accident Comm'n, 306 U.S. 493, 501, 59 S.Ct. 629, 83 L.Ed. 940 (1939)).

. . . .

The Court has already ruled that the Full Faith and Credit Clause does not require a forum State to apply a sister State's sovereign immunity statutes where such application would violate the forum State's own legitimate public policy. Nevada v. Hall, 440 U.S. 410, 424, 99 S. Ct. 1182.

In re Marriage License for Nash

Ohio 2003 WL 23097095. (Sorry for the WL citation - Can't get into Westlaw and I'm too lazy to go look up the cite by hand)

The full faith and credit clause is not violated when granting full faith and credit to another state's records would violate the public policy of the state applying the other state's records. See Nevada v. Hall (1979), 440 U.S. 410, 422, 99 S.Ct. 1182, 59 L.Ed.2d 416; Pink v. A.A.A. Highway Express, Inc. (1941), 314 U.S. 201, 210, 62 S.Ct. 241, 86 L.Ed. 152; Atlantic Fin. Co. v. Fisher (1962), 173 Ohio St. 387, 389, 183 N.E.2d 135; Gibson v. Bolner (1956), 165 Ohio St. 357, 361, 135 N.E.2d 353 (refusal to recognize out-of-state birth certificate showing sex change of transgendered applicant for marriage license).

Rosengarten v. Downes, 802 A.2d 170 (Conn.App. 2002).

The plaintiff contends, "Connecticut public policy clearly favors the conclusion that the Superior Court has subject matter jurisdiction to dissolve the civil union entered into in Vermont." He claims that principles of full faith and credit demand that Connecticut recognize Vermont's civil union statutes unless recognition would violate some strong public policy of Connecticut. He further claims that Connecticut does not have a strong public policy against recognition of civil unions but, instead, that Connecticut public policy favors the recognition of civil unions and the right to dissolve them. We disagree. We conclude that Connecticut public policy does not support that conclusion (refusal to recognize civil union as a marriage so they can get a divorce; refusal based on public policy exception to FFC).

Loving v. Virginia, 87 S.Ct. 1817 (1967)

We have consistently denied the constitutionality of measures which restrict the rights of citizens on account of race. There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the Equal Protection Clause.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

All About Rats

Namely, we have them. In the library.

Now I actually happen to like rats just fine. They're smart, they can be entertaining, and even the ones that aren't so entertaining have their place.

But not in my library.

And oh, yeah...we discovered some rodents in here, too. Poor little guys.

You see, the Party-Rats of the First Part -- namely a bunch of rude and thoughtless first-year students -- have been smuggling in pizza, bagels, hamburgers, candy, chips, and assorted other yummy items into the library despite our many signs, announcements, pleas, and threats .... thereby inviting the Party-Rats of the Second Part -- namely a family of rodents -- to partake of the feast.

Which, much to my dismay, has prompted the maintenance guy to take certain necessary, but extremely unpleasant, actions against the truly blameless Rats of the Second Part.

As if that weren't enough, the Rats of the First Part are highly cannibalistic this year. They're just wearing out their tiny little brains looking for ways to disembowel their littermates: Hiding resources, tearing pages out of books! (I'm getting faint just thinking about it), verbally attacking each other on the course websites, and generally being, well, complete assholes.

Bring me a humane traps for the rodents. But bring me leg traps for the students!

And in case it needs to be said (which it does, or I wouldn't be saying it): ATTENTION. When I refer to the Party-Rats of the First Part I am referring only to the nasty law students. I am not -- I repeat, I am not -- referring to all law students or even all 1Ls.

But if the ears fit....

Friday, December 02, 2005

Now THAT'S a librarian!

I try not to have too many posts that are just links to other stuff, but this lady was one fabulous librarian and she deserves to be honored. Thanks go to Ms. Monkeythong, the Sock Librarian, for knowing cool when she sees it.