Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
« June 2009 »
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
Add to Technorati Favorites
Rantings of a Crazed Soccer Mom
Friday, 26 June 2009
Iconic Death

In case you've been under a rock for the last 24 hours, Michael Jackson dropped dead of heart failure.

A sudden unexpected death can do wonders for your image. Yesterday morning, Miichael Jackson was a long faded star, his glory days decades behind him.  Beset by financial woes and accusations of child molesting, he was the object of much derision due to his creepy appearance and often bizzare behavior.

Now he's much beloved. An icon who will be greatly missed. Millions of people are gathering to mourn his loss and profess their undying love.

Watching the news footage, I can't help noticing that a lot of these mourners were born long after Michael Jackson topped the charts with albums like "Thriller" and "Bad."  I suppose they heard his songs once in a a while on their parents' Mellow Rock stations, but for them, Michael Jackson had always been a "has-been," they have no memory of turning on the radio and hearing "Don't Stop" or "Beat It" for the umpteempth time that day. What is exactly do they miss? He was never there when he was there.

And of course, he had the gall to die on the same day that  Farrah Fawcett lost her long publicized battle with cancer. Poor Farrah. After all those death watch specials, she had to share the obituary spotlight with the King of Pop.  And every single story about her death featured ancient footage of her one year on "Charlie's Angels," a show that they don't even show on cable.  Her whole life comes down to just a poster, a cheesey television show and a hair style. All from thirty years ago.

I still think Michael Jackson is weird and creepy, and his life was a cautionary tale about the perils of too much fame and wealth too soon. And Farrah Fawcett was more than a swimsuit model. 

But, they are now both dead, and beyond all of the hype. And eventually we will be too.

Posted by judy5cents at 3:16 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, 25 June 2009
And She Was Endorsed By Andy Griffith!

Back in the early months of 2008, I didn't think all that much of Bev Perdue, who is now the governor of my home state of North Carolina.  The Democratic primaries here were pretty nasty, and I voted for the one guy on the ballot who'd run no commercials at all. But I voted for her in the general election.

Now, Jeez Louise, am I ever glad we've got her.  If you do a quick Google news search of Bev Perdue, you'll only find stories that pertain to her job as governor. "Perdue Wants Tax Hikes,"  "Perdue Expected To Attend K-12 Funding Rally In Greensboro," "Perdue Job Approval Plummets."  

There's nothing about her gallivanting around the country attending events she wasn't invited to--events that would be a long, long way from Raleigh, by the way.  She doesn't get into feuds with late night talk show hosts. 

And unlike the governor just across the state line to the south, Ms. Perdue has the sense not to go off to Argentina for five days and advise her aides to tell everyone she's hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Since last year's Republican convention, I've had a great deal of sympathy for the people of Alaska. when the outspoken, inept, and blatantly ambitious Gov. Sarah Palin burst on to the scene. How embarassing is it to see your head of state on the Today Show insinuating that David Letterman is a pedophile?

Now my heart goes out to my fellow Carolininians to the south.  Gov. Mark Sanford seemed smart enough, even though he also showed himself to be blatantly ambitious when he drew national attention for his desire to use Federal Stimulus money to pay down state debt. But who knew that all the time he was talking about fiscal responsibility, he was also sneaking off to write steamy e-mails to his Argentinian girlfriend about the curve of her hips and the gentleness of her kisses?

We've all  said it before. What the hell was he thinking? And flying down to Argentina for God's sake! What if the plane crashed? What if he was kidnapped by drug dealers or war lords or whatever is they've got down there in Argentina these days? What if there were a coup? He's the governor, for crying out loud! Didn't he think someone would notice he was gone?

The answer is always "Well, I wasn't thinking." No, there had to be some sort of thought process going on when he made the plane reservations and found his passport and drove to the airport.  Plenty of time to say "maybe this isn't such a good idea..."

Anyway, if you live in a state other than Alaska or South Carolina, take some time out to appreciate the fact that your governor is busy doing gubnatorial things, like fighting tax cuts, or supporting casinos or releasing stimulus spending reports.

North Carolina may not approve of the job Bev Perdue is doing. But we're proud of the fact that she's doing her job and not some boy toy in Argentina.





Posted by judy5cents at 1:37 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Monday, 22 June 2009
What's Wrong With England's System?

My husband grew up with socialized medicine. He misses it. Although he has excellent insurance through his employer and he has no issues with the quality of medical care he's received here in the states, he does have one huge problem with our market driven health care system.

Here it is: if he loses his job, we join the ranks of the uninsured. If one of us gets sick with something serious like diabetes or cancer or heart disease (we're both in our fifties, so that's entirely possible), he could lose everything he's worked so hard for all these years. 

That doesn't happen in England.

According to a recent story in Reuters, more than 60 percent of bankruptcy cases are due to the inability to pay medical bills.  That number is staggering, if you consider the fact that most of these people were contributing members of society, working hard, paying their taxes and building a life until a disastrous illness took it all away.

Medical care and medicine should not be subject to the same economic rules as automobiles and cereal. If you can't afford a box of Rice Krispies you buy the store brand. Or you have toast and peanut butter. Or you skip breakfast all together (although I don't recommend it).  We can shop around for cereal, but who shops around for a cheap doctor?   And there are generic drugs out there, but how are we to know if we really need this drug or our doctor was persuaded by the drug company rep to prescribe it even when the expensive brand is not needed?

Who's going to pay for this kind of system? We will, with higher taxes. Isn't it worth paying five or ten percent of your current income so you can keep your house if your wife is diagnosed with cancer two weeks after you're laid off from your job? And we're paying for medical care now. We pay for it in higher costs for hospitals that absorb the expense of caring for the indigent. We pay for it with higher insurance premiums. Rising healthcare costs was one of the issues that brought down GM.

If your employer doesn't have to shell out so much to the insurance company, he'll pay you more. Everyone wins.

Of course, I don't expect a single payer system to get past any of the "Fiscally Responsible" Republicans in Congress. (Trillions for defense, not one penny for socialized medicine).  I'm resigned to the fact that whatever reforms they come up with will be everyone's third choice, hugely complicated and in the end, will make things worse.

That's what America is all about.

Posted by judy5cents at 4:45 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Sunday, 14 June 2009
Taking The Brown Acid

In 1999, the newspaper in Albuquerque, New Mexico commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival by writing a story about the experiences of local residents who were there, including my older sister Betsy.

She said she talked at length to the reporter about what those three days of peace and music were like--the rain, the camaraderie, the performances, being there when Jimi Hendrix played The Star Spangled Banner, etc. When the story came out, the reporter only used one quote, an offhand remark she'd made about having taken the infamous "brown acid."  For all of Albuquerque, my sister was perceived as an aging acid freak.

That's what happens when you talk to a reporter.  Out of a twenty minute conversation, only one or two sentences appear in print and not always the ones you'd like. 

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to a reporter doing a story on lapsed bloggers for the New York Times Style Section.  On Sunday, June  7, it appeared on the section's front page, and damned if I wasn't taking the brown acid myself.  Not much I can do about it, other than sound Palinesque and try to convince you all that my remarks were twisted and taken out of context.

That's why politicians stick to the talking points, as my sister Nancy pointed out.

So I'm taking my obscure little platform here in cyberspace to set the record straight.

I sepnt most of 2005 and 2006 blogging because it was fun. I have a background in journalism and it was like getting to write the op ed piece every day.  Did I want lots of followers and comments? Yes, I would have liked them, but it wasn't something I wanted to actively persue. Why did I stop? It got old. It got pointless. With so many people online writing blogs, who has time to read them?

Blogging became a tremendous time sucker.  I'd spend an entire morning researching, writing and editing a blog, while the dogs weren't walked, the carpets weren't vacuumed, and the laundry piled up. 

As I told NY Times Guy, I am not so full of myself as to believe that there were people out there whose day would be ruined if they couldn't read my blog.  

The internet is an immensely huge attic full of boxes. Some contain priceless treasure and some are just full of junk. My blog is just one of those boxes stashed away up there, gathering dust.  If you find it, it's up to you to decide which category it falls into.

Something I did notice, the article generated a lot of snarky comments on a lot of blogs. Not mine, of course.  I wouldn't have known it if I hadn't gone looking (dumb thing to do, by the way). Which brings up the fact that the blogosphere has its own Gossip Girl mentality, You'll rip a person to shreds on your public forum,  but you wouldn't dream of saying it directly to them.

Looking back over the posts here, I know I've been guilty of that myself. I have given up on blogging, but I still make comments on other blogs. I hope I'll keep in mind that the person we're all calling an idiot may have had his remarks taken out of context, or miscontsrued or out-and-out fabricated. 

Of course, Sarah Palin is always fair game.

Posted by judy5cents at 1:07 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 15 June 2009 12:15 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Monday, 8 June 2009

Keep scrolling down. There actually are some pretty good posts on this page.

Posted by judy5cents at 12:41 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, 11 December 2008
Give The Gift That Gives Back

Books make great gifts. Autographed books are even better, especially an autographed book by someone really famous. But the absolute best gift would be an autographed book by someone really famous with all the proceeds going to a worthy cause.

Well it's here. Just go to ebay and bid on a signed copy of The Seventeen Traditions by activist and perennial presidential candidate Ralph Nader. The entire price you pay for the book will go directly to Phoenix Emplyoment Ministries, a non-profit organization in Wilmington NC which helps the homeless and nearly homeless find work. I'm a volunteer there and I can attest to the huge difference this group has made in the lives of our clients. With the economy in freefall, the list of people needing our services has grown while our donations have dropped. What we do works and we can use your help

Posted by judy5cents at 7:50 AM EST
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
Thursday, 20 November 2008
We Knew That When We Elected The Guy

Well, it's been two weeks since the election and I'm still amazed about the outcome. Not only have we elected the first African American president, but President-Elect Obama (oooh, I just love saying that, "President-Elect Obama") is conducting his transition just as expertly as he did his grueling two year campaign--calmly, deliberately and with the help of some very highly qualified policy advisers.

One good thing about these arduous campaigns, we really do get to know the candidate we've elected. Whatever flaws they have, we know them all at the start. There's no way of telling how those flaws will hurt their presidency, but looking back at the major presidential disasters over the years, you have to say "Well, it isn't like we didn't know."

When we elected Ronald Reagan, we knew he was an actor. So what did he do for eight years? He "played" the part of the president while other people ran the country. Hence, the Iran-Contra scandal. While he busy answering letters from ten year old boys wanting their bedrooms declared federal disaster areas, (just like fan mail from his old Hollywood days) Ollie North and company were selling arms to moderate Iranians to fund the anti-Sandinistas in Nicaragu, against the rule of Congress.

We all knew that Bill Clinton was a womanizer. Or to be blunt about it, this was a guy who just couldn't keep it in his pants. Remember the flap about Genifer Flowers?  He also had a huge ego and we knew that too. I can't say I was exactly surprised by the Monica Lewinsky fiasco, but I was disappointed. I'd hoped he'd have been smart enough not to get blow jobs from a White House intern in the Oval Office.

We also were well aware of George Bush's problems, although they were presented as strengths. He was a charming ne'er-do-well, the rebellious son of a wealthy, respected politician. He'd spent his whole life dependent on his family name, using it to get out of going to Viet Nam, to get into Harvard, to buy a baseball team.  But he was never very good at anything besides drinking too much and being charming, until he found Jesus and gave up drinking.  Bush came into his presidency determined to show his dad he really could be Somebody, and he did that by refighting the Gulf War with the intention of winning it.  Look how that turned out.

So at this point, what do we know about Barack Obama? He's a great speaker, he's intelligent, he's willing to ask for help, he's always worked hard for whatever he wanted. Here's a list of the bad stuff: 

To buy his house, he made a deal with shady Chicago developer Tony Rezko, recently convicted for fraud and bribery.

He attended a church where the minister, Rev. Jeramiah Wright said "God damn America," although it's not known if Mr. Obama was sitting in the pews during that particular sermon.

He is loosely acquainted with a former 1960s radical named William Ayers, head of the infamous Weathermen, who believed they could end the war by blowing things up like the Pentagon and the Haymarket Riot Memorial statue in Chicago.  (By the way, the only people the Weathermen ever killed were three of their own members who died putting together a nail bomb). Mr. Obama was a guest in Mr. Ayers' home at a "Meet The Candidate" night and they served together on an anti-poverty foundation called the Woods Fund.

That's pretty much it. There have been no stories of exessive partying or DUIs. There have been none of the Bimbo alerts that plagued Bill Clinton. Unlike the Actor-In-Chief Ronald Reagan, he's not snoozing while others do the real work.  His problems have been the things said and done by people he's known, not the things that he's said and done. Okay, he did say that poor people are clinging to guns and religion and he did make that remark about the price of arugula, hardly a scandal in the making.

If President Obama can run his administration in the same disciplined, focused manner he ran his campaign, I really believe he can turn the country around.

Posted by judy5cents at 9:18 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 20 November 2008 9:20 AM EST
Post Comment | Permalink
Friday, 19 September 2008
Like Nails On A Chalkboard
Mood:  don't ask

I can't stand Sarah Palin. I didn't think I could despise a politician as much as I did George Bush, but leave it to the Republicans to replace the outgoing president in my (lack of) affections.

Fortunately, a good portion of the country is coming to its senses, realizing that giving the secret bomb codes to a woman who has to bone up on foreign policy and believes that the world was created 4,000 years ago is not such a good idea. And perhaps, we've all grown a bit weary of her line "And I told Congress, 'Thanks but no thanks' on that Bridge To Nowhere." Especially since it's been made quite clear that she was very much in favor of that bridge before she was against it. Not to mention that she didn't actually say "no thanks" to Congress. Alaska kept the money.

But perhaps what irks me the most about her candidacy is that all those conservatives who talk about family values and like to quote the bible passage "Wives submit to your husbands" are now calling people sexist who dare say anything about who will be taking care of her children while she's running the country.

She presents herself as being just like us--a working mom who takes pride in doing it all. Sure, she'd be able to take care of her family and govern the country without missing a beat. No problem.  Lots of women have demanding careers and family and who are we to say they can't?

But it's not just a demanding job, she'll be a heartbeat away from being Leader of the Free World. And it's not just a normal happy family, it's a son in Iraq, a pregnant teen aged girl and a little boy with Down Syndrome who needs more than just a caregiver. He needs special intervention to make sure he reaches his full potential. Can she just put all that out of her mind and deal with the problems of the presidency? 

I would like to go on record saying that I don't want people who are "just like us" running the country. For the last eight years, we've had the Guy We'd Most Like To Have A Beer With  as president and look where we are now--up to our necks in disaster. God help us with the Hockey Mom In Chief.

I'm taking comfort in quotes from Geraldine Ferraro. Remember her? She was Walter Mondale's running mate when he ran against Ronald Reagan in 1984. She said she drew crowds wherever she went. People wanted to see her and they looked like they adored her, but that didn't translate into votes in November. Reagan won with a landslide.

But what's really restored my confidence in Obama is the way he's handled everything. He rises above the jibes and attacks, answering them all calmly and sagely, then saying "Let's get back to the issues here." He looks like he's in charge of his own campaign, as opposed to McCain, who's so obviously being handled, along with his running mate, who's probably not allowed out of the house without a chaperone. (I expect a Sarah Palin "Macaca" moment any day now)

Anyway, I sure hope at the end of all this, Sarah Palin and her brood will disappear from the radar and go back to Alaska.  I like to believe that McCain and Palin made a secret deal--she runs for the vice presidency, shoring up the base for him, then after winning in November, she resigns, saying she needs to spend more time with her family, thus giving President McCain the chance to appoint Joe Lieberman vice president.

Pretty cool strategy. And it would be the first time a politician cited "wanting to spend more time with my family" as a reason for quitting and we'd really believe them.

Posted by judy5cents at 1:46 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:21 AM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Friday, 29 August 2008
We Might Actually Be Able To Pull This Off (And Wouldn?t That Be Awesome?)

Along with about a billion or so other people, I watched Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention last night, and I can't help feeling amazed. We've finally done it, a major party has nominated a man of color as its candidate for President of the United States.

African Americans have run for the office before, but they were always long shots, with no real expectation of winning the nomination. They were there mostly to express a point of view rather than compete. The country is not ready to elect a black man as president, we were always told.

Well, I think we're ready now.

Polls are showing McCain and Obama in a dead heat. The talking heads say there are too many people out there who believe Obama is too liberal, too young, too inexperienced and a closet Muslim with ties to Arab terrorists. (Not because he's black, no one's going to admit to being a racist even to an anonymous pollster)

Years ago, my high school history teacher talked about the polls taken in 1940 when Franklin Roosevelt ran against Wendell Wilkie. The results showed that Wilkie had a substantial margin over FDR and was expected to win. But here was something the pollsters did not consider. People who couldn't afford telephones supported Roosevelt. And they came out in droves to vote for him, re-electing him to a third term.

The same could be true of Obama. Polls are conducted on landlines. A good many of Obama's supporters communicate soley through cell phones. They will certainly come out in droves to vote for him, even though their views never appear in the polling results we see every night on the news.

Of course, the only poll that counts is the one taken on November 4th. Can't wait to see how that one turns out.

Posted by judy5cents at 7:44 AM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Monday, 21 July 2008
The Wisdom Of A Half Century Plus Two Years

Last month I turned 52 and I bought myself a tiara. I've always wanted to wear a tiara ever since the first time my mother let me stay up to watch the Miss America Pageant. I'm pretty sure that no one's going to give me a tiara, so I figured it was a good time to go buy one.

Which I did, along with a matching rhinestone necklace. And thus a birthday tradition was born. It has now become the Coveted Birthday Tiara and Matching Precious Sklinkles of Joy Necklace.

I was photographed wearing them and then wrote down what little wisdom I've gained in 52 years. Then I boxed it up and sent it to my mother, who will do the same, then box it up and send it to my sister Nancy. And so on. We will start our own little blog so we can all see each other's answers.

Here's what it's taken me 52 years to learn:

1) When a torrential downpour accompanied by a cold North wind during a camping trip to the Outer Banks forced me to spend 36 hours in a wet sleeping bag, I've learned to always appreciate being warm and dry.

2) Old habits die hard and even then, there are some that have amazing recuperative powers.

3) Having found myself at a point where I have nothing to worry about, I spend an awful lot of time worrying about nothing.

4) Money can't buy happiness and poverty doesn't necessarily bring despair, but you sure do sleep better when you are debt free with money in the bank.

5) Like it or not, you will turn into your mother sooner or later. And you won't mind it nearly as much as you thought you would.

6) A lot of things you've always wanted are over-rated. But having a baby isn't.

7) As a lifelong cat person, I have since learned to treasure the love and loyalty of a good dog. Unlike husbands and surly 12 year olds, dogs are always glad to see you no matter how bad their own day has been.

8) Getting a book published does not change your life nearly as much as you expect it to.

9) It's good to feel useful, and there's nothing more useful than helping people who really need your help.

10) Bad things will happen to you or people you love for no reason. But there will always be family, friends and even strangers who will get you through.

11) Marriage is not like dating. It's like going into business with a drinking buddy. You still get to have a beer together once in a while, but you have to work together to make sure the bills are paid, the kids are fed, the laundry done and the house cleaned at least once in a while. The purpose of dating is to have fun and impress the other person. Once you're married, you find having fun becomes a low priority and nobody's impressed any more.

12) On a cold winter night, it's nice to have a familiar warm body to snuggle up to. Even if he snores. Even if you snore.

Posted by judy5cents at 1:09 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009 11:22 AM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink

Newer | Latest | Older