Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


I am simply too weary to be witty, scathing or sardonic today.

Instead, I am going to post a picture that makes me happy. I don't know why. This painting is called "Flaming June" and even the name makes me feel light-hearted. June...I feel like she could be my friend.

The color of her gown is vibrant and liquid...almost juicy. I can feel the gossamer folds, running like water between her thighs. The ocean breeze caresses her, and I can smell the the scent of her hair as it warms in the sun. I think it smells like jonquils and baking bread. She is relaxed, serene. I wonder if it is the sun that has warmed her, or a lovers touch. I wonder if its the exhaustion of ardor that tranquilizes her.

I am brimming with contemporary disquiet....I long for her contenment and langour. Sometimes I think that if I lie as still as she, and imagine the tang of salt on my lips...I can steal it away for just a moment. Its a thought that cheers me. I find solace in her. Perhaps you can too. Lord Leighton would be pleased, I think.

My beautiful friend, Flaming June

The Art of Lord Frederic Leighton

(Dedicated to me. Yes, I am in touch with my feminine side, but don't expect too much of that petticoat twisting frippery here, or I will be forced to repent. I hate repenting.)

Monday, January 30, 2006

Missing Link

WOW. My glimpse into the blogger realm has given me a disconcerting reality check, which I suppose only another long married woman who mostly communes with long married men can relate to. I rarely encounter single men who can legally have sex with me, so my knowledge of them is, understandly, limited.

The way I think of them is largely determined by how they are woven into the fabric of my life: The handsome but effeminate school teacher; the slack jawed but admirably built weight instructor; the pierced and scowling yet scholarly looking bookstore clerk; the painstakingly professional yet inexplicably shady accountant/insurance salesman/grocery store manager who is reminiscent of Milton Waddams...these are all distinctly asexual manifestations of maledom who cross my path with frequency, but to whom I pay scant attention, since they do not belong to the core of my reality. They exist on the fringes of my life, but are not central to it.

Oh yes, there is the occasional exception; a distinctive male who, by virtue of transcendant beauty, brawn or brains, imprints himself upon one's consciousness and insinuates himself into one's thoughts despite repeated admonitions to one's self that one is a happily married woman, and that hasty, clandestine sex in a Little League dugout would not be as good as it sounds, or that relocating to Hollywood to accomodate a career based mostly upon the ability to mash other people into a pulp would be a lark, but ultimately grow stale. But these are momentary flights of fancy, which usually fade amid the hustle and bustle of domesticity and only occasionally rear up to remind one that the brain is indeed, the largest erogeneous zone.

But, as mentioned above, there is another breed of male afoot; a Missing Link of sorts, bridging the gap between adolescence and adulthood. A perplexing and tragic man-child lurking on the edges of chat rooms, blogs and RPGs everywhere; one whom I thought had been left behind in the "angst ridden social pariah occult dabbling uber geek" phase of my rebellious pseudo-punk teenage years. It seems he still exists in a weird sort of time warp...a twenty or thirty something nod to Peter Pan'dom.

This male still lives with one or both of his parents, which allows him to devote all of his income to his teal blue T-top Trans-Am, and support his D&D habit. It also gives him an out should he actually get farther than "I like D&D and I play in a band", because he is secretly afraid of women. He adorns his walls with posters of Christy Brinkley, Loni Anderson, and Justine Bateman. He wonders why he can't meet a girl like them. He works at a retail or fast food establishment. This gives him the flexibility he needs to go on Gigs with his REO Speedwagon Tribute band, and the freedom to wear his hair in a ponytail. He thinks he might like to be Manager someday, but isn't sure his busy schedule allows for that kind of commitment. His favorite movies are Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Tron, and Dune in that order. He thinks that The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is the Great American Novel, and he considers Ponderosa 4 star dining.

Why this male has failed to evolve beyond adolescence is a mystery. Since these things are usually blamed on the mother, we could theorize that she couldn't bring herself to cut the apron strings and instead bound her offspring to her with fierce determination and a never ending supply of softdrinks, Doritos and MTV. Or, we could safely assume that he is simply lazy, immature, and shamelessly willing to take advantage of the guilt that kicking his freeloading ass out would cause his parents, who undoubtedly love him despite the fact that he is milking them dry and waiting around to inherit the old homestead which he can then sell to finance a move to Hollywood where he can pursue a record deal. But really, who knows?

What I do know, is that they can be found in shocking abundance on the World Wide Web. Ladies, take care that you do not fall prey to this wolf in sheep's clothing, or independant, well-adjusted adult's clothing, as the case may be. Know your enemy and gaurd yourself well. And above all, if you hear the phrase "I have a band" run screaming in the other direction as fast and as far as you possibly can.

(Dedicated to...well hell, you know who you are. And yes, you should repent, heavily. )

And now for something completely different....

...A Book Review:

I recently Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult. First let me say that I have read five or six of Ms. Picoult's books and enjoyed every single one of them. I was not disappointed with this latest read. Ms. Picoult's books offer a little bit of everything, which is why their appeal is so expansive. There is romance, without any mention of loins, heaving bosoms or laving. There is mystery, without the requisite tough as nails on the outside, but surprsingly sensual and vulnerable on the inside female lead detective, who is stunningly beautiful but emotionally distant. There is drama without melodrama, and exploration of the human condition without a lot of maudlin introspection and/or false pathos.

This, again, is not "great literature", but it is engaging, compelling and well-written. I would characterize this as light reading, but don't mistake it for fluff. When I say light reading, I mean that it is the kind of book in which you can become so fully immersed that you fail to hear the screams of your children, the wailing of a siren, and the crackling of flames. Don't ask me how I know. Its the kind of book one has to read twice, because the first time through, one reads so fast and feverishly; concerned only with fate of the characters within, that one fails to absorb certain details.

This subject of this book is one of my pet issues...theology, and in particular, faith. It explores the difficult dichotomy that occurs when events challenge beliefs, and the only way to reconcile them are to rely on that which many of us find elusive, frightening and If you an agnostic or atheist, don't let that turn you off. The main character is an atheist, so the theological elements are presented largely from her point of view. I think its an interesting juxtaposition of skepticism and needing/longing to believe. There are many relationships in this book, and Ms. Picoult expolores the complexities and difficulties encompassed within those relationships with an acuity and sensitivity that makes them utterly believable and wholly germane to anyone who has ever struggled to accept and understand someone they love.

Here is a summary from Publisher's Weekly:

Fans of Picoult's fluent and absorbing storytelling will welcome her new novel, which, like Harvesting the Heart, explores family dynamics and the intricacies of motherhood, and concludes, as did The Pact, with tense courtroom drama. In the small town of New Canaan, N.H., 33-year-old Mariah discovers that her husband, Colin, is having an affair. Years ago, his cheating drove Mariah to attempt suicide and Colin had her briefly committed to an institution. Now Mariah's facing divorce and again fighting depression, when her eight-year-old daughter, Faith, suddenly acquires an imaginary friend. Soon this friend is telling the girl how to bring her grandmother back from the dead and how to cure a baby dying of AIDS. As Faith manifests stigmata, doctors are astounded, and religious controversy ensues, in part because Faith insists that God is a woman. An alarmed Colin sues for custody of Faith, and the fear of losing her daughter dramatically changes meek, diffident Mariah into a strong, protective and brave womanAone who fights for her daughter, holds her own against doctors and lawyers and finds the confidence to pursue a surprising new romance with TV atheist Ian Fletcher, cynical "Spokesman of the Millennium Generation."

Amazon gives this 4.5 stars. I found it to be thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile read and would argue vehemently in favor of that last half a star.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Out of the Mouths of Babes

It's quite clear that the purpose of many of these blogs is to illustrate that the author's progeny is the cutest, most brilliant, clever, perceptive and introspective human in training ever to draw breath.

To be fair, I realize that nature, in her infinite wisdom, planned it that way. Parents are supposed to think that their children hung the moon. Parents are supposed to be blind to the faults and flaws of their offspring. Its why human mothers don't eat their young. A mother bird, confronted with a crippled chick, will simply push it out of the nest, but a human mother will nurture and protect her disabled young with a ferocity unlike any other. If human mothers were posessed of this same type of grim pragmatism, human children would not likely survive beyond one of the many milestones with which we mark the passing of their lives. For mine, that would have been the realization of autonomy.

Yes, kids are a hoot. Yes, I have some, and they are undeniably endearing. Until they got old enough to understand the power of sarcasm, and wield it with uncanny exactitude and inordinate frequency, (what can I say, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree) I often found myself chuckling softly behind a demurely raised and impeccibley manicured hand at their precociousness or ignorance er, I mean innocence. And even though my children have elevated the fart joke to an art form and cultivated the art of embarassing me to almost noble perfection, I can still appreciate the instrinsic humor of bodily functions, sex, and childlike candor.

So, though I can appreciate a particularly poignant, droll or whimsical verbal gem from any child, I, and everybody else can do without are the 27 lines of monosyllabic discourse leading up the piece de resistance. Seriously. Human beings, and in particular, the sort who browses the internet looking for...whatever it is they are looking for...are not particlarly adept at or inclinced towards, delayed gratification. After five lines of "uh-huh" and "why?" they are likely to either nod off, or go in search of more stimulating fare.

So do your precious younglings a favor, and do their sweet little aphorisms justice. Give us the goods, let us appreciate their brilliance, and let us all go on with our lives.

(Dedicated to all the children, who are sometimes frightnely insightful, prescient and wise)

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Book of Simon

Why do people encourage others to pursue endeavors that they clearly have no aptitude for? Why, in heaven’s name, would a friend or a loved one allow someone they care about to make a spectacle of themselves performing whatever dubious ability they have convinced themselves they possess in a public venue? Why would someone sanction the waste of precious time that could be spent honing a real skill rather than an imagined talent? It seems a monumental injustice to me, because life it too damned short to be spent sucking wind.

This train of thought started with the last episode of American Idol. Usually, I simply cannot bear to watch this program. I cringe to see the genuine disbelief, disappointment and discomfiture on the faces of those who are (rightfully) rejected. It makes me sad, and it makes me angry, because someone, somewhere, did something to make them believe that this was a dream worth following. Someone lied to them. Someone looked them in the face and said “Why YES! You *could* be the next American Idol!” knowing full well they would be facing the merciless and misanthropic and Simon.

The human ear is a finely honed instrument, and anyone who has ears can tell the difference between good and bad singing. Even an infant will wail in protest when subjected to the truly astonishing dissonance that the human vocal cords are capable of producing. So there is no excuse. I can, however, think of two reasons. Either they are too cowardly to speak the truth or they are making money by supporting the pursuit of a pipe dream. A loved one can be excused, I suppose, for perhaps they are blinded by their affection and willing to offer their encouragement and support unconditionally. But quite frankly, any voice coach who encourages a pupil who clearly cannot carry a tune should be taken out and shot for the money grubbing charlatan that they are.

My family insists on watching this show, but I tuned out when that sweet young girl from Greensboro with the piquant little face behind coke bottle glasses was rejected. I just couldn’t take it anymore. It was sort of like watching someone's grandmother receive a diagnosis of venereal disease. And Simon, though he has cultivated the image of loveable curmudgeon, is simply a pompous ass. Though once refreshing, his schtick has grown old, and he is now just a run of the mill boor/bore.

From there, my thoughts strayed to all the really dismal writing I have seen perusing these blogs of late. I mean, there is a truly a staggering bounty of badness to be found out there. Fiction that makes Harlequin romances seem positively urbane. Poetry that imparts Tennysonian elegance to Dr. Suess. Satire that falls astoundingly, resoundingly, flat. And more clap-trap, prattle and hyperbole than you’ll find in any political debate, televangilism broadcast, or assemblage of legal professionals.

What is more surprising and shocking than these literary abominations, is the fact that those composing them are foisting them upon the world, proudly offering proof of their prowess and perspicacity. And I wonder…what kind of person has such unshakeable confidence and faith in their own abilities? Isn’t it human nature to be hyper critical of our own creative efforts? Isn’t it human nature to doubt one’s worthiness as a harbinger of beauty and brilliance? I write. Or, more accurately, I attempt to write. And I am almost always displeased with and critical of what I write. I often delete it in a fit of opprobrium and soundly chastise myself for my presumption and pretension, characterizing all past, present and future endeavors as grandiloquent blather.

Once, I tried to write a sex scene. Yes. If ever there was a literary bugaboo, that would certainly be it. There are few authors I know of who can write a detailed account of sexual congress without resorting to clichés, euphemisms, and/or gratuitous vulgarities. Nor are there very many who can capture all the passion, poignancy and transcendent intimacy of a truly beautiful and satisfying physical union. Yet, I had the temerity to think that I could. The result of that effort was so horrifying that I vowed never to attempt it again. It was, in every sense of the word, garbage. I do not believe I am possessed of extraordinary self-awareness. But I know bad writing when I read it. So, perhaps, in the case of one who believes their talents to be of a caliber far removed from that of reality, it is a case of simple, but ubiquitous oblivion.

I am sorely tempted to start a weekly “Blog of Shame” feature, complete with links. I certainly would have no shortage of material. I don’t know what blog etiquette dictates about linking to other blogs, but something tells me this would be frowned upon. Pity.

In summation…people, I beg you…if you really care for someone, be honest. Take a page from Simon's book and tell them they should never lift their voice in song again, not even in the shower. Tell them it’s customary to read a book before writing one. Tell them their artwork resembles that of Dali on a bad day. Yes, you may have to suffer the pangs of conscience that come with crushing a dream, but its far better than realizing you sent a friend or loved one like a lamb to the slaughter. And really, wouldn’t you rather it came from you…than someone like me or Simon???

Think about it.

(I can’t pick just one blogger to whom this entry should be dedicated. This week, let’s ditch repentance, and work on self-awareness and pragmatism)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


"Birth Canal"

Webster says that a canal is a "a duct, tube, passageway", (ex: Alimentary canal) so I suppose in that respect, there is no techincial quibble.

However, typically, when one envisions a canal, one thinks of water. A body of water wide enough for a seafaring vessell to pass through, presumably, without being squeezed in a manner much like a navy bean being sucked through a drinking straw. This expanse is also presumably wide enough that said vessel does not cause structural damage to such a degree that the owner of the aforementioned canal, declares an embargo on any and all canal traffic, ever, until the end of time. Nor does it alter the dimensions of the canal so significantly, that smaller, more streamlined vessels flounder about, seeking purchase, lost and adrift.

Not so the human "Birth Canal".

For that reason, I am submitting the following to the kind people at Webster's:

Dear Sirs,

I submit that the term "Birth Canal" is an egregious and misleading misnomer. I would like to respectfully request that the term be revised as follows:

"Birth Crevice"

I introduce the following visual aid to illustrate the great disparity in marginal boundaries and serve as further evidence to support my claim:

Suez Canal


Birth Canal

Thank you for your kind consideration.

Yours Truly,

B. Antagonist,
Canal/crevice owner and operator

(Dedicated to the shocking number of childbearing bloggers who feel the need to share all the gory details of their birth experience(s) with the www at large. Sheesh...I didn't even look at my own placenta.)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Not Only Not Stupid....

....but incredibly intelligent, informative, and refreshingly relevant.

I am not a numbers person. Being neither a neurosurgeon nor a psychologist, I'm not sure if that's a right brain/left brain thing, or a simple quirk of human nature. The point is, numbers do not just "make sense" to me, as they do to my husband and sons.

I can absorb and retain countless historical facts. I can learn languages. I can enjoy and appreciate the interprative beauty of art and poetry. I can even string together a series of fairly well-contructed sentences (though I struggle with run-ons; they are my literary achilles heel.) with reasonably cogent results. And nobody, but nobody can beat me at Boggle, Scrabble, Flipwords, or Balderdash. But ask me to do a simple equation...and I break out in a cold sweat.

That said, Mr. BA and I, in an attempt to actually have something left with which feather our nest with after our chicks have left it and been properly educated on how to fly solo, have spent the last five years or so taking stock of our personal finances and formulating a plan for the future. I'm proud to say we have successfully completed step 1 of that plan, which was to eliminate all of our unsecured debt. Talk about a weight being lifted. I'm embarassed to say how much we had amassed, so I won't, but suffice it to say, we could have fed a small country on what we spent on nothing at all, really; mere trifles. Well, except our honeymoon to Europe. It was worth every penny of that 21.5% interest.

Anyway...Economy and all it entails scares the pee out of me, (not hard to do since son #2 came into the world at a fighting weight well over that which any woman should be expected to birth) to be quite honest, but I feel its important to understand at least the basic principles if I'm to be instrumental in executing The Grand Plan, especially since most of the cash that so quickly leaves our posession does so through my hands, by virtue of my position here at BA Inc.; raiser of children, keeper of house, procurer of food, clothing, medical care and requisite sporting goods/apparel.

So I've been browsing economic and finance blogs and came upon this. At first glance, its pretty dry reading, unless you're an Economist or Financier. Frankly, my first instict was gouge out my eyes and rend my garments...but if you dig a little deeper you will find that there is some really good information there.

What I learned:

  • Who Alan Greenspan is (KIDDING, kidding...but only a little).

  • What a Housing Bubble is, how it was created, and why it probably won't be going away any time soon.

  • How Foreign and Domestic trade impact our economy.

  • What a Bourse is and why we should hope that it dosen't come to fruition.

  • All about home equity, and why it should not be used indiscriminately (OOPS).

You will find all that and so much more in this blog. Did I understand all of it? Not by a longshot. But it's a start. If you're an economics nitwit like me, I think you will find it as informative as I did. So, without further ado, I give you:

The Mess that Greenspan Made
How 18 years of Easy Money Have Changed the World

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Religion for Dummies

(Imagine my surprise at finding an actual book by this title)

I am not a Christian. I was raised in a Christian home, and my parents tried very hard to rise above the problems that plagued the small Baptist church we attended for the sake of their faith. But eventually, dispirited and sick at heart over the petty bickering, corruption and favoritism, they simply stopped going. As Baptists living in the land of Catholicism, their alternatives were limited and so, our days of churchgoing quietly ended.

As children, and indeed, as all children are, my sisters and I were particularly vulnerable to the prejudices that proliferated there. We watched as year after year as the same girl, whose parents could afford to bestow lavish gifts upon the congregation such as a new stove for the church kitchen, garnered the much coveted role of Virgin Mary while we, invariably, were stable animals. We watched as Sunday after Sunday, Mr. Jones, who could no more carry a tune than grow feathers and take flight, but who owned a chain of bookstores and generously gave brand new leather bound hymnals, sang the Sunday solo in a ridiculously discordant falsetto.

We were not at all disconcerted by our abrupt departure from that little church, and strangely, though we received no explanation from our parents, neither were we surprised or puzzled. All three of us understood and in unspoken solidarity, approved. That was the beginning of my disillusionment with and suspicion of religion as a whole, but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that little church was not the only enclave of hypocritical and disingenuous Christianity. When I moved to the Bible belt as a young adult I experienced the realization that deeply held religious beliefs are nothing more than another means for those who hold themselves in higher esteem than others to justify their intolerance and sense of entitlement.

So now you understand my stance on religion. Though I do not espouse or embrace Christian beliefs, or any religious ideology for that matter, theology is a source of endless fascination for me, both from a historical and sociological standpoint.

That said, I was recently reading about a recent study that said church attendance is at an all time low; only 45% of Americans attended church on a regular basis in 2005, as opposed to 86% in 1905 and a whopping 95% in 1805, though of course, we have to take into account the subjectivity of statistics gathered before the advent of a reliable postal and census system (The Census Bureau did not begin using statistic sampling techniques until the 1940’s). In a recent discussion it was suggested to me that this decline is due to sociological factors which make religious ideals incompatible with modern thinking and increasingly egocentric lifestyles. I think that the reality is much simpler.

People are just smarter these days.

Now, I don’t mean to imply that people of faith are intellectually inferior. But in the religious heyday, people were largely uneducated. As such, they simply accepted the way things were, because it was the way things had always been. They had no knowledge of anything that might seriously challenge their faith, nor any desire to acquire such knowledge.

By the same token, Pastors, Ministers and Priests were community leaders; people of great authority and prestige. People looked up to them and trusted them without question. They believed with the conviction of an unblemished soul, that their religious leader would not lead them astray. People looked to them for guidance and wisdom on all manner of issues, but in regard to religious matters, it was thought by many that only a man of God had the wisdom and insight needed to understand, interpret, and dissemble the word of God.

So what has changed? The way I see it, two key issues.

We have the great privilege (or grave misfortune, depending upon your outlook) of living in the information age. People are better educated and from the time we are able to speak, we are encouraged to think for ourselves. We are taught to question, we are taught to seek answers. There is evidence to the contrary of many previously undisputed beliefs and now even the most poorly educated and/or heretical individual has access to this evidence, which they can use to form their own opinions. Ongoing research has debunked many of the Bible's greatest myths. Indeed, there is evidence that Christianity is as much the result of folklore and fantasy as anything else. We have the freedom to decide for ourselves, and the confidence to do so.

I am not a theologian by any means, but I've been doing a lot of reading about this subject lately. The information is there for anyone who seeks it out. Some of the books I've read are Holy Blood, Holy Grail, The Magdalene Legacy, The Woman with the Alabaster Jar and The Goddess in the Gospels. These are but a few of the many tomes dedicated this subject. Go to the religious history section of your local bookstore and you will find the shelves bursting with them. The abundance of such material is a testament to the burning dissatisfaction and disillusionment that we as a people feel towards a rote doctrine that we once simply accepted.

The other issue is the deconstruction of the religious leader as the picture of perfect humility, morality and servility. Jim Jones poisoned his flock. Jim Baker hustled his. David Koresh, in a shocking display of sacrilege, declared himself the Messiah, and had sex with numerous women and young girls in the name of himself. Then of course, we have the many Catholic priests who abused, molested and raped their young and trusting parishioners.

We got fed up, and we gave up when we began to realize that the mantle of religious respectability was nothing more than carte blanche to pander to one’s most base human instincts. No longer were we willing to relinquish our children or ourselves mind, body and spirit to those professing to have only the salvation of our immortal souls at heart. And really…what relationship can withstand such suspicion and duplicity?

We have become a society that is less inclined toward blind acceptance and more inclined toward suspicion and disbelief. We are now a people that questions. I don't see that as necessarily a bad thing.

But I will tell you this: Some days, I envy those who have the solace of a convicted heart. Those who take comfort where it is to be found, and who believe, despite evidence to the contrary, that sometimes a thing that cannot be seen, or proven, just is.

A Leap of Faith, they call it. And I am reminded of the quote by John Burroughs…

"Leap, and the net will appear."

So…where does the courage lie? In leaping, or in doubting? If you figure it out, let me know. Because despite my skepticism, I still get goosebumps when I happen to hear a long forgotten hymn from my childhood. And it makes me think that deep down....we all want to believe in something.

(Dedicated to all the exceedingly patient Christians I have known, who suffered my heresy and blasphemy with grace and kindness. I suppose, this time, it is I who should repent. step at a time, okay? )

And now for something completely different....

A Book Review.

I recently read Dance of Death by Preston and Child. P&C novels are not "great literature", but they are pretty well written brain candy. They are one of my guilty pleasures; what I reach for when my poor mind is whirling with the minutaie that governs my life and I can't cram another stream of coherent thought in there; can't process any heavy conceptual or idealogical discourse. In other words, its just fun to read.

When Koontz and King became staid and formulaic, I turned to Preston and Child. As a rule, I dislike any and all serial literature, but Preston and Child have the same gift for gruesome titillation, melodramatic storylines, and colorful characters. So I have made an exception, and I have not been disappointed, until now.

If Dance of Death is your first Preston and Child novel, then you will probably enjoy it, but it suffers by comparison to works such as Cabinet of Curiosities which was wonderfully macabre. The storyline, while it had a lot of potential, fell somewhat flat, and the characters, which could have been so vivid, didn't develop as I had hoped.

I really like the Aloyisius Pendergast character, despite his pretentious name and even more pretensious behavior, but in this story, we do not get to see as much of his uniquely quirky personality nor are we treated to as many deliciously gruesome details relating to an equally gruesome plot (I suppose reading previous works spoiled me in this regard. If you love that sort of thing, read Relic or Still Life with Crows).

The relationship with Diogenes, Aloysius's brother, the acrimony arising from their sibling rivalry, and Diogenes's sociopathy, which were all hinted at in previous works, and which, I expected to culminate in an epic of unparalelled Preston and Child style, (That is to say, gruesome, suspenseful, clever and gripping.)all fizzled out in weakly constructed and unfulfilling storylines with what seemed to be little more than a token nod to the really juicy promise they tantalize us with in the beginning of the book.

The big revelation regarding the root of the rift between Diogenes and Aloysius was a big disappointment, and the mystery of Constance is wearing thin. Just tell us already! Is she a succubus, a time traveler, a vampire...what?? Additionally, I am finding Smithback more and more cliche, and though I think P&C are trying very hard to make him the antithesis of your average tabloid reporter, its not working.

I have, on occasion, stayed up all night devouring a P&C novel...not so Dance of Death.

P& yer books, really. But you need to slow down, or risk going the way of Kellerman, Evanovich, and Deaver, who all started out so promising, but quickly became boring and predictable.

(Dedicated to P&C, cause I really do love their books. Don't repent yet...we'll revisit the issue when Book of the Dead comes out in June. )

Cyber Holocaust

Let’s take a moment to review…the Internet is not your living room.

I know we all have places on the internet where we feel comfortable. We think we can let our hair down and put our feet up, and divest ourselves of the inhibitions that rule our “real” lives. We let the anonymity and the lack of accountability loosen our lips. We confide things to internet acquaintances that we would never, ever share with people we must face and look in the eye. We behave in ways that we would never consider behaving with real people.

Why? Because we can. Like children in a candy store, the temptation is too great for some people to resist. And people are lulled into a false sense of security on the internet. They think they can say what they like with impunity because nobody knows who they are. And if they use some common sense, there is some element of truth in this.

But people who use the internet do not use common sense

They share their deepest darkest secrets and unburden their souls on every message board, blog, and chat room they can find. They litter the internet landscape with the refuse of their disappointment, bitterness and regret. They harangue, harass and malign their enemies with shocking abandon. They indulge in sophomoric name calling. They openly judge people based on their politics, their religion or their race. They freely opine on other people’s parenting, morality, and integrity. They make unfounded and even blatantly false accusations of every imaginable kind. Even worse, some use it to indulge in violent, degrading fantasies with people of similar proclivities, and to prey upon the innocence that fuels them. All this they do in the name of free speech, never expecting or believing that their behavior will touch their real lives.

And yet, they do not take care to protect their identity. No... They drop little pieces of their lives and their identity like breadcrumbs…a tasty little trail for anybody who cares to follow. They post pictures, with license plate and house numbers plainly visible. They refer to spouses and children by name, and identify their places of work, worship and recreation. They blather on about anything and everything; oblivious to the fact that the unending stream of information is like a fingerprint, just waiting to be lifted by a criminal, an enemy, or a loved one betrayed. And they are always positively shocked when someone, somewhere, puts the pieces together and fingers them for a fraud, a scoundrel, a pervert or a traitor.

People like to think that real life and the life they live on the internet are intrinsically separate. They are not. Eventually the ugliness, bitterness and hatred bleed into real life, the wounds they have opened stigmata that will not be stanched, and stubbornly refuse to heal. And though my thoughts regarding a “higher power” have not coalesced into a religious idealogy, I do believe that acts of unkindness and hatred are revisited upon the offender by the cosmos…some day. It’s a thought that lends me a small measure of comfort and satisfaction.

So, what has this to do with blogs? Well, nothing, I suppose. But if you pick a random blog to read, chances are, you will find something hateful being said about someone; something. A real life acquaintance, a political or religious group, people who espouse a given philosophy or parenting style. Blogs are just another way of spreading the bitterness and discontent of a life lived in emotional and moral squalor.

Yes…the internet gives us the freedom to be truly wretched to one another. What a boon it has been to mankind. And yet there is hope. The human race has recovered from many instances where man has done unspeakable things to his fellow man. After the horror and sorrow abate; after time heals the wounds and lends a measure of objectivity, we have been made stronger, wiser, and determined not to let history repeat itself.

Maybe, just maybe, there is hope that man will recover from the internet.

(Dedicated to beckygirl...Karma's a bitch, ain't it hon? Don't bother to repent, its too late for you.)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Not Only Not Stupid....

...but captivating and brilliant.

If you are a blogging veteran, you are probably already familiar with this blog. It seems it has generated a lot of publicity and created quite a following. I happened upon it quite by chance one day, as I searched, fruitlessly, (or so I thought) for blogs that had some purpose, some meaning, some...soul.

What I found was a blog of uncommon and winsome beauty. It is powerful, evocative, poignant. It is at once gut wrenching, uplifting and amusing. It is uniquely and profoundly....human.

If you can read it without mentally running through your list of secrets and planning your own postcard, then I'd say its fair to presume that you have never loved, nor lost, nor lived.

Post Secrets

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Why've been busy today!

No, I have not been exeedingly insightful or prolific today. Recently, I was forced to take down my blog due to some unfortunate circumstances. Yes, the same circumstances that prompted my "Women are crazy" entry. But all is well now, so, like a phoenix from the ashes, it has risen again. I simply copied and pasted all my entries into a new blog.

Tally ho.

Women Are Crazy

I’ve been around the internet in some form or another since it began. My husband is an IT professional, so even when I was uninterested in using it myself, I was aware of it in a contemptuous, sneering sort of way. At that time, only computer geeks and gaming dorks used the internet.

At the risk of sounding like an aging dowager…I remember when you had to pay by the minute and you had to use a proxy service like AOL or Compu Serve. I also remember hitting the roof when I found my husband had racked up a $400 AOL bill playing a now antiquated, but then cutting edge RPG.

When the information superhighway exploded I was a young wife with a new infant who had quit her full time job to stay at home and care for my baby. Like everyone else, I was looking for something. I got on the net to find some way of connecting to people like those I had once encountered daily with no thought to their presence in my life, but whom I now missed dearly in my isolation.

What I found, were message boards. People talking to one another about anything and everything. Expecting Club boards, Playgroup Boards, Debate Boards, Recipe Boards, Book Club was a dizzyingly diverse array of people, opinions and knowledge. I was dazzled and immediately drawn in.

Now, many years later, the internet has evolved and with it, my perception of those who populate it.

What I have learned, is this: Women are crazy.

Now, I don’t mean dress your doggie up in evening clothes and serve him dinner at the table kind of crazy. I mean, Single White Female Crazy. Squeaky Frohm crazy. Make your baby sick so you can spend time with handsome doctors crazy.

But I have also learned that for every mean, crazy, desperately unhappy woman out there, who needs to spread the misery and sorrow that poisons her soul….there are TEN women of immeasurable kindness, incalculable generosity, inexhaustible strength, undying passion, and unceasing tenderness.

For every woman is who Texas Cheerleader Mom crazy…there are ten who are Give the mortgage payment to a homeless family so they can have Christmas kind of crazy. Drive 500 miles in the middle of the night because a friend found out her husband is cheating on her kind of crazy. Sell everything she owns to finance a trip to Africa to care for dying AIDS patients kind of crazy.

At times, it has been tempting to simply give myself over to the belief that all women are contemptible human beings, devoid of any shred of human decency.

But there are women I have been privileged to know that have taught me that is not so.

So yeah. Women are crazy. Thank God.

Crazy Woman Canyon, Big Horn National Forest;
As beautiful and formidable as its many namesakes.

(Dedicated to women who are Eileen Wournos crazy. You know who you are. Repent? Ummmm, maybe "stop the bloodletting" would be a start.)

Cloudy With a Chance of Vacuuming

Today I am going to depart from my custom of opining on the pointlessness and inanity of blogging, and indulge in some self-serving stream of consciousness prattle of my own.

Today, in honor of housewives everywhere, I want to talk about something which epitomizes the spirit of housewifery and all it stands for. The vacuum cleaner.

Most of us give little thought to our vacuum cleaner. We plug it in, zoom it around, and lose ourselves in thought or the absence of it, while the wonder of modern machinery sucks the nitty-gritty of our lives into its bowels. We turn it off and tuck it away with no thought to the truly miraculous technology that has spared us from the sheer barbary of beating rugs in searing heat or freezing cold. Only when we find ourselves without the aide of such a marvelous machine, do we realize how much we depend upon it.

It was just such a moment, mere hours after the dawn of a New Year, that had me wondering how many other women in the world were facing the exact same kind of crisis and if they felt as astoundingly bereft and disconcertingly hopeless as I at the loss.

My cheap but reasonably reliable Hoover; bought as a stand in for my Fantom while awaiting a replacement part, (of which, apparently, there are exactly two in the known world) became my primary vacuum due to the death of said Fantom a mere two weeks after I donated half my liver to an ailing quadrillionaire to acquire said part. The poor Hoover never was quite up to the task of Hoovering the whole house, but I had been holding out until we could afford a "really good" vacuum, before I put her out to pasture as the upstairs vacuum. Alas, she never lived to see that joyous day. She took one look at the ominously thick pile of pine needles on the living room rug, shuddered, and died. Poor little Hoover. She served me well.

So today, after a few short hours in which we managed to track pine needles into every one of the 2200 sq feet of the house, upstairs and down; including, strangely, all three toilets, where they floated festively, imparting a lovely pine fresh scent to the uniquely fetid miasma that seems ever present in a bathroom used solely by male children, despite the fact that I erected a Lego barricade and established a ten foot no tread zone around the pile where once stood our proud Christmas tree, we went to Target to buy pretty much anything that could suck.

I was immediately drawn to the Dysons, which came in eye catching shades of yellow, teal and magenta. A gargantuan portrait of the well-spoken bespectacled English spokesman graced the aisle, with his erudite tagline dangling from the fluorescent light fixtures. "I just think things should work properly" hit me like a visual epiphany as I rounded the corner into the vacuum cleaner aisle. However, despite such effective marketing, I found myself unable to part with $500 dollars in the post Christmas financial wasteland on the mere promise that it won't lose suction. For that kind of money, I want it written in blood. His blood.

I reluctantly tore myself away from the sleek, gleaming and plentiful row of Dysons, and began to comparison shop in earnest. This, I quickly realized, was futile in the presence of my two elementary aged boys. Boys as you know, lack the shopping chromosome, and are genetically programmed to treat every shopping trip as a seek and destroy mission. After a very frustrating fifteen minutes in which I tried to compare brands, features, and costs while my dear progeny frolicked among the aisles, (frolic = Commence very loud and obnoxious warfare by shooting passersby with finger pistols and occasionally feigning a grisly mortal wound) I found myself considering my youngest son’s advice to choose a particular model based upon the fact that it resembled a submarine.

But I came to my senses, and after plying them with slushies and corralling the diminutive one in the cart while he slurped himself into a sugar coma, whereupon the pre-pubescent one wandered off happily to the nearby video game aisle, I began to make some real progress. My question about the number of other housewives in the same predicament was answered when I realized that the pickins were mighty slim amongst the moderately priced models, and the cheapest models; those just one step above the Wizard of Oz special, were completely sold out. As luck would have it, the model that I finally decided upon, was also sold out.

Did I take this lying down? No, I did not. I was in the midst of a full blown needle crisis, and I was not going home without a vacuum cleaner. And not just any vacuum cleaner, but THIS vacuum cleaner. The object of my desire was a removable canister vac to use on stairs and I would not settle for anything less. Those of who have tried to vacuum steps with a cumbersome upright perched precariously upon them can no doubt understand my all consuming need to own a machine of such wondrously innovative and intelligent design. Why the Dyson guy didn’t think of it is a mystery. Too busy worrying about suction…I suppose. Anyway, having spent far too many harrowing moments balancing on one knee straining to reach the maximum number of steps, whilst the other knee endeavored to keep the damnable machine from crashing to the bottom and me along with it, this model had become the Holy Grail of vacuum cleaners.

I was so determined that I resorted to drastic measures. That’s right. I solicited the help of a sales associate. Whom I finally found six aisles away. In the toy department. Leaving for his break. Uncharacteristically insistent, I requested that he summon help on his little walkie talkie thing. You know…that thing that has the power to turn a mere mortal man into…Da dada DA!…CAPTAIN ASSSSOOOOOOOCIATE!!!

I’m not sure if it was the murderous gleam in my eye, or the reckless desperation in my voice, but he complied. Reinforcements arrived, only to inform me in an exceptionally weary tone…the kind of tone one takes with a four year old that has been told for the umpteenth time that there are no monsters under the bed… that this particular model was completely sold out, and no, I could not have the one on display. Again, uncharacteristically insistent, I requested that he call another area store to see if they had it in stock. The response to this was somewhat startling, as I have never actually seen anyone with all of the blood in their body accumulating in their face. Nobody that wasn’t wearing a leotard and stage make-up, that is. I’m not really sure why this was such an angst inspiring request. I would think that honoring such requests kinda comes with the…DA dada DA! CAPTAIN ASSSSSOOOOOOCIATE!....uniform.

Anyway...alls well that ends well, as another local Target had the desired model in stock. We braved the rush hour traffic and headed to the other side of town with our eyes on the prize. That’s a lie. My eye was on the prize. Their eyes were glazed over with the unmistakable vacancy of retail overload syndrome, or R.O.S, as it’s more commonly known. Those of you without male children have probably seen this look on your husband’s face, especially if he has been forced to hold your purse for an extended period of time, which seems to rapidly accelerate the onset of symptoms.

When at last we reached the other store, I hoisted the diminutive one into the cart, protesting, and sans slushie, so that we could proceed with maximum speed to the rear of the store. I strode through the store like a woman possessed, callously bypassing the Toy, Electronics, and DVD’s departments, deaf to the plaintive cries of my boys, who were now in the all too familiar critical stage of R.O.S.. The next stage was complete system meltdown, which, if not counteracted immediately with fart jokes, extreme sports, or beer, (for sufferers over 21) could result in a related syndrome: E.S.P - Extreme Shopping Psychosis; which is the irrational belief that once one has entered a retail establishment, there is no escape. I had to act fast.

At last we reached the Housewares department and located the object of my desire. I laid my hands upon the gleaming ruby fuselage of the demo model and sighed deeply in contentment. One box left. I unceremoniously tossed the diminutive one out of the cart on his ear and hefted the large box in. That box was the size of a small automobile, and I have no idea where I found the brute force necessary. Pperhaps it is the same phenomenon that is responsible for mothers exhibiting super human strength in the face of mortal danger to their children. After another mad dash through the store, and a moment of abject terror at the checkout stand when I suffered from the irrational fear that my credit card would be declined…..

The Bissell Lift Off Turbo Upright Vacuum was mine.

By the time we reached home, my back was in agony, having spent an hour in traffic during which the overtaxed and under used muscles of my back contracted into twin balls of agony on either side of my spine. I couldn’t even slide my bounty out of the van. But no matter. Just to possess it was a thing of great beauty and happiness.

My children stared as I removed the Lego barrier and beckoned them maniacally to frolic among the needles. And as they did so, hesitantly, their eyes wide with suspicion, but afraid to disobey…I smiled. The forecast for tomorrow? Cloudy with a chance of vacuuming.

(Dedicated to June and Roseanne...who have no reason to repent.)

Armchair Politicians

I am not an aficionado of politics. In fact, for most of my adult life, I have done everything I can to avoid them whenever possible. Unfortunately, I've been forced, by virtue of political unrest in my internet circle, to become politically aware. I am more informed on the issues than ever before, and truth be known, much of my ideology is surprisingly left-leaning. However, there are an equal number of issues upon which I am seemingly right-wing. In short, despite my heightened awareness and cognizance of the polarization in regard to my own beliefs, I still do not identify strongly with either party. I am the epitome of a fence sitter.

So, with that said, there is one thing I *would* like to say about the office of the President, and leadership in general. It is not an endorsement of any kind, or an expression of support. It is simply something that occurs to me, as a leader of sorts, and it’s something that I've learned over the course of the past year and a half. It’s something that I think few people consider when assessing his competency. I don't expect to change anybody's mind, and that is not my intent, since I don't have any hard and fast allegiance to him myself. Its just something I feel the need to address, as I am growing weary of the invective and blustering on the part of those who really have no practical knowledge whatsoever regarding the responsibility, convention and dogma of leadership.

In addition, I believe that a person's response to tragedy reveals a lot about their character. For some, the overwhelming response is..."How do we help???" For others, the predominant concern is..."Who can we blame???" And with the aftermath of Katrina and Rita, finger pointers everywhere are rejoicing that reason and purpose has been restored to their sad and empty lives.

They are blogging their little hearts out, conveniently forgetting the fact that a mere three weeks ago, their most pressing concern was whether Sami and Lucas would make it to the alter. You see…these are not political analysts, lobbyists or journalists. There is nary a law, business or political science degree among them. They are simply insignificant people living insiginificant lives, and watching the world unfold in high definition glory over the rim of their coffee cups. Yet they presume to opine upon the performance of people who have spent many years, and in some cases their whole lives, studying the political climate and grooming themselves for a political career. They feel free to do so, because their ass, after all, is not on the line. In fact, their ass is quite comfortably ensconced in a cushy armchair in a quiet little suburban enclave, where they live in obscurity and anonymity, far from the epicenter of politcal history making.

But I digress. Back to my original point.

You a leader, people look to you to DO something. DO something, they implore you. Help us! And of course, as a leader, you are compelled to do what you can to address their concerns. You are acutely aware that any action you take will carry very profound consequences. Its a weighty burden, and one you are hesitant to shoulder alone. So you consult your advisors. They warn you of all the possible repercussions of every possible decision you could make. It’s a bleak picture, and whatever path you choose, someone will be adversely affected. It seems almost impossible to decide on a clear course of action, but decide you must.

The clock ticks, and with ever second that you hesitate, the people's confidence in you slips. Why doesn't he DO something? Doesn't he care? Doesn't he see the injustice, the inhumanity, the DANGER to his people? Why won't he ACT??? You feel their disappointment in you. You are acutely aware that they are losing faith. You realize that you do not have the luxury of time. Your decision must be made or you risk losing the respect of all those who look to you for leadership and guidance.

On the other side, you have your support staff, urging caution, reminding you of the rules, the laws, and the etiquette that governs your every move. They remind you of the folly of flouting those conventions, regardless of the greater good. They argue amongst themselves....there is dissention among those you most need to be a cohesive force and a unified voice. You realize that when it comes right down to it, you are utterly alone.

Then of course, there are the detractors. Those who are simply waiting for you to stumble. They salivate and rub their hands and wait for the right moment to pounce. They formulate their criticisms with great anticipation. They edit and revise and refine their reproofs until they are perfect in their clarity, stunningly clever and seemingly unimpeachable in their probity. When the moment presents itself...and they know that it will, they cast their aspersions with the confidence that comes of having time to think and rethink. It’s a luxury you do not have, and well they know it. You live every single day knowing they are ever present and waiting.

The stress mounts, the seconds fly away, and finally, with resignation, and tenuous faith that you have done the best you could, you make your decision. You wait for the public outcry. You are not disappointed. Those whom you have helped are quietly grateful. Those who disagree with you cover you with wave after wave of denigration, vitriol and righteous fury. You are vilified, verbally, editorially, publicly. The waves of contempt drag you under and pound you against the rocky bottom until you are battered in body and spirit. What you want, is to retreat to lick your wounds. What you really want to do is quit. You want to walk away and forget that you ever had the temerity to think you could do this job and do it well.

But you can't. You have to smile, and appear unaffected by the scathing criticism. You have to defend yourself with just the right degree of assuredness. You have to appear confident, but not cocky. You have to be gracious and humble, but not cowed.

Finally, the furor dies down, and you can relaxe. For a moment. Until the next time. You don't know where or when it will occur, you can't prepare, you can't forearm yourself. All you can do is wait, with the certainty that the next time WILL come. Until then, you try to remember and take comfort in all the good things about doing what you do.

So, what exactly is my point?? It’s a simple one: It’s just not as easy as it seems to be the one in charge. Nothing is black or white. Nothing is clear cut. There is more to making a sound decision when many lives are at stake than most people can ever know. And nobody, but nobody will ever know or appreciate the true extent of the emotional and psychological agony that goes into those decisions, except the one behooved to make them.

So I would like to offer a little advice to all those who feel compelled to criticize those in power. If you can do it better, run for office. Otherwise, shut your trap and be grateful that somebody is willing to put everything on the line to run this country, protect your way of life, and preserve your civil rights.

You could be married to a guy named Hamid, who feels justified in beating you senseless for overcooking his supper and whom no law in the land will censure him for it. Think about that.

(Dedicated to armchair politicians everywhere...may they see the error of their ways and repent.)

Blogs Are Stupid

According to all the latest web buzz, "blogs" are the newest trend amongst the pseudo-intellectual. Being myself a pseudo intellectual (just ask my detractors) I decided that I should probably get on board with this, or risk being thought hopelessly antideluvian and uncool. I started doing some investigating, as I was plagued by some troubling questions that I felt must be answered before I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be) in an attempt to "blog".

What manner of things does one include in a blog? Are blogs meant to be public opinion pieces, the purpose of which is to be read and commented upon (and lauded for their wit and adroitness with a turn of phrase, of course) by others? Or are they merely the modern equivalent of "Dear Diary", with secret musings and expressions of heart's desire? What sort of person spills the secrets of their soul on the information superhighway? Is this something *I* would be comfortable doing? More importantly, how does one convince one's self that what one has written is not, in fact, french fried tripe, unfit for public consumption? Perhaps the certainty borne of narcsissm is a prerequisite for blogging and if that is so...can one fake it?

With these questions in mind, I set out to unlock the secret of blogging. Misgivings about my aptitude for such a pursuit weighed heavily on my mind. I desperately needed a mentor. I have, in the course of my internet travels, been acquainted with a number of self styled intellectuals; illuminati of such stellar character as to be wholly convinced of their idealogical, moral and philosophical superiority. They struck me immediately as the sort of individual who would indeed, "blog". What better way to gain insight into the mind and qualifications of the seasoned blogger than to avail myself of their wisdom and proficiency? Nothing is quite so edifying as intellectual property, after all.

With great enthusiasm and hopeful fervor, I began to search out and peruse the literary stylings of this generation's greatest thinkers. I read blog after blog hoping for the kind of enlightenment that would allow me to enter the esteemed ranks of bloggers everywhere. Sadly, with each successive blog, I grew more and more disconsolate and disillusioned. I read about recipes. I read about diaper rash. I read about sex lives grown stale, and marital discontent. I read bad poetry and even worse fiction. I read political rantings and religious idealogy. I read self-indulgent lamentations of victimization, and proclomations of rectitude and altruism. Most appallingly, I read endless rambling accounts of day to day minutiae so staggering in their banality as to be nauseating, coma-inducing, and in some cases, both.

Imagine my great shock and dismay to discover that the meaning of life was not to be found in these missives. No, indeed. What I found instead, were rather stale and hackneyed attempts to legitimize and sensationalize the mundane, the ordinary, and the mediocre. To what end, I remain baffled. And I am also left wondering...what is so wrong with ordinary? I myself lead quite an ordinary life, and have in fact cultivated ordinariness with great determination. We are a middle American family with a middle class existence. My children are neither distressingly dim nor disparately bright. Neither my husband nor I am extraordinarily accomplished or attractive, and though we do alright in terms of wit and sagacity, neither of us is discovering new theorems or solving any of the multitude of problems that plague mankind. We are in all ways possible...exceedingly average.

This, apparently, is the antithesis of what one should aspire to, and I find myself somewhat toubleed about what manner and degree of character deficiency accounts for my disturbing lack of concern over it. I do not feel compelled to glorify housewifery. While I have long admired June Cleaver, I do not aspire to be her, and more often than not, my maternal and domestic stylings more resemble those of Roseanne. I am not driven to extoll the virtues of chauffering, food preparation or child care. It is what it is. I am not. Admittedly, sometimes the predictability of my days does lead to random mental meanderings. The act of removing fecal matter from aged porcelain to which it has become eternally bonded does not of its own accord inspire profound thought. Naturally, the mind wanders.

But what kind of person believes these disjointed bursts of marginally coherent thought suitable for anything but the deepest reccesses of their own mind? Certainly not the great thinkers and philosophers that I am acquainted with! Alas, the printed word does not deceive, and I am forced to acknowledge the monumental sham that has been perpetrated and accept the truth. Bloggers, thy name is Fraud! So, duplicitous they may be, but what compels them to importune others with their pointless and irrelevant blather? Perhaps it is the simple fact that misery loves company.

In short, the conclusion that I have reached is this: Blogs are stupid. As a trend, I predict they will go the way of leg warmers, parachute pants, and high waisted jeans. In other words, they will not be a treasured account of one's cerebral self in days gone by, but rather, a source of profound chagrin and endless harassment, much like the visual snapshots that preserve our dubious taste and unfortunate fashion choices for all eternity.

You know the ones I'm talking about...there's that one of you in the teal green satin dress with the dropped waist. Its the one you still secretly think you look hot in, and the one you always give to online acquaintances, professing not to have anything more recent. You're sporting a poodle perm and mile high bangs. Your date is sporting a matching cumberbund and a self-effacing grin. He know he looks foolish, and he knows he is destined to spend eternity looking foolish on your parent's living room wall. If he hadn't been pinning all his simple adolescent hopes on having sex with you on prom night, he would have clued you in to that fact.

So allow me to do what he could not. Bloggers, it is not too late. You can delete all the pretentious and puerile drivel you've foisted upon the world at large in an instant, and no one will be the wiser. Unless of course you've proudly publicized such with all the vainglorious ostentation that you posess and linked to every other blog in the free world. In which case, I'm afraid, you're screwed. The secret is out, and everybody knows you are whining, self-important boor with delusions of grandeur.

For the record, it has not escaped me that I have now placed myself in the same class as those whom I castigate herein. But no matter. My point has been made. I will not lament my lack of productivity in chronicling every mundane musing that crosses my mind. I will not chasten myself as a "bad blogger" and promise to do better. In fact, this may well be my only entry. Or not. If hindsight tells me anything, its that the malevolence and stupidity of others can always be counted on to provide fodder for my own self-indulgent rantings. Stay tuned. But don't hold your breath.

(Dedicated to bloggers of a certain ilk...may they see the error of their ways and repent)