Saturday, February 28, 2009

To my eight-year-old self

When I was eight years old, I had just returned to the United States (with only memories of foreign countries), become a big sister, and played with neighborhood kids who, for the first time ever, were my age and spoke the same language as I did. I was introduced to Pizza Hut, Madonna, and malls. Life was good when I was eight. It's the years that followed that gave me such a confused outlook on life.

So, to my eight-year-old self:

1. You have a talent. Find it. Your thirty-two-year-old self knows what it is but is still too afraid to acknowledge it.

2. Don't start smoking.

3. Listen to your mother and get braces or you'll be paying for it dearly.

4. Let your friend's father pay for piano lessons.

5. Be smart with your money. You're going to need it one day.

6. Get on that plane to Milwaukee.

7. Worrying about everything will get you nowhere, except to the doctor's office. And then they'll bill you. And this will make you worry again. STOP IT.

8. Make the effort to see your family and friends, whether they are near or far.

9. Stand up for yourself more often.

10. Don't burn bridges. You'll have to cross a few to get back to where you started.

11. Learning to play the guitar is not as difficult as you think. Stick with it.

12. Get out of the house.

13. Some people deserve second chances.

14. Love yourself as much as your daughter loves you, if that's even possible.

15. The beach will be your happy place. Go often.

What would you tell your eight-year-old self?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Got XM?

I have XM radio in my car now. It's AWESOME!! And while I cry daily about being poor enough to qualify for food stamps (which I totally will apply for as soon as Mr. Dumas proves, once again, that he's not willing to help feed his child via court-ordered monthly support), I will cry even harder once my FREE (and AWESOME!) XM radio trial period ends in three months (and very likely during my week of hellbent maniacal behavior due to PMS).

So, America...I will subscribe to XM radio and try to collect food stamps at the same time. I don't care if you call me a government mooch. Why not? Because I've been paying taxes since I was 15. I've been paying for murderers' appeals since I was 15. I've been bailing out banks since I was 15. I've fed millions of lazy ass parents and their children with my welfare dollars since I was 15 (I know, they're not all lazy, but alot of them take advantage of the system). I've been trying to figure out, since I was 15, how many children I would have to give birth to and maintain a wonderful relationship with in order to be guaranteed that one of them will make enough money in their adult life to take care of me when I no longer have social security to rely on.

That's why. (And so far, I have only one child.)

Things are not looking good for me. Or you, for that matter. But I've got commercial-free radio. And my being able to listen to hot David Bowie, the Cure, sweaty Morrissey, Depeche Mode, and (gah!!) Ultravox (yes, Ultravox!)(gah!!, again) without fumbling for cd after cd after cd in my moving vehicle is really in your best interest. Of course, what is even more dangerous than that is being on my bad side during the aforementioned week of hellbent maniacal behavior due to PMS.

So let me have my food stamps and XM radio. Any haters can feel free to comment below.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

HBO's heroic move

Taking Chance is a simple HBO film starring Kevin Bacon as Marine Lt. Col. Michael Strobl, one of very few officers ever to volunteer to escort the remains of a fallen Marine back to his family for burial. The film follows how those KIA are cared for, beginning in Dover AFB, Delaware, where 20-year-old PFC Chance Phelps' identity is confirmed, his body cleaned, his personal effects inventoried and steamed for presentation to his family. Phelps' remains are accompanied across the country by his volunteer military escort who is so affected by the experience that he writes this story. The movie is based on actual events. Chance Phelps was a real person and the photographs and videos shown right before the ending credits introduce a young boy, maybe around the age of eight, goofing off for the camera. I think that, at the age of 20, Chance was a still young boy when he was killed in Iraq after being shot in the head.

One memory that is always with me is the one I have of walking past the Rec Center on Andrews Air Force Base, months after the gymnasium had been closed in order to serve as a triage center for servicemen returning from Desert Storm. I was 14 years old and shocked to see a man with one leg using one of his crutches to prop open a heavy metal door. My curiosity got the best of me and I couldn't help but stare. Behind him were more men and a few actually waved to me. Most were confined to their hospital beds and some were missing limbs, too. That is the moment war became real to me.

I've mentioned many times before that I'm very proud to have been raised in the military family. I say the military family because my own military family was just a small part of it. Everyone should be so lucky to experience firsthand the camaraderie that goes with being a part of this military family. I became an official civilian in 1996 but I never stopped supporting the troops, even before it became controversially trendy.

Some websites to visit:
Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund
Vietnam Veterans of America - click on "community" then "household good donations", it's an easy way to show your support!
Adopt a US Soldier

It's gonna be a long time before they all come home. Don't forget about them. Amidst all this yammering about whether or not it's politically correct to allow photographs of flag-draped caskets to be shown on television, HBO took a story from those photographs and put a name and face to one of the deceased. It's about damn time! Of course, we don't want to see pictures like this - but it's a war and people are dying. Take a look outside of your house right now and count how many American flags you see in your neighborhood. That's what I thought. Until there are more American flags being displayed around our cities, then pictures of caskets draped in American flags need to be shoved down our throats.

Military casket Pictures, Images and Photos

I will now step down from my soapbox.

Friday, February 20, 2009

lunch hour

This is my Thank You letter to Bill Taylor who died on October 21, 2006. I wrote it not too long after his funeral which drew in law enforcement officials from all over the country. The sound of the twenty-one gun salute at the conclusion of his graveside service still makes my bones rattle.

It had been months since I’d seen Bill. Last year I promised him that I would bring my father out to the Plantation one afternoon so the three of us could have lunch together. I kept putting it off and was a master of excuses. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to have lunch with Bill. I just had to be in the mood. My lunch breaks at work were pretty much filled with studying for my college algebra exams and eating a variety of microwavable crap. A $5.00 shrimp basket with a large sweet tea from the Surf sounded damn good to me, especially after eating all of that microwavable crap. But my algebra exams were more important. Bill even said so himself.

It was because of Bill that I had my face stuck in an algebra textbook everyday. I might as well have been studying a foreign language because I couldn’t tell the difference between a theorem and Chinese slang. A few months earlier, Bill had sat down with me and helped me hash out a college plan of sorts. I was so far behind in the game of obtaining any worthy degree but he was patient enough to work with me, to find out my strengths and weaknesses, and basically be the college advisor I could never find time to officially meet. Bill pushed financial aid in my face and put the whole college experience into terms I could understand: Do it for your daughter, he said.

Bill also didn’t laugh at my neurotic and analytical personality quirks. In fact, he found these traits to be quite useful in the field of law enforcement. My father was in law enforcement, my brother was in law enforcement, and Bill himself had been a sheriff’s deputy for many years. You carry the makings of a great forensic researcher, he said. Though Bill tried to encourage me to pursue a degree in criminal justice, I decided to become an English major. Grammar police are just as necessary as “police” police and there would probably be less blood involved, unless I decided to become a high school teacher. In that case, I wouldn’t be allowed to carry a handgun. Considering my career options and my inability to feel comfortable carrying a firearm, I stuck with the English degree. Bill was pleased.

Bill and my father were very good friends while they worked for a short time together at the Plantation. The two men were like a much older, balding, badge-wearing, male version of the twins from “The Patty Duke Show”. They walked alike, they talked alike, and as required by company policy, they always dressed alike. Bill thanked me with nearly every breath for recommending my father as an employee. My father, in turn, shared his “Bill” stories with the whole family practically every night after work. If they had ever been given the chance to grow up with each other as kids, these two guys would be the types to take a sucker-punch in the gut for each other, reintroduce their teachers to the whoopee cushion at the beginning of every school year, and generally cause all kinds of town mayhem. Then they would both grow up to be police officers and serve side by side in the name of justice.

After six months of keeping the peace at the Plantation and protecting the old, crabby millionaires from the kids (most likely the old, crabby millionaires’ kids) who were growing up with each other and causing all kinds of town mayhem of their own, my father moved on to a new job at the local community college to protect the staff and students from…well, I don’t know exactly. But my dad loved this new job of his. Bill asked me about him on a daily basis. My dad asked me if I had any “Bill” stories every night after work. Most of the stories I would tell my father involved Bill standing at my office door and saying, in his weakening Texas drawl, “Boy, I sure do miss your dad. He’s a good guy, and smart, too!” Most of the stories I would tell Bill involved my father sitting in his recliner and saying, “Boy, I sure do miss Bill. He’s a good guy, and smart, too!”

This went on for four months until the day after Easter. I headed into work that Monday morning burdened with the task of telling Bill that my father had been diagnosed with cancer. My family didn’t want anyone to know about this but my father had considered Bill a close friend, so my job was to pass on this news. It’s one thing to hear it, that someone you love has cancer. It’s another thing to say it out loud and have it be put out there into the world because then, at that moment when the words spill out, it’s official. Bill was saddened and, like any good friend, he was concerned. My family has never been especially religious but when Bill offered to keep my father and my family in his prayers, I didn’t argue. It was all Bill could do and I think we all understood that. Bill put his faith in God while my family put our faith in advanced medicine. I don’t know if the hands of God or the hands of doctors healed my father but three months after his diagnosis, my father underwent surgery and within six months was deemed cancer-free.

It was during this period of time, after his surgery, that I started thinking a lot about cancer. Actually, I started thinking about what happens after cancer, when it’s finally gone from the body. Does it really go away? Is it hiding somewhere that the doctors didn’t think to look for it, like in the left earlobe or behind the ankle? What about in the webbed spaces between all ten toes? I know of cancer patients going into remission and suddenly discovering that the cancer has returned to gnaw away at their vital organs with more gusto than ever. My dad was fine. Really. I wasn’t worried that his cancer would come back…well, not completely. But I was still curious to know what happens to the cancer once it’s supposedly “removed”. I rummaged through my brain, tearing apart the files that held a plethora of useless facts I would probably never need to know unless I was selected to appear on Jeopardy!. I gave up searching for the answer once I realized I had stopped paying attention in science class well before the 3rd grade. Remember, I’m an English major.

Bill was over the moon to hear that my dad was back in good health. It was late fall and the weather change had me fighting a sinus infection and I accepted the fact that I would suffer from allergies until the summer. Bill was still fighting with his ailments, these constant attacks that shortened his breath and made his body rattle and cough until he threw up. My morning office-door visits from Bill were not happening everyday because he was spending more and more time at home in bed, supposedly recovering from recurring bouts of pneumonia. His doctors were constantly running him through test after test after test after test until they finally discovered what was making him so sick and I discovered that I wasn’t carrying around useless information in my brain, after all. I felt it in my stomach almost as soon as I realized what had happened when my father’s cancer was removed. Somehow, and for some awful reason, it fell on Bill. And now I was burdened with the task of telling my father that Bill had been diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.

The roles were reversed now. My father had started attending church a short time after learning of his diagnosis and I started praying for Bill and his family. We were all aware that Bill had been fighting off something for almost a year, probably even since last Christmas. Bill was too sick to get out of his house for any reason other than doctors appointments. After my father moved on from the Plantation and took his new job, the three of us planned on having lunch. That turned into the three of us planning to plan on having lunch. Cancer came in and ruined it for all of us. I kept my hopes up though and figured I would just wait until Bill got better, until the doctors removed his cancer and it fell onto somebody else. It was only a matter of time and I thought I had all the time in the world. I thought Bill had all the time in the world. How wrong we were.

Eight weeks after Bill’s diagnosis, I received a phone call. That phone call. “Bill’s gone.” Those two words were all I needed to start me off in a shouting match with God and curse his name for causing Bill and his family so much pain, to make him suffer so badly that I couldn’t even have lunch with him. That he and my father would never be able to laugh together at each other’s stupid jokes. That Bill would not be around anymore to encourage me to finish college, to get that degree, to do it for my daughter. I just wanted one hour to take him out to lunch. I had promised this to him and I hadn’t come through, even when he probably needed it the most. My only hope is that he knew how much he meant to my father and me, how much it meant that he would spend his lunch break poring over college classes and degree audits for me. And I wasn’t even his daughter. I was just someone he happened to work with.

UPDATE: My father receives consistently positive (as in Yay!) test results during his cancer screenings. I received my associate's degree in December of 2008. Once I had that piece of paper in my hand, I looked up at the sky and gave a little smile to Bill. I haven't given up on a bachelor's degree. Thank you, Bill.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The mistadventurse of FlapJack

A very talented daughter of mine drew these for fun:
Captain K'nuckles and Flapjack


My mother likes to remind me that one day (in many, many, many days), I will grow up. I will turn 40. I hope The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack is still on TV when I'm 40.

Flapjack, Captain K'nuckles, Bubby, Elle, and me. We love adventures.

Monday, February 16, 2009

And God bless our pastor

It's funny how we're all connected. In some way, maybe through the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, each one of us affects and is affected by everyone else in this world. What's really strange about it is when you can sit back and reflect on it and clearly see it not as a coincidence, but as an actual event, meeting, opportunity, accident, promotion, loss, love, hearbreak, and moment of grief that had to happen. It had to happen. Otherwise, none of it (whatever IT is) would have ever made any sense.

I don't mean to get too deep into this because it wasn't my intention. I thought I could just start typing and blabbering away with the story of how my family began attending a small little church around the corner from our house. But when I thought back to the beginning, it turned into ten different stories that stemmed from the moment my father whispered to me, "Hey, the preacher looks familiar. I think I played Little League baseball in South Florida with him and his brother. Nah, that couldn't be him."

Well, it was. My father decided to start attending church about three years ago after he was diagnosed with cancer. As soon as I saw him backing out of introducing himself to Pastor Dave, I jumped in and introduced them to each other. Over 40 years had passed since they'd played baseball together in a Little League park over 600 miles away. My father was anxious to find out his prognosis and he felt he needed someone to help him find his way to a stronger relationship with the Lord. Who better than a friend from his carefree childhood?

What led my father to this particular church was as simple as proximity. My daughter attended daycare at this church and had even joined the chidren's choir. During holidays, Elle would get on stage and sing about being a Caterpillar at Christmastime or Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! during the Easter service. My parents came with me to support her singing a few times and, because we are creatures of habit, decided this was a perfect church to attend a weekly sermon. My father liked that the church is less than a mile from home, so he met the pastor and they reminisced about their Little League days.

Here we are, three years later and Pastor Dave just left my house after discussing my mother's upcoming baptism. He made some pretty funny jokes about promising not to drown her and also promised he wouldn't pull out a gun and shoot her once she says "Yes, I accept Jesus Christ as my Savior" (for fear that she might change her mind and back out of her eternal promise).

He's a really cool pastor. I struggle sometimes with the whole idea of giving up control of my life to a higher power and I told him this. I mean, if I'm going to accept Jesus Christ into my heart completely, I better mean it. Because He will know if I'm not sincere. And I think that's worse than quietly not accepting Him. Pretending to accept Him is not cool. Respect for religion? I haz it. Most of the time.

But where I start to fall apart is when my church-going daughter schools me in the ways of the Bible and then asks me why I don't go to church.
"Mommy, does that mean you won't go to Heaven with me?"
(listen closely and you can hear my heart breaking into a bazillion pieces)

I've often questioned myself about why I allow and encourage my daughter to attend church, yet I only go on holidays. In fact, I haven't gone to a church service in almost a year and that was only because both of my really awesome bosses died within days of each other and I needed a break from real life. Religion and feel-good sermons took over for about a week and, while it made me feel pretty calm(as in hopeful, inspired, and encouraged), I couldn't help but look at everyone around me and wonder how they could possibly accept this gobbledy-gook speech as a good reason for two incredible people having to die.

And this, my friends, is why I know that I'm not ready.

My father has been reunited with his childhood friend and was declared cancer-free after about 6 months. My mother has found peace within herself by going to church and reconnecting with her family's roots through religion. My daughter has been taught that good and evil do exist and there are challenges ahead, during which she will hopefully make decisions that tell her she is doing the right thing. I don't really know what this whole experience during the last three years has done for me other than make me think harder and harder about any sort of relationship with Jesus I've ever had. I've never had to think about it at all before.

But maybe, just maybe, that was the whole point.

As Elle would say: Dear Lord - Bless our family, bless our friends, and God bless our pastor.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The best movie I've seen in years!

Ever see a movie that you just can't get out of your head? The kind of film that shouldn't come to an end because there is so much more story left? The rare film that has such an exquisite soundtrack that you find yourself refusing to listen to any other music for fear of losing the incredible song as it fades from your memory throughout the day?


It was a toss-up between some crappy (I'm almost sure of this) movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker as a woman screaming about having to reveal her boobies during a film shoot or this other movie with a boring title starring two people I'd never heard of before, one of whom was Irish and not-so-heavily accented, but accented enough to make me strain my ears. I decided I'd rather strain my ears than gouge out my eyes with a rusty fork after SJP actually took off her top.

Suddenly, a heavenly light shone from above onto my television (I know it wasn't sunlight, it's been overcast and rainy all day) and the angels started to sing.

No, no. It wasn't the angels. It was Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova and they were on my TV in this incredible movie called Once.(see the trailer)

You might have already seen this film. In fact, the song Falling Slowly won the Academy Award. Now I know I'm about fourteen miles behind every else in terms of this marathon called a social life, but this is exciting to me. I fell in love with a movie that didn't feature Ellen DeGeneres as the voice of my favorite cartoon character ever - well, second favorite behind Flapjack. I have a child and no money for a babysitter, so I have to rely on Disney/Pixar films as my summer blockbuster provider. The last time I saw a "grown-up" movie that left me so emotional was Dancer in the Dark starring Bjork. That was at least 7-8 years ago. And before that? Life is Beautiful starring Roberto Benigni. I've seen a few really bad movies in between, but mostly I stay away from the theaters. For myself and my daughter to see a matinee and have a snack is well over $20. Even when I bring my own drinks.

Anyway, back to the point. You will fall in love with this movie, with the music, with the idea of love. I'm hardly a romantic (mushiness makes me extremely uncomfortable), but this film touches on the subject just enough to keep you interested in their interest for each other, in their determination to craft the perfect song, and in the character's lives as they awkwardly struggle to support each other without completely relying on each other.

I will never look at sunken boat the same way again.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Team JSO leads by 5

My father was a K-9 handler in the beginning of his Air Force career. Over the next 20 years of his military service, he succeeded in many areas of law enforcement including NCOIC and Air Force One Security detail.

My brothers and I were raised to respect the American flag and those who were willing to die for it. We were also raised to respect the law and those who enforce it. Some officers do their jobs on a voluntary basis with no pay. Some officers are killed in the line of duty. Most officers work overtime just to make sure their jobs are being done and the streets aren't left to the criminals, unsupervised. These officers are overworked, overstressed, and immensely underappreciated.

And in Jacksonville, the guns are blazing! The officers' guns, that is. Here we are, barely 2 months into the year, and JSO has already shot suspect #5.

I put a small blurb in my Year in Review post a few months back about the controversy surrounding the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and the handling of suspects and police shootings. It should be no surprise to discover that I'm on the side of JSO. Jacksonville is a large city. And I don't mean in terms of metropolis-gridlock-and-NYC-skyscrapers-to-house-the-millions-of-people. I mean large, as in it takes me an entire hour of clear traffic to drive from the Northside to the Southside, from one end of Duval County to the other. Yep, Jacksonville is pretty much the entire county. There are a few other incorporated towns like Jacksonville Beach and Atlantic Beach, but they've got their own problems. One of which is an overpopulation of homeless people who ride bicycles around the square scaring little children and making parents nervous. Oh, and asking you if they can have a lick of your ice cream. Ewww. See what I mean? Nervous...

But back to the Jacksonville Vigilantes (JSO): I support you. Just like I support a soldier in Afghanistan who makes the understandable (in my mind) mistake of shooting a suspected insurgent before the soldier can invite him over for tea in order to get to know him better and find out his intentions first.

So when two JSO officers were sitting in an unmarked vehicle in the bad part of town and some dude just walked up to the driver's side window and shot at them, the JSO officers shot back! He died. Hallelujah. There's one more dumbass off the streets. Now these two officers are being scrutinized, not because they shot the guy, but because the guy was deaf. Yes, deaf! Last I heard (no pun intended), being deaf did not make you unable to think logically enough to consider that if you shoot at someone, they might shoot back. He was just unlucky enough to shoot at two undercover cops. They should be promoted.

I haven't heard the story about #5 yet, but I'm sure he was a dumbass, too. And I'm sure the officer(s) involved is getting the full-on "you're ruining Jacksonville's reputation" treatment or else the NAACP is demanding the officer gets fired. And I'm sure this guy's mother, or girlfriend, or baby mama, or whatever, will be featured on tomorrow's local newscast crying and screaming about how #5 never did anything to hurt anyone and he took care of his kids, all 9 of them, and he was a good person who loved his mother, or girlfriend, or baby mama, or whatever.

Anyway, I'm one of those emotional people who gets choked up when I hear about a police officer who's been killed. I'm very happy to report that at least five JSO officers are still alive.

My advice: Don't do stupid shit that's gonna get you shot by the cops.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Love is blind

As I sat in my rocking chair this afternoon, my daughter told me that she was sketching a picture of me. I was going in and out of a 101 degree fever-induced slumber with tissues hanging from my face and my mouth in a wide open gape of a hole. To let in air, of course, since I haven't been able to breathe since Thursday morning. The last time I'd taken a shower up to this point was, again, Thursday morning and it's safe to say that this could possibly have been the first time I'd left my bed in 36 hours. Except to take my daughter to school on Friday, but I don't really remember doing that. All I know is she got there.

During the time it took my daughter to finish her sketch, I had opened my eyes a few times only to be told I was moving around too much. Oh, and did I want my picture to be in color? Sure. Zzzzz..... I was ready to see her sketch of me, sprawled out on a rocking chair with limbs hanging off of every side. And, of course, the wispy tissues coming out of my nose, my hair in naturally styled display of rat's nest, and, possibly, a little drool coming out of my mouth. Well, maybe not the drool considering I was slightly dehydrated.

I got this instead:

Aren't I just positively radiant and lovely?!?! I couldn't help but kiss her for this one. My daughter totally had a prime opportunity to make me look like a big pile of poop. I certainly felt like a big pile of poop. But instead, she made me look like Mom-Who-Makes-Pancakes-On-Saturday-Mornings-With-An-Extra-Serving-Of-Love instead of Mom-Who-Wakes-Up-And-Chugs-Her-Tylenol-And-Sticks-Kleenex-In-Her-Nose. Oh, about that kiss I gave her in exchange for the harm done. She's the one who gave me the flu, anyway.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

O(prah), no you di-int!*

*(ok, I can say it, but I can't really spell it)

Oprah, you better make sure those hands don't get any closer to my throat!

When I heard that Oprah Winfrey's show today was going to be about teaching regular Americans how to live off of what is left of a family's once-comfortable/possibly non-existent budget, I LMAO!

Why? Let's think here, people: I'm not going to take tax advice Tom Daschle or child-rearing advice from Jeanna (the non-blonde Orange County housewife whose son threatened to beat her with a bat for showing up in support of his baseball game), so why in the world should I take advice on how to budget/coupon shop/live on $5 a day from the RICHEST WOMAN IN THE FREE WORLD? Especially when all of us po' folk are helping her make her millions just by watching her show today. Is this not exploitation? I also wouldn't be surprised if Oprah's male viewership begins to increase due to the millions of unemployed/laid off manworkers in this country. Trust me, if Oprah can convince James Frey to re-appear on the show and take all the blame for duping the public about the truthfulness of his book A Million Little Pieces, I am certain that Oprah can convince the hordes of unemployed men in America to (and, no, these are not bad things to consider) help out around the house (even though O has "help"), cook family meals (even though O has a "personal chef"), take care of the kids (even though O has "cocker spaniels who are privately driven to doggie daycare"), and, in a nutshell, become the most powerful woman in the world.

Watch out, Michelle. Oprah got your man elected! There is no clause in that contract about keeping you around. Oprah was the first black First Lady. She doesn't need to be married to hold that title. Ain't that right, Stedman?

Anyway, I think it's obvious how much I dislike Oprah. Sure, she does nice things for people. Like her little gift-giving extravaganzas during which she shoves expensive electronics into the hands of very well-dressed/well-groomed white women who look like they could afford that shit with or without Oprah's "handout". And offering $2 million to the crazy baby-factory mom in Bellflower, California to appear on her show? Ok, I get it - yes, that mother needs help. But, honestly, I think it would be more useful and humane if it was of the psychological kind.

Oprah, you lost my respect a few years ago. During your show about race relations, to be exact. I have a specific moment from your show replaying in my head right now in which you asked a white woman (the representative of your highest percentage of viewership) how she felt about the racial progress in America. White Lady talked for a good 3-4 minutes. Then you asked this question to a black man (the representative of your lowest percentage of viewership): "Do you feel that your opinions on race, as a black male, are given the same attention?" Black Man started to answer when you cut him off. He should have started screaming, "Biiiitch, I'm still talking!!!" and put you in your place. But you would have probably just cut him off again!

My point was proven by you right then and there. The White Lady watching your show from home didn't care what Black Man had to say. And neither did you (or are you going to blame a producer for editing? Wait, you ARE the producer!). Well, I'm sure you can convince Gayle to take the blame. She does everything else for you.

This is just my opinion of Oprah. I know she has done some wonderful things and has made the world a better place. But she is rich, powerful, a fan of Tom Cruise, and has world leaders eating out of the palm of her hand.

Oprah is not one of us.

*(As I am too lazy to research the accuracy of the above-mentioned "facts", I would so decline any offer to appear on Oprah's show unless any such offer was made prior to the discovery of any above-mentioned "facts" to be false. Thank you, James Frey, for at least making Oprah appear less like a SuperHumanWomanToBeWorshipped and more like a woman who let her ego get ahead of her and has since learned from her mistake. Er...her producer's mistake.)

Monday, February 2, 2009


For the first three years of my daughter's life, she was nearly deaf. She'd never had an ear infection so her ears were never checked for fluid. And because of my impatience, I'd finish her sentences for her so that the next 12 minutes of my life were not taken hostage by a toddler who was still learning how to put four words together, like "I want juice, please". Nope, my daughter could never get past word #2. So my brilliant solution? I would just give her what I knew she wanted and be done with it. Little did I know that she wasn't the lazy-tongued devil's spawn who would scream and break lamps (yes!) out of the frustration only known to her - my wonderful child who couldn't hear the words correctly in order to speak the words correctly and be propelled into the world of modern verbal communication.

Kevin Hart - I feel your pain. And for the record, my daughter was 80% deaf at the age of three due to a misdiagnosis of fluid buildup in the ears. Four hours after tubes were surgically placed to drain the fluid, she spoke her first full sentence and hasn't stopped talking since.