Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Passive bureaucratic pop

All those who roll their eyes at anal word people, read no further.

OK, for those of you who are left, I offer the following snippet from the chorus of a song by an unnamed American Idol winner: "... but there were lessons learned."

My middle daughter, who at 10 is enamored with this bubble-gum stuff, plays this song (and the rest of the CD) over and over again and sings along. And I wince.

Now I know I shouldn't expect too much from this genre of music, but bureaucratic cliches and passive voice in one song?

It’s almost too much to bear.

I know they were trying to rhyme with such inspirational gems as "some pages turned" and "some bridges burned," but someone should have killed this song before it made it past the first edit. And if that wasn't possible, they should have at least given it to Weird Al and added some additional corporate jargon to make it even more absurd.

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Being Ms. Right

What is it about some women that seems to inspire devotion in men? Why is it that others, despite being intelligent, beautiful, talented, caring and successful, find continuously that their partners simply aren't willing to put up the slightest effort.

I have been rolling this one around in my head for a while, prompted by friends' comments over the years. And I suppose it ought to be more like a question than a statement, because this is far from an instruction manual.

I recall a conversation with a woman whose relative told her something to the effect of, "If he loves you, then he'll wait for you." Her response, born of a good number of years' experience: "No, that's just not true. Not for me."

Another woman I know speaks of relationships that have ended as if they are completely her fault. She says that perhaps if she had been a better girlfriend that he would have been willing to give more, that he would have been willing to try harder.

And then I look at my own experiences. Despite being married for eight years, I am under no illusions that my former husband was devoted to me in the slightest. Had I gotten sick or needed some extra effort to get through a rough time, he would have been gone in a flash. And to some degree, that's been the case with every relationship in my life.

Now lest my readers think I'm some sort of man-hating whack job, I can assure you I am not. And the central theme in this rambling stream of consciousness, or perhaps unconciousness, is that it must not be by sheer coincidence that some women seem to be Ms. Right and others are just Ms. Right Now. If the woman in the common denominator, it stands to reason it must be something she is or is not doing.

So what is it? How is it that you can take a group of women of various ages, professions, intelligence, physical beauty and personality and some will find that men with love them with passion and devotion. These men are smitten and they truly would do almost anything for these women they love. Others will find only lukewarm, at best, versions of the same qualities.
With no obvious common traits among the men or the women in each group, what is it?

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Summer of wandering men

It's the oddest thing: Every male friend I have is tooling around the lower 48 this summer. One's in his truck. One's on a bike. And one's taking the scenic route to D.C. with his wife and a big dog in an Audi.

Go figure. Must be something in the water.

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Litmus test

A friend's astute observation on the nature of the relationships/friendships between men and women and how to tell the difference:

"If either of you started dating someone, what would happen to the friendship?"

Answer: "It would likely change drastically or cease."

"Then you aren't simply friends."

Give that man a prize. Seems awful simple, no?

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God and basketball

This from an article in a Texas paper about a high school basketball player and said player's reasons for playing for a particular team in college. I'll paraphrase, but the player said that a big plus was that the coaches are members of the same religious denomination she is, Church of Christ.

OK, now, explain to me again why it matters what religion a basketball coach is. Wait, I know, God will be on their side.

These kinds of statements really irk the heck out of me, for a number of reasons.

First, though this player doesn't come out and say it, the inference is that not only are those
who go to the Church of Christ somehow more desireable, but those who do not are somehow just not quite as good. We can't have any Lutheran or Catholic basketball coaches. And Hindu? Oh hell no.

Second, I find it incredibly sad that a young person just venturing out on his or her own would be so closed-minded as to list among the primary appealing traits they find in other people, "They are exactly like me." How about going off to college and experiencing new things, learning new things and, perhaps, broadening your horizons.

And finally, it's pretty telling to me that this young person actually felt comfortable saying this to a reporter for publication. It's a testament to how tolerant our society is of bigotry by Christians in relation to other religions. I wonder, if we changed "Church of Christ" to some other class/characteristic of people, how much such a statement would be tolerated.

How about these:
"It's a big plus that the coaches are white like me."
"A deciding factor was the fact that the coaches were Muslim, as I am."
"I'm heterosexual, and I chose to play for this team because the coaches are heterosexual too."
"Since I am a man, it was really important to me that I have a male coach."

Nope. Can't see anybody without a wish for lots of nasty phone calls saying anything like that publicly. But say, "These guys are best because they're Christians like me," and it's all apple pie and waving flags.

Wonder how long before we end up with a state religion.

Perhaps we're already there.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006


My great uncle, whom I had never met prior to last weekend, is up visiting my grandparents and all the relatives throughout the state. His wife of 25 years accompanied him. Both seem very sweet people and I'm glad I got a chance to meet both of them.

I was struck this weekend by the value of what I have in my large extended family. I and the kids spent a couple of days out at my aunt and uncle's farm with my grandparents, cousins, aforementioned great uncle and his wife, cousin's significant others, my uncle's nephew and a large assortment of animals, including a couple of geriatric dogs, a handful of cats, horses, ducks, etc.

If it sounds a bit chaotic, it was. It always is. Still, as the evening wound down and my great uncle got out a guitar and everyone sang old songs around the fire pit, it was easy to feel calm in surroundings that aren't dependent on location, but on the faces and voices that have been the context of my life and my children's lives since we were born.

Likely the greatest gift my parents gave me, and one I hope I am giving my children as well, is the knowledge that no matter the places life takes me, family is the one thing I can always count on. It is not simply where I'm from; it's who I am.

I can think of little else more comforting than knowing that as certainty. And I wonder how some people in this world live without it.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Summer sucks

There. I said it. It's probably the first and, I hope, the last summer I will ever say that, but there you have it. I'm sad. I want to cry a lot. And the problem won't rectify itself until the fall. So, hence, summer is bad. Fall is good. My intellect has waned. I need to blow my nose.

That's as profound as is gets this evening.

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Powerful smut

Sometimes, when my sister and I get to rambling, you just don't know what we'll come up with. In this case, it's a new word. *drum roll*

Omniporno (n.)- Pornography that, due to supernatural characteristics, is everywhere, always.

Yay! Omniporno! Yay!

I gotta go to bed. Sheesh!

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Damn hearts...

This sad-but-true observation from a friend: "The heart knows little of dead ends."

Wonder if there's a way to teach one's heart to recognize such things. Probably not. Sometime in the last five or 10 years, as I watched the people around me and as I experienced single life again, I realized that we really don't get to choose who we fall in love with. And that, friends, is a very scary prospect.

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Rugged Alaska woman

Yep. That's me. You see, certain people who know me scoff at such assertions, probably because I cry during every sappy movie ever made, but I think my most recent activities make it official. If I had a digital camera I would actually take a picture of said activities, namely the 5-foot-high pile of birch logs in my front yard. I even have my very own bright-yellow splitting maul and neon green chainsaw with a VERY rugged 14-inch bar. I'll probably look like Arnold's twin sister after I split and cut all of it, sans membership in the Republican party. Even several cords of wood can't send me there.

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