Does Anyone Out There Get It?

I have been listening, practically non-stop, to the “bailout” news (I use the term news loosely). I do not really understand much of what is under all the blather. My husband says that if every person with a mortgage in the United States defaulted and they all went into foreclosure, and they were all worth a million or two, it would not add up to 700 billion. I think he has a point. A blogger that I read regularly suggested that the government extend insurance on the loans rather than buying all the bad paper. The other side says, no, the taxpayer would have no equity. I say HA! The chances of the taxpayer getting anything back from this catastrophe seem infinitesimal. I do know that while all this noise has been happening the Senate passed a spending bill and sent it to the President and they managed to slip in lifting the ban on off-shore drilling! But the “news” has yet to pick up that little gem. It is interesting that, when asked, no pundit, commentator, or otherwise allegedly erudite personage broadcasting about this “bailout” has no answer regarding what would happen if they didn’t pass it. I certainly don’t know, I don’t really know anybody who does. I know bits and pieces of what others say might happen but…. I think my brother might know, but he’s the only one.


Men Can’t See The Socks

Yes, I know too much has been written about the differences between men and women; all that Mars and Venus stuff. Everyone has a theory about the differences, or a version. My favorite is the one a friend told me some yeaers ago. I was complaining about the white socks that always inhabit my world (this was several years ago, now many of the little sock monsters are black). My husband wears white socks, my son wears those little short white socks (now black since he is a teenager and white is not hip). When he takes them off they fold inside out into little balls which land absolutely everywhere. I believe I have written about this previously but those little sock balls are amazing. They are in the bookcases, under the beds, in the cabinets, in the corners, inside other laundry. He runs out of socks and I buy more knowing I will fnd all the sock balls sooner or later. I have a stack of unmatched socks on an end table in my family room in the faint hope that I will find the mates. I cannot bear to put unmatched socks away in a drawer. My husband, on the other hand, just makes little piles of socks everywhere and walks by them for weeks and weeks. So, my friend’s version goes, men are hunters and women are gatherers. Therefore, when I walk around the house, I see the socks as something that requires gathering. Men, on the other hand, cannot see the socks because they are not moving! They are not something to be hunted. If you want the men to see the socks, his version goes, you should make them into something akin to a cat toy with a string that you tantalizingly drag slowly across the floor. While I have my doubts that this would motivate the men in my house to pick up the socks, and it would be much more effort than it is worth, the visual is pretty funny.

Don’t Buy Bottled Water

So now everyone is beginning to be aware of the huge plastic bag problem on this planet, and in this country in particular. And there has been a little talk on esoteric “green” web sites about plastic bottles. When green was becoming the fad and fashion of the moment, the networks even talked about the bottle problem. So some of us rushed out and bought these great indestructible reusable water bottles – Nalgene. Now, these bottles are poison! Good Grief. Trying to do the right thing becomes more difficult every single day. And we still buy bottled water in immense quantities, throwing away a ridiculous amount of plastic just to have a drink of purified, pristine water. What happened to having a drink of regular old water, from the tap or at least from the fridge door? I must say though, that the bag thing is getting better. Our “upscale” grocery has seen folks with their own bags for some time; and they sell the little square indestructible bags made of I don’t know what. But on my trips to Walmart, those behind me in line always look at me as if I were there to personally torture them when I take out my bags and pack my own groceries. It really never takes longer, or not much, than using the million and one badly packed plastic bags the store personnel would pack for me; but you would think I was preventing the fire department from getting to their homes. On my bi-weekly trip recently, however, I spotted two other people with their own bags. I was stunned, I was astounded, I was amazed. Little by little we might be getting the message. Now if I could just find a water bottle that fits in my purse and that won’t leach poisonous plastic into my body.

Water with calories

I was watching TV. There was an amazing and ridiculous commercial in which the people are all ecstatically happy because their water has only 25 calories instead of some stupidly larger amount. Add this to the list of things I absolutely don’t get (longer every day). Water is water. It is not supposed to have calories; or minerals or salt or vitamins. If you need vitamins, eat spinach or take your centrum. There is no need to pay $2 a bottle for water with vitamins. I find that I have to actually read the labels of bottled water (which I almost never buy any more) to see if they have added sodium chloride; salt! There is no need to buy water with salt. Many bottled waters claim that the added “minerals” are to enhance “flavor”. Water doesn’t really have flavor, isn’t that sort of the point? If you need salt, add it to your dinner in small quantities. If you like “minerally” tasting water, then buy water that tastes that way naturally (I favor Pellegrino, but its fizzy). If you want flavor, buy a beverage that is actually flavored like something. And for goodness sake why would you buy water with added calories???? If I wanted more calories I would eat a hot fudge sundae or some yummy fried food, I certainly wouldn’t choose to have my deliciously illicit extra calories in a bottle of water. I drink water because it is good for me and…..because it doesn’t have any calories.

Talking Heads

This is a subject I am always passionate about but during election season the talking head problem becomes an out of control plague. There are legitimate experts who opine on various things in all manner of public fora, some are interesting, some are not, some I agree with, some I don’t. They do, however, have training, education, a fund of specialized knowledge that entitles them on some level to inflict their opinions on the rest of us. Then there are the empty suits; these are the apparently untrained nonspecialists who have convinced the powers that be that their opinion would be a good thing to broadcast. So I ask myself why I should care about these opinions, why I should listen to these opinions; what makes them worth anything. The answer, I fear, is that I don’t know. I have opinions, why shouldn’t they. But how do you elevate your opinion into something worth high pay and air wave time? This continues to be a mystery to me. Scarier yet is the fact that Americans seem to believe and place great stock in almost anyone’s opinion if it is publicized; apparently if you are published you must have special knowledge and therefore should be believed. The average American does not appear to question public opinions. The beauty of America: everyone is entitled to an opinion and entitled to express it. I am free to turn them off.

I Love the Sad Fall

I love the fall. I am sad that now that I live in Florida, there is no real natural autumn. There are no turning leaves, there is no smell of wood fire or roasting green chilies, no need for the cozy sweater. There is a subtle change in which the hot muggy days turn to temperate lovely weather that stays the same day after day. There is something to be said for no real muddy, icy winter. Nevertheless. Fall for me is marked mostly now by the cycle of the Jewish holidays, the wonderful self-examination, majestic and sorrowful music, confession and forgiveness, the renewal and the ritual. It seems odd to me that this is so, as I did not mark my days in this way as a child, but it is so now. The fall and early winter is also the time I mark the passing of so many of my loved ones, family and friends who have died. I miss each one in a special and unique way. Our memorial candle burns on the stove many nights throughout this time of year. I find it comforting. I love that we mark the deaths of our loved ones in the small flame that burns for 24 hours, it reminds us to think of them for that brief time each year. I still miss my grandmother these many years later, I miss my friend Sylvie, I miss my dogs. There are many others, more the older I grow, but you get the idea. So fall is a muted symphony of colors, smells and memories, sad but I love it anyway.

Sarah Palin is the Devil

Why is it nobody can see this? I am confused by this. Well, maybe not the devil, but she is one scary broad. I was listening to an interview with someone who had decided to vote for her, but not McCain apparently, because of her positions and views and her insightful comments?????? McCain, we all know is older, and has some health issues, so this 39(?) year old woman is positioned a heartbeat (as they say) away from the presidency and she doesn’t know what NATO is??? My high school student knows, at least the purpose of it. So, she is finally interviewed sort of seriously and not only doesn’t know the prime doctrine of the republican sitting president but seems not to actually know the platform and positions of her own presidential candidate. (She isn’t running alone?) It is not that I disagree with her “positions”, I do; it is not that I dislike her lifestyle (insofar as it includes guns, etc.), I do; it is that she is ignorant and appears to be uneducated (at least undereducated) and has less experience at anything than a marshmallow. For some reason, some of the so-called “liberal” press finds humor in this, Saturday Night Life does a skit in which Tina Fey so accurately portrays her that it is scary. Everybody laughs. but it isn’t funny; the very fact that she is the centerpiece of SNL means that she is the news cycle, not the issues, not Obama. This is a woman who believes that we should not only oppose abortion, not only pass laws to prevent abortion, but that we should actually amend the Constitution of the United States (a document I hold particularly dear) to permanently deprive women of the right to choose. This, by the way, is one of the only concrete positions I have been able to adequately identify and ascribe to her other than the right to own guns, shoot moose and drill for oil indiscriminately. This was to be the election the Democrats couldn’t lose? How could they be doing it so handily?