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Archive for January, 2007

There’s apparently a great deal of controversy at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Generally I ignore the Sundance Film Festival, as it seems to be the movies’ version of an uptight Vassar grad who stops shaving her armpits, smokes clove cigarettes and changes her name to Blix. Too much hippie-art pretension for my taste.

But this year there is a new controversy that has sucked me into a vortex.

Parker Posey is back.

I have no earthly idea why people keep putting her in their pictures. I really wish they wouldn’t, because she just freaks me out with her witchiness. The only film where it worked in her favour was Dazed and Confused. After that she just sort of struts around every film like a praying mantis on meth–all scrawny and twitchy.

Anyway, this year is apparently her Sundance Comeback.

Woo hoo.

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(Hat Tip: Mighty Illusions)

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SOTU

No, I didn’t watch it. You can now revoke my ‘serious adult’ card if you like. It just seems that with everything going on in my personal life, professional life and my husband’s professional life I don’t need the added stress that comes with the SOTU address. No matter what side of the issues you’re on, there’s bound to be somebody to aggravate you. Could be the president, could be a commentator, could be an anchor person. It never fails, though. The SOTU is like chocolate-coated bacon fried in trans fat. It’s guaranteed to get your blood pressure up. So I skipped it.

Don’t worry, though. Life served up enough tasty punishment to pay me back. NCIS featured enough mushy stuff to make my inner ten-year old wince her way to a headache.

“You want me to kiss you.”

Honestly. That was an actual line.

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This is a post for those of you who opened my blog this morning, saw “Aquinas”, thought “it is too darned early for this krep” and decided to go read something else. FWIW, I don’t blame you. That post was borne out of caffeine, insomnia and that long-dormant college rumination gene.

So, on to lighter fare. Literally.

I’m not officially dieting, but I’ve–as of today–lost 36 pounds. I was talking about this with some friends of mine at church, and decided that I’d do a brief post on my non-diet diet tips.

I am 36 years old. The first diet I went on was when I was 11. I’ve been on any number of diets since then, but last July I decided I’d never diet again.

I still wanted to lose weight if possible, but more than that I wanted to be healthy. The drawback to this gig is that I don’t have the dramatic “Hey! I lost 8 lbs. this week!” types of victories, but I do finally feel as though I’ve internalised healthy thinking. In other words, I can live my life like this.

So here, in a nutshell, are the few things I have done over the course of the last 6 months.

1. Cut out caffeine

I went from about 6 cokes a day to none. Since they were regular Cokes, this also helped with the calories in a big way.

2. “Tithe” my food.

No, I don’t offer it to idols, so there’s not that danger. But I figured that if we’re supposed to give 10% of everything to God, it might help me shape up if I left at least 10% of my food on my plate. Some meals this goes up to 50%, but I generally don’t clean my plate anymore.

3. Go to the bathroom on a different floor.

I counted one day and realised that this burned an EXTRA 200 CALORIES each day. Of course, I have a kidney disease so I go to the bathroom a lot. But whatever. It’s still a good idea.

4. Do ONE healthy thing each day.

I’ve been on enough diets to know that they tell you to eat the pyramid, get an hour’s intense exercise, cut out caffeine and basically forego all of life’s minor pleasures in pursuit of some nebulous goal called “health”. Unlike the good people in this world, I have no desire to be ‘healthy’ if it means I’ve spent my entire life enslaved to a treadmill and a pile of carrots. So I decided to just do ONE healthy thing each day. Eat an extra serving of vegetables. Skip dessert. Exercise. I pick one. Some days I pick two or do all three. But I don’t force myself to be ruled by my health regimen. I know me. I’d never stick to it otherwise.

5. No carbs before 3:00pm unless eaten with protein.

6. Rules were made to be broken

I will have the very occasional coke, or spend a day now and then not doing anything healthy. If you put the world’s best lasagne in front of me, I’ll eat it all and forego the 10% rule. But it’s only occasionally. I figure that’s the price to pay for staying on track.

This is the most fun I’ve ever had, and the best I’ve ever done on any weight control/health control thing. I highly recommend inventing your own thing.

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Honestly, Ned, I don’t mean to keep picking on you. And I would address this in the comments of your post, if only it were applicable to the original discussion. However, I’m moving far afield and longer winded so the conversation is here for now.

In the comments of your Why Rally For Life post you say

But the law is often most useful in protecting us from others (and yes, occasionally ourselves in this interdependent society) who would be tempted or inclined to make a decision based on what felt right to them at the time.

Let’s look at that, shall we? (As soon as I pick myself up from the floor.)

Shall we begin with a brief look at the Purpose of Law? Of course, this is something people have written long-winded doctoral theses on, so we’ll only touch on it here. But my understanding of The Purpose of Law is to protect and EXPAND freedom. Forgive me, then, if I do not view laws passed “to protect me from myself” as an expansion of freedom.

I think, as I read through the writings of you and others in your common set, that at some point your group came away with a fundamental misunderstanding of Thomas Aquinas’ four laws. In a nutshell, these four laws are thus:

1. Eternal Law

The world order as conceived by the mind of God.

2. Natural Law

The role of humanity in the participation of Eternal Law, discovered through Reason. Or as Aquinas said:

this is the first precept of the law, that good is to be done and promoted, and evil is to be avoided. All other precepts of the natural law are based on this

3. Positive (or Human) Law

The implementation of Natural Law (#2) by Governments. In short, how we mutually decide to codify good and punish evil.
Remember #3, because it will be important in a minute.

4. Divine Law

Since God is God, He has a right to change things. Aquinas and I both believe that Mercy Under Grace is completed in the Divine Law. This is that lovely area where Christ’s sacrifices come into play, and where God in His mastery creates a new covenant with man. Also important.

Those are the basics. And here, I think, is where I differ with the yous and the Terry Franks and the Phil Valentines of the Conservative world. (Perhaps this will also answer some questions of Aunt B.’s, now that I think about it…)

As I see it, here in America we’ve elected to have a State governed solely by #3–the Positive Law. You can thank Locke, Jefferson and the Enlightenment for that. We’ve taken a few looks around, sat down and formed an agreement about what is good (freedom) and what is bad (the limitation of freedom.) We decided that it was important to provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty. That was what was important to us. Yes, there have been hiccoughs along the way–Great Compromises, The Volstead Act, that kind of thing. But we’re young and finding our feet and striving toward the goal of the blessings of liberty. Like we said we wanted to.

Unfortunately there are a lot of folks around these days who are confusing Divine Law (Aquinas’ #4) with Human Law (Aquinas #3). The way I’ve always understood it, the Divine Law can only be know through the revelation of Grace. That’s why it’s called “Divine”.

I am an odd breed, I’ll admit. When it comes to the governance of the United States, I happily take a Locke-ian Enlightenment position. This does not mean I disbelieve in God’s ultimate law. It merely means that I believe there is no way possible to translate the perfection of God’s law through the designs of Man. Any attempts to do so ring false, and seem as though the Men who would desire to pass those laws are trying to elevate themselves to the position of God.

All of that was a watch-making way to say this. Conservatism, in its truest form, should be about pursuing the ideal state of Human Government through the rule of Law. Our goals should be to EXPAND freedom by conserving our impulses toward larger government. At no point do we have the right to look at other free men and say “Brother, I am here to protect you from yourself by limiting your freedoms with this Law.” That is nothing short of slavery, and should not be tolerated.

I would thank you to protect yourself from your baser impulses through the taming of your personal nature and leave me to the tending of my own weeds.

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Dear Ned Williams:

You and I are supposedly from the same side of the ideological aisle. Yet as I read this post you wrote today I find myself wondering if we are truly concerned about the same things.

You see, when I speak of “sanctity of life”, I’m talking about valuing everyone equally. Unborn babies, mothers of unborn babies, my next door neighbours with the annoying dogs. It’s important to me that the only sanctioned killing we do is as consequence for criminal behaviour. Yet I do understand the circumstances that lead to a woman’s need for abortion as an option. I’ve decided that the way for me to express “sanctity of life” is to work hard to alleviate the circumstances out of which the need for an abortion arises. That’s my belief in a nutshell, and you can feel free to argue the finer points of that all you like.

My problem with your approach is that you’ve taken a very personal, very human situation and turned it into partisan bluster. Your post is called “Why rally for life”. Silly me to expect you to say something about the actual LIVES involved. Instead you, like most others on both sides of this issue, talk a great deal about the political expediency of your political position. It’s as though your Sanctity of Life position is less about life and more about scoring points in your political gamesmanship. Not once in 6 paragraphs do you actually talk about the lives in question. Instead there is much talk about “Democrats this” and “African-Americans/Blacks that“. It’s more of that talk show bluster that betrays a complete lack of interest in actual solutions, and instead pummels away at The Opposition while ignoring the humanity all around it.

Perhaps someday you may realise that behind all of this slouching toward goalposts there is a 14 year old girl who thought he really would love her if she just did what he wanted and is now facing the scariest choice a person could make. An actual living, breathing 14 year old girl who could really use a glimpse at the face of Jesus.

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It’s Blogging For Choice day.

I’m leaving the abortion thing alone, though. I’ve said all I care to say about that.

I want to blog about the thousands of other choices being taken away from free citizens of the United States.

The choice to smoke.
The choice to eat what you want.
The choice to drink what you want.
The choice to watch what you want on television channels you pay for.
The choice to move freely about your own country without presentation of government-issued identity papers.
The choice to ride in a car in the most comfortable way for you to travel.
The choice to read whatever you want from the Public Library.
The choice to take appropriate medicine to relieve your pain and suffering.
The choice to do as you wish with your personal property.

Today’s the day we talk about the right of Americans to choose. And yet the arguments surrounding our right to choice have been so laser-focused on one choice, the exercise of which is available to only 50% of the population, that we seem to be allowing the erosion of choices available to all of us.

Today is blogging for choice day, and I’d like to mourn all the choices we’ve already lost.

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Yes, I’ve actually given this a lot of thought. Why, I don’t know–other than the fact that I’ve been on an insomniac phase lately and there’s only so much Age Of Mythology a person can play.

When I was a kid, The Oscars®** were a big deal and I used to LOVE watching them. They were glamourous and exciting. Now they’re more like a very fancy business meeting for a company that sells products I don’t use. I think I’d have as much fun watching the televised year-end banquet for some mid-level Life and Casuality Company. ["And the two-week Hawaiian vacation for most new clients signed in the past three quarters goes to....Bob Watson!!!!"]

Like Norma Desmond I spent a lot of years thinking that it was because the pictures got smaller. Or more esoteric. And yes, there is a degree of that. Lately, though, I’m thinking that part of it is because the pictures have gotten so inaccessible. I’ve been reading bits and pieces of this year’s speculations on who will win, who should win and why. Most of the films and performances have something in common.

They’re in movies that I haven’t seen.

With the gap between Good Films and Fun Films getting wider, the types of movies that people push for Award-Worthiness are not generally playing in one of the theatres around my house. Even if they were, I do not go to the theatre to see serious pictures. As a general rule I reserve the time and expense of a theatre trip for the experience of a movie that’s pure entertainment–just like I don’t go to the Ice Cream Parlour to eat my breakfast cereal. Yes, I realise that’s probably sacrilege because these good films deserve to be seen in a film environment.

But even the nominating committees watch them on screeners. That means that they have DVDs of the movies delivered to their door in hopes that they will actually watch the films and nominate them for an award. The very people in charge of deciding the artistic merit of a film see most of the worthy candidates in the same way I’d prefer to see them. At home with their dogs and a bowl of soup. And here’s where my plan comes into play.

As on-demand film delivery accelerates, I think it would be much easier to get the home audience to see these types of movies. As much as I’m interested in The Last King Of Scotland and Notes On A Scandal, for instance, seeing them is almost prohibitive. Scotland is presently playing at precisely one theatre in town, and I want to fight traffic in Green Hills about as much as I want to take in Morgan Spurlock as a boarder. Notes is not even playing THERE. On the other hand, could I download these films and watch them at home on Thursday Night (when Ugly Betty and The Office are both in repeats) I would do it. And then I would actually have something to care about on Oscar® night.

***Isn’t it so pretentious how I’m putting the “®” after Oscar, like the Acadamy is going to sue me if I don’t? Really it’s just because I recently figured out how to make that little symbol on my blog, so I’m overusing it.

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If you know me at all, either in person or via the blog, you are probably aware of my biggest neurosis. (Or what I consider to be my biggest neurosis. You might have a different ranking on your scorecard at home.) In case you had forgotton, I’m absolutely freakish about having any food in the bathroom. Or dishes in the bathroom.

Yes, it’s my whacky brand of Kosher. Where food is at the beginning and where food is at the end should be kept miles apart in my book.

Which is why today’s baby shower presented a bit of a throw-up-in-my-mouth moment.

I’m generally not a fan of showers, largely because they involve some of the stupidest games I’ve ever been subject to. These games usually involve the wearing of safety pins, the cutting of ribbon or the unwinding of vast amounts of toilet paper. No. Sorry. Not my idea of fun. Yet I do like the part of showers where you get to intermingle with the people who make up the various social circles of the honoree. There’s usually a potpourri of women–some from work, some from church, some from their distant past. Everyone seems to have at least one Barnacle Friend who’s known them since they were in Kindergarten together. Those people interest me. All my Barnacle Friends are stuck in Indiana and therefore relieved of any tedious Kat Shower Duty should I fall pregnant.

Oh yeah. Back to the grossness. I’ve been putting off writing about it because I don’t think I can take it. But much like memories of life’s most embarrassing moments I have to confront this to be rid of it.

Today we played the Shower Game From Hell. Here’s how the game works: your hostess puts various candy bars into diapers and microwaves them. She then walks around with the ::::shudders while typing:::: mushy chocolate-filled diaper and you have to guess what type of candy bar it was before the nuking.

I swear to you I had tears running out of my eyes. At one point I actually said “Oh Dear GOD!” in what was most decidedly a plea to my Lord without any touch of blasphemy. I came thisclose to spraying spinach dip and green punch all over Barnacle Friend’s carpet. I swear I’m traumatised.

And if I ever meet the inventor of this game, I will make them watch a three hour videotaped autopsy.

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This was a good episode on a lot of levels–especially Jim’s decision to finally be honest with TB!K about his feelings for Pam. But I’ll be honest. I’ll probably have to watch it a couple more times before I decide if it was funny or not.

You know all the jerk moves Andy made? Calling people stupid nicknames, boyflirting with the boss, showing off his cell phone? All that stuff?

I swear to you, I could have written Andy from a diary of a coworker I once had. Given the fact that people I know from all walks of life have found my blog, I have to be pretty circumspect. But I promise you. I worked with a guy exactly like that, down to a t. In fact that’s one of the reasons I ultimately left that place of employment. No one else wanted to work with the guy, so he ultimately got shuffled off to me to “handle.” So while I enjoyed the show there were a few too many flashbacks.

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