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Archive for July, 2007

 Our OnDemand is more and more frequently acting borked.   Specifically, when you press the buttons, nothing happens.  The other night the borkage was truly bad, so I called 244-5990 to see what was up.   The guy answering the phone asked me if I’d ever used it before and then actually said

“Well, it’s a free service”. 

Like I’m supposed to be okay with it not working when I most want it to work because I don’t pay for it directly.   Nevermind that I spend more money each month on Comcast than I do on any other utility.  Nevermind that when I called to cancel they pointed out that the OnDemand is a service designed to keep my interest and business instead of me switching to The Dish Network.   Nevermind that I pay about $10/month on pay-per-view movies delivered through OnDemand.

Free service, my butt.

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I Hate To Repeat Myself

But I will if I have to.

David Oatney on Saturday

We are fortunate to have a growing blogging community in Tennessee that is becoming more and more influential. Note that the most influential among them tend to be those who act on the convictions about which they proudly write in ways both great and small for people to see-and to know they mean business.

My challenge to all of our East Tennessee political bloggers would be to find a little time to act in the community on the things you write about. Not only does it make your blogging work more rewarding, it also really feels good to know that you are acting on what you believe and not merely running your computer.

Me, Last Thursday.

. Because it is my hard and fast rule that I will not give a resumé of my charitable deeds. Doing so means that the charity aspect of it all stops and the whited sepulchre kicks in.

Frankly, I think I’ve got The Big J on my side on this one:

(But) take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
2
When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites 2 do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
3
But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
4
so that your almsgiving may be secret.

That’s from The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 6. As thrown down by that one guy who also said “judge not lest ye be judged.”

(Hat Tip: Aunt B.)

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I think I’m at that age where my “couple friends” are starting to be picked off like weakened gazelles by the roving predators of Sexy Outsiders, Fights About Money and Dear God, This Isn’t Where I Thought I’d Be Five Years Ago.

It’s making me beyond sad.  It’s making me emotionally exhausted.   And yes, I know that I’m not going through a divorce right now.   I can’t fully comprehend the unique pain that my friends are suffering through.    So I feel teh stupid writing a post about having pity on the friends of the divorced couples.  It’s so lame I can’t even begin to believe I’m typing this out.

But you know what?  I DO matter.  My feelings and emotions DO count for something.   I’ll grieve with you as your marriage dies, because I know how hard it is.   Look, gang.  I’ve been with the man who is my husband for nearly 18 years now.   You’re seriously deluding yourselves if you think he and I haven’t had problems from time to time.   There was a point in time where we both thought it was over, where he moved out because he couldn’t stand my behaviour.  And I was happy to let him go.  Well, we got over that through a lot of work and patience and caring and forgiveness.  And it’s been hard.

Marriage is not like they tell you at the Retreats.  Marriage is not all hearts and flowers and big houses and fancy cars and nineteen vacations a year.  Marriage is good and BAD.    Personally, I’d rather see everyone stay married.  But I’m old enough to realise that I have no idea what goes on behind the closed doors of other people’s houses.  I’m sure that there are many people who are not well and truly married.     It is not my place to fault anyone who decides to get off the train for whatever reason.

But here’s the thing.

Let’s set a few ground rules, shall we?

  1. Just because you have a problem with the person you’re no longer married to, that doesn’t mean that I need to have the same problems with that person.
  2. You may have had bad luck with A man or A woman.  That doesn’t mean that ALL men or ALL women are deserving of your contempt.  So don’t force me to listen to “all men are a waste of time” or “all women are heartless bitches” speeches.  I’m married to a good man and I’m a woman.   I don’t care to be tarred with your bitterness brush.
  3. Don’t try to turn me against your Former Significant Other by telling me all the bad things your FSO has said about me or my husband behind my back.
  4. Don’t assume I don’t know that there are always at least three sides to every story.
  5. Don’t ever assume that I don’t love you.  Because I do.  I want to see everyone in the healthiest possible place.   But I don’t want to be wounded as you go through your healing process.

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Dear Amazon

How do I get rid of those “Recommended for you” things?

It’s not that I don’t sincerely appreciate the time and trouble you went to in creating that affinity algorithm.  And it’s not as though I don’t appreciate you thinking of me.

I’m just tired of seeing the Stylish Knits For Dogs book every time I go to Amazon dot com.

Yes, I love knitting and I love dogs.  But it’s hard work sharing those two loves.   Right now in my latter thirties it’s just a quirk of being.   Ten years from now I fear I’ll have morphed into The Crazy Aunt who gives knitted goods for Christmas presents and walks around with a teacup chihuahua in her purse.   I’m desperately trying to stave off those days, and it kills me to see my future dangling there on your front page like some garter-stitched carrot.   To you it says “Dear Kate: Suggestions for you”.  To me it says “Dear Kate:  This is your future.  You will knit clothes for dogs in your free time.  At least make sure they’re stylish!”

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I had the strangest Saturday in recent memory.

Did you ever have one of those days where you became so overloaded by unexpectedly emotional events that it left you floundering?  Yeah.  That was my Saturday.  On the upside, there was cake.

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I’m Sorry

Dear Google Searchers:

I’m sorry for misleading you.    I have absolutly NO idea (nor do I have the remotest care) about how big Daniel Radcliffe’s penis is.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Amy reviewed this a few days ago. She even sent me an email, which I forgot to respond to until it was too late. So I’m writing this post, instead, to let all of you know what I thought of The Prize-Winner of Defiance, Ohio.

Or, at least, the first 15 minutes of said movie.

Because I’m sorry…I could not sit through it.

Here’s the thing. I love my husband, and he’s a man. I love my dad, and he’s a man. I love my brothers. Yep, you guessed it. They’re both men, too. Heck, even my DOGS are men. Well, male anyway.

And from what I saw of PWODO, it was yet another Carnival of Misandry disguised as a “fun family film.” You know what I mean if you’ve seen a single episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond”. It’s all that business about how men are duffers–at best they’re goofily incompetant. At their worst, they’re raging alcoholics burning through life at the expense of long suffering family.

Now, I don’t doubt the existence of these men who are dullards and drunks. But I feel more and more as though the last ten years of popular culture has put forth the idea that all men can only be one or the other. (Okay. They can sometimes be both.) PWODO was no exception. The father, played by Woody Harrelson, was a raging alcoholic who couldn’t keep his family of twelve in shoe leather. The mother, played by Julianne Moore, was a wise woman who kept the wolf from the door by “contesting”–writing jingles for soap, appliance and food companies. Once again, a smart woman has to bail out her family after the stupid man keeps ruining things.

I believe in smart women. I am one. I know many. But you know what? Brains are not a zero-sum game. There are smart, good, hard-working men out there. Well, everywhere except in the movies.

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There are now no fewer than 8 topics I wish to write about here on the blog but cannot address for fear of offending someone. Part of this stems from the fact that it seems that nearly everyone I know now reads my blog. My parents and extended family included. I cannot now say “ass” without fear of retribution over Christmas pie. (No. We don’t really have “Christmas pie.” But I like the word “pie” and am striving to use it regularly.)

And suddenly I think I’ve stumbled over the truth behind the truth about writing. Many of history’s Great Writers have had horrible family lives. Sucks for them, but they get great books out of it, I suppose. After all, what would The Great Santini have been like if it were not for Pat Conroy’s hell-for-leather father? I know people talk about how the pain fuels creativity, etc. But frankly I think it’s just because the people with Bad Families aren’t afraid they’re going to piss someone off.

I didn’t have a Bad Family. And I’m afraid of pissing people off. That’s why one of my best entries has been stagnating in the back of my head. My mother forbade me to mention it “on that Blog!” because she thought I would be making fun of the uncle in question. Yet here I sit, realising that I must-must-must tell about How My Great Childhood Enemy was finally vanquished.

One of my uncles was a travelling preacher who also had a television show. On that television show he played a pirate. Now, many pirates have parrots or peg-legs or patches over their eyes. Those are things you expect from faux buccaneers. Not my uncle. He had a dummy called Seasick. Now, I really do like this uncle, because he’s expansive and flamboyant–qualities I myself have been known to possess. However, I think he woefully misjudged his 4-year old niece when he showed her the dummy corpselike in a box underneath her bed. I promise you that as creepy as a dummy is when it’s chatting away on the ventriloquist’s lap it is a dozen times more horrifying laying in a box. Its lifeless body stares up at you with a malevolent grin; its box a tiny coffin full of form-fitting foam rubber.

I think my Pirate Uncle thought he was giving me a treat by giving me a backstage pass to his act. Sadly, that is not the way it played out. Unaware of my clown phobia and my general creeped-outness from baby dolls, he presented me with the ultimate in terror. A clown doll-baby. Heaven help my heart.

Anyway, 33 years later I was riding down a winding road with my parents and sister, talking about the this and that of life when all of a sudden my mother drops the glorious fact in my lap. My Pirate Uncle actually burned Seasick the Dummy. Not touching-the-hot-stove-burned, but blazing-conflagration-burned.

Huzzah.

No, I don’t have a bad family. But I think my Good Family is how many families happen. My uncle was dealing with me under the best of intentions. He didn’t know I was crazy, and despite his good intentions he left me frightened. But he left me with a good story, and I suppose for a writer that’s better than the best intentions could ever turn out to be.

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When women older than I give birth to their first child.

I’d say something about “light” and “tunnels”, but that would be tacky.

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I guess we’re having this conversation again. As a conservative libertarian who swims in a sea of liberals, I’m used to being thought ‘wrong’ or ‘stupid’ or ‘misguided’. Goes with the territory, I suppose.

On the 4th of July I had a conversation with a 9-year old who seemed to understand the concept of libertarianism and charity better than most of the people I’ve encountered lately. Unlike Mack, young Declan* (not his real name, remember…) got the general idea I was trying to put across. So maybe I haven’t explained myself well enough to be understood out here in the blogosphere. Maybe it’s a conversation that needs to happen face to face. Regardless of the limitations of the medium, I’ll try.

I am not greedy. I do not despise the poor and downtrodden.

Like Thomas Jefferson I believe wholeheartedly in the separation between Church and State. Like Jesus I believe in “rendering unto Caeser what is Caeser’s and unto God what is God’s.”

What this means to me is that I do not believe it is the job of the State or ANY institution, be it a church or faith-based charity to look after the poor and downtrodden. I believe such things are our responsibilities as human beings. Individual human beings.

I have nothing against charities–secular or faith-based–if that’s how a group of individuals decides to make their charity most effective. If you want to give the money you’ve earned to Catholic Charities or the United Way or Mennonite Disaster Relief, that’s your business. But I don’t believe the Government should take your money by force and redistribute it the way they see fit. That’s my opinion on taxes, entitlement programs, and federal funding of faith-based charities.

There’s a common misconception floating out there in the ether to which several liberals seem to be latching on. That’s the concept that conservatism is anti-community and pro-greed. I don’t quite know where these memes generated, but I’ve been seeing them a lot lately. I feel as though I’m not getting the original memoranda upon which they were printed.

And here’s where it gets tricky. Because it is my hard and fast rule that I will not give a resumé of my charitable deeds. Doing so means that the charity aspect of it all stops and the whited sepulchre kicks in. I could go looking for the myriad studies about who gives more to charity–conservatives or liberals–but I’m not playing that game. It’s all judgmental and sanctimonious and advances that hideous “us v. them” mentality.

Conservatism is not about keeping our money for ourselves, but deciding for ourselves the best uses of our money in benefit to the world.

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