Monday, November 22, 2004

PvP Online

w00t! PvP is now appearing in a real pen-and-ink paper. Congrats, Scott Kurtz! I have been reading PvP for years and years, ever since he had a short-lived but beloved EverQuest panel on one of my favorite gaming sites. He is also a fellow Texan, he is very talented, and he has been trying to make writing comic strips pay actual money—I know, crazy to expect people to pay for content over the Internet, right?—and has done well for himself (I want a Skull blanket!).

He is also an atheist, but he is young, and he is prayed for. :^)

"Bounce Protection"

Banks are aggressively marketing a new form of high cost credit intended to boost their fee income at the expense of the most vulnerable consumers. These products are based on overdraft protection, but are not traditional overdraft lines of credit or the occasional ad hoc practice where a bank will cover a consumer’s bounced check as a courtesy. Instead, they are deliberate, systemic attempts to hook consumers onto overdrafts as a form of high cost credit. To distinguish these products from traditional overdraft lines of credit and from the occasional, ad hoc coverage of an overdraft, we will refer to these plans as “bounce protection.”

more from the National Consumer Law Center.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Pass It On

Amy over at Good Soil has written one of the most beautiful posts I have read in a long time. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go call my mother...

Saturday, November 20, 2004

None Dare Call It Treason has linked to a recent Age article, entitled “Feminism's booby trap.” It reads in part:

In an age in which everything can be bared, from marital intimacies in The Bride Stripped Bare to spiritual epiphanies (Madonna and the Kabbalah), to political and sexual proclivities, the only thing that is off the acceptable agenda for the chattering classes is women and work.

The newspapers, it is true, are full of dissertations on the need for good child care and the continuing feminist battles for equality in the workplace, for the freedom to make good choices. But where in the public forum is the question that refuses to budge from the conscience of most middle-class working mothers: Is my working life good for my child?

How often do you hear mothers say: "It's good for them to see me work. It's good for them to know I can be a mother and a professional." I think I've said it myself, hoping against hope that in the saying of it, it will somehow come true.

Frankly, my daughter is going to grow up with the image of a woman who struggles all the time to be anything at all, who runs frantically from the computer to the kitchen, who tries to write three sentences between looking for Batman's scuba equipment in the fruit bowl and answering the phone, who is capable of falling to bits from one minute to the next with the grief of being a not good enough mother, because she wants too much to be other things as well.

I used to be angry at feminism, at the damage it had done to so many families. Nowadays I am just so very sad. I wonder at times if it isn’t a case of too little, too late when I read articles like the above.

Kevin Michael Grace has linked to a quote from director John Boorman. Speaking in the context of the “necessity” of creating a more “flexible” family, he says (in an interview originally from Salon):

I mean, what you're looking at today is disintegration of family. You can talk as much as you like about family values in a political sense, and the reason these politicians insist on this so much is because of the insecurity. Everyone's afraid of the way families are disintegrating now and nobody knows what replaces that or what they do about it. Everyone is aware of the misery and unhappiness that comes about through that, and yet it just seems to be inevitable somehow.

I think it is inevitable for anyone not working overtly to avoid this result (and more than a few of us may be torn asunder as well). I no longer think it is possible for anyone to remain neutral in this culture war.

10 Things Big Media Don't Want You to Know

or "Media Monopoly Made Simple"

Read More from the Free Press.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Break out the popcorn, kids, it’s gonna be a fun show!

Muslim children in Canada were forced to watch “gay pride” video against their parents’ wishes. (Thanks to “relapsed catholic” for the link.)

30% is the conservative estimate of the number of American Catholic priests who are homosexual.

A Tale of Two Maps” from Tech Central Station
“The statistician's perennial caveat is that "correlation is not causation." but there is little doubt that there is connection, largely unexplained, between ideology and demography. Depressingly deterministic as it is, this correlation, if it continues, may mean that future elections will be decided by immigration patterns, reproductive rates and technologies that allow more businesses and workers to locate in suburban and rural locations.”

More discussion about this over at Gene Ex

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

"There are only four things certain since Social Progress began:-
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wobbling back to the Fire..."

Apparently, even on the day that Dr. Dre was to receive an award for his "Lifetime Achievement," he was unable to refrain from stabbing a man on the way to the podium.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Sunday, November 14, 2004


We received a letter from the county stating that our daughter's lead levels were perfectly normal. They were also kind enough to schedule us for another mandatory lead screening test in 12 months. Thanks, meddlesome bureaucrats! I have considered simply refusing, but at the end of the day I don't see any reason to draw the ire of under-educated and over-powered busybodies unless necessary. *sigh*

Friday, November 12, 2004

Canadian writer Kevin Michael Grace is in trouble. I don’t know the particulars—don’t want to know! as the specter of unemployment haunts us all. I do know that he and his family need prayers. Please pray for him. This is going to be a hard Christmas for his family.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

It's Not Your Parents' Tax Code

Did you know that two-income married couples are the very "rich" the Left seems determined to tax to death? If you didn't, perhaps you should brush up on why Bush loves the "rich" (hint: married couples with kids put him in office). While you are there, check out when your state's Tax Freedom Day is.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

This makes me want to run away screaming

"Do You Want to Lock Your Grandmother Up In A Cage And Only Interact with her via WiFi?"

Ok, so that's not really the NYT title. I really should be happy, I s'pose, to read such a cheery article. After all, we could just decide to up and kill our aging parents.

I'm Shocked, Shocked!

Bush revives bid to legalize illegal aliens
President Bush yesterday moved aggressively to resurrect his plan to relax rules against illegal immigration, a move bound to anger conservatives just days after they helped re-elect him.

The president met privately in the Oval Office with Sen. John McCain to discuss jump-starting a stalled White House initiative that would grant legal status to millions of immigrants who broke the law to enter the United States...

The Ten Commandments Are Racist Now?

In the Netherlands, artist Chris Ripke reacted to the murder on Theo Van Gogh by an islamic fundamentalist by painting a mural with the text "Gij zult niet doden" ("Thou Shalt Not Kill"), one of the ten commandments of the Christian religion.

But because the head of the nearby mosque complained to the police that this was 'offensive' and 'racist', the cops came and sent in city workers to sandblast the mural. A local journalist, Wim Nottroth, who wanted to protest against this by standing in front of the mural was arrested.

From Live From Brussels. Thanks to Gene Ex for the link.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

"Today we were executed. But we will rise."

9 November 2004

Today, our party, the Vlaams Blok, has been condemned to death. This afternoon, the Belgian Supreme Court upheld the verdict, issued by the Court of Appeal in Ghent on 21 April, which declared the Vlaams Blok a criminal organisation. In order to preserve our party members from prosecution, we are now forced to disband. What happened in Brussels today is unique in the Western world: never has a so-called democratic regime outlawed the country’s largest political party.


Monday, November 08, 2004

Free! It's Free!

The Wall Street Journal Online is free this week, as a way to entice subscribers.


EverQuest II Ships

You know what is sad? Paying $90 for the "Limited Collector's Edition EverQuest II DVD" doesn't seem outrageous to me. I spent 20 minutes standing in line at the grocerty store yesterday to correct a checkout error in my favor worth the princely sum of $2!

/em shakes her head

Another Derb gem

It is an odd paradox of human nature, seen in sergeants’ messes as well as boxing gyms, that there is never more ease of manner, concentration on mastering tasks and skills, and warm fellowship among men than when they have come together in a group to perform lawful acts of physical violence.

From the National Review. Read the rest of his essay, Boxing Day, here.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

White man's burden

In the course of the past year, a new belief has emerged in the town: the belief in war against Iraq. That ardent faith was disseminated by a small group of 25 or 30 neoconservatives, almost all of them Jewish, almost all of them intellectuals (a partial list: Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, Eliot Abrams, Charles Krauthammer), people who are mutual friends and cultivate one another and are convinced that political ideas are a major driving force of history. They believe that the right political idea entails a fusion of morality and force, human rights and grit. The philosophical underpinnings of the Washington neoconservatives are the writings of Machiavelli, Hobbes and Edmund Burke. They also admire Winston Churchill and the policy pursued by Ronald Reagan. They tend to read reality in terms of the failure of the 1930s (Munich) versus the success of the 1980s (the fall of the Berlin Wall).

Are they wrong? Have they committed an act of folly in leading Washington to Baghdad? They don't think so. They continue to cling to their belief. They are still pretending that everything is more or less fine. That things will work out. Occasionally, though, they seem to break out in a cold sweat...

Read more from

Random Link

NY Tartan Day

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Jim Kalb on Faith Schools in the Modern British State

over at Majority Rights, he writes:

The practical problem is that secular multicultural education is always bad, at least on any large scale, because schools of that kind can’t have educational goals that are more sustaining than pliability on the one hand and the effective pursuit of self-interest on the other. If the moral world consists solely of the conflicting purposes of various people, then you either teach children to do what they’re told or you teach them to get what they want. The results of such an outlook when applied to education are fundamental aimlessness, aggression, manipulation, boredom, stupidity, and general bad conduct. Everybody hates everybody, and nobody learns anything.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

One Tired Biscuit

Yesterday, I took the Skeeter Eater in to have a state-ordered lead screening test. I think I must have blocked out the full horror of it all when the test was being described to me in the pediatrician’s office, because I didn’t realize until we arrived at the lab that she would be subject to a venous draw.

Our little girl was such a trooper. She loves to get out of the house, and loves to see new people. Yesterday was no exception, given that the poor child had no idea what was coming. The phlebotomist had me hold her in my lap while she checked the baby’s right arm for a good vein. Little Bit flirted and cooed at the poor woman in the most charming manner. The poor technician was already beginning to tear up as she placed the rubber tie on the infant’s arm. Finally, she stopped what she was doing to get another nurse to come in and assist. I could tell the experience was bothering her, and our girl hadn’t even started crying yet.

The first stick didn’t work and after digging around for a few seconds, the phlebotomist pulled out and went to the baby’s left arm. By then the baby was crying her poor heart out, the hurt, disappointed, “Why are you hurting me?” kind of crying that makes all adults within earshot feel as bad as the child. I could feel her hot tears fall on my hands as I held her tight to my chest, but thankfully couldn’t see her face. As bad as I felt for my baby, I felt even worse for the two women who looked like they would rather be doing anything else than trying to get blood from a pretty one year-old baby.

The second stick worked and they took a half-tube of blood from our little girl. The phlebotomist said she would probably bruise pretty well. Mr. Blessed removed the sticky tape and gauze from the crooks of both her arms this morning, but there wasn’t much bruising, thank goodness.

After this ordeal, I took Miss Missy to the mall where they have a children’s play area, complete with a rice-filled “sand” box, lots of toys to spill on the floor, and slides and balls of all sizes and textures. (They also had juice boxes, which I was quite grateful for, considering that I hadn’t thought to bring any milk or other fluid.) We had never been there before, so I really didn’t know what to expect. It was wonderful! There was another little boy there who had just turn five (it was his birthday) and Little Bit followed him around, jabbering and smiling. She was able to run around and explore and touch anything she wanted. We were only there for about an hour, but she never stopped moving (and neither did I, picking up after her!).

We left the mall to go to the grocery store. We had just enough time to get the shopping done and be on time to pick Mr. Blessed up from work. The Biscuit seemed a little tired, but I didn’t think much of it, since she always perks up when we get to a new place with new sights, smells, and people to flirt with. She was completely passed out by the time we got to the grocery store, and was still asleep as I pulled her out of the car seat. I considered putting her back in and sitting in the car for a few minutes so she could take a quick “power nap,” but decided that we would be done soon enough, and she could sleep on the way to meet Daddy.

Well, I regretted that decision as soon as I put her in the shopping basket. She sat in the seat, sucking her thumb with her eyes clothes, weaving back and forward like a drunken sailor. She was so tired! She managed to wake herself up by doing this bobble-headed routine enough to start crying, so I moved the cart into the snack area, bought a soda, and sat with her while she took a nap on one of the tables.

Yes, I just laid her out on one of the tables and sat with her while she slept. I had thought about putting her over my shoulder and continuing on, but I needed to buy chicken, and I wasn’t going to hold a baby with one hand while I touched raw chicken with the other. This seemed like a recipe for disaster, so just I sat back and watched my baby sleep. The place was mostly deserted that time of day anyway, so I wasn’t in anyone’s way. The older folks who gravitate to places like this where they can drink coffee and gossip all gathered around to coo at the sleeping baby, but Little Bit didn’t stir but to twitch a foot on occasion. I guess the combination of a traumatic blood draw and running around were too much for her. I had never seen our little Energizer Bunny this tired before.

After about 30 minutes, she woke up and was ready to go. I completed our shopping as fast as I could, and was still able to pick Mr. Blessed up on time.

Dutch Filmmaker Theo Van Gogh Murdered

(see here and here)

"Nothing is known about the motive," said Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.

I wonder what Pim Fortuyn would have to say about the motive. We can’t ask him now, of course, because he, too, is dead.

Razib at Gene Ex has blogged about this in a level-headed fashion.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Revolutionary Cooking

Sometimes I resent cooking. I have days when it feels like spend all my time either prepping to cook, cooking, or cleaning up from cooking. I cook two to three meals a day (we do tend to skip breakfast), most every day. Some days Mr. Blessed picks up something, which is wonderful, because that is one less load of dishes for me, or one hour I can spend doing something outside of the kitchen.

And there are days when nothing seems to work. Our recent running joke concerns a dish I thought would turn out pretty good but Mr. Blessed christened “Snot Noodle Casserole.” It wasn’t a mean comment, Gentle Reader; it was an accurate observation. Still, most days I manage to be the windshield, not the bug. This is due almost wholly to the Food Network show Good Eats, which has taught me the basic building blocks of food science. I understand emulsification now, and how to prepare different cuts of meat. This Texas girl was a vegetarian for many years, in no small part because I didn’t want to contend with figuring out what to braise and what to broil. Well, and because I hated plants.*

I love Alton Brown’s passion for teaching, and the way he fights the good fight for families and community against the dehumanizing and corrosive effects of outsourcing family roles, such as that of the cook:

Here’s what it comes down to kids. Ronald McDonald doesn’t give a damn about you. Neither does that little minx Wendy or any of the other icons of drivethroughdom. And you know what, they’re not supposed to. They’re businesses doing what businesses do. They don’t love you. They are not going to laugh with you on your birthdays, or hold you when you’re sick and sad. They won’t be with you when you graduate, when your children are born or when you die. You will be with you and your family and friends will be with you. And, if you’re any kind of human being, you will be there for them. And you know what, you and your family and friends are supposed to provide you with nourishment too. That’s right folks, feeding someone is an act of caring. We will always be fed best by those that care, be it ourselves or the aforementioned friends and family.

We are fat and sick and dying because we have handed a basic, fundamental and intimate function of life over to corporations. We choose to value our nourishment so little that we entrust it to strangers. We hand our lives over to big companies and then drag them to court when the deal goes bad. This is insanity.

Even on those days when nothing goes well, and I burn the chicken and undercook the potatoes, I agree that our family is doing our small part in the revolution to reclaim our humanity from MegaCorp. Liberation begins at home. As the man wrote, "He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative."

*I am not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a vegetarian because I hate plants. ~A. Whitney Brown

You Said It, AB

I have decided to move from the planet. I’m sorry but I simply cannot remain on a world where Paris Hilton is allowed to publish “memoirs”. The real clincher is that people will buy it, and read it…and think it wonderful and insightful and that “That poor girl just can’t find…whatever.”

I can only hope that the beams will cross and she’ll end up on Dr. Phil so that my vision of hell can become complete. Actually, for that to happen John Tesh would have to be the musical guest.

posted by Alton Brown, 6:37 PM

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Hello to Those from the Homeschooling Revolution!

Thank you very much to Isabel (Izzy) Lyman at the Homeschooling Revolution for linking to me! Yes, I suppose I am eclectic. I am a Christian who loves Penn and Teller. I have all their books, have seen them in concert, and watch their profanely-monikered cable show with glee (Here's the link-- I wasn't kidding about the name). Penn and Teller make skepticism fun and interesting, and anything that increases critical thinking is a good thing. I do think they have an illogical hatred of religion, for whatever reason. I don’t understand why atheists of a certain stripe insist upon proselytizing, but I don’t find this one area of irrationality (based upon their own criteria) a reason to disregard the overall entertainment, and yes, educational benefit, the pair offers (But not to children! They are not appropriate for kids).

In the same vein, Cheryl at Konkadoo has a fabulous post on Halloween that precisely expresses how I feel about this contentious holiday. Thanks again to HR for introducing me to her blog. I am very impressed and indeed delighted to see such incredible homeschool talent and energy.

"Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding"
~~Proverbs 3:13

Happy Halloween!

We didn't decorate for Halloween this year, partly because I didn't want even more attractive nuisances scattered about the house to entice the toddling Varmit Marmot into party-colored death (“And here is an electric pumpkin with a pretty, delicate twinkle lite enticingly hidden in nooks just as big as your itty bitty finger. Don’t you want to touch it?”), and partly because I am lazy.

Wendy McElroy is a woman who is not lazy. Hey, my mother always said, when you set out to do something, you ought to do it right.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Thrasymachus on the Post-Christian Soul

"Modern man does not love, but seeks refuge in love; does not hope, but seeks refuge in hope; does not believe, but seeks refuge in a dogma." --Nicolás Gómez Dávila

I think that this outlines a central flaw in the modern soul. Everything good and great exists as a means to a pitiful and self-serving end. We justify our lives by the metric of personal satisfaction.

From Thrasymachus Online

Friday, October 29, 2004

The Scots have a great sense of humo(u)r.

Check out Under “Languages” at the upper right, click on “Scots.”

Apparently, they are serious.

With all due respect to the Scottish Parliament, it reads like the HUD Pamphlet scandal.

Black Judges

David Bernstein over at The Volokh Conspiracy makes a sound and numerate but politically-incorrect refutation of the supposed dearth of black Bush appointees to the federal judiciary. See, also, Eugene Volokh’s wonderful 1998 Wall Street Journal article “Racial Politics at the Supreme Court.”

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Future of America

The Oklahoman has done a two-part series on large Christian homeschooling families.
Large Families Mean Sacrifice
Families Know How to Live Large
Thanks to the Homeschooling Revolution.


It has never been a better time to be a diabetic. The Glucowatch is now available, and Interactive Healthcare founder Paul Wessel has now released Glucoboy, a blood glucose meter cartridge for the Nintendo GameBoy. Thanks to BoingBoing!

Of course this happened in Texas

DALLAS - A judge welcomed a former fugitive back to her courtroom with balloons, streamers and a cake before sentencing him to life in prison.

"Daddy, you’re a liar!"

Greer says, "The more I told her not to say such things, the more she insisted it was true, saying, ‘That’s what you do.’ The communication gap widened until I realized she was mispronouncing ‘lawyer.’ "

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Packing It In

I think to myself sometimes that if Mr. Blessed ever lost his job, we should just pick up and move to New Hampshire. This news would probably devastate my Texas-dwelling parents (and Mr. Blessed, who loves them so). However, I do have a lot of simpatico with the Free Staters who are walking the talk. I, myself, tend to be full of hot air, however. I just recently got down cold precisely where New Hampshire is. All those bothersome tiny little eastern states really mess up my average...

Monday, October 25, 2004

Cargo Cult Law & Medicine

Wonderful post over at Sheridan: Con-Law about false accusations made by both children and adults. Anyone following the "Satanic Panic"/child sex abuse scandals of the late 80's and early 90's will find this to be required reading.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Weekend Tidbits

Federalist No. 84 has some great tips for blog maintenance over at Notes from the (Legal) Underground. He states emphatically that everyone should move to Typepad. Now. And I just got listed in Google this weekend, too...

NFLU also has some good advice to young lawyers.
Frankly, I’m really getting tired of stories like yours. Just think for a minute about what you were doing. You were taking the time to eat lunch. Meanwhile, as you were stuffing your face, other associates remained behind at the firm, using the extra time to get ahead of you in the race for partnership. You're a real nitwit. You’re going to lose out to the grinders and get fat too.

Also, I can tell already that I will never get back to expanding on the Team America post. One rule of blogging seems to be: Post now or never.

VDARE has a good blog post entitled The Unbearable Whiteness of Being Lutheran. You guys post some great stuff, but where is your RSS feed? I still have to *shudder* go to your website to read it!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

A Night At the Movies

Mr. Blessed and I saw “Team America” last night and loved it. I guess it really is just a generational thing, since, in our minds, the blasphemy, crudity, and obscenities of the works of Parker and Stone simply don’t interfere with the team’s brilliant comedy. They are probably the greatest, slyest satirists working today.

More later...

Thursday, October 21, 2004

IQ and the Poverty of (Our) Nation

In 2000, mathematician John Allen Paulos wrote a snarky column entitled "Who Wants to Be a Science-Savvy President?” playing on the format of the popular TV show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” In this thought-experiment, he posed some science and math questions to then-candidates Bradley, Bush, Gore, and McCain, and speculated on their respective scores:

How would the four major candidates do were they to take the above quiz sight unseen?

My guess — and it’s certainly nothing more than that — is that Gore and McCain would get 11 or 12 questions right, Bradley nine or 10, and Bush seven or eight.

What, if anything, would this test would tell us?

My opinion: All other things being equal, greater scientific literacy (which includes being realistic about what one doesn’t know and being open to the scientific advice of others) makes for a better candidate and a better president.

The combination of ignorance and power is a frightening one. (emphasis mine)

Mr. Paulos didn’t address the IQs of the candidates directly, even though he did imply that certain candidates were “ignorant.” Steve Sailer, on the other hand, has gone straight to the heart of the matter this election, and comes out with a titillating theory: Bush may have a higher IQ than Kerry.

How is that for frightening? As he has written several times already, “Are these two the best our nation of nearly 300,000,000 can put forward?”


Anyone who has ever played a Sim game has thought to himself, "I bet the real-world applications of this kind of thing are staggaring." It just takes a faster processor and more data points and Uncle Sam to make it happen.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

On Mob Rule

It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it; consequently, the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one meaning.
-George Orwell

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
-C. S. Lewis

Democracy is only a dream: it should be put in the same category as Arcadia, Santa Claus, and Heaven.
-H. L. Mencken

Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
-Hermann Goering

A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.
-Thomas Jefferson

Friday, October 15, 2004

"Reality, said Philip K. Dick, is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."

John Derbyshire has written a wonderful piece at NRO on the 10th anniversary of the publication of The Bell Curve.

Tick, Tick, Tick...

My mother gave us a picture frame when our daughter was born, one that has a space in it for a photo from every month of the baby’s first year. The oval monthly pictures circle around a larger space for the child’s first birthday shot. We have this frame on our entertainment center, where we can look up at it and marvel at how she has changed. Sometimes, when I am feeding the Biscuit, I look up at the frame and imagine that it is a clock, ticking down the months. The first six months flew by, and I was happy to see the frame fill up. All parents worry about SIDS, and each month we put a picture in the frame was another month we could put between us and the dread disease.

After the sixth month mark, I began to see time running out. In my mind this past year, I have had several goals to meet before the frame strikes twelve. It will be twelve months on Sunday, and I am not as close to my goals as I would like to be.

In my heart of hearts, I always thought this SAHM thing was a part-time job. I could do the home-making quickly and easily and still find paying work, from home of course. (No matter what, we won’t be putting the critter in daycare.) This year has taught me that being a housewife takes more hard work and time than I had ever imagined. I have had a difficult time finding more time to do paying work.

So far, I haven’t been doing too badly. Certainly it would be arrogant and ungrateful of me to complain, because we would be hurting if we didn’t have my modest income. But I am now having to admit I want more. More work. More income-generating work. We could cut back expenses even more, but I simply don’t want to. Our food budget, for example, is moderate for a family of two-and-a-half, but compared to so many other frugal families, we are Dionysian in our Epicureanism.

The fact that I am admitting I want more paying work isn’t an epiphany, and doesn’t necessarily contradict anything else I have written on this blog. Lots of women who want to stay home are also looking for income opportunities, so long as they don’t come at the expense of their primary job, which is to keep Kirche and Kinder.

I was thinking about this in the shower this morning. Housewives have always been working women. The belief that SAHMs don’t do anything is silly and illogical. It crumbles under the most cursory of inquiries. Women who are in the home simply exempt themselves from taxable income. When thinking about this, what strikes me most is the question that I haven’t been able to answer, even though I am an ex-lefty:

Why do so many leftists, many of whom hate Corporate America, insist that women join the ranks of cubicle drudges and wage slaves? If I were interested in Culture Jamming (in the sense of a resistance movement to the hegemony of popular culture), it would seem to me that one of my first goals would be to remove as many cogs from Mega-Corp as possible. It would be especially beneficial to remove the more intelligent, better-educated ones. So, then, why does this threaten those who would otherwise rant about Big Business, capitalism, etc.?

In my cynicism, I think professional feminists realize that if women were to have a genuine choice, they would choose not to work, at least not when their children were little. Any fly on the wall on a baby-oriented message board can tell you how bad women feel putting their young children in day care. Most of these women feel they have no choice. I think these professional feminists have a vested interest in keeping women working so that the families’ inflated wages can be taxed at a higher level, and these very feminists feed on the trough of public programs. More two-income families mean more taxes, which mean more bureaucracy, more government bloat, and more grants funding untenable organizations which cannot compete without subsidies.

So, the year has passed. My baby is a toddler now. I feel like the time I had, a time out of time, is the most blessed of my life. I know that the coming years are going to be just as precious. And if anyone needs a graphic designer, let me know.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Random Links

I have actually been pretty productive for the past week, but have managed to temper this with a lot of, erm, research. Yes, research, that’s it.

Places I have visited recently have included a gallery of farewell missives from failed dot coms, a preview of 2005’s Spring Colors (yummy! Plus a swatch palette!), and a bleak day-in-the-life diary from a criminal defense attorney. And my family wonders why I never practiced...

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

"It's different to talk about their right than what's the right decision."

Why do some women insist that being a homemaker isn’t real work? Why are feminists so tied to a corporate mindset that states that if work isn’t income-generating that it doesn’t matter? My mother called me Sunday night about the 60 Minutes story, “Staying At Home.”

Our favorite quote:

But isn't it their right to choose? "It's different to talk about their right than what's the right decision," says Hirshman. "As Mark Twain said, 'A man who chooses not to read is just as ignorant as a man who cannot read.'"

"These women are choosing lives in which they do not use their capacity for very complicated work," adds Hirshman.

Feminism has never been about choice, it has been about destroying families. I appreciate women like Hirshman making this explicit.

Family Size and the New Evangelization

The future is truly in the hands of large families. As the birth rates in North America and other developed countries continue to plunge, children from large families will fill the gaps left by the families that choose voluntary extinction. "Blessed are the meek", our Lord says, "for they will inherit the earth" — or, in this case, their children will.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004



Which are you?

A daughter complained to her father about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know if she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In one he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs, and the last he placed ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

The daughter impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. In about twenty minutes he and turned off the burners. He fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them a bowl. Then he ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her he asked,

"Darling, what do you see?"

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee!" she replied.

He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard- boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled as she tasted its' rich aroma. She humbly asked. "What does it mean Father?" He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity, boiling water, but each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. But after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But after sitting through the boiling water, it's inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you," he asked his daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

How about you? Are you the carrot that seems hard, but with pain and adversity do you wilt and become soft and lose your strength? Are you the egg, which starts off with a malleable heart? Were you a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a divorce, or a layoff have you become hardened and stiff.

Your shell looks the same, but are you bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and heart? Or are you like the coffee bean? The bean changes the hot water, the thing that is bringing the pain, to its peak flavor reaches of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. When the water gets the hottest, it just tastes better.

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and make things better around you. When people talk about you, do your praises to the Lord increase? When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, does your worship elevate to another level?

How do you handle adversity?

Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

Monday, October 11, 2004

Voices, I Hear Voices

We post-moderns suffer from critical lack of self-esteem in certain vital areas. In areas where it doesn’t matter, such as academics, American self-esteem is at an all-time high. In some of the most important areas, such as parenting, we are paralyzed by self-doubt.

I see it in myself. Every time I discipline my toddler there is a little voice that tells me that I am crippling her creativity and inquisitiveness. Yes, I know that it is really my job to keep her from pulling the food processor down on top of her head, but I still feel like such an ogre when I keep her from killing herself in a new and imaginative way. Interestingly enough, my toddler tends to agree with this little voice.

Still, I am learning that she is much more resilient than I give her credit for being. The other day I told her to stop banging on the screen door (or was it to stop trying to pull out the bread machine cord?). Most of the time she responds to a simple verbal command, “No,” or “Don’t touch.” This time I picked her up and moved her away from the really fun death game, and put her near me while I washed dishes. She was not happy with this.

My daughter is really good at crying. Instilled with a seeming Protestant work ethic in regard to crying, she seems to view it as a virtue. She is the cutest thing I have ever seen when she is really angry. I know that I am going to see a really adorable fit when she has to hold her breath to work up to a loud bellow of protest. I can tell how good the crying fit is going to be by counting the number of seconds between the first appearance of her flushed, scrunched-up face and the wail of chagrin.

This fit was going to be a good one, judging by the silence that greeted my plopping her next to me on the kitchen floor. I thought at first she wasn’t upset when she quietly waddled away from me, across the long kitchen floor into the living room. But no-- she was so upset that she needed to throw herself onto the floor to express her disappointment via kicking and screaming. However, she had the foresight to eschew the hard linoleum for soft carpet. It was then that I realized that, far from being the delicate flower of my fantasies, this child had more understanding of life than I had even begun to give her credit for.

I haven’t heard from that little voice since.

Friday, October 08, 2004

". . . like a malignant lump, a festering murmur, in the karmic heart . . ."

Gadgets. I love gadgets, and I enjoy shopping (read: spending money). However, I do try to be frugal. For example, I spent much too much time in Wal-Mart six months ago trying to decide on the proper toilet brush (I know, I know). Our old brush was, quite frankly, disgusting, and I was tired of taking a pumice stone to the rim underneath (yes, people actually do that).

Since there have been some interesting developments on the toilet-cleaning front since last I purchased a toilet wand (1999, the year we got married). I read the outer packages, opened up the box and looked at the various devices as best I could, etc. Finally, I selected the Lysol Ready Brush. I figured it made more sense to purchase occasional refill bottles rather than use a new scrub pad every time.

The Ready Brush isn’t bad—the foam is thick and smells good, and the cost of refills are reasonable. However, it wasn’t what I was looking for. It doesn’t get under the rim well at all, and the brush head is an awkward size to get at the bottom of the bowl. So, after using it for awhile, I decided to swallow my pride and buy yet another toilet bowl cleaning system, the Clorox ToiletWand. This one really as great as the adverts say it is. And anything that gives the good folks in San Fran fits makes me smile inside.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

You Can't Go Home Again

It has been more than a year since Mr. Blessed and I quit EverQuest. We left when we found out I was pregnant. I remember being on raids where couples would casually comment on how they had locked their children out of the house for the day so that they could play uninterrupted. We had (only once!) grouped with a monk who would go AFK while pulling because she was trying to NAK (nurse at keyboard).

In the past year, I haven’t much missed the game. We played so hot and heavy (over 40 hours a week every week for three-plus years) that we were plenty ready to leave Norrath. Still, recently I have been experiencing bouts of nostalgia. My EQ coffee cups have faded pretty badly by now. One is four years old, with “Loading Please Wait” in familiar red letters. The other cup was crafted with our guild logo, the graphic file long gone, never to be CafePressed again.

We have been looking at World of Warcraft, with reservation. We will never play the way we used to (thank God!), but these games are designed to be addictive and time consuming.

Even if we never again play, I am personally very interested in MMORPGs from a sociological perspective. I am far from the first to comment on the compelling anthropological data that can be mined from player behavior. All major human themes are re-enacted in raw, painful detail day after day in these virtual realities—love, betrayal, conquest, greed, and honor, all played out in each and every guild, every server, every day. I find it fascinating that almost all DKP systems will evolve to share the same fundamental characteristics, for example, no matter how much the individual authors try to avoid it. All uber-guilds look the same, and all family guilds, well, don’t. Adamantine human nature, indeed.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Who can find a virtuous woman?

Proverbs 31:10 (KJV)

31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

31:11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

31:12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

31:13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

31:14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

31:15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

31:16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

31:17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

31:18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

31:19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

31:20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

31:22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

31:24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

31:25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

31:27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

31:28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

31:29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

31:30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Busy morning

This morning I cleared out our linen closet and Ellie’s toys. We have a tiny apartment, so we really have to live in a “one in/one out” principle.

My husband loves flannel sheets, and our single set of flannel sheets developed a tear last week. Yesterday, I bit the bullet and bought three new sets of flannel sheets, even though we really couldn’t afford them. We have five or six sets of cotton sheets, some of them very nice (400 thread-count percale), but we never use them. So I spent money we didn't have and bought the sheets I knew we would use, in sufficient quantity so that they wouldn’t prematurely wear out.

The cotton sheets I have triple-bagged and put in the garage. In clearing out the closet I discovered I now have one whole free shelf. Heaven!

I also bagged up Ellie’s newborn toys. Her toy box was full to burstin’, and she wasn’t really able to get to her things because everything was so tightly packed. So I have bagged up the toys she has had since infancy, and they have joined the sheets. Sure enough, she is thrilled. She has a lot more room, and fewer choices to make. As I am tying this, she has pulled all of her toys out of the (freshly) repacked toy box and is joyfully playing with toys I haven’t seen her touch in weeks. It is as if she has rediscovered her toy box.

Midmorning we went outside to play. It is certainly fall up here, so I needed to make sure she was dressed appropriately. She keeps her clothes pulled out of her drawers (her favorite game), so I was digging all over the place to make a warm outfit. I found a long-sleeved pull-over sweater that her Grandmother had embroidered on, one that was entirely too large. I remember when she gave it to us. I thanked her but inwardly knew that I was going to have to find a stuffed animal of some kind to wear the shirt, because it would be years before Ellie would fit it.

It fit perfectly.

We spent the morning running (OK, she spent it running; I kind of waddled and squatted) all around the backyard. Our yard isn’t fenced, so most of the time was spent trying to keep Ellie from terrorizing the neighbor's tomato plants. And what beautiful plants they are! She has multiple varieties—some cherry, some large beefsteak, all of them smelling divine.

We came back in and had a bath and a bottle. Her socks were filthy. I am waiting on her new order of shoes to come in, as she has outgrown her last pair.

What a little weed! She is also weaning herself, sadly. I don’t have a baby anymore.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Far Above Rubies

Over at GNXP, they are discussing a new Fortune article, which reveals *gasp* that in order to have an orderly homelife, you need a homemaker, someone who not only cooks and cleans but performs the household’s secretarial and magisterial duties, as well. Who whoulda thunk? Fortune thinks this is news because they have found this is true for successful women, as well.

I do wonder sometimes about the common sense of the chattering classes. They really can’t see the noses on their faces. When I became pregnant and we decided I would stay home, I began to put all of our finances into Quicken and examining the time we spent taking care of the house. Aside from the big, obvious issues, such as firing the maids and ceasing to eat out every day, what immediately became clear is how much more efficient it would be to have someone who could take the car to the mechanic, get to the post office before it closes (ah, the days of skipping lunch to stand in line), who could spend hours on the phone fighting with our HMO when they billed us incorrectly, etc. While these things don’t make up for the loss of my salary, they make a significant quality-of-life impact.

My husband has so much less stress now that I am home. I do everything that we used to try to do together in a mad rush on the weekends. Not only do I pay the bills but I can project our expenses out to the next year. I have his dentist appointments on his calendar months ahead of time, allowing him to schedule in advance when he needs the afternoon off. I have the time to shop around, really shop around for, the best deals on cell phone plans, long distance companies, car insurance, health insurance, etc.

My husband goes to work and comes home to a clean house, a warm dinner, and an executive summary of the days’ events. He doesn’t have to do anything but enjoy his home. He is more relaxed, healthier, and more productive. Who wouldn’t be?

My life is far from drudgery. Instead of sitting in daily pointless meetings constantly trying to find ways to make my boss look better in order to get him off my back for a few days so that I can sit and surf the web, I am actually doing real, useful work. I can watch my daughter grow. I watched her learn to walk. We didn’t mark the day on the calendar: “Baby took her first step today.” Walking is a process, like so much else in life, and I saw the whole, blessed thing. What could be better than that?

More later; I have to get back to work. :)

~~Mrs. Blessed

Saturday, September 25, 2004

It's Gonna Cost Ya

Bryce Zabel, former Chairman and CEO of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, ruminates on digital media and content-on-demand. The future looks bright for those who are willing to pony up the cash for it. For all their annoyances, commercials at least kept broadcast media from being “just another utility bill.” Everyone paid a flat fee, whether they were heavy consumers or light ones. In Zabel’s proposal, all content would be provided by multi-tasking “media servers,” and users would pay by consumption rate.

I predict we are living in a glorious, fleeting time, an era before Big Media has a chance to fully synthesize this paradigm shift. In the future, it may be true that every “film, TV show, video game and song ever made” will be available to you. It will also be true that this access will be controlled relentlessly. Gone will be the halcyon days of simply paying a cable bill for 300+ channels and pre-recording a program for the purpose of fast-forwarding past the commercials. I am cynical enough to expect that, in the future, fast-forwarding will cost ya, either in monthly fees or per-view.

This may not be a bad thing, at least for the nuclear family. A family of five accessing five different media delivery systems in five different parts of the house would probably run up a pretty big bill. Perhaps the high cost of heavy “media consumption” would bring the family together for 50’s style “family viewing” yet again.

Probably not. I imagine that the scenario above, lived too often in America today, is due very little to the relative cost of individual pursuits and interests. But that is the subject of another post.

Thanks to Michael Blowhard for the link.

On Care & Feeding of Husbands

"Whatever may have been the cares of the day, greet your husband with a smile when he returns. Make your personal appearance just as beautiful as possible. Your dress may be made of calico, but neat. Let him enter rooms so attractive and sunny that all the recollections of his home, when away from the same, shall attract him back"

-Thomas E. Hill, Hill's Manual of Social and Business Forms (1881)

So What Am I Missing Here?

Since this is a homemaker blog, I thought I would ask the question that burns at the soul of every housewife today: “What, in the name of all that is holy and pure, is the point of “Tide with a Touch of Downy”? Has there been a rash of Downy-ball thefts? Are Americans really so busy that they don’t have the time to add fabric softener after they add detergent?

Apparently, Procter & Gamble has put a lot of money behind advertising this product, and boy, does it ever show. You can’t avoid the commercial onslaught this new product has cursed us with.

And they still haven’t sent me my free sample, durn their hides.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Design Blog

I am not a big fan of modern contemporary design, but MoCoLoco is an inspiring web magazine. It breaks me out of a creative rut, and makes me grateful I don't live that kind of life. It must be exhausting to be hip.

VDARE on "Self-Hating" Minorities

Great post on VDARE's new blog. Read the whole thing. A lovely excerpt: "I’ve always felt that anyone accused of being self-hating for refusing to toe the left-wing line (Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, Ward Connerly) should simply look the critics in the eye and say, “I don’t hate me. I hate you.”


The Gods Of The Copybook Headings

As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market-Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn.
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breath of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market-Place;
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch.
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch.
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings.
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Heading said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Heading said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew,
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not God that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four-
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man- There are only
four things certain since Social Progress began:-
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,

And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wobbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins

When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

--Rudyard Kipling

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Shopping with the Destructo-Beast yesterday, my little girl had an epiphany. At 11 months-old, she is just now assigning Mr. Blessed and me names. I am “Ama” (pronounced “AM-uh”) and her father is “Ada” (“AH-duh”). Today she noticed that the world is full of other humans sharing Mr. Blessed’s salient characteristic—his “Ada"-ness. As we strolled through the grocery store, she would crow from the basket every time she spotted a man, “Ada! ADA!” Flapping her arms wildly and pointing with both hands, she was quite pleased when we spotted a whole herd of young men hiding out at the magazine rack, something her Ada himself is prone to do.

I find it fascinating that not only can she tell men from women, but understands that what makes her Ada an Ada and not an Ama is this very maleness. Far from being fungible “parents,” we are instead distinct male and female entities in her mind, enough so that the very name she has given us she now uses to describe others of our particular sex.

Monday, September 20, 2004


What a great start for a Monday morning. We are curtailing our non-essential spending for the time being, so this will have to wait, BUT I haven’t smiled like this in quite a while. Mickey Che T-shirts are for sale!

More on "Middlebrow Culture"

In the same vein as my last post, Terry Teachout over at wrote about narrowcasting contributing to the death of middlebrow culture. He writes,

The catch was that the middlebrow culture on which I was raised was a common culture, based on the existence of widely shared values, and it is now splintered beyond hope of repair. Under the middlebrow regime, ordinary Americans were exposed to a wide range of cultural options from which they could pick and choose at will. They still do so, but without the preliminary exposure to the unfamiliar that once made their choices potentially more adventurous. The rise of digital information technology, with its unique capacity for niche marketing, has replaced such demographically broad-based instruments of middlebrow self-education as The Ed Sullivan Show with a new regime of seemingly infinite cultural choice. Instead of three TV networks, we have a hundred channels, each "narrowcasting" to a separate sliver of the viewing public, just as today’s corporations market new products not to the American people as a whole but to carefully balanced combinations of "lifestyle clusters" whose members are known to prefer gourmet coffee to Coca-Cola, or BMWs to Dodge pickups.


What’s really sad is that most people under the age of 35 or so don’t remember and can’t imagine a time when there were magazines that "everybody" read and TV shows that "everybody" watched, much less that those magazines and shows went out of their way to introduce their audiences to high art of various kinds. Those days, of course, are gone for good, and it won’t help to mourn their passing.

I remember three-channel TV very well. I grew up on the U.S. Mexican border, and cable TV was but a distant dream. We were lucky to receive radio signals. One read either Time or Newsweek as well as the local paper.

I think that Mr. Teachout has it backwards, actually. Our culture shattered long ago, and narrowcasting and other forms of push technology only acknowledge the demand. As I mentioned earlier, I think that demand-driven media actually helps middle-brow consumers, who heretofore were forced to consume ubiquitous lowbrow culture if they were to participate in popular culture at all.

Thank you to Fenster over at for the link to

~~Blessed Wife

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Adult Participation in Modern Culture

It is a great time to be an adult and a parent. Most American pop culture is driven by the inchoate desires of 14 year-old boys, so up until very recently, adults were simply shut out from mainstream culture, if they were inclined to grow past “Must See” TV. Now, thanks to DVRs and the Internet, which have given the consumers demand-driven media, adults can partake in popular culture once again.

For example, I hate the radio—obnoxious, ignorant DJs, insipid, redundant commercials, and the same songs over and over. Before the Internet, I would have to drive to a music store (I still think of them as “record stores”), get frustrated with a surly minimum-wage slave who had no interest in music made prior to last year, and purchase an album I wasn’t precisely sure I liked. I never would have risked a new genre, or an unknown artist, because the chance of being unhappy with my decision was too great.

However, Yahoo!’s LAUNCHcast Plus has been the best 30 dollars we have spent in years. Unlike mp3 peer-to-peer file-sharing networks, the burden isn’t on the user to go out and find new music. It recommends music I never would have encountered on my own, by relying on my prior ratings. I have discovered Scott Miller, The Two Dollar Pistols, Chet Baker, Mississippi John Hurt, Kasey Chambers, and The White Stripes, to name a few. What a wonderful experience! And I can play the station on my computer while I write, not doing anything but listening. It is a wonderful thing for my daughter, too, since she loves music. I can play her the music from my childhood, songs from people like Tom T. Hall, Willie Nelson, and Don Williams.

The same quiet revolution for the middle class has occurred with the digital video recorder (DVR). To be able to watch pre-recorded television and painlessly remove the commercials is a wonderful thing for everyone, but is a real blessing for a parent. Ten years ago, I probably would have been one of those mothers who simply didn’t watch TV, and rejoiced when the set died. Today, I am convinced it can be a wonderful tool for families. We can pre-record shows on the History channel or the Discovery channel, or even some children’s channels (they are the absolute worst), and feel comfortable with our children watching television with us. The ability to pause the live broadcast as well as record means that viewers are no longer slaves to the TV’s schedule. This will have a significantly positive impact on parenting.

For those of you who don’t want to be tied to a subscription service, such as TiVo, Replay TV, etc., or want to avoid the constraints of a single-use appliance, there is hope. If you have an old computer laying around, you can build your own PVR (personal video recorder).

Friday, September 17, 2004

Digital Technology's Impact on Culture

Michael Blowhard makes the interesting point that while "the move from analog to digital is the most significant change in the basis of culture since the invention of the printing press," there is a frustrating dearth of commentary on this phenomenon. No one asks or attempts to answer such questions as “Where are we going? Where have we been? And how is our experience of culture changing?” re: the digital revolution. Realistically (and I am showing my ignorance here), were there folks commenting on the impact of the printing press on the culture in which they lived? I doubt there were many. Besides, future punditry ends up so solipsistic, doesn’t it? Better to comment on tactile, safe territory such as robots and cordless phones.

I would have to say that this is precisely what makes blogs such as 2Blowhards so wonderful. They can engage on more nebulous topics, which print publications like the NYT must stay in safer, more explored, and already-developed areas.

Thursday, September 16, 2004


I have to say I love men being men. Men when they aren’t being hushed by their wives, or trying to get laid, so that they have to act all nice and, er, civilized. I like men discussing war. This isn’t to say that I like discussions of war. Being a woman, I mostly find them boring. My eyes glaze over and I start to wonder if I spotted the laundry this week. (My husband watches the History channel when I am asleep as a kindness to me.) But I do have a finely-developed appreciation for men discussing men-like subjects with other men. There isn’t any sugar-coating of the language, no circumlocution, no euphemism.

That is why I love the War Nerd.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

"The White Man's Burden"

A wonderful collection of original documents commenting on the great Rudyard Kipling's poem, "The White Man's Burden," can be found on BoondocksNet.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

An early morning for me

I woke up this morning at 3:00 a.m. in a panic. School has started, and the work I do from home has picked up. I was compelled to get up in the early morning in order to answer the voices that hound so many of us, saying “What a phony! Soon you will be found out for the fake that you are!”

I assume that this inchoate fear is what drives most people to perform. Perhaps there are some out there who do what they do (for money) simply for the love of the thing, but I think most of us operate due to peer pressure and raw fear. Fear of not having money to pay the bills, fear of looking dumb or incompetent.

I am blogging about this because I was struck by how I still have such anxiety performance when I no longer “work.” My paying job is 5 hours or so a week, more when I get special assignments. My real work is running the house, taking care of our daughter, etc. And yes, I do have anxiety about that, as well, but not as much (well, perhaps my insomnia is due in part to the fact that I forgot a dentist appointment today, despite the fact that it was on TWO different calendars *sigh*).

This is not yet another droning voice added to the din of conventional wisdom which believes that housework isn’t real work. In fact, I feel my work in the home is more real that my career used to be. I think most people would admit, if you got them sufficiently inebriated, that their jobs are pretty pointless. Perhaps it is my generation, being that I am 33. Us GenX’ers don’t seem to find a lot of job satisfaction, I hear. I find that doing dishes, cooking from scratch, and taking care of a toddler is at least as rewarding as teaching college students, oftentimes more so.

A lot of women of my SES and educational level say that they could never be a stay-at-home mother, because they would be too bored. Leaving aside the fact that no adult with a library card and Internet access could possibly be bored for more than a few minutes unless they were boring to begin with, I think what they mean is that they would be terrified of not having the structure of a job. It is truly frightening to face day after day without having someone tell you what to do. We Americans don’t have a lot of experience with this. More on this later.

Flylady Marla Cilley has made her career helping American homemakers kick themselves in the pants, and God Bless her for it, too!

My husband calls, so I must off.

~~Blessed Wife

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

A woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute

To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors, and holidays; to be Whitely within a certain area, providing toys, boots, cakes, and books; to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone and narrow to be everything to someone? No, a woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.

G. K. Chesterton
"The Emancipation of Domesticity"
What's Wrong with the World (1910)