I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I cannot go.
We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.
Light takes the Tree, but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.
This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.
Joy's Updates - Straight from the Horse's Mouth.
Monday, June 30, 2008 Weekend
Brendan and I had a good time this weekend. We didn't make it to the ballgame since they lost their game last night. Mother, Brendan, and I met Kathy and Kelsey at Opry Mills. That is a shopping mall that replaced Opryland. Don't get me started about how I feel about that. Opryland was a big tourist attraction, and Nashville has lost money because it's gone. It was beautifully landscaped with flowers and foliage. There were rides and other fun things, but what was so great were the shows with singing, dancing, and impersonations. Some careers began there. It was a great family place to go and so much fun. But NO! Gaylord swarmed into Nashville and dismantled and destroyed Opryland, sold The Nashville Network, and did other crappy things I won't go into here. So now it's a shopping mall, and don't we just need more and more of those?
We had a good visit. For a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with how they get along and like each other (because they do), Kathy's family has never seen Brendan and haven't seen Brian and Melissa since she was pregnant with him. They've all seen pictures and have talked on the phone some but nothing in person. I was glad for them to see each other today. When he's at my house, Brendan always gets this photo taken about five years ago and names all of them. So today he looked at the 15 year old Kelsey and then at me and asked, "Did Kelsey turn into a woman?" She loved it, so we all got some mileage out of that. He just loved them and listened to Kelsey when she told him to do and not to do things. It was helpful for me to have reinforcements, and we had a good time.
Well, Very Gay Michael went home to his mama. It was kind of sad in a way and karma in other ways. He was so snarky about Tracee's room by telling her he loved it and making fun of her behind her back. He was being a prissy little snot and then the horrible realization fell upon him that he would probably be going home. He cried all the way through the bottom three comments and then broke down when he heard the death knell for his aspirations. He said he didn't want to disappoint his mother and that the wanted and needed her. Poor baby. His wasn't the worst room.
Tracee was also snarky and maintained her bravado about winning until the judges told her how they felt about her room. I thought it was the worst one but did at least suggest the destination country while some gave no hint at all. Thank goodness Matt wasn't sent home! I like him, but his room wasn't what he'd visualized and planned it to be.
All in all, none of them did very well. This is an odd group without as much talent as last season's designers did. I didn't see Season One. My faves are Mikey V, Trish, and Matt. I'd like for Mikey V to win and would watch his show. (and I know David would)
Friday, June 27, 2008 Geek Convention and Softball Tournament
Brendan will be staying with me this weekend while Brian and Melissa are involved with Hypericon. Brian is one of the organizers of it, and Melissa shows her art and is often on panels. I have several prints of her work and just love them. I'll meet Melissa and get him mid-day tomorrow and keep him until Sunday evening. He's charming and fun and also exhausting. My energy level doesn't hold up very well with five year olds.
My granddaughter Kelsey is playing in a softball tournament in Hendersonville this weekend. I'm going to try to get over there and spend some time with her and Kathy if it doesn't rain. I'll have Brendan, so that will make things more interesting for sure. Maybe everything will work out. I hope so.
Hope all of you have good weekends! Think about me and send me energy!
Thursday, June 26, 2008 Can You See Me Now?
I love this! I don't like to overdo the videos but had to post this one. I laugh every time I see it and hope it's an omen.
Well, it happened again! The one black contestant was eliminated first. In this case, Oshun had his first and final cut on Bravo's Shear Genius. The guy from NC went home from HGTV's Design Star. Can you think of other shows where this is how it went?
Ell posted this video on her blog some time ago about popular Hawaiian performer Israel Kamakawiwo'ole who died much too young. She and her family go to Hawaii often on vacations, and she's seen him perform several times. If you visit her blog, notice how well she writes. I wish she'd finish some of the pieces and get published! She's really good!
Some of us discussed this song on Dan's blog about gay pride.
I'm beginning to have favorites now. Gabe, Melissa, Shawn, Ashlee, Pearl Heart, Alyson, and Coffey are in that order mostly. Handsome model Justin was eliminated last night, and Gabe Garcia had the most votes. I like him. He reminds me of a Hispanic George Strait.
Billy Ray Cyrus is host. Jewel is one of the judges, and I really like her. I've enjoyed her singing a long time, and she's thoughtful, supportive, and helpful with the contestants. John Rich is the Simon Cowell of this show but is usually right. Jeffrey Steele, the songwriter judge, is tough but fair and tells them what he thinks. I'm caught up in this show now even though I think the contestants were better in Can You Duet. These are improving, though, thank goodness.
Last night was interesting since they sang pop songs they had to make sound country. Melissa did a great job with "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper. Gabe sang "Livin' la Vida Loca" if you can imagine and made it his. Those were my favorites, but the others sang a wide range of songs associated with various pop performers.
Monday, June 23, 2008 Vacations
While I'm visiting people or on vacation, I don't think that much about getting on the computer or watching TV, which is interesting since I do so much of both when I'm at home. I do better when I'm away from home since I walk more, get outside often, eat better, and enjoy new surroundings. So I should travel more or pretend I'm on vacation at home, I guess.
If James Lipton asked me the famous questionnaire by Bernard Pivot, after which sound or noise do you hate, I'd have to say, "Mary Murphy's voice." She's a Screech Cougar.
If you were to visit one of these for a few days, which would you choose - Martha Stewart, Oprah, Rachael Ray, or Paula Deen? Hard choice, isn't it? All have their own circle of Hell and all have some appeal.
I loved him and his contribution to comedy. Here are a couple of good articles about him. Chris wrote a wonderfully thoughtful and eloquent tribute to George Carlin on his blog. Excellent, Chris! I totally agree with all you wrote about him.
I'm back! Thursday we drove up through Kentucky on I-65 and I-71 through Louisville, across Ohio on I-71 and I-70 from Cincinnati to Columbus, briefly across West Virginia through Wheeling, and into Pittsburgh. We drove back today and got home around 8:45 pm.
We had a great time. The weather was in the 80's and pretty, and we walked at lot. Next time we go, I want to see more of the city and tourist attractions. We went to The Strip for shopping and eating. There are all kinds of things there - cut flowers, produce, clothes, gifts, coffee, chocolate, biscotti, gifts, and lots more. It was fun.
Jackie's party was fun with groups in conversations and good food. She and Ed were gracious hosts. Their Victorian house and beautiful gardens were relaxing and enjoyable. I'm pretty tired now but will tell more later.
Meanwhile, here are some neat photos I found online that are better than the ones I took.
Beth, I thought about you while we were driving through Ohio. Did we go anywhere near where you live?
Wednesday, June 18, 2008 Lucy and Ethel Drive To Pittsburgh!
Tina and I have never set out for a trip with enough sleep the night before. This one will be no exception. I'm still doing laundry and haven't packed yet. I also haven't gotten our entertainment together, so we can play CD's and listen to XM radio. I'm so used to doing things at the last minute that it will come together.
Tina met me at the lake and we walked. That's two days so far. She said her dryer wasn't working well. I told her I'd offer to let her come over and use mine but my clothes would be in it. We'll get there even though we say we're like Lucy and Ethel on vacation! With my new hair on my Dancing Flame avatar, we know which one I am. Obviously, this one doesn't look like me, but my hair has been that color. I used to dye my hair recreationally and have had some hair accidents as well as some successes.
All of you talk among yourselves while I'm gone, and I'll catch up when I get back. If anything happens I need to know about, just comment on it here. You know how I hate to miss anything!
Yesterday I walked around the lake. We have a lake here that's a popular place for people to walk and jog. It's a little over a mile around it. There are ducks and geese and houses all around it. It was a pretty day with temperatures in the low 80's and with low humidity, so I took advantage of that rarity. Tina is going to walk with me today, and I plan to go to the gym when the weather gets too hot. What I will do is use the elliptical, treadmill, and stationary bike and then do strength training so my bones and muscles will hold me up and keep me moving.
I've been threatening to do this for a long time and am motivated by fear this time. Because of several factors my blood sugar has been too high for a while, and I need to lose weight and exercise or else. For the most part, I eat the way I should for diabetes and follow a low-carb/high-protein diet but don't exercise. My doctor said if we do what we should 80% of the time, we can veer off 20%. After those strong antibiotics when I had bronchitis and running out of Januvia, I didn't eat exactly the way I should and had problems. This is why I was so sleepy - high blood sugar.
I got my prescription refilled yesterday. It had expired, so I had to call my doctor because I realized I couldn't wait until my regular appointment next week. I also walked. According to my doctor, if I lose 15-20 pounds, it will make a huge difference, even making diabetes symptoms go away unless I gain the weight back. Eventually I'd like to lose 30 pounds but will think about changing my lifestyle instead which will cause it to happen.
This sort of scared me, so I hope that will keep me motivated until it becomes a habit and makes me feel better enough to look forward to it. I've been that way in the past and want to again. Wish me luck!! It's not easy! I have Mad Couch Disease. I stole this expression from David.
Monday, June 16, 2008 Trip
Tina and I are leaving Thursday for Pittsburgh to attend Jackie's birthday party. She was 50 in January but is having a half celebration since the weather is better now, and she's out of school for the summer. Tina will be 50 next month which you know if you read what she wrote about it here. I'm really old because I was their teacher!
I have so much to do before we leave since I put all kinds of things off until this week. Then on top of it all, I'm having trouble staying awake. I keep taking naps in my sleep chair, as it's now called. For some reason, I sit in it and go to sleep. It's a wing-back chair, so wedging my head in that corner gives me strange hairstyles sort of reminiscent of Christian Siriano's. Since my hair is fine and curly, the effect isn't quite the same and looks more like an odd cowlick.
Anyway, unlike when I went to the screenwriters conference, I really will be out of touch from Wednesday night until Sunday night. Carry on without me!
Jewel, John Rich, and Jeffrey Steele arrived at the Opryland Hotel in their Nashville Star tour buses and worked with the contestants to help them with their performances. Jewel mentored the guys, John the females, and Jeffrey was with the duos/groups. Trace Adkins sang "You're Gonna Miss This" as the guest performer.
Laura and Sophie are 17 and best friends. They sang "Stand By Your Man" last week which is a song that's older than their age. They sang a Judds' song this week "Rockin' with the Rhythm of the Rain" which they did well. The judges compared them with Taylor Swift who sings songs about what's going on in her life, so they feel the way I do about their singing age-appropriate songs.
Ashlee Hewitt sang "Ring of Fire" and did better than I thought she was going to. Her father is in Iraq, and she's one of 13 children!
Justin the model is great looking but needs to improve his singing. He is definitely hot and seems like a nice guy.
Alyson Gilbert sang Sting's "I'll Be Watching You" and did much better this week.
Pearl Heart is a trio of sisters the judges say need to come out of their shell and perform. They sang "Who Says You Can't Go Home" and have good harmony. I looked it up and Bon Jovi and Sugarland both recorded this. I'm more familiar with rock than country music, even though I try to keep up. Jewel told them to take dance lessons to improve their performances, and Billy Ray Cyrus said he took dance lessons that didn't help him at all. No kidding! How well we remember from DWTS!
Tommy Stanley sang "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" which John Rich wrote and sings, so that's brave. Apparently John was flattered because he played the guitar along with him. Jeffrey called him a kiss-ass, but John said it worked and offered to sing with him since Big Kenny isn't there. Tommy is in the Navy.
Gabe Garcia sang a CCR song "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" quite well.
Shawn Mayer sang Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart" last week and George Jones's "He Stopped Loving Her Today" this week. John Rich said she was taking a big risk and one he wouldn't try with one of the best country songs of all time. Even I liked this one and bought it.
Coffey is the only black contestant and sang "Waiting for the World to Change" (John Mayer). I like his singing.
Melissa Lawson sang "Natural Woman" and did well until she got to some high notes which I thought weren't quite right. The judges complimented her singing and said she needs to come out and be herself more. She was in the bottom two but shouldn't have been. Her voice is better than most of the others, but she's overweight, which probably influences the votes.
Third Town wanted to sing "Bohemian Rhapsody" but Jeffrey talked them out of it, so they sang "Mountain Music" instead. Good harmonies and energetic performance. They were also in the bottom two, and the judges were pretty hard on them.
The results from the voters eliminated Third Town. I'm glad Melissa got another chance. I wish this show gave the judges more influence on the votes. Leaving it all to the audience bothers me. I'm not invested in any of them enough to have a favorite yet but do like several of them pretty well. I like Can You Duet better. The contestants were more talented than these are.
Sunday, June 15, 2008 Design Star
This space is for anyone who wants to discuss the shows related to Nashville to make comments. Design Star on HGTV: I kept trying to recognize places and figure out where they were. That could have been the Old Hickory Lake area, but I'm not sure. I couldn't tell where they shopped, either, but I'm sure I'll know some places eventually.
That bedroom was pretty bad that Scottie from NC designed, and I could see why he was first to go. I wouldn't want to sleep in it and especially not wake up in it. He wouldn't listen to anyone who tried to help him, either. Speaking of which, it was so funny when Very Gay Michael quoted Sparkle Josh from last season and called him Sparkle, when he said the color was exactly the same as spray-on tan "and I should know!" Flaming Michael has ADD.
The pool table went over well but not the rest of that room so much. The living room looked great and so did Mikey's and Matt's bedroom where everyone will be sleeping because of Snoring Matt.
The Dining Room women Stephanie and Jennifer really messed up. That room was so ugly, and why did they paint that HUGE wooden table WHITE? Crazy! The mantle looked like mud after they painted it. Their negotiation for the table was so Blonde Bimbo Hooters. They said it was the focal point but then painted it white and covered it up with all kinds of things. I didn't like that room at all.
Good grief! Bitchy woman Tracee turned on her team at the first chance. Crying California woman Stephanie gets upset about everything in a sort of bipolar way. So far Trish, D. Paul, and Mikey seem fine so far, but who calls himself D. Paul? Matt snores loud enough to run others out of the room so they can sleep and calls it his game plan. I feel free to diagnose everyone on TV.
What's with the rugs? It looked like cardboard or something taped on the floor but then when they showed their rooms, rugs appeared. How? It's a mystery to me!
Wonder if they'll get to change the dining room and that bedroom. I hope so. No winner? I thought there were winners of the challenges last season. Here's the website.
If you didn't watch Bill Moyers Journal, please read the transcript or watch a video of it here. The discussion this week on the economy is scary. Here are some excerpts:
BILL MOYERS: Listening to those workers, I couldn't help but think about Henry Moyers, my father, who dropped out of school in the fourth grade because his family needed him to pick cotton to help make ends meet. The Great Depression knocked him down and almost out, and he struggled on one pittance paying job after another, until finally, late in life, he had a crack at a union job. His last paycheck was the most he'd ever taken home in a week, $96 and change and he was proud of it. He said that job was the best he'd ever had.
I saw then how union struggled to preserve the middle class, and can make the difference between earning a living wage and being part of the working poor. Few have documented this struggle as thoroughly as columnist and author Holly Sklar, who's with me now. She co-authored RAISE THE FLOOR: WAGES AND POLICIES THAT WORK FOR ALL OF US, which looks closely at what it really takes to make ends meet in America.
Holly Sklar is also Director of Business for Shared Prosperity, an organization of business executives and investors, dedicated to our economy's long-term success. Holly Sklar, welcome to the JOURNAL.
HOLLY SKLAR: Our wages now adjusting for inflation, average wages are lower than they were in the 1970s. Our minimum wage, adjusting for inflation, is lower than it was in the 1950s, and why is it? One of the things going on is that income and wealth inequality have gone back to the 1920s. We are back at levels that we saw right before the Great Depression.
BILL MOYERS: But, during this time, the economy's been growing. Why aren't workers sharing in the prosperity that they've helped create?
HOLLY SKLAR: You got the fair day's pay for the fair day's work, you got more results. You shared in the rise and work of productivity. Now, almost all the rise and work of productivity is going not just to the upper class, but to the very top of the upper class. So, we have had a great redistribution of income and wealth in this country in the last three decades. The problem is that redistribution of wealth and income has been going up to the very top. And most people have even been treading water, or going behind. And often working for many, many longer hours to keep up with the living standards.
BILL MOYERS: Why aren't we in the streets? Why isn't there real indignation?
HOLLY SKLAR: Well, one of the things that happened, you know, if we go back to 1980, the 1980s, the two longest periods where we had without a minimum wage increase, have both taken place since 1980. And so, one of things that went on in the 1980s was, remember early on in the Reagan administration, PATCO, the air-traffic controllers union went on strike. And Reagan, essentially said, "You're fired, goodbye," broke the union. You know, and this was really quite unprecedented and set, a real green light to union busting.
Where it became normal to replace striking workers, not even just temporarily while they were out on strike, but basically saying your jobs are gone. And so one factor has been the decline of union strength relative to the workforce.
BILL MOYERS: There are plenty of studies which show, it wasn't just my father's anecdote, but there are plenty of studies that show that as unions increase their share of the economy, they bring other people who are not in unions up with them, they raise the wage standards for a lot of other people too, right?
HOLLY SKLAR: They do, absolutely. And the other factor is, that if people are afraid to lose their job, whether they're trying to unionize, or you're in a union, but you don't want to ask to much, or threaten companies threatening to outsource. But if you're in a situation which everybody's scared to lose their job in the-- before, and now you add on in recent years, terrified to lose their job because if they have health insurance through their job, and of course many workers don't, but those that do, terrified to lose their job. It's a much harder context in which to ask for higher wages
HOLLY SKLAR: Well, we need a few things. One is, raise the minimum wage. Raise the floor. Set a green light in a different direction, and the green light is, raise wages, fair wages. The other is universal health care. Get to universal healthcare.
BILL MOYERS: Because?
HOLLY SKLAR: Because one, because something like 18,000 people die from lack of health insurance every year. Two, it's really destroying a lot of small businesses in the sense that they know they want to give health care to their workers but they are in a situation where they just are paying. I mean, it's just become astronomical. It's like a giant shift from, you know, from one person and from one business to another.
BILL MOYERS: It only hurts when you laugh. Even as our streets and highways crumble, our schools gasp for help, and health care becomes more and more costly for those who are fortunate enough to have it, wealth is being so ostentatiously squandered that historians are calling this the Second Gilded Age. The first gilded age, so named after this novel, published by Mark Twain in 1873, depicted the late 19th century as an era marked by great frauds, shabby scandals and mediocrity in high places. Greed and speculation drove big business, and politicians lined up to do what trusts and corporations told them. Tycoons provided the capital; human nature did the rest. Sound familiar? Well, as Mark Twain himself said, history may not repeat itself but it certainly does rhyme.
Parsing our new Gilded Age, with its income gap the greatest in a hundred years, is historian Steve Fraser. His award-winning books include EVERY MAN A SPECULATOR, LABOR WILL RULE, and his latest, WALL STREET: AMERICA'S DREAM PALACE.
STEVE FRASER: The greatest single difference between the first Gilded Age and the second is what I call the great silence. That is to say, the first Gilded Age was informed by enormous resistance to this amassing of wealth and political power in the hands of the small elite.
There were labor uprisings. And very bloody ones. The Homestead Strike in 1892. The Pullman Strike of 1894. The Great Railroad Strike of 1877. The Great Uprising of 1886. Massive uprisings with whole communities joining in resistance to the power of coal mine wealth and railroad wealth and other forms of industrial wealth
BILL MOYERS: Which came out of the first Gilded Age. That sense of a collaborative commonwealth.
STEVE FRASER: That's right. That's right. Exactly. A cooperative commonwealth, something that could end this dog eat dog, Darwinian jungle like society that many people called that first Gilded Age. I said, "No, we can do better than this." We can have a cooperative commonwealth. Consumer culture makes it somewhat harder to see look Wal-Mart's a perfect example. Wal-Mart pays people badly, treats them badly, there's a lot of - doesn't give them a lot of rights and so on. And there's been protest against Wal-Mart. But a lot of time, that protest is defeated by what Wal-Mart does well: Low prices. And so, the unity of the community is dissipating by that. And it's understandable
Bernie Sanders, the Independent U.S. Senator from Vermont, took to the floor of the Senate recently to talk about what's happened to everyday Americans over the last eight years.
BERNIE SANDERS: I think it is terribly important that the Senate hears from ordinary people to get a sense of what is really going on in America; the struggles that people are having,
BILL MOYERS: So, the Senator used his e-mail list to ask the people of Vermont to tell him about their lives today. Instead of a few dozen replies, he received more than 600 responses from all around the state. He has published them in a booklet that is available on his web site.
As Sanders told the Senate, they are not easy to read.
"…some nights we eat cereal and toast for dinner because that's all I have."
"…we have at times had to choose between baby food, diapers and heating fuel."
"I don't go to church many Sundays, because the gasoline is too expensive to drive there."
"…the pennies have all but dried up…I am sad, broken, and very discouraged."
"…my mortgage is behind, we are at risk for foreclosure, and I can't keep up with my car payments."
"does anybody in Washington care?"
Well, some people in Washington do care, some of the time. But most of the time our elected officials are on the side of the organized rich. That's where they get the money to campaign, and money is the golden rule of politics; those who have it, rule.
This is for Cindy and me, so we can discuss Can You Duetsince no one else on here watches it. I'm typing this now during the finale. Wow! I was in tears (in a very good way) both times Caitlin and Will sang. I want them to win because I want to see them perform and keep growing. Caitlin looks sort of goth with tattoos and Will like a rockabilly singer. They are really good!
Cute guys Brownell & Richey sing country/rock and will probably get a record deal either from winning this show or later. Joey & Rory are married and she is beautiful. Their style is varied and definitely country. I enjoy listening to them.
The Coppola twins were eliminated earlier tonight. This show will be repeated again tomorrow night and other times on CMT if anyone is interested in just seeing the finals. Both last episodes are on tonight and the other times it's repeated one right after the other. They sing different styles each episode.
Joey and Rory came in third place, so now the other two duos will perform again before the final selection. The judges said they are looking for a duet they think can sell a lot of records, fill concerts, and have long careers. The judges LOVED Caitlin & Will's two songs tonight much better than the other competitors' performances, and I'm still hoping for them but think Brownell and Richey might get it. Their second song tonight was rockin' good. We'll see.
And the winners are Caitlin & Will!!!! Yea!! I'm so glad! Watch for them! They auditioned with other partners, were put with someone else, and then put together. Now here they are on YouTube! This is Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" which is great, but the songs they performed tonight were even better. They aren't online yet.
I'm devastated to learn that Tim Russert died today. What a shock! He was just 58 and had a heart attack at work.
Watching Meet the Press and his reports and discussions on MSNBC won't be the same. I can't imagine election coverage without him.
I feel so sad for his family because it was obvious how much he loved them. He will definitely be missed by so many around the world.
There are some people we want to keep around. Tim Russert is one of them.
Out of the Loop
How am I just now learning about Kathy Griffin maybe being engaged to squillionaire Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak? I'm not sure I know what to think about this, but they seemed quite compatible on her D-List show. Interesting.
It's the first time I've watched her show, but since it was on after the Bravo A-List Awards, I decided to check it out. The Bravo awards show was different, which we'd expect because they are cutting-edge with their programming. The first of their shows I started watching and still like is Inside the Actor's Studio. When Will Ferrell imitated James Lipton on Saturday Night Live, I realized how popular it was. Now many celebrities mention watching Project Runway, which makes me even sadder that it won't be on Bravo any more. That's just wrong.
There are many Bravo shows I don't watch because mostly I watch those competitions like Project Runway, Top Chef, and Shear Genius. Step It Up & Dance wasn't as good as the others, but I watched the whole season.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008 Comics
For those of you interested in comic books and such as that, you might want to check out my son's blog. He hasn't posted for a while, but if you haven't read it, you wouldn't know. I'm nothing if not logical.
Did you hear about this story? This happens at our graduations here, too. They are held outside in the football stadium which might make a difference, but I doubt it. Some of these people do it at band concerts and other places where it's inappropriate. It is really embarrassing because they go beyong enthusiastic, polite applause and into bullhorns, shouting, and loud whooping noises. It was usually announced that applause was OK but not the other cheers. Unfortunately, too many people ignored it and went too far. Being arrested is excessive, so I guess they thought it would make an impression and get through to people.
7 Arrested for Cheering at High School Graduations Tuesday, June 10, 2008
COLUMBIA, S.C. — When school officials in Rock Hill, South Carolina, tell graduation ceremony crowds to hold their applause until the end, they mean it — Police arrested seven people after they were accused of loud cheering during the ceremonies.
Six people at Fort Mill High School's graduation were charged Saturday and a seventh at the graduation for York Comprehensive High School was charged Friday with disorderly conduct, authorities said. Police said the seven yelled after students' names were called.
"I just thought they were going to escort me out," Jonathan Orr told The Herald of Rock Hill. "I had no idea they were going to put andcuffs on me and take me to jail."
Orr, 21, spent two hours in jail after he was arrested when he yelled for his cousin at York's commencement at the Winthrop University Coliseum.
Rock Hill police began patrolling commencements several years ago at the request of school districts who complained of increasing disruption. Those attending graduations are told they can be prosecuted for bad behavior and letters are sent home with students, said Rock Hill police spokesman Lt. Jerry Waldrop.
All the cases, except for one that includes a resisting arrest charge, will be handled in city court and are punishable by a maximum of 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Orr said he thinks people should be allowed to cheer.
"For some people, it might be the only member of their family to graduate high school, and it was like a funeral in there," Orr said.
William Massey, 19, was arrested but said he plans to fight the charge. He said he simply "clapped and gave a little whoop" when his fiancee's name was called. Massey said there were warnings before the ceremony but none that said he could be arrested.
He said not everyone who cheered was arrested.
"There's a lot more people that did it than six or seven," said Massey, who graduated from Fort Mill last year.
Fort Mill Principal Dee Christopher says school officials don't ask that offenders be arrested but that he plans to keep a police presence at future graduation ceremonies. "We think it's important for every graduate's name to be heard and for every person in the arena to be able to see that student cross the stage. ... That's why we have disruptive guests removed," he said.
Last year in Galesburg, Illinois, five students were denied diplomas from the city's lone public high school after enthusiastic friends or family members cheered for them during commencement. Students could get their diplomas after completing eight hours of public service for the school district.
Tina wrote a piece for our collaborative blog which I posted for her since she hasn't been able to access Blogger. It's a really big deal for her to write something for the blog, so I want you to comment and encourage her. Please and thank you!
The More They Stay the Same
I've been reading another blog I started six years ago. The same things I complained about and fussed at myself for still linger. I'm starting to think I need therapy since it's sort of crazy.
It was good to read "My House" again which is my favorite Nikki Giovanni poem. She is a few months older than I am, and we both brought up sons by ourselves. My son was five when I got a divorce, so for most of his life, it was just the two of us at home. He's always been a blessing and a joy and was my little running buddy. His and Brendan's outings together remind me of how Brian and I used to be. He's a good son I've always been proud of.
The analysis of The Full Monty was for a screenwriting class Brian and I took together at Watkins Film School in Nashville around eleven years ago. We were supposed to write about the six main characters in terms of changes they made. Brian and I went to see the movie with notepads in hand taking notes in the dark theater and compared our papers with each other before we turned them in. That was a fun time and so good to have an activity to spend with Brian again.
So anyway, it was fun to revisit blog entries from years ago even though I haven't made any progress.
I like Gnarls Barkley. They're an collaboration between multi-instrumentalist and producer Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) from New York, and rapper/vocalist Cee-Lo Green (Thomas Callaway), from Atlanta. I just saw them on Letterman and thought I'd mention how much I like them.
I like to watch movies, TV shows, and videos that feature Nashville for several reasons. It's fun to recognize landmarks and places I see regularly and to learn new things. I've seen some pretty bad ones just for that reason, like that sort of reality show that followed some singers trying to break into the business. I had to quit watching. I also watch the CMA and other country music award shows, so I'll know who the performers are. I don't like to live this close without knowing a little since I don't follow country music much at all. Some of them I definitely know about since I don't live under a rock and like several of them.
Something I hope happens is that Nashville is shown in a positive way. It's a pretty good place to live, and I'm proud of those aspects. With all this in mind, I've been watching Can You Duet and have just begun watching Nashville Star and HGTV's Design Star since that's being taped in Nashville.
I haven't done any recapping because I think I'm the only one watching Can You Duetthat I know. A couple I really like on there, Joey and Rory, played in Dickson Friday night at an outdoor venue I read about in the local paper. I really like Caitlin and Will, too. It's down to the finals Friday night, so we'll know then who won. This one is decided completely by the judges, and I like those better than the ones where the judges have input but the total decision is made by viewer voting.
Unfortunately, Nashville Star is like American Idol in the voting and has Billy Ray Cyrus as host. You might remember how much I complained about him on DWTS; however, he's in his element here and OK. I like the judges on it since they are Jewel, John Rich (Big & Rich - "Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy" which Cheryl & Drew danced to in one of my favorite dances on DWTS), and Jeffrey Steele (songwriter). John Rich went to high school here for a while, but I didn't know him since I wasn't teaching there then. There are some good singers and performers competing, so I'll stick with it. One of them wears his Navy uniform, which brings back memories of ironing those things! Not as easy as you'd think! The judges aren't afraid to sing or play the guitar to make a point about their criticism. They aren't mean but tell them what will help the performers. I like that. If any of you watch this, let me know. I'll make a place for us to discuss it. Aha! The judges just sent someone home, so maybe they do have more input than I thought. I hope so, but Jewel said America is voting after tonight. Oh well.
Design Star is being held in Nashville for some reason. Anybody know why? Whatever the reason, it will be interesting to see how the places are showcased. I like to see what the designers do with the rooms they work on.
See that building on the left? It's the BellSouth Tower, which we call the Bat Building because it looks like Batman. Go figure.
This blog "Nashville Daily Photo" gives a well-rounded view of Nashville. Check it out when you get a chance. I enjoy looking through it but haven't made a comment yet. I'm a lurker. I have lurkers - those silent readers who sometimes let me know they exist.
Saturday, June 07, 2008 Diabetes Studies Have Mixed Messages
Have you read or heard about the recent study that reports that slashing blood sugar helps kidneys, not hearts of diabetics? Here is an excerpt from another article on it from WebMD:
The bottom line for patients hoping to avoid all the diabetes-related complications? Lowering blood glucose levels does help reduce kidney and eye complications from diabetes, but paying attention to blood pressure and cholesterol levels is crucial to reduce the heart attack and stroke-related risks that accompany a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, researchers from both studies say.
"You can safely reduce glucose A1c to about 6.5% by using the sort of gradual, gentle approach that we used," says Stephen MacMahon, PhD, an investigator of one study, called ADVANCE (Action in Diabetes and Vascular Disease). "It won't improve cardiovascular risks, but it will improve kidney risks."
"If you want to manage cardiovascular risks, focusing on blood pressure and lipids is likely where the money is," says John B. Buse, MD, PhD, president of medicine and science for the American Diabetes Association, who also participated in the briefing.
I've decided that I'm like Norm on Cheers with the blogs. I hang out reading and commenting and lurking. Then I write posts for my own blog. Sometimes I google to get information to link and to find photos to add. Today I spent time recapping Step It Up & Dance as a guest blogger for David. No one can recap like he can, so I was honored that he asked me.
I watch Newsnight on BBC-America. It's interesting to get the viewpoint from another country. Here's a blog about it for news junkies. Tonight they had a piece on the torture done by American on detainees at Guantanamo. Then Scott McClelland was interviewed about his book and the lies that King George and Darth Vader Cheney told about the war. I can't believe they haven't been charged with war crimes and know they do not need to get by with what they've done, much less be rewarded for it the way I'm sure they have been.
They interviewed a few New Yorkers about the economy and how they are suffering from the credit and mortgage fiasco. One woman was working 100 hours a week at four jobs to keep her house and take care of her children. It was heartbreaking. A man who owns a land search business has borrowed against his house to keep his business afloat since his business has dropped by 70%. Now his son has leukemia, so that's a factor, too. I'm sure people in Europe can't understand why we don't have national healthcare the way they do. In some countries college is paid for. A woman who was a banker and is now a consultant is deciding if she can affored to retire. Did you see Sicko? I cried both times I watched it and would again.
The part about becoming a vegetarian to help save the planet was interesting. It takes a fraction of the land to produce vegetables and fruit that it does to produce pork and beef. They said we need to use the grain for human consumption instead of feeding animals for us to eat. I understand their point but would have to make major adjustments. I worked at a vegan restaurant for a few months as a cashier and ate there free. It was buffet-style charged by the weight, so my job was to weigh the food and run the cash register. The salad bar was beautiful and looked like technicolor. They prepared gourmet vegan dishes that were delicious. I enjoyed almost all of it, so we'd have to have many restaurants that served that before I could eat it for a majority of my meals. I was inspired to cook again from the blog ChezWhat? so perhaps I will take better care of myself. For now, I'll stick with being an ominvore wherever I eat; otherwise, how will I eat low-carb?
Yves Saint Laurent was featured with a bio of his career and his amazing contribution to fashion. They introduced their interview with Manolo Blahnik, who was tremendously influenced by YSL, as the fifth character in Sex and the City. He said YSL adored women and is influential in their liberation because of trousers and jackets for women, which at the time was revolutionary and is now a staple and added that his dresses are forever.
I feel more informed now since I watched Newsnight right after Keith Olbermann. Hope all of you have a great weekend! Enjoy!
Thursday, June 05, 2008 P.S.
You won't believe this! The appointment people called me back to say they'd send a technician over this afternoon. In less than half an hour, I got a call that he was on his way! I told her that Saturday would be fine, but she said she wanted it fixed. So OK. Now it is. The technician replaced the cable going out to the pole and one inside. He told me that Philly is where the home office is after I told him some of this. He said next time to call them when I have any problems. I told him that I did and have always had good experiences with their service department and that I had already made an appointment for Wednesday. I told him they found me and that I was OK with waiting. Now I'm really, really glad it's fixed. As much as I pay for all this, I should have called sooner. Unlike some people, I have had good experiences with Comcast and have had cable for over 20 years. Then in 2002 I got the cable modem and soon after the DVR and phone.
The technician adjusted some things on the menu for me. When I mentioned I didn't know about those features, he asked if they didn't set my remote control when they installed the box. I told him I did all that myself, and he seemed surprised. I told him I was going to have someone out to install a wireless router, and he said I could buy one and do it myself. Those of you who read about my failure to accomplish that task know I reached my limitations on that one. (here) I hooked up Mother's HDTV but think I might go on and have Comcast do that, too, when I get mine. He said it was the same box, but it would be good to get things checked out and done right. I told him I was going to let Comcast do the router and then it would be theirs and if anything goes wrong with it, they can fix it. Besides, I'm not giving them all of my money yet, just most of it. That should take care of that.
I'm still not going to let myself get the wireless router or HDTV until I get the living room and den like I want them. Behavior modification is working against me since I just have to do without rather than motivating me to get it done. I will do it now because I need to. I will get my car serviced, too.
Then about an hour after the technician left, the appointment woman called me to see if everything had been fixed and wanted to know what was wrong with it. Then she told me if I had any problems again, to let her know and gave me her name and number and a $25 credit. I seem to have Comcast power for some reason and will use it wisely.
Who knew our blogs could generate such good things! Thank you again, Mark Casem!!
Wow! I just got a call from someone in "digital outreach" in Philadelphia from my cable company who said he read on my blog that I was having trouble with my service and offered to help me. He has that Google alert that lets him know when Comcast is mentioned on the 'net, so I guess he'll see this one, too. (feel free to comment if you want to and thank you!) He said he would do what he could to get someone out here sooner than Wednesday, but I told him that was because of me, not them. I'm embarrassed about my house and wanted to frantically clean and hide things. I really do need to quit living like this.
He thinks it might be a wiring problem. I hope so because I checked and some things I recorded that were fine are now doing this. I have to quickly do rewind and play on my remote to watch anything. It happens more and more frequently and is beyond frustrating. What is one of my favorite things to do is now a chore.
I hope I don't have to change DVR's right now because I saved things on there I need to watch or want to see again. The way it's working, they won't tape all that well, so I can't save them.
So, David, I didn't even have to call or email headquarters like you did with your cable comapany. Comcast found me. This is not too much like Big Brother, is it? The technician (not Martha Stewart) is coming Saturday. Now I need to go clean!
Where Credit is Due
I got an email from my college roommate about Hillary. Here's part of it:
OK! Enough of this Hillary bashing. What's a girl supposed to do? What she's done is as impressive as what Obama's done. Give her some credit.
She's right. It's very impressive that she got all those votes. It was extremely close, and they both brought voters in who have never been involved before. That in itself is wonderful and encouraging. So well done, Hillary, on the race!
Yea! Craig Ferguson just compared Hillary to the Black Knight! I'm so glad someone on TV finally said that. Also all of you know what a huge fan I am of him and his show.
At the conference when Evan Wright (journalist for Rolling Stone and author of Generation Kill) was at our table at lunch, I mentioned something that Craig said on his show. Evan said that they have the same literary agent and that he wants Evan to go on The Late Late Show but that he would be too nervous to do it because of something about prepared questions. I asked if he'd seen the show because that wouldn't be the case on there since Ferguson is the ADD talk show host and banters with guests and is hilarious. I added that he riffs off of guests and is really good. Wright said he'd watch the show and consider it if he's asked to be on there. I encouraged him to do it and said I watch the show every night and would look forward to seeing him on there. I hope it happens.
I hope this doesn't sound like I think I'm all that. It's just that after teaching so long, I guess I think I can jump in and tell people what to do and get into their business. I'm not delusional, but it does fit into how I like to put people together who have similar interests and could work together, etc. What would that career be?
Wednesday, June 04, 2008 Comcast
My television is driving me crazy! I called Comcast today and won't be able to have a technician here until next Wednesday. They could have come Saturday, but I have plans. My digital cable box with the DVR keeps pixilating the picture. Sometimes I can't watch any of a show. At times the sound goes off and other times a black screen. It's annoying, to say the least. The Comcast person said my signal possibly wasn't coming through, but it does on the other TV with the regular digital box without the DVR. That one is in the bedroom and away from the computer where I like to multi-task. LOL Also I would have to lie or sit on the bed to watch. The problematic one won't stay on very long at all without messing up. I have to rewind quickly and then play over and over again to keep it going unless it is so pixilated that I can't even watch it. Argh!!!
Just in case it's the box, I have to watch all these shows I've recorded and haven't watched yet. Then I'll have to set up all my series recordings and start over. Whatever is wrong is probably what makes me computer keep falling off-line.
I just heard on MSNBC that Hillary is planning to endorse Obama Friday, which was the last date the DNC gave her to do it. I hope she actually concedes and asks her supporters to vote for him and work for his election. Her arrogance knows no bounds! She's just as divisive and stubborn as George W. Bush, and that's saying something! She's getting on all my nerves right now.
She's suspending her campaign Friday. Oh, really? Does she think she's still a candidate? As I told someone when I was dating a black guy and she said she still liked me anyway, "That's mighty white of you." It's a black expression here in the South if you haven't heard it and fits here with Hillary in this situation.
Apparently, somehow she seems to feel justified and entitled. Unbelievable, isn't it? Here she is getting all this attention when other candidates exited gracefully and elegantly. Gracious people with manners know when to leave. IT'S HIS DAY!
Well, Obama made it and is the nominee. It's historic and about time this happened. It should have been his celebratory huge day and was except for one cloud raining on his parade. This day was about Obama, not any other contestants.
I was really irritated by Hillary's rude and ungracious speech last night. She needs to get over herself. He won. She didn't. Concede already! If she's trying to get a VP nomination, this is the wrong way to go about it. If she won't do what she should about this, why would anyone want her as a VP? Besides, I don't think Bill could stay out of things, and Billary would be VP for sure then. All the time she was speaking, all I could think of was the Black Knight on Monty Python and the Holy Grail and "I'm Not Leaving" from Dreamgirls. She doesn't have the excuse of being young, unmarried, and pregnant by her first love the way Effie was in the movie begging for him to stay and love her.
It's incredible that Hillary won't do what she should right now and is embarrassing, too. Good grief! It also pisses me off that on his big day, she horns in on his glory and excitement. No class Hillary won't even let him have the attention and excitement he deserves without making it all about her. What's wrong with her? She looks pathetic, desperate, and delusional. If he even considers her for VP, he's nuts. Besides, if you want to be VP, don't upstage the presidential candidate.
I've worked with people like this and know how miserable it can be. They're like kudzu. One of them couldn't be glad for good things that happened to other people but always bitched that it wasn't her. I used to ask her why she couldn't be happy for anyone else. Another one always thought she was better than anyone else at everything and surely everyone would be better off if she took over.
"And I'm telling you, I'm not leaving! ... You're gonna love me."
Tuesday, June 03, 2008 Bronchitis
I went to the walk-in clinic this afternoon to get antibiotics for my bronchitis. I expected to get a shot, but this doctor didn't think I needed one. When I got the prescription for Biaxin filled, the pharmacist said to take it with food and to drink a lot of water because I could get a metallic taste. She said if that happens to eat something high in fat like chocolate or peanut butter, so I think I need to go on and eat them as a preventive measure - possibly even together. First time someone in the medical profession suggested that I eat chocolate! All right!!
I've been watching Graham Norton on BBC-A and wondered if any of you watch his talk show. He's hilarious and I just love him!
Monday, June 02, 2008 Book Recommendation
Larry Wilson highly recommended The Man on the Ceiling. Have any of you read it? If so, what did you think? I'm going to get it soon and read it this summer.
Based on the absence of response, I guess no one has read this book who reads my blog. So I'll have to find out how it is myself.
My friend Tina Romine has won an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D. C., based on an essay she wrote to the Holocaust Remembrance Project. She is one of five teachers selected to attend. I'm sure Charlie is quite familiar with this since he's been involved in courses at Bates and projects at the Maine Holocaust and Human Rights Center, which he wrote about on his blog.
This is from the website for the Holocaust Remembrance Project:
The Holocaust Remembrance Project is a national essay contest for high school students that is designed to encourage and promote the study of the Holocaust. Participation in this project encourages students to think responsibly, be aware of world conditions that undermine human dignity, and make decisions that promote the respect and value inherent in every person.
The project serves as a living memorial to the millions of innocent victims of the Holocaust. The Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation recognizes the moral imperative of teaching young people about this watershed event and the central importance of passing on to future generations a profound understanding of the consequences of the Holocaust and a sense of responsibility to the human community.
High school students across the United States and Mexico are invited to incorporate the project into their study of the Holocaust and to use it as a means to personally react to the messages of the Holocaust. Scholarships and other prizes are awarded to students in first, second and third place categories.
First Place winners participate in an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and other historic sites. In addition, scholarships are awarded to the first-place winners.
This is quite an honor for Tina and no surprise to any of us who know her. She excels at whatever she does. For example, to name a few, she was valedictorian of her high school class, won the first first-place state trophy for the high school (poetry interpretation in the forensics tournament), graduated from college with honors, won a full scholarship to the prestigious Iowa Writer's Workshop, and recently was named Teacher of the Year at Creek Wood High School. See what I mean?
Well done, Tina! There will be more honors and awards and successes to go with what a wonderful mother, daughter, and friend she is.
Larry Wilson and Caroline Thompson
I just love Larry Wilson! Look at him. Isn't he adorable? He's also talented, creative, funny, and totally insecure! He almost makes Richard Lewis look confidant, except Lewis is annoying. Larry keeps asking if we are enjoying his instruction/presentation, if he's doing a good job, and if we're interested in what he says. Yes, Larry, we are. You're wonderful!
He and Caroline Thompson, who have been writing partners and are good friends, were together for the group discussions. The panelists moved around from group to group. Caroline is amazing and has collaborated with Tim Burton for some fantastic movies, such as Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride. I like the way her mind works.
Once again, any of you who are interested in making videos for the internet, please go to Small & Creepy Films, sign up for the newsletter, read what is on the site, and get involved! If you know someone who would be interested in this, pass the information along to them, please and thank you. :-)
After the group conversation, I gave Larry a note saying, "I'm not going to enable your insecurity. HOWEVER, I did write wonderful things about you on my blog. Your workshop was great!" (or something like that) At the very end, the panelists were sitting together on the stage, I noticed he was holding that note in both hands. He nudged Caroline and indicated it was about him. She and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes and smiled. As we were leaving, I told him I couldn't believe he was carrying that around. He said he was going to put it in his scrapbook. I laughed, and he said he really was. I thought, "Oh no! This is a first draft! I need to rewrite!"
I told you that in the workshop Larry Wilson conducted on writing horror, he asked us to write about our greatest fear. He encouraged us to go past physical things and describe emotional fears and included some possibilities - fear of abandonment, economic failure, unbearable depression. Been there, done those already along with divorce, deaths of close relatives, cancer, losing a child to adoption by Baptist Republicans, reuniting with my daughter and being afraid she'd hate me, almost dying, and hundreds of dating accidents. So I thought about how I'd already been through all those and survived and have been so scared at my core for over the last five years. Maybe I'm afraid of what's left. So many shoes have fallen, that's it's not like waiting for the other shoe to drop but wondering how many more shoes there are. What's next?
That workshop turned out to be good therapy for me because I'd never really thought about the specifics so much. Sure, my irrational fears are of those trenches in the ocean, especially the Marianas Trench since it's the deepest, but as long as I stay away from Guam, that should be OK. I also believe that my car will blow up if I drive over a cigaretter thrown out of the car in front of me. So far, so good with no explosions. Because I watch so many crime shows, being kidnapped and tortured by a serial killer does enter my mind enough to hope they put me in the trunk while I'm conscious and can kick out the tail light. I'd really like to avoid that one because senseless deaths are so hard on families and friends.
But probably a fear that puts me in despair is the one about a group of wealthy, powerful people who control the world and manipulate all of us for their gain. Mostly they pay no attention to us because we are pawns and don't matter except for however we can benefit their plans. This has been the subject of novels such as The DaVinci Code, 1984, Brave New World, and other conspiracy theory works, but mostly I get flashes of it intuitively. It's as if a moment of clarity makes me realize how things really are. When I think about this, I feel useless, pointless, and hopeless. So I have to make myself believe that it's not like that and that we really are in control of our lives and have a purpose and meaning.
The screenwriters conference came to an end today with round-chair conversations with the panelists. (not round-table discussions since our chairs were in a circle) It was fun to get to ask them questions and hear what they have to say. I'll have to tell you more about it tomorrow because my allergies have gone into something worse, and I'm wiped out from the coughing and all. I'm looking forward to a week of several days with no appointments or plans.
We didn't go to the brunch by "Miss Daisy" and went to Hot Kabobs instead and then to McKay's. I got a stack of books by Kathy Reichs. If we attend this next year, Tina and I decided we might do the brunch. As you'd expect, it looked delicious! Miss Daisy doesn't have any of her tea rooms any more, and I used to enjoy going to them.
My car made three trips to Nashville and back (almost 300 miles) on a tank of gas. My Honda did better than that, and when I get the Fit, it will do even better, but that wasn't too bad.
Hope all of you had a good weekend. I know what Charlie did. What about the rest of you? Did you see Sex and the City, David? I want to see that this week if I can quit coughing so I don't bother people.