Thursday, June 30, 2005

Deja Vu All Over Again

Ted Rall is considered by the Righties to be one of the most obnoxious liberals in the country. So of course I want to spread the word about him. He's equally talented as a cartoonist and writer.

His current column in The Stranger is a powerful juxtaposition of the Bush Jr. administration and the Nixon years. Both idiots won second terms by a landslide and within two years, their popularity had plummeted, largely due to a military morass in a far off country. Rall's analysis is sharp and unsentimental (where's the joy in saying "I told you so" when 1700 Americans are dead and car bombs seem to be going off every day?). He's easy to read and makes a lot of sense.

I also recommend his column about how the US is perceived around the world.

He's a great cartoonist, a great writer, and a great American. Thanks, Ted.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Fighting Off the Monkey

"Is this the gamblers training?" the two women asked, peering into our meeting room at a local convention center. I sent them across the hall, curious about the "type" who would attend. Their most outstanding feature? They looked absolutely normal. If I didn't know better, they could have been any group of bureaucrats, middle managers, or insurance adjusters taking a two-day training on the new state "rules and regs." No hot young hipsters in trendy leather or denim, but plenty of Dockers, parkas, and polar fleece. There were more women than I expected. And lots of smokers.

Gambling in our state has grown into a 1.5 BILLION dollar industry (that's just for the tribal casinos) and until this year, the amount spent on gambling addicts was ZERO. Well, there was one year when the Mega Millions Lottery paid for some treatment but those funds ran out quickly. In the past decade, the number of Gamblers Anonymous chapters in the Seattle area alone grew from 4 to 28. Oregon, our neighbor to the south, spends $3 million dollars per year on its gambling problem, the kind of investment that could also pay off for us. The social effects of gambling addiction -- in the form of crime, divorce, bankruptcy, unemployment, and additional imprisonment -- cost state taxpayers $78 million each year.

Finally this spring the state legislature -- at the same time they are increasing gambling oppportunities -- approved a tax on the state lottery and local card rooms to raise a half million dollars per year. That's enough to offer help to thousands of addicts each year. Some Indian tribes kicked in another half million.

Lest we think these are out-of-control strangers who aren't like the rest of us, here's a profile of the five percent of the population who can't resist temptation:
  • White
  • Middle-aged (average age of 43)
  • Equally likely to be male or female
  • Equally likely to be single, married or divorced
  • High school graduate with some college education
  • Has a moderately skilled occupation
  • Works full-time
  • Makes less than $30,000 per year
  • Began to gamble before age 21
  • Preferred game is either cards, such as blackjack and poker, or gambling machines, such as slots or VLTs (Video Lottery Terminals)
  • Has lost between $1,000 and $5,000 in a single day of gambling
  • Gambles almost every day
  • Has accrued a gambling-debt of $30,000
  • Has borrowed money from family, credit cards, and against a checking account
  • Has written bad checks but has not been arrested
  • Has sold stocks and cashed in life insurance policies to cover gambling debts
  • Has skipped work to gamble
  • Is a daily smoker
  • Drinks occasionally

Replace all the gambling references with some other vice (overeating, shoppping too much, or smoking too much marijuana) and this sounds like half of my friends. Years ago, gambling addicts could avoid indulging their compulsion because there was no action in their neighborhood, but when the card rooms and casinos came to town, they were drawn to the thrill of chance like a tippler to a tavern or a bulimic to a buffet.

From what I have read, the class next door might actually offer long-lasting results. I hope so. It's no fun wrestling with a compulsion. And we all wrestle with something. On my drive home, I passed at least three card rooms that I had never noticed before. Temptation staring them in the face every day. Just like the Krispy Kreme store slowly sliding by my window as I headed for home.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

What? Me Work?

One of the motivational quotes I've kept on my desk for the past 15 years came from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to his daughter Martha:
"Determine never to be idle. It is amazing how much can be accomplished when one is always doing."
On many mornings, that quote worked to light a fire under my butt. Recently, though, I've been cleaning out clutter (material and psychological) and leisure time has taken on a glorious luster. Given any opportunity, I savor a trashy novel, revisit a well-worn chick flick, or sink into a nap. Aaaaahhhh...

But as slothful as I aspire to be, author Tom Hodgkinson has made an art of idleness and he celebrates it in his new book, How to Be Idle. Written in 24 chapters, he offers tributes and ideas to while away every hour of the day. You can find even more on his web site,

I thought my increased loathing of alarm clocks was a result of my age, but as it turns out, twentysomething workers are giving their employers fits because their ideas of work don't necessarily match up with those of the boss. Imagine allowing restaurant cooks to have body piercings! Or let them to listen to music on the job! Whaaaaahh?

Twentysomethings have employers by the short and curlies: they feel entitled to flexibility and perks at the same time the employment pool is shrinking. I suggest we meet their demands. Somebody has to make Social Security contributions for the rest of us.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Oprah -- What the Hell?

Watched the rerun of Tom Cruise's wack-o appearance on Oprah last week. Pretty disgusting. Just like Katie, Tom couldn't offer up a plausible story about how they actually met (where are the PR people here? I'll write you a plausible story, for God's sake). He posed, smiled, and yukked it up with Oprah during the hour-long commercial for War of the Worlds.

Most disturbing, though, was the fawning and pawing between Tom and Oprah. They reminisced about he "Legends Dinner", where she honored black women who have made achievements in culture (Mariah Carey? What? Was Cecily Tyson booked?). Oprah kept reminding us how long she has known Tom and that she has never "seen him like this." The capper came when she informed us that Tina Turner spent the night at her house. This is just the most recent show that prominently featured Oprah's great life, famous friends, and big money. We all saw the lavish 50th birthday parties. Recently, we've learned she has a mile-long driveway, she hosted the lavish wedding of her trainer, Bob, and her Santa Barbara mansion has had a $50 million renovation. Substance has taken a back seat to Oprah's fame and fortune (and sensationalism). Is this really what she wants her show to become?

A few years ago, I heard a graduate student quote writer bell hooks as saying Oprah Winfrey is evidence that "black people get to the top and stay on top only by sucking the dicks of white culture." Not Oprah!, I thought. She's not afraid to tell us the truth about tough issues (her reunion of the Little Rock Five with their tormentors was a classic -- I used it in my American History class for years), she introduces us to new writers and good books, she raises money (and gives plenty of her own) to great causes. Oprah, I thought, is being true to herself helping us all to be the best we can be. She may have a fun show every once in a while, but she is not pandering to whites or anyone else.

Oh, what I fool I've been. My disgust began with the magazine, which I subscribed to and quickly dropped when every featured product started at at $100. Then came the "Oprah's Favorite Things" episodes -- an obscene orgy of female consumerism made no less vile when it featured an audience full of teachers ("people who really deserve this"). The car show? Oye! Episodes are more likely to feature Amy Fisher than Condoleeza Rice or John Travolta over Dolores Huerta (she's been a Farm Workers advocate since she was in her early 20s, she raised a passel of successful kids, started out as a teacher and learned to be a labor organizer and negotiator...pretty interesting, huh? Might make a good show!).

Look, Oprah, I know the failure of the film Beloved was a disappointment and I honor you for getting fit and healthy, and the author who screwed up the Book Club was an idiot for dissing your imprint. But don't forget what made you so precious to your early viewers. You raised our consciousnesses. You showed us what we were like, what we were thinking, what we should be ashamed of, what we should know. Ms. hooks accused you of only being successful when you were pleasing white culture, but it feels like your show has focused on pleasing (and ONLY pleasing) everybody. What about challenging us? Informing us? Enlightening us?

I don't mind an occasional show on wrinkle treatments, but how about if you stop celebrating the art of shopping? I know you have cool life, but if I want to know how to get it, I could read a feature in Architectural Digest or In Style or even your own magazine. Use your show to help us become more interesting people. A whole hour with Valentino? No. An episode where you auction off your old evening gowns? Uh uh. If you keep treating your viewers like greedy, empty-headed gossips who only want to know about the private lives of celebrities, how to get rich, or how to live like you (as IF), that's exactly the kind of viewers you will create.

Oprah has frequently been quoted as saying she doesn't watch television because it "promotes false values." Lately, she and her producers have fulfilled that prophecy. It's time for them to take a long hard look at themselves and get back to using her show for good. Come on...there's no competition. Rosie's gone. Wayne's cancelled. Jane Pauley didn't stand a chance. Dr. Phil won't compete. Oprah has a bully pulpit. she should use it to create a legacy to be proud of, not one that will make her want to wash her hands on her way out of the studio.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Nursing A Media Grudge

What the hell does the New York Times have against Today?
  • On April 25, Alessandra Stanley accused Today of losing its popularity to Good Morning America and Katie Couric of being a harridan to her colleagues.
  • On May 17, the paper reported how GMA was gaining on Today in the ratings. Ooooohhhh...
  • On June 6, David Carr reported that Maria Shriver was still a de facto staffer at NBC when the author of a book attacking Gov. Schwarzenegger was denied an interview because Shriver failed to OK the appearance. Shriver denied any role and Today still didn't do the interview. In fact, no one did. Except maybe GMA.
  • On June 11, more coverage on the narrowing ratings race. Oooohhhh...
  • And on Saturday, Ms. Stanley applauded Tom Cruise for ignoring conventional publicist etiquette and taking a firm stand on psychiatry opposite a glib Matt Lauer who was only out for the celebrity "get."


Did she SEE his interview with Hillary Clinton when she described a "vast right-wing conspiracy"? Turns out she was right, but Matt held his ground and gave her little room to make unexplained accusations. Time after time Lauer proves himself to be a gracious interviewer who asks tough questions. But it's hard to uncover facts when there's no "there" there.

Tom Cruise, on the other hand, stammered, accused, and tried to convince us that he is quite the student of the history of psychiatry but didn't share one fact in the entire interview. And Lauer gets slammed for being opportunistic? Ms. Stanley seems to think Tom Cruise is the only celebrity who has dared to share his own agenda in interviews. Here are few reminders:

  • Richard Gere and the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet
  • Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Michael Moore, and Sean Penn and the Iraq War
  • Vanessa Redgrave and the Israelis
  • Marlon Brando and Native Americans
  • Charlton Heston and the NRA
  • Rosie O'Donnell and gay adoption

My, how novel Mr. Cruise is...a celebrity actually speaking his mind in the media!

Maybe Ms. Stanley's axe is particularly dull and she's determined to keep grinding it or maybe she has a close personal friend on staff at GMA. Whatever her motives, the Times must have ink to spare (did you happen to catch a half-page article in Friday's issue that could be summed up in one sentence: "You can't tell a book by its cover"?).

Newspapers are losing their popularity because they treat their readers like idiots. Ms. Stanley needs to either re-examine her career choice or start finding some REAL news. Either way, get off Today's back until something newsworthy actually happens.

Idiots on Parade: This Week in Washington

Term's Up, Doc? Washington Congressman Richard "Doc" Hastings (R-Tri-Cities) drank the Kool-Aid when he signed up to head the House Ethics Committee and it looks like the dose is a slow release. He's under fire for not calling meetings, all to avoid taking an "up or down vote" on the crookedest of them all (Tom DeLay) nor did he report a trip to the UK paid for by a nuclear clean-up contractor. Sources say he's ready to quit. The taint this brings to his record (along with huge budget cuts to the Hanford Nuclear Reactor clean-up) might leave Doc without a job and wondering what's up. (NYTimes)

Gonzales Ends Cover Up Two Art Deco statues stood proudly over the Justice Department from 1933 until the Reagan administration became intolerant of a little nudity during its press conferences. Cretin Republican John Ashcroft completed the cover up when he hung curtains over the two statues for his ludicrous 4-year term. Current AG Alberto Gonzales says he has more important things to think about. Like torturing naked prisoners at Guantanamo.(NY Times)

Bend Over and Think of Shopping The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it's OK to take your property for "public use". But now, instead of avoiding spending millions of dollars to re-route a highway around a single home, it's acceptable to evict you to make sure corporations can build condominiums and shopping areas. Whew! I was afraid we would have to give up our property rights for something frivolous! (Slate)

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Tom Cruise is a Jack Ass

Instead of talking about his movie, Tom Cruise used his Friday morning Today Show appearance to argue with Matt Lauer about how ignorant Matt is about psychiatry. If only Matt were the expert that Tom claims he is.

But the transcript of the interview on The Drudge Report reveals that Tom is better at stuttering about psychiatry than studying it.

Tom, maybe you don't need psychiatry because you can't pull your head out of your ass long enough to examine it.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Even Lesbians Like to Feel "Girlie"

Ladies, you might think you have a safe fall back position as a lesbian when you get tired of the "meat market" mentality of the dating world or if you're exhausted from keeping up with fashion trends, make-up, haircuts, and manicures.

Not so fast!

Turns out some lesbians would appreciate it if we would ALL put our best foot forward before going out.

In honor of Gay Pride Week, take a look at one woman's perspective as she encourages her sisters to be all they can be.

via The Stranger

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Help Has Arrived

I am not a prude, but I am surprised at how shocked I get when I see or hear unexpected sexual stuff. For example, the other night, my beloved and I were watching a cable comedy show when all of a sudden, up popped graphic images of men AND women getting Brazilian bikini waxes. I'm not sure if I was more shocked at the pain they were willing to undergo (OW OW OW OW OW!) or the images of the whole smorgasbord right out there in the open. Without even thinking, both hands went up to my mouth and my eyes popped open. I felt like I was 9. No, even a 9-year-old would have been more cool than I was.

So, for the past 5 years, I've been too embarrassed to ask anyone what Chris Rock meant in his second HBO special ("Bigger and Blacker" 2000) when he kept repeating the punch line, "Can I toss your salad?". I'm not a total idiot. I knew it was something sort of nasty, but I didn't have a precise definition and this is not really something you just bring up when you have friends over. Either they think you are goofy for asking or you feel goofy for asking. I mean, is that really decent dinner time conversation?

Well, thanks to the Urban Dictionary, my secret pain is over and I know what it means to "toss your salad". Sounds kinda fun...maybe...if you've had a lot to drink...and you're willing to be daring...and everybody's clean...

There's lots of other (not nasty) cool stuff, too. Like:
A long and complicated email trail with dozens of CC's discussing a situation almost none of the recipients cares about.

So, now, when I am feeling like the square, repressed white girl that I am, I have a source for those questions that you don't just ASK someone.

I love the internet.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Does the Obsession Ever End?

There's an old song that goes,

"Think young and beautiful
It's your duty to be beautiful
Think young and beautiful
If you want to be loved."

I have been fighting that belief ever since I was a fat kid. Bound and determined not to be defined by traditional standards of beauty, I went through some downright seedy periods when I was all Birkenstocks, wooly socks, baggy jeans, oversized sweaters, long frizzy hair, with armpits and legs that remained unshaved. All so I could prove songs like that were bullshit.

I prefer to primp a little more now -- sometimes I feel downright "girly." But the first thought in my head each morning is still critical of face, hair, body, clothes, whatever. I feel like I'm saying to the world the line Kim Novak says to Jimmy Stewart in Vertigo when he's changing her clothes, hair, everything to fit his ideal:

"If I let you change me, will that do it?
If I do what you tell me, will you love me?"

Author Abby Ellin watched her grandmother wrestle with her ideal of beauty until her death. It's a heart breaking essay (from last Sunday's New York Times Magazine) that we all should read.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Let's Not Get Crazy Here...

OK...I'll admit I really like the cute guy from Batman Returns and Christian Bale (Batman himself), but I'm not out to cut anyone! Celebrity can be dangerous. Just ask Leonardo DeCaprio. WARNING: This photo is icky.

via Softpedia

Monday, June 20, 2005

Those Lips, Those Eyes...

Here's the cute guy from Batman Begins. He's Cillian Murphy and he's also a musician.

He was terrific in 28 Days Later and The Girl With the Pearl Earring.

If you want to know more, there's an extensive bio at the New York times movie section.

Or you could just keep staring at this picture.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Batman Deconstructed

Mark Rahner wrote a nice piece on Batman in the Seattle Times today and quoted my beloved. If you want to know more about the Caped Crusader, check it out.

Eeny Meeny Miney...

When Tom Cruise went shopping for good breedin' material, he made some Grade A Choices: Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Alba, Kate Bosworth, Lindsay Lohan...
And the winner of the I'll Do Anything For My Career Award is...
via Jossip

Joe Biden for President?

Good news today! Delaware Senator Joseph Biden is considering a run at the Presidency. He's checking out fundraising and viability and if the pieces fall together, he might run. I've been wanting to vote for him for 20 years, but he was smeared with a plagiarism charge that after the Bush administration looks like small change. Note to Joe: fess up, say you're sorry, and move the hell on...

Sure, he's been fighting the good fight in the senate for years, but more importantly, he's got what a successful presidential candidate needs these days: charisma. I hate to say that. I mean, I read Fahrenheit 451 and was horrified at Ray Bradbury's accurate prediction that our candidates will be chosen solely based on looks and personality. But in this political day and age, what else do voters have to go by?

Right now, Karl Rove is compiling a notebook of lies and unflattering photos of Biden and he's probably rallying the Swiftboat Veterans as we speak. Soon we'll be wiping mud off of every piece of campaign news. Any positive blog entry will be countered with a negative one. Before long, voters will see scandal in every direction. With our brain waves thoroughly scrambled, all we'll have left to make a reliable decision is our instincts. Hang the political record -- that will be twisted beyond recognition. So we have to decide if this is someone we would sit down and have a drink with in front of the fire while we wait for dinner to cook. Bill Clinton? Hell yeah! Sit down, have a beer, and let's talk. John Kerry?

Biden's that kind of guy. He's charming, funny, bright, and although he's not the fox he was 20 years ago, he's aging along with the baby boomer generation and his good looks still sparkle. The plugs look good, too!

Our friend Mark says the problem with Democrats is that we keep nominating Frasier Crane for President. I've watched decades of Frasier Crane. Frasier Crane was a favorite TV character of mine. And Mr. Biden, you are no Frasier Crane. Thank God. Good luck, Joe. My fingers are crossed for you.

Eight Friggin' Weeks

That's how long Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise have "known" each other.

And now they are getting MARRIED? And she thinks Scientology sounds "interesting"?

Katie, honey, it's one thing to admire a poster on the wall in the privacy of your teenage bedroom, but it's quite another to marry a much older, twice-divorced man with two kids. Trust me on this. It's not worth it. Not the money. Not the Eiffel Tower proposal. Not the headlines. Not the years you're going to lose.

He won't be bouncing up and down on the sofa for much longer.

Last week, David Letterman asked Katie how she and Tom met and she couldn't answer. Apparently, the PR team hadn't briefed her on the details yet so she had to improvise (this must be a skill she honed on Dawson's Creek because she was terrible at it). You'd think they would have created a more complete back story for the couple before either of them started doing TV.

How long is this charade going to last? I suspect just long enough to ruin Katie's career. Let's face it, she doesn't have a worldwide core audience she can win back with another big-budget action picture. And she's not good enough to demand a Scientology tent on the set. One of our friends nailed it when he said her performance in Batman made Kirsten Dunst in the Spiderman movies look like Meryl Streep!

I'm starting to feel tremendous respect for Penelope Cruz. Smart girl. Just long enough to make money for Vanilla Sky and then she was out. No hints at marriage, no interest in Scientology. A quick but graceful exit. Nice work, Pen.

Ah, well. Like all missteps, they end up being a valuable lesson for the future. Here's hoping you can learn from this, Katie.

Don’t sign the pre-nup. You're gonna need the money.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

You Gotta Go See Batman! (In IMAX if possible)

The phone roused us Saturday morning with a call from a friend saying, You GOTTA go see Batman! You GOTTA go see Batman! Luckily, we had already made plans to see it at the IMAX Theater that afternoon. He was right. We HAD to see Batman! It was amazing. And even better on the IMAX screen. Here's why it's so good:
  1. Christian Bale is a hunka burnin' bat flesh.
  2. Michael Caine is still a great actor. No matter how many movies he makes, he never "phones it in." He's the BEST Alfred!
  3. Thanks for a great script. It makes going to Revenge of the Sith feel like visiting a hooker.
  4. The suit and the gadgets are SO COOL!
  5. Morgan Freeman is a hoot.
  6. The bats. Great bats.
  7. The young Bruce will break your heart
  8. The guy who plays the Scarecrow was also in 28 Days Later. He's a helluva good actor and damn cute.
  9. Good messages about finding (and being true to) yourself
  10. Katie Holmes' part is really small.
Like our friend said, You GOTTA go see Batman!

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Newest Health Food: Milk & Cookies

I read two interesting articles in The New York Times this week about dieting.

The first one says that we might lose more weight if we increase dairy products in our existing diet (not in addition!). There's some pretty compelling evidence to show that as soda consumption has gone up, so have obesity rates. And, it's not just enough to add calcium to your diet. For some reason, it's the calcium taken in the form of dairy products that makes the difference. Jane Brody wrote the article and she's the "real deal" when it comes to nutrition writing (unless the Dairy Board -- which always has a harder time selling milk in the summer -- made her an offer she just couldn't refuse). I'm waiting for Marilu Henner's vehement rebuttal. She's got an anti-dairy rant in her Total Health Makeover book that will make your eyes bug out! Here's what I think about having a glass of milk with a meal: unless you are lactose intolerant, it's healthy and it's great filler. It keeps you from eating so much. And it's the perfect partner for a PB&J on wheat bread. Amen.

The second article is my favorite. It says that researchers studied two groups of overweight patients for a year. One group followed a regular reduced calorie diet and another group learned body acceptance, how to recognize hunger cues, etc. but did not follow a diet. At the end of the process, each group had lost the same small amount of weight but the NON DIETING GROUP WAS MUCH HAPPIER than the dieting group. Bottom line: the non-dieters actually improved their MENTAL health by staying off the damn diet.

Now that should be a lesson to us all.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Tongue Tied No More

If you've ever watched the Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks romantic comedy, "You've Got Mail," you've seen her struggle to find the perfect response to his barbs. When she finally finds it, her words sting and bruise and she regrets them. Who hasn't walked away from an encounter still grasping for the perfectly reasoned argument polished with the right amount of wit?

George Lakoff, one of the founders of The Rockridge Institute, has suggestions for Progressives (I guess we can't call ourselves Democrats anymore) who find themselves entangled in a water cooler conversation with a "Ditto Head" or loyal Fox News watcher (you know, the one whose car displays bumper stickers for "Bush/Cheney" or "Stop Liberal Activist Judges."

Lakoff suggests four things:
  • Show Respect
  • Respond by reframing
  • Think and talk at the level of values
  • Say what you believe
You can get help in framing the issues in an excerpt from Lakoff's book, Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate. If this seems too fundamental, remember that the half century of Democratic control in Washington left us complacent and assured that leftist ideas were so obviously good, we wouldn't need to articulate them. In the meantime, YOINK! The Republicans grabbed the ball and ran, with a 30-year head start mobilizing supporters and framing the debate on their own outlandish terms. It's time to get off our assumptions and systematically restate our liberal values without apology.

In case you have forgotten, here are some things we believe in:
  • Compassion
  • Fairness
  • Opportunity
  • Environmentalism
  • Public Schools
  • Decent working conditions
  • A living wage
  • Reproductive choice

After all the jabs, punches, and body blows the Right has thrown, many of us may not even REMEMBER why we support the Democrats. If it's hard for us, what about our those who must be convinced? How can we expect to lure a Latino who has never heard of Cesar Chavez? Or a young woman who doesn't know who Gloria Steinem or Shirley Chisolm are?

We can also steal a page from the blueprint of Newt Gingrich and his political action committee, GO-PAC. In 1994, they provided talking points, both written and recorded, to each Congressional candidate, indoctrinating them with a consistent focused message as they campaigned from town to town. His techniques worked. Dozens of Republicans were swept into office that year and the Democrats have lost ground in Congress ever since.

The saying goes, "If you name it, you can claim it." We can't continue to assume that compassion and fairness will always prevail. The Bush administration and the Republicans have shown us that even our better natures can be bought, twisted, or smothered. If we want better for America, we must identify it, say it, and demand it.

Democrats who can find their voices again will add clarity to the white noise of today's political debate by speaking truth to "spin." Ann Coulter titled her latest pile of crap (oops! I just violated the first principle: Show respect) How to Talk to a Liberal (if you must). We might feel the same way about conservatives, but if we don't engage in the conversation, our voices might be lost for good.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Are You Ready for the Summer?

As the euphoria of the "last day of school" washes over school children everywhere, I hold an even sweeter memory of a childhood in rural America.

We lived next door to a fruit orchard, one of many in an otherwise desert town in Eastern Washington (the owner was so smart: he made us feel like it was COOL to get to help change the sprinklers!). We gathered culls of peaches that kept us in "peaches and cream" for breakfast during the entire month of August. Aaaaaahhhh…. Walking home from the bus stop on a cool fall day, we could stop and pick a crisp apple to munch all the way up the hill. On a hot day, the forests of orchards surrounding our house created a sharp drop in temperature, keeping us cool during blazing arid summers.

When June arrived and the rustle of paper work slowed down during that last week of school, I found myself with no homework, TV reruns, a stuffy house, plenty of daylight, and nothing to do. So I created a ritual that would last until I graduated from high school. At least once each June, I would hop the fence to the orchard, settle on the side of a shady tree-covered hill, lay down, wrap my arms behind my head, take a long look across the valley, and dream about my future.

I may have conducted a few imaginary appearances on the Mike Douglas or Merv Griffin shows during these lazy afternoons, I really don't remember the dreams much -- I expect there were many and they were no doubt grandiose. But I'll never forget the coolness of the ground, the protection and peace of the trees, the sweet smells, and the joy of solitude. Those afternoons taught me to value moments of reflection and calm and to grab them whenever you can. Great scenery helps.

As you prepare for your summer, I hope you'll find some cool moments of reflection. Hey, school's almost over. As the kids say, "Chill"!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Late Bloomers Keep Life Interesting

So, I'm watching TV today and I discover that Toulouse Lautrec, with all his physical maladies and alcoholism, died at age 37, leaving a vast collection of remarkable and ground-breaking paintings. Then I remember that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did all of his great works and didn't even make it to the age of 40. Eldar Djangirov, the hottest new jazz piano player on the scene right now is like, 18. Boy do I feel like an underachiever. I feel like David Letterman whenever he has an unusually talented young guest. He always says, "Sheesh, when I was 15, I couldn't even make a fist!"

My twenties were a blur of career attempts. If I were to show you the list of jobs I held during that decade, you would see a history of fits and starts and full-blown "do overs." I was fired three times (twice as a waitress and once from a $650 per month office gig -- I am NOT lying!). At my 10-year high school reunion, my classmates were practicing as dentists, hairdressers, and attorneys (we could all tell they were lawyers because they wore their navy blue pinstriped suits to our mid-August festivities!). I could only explain how I had just re-entered college to earn my teaching certificate. I felt like an extremely late bloomer.

I suppose it’s a good thing to know exactly what you want to do at an early age and then zero in on it with laser-like focus. But there's something to be said for getting some mileage on your odometer before you get to your first destination. I'm really proud of my varied life experiences. I figure it's a lot more fun to look back on a past that looks like a colorful "crazy quilt" than one long beige highway of sameness.

And I have a lot of company in my delayed efforts to hit my stride:

  • Actress Estelle Getty, who played Sophia on The Golden Girls made her first stage appearance at age 47.
  • Folk artist Grandma Moses began to focus seriously on her painting at age 78.
  • Actor John Mahoney (he played Frasier's father on TV) was a medical journalist and English teacher until he joined the Steppenwolf Theater Company in his late 30s and had his film debut at age 40.
  • Comedian Ray Romano planned to be an accountant and lived at home until he was married at age 29. Last year, he earned $19 million.
  • Baseball manager Jack McKeon led the Florida Marlins to the world championship at age 73.
  • Julia Child was 50 when she published Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which launched her long writing and television career.
  • Harriet Doerr went back to finish her Stanford degree at age 67 and she won the National Book Award for her novel, Stones for Ibarra, when she was 73.
  • Blues guitarist John Hammond recorded the best-selling album of his career at age 58.
  • Michael Bloomberg was busy becoming one of the world's richest men before he turned to politics and became New York City's mayor at age 59. (OK, he's also an overachiever).
  • Dolores Huerta started out as a teacher until she couldn't stand seeing her students come to school hungry. She eventually helped found the United Farm Workers and nursed several of her 11 children while she sat at the bargaining table!
  • Franklin Roosevelt was almost fired as Secretary of the Navy for his bad attitude before he contracted polio at age 39. Five years later, he re-entered public life and successfully ran for Governor of New York and U.S. President.
  • California Senator S.I. Hayakawa was a scholar, teacher, and college administrator before he ran for the Senate at age 70.
  • President Jimmy Carter's mother, "Miss Lillian" joined the Peace Corps at age 67 after a long career as a nurse.
  • French Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin was a successful stockbroker who started painting at 30 and, at age 43, moved to Tahiti to do his best work.
  • Harry Truman ran for the Senate at age 50 after failing as a Kansas City hat merchant (haberdasher -- I love that word).
  • Somerset Maugham was orphaned, studied medicine for 6 years, wrote lots of popular plays, but didn't enjoy his first success as a novelist until Of Human Bondage at age 41.
  • "Black Bart," a western outlaw and disgrunted Wells Fargo employee, staged his first robbery at the age of 50.

One Google search will tell you that a lot of people use the term "late bloomer" to explain a drastic change of direction, a career or hobby taken up late in life, or notoriety that came after years of trying. The exact definition doesn't matter; the concept itself offers comfort for anyone who feels boxed in by external expectations and hope for those who are still searching for inspiration.

Who doesn't love to see those first buds of spring? Early color is a great relief from a gloomy winter. But landscapers consider late blooming plants the source of long-lasting beauty in the life cycle of a garden. Likewise, late blooming people help make the world a more interesting place and they prove that we can keep embellishing our quilts with as many patches as we can dream up in a single lifetime

Saturday, June 11, 2005

But Not For Me

Good News on the weight front! Just...not for me. My friend Chenoa is fitting into clothes she hasn't worn in years due to hard work on the Curves weight and exercise program. My friend Deb has lost nearly 40 pounds and her hypertension and diabetes are in check. And, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is an example for us all. He's written a book about his 110 pound weight loss and the disappearance of his Type 2 diabetes. I don't know if Huckabee is a Democrat or Republican, but he has really changed his life. He went from being winded after climbing one flight of stairs to being fit enough to run the Little Rock Marathon.

I'm rooting for Mike a little louder than most people. As they say in the musical "Big River," "Arkansas, Arkansas, I just love old Arkansas." I've got roots that go way back to Nashville (yes, there is a Nashville, Arkansas) and Hot Springs, and I'm especially thrilled to see one of my "kin" doing so well in the health department. My grandfather, who ran his own farm from the age of 16, died at 54 -- most probably because he was a lifetime smoker and ate meat for every meal. My grandmother was a wonderful cook who kept a grease container on the stove and whenever something (like okra or eggplant) needed flavor, in went a dollop of bacon grease. I felt like I could die and go to heaven eating her fried pies (biscuit dough wrapped around fruit filling and fried in a cast iron skillet) greens of any kind (don't forget the bacon grease), fried salmon patties, corn bread, black-eyed peas, watermelon rind preserves (pure sugar), home made biscuits, prune cake (especially moist because of the butter and sugar syrup poured over the entire dessert). Her motto was "Eat 'til you can't eat no more." Jesus, no wonder I'm fat!

But Governor Mike has turned away from the dark side and he's trying to help young people do the same along with former President Clinton and a program entitled "Healthy Arkansas." He didn't approach his weight loss like a diet, nor did he think about the number of pounds he had to lose. He...well, you should really read the article. The before and after photos alone are worth it.

Keep up the good work, Governor Mike. You're an inspiration to all of us

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Here's To You, Anne Bancroft

Anne Bancroft was a helluva woman and not just because she had the good sense to marry Mel Brooks. She was, as Mark Twain would say, full of "sand" -- substance, meat, depth.

If you haven't seen "The Graduate" lately, watch it again. I guarantee as you get older, you'll see it as an epic tragedy of a woman's life suffocated by convention.

And...add "The Miracle Worker" to your Netflix list, too. She and Patty Duke will knock your friggins socks off. It's a work of art.

We'll miss you, Anne Bancroft. Thank you for leaving us some astounding performances on celluloid that will continue to serve as touchstones for our own humanity.


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Celebrate "The Pill"

Yes, Virginia, there was a time when it was illegal to obtain birth control in this country -- and it was not so long ago. Forty years ago this week, the US Supreme Court struck down the Connecticut law that made it illegal for married couples to obtain birth control. And that was five years after the FDA had approved "the pill."

Birth control has only been legal in this country for 40 years!

Chew on that for a minute.

But before you start settling on your laurels, Katha Pollitt reminds us that there is still a double standard for women when it comes to sexuality (where's OUR Viagra?).

Reproductive choice for women and families. Now, that's a reason to celebrate!

Tom Cruise Can Bite Me

A few years back, I warmed up to Tom Cruise because Rosie O'Donnell was nuts about him. In fact, for a while, I thought Nicole was the weird one in the relationship. Fast forward to today and Nicole Kidman has far outshown her idiotic ex both as an actor and (it seems) as a human being.

Bottom Line: Tom Cruise won't be seeing the green of my dollars any time soon. It takes a lot of balls to treat his nymphette girlfriend like a show dog, tell Brooke Shields she's nuts for taking medication for her debilitating post-partum depression, espouse Scientology as an answer to psychotherapy and STILL expect me to go see his movie. (Brooke fought back by saying she left two tickets for Tom and Katie to see her performance in the Broadway version of the musical "Chicago" at the box office: 1 adult and 1 child -- HA!).

I was on the fence about seeing "War of the Worlds" anyway, but I like Spielberg and I enjoy some action and CGI, so I was willing to see it on a date with my boyfriend (any excuse to sit in the dark and hold hands).

Not now, Tom. I know when I'm being used. You might want to keep an eye on that career trajectory, too. A lot of us were willing to see your movies for your pretty face and charming personality. Now...not so much.

Don't expect women to support your films if you tell them they are irresponsible for seeking medical treatment for clinical depression. According to you, all they need is "vitamins." Go back to medical school, pal!

And maybe that's the art of being a movie star. You need to make me HAPPY to give you my money. Don't bite the audience that feeds you. I mean, I don't know what happened between Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, but Angelina is giving great lip service (unintentional pun) to the fact that she doesn't believe in breaking up a marriage because of the trauma she experienced as a child during her parents' divorce. She also spends a lot of UN volunteer time in Africa and she loves being a mother. So, whether she is telling the truth or not, I'm buying it.

But not from Tom. Not anymore.

It will be a cold day in Hollywood before he sees another dime from me.

There's plenty more about Tom Cruise's recent nuttiness at Search under Tom Cruise or Scientology. The archives are stuffed.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Teach the U.S. Media A Lesson. . . Read This Memo

In the UK, one of the top 10 news stories this year is one we Americans have barely heard of. Government image spinners are too busy de-bunking it and mainstream media sources are too busy ignoring it. Another example of media manipulation by the White House? U.S. apathy? Polarized political debate? Whatever it is, it seems that everyone else is reading it except Americans.

No wonder the rest of the world hates us.

Ever since we invaded Iraq, I've been convinced the main conflict involved paternal loyalty. Afer the Gulf War, the Iraqis decorated the floor of the Baghdad Hilton with a mosaic image of George Bush (the elder) ensuring that hundreds of people walked on his face each day. So when Dad's political machine got George Jr. elected, he owed Pop a great Father's Day gift -- one that brother Jeb could never top. In short, that mosaic was coming up come hell or high water. The Hilton floor was replaced within a month of the invasion.

My theory could be right or maybe Karl Rove just wanted to capitalize on 9/11 paranoia to get George W. to a second term. Whatever you might believe, show the U.S. media that you DO care about stuff beyond the end of your driveway.

You need to read the Downing Street Memo.

Being President Isn't Rocket Science (Apparently)

No wonder John Kerry didn't release his grades from Yale until just now. He graduated with a whopping 76% average (that's a "C") while George W. squeaked past him with a 77%. Kerry's highest grade was on a political science project -- and he only got a B+! For crying out loud! Well, at least they had good life skills: Bush managed to be born into a rich and powerful family while Kerry chose a billionaire wife the second time around. Looks like 2004 was more evenly matched than any of us might have believed.

Makes you wonder why Bill Clinton did all that studying, scored a Rhodes scholarship, graduated from Yale Law School, read one book a week for years at a time. What was he thinking? He could have been attending keggers, joining a secret fraternity, leading cheers. . . and STILL have become President. What a waste of good leisure time.

Let this be a lesson to all those overachievers: It's a Slacker Nation, so grab your beer bong and PAR-TAY! WOO-HOO! You can plan your campaign later.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

I'm HOW old?

It's bad enough to feel old, but to find out you're more far gone than you think is REALLY depressing. So, beware when you visit the website that uses your physical, emotional, and mental state to calculate your "real age." The good news is the site creates a plan for you to take those additional years off. Me? I've got 7 years to get rid of. I'm not ready to be over 50 yet. But the prescription doesn't look too painful: whole grains, Vitamin E, good friends, and a dog. Check our your "real age" at

Thanks to Sara J. for this suggestion.

The Out-of-Towners

We were looking for a drink before going home. Emerging from a great evening at the theater, we stopped in a nearby lobby bar before ransoming our car from the hotel garage. As we sat down, Tom looked at the noisy group circling the bar and predicted, "This should be good." He was right.

During our first drink, a member of the clan, a leathery female Tom named "Ann B. Davis," clad in a silver and black one-piece jumpsuit, sloppily asked to borrow some chairs and nearly toppled our drinks. Constantly touching and flirting, they seemed starved for an an out-of-town liaison. But when we learned they were travel agents attending the semi-annual Cruise-A-Thon, their college-like enthusiasm made them seem more like the Fred Willard travel agent character in "Waiting for Guffman" who had "never been out of Jefferson County."

The topic of heated conversation (there's nothing like a few drinks to expose the inner debate team coach in a sales person) was a guy we'll call Bob. Apparently, Bob was involved in a travel industry internet pyramid scheme and the alpha male in the group (a.k.a. Red Shirt) was thinking of exposing him publicly in the next morning's conference session (like he would be sober enough to attend). There was also a hot little blonde (Bunny)who had worked for Bob and knew what kind of evils he was capable of . . . even rumors that Bob had his hand in some internet pornography sites. The plot was thickening.

Eventually, a squat man with a gray flat-top, mustache, and Sears tweed sports jacket sauntered up to the clan and started shaking hands like he was running for Travel Agent President. It was Bob. Red Shirt smiled politely and then looked around the group with his mouth open, silently making sure no one squealed. Bob ordered a large blue drink and when he turned around, Red Shirt stood up and started backing Bob away with his pointed finger stabbing Bob's chest. The rest of the crowd cleared away from their seats and stood in trios around the bar, arms crossed, whispering, and waiting for the confrontation to go away. As close to Red Shirt's face as possible, Bob quietly responded to each of his questions with an uneasy smile. When Red Shirt was done, Bunny replaced him and nearly pushed Bob into the bar as she continued the interrogation.

Taking his big blue drink, Bob eventually joined some friends while the rest of the original crowd moved on, leaving Bunny, Red Shirt, and Ann B. to pay the tab, which we estimated was sizeable. We knew it wasn't going well when there was a lo-o-o-o-ng silence followed by lengthy conversations, first with the bartender, then with the waitress. The second bartender wandered over to offer his clarification of the bill, suggesting they should pay up. Ann B. Davis kept running over to former clan members to see what they were drinking and whether it was paid for. Every shot of Bailey's and glass of wine was questioned. Ann B. kept shouting abbreviated taunts and finally the waitress announced she would call security to settle things. We had seen a tall, hunky Steve Canyon-type striding through the lobby, so we expected him. Instead, two retirees in matching oversized polyester blue jackets and gray slacks showed up. While one stood guard, another patiently and repeatedly explained the bill, answered questions, and told Ann B. to pipe down. Negotiations were moving at a snail's pace.

As we paid our bill, we thanked the waitress for her patience and added some encouragement in eventually settling the Treaty of Versailles with the triumvirate. "I don't think we can let them back in here, " she said. "And this is only the first night of the conference!"

It might not have been good for the out-of-towners, but it was a hoot for us . We paid too much for parking, but we enjoyed a double feature on a Friday night. Not a bad deal.

Wash Me Clean (Don't forget my brain)

brainwash It's appropriate that the owners of hide their faces on their website: they should be ashamed of themselves. They, along with a bunch of other social watchdogs are making a living cutting up Hollywood movies and selling the "clean" version to families who seem unable to make appropriate choices for themselves. And our Taliban-like congress is helping them do it with the "Family Film Act" championed by the current recipient of the "Sam Donaldson Memorial Bad Toupee Award,", Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas (why are they always from Texas?).

Interestingly, when you compare the running time of "Saving Private Ryan" on and the Internet Movie Database, 10 minutes of footage has been pared, but "The Passion of the Christ" stays exactly the same! I'm not great at math, but that adds up to less of a "family friendly" agenda than a religious one.

Here's the job I would love…to be the arbiter of all things moral while getting to watch all the dirty stuff in my editing room over and over just to make sure I got it all purged. When you're all done, "House of Wax," "Team America: World Police" or "Hotel Rwanda" will be all squeaky clean and ready for children of all ages to watch. No muss, no fuss, no effort on the part of parents.

What a racket. Why didn't I think of that?

Saturday, June 04, 2005

You Gotta Read This!

My friend Trish published an essay in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer yesterday and it is truly wonderful. I don't know where she got the initials P.E., but I hope it doesn't stand for Physical Education because I could never climb a rope and I will always have bad memories of P.E.

She's a terrific writer who SHOULD be publishing her stuff and I will continue my harassment campaign until she does. I hope you get to read a chapter or two of her unemployment diaries.

I'll keep you posted in case she does. Until then, enjoy!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Cost of Being Thin: Do We Really Want to Know?

Renee Zellweger made a recent appearance on "The View" that cracked wide open a state secret held closely by thin women everywhere. Wearing an absolutely diaphanous little frock that I could probably squeeze one thigh into, she looked just as ropey and firm as Nicole Kidman (they are, I believe, the current poster girls of celebrity slender). I'm not exaggerating about this, when Renee sat down, her knees were wider than her very muscular calves. Oye!

Here's a woman who has worked in films with (and sometimes gotten to KISS) Tom Cruise, Jude Law, Ewen McGregor, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth (Oh my God, Colin Firth!) and Russell Crowe, married Kenny Chesney, and dated Jim Carrey. Yet the question she is most often asked is, "How did you take the weight off?" This of course, is a curiosity because of the 20 to 30 pounds she put on for the two "Bridget Jones" films, made several years apart. (The questions I would like to ask her are: Why was the filmed sequel to Bridget Jones so shitty when the second book was so good? And what happened to Sharon McGuire, the original director who kicked ass on the original "Bridget Jones" film?)

But I digress -- as I always do when I think about losing weight. Ms. Zellweger answered the question that every woman wants the answer to -- or do they? When Renee tries to explain her weight loss technique, she first offers the easy explanation: "It's just math and I do what my nutritionist tells me I need to do." But that's never enough and women still probe. So, she describes her daily menu and their eyes glaze over. That's not the response America is looking for. We want the answer that starts with, "Oh, I just buy these little magic pills and I take one every day and you can get them at. . ."

I remember once after I had lost a bunch of weight, I was telling a few friends about how I only ate nonfat mayonnaise and cheese, etc. and one (who fought her weight her entire life and still does) piped up and said, "Oh, I just couldn't stand that!" and I thought to myself, "Well, you gotta decide. Do you want to be thin or not?" And that's the decision we all must make. Do we REALLY REALLY want this? And if we do, how much are we willing to sacrifice for it?

Let's not kid ourselves, you can tell what people do in their spare time by looking at their bodies. And one glance at Nicole and Renee and you know they don’t make a hobby out of pigging out. Both of them have admitted in interviews that they will spend hours at a time on the treadmill to maintain their shapes.

The truth about getting skinny is not pretty. People Magazine ran a feature a few years back on what models eat. Here's what I remember. . .lunch was a bowl of soup and dinner was plain salad greens. I don't remember breakfast at all. I do recall that some of the models had extremely boring lives because they had no energy to leave their apartments! When Maria Shriver was told she needed to lose 25 pounds to be an on camera reporter, she went on a strict diet and losing weight became her "full time job." I suppose if you live on a Kennedy trust fund, you can do that. And John Malkovich, once a pudge, lost 70 pounds in high school eating nothing but Jell-o. It wasn't pretty, but it worked for him.

Renee may have a bit of a head start on the rest of us because she once explained why she didn't eat cake on her birthday or other parties. Her family never made the connection between celebrations and food, she claims. OK, her parents are both of Northern European descent and I can't name ONE such culture that doesn't celebrate with AT LEAST a little bit of food. I mean, the English break for tea each afternoon and who doesn't have a little something for a wedding, a graduation, a birthday, Christmas? If her family celebrated with toys and stories rather than food, God bless 'em. But I believe that God made butter cream frosting for humans to enjoy with a cup of coffee AND if you are lucky and know the server, you'll get the corner piece with extra frosting and roses. YUM!

My boyfriend has a book originally published in 1954, called "How to Lie With Statistics." I could write one called "How to Lie in Your Food Log." But Renee and Nicole can't lie. . .every ounce of their fudging (mmmm, fudge!) shows up on the big screen and can't be squeezed into a designer original from Paris. Me? My sweats can stretch for days and if I hide behind something large (a caftan, a Christmas tree, a couch), I can conceal piles of fat from the average digital camera (and Adobe Photo Shop).

So, here it is, the menu that keeps Renee looking like Renee:

BREAKFAST: coffee and a protein bar, maybe some fruit, but not always
LUNCH: salmon and salad or spinach
DINNER: egg white omelette
FRIDAYS: eat anything you want (burger, whatever..)
Bottom line…don’t' even THINK about carbs.

How does this sound to you? Could you live on this for weeks and months and years? Renee and Nicole do it for multi-million dollar paychecks. But what are we doing it for?

Our joy in life has to come from somewhere. So, if we aren't getting it from food, we'll seek it from another source (preferably a LEGAL and HEALTHY one). Can we transfer our love for M&Ms into a passion for books? Can fondness for ice cream be converted into craft-mania? Can ANYTHING make the treadmill more bearable? What could possibly substitute adequately for butter cream frosting?

When it comes to being thin, we should be careful about the questions we ask because the answers may ask too much of us.

Going "Deep" and Stooping Too Low

You know the conservatives are thinking with their talking points instead of their brains when they start bashing Mark Felt, the former FBI official who has been exposed as "Deep Throat," Bob Woodward's fabled source for his Watergate coverage. I can't tell you how my heart lept when we got the definitive answer. I thought it was going to be like Jackie Kennedy's papers and I was going to die before we found out the truth. There's been a lot of speculation over the years, but there's no thrill like finding out for sure. It's a 30 year-old mystery and we have the answer. Sheesh! We still don't know even who D.B. Cooper was and what happened to the money. This is cool!

But not for the conservatives. Beyond all reason, they still feel the need to defend a Republican administration that symbolizes corruption, greed, and the worst in politics. Nobody ever talks about the Republicans as "The Great Party of Richard Nixon" and rightly so. The best thing they can do is agree that this chapter of our history was a horrible embarrassment and we're lucky we all survived. We were all much kinder about Nixon's legacy than he deserved when he died. Both the right and the left can declare "no harm, no foul" and move the hell on.

Instead, they trot out such pillars of Republican credibility as G. Gordon Liddy (total wing-nut and convicted felon who led the Watergate team of burglars) and Charles Colson (former Nixon advisor who was supposedly "born again" in prison but apparently gained no wisdom) to tell the rest of us what a criminal Felt was and is. Another example of how "good Republican soldiers" can't look beyond the talking points to see what was at stake and the risks Felt took on all of our behalf.

Recently, I expressed amazement that Felt appeared to be driven by hurt ego because he was passed over for the FBI Director's job and not out of patriotism, but I was straightened out quickly by a friend who asked, "Well, really, who did he work for?" He was right...Felt may have been pissed about losing out on a promotion, but he also watched as Nixon crony and appointee Patrick Gray ordered agents to destroy evidence so that Nixon could avoid prosecution. He saw the FBI's endangered status and reputation and he couldn't stand by and watch. It may have begun as a personal issue, but ultimately Felt's actions served a much larger constituency. That's more than we can say about the veritable sieve that is Washington, D.C. today. Anonymous sources abound, leaks are rampant and no one is thinking about the big picture.

So,thank you Mr. Felt. No matter what your motives were, the nation is better off because of you and I am grateful. You aided justice in a time when we thought there never would be any. Bravo!