Friday, October 28, 2005

More Fatherless Children Than Ever

The government is reporting that last year a record number of babies were born to unmarried women: one and a half million. (Link via Drudge.)

That's one and a half million children (not counting any siblings they may have) who will grow up knowing that Mommy didn't think their father was worth marrying. Or vice versa. What must that make these children feel?

The article mentions that, in some cases, these unmarried mothers are living with someone, possibly even the baby's father, so maybe Dad is still around in some cases. But is a household where either of the two parents can walk out at any time really as stable as one in which the couple are bound together by the promises they made, the social and legal contract they entered into, and the sacrament joining them. (Okay, if you're not Catholic, you might not believe marriage is a sacrament, but you probably still have some religious reinforcement for your marriage.) Don't we owe it to our children to give them as stable a home as we can provide?

Random Thoughts

Autumn comes every year, yet somehow, after our long, hot, humid summers, the first few crisp-aired days are always a surprise.


I was half listening to Romeo and Juliet recently, and, though I think it takes place in summer (don't hold me to that), it has an autumnal quality to it. But on second thought, all tragedies do. Except maybe Lear, which is all winter.


Tragedy isn't really a contemporary genre. There can't be tragedy without free will, and we've been trying to eradicate that--or more to the point the responsibility it brings--for decades.


When I understand why the already considerable pleasure of biting into a fresh lemon is tripled if it's done in front of someone who can be counted on to wince at the sight, I think I'll finally have a grip on human nature. Or mine anyway.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Here's a Riddle For You

Here's the riddle:

Let's examine some numbers readily available from the Census Bureau's 2004 Current Population Survey.... There's one segment of the black population that suffers only a 9.9 percent poverty rate, and only 13.7 percent of its under-5-year-olds are poor. There's another segment that suffers a 39.5 percent poverty rate, and 58.1 percent of its under-5-year-olds are poor. Among whites, one segment suffers a 6 percent poverty rate, and only 9.9 percent of its under-5-year-olds are poor. The other segment suffers a 26.4 percent poverty rate, and 52 percent of its under-5-year-olds are poor. [Source]

Okay, what distinguishes the high poverty and low poverty groups?


Answer: Marriage.

The only thing that surprises me is that the poverty rates aren't higher for the children of unmarried mothers. I'd be willing to bet that many of those that were technically above the poverty line weren't above it by much.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

St. Crispin and St. Elizabeth, Pray for Us

Today is St. Crispin's Day. You can hear Kenneth Branagh's rendition of Shakespeare's Crispin's Day speech online here. (Link via The Corner.) I highly recommend the movie this is taken from. For that matter I also recommend Oliviers WWII-era version. I just like Henry V; it always makes me proud to be English, which is odd, as I'm not English. We can all cry "God for Harry, England, and St. George!" though, can't we? AT least we can when the English aren't killing Catholics for being Catholic or letting Islamofascism breed unchecked in their cities, that is; and on that last maybe we should be asking St. George to protect them.

EWTN's Almanac is listing today as the day honoring St. Elizabeth, the kinswoman of Our Lady and mother of John the Baptist. I thought her feast day was November 5, and Catholic Online backs my memory up. But what the heck, we can ask her to pray for us both days. She may be a lesser Biblical figure and we may know next to nothing about her, but I'm rather fond of her all the same. I've heard her called a patron saint of those who become mothers later in life, and I haven't given up hope of being one of those myself. I also like that Elizabeth recognized holiness when she saw it, and the Visitation, with its lovely image of two pregnant women embracing, is one of my favorite mysteries of the rosary. Uncle Pookie has suggested that I also like Elizabeth's story because her husband was struck dumb; to that I have to say: "No comment."

What Historic General Are You? I'm JC (The Other One)

Julius Caesar
You scored 59 Wisdom, 81 Tactics, 59 Guts, and 41 Ruthlessness!
Roman military and political leader. He was instrumental in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. His conquest of Gallia Comata extended the Roman world all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, introducing Roman influence into what has become modern France, an accomplishment of which direct consequences are visible to this day. In 55 BC Caesar launched the first Roman invasion of Britain. Caesar fought and won a civil war which left him undisputed master of the Roman world, and began extensive reforms of Roman society and government. He was proclaimed dictator for life, and heavily centralized the already faltering government of the weak Republic. Caesar's friend Marcus Brutus conspired with others to assassinate Caesar in hopes of saving the Republic. The dramatic assassination on the Ides of March was the catalyst for a second set of civil wars, which marked the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire under Caesar's grand-nephew and adopted son Octavian, later known as Caesar Augustus. Caesar's military campaigns are known in detail from his own written Commentaries (Commentarii), and many details of his life are recorded by later historians such as Suetonius, Plutarch, and Cassius Dio.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 33% on Unorthodox

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 84% on Tactics

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 70% on Guts

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 27% on Ruthlessness
Link: The Which Historic General Are You Test written by dasnyds on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

This is a really fun quiz. I don't know why they never had quizzes like this in the women's magazines I used to read as a girl.

Something to Think About

Like a lot of Americans, I attended a non-Muslim religious service this weekend. I think all of us who did (not to mention those who exercised their right not to participate in any religion) should be asking ourselves how long our right to do so would last under Muslim rule. Would we be as free and accepted as the Coptic Christians? As free as Dutch cartoonists and filmmakers? As free as British office workers, etc.? (Oh, but if only those British would just be more understanding!)

I think we all know the answer to how free we'd be under Muslim rule--we'd be free to be good little dhimmis. We'd be free to do as they tell us; with luck we might be almost as well off as Muslim women.

Another question we should be asking ourselves is how long beautiful testaments to our heritage--religious, artistic, historical--will last in a predominantly Muslim Europe? Will the Christian-themed paintings in the Louvre last as long as the statues of the Buddha did in a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Why This Was Probably My Last Summer To Wear Shorts

Because of Mississippi's hideously hot and humid summers, I grew wearing shorts all summer, every summer, and, except for school hours, much of the spring and fall and some days in what we ironically call our winter as well. But this summer I found myself thinking about giving them up.

For one thing, this summer I discovered that skirts can actually be cooler than shorts. For another, the past year and a half or more, I've been doing a lot of thinking about modesty in dress, and I'm not sure most shorts make the cut. I've also sometimes found myself thinking about how Americans never dress up any more and what that and the tendency of so many adults now to dress in juvenile ways says about us. And then there's my age (35) and my noticing that the old and late-middle-age women I see now don't seem to look as neat and well-put-together as old women used to when I was young. And then there was the Wednesday evening I stopped off at mass on my way to do the shopping and only realized as I walked into the church I was wearing shorts; it was a nice Liz Claiborne shorts and vest set but I felt bad wearing shorts to church, and then I started to wonder why it was okay to wear them elsewhere but not to church. But none of these are the reason.

No, I can recall the moment the decision, such as it is, was made. I was in Wal-Mart, headed for the check-out, when I saw a woman, probably in her early-thirties, of average attractiveness, probably with a kid or two at home, and she was wearing shorts. They weren't too short or too tight. They were normal shorts that came at least half-way down the thigh. On the outside of the thigh, that is. On the inner thigh, they were bunched up so high, the cloth was resting against her crotch. On both of the inner thighs. I know not every woman's shorts ride up that badly and that most women would have done one of those covert "pull the fabric down" moves before they rode up that high, but that visual got to me. Somehow shorts just haven't seemed appealing to me since.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Something Beautiful to Start the Day

BBC News has the winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, and they are stunning. You have to click on the small picture to enlarge, as the small pic doesn't show the whole thing; even if I were on a slower computer that took a little time to load, it would be worth the wait.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I Weep for the Future

Back in the fall of, I believe, 1989, I saw a greeting card for sale that congratulated the recipient on her (/his?) divorce. Self-proclaimed liberal though I was at the time, something just didn't seem right about that. Age and greater experience (especially my ten years of marriage) have persuaded me that it most definitely was wrong; as Chesterton might say, their having a right to make and sell that card is in no way the same thing as being right in doing it.

But it wasn't as wrong as this: Divorce parties. I'm well aware of the need for ritual to mark even the most unpleasant of life stages (former neo-pagan, current Catholic--I grok ritual), but celebrating the failure of a marriage is both repugnant and irresponsible in the message it sends to everyone around you.

What's next, abortion parties?

Black and White Is So Much Easier Than Grays

I think Thomas Sowell may be one of the most brilliant people in America--he's surely among the most brilliant columnists. I say that not because I usually agree with him (although I'll admit people sharing my views tends to give me a favorable opinion of their intelligence!), but because I've so often, while reading his always reasonable columns, said to myself, "I've never thought of that before, but he's right."

But I'm not sure about something of his I just read (it's five days old but I just read it today), in which he lumped "growing legal restrictions on building anything that existing residents in a community don't want built" in with the "spoiled brat politics" that thinks anything we personally want automatically overrides what other people want.

At one time, courts took seriously the 14th Amendment's
guarantee of equal rights for all, regardless of where they lived and voted.
Courts even enforced the 5th Amendment's guarantee of property rights.

In other words, local voters and local politicians
could not arbitrarily deprive other people of the right to come in and buy and
use property as they saw fit, simply because some planning consultants or
planning commissions preferred that they do otherwise. But Constitutional
protection of property rights is no longer "in the mainstream" of fashionable
legal thinking. ...

The only way the government can give current
residents such a guarantee [that their neighborhood will never change] is
to take away other people's property rights, which exist precisely in order to
keep politicians at bay. [Source]

I agree, mostly--property rights are very important, and I'm sure we've all read news stories about people having their property rights infringed upon by government that made us angry, and surely noone wants government to have the power to seize any property it wants and reserve to government agencies the sole right to determine that property's use--and yet shouldn't local people have some say over how their neighborhood or town is developed? Most people don't want a strip club built between the public elementary school and a popular day care center, even if the club owner does own the land it's to be built on. Shouldn't neighborhood residents be able to veto a pornographic book shop in their neighborhood? What about a toxic waste dump or even an ordinary garbage dump? What if a majority of people in a town had rather have small shops clustered in a downtown area, rather than having one big, less centrally-located mall--can't they make local policies that encourage what they want and discourage or forbid what they don't?

I'm not talking about a small minority trying to inflict its will upon the whole neighborhood or town; I'm wondering about cases where the majority want something--should they have no say?

We allow restrictions to be placed on property for public safety (even though I own it, I'm not allowed to burn my own house down on a whim, for fear of setting the neighbors' houses on fire; I'm not allowed to pile raw sewage in my yard no matter how much I may want to, factories aren't allowed to dump waste products even on their own land, etc.), and we zone areas for residences or businesses; industrial areas may even be separately zoned from other businesses. Is it really going that much further for a majority of townsmen to vote that they don't want a particular kind of property development in their area?

This is a hard thing to determine. I think we can all agree that when someone wants to do something on his property that will clearly endanger the lives or health of the people nearby, then those people should have some say over whether the property owner gets to do that thing. But when it comes to property uses that aren't physically dangerous, it gets gray very quickly.

It seems either side is open to abuse. Under a system where we usually decide for the individual property owner's right to do whatever he wants, you could get, say, the sex toys shop in an area where most residents don't want anything like that. But under a system where we allow town or neighborhood planning commissions a great deal of leeway we could get people whimsically forbidding anything for any reason. It's not hard to imagine the freedom of small groups or individuals getting trampled under such a system, even if the planning commissions remained faithful to what a majority of locals wanted. Add in the probability of planning commissions representing, not the will of the majority, but the will of a small elite, and I'm much less sure I want them to be able to decide what property owners can do with their property; the will of a majority of residents is one thing, but the will of a tiny group of "experts" pretending to represent the will of the majority is quite another thing.

And this is not even getting into the will of the most directly affected versus the will of the somewhat less close-by people. For example, I read an article a good while back about Wal-Mart wanting to build a store in a "nice" neighborhood somewhere. Many people in the "nice" neighborhood were deadset against having a Wal-Mart in their neighborhood, but people in the surrounding, "less nice" neighborhoods were mostly for it; the former didn't want increased traffic in their nice area and were worried about "not nice" people coming into their neighborhood to shop, while the latter were eager for low prices and like the possibility of new jobs. Much as the "nice" people's snobby attitudes set my American populist hackles rising and make it hard to sympathise with the most directly affected neighborhood, shouldn't they have some say in what happens to their neighborhood? But then what about the larger area, who did want the Wal-Mart? Like I said, it gets gray quickly.

Thomas Sowell is probably right, and we should err toward protecting property rights when there's conflict; I certainly don't want there to be less respect for them than we have now, when the government can use public domain to seize your property, not just to build a publically necessary highway or dam, but to build a baseball field. But that doesn't mean it won't sometimes be hard to look at the outcome of some of those conflicts and think that the majority of residents got screwed over by the property owner.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

More Crunchy Talk

There's a short piece at about the argument between Jonah Goldberg and Rod Dreher over Dreher's "crunchy-granola conservatism"; it's hashed out more in the comments.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Callanetics Review

I mentioned a few posts ago that I started doing Callanetics and said I might post again after I'd done ten sessions, to see how Callanetics' "10 years younger in 10 hours" claim holds up.

It should go without saying that nothing can make you younger--relentless march of time and all that--but Callanetics can firm you up faster than anything I'm aware of. It won't make you fit, it won't make you lose fat, and it won't improve your upper body strength. It will firm you up noticeably in an amazingly short time, though, so the "10 hours" claim isn't mere hype.

I'm doing Callanetics three times a week, and I've now done ten sessions. I've lost about one and a quarter inches off my waist and about three and a half inches off my hips. My underarm area (not the triceps, but where ladies who aren't super-thin get a little roll of fat between their bra and the edge of their arm) has firmed up considerably. (This is odd actually, because I assumed when I started that the underarm tightener exercise wouldn't work and it still doesn't feel as if it's doing anything to that area.) I think the sides of my thighs are starting to slim up. My abdomen is MUCH stronger than when I started. I still can't do the full set of reps on the stomach exercises, but I never thought I would improve this much so fast. All of these results in about three weeks and without the loss of one pound; and to be honest, there were two sessions where I was running short on time and had to cut my session short, so my time spent is well under the "10 hours" of the claim.

Callanetics also lives up to its claim to be easy on the back. I don't have back problems myself, but I have tried to assess it as if I did and as far as I can tell there's no strain on the back. There's more talk about back safety in the Callanetics book; I believe there was even another Callanetics book specifically for people with back problems.

There is strain on the neck, however, when you do the abdomen exercises. Callan Pinckney claims it will disappear after a few sessions, and for me at least this seems to be the case. She does recommend putting your hands behind your neck if it's a problem for you, and of course it helps if you try not to pull with your neck.

As for the other negatives, in the reviews I read before I purchased the DVD, I saw that some people didn't like the instructor's manner or her accent and that they thought the exercises were boring and the looks & musci laughably dated. I like the instructor, think the look of the hair and leotards holds up much better than most '80s area stuff, and don't mind the music (it reminds me of Mister Rogers neighborhood for some reason). As for boredom, well, most exercise is boring, that's why people prefer to sit on the couch watching Andy Griffith reruns; right now I'm too busy trying to improve to be bored by this, but when I start to get bored, I think the great results will keep me at it for quite a while after.

The only other "negative" I can think of is that it seems a little odd to have the relaxing stretches before the final exercises; it may be because of my experiences with yoga exercise, but it just seems the tape ought to end with the relaxing lower back stretch. On the other hand, I love the placement of the ab exercises immediately after the warm-up; with this you don't have to go through the tape dreading the ab part.

Upshot: I definitely recommend this exercise video and the accompanying book. It may be nearly twenty years old and the exercises may seem odd, but it works.

Crunchy Cons

I saw today on The Corner that Rod Dreher's book, Crunchy Cons, is in galleys already. You can pre-order it from Amazon, although that may not be the crunchiest choice.

I posted about the whole crunchy con thing once before; I have links to the original articles and try to give the gist of Jonah Goldberg's objection to it as a category.

Monday, October 10, 2005

This Makes Me Very Tired

I don't know why but I skimmed an article about the state of trendspotting or "coolhunting", and the whole thing made me want to lie down with a book--preferably one that hasn't been on a bestseller list for a hundred years or so--and forget about the outside world. But someone might spot me, and then EVERYONE would be doing it.

Today, fads ping across continents and disappear so quickly
that the coolhunter, even the whole notion of "cool," has become

Fortunately we can show our contempt for "cool" by buying the brands favored by the all the other people who are also immune to the lure of cool new fads.

Every big-city scenester or bored teenager on the planet
has a blog or mass e-mail anointing the moment's hot restaurants, hobbies and
handbags. Add to this, mass obsession with celebrity style and global
corporatization and you can get nearly the same chai latte or
straight-off-the-runway skirt in Columbus, Ohio, that's available in Manhattan
or Milan.

One nation, under advertising, with liberty and blandness for all.

Trend-spotting has, in essence, become just another trend.
Consequently, the most successful trend forecasters are repositioning themselves
as something more than mere arbiters of taste. They're now social scientists
with a hipster edge.

So they're no longer people who spend every waking moment trying to stay a few weeks ahead of rapidly passing fads, they're cultural anthropologists.

IN a way, this desperate need among advertisers to "divine"
our intimate truths has indelibly linked consumerism to culture. Now, there's
hardly time to discover and explore a new experience or a new approach to living
without also considering the new line of products, technologies or services that
has been tailored to that discovery. Life is being captured, repackaged and sold
back to us as quickly as we live it.

How can the effectiveness of trend forecasting be measured,
anyway, when the line between a genuine societal trend and one manufactured by
media and advertising is now so blurred?

Am I the only person who finds this scary? No, not the possibility that corporations may find it hard to assess the effectiveness of their trend forecaster, but the linking of culture and consumerism. Why do so many of us now equate who we are with which trends we choose to follow and what we buy to show we're in on that trend?

And if we are going to define ourselves by what we buy, do we really need the Color Marketing Group to tell us what colors to buy it in?

The value and lifespan of information changed rapidly in the
late 1990s. Just as Internet access and download speed rocketed, so did the
transfer of ideas, making what was "cool" obsolete from the moment it was

"It used to be that you had to have the Louis Vuitton Murakami
purse," says Buckingham. "Well, now you can get the $10 version on [Manhattan's]
Canal Street. So when you talk to teenage girls, they say they buy the fakes
because it's all about just showing you know the trend — not even the value of
the trend itself."

I can't say that I'm bothered by girls opting for cheap knockoffs bags over the genuine overpriced handbag (although making your own version seems better than buying the knockoff), but why buy even the knockoff (or make your own copy) if you don't genuinely like the thing? I guess if your life is all about following trends then it doesn't matter what you like, only what other people like; and with our current ten-second attention spands causing trends to change so quickly, anything you can do to save money so you can afford to buy the next trendy purse a few weeks from now is okay.

But as for grumpy old me, I'm starting to wonder if, as a nation, we're not either too rich or too shallow. If we weren't so rich, we couldn't be continually replacing handbags, decorative kitchen canisters, etc. as the next trend comes in. And if we weren't so shallow we wouldn't care whether our neighbors think our stuff is out-of-date or not.

Reading this article and contemplating the speed of fashion not only made me tired, it put me in mind (as so many things do) of something G. K. Chesterton said: He said that the Catholic Church is the only thing that can save us from the degrading slavery of being a child of our times. Of course he was talking about succumbing to intellectual fads, but I think it still applies. If we focused more on eternal matters, we would care less about the passing trendiness of a particular kind of coffee or style of slacks; if we defined ourselves in light of eternity, we wouldn't need to define ourselves by the kind of cologne we buy or purse we carry.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Christmas Came Early (At Least the Gift-Giving Part)

It has been said that bigotry is the inability to conceive seriously the opposition to a proposition. If that's so, there's one thing I'm a thoroughgoing bigot about: Calvin & Hobbes was the best comic strip EVER! There can be no contrary opinions on this. Bloom County? Liked it a lot, but there's no real comparison; besides which, it was largely topical humor and will cease to be funny as people cease to get the references. Get Fuzzy? Read it every day, but still, no comparison. Uncle Pookie's beloved Dilbert? I like it, but please!

This week we saw The Complete Calvin & Hobbes in Sam's Club, I called it "my precious", and Uncle Pookie insisted on buying it for me. In theory I'm the sensible-spender member of the team, but it took only about two breaths for him to convince me we should purchase it. It's a great set. Three volumes containing all the strips and the cover and spot art from the previous collections. Hardcover, good-quality paper, heavy as all get-out, and the papers packed between the volumes smelled like the inside of a leather bookbag. The outside of the books is a nice earthy orange color with brown end cloth, and the strips are set on an off-white page with a narrow light-brown outline, so it looks a bit as if they are cut-outs pasted into a scrapbook. The only bad thing is that the books really aren't convenient for reading in bed; they do lie flat, though, so on that alone they beat paperbacks.

Per the rules of the house, I must now eliminate my much-read paperback Calvin & Hobbes collections. This presents a dilemma: Give them to the library for others to enjoy or cut them up for decoupage?

Yet Another Reason to Check Out Bearing Blog

I stand second to no one in my regard for sweet potatoes, and bearing blog's Savory Sweet Potato Pie has been added to my repertoire of sweet potato cookery. Okay, I have to admit it's a very small list, as my favorite way to eat sweet potatoes is baked (I just throw them in the oven when I'm baking something else) and served with butter or butter and cinnamon; bearing blog's recipe is a nice addition though.

I made it for Sunday dinner this past week. I halved the recipe (not by choice, but because I happened to have only two potatoes), and I made it crustless, because as an adult I've come to prefer crustless pies and quiche (chicken pot pies excepted). It was tasty; the bite of the freshly ground black pepper--I used a lot--went really well with the sweet potato. Next time I'd like to try sauteeing the minced onion in butter before I add it; I think that might be even better.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Misc. Things Seen Around the Web

This is seriously cool*--amphibious houses, that rise and fall with water levels in the event of flooding. A good-sized--and growing--chunk of the Netherlands is under sea level. Problems are kept in check by a system of canals, pumps, and dykes (must not repeat bad Bernie Rhodenbarr joke, must not repeat... ) and, until now, limiting construction in flood zones. They're now testing waterproof home designs, and more power to them. (Link via Arts & Letters Daily)

*Note: Auntie Suzanne is a person of questionable coolness who tends to equate cleverness with coolness.

*** *** ***

Seriously NOT cool (see above): the My Scene Bling Bling Barbie. Why not just call it Streetcorner Barbie and tattoo her price list on her tail, like that Yale girl from the limerick?

The saddest thing here is that this is obviously another attempt to make Barbie look more like the Bratz dolls, which, as I understand it, are supposed to represent underage girls. This kind of thing makes you wonder who won the sexual revolution, women or dirty old men.

*** *** ***

As I've brought up the subject of immodest dress--i.e., I've mentioned contemporary Barbies--here's the two best articles on modest dress I've ever read: Don't Wear That Mini to Mass and Drawing a Hemline, both by Benjamin D. Wiker. The former, obviously, is about immodest dress in church, and the latter is mainly about immodest clothes on campus.

Full disclosure (pun intended): Although I agree with Wiker's points, I did get a kick out of "Berkeley Guy" back when he was doing his thing. But then I don't find nudity offensive, just immodest clothes.

Unfortunately, some of what's touted as modest clothing by some American Christians is aesthetically offensive--all shapeless jumpers and the most dowdy dresses you've ever seen (really, the Amish are more stylishly and flatteringly attired, which is odd as some of it seems to be an attempt to attempt to imitate the Amish)--and seems to be motivated more by an idea that the body is bad than by an idea that it is too precious to share with everyone who walks by. For some talk about beauty and modesty, see Regina Schmiedicke's article, Modesty and Beauty--The Lost Connection; this is probably the third best article on modest dress I've read, although do read this response to it.

FWIW, Schmiedicke's point about how, historically, people of higher status have worn more clothes than low-status people is accurate. It has lasted into modern times. In the early 1980s, the novelist and literature professor Alison Lurie published a fascinating book on clothing and how what people wear reveals social status and attitudes. (I've often thought it would make good reading for fantasy writers who are designing their world's clothing.) She talked about well-off people wearing more clothing--as well as better quality clothing and/or harder-to-clean clothing--as a probably unconscious sign of wealth, even in the '80s. I think it still holds true even today, when many women of all socio-economic classes are walking around skimpily dressed.

*** *** ***

Yet another in the long list of lawsuits I wouldn't have filed: an Oregon woman is suing her doctor and his clinic (presumably they have more money than he does personally) because the doctor convinced the woman that the way to cure her lower back pain was to have sex with him. Apparently more than one time, as the article mentions "treatments".

I wonder if she's any relation to that woman a while back who complained to her state's medical board because her doctor told her she was too fat and needed to lose weight. Stupidity/gullibility and whiny complaining are often related.

*** *** ***

Over the past year or two, there have been so many news stories about policemen being called on elementary school children that when I drove by the local elementary school last winter and saw a cop car in front I thought, "Oh, some little girl must have brought non-safety scissors to school."

Yesterday I saw a news story about cops being called to break up a fight between two six year-olds fighting over a pacifier. But this time I actually felt some sympathy with the caller (in this case, the mother of one of the boys, rather than a school official), when I heard why she called: she said she didn't want her son's school to accuse her of child abuse when they saw the marks on his face. Given the excessive nosiness of schools nowadays and the hell that a false accusation of child abuse could make of your life, I can kind of see it. But that just shows another set of problems.

*** *** ***

This isn't on the web (except as it relates to some opinion pieces I've read on government waste and "compassionate conservatism", etc.) but last week someone told me my husband and I should have filed for the hurricane-related food stamps. I pointed out that we didn't need them. "But you still should have filed, you could get up to $300 worth."

I again pointed out that we didn't need them, as we hadn't lost much food and could afford to buy food. The person didn't seem to get what I was saying and kept saying it was for anyone who'd lost food. "But I didn't lose much, I was careful to use up as much of the perishables as I could before I started using our non-perishables, and I figure what we lost is just a consequence of the risk we take living in a hurricane-prone area, and it's not as if we can't afford to buy more."

I never did get through, but then again I bit my tongue (as a politely brought up Southern girl, I do that a lot) and didn't point out that the government doesn't owe support to people who can help themselves, because I was afraid the person I was talking to might have applied for them and I didn't want to be offensive. But the whole thing was shocking to me, because it was coming from someone I wouldn't have expected to have such an attitude. It made me worry about how many other people are helping themselves to disaster relief they don't need.