Leslie's Omnibus


I saw this Mary Mitchell op ed in the Sun Times this morning, and just about lost my breakfast on the spot.

We all know how I feel about the whole racist blame game, right? But since I'm anxiety-ridden and/or a bigot (we're No. 1), I figured I'd punt the link over to someone who is not either to address Ms. Mitchell's screed.


Baldilocks rocks.

(P.S. -- You notice that I avoided approaching a black person about this subject because it makes me so uncomfortable I just want to sneak out of the room and grab a cocktail, right?)

On a lighter note:

You Are a Strawberry Blonde

Men see you as flirtatious, but they also see you as a challenge

Because you're totally fearless and carefree

You've got the lightheartedness of a blonde, with the attitude of a redhead

Blame Richmond.

To further stir the pot, I agree completely with this policy. It's about damned time.

Jeebus! They spotted another one. This is getting spooky!

I've been missing The Divine Miss Marilyn something fierce, so when I spotted this little quiz over at Dragonheart and Merlin's joint, I figured I'd play it in her memory:

Yep. My sweet girl certainly was a diva.

Posting will be light to nonexistent from now through the 11th, as I'm off tomorrow afternoon for a cruise to celebrate the Princess Mom's birthday.

That is, of course, unless anyone out there wants the keys to the bus?

Shoot me an email at omnibus dot driver at gmail dot com if you're interested.

The Wheels On The Bus...

... go 'round an 'round. Just like the debate about dating relationships.

Funny how Dr. Helen's post asking about the weirdest date her readers have ever had, which started out as a light-hearted query, has turned into a war on single women in her comments section. Rather than fan the flames over in her comments, I thought I'd post my thoughts back here in my own back yard.

I dropped my own experience, circa 1991, into her comments here.

I will admit to having written and meant the following:
And then.... there was "The Consultant."

We must have had a decent telephone conversation. I don't remember much, except that he mentioned that he lived in Lakepoint Towers. Yes, indeedy -- the very place Oprah calls home. Lakepoint Towers! Well. That meant he was living in a swanky joint that couldn't possibly come cheap. He must be pretty successful if he could swing that kind of monthly rent or mortgage. Alrighty, then! Down to business. I agreed to meet him at his apartment, and we would go on to dinner from there.

(Yes, yes, yes. Go ahead and shake your head. I deserve it.)
And then the castigation began for being impressed by the fact that a potential date might be successful and live in a nice building:
I noticed the thing that stuck out in Omnibus Driver's initial description of the guy: Not anything in the uneventful phone conversation, but the fact that he lived in the same building as Oprah and he must have some bucks.

All he had to be was "normal" with the money. I hope you got at least a little money out of him.

American women. Gotta love 'em. Or not.
Please also note that this guy completely missed this part of my post:
Then the interrogation began -- family, job history, relationship history, religious preference, likes, dislikes, pets. He fired off question after question like a drill sergeant.
So it's okay for the guy to ask questions about employment history, but it's not okay for the woman to do the same.

This is why I hate dating and have pretty much given up on it completely.

There's always at least one guy in every crowd that thinks that the only thing a woman could possibly be interested in knowing about him is the size of his wallet and the prestige of his chosen career. Oooooh, baby, are they defensive about that. And he's usually the one who sits down next to me.

Call me crazy, but what's wrong with wanting to spend time with someone who is fulfilled by his work and doesn't have to scrounge for every penny?

Most of the time I'm happy with my work, proud of it, and I take care of myself financially pretty darned well.

I've worked in real estate management, as a legal secretary, in public relations, running an in-house secretarial service, as a resume consultant, as an executive assistant in several international consulting firms, and at one time was secretary to an international officer selection committee with final say-so on which candidates were passed forward and which ones weren't.

I've always worked for and with very intelligent, intellectually challenging people. One reason for that is that I'm pretty darned intelligent myself. (Note -- We all make occasional mistakes; hence, the weirdest date on record, where I broke my own rule about meeting at a neutral place. And I learned from it, too.)

Given all that, why wouldn't I want to meet someone who'll see me as an intellectual and professional equal, and someone who'll provide a ton of interesting conversation?

But let me back up a bit. Let me define successful -- which, to me, is someone who has mastery in his or her area of expertise, knows his or her own worth, and doesn't fall apart completely at the first sign of a pothole in the pavement of his or her professional or personal life.

I've dated lawyers, architects, bartenders, musicians, carpenters, consultants (corporate and self-employed), traders, salesmen and my ex-husband was a military policeman.

What made each one of these guys special was that when I met each and every one of them they appeared confident in themselves and respected by others in both their business and personal circles. All but the last have been through some kind of failure or other (marriages, dating relationships, financial problems, deaths in the family, loss of employment, etc.) and found a way to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and start again -- sometimes from scratch, sometimes taking the lesson and going back to the point of failure to fix it, if possible.

I admire resilience. When you've been knocked on your keister more than once and had no one to depend on but yourself to fix whatever landed you there (and I certainly have), you really do appreciate that quality in others.

I also admire people who are truthful.

The "Consultant"? He lied through his teeth when we talked, or I never would have agreed to meet him in the first place.

The guy who told me he was a chef? He turned out to work for a hot dog stand. That was a first and last date, too. Not because I'm a snob -- I love a good Chicago-style dog -- but because he was a liar.

I admire people who are generous.

One guy I met (and dated several times after) was delightfully honest and admitted that he'd really like to take me to a nicer restaurant than his budget would normally allow, and would I be turned off if he used an Entertainment Book coupon so he could do so? How flattering was that?

On the other hand, I met another guy who, on our first meeting, yanked out an Entertainment Book and asked if I wanted Greek, Thai or Chinese, because he never wasted money on a first date until he found out whether the chick was worth it or not. That told me volumes about the guy and the "date" ended right then and there.

I believe that if you ask me out, you pay. If I ask you out, I pay. No matter which is the case, you try to pick something the other person would enjoy, and do so freely. With many guys, no matter what happens, I lose here. Either I'm a gold-digging user who's cleaning out his wallet or a ball-busting bluestocking who's robbing him of his masculinity.

In practice, I'm all for first dates that are Dutch treat. That way either party can walk away with no hard feelings, and nobody but themselves to blame for how much the date cost. Easy-peasy.

I'm really, really tired of guys who think that the only thing I (or any other woman) could possibly be interested in was his paycheck.

First of all, that speaks volumes about his own insecurities.

Second of all, for the last two years of my marriage, I carried us both financially, working three jobs at a time to do it. My now ex-husband couldn't or wouldn't (equal parts) help me. I finally got out of that marriage when I realized that if I didn't save myself, then both of us were going to go down financially. Sorry. I didn't and couldn't take that dive.

Is it wrong to want someone who might be able to catch me if I stumble, at least long enough to dust myself off and get myself back on a good path? Not if I'm willing to return the favor, which I've already demonstrated I am.

Another thing I've had to take a hard look at is some of the lousy choices I've made in picking a decent guy to date in the past. I also measure up the good choices I've made. I've certainly tried to take the lessons to both as they come and apply them going forward. BUT that doesn't mean I hold every eligible man I meet responsible for the attitudes and actions of the ones like The Consultant or my ex-husband. I resent when it happens to me, and I refuse to do it to anyone else.

The best kind of relationships, in my book, are not the kind where you live on a rosy pink cloud in perfect bliss, but the kind where sometimes you do the leaning, and sometimes you are leaned on and most of the time you're pulling in harness in the same direction.

So what am I looking for in the end? Someone who is confident in himself and his abilities. Someone who shares many of the same values I do. Someone who gives freely and receives freely in return. Someone who defends me when I need it, cheers me on when I defend myself and with whom I never need to be defensive and vice versa. Someone who listens actively, acts thoughtfully and can agree to disagree from time to time. Someone who doesn't shrink from a fight, but who also fights fair. Someone who knows when to put a fight aside, and who relishes making up when it's done. Someone who knows how to cherish and to be cherished in return.

Not much, really. But it's surprisingly difficult to find.

Update: Yikes. I got referrals today from this guy. Go see where that leads you. I've got a talent for this, I'm telling you.


Snagged in equal parts from Denny and Bou:

What is your Perfect Major? (PLEASE RATE ME!!<3)
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as English

You should be an English major! Your passion lies in writing and expressing yourself creatively, and you hate it when you are inhibited from doing so. Pursue that interest of yours!





























Yup. I was a lit major. I'm working on a novel and I blog. Go figure.

Giggle of the day.

humorous pictures

This gives new meaning to these old hymn lyrics:
All nature sings and 'round me rings
The music of the spheres.

(A tip of the cap to Beth.)

This could be good, good news for the State of Illinois. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Spitzer had nothing on this guy. Kinky.


Received from my pal Elizabeth, this had me spewing my morning cuppa joe all over the monitor:

Passion pants. You've gotta love it.

Spicy tuna rolls with brown rice and the hottest wasabi I've ever stumbled across for lunch today. Ah! Sinuses. I know I've got 'em now.

Okay. I admit that having been to summer camp many a time, this struck my funny bone like a mallet:

humorous pictures

My heart goes out to this guy. (Snerk.)

Between the offshore Oregon earthquakes, the Midwest earthquake and aftershocks, and now the tremblers in Reno, I'm beginning to wonder if Illinois will literally become the new "left coast" some time in the near future.


I don't recall ever seeing or reading about this much seismic activity all across the U.S. all at once.

Geeze, Louise. Now I'm feeling pretty lucky it was only a cab that hit me.

Is it me, or does it get harder and harder to force yourself out the front door every day?

Arghhhhh!!! It's never going to end. Never. (And how 'bout that global warming, anyway?)

Seeing Woody Guthrie's grandkid provoked today's ear worm:

One I learned to play and sing back in my hippy-dippy days.

Road Music

A couple of friends invited me to a concert at the Old Town School of Folk Music* in Chicago last night. The music? A guy "who's a really great ukulele player" and Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion.
"No, no. I can't explain it, but Jack is phenomenal. You're going to love him."
Yup. I went to the last concert I'd ever before have paid money for because my friends invited me.

So why it would never have been on my hot list?

-- The headliner plays a 3-string ukulele.
-- The headliner does not sing... and I'm not big on solely instrumental music.
-- The headliner plays solo ukulele.

Tipping the scale in the other direction, however, was the fact that the headliner also tours with Jimmy Buffet.


Sarah Lee and Johnny opened, and I enjoyed this song, which was the opening number...

... and the last number, which was a lullaby they'd just recently written for their 8 month old child.

Everything else was the kind of self-indulgent, crunchy, granola-eating stuff that leaves me flat.

Worse, Johnny Irion should only be viewed on stage if he's seated. Yes, he has a beautiful voice. Yes, he can play the piano and the guitar and the harmonica. But when he's standing up and playing the guitar, he just has some wierd and distracting moves -- at times looking like he's trying to wrench the music right out of the instrument, and the instrument is fighting him every step of the way.

Once I began closing my eyes and just listening, it was much mo bettah.

Lovely voices. Good entertainers; yet I was still quite happy when they were done.

After the intermission the headliner came out, and the energy of the room changed instantly. On top of that, I went from healthy skeptic into pathetic little fan girl in the blink of an eye.

So who was the headliner?

Jake Shimabukuro.

Remember that name. And run, don't walk, to the nearest box office if you hear he's in town.

The OTSOFM's website describes him thusly:
Jake Shimabukuro defies all musical categories. Playing jazz, blues, funk, classical, bluegrass, folk, flamenco, and rock, Jake’s mission is to show everyone that the ukulele is capable of so much more than only the traditional Hawaiian music many associate it.
That doesn't even come close to describing him or his music. He's a virtuoso. Like Segovia... only more diverse in the music he chooses.

They say the human body is made of 90% water. Not this kid. (Oh, my freakin' God, he's only in his early 20's. I can't begin to imagine what he'll be like in 10 years. Or 20.) Nope. Jake Shimabukuro is equal parts molecules of music and magic. Behold:

A rock star virtuoso ukulele player. Who knew?

After I dragged my jaw back up from my knees, I realized that while I couldn't watch the first guy at all, I couldn't tear my eyes off this kid, who plays with his entire being.

You've GOT to see him, I'm telling you.

And Mike and Doug? Man! A billion kisses in your direction in thanks for such a wonderful gift!

*The OTSOFM's theater is a lovely, very intimate venue. I don't think there's a bad seat in the place, but reserve a table if you can. More leg room, don't you know?

From the Rowdies in the Back of the Bus

The Sweetheart of Shell Knob, MO sent me this little gem, which makes Jimbo's post over here all the funnier (at least to me):

Once upon a time in the kingdom of Heaven, God was missing for six days. Eventually, Michael the archangel found him, resting on the seventh day. He inquired of God, "Where have you been?"

God sighed a deep sigh of satisfaction and proudly pointed downwards through the clouds, "Look Michael, look what I've created."

Archangel Michael looked puzzled and said, "What is it?"

"It's a planet," replied God, "and I've put Life on it. I'm going to call it Earth and it's going to be a great place of balance."

"Balance?" inquired Michael, still confused.

God explained, pointing to different parts of earth. "For example, northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and wealth but cold and harsh, while southern Europe is going to be poor but sunny and pleasant. I have made some lands abundant in water and other lands parched deserts. This one will be extremely hot; while this one will be very cold and covered in ice."

The Archangel, impressed by God's work, then pointed to a land mass and said, "What's that one?"

"Ah," said God. "That's Illinois, the most glorious place on earth. There will be beautiful prairies, grasslands, farms, streams, abundant wild game and birds, rolling hills and woodlands. The people from Illinois are going to be handsome, modest, intelligent, and humorous, and they are going to be found traveling the world. They will be extremely sociable, hardworking and high achieving and they will be known throughout the world as diplomats and ambassadors of peace."

Michael gasped in wonder and admiration but then proclaimed, "What about balance, God? You said there would be balance!!!"

God replied wisely, "Wait until you see the idiots I put in Springfield, Cook County, and the Chicago City Hall."

(Ain't it the truth?)

She also sent this thought-provoking piece:

545 People. By Charlie Reese --

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does.

You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don't control monetary policy, The Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices - 545 human beings out of the 300 million -- are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress.

In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered but private central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority.

They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing.

I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall.

No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.

The president can only propose a budget.

He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes.

Who is the speaker of the House?

She is the leader of the majority party.

She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want.

If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 54 5 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility.

I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.

When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.

If the Marines are in IRAQ, it's because they want them in IRAQ.

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power.

Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like 'the economy,' 'inflation' or 'politics' that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses -- provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper

And from pal Elizabeth:

Urine Test Needed for All!!

Like a lot of folks, I have a job. I work, they pay me.
I pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit.

In order to get that pay check, I am required to pass a random urine test, with which I have no problem.

What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don’t have to pass a urine test.

Shouldn’t one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for them??

I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet.

I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone sitting on their ass while I do the work. I also have a problem with them using their welfare checks, buying drugs and alcohol.


I keep on getting these wacky ear worms. Try today's on for size:

That'll stick with you for a while.

Since I've met just about everyone Great Reader mentions in this post, it's doubly funny. And the comments just keep the laughter flowing.

Somebody's got to get this guy to a blogmeet.

All funny stuff aside, Crystal, hands down, has got to be the bravest blogger I know. Go here for the Crazy Chronicles.

Scrappy and brutally honest.

I take my hat off to her.

A quick funny from the Sweetheart of Shell Knob, MO:

Involuntary Muscular Contractions

A Professor was giving a lecture on "Involuntary Muscular Contractions" to his first year medical students. Realizing that this was not the most riveting subject, the Professor decided to lighten the mood slightly. He pointed to a young woman in the front row and said, "Do you know what your asshole is doing while you're having an orgasm?"

She replied, "Probably deer hunting with his buddies."

The professor laughed so hard he could not continue with the class...

Bacon dogs are illegal in Los Angeles? That's just un-American! Not to mention sacriligious. And another reason I'll never move to the left coast.

Happy weekend, all!


LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Only two with my maiden name, anyway. Eight with my current first and last names.

Christine made me do it.

I've seen news reports about dog and cat horders, and that's bad enough. But wolves and bobcats??? That's just crazy.

The boys may have been bananas... but the school administrators are nuts. Somebody needs to find a sense of humor here... and it ain't the kids.

Politics in Illinois are never dull. I am constantly amazed at how these guys keep getting themselves reelected. It's mind-boggling.

As far as I'm concerned, cheese is one of nature's perfect foods. But this is just disgusting. Ick.

If you're not from Illinois and you don't know what all the shouting is about with that Obama/Ayers dealio, go read this.

Today's ear worm:

Just try and keep your toes from tapping. I double dog dare you.

Bus Fumes

If this doesn't set your hair on fire, I don't know what will.

While Mary Mitchell would probably tell you that young mother needs more love, I'd say it's waaaaay to late for that.

Words fail me.


Close your eyes and picture me doing the happy dance on my desk. Yay!

Yikes! I think Blago's naughtiness is about to catch up with him in a big, big way. It's about time.

Good. We've had a whole rash of schools and colleges closing in the last couple of weeks over crap like this. Let the little bastards find out just how serious their damned pranks are.

You Belong in Generation Y

You fit in best with people born between 1982 and 2001.

You are cooperative, flexible, and adaptable.

You know the world changes quickly, and you're eager to change with it.

You are socially responsible, forward thinking, and open minded.


(A big ol' smoocheroo to Harvey for that one! I love knowing that you really are as young as you feel.)

And that one inspired this one:

Your Karaoke Theme Song is "Livin' On a Prayer"

You believe the best things in life are mostly forgotten, and you're definitely more than a little nostalgic .

You're likely to still like the same foods, fashions, and music as you did when you were a teenager.

You have a knack for knowing what elements of pop culture people have missed, without them even realizing it.

It's great to remember the past, but don't forget that not everyone is as stuck in it as you are.

You might also sing: "Pour Some Sugar on Me," "Rapper's Delight," and "Cherry Pie"

Stay away from people who sing: "Toxic"


I've got to tell you -- Whirlpool is right about this. Company policy is company policy. At the same time, I admire the Tribune for taking the opposite tack.

Oh, boy! There's been another cougar spotted in the 'burbs. I have a feeling we're going to see more and more of this. Scary!

For the Elderly Brothers:

Way cool!


Well that was interesting... and fast.

Mr. Cab Driver's Sleezy Lawyer (MCDSL) made a motion to have the ticket invalidated because the issuing officer it apparently made some mistakes, used a little Wite-Out, and corrected both the original and the copy given to Mr. Cab Driver (MCD). MCDSL intimated that there was no way to tell what direction MCD was going on Clinton Street.*

Issuing officer was apparently not in court.

Prosecuting attorney noted that I was in the courtroom and more than happy to testify which direction MCD had been traveling.

No. MCDSL most definitely did not want my testimony as to the direction MCD was going, as "she has her own set of interests in all of this."

Damn straight I do, Skippy.**

The ticket is being amended. New court date of May 29th.

Stay tuned, sports fans. I'm a good witness... and I'm really pissed off.

*Just as an FYI, Clinton Street is a southbound one-way street. Any idiot with Mapquest, Mapblast, Google or Yahoo! can figure out what direction he was going. And if MCD and or MCDSL don't know that, then MCD shouldn't be driving a Chicago taxi. (And I'd prefer he didn't drive one anyway.)

**And if I hadn't already decided to pursue personal injury damages (and I had not), you just gave me a great big shove in that direction. Wanker.


I'm off to traffic court to testify against that idiot who hit me shortly, but a few quick thoughts before I go:

Call me crazy, but this justs squicks me out.

Remember that "it's a black thing" I was talking about? Here's one more use of that lame excuse.

This, I think, is a very good thing. I wish I'd had all-girl classes -- for math and science, especially.

Hey, Jimbo! Didja hear about this? Yowza.
''He wouldn't hurt a flea,'' neighbor Carl Parker said. ''People just don't know him like I do. He's a good kid.''
Apparently his parents know their own kid better than their neighbor does. My heart aches for them. This can't be easy.


No wonder I never liked the guy. He always struck me as someone who did more harm than good.

Quote of the Day:
I'd Vote For Sasquatch
...If he floated some economically reasonable, feasible ideas about health care and Social Security, and sound policy on immigration, terrorism, and other issues.
Good Lord, I like this woman.

I'll never hear the words "potato salad" again without having those images pop into my mind's eye. And I'll be blaming Mark every single time.

*I had a couple of buddies who nicknamed me "Mother T" in high school. I guess I haven't changed much, have I?

No Smoking On The Bus

I didn't want to make a big deal out of it if I failed again, so I've held off writing about my latest escapades in trying to quit the demon tobacco until I knew I was successful.

Wouldn't you know, I got bounced from the study? Somehow or other I didn't fit their parameters.

That bummed me out... even though I really was dreading the awful side effects of the nicotine patch that I knew I'd have to use.

And then a funny thing happened. I actually had to go visit my doctor's office.

After most of the bumps, contusions and bruises cleared up (oh, I still have a few!), I finally got around to discussing the whole smoking issue with Dr. Hot Stuff, as I know it's a bad, bad thing to do with my genetic disposition towards throwing blood clots.

We discussed my past success (quit a 3 pack per day habit cold turkey and stayed quit for 10 years) and failures (all it took was 1 cigarette, and it led to too many attempts to quit to count). I admitted that I dreaded the patch, hated the gum and lozenges and absolutely loathed the nasal spray. Zyban was okay, but only helped to ratchet my smoking habit down a notch.

Dr. Hot Stuff suggested that I try Chantix, as it doesn't contain nicotine, and helps block the brains craving for the nasty stuff. Her concern was that if I had had wild dreams on the patch (and boy, oh, boy, did I!) that it might also be problem with Chantix.

To be honest, I was really psychologically ready to quit, and figured that there was a beginning, middle and end to the dosing schedule that I could probably live with. So I tried it.

And I'm smoke-free.

Not crawling the walls.

Not eating everything in sight.

Not snapping people's heads off.

Not losing sleep.

Holy moly! I want to kiss every single member of the research staff that developed this stuff.

It's not that I don't get the urge every once in a while, but it's not an overwhelming urge and I can usually make it go away fast.

Believe me when I say that I've tried to quit many, many times in the past, and it has always been a painful process.

Not this time.

I feel good about this.


How'd you like to be these parents?
Ryan Schallenberger, 18, was arrested Saturday after his parents called police when 10 pounds of ammonium nitrate was delivered to their home in Chesterfield and they discovered the journal, said the town's police chief, Randall Lear.
Thank God they were on the ball enough to check out what their kid was up to.

I find this eerily frightening, as I just finished this book on Saturday afternoon. (An outstanding, but disturbing read.)

Gore speaks. The planet responds. (You'd think he'd wait for warmer weather before he spouts this stuff, wouldn't you?)

Beth has one explanation for the earthquake in the Midwest this past week. Personally, though, I'm thinking Great Reader has the more likely explanation...

Swiped from Sour:

Your Slogan Should Be

Omnibus driver. It's What's for Dinner.


Stumbled over on my own...

You Are 20% Weirdo

Your thinking is so in line with the mainstream, it's pretty freaky.

Have you ever considered running for political office?

You're so normal, people can't help but feel comfortable with you!


Today's ear worm:

Blame it on Catfish.

Did you know that bruises itch just like scabs when they heal? Arghhhhhhhh!!!!


Got this from my pal Mr. Bill and it just made me giggle:


Speaking of giggles, Elizabeth sent me this. It's infectious!

Methinks that Alan Keyes is getting ready to apply for the U.S. Olympic wig-flipping team. If practice makes perfect, he'll be team captain.

(A tip of the cap to Glen Reynolds.)

Nope. Didn't feel it. But then again, I can sleep through almost anything. It must have been something, as folks from the town next door to mine to central Illinois to Indiana to Wisconsin did feel it!

You don't suppose it's related in any way to this, do you?

Plate tectonics always did fascinate me...

I hate to say it, but that CTA motorman was right. Those people were absolutely stupid for getting off an electric train stuck in a tunnel -- especially if they couldn't see and didn't have their Spider-Sense set for "third rail."

Those idiots could have gotten themselves killed.

And then their families would have sued CTA... and that motorman... for not stopping the stoopnagles.

I took this funny little test today and whaddayaknow?

Click to view my Personality Profile page

I like words. Go figure.

(A tip of the cap to Col.)

Update: My first Cripple-lanche! Thanks, Denny!


The Caffeine Click Test - How Caffeinated Are You?
Created by OnePlusYou

Oddly, I've only had one cup of coffee so far today...

(A tip of the cap to Beth.)

If medblogs can get really interesting some times, you should see just how much of a brow-raiser a blawg can be. Crikey!

Looks like we may another urban cougar in the Chicagoland area. No! Not that kind of urban cougar. Get your mind out of the gutter!

A few Blogthings, just because:

You Communicate With Your Body

This isn't as bad as it sounds, it just means that you're a "touchy-feely" person.

You need a lot of affection in your life. And for you, this means both giving and receiving little touches.

Warm hearted, you bond with people easily. In fact, you often feel a little sad when you're not in the company of others.

A little moody, you tend to be controlled by your emotions. But a bit hug always comforts you!

You Are Somewhat Machiavellian

You're not going to mow over everyone to get ahead...

But you're also powerful enough to make things happen for yourself.

You understand how the world works, even when it's an ugly place.

You just don't get ugly yourself - unless you have to!

Your Dominant Intelligence is Interpersonal Intelligence

You shine in your ability to relate to and understand others.

Good at seeing others' points of view, you get how people think and feel.

You have an uncanny ability to sense true feelings, intentions, and motivations.

A natural born leader, you are great at teaching and mediating conflict.

You would make a good counselor, salesperson, politician, or business person.


Today's earworm:

I was the song leader at a YMCA camp for several years. The kids all loved this.

Has anyone heard from Ms. Sandy (originally of the Pea Patch and Fade to Black)?


Darren (of Darren McLikes Himself)?

I miss every one of them!

Bus Fumes

In my post Monday, I promised a response to what to me is a particularly provocative op ed.

Down in the comments my buddy Nancy warns, "I'd walk away if I didn't know to whom I was speaking. There's no way to 'win' an arguement with a racist. It's like wrestling with a pig in the mud. All that happens is the pig gets happy and you get muddy."

And there, in a nutshell, is what pisses me off so royally about the whole problem of having a conversation about racism with a good many (not all, but a good many) black people -- that if you're a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant American, you're automatically assumed to be on the losing end of this discussion. Wrong! We're just wrong:
Fear derails meaningful talks on race
For whom, Ms. Trice?
Say you are a white person who's at a dinner party and a subject involving race surfaces. The topic could be about anything: from the comments made by Barack Obama's former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright to Bill Cosby's cross-country tour promoting personal responsibility and self-reliance.

So what do you do? Engage in the conversation or determine where the booze is being served and cozy up to a cocktail in another room?
Aha! A white person!

How lovely of you to start off with the assumption that it would be unusual for a white person to be at a dinner party where this might happen. Or that we're all pansy-asses who can't and won't defend our own positions, but would rather walk away because it's too uncomfortable. Or that we'd necessarily disagree with your own position.

Mighty open minded of you, I must admit.

(BTW — Please don't lump Reverend Wright and Mr. Cosby together. I adore Mr. Cosby.)

Excuse me while I so grab myself a cocktail. (Make that a double.) When I get back, pull up a chair and sit down next to me.
A recently published Northwestern University study looks at white people who avoid racial conversations and even interracial interactions primarily because they are so afraid they will say something that's not politically correct and it will make them appear prejudiced.
Nice to know that such a neutral position was taken from the start. No preconceptions about white people and their prejudices. Nope. None at all.
That someone would avoid a situation that might make them seem racist is not surprising. What was striking about the study's findings was that the participants — taken from a pool of about 300 students — were so incredibly unnerved by these seemingly minor interactions that their responses mimicked those of people who felt anxious about weightier things, such as chronic pain.
That college-aged kids would go out of their way to a painful degree to avoid appearing politically incorrect? Unthinkable. That 300 white kids from an upscale University are any true sampling of the opinions in the rest of the population United States? Preposterous. That's not even close to a true litmus test of the WASP population of the U.S. at that age level.
Jennifer Richeson, associate professor of psychology and African-American studies at Northwestern, along with Sophie Trawalter, a post-doctoral fellow there, wanted to see how much political correctness — which we need to some degree in a society, right? — had fundamentally altered the way the participants process what they see. And, in a sense, feel.
Of course we need some degree of political correctness in a society — as long as it's your definition and not mine. Right? Given Ms. Richeson's and Ms. Trawalter's academic backgrounds, it's clear that there is absolutely no bias in their chosen areas of study. None at all.

Again, I question the validity of research that sets out with the assumption that all white people are prejudiced (and, by inference, that all black people are not).
After a prescreening, a group of students was tested using what's called the dot-probe test. The students sat in front of a computer screen that showed two faces on the left and on the right—that of a black man and a white man. The faces, equidistant from one another, were always similar, at times neutral or happy.

The participants were told to stare at a center spot and then find a dot that appeared behind one of the faces after both were removed. The speed at which the participants' eyes discovered the dot determined if he or she had inadvertently fixed on the black face or the white face. Everything happened so fast that students didn't know they had spent varying amounts of time on each face.
Black on the left. White on the right. I'd pay good money to see the artwork or photographs used. I'm confident that both models used were clean-cut, clean-shaven and had similar haircuts, too. Aren't you?
"We found that the participants instinctively looked at what is making them feel nervous [the black face] and then ignored it because they didn't want to deal with it," said Richeson, who won a MacArthur genius grant in 2006. "Social norms, or political correctness, have become so ingrained that it has altered their patterns of visual attention. This clearly shows just how deep and visceral these reactions are. The fear, the avoidance has, in essence, reprogrammed their brain."
Did they ask the participants if they ignored the black faces because because they were making them feel nervous, or did they assume that was the cause?

Oh! And it's nice to know that it's not our fault that just the sight of black people alone make us white people nervous because our brains have been reprogrammed. We simply can't help ourselves.
Richeson said this may mean that we need to reframe our thinking and separate people who are anxious about race relations from people who are simply bigots. This is helpful, if the goal is to keep people of different races engaged, talking and hopefully learning from one another.
It's good to know that we're either reprogrammed and anxiety-ridden or simply bigots. That there's no third or fourth or fifth alternative. Mighty decent of you. Makes me all warm and tingly and ready to reframe my thinking.
This study hits home for me because in recent weeks I've been hearing from many of you who may not be terribly anxiety-ridden in interracial situations but still worry about the price of missteps when dealing with race.
Worried about missteps when dealing with race? Clearly I'm one of those people who's worried about putting a wrong foot in that discussion. Quite frankly, I'm sick to damned death of worrying about everyone's delicate sensibilities but my own.
Richeson told me that the beauty of the study is that subtle changes can calm fears. For example, in some situations a simple smile can lessen tension. So can an invitation to converse about racial topics with the understanding that people will try not to get so defensive.
And why should we be defensive when entering into a conversation with people who assume we're either brainwashed sheep or ignorant bigots? You go ahead and smile to ease my tension. I still know what you're thinking.
A reader, who leads seminars on diversity, told me that she begins by telling participants that they will make mistakes. But it's how they deal with the mistakes that's important.
White participants or black? Because I'm pretty damned sure that it's only the white participants the reader is referring to.
Those missteps shouldn't be a deal breaker if they are sincere about opening up.
You want opening up? Here goes:

My mother's family are New England Protestants that go back far enough that I could easily join the DAR. They never, ever owned slaves, and in fact lived in an area of the country where abolitionism was rampant. I'm proud of that history.

But, according to you, I'm either anxiety-ridden or a bigot.

On my mother's side, I have relatives who fought for the Union in the Civil War. I'm proud of that history.

But, according to you, I'm either anxiety-ridden or a bigot.

On my father's side of the family, all my great, great grandparents immigrated immediately after the end of the Civil War, and all settled in the Ohio River Valley area. They were dirt poor, spoke little English, and never owned slaves. I'm proud of that history.

But, according to you, I'm either anxiety-ridden or a bigot.

I'm the child of a man who lost his father at the age of three and his mother at the age of sixteen, but he worked hard and received a full academic scholarship to an elite university. When that didn't work out, he joined the military, took on hazardous duty for extra pay, and then used his G.I. Bill to get himself a degree in chemical engineering. I'm proud of that history.

But, according to you, I'm either anxiety-ridden or a bigot.

I grew up in the sixties and early seventies. I learned from hippies and Woodstock and Coca-Cola and Dr. King and Archie Bunker and a whole host of other media influences that prejudice was wrong and that everyone should be treated equally. I took that doctrine to heart. I'm proud of that history.

But, according to you, I'm either anxiety-ridden or a bigot.

I was a counselor at a co-ed YMCA camp that accepted loads of Title IV kids from the Chicago inner city every summer. I taught them how to swim. How to start a fire and how to cook over it. How wonderful it is to sleep under the stars. How to fish. How to canoe. How to use a compass. Too see the beauty of lakes and forests and rivers, and not to be afraid of new things. I'm proud of that history.

But, according to you, I'm either anxiety-ridden or a bigot.

I've dated my share of black gentlemen. It disconcerted my parents, sure, but it never stopped me. Whatever their own prejudices, my parents taught me that prejudice was wrong and I should look for good character in people before I should see race or income or education. Yes, it was do as I say and not say as I do, but they tried. I'm proud of them and proud of that history.

But, according to you, I'm either anxiety-ridden or a bigot.

During the first Gulf War, when lots of people — black, white, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and more — wouldn't get into a taxi with a Middle-Eastern driver, I regularly did so and had great conversations about religion, life, the progress of the war, and more. More than once I accepted invitations to dine with a cabbie and his family so I could learn more about their faiths and cultures. Each one was a delightful experience. I'm proud of that history.

But, according to you, I'm either anxiety-ridden or a bigot.

I once attended a baby shower in the Chicago projects where I was the only white person invited. The shower was for the mother of a young lady I'd "adopted" through the Tribune's Santa letter program, and with whom I'd maintained a mentoring relationship for years. I'm proud of that history.

But, according to you, I'm either anxiety-ridden or a bigot.

A good (black) friend of mine invited me to her daughter's wedding shower. Again, I was the only white person there. My friend expected me to introduce myself and make myself at home, as she was busy with guests and gifts and grandchildren. I expected nothing less of her and she expected nothing less of me. The other guests, however, had no clue what to make of the fact that there was a white person in the room. Shirley's response to any of their inquiries? "That's Leslie and she's cool." I just did what she asked of me and acted like I belonged. By the end of the evening everyone was relaxed and we all had a great time. When the wedding and reception rolled around, I was welcomed with open arms. I'm proud of that friendship and that history.

But, according to you, I'm either anxiety-ridden or a bigot.

Here's what perplexes me — When I've had discussions with some of my black friends, especially the males, about cultural differences and political correctness and, for example, why it's okay for a black person to drop "n-bombs" all over the place but it's not okay for a white person to do it, and I invariably get the same answer. "You wouldn't understand. It's a black thing." And the conversation is ALWAYS abruptly steered in a different direction.

You know what? If I'm trying to understand, and I'm trying to deprogram myself, ease my anxiety by educating myself and straining to throw off the shackles of my bigotry, then who is it who's refusing to have dialog and who's open to it?

Here's another question for you. Why does the issue of racial discussions only focus on blacks and whites? Why not invite in Latinos and Asians and Middle-Easterners and more? Because you assume that all whites are prejudiced and then throw down the "you-wouldn't-understand-it's-a-black-thing" race card in order to maintain your own position of smug moral superiority. And that's a form of reverse bigotry all its own.

I'm open to discussion even though, according to you, I'm either anxiety-ridden or a bigot. I'll own what's mine here. I'm far from perfect and I've got a lot to learn.

But so, Ms. Trice, do you and people of your ilk whose prejudices against me and the rest of the WASP population of the U.S. are so blatant.

Until you're willing to put your own prejudices aside when you come to the table, I'm done apologizing for who I am. I have nothing to be ashamed of here.


Ear worm of the day:

Just try and get that one out of your head!

Because the guy with the great farookin' hair loves his flavored cocktails, here are two gems just for him!

Car-ma. Heh.

Good gad. All the great cartoon artists from my childhood heroes at Disney Studios are gone now. May the Good Lord bless you, Mr. Johnson. And thanks for the wonderful legacy you left behind!

If you've read anything at all about the cougar killed in Chicago yesterday, then you know that animal rights activists were all up in arms about why animal control wasn't called, and why a tranquilizer gun wasn't used. The answers are here and here. While it is entirely a shame, I guess it truly was a necessity.

Today I can finally stop bitching about the weather. (Yay!)

Around the Next Corner

I'm working on a post, but have to cool down before I commit my thoughts to posterity.

What set me off, you ask?

The sheer hubris in this op ed:
Say you are a white person who's at a dinner party and a subject involving race surfaces. The topic could be about anything: from the comments made by Barack Obama's former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright to Bill Cosby's cross-country tour promoting personal responsibility and self-reliance.

So what do you do? Engage in the conversation or determine where the booze is being served and cozy up to a cocktail in another room?

A recently published Northwestern University study looks at white people who avoid racial conversations and even interracial interactions primarily because they are so afraid they will say something that's not politically correct and it will make them appear prejudiced.

That someone would avoid a situation that might make them seem racist is not surprising.
Check back tomorrow. It'll be a humdinger. I guarantee.


Speaking of LL, she also steered me towards an article which provides the Quote of the Day:
They might melt the first one, but they probably won't get to the second one.
That'll teach anyone who's fencing stolen scrap metal!

Compare and contrast and then discuss among yourselves. This is a problem we really ought to pay more attention to.

This is an interesting read, from an even more interesting source. Kudos to Slate for presenting a fair and balanced article.

Not content with just the state of Illinois, Drew Peterson and Joel Brodsky reach out to taint the national jury pool.
In fact, Brodsky said, his strategy for keeping his client out of jail runs counter to the traditional lawyerly advice of having him keep quiet. Instead, Brodsky wants to put Peterson in the public eye.

"I think in the long run, people are going to say how smart I am to have done it this way," Brodsky said. "I think it's the only way."
Smart like a fox.

More SNOW??? Nooooooooooooooo!!! (Happy weekend to you, too.)

Tootin' the Horn, Part II

Another one of my blogging buddies is having a birthday.

Go wish LL a very Harley Birthday! She's another one that'll appreciate all (in)appropriate natal day greetings.

That'll Buckle Your Swash

A good friend of mine was recently discussing what was, in his not-so-humble-opinion, the greatest swashbuckler of all times -- The Princess Bride.

While I agree that Inigo Montoya is a marvelous character, he doesn't hold a candle to Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone and Olivia de Haviland in Captain Blood:



Tootin' the Horn

One of my favorite Jawja Blown-Eyed Blodgers is having a birthday. Go send him (in)appropriate greetings! He wouldn't have it any other way!


Today's ear worm can be found here. I love me some Randy Travis.

Knowing how I feel about protesters trying to put out the Olympic torch during the relay, my BlogDaddy sent me this so I can actually DO something about it. Heh.

He also asked how my leg's coming along. I've still got a good bit of cellulitis and edema from the knee down, along with a couple of stubborn-to-heal scabs and one big (very tender) hematoma right behind my knee that's taking it's own sweet time to go away. Dr. Hotstuff says it'll probably be another ten days before I see a big difference.

The only thing I can do to affect anything here is keep my foot elevated above the level of my heart so the swelling will go down.

The next time I have to spend this much time flat on my back with my feet elevated, I damned well better be having a hell of a lot more fun.

This is getting old, folks.

Do me a favor and go send my kid a hug. I think she needs more than one today!

Kees Kennis Meme

Reposted from April 14, 2006, and ONLY because Keesie requested it.

Sorry, Darlin'. No beer at this blog. But if you want to talk a nice Pinot Noir...


Holy crap! Now I REALLY feel lucky.

I'm telling you, you really have to watch out for motorists in the Windy City, whether you've lived here forever or or just a visitor. They certainly aren't watching out for pedestrians.


Sometimes I get the damnedest ear worms. Since 5:00 p.m. yesterday, this old cartoon theme song has been stuck in my head:

Where in the world does this come from???

And, of course, that brought up a link to a cartoon with some of the most annoying character voices of all times:

My brain hurts now.

I love reading the blogs linked to Grand Rounds, because every once in a while you find a gem like this:
When reading through these research papers, it is quickly apparent that some of these studies were a whole lot more fun than others.
Again I ask, who says medical blogs are boring???

A reporter at the Strib has finally pierced the veil of Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy in Inver Grove Heights, MN. Read the whole thing. It's an eye-opener:
Charter schools are public schools and by law must not endorse or promote religion.

Evidence suggests, however, that TIZA is an Islamic school, funded by Minnesota taxpayers.
If I lived in Inver Grove Heights, I know I'd be pissed.
The interval since Chicago's last 70-degree high on October 21 continues to widen. It's been 171 days since the warm- weather benchmark was achieved.

(I can haz spring k pls thx?)

Another of my childhood favorites bites the dust. That just stinks.

Deliberate Darwin Awards candidate. That's creepy. And strange.

This is just about the stupidest thing I've heard in a long time. I'd have told the neighbor to stick it, gone to court to fight the ticket, and refused to give up my delegate seat.

I guess that makes my pal LL a racist for referring to her kids as "Big Monkey" and "Little Monkey," too. (Ha! Not likely.)

This whole political correctness thing has gone way too far overboard -- and only seems to apply native-born caucasian Americans. Enough already!


What happens when a Redneck meets an infamous North Korean? Hilarity, that's what:

Dear Jihad… Gw8 Weader of TMZ.com and all things Elvis.

I think you and your people are reawy awight. (Got Damn, this Koreen’s hard to type… keyboards upsidedown and backerds) Y’all’s just missin’ a few scwews. Been givin’ ‘em away for too boucou time for 5 dolla. I think we shipped those bastards, and the scwews, to Taiwan, or Tibet, one of them Ti places Might have been Ti-Chee, or mabye Ti-Boh. We were just tryin’ to hep a brother out. It’s what we do here in ‘merica!
Yes, indeedy!

I have had ENOUGH precipitation already. Enough! (Well, apparently not enough.)

If you want to protest China and it's actions, protest China. But leave the damned Olympics ALONE.

The Olympics are not about politics. The games are a celebration of athleticism and a symbol of unity.

Leave the torch relay alone, and take your protest to where it rightly belongs -- to the people and government of China. Leave the IOC and the athletes out of it.

He just can't stand not being in the news. Neither can his attorney. Shit heels.

Finally! An ex-NBA player you can really look up to. The Chicago Public School System could really benefit from his company's expertise!

Nick Digilio took an hour out of his radio show on Sunday to discuss the topic of memorable mustaches in pop culture. Overlooked? One of my childhood favorites:

Gotta love that Oil Can Harry.


Pammy hits the high points of almost everything I want in a political candidate. The only one she left out? I want a candidate who knows the definition of and practices fiscal responsibility.

Humorous Pictures

This photo reminds me of my (feline) stud male, DT, who had the same crabby-ass look on his face, but was the sweetest boy on the planet. Sigh. I should be so lucky as to find a real boyfriend half as loving....

Six more words...

Christine, who tempts me outrageously with beeeee-yuuuuuu-tee-ful jools, has hit me with the six words meme from last week.

Here you go:
Everything that goes around comes around.
And just in case those of you who I didn't tag the last time are feeling neglected... and to provoke the widest range of responses... Hmmmm....

Barb from Bloggo Chicago
General Kang at the Skwib

That oughta do it.

Today's ear worm... and one of my favorite songs. This is one that I like to listen to in the car with the windows rolled down, the stereo cranked up and sing at the top of my lungs... with my left foot tapping out the beat.