Sunday, September 28, 2008

My 50th Birthday Party

Husband threw me a 50th birthday party last weekend. I really think it was the best party we've thrown yet. I had SUCH a good time and it seemed like everyone who came did too.

We had about 30 people or so - friends and family - some of whom came all the way from Lancaster county Pennsylvania. I was really touched (and no, not touched THAT way). There was a diner theme - because I LOVE diners. Any place where the waitresses call complete strangers "hon" is my kind of place. There was omelets made to order, meat loaf, open face turkey sandwiches and french toast as entrees (the party was a dinner time). The hors d'oerves were tiny chicken pot pies, tuna melts and crudite. We got 2 cakes from an incredible local bakery (Mozart's) one chocolate and one vanilla. I also made 2 pies - 1 apple and 1 cherry. Needless to say, no one left hungry on OUR account!

Oh I almost forgot - we also had some SPECIAL snacks: baked cheese curls, Reeses' peanut butter cups and Haribo Gummi Bears. Now these are specials because although I LOVE each of these treats, I NEVER keep them in the house. Mainly because I don't have any will power with these snacks. If any of these are in the house, I can't stop eating them. It's ugly. It's just easier not to buy them - except once in a very great while.

The party was loud and somewhat raucous - but not in that college frat party kind of way. It's was a party with a house full of people who liked to talk. I asked friends of mine to take pictures - knowing that I would forget. They took 198! So, over the next few weeks, I'm going to post some of these pictures. If there's a story behind the picture, I'll share it (assuming I know it.) Other times, there will just be a picture. And some of these picture are, um, ODD. But I like them because somehow they capture what the party was really like.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McCain's attempt to postpone the debate

What is McCain thinking? How on EARTH can his help on the financial mess we’re in that he must suspend his campaign and delay the debate? He’s not on any Senate committee that has anything to do with the economy or the market. He’s not, by his own admission, even conversant on the economy.

Does he really think that the only thing that thing keeping an agreement from being reached is his involvement in the legislative process? Please! He’s seen that the polls have swung 11 points against him in the last week based largely on economic issues. And, since his campaign has no actual IDEAS on how to fix the economy, maybe a little “razzle dazzle” will do that trick.

Suspend the campaign! Delay the debate! Boy THAT man really CARES about me! I think I’ll vote for him! Razzle dazzle’em and they’ll make you a star!

He really thinks Americans are stupid.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Main Stream Media

Time was newspapers and broadcast news were an important part of democracy in the USA. Those days are LONG gone. Too much has changed - if ever so slowly - for that to be true now. Newspapers and broadcast news have been reduced to profit-making concerns. Consumers of their products should keep that in mind.

Some of the things that have changed to make that true:

1. The Fairness Doctrine was done away with during the Reagan administration. This was a federal regulation that required all companies that used the public airways, to give both sides of the issue (or candidates) equal time. Doing away with this regulation made possible Fox News and the conservative monopoly on radio.

2. Commoditization of news by corporations, oddly enough also in the 1980's required that each newspaper or news broadcast make a profit. Prior to this, it was common practice (for broadcast news especially) to lose some money most years. It was considered the price a company paid to use the public airwaves. With profit making now the goal, news was dumbed down, ratings or circulation became more important leading to sensationalizing of the news, finding good-looking anchors became more important than good reporters. Eventually even the reporters became pretty faces who read the news as increasingly the news producer did more and more of the actual reporting.

3. Twenty-Four hours cable news started in the 1980's and becomes embedded in American culture by the 1990's. It all started with CNN of course, but eventually led to MSNBC and Fox. Unfortunately there's not enough actual news to fill one 24 hour news channel, let alone 3 of them. That led to focusing even more on stories that can be sensationalized (Scott & Lacey Peterson anyone?) and the genesis of the "pundit". If it that reads like a curse word, then you're paying attention. These creatures (I can't manage to call them people) make an enormous amount of money by telling news anchors their opinions about news stories - often politics. Actual qualifications aren't required to be a pundit, just HAVE an opinion. Having 2 pundits with opposing opinions is supposed to be good television and is what passes for trying to follow the Fairness Doctrine nowadays.

4. Also during the Reagan era, the federal law that restricted how many news outlets one company could own in one market was done away with. This law was intended to prevent one company owning all the TV stations, newspapers and radio stations in one market. Over a series of years that was changed. So now there's only one newspaper in most major cities (though, to be fair, this isn't the only reason). And there are many cities where one company owns the newspaper, a major radio and a major TV station. Clear Channel anyone? This has led to fewer voices with more power in fewer news outlets.

All of this is just to say that no one should assume that any journalist is solely devoted to the truth. They're not out to lie, but they are only concerned with reporting that PORTION of the truth that will get you to buy their newspaper or tune in to their news report. The news consumer, if you have any concern about getting the full story, must take the time to find it out for yourself. Sure, continue with the MSM if you like, but remember their bias. And don't forget about the internet. There are great blogs out there - with their own biases that they're very upfront about - and Google and Digg and too many other places to mention.

This is an election year, something to take very seriously. Don't let anyone bamboozle you into making a decision about any candidate - politicians have become adept at using the media (more on that soon). If you hear something interesting about a candidate, verify for yourself on the internet that it's true. Take responsibility for your own news, because nowadays, if you don't no one else will.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Funny Dream

I had an odd dream last week that ended with some guy setting fire to the seat of my pants as I walked away. Needless to say, I woke up at that point.

When I did I discovered that my cat Tillie lying right up against my butt and I was dripping with sweat I was so hot. Even at 4 AM when I'm mostly asleep, THAT was funny.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Marketing mistakes?

1. Husband and I got our first Christmas catalog on August 15th. AUGUST 15TH!!! I know that most retailers depend on holidays sales to make money and making money is difficult in an economy like this. But that's more than 4 MONTHS before the holiday. Kinda kills the holiday fun for me..

2. I bought a new cereal whose label describes some parts as "crunchy fiber twigs". TWIGS?? I need the fiber so I bought it anyway. And besides I've tried and liked other types of cereal by the same brand. But I laughed out loud in the grocery story when I read that. Someone in that company's marketing department got paid to come up with the copy "Crunchy fiber twigs". Who is worse the person who wrote the copy, or the person who approved the copy?