Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Artificial intelligence--as if

I have been getting some very strange recorded calls lately reminding me about obscure issues to think about in the next election, or some moral issue to consider, or the proper way to dispose of toxic chemicals. Weird stuff. But what just happened beats them all--I was just totally lied to by a computer!

The conversation went something like this:

--Hi. This is Mike calling from the Dove Corporation and I can assure you, this is not a solicitation. Can I please speak with Emily?
--This is Emily.
--Emily, hi! The morals in today's movies are going downhill and Hollywood controls all of that. They are just not making movies with family values in mind, and it's only going to get worse. Let me ask you, do you have children under the age of 16?
--Yes. Who is this again?
--I am calling from a company out of Delaware called the Dove Company. It is spelled D-O-V-E, and no, it has nothing to do with the soap. We are concerned with the lack of decency in movies made today and our corporation has decided to back a company called FFE, or Films for Family Entertainment, because they have already spent millions on making wholeso--
--Is this a recording?
--Ha ha ha!! Do I sound that bad? Actually, we have been working with a computer in this call, but I can assure you you have been speaking to a live person the entire conversation. We would like to have FFE give you a call in a few days so that they will be able to tell you more--
--This is a recording, isn't it!?
(The whirring sound of computer trying to cue the right response to spew.)
--Ha ha ha!! Do I sound that bad? Actually, we have been working with a computer in this call, but I can assure you you have been speaking to a live person the entire conversation.

Boom! And there is was. The first time I have had a computer lie to me point blank. It pulled up its little pre-recorded response and I caught it in its dirty rotten lie.

Family values, my foot. The morals of recorded telephone calls are going downhill, I tell you, and it is just going to keep getting worse.

So what did I do? Not one to be rude to telemarketers (and it did sound so close to being a real dude), I said, "No, thank you" as politely as could be expected and hung up on that lying, no-good, immoral recorded telemarketing computer.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

For your perusing pleasure

Some of my favorite posts on some of my favorite blogs.

Monoglot--My brother knows everything.
The Godfreys--Dumb family jokes, maybe, but so much fun to make a Bollywood movie.
Nienie--I love that story.
Suzie--She has mastered the delicate art of telling a story about someone who may possibly read what you wrote.
Carly--Her second most endearing post, since "Junque for Jesus" was a little too controversial for the masses and had to be laid to rest.

More to come. I get so bored with the same old thing showing up on my blog, I thought a partial post would suffice to move that durn restaurant photo down the page.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Oh, the joy of a good meal (when the boss is buying); OR, I ate at a restaurant the name of which elicits my speech impediment

A Toss of Field GREENS with Pear, Peppered Pecans, Radish & Warm Goat Cheese
Red Onion Vinaigrette

Almond -Crusted Rainbow TROUT, Smoked Red Bell Pepper Sauce
Noodles with Asparagus

Banana Rolled in Flour Tortillas, Quickly Fried;
Dusted with Cinnamon Sugar Topped with Chocolate & Banana Ice Cream

Monday, January 23, 2006

The saddest story

Last summer, in Phoenix, a woman came home from a birthday party to find her parents and brother murdered, and her two children missing. It was believed that her husband had killed her family members when they would not let him take his children, and then he fled with the children to Mexico. She pled for the safe return of the children.

Then, the children were found safe in Mexico, the man arrested and eventually extradited back to the US, and a reunion was organized for the mom with her kids. There was much media attention through the whole ordeal. The community seemed relieved that there was something of a happy ending for this woman who had already been through so much.

This weekend, the little girl, 4 years old, was playing in a parking lot with her mother standing feet away. The little girl was hit by a 72-year-old man in a truck who got out to check the damage of his truck before glancing at the child and getting back in and driving away. The mother was hysterical. The little girl died.

So, in summary, parents and brother are brutally murdered, two children are kidnapped, long search for children, children are found in Mexico, joyful reunion with children, community rallies around. Six months later, daughter is killed in accident by heartless man in hit-and-run.

My heart aches for this mom.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Man looketh on the outward appearance

I keep getting forwarded emails of a picture of a Baptist church sign with a funny message for the Mormons: "Service canceled due to loss of pastor to Mormon missionaries." "If you didn't finish the Book of Mormon, you can come to our church." I got two today. (Thanks, Jocelyn, for the inspiration for this blog.) If there are more out there, by all means, send them my way. I will start a little collection of Baptist church sayings.

But that's not what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about how I was asked to speak in church on Sunday about Seeing Others the Way Heavenly Father Sees Them; aka Not Judging Others; aka Charity. As is usual with every topic about which I am asked to sermonize, I could be a little better in the area. So I'm working on it, this week especially, to try to see the infinite worth of all the individuals I encounter; to not judge them or be jealous of them or look down on them; to not do anything to them except have pure and undefiled love for them.

Which becomes hard, because for the first time in months and months, I have turned on the tv to watch prime time television. I have been suckered (by those rascally television producers who are so good at what they do) into being hooked (already!!) on American Idol. And wouldn't you know it?

The people on this show are so pathetic!! It makes me cringe that so much effort is put into making people look ridiculous, trashy, crazy, imbecilic, half-witted, desperate, insert your own adjective here--in front of all the world. It is obvious that the producers have screened out all the mediocre, boring people and allowed through to Randy, Simon, and Paula only the really good or really, really miserable auditioners. Why must we laugh at the poor fools who SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER THAN TO TRY OUT FOR THIS SHOW?

It is really interfering with my dedication to living the principle of charity this week. Thank you, Baptist Church, for capturing what is in my heart on your marquee:

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Hello, I love you. Won't you tell me your name?

I'm taking roll.

I'm curious: who is reading this? I think it's important to know, for example, if my inquisitive neighbor has read about herself. What about questionable doctrine lady? What about Carly and Marcy?

If you would, just this once, identify yourself in the comments, I would be most appreciative. Friends, strangers, familial relations, lurkers, stalkers, one and all, please come forward. Make yourself known.

You can say "here" or "present" or recount what book you are currently reading or your favorite lyric from your favorite song from The Doors. Anything you want to say. Just say something.

Ready? Go.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Now you know

Ever wonder where you would end up if you dug a hole from your house to the other side of the earth? China? Think again. If you're like me, you'd end up smack dab in the middle of the Indian Ocean, swimming like mad for Madagascar.

Try it for yourself.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Getting over myself

At least 345 people were trampled to death in a Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Not to be culturally insensitive, but holy cow! How very, very sad and horrific for all those people.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


1. I might be a Hank Williams fan now.
2. Even though The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is kind of a silly book (I cried. Darn it!), the discussion tomorrow with my book club will rock, because I am leading it.
3. I should go to the doctor about my sore throat. No, I shouldn't go to the doctor about my sore throat.
4. Oh, to get my 2 1/2 year old to sleep through the night!
5. Samuel Alito seems to be holding up okay. I think I'd vote for his confirmation.
6. White House Press Secretary is the WORST job in the world.
7. What if my thoughts were numbered like this in my brain?
8. What were the makers of Dinotopia thinking making a four hour movie?
9. Syphilus in Baltimore. Books could be written.
10. I love my new lime boucle socks from Dillards.
11. I wish I could get that video clip on today.msnbc.com to play of my old roommate's best friend's encounter with a robber and how she did all the right things to stay safe. I'm glad she's okay and I hope she still listens to Alanis Morissette a lot.
12. What happened to Carly and Marcy and will they be coming back?
13. I really ought to come up with something clever to say for that special time when next my inquisitive neighbor tells me I look pregnant. . .because of the glow, only because of the glow.
14. She'll be the last person to know if I ever get pregnant.
15. I have a simple mind. And I'm tired. See number 4.
16. If someone is considering buying a gift for me, I would like a Simple Minds CD. And also Hank Williams.

Monday, January 09, 2006

My Give a Damn is on the verge of Busting

This weekend I was berated by a 16-year-old girl because I was helping her mother, the newly baptized Mormon, divide up her paycheck into her budget envelopes and we put money into an envelope labeled "Tithing."

"Don't you think $100 a month is a little excessive to give to the church? We have to get the dog groomed and it will cost $35, and my mom owes me $40 because she forgot to pick me up at the airport and I had to take a cab home and we also need to save money so we can move out of this &#^@ state. By the way, my mom tried to drink alcohol last week and the only reason she didn't is because I told her she couldn't drink and drive. We already spent some of the money from this week at Starbucks. Did my mom tell you that? Well, I didn't make any commitments to pay tithing and half of that money is mine." It hurt my ears, she whined so much.

Sassy, talk-back Emily was fighting hard to surface, but was just kept in check by polite, in-someone-else's-house, take-the-abuse Emily. Take-the-abuse Emily seems to pop up most often when I'm playing the role of ward missionary. I ignored her as best I could and proceeded to assess which overdue bills ought to be paid first, then left with the worst feeling I like to call This Convert Isn't Making It mixed in with a little guilty Emily, Where's Your Faith and a whole lot of Who Does That Girl Think She Is Attacking Someone Who Is Helping Her?

The mom didn't show up for church Sunday. I had in my car a bag of hand-me-down clothes I had told them I would give them, so, even though I didn't want to, I forced myself to drop it by their apartment in a sort of I'm Above Being Mad at You gesture. The clothes were mostly too small for me, and I didn't think they would fit the bustier-and-curvier-than-I daughter, but I had told them about the clothes already, so I went ahead and dropped them off.

Ten minutes later, I got a call from the daughter, in her sugary sweet, over-the-top nice voice. "Thank you for the clothes. The red shirt and the blue shirt fit perfectly." I responded politely, but not warmly, and hung up in a daze. Oh no, I asked Steve, what have I done? The red shirt was REALLY too small for me, as in, boobitizing tight. This girl is at least too shirt sizes bigger than me, and she is wearing this skin-tight shirt?

I have unwittingly furthered the cause of hoochiness in Arizona.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Don't Call Him Otis

My baby sister had a baby yesterday and I love him already. His name is Milo and he is a babe, pun intended. Congratulations, Abby and Jamie!!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I am a Disney Hater

At least I used to be. In my old age I've lost a bit of the passion and the fire and now I just get slightly irritated by all the ways they try to manipulate me and take my money.

I just took the boys to see Chicken Little. I will admit, first and foremost, that I do not have the patience for animation. I barely have the patience to sit through any movie, but an animated movie is an especial challenge. So I wasn't expecting to like it, and it delivered pretty much what I was expecting, with a bizarro War of the Worlds/Matrix twist thrown in for good measure. But I was irritated by this: once again, Disney delivers a movie with the mom missing in action. For family values' sake, it would be nice to have just an occasional children's movie with a nuclear family intact (thank you, The Incredibles). But my irritation goes beyond family values. I FEEL MANIPULATED!!! What are those Disney people trying to say?? Are they just really unoriginal [let's see--one or both parents absent in Snow White, Cinderella, Pinocchio, Bambi, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Dumbo, Cinderella, Finding Nemo, Brother Bear and I'm sure multiple others that I haven't seen--perhaps Mulan? Peter Pan?] or are they trying to affect me and my children somehow on a deep, subconscious level? Perhaps Walt Disney had parental abandonment issues and felt the need to thrust them upon every child in America, nay, the world, who connects on an emotional level with Ariel, Nemo, Aurora, and whatever all the main characters' names are.

I feel the fire returning. Disney can say and do anything in the movies they make for children because everyone in the world will take their children to see them, no matter what. (Take off your clothes.) Phallic castles are just the beginning. How does Disney manipulate? Let me count the ways.

I'm glad I got that off my chest. Now, Pepper, if you're reading this, I need to talk to you about getting some tickets to Club 33. . . .

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Addendum to True Love Through the Ages

These are a couple of pictures that should have made the original round.

We're 25, and I found this wool dress from the 60's (70's?) in my mother-in-law's closet, so I stole it, then washed it in the bathtub to get rid of the musty smell, and it got a ton of big holes in it all over, and I wore it anyway. Also: Steve's a babe with long hair.

We're 26, and isn't it sweet?