Saturday, April 30, 2005

At last, the issue of "personal" grooming comes out of the closet. If you've long wondered about issues like Brazilian waxing vs. shaving vs. going natural, go read this post and the many comments over at Bitch Ph.D.

In my circle of friends, there is generally little interest in anything other than minimal maintenance. My sister once said that she and her friends all agreed on the importance of trimming, especially before OB/GYN visits. One of her friends even made sure to shave her areolas before appointments (though her male doctor assured her that it's not humanly possible to grow hair there—guess he hasn't been looking closely). I'd always wondered what my nurse-midwife was expecting to see every time she approached the stirrups. (Haven't you always suspected that providers of women's health care make certain judgments based on what sort of hair care they see?) The last time I went in for a Pap and annual exam, I asked C., my nurse-midwife, what percentage of her patients trim, wax, shave, or go long. While she didn't quote any figures, C. said she sees it all. Two in particular stood out for her. One was a patient who continued to get Brazilian waxes all through her pregnancy. The other was a woman whose natural bush was so ferocious, C. didn't know how the patient managed to get pregnant (I think she found it difficult to part the hair to gain access to the cooch, and I daresay she was a tad judgmental in that case).

Chacun à son goût.

The nut has spoken

The nut has spoken. She's answered my five questions, and quite introspectively at that. Check it out.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Join the fight against ovarian cancer

Back on March 24, I wrote a post about ovarian cancer. A woman known as cancerbaby left an informative comment, which led me to start reading her blog, Cancer, Baby. She's an amazing writer, almost poetic, and darkly funny. I was so excited to read the good news in her post on Monday: she and her husband were looking forward to becoming parents now that their adoption application had been approved.

Sadly, cancerbaby reported today that her ovarian cancer has returned. This means more difficult treatment is in store, and it means adoption cannot proceed. I'm not quite sure which is more heartbreaking.

I've added a link to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition's donations page to the sidebar at the right. Please donate what you can, and talk it up so that other folks will also donate. If you're partial to other worthy ovarian-cancer organizations, send me the links and I'll add them to the sidebar.

Send your good thoughts out into the universe for cancerbaby. And please, reread my March 24 post to familiarize yourself with the early symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Made in China

My son's school just finished the whole fundraiser-catalog thingy, and each kid gets a reward of one piece of schlocky merchandise even more cheaply made than the stuff for sale. Here's what it says on the package for Ben's reward (note: the package gives the item no name other than TOY):





Is this not the best set of instructions ever? I could take a picture of sticky ball and special bats, but I think it's better if you use your imagination to envision this foot-safe, nose-dangerous, handle-enhancing, figure-building, joyful product.

Update: One of the special bats of sticky ball is cracked already, since Ben was wearing the bats as shoes. Why was there no warning not to employ special bats of sticky ball as shoes?

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Not for the squeamish

Some of you are squeamish (you know who you are), and some of you have a nearly limitless appetite for the disgusting. If you are in the first group, for the love of all that is good, I beg you, don't click the link below. You would regret it. If you are in the other group, though, please head right over here and read the entire "Steve, Don't Eat It" collection. It's laugh-out-loud funny. Steve starts with a can labeled "Ralph's Potted Meat Food Product," and it gets worse after that. Much worse.

(Thanks to Loretta at Gone Completely Feral for that delicious link.)

All About Stella

Stella has answered the five questions I gave her. Her college regrets are pretty much the same as mine—why didn't I take better advantage of the opportunities presented?

I've also e-mailed five questions to the nut (who has a meaty post up today—go read it) and eagerly await her answers. I'm still musing on what to ask Charlie. That leaves the other two slots wide open—anyone else want to answer some questions?

Welcome, troll

A new troll stopped by last night. A Google search on Ayelet Waldman led it to my April 20 post, where it proceeded to unveil "the real Ayelet." Did you know Ayelet wants her son to be gay? Gasp! The horror! (I guess the troll didn't see my April 25 post on that subject.)

And apparently she is only writing to get attention. (Hello? What am I doing with this blog?)

The troll also lists a suicide attempt. (Do you know anyone who holds that against someone? Goodness gracious. How unkind.) And bipolar disorder. (Let's stigmatize for more than just depression!) And Waldman's late-term abortion. (See the discussion at Bitch Ph.D. concerning not judging a woman's decision, regardless of whether we'd have made the same choice.)

Boys and the potty

Is Ben the only kid with this concern? About every other time he deposits a poop, he wants me to check to make sure he has not gotten any poop on the back of his shirt. (That's when he hasn't completely disrobed for the occasion.)

When George Costanza emerged from the bathroom shirtless and claimed that he always "went" that way, I thought it was an odd choice for the scriptwriters to have made—until Ben came along, that is.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Five-minute Idol wrap-up

Five minutes until tomorrow's NYT puzzle is released, so here goes: Scott. Ew. He's not Southern, he was born and bred in Ohio. His parents talk like Ohioans, whereas Scott talks like he's from South Central. Total wannabe loser. Simon told him to pack his suitcase tonight—instance #1 of Simon stealing thoughts from my mind.

My pick for the bottom three: Scott, Anthony, and Constantine. Will I be disappointed tomorrow? Certainly. But a girl can always hope.

Mr. Tangerine is a big Vonzell fan and a big Bo fan (Bo Bee-chay!). I like Carrie even though, like Simon, I just don't get country music; she's just such a sweet ol' farm girl. Also like Simon, I could not abide Bo's cheap sunglasses. Okay, here's the truth: I want to call and vote for Simon. There. I've said it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Five Questions

Sergei gave me five questions, and has been nagging me for my answers. Here they are:

1. What is it about crossword puzzles that you find so engaging?

It’s a workout for a nimble, verbally oriented brain. The puzzles I like best require me to think flexibly, not just literally, to interpret the clue and suss out the answer. And all sorts of trivia that’s stashed away in my brain gets to come out—if it weren’t for the crosswords, it would just be clogging up the memory banks for no reason, but with crosswords, hey, there’s a purpose for all those factoids.

Two winters ago, I discovered the world of competitive crossword solving—racing against the clock and everyone on the Internet to do the New York Times puzzle every day. Instead of merely racing against the clock in the privacy of my own living room, now I can kick some ass. Then I went to the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, and soaked up the joy that is walking out of a ballroom while 400+ other people are still working the puzzle I just finished. I did quite well and came home with three trophies, some prize money, and some unexpected glory. (I’m a Leo, so glory is always a good thing.)

I’ve always enjoyed crosswords and similar puzzles—I’ve had a subscription to Games magazine for about 25 years—but it’s the competition aspect that engages me most now.

2. If you were asked to take your pick of the President’s cabinet positions, and given free rein to do whatever you wanted with it, which would you pick and what would you do first?

Although I’m tempted to choose Health and Human Services and implement a wide range of initiatives (involving, for starters, the FDA, CDC, NIH, and Planned Parenthood), I’ll have to go with the Department of Defense. Step one: Extricate the U.S. from Iraq. (Step two: Indict Rumsfeld.)

3. If you could have dinner with any three historical figures (they have to be dead as of today), who would they be and why?

If I could sit down with Hitler before he got rolling and smack some sense into him, I’d have one peaceable historical figure (maybe Jesus or Gandhi) there to talk reason, and one violent one (the Marquis de Sade? Someone from the Spanish Inquisition? Pol Pot? Uday or Qusay Hussein?) to totally bitch-slap him if he resisted.

4. What do like best about living in Chicago? What do you like least about it?

Best: I like having so many great amenities so close by. Restaurants with cuisines from around the world. People from around the world. Museums. The Gap and a good independent bookstore within walking distance. Lake Michigan, Wrigley Field, public transportation. People out on the main drags at any time of day or night. The city is vibrant.

Least: There’s not much I don’t like about the city—that’s why I live here. Let’s go with inflated real-estate prices (A nice 3 BR, 2BA condo with a shared yard? That’ll run you about $400,000.) and tight parking (that $400,000 usually doesn’t include parking). Though Adam Gopnik, writing in the New Yorker recently, said that the only cities worth living in are the ones where it’s hard to find parking. He’s right.

5. A genie appears and says he can change one thing about you—physical, mental, whatever—in any way you like, pain free and permanently. What do you choose?

While having a kid has definitely forced me to find untold reserves of patience, those reserves are often damn near tapped out. I want the genie to grant me an infinite amount of patience. (If the genie rewards my patience by granting another wish, then let me be shallow: eliminate the flab, elevate all that droops. Is that one thing or two?)

The rules of this Five Questions thing are that I have to write questions for five other people, whose answers can be posted here or on their own blogs. Any takers? C'mon. Don't make me wheedle.

Ayelet Waldman wants a gay son

I still haven't sat down with my TiVo to watch Ayelet Waldman's Oprah appearance, but I enjoyed Waldman's March 28th Salon column. She talks about her 7-year-old son, Zeke, whose best friend is a 59-year-old lesbian named Laura, a friend of the family.

While Zeke supports same-sex marriage, absolutely adores Laura, and can scarcely comprehend the existence of anti-gay bigotry, Waldman worries that someday, Zeke's easygoing broad-mindedness will fall victim to the world. But, Waldman continues, perhaps I'm not giving him and his generation enough credit. Maybe none of them will use words like "gay" and "faggot" as schoolyard barbs, or maybe some of them will react with anger if others do. After all, Zeke says you're supposed to marry the person you love, whoever and whatever that person happens to be. He says it's no big deal.

Waldman also says she hopes Zeke turns out to be gay. Think about it, I say. How many straight men maintain inappropriately intimate relationships with their mothers? Ahh, isn't that the dream for all of us moms with little boys?

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Fabulous ornaments for sale

I picked up this link via Eric Berlin—a site with lots of merchandise that might appeal to the heavy-duty Christian shopper, unless he or she recognizes parody. This just might be their finest work, though

Friday, April 22, 2005

Domestic violence

I just happened upon this essay explaining why it's so wrong to ask a domestic-abuse victim, "Why didn't you just leave?" Go read it. You might even learn something.

Okay, then: Hooray for Ratzinger!

In her latest post, Stella made perfect sense to me:

So, there's been mixed reaction to choosing the conservative Ratzinger as Pope. I am actually happy to see it -- because I think that keeping the church's policies as they are will continue to drive more people away from it. Congregations are getting more and more gray-haired as time passes, and that's a good thing to me. An institution that bases itself upon the unreason known as "faith" has no place in a world in which men must make their way by means of reason. And therefore its slow decline through the unwillingness of its leaders to "change with the times" is a good thing.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Grrl Taunts Boy

Getupgrrl continues to gaslight Competitive Boy at her meditation class. In last week's post, she ate honey in front of vegan Competitive Boy and said that bees can defend themselves so it's okay to eat honey—but that plants can't defend themselves and that's why she doesn't eat plants. Grrl freaks out Boy even more this week. Read and laugh!

What? Not again.

Yes, once again, the American Idol results show has concluded without creepy domestic-abuser Scott getting the boot. Who exactly is the contingent that keeps voting for him? It can't all be his mom's doing. (Mind you, at least two of the songs he has sung were chosen by his mother. Norman Bates, anyone?) He's made it to the top six, and I just don't know why. Can anyone explain?

If only Anwar had worn more authentic, 1970s, Earth, Wind & Fire, bright orange clothes, he might have pulled it off. Instead, he and his dreads return home this week.

I gotta switch to Fear Factor or something. Idol is bugging me.

Oy vey

I was just checking out SiteMeter to see what other sites brought people to my blog. This week, there have been a bunch of hits from people searching for info on the leaky-underpass "miracle." You think any of them were sorry they dropped by for my take on it?

I do think it's sad that people are going to the underpass hoping for miraculous healing to occur—one woman quoted in the media took her blind infant there.

Women and Catholicism

Carol Marin's latest column in the Sun-Times offers a personal and thoughtful response to Ratzinger's elevation and the continuing divide between women and the Catholic hierarchy. Go read it now.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Jacko and the Pope

This is kind of funny.

Ayelet Waldman on Oprah

Today's topic on Oprah is the whole foofaraw about women loving their husband more than their kids. I'll be TiVoing the rerun tonight so I can see the whole thing, but what I've seen so far this morning involves a lot of women shaking their heads at Ayelet Waldman. Waldman, of course, wrote that column in the New York Times a few weeks ago about how she loves her husband, writer Michael Chabon, more than her children. Apparently, when she told her 10-year-old daughter that she was going on Oprah to talk about how much she loves Daddy, she couldn't bring herself to tell the child that she loves Daddy more than she loves her. (Duh!)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Pope Name Meme

We've all played the game where you pick the name you'd have if you were a stripper, porn star, or soap-opera star. How much do you want to bet that all the cardinals have played the pope name game? I don't know how the game works (that's all part of the secret conclave business), but I'm guessing that first they pick their favorite Roman numeral, and then they find a papal name that will go with that number. Maybe Ratzinger loves the concept of "sweet XVI," and he looked through the list of past popes and saw that the last Benedict was numbered XV, so voila, he is Benedict XVI. Or maybe he loves eggs Benedict. (If he had more of a sweet tooth, he'd have gone with Pius.)

All those other disappointed also-rans probably picked out their pope names too, only to lose the election to Ratzinger. You'll start seeing those would-be pope names mentioned on the cardinals' blogs, mark my words.

And they should totally retire pope names when they've had an all-star. Who's gonna have the balls to be the next Pope John Paul?

Our Lady

Originally uploaded by Orange Tangerine.
Here's a photo of "Our Lady of the Underpass," a water stain in a local viaduct. It's all over the local news—the faithful are standing guard and taking pictures of what they believe to be an image of the Virgin Mary. Mr. Tangerine and I have concluded that it's actually the Vagina Mary. What do you see?

Monday, April 18, 2005

Priorities, people!

I was just sacked out on the couch, watching Oprah, enjoying laryngitis, and waiting for Ben to wake up (or, more accurately, hoping he'll sleep as late as possible). Oprah's first guest was Jon Stewart, and would you believe ABC News cut in to show a procession of cardinals? What the hell? The cardinals have not elected a pope yet. They are merely walking single-file in red hats and gowns. (An aside: Will US magazine do a post-conclave pictorial of conclave fashion hits and misses?)

And I was TiVoing this meeting of the minds, too. I just don't see why ABC News couldn't have waited until Jon's segment was over, preempting Cameron Diaz instead. Grr.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Marburg virus outbreak

I'm fascinated by the epidemiology of infectious disease, so I've been reading the NYT's coverage of the current outbreak of Marburg virus in Angola. Today's article is good and long, so I ate it up. Marburg virus, of course, is a virus that causes gruesome deaths due to hemorrhage, much like Ebola. So far, the death toll is at 230, and the current outbreak is especially deadly—the first well-documented outbreak was fatal in about a quarter of those infected, but in Angola, 90% of the infected are dying. The international public-health authorities are having a tough time isolating victims and monitoring people who have been exposed because the local population doesn't trust them—it might help if the biohazard suits weren't the color (white) traditionally associated with witchcraft, eh?

Viral outbreaks like this require medical expertise, skills at tracing contacts, and logistical heroics combined with a keen understanding of local customs and human nature. It's as if the team of health experts has two equally important jobs: fighting the virus, and working within an entrenched societal structure to change the people in order to save them. For instance, recall that in prior Ebola virus outbreaks, one way the virus spread was through the tradition of careful washing and preparation of a loved one's dead body before burial. How do you convince a culture that their most strongly cherished customs must sometimes be abandoned? Hypothetically, imagine if baptism were banned here because it spread disease, or if married people were told they might die if they had sex within the first year of marriage. How many Americans would embrace the new rules?

In my next life, I'm totally going to medical school, training in infectious diseases, getting a degree in public health, and doing field work for the World Health Organization.

Deep thinking for the weekend

Head over to Bitch Ph.D. for a fascinating post on abortion rights and feminism. Dr. B. suggests that expressing certain reservations about abortion rights (e.g., in the third trimester, or for sex selection) is like questioning a woman's ability to think about her situation and decide for or against an abortion—essentially saying that you know better than that woman does. See the comments section of that post for an especially thoughtful discussion between Dr. B. and dozens of contributors.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

As I would expect

Your Linguistic Profile:

75% General American English

15% Upper Midwestern

5% Midwestern

5% Yankee

0% Dixie

These results are actually a bit off because one question asks what you call the shoes you wear to work out. I really don't call them tennis shoes or sneakers. Around these parts, they're gym shoes, dammit! So gimme 5% hard-core Chicagoan in lieu of 5% Yankee.

(Thanks for the link, Psycho Kitty!)

Friday, April 15, 2005


My home page pointed me to a news story from Hong Kong on the health risks of dim sum. Many menu items contain a lot of fat or salt. In particular: "Items high in sodium per serving were marinated jelly fish, with 780 milligrams; steamed chicken with fish stomach and steamed curry squid, both with 640 milligrams, the study said." Darn it! Too bad I have to watch my sodium intake. Will one of you guys try these for me and let me know if they're any good?

The Food Meme

Favorite food to crunch: Cheetos.
Favorite comfort food: Peanut butter and chocolate chip sandwich.
Food that makes the best noise: A juicy peach or nectarine. Slurp!
Favorite picnic lunch: Green grapes, chips, diet Coke, cookies. Oh, do I need an entrée? I guess I’d throw a sandwich in there. Totally old school.
Favorite food scene in movie: I loved the movie Big Night because it was hilarious (the fight scene on the beach!) and touching and because of Tony Shalhoub’s chef’s passion. Although that giant concoction he made looked absolutely disgusting to me. (Hard-boiled eggs ruin anything.) The movie of Like Water for Chocolate was less evocative than the wonderful novel by Laura Esquivel. Again, not necessarily food I want to eat, but tons of passion.
Favorite food lyrics: “I like to oot, oot, oot ooples and boonoonoos.”
Least favorite food lyrics: I got nothing.
Best food smell memory: Ah, walking from the bus to the office back in the day, and getting a whiff of the aromas from the Blommer chocolate factory. Whatever they were doing, it smelled like brownies in the oven.
Favorite summer snack: In-season nectarines, peaches, raspberries, and strawberries.
Food that reminds me of the ocean: I’ve spent little time at the ocean, and nothing tasty reminds me of Lake Michigan. How about fried smelt.
Favorite winter snack: Fresh-baked Toll House cookies, the kitchen all toasty warm, the chocolate chips all melty, and the cookies crispy.
Most likely to eat for lunch: Bean tacos (Taco Bell!) or the aforementioned peanut butter and chocolate chip sandwich.
Least likely to eat for lunch: Tuna-salad or egg-salad sandwich. Eww. Mayonnaise plus tuna or hard-boiled eggs? Plus maybe celery or mustard or onions? Blech.
Makes me gag: Sauerkraut, broccoli, and more than a minimal amount of eggs.
Food tradition I hate: My grandma tormented me with the “clean plate club”—and she served stuff like sauerkraut and Polish sausage. Runner-up: pickled herring at New Year’s. Wha?
Saturday night food: Cheese pizza will work.
Favorite wild foods: Mulberries. Because you can’t get ’em in the grocery store, and they’re plentiful in my neighborhood park in the summer. Wild strawberries are also delectable, but mighty hard to come by in the city.
Favorite food for sex play: I got nothing.
Favorite medicinal food: Chocolate. Duh.
Food that reflects my heritage: My other grandma used to make us grilled cheese sandwiches with Velveeta, and also invented sliced bananas in a bowl of orange juice. My heritage includes Polish, German, and Irish (among other nationalities), and none of those cuisines excite me. Except for kolacky—cookies with fillings like cream cheese or raspberry.
Food most like me: Huh?
Favorite raw food smell: Oranges. And tangerines. Of course!
Weird childhood food: Ketchup sandwiches. (I had to add this item to the food meme.)


When I read getupgrrl's latest post, I actually did laugh out loud. (Full disclosure: I did not roll on the floor, and my ass is, unfortunately, not off.)

The background for this post is that grrl finds this guy at her yoga class to be especially irritating (he's one of those "I am more enlightened than you" types), and her readers have been eagerly awaiting her counterattack for a couple weeks. So go read all about it, and leave grrl as many "lol" comments as you want.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I watch TV so you don't have to

Reader service #1, I watch plenty of TV and can fill you in on what you need to know. For example, were you aware that tonight was the pilot of Stacked, the new bookstore sitcom starring Pamela Anderson? I was going to be on that channel anyway for the Idol results show, so I watched it. And—because I'm such a splendid wife—I TiVoed it in case Mr. Tangerine wishes to view it. Here are my thoughts on the show.

Premise: Skyler (played by Pam) goes to a bookstore to find a relationship self-help book so she can stop dating bad boys. The store is run by two brothers, one a geeky, unsuccessful, and divorced (from Paget Brewster) novelist and one a chubby would-be horndog. Marissa Jaret Winokur, who was in Hairspray on Broadway, works at the coffee counter. Christopher Lloyd plays yet another quirky character (oy), this time a retired physics professor. The brothers hire Skyler to do an undetermined job at the bookshop.

Script Highlight: Shout-out to Sense and Sensibility as a sop to literature fans. And one instance of Skyler scoring an apt rhetorical point on the novelist.

Visual Highlight: Pamela Anderson's torso is usually visible when she's on screen. Low-cut top reveals her prodigious bosom, which really is a sight to behold.

Upshot: Ordinary, hackneyed sitcom has little to offer that's fresh other than Pamela Anderson's impressive bustline. Will that be enough to save this show?

This evening, I also watched last week's Lost on TiVo. I don't think there's another show that offers so much beefcake. I can't even pick a favorite piece of eye candy. Contenders include Jin, Sawyer, Jack, and Sayid; the late Boone (killed off in last week's episode) sure had purty eyes. What happens when their clothes start wearing out next season? Will they all be half-naked?

Tonight's viewing schedule now continues with Idol. Will Scott be voted off? Please, oh, please?

Idol Update: What?!? Scott will return again next week, but Nadia's off the show? Who are the people who keep voting for Scott? At least he's in the bottom two for the second week straight, and at least Vonzell boosted herself out of the bottom three. It's surprising that Bo Bice was in the bottom three, too. I hope he stays in for several more weeks because I like to pronounce his name as if it were Italian. Say it with me: Bo Bee-chay. Molto bene, Bo Bice!


When you see that a post has "1 comments," would somebody (this means YOU) please leave another comment so the plural error can be eliminated? I don't ask for much.

Such a rebuke, to be an editor and see "1 comments" plastered all over my blog. Please help!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

American Idol: The Week of Eight

The highlight tonight was Vonzell Solomon's energetic performance of "Let's Hear It for the Boy." Now, I have always been a total sucker for that song. As far as I'm concerned, Deniece Williams' song was the only decent thing to come out of the Footloose mania, and I was going to be mighty disappointed if Vonzell didn't do it justice. But dawg, she worked it out, man, I was feeling it. It is safe to continue loving that song. "Maybe he's no Romeo, but he's my lovin' one-man show": Best. Lyrics. Ever. (You may think I'm being a cynical smartass, but I'm absolutely sincere about this song.)

The lowlight, once again, was Scott Savol's performance. It was especially creepy because Hall & Oates were watching from the audience as he sang one of their songs. I miss John Oates' mustache—he just looks bizarrely angular without it. And was Daryl Hall's chin always that Lenoesque, or has he had work done (and done poorly)? Why were Hall & Oates even there in the audience, you ask? My theory is that when H&O's people were asked to grant the rights for the song to be performed on Idol, they said, "Sure, but you gotta put us on TV. We're desperate. You know, we're touring again, but nobody cares. You gotta get us some exposure!"

Secondhand rant

Are you cranky? If not, would you like to be? Over at the Post-coital Babble blog (I don't know why it's called that), suzinalexa (I don't know if there's a real name in there) is ranting up a storm. Hey, someone had to do it, so she did.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

My husband feels so be alive

My ISP was acting up last night and I couldn't send e-mail. Mr. Tangerine is quite computer-savvy, and he was trying to fix the problem. However, he tends to think anything that's amiss on a Mac must be the fault of Apple, so he opted to delete my e-mail account in the Mail program's preferences.

What do you know? In doing so, he deleted my in-box. Which had almost 1,200 messages. And my ISP's server had saved only the last week's worth, so I lost about 1,000 messages. Many were crap, but there were plenty I was storing in my in-box for various reasons (receipts, passwords, e-mail addresses, instructions from my freelance client, replies from authors, and heck, even a few examples of internet humor). He called the ISP a little before midnight and learned that nope, they can't get my messages back, and yep, it happens to other people.

The whole thing could have been avoided by, oh, not deleting my e-mail account. (Does that not sound catastrophic?!? And not to be entered into lightly?) Mr. Tangerine seems to feel quite chastened. I look forward to seeing how he makes it up to me. But I don't want another box of Godiva chocolates, because I have grown tired of that as the default gift (and I'd like to drop a couple pounds). And flowers don't excite me. Please share your suggestions, and I'll pass them along to my husband. Won't you please help him?

(P.S. From now on, I plan to archive things I want to keep into a zillion new folders that should reside on my hard drive. If you're like me and you warehouse a lot of crap in your in-box, you might consider doing the same.)

Monday, April 11, 2005

Moratorium on "LOL"

How often has anybody actually laughed out loud just before typing "LOL"? It's totally overused, and people may gravitate to its usage because it seems less sophomoric than typing an emoticon smiley. But there is an alternative! Yes, people of the blogosphere! I am here to offer you an alternative to the hyperbolic "LOL": SWGABNLOL. Try it. You'll like it.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Have I got a crossword for you

If you like crossword puzzles or you dig Einstein, pick up a copy of today's New York Times for an oversized puzzle by Elizabeth Gorski (the puzzle's at the end of the NYT magazine).

And then guess how long it took me to solve this crossword, speed-solver that I am. Whoever comes closest gets a prize of trumped-up effusive praise designed just for you!

Friday, April 08, 2005

More pope! I can't stop myself.

What's better than a secondary source? How about tertiary? Or quaternary (if that's the correct way to use the word)? Eric Zorn extracts some hilarity from the CJR Daily (the Columbia Journalism Review's blog), which has studied the media reports on the pope's death and awarded the MIPSY prize for the Most Inane Pope Story.

One of the honorable mentions went to the Washington Post's web site for this fantastic headline: "For Vatican Press Corps, Pontiff Remembered as the Human Pope." (It's not clear whether the other popes are recalled as aliens, lesser primates, cyborgs, or what.)

Head over to Zorn's page or the CJR Daily for more MIPSY fun.

The Rule of Law

The New York Times reports that the Vatican has named Cardinal Bernard Law, who presided over the Boston archdiocese throughout the sex-abuse scandal, one of nine prelates who will preside over the pope's funeral.

Two years ago, the Times reports, "Cardinal Law resigned after a judge decided to unseal court records that included a letter from the cardinal commending priests even though he knew they had been accused at one time of abusing children." Despite all that, the Vatican thought he was a heck of a guy and gave him a cushy position in Rome—and now, the international spotlight in the pope's funeral. I'll bet Law feels quite chastened over the whole covering-up-for-molesters thing, huh?

Clearly the Vatican needs a better public-relations manager. And—what the hell—maybe some better overall policies while they're at it.

P.S. "Pope" is a funny word. Try saying it five or six times in a row.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

American Idol: What??

Okay, what is going on? Who on earth is voting for this guy? At least he was finally in the bottom two, so perhaps his days on TV are numbered.

My cousin says Scott looks like a serial killer in the making. The at-times-incomprehensible Southern accent and ill-fitting clothes aren't helping matters. Is there no one in the Idol wardrobe department who can make sure that his sleeves aren't ridiculously long? It just serves to make his hands look pudgier.

Testify, sister!

Okay, go to the mirror, grimace like an angry chimp, and take a look at your teeth. Back now? Good. Do you like what you see? I'd been mildly troubled since, oh, about sixth grade by tooth staining. I finally did something about it, inspired in part by a friend who hated her varicose and spider veins and got 'em treated recently. Yes, beauty may involve some temporary discomfort, but it can be worth it. (Unless you're Michael Douglas—click the link at Awful Plastic Surgery to see his latest seeping wounds and share the horror. This is exactly why vain older men should stay far, far away from much younger, much more beautiful women.)

So anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah. Yesterday I went to a dentist's office to get my teeth bleached with the Brite Smile technique. (For the record, I deplore the "brite" spelling.) I've been contemplating it ever since my days as a dental editor, when I edited a paper on the then-new method, and I sure have drunk a lot of diet Coke (caramel color, anyone?) since then. It turns out I had pesky two-toned tooth staining—some yellowish surface discoloration, plus some more internal grayish coloring. The yellowish portions improved by eight shades, the grayish areas by four shades. My teeth are not freakishly, fluorescently white like Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul, but they are now a respectable ivory.

"How does it work, Orange?" you are undoubtedly asking. It was much easier than I expected. The technician took a Polaroid of my baseline tooth color and matched the shades to some standardized tooth-shade samples. Lip retractor in place, the tech put some cotton rolls in there and a rubber thingie to bite on and keep the tooth edges apart. She applied a protective substance of some sort to the gums, lips, and (!) tip of my nose. Then she swabbed a bleach onto the front surfaces of my teeth, and turned on the Magic Blue Light. At the 20- and 40-minute marks, the tech swabbed more bleach on. TV remote in hand, I listened (couldn't see past the arm of the blue light) to the local news for an hour (the pope, apparently, has passed on). No dripping goo, no gag reflex, no nasty taste, no pain.

After the hour was up, the tech removed all the doohickeys from my mouth. In the moment before I rinsed with some minty mouthwash, it tasted a bit yucky.Then the tech took another photo, and she and the dentist compared my tooth color to the shade samples. Success!

The tech warned me that a startling intensity of tooth sensitivity was to be expected that day, and advised me to take Tylenol #3 with codeine. That sensitivity only hit me six or seven times, for a couple seconds at a time, but it was a real sumbitch. So I took the narcotic, and had myself a little nap.

The post–Brite Smile regimen also involves eating only white foods (yes, really!) for 24 hours, so I had bananas, a baked potato, bread, applesauce, sour cream, milk, Rice Krispies, and Monterey jack cheese.

"But what does it cost, Orange?" you ask. Well, I had a cents-off coupon (for 10,000 cents off), so I paid $400. It was all so easy, I'd totally do it again in a few years after diet Coke has wreaked havoc again.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Remember that line in the movie, Swingers: "Our little baby's all growns up"? Well, this little baby blogger is all growns up, 'cause I got my first troll today!

This blog is all about self-expression, making connections, conversations, what's on my mind, and things I find funny. This blog is not about getting me riled up or about me riling up other people. If you disagree with what I write, you're welcome to visit one of the other 58,500,000 Google hits for "orange," or any other web page for that matter. We're not gonna fight at my house.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Tuesday is Krugman Spaghetti Day

Last week, a new study revealed that a commanding majority of professors are liberal (75%, vs. 15% who identify as conservative), and the study's author, Stanley Rothman, suggested that a liberal bias in hiring might be involved. However, it's not just poli sci—even faculty in the hard sciences are more likely to be liberal.

Paul Krugman suggests that there are two reasons. First, self-selection: people who gravitate to academia are more likely to be liberal, while more conservatives opt for the private sector. The bigger reason, though, is the difference in what liberals and conservatives value most, Krugman writes:

"...There's also, crucially, a values issue. In the 1970's, even Democrats like Daniel Patrick Moynihan conceded that the Republican Party was the 'party of ideas.' Today, even Republicans like Representative Chris Shays concede that it has become the 'party of theocracy.'"

A Florida legislator has sponsored a bill that would allow students to sue their professors for disrespecting their conservative views—such as when the biology professor presents evolution as, well, scientific fact.

Krugman continues, "'s Republican Party—increasingly dominated by people who believe truth should be determined by revelation, not research—doesn't respect science, or scholarship in general. It shouldn't be surprising that scholars have returned the favor by losing respect for the Republican Party."

Once again, liberal economics professor Krugman makes perfect sense to me. But then, I value scientific inquiry a lot more than right-wing interpretations of the bible, so that must be my liberal bias popping up.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Cheese bra

Last night, Ben was chilling out shirtless, having a supper that included a slice of American cheese. First, he tore off two corners and said he was eating a house. Then he tore the house into two pieces, slapped one on each side of his chest, and announced that he was wearing a cheese bra. (More like cheese pasties, if you ask me.)

Next week, he's got a screening for kindergarten. If they have cheese, he's a shoo-in for the gifted program.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Hooray for Blago!

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich may be a bit of a weasel, but he's our weasel. Kudos to the Governor for making Illinois a place where no pharmacist can interfere with the doctor-patient relationship by refusing to dispense the pill or emergency contraception. To wit, Blago said:

"Our regulation says that if a woman goes to a pharmacy with a prescription for birth control, the pharmacy is not allowed to discriminate who they sell it to and who they don't. No delays. No hassles. No lectures. Just fill the prescription."

Blagojevich has filed an emergency rule to this effect. It will remain in force for 150 days, after which the administration will seek to make it permanent.

Karen Brauer, president of Pharmacists for Life International, thoughtfully termed Blagojevich's rule "crazy" and "nuts." I won't say it takes one to know one.

P.S. It's pronounced Bluh-GOY-uh-vitch. (Anyone know how to key in a schwa?)