January 27, 2011

Statistics You Need if You Have Kids

Less than one year ago, Katie Granju who blogs at Mamapundit lost her 18 year old son to a drug overdose. I have followed her journey since then and read as she has struggled and survived. Hers is a moving story. But go read her blog for yourself. Not only will you cry, but you will laugh. She is a great writer with an amazing life.

A week or so ago, she posted a link that has really made me think. The CDC released a report on drug-induced deaths for 2007.

38,371 drug-induced deaths occurred in the United States in 2007
Rates for males exceeded those for females.
In 2002, rates for whites surpassed those for blacks.

This change occurred as prescription drugs, especially prescription opioid painkillers and psychotherapeutic drugs, were prescribed more widely by physicians.

I couldn't find the statistics, but Katie says that drug overdose now kills more people than gun violence, alcohol or auto accidents.

When my kids spend time with their friends at our home, I am often asked to make sure they wear their seatbelt. Because my husband is a hunter, I am also always asked where the guns are. Are they locked up? No one has ever asked me if I keep my prescription medication locked up. Ever.

January 25, 2011

Amalgamation #2

Very interesting article on Chief Justice John Roberts in Fortune. More so than any President or House Speaker, he has the power to shape our nation's future.

On the flip side of the court system ... Judges who stay to long.

Oscar nominees have been announced. Of the best picture nominees, I have seen ONE. The Kings Speech. But I intend to see Toy Story 3, The Social Network and True Grit. When they are available on Netflix.

I have been a Republican as long as I can remember. Granted, a moderate Republican. I do not like Sarah Palin. Apparently that makes me a member of the educated, wine drinking, intellectual elite. How badly do I want a Republican in the White House? Not enough to vote for Mrs. Palin. Perhaps that is something the Republican Party should also take under consideration this year.

January 20, 2011

Huge Change for Our Family

Until a few weeks ago, we had a television set that looked like this:

Yes. We. Did.

Don't see too many of those around anymore. I am not even sure you can buy one. I am thinking about donating it to a museum.

It was a great t.v.

There was nothing wrong with it.

Except that we got one of these:

For free.

Well, with points from AMEX. Yes, my husband travels a lot.

Now, we haven't historically watched a lot of t.v. There really isn't that much on. Most of it is mind numbing carp.

But once you have the t.v., you might as well get the HD cable receiver.

You know, so you can appreciate the one or two PBS documentaries you manage to catch.

And since they have a special, you might as will upgrade to the receiver with the DVR.

Because really, who likes the commercials anyway.

And since you are upgrading so much technology, you might as well add a wireless router to your home. (Yes, we also were a completely wired family up until a few days ago.)

Well. Your son's 6th grade, school issued laptop will need a wireless connection so he can turn in homework.

And as long as you are at the Apple store to purchase the wireless router, why not pick up an Apple TV?

Cause you do love all things Apple.

And hey, Netflix offers a one month free trial. So, since your husband is out of the country (earning more points so we can upgrade to surround sound next Christmas ... it totally trumps the dishwasher) why don't you try it.

Well, I have the answer. You don't do these things because you turn into a t.v. watching lump who never leaves her house. That is why.

I almost called in sick today - to my VOLUNTEER position.

For God's sake people. Don't you know I have 29 shows to watch in my instant queue. I cannot be bothered to stuff envelopes. I don't care how good your cause is.

And I know that I have attended your benefit every year for the past 6 years. But I have to get caught up on my English history and watch The Tudors.

And I found The September Issue. Who recommended that one? It was pretty good.

Pinewood Derby. Sorry. I have to watch the entire first season of Friday Night Lights.

Stop me. Somebody. Tell me the magic of my new t.v. will wear off. Promise me I will tire of Henry VIII. Assure me that the new technology will enhance our lives.

Cause I am addicted to the carp right now.

January 14, 2011

Amalgamation #1

You know how some words always stick with you? For one reason or another you just like them. Amalgamation is one of those words for me. I like the word. And since an amalgamation is "a process in which things are combined" it seems to fit what I want to do here. I want a place to store links I might want to go back to. I want a place where I can just list things that interest me without really commenting on them or by just minimally commenting on them. Maybe you want to click through and read the stories that also interest me. Maybe you don't. We are all different. That is what makes the world such a beautiful amalgam. Enjoy.

The New York TImes wrote an excellent piece on the new AP courses/curriculum. Interesting since we begin the AP journey next Fall when my 6th grader will be taking all pre-AP courses.

My Dream House

A friend of mine has written a screenplay for a movie about the life of C.S. Lewis. Huge fan. Of both. Watch this space for more info.

Christina Green. My college roommate was best friends with her father.

January 12, 2011

A Comment on Media and Society

For whatever reason, our world is populated by a small but significant number of psychopaths and sociopaths....Since Freud, our society has suffered from a sort of mental and moral amnesia. We really have come to believe that normalcy no longer exists and that everyone has a phobia or a neurosis. It is not so.

Apologetics for the 21st Century by Dr. Louis Markos

My interpretation. There are more good people out there than we think. The media just focuses on the bad people.

January 11, 2011


Blindness by Jose Saramago is the best book I have ever read.

I feel very strange making that statement. My best friend and bull-shit detector called me on the statement when I said it to him.

"That's like saying the best drink ever, or the best sex ever, or the best ice-cream ever."

Yes. Yes. Yes.

This is the best book I have ever read. Ever.

It may be the best book I will ever read in my life.

It has changed how I view all the books that have come before this one and I am afraid that it will impact my reading for years to come.

It is the first book that I have ever finished and then immediately begun reading again from page one.

This is the first time I have EVER read the ending of a book before I got to the end. I had to. I had to know if what I was going through while reading this book was going to be worth it. I had to know if the emotional highs and lows I was experiencing had an ending I could deal with. And knowing the ending did not change the experience of the book at all.

I said to the same friend that "knowing the ending of War and Peace and what happens to Prince Andre would have changed the experience of that book for me." Knowing the ending of Blindness only allowed me to go on.

What is Blindness? Simply, it is a story of individuals and collective society losing their sight. More deeply, it is a story of people and collective society losing their vision.

The Boston Globe said this book is "A shattering work by a literary master."

Shattering is the word I was searching for as I read this novel.

It is brilliant. It is dazzling. It is staggering. It is shattering.

This is the first time, at least that I can remember, that I felt a physical reaction to written words on a page. I felt pain. I cried. I was emotionally drained. While I was reading, I had people stop me and ask if everything was o.k. They could see the terror and agony and heartbreak on my face. I was shattered.

I must explain that this was not a horror movie terror. This was a visceral terror. A vision of our society at its worst.

Yet, I could find - and it is what kept me going - a shimmer of hope and a crumb of humanity. For this is also a vision of people at their best.

But I don't know if you should read Blindness. There are very few people I would recommend this book too. I know few people who could handle the emotions I endured. Or better said ... there are few people I know who would want to handle the emotions I endured for a book.

Read Blindness only if you are willing to admit what you cannot see.

Many, many thanks to Myla Goldberg and NPR for introducing me to this book through their series "You Must Read This."

January 2, 2011


I wake up. I make coffee. I bring a cup to the office and sit at my computer (a Mac) and check my mail and my top sites.

Every morning.

I love my Mac for so many reasons but my favorite feature is in Safari. I can click a square in the top left corner and my 12 favorite sites are graphically displayed. Those with new posts have a lovely blue star in the top right corner. I always know what is new.

What is always on this screen?

Amazon and Scouttrack are there for ease of navigation.

Next are Mental multivitamin, Girl Detective, and 11D. These hve been there the longest. Mental multivitamin has been a steady read for at least 4 years.

Next are Joanne Jacobs and Mamapundit. Katie Granju of Mamapundit became a regular in April or May when she lost her son to a drug overdose. Her story, well-written, has moved me and made me appreciate how I have been blessed.

A recent bookish site addition is Nonsuch Book. She is a little intimidating, but in a challenging way. And she buys more books than anyone I have come across on the web.

Food blogs I read include The Homesick Texan and Gluten-free Girl. Texan is a new find that helps a "yankee" like me cook like I have lived in Texas my whole life. And while I do not have celiac or gluten intolerance, Gluten-free Girl is a wonderful story and has great recipes for anyone.

Rounding out the top 12 are The Ivory Hut and Copy Cat Chic. These are new finds. Copy Cat Chic was added when I thought I wanted to redecorate 4 rooms in my house. It is growing tiresome and will probably be replaced. Ivory Hut is filler right now, but it has potential.

I have a few other sites I really enjoy, but I only check those about once a week.

I can be done in 10-15 minutes. It fits with my live more simply rule for 2011.

Get off the computer. Read (books) more.