Archive - March, 2012

George and Daphne

It’s true what they say, that a picture is worth a thousand words.

The penguin exhibit from whence I snapped the above photo immediately planted a seed of a story in my head. Notice the penguin on the left? The one facing the rock? That wasn’t just a serendipitous shot where he momentarily faced away from the rest of his penguin friends. He was standing like that for as long as I observed the exhibit and as far as I know, long after I walked away.

We’ll call him George.

Just below the surface of the water is another penguin.

That’s Daphne. Here she is again, swimming happily around. Entertaining us onlookers to their tiny little world.

Did you know that there are 17 different species of penguins? Yeah, me neither.

George is a Gentoo penguin, Daphne an Adelie. And while certain species can be found in places like New Zealand, Africa, South America and the Galapagos Islands, George and Daphne originally hail from right where you would expect them to: Antarctica. The South Pole.

Both George and Daphne were born in the wild and experienced all the freedom and danger a life in the wild entails. If given a choice, both would have escaped being captured and shipped off to what equates to a giant fish tank many thousands of miles away from their home. They are both victims of their circumstances, with no chance of life outside captivity.

Both are well fed and cared for. Both have the companionship of other penguins just like them.

It is how they view their circumstances that shapes their lives.

George is angry. With his whole life ahead of him–a mate chosen and dreams of raising a little penguin family–that life was stripped away forever. Where he once had miles of open ocean to swim in and the freedom to dine on fish or krill whenever he chose, he is now trapped in a comparatively small, man-made world and fed on someone else’s schedule. His life is now a paid attraction. Watched by strange creatures whose knuckles tap on the glass that separates their freedom from his captivity, he will not be a willing participant in this sideshow. They may have stripped him of a dignified life of freedom, but his dignity is the one thing they will not take from him. He will not choose a new mate. His mate has been chosen thousands of miles away in a life he’ll never know again. George’s dignity comes at a high price: loneliness.

Daphne is resigned to her life in captivity. It’s not her first preference, but she knows this is the only life she’ll ever know. She realizes there is no escape. She was as stubborn as George when she first arrived in this well appointed prison. But after some time, she’s come to understand that these strange creatures looking at her from the other side of the glass are mesmerized by her. Whereas life in the wild meant she was nothing special–just one of thousands of other penguins like her–here she has an audience. They delight at her as she swims by the glass. Her friendliness affords her special private opportunities where she is fed extra fish and receives gentle strokes by grateful onlookers. She has a mate. Perhaps not one she would have chosen for herself, but a mate nonetheless. Happiness is a relative term, really. She is making the best of this strange place she now calls home.

Which penguin is better off? George the rugged realist or Daphne the fun-loving, adaptable one? I can understand and sympathize with both. George may see Daphne as a fool looking at life through rose-colored glasses, whereas Daphne may view George as a bitter, stubborn grump. Not only does how we perceive our own circumstances affect our outlook on life, but so, too does how we view the perceptions others have.

Ah, but we’re not penguins living in captivity.

We may not always choose our circumstances, but we can choose to change them or make the best of them.

That’s not to say changing them is ever easy or that change doesn’t come without cost and consequence to ourselves and others.

But we do have a choice.

George finally takes a plunge.

Bodies Revealed

Moody Gardens, Galveston, Texas

This past Saturday my daughter’s school choir performed on the steps of Moody Gardens in Galveston. Moody Gardens is part amusement park, part museum, part nature conservatory. Its attractions include a rainforest pyramid, an aquarium and a paddleboat ride in Galveston Bay.

After the concert, we were free to visit the exhibits. One of particular interest to me–albeit not of much interest to the 4 girls I was with–was a temporary exhibit called Bodies Revealed:

FASCINATING + REAL. BODIES REVEALED is a must-see during its limited engagement on Galveston Island. This striking Exhibition showcases real human bodies, dissected and preserved through a revolutionary process which allows visitors to see themselves in a fascinating way, like never before. BODIES REVEALED will enlighten, empower, fascinate and inspire.

BODIES REVEALED, made possible through the process of Polymer Preservation, is an attempt to remedy that lack of knowledge by presenting to the lay public material that was previously only available to the medical profession: a three-dimensional tour of the human body. The specimens have been dissected to specifically illustrate each body system and function. Male and female reproductive organs are visible in some of the full body specimens.

Countless visitors have remarked that the knowledge gained from the experience has provided them with a new connection to their own bodies. Others claim a new reverence for life and a desire to take a more preventative approach to their health care. To quote writer and philosopher John Conger whose words are displayed in the Exhibition, “Without the body, the wisdom of the larger self cannot be known.”

image from the

I should have been fascinated–and to the extent that the exhibits revealed the complexities of the human body and how they systems worked I was fascinated. But I also came away from that exhibit with a feeling which was unexpected: unease.

Photography of any kind was strictly prohibited. You weren’t even allowed to bring your phone into the exhibit if it had a camera. But even if photos were allowed, I don’t think I would have taken any. Even the act of viewing these bodies–as educational as it was–seemed to be a violation of their privacy. These were, after all, living human beings at one time. Someone’s son, daughter, sister, brother, significant other. And while I pass no judgement on those who see this exhibit for what it is intended to be: an educational, enlightening experience, I simply can’t get past my personal unease at viewing what was once a living, breathing human being.

I think it’s an important exhibition. An educational one which helps to explain the mystery of the human machine.

But as for me, I just as soon let some things remain mysterious.

What do you think? Would you be comfortable with allowing your body to be displayed after your death? What about a loved one?

Update: Prompted by Glynn Young’s comment, I did a little online research. I was disturbed to find that indeed the bodies are from China, and that the promoters of this exhibit and others like it cannot with certainty independently confirm that all the bodies were donated to science with the consent of the decedents or their families.

From a NY Times article:

“Inside a series of unmarked buildings, hundreds of Chinese workers, some seated in assembly line formations, are cleaning, cutting, dissecting, preserving and re-engineering human corpses, preparing them for the international museum exhibition market.

“Pull the cover off; pull it off,” one Chinese manager says as a team of workers begin to lift a blanket from the head of a cadaver stored in a stainless steel container filled with formalin, a chemical preservative. “Let’s see the face; show the face.”

The mastermind behind this operation is Gunther von Hagens, a 61-year-old German scientist whose show, “Body Worlds,” has attracted 20 million people worldwide over the past decade and has taken in over $200 million by displaying preserved, skinless human corpses with their well-defined muscles and sinewy tissues.

But now with millions of people flocking to see “Body Worlds” and similar exhibitions, a ghastly new underground mini-industry has emerged in China.

With little government oversight, an abundance of cheap medical school labor and easy access to cadavers and organs — which appear to come mostly from China and Europe — at least 10 other Chinese body factories have opened in the last few years. These companies are regularly filling exhibition orders, shipping preserved cadavers to Japan, South Korea and the United States.”

Personally, I regret viewing this exhibit because by doing so, I’ve contributed to a ghastly industry.

The Hillbilly Guide to Air Travel

In case you haven’t already heard the news, our friend and critically acclaimed author Billy Coffey recently signed a multi-book deal with Thomas Nelson Publishing. His next book, When Mockingbirds Sing will be released Spring 2013.

The fine folks at Thomas Nelson have arranged for a meet and greet with Billy in their offices in Nashville. Which is wonderful and exciting, but also creates a bit of a conundrum, because in order to get from Virginia to Tennessee, Billy will need to get on an airplane.

Now, this wouldn’t be such a big deal for many of us, but Mr. Coffey is a man who likes to stay close to his mountains, and his one and only round trip flight on an airplane occurred during the Clinton administration. The world is a different place these days, and knowing the do’s and don’ts of air travel is quite a lot of information for a country boy from the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Never fear, katdish is here to save the day. I assured Billy that I would tell him everything he needed to know before he heads for the airport, provided, of course, he would allow me to use it as blog fodder and have a few laughs at his expense in the process.

I know. I’m a giver…

So for Billy and anyone else facing the daunting task of modern day air travel for the first time, may I present the Hillbilly Guide to Air Travel.

I don’t travel often, but I have been through my fair share of airport security checkpoints. Often enough that I don’t give much thought to the post 911 security restrictions. They’ve become as second nature to me as knowing which side of the gas pump to pull my car up to. But things don’t become second nature if you never do them, and a person who never travels by airplane doesn’t give much thought to what you can and can’t bring with you.

It’s rare to find any self-respecting manly man, particularly a southern manly man, without his trusty pocket knife, but if you find him trying to get through an airport security checkpoint with his trusty pocket knife, you won’t find him there for long.

We carry handguns here in Texas, but they won’t let you on a plane with one of those either. Here’s the FAA list of prohibited “Sharp Objects” for carry-on luggage:

I feel safer knowing the guy sitting next to me on a flight won’t have immediate access to an ice pick, meat cleaver, saber or thrusting weapon, don’t you? It’s also nice to know that if you really need to take your meat cleaver with you everywhere you go, you can put it in your checked luggage.

And while some tools are allowed in your carry-on luggage, I’m sorry to say that you’ll have to leave Bessie at home, Tonto.

It’s a shame you can’t bring a cattle prod with you on a flight, though. I imagine it would speed up some of those slow pokes in the aisle during deplaning.

There are also restrictions for sports equipment in your carry-on luggage, so unfortunately you’ll have to leave your baseball bat in the gun rack of your hoopty.

I’m hoping the results of your meetings will be cause for great celebration, but any celebratory fireworks or hand grenades will need to be purchased and consumed while in Nashville after successfully unboarding your flight.

But enough about all the things you can’t bring with you. Let’s discuss what you can bring.

I know you’ll want to be looking and smelling your best for your big day of meetings, and you can bring just about any of your usual toiletries you use at home, you’ll just have to make sure they are in containers which hold 3.4 ounces or less and they’ll need to fit into a quart sized, zipped topped plastic baggie.

Here’s a brief summary/explanation from our friends at the TSA:

There is a detailed list of personal hygiene items you are permitted to pack in your carry on luggage, but for your convenience (katdish = giver), I have highlighted the ones which pertain to this particular situation:

"Scalp oil? You know that's right!"


TSA and FAA approved mouthwash - YES

TSA and FAA approved mouthwash - NO

In addition to any clothes, boots, cowboy hats and above aforementioned items which will fit into a 22″ x 14″ x 9″ carry on bag weighing less than 40 pounds, you may also bring your computer, ipad, notebooks and fancy pens in your man sack, er…briefcase. The captain or one of the flight attendants (who do not like to be called stewardesses) will notify you when you may turn them on.

In conclusion, just a few more suggestions:

  • Plan on arriving 1 to 2 hours prior to your flight in case of delays
  • Make sure you wear nice socks without holes in them because you’re going to have to remove your boots before you pass thru security
  • Be prepared to remove your watch and/or any jewelry which contains a lot of metal or you’ll set off the scanner
  • Don’t be nervous. Air travel is statistically much safer than driving.

I haven’t discussed the possibility of a full body cavity search by the TSA screeners, but I’ll tell you all about that in a separate email. Snort!

Air travel these days can be an enormous pain in the back side, but I hope these tips and suggestions will make your flight plans a little less stressful. Happy flying and think of me while you read the Sky Mall catalog! Good luck.

Mmmmemorieeees light the corner of my mind

When I received a reminder email about this week’s blog carnival topic: Memory, I immediately started singing the song Memories made famous by Barbara Streisand, even though I think I probably sounded more like Liza Minelli whist singing it. I’m not sure. You’ll have to ask my dog, since he was the only one fortunate to witness the wonder that is me imitating aging Jewish singers from New York. (Okay, technically Liza Minelli isn’t Jewish, but she could be.)

But beyond my amazing, albeit solitary performance in my office, nothing really came to mind to write about. Oh, sure. I’ve got plenty of memories, but nothing really struck me as blog post worthy. Instead, I thought I would share with readers old and new, quite possibly the most memorable post that has ever graced this blog.

To quote my friend @Marni71, “Oh PCB, we hardly knew thee!”

May I present (or re-present), your friend and mine, the Pornographic Cheese Butler. (Sorry/you’re welcome)

I do NOT heart Grocery Shopping (aka PCB, Part 1)

Here’s something else kind of space/time continuum-ey. When I went shopping Friday afternoon, I had no idea Beth was going to do a post about grocery shopping, nor did I know I would be doing a post about grocery shopping. That is, until I happened to come across a cheese display at the local grocery store. People, it’s not like I’m out looking for blog fodder everywhere I go (Okay, maybe I am just a little.), but tell me, is it’s just me?:

Seemingly gracious wine and cheese steward from this angle, right? Not so fast!

Am I the only person who thinks this guy isn’t wearing any pants? I have passed by this particular display countless times! Since I don’t drink wine and I think those particular type of crackers are fairly nasty, I never really paid much attention. But please, Kroger! There are CHILDREN at this grocery store!

That is just wrong on so many levels. After be ocularly accosted in the rear of the store (pun intended), I figured I had everything I wanted and some things I didn’t. I composed myself and went to the check out line, paid for my groceries and headed out to the parking lot. As I was pulling out of the parking lot, my phone rings. It is my husband calling. “Are you still at the grocery store?” This means one of two things: 1) “How much longer are you going to be?” or 2) “I forgot to ask you to get me some jelly beans.” On this day, it was the latter. I really didn’t feel like going back to the store, as I was still visibly shaken by the pornographic cheese buttler. But since Katdish = obedient wife, I turned the car around and went back to get 3 bags of Jolly Rancher jelly beans. (They are the best.) Obviously, I didn’t get a cart or a basket. I can manage 3 bags of jelly beans all by myself, thank you very much.

So guess what? They’re on sale. They are ordinarily $2.99 per bag, but the sale price was 3 for $5.00. I call dh to ask him how many bags I was supposed to buy. Yep — six. “Oh, and by the way, we also need Cheetos, saltine crackers and tortilla chips.” Great! As if I don’t already look like a big enough tool walking around with 6 large bags of jelly beans. Might as well go for broke.

No, I do not heart grocery shopping — not even a little bit. But the candy aisle was somewhat educational. Have you heard about the new m&m special dark chocolate candies?

I always thought that because they were shiny looking, they were INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED in foil. And seriously…who has that kind of time? But no! You EAT the shiny part:

Yeah. Still not so sure about that. But to end on a positive note, guess what they were selling in the bakery? (Cue the angelic, cherub choir.) Chocolate chip pumpkin muffin tops! Yum-O!

Now, that there is a muffin top I can give truly get behind.

This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival: Memory, hosted by the lovely and talented Peter Pollock. To read more posts about memories (although most likely not about naked butlers in grocery stores), please visit him at


Bill Maher

As of late, I’ve been weaning myself from watching the news. So much of it is bad. So much more of it seems to be opinion rather than actual news. I’ll typically turn the national news on for a few minutes in the morning just to catch anything of major importance then turn the tv off, but one evening last week I left it on. The talking heads on Fox New’s Hannity show were little more than background static as I was doing laundry. However I did hear something that caught my attention.

The topic of conversation was whether a Political Action Committee (PAC) for the reelection of Barak Obama should return a million dollar donation received from Bill Maher. In case you’ve never heard of Bill Maher, he is (or was at one time) a comedian who has hosted a show called Politically Incorrect and more recently Real Time with Bill Maher. He makes no secret of his hatred of conservatives (particularly conservative women) and Christianity. He seems to take particular delight in bashing Sarah Palin, calling her a “dumb twat” and the “C” word. He has also made disparaging remarks about her children.

This donation was made shortly after another controversy erupted because conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh referred to Georgetown University Law Student Sandra Fluke as “a slut” after she testified in front of a congressional panel about free birth control. Limbaugh later apologized for his remarks. I have heard of no such apologies from Maher:

From the American Spectator:

Consider how Maher bragged that he could get away with what he said because he is on HBO while Rush is at the mercy of commercial sponsors. This surely sounds like a man who has been granted dispensation from the highest authority.

After all, it was with great fanfare last month that Maher donated $1 million to Priorities USA Action, an Obama Super PAC. As the large check was being hauled out on stage, Maher said to his audience at Yahoo headquarters in Silicon Valley, “I think Mitt Romney’s going to get the (Republican) nomination, and then I hope Obama beats him like a runaway sister-wife.”

I suppose I could rant incessantly about how there’s a double standard when it comes to hate speech; about how it’s okay to attack certain groups and not others; about how if you call yourself a comedian you can attempt to dehumanize anyone who disagrees with your political views. But that’s not the intent of this post.

What caught my attention on Hannity was when Hugh Hewitt described Bill Mayer as the “Gollum of American politics”.

“Of course not everyone knows the story of Gollum or how he came to be the shriveled, desiccated horror that he was throughout Lord of the Rings, and how the desire for power had consumed him from within. Bill Maher’s desire is to be noticed, and especially to be taken seriously as a political and social commentator.” – Hugh Hewitt

And despite the fact that I’ve used most of this post to describe the actions of Bill Maher, that’s not the intent of this post either.

It’s easy to sit in judgement of others. Trust me, I know from experience. But doing so may very well lead us down a similar path as Gollum. If we spend our time and energy being angry at the words and actions or even the inactions of others, we are in danger of being consumed by that anger. It spills out into other areas of our lives, onto other people in our lives. Whether it’s distaste with the political climate, our jobs, our personal relationships or dissatisfaction with life in general, we need to seek out what’s good in life and be grateful, lest all the bad blind us to it forever.

As my friend Jake Lee might say, Life’s too short to waste it being a grumpy ho.

Spring break

Hint: There's nothing free to do in Houston...

Hey y’all!

It’s Spring Break for the kiddos this week, which is why I’ve been away from the interwebs.

We’ve slept in…

Foraged the house for snacks…

And even made it out to the zoo…

Well, I should say we ended up at the zoo. The zoo was not our original destination. We had planned on going to the Museum of Natural Science, but since every school district in the Greater Houston and surrounding areas are ALSO on Spring Break this week, and the zoo, Children’s Museum, Fine Arts Museum (now showing King Tut) and Natural Science Museum are all conveniently located in what’s cleverly referred to as the museum district, which is conveniently located right next to the Houston Medical Center (home of Ben Taub Trauma Center, Texas Children’s, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, and pretty much every other kind of hospital you can think of), parking close enough to the Natural Science Museum was not in the cards. After going down 8 flights of stairs of a parking garage and walking several blocks (and still several blocks away from the museum), we spotted the Houston Zoo. After a quick vote, we opted for the zoo.

Honestly? I pretty much asked this question at every animal exhibit we passed.

Friday is the last day of Spring Break, and the one vote against the zoo, the person whose idea it was to go to the Natural Science Museum in the first place will get her wish. Since we now know what a horrible, impossible nightmare parking will be, we are planning to drive to downtown Houston, where we will catch a ride to the museum district on the MetroRail, or what I affectionately refer to as the Boondoggle Express.

Remind me to rant incessantly about what a ridiculous waste of taxpayer money this train system is.

Until next week, stay out of trouble and I’ll try and do the same. But if I don’t, I’ll tell you all about it when I get back. Have a great weekend!

Shifting priorities

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

~ John Lennon

I’m a bit of a procrastinator. I also underestimate the time it will take to complete just about any project I take on. Oh, and I’m also a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to anything that involves a creative project. All these things combined with my raging ADD make for some self-made moments of stress.

Of course, when I volunteer to paint a plate for my daughter’s fifth grade class (as I’ve done for the past several years), none of the aforementioned character flaws occur to me. I immediately agree to take on the project as if I were a normal person who would give myself plenty of time to complete it.

I started the project almost 2 full weeks after I picked up the plate. Thankfully, the kids in my daughter’s class finished their portion of the project (decorating their superhero rhinos) in just 2 days.

And since I really needed to get started on the planning stages of gutting and remodeling the master bathroom (another project I’ve been procrastinating), I decided the plate could wait another day while I went window shopping for a bathtub, bathroom cabinets, and tile.

Funny. I have over 1500 pictures stored on my iPhone. The vast majority of them I could delete and never think twice about it. If you follow me on twitter, you know I take pictures of some pretty dumb things.

But that picture?

That picture gets to me.

Not because of what’s pictured, but because right after I snapped it at the home store, my phone rang.

That phone call completely changed the course of my day, my week and the foreseeable future.

You see, that call was from my sister, Becky. She was calling me from her doctor’s office. It seems that the lump she discovered wasn’t nothing. It was breast cancer, and from what her doctor could see from the biopsy results, it was the fast growing, aggressive type. She was calm, which was a good thing because I could hear my mom in the background, who wasn’t so calm–not hysterical, mind you. None of us are the hysterical type–but I could hear the worry in her voice. Becky told me what she knew: She was on her way to meet with a surgeon followed by a meeting with an oncologist. She would call me back after those appointments.

Suddenly measuring bathtubs and vanities seemed like the most shallow and self-indulgent thing in the world. After sitting in my car for a few minutes staring into space I drove home, not exactly sure what I was supposed to do with myself while I waited for a phone call.

I started the plate.

Because when I’m faced with something I can’t control I find comfort in things I can, like transferring a bunch of rhinos onto a plate for a PTA fundraiser. Creating art–even recreating art–also clears my busy mind long enough to allow for prayers that resound in my heart and mind rather than the ones that seem to hit the ceiling and bounce back down.

By the time my phone rang again, I was calm. I felt like whatever update I was about hear would be good news. God didn’t tell me that, but I do believe he gave me His peace about it.

And it was good news. This time from my other sister, who relayed what the surgeon and the oncologist had told Becky. Surgery was required to remove a lump followed by chemo as a preventative measure. But the cancer was between Stage 1 and Stage 2. Survivable. Curable. Thank you, God.

Since I’d be spending Friday (the day the plate project was due) at the hospital with my mom and sisters, I pressed on with the project:

Even though I must admit it was beginning to get extremely tedious.

Did you know that when you paint a piece of pottery, they recommend THREE COATS of paint on everything? I don’t know if you can tell from the picture, but those are some pretty tiny rhinos, and despite my SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS to the kids NOT to make their rhinos too detailed because I would have to shrink the size of their original artwork considerably, a few of them ignored my instructions. One boy in particular took them as a personal challenge and went so far as to tell my daughter that the superhero rhinos I had provided as examples were–get this–BORING!

And while I’m always up for a challenge, I’m also not inclined to be bested by a 5th grader, unless it’s in a game of Words with Friends.

So some rhinos won’t look exactly like the original representation:

Guess people will just have to guess what SCR stands for, huh?

In conclusion, I finished the plate. Past the deadline, of course. Which means I’ll have to take it to the pottery place myself instead of dropping it off with the PTA volunteer. But that’s hardly a first. Hopefully this will be a masterpiece once it’s fired in the kiln, but who knows?

back of plate

Front of plate

Sometimes you just have to call it done and get on to the things in life that really matter. Which, incidentally, are rarely ever things at all…

My sister right after surgery, who would kill me if she knew I was posting this picture on the Interwebs. Good thing my family doesn't know I have a blog. Snort!

Repost: The mass twitter unfollow

This is a repost of something I wrote several months back in response to a few high profile folks on the twitter unfollowing their followers in-mass. I’m reposting it today because: A) I’m trying to get this stupid pottery piece finished for a school auction and I don’t have time to write anything,

I hate rhinos, painting and pottery. Seriously. I've spent 4 days on this thing and I'm dead on the inside.

and B) I’ve been unfollowed FOR THE SECOND TIME by a person whose work I appreciate and respect, who assures me “it’s nothing personal”, and I honestly believe that for him, it really isn’t personal, he’s just checking out this cool unfollow tool he found. But the problem with a mass unfollow of thousands of people is that there are actual people behind those avatars, and some people actually DO take it personally. I mean, I don’t. Not really. But still…

image courtesy of

The latest trend on the twitter seems to be the mass unfollow. I think Chris Brogan started the trend, Michael Hyatt and others followed suit.

Carlos Whittaker wrote a pretty spot-on post about why he’s not unfollowing everyone, so I figured I’d be trendy and give you my take on the whole follow/refollow/unfollow…um…thingy.

Last time I checked, I had 2546 followers on the twitter. Bush league numbers compared to a guy like Michael Hyatt who has over 100,000 followers or LosWhit whose following is just shy of 23,000. I have never used an auto-follow back service, which automatically refollows anyone that follows you. For every new follow notification I receive, I choose to refollow or not based on whether I think the person (and they need to be a real person) would be someone who could add to the conversation–whatever that conversation might be.

Auto-refollow services offer people (especially high profile people) a convenient, hands-off approach to connecting with their followers, and while I don’t anticipate I’ll ever have enough followers to warrant using such a service, even if I did, I wouldn’t.


Because I think it’s disingenuous.

There’s plenty of spam twitter accounts; plenty of people on Twitter who view follower counts as nothing more than a numbers game.

But there are also real, flesh and blood people on the other side of that tweet.

  • There’s a stay-at-home mom whose baby just puked on the last clean shirt she owns.
  • A new, struggling writer whose blog is read by 3 people, 2 of which are his mom and dad.
  • A lonely, housebound widower who is desperately trying to make human contact with another soul in cyberspace.

All of whom are thrilled to death when someone they admire and respect is actually following THEM on Twitter.

How do you suppose it makes them feel when they are summarily dumped in a massive unfollow?

I assume it makes them realize what they suspected all along:

That they never really mattered in the first place.

And I’d rather let them know that up front instead of letting them believe otherwise until they’re of no use to me anymore.

Like the sign hanging in my daughter’s elementary school hallway says:

It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.

(Sorry–but I had to get that off my chest.)

While I consider each new follow on an individual basis, I do have some guidelines which help me determine who NOT to refollow. I’ve shared them here before, and here they are again:

image courtesy of

The Top 10 Reasons I didn’t grant you the courtesy refollow:

Generally speaking, if someone follows me on the twitter and they appear to be a real person and not some spambot or online markerter, I will grant the courtesy refollow. By the way, if you are a real person and I’m not refollowing you, it’s most likely that I don’t know you’re following me. If you let me know, I’ll follow you. Unless of course you happen to break one or more of  the cardinal rules of the katdish courtesy refollow:

  1. You’re nekkid in your avatar. That’s all I have to say about that.
  2. Your Twitter bio contains the words “Social Media” followed by the words “celebrity” or “rock star”. Um, get over yourself already. I’ve never heard of you.
  3. Your last 10 tweets consist of links to your own website and tired old quotes everyone’s already heard.
  4. Your tweets are in a language other than English. Sorry. I’m a dumb American. That’s the only language I speak, understand or read.
  5. All of your tweets look something like this: *¨* 愛∗¸☀¸.•*¨* 愛∗¸¸.•*¨* 愛∗¸☀¸¸.•*¨* 愛∗¸.•*¨* 愛∗¸☀.•*¨* 愛∗¸¸.•*¨* 愛∗¸☀¸¸.•*¨¸.•*¨* 愛∗¸☀¸¸.•*¨* 愛∗¸.•*. Am I missing something? What’s up with that?
  6. You talk at the twitter, but you never have any conversations with people on the twitter. It’s social media. Be social already. I don’t care who you are, you’re not that big a deal (to me, anyway).
  7. You don’t have a bio. Seriously…would it kill you to say 10 words about yourself?
  8. You are suffering from hashtagatosis, where you cannot #tweet #anything #without #using #hashtags.
  9. You are rabidly opposed to either liberals or conservatives and that’s all you tweet about. I follow liberals, conservatives and everyone in between, but I’m really more interested in what we have in common than what separates us. (End of mini speech.)
  10. I’m just not that into you. (This may include, but may not limited to the fact that you use foul language constantly or are overtly sexually suggestive. I’m not the morality police, I just don’t care to see that in my twitter feed. To each his own.)

So, there’s my top ten. Do you have any deal breakers when it comes to the courtesy refollow?

Mad world

image courtesy of

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, people connecting with one another

without ever really physically connecting…

The virtual world can be a wonderful place,

but it doesn’t replace the real one.

When the former begins to replace the latter,

it can become a lonely, mad world…

Enlarge your world


This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival: Madness, hosted by the lovely and talented Sir Peter Pollock. To read more posts about madness, visit him at

Stubborn Love

I’m mad at my dog.

I know. Ridiculous, right? Being mad at a dog is akin to engaging in an argument with a screaming two year old at the Walmarts. In retrospect, both are losing propositions which make you feel like an idiot. Some battles you just can’t win, you can only strive to do better next time.

On a typical day, Buddy Love the dog sleeps in until around 7:30 in the morning, which is when it’s time to walk the girl to the bus stop. He looks forward to this routine. He enjoys the short walk with the added bonus of being able to pee and poop in someone else’s yard–to spread the Buddy Love, if you’ll pardon the horrible pun.

This has not been a typical week, nor will things return to normal anytime soon because my daughter has been assigned safety patrol duties for the next 5 weeks. This means that rather than taking the bus to school, I drive her. It also means that Buddy is awaken from his beauty sleep a few minutes early and is plunged into the cold, wet, unforgiving, all-too-familiar grass of the back yard and expected to do his business as I stand there impatiently yelling words of encouragement such as, “Come on, dog! POOP already! I don’t have all morning!”

Thus far this week, this has resulted in Buddy’s refusal to take care of business outside, rushing into the house, through the master bedroom and into the closet. Where he took care of business. This scenario was replayed the following morning, except that I prudently shut the bedroom door so he could not rush to his go-to poop spot. He must have seen me do this before we went outside, because once in the house, he ran toward my son’s room. Where he took care of business just inside the door where I would be sure to see it.

Any of you reading this who are familiar with dachshunds are probably either laughing at me or rolling their eyes. Quite possibly both. Because if you’ve owned a wiener dog, you know a little about their personalities.

From Dog Time: Dachshund Dog Breed Profile:

The Dachshund is described as clever, lively, and courageous to the point of rashness. He’s bred for perseverance, which is another way of saying that he can be stubborn. Dachshunds have a reputation for being entertaining and fearless, but what they want most is to cuddle with their people. For many Dachshund people, this characteristic outweighs having to deal with the breed’s insistence on having his own way.

Buddy Love is essentially the dog version of me.

This pretty much sums up dachshund training.

Why is Buddy Love refusing to take care of business outside in the morning? I’m pretty sure he’s mad at me, too. And he wants me to know that he will not poop on command just because I’m in a hurry. In other words, I’m not the boss of him.

"Walking" Buddy

I’ll spare you the heights of ridiculous stubbornness both of us have engaged in this week, including but not limited to a phone call to my husband at work (who is extremely busy) to gripe about how stubborn and aggravating this little dog is, followed by this incredibly mature text sent to him after spending 30 frustrating minutes outside with the dog:

Despite our ongoing battle of wills this week, from the moment I sat down to write this post until this very moment, Buddy Love is where you will find him most days–snuggled up right next to me, and I am enjoying his company as I always do. Because companionship, loyalty and love cover a multitude of sins.

Editor’s Note: In Buddy’s defense, he never pees in the house. A fact I’m very grateful for.