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Offensive Superbowl Ad (?)

As I sat and watched the Superbowl Sunday night, I was leaning towards writing a post about long, flowing manes of hair down the backs of many of the players on both teams. Have you ever been annoyed by something but you don’t know why? That’s me and long haired football players. It just bugs me. Don’t ask me why. It just does…

But then I saw the following commercial:

After which I immediately tweeted: “Loved that Groupon commercial with Timothy Hutton.”

Oops. Apparently I was in the minority. Many people were expressing their outrage at the offensive ad. Really? Okay, I’ll concede it wasn’t the most politically correct ad I’ve ever seen, but I thought it was very effective. Why?

Because it caught me completely off guard. I was expecting one thing and got something completely different. Before I saw the ad, I’d never heard of nor had the plight of the Tibetan people been on my mind. The advertising executives who made that commercial not only made Groupon a recognizable name, but they also reminded us of the people of Tibet, who are occupied militarily by China. Whether you loved or hated the commercial, Tibet will be talked about around the water cooler Monday morning, and I have to think people will be more inclined to try and do something to ease the suffering there. As a matter of fact, if you want donate to The Tibet Fund which helps develop a youth-employment-and-economic-development initiative in refugee exile communities, you can do so here. (Sponsored by–go figure.)

Based upon all the negative comments the commercial is receiving on Twitter and YouTube, I think my favorable opinion of the ad will be an unpopular one. But I still stand by my previous statement: The ad was effective.

In a sea of negative comments on YouTube, this dissenting opinion stood out. I tend to agree:

Its pretty obvious that the whole idea of this was to get people to start talking about the issue of Tibet . It worked in a sense that most people wouldn’t even have noticed just what the hell was going until they heard about this ad. The People who created this are not idiots .you dont get very far in advertisement coming up with offensive ideas. (posted by ekobrotherthriller)

So, what do you think? Were you offended by the ad? Do you think it was effective? Do you think the ad helps or hurts the people of Tibet? Do you think we’ve become a culture of hypersensitivity looking for things to be offended by?

Neruda’s Memoirs

Maureen Doallas

I’ve often said that I don’t “get” poetry. I’ve often read it thinking that I’m just not smart enough or deep-thinking enough to understand the deeper meaning behind the words. Then I came across a blog called Writing without Paper written by Maureen Doallas. I read a few poems by her, and I felt like I thought I understood what they were saying, but I wasn’t sure. I still felt out of place. But Maureen assured me that I did understand. She made me realize that one poem can mean different things to different people. That was incredibly liberating for me, and I’m so grateful for that little gift of realization.

I am very pleased to announce that T. S. Poetry Press has published Maureen’s first book of poems, Neruda’s Memoirs: Poems, “Intimate yet restrained, Doallas’s poems are like love notes that bear grief, struggle, and history—laced with delightful surprises of wit and hope.” (From the product description on Amazon.) I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! Maureen’s poems have the ability to touch the soul of both the avid poetry reader and people like me who are still a bit intimidated by poetry and poets.

Maureen has given me permission to post one of her poems here. I’m pretty sure it was selected with me in mind, because I can completely relate to the subject matter:

Hazardous Duty: Ode to my Kitchen

I have no taste
for the violence
my kitchen demands of me

to squeeze and score
fillet and fry
flash-freeze and melt

ground grind and grill
mash whip whisk
or beat till stiff.

I conscientiously object
to chopping things to bits
when it’s enough

to simply pare away peel back
or toss and throw together
what’s simmered steamed or stewed.

But ask me for my recipes
and I’ll tell you:
not just any Bloody Mary will do.

For a sneak peak at some of the other poems in Neruda’s Memoirs, visit the Facebook Page here. I especially loved What it’s Like, a poem about the feeling of loss of a loved one.

I have decided to give away a copy of Maureen’s book of poetry. Simply leave a comment letting me know you would like to be entered in the drawing. I will select a winner at random next Thursday and contact the winner via email.

Congratulations, Maureen. You’ve been such a great source of encouragement for me and so many in the online community, and it is my hope that I can return the favor in some small way.

Plato and a platypus walk into a bar…

image courtesy of

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. It is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument. The word “philosophy” comes from the Greek φιλοσοφία (philosophia), which literally means “love of wisdom”.

Metaphilosophy, also called philosophy of philosophy, is the study of the nature, aims, and methods of philosophy. The term is derived from Greek word meta μετά (“after”, “beyond”, “with”) and philosophía φιλοσοφία (“love of wisdom”).


In Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College, Thomas Gray said “ignorance is bliss”.

I think I tend to agree. Especially when it comes to philosophy. It seems to more I learn about different philosophies, the more questions I have. Very frustrating.

If you’ve ever studied philosophy, or even if you haven’t, I want to recommend a book I read over the weekend: Plato and a platypus walk into a bar: Understanding philosophy through jokes. It addresses several philosophies, but two of my favorites concern religious philosophy:

Determinism versus Free Will

There are some determinists who say, “God made me do it. In fact, God has determined everything in the universe down to the last detail.”

Baruch Spinoza, the seventeenth-century philosopher, and Jonathan Edwards, the eighteenth-century American theologian, were proponents of this sort of theological determinism. The eagle, the frog and the truck driver in the following story all probably thought they chose and executed their actions freely.

Moses, Jesus and a bearded old man are playing golf. Moses drives a long one, which lands on the fairway but rolls directly toward the pond. Moses raises his club, parts the water, and the ball rolls safely to the other side.

Jesus also hits a long one toward the same pond, but just as it’s about to land in the center, it hovers above the surface. Jesus casually walks out on the pond and chips it onto the green.

The bearded man’s drive hits a fence and bounces out onto the street, where it caroms off an oncoming truck and back onto the fairway. It’s headed directly for the pond, but it lands on a lily pad, where a frog sees it and snatches it into its mouth. An eagle swoops down, grabs the frog, and flies away. As the eagle and frog pass over the green, the frog drops the ball, and it lands in the cup for a hole-in-one.

Moses turns to Jesus and says, “I hate playing golf with your dad.”

At the opposite end of the religious philosophy spectrum is something called process philosophy:

Process philosophy

A philosopher came along who took exception this notion of a compulsive God who had his finger in everything. Twentieth-century philosopher Alfred North Whitehead argues that not only is God incapable of determining the future–the future will determine him. According to Whitehead’s process philosophy, God is neither omnipotent or omniscient, but is changed by events as they unfold.

Alvin is working in his store when he hears a booming voice from above that says, “Alvin, sell your business!” He ignores it. The voice goes on for days saying, “Alvin, sell your business for three million dollars!” After weeks of this, he relents and sells his store.

The voice says, “Alvin, go to Las Vegas!”

Alvin asks why.

“Alvin, just take the three million dollars and go to Las Vegas.” Alvin obeys, goes to Las Vegas and visits a casino.

The voice says, “Alvin, go to the blackjack table and put it all down on one hand!”

Alvin hesitates but gives in. He’s dealt an eighteen. The dealer has a six showing.

“Alvin, take a card!”

“What? The dealer has…”

“Take a card!”

Alvin tells the dealer to hit him, and gets an ace. Nineteen. He breathes easy.

“Alvin, take another card.”



“Hit me!” Alvin says. He gets another ace. He has twenty.

“Alvin, take another card!” the voice commands.

“I have twenty!” Alvin shouts.

“TAKE ANOTHER CARD!” booms the voice.

“Hit me!” Alvin says. He gets another ace. Twenty-one!

And the booming voice says,

“Un-freaking believable!”

My personal beliefs fall somewhere between the two philosophies…

What do you think? Do you think the study of philosophy is a bunch of hooey? Do you think understanding different types of philosophies weaken or strengthen your own personal beliefs? Would you rather not know? Is ignorance bliss?

Schedules and such

Several years ago, someone gave me a Lipstick Personality Test. Much like a horoscope, I found it interesting and mildly amusing but never put much stock in defining myself based upon the results.

Lipstick Personality Test from

What does my lipstick look like?

Sharp-angled but curved tip:

  • Creative
  • Enthusiastic
  • Energetic
  • Talkative
  • Loves Attention
  • Falls in Love Easily
  • Helpful
  • Needs schedule, but dislikes one

Hmmm…I suppose I would admit to all of those traits except the one about falling in love easily. I love people, but that’s not the same thing, is it? What struck me then and now is the last one: Needs schedule, but dislikes one. Yep. That’s me. I need a schedule, even though my stubborn non-conformist self wants to rebel from one.  Or so I thought until yesterday…

My day started with my 13 year old son hopping into my bedroom to inform me he hurt his foot and couldn’t walk. Shortly after that, I heard my daughter coughing and blowing her nose. The schedule that I dislike so much was looking pretty good when I realized I would be straying from it. And straying from it with a sinus headache.

Which is why I really don’t have a post today. Because I spent the day yesterday off schedule. And I’m still off schedule today, because I’m sitting here feeling helpless as I watch my daughter holding a trash can in front of her waiting to throw up so she can feel better.

So today, the dishes will have to wait. Same thing goes for the laundry and the errands. Because schedules are meant to be broken so we can spend some unscheduled time re-evaluating what’s most precious.

What would he say to us today?

Martin Luther King, Jr. image courtesy of

Every year for the past several years, I have read the transcript of Dr. King’s I have a Dream speech and wondered what he would have thought of our progress as a nation if he were still alive today.

The latter portion of the speech which begins:

“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”

has always been particularly moving to me. But this year, another portion of his speech really caught my attention:

“The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.”–I think we have failed miserably in this area. The public discourse has become embarrassing. We’re more concerned about being right than being civil to one another. “Do to others as you would have them do to you”, has been replaced with “Do to others before they do it to you.”

So, how can we honor the memory of Dr. King?

How do we keep his hope alive? How do we rekindle the faith he spoke of? This faith which makes it possible to be “able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope?” . This faith which allows us to “transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood?” A faith to “work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day?”

I think most of us would agree what doesn’t work.

What doesn’t work is putting personal and political agendas before the truth.

What doesn’t work is vilifying and demeaning those who don’t agree with us.

What doesn’t work is thinking we can ever retain our own dignity while simultaneously attempting to strip someone else of their own.

What doesn’t work is waiting around for someone else to exhibit dignity and discipline before we follow suit. It starts with each of us, as individuals. In our homes, in our friendships and business relationships, in our churches, in our neighborhoods and in our public discourse. It starts with me.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” ~ Philippians 2: 3-4

The Good Samaritan: a precursor

image courtesy of

Today at church, Jeff preached a sermon about the parable of The Good Samaritan. Chances are pretty good that most of you have heard a sermon about it. Chances are even better than you’ve at least read it or heard about it.

So, let me ask you: What is the lesson we are to take from that story? Before you answer, I want to ask you to do me a favor. Go read it again. Next Sunday, with Jeff’s permission, I will write a post about the sermon I heard today, and I’m hoping that you may have an “Ah-ha!” moment afterwards…

Love. Live. Serve.

Christmas bells

image courtesy of

Christmas Bells

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th’unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
‘There is no peace on earth, ‘ I said
‘For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.’

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thank you for taking the time to stop by my little corner of the interwebs. Merry Christmas to you all. Be safe and be blessed.

The Reason

It’s 7:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve, Eve. This is the post I would have ordinarily already written and posted. But alas, there was last minute shopping to attend to and family to spend time with, and rather than coming into my office and writing when everyone else is in bed, I chose to follow the rest of the family’s lead and go to bed myself. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I was watching tv in the bedroom and began to nod off. When my husband asked me if I had written my post for today, my response was, “Yeah, no. I’m going to sleep.”

I enjoy blogging immensely. It’s time consuming, but it’s time I willingly give. But this time of year, for me, anyway, there are many other obligations that demand my time. About an hour ago, I wrapped the last present and put it under the tree. Now begins the “visiting family” portion of the Christmas season. It’s all good–just a bit daunting, what with divorced parents (one of which lives in Austin) and in-laws who live out of state. We will be able to spend time with everyone, it just won’t happen on or before Christmas day.

I’ve expressed here before that I’m not exactly feeling the Christmas spirit this year. I’ve been playing Christmas music to try and get me in the mood, but much of it left me feeling guilty because I wasn’t having a holly, jolly Christmas. So, imagine my surprise when a song which I’m sure was NOT written about Christmas would put things back into perspective for me. God speaks to us from the most unexpected places sometimes.

I found a reason for me
to change who I used to be
a reason to start over new
And the reason is You…

Merry Christmas, my friends.

Lessons from the snow (repost)

Well, hey there. I’ve been a little out of touch with the virtual world as of late. My kids are off from school and it seems they want to do stuff. They really don’t care that Christmas is 4 days away and I haven’t finished Christmas shopping. (They’d probably care more if they knew their gifts were among the ones that haven’t been purchased yet, but whatever.)

Tomorrow I have a guest post from my friend Sherri. I also have a guest blog post for my friend Mike Ellis. But for today? Yeppers. Leftovers. This was originally posted in December of last year, when it wasn’t 75 degrees and humid like it is now.

As I mentioned on Saturday, we had a pretty significant snowfall last Friday. I received a pre-recorded phone call from the school district informing parents that students would be released early due to inclement weather. I was expecting this. Folks in this neck of the woods drive big trucks and SUVs, but we’re pretty clueless when it comes to how to drive in snow and ice. I was also expecting my kids to be very excited about being able to play in the snow.

Both kids soon bounded through the door–my 12 year old son more excited about getting out of school early than the reason behind it, but my daughter? She couldn’t wait to get back outside and play in the white stuff.

Soon enough the three of us made our way to the backyard. After a brief snowball fight, my son found his way to the swing set. Content to be an observer rather than a participant, he simply enjoyed the blanket of white and the cold while listening to tunes on his ipod.

At this point in the story I could wax poetic about how I reveled in the opportunity to trod through the snow with my 8 year old daughter and experience the rare and magical experience. Instead I’ll be honest and tell you it was cold out there. I had things to do inside. The early dismissal forced me out of my regularly scheduled programming. Basically, I wanted my day back.

And then I caught a glimpse of what my daughter was experiencing and suddenly none of those other things mattered. Because what she had found in the snow-covered lawn was joy — pure, unadulterated, unapologetic, incredibly contagious joy.

So I cheered her on while she made a snow angel, helped her wrap up some snow in tin foil and stored it in the freezer for safe keeping.

We rolled three balls of snow together to make a snowman. We raided the kitchen together to find a carrot nose and raisin eyes. She cheered me on while I clipped a stray branch from an oak tree for arms, even after I got a face full of wet snow for my trouble.

By the end of the following day the snow had been replaced by drizzling rain and the snowman was a shadow of his former self. But even though the snow had melted the memories will remain.

I’ve often wondered where that magic of childhood goes once we’re introduced to the realities of this world. I’ve wondered if it simply abandons us or if it merely sleeps somewhere inside our hidden places. I’m still not sure if it’s either or none. But I am sure of this–we don’t have a say in growing older. But we sure do have a say in growing up.

The 12 Days of Christmas (via

Twitter pal Karin Kysilka (aka @kysilka)asked me if I would be interested in participating in a blog challenge hosted by Juliette Terzieff centered around the theme of “My version of the 12 days of Christmas”. Of course I said yes, because I am agreeable and nice like that. Besides, that was DAYS ago and I had OODLES of time to come up with something, right? Right. When I finally got around to thinking about my version of the 12 days of Christmas, it just stressed me out because I realized that I DON’T EVEN HAVE 12 DAYS LEFT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. But I digress…

I thought about taking the route of what all that crap might cost nowadays, but that’s been done to death. In case you’re interested, according to the LA Times,

“Buying the 364 items repeated in all the song’s verses — from 12 drummers drumming to a partridge in a pear tree — would cost $96,824, an increase of 10.8% over last year, according to the annual Christmas price index compiled by PNC Wealth Management.

So you might want to try for just one of everything. That would cost $23,439, or 9.2% more than last year.”

I don’t know about you, but I just don’t have that kind of cash lying around. But even in these tough economic times, everyone knows how much you spend on a person is in direct relation to how much you love them. With this in mind, I set out to investigate how much an economy version of all these items might cost. My first stop was The Overpriced Crap that Nobody Really Needs boutique. We have several locations in the area. This particular store was jam packed with holiday decor, including one item that so deeply disturbed me that I fear I may have nightmares for the rest of my life. Gentle reader, I give you…

Santa Monkey

Or maybe it’s a monkey wise man. Does it really matter? Truly disturbing. But again, I digress…

The sales associate was quite helpful. She lead me to one of the fancy Christmas trees in the store with a plethora of overpriced ornaments. The store carried a series of “12 Days of Christmas” ornaments. Unfortunately, all they had left was a partridge in a pear tree for $40.00. But since I’m resourceful and whatnot, I noted the manufacturer of said ornaments, came back home and googled it. Jackpot.

Ladies and gentlemen, with only days before Christmas, I have done all the work for you. Not only have I found the 12 Days of Christmas ornaments for you, I have also linked the Amazon page where you may purchase them for your true love. I know. You’re welcome…

One partridge in a pear tree $35.00

Two turtle doves $35.00

Three French hens $39.99

Four calling birds $39.99

Five golden rings $25.00

Six geese a laying $40.00

Seven swans a swimming $40.00

Eight maids a milking $40.00

Nine drummers drumming $25.00

Ten pipers piping $39.99

Eleven ladies dancing $39.99

Twelve lords a leaping $39.99

For a grand total of $439.95 (plus shipping and handling)

Happy Shopping and Merry Christmas!

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