Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Chemicals

My emotions are completely out of control this morning. I can't get over what's happening in New Orleans. My best friend's family lives down there and they've pretty much lost everything. But it's not just the news coverage that's making me cry. It's everything. It's every stimulus I come in contact with. I can’t even listen to a slow song on the radio without crying. I hate this feeling. I hate knowing that what I’m feeling is completely irrational. I hate that hormones can have this much of an effect on me.

I can't help but wonder how much of who I am is simply chemical. All of it? Is there really an entity called “self”? Or is there just an everchanging body of chemicals creating varying responses?

I guess when you get down to it, nothing is solid--not our planet, not our bodies, not our minds, and certainly not our personalities. If we are made up of atoms, and the subatomic particles of atoms are constantly in motion, then everything that we are is an illusion of a constant thing. We have an illusion of body and an illusion of self. In reality I guess we're all just an everchanging stream of energy.

In that case, I might as well have some more chips and watch Beaches....

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Introducing.....The Bun

Hi, folks.

We are back from our vacation, and apparently just in time, given the weather on the gulf coast. It was lovely. I did a lot of laying around on the beach, laying around by the pool, and laying around in the condo. Who could ask for more?

While we were on vacation, I discovered that our bun making was successful! So.........I would like to introduce you to my baby. It's that tiny clump of cells inside of that belly up there.

I am absolutely stunned that we were successful so soon. First try--Slam dunk. I can't believe how lucky we are.

So far I haven't had many symptoms. I've been bloated and I've been eating us out of house and home, but I haven't had any morning sickness yet. I've also noticed the hormonal moodiness setting in. For example, in the past few days the following things have made me cry:

***The Little League World Series
***The song "Remember When" by Allan Jackson
***That Saturn commercial where the lady talks about how her son was two weeks late and how now she puts him first and that's why she bought a Saturn
***An episode of "The Girls Next Door"

For those of you who haven't been lucky enough to catch an episode of the television brilliance that is "The Girls Next Door," it's a reality show on E that follows around Hugh Hefner's girlfriends. It chronicles their fascinating and vapid lives in the Playboy Mansion. Anyway, one of Hef's girlfriends started crying in the show because she's never been in Playboy Magazine before and it's been her dream since she was four years old.

THIS actually made me tear up. I actually felt really sad because this woman hasn't had the "opportunity" to have millions of men choke the chicken to her naked pictures.

OBVIOUSLY, the crazy hormones have taken over.

Therefore, in order to keep this blog from devolving into a rambling pregnancy blog about constipation, boobs, and ultrasound pictures, I have started a separate blog to chronicle the pregnancy for those of you who are into that sort of thing. It can be found at:

Here we go........it's gonna be quite a ride

Friday, August 19, 2005


I am off to vacation in Sunny Florida. I am taking my laptop, but I have no idea if our condo has DSL, so this will likely be my last post until August 28th. Peace and hair grease.

The Problem of God

Do you ever stop and think about how different your life would be if you made just one choice differently? Just one choice?

I do. The most important decision I have probably ever made was where to go to college. I know that may seem trivial in comparison to deciding who to marry or when to have children, but those decisions were the direct result of my choice of where to go to school. I agonized over the decision for days. It came down to Tulane and Georgetown. Both schools had offered me the same amount of money in financial aid, and both schools had their advantages and disadvantages. Tulane was more of a party school and Geortown was superior academically. My parents were pushing for Georgetown. They thought I'd be safer at a Catholic school and less likely to stray from their teachings. I waited until the day before the deposit was due to decide and overnighted my enrollment deposit to Georgetown.

Because my father was a Pentecostal preacher, growing up, my whole life revolved around the church. My sisters and I used to sing solos in front of the congregation. The song that I remember most vividly was called "Old Buddha." The song goes, "Well, Old Buddha was a man, and I'm sure that he meant well. But I pray for his disciples, lest they wind up in hell. And I'm sure that Old Mohammed thought he knew the way. But it won't be Hare Krishna we stand before on the Judgment Day." To get the full effect of the song, you have to imagine it being sung by a seven-year-old blonde girl with a deep Southern accent. Of course, we had no idea who Buddha or Mohammed or Hare Krishna were. All we knew was that we were right and they were wrong. We might as well have been singing, "I am right and you are wrong and you are going to hell--even though I don't know a single thing about your religion, culture, or beliefs."

I was in for a rude awakening at Georgetown. Georgetown requires all of its students to take two theology classes and two philosophy classes. Most freshmen, including myself, end up taking a theology class called “The Problem of God.” “The Problem of God” is probably the most appropriately named class I have ever taken. As an introductory theology class, it asked tough questions and challenged every religious belief I had. It introduced me to other religions. It asked questions that I couldn’t answer from both a logical standpoint and a theological standpoint. I grew up completely immersed in the church, but couldn't answer tough questions about my own religion. That class single handedly caused my belief structure to crumble. It was devastating. I remember calling my mom in tears one evening because I was so upset about the class. She simply said, “A faith that isn’t tested isn’t much of a faith at all.” And boy was she right. Other theology and philosophy classes followed. Eventually, I became less frightened of the tough questions and more intrigued by them. The more questions I asked myself, the more answers I came up with on my own, rather than relegating to my religious upbringing. Georgetown was the place where every opinion that I had was challenged and where most of them changed. It was the place where I learned to think critically and to think for myself. My choice of school led to my choice of lifestyle—a lifestyle of careful introspection and independent thought.

Oh the difference one choice can make. I started Georgetown as a conservative Christian. I graduated Georgetown not completely sure what the hell I was, but deeply determined to find out.

If I had chosen differently, I am convinced that my life would be completely different. I would probably be married to someone else and living somewhere else. I would probably be a lawyer instead of a struggling writer. I would probably still believe in creationism and that homosexuality is a sinful choice. And I would probably be happily plodding through my life convinced that when I died there would be a mansion and a feast waiting for me in heaven. All of my most formative experiences would have been completely different.

I guess you could say I'm just one good decision away from being a fundamentalist conservative. If I had not been challenged, and forced to think critically about my world view, I would never have discovered all of the wonderful things I now know about the world.

I would never ask anyone to change their political or religous beliefs because of what I think. But I do ask that anyone and everyone study up and think critically about what they believe. Shouldn't we all be asking those questions? Shouldn't we all be testing ourselves on a regular basis? After all, a faith that isn't tested isn’t much of a faith at all.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Food Politics

This is a long one, but full of good info.

This following articles were taken from www.vegsource.com and www.alternet.org respectively. They basically echo the same things I have said in earlier posts--that our healthcare system is in shambles, that one great way to help repair that system is to have a healthier population that requires less medical care, and that the means with which to achieve a healthier population are being supressed due to pressure from large corporations. I'm not advocating eliminating unhealthy food, but simply creating a well informed public.


"Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • In the past 20 years the U.S. has gone from first in the world for life expectancy to 19th in the world for women, and 29th for men (behind Slovenia).
  • The U.S. has the most expensive health care in the world, which the majority of its citizens cannot afford. We are the only country in the developed world, other than South Africa, which doesn't provide health care for all of its citizens.
  • Chronic disease in the U.S. has an excessive impact on minorities and the poor, with rates of cancer, arthritis, coronary heart disease, stroke and hypertension nearly double in African Americans than in the white population.
  • Costly illnesses trigger about half of all personal bankruptcies, and most of those who go bankrupt because of medical problems have health insurance, according to findings from a Harvard University study released in February 2005. The U.S. Congress and President Bush recently signed legislation making it nearly impossible for individuals to declare bankruptcy due to medical bills.

Unless you are one of the fortunate few who profit from the U.S. health system (because you own a multi-national drug company or a chain of for-profit hospitals), the U.S. health care system is in shambles. Today we spend more than ever, get less care, and we're getting sicker. And the U.S. government is complicit in this outrage against its citizens, not merely because it favors profiteers over people - but because information which could save lives is being actively suppressed by our politicians.

Professor Marion Nestle PhD M.P.H. is Chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University. She managed the editorial production of the first, and as yet only, Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health in 1989. In her book "Food Politics", Nestle says that on her first day on the job, "I was given the rules: No matter what the research indicated, the report could not recommend 'eat less meat' . . . because the (meat producers, whose bottom line) might be affected by such advice would complain to their beneficiaries in Congress, and the report would never be published."

No subsequent Surgeon General's Report has appeared, even though Congress passed a law in 1990 requiring that one be issued every two years. Why? The answer, according to Nestle, is food politics. She points out that "saturated fat and trans-saturated fat raise risks for heart disease, and the principal sources of such fats in American diets are meat, dairy, cooking fats, and fried, fast, and processed foods." Any advice of federal policies that sought to decrease consumption of these foods would cause the sellers of these foods "to complain to their friends in Congress," who would in turn prevent the report from being released to the public.

The fact is, many people today are getting sick with largely preventable diseases, diseases which can not only be prevented but reversed through a change in diet and lifestyle. Food companies -- and the politicians they own -- don't want people to get this information.


In recent months the major food companies have been trying hard to convince Americans that they feel the pain of our expanding waistlines, especially when it comes to kids. Kraft announced it would no longer market Oreos to younger children, McDonald's promoted itself as a salad producer and Coca-Cola said it won't advertise to kids under 12.

But behind the scenes it's hardball as usual, with the junk food giants pushing the Bush Administration to defend their interests. The recent conflict over what America eats, and the way the government promotes food, is a disturbing example of how in Bush's America corporate interests trump public health, public opinion and plain old common sense. The latest salvo in the war on added sugar and fat came July 14- 15, when the Federal Trade Commission held hearings on childhood obesity and food marketing. Despite the fanfare, industry had no cause for concern; FTC chair Deborah Majoras had declared beforehand that the commission will do absolutely nothing to stop the rising flood of junk food advertising to children.

In June the Department of Agriculture denied a request from our group Commercial Alert to enforce existing rules forbidding mealtime sales in school cafeterias of "foods of minimal nutritional value" -- i.e., junk foods and soda pop. The department admitted that it didn't know whether schools are complying with the rules, but, frankly, it doesn't give a damn. "At this time, we do not intend to undertake the activities or measures recommended in your petition," wrote Stanley Garnett, head of the USDA's Child Nutrition Division.

Conflict about junk food has intensified since late 2001, when a Surgeon General's report called obesity an "epidemic." Since that time, the White House has repeatedly weighed in on the side of Big Food. It worked hard to weaken the World Health Organization's global anti-obesity strategy and went so far as to question the scientific basis for "the linking of fruit and vegetable consumption to decreased risk of obesity and diabetes." Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson -- then our nation's top public-health officer -- even told members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association to "'go on the offensive' against critics blaming the food industry for obesity," according to a November 12, 2002, GMA news release.

Growing industry influence is also apparent at the President's Council on Physical Fitness. What companies has the government invited to be partners with the council's Challenge program? Coca-Cola, Burger King, General Mills, Pepsico and other blue chip members of the "obesity lobby."

In January the council's chair, former NFL star Lynn Swann, took money to appear at a public relations event for the National Automatic Merchandising Association, a vending machine trade group activists have been battling on in-school sales of junk food.

Not a lot of subtlety is required to understand what's driving Administration policy. It's large infusions of cash. In 2004 "Rangers," who bundled at least $200,000 each to the Bush/Cheney campaign, included Barclay Resler, vice president for government and public affairs at Coca-Cola; Robert Leebern Jr., president of federal affairs at Troutman Sanders PAG, lobbyist for Coca-Cola; Richard Hohlt of Hohlt & Co., lobbyist for Altria, which owns about 85 percent of Kraft foods; and José "Pepe" Fanjul, president, vice chairman and COO of Florida Crystals Corp., one of the nation's major sugar producers. Hundred-thousand-dollar men include Kirk Blalock and Marc Lampkin, both Coke lobbyists, and Joe Weller, chairman and CEO, Nestle USA. Altria also gave $250,000 to Bush's inauguration this year, and Coke and Pepsi gave $100,000 each. These gifts are in addition to substantial sums given during the 2000 campaign.

Less than a month after Cadbury Schweppes, the candy and soda company, gave a multimillion-dollar grant to the American Diabetes Association, the association's chief medical and scientific officer claimed that sugar has nothing to do with diabetes, or with weight. Industry has also bankrolled front groups like the Center for Consumer Freedom, an increasingly influential Washington outfit that demonizes public-health advocates as the "food police" and promotes the industry point of view.

Meanwhile, public opinion is solidly behind more restrictions on junk food marketing aimed at children, especially in schools. A February Wall Street Journal poll found that 83 percent of American adults believe "public schools need to do a better job of limiting children's access to unhealthy foods like snack foods, sugary soft drinks and fast food." Interestingly, this is a crossover issue between red and blue states. Concern about obesity and excessive junk food marketing to kids is shared by people across the political spectrum, and some conservatives, such as Texas Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs and the Eagle Forum's Phyllis Schlafly, as well as California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, have argued for restricting junk food marketing to children.

A vigorous government response would clearly garner the sympathy of the majority of Americans. The growing chasm between what the public wants and the Administration's protection of the profits of Big Food is a powerful example of the decline of democracy in this country. Let them eat chips!


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

My New Favorite Commercial

Have you guys seen the new Wendy's commercial? The one with the ranch tooth? In the commercial, this dude talks about how he has a ranch tooth instead of a sweet tooth that makes him crave ranch dressing. Everywhere the guy goes, this giant tooth wearing a cowboy hat and bandanna follows him around chanting "raaaanch."

It follows him to the store. It follows him to work. All the while, slowly chanting "raaanch, raaaanch." Finally, it follows him to a poker game, where the ranch tooth has its own seat at the table and chants "ranch, ranch, ranch, ranch" until one of the other guys at the table yells, "Tell your stupid ranch tooth to shut up." Then the dude buys a Wendy's Monterey Ranch Burger and the ranch tooth is finally sated. The commercial ends with the dude going to bed with the ranch tooth.

I CANNOT stop laughing at this commercial. I know it's stupid, but I can't help myself. I'm laughing right now just thinking about it.

I think I find it so funny because my best friend has a ranch tooth. I haven't encountered a food yet that she won't dip in ranch dressing. One evening, after a night of heavy drinking, we came back to my apartment, only to realize that I had no food in the fridge. So she proceeded to mix canned corn, cheese, and peppercorn ranch dressing and eat it.

Now that's one hell of a ranch tooth....

Thursday, August 11, 2005


I can almost hear millions of white anuses puckering up anxiously...

Texas Becomes a Majority-Minority State
"EL PASO, Texas (AP) - Texas has become the fourth state to have a non-white majority population, the U.S. Census Bureau said Thursday, a trend driven by a surging number of Hispanics moving to the state.

According to the population estimates based on the 2000 Census, about 50.2 percent of Texans are now minorities. In the 2000 Census, minorities made up about 47 percent of the population in the second-largest state.

Texas joins California, New Mexico and Hawaii as states with majority-minority populations - with Hispanics the largest group in every state but Hawaii, where it is Asian-Americans.
Five other states - Maryland, Mississippi, Georgia, New York and Arizona - aren't far behind, with about 40 percent minorities.”

Quick, everyone, lock up your daughters, the hispanics are coming! And they're out to take all of our highly sought after landscaping, fast food, and construction jobs! Oh the humanity! We better put armed minute men on the border now! Oh wait.....we already did.

This article makes me very happy. The sooner we can all start doing it with each other and get rid of this whole race thing, the better. As you have probably gathered from my earlier posts, there are many things that I do not like about Houston. I hate the rampant religious fundamentalism. I hate the blind devotion to conservative politics. I hate the closed mindedness. And of course, I hate the mosquitoes. But one thing that I love about Houston is the preponderance of interracial couples here. They’re everywhere. Two white women in my office are married to Hispanic men. My brother-in-law is Mexican. I know plenty of mixed couples of all different races. And despite how conservative Texas is, everyone seems to be fine with it. I guess that's what happens in diverse communities--racism gradually fades away. I think it’s really beautiful. I wish more of America could be like that.

But, unfortunately, hesitance regarding interracial marriage is still one of the last bastions of racism in our country. I found that out the hard way. When I was in seventh grade, I got my first real boyfriend. His name was Nick, and he was black. I liked him because he was cute and popular. He was the star of the basketball team. I never thought twice about dating him. Why would I? My parents had always professed that they loved their neighbors regardless of their skin color. But you should have seen their faces when I told them about Nick. If only I had taken a picture. You would have thought I had told them I was pregnant!

Apparently, telling my parents I was dating a black guy time warped us to another decade, because they FREAKED OUT. They actually forbid me to see him. They told me that it wasn’t because they had a problem with it.....it was because society did. And what would happen to our poor mixed-race children? (as if we were going to have kids in seventh grade) They said they were protecting me. From what? A nice relationship with a great guy? What a pile of bullshit.

So for two years, I continued to secretly see Nick, but I had to sneak phone calls to him at night after my parents went to bed. It took them over a year to finally come around and see that they were wrong. If you want to find out if someone is really racist, see what happens when their child dates someone of another race.

So to all of you minorities headed for this country, I say, come on in. You can only make things better.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Intelligent Design????

I've been following this Intelligent Design vs. Evolution debate pretty closely, and this is the best argument I can put forth against Intelligent Design. It is also the best argument I can put forth as to why I don't bother getting pedicures and why I think feet are basically disgusting. This is my right foot.

Cute, huh? Not so much. I have the stupidest nails on the face of the planet. Both my toe nails and finger nails are abnormally small and point upwards.

There is certainly nothing intelligent about the design of my funky toe nails. However, I have come to the conclusion that my nails are the direct result of evolution. Because we no longer need claws to climb trees and tear open food, we are gradually losing them through evolution. Therefore, I don't have funky nails, I am simply more highly evolved. So take that, you large talon mother fuckers.