Friday, January 31, 2003

The most vocal war critic in our house is my 83-year-old father-in-law, who stops by two or three times a day. He was drafted for WWII and was taken from his 3-month bride for three years. He served in Africa and Italy. "War is a terrible thing," he says. "They should do everything they can to avoid it." He is a highly lauded past bank president, but has not a clue about how to use a screwdriver. War frightened him no end.

I wonder if the most vocal critics of the war in the public sphere are people who don't do mechanical things (apart from the Germans)?

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Mr. Possum, I have one word for district spelling bees: zephyr. In Texas, we spelled the west wind "sandstorm".

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Virginia Postrel is showing her roots. Her South Carolina southern roots, that is. Here she has reached her forties and now she is talking about her Lasik surgery, the surgical corrective for myopia. You'll need to scroll down the page.

This procedure has always been interesting to me. I have worn glasses since second grade, moving from farsighted to near-sighted. Unlike many of my peers, these days I see wonderfully at close work like sewing, but can't see a highway sign until I am within twenty feet of it without glasses. But I have seen too many reports that the surgery overcorrects, leaving patients using reading glasses rather than distance glasses, which would be a poor trade in my case. I'll stick to my bifocals.

Sunday, January 26, 2003

Should've watched Ninotchka.

What a night for TV. The Superbowl, Star Trek V, Grumpy Old Men, Gone With the Wind, Ninotchka and Sabrina. Shame they're all on at the same time.

When I wrote the post below, I mentioned our gasoline usage per year because I had in the back of my mind this article that Gregg Easterbrook wrote in September of 2001. In the article, Mr. Easterbrook mentions that every licensed driver in the US uses 875 gallons of gasoline per year. Doing the numbers, we use about 28% of the normal family's intake. I do not like to be vilified without reason.

Apart from all that, we are in the market for a dependable 4-door sedan for local use. Do you have something for about $6000?

Friday, January 24, 2003

Gee, I like Gregg Easterbrook. I like his articles on affairs and I like Tuesday Morning Quarterback. But what drives his fury at SUV's and pickup trucks in this article in the New Republic?

The article is a review of Ken Bradsher's book, High and Mighty, a scathing indictment of the SUV. Here's an excerpt of Easterbrook's review, including a quote from Bradsher's book:

"They tend to be people who are insecure and vain. They are frequently nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about parenthood. They often lack confidence in their driving skills. Above all, they are apt to be self-centered and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbors." This is Bradsher's summary of the auto industry's own marketing research about SUV buyers, and he adduces numerous on-the-record comments from auto-marketing gurus to back this up. One such wise man, named Clotaire Rapaille, tells the Big Three that people buy SUVs "because they want to look as menacing as possible." It is perhaps not startling that rather than trying to alter these buyer proclivities, the manufacturers of SUVs have tried to encourage them. There are lots of self-centered and self-absorbed people with little interest in their neighbors. Somebody finally made a class of vehicles designed to bring out the worst in them.

I take that personally. I drive a 1997 2-wheel drive 4-door Chevy Tahoe. It has cloth seats, lots of rubber mats, air-conditioning, power transmission and a radio with a tape player. It weighs a little over 4400 pounds without any load. It's heavy enough to pull a 700 pound trailer. It is a glorified pickup truck. It is our only car. We drive it about 7800 miles a year, which in past years has included two 800+ mile trips to Dallas and at least two 600+ miles to Alabama each year. We use about 485 gallons of gas per year.

We live in a small town at least eighty miles in any direction from a major shopping center, so if I want to visit Lowe's, Dillard's or Albertson's I have to hit the road for Baton Rouge, Alexandria, or Jackson, MS. We keep these trips to a minimum, so we often have many packages to carry. For the past three years we have been renovating our house in Vidalia and a condo on the coast of Alabama, entailing loads of building supplies and furniture, carted sometimes in rain. Our house is situated on an acre of land which entails much maintenance and we garden vegetables in the spring and summer, all of which calls for flats of flowers and plants and many bags of fertilizer and soil additives.

Mr. Easterbrook, I do care about other drivers and I drive safely. I was hit by a car at two and a half, and I still carry scars from an accident at 21 in which I was a passenger and my driver wasn't at fault. I don't want to intimidate you or anyone else. I just want to get my work done.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

This weather is driving me insane. Today the thermometer is reading 69.8 at 2:51 pm. The forecast on the Weather Channel is predicting a high of 37 for Friday, with lows of 19 for Thursday and Friday nights.

Vivian Brown is informing me all about it. Tell me we haven't come a long way since the sixties when I am taking my weather from a pregnant black woman.

Saturday, January 18, 2003

On Hardball tonight, they debated the new daisy ad. Christopher Hitchens was nearly sick in his condemnation of it as lame and incoherent. If you want to do a derivative ad, there's a better one to use. Stupid ad, I don't even know what they're selling, but it's the ad where the little girl asks "Daddy, will you call me?" Then it goes into into the song of "Wherever you go, I will be with you, until the end of time." Her daddy takes off into a world of airplanes and newspapers and racecars, then finally he calls. "Daddy!"

What if daddy never calls? There's your anti-war ad.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Axis of Weevil Pride Alert

I was wandering around the blogosphere today, putting off cleaning up that tacky spot in the guest bathroom, when I ran across a post at Bill Quick's about the PC labeling of African-Americans. A commenter there talked about the 2002 Olympics, when the first black person in the Winter Olympics earned a gold medal. He thought she was from a country other than the US, and that the TV persons were forced to call a "black" person an "African-American" for PC purposes.

The person he was referencing is Vonetta Flowers, who is, indeed, the first black person to win a gold in the winter sport. She is from Alabama. Pretty damned unbelievable, isn't it? I can't much blame him. Why in tarnation does a southern woman who might have seen snow maybe eight times in her life succeed before a Canadian black? Beats me.

Maybe there is a clue in her biography. Here is part of her backstory.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

Billy Joe Bob at the barbecue emporium in Alabama has been kind enough to add me to his blogroll over at Compleat Redneck. I have been a fan of his site since its first day, and happily return the gesture. Thank you, Mr. Roberts.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Oh! Me? I'm still trying to figure out how to adjust your cup size so your bra can carry 12 little possums along with your cuddly warm breasts.

(Link via Obscure Store)