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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hey! Ask Me A Question! - REPLIES Vol. 2

I thought I'd start out the answers with an answer to Jen @ Redhead Ranting's question on my Waffling post. What's the 'snake belt' story?
When I was in grade school the boys in the 'hood, would terrorize me by doing their snake belt routine. They would take the belts off their pants and then wriggle/snap them at me in what they thought looked like a snake. I screamed and ran from them every time. They didn't take into account that 'the belt' was one of the corporal punishments my parents doled out when we didn't follow the rules. It was more the threat of 'the belt' than anything else. At the time I thought that all parents used it and it didn't occur to me that the generation gap between my much older parents and their much younger parents probably meant that their parents didn't use 'the belt'. Every time they tell the 'snake belt' story, they just about wet themselves laughing so hard they can barely tell the story. I bet I hear the 'snake belt' story at least twice at the 30 year reunion.

A. Marie @ My Money Mission Online asks, Ellen has been picked to be the 4th judge on American Idol. Now, I totally LOVE Ellen, and think she is the funniest person on TV. She is also smart, talented and can carry a conversation like the pro she is. But, how do you think she is going to be as a judge? I could see her taking over Ryan's job, but Paula's? First of all, I have to say way to go girl! Ellen went from a sitcom, to her own talk show, to being a spokesperson for Covergirl Makeup and now a judge on American Idol. Who would have thought way back when that an 'out' lesbian could be so successful and in the public eye as much as Ellen DeGeneres? Kudos to her! I have watched Idol only a handful of times, not a fan, maybe when Ellen is on I'll start to watch more. On Ellen's show Thursday she talked about how she doesn't have any singing/musical background and that she was going to be the judge who was the 'voice of the people'. If you look at it that way, maybe she can pull it off. Heaven knows Ellen's comedic talent is way better than Paula Abdul's weird behavior.

StaceyC4 @ All Stace, All The Time asks, With all that has been going on with Michael Jackson's death, why in the world would a family (even strange one's like the Jackson's) decide to leave Michael on ice for TWO months before burying him? What was the point in that? AND along those lines, the family blasted the media for being there and ruining the funeral, well, why hold it OUTSIDE? What could these people possibly be thinking other than greed? I think that part of the wait time was waiting for the body to be returned from the morgue. I'm sure there was also much discussion amongst the family on where to bury him, remember there was speculation about a burial at the Neverland Ranch. I'm sure the 'where' had to be sorted out, as well as how to pay for it. The Jackson family is entitled to lay their family member to rest in any way they choose, but I think with a little better planning they could have made it more private. But then again, part of me thinks the Jacksons are all media whores and they enjoy the media's attention. In the end it's probably greed that killed Michael. The greed of the doctor(s) who gave him whatever he asked for, the greed of the family for maintaining the status quo so Michael could do his big London show. The family could have done an intervention, got him help, but that would have put an end to the London show. It's all about greed. I watched LaToya on 20/20 on Friday, I think the whole interview was about what 20/20 paid her and not about truthfully answering Barbara Walter's questions. You could tell by LaToya's body language and the way she worded her replies that she was not being truthful. And let's not even get into how she seemed 'off', and tried to paint a picture of Michael being paranoid. She seemed paranoid herself.

Anonymous/aka Carlos Z/aka Harriet asks, Who is that hot babe in your entrecard widget? Harriet, too bad that doesn't count for my comment contest.

Auntie E @ At Home With Auntie E asks, What kind of coffee do you serve at home? Black or Cream. flavored or plain. I buy Papa Nicholas Kona Blend whole beans and grind it myself. While Anastasia does love it, she also supports a local coffee roaster and enjoys their Breakfast Blend. Since we have a Keurig it's no issue, we can make a cup at a time, whatever we like with their filter basket. Very strong coffee, I take cream, otherwise it's black. I used to take a bit of sugar, but cut that out since being diagnosed diabetic. I can't stand artificial sweetners and won't use them.

Kelley @ Kelley's Casa DeChaos asks, What is your favorite meal at your favorite restaurant? Do you order it every time you go there? Hmm, we haven't been there in ages, even though it's not that far. I'd have to say the Papa Joe's in Orland Park. It's a great, old world, traditional Italian restaurante. I always order the Veal Marsala. It's fantastic.

Auntie E @ At Home With Auntie E asks, Family wants to know..Do you walk in front or behind the kids at the Mall? I want to know Do you just hide,lol? We hardly ever go to the mall. Our son usually walks at my side and my daughter is usually way ahead of us. Our son knows that I can't walk that fast (bad back pain) and he will lag behind with me. Our daughter is just always off and running and we are constantly calling out to her to stop.

BlueViolet @ A Nut In A Nutshell asks, Your prime time tv hours go from 7-10. I had a love/hate relationship with that. How do you feel? I think there are way too many television programs that are inappropriate for children and teens shown at 7pm and 8pm. I find myself having to hog the remote and quickly switch channels much too often. I'm not a prude, but Jon Cryer's character getting a woody during a lap dance on Two And A Half Men at 8pm is not appropriate television for kids. Nuf said.

Robin @ Cinnamon And Honey asks, If you could go back in time and change one thing that went wrong in your life, what would it be? This is a really hard one. If I said it was to never have married my ex-husband, that would mean I would probably only have my daughter and not my son. Or it could mean I had neither. I couldn't give up my kids.

Stacy (The Cool Random Chick) @ Stacy's Random Thoughts asks, What's your favorite time of year, and why? I like cooler weather. Fall or Spring. I think I like Fall better because of the changing colors of the leaves. I like it cool enough so you need a light jacket, or almost. I wish it was like that year round.

Cardiogirl @ Cardiogirl asks, How do you install your roll of toilet paper -- is the open end on top of the roll or underneath it? The proper way to install it is underneath. Do you floss regularly? Not as often as I should. And do you listen to talk radio? If so what sort of topics (politics, religion, the morning drive, etc.)? Not lately. I usually listen in the car and since I my car was out of commission for almost a month, my car trips were limited to when Anastasia would let me take her car. I usually listen to WGN and the time varies. I did a post awhile back, I Listen To Talk Radio Too Much. I think I may be unconsciously boycotting since the Kathy and Judy show was axed.

Lola's Diner

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hey! Ask Me A Question! Please? Vol. 2

On my August 24th post, Hey! Ask Me A Question I asked my wonderful, loyal and faithful readers to ask questions, and opened up the comments at the diner for questions.

It was fun. (Oh, come on! It could so be fun again!) Now with most, if not all the kiddies back to school, I'm hoping readership will be up and we'll have more questions.

If there is something that I cannot answer due to:

A. It making me too squeamish.
B. A pending lawsuit.
C. National Security reasons.

I will let you know.
So ask away!
Come know you want to!

Lola's Diner

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My Tenth Conversation 10 Months - 10 Lives Challenge

Some of you may recall my previous posts on the 10 Month - 10 Lives Challenge.
Join The Impact says “Join us in a challenge over the next 10 months that will make an IMPACT.
10 months - 10 lives changed. Everyone in this movement must help keep the conversation going.

"We are asking each and every one of you to engage in 10 conversations with someone who does not understand our struggle and help them to see our point of view. We are not asking that you try to infringe on or disrespect their beliefs. Change can not occur with insult, it will only occur with respect. If all of us work hard to positively affect 10 lives, we can change this entire nation!"
If you missed my original posts, be sure to click on each to view them:
My 5th Conversation 10 Months - 10 Lives Challenge.
My 6th Conversation 10 Months - 10 Lives Challenge.
My 7th Conversation 10 Months - 10 Lives Challenge.
My 8th Conversation 10 Months - 10 Lives Challenge.
My 9th Conversation 10 Months - 10 Lives Challenge.
Can you believe a little more than 10 months have passed since I began this Campaign? Even in these past few months, a lot of change has happened across the country.
Graphic from Wikipedia - Same Sex Marriage in the United States. Click link for more details.
I am so proud of myself for participating in this Campaign. I can see from past comments how my conversations have reached people and made them think and that was the whole point. One person at a time, we can do this. Here are some of the past comments:
Even though this is my 10th Conversation in the 10 Month - 10 Lives Challenge, it doesn't mean these conversations are over. It won't be over until Same Sex Marriage affords Gays and Lesbians the same benefits that Heterosexual Marriage does. It won't be over until hate crimes bills are passed. It won't be over until DADT is repealed. It's not over until ENDA is passed.

From time to time I will post on these topics and will participate in future Campaigns. I would like to thank all my readers for being respectful and for listening with an open heart and mind.

Lola's Diner

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


My 30 year high school reunion is coming up the end of September. I've sent in the money for the tickets and made my hotel reservations.

The devil on my left shoulder is telling me:
1. Go, have fun, when is the last time you even got out of town? (4th of July - Indiana, packed like sardines in Anastasia's car.) Your car is fixed, you can now ride comfortably.

2. When was the last time you went to Wisconsin? (over 5 years ago.)

3. The planners have warned this is going to be the last 'organized reunion', what are you? An idiot? Go!

4. Hey, you 'outed' yourself on the Reunion Reservation and Questionaire, you're going to be the center of attention, when has that ever happened? Enjoy it! These are all the people you grew up with, F' em if they can't take a joke. Or F' em and the horse they rode in on. (Weren't those the coolest sayings back in the day?) Hello! It's in Wisconsin, the chances that you'll see even one of them ever again, is slim to none, especially if this is the last reunion.

The angel on my right shoulder is telling me:
1. Be responsible. You can't afford this right now.

2. You really didn't have any friends in high school (your former bff, swore off reunions years ago and another friend did some pretty uncool things before they became ex-friends.)

3. You "outed" yourself on the Reunion Reservation and Questionaire. That will make you and Anastasia the center of attention. (Yes, I am out and proud everywhere, but I am, I think...understandably nervous. These are all the people I grew up with. It is WISCONSIN! (The same Wisconsin that thinks that Chicago is dangerous because of Al Capone.) I have already instant messaged 1 classmate and "outed" myself and it was as if I said nothing out of the ordinary, but that's 1 person out of a possible several hundred people that could be attending.) And it's not just this pressure of 'outing' myself to the whole class of '79, I've let family (Aunts) that I haven't seen in ages know that I'm coming and will be visiting. They don't know.

4. Do you really need for the boys from your 'hood to tell Anastasia the 'snake belt' story? You know they will...they almost wet themselves laughing every time they tell that story. It's probably the only thing they remember about you.

These things go through my head daily. I waffle back and forth...daily. I keep psychoanalyzing myself...why do I have this urge to attend, when really isn't it all just a huge exercise in people watching? Watching the people I grew up with and seeing what they've become? Did the freaks amount to anything? Did the jocks and cheerleaders and popular kids get knocked down a few pegs in their adult life? What happened to the geeks? Is it that I'm looking for some kind of closure...what is it? Will I feel like I missed an important milestone if I don't attend? I was a wallflower that dissolved into the scenery, why do I need to be the center of attention? What if I'm not the center of attention, will I be disappointed?

Duh-oh! What to do?

Lola's Diner

Monday, September 7, 2009

Why I'm Not Partying With Oprah...

Have you heard about Oprah's party on Michigan Avenue Tuesday?. If not, check out Partying With Oprah? Here's What To Expect - Courtesy of The Chicago Tribune.

10. I'm not much of an Oprah fan. Not that I ever really was. No I'm not bitter about not having my bigger fatter pregnant ass on her show telling some cutesy mad about you-like story on air. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out Oprah's Touch - I Shook Hands With Oprah. Seriously, I'm not bitter.

9. I'm so over her a-ha moments. Seriously, how old is she and shit still surprises her? Really?

8. Her 'best friend Gayle'. We all really know what you mean. How much does your bff get paid for appearing on your show on Fridays or whenever you get the itch to have her on the show?

7. Oprah's Favorite Things. Why does this sound like another television diva's "good things"? She can't even be original?

6. Whenever Oprah takes on a highly sensitive topic where a therapist really should be offering advice, and Oprah steps in and comments and offers advise like she's a professional. That's just wrong. It's not only wrong, it's dangerous.

5. The party - No camping out is allowed, yet the city is closing off streets at 12:01 p.m Monday through 5 a.m. Wednesday. Why? Do you seriously think people aren't going to camp out? Come on now. I bet people are loitering all over Michigan Avenue right now as I typed this.

4. The taping is due to start at 5pm Tuesday, what are all of those people waiting supposed to do until then? There is not much worse than a bored, sweaty crowd. And what about facilities? Are they going to be littering Michigan Avenue with Port-a-Johns? That's going to look attractive.

3. Did I mention it's standing room only? No seats. Yeah, that right there, seals the deal for me. I have a bad back, if I have to stand for more than 5 minutes it's a big problem. I'm really old and cranky, aren't I?

2. Did I mention there is no food? It's totally byo.

1. I'm not really a big fan of the Black Eyed Peas. And really, I'm not that big a fan of anyone or anything to camp out overnight or endure a standing room only event. Those days are over. Did I mention I'm old and cranky?

Lola's Diner

President Obama wants your children...

to watch his speech on Tuesday.

I don't understand the controversy about President Obama's speech to our children in schools on Tuesday. Here is the text of that speech from White House.Gov - President Obama's Prepared Remarks - Back To School Event:
Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama
Back to School Event

Arlington, Virginia
September 8, 2009

The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.
I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.
I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.
Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."
So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.
Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.
I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.
I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.
I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.
And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.
Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.
Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.
And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.
You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.
We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.
Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.
I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.
So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.
But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.
Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.
Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.
That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.
Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.
I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.
And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.
Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.
That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.
Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.
But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.
No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.
And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.
The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.
It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.
So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?
Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

My take on his speech is that he is trying to be a role model for our children. He's saying, 'look where I started out, my father left us when I was 2 and my mother taught me lessons at 4:30am every day because she couldn't afford school', 'look where I am now!', 'look at Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell and the challenges they faced and how they are rising above them'.

How dare he try to be a role model!

He's asking children to set goals for themselves. Even small goals, like do their homework, read every day.

How dare he ask our children to set goals for themselves!

He asked our children to wash their hands a lot and stay home from school if they are sick "so that we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter."

How dare he ask our children to wash their hands!

"Don't spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox."

How dare he tell our children they can't watch a lot of TV or play a lot of video games!

Former President Reagan and Former President George W. Bush made addresses to students. There was never this much discussion and acrimony over their speeches to our children.

I've asked our kids if their school will be airing the speech and both of them knew nothing about it, which leads me to believe that both schools are avoiding the issue by not talking about it and not airing it. It doesn't matter, I'm sure the speech will be available online and I will view it with them. I looked at the classroom activities (Pre K - 6 Menu of Classroom Activities, Grades 7-12 Menu of Classroom Activities) and found nothing even close to being objectionable.

I just don't understand the hoopla. If someone can enlighten me, please do.

Lola's Diner
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