Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Dispassionate Discourse

I usually write blogs about issues I am passionate about. Today, I thought I would deviate from that pattern and write about topics I couldn't care less about.

Who won the game?  I don't know.  I didn't know there was a game. 

What kind of car do you drive?  It doesn't matter, really.  Even if you tell me the make and model, I am going to have a hard time picking it out in a parking lot.  And I have no idea whether your car is cool or not.  But I do congratulate you if it is environmentally friendly.  My car runs on CNG.  I can talk about the virtues of CNG for almost five minutes before I get bored.  But that is about the extent of my interest in cars.

Celebrity Gossip
Did I hear about that celebrity that divorced that other celebrity?  No.  Nor was I aware of their marriage last week.  Or the births of their twins the week before that.  In fact, I probably can't even remember their names, even if I like their movies or songs or whatever.  That is why I am such a failure at Trivial Pursuit.

Video Games

Well, this blog post has not been the most intellectually stimulating or emotionally appealing bit of prose I have ever read.  On the bright side, it sure is benign and uncontroversial.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mountain Cabin Vacation

We spent a long weekend with my family in a "cabin" in the mountains "near" Park City. (I put "cabin" in quotes because, while the place was made of wood, it was nicer and more modern than my home. It was "near" Park City in the sense that it was closer to Park City than anything else, but really it was quite remote.) We had a wonderful time. The cabin was surrounded by wildlife and amazing scenery and we enjoyed the family fun.

Roastin' Marshmallows
Can you go to the mountains without doing this at least once?

A Very Happy Baby
He loved the attention from all of his extended family fans.

Family Olympics
The Frisbee event, Pre-school division

My Pregnant Sis
Sitting out the Frisbee event

The Only Time This Happened
The two year-old boys are both calm and quiet.

Two Seconds Later
That calm moment is almost over.

Family Olympics
Bean Bag Toss Event

Rock Band
Yeah, we're rugged outdoorsy types.

Park City Excursion

The Only Ones Not on the Mountain Slide
A cripple, a grandma, a pregnant lady, and a baby

Squint at the Area by the Tree Trunk
A nest full of baby birds was located right next to the cabin. 
It proved very difficult to photograph.

Even Better than Wildlife
The cabin had an arcade. 
As it turns out, my two year-old really likes arcades.
Speaking of Wildlife
I spotted these two in the trees.

Friday, July 16, 2010

McCarthy Tactics in Our Modern Times

I thought it was bad enough that some hyper-conservative Utah lawmakers, who crave negative attention like toddlers, started screaming, "We can be fascist, too!  We'll do the same thing!" as soon as Arizona stole the spotlight from them by creating their immigrant round-up law.  Why would anyone want to copy a move that immediately created so many legal, financial and ethical problems?  Are they so afraid of people who are completely powerless in comparison to themselves that they can't rationally look at the bad consequences  presently unfolding in Arizona?  Even if you do believe, as they apparently do, that poor, brown-skinned, Spanish-speakers who build or clean houses are the root of all societal problems, it seems that it would still be obvious that copying tactics that are causing so many new problems in the state next-door is not the solution.

But this week, the anti-immigrant people stepped it up and copied a tactic that has been universally vilified since the 1950's:  McCarthy-style blacklisting.  While this person or group of people had no problem sharing the names and personal information of 1,300 of their neighbors, he/she/they wimped out when it came time to sign his/her/their own name(s), and instead signed the letter, "Concerned Citizens of the United States."  So for blogging purposes, I'll just call him/her/them, "Paranoid, Unethical List-maker(s) whose Citizenship Status Cannot be Verified because the Coward(s) Failed to Identify Him/Her/Themselves" or "Cowards" for short.

The Cowards, who are probably state employees like myself, pulled the names from a state database of applicants for various social services such as Medicaid and CHIP and claimed that they were illegal immigrants.  They sent the list to political leaders, news organizations and probably their equally bigoted friends and demanded that the people listed be run out of the state. News organizations have interviewed people on the list and some do admit to being here without visas but others are legal residents targeted because of their Spanish surnames.

To his credit, the misleading headlines such as "Utah Governor Herbert Investigates List" actually refer to the fact that the governor is investigating who created the list, not the victims whose names are on it. Kudos to the governor for doing the right thing (not that I recommend doing anything drastic like voting for Herbert in the upcoming election).

In the meantime, I will send my message to the Cowards through cyberspace, since they failed to leave their own mailing address (unlike the addresses of all the other people on their list, which were clearly printed).  Cowards, I am one of your colleagues in state employment. (Also, I should mention that I am a white person with an English surname born in the United States, since I know that sort of thing is important to you Cowards).  My job is to gather data about Utah minority health so that it can be used to address health problems, bring grant funding to Utah, and save healthcare dollars. How am I supposed to get accurate data when people are too scared to share information with the state government because we employ criminals like yourselves?  I hope you Cowards get caught, fired, and prosecuted.  But fortunately for you, Cowards, I am too big a person to wish for you to be blacklisted.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Has she seen too many Disney princess movies?

My daughter has suddenly become a silly, boy-crazy romantic.  I would suspect that she was beginning puberty, if she weren't only five years-old.

First, she begged her daddy to take her on a "date".  He took her to a buffet and reported that she hugged, kissed and cuddled him throughout.  After dinner, she asked him if they could just sit down and talk.  She used the chat time to daydream out loud about marrying Daddy when she grew up.  I don't think he clarified that such a wedding would not work out at first because he was flattered and then because he was suffering the effects of food poisoning from the buffet. 

My daughter clearly chose her dishes more wisely than her father, because she escaped any gastrointestinal upset and was ready for more romantic adventures. A week or two later, she told me that she had an exciting dream.  In the dream, she went to a birthday party at her cousin's house and met a boy in a blue-striped shirt.  She giggled, blushed  and covered her face when she told me that she and the dreamboy "fell in love" so they "played and played" and when they grew up, they got married.

Yesterday, a couple of 12 year-old boys stopped by our house collecting donations for our church.  While I searched for the check my husband had written for that purpose, my daughter flew in behind me announcing, "I can't believe I did that!  I just gave a flower to a boy!  I couldn't help myself!"  I returned with the check to see her forcing another gift into the reluctant boy's hand--this time a rock that she had speedily decorated herself with bubblegum or something equally icky.

I think she needs a break from Disney fairy tales.  Do they make action films for five year-olds?.