Saturday, September 30, 2006

In a display best described as "Snatching Victory from the Jaws of Defeat" -

HE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tito peed on the potty!

(Excuse me a second.


Ok, I'm back.

He went once last night, and once this morning!

I almost crapped my pants, but then I realized what a horrible example I would be setting.

Several factors converged to bring about this joyous success. They are, in no particular order:

- Beebie filled the bottom of the bathroom sink with water then found a plastic teapot, filled it up and poured it into the water in the sink, thereby creating a better sound than merely letting the sink run while he sits on the potty, "waiting for the pee to come." Smart girl.

- My friend Eric suggested that I take away one of Tito's trains whenever he has an accident, and then give one back when he goes on the potty. I took his Molly engine away yesterday, and was able to give it back not long afterwards.

- I started a chart that allows him to put a Thomas Train sticker on one the letters in the word "TRAIN" each time he successfully goes on the potty, and then when he fills up all the letters, he'll be allowed to pick out a new train.

- Here comes the part where I confess to my vast readership that I did something unethical. Something dishonest. Something that may or may not cause one or more of my children great psychological damage in the future. But I will go to the mat with any parent who wouldn't have done the same damn thing in an identical situation.

But first, a little bit of history. Ry was 7 months old when we discovered I was pregnant with Tito. Oh, and not just pregnant, but FIVE MONTHS ALONG. Had Tito been born on his due date, they would have been exactly 11 months apart. But Tito came 2 weeks early. So they're exactly 46 weeks apart. For 6 weeks every year, they're the same age.

There is, and has always been a bit of competition between them. Ry is old enough to understand that when you're older, there should be some perks. Beebie gets to stay up later, she gets to make her own lunch, that kind of thing. But now that they're 4 and 3 and both in preschool, Tito is getting to the age where it's easier to treat him and Ry like equals. The only thing making them different is the potty thing. And Ry has held it over T's head that he is the Big Boy and T is the Baby because he wears baby diapers.

Ry was not at all happy when T peed on the potty yesterday because his status as "The Big Boy" is being threatened.

T got off the potty this morning and said,
"Mommy! Mommy! I big like Ry now! Mommy! I'm a Big Boy too! I'm FOUR!! I'm four, just like Ry!!"

His birthday's not until Christmas. And now, the confession.

Sure, honey, you're four now. Just don't tell Ry.

Hey, whatever works.

UPDATE: Poopy accident, right after I hit "Publish Post". Another long day ahead. At least they let me sleep until 7 this morning.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that today is Ashley's birthday party, and tomorrow we're going to another pirate-themed event!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Some days aren't so funny. But I'm still stickin' to my schedule.

Tito woke me up at 4am to inform me that he'd once again peed through his diaper and gotten his bed wet. Fine, I said, go get a new diaper and I'll fix it. So he starts clamoring about the house and finally yells, loud enough to wake everyone in our house and probably the neighbors too,


Oh yeah, I forgot to buy more. Guess you get panties today, Big Boy!

So he did ok in panties for about an hour, and then after breakfast I told him to go try on the potty again, and I saw him walk into the bathroom. As I was cleaning up the breakfast dishes (this is still before dawn, mid you), I heard him say, from the bathroom, "Mommy, it too late!"

I poked my head in and saw him, still peeing, standing in front of the sink, just inches from the toilet. I totally lost it. I should have handled it better, like maybe said "Oh, wow, you were so close! Next time you'll get there", but instead I pointed out, at length and at a completely inappropriate volume, the ironic proximity between the potty and the puddle on the floor. I tried to make up for it when I put another pair of undies on him and I told him it was okay and he could try again later.

Maybe an hour or so afterwards, I heard his voice (from the living room this time) alerting me to the fact that it was, once again, Too Late. I demanded to know where the puddle was this time. He looked at the floor and said "Nowhere..."

Great, I thought. He's not going to confess, so I'll probably have to walk around barefoot for a while and I'll either step in a wet spot or, in a couple of days, a spot on the carpet will show up.

Then I realized what he meant. There wasn't a puddle this time because he POOPED instead. Judging by the size of it, that poop could NOT have snuck up on him. He HAD to know that was coming. Oh, and as I was cleaning it out of his undies and attempting to get the poop in the potty where it belongs, it clogged the toilet and I had to get out the plunger.

All this took place before 8am.
I hate waking up to potty drama.

And then I dropped the boys at their school and went to work at the library at Beeb's school. The librarian told me that something had happened recently that made her think of Beebie. She was clearing out the library's database of kids because the school is starting a new reading program which requires the school to pay for each child who takes part in it. She had to delete the names of the kids that don't go to the school anymore, and yesterday she had to take Beeb's friend Jack (her best friend who died when they were in 2nd grade)'s name out of the system. She said it broke her heart to do it. It broke my heart too.

One at a time, the little things that remind us of him - the tangible evidence of his incredible life - are disappearing. Like he never existed.

I wept.

I'm tired, frustrated, and now I'm sad too.

And later, while I was telling this story to my friend Eric via Yahoo Messenger, Tito walked in and said, "I sorry, Mommy!" Fabfuckulous.

More poop. Poop leaking out the sides of his panties and down his legs. Oh, my GOD, it was horrible. Seriously, I'm gagging now at the recollection of it. I wanted to kill him, I'm so sick of this stupid potty training crap. And then I thought how much Jack's mom would give to have just one more day with him.

And then I felt like the biggest asshole alive.

Oh, and just now as I'm typing up the highlights my day for your amusement, Tito has peed somewhere. He's yelling at me now to get him some new panties. It never ends.

Mommeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! I wet!!!


Mommeeeeeeee??? You deaf????? (took me a second to figure out that was what he was saying)

I wish.

Cuz then I probably wouldn't have subjected myself to Part I of the Celebrity Duets Grand Finale. Part II is tonight - set your Tivo!

Oh, and my favorite lines from Earl and Office were:

"I could float your whole family across a muddy river on these puppies!" and "DWIGHT GOT A HOOKER!" And did you hear Joy refer to Girl Scouts as "flat-chested pygmy sluts"?!?!?!

See, I started out with a shitty day, and I still managed to get TV-Talk Friday in! I think I'm going to keep Thursdays themeless. I'll call them Themeless Thursdays, and it'll be like a catch-all, Potpourri category (although today I think it could be called POO-pourri). That's when I'll just talk about whatever I want. Won't that be interesting?

No, probably not.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Big Weiner Tuesday!

I was gonna call Tuesdays Big Weiner Tuesdays because I was planning to announce Prizewinners on Tuesdays, but then I started to get concerned about the creepy Google searches I'd get. A search for "Joey Lawrence Bulge" recently led someone to behold my brilliance. I might have to think of a different clever title for Tuesdays. I love Wookin Pa Nub Wednesdays, so that's totally staying. And I'm happy with Blogstalking Mondays too. Tuesdays and Thursdays are what I'm having trouble nailing down.

Anyway, so there's still time to get in on the Bloggiversary Contest, if you haven't left a comment there yet. It's kinda blossomed into a "Songs we hope Clay Aiken Doesn't Ever Sing" discussion (with a little bit of Donny and Marie in there - or should I say "a little bit country and a little bit rock n roll"?),

And I know I just gave the last Simple Green Simple Quiz on Friday but I want to try out my newly-adopted schedule (ie Big Weiner Tuesday) so I'm going to go ahead and announce the answer. But first, a little background for those tuning in for the first time.

A few weeks ago the lovely people at Simple Green sent me 96 little bitty bottles of Simple Green in response to an email I had sent them months before asking if they made little bitty bottles of Simple Green. I don't have 95 friends, so I thought I'd come up with a fun way to get rid of them.

Each week-ish I will conduct a Simple Green Simple Quiz. It'll be a simple question that one could easily answer by reading my blog, and then I'll draw a winner randomly from the responses. The prize is, of course, a little bitty bottle of Simple Green.

The first Simple Green Simple Quiz was -

Complete this memorable sentence:
"Mom, hurry up and change my poop..."

Well, as I re-read the post I saw that the quote isn't exactly verbatim from the original, but the answer, as seen on the July 18th 2006 post, is:


And the Big Weiner is Fluffy Ewe! Send me your info and I'll send you some Simple Green! Can you stand the excitement?

And now, here is Simple Green Simple Quiz Question #2.

What game did we give Aldigirl for her birthday that she already had, prompting Mrs. Aldi to say "Oh, now you can have one upstairs and one downstairs!"?

I think I've actually told that story on the blog twice. You have a whole week this time.

And on a totally unrelated note, tell me if this isn't completely fucked up or if I'm just Stella Dallas-ing over the whole situation:

We're supposed to go out to the inlaws next weekend for a Hayride. We went last year, and it was really fun. Beebie and Aldigirl go to the same school, so Beeb asked Aldigirl if she was going to be at the Hayride at Gram & Gramps' place. Aldigirl said that she was not going to be able to come. Why?

There's a Brownie Troop Horseback Ride and Campout that night. Here's the thing:


I'm serious. I haven't received one single piece of information from the school (ok, not really from the school but given to Beebie at school, just to clarify) informing the parents of potential Brownies that a troop was in existence, not even an informational meeting to gauge interest in creating a troop since (to my knowledge) there was no troop. I wonder if the troop is purposely not having any public meetings. It hasn't been in the school newsletter (stuff like that usually is, even if it's not necessarily school-sponsored - the Boy Scouts' meeting was), nothing. It must all be word of mouth, like it's some underground thing. It's probably in the Brownie pledge to make sure Beebie Karma and her mom don't find out about the troop.

I swear to God it's a conspiracy.

The Brownie Moms have excommunicated us. Beeb doesn't care, she doesn't even want to do it, but still, it totally weirded me out that we have never been invited to participate in one single Girl Scout-related thing in the last three years. Yeah, I know I sucked as the leader, but I must not have sucked too bad or one of the other moms would have stepped in, but the only one who did was Dr. Eyeball, and everybody hated her (including myself). If they're worried that I'll try to take over as the leader or something, they needn't be concerned. I never even WANTED to be the leader in the fuggin first place. Perhaps they don't realize that I'm fully aware of how shitty a troop leader I was. Ha! Ya hearin' me, bitches? I KNOW I'M AN IDIOT! Take that!!!

Speaking of bitches, I had my Bellydance class last night, and these two little Twitterbitches kept talking and giggling and snorting throughout the entire hour-long class. I was ready to accidently smack them. Oops.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Here are some highlights from our trip to the Pirate Festival:

My little swashbucklers in the costumes I got at a church rummage sale (grand total: $6). I even knitted them little eyepatches, which they both hated.

FYI, Tito's vest and shirt are both from Talbot's. I just thought that was funny.

Beebie and the Bawdy Wenches

Tito learning to shoot an arrow with the Archer (who was totally hot).

No, that's not me. And by the way, the front of that outfit is even more offensive. I mean, there's period costumes and then there's Fredricks of Hollywood. She was going for Shock Value. And it worked.

THIS is me. Next to a guy who's totally free-ballin' it under those pants. Tell me that's not HOT.

He was talking on a cell phone when I walked up to his Accoutrements Shoppe. So much for realism.

No, I didn't make the shawl. It also came from the Church Rummage Sale.

I had never been to a Renaissance Fair or a Civil War re-enactment or anything like this before. It was an absolute hoot. The kids had a blast. They even got to dig for buried treasure! They made their own beeswax candles and ate Captain's Cakes (funnel cakes to you landlubbers) and learned to fence and shoot arrows. I think we'll go back next year, and maybe I'll even dress up! I do have a leather bustier.

Y'know, I talk about so many different topics on here, I think I may have to implement some sort of schedule. Maybe Blogstalking Monday, Big Wiener Tuesday, Wookin Pa Nub Wednesday, Penny For Your Thoughts Thursday, TV Talk Friday, Weekend Wrap-Up in case I miss a day during the week (since I find that there's more for me to blog about when I actually manage to leave the house), something like that. I dunno. Suggestions? Funny how there's no knitting content in there. Hmmm... I might have to rethink the schedule.

Well, today I'll try to get myself current. Here are a couple of the Blog-looking assignments I promised you. I'm gonna go light on the commentary since they're pretty self-explanatory.


My Favorite Tools


The closest any of the Karmas has ever been to an actual celebrity.

Didja know Ben, Jay and Silent Bob are regular readers of my blog? It's true.

My Bookshelf

Yes, that's Hooray For Yiddish.

That's all I can remember. I hope I'm caught up now. I'll try to keep up with it better in the future, but scouring the internet for pictures for my Recurring "Wookin Pa Nub" segment is taking up a lot of my spare time. I'm not complaining, though. It's way more fun than laundry.

Here ya go, girls!

Step right up for the Gun Show, ladies!

Check the look on the baby's face. I think he's saying, "Dude, don't EVEN involve me in your Online Love Hunt, you sad, pathetic loser." Is that the guy's baby or his grandbaby? Either way, eeeeeewww!!

And what's up with the goatee plus full-beard stubble?

Kinda like dating a sugar bowl.

Whatdya wanna bet this guy shows up at the door with his loyal army of Oompa Loompas?

And, finally - y'know why this guy's last girlfriend broke up with him?

Cuz he was fuckin' goofy.

Thank you, thank you! I'm here all week!
Be sure to tip your waitress...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Oh yes, I still watch TV!

I will now recap some of the shows I watch regularly, beginning with Celebrity Duets. Spoilers ahead.

Alfonzo Ribiero + Leather Pants + Chaka Khan.
Need I say more?

And, in an unbelievable confluence of Gayness (not that there's anything wrong with that), Jai Rodriguez from Queer Eye sang "Somewhere Over The Rainbow". A solo performance would have been gay enough, but it gets gayer. His partner? Patti Labelle.

I'm totally serious.

And it was an absolutely phenomenal performance. Seriously. It was awesome.

Perhaps that's why Little Richard wasn't there. The stage would have exploded into a huge, sequined, stuffed cremini mushroom cloud. In a white wine sauce.

Cheech was eliminated from the competition. Boo effin hoo, what was he doing there in the first place anyway? And so was Jai, amidst gasps of disbelief (including my own). So who's left? Carlton, Cutiepoo, and Xena. God, that show sucks.

Unfortunately, I missed most of Dancing With The Stars. Shanna Moakler was eliminated, although Jerry Springer was by far the crappiest dancer. It's seriously painful to watch him. He and his partner went totally low-class with a fake kick in the crotch. I guess the Dick Joke Humor crowd called in to keep him in the game. I mean, I'm all for a good dick joke every now and then, but it just didn't work for ya, Jer. Ya know who's really good? Emmit Smith! And Joey Lawrence was really good too. I need to commit myself to the show a little more.

I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE the new season of Top Model! What's that Melrose chick about? And the girl who poured water on someone else's bed and then told everybody she peed on it? Meeeeeee-YOW! I kinda like AJ because she has a Totally 80's Joan Jett thing goin' on. And the twin that did that bulemia pose was so creepy I can't get it the image of it out of my head. If you've never seen America's Next Top Model, it is a GREAT show and you should check it out sometime. Next week they start the makeovers. Woo hoo!!!!

And let's talk about Must See TV! My Name is Earl was hilarious as ever. My favorite line was "Hell, I'd probably read more if people wrote like that all the time" in reference to Randy's tag on the stolen truck. I love that I got my parents to watch Earl. I tried to talk them into watching Office too, but my mom absolutely can't stand the character of Michael Scott. She doesn't think he's funny. And seeing the humor in his character is kinda central to the enjoyability of the show.

The Office was hilarious and controversial and awesome. I nearly spewed Boylan Diet Black Cherry soda at Jim's expression when his new manager said that they had to do Sensitivity Training because of the Scranton office. And I loved how they portrayed Jim and Pam longing for each other. Awwwwwwww. I asked my mom if she watched it, and she said that she tried to, but she felt guilty for laughing at the parts she laughed at. Guess I should explain the concept of the Guilty Pleasure to my mom, if the whole thought of explaining to my mom that Guilt can be Fun didn't weird me out so much.

And ER - I must have missed something. Why did Luka flip out at the end? Is it because of the Abby's emergency hysterectomy? Or is something wrong with the baby that he didn't tell Abby? Or is he remembering the wife and kids he used to have? Are Luka and Abby going to stay together? Sally Field returns next week (dontcha just love her?).

Survivor was just weird. I just kinda felt like Billy's shitty "Why should I waste my energy? Let everyone else waste their energy! I'm just gonna lay here..." attitude was exactly the stereotype he should have been trying harder to shatter. I loved that his tribe so overtly threw the challenge so they could get rid of him - and it worked. And then at Tribal Council when he said all that stuff about sharing some love at first sight moment with Candice? Huh? It'll be interesting to see if Candice has anything to say about Billy. I think at the end of the challenge he said "I'm next", and then Candice said "Well, we love you." and Billy said "I love you" back. I didn't think Candice meant it in a romantic way, I thought she was just being nice to somebody who was about to be kicked off the island, but maybe I'm wrong. We'll see.

Tomorrow is Desperate Housewives and The Race! I hope Babe and Babe come in last. They bug me.

In Actual Reality (i.e. IRL) news, tomorrow we're taking the kids to the Pirate Festival. The boys have costumes. I promise to take pictures.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Aren't Y'all the Biggest Buncha Asskissers Ever?!!?

And I love you for it.

In fact, I love you so much that I've decided to give more stuff away. You guys are gonna feel just like Oprah's Audience (minus the Amy Poehler's head exploding part)! Next month will be celebrated as "OCTOPRAH".

Oh wait, a couple of days ago I said next month was going to be Socktober. Maybe it could be Socktoprah? Maybe I'll do contests and a pair of socks. I can multitask, right? Shut up. Sure I can.

Remember all those little bitty bottles of Simple Green I got for asking the people at Simple Green if they made little bitty bottles of Simple Green? I thought I'd introduce a weekly-ish Simple Green Simple Quiz. It'll be a simple question that one could easily answer by reading my blog, and then I'll draw a winner randomly from the responses. The prize is, of course, a little bitty bottle of Simple Green.

Ready? Here's the first one.

Simple Green Simple Quiz

Complete this memorable sentence:
"Mom, hurry up and change my poop..."

Clue: There are 5 words in the answer.

Chez Karma is abuzz with activity. Beebie was selected to be on her school's newspaper staff. I was surprised when she told me she wanted to apply for it, because although she enjoys writing, she's always losing points for not including enough details in her paragraphs and getting pissy when I try to help. Hopefully she'll get some feedback from the teacher who's in charge and she'll become a better writer.

Beebie also begins flute lessons next week, thanks to My Friend Wonky who cut me a sweet deal on a really nice instrument. Beebie is THRILLED. I just have to get the line "This one time, at band camp..." out of my brain, and I think we'll be fine.

As we were leaving the boys' preschool on Monday, guess who got to the top of the stairs, decided I wasn't moving fast enough, and yelled "LET'S GO, WOMAN!!!!!!"

That would be The Pie.

Miraculously, I held back the "Oh, HELL NO!" I wanted to say, and instead I said "I did NOT just hear that." And then I heard the Preschool Co-ordinator laugh and say, "Well, I sure did!" Great.

Tito still is not the least bit interested in going on the potty.

R may be getting a new job which would mean he'd be home on Saturdays (yay!) BUT would take away our treasured Wednesday "Date Days" and could interfere with the classes he's taking. We kinda don't want him to switch jobs but it's really not his choice, they're "re-shuffling" the teams once again and it's all about Seniority. Ugh.

Let's see... OH! I got my grande finale package from my SP7, Stephy! I especially liked the pretty stitch markers and the pink yarn! I promise to read the Guide, too.

AND I got my big weiner package from OLPP! I'm not gonna say what it is, though, just in case other people haven't gotten theirs yet.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

My Bloggaversary Approacheth!

Hence, a contest seems appropriate.

I want to include both knitters and non-knitters, since I realize not all of my readers knit. Therefore, the prize will be something that can be enjoyed by Knitters and Muggles alike. Nuthin' spectacular, but it'll be worth the time you take to enter.

On October 3rd, I will randomly draw a name from everyone who leaves a friendly, edifying, semi-lucid comment on today's post. As my regular readers know, I'm an External Affirmation Whore, so creative brown-nosing is encouraged. Major Ass Kissing will earn you an additional entry (maximum of two entries per person). Suck up to the hostess and double your odds of winning a Major Award!

Can ya tell I'm having self-esteem issues today?

OK, I should have thought through the Contest thing a little more. I sound a little too needy. I'm just having an off day.

If you're not into butt-smoochin' (and that's okay), here are some alternative topics that you can also comment on for entry into the Big Extravaganza Bloggaversary Giveaway:

A) What would be the most hideous possible prize you can imagine? I promise not to give it to you. A leg lamp and a date with Billy Chenoweth have already been mentioned.

B) In case you haven't seen it, Clay Aiken is releasing a CD of Cover Songs. What would be the song you would LEAST want to hear him cover? What's the worst cover you've ever heard? Not counting Celebrity Duets.

C) Or say whatever you want, really. Just don't be mean to me. I'm feeling fragile today. Hold me.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Because your entertainment is so important to me

Blogging has become my non-paying full-time job. As a result, I've been slacking on my Other Duties.

For example, my Reality-TV watching has taken a back seat. I didn't even discuss Celebrity Duets or Survivor last week. I'm sure you can guess that Celebrity Duets bit an ass. Xena sang with Dionne Warwick, Cheech sang with Aaron Neville, Hal Sparks sang Come Sail Away with Dennis DeYoung (and I sang along as Cartman - couldn't resist), Carly Patterson sang with some kid named Jesse McCartney that Beebie had heard of but I hadn't, Jai sang with Taylor Dayne, and Alfonso sang with Denise Williams. Finally, America has had enough of Carly. The fact that she outlasted Lea Thompson is kinda admirable, but not really.

The Amazing Race started last night and already I hate Rob and Kimberly, or, as they address each other, "Babe" and "Babe". And, friends, this is the week we've waited for all summer! New Earl, Office and ER! AND a brand new season of TOP MODEL! Oh, how I LOVE Premiere Week! And then there's Dancing With The Stars - it's overwhelming!

I wish I had the time that one of my loyal readers apparently has on his hands. Someone logging in via from Wood Dale, Illinois and occasionally from, (which my research indicates is Dominican University) has several hours to commit to reading my blog each and every day. Isn't that adorable? I'm so touched by his devotion! Case in point, according to my Site Tracker, this individual viewed my blog for a total of more than 9 hours last weekend (and more than 3 hours just today, before I even updated it).

I'm not in any way suggesting that people can't read whatever they want for as long as they want. The internet is a wonderful thing. Everyone is welcome to read any blog they choose to. And with all of the blogs out there to choose from, I'm really quite flattered when someone of such clearly superior intellect enjoys mine. But, frankly, I'm shocked that there's 12 hours worth of entertainment value there. I mean, my life's not even that interesting to ME. You know what I would do if I had an extra 12 hours with nothing to do? I'd go get a nice, long, rejeuvenating, non-sexual massage.

But I digress. Recently, I joined a group of fellow Knittyheads in a little game we're calling Blogstalking. It sounds a lot more nefarious than it actually is. Every week or so there's a new assignment, and the game is to post pictures on your blog of whatever the assignment is, and then the other people in the group stalk your blog while you stalk theirs to see their pictures too. It's obviously a non-literal, tongue-in-cheek interpretation of the word "stalking" (which I've been chastised for misusing), since we all know who's stalking us and they know we're stalking them too. It's more like Blog-Looking.

I've gotten embarrassingly behind in my assigned tasks, so I'll try to remember some of the recent photos we were supposed to take and post them soon.

I'm also behind on the ABC-along. I now submit O, P and Q.

O is for Organic - and I gotta tell ya, these Meatless Meatball things are REALLY good, even to a carnivore like me!

P is for Poor Tito! (P is also for Please don't call Protective Services.)

The handle from the kids' wagon whacked Tito in the eye. He didn't even cry so I didn't know anything happened until the colors started blooming the next day.

And Q is for Quick, Take a Picture - They're Quiet!

I'm still working on my lil surprise for my Meteorologist. I'm getting the hang of DPN's, finally - warming up my for my upcoming adventure into the world of Sock Knitting. I think I'm going to challenge myself to make one pair of socks during the month of Socktober. We'll see. Stranger things have happened...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Hey Kids - Less Spinach, More BEER!

The following two stories appeared in the Yahoo! news headlines on the very same day:

Alcohol use helps boost income: study Thu Sep 14, 6:44 AM ET

People who consume alcohol earn significantly more at their jobs than non-drinkers, according to a US study that highlighted "social capital" gained from drinking.

The study published in the Journal of Labor Research Thursday concluded that drinkers earn 10 to 14 percent more than teetotalers, and that men who drink socially bring home an additional seven percent in pay.

"Social drinking builds social capital," said Edward Stringham, an economics professor at San Jose State University and co-author of the study with fellow researcher Bethany Peters.

"Social drinkers are out networking, building relationships, and adding contacts to their BlackBerries that result in bigger paychecks."

The authors acknowledged their study, funded by the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank, contradicted research released in 2000 by the Harvard School of Public Health.

"We created our hypothesis through casual observation and examination of scholarly accounts," the authors said.

"Drinkers typically tend to be more social than abstainers."

The researchers said their empirical survey backed up the theory, and said the most likely explanation is that drinkers have a wider range of social contacts that help provide better job and business opportunities.

"Drinkers may be able to socialize more with clients and co-workers, giving drinkers an advantage in important relationships," the researchers said.

"Drinking may also provide individuals with opportunities to learn people, business, and social skills."

They also said these conclusions provide arguments against policies aimed at curbing alcohol use on university campuses and public venues.

"Not only do anti-alcohol policies reduce drinkers' fun, but they may also decrease earnings," the study said.

"One of the unintended consequences of alcohol restrictions is that they push drinking into private settings. This occurred during the Alcohol Prohibition of 1920-1933 and is happening on college campuses today. By preventing people from drinking in public, anti-alcohol policies eliminate one of the most important aspects of drinking: increased social capital."

The researchers found some differences in the economic effects of drinking among men and women. They concluded that men who drink earn 10 percent more than abstainers and women drinkers earn 14 percent more than non-drinkers.

However, unlike men, who get a seven percent income boost from drinking in bars, women who frequent bars at least once per month do not show higher earnings than women drinkers who do not visit bars.

"Perhaps women increase social capital apart from drinking in bars," the researchers said in an effort to explain the gender gap.

FDA warns spinach tainted, washed or not
By ANDREW BRIDGES, Associated Press Writer

Even if you wash the spinach, you still could be at risk. Sober warnings for salad lovers came from federal health officials Friday as they struggled to pinpoint a multistate E. coli outbreak that killed one person and sickened dozens more.

Bagged spinach — the triple-washed, cello-packed kind sold by the hundreds of millions of pounds each year — is the suspected source of the bacterial outbreak, Food and Drug Administration officials said.

The FDA warned people nationwide not to eat the spinach. Washing won't get rid of the tenacious bug, though thorough cooking can kill it. Supermarkets across the country pulled spinach from shelves, and consumers tossed out the leafy green.

"We're waiting for the all-clear. In the meantime, Popeye the Sailor Man and this family will not be eating bagged spinach," said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University. The Tennessee university's medical center was treating a 17-year-old Kentucky girl for E. coli infection.

By Friday, the outbreak had grown to include at least 11 states: Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin. Wisconsin accounted for about half the cases, including the lone death, Gov. Jim Doyle said.

"We are telling everyone to get rid of fresh bagged spinach right now. Don't assume anything is over," Doyle said.

Health officials also were investigating possible cases in California, Pennsylvania and Washington. In all, the bug is known to have sickened roughly 60 people, ages 3 to 84, the majority of them women.

FDA officials said they issued the nationwide consumer alert without waiting to identify the still-unknown source of the tainted spinach.

"Early is good," said Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, adding that the alert may have prevented hundreds more cases.

An industry spokeswoman said public health concerns justified the blanket warning: "It needed to happen this way," said Kathy Means, a spokeswoman for the Produce Marketing Association. "Public health has to trump economics at this time."

Initial suspicions focused on California's Monterey County. Farmers there grow more than half the nation's 500 million-pound spinach crop, according to the Agriculture Department.

"We're trying to get to the bottom of this and figure out what happened. Everybody is terribly concerned," said Dave Kranz, a spokesman for the California Farm Bureau Federation.

Even before the latest outbreak, a joint state and federal effort has been under way in the California county to find and eliminate any possible sources of E. coli contamination.

"We need to strive to do even better so even one life is not lost," said Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, FDA's acting commissioner.

The FDA's top food expert stressed the importance of stopping the bacterium at its source, since rinsing spinach won't eliminate the risk. "If you wash it, it is not going to get rid of it," said Robert Brackett, director of the agency's Center for Food Safety and Nutrition.

E. coli lives in the intestines of cattle and other animals and typically is spread through contamination by fecal material. Brackett said the use of manure as a fertilizer for produce typically consumed raw, such as spinach, is not in keeping with good agricultural practices. "It is something we don't want to see," he told a food policy conference.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Safeway Inc., SuperValu Inc. and other major grocery chains stopped selling spinach, removing it from shelves and salad bars.

"We pulled everything that we have spinach in," said Dan Brettelle, manager of a Piggly Wiggly store in Columbia, S.C.

Local doctors began seeing the first of the ongoing E. coli poisoning cases in late August. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Wisconsin health officials alerted the FDA about the outbreak at midweek.

Consumer activist Barb Kowalcyk said fixing the nation's "fractured network" of food safety agencies could save lives. In 2001, her 2-year-old son, Kevin, died of E. coli, possibly after eating tainted ground beef.

"How can we improve communication between agencies? That needs to happen," the Loveland, Ohio, resident said.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (news, bio, voting record), D-Conn., and other lawmakers seek a hearing on legislation that would consolidate all federal food safety agencies and establish the Food Safety Administration, her spokeswoman said.

Not all strains of E. coli cause illness: E. coli O157:H7, the strain involved in the current outbreak, was first recognized as a cause of illness in 1982. That strain causes an estimated 73,000 cases of infection, including 61 deaths, each year in the United States, according to the CDC.

When ingested, the bug can cause diarrhea, often with bloody stools. Most healthy adults can recover completely within a week, although some people — including the very young and old — can develop a form of kidney failure that often leads to death.

Sources of the bacterium include uncooked produce, raw milk, unpasteurized juice, contaminated water and meat, especially undercooked or raw hamburger, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has gotten sick after eating raw packaged spinach should contact a doctor, officials said. Other bagged vegetables, including prepackaged salads, apparently are not affected.

"At this point, we are focused on the issue of the spinach. As we learn more, as we go further, we will alter or change that recommendation," von Eschenbach said.

I certainly appreciate a little scientific evidence to support my chosen lifestyle.

So, to recap, kids: Spinach, BAD. Beer, GOOD.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Just a lil funny for the weekend.


Imagine the following:

You have just made it through your wedding ceremony and step out onto the church steps.

The photographer raises his camera.

Following your family tradition, both of you hold white doves which you will release together. You and your new bride stand shoulder to shoulder with a dove in your hands as your friends and relatives eagerly wait.

The photographer gives the ready signal and you open your hands toward the sky. Not a dry eye in the house, the camera flashes; the moment is saved for eternity....

wait for it...

wait for it...


Friday, September 15, 2006

Just for you, Dan!

And Bob. And Ed. And of course, Michael.
And the other guys who read the mindless crap I write.
And hey, let's not forget the women who prefer women!
Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I was honestly planning to introduce a Female version of this Wookin Pa Nub game, cuz Lord knows there's some freaky chicks out there too. I guess I kind of find it harder to be critical of women because I am one, and I sure as hell ain't perfect. But it didn't take me long to feel a WHOLE lot better about myself.

So feast your eyes, guys!

I think this might be Ally Sheedy's mom. Nope, sorry. That's Ally Sheedy.

Oooooooh! Looks like somebody won a free sitting at Glamour Shots!

Here's a little bit of Useful Female Insight from me to you, guys. When she sends you a picture of herself with horrible lighting, there's a reason, if ya know what I'm sayin' and I think ya do. Be mindful of the girl who only wants to eat dinner by candlelight and walk on moonlit beaches. She could very well be a troll.

THIS is the expression that Stella chick from Beeb's school wears on her face all the time. I don't think the woman in this picture is doing it on purpose, though.

Doesn't this little hottie look like a fun gal? Something about her says All Night Party! Oh wait - it's the fact that she looks like she hasn't slept in a week. And what's up with the half-eyebrow?

Mr. Brady snapped this pic of Alice right before her date with Sam the Butcher.

This may be nit-picking just a bit, but I have issues with Scrunchies worn by anyone over the age of 15.

And who does THIS loser think she is??? Whatever!!!!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I've finally found my true calling!

Can I get an amen??

It's clearly my destiny to scan the internet for pictures of freaky people "wookin pa nub" in all the wrong places! Wow, and it only took me 30 years to figure out what I was meant to be when I grew up. Too bad it doesn't pay very well.

I've been so busy keeping tabs on the unsavory, I've forgotten to update you on several things. In fact, I've been so preoccupied by it, I missed the Big Bro finale (Mike Boogie was the ultimate winner, even though I still say he's a loser), and the premiere of Dancing With The Stars! I'm totally slacking on my Reality TV watching. Tonight is SURVIVOR and CELEBRITY DUETS!! And The Amazing Race starts on Sunday, I think. I'm SO psyched for that.

Last weekend I wowed the family once again with my genius garter-stitch squares! I love impressing non-knitters with the easiest possible knitted item I could muster. I made a small baby blanket from stash yarn and a baby bib from dishcloth cotton (Mason-Dixon Knitting). I didn't finish the baby kimono in time but I've got friends with babies coming so it'll go to someone.

Currently on the needles - a surprise for my favorite meteorologist, the suave and debonair Glenn Zimmerman. His birthday's tomorrow and it won't be done by then, but it'll get done eventually, and it'll be awesome. So what did I do for his birthday? I bought a Superman card, cut out a picture of Glenn's face from his station's website, glued it to Superman's body and put a W where the S is on his outfit. He is now WEATHERMAN. I thought it was kinda clever. I didn't think to take a picture of it, since I'm hoping he'll show it on the air and I'll be able to take a picture of that. Gosh, he's cute. Sigh.

We took the kids to the drive-in again, this time to see Barnyard and Talladega Nights. Peoplewatching wasn't as good as it usually is, but Beeb met a very nice boy from Belleville while we were there. His name was Dominic and he was also in fourth grade. She met him on the playground and they talked until the movie started. He seemed very sweet, but alas, it was not meant to be as he lives an hour away.

Beeb's having a bit of a hard time at school. Last year she had some trouble making new friends after her best friend Jack had died over the summer, but she met two nice little girls named Ashley and Edie. Even though Ashley and Edie were in a different class, Beebie became best friends with them. This year, Ashley and Edie are again together in a different class, and Beeb is trying to be friends with them still, but they appear to be eschewing her in favor of a girl named Miranda who is in Beeb's class. Miranda told Beeb that Edie said she didn't like Beeb anymore. Beeb went to talk to the school counselor, and the counselor called Miranda in to confront her about hurting Beeb's feelings.

Beeb asked Miranda, "Well, how would you feel if I told you that somebody you thought was your friend said that they didn't like you anymore?"

And Miranda's little bitch ass said, "I wouldn't get upset because I can ALWAYS make MORE friends." What a snot, right??!!?

Beeb called Edie yesterday to ask if she really told Miranda that she didn't like Beeb, and Edie denied it. So it'll be interesting to see what goes down on the playground today. The good news is that Beeb's invitation to Ashley's birthday party came, finally. She was really nervous that Ashley wasn't going to invite her. Of the three, I know Ashley and her family the best, and I can't imagine that she would be that mean to Beebie.

She's just getting into that dynamic where little girls are figuring out who their friends are and the Mean Girls are starting to emerge. I was so much like Beeb when I was little, I totally feel her pain and frustration. I don't know if I ever really got over being picked on by the Mean Girls back in the day.

Perhaps that's why I take such delight in pointing out these guys for your amusement. I feel like I'm at the lunchtable with the Cool Kids.

Man boobs. Mmmmmmmmmmmm. Sexy.

He's either deep in thought or his shirt's buttoned up so high it's cutting off his circulation.

Oh my GOD! Billy Chenoweth!!

That's not bad lighting, gals. He's an ape. Personally, I wouldn't let him on my white comforter for fear he'd shed all over it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

More Reasons to Be Glad You're Married

Trust me, I'm having just as much fun with this as you are. And so is R, since he looks God-like in comparison.

If you're just tuning in, these are actual profile photos from a popular online dating site.

I kinda wonder if we interrupted something here??

Hope you like casino buffet food!

That's a beard.

For this guy, it was the two-handed grip on the belt buckle that caught my attention.

And what's sexier than a greasy combover? YEEEEEAH BABY!!!!