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I'm on hiatus (in case you hadn't guessed). Sorry! I miss you guys.

31 October 2008

Random Friday Night Stuff

So, my TV obsession is starting to wear off, thank goodness. I am still addicted to NCIS and Criminal Minds, but at least I'm down to two shows. I've spent most of my life with one TV show at a time, so I readily admit that having two-- especially two that are so similar-- is really messing with my brain.

Okay, so I'm also into Life, but it has been moved to Wednesday nights... right up against Criminal Minds. But, I will be taking the advice of-- yeah, don't know who-- who suggested watching Life on the internet, which is not an option with Criminal Minds.

Anyway! I forgot to buy candy, which means I did not turn on my outside light this evening. So, I'm sure I missed the chance to see the delightful children of our apartment complex looking even cuter than usual. (Seriously, we do have some cute kids living here.)

Enjoying Letterman at the moment... but I'll have to go to bed sooner or later.

Crash Course

1. Put your iTunes/Ruckus/Napster/etc on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS!
(4. My editorial comments are added in parenthesis, but are not actually a part of the game.)

IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY” YOU SAY?
C vs I, The Cuban Boys
(Okay, not only is this song hysterical, but it comes up frequently on my mental radio.)

WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
Sail on By, Vonda Shepard
(Hee!)

WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
Get it on Tonite, Montell Jordan
(Oh, my... good thing I'm married.)

HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
The Rum Tum Tugger, Andrew Lloyd Webber
(For those of you keeping score, this is from Cats... and the Rum Tum Tugger is a curious cat.)

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE?
The Verdict, Martin Guerre soundtrack
(Hey, that's a pretty good purpose, if you know the song. Otherwise, it's just disturbing.)

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
What I Am, Tin Tin Out
(Yep.)

WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
'If You Ever Been Down' Blues, Thomas
(Probably.)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR PARENTS?
The Lord Your God, Fisherman's Union
(Geez. Not likely. Did someone say "therapy"?)

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
Mama Told Me Not to Come, Tom Jones
(This just keeps getting better...)

WHAT IS 2+2?
Rewind, Precious
(Man, that one could have been so good, too...)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
Summer Son, Texas
(I hope she doesn't read this.)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Freedom/The Execution Bannockburn, London Symphony Orchestra
(Geez, I hope he doesn't read this. We have actually both been at Bannockburn.)

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
Lux Aeterna 4, Gyorgy Ligeti
(I'm pretty sure this is atonal, which is apt enough.)

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
Aida, Act IV, Scene 2-4, Guiseppe Verdi
(Great. When I grow up I want to die in a tomb. Nice.)

WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Venus is Breaking, Vonda Shepard
(Hee hee! Also, I think something is wrong with my "shuffle" setting.)

WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
Perfume, Robin Mark
(Oh, dear.)

WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, U2
(Well, it will be a bit late at that point, won't it?)

WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
The Shy One, B*Witched
(Interesting...)

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
Wedding Chorale/Beggars at the Feast, Les Miserables Original Cast
(Not a secret now, is it?)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
You'll Know You Were Loved, Lou Reed
(Another accurate one!)

WHAT’S THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN?
Colours, The Chemical Pilot
(I suppose that would be if someone jumbled up my crayons. Again.)

DOES ANYONE LIKE YOU?
Miracle in my Heart, Robin Mark
(I suppose the miracle is really in his heart, isn't it?)

IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?
Live With Somebody You Love, Matthew Camelle & Stephen Weller
(I guess there's not much to change on that score.)

WHAT HURTS RIGHT NOW?
Because He Lives, Acappella
(Actually, it's just my throat. Well, and my bum. I've been sitting here a while.)

WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS?
Crash Course, Crash Test Dummies
(Yep.)

Voting, Part And now for my final thought.

Yes, you read that correctly, this is the last of the "voting" series. I've lost count of how many there are. I hope you enjoyed them. Okay, I know better. I hope you will all come back, now that I'm finished. :)

Midterms in '06 (the Democrats rejoice): Chad worked the polls. I read the rules very carefully; I was allowed to bring him lunch and supper, but then had to leave immediately. I didn't even stick around to vote, because we voted early that year.

This year: I'm not voting early. Call me crazy (there are so many who do), but I like voting on election day. Remember the six-year-old who thought voting was a magical, exciting thing? There's still a bit of her in me. My heart still skips a beat when I get my ballot and walk to the booth, like the 17-year-old that I was in '96. The long lines on election day are part of the fun. Yeah, I know I'm crazy.

I no longer think voting is magical; I know it is a lot more serious than that. I no longer think it is a matter of getting my favourite party as much power as possible; I know it is much more grey than that. In fact, I longer have a favourite party; I have learned that truth is not to be found in politics.

I know that voting is a tremendous responsibility, and I owe it to myself and my neighbours to make a well-informed decision. However, I also know that one of the downsides of living in a democracy is that sometimes the majority will not agree with me. (Which is a real bummer.)

On November 4th, we get to overthrow the government. (Yeah, that was a West Wing reference.) Please use this gift wisely, but do use it.

Thanks for listening.

30 October 2008

Voting, Part Please let this be the last one.

So, what are we up to? '02 midterms? Yeah, I don't really remember anything about that election. Seriously, I don't. I know the Republicans made gains in Congress, which is unusual for the party with the sitting President. I know I voted, because I never miss. But that's all I can tell you about it.

Well, that brings us to '04. Kerry runs on a platform that consists mainly of "Vote for me, I'm not Bush." For some odd reason, that doesn't work. I did appreciate the late-night comics who suggested his platform should be "Vote for me or you won't get any more ketchup." Bush runs on a platform of "September 11th." The evangelicals ask to be lied to, by citing moral values as their reason for voting for Bush. Bush is re-elected. (Seriously. If you think that anyone in politics has more moral fibre than, say, your average scum-sucking underwater life form, then you are delusional.)

The day after the election, a woman came up to the drive-up at Chick-fil-A. Her radio was on, and she announced to me with much delight, "Kerry just conceded!" So, I announced this to the room in general, causing a mixture of celebration and sadnes behind me. One of my coworkers standing nearby said, "Man, that's not fair! I voted!" I did take just one moment to inform him that it was, in fact, quite fair; that indeed, fairness is what our voting system is based on. He was not convinced.

29 October 2008

Voting, Part She'll have to run out of things to say soon.

I voted in Texas for the first time in the '00 elections.

Registering to vote was actually quite high on my priority list when I moved here; after all, I had grown up in a voting family and went to a school that mass-produced good citizens (at least, they tried to). But a day or two before the general election, I was frantically scouring the internet to find out where I was supposed to go vote. (Turned out it was the school across the street.)

That was also the only election that I have ever had a pollster call me. And it was a boring, boring phone call. There were quite a few episodes about polling on The West Wing (if you don't know by now that I'm a Wingnut, then you haven't been paying attention), but for some reason they never mentioned how boring it is to have someone endlessly ask you questions for 10 minutes.

I don't think I've mentioned yet my tendency to pick the loser in elections. Three presidential elections, three midterms-- and inevitably, the one office that I'm most interested in is the one in which I pick the loser. (To be fair, I did pick the winner in '00.)

So, I'm putting my vote up for sale, if anyone has a candidate you'd like me to vote for to ensure his/her loss. I'm really good at it. Serious bids only, please.

28 October 2008

Voting, Part Dang! We thought she was done.

When last we saw her, our intrepid young voter had just stepped inside her first voting box and pulled the levers.

(Actually, that's not true. Indiana in '96 didn't have levers; we had the punch card things that caused so much trouble in Florida in 2000.)

Anyway! That was the last time I saw the inside of a voting booth for four and one-half years, because... in August of '96 I started aim. So, I voted for the '96 general, the '98 midterms (primary and general), and the '00 primary as an absentee voter. (By the way, as a plug for my home state, Indiana sends out some really nice, complimentary letters to absentee voters. I would hope every state does, but I have no actual experience in absentee voting in any other state.)

Normally, one gets a nice, pre-stamped or postage paid envelope to send one's ballot back in. Not so when one lives across the pond. Just in case you were wondering. When I told the woman at the voter registrar's office in Greenfield that I would need my ballot sent to Scotland, she looked positively dumbfounded. Not a request I suppose they hear much in Greenfield, Indiana.

Also during this time was the whole Lewinskigate nonsense, which started my disenchantment with the Republican party. They've never gotten me back.

19 October 2008

Voting, Part Lots

There's an episode of The West Wing (what? You must have known I couldn't write an entire series on my voting experience without mentioning TWW!), which deals with the little town in New Hampshire that has the nation's first primary. (Okay, after I started blogging, I did go look it up. Hartsfield's Landing is the name of the town in the episode.)

The details were changed for the show, but this town does exist, and they all gather at 12:00 AM the day of the NH primary to ensure that they are the first in the nation. Okay, so actually several small towns in NH do this (all small enough that all the voters fit into the town hall or the high school gymnasium or whatever), but the one with the most media attention is Dixville Notch. If you really want to know more, go to Wikipedia; I refuse to reprint the article here.

So, back to the fictional Hartsfield's Landing in TWW. At the very end of the episode, the camera focused on a TV showing CNN's coverage of the Hartsfield's Landing vote. Someone was calling roll, and each person stepped forward to put his/her ballot in the box as he/she was called.

I don't remember the girl's name, but we're going to call her Sarah. The man called her name, then announced, "Sarah's 18, everybody! This is her first vote!" Then he said to the smiling Sarah, "Step up and cast your vote," while the rest of the town applauded. That is possibly my favourite TWW moment ever. I can't watch it without tearing up. In fact, I can't blog about it without tearing up.

And I mention it here because that amazing day after I received my very first ballot and walked to my very first voting booth, I was so overcome with emotion that I nearly cried on my ballot.

17 October 2008

Voting, Part Many

Three election cycles after my first (disappointing) brush with democracy, my time finally came.

Truth be told, my time came early. The law is, if you are eligible to vote in the general election, then you are eligible to vote in the primary. So, I voted in my first primary election as a 17-year-old.

Of course, Indiana has such a late primary election that the nominees are usually decided before Hoosiers get to visit the polls (although, to be fair, not this year). As I recall, Senator Lugar ran for president that year, but was out long before I had a chance to vote for him.

My parents voted early the day of my first primary, but I had to wait until after school ("had to" because I wasn't willing to get up early enough to go before school). There was a woman ahead of me, and she pointed out her name on the list because the volunteer was having trouble finding it. I don't remember what ballot her husband had requested, but when the volunteer asked if the woman wanted the same one, she asked for the other one. The volunteer seemed like she didn't know what to say to smooth over her "blunder," but fortunately, the woman laughed and said, "We're a divided household."

Then it was my turn, and I also pointed out my own name on list. My mother had voted Democrat, my father Republican. The woman looked at the list, looked at me, and asked which ballot I wanted. (Indiana is an open primary state; you can request whichever ballot you like.) I couldn't suppress a smile (and probably a giggle) when I asked for a Republican ballot.

So, first vote accomplished, extra credit (for government class) earned.

15 October 2008

Voting, Part III

The first midterm election I remember came when I was in my "good citizen"-producing junior high. By then I was well on my way to being a staunch Republican (much to the dismay of my mother's parents). All I really remember from that election was the amount of time my geography teacher spent re-educating us about elections and the 22nd Amendment.

So my freshman year in high school, I spent a lot of time in the presence of my like-minded future Young Republican friends, talking about how Bush was sure to win reelection and how much we didn't like this Clinton character. We all came to school the day after the election in a state of shock, and on inaguration day we all wore black. I have to admit, the thought of any 14-year-old I currently know being that interested in the outcome of this election is laughable.

There is an episode of Family Ties in which Alex tells Andy, "Born under Reagan, raised under Bush; with any luck, you may have a Democrat-free childhood." I had thought that was what I was headed for as well. Too bad for me.

Anyway, we approached the next midterm with much more seriousness (if that were possible), because it was the last election we wouldn't be allowed to vote in. This was our dress rehearsal, as it were; a time to gather information and make informed decisions without the responsibility to actually go cast a vote.

I don't remember the names of the candidates, but I do remember telling my brother and sister that if I were to vote in the state senate election that year, I would have voted for the only guy who wasn't mass-producing mudslinging ads. They nodded and agreed, as is the wont of a 13- and 11-year-old in the presence of the wise 16-year-old elder sibling. Unfortunately, a few days after I made what I though was a reasonably sensible decision, the candidate of my choice jumped into the mud with everyone else. So, I learned not to trust political ads, I guess. Always a good lesson.

13 October 2008

Voting, Part Deux

So, my next foray into the world of politics came with the 1988 election, and this time I was much more aware of what was going on than the six-year-old who wanted to see her favourite newscaster. For one thing, I went to a school that was determined to produce good citizens, so we followed the election VERY closely.

I also grew up in a family that was determined to produce good citizens. My mother's family are all good Democrats, and have been for generations. My father's family, for the most part, are uninterested, although I believe my grandparents are Republicans. My father claims to be registered as an Independent, which is technically not a possibility in Indiana. So, Bush v. Dukakis is my first memory of the "vote for the man, not the party" speech that I've heard hundreds of times since. (I personally am equally in favour of voting for the woman.)

We watched the debates (at home). We read the kids' newspapers (at school). One of my friends wore a Dukakis pin every day. I didn't know enough about either candidate's stance on anything to make up my mind, although I did know that Bush was Reagan's VP, so that seemed a good reason to give him a shot at being president.

So come election day, our school was a polling place. We were banned from the gym that day, although we did take a very quiet "field trip" so that we could see democracy in action. And, as a bonus, we got to participate in the kids' voting that was sponsored by one of the children's magazines-- so we knew what it was like to step into the booth and punch the candidate of our choice. (Hee!)

That evening, I recounted the experience for my parents, and my father very helpfully told me, "Well, it didn't count!"

Thanks for clearing that up.

12 October 2008

Racing... just because.

So last week, before the Race for the Cure, we had about 40 minutes of Standing Around for the Cure.

This week, we participated in the Red Raider Road Race, which is a running club race that happens the week of Tech's homecoming. And according to time-honoured tradition, before the race began, we had a Red Raider Stand Around.

This is the most popular West Texas Running Club race by far; this year, there were 457 finishers. (Compared with about 90-150 at every other race.) It didn't look like over 450 people when we lined up to start, but then, we were at the back.

Nothing of note happened in this race, except that I was a bit distracted by the homecoming preparations (and students getting their pictures taken by the red tissue paper-covered statue), which did not add up to me running the fastest race of my life. When I saw my time at the end, I thought I had achieved a PR-- until the race results were posted online this afternoon. Dang!

Also, a race day is a good excuse to eat cookies afterwards. The "Red Raider Cookie Eating," if you will.

11 October 2008

Voting, Part 1

I don't know how many parts this "voting" series will end up having, but I basically intend to yammer on until I have exhausted the topic. Do not fear; in no way will I attempt to persuade you to vote for a particular candidate. And I don't imagine I'll even say much about this election cycle (except to note that we have less than four weeks remaining, thank goodness).

So, my adventure with voting began, I believe, in 1984. (The reason I believe that is because the only thing I remember from November 1980 is the birth of my brother-- and I only barely remember that. Presidential elections do not figure largely in the ken of 2-year-olds.) President Reagan was running for re-election against someone, presumably a Democrat. Of course, I probably didn't know that at the time. I knew there was someone named "Reagan" that people were always talking about, who didn't seem to be related to the Regan at church.

Anyway! We had plans to go do something that day, but first, our parents said, we would go vote. It would only take a few minutes, they said. The way they were talking about it told us it was something pretty special and exciting, and besides (I thought), I had heard Anne Ryder talking about it on the news, too. So maybe we would get to meet some of the people who we saw on the news. (I honestly wasn't thinking of being on TV; I just wanted to meet Anne Ryder.)

So we got to the polling place, our parents disappeared into some curtained cubicles, and we amused ourselves quietly in a corner (at least, I presume it was quietly; I don't remember anyone shouting at us, anyway). A few minutes later, the parents rounded us up and herded us to the car again. We were confused.

I: Where are we going?
Parents: (wherever it was we were going)
I: I thought we were going to vote!
Mum: We just did.
I: That was it?
Dad: Yeah, that was it.

In other words, my first experience with democracy was not all that I thought it would be.

10 October 2008

Heard at Community Group

I may have alreay mentioned that we have two preschool girls in our community group. Well, one of them was missing this week, so the other one had to amuse herself as best she could.

The mums were sitting around, enjoying coffee and dessert, and discussing how they dealt with and temper tantrums when their children were in that stage. The little girl wandered up just in time to catch a few words, and then proudly informed us all, "My mama never spanks me to death."

I'm still laughing.

09 October 2008

Thanks, Timbra!

As a recipient of this award, there are rules to follow. I have to answer the following questions with one word answers and one word only! Then I must pass it on to seven others! The questions are as follows:

1. Where is your cell phone? Kitchen.
2. Where is your significant other? Left.
3. Your hair color? Reddish.
4. Your mother? Indiana.
5. Your father? Indiana.
6. Your favorite thing? Chocolate.
7. Your dream last night? Abnormal.
8. Your dream/goal? Doctorate.
9. The room you're in? TV.
10. Your hobby? Crochet.
11. Your fear? Spiders.
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Scotland.
13. Where were you last night? Here.
14. What you're not? Asleep.
15. One of your wish-list items? Bicycle.
16. Where you grew up? Greenfield.
17. The last thing you did? Run.
18. What are you wearing? Shorts.
19. Your TV? On.
20. Your pet? Rock.
21. Your computer? Warm.
22. Your mood? Sleepy.
23. Missing someone? Always.
24. Your car? Standard.
25. Something you're not wearing? Shoes.
26. Favorite store? Michael's.
27. Your summer? Hot.
28. Love someone? Chad.
29. Your favorite color? Blue.
30. When is the last time you laughed? Now.
31. Last time you cried? Yesterday.
The bloggers that I'm nominating: Whatever. Feel free to nominate yourself.
Now, for you recipients of this award, here's the deal:* Display your award.* Nominate at least 7 other blogs.* Enjoy your award!

08 October 2008

It irks me. It is irksome.

Okay, anyone who has known me for more than 30 seconds will probably agree that I have a list of pet peeves, things that annoy me, and odd tics in my brain that is about as long as a roller towel. And I cannot, unfortunately, disagree with this stance.

So, I will limit my irked-ness this morning to just two things.

1.) In-depth. I hate the word in-depth. (Okay, hyphenate. Whatever.) I'm not sure at what point my mild irritation at this word being used so poorly moved up a gear to hatred, but it happened. And it is the loose use that annoys me so much. I want to shout, "You can't call something this shallow in-depth!" almost every time I hear it. One of the many poor uses I've seen recently is for our Bible bowl "parent handbook", which quite brazenly lies to the 4th-6th grade parents by telling them that their children will get an in-depth study of (insert book here). Actually, it is quite the opposite; we want the children to learn the words on the page, and we don't delve into any deeper meanings (unless it is to explain something they may not know about, such as "fasting"), trusting that they will get the deeper meanings in a different Bible class.

2.) Officially. I've noticed lately that this word has fallen into the same vernacular trap as "literally." It is used a lot when one actually intends the opposite meaning. For example: "It is officially the end of summer." I can't tell you how many times I read that sentence in a blog over the course of the last two months. I can tell you that summer was officially over on September 22nd. The rot started with aim/Sunset people, who declared summer to be officially over even before the Summer Olympics started. Which shows a startling lack of common sense. Next to fall were the parents of school-aged children, declaring the end of summer all over the web, just because their children were back in the land of learning. Then there were the people who aren't in school and just decided that once Labour Day is past, the summer must be over. Finally, those of us who can read were able to clear up this confusion at the autumnal equinox and declare the official end of summer two weeks ago. And we were the correct ones. If you want to declare the unofficial end of autumn before December 21st, be prepared for me to leave you a comment telling you to look at a calendar.

So there you are, my gripes o' the week. Stay tuned for my diatribe on "literally." And then I'll tell you all about how "journal" is a noun, not a verb. I know you just can't wait.

07 October 2008

Yes, I know

So I've been unsupervised at work for the last four days.

My supervisor & three other women from the office took off to New York for one of their "girl trips". Which is just rude. I said I was going to run wild around the office, but unfortunately, this little trip happened directly after the end of the month. Dang!

So, between my own work and covering some of my supervisor's rather extensive workload, I didn't have much time for wild running. Although, the doctor was kind enough to thank me today for helping out.

Also, one of the other girls today told me I "didn't even know" how behind she was on her work. I assured her that I do, in fact, know, being as I am now a week behind on my own account. I have grown weary of the "woe is me" that happens in, well, every office. So, I've just stopped listening.

In a completely unrelated topic, has anyone else seen the Bertolli advert with the song from Carmen? It's one of my favourites at the moment.

And in another unrelated topic... it's remarkable easy to turn off the television when I have four channels of presidential debate to choose from. No, thanks... I'll just read the transcript later.

03 October 2008

Friendship for the Cure

I just like adding the words "for the Cure" to whatever I'm doing. Thanks, Komen.

So, one of my coworkers lost her sister to breast cancer about 16 months ago. Today, I asked her to write her sister's name (it has a different spelling than the "norm") for me so I can put it on my "Running in memory of" sign to wear on my back tomorrow. She nearly started to cry. I didn't mean for that to happen, but you know, if I lost my sister, I wouldn't stop crying for about 10 years. And I mean all the time, not just if someone mentioned her name.

So, at risk of mixing my humourous and poignant, what else can I do for the cure tomorrow? (Also, this is probably the most pink you'll ever see on my blog. One day only.)

Sleep for the Cure! (At least, until about 5:30 AM.)
Drive for the Cure!
Work out for the Cure! (Yeah, our prescribed mileage for tomorrow is 10, but the Komen race is only 3.1... so we have to run 7 miles first before we race.)
Eat for the Cure! (Our team leader is bringing breakfast burritos.)
Stand around for the Cure! (If past "Opening Ceremonies" are anything to go by.)
Race for the Cure!
Eat some more for the Cure! (I love the post-race Expo. I hope they have more free Fuze.)
and, finally...
Nap for the Cure! (We're getting up that early, then running 10 miles? Yeah, we'll need a nap.)

Plus, we'll also be eating cake and watching a movie for the Cure, but that's more for Chad's birthday.

02 October 2008

Taking Responsibility

So on the front page of SparkPeople today, one of the headlines was about how many say the food industry is to blame for the obesity epidemic, and they shouldn't be allowed to get off scot-free for making us all fat and diabetic.

Oh, brother.

So I will say this on the side of the "many who say": Yes, the food industry could make more healthy food and less cruddy food.

That's it.

And here is the logical conclusion to that statement: ... but would you buy it?

And there's the rub, isn't it? Yes, the entire food industry could "go organic". Yes, the grocery stores could stock purely healthy, nutritious food. Yes, McDonald's could find many, many ways of cutting back the calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium.

But what, then, would the average consumer of calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium do?

In fact, the government could step in and shut down the fast-food industry, in favour of healthier options. Wal-Mart could refuse to sell sweets to anyone who appears to have an unhealthy BMI. In fact, skip the "appears to;" you could just weigh in and get your BMI as you come in the store, so everyone knows for sure.

Perhaps employers should deny parking spaces to overweight employees, insisting that they get exercise by parking several blocks away and walking. Or, let's just do away with "near" parking spaces altogether, and surround all public buildings with a zone of grass and trees, putting the parking spaces as far away as possible. (Actually, I like that idea.) Car salesmen could become bus ticket salesmen, only selling automobiles to customers who can prove their good health.

We can become an communist nation, united by our loyalty to the Health Party and watched over like children to be sure we don't cause undo stress to the nation's already overtaxed medical system.

How stupid is that? (Apart from the aforementioned "green zones" around public buildings.)

Here's an idea: Let's all stop blaming other people for our bad choices. Don't sue McDonald's for spilling your hot coffee on your lap. Don't blame Little Debbie for your weight gained after munching through a box of Swiss Rolls. And don't think that your jeans being a bit tight is because the cable TV execs are so darned clever that you can't get off your couch!

As someone who has to fight for every ounce that comes off of my weight, I sympathise with those who have a rough time of it. But that's no reason to wring one's hands, saying, "Woe is me! A plague upon Hostess!" Fact is, if you are currently doing nothing about your own health, a few small changes will give you big results that will motivate you to keep going. You don't have to be a contestant on Biggest Loser to make good choices.

Okay, rant over. Let's all be grownups, eh?

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