April 29, 2005
THE Coke Commercial

Just after I was raving about the portrayal of family relationships in the media, I saw the new Coke commercial. I loved it so much I'll be writing them a letter later, and while I don't drink tons of soda I'll be buying Coke products from now on.

It seems to me that Coke does a great job of finding THE commercial. For example, "I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony ... " C'mon, ya'know you know the commercial. Then there were the sweetly smiling fake polar-bears. Have you ever seen any sweeter smile, ever? It just makes your heart melt. Oh, I almost forgot the MeanJoeGreen commercial where he tosses the kid his jersey as he leaves the stadium. That one was a little before my time. Interesting that I can still pull it out of thin air, hmmmm?

Now there's the NEW Coke commercial. The teenager is about to grab the very last can of coke out of the fridge. He's hot, thirsty. His dad calls from the other room "Will you bring me a coke?" The teen looks at the can of coke longingly, and we embark on a flashback montage of the times his dad was a good parent over the wild-n-crazy years. The teen kinda smiles to himself and calls back "Sure, I've got one for you". Awwwwwwwwww. Which leads me to ...

Sap sells. When you get right down to brass-tacks, sappy-happy family commercials sell to families, and families spend a lot of money. Plus, families are comprised of parents and children. If you get the children early enough, you can create a loyal army of brand-loyal adults later.

I think the genius of the sappy Coke commercials is that they each create a scenario that we truly fundamentally want to be in. Sometimes lazy marketers go with the common idea that "sex sells" because everyone wants/likes sex. Yet, sex is full of complex emotions and situations aren't always emotionally/spiritually satisfying. Do you really want to be on the beach with the bimbo offering to rub you with suntan lotion? Wouldn't that cause a lot of problems for you? Is that really how you see yourself, a situation you'd want to be in (no wife, no family, no job, no morals)? Do you feel so trapped in your own bitter horrid existance that any escape is good?

Compare that to the latest Coke commercial that offer the fulfillment of the emotional desires you hold closest to your heart. What is the one thing most good parents want? For their children to grow up into responsible-adults-with-self-control that value their parents. What is the one thing that most good children want? To repay their parents for the taking care of them. For example, note the popularity of the Sugarland song that says roughly "I'll know I've made it when I can write and say, Dear mom-n-dad I'll send money, I'm so rich it ain't funny" It goes on to talk about how she loves them "more than anything in the world, signed your baby girl". Another revealing example is that the first major purchase most pro-atheletes make is a house and car for their parents.

The great older commercials also focused on a desire that comes with no strings or complications. Things everyone can agree on. World peace would be nice. Smiles are good. Gratitude and recognition from someone you idolize would be pleasent.

Here's another thought I think everyone can agree on: We need more sappy commercials!

April 28, 2005
Not Exactly The Zoo

I'm often inspired by Julie with great ideas for posts, which I promptly forget for weeks and then can't find the specific link and then just let it go. However, everything at Julie's is worth reading (she mentioned that she "polishes" her pieces which explains it, instead of just tossing them into the air like I do). So, if you're REALLY interested you can go search Julie's site yourself. At best, you might find the correct post. At worst, you'll find lots of nifty posts that will enrich your life. Either way, I don't want to hear about me being a lazy-linker. I already know that.

Recently-ish, she talked about the fact that cities are becoming less family-friendly. Which dove-tails nicely with my experience in the city a few months ago.

It happened to be Cassie's birthday, and my husband had to make a business-trip. We tried to make the day special for Cassie, off to a good start with the gifts and cake and pink-donuts at breakfast. Then we drove my husband into the city to the airport. Its a long drive, about two hours.

By the time he was abandoned curb-side, it was getting close to lunch time. Now, our particular city is not reknowned for having tons of great restaurants in great locations. Its like the city-planners were anorexics. (Ok, so thats probably not politically correct. I don't want hate mail from anorexics. Some of my best-friends are anorexics. Seriously.)

Anyway, I had decided that I would stop at a place on the way home with great dessert to make the day a little more festive for the kids. The best I could do was RubyTuesdays. They have something called a StrawberryTallCake. Basically, a reasonably good strawberry-shortcake served in a ridiculously huge fish-bowl-wine-glass. Approximately the size of a three-year-old's head. And Cassie LOVES strawberries.

We arrived at the restaurent door, the four of us: Me (adult), Ron (age 7), Lee (age 5), Cassie (barely age 3). The seater looked frantically over my shoulder. "Five?". "No, just four. And we'd like to use the rest-room before we're seated. We'll be right back." The seater managed to keep his eyes from rolling up in his head.

When we were seated, the waitress looked at us with what can only be described as horror. Real terror. Like she needed back-up. I ordered a burger and salad-bar, Ron ordered an adult entree, Lee and Cassie ordered extra-large fries. The food arrived super-quickly. She brought the ticket. I pointed out gently that we'd be needing dessert. She flinched. I ordered each of the children a TallCake (which they also offer in chocolate). Servers started to cluster and point at our table. Other diners noticed. Afterall, we were the only children in the restaurant. An entire table full of children, loosely supervised by one very calm relaxed adult.

There's the irony. We weren't exactly acting like wild monkeys at the zoo. Rather, my children were INCREDIBLY well-behaved. They ate calmly, because thats what you do. They said please-and-thankyou, because thats what you do. They used indoor-voices, because thats what you do. They conversed pleasently and cheerfully, because thats what you do. (Note: sometimes they can be absolute hellions, but not usually in public)

People were actually staring in amazement because my children were behaving. They seemed to honestly expect all children to be throwing food and running loops around the table while squealing like monkeys!

What a sad commentary on our society that children behaving politely stuns people. I started thinking about the way the media portrays children and parents. Many times the kids are smart-alecs (at best) and the parents are idiots. Its pervasive. Not just in the programming for adults, but also in the programming for children.

My pet peeve is the bizarre parenting demonstrated on Caillou (not to mention the bizarre spelling, pronounced Kie-you). His tantrums are effective. His every whine is transformed into his every whim, and there's a LOT of whining. His every naughtiness a charming "awwwwwwww, isn't he cute". But at least Caillou's parents are portrayed as smart (though obviously ineffective parents).

Most shows, and commercials, hold up one or more parents as the objects of ridicule who wield NO authority at all. Perhaps its the natural outcome of a daycare-society. Yes, I understand most people need daycare and that there are good daycares. No, I'm not advocating the abolition of all daycares in some violent throwback to the fifties. But its foolish to ignore the psychological consequences. Some parents deal with it better than others.

For example, I'm under the impression that Sheilah's girls are in daycare when she's employed which is usually the case. (Hi, Sheilah! Sorry my comments are still broken :) However, unlike most parents, Sheilah (and her husband) seem to spend a lot of face-time with their girls at night and on the weekend. A lot of parents I know spend maybe an hour-per-day with their kids, if that. I'm continually shocked by the sheer number of kids at Awana's on Wednesday nights that don't see a parent the entire day until 8:30pm. Imagine. An entire day without parents. An authority-figure is someone thats in charge, in control. When are those parents authority-figures? While the children are asleep?

Its sad that my children behaving in a polite civilized manner caused a stir in the restaurant. Its sad that those wild children are going to grow up with no parenting skills. Its sad that many adults think thats acceptable.

April 21, 2005
I (heart) Paul Burgess

Sometimes I'm a slacker, especially about my "blogroll" which isn't really a blogroll but rather a convienent list of blogs I like to visit daily. Not one of those scratch-my-back-and-I'll-link-you-too kinda lists.

I have a confession. First I cruise my list, ending with DeansWorld. Then, I cruise parts of Dean's list. Its just SO conveinent! But his list is so big that I occassionally lose a blog, or don't notice a yummy new one.

Hence, to my chagrin, I recently found out that Paul Burgess has been blogging at "Let The Finder Beware" since November and I missed it! Thank goodness Dean practically hit me over the head with it in a post.

I just adore Paul Burgess! He's a sweetie. Often that description is applied to a sweet-natured yet daft individual, but not so with Paul. He's ridiculously brilliant, and gentle. What a lovely combination! No spittle-n-foaming at his site, although when he comments at DeansWorld I've seen him be downright firm. His blog is promising, and charming, and oh-such-a-relief from some of the more psycho-aggressive sites.

And, when you go there, you simply MUST click through to his personal page. While his current blog-format is a little brownish (for my taste) and non-customed, his personal page is a FABULOUS design with a vividly violet background! Not to mention its full of the coolest personal details: once he made up his own language from scratch including the alphabet, and he collects unconventional antiques, and he looks a little like an elf that got booted out of Santas workshop for having an irreverent sense of humor (that last part might be my imagination :)

If only he lived close enough to my real-space location for cakes! Everytime I see that picture of him, I want to bake him things. He's just got that look in his eyes, like a little boy (full of charm and mischief) that particularly enjoys a good layer cake!

UPDATE (COMMENT VIA EMAIL) Since my comments are STILL down, I just add the emailed comments to the end of the post. (I'd be all over my defective tech-guy-friend, but his head is about to explode from other stress and I'd hate to be the last straw :)

From Paul: Lucy, you are just too kind! Thank you very much!

I think you've noticed a key aspect of my blogging. Much as I enjoy the
blogosphere, there is this widespread and unfortunate tendency for
conversations to degenerate into arguments, and arguments into
foodfights. I don't know quite why this is, though I have my theories.
At any rate, though I've been known to take part in these arguments when
I can do so with a measure of civility, still, I want to do something on
my blog that's more than just the same old same old unending "All Star
Wrestling match" over politics or current events.

Hence the focus on my various rather quirky interests. Which, you
mention that language I constructed, it occurs to me that I have yet to
blog about my language! Ai, omigyamos omchocijog yothof Vananthal...
[Translation: "Hey, I'll have to write about my language soon..."]

BTW, one of the things I very much appreciate about your blog is your
spirit of civility, and your kindheartedness. Like I say, in short
supply sometimes in the blogsphere, and very much appreciated!

Also may I say, your site design (by the King of Fools) is beautiful!
For my personal website, I put the design together by hand, in the
process of learning to write HTML. For my blog, I grabbed the least
sketchy-looking (but you're right, rather dark) template available from

I guess, distances being what they are, I'll have to take a rain check
on those cakes! Though somehow I can smell the odor of a freshly baked
cake, wafting to me through cyberspace...

I Swear Its The Last Update

I'm sick to death (hee hee) of clogging up my blog with stuff about my particular condition. So ... this is the last update. If your morbid curiousity (or true affection) drive you to seek more info, email me.

For those late to the party: I'm eight weeks pregnant. While that makes me nuts (I like babies, just not throwing up every day for all nine months), the real problem is that I had a virus about twelve weeks ago (flu/cold/virus/whatever). While I was walking two miles a day before the virus, after having the virus for a few days I couldn't walk around the block (1/6 of a mile). My blood pressure went nuts, probably malignent hypertension possibly triggered by the virus. Then I got pregnant, which precludes treating the malignent hypertension. My doctor freaked out, my husband is in denial, and I'm off on a round of specialists (starting to track baseline tests so they can determine later if home semi-bedrest is working, or if I have to be hospitalized).

While I am profoundly grateful for modern medicine, its possible that there are homeopathic ideas that might keep me alive and relatively undamaged for another 7 months. And prayer helps, although its a little pushy to suggest people pray for me for SEVEN MONTHS! But, if you're motivated ...

Thats all, unless you ask. Afterall, I'm tired of being a little-black-rain-cloud drooping over the beach (and no jokes about me actually being a huge-beige-rain-cloud).

Goodbye, Chris

Chris Muir writes a great comic, full of wit and charm. HOWEVER, am I the only one that is tired of the ad for "pictures of cool singles" with the incredibly bored/depressed female with lavender eye-shadow flashing her boobies? Ok, so the boobies aren't actually shown on his site. (The photo is cropped so that it shows her head and shoulders with her pulling up the bottom edge of her beige sweater.)

It shows up on the top right of my screen. As I'm reading the comic left to right: first panel, second panel, third panel, ad for depressed bimbos. It kills the punchline every day. Every. Single. Day. When I see the ad, I can't help but wonder what kind of horrid life has delivered her to this low point in her life. Not the best conclusionary feel to reading a funny comic. Enough is enough. I've been waiting MONTHS for that ad to go away. I just can't take anymore.

Goodbye, Chris. I'll miss you. A lot.

Update: Oddly enough, as my husband walked through the room he had an opinion about my writing. Usually, he just lets it slide past. But this time he couldn't believe I used the word "boobies". For some reason he seemed to find this an appalling word-choice (although his suggestions were far more likely to offend, in my opinion). I think its the least offensive of any of the other words I could have chosen. If it bothers you, get off my island.

April 19, 2005
Epson Is Evil

I adore finding a new post at Sand-In-The-Gears! Its like chocolate, surprise chocolate that your husband has hoarded against a really bad day. My husband has found that sneaking up on me and presenting good chocolate produces a little instinctive "ooooo" sound that amuses him. But I digress ...

Today Tony posted about love-n-taxes, but captured my attention with a brief reference to his struggle with Epson. I suppose its wrong to laugh at people that buy non-HP. I'm not perfect. I laughed a lot.

Not at Tony, but at the memories it brings up of working tech-support for a well-known software company. See, the human-resource guy had a theory that it would be easier to teach me about computers than it would be to teach a techie about being nice to old people. It was a novel concept. It might have been a good plan, if it had actually involved training me about computers. As it was, they gave me a session one morning to make sure I could operate windows (very basically) and then a session in the afternoon to introduce me to the hundreds of products I'd be supporting. Then they put me in a cube and turned on the phone. It was interesting.

During my time there, I learned a lot about those products and computers in general. Eventually my co-workers quit flinching everytime they saw me. In fact, they learned to love me. I had a skill none of them possessed ...

April 13, 2005
Pale Immitation

Now I watch a lot of TV late at night, bloodpressure related insomnia. I was watching a rerun of the CMT Music Video Awards. Better than most infomercials. Anyway, I saw Gretchen Wilson perform "Crazy On You" with Ann Wilson.

For those of you living comfortably in caves, Gretchen Wilson is the female part of the MusicMafia hit-machine. A triumph of marketing. Ann Wilson, on the other hand, sung for Heart.

By herself, Gretchen has a listenable voice. Its better if its electronically enhanced (volume, etc) but not overly bad. It was cruel to put her live on-stage with Ann Wilson, who has twice the range and could probably hit every ear in a stadium with no microphone.

Sigh ... if only Ann Wilson sang sweet happy songs, which is my current bloodpressure lowering play list.

April 11, 2005
Another Update

Now I can't send email from this computer.

So, in a few days some people will be getting replies to their emails.

If I don't just kill my computer in a fit of passion.

Note To Husband: KILLING THE COMPUTER IN A FIT OF PASSION IS NOT OUT OF THE QUESTION. Thought you would like to know.


Not dead, yet.

Comments still broken.

New blogs still not on blog-list, which is just as well since I don't have the energy to wite a great "welcome" post.

Minute to minute, eight months to go. Bwahahahahahaha!

April 05, 2005
All I Have To Do Is ...

Have you ever faced an impossible situation and thought "Its not so hard. All I have to do is not fall" or "All I have to do is jump thirty feet" or "All I have to do is not die"?

I'm pretty much there. I only have to make it through eight more months, one minute at a time. Surely I can hold it together for one minute. Then one more minute. Then another one.

Oddly enough, I'm not so hysterical. What will be will be. All you can do is all you can do. My husband rolls his eyes and reassures me "of course you'll be fine". I might believe he believes that, except for the last second flicker of his eyes looking to see if I believe him.

I overdid a little Sunday afternoon, which is to say that we picked up lunch at Subway and sat outside watching the kids ride bikes (and occassionally pointing to things as my husband examined the house-plan for the millionth time). I paid for all that "over-working" my heart with a blood-pressure that best guesses put around 200/160 (as opposed to 120/80). They can say "high-blood pressure has no symtpoms" all they want, but I can assure you that you'll notice if its 200/160. If nothing else, thats about the point you pass out.

Being pregnant precludes me being able to take anything for the bloodpressure, or any of the symptoms lingering from the flu/etc. Today I'm together enough to remember that some studies show that 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon helps regulate blood-pressure. Its harder to get down that much cinnamon than you'd think!

Blogging will be eratic, at best. Some days, I'll be able to blog lots. Some weeks I may not be able to blog at all. I guess we'll see.

April 03, 2005
Two Saturday Screams

One, my dear sweet husband and I were wakened by children around 6:30am. This is a tad early. He actually got up, I settled in for a nap. Apparently, he worked on the houseplan until 7:00am. At that point he jumped back on the bed, presented me with printouts that required my attention/editing, and seemed to fully expect me to perk right up and get to work. At 7:00am. With morning-sickness and recovering from the flu/pneumonia. He appeared to grasp the error of his train of thought before it became A Moment To Remember With Horror. Thus, our marriage survives another Saturday.

Did I mention that he wants to build a castle? No kidding. A castle. Its not one of those cute Disney castles. He likes the ones from midevel England. More kinda lumpy squatty stone piles. With ramparts. And then he mentioned he'd also like a small herd of cattle. Or, rather, he'd like a herd of small cattle. DWARF cattle! A whole herd. I'm not kidding about that either. I'll definitely post pictures if we get midget-cows.

Two: I decided that I'd save time and energy tomorrow by giving Cassie a bath tonight. I was filling the tub with water, and she told me she thought it was a good idea to go potty first. Excellent idea! She hopped on the potty. Things were going well until she wiped her little bottom. Then, as far as I can tell, her nose started itching. So, she used the SAME PIECE OF TISSUE to wipe her nose! All I could do was scream.

April 02, 2005
Things I Don't Normally Think About

I'm still weak while recovering from the flu, pneumonia, whatever. I find myself watching a lot of TV. Or just laying around thinking.

Last night I saw a video for "I Believe" by Diamond Rio. Part of the lyrics are "There are more than angels watching over me".

I find that appropriate and interesting. I know people that seem to worship angels instead of the God that sent them to do his bidding. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with all those angel pins and angel rugs and angel mugs and blankets and stationary and dishes and hats and bumper-stickers. As long as you remember that angels are only angels (not gods).

Have you ever really thought about angels? Somehow, I don't see them being those fat little cherubs. Or even serene looking women (like some of my Christmas ornaments). I suspect that my guardian angel (or whatever angels God sends at the times I need them) is a little more ... intense. More of a special-forces kinda guy. Sometimes I wonder what scars he carries for me ... why he's so much better (or just more successful, perhaps more persistent) than some of my friends angels ... why they didn't get the miracles they needed and I did ... why I didn't die December 13, 1997.

Is that a morbid thought? Perhaps. But in a 12-hour period I should have died three times. The doctors all agree on that. I should have died from the drug overdose from the crazy anethesiologist. I should have died from the crash "c-section" where I was bleeding out on the table and someone had forgotten to stock the operating room with my blood-type. I should have died when they gave me a series of drugs I'm very allergic to.

You know that poem about footprints in the sand, about where Jesus says "it was then that I carried you", and its usually printed over an image of a serene beach curving into the distance? Well, that really annoys me. I've been on "the beach" so to speak, and it more like the invasion of Normandy in WWII than a morning stroll in Florida. I don't think he carried me gently while I cried a little. I think his angels hauled me off that beach amid screaming and bleeding and battling. I don't think it was easy, and sometimes I wonder what it cost them.

If you read the Bible carefully, it tells us a few things about angels. One, they can make mistakes. Two, we'll judge them someday. Three, they're sometimes armed (which implies situations where they'd need to be armed). Four, sometimes we "entertain them unawares" (so they must be around us, although I'm betting not in the "Touched By An Angel" TV kinda way).

Sure, they're messengers. But sometimes they also take action. It must be tiring and hard, continually standing in the breach.

Its dawned on me that if angels can make mistakes, and are in a stressful position then they have that much in common with my friends. And if my friends were having a hard/stressful time I'd be praying for them. So. Why not pray for your angel? They probably need it.