Monthly Archives: October 2006

Talk radio is bad for me.

I was careful not to say “Talk radio is bad for you,” but let me tell you, it is bad for me. And I don’t mean that only listening to people who hold opposing views to you is bad, though it’s a good way to ensure you can lose weight. (How many people listen to this? And they vote? Oh, man, I have lost my appetite.)

No, I can’t even listen to people with whom I agree, at least in this format. Yes, it’s good to hear other people connecting, and to know that I may not be alone in my thinking. Actually, it can be very good, and nearly addictive. But it’s about anger before action.

I give to candidates in money and time, so it’s not as if I am inert. And frankly, I get angry enough with what I read from dispassionate sources, but I’ve noticed that I have much less patience on a day when I’ve been listening in the background. So for now, I think I’ll just have to leave the AM alone.

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Filed under anger, Anger_Rants, Politics, stupid ideas, Talk Radio, Uncategorized

A sensuous fall snack: baked olives (recipe)

It’s autumn for real in most of the US, when people’s various appetites turn to sweaters, outdoor walks, and warm, aromatic foods. Here’s an appetizer that is made for fall. It perfumes your kitchen, and the olives melt in your mouth. Have some with a mild chevre (humboldt fog or some of the fresher Laura Chenel) or fromage blanc, and a good baguette. And it’s really easy to make.
Tips: A heavy small baking dish, or Le Creuset/other enameled cast iron saucepan is key for this dish. Get the best olives you can, but note even the lowly jarred Pastene olive will transform into a juicy mouthful.

Like many of my favorite fall recipes, this is based largely on Viana LaPlace’s Verdura. Every kitchen should have a copy.

Baked Olives with Thyme

2 cups large oil-cured olives
2 tbsp good fruity olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 thick sprigs leaf thyme

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Put the olives, garlic and sprigs of thyme into a small baking dish. Add olive oil and toss ingredients to coat. Pour wine over the olives, then place the dish, covered, into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the olives look plump. Serve immediately from the baking dish.

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Filed under appetizer, autumn food, cooking, cooking and food, french bread, oil-cured olives, olives, Recipes, Recipes for the Soul, Recipes yummy!!!, thyme

Politics, “Girls” and “Men”

There’s a heated race for the US Rep seat in my district, and I have been both surprised and disgusted to see the challenger referred to consistently as “the little girl”. She’s a Harvard grad in CS/Econ, she worked at MS (for better or worse), she lost her first baby, and is now the mother of one.

Admittedly, she photographs very young. She looks young in person, but not as young as her pics. And like the accomplished, booksmart women who were the oldest in her family whom I know, she comes across as someone who was a “very good girl”, and, for better or worse, didn’t veer far off the “very good” path.

Her opponent is the incumbent, a former sherriff. He looks like a former sherriff. His hair is so thick and perfectly styled, he should run for office in Texas.  He was a career law enforcement person, and has the unmistakable stench of blind ambition. He has the bad management 101 habit of taking credit for all that was remarkably good on his watch, and none of the bad.

The opposition refers to her as “The little girl who wants to be…” in the blogosphere. I would love to meet some of these people, especially the men, in person. Are they vexed by the fact that she is young, accomplished, female and unapologetic? Flip the young and female, and you’ve got the camera-chaser that is the incumbent. And as for the women, well, there is the “crabs in the bucket” theory, but I think it’s more than that, and more complicated.

I think there is an enduring lesson here, that many people vote for the man they’d like to share a beer with, rather than the woman who might do a better job, especially if she will let you know it. In order for a woman to get things done, does she really have to flatter every insecure person in the room, and defuse the ominous threat that is self-confidence? (My experience says yes.) Ironically, be a girl, or an explicitly non-threatening woman.

Smart women with political ambitions take heed; only the “girls” survive. Go, girl, go!

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Filed under men, Uncategorized, US Congress, Voting, WA, WA-08, women

hausfrau-phobic hair styling

About a year ago, I was feeling less than content with many things around me, so I took bold action. I got a haircut.

Haircuts and stylists are not minor things for me. I had the same stylist for 16 years in Boston, and would go back to him in a heartbeat if we relocated. (Write me for his name and number; I love sending people to him.) I had been in Seattle for 5 years, and had yet to hit the sweet spot. But it was clear that something had to be done. So, last October, I found a salon with high online community ratings, and called, pleading for help.

“I’m going to be 39. I used to model. I don’t work at my hair or much of my appearance, in part because I got lucky. On a good day, I like to think of myself as unconsciously casually stunning. But now I have a kid, no sleep, and thinning hair. I look sad, and I will try any sort of cut. And it needs to be public-good, as I have a high-visibility job.

“Okay,” responded the scheduler.

“And I live on the east side. But please, DON’T MAKE ME LOOK LIKE I’M FROM THE EAST SIDE.” In the caps lies the phobe.

The scheduler responded with confidence and kindness. “Oh, you need April.”

Let me say that April did a great first pass, then knocked it out of the park in May with Cut 2, which I have maintained. It has that kind of tousled, femmy, fun, I -just-had-great-nookie-but-you-should-see-the-smile-on-his-face look.

I wonder how many new mothers go through that same thing – the little ways we still try to keep that part of our lives or ourselves where we kick ass rather than acquiesce to dragging it.

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Filed under 40th Birthday, aging, Birthdays, boston, coiffure, Derby Salon in Seattle, hair, hairdo, mother, Motherhood, sleep, Uncategorized, women

broadcast only

It was a hectic week workwise, housewise, and newsjunkie-wise, so I took a week off from posting. Instead, I read a lot. I was struck by the number of blogs with writers who know how to invite conversation. To me, that’s at the core of the Web – a bunch of people, connecting. Inviting. Listening.
But  there’s a lot of “broadcast only” mode, especially on some of the political channels I’ve picked up on the old receiver. It’s aggressive, screamacious, angry, and insufferable. (And I say that as an admitted partisan.) I wonder if it’s possible to find places where people of significantly different opinions can have a passionate but not insulting discussion… and if I would go there if I could.

Please feel free to suggest communities you like for conversation and lurking.

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Filed under Blogging, civility, Learning, narcissists, news, Politics, public discourse, read-only, Uncategorized