Monthly Archives: May 2009

Formerly Former

Funny, all the people trying to make “race” an issue in the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor have something in common. They all have the title, “Former” before their name.

Former Congressman (Tancredo), Former Speaker of the House (Gingrich). And the best, the guy who isn’t Formerly anything that is political, governmental, scholarly or lawyerly. The guy on the radio (Gingrich) is only a Former college drop-out, drug addict and oh, yeah, football commentator.

The reason people are has-beens (oh, Hello, Former Vice President) is because they are no longer relevant. These people are like the old guys who hang around at the high school, searching for their self-worth in their former locker. It is an odd behavior, the inability to press forward constructively in new pursuits. It makes people do embarrassing things. 



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Beyond, Well, Everything

I just received the following alert from The Dallas Morning News:

“The Texas Senate has given preliminary approval to a measure to allow college students to carry concealed handguns on campuses. The vote was 20-10. Details to come.”

Horrifying. More later, when I get up off the floor.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

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Suspension of Disbelief

Through the glass, I could see the delivery woman on the porch, barely. Her entire upper body was hidden by a magnificent vase of roses, all different in color and size. There were pinks and peaches and soft reds, glorious flowers, really, and chosen with an eye. I opened the door with the feeling of wonder and warmth that finds you when a gift is given, unexpectedly. But I caught myself after an instant, knowing I would not be receiving such a bouquet on Mother’s Day.          

This has happened before, and it is okay. My gifts are my two daughters. I do not need stems in a vase. I have babysat more than a few collections of roses for neighbors who were not at home when the delivery lady rang the bell.

Before I had opened the door completely, she was nodding her head and twisting her face into the “I’m sorry, how embarrassing” expression.

“These are not for you, I’m afraid,” she said.

“I know, it’s not a problem. Are they out?”

“There was no answer and these are too gorgeous to sit on their step. Could you sign?”

The kids had come to the foyer to see. I placed them on the floor with the other plants.

“They’re not home next door, so we’ll bring them over later,” I said. Then, I told them about the Valentines Day a few years ago when I got to enjoy a vase of peonies for an entire day, truly thinking they were mine. There was no card attached, and they were left on the porch. I love peonies, so someone had remembered. An admirer too shy to write a note. These went straight into the living room. Until, of course, the guy from next door showed up and said they were his, feeling bad.

So, off they went, the guy and my peonies, down the front path and onto the sidewalk.  Pink and ruffly, pretty, even through the glass.                                                                                                                                                                                      

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Kate Minus One

I never liked that Jon. I liked Kate. Poor Kate, with the eight. I have a theory about cheaters. Cheaters cheat. They cheat on the playground. They cheat on math tests. They cheat when they get married. This is not a documented theory; it is just my opinion. It is like cake. People who like cake have to eat it. They can’t help themselves. They may try to mitigate the eating of the cake, but ultimately, they put it in their mouths. They might eat just the frosting. They might take a fork and stick it under the cellophane while it is still in the refrigerator, but they eat the cake. One would think that eight children would be a compelling deterrent. But cheaters can’t be compelled.

I wonder if Kate saw Jon cheat elsewhere in his life. Actually, I take that back. She has eight children. She is not looking to see if her husband cheats at Monopoly, or on his taxes. She should not have to. I have two children and it was difficult enough to notice.                                                        

I hope that Kate addresses this off-camera. It could become an engaging story line, unfortunately. Poor Kate.   

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Missing Newsprint

When I got my first legitimate job as a journalist….Television Reporter in Biloxi, Mississippi…my dad bought me a gigantic suitcase and a subscription to The New York Times. The paper did not come every day, but about three times a week, two to three issues at a time. It was tough to read two to three issues at once, after a full day of work chasing alligators from sewers and criminals in the jail. So, the papers would stack up into a mound on the floor by the TV set. I’d get to them, but not in real time. Back then, in 1985, I am guessing the weekday paper cost somewhere between 25 and 50 cents on the newsstand. 

Since Biloxi, I’ve lived in Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and now, Dallas, and have read The Times in every city. I never thought it was fair that the Sunday issue was a dollar more, out of town. I think there should be a special rate for displaced New Yorkers. It is, after all, our hometown paper. You would have to qualify by sending Mr. Sulzberger a birth certificate.

Anyway, I read today that now, The Times will cost two dollars on weekdays and six on Sunday. That is seven, for me. As a journalist, I have always tried to buy the actual paper, rather than read it on my computer. These days, especially. But these days, as a journalist, seven dollars is too much. It is not even a consideration.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               So, no more Book Review in the passenger seat. No more magazine in the basket in my bedroom. This will be an online relationship, exclusively, I am sorry to say. At one point, someone was selling special gloves that kept the newsprint off of your hands. Maybe it’s time for a product that sprinkles it onto your keyboard. 

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Good Job, Ft. Worth

I was doing some swine flu reporting for The New York Times yesterday, focusing on the school closings in Ft. Worth. It was the first district to shut down all of its 144 schools, keeping 80,000 kids at home until May 11.

The decision has caught a little heat from people who think it was extreme, some infectious disease physicians, for example, who don’t live in Ft. Worth. The Superintendent told me that after four different schools had cases, with affected kids having siblings in other district schools, the four could jump to twelve overnight. So, as a precaution, everybody stays home. It was not an easy decision, as this is state testing week in Texas, something taken seriously here as schools are ranked on their students’ performance. Knowing this, the parents I spoke to seemed to appreciate the caution taken. And, they were doing what they needed to do to modify work schedules, sensing that employers would be flexible. There was a community spirit about the whole thing, not a panic.

To me, fifty miles away, I appreciate the caution taken, too.

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