I'm a Georgia VoterIf you don’t think voting in all elections is important, ask the residents of the 4th Congressional District in Georgia.

Thank God!

I watched her “concession” speech. I’m not sure I’d call it that. She sounded a bit more sane than I thought she would, and when she trotted out her notion that election fraud was responsible for her 17-percentage-point loss, I thought, “here she goes.”

I hope she stays gone this time.

I went down, took 10 minutes, and voted in the run-off, although I didn’t have the pleasure of voting out McKinney, as I have the distinct fortune of not living in her district. I heard on the news that some voters turned out to vote against her only to be upset to learn she was not their congresswoman.

Kerri Strug and Brats in Public

No, the two subjects of my title are not related.  I don’t think.

Kerri StrugAtlanta hosted the Olympics in 1996, and the AJC has been doing all these retrospective articles.  Today, I logged in to see an article entitled “Whatever Happened to Kerri Strug?”  I have to admit that one piqued my curiosity.  Who doesn’t remember how she did that second vault — flawlessly — with an injured ankle?  Who doesn’t remember her coach, Bela Karolyi carrying her out to the podium to receive her medal?  Who doesn’t remember how her performance secured the gold medal for the American women’s gymnastics team — for the first time?  I’m not at all into sports, and gymnastics is pretty much all I watch of the Olympics (if I watch any of it).

I watched the women’s gymnastics vaulting in real time.  It was intense.  Kerri Strug became the hero of the 1996 Olympics right before my eyes.  Now Strug works for the U.S. Department of Justice, speaking to mostly at-risk kids about her Olympic experience.  She also used to teach second grade.  She’s pretty level-headed about her experience:

“I don’t think I can just live on that vault forever,” Kerri said. “Clearly I love going out and talking about it. It was the highlight of my life; it’s great to share that with everyone. I’m proud of it, but I have to grow, too, as a person.”

Here is a recent photo of Strug:

Kerry Strug Today

Another article in the Sunday Living section caught my eye, too.  The article, “Brat Backlash,” discusses the annoyance of toddlers and small children who are not properly taught how to act in public.  I don’t take my children to restaurants any fancier than Olive Garden, and I don’t take them to events that I know will bore them.  I don’t take my kids to movies where the expectation is to be quiet (even though they are fairly quiet at the movies) — I take them to kids’ movies during matinee hours, when I know lots of other kids will also be present.  If my kids decide to be brats in public and will not respond to correction, they are removed from the setting.  Why other folks cannot be similarly considerate, I have no idea.  Once when we were at TGIFridays, a family nearby had two children older than Dylan and Maggie.  They were running around, getting in the way, making noise.  Maggie kept looking at Steve and me.  She asked us why the kids were not sitting down.  She was openly bothered by how they were acting and even attempted to correct them.  Knowing this behavior would be perceived as rude by the family (no matter how rude they were being), we shushed her and said quietly it was up to their parents to tell them to stop.  Which, I might add, they never did (of course).  I think if a five-year-old can look at a couple of kids and determine they are not behaving in public, adults should have no problem.  The next time I see something like that happening, I plan to complain to the manager.  My kids are not perfect, but they know how to behave when we go out somewhere, and I have been approached on more than one occasion and told by a complete stranger that my kids were well-behaved.  I don’t have a regular babysitter, so if we have to go somewhere that isn’t at least somewhat kid-friendly, we just don’t go.  We may not have planned our kids, but we chose to have them, and that means we take responsibility for them, including teaching them how to behave when they go out.  I am constantly dismayed by the large number of parents who refuse to teach their children how to behave in public and refuse to leave them at home.  Folks, you have to do one or the other.

Benjamin Hendrickson

Benjamin HendricksonOK, I haven’t watched soaps regularly in about 10 years. They come on during the day, and I haven’t been a stay-at-home-mom since 1996, when I went back to school to finish my education degree. I know it takes only weeks to get sucked back into the world of any soap, but initially, you just don’t know what the hell is going on and things are tough to follow.

My grandmother has watched All My Children, As the World Turns, and Guiding Light. When I spent summers in her care while my mom was at work or when we had a day off from school, we watched her “stories” with her. Later on, when I was a SAHM, I picked up the same three soaps because there was nothing else on during the day, and at least I knew who some of the characters on these three soaps were.

I was reading the AJC the other day, and there was an obituary for Benjamin Hendrickson, who played Hal Munson on As the World Turns, one of the soaps I watched. He committed suicide — friends attributed it to long-standing depression after the death of his mother in 2003.

It’s weird. When you watch soaps for an extended period of time, you become so invested in those characters. I remember when I was a SAHM, I had a friend who was also a SAHM, and we watched the same soaps. We used to call each other and watch together over the phone. It was really fun. Hal Munson was one of my favorite characters on the show, and I couldn’t tell you why, really. I also liked the character who was his on again/off again wife, Barbara Ryan. I always thought she was so sophisticated and pretty. I wonder how ATWT is going to handle the actor’s death, because from what I was able to gather, the soap was in the midst of a storyline involving the death of his character’s daughter.

At any rate, considering I haven’t followed his adventures for 10 years, I was moved when I heard about his death. Rest in peace.

Dateline: To Catch a Predator

How many times has Dateline done the “To Catch a Predator” thing now?  And yet, they still show up.  You’d think they would learn… some of them had even seen the former programs and still showed up.  What’s really scary to me is that these men are the tip of the iceberg.  How many predators are really meeting up with children in their homes and victimizing real children?

Never Forget

Holocaust Remembrance

Holocaust Remembrance

Holocaust Remembrance

Holocaust Remembrance

Today is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Rembrance Day. Never forget. The teenagers walking through this memorial in Boston are Jewish. Some of them lost family members in the Holocaust or are the descendants of survivors. I love the kids in these photos; it is a fact that had they lived during the Holocaust instead of today, they might have been the victims of atrocities beyond our comprehension. We will never know the scope of our loss, how empty our lives are because of the loss of 11 million people in the Holocaust, including 6 million Jews.

Never forget.

Detroit 911

I have been in a rage over the story about the Detroit five-year-old who was ignored when he dialed 911 in an attempt to summon help for his dying mother.  There is absolutely nothing that anyone can do to make up for his loss.  He was a hero, and all he learned from the experience is that 911 is a joke, and he can’t depend on emergency service operators in an emergency.  It makes me angry and sad.

There are a couple of things that must happen:

  • The operator(s) in question need to be fired immediately.
  • Detroit 911 needs to impress upon their employees that they must treat each call as an emergency, even if they don’t think it sounds like one.  I should have thought that would have been obvious.  I had always thought that even hang-ups were supposed to mean automatic dispatch.
  • The lawyers need to nail the parties responsible to the wall and get this poor child enough money to go to college on.  Not that it will replace his mother, who would still be alive if not for their negligence.

I don’t care how many “prank” calls or non-emergency calls they claim to get each year.  Neglecting to offer emergency services to even one person in need, resulting in any deaths or further injuries, is completely inexcusable.

Dan Brown in Court: Hack Historians Claim Hack Author Stole Their Work

Holy Blood, Holy Grail authors Richard Leigh and Michael Baigent are suing Dan Brown for plagiarism, alleging that Brown stole much of their 1982 book in his construction the plot of The Da Vinci Code.

I’m not normally one to defend Dan Brown’s “work,” but I wonder why the authors waited so long to bring it up. I’ve seen one of them, I know, on Da Vinci Code specials on TV. I smell a money issue. I think perhaps they feel they aren’t getting a big enough piece of the pie.

Brown openly acknowledged the work through the character of Leigh Teabing, whose name is a combination of Leigh’s surname and Baigent’s in the form of an anagram. I have to wonder how many copies of Holy Blood, Holy Grail were sold as a result of The Da Vinci Code’s popularity. I would never have read that farce of scholarship myself if not for Dan Brown’s novel. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a new hardcover version of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, complete with illustrations, appeared in October 2005?

If you ask me, this lawsuit is a case of biting the hand that feeds you. If I were one of the authors, I think I’d be grateful for the attention and new readers. I hope Dan Brown wins, because as Random House’s spokesperson put it, “If the claimants win, it’s the end of John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Robert Harris, Helen Fielding—and Shakespeare.”

Shaun White

Is it just me, or does Shaun White look like he could be my husband’s kid?

Shaun White

Here are some pictures of my hubby when he was roughly Shaun’s age:

Steve and friend

Still not sure? What about this?

Steve and friends

Steve is, of course, the redhead.

What do you think?

By the way, Shaun White is the gold-medalist in Men’s Halfpipe snowboarding.

Is it weird I think this kid is cute because I think he looks like Steve?