Category Archives: And She’s Opinionated Too!

Because I Can’t Keep My Mouth Shut

A terrible tragedy hit the Travoltas this week this week when they lost their 16-year-old son Jett. There is a lot of speculation going on right now, and the general public will never fully understand what happened. Nor should we. It’s none of our business. And I would like to put forth my condolences to the family. However, I’m also seeing a lot of misinformation flying around out there, so thought I would take to my blog to clear a few things up. I am not a neurologist or a physician of any sort, nor am I claiming to be an expert. I am just claiming to be the mother of a child who had seizures. I have published several articles on seizure disorders and developmental disorders, have done hundreds of hours of research on the subject, and quite frankly, lived it.

My oldest has a form of autism, which Jett Travolta may or may not have had. In scientology, autism is seen as a form of mental illness that should be treated with religious counseling. I can assure you it is not a mental condition. Jenny McCarthy can claim all day that you can “fix” autism with diet, but that’s not true either. It is a pervasive disorder that makes the brain function differently than the norm. There are therapies that can help an individual learn to function better in the everyday world, but it is a lifelong condition for which, at least now, there is no “cure.”

Until he was five, my oldest also had a seizure disorder. Thankfully he grew out of it, but we’re in adolescence now, when he has a chance to start seizing again. We have to watch him like a hawk. He did not have tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures, but instead would “zone out” in an absence (pettit mal) seizures up to 200 times a day. So as soon as we figured out what was going on with him, we started him on medication.

It is reported that Jett had also taken medication, but it failed to work, so they removed him from it. This may or may not be true, but I can tell you from experience and research that it is very rare to get the medication right on the first try. Seizure medications most often need to be given in combination to work properly, and sometimes an individual can build up a tolerance and medications need to be changed. Some people take  quite awhile to get the combinations right. Just like anti-depressants (which scientologists claim are bunk) it takes time to build up a therapeutic level of anti-seizure medication. In fact, some anti-seizure meds are also used to treat depression and visa versa. Which is what makes me suspect of what happened to poor Jett.

In the end, though, a life is lost, which is a tragedy. I hope all was done for that child that was possible.

Okay, off my soapbox and back to the fun stuff – writing!

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Further Proof that E-Books are Here to Stay

Interesting article today at CNN about Amazon’s Kindle. I want one, by the way – too bad they’re so bloody expensive.

While I realize that paper-bound books will never go away (hey – I want my trade paper release as much as I want my e-book), more and more momentum builds everyday for e-books. What better way to go green?

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My Father the Hero

While everyone and their dog is out there blogging about politics, I’ve been keeping my head down and my nose clean. You see, I think I’m the last living Republican fiction writer, though I’m quick to point out I’m a moderate. I’m also quick to point out that this election for me will be the lesser of two evils. Again. And I’m not sure which evil scares me less, the one who has celebrated ties with an unapologetic, violent 60s radical, or the one whose health plan will make my family and millions of others completely uninsurable.

Screwed no matter what we do folks. Welcome to America.

But that is all I will say on the subject. Today is about something much more important – the folks who fought and died so we could have the right to choose between psycho and psycho-er. Veterans.

My dad was a career Air Force man. I came along late, so only got in on one move with the Air Force – from Sacramento, CA to Cheyenne, WY, where Dad retired and started working as a civilian employee. But Dad went into the Army Air Core straight out of high school (the first time – he later went on to college and back into what had become the US AIr Force), and was shipped over to post-WWII East Germany, where he went in and got the POWs out.

Dad still has Russian shrapnel in his… well, he was running away from an internment camp with a guy under his arm. You know where that bullet hit.

So this week, he an a bunch of his cronies got the opportunity to be a part of what is called an Honor Flight. Thanks to private donations, a bunch of WWII vets were able to go to Washington D.C. to see the WWII memorial. They met a general fresh back from Iraq (Mom and I still don’t know which one, but suspect it’s Patraeus), and pretty much sit around and get a proper thank you for what they did. Obviously most of these guys aren’t too young – Dad was the infant of the group at 77 – and the turn-around time of out Tuesday, back Wednesday was a bit much for anyone, let alone a 90-year-old, but Daddy had a good time. Last night when Mom called to let me know he’s gotten home okay, he was chattering away in the background excited as all get out.

They asked him if he wanted to go again in April –  he declined. This trip has worn him out enough for one year.

Dad doesn’t talk in a lot of detail about his time in Germany in the late 40s and early 50s – he was just a kid, and as far as I know, saw a lot of things that have left him raw all these years later. But I do know it was a tough time for the entire world. And we keep finiding ourselves at the same point in history, just with a different cast of characters. I don’t know what my point is, really – I’m not sure I’m entitled to have one, since I’ve never been invested in a war the way my dad was. All I know is he was there, he saw the choas, and he never regretted going and doing his part. Maybe that should tell us all something.

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I Normally Don’t Talk Politics, But…

Does it scare anyone else that this guy has gotten to be number 2 in the Republican primary polls? Yikes! Our number one choice screwed around on his wife and his kids are hardly speaking to him. Talk about being candidateless. None of the dems thrill me, either. In fact, most of them on both sides kinda scare the hell out of me.

The most accurate way to describe the upcoming election? Totally screwed in ’08.

Just my two cents.

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What the *BLEEP*

Okay, I don’t do the political thing here. Why not? Because this is a semi-professional blog. Semi. And being even semi-professional, this is kind of like work. And you don’t talk politics at work. It’s tacky. You don’t swear at work.  It lacks class. And the last person I would have expected to forget that is Sally Field.

If you know me, which most of you who read this blog do, you know I ride that line between conservative and liberal. I have my own unique brand of “I wouldn’t do it, but I don’t think I have the right to say you can’t,” thing going. So I agree that Sally Field has the right to disagree with the war. I agree that Kathy Griffin doesn’t have to believe in Jesus. However, to go off in an Emmy speech (or, as I’ve ranted about before, the Dixie Chicks slamming the president at a concert) is tacky. It lowers my opinion of people. I can’t watch a Sean Penn movie after his Oscar speech. Susan Sarandon? Tim Robbins? I used to LOVE Bull Durham, but after those two got all “more leftist than thou” and Kevin Costner just became an idiot, I can’t watch it. Used to love the Lethal Weapon movies. Then Mel Gibson’s true colors were revealed and Danny Glover became a Venezuelan dictator’s best bud, and those are out. So goes my opinion of an actress I used to respect quite a bit. If Sally Field believes it’s appropriate to make an anti-war speech during an acceptance speech, let alone swear, that’s like me coming to work and doing the same thing. Tacky.

I don’t like her. I really, really don’t like her. Anymore.

HOWEVER – Yes, all of you ready to smack me, I have a flip side of the coin.

I sat down with three 4th grade boys last week in my Cub Scout Den. We talked about what it means to be a good citizen and how we can all go about doing that. The point that resonated the most with them was this:

Even if you disagree with what a person is saying, it is your responsibility as an American citizen to let them say it.

So bleeping Sally Field? Oooohhh… bad juju on the network for that. While I may find the statements tacky, she has every right in the world to say it. The bleeping has gotten out of control. What is this, 1950? Are we looking to take away every step we’ve made in the pursuit of free speech? And no, I’m not contradicting myself. I would not personal make a statement, moral or political, in one of my books. Would I deny anyone else that right? Heck no!  That’s what makes this one of the best places in the world to live. And while I may disagree with what someone is saying or, more accurately, where they choose to say it, dissention can lead to wonderful new paths of thought no one could have reached if we all agreed about everything.

So Sally, I lost respect for you. Not because of what you said, but because of where you chose to voice your views. And how you chose to do it. You’ve got money. Buy an ad! Then Network Big Brother can’t bleep you!

Then again, if Windows XP doesn’t stop trying to reboot my computer in the middle of every other sentence, I might be doing some swearing at work, too.

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Priceless

So far this morning, I have spent about an hour correcting others’ grammar, syntax, punctuation and the like. Spelling I leave to MS Word since I couldn’t spell my way out of a paper bag, but the rest tends to fall into my corner.

I decided to take a break and read some news, so I toodled over and find this article on the Chinese as they prepare for Olympics 2008.  It covers how signs in China often have a nonsensical English accompanyment, such as “Eyebrow Tatoo” and “Ear Spa.” Fun stuff.

Firstly, let me just say how amazed I am that country would try to learn another’s language for an event like this. Now it’s true that English is one of the most widely spoken languages on the planet, but as I recall (and I’m just riffing here) Mandarin Chinese is actually the most prevalent language on the planet and I don’t see American citizens rushing into Chinese classes to learn it. Kudos to the Chinese.

Still, I presume an English speaker wrote this article. And this is a major news outlet, folks, not some dinky little blog like mine. So when the following sentence ends the piece, I had to laugh just a little:

“They can have very simply conversations, like: `Who am I? Where am I going?”‘

Hmmmm… can they really have very simply conversations? Last time I checked, simply was an adverb and  conversations was a noun. And on a morning when I am endlessly switching then/than , making articles agree with nouns, and ensuring that tense is consistent, I find it amazing that some reporter who is getting paid gaziollons more than I am is getting to pass off poor English grammar skills. In an article about how the Chinese have poor English grammar skills.

Seriously. Priceless.

Now you go ahead and count how many errors I made in this post.

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Generation X Meets Generation iPod

I’m an old lady.

Not in age, unless you listen to a 13-year-old, but in attitude. These kids today just irritate the crap out of me, and I think they need to just grow the hell up.

So what am I going off about today? iPods and latte. Yup. Even these simple things can send me into  world-class rant. But you have to remember, I work on a college campus. iPods and lattes are getting to be my nemisis.

I’m walking to the post office the other day and had the misfortune of hitting that little golden ten-minutes when kids are rushing from one class to another. Out of a group of 20 or so kids I got stuck behind, at least 10 had slipped in their earbuds to walk down the hall. Nope, they could not go five minutes without having  Fall Out Boy screaming on about an arms race. So that I could hear it. Thirty feet away. When they’re 30 and investing in Miracle Ear, I’ll sit back and laugh my sick, twisted butt off.

While their assaulting their hammers, stirrups and cochlia, they’re screaming at one another (since they have their music so freaking loud) about, “Dude! If I don’t get a f***ing mocha latte like now, I’m gonna f****ing die.”

What?

No, dude, if you don’t get f****ing oxygen now, you will f****ing die, but last time I checked, Starbucks was not on the list of elements necessary to support life.

She says as she chuggs her caramel macchiato and listens to Fall Out Boy on her iPod.

Well, actually, the iPod is at home. Because I can live five minutes without plugging it in. See, it’s not that they’re doing this stuff, it’s that they are so blinking dependent on it. They’re spoiled brats! And the volume! When I take out my earbuds and my iPod is stil playing, I can’t hear it if they’re in my hands. But these kids have them in their ears and I can hear the music clearly down the hall!

Can you say nerve damage? I knew you could.

I’m officially part of Generation X. We’re the MTV generation who grew up on Twisted Sister (yes, Lani, I know who Dee Snider is) and Van Halen, who had microwave pizza and Diet Pepsi on tap. We were supposed to be the world’s most useless generation, especailly compared to the hard working Baby Boomers.  So now that a good portion of us are supporting families and going out to lead companies and get advanced degrees, are we still useless? Or is it just natural that we get irritated with those stupid, lazy kids and their iPods and lattes.

Oh, the two that were going to f***ing die? Yeah. They skipped math and went to Starbucks instead. Guess they’ll live. Won’t know how to add up their change, though.

Stupid kids.

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