November 30, 2006

Gift Cards

Good article in the Washington Post regarding gift cards - stuff to watch out for, things to consider. The things scammers are doing (scroll down a little) had never occurred to me - be careful.

November 29, 2006

I've Fallen & I Can't Get Up!

In a scathing post that I hope will never come back to bite me in the arse, I would like to pontificate for awhile on People Who Do Stupid Sports, And The Idiot Taxpayers That Get Left With The Bill.

The most recent one is noted here, in some around the world yacht race between Richie Rich and friends. Granted, they've been saving each other and are limping into port, but you know if they yell for help, coastguards will be dispatched pronto.

I have a problem with people that intentionally ski in avalanche zones and trigger avalanches; I have a problem with people that go mountain climbing ill-equipped and get stranded; I have a problem with any crazy extreme sports person that throws caution and brains to the wind, and ends up clutching a cell phone and sobbing for help.

I know there are many places in the States now that, if someone insists on hiking/climbing, they have to post a bond first to pay for their own rescue. Makes sense to me. Rescue operations are for people that find themselves in trouble, not those that go looking for it.

I realize you can't draw a line anywhere when it comes to personal responsibility. We don't have any. Smokers sue tobacco companies, obese people sue McDonalds, and my personal favourite - the woman who sued her doctor because she experienced pain during labour. No, really? I realize I'm not posting all the details here - I can't dig them up, though I've tried - I think it was about ten years ago. I do recall a quote saying 'he promised me no pain'. Men have promised me a lot of things - and 'no pain' is the only thing I know they are consistently lying about.

It's all just another chapter from that bestseller, Common Sense Isn't.

November 28, 2006

12 New Archives are Up

Trying to feel festive? - click on the Christmas Motherlodes....

Write, Right?

For two weeks in a row now, there have been two major articles about the topic of authors plagiarizing another's work. Ian McEwan is a big-deal British writer, and he's getting accused of lifting some medical terms from another, now-dead, novelist.

The stupid thing here, for me at least, is that he readily cited her work in his book, he has acknowledged his research very much included her, and the terms he is accused of poaching are medical ones. It's hard to take poetic license with medical terms - they are what they are.

Plagiarizing has become a massive problem due to the Internet. Every idiot on the block can sound like a Pulitzer Prize winner if they Google the right combination of words. High schools and universities alike employ sophisticated computer programs to catch the lazy little trolls who can't be bothered to write their own stuff - they can actually feed a whole essay into the program and see where it was lifted from, in whole or in part. Gotcha, Shakespeare.

But what I do hesitate over is the fact that if you read a great deal, you end up with many, many words and ideas lodged in your cranium. It's inevitable that one person's thoughts are going to flip a switch in a writer's brain, and from that can flow a continuing stream of ideas. What if it isn't as seamless as you suppose?

This article in Slate is great. It explains how Google is finding that plagiarism goes all the way back to, well, probably the first word. A linguist has been funnelling phrases through the search engine and finding out that those noble authors from hundreds of years ago were no better than my son doing his homework on the Internet last night.

But read further down. The writer lends a little math to the show, and reveals just what the odds actually turn out to be. Though I would sometimes imagine it's already all been written, I would be wrong. You still have to pretty much go out of your way to steal, and feeble excuses are going to need a good headwind to fly.

Guess we haven't seen everything. Yet.

November 27, 2006

Emilio Estevez

I read a lot of movie reviews, though I'm not entirely sure why I bother. I pretty much despise going to the theatre because too many people can no longer discern between a public venue and their own living room. Maybe if people would turn off their cellphones, quit talking, take their feet off the furniture and try, try, try to last 90 minutes without eating something, I would reconsider.

These things are all unlikely, so I wait for video. As ticket sales seem to be falling, I'm obviously not alone in my feelings.

I was reading a review for Bobby. It's the 'star' packed extravaganza written and directed and starring Emilio Estevez. Forgive me, but this guy makes me twitch. The least talented of Martin Sheen's offspring (and that's reaching with a very short stick), he's been giving interviews for about a year now for this thing, and I'm ready to slap him. I remember him from the Brat Pack movies of my youth (we're about the same age) and if he was unbearable as a teenager, he's done that Hollywood morphing into an even more unbearable adult. He cries; he gets all serious, but he seems like a complete twit.

He's assembled all this high power star power for Bobby. Sharon Stone. Blech. I don't think there is an actress that turns me off more than Sharon Stone. Can't explain it. I like, or am at least ambivalent about, most actors. Not her. Demi Moore. More blech, though not so viceral. She's just boring. Her teenybopper husband Ashton Kutcher. I can't feel all turned on by someone who still uses Oxypads.

They let Bobby Kennedy play himself; hey, if it was good enough for Good Night and Good Luck, why shouldn't it be good enough for this one? By the way, GN&GL was one of the best movies of the year. Easily.

Estevez is giving interviews talking about his exile from the Hollywood lists of Who Matters. He talks about being shunned and ignored despite all his talent. I hate to break it to him, but you can do everything short of murder (and even then, they'll review each case individually) and that town will forgive you and plunk you in a movie IF YOU HAVE ANY TALENT. And often if you don't.

So, I'm sure I shouldn't knock it until I've seen it, but it's a rental for sure. All the vintage footage of Bobby Kennedy is available elsewhere, so I may just opt to go directly to the source and see it unfiltered through the wide open vistas that no doubt make up Emilio's brain.

Just, for the love of everything that matters, tell Emilio to quit whining and weeping.

November 24, 2006

'A Face Like Runny Cheese'

If you're going to slam someone, there is no better nationality to be than British. Such a fabulous way with the words they invented.

I like The Independent - and not only because Rupert Murdoch doesn't own it (see: Murdoch, Simpson, O.J., butthead judgement). But as always, I'm wandering.

The Independent put up a list of the 50 Most Uncool People, and it's a hoot. You may not know all of them - but you're sure going to know most of them. The part I like best isn't who they bestowed the honour on, it's how they did it. My blog title is how they described David Cameron, who is apparently some toffee-nosed politician who I guess represents someone, though surely not the majority.

Sandi Toksvig, another I'm not familiar with, but is apparently 'the love child of Bilbo Baggins and an Ewok', so of course I had to look her up and find this. Actually, it took ages to even find a photo. She didn't seem that horrifying, but apparently works mostly in comedy.

They call Paris Hilton, Paris Travelodge. Snerk. James Blunt 'sounds like a girl, dresses like a tramp'. That's about right. It's a fun list, if only to let others jab away for you. North Americans are so politically correct they wouldn't dare think half of what many British sources publish every day.

My favourite links.

November 23, 2006

Jason Edmonds

Here's the link for The Jason Edmonds Foundation for Road Safety. All contact information is located there.

Do your children, and yourself, a favour, and find a way for this man to tell them his story.

Couple of edits on today's column: It isn't clear, and should be, that Jason's two friends Shaun Lodge and Stewart Farnum also died in this crash. There was another young man in that car who survived, along with the driver.

I used the words 'road rage' to describe the conviction. While all involved who survived admitted this behaviour was at the root, the legal charges were initially dangerous driving causing death, dropped down to careless driving. Sorry for the confusion.

November 22, 2006

Rebel With A Backpack

I love these articles. Trying to explain why teenagers do stupid things. Lately, I'd prefer articles explaining why adults do stupid things, like paying O.J. Simpson instead of just shooting him, but I digress.

Newsweek does some scientific voodoo, and dispels some myths ('teenagers can't compute consequences') and creates some new ones ('they just don't care'). Unlike many mothers I know, I actually want my kids to get into a certain amount of trouble. I figure if I don't know about any trouble they're getting into, it means they're doing some pretty bad stuff. Because rest assured - they are going to get into trouble.

Trouble makes us who we are. Doing bad things eventually makes us want to do better things. Being hungover often enough should make the thinking members of our society want to avoid that particular anvil-to-the-head feeling. Crashing your car repeatedly for speeding should lighten your lead foot. Teenagehood is largely an electrified fence, where you find out which points to stop bouncing off of to make the pain stop.

I know, I know...doesn't work for everyone. But that's just so we can keep Dr. Phil and Jerry Springer in business. We need to have people we can feel superior to, so we can take some solace in the fact that we get very boring.

My sons are smart enough to know right from wrong. And I know they will still choose wrong. It's like a wet paint sign - you still have to touch the damned stuff, and you know what? I like that they find out for themselves. I don't want little autobots that mindlessly do what they're told without asking questions, without pushing against the fence a little.

The only way I could make my 15-year-old consistently do what he's supposed to would be if I could fit into his backpack. But he's not a dog on a leash - he's a kid who needs to learn for himself how to make decisions, or else he'll live at home forever.

Or at least until he marries someone who fits in his backpack.

November 21, 2006

900 CHML

I'll be in the studio with Jamie West today at 11:00 - noon.

It's usually just a free-wheeling 60 minutes of nuts, so call in and join us!

November 20, 2006

I Want To Care...

...but I just don't. I don't care when celebrities get married and unmarried. I don't care whose precious seed they carry, I don't care if they get caught - again - not wearing any undies. Come to think of it, after the first time, I'm thinking it's pretty accidentally-on-purpose that Lindsay Lohan is flashing the world. But it's entirely on purpose that the world is looking.

We're a rather creepy culture, when you think about it. We want to see pictures of dead celebrities, live celebrities, celebrities all dressed up and celebrities not dressed at all. We make celebrities out of people who aren't celebrities, and we cheer when they fall down, then buy their books that document their climb back up. We're idiots.

If you don't watch The Office (Steve Carroll version), well, you should. Last week, Kelly, a little flippy office girl, rushes up to a newly- returned Jim. She is gushing that Tom and Katie had a baby named Suri, and that Brad and Angelina had a baby named Shiloh...Jim asks her what's new in HER life. She looks at him blankly and says "I just told you."

Ain't that it in a nutshell, as my mother would have said.

November 19, 2006


A group of young teenage males swarming and killing people.

Whole communities being torn apart by the loss of fathers, families being removed from their homes and forced to leave everything they know.

Loss being suffered on such a grand scale that the whole social order is in danger of collapsing. All of its members are reacting with violence on a scale never seen before.

Inner city gangs? War-torn regions? Poverty taking over? Nope.

Elephants. This is happening to the elephants of the world. This is a long, but fascinating article from the NYT via the Star. Elephants in all regions of the world they are native to are killing and maiming on a scale never witnessed before.

Elephants are brainy, social animals. They live a long time, and have the proverbial fabulous memories to guide them. Their mourning rituals are heartbreaking - there was a show on Discovery a while back that showed how they react to the loss of a member of the tribe.

They are being culled and poached to the point that their complicated social orders are being destroyed, and they are reacting with violence. With the loss of vital 'elders', both male and female, in some orders, younger elephants are acting like rogue gang members - they were actually raping and killing rhinos. Read that sentence again. It's from the linked piece.

If you can't stand to read another story about how humanity is going to hell as we ruin our environment and desert our young and old, read this piece about the elephants. There is a reason we need our social order; there is a reason we need to take care of one another; there is a reason we are here beyond our own selfish fulfillment.

Read about the elephants.

November 18, 2006

More All Hat

Here's the result of the past few weeks work.

Dunno what happened to the piece for the Star - win some, lose some, I guess.

November 16, 2006

Sarah's Bears

The Burlington Cougars hockey team will play this Friday night at Central Arena on Drury Lane in Burlington at 7:30.

At that game, teddy bears will be collected for our soldiers wounded in Afghanistan. This is after 4-year-old Sarah Vaan Holt decided something was needed to make sure they wouldn't be scared at night.

For more information, please contact Glen McDonald at The McDonald's son is currently serving our country at this difficult time.

These kids need to know we give a damn, and Sarah's right. We need to do something to make sure they are a little less afraid at night.


Thank you those of you who missed Motherlode on Tuesday. Both of you.

Newspaper layout is predicated, obviously, on space. The page Motherlode appears on is called the 'Living' page, and it is indeed a single page. On that page each Tuesday I must share my leg room with Dear Abby, the horoscopes and usually some feel-good piece featuring a smiling baby, a woman who's found the perfect exercise program, or a puppy who learned not to chew shoes.

Given the general nature of newspapers these days, I do not complain. I rarely get my words cut, I sometimes get a photo from the file, and I am generally left alone to do my thing. This past Tuesday, I got blown past because it was National Nice Week or something like that. I was not feeling particularly nice when I found out this had usurped me.

But I got over it. I'm kind that way. My memory is also going, so it's a general all-around win for everyone.

Then today I read in Slate something that just dredges all the pain right back up. In a tale harking back to the 50's, the piece contemplates the war editors have waged with space (not that kind, print space) since the advent of papers. They do an indepth look at the always fascinating 'bus plunge' pieces.

You've seen them. A headline announcing a bus plunging off the side of a mountain in some country you may have heard of, maybe not. It gives a brief death estimate, and that's pretty much it. News stories that are complete in 2 or 3 lines. The piece explains they used to be used as filler to extend longer articles that fell short.

The examples are hilarious, with all due respect to the dead. They are actually the same story over and over, for decades. There use has risen and fallen with changes in how we print papers, and as editors have found new ways to convey the news, set the standard, and most importantly fill any holes they couldn't get an ad for.

The piece quotes one editor who says his all-time favourite news story, the entire thing, was "Most snails are both male and female, according to the Associated Press". That's it. Ain't simplicity a beautiful thing?

Maybe my next Motherlode will start with that line. Then if I get cut down, it won't matter.

November 15, 2006

That's a Wrap

Just got in from the last day on the set of All Hat. Shooting will end tonight, but my deadlines for the Toronto Star and the Hamilton Spectator are tomorrow, so I scooted early.

I'll be writing some additional stuff here over the weekend - it's been a total blast watching a film get made. Who knew?

Check both papers on Saturday, if all goes according to plan they'll be running the features, or I'll be linking them here. I ended up with a background role after being denied my moment in the spotlight due to union hassles. Don't think my nerves could have stood it anyway - watching all these actors made me want to be a writer more than ever.

There has been much to bitch about this week, and I've missing doing so. The elections were a huge letdown locally, though the U.S. ones have put a smile on my face. If you're bored, read Garrison Keillor today in Salon - spot on, as usual.

November 14, 2006


Sigh. I'm not going to bother getting into it, but Burlington made some really big mistakes in yesterday's election.

Is the bar for politicians really so low even the least-deserving and least-qualified ones can just step over it?

November 13, 2006

Oh No Henry

I read in the Spec this morning that Hershey has had to recall a load of chocolate bars that may have salmonella. My heart clutched. It is just two weeks past Halloween, and the best chocolate consuming time of the year has barely had the curtain dropped on it.

I furiously read the piece, looking for the affected candy. I had to flip to the Toronto Star to get the rest of the story - the most important rest of the story. "Halloween candy is not affected".

My heart resumed its normal rhythm. Only Jackson trick-or-treats these days, and he's not particularily greedy in his haul. Marc used to strip the neighbourhood of its treats like a rabbit making its way through my garden. Jackson is more into his costume, and running around after dark with his friends.

The result is that I have to send Brad to Shoppers to pretend he's buying marked down junk for lunches. Or himself. Or the cats. Anyone but me.

We sit around with bags of junk in front of the television, grading merits of one candy over another. I have a fondness for red licorce. After the 20th bag of Nibs, my fondness diminishes somewhat. Brad was tossing back little O Henry's the other night, as we debated just how many of those little nothings it would take to make up a regulation size bar. Jackson guessed 4. I said 47. And kept eating.

As I sit working, I eat those little Rockets. They're nasty. They're addictive. I don't even have a sweet tooth. Then again after this week, I probably won't have any teeth.

With this recall, at least now when the everyone says they're not feeling so good, I'll tell them they've been poisoned, and to quit eating the bad, bad chocolate.

And then go and hide it.

November 11, 2006

November 11

We just came back from a Remembrance Day ceremony; we only live a few blocks from city hall, and I told the kids they were welcome to come. They reminded me they'd had ceremonies at school yesterday, and I insisted they didn't have to come, I was just offering them the chance to come and show some gratitude for people who had died for them.

The guilt worked on Jackson. As we stood in the drizzle with hundreds of other people (I was thrilled to see so many kids in the crowd), Jackson whispered that he should have worn his other coat. The one I'd tried to get him to wear. Brad gave him his coat, because everyone know parents don't get cold.

Jackson said he was getting wet; I told him men had died in trenches full of water in foreign lands, catching horrid diseases and dying horrible deaths all so he could stand there and complain.

"How much water?" he asked. I shushed him.
"Where are the trenches now?" he asked. "Which diseases?" I told him we'd talk about it later.

I have a tough time at these events. I want to cry. I usually do. The pride and dignity in these fiercely brave men and women just makes me contemplate my life as a part of a bigger cosmic picture, and appreciate how vital it is to understand and appreciate our history. The fact we are creating a whole new generation of war veterens makes me sadly aware that perhaps we really don't get it.

A lifetime of loss and heartache for so many. I gave Jackson a hug.

"My poppy pin is digging into me," he said, shrugging me off.

May that be the only pain he ever experiences from war.

November 10, 2006

R.I.P. Ed Bradley

Ed Bradley will be missed. We've replaced true journalists with ditzy talking newsreaders, and as this era slides to a close, we should all take a minute to reflect that we've created this media vacuum.

Bradley was a class act, a smart journalist who knew the importance of not being bigger than the story. In these times of shameful shrieking nutjobs like Bill O'Reilly, we should be reminded that you didn't always have to take a Xanax before watching news stories.

Today we have news personalities; Ed Bradley had more personality than any of them, and more integrity than all of them.

November 9, 2006

Live @ 5:30 Thursday

I believe they'll be asking me to trash men a little - but we all know I'd never do that....tune in to CHTV 11.

November 8, 2006

It's a Rap

My sister asked if I was going to blog today on the horrifying, crapalicious soap opera that is Britney Spears and that greaseball she married and spawned with.

I told her I was really leaning toward that other horrifying, crapalcicious soap opera that is the greaseball Republicans in the U.S. Luckily for me, Slate has handily combined the two in a nice little package. Troy Patters' description of 'party' is a scream.

For those of you who consider CNN an important source of your news information, you really need to stand back, take a deep breath, shrug off the denial and say aloud: "They called Britney Spears filing for a divorce 'breaking news', in the midst of a national election that will see the House and Senate change hands". Now, say it again. If you are feeling faint, sit down.

Politicians, for all their foibles, stumbles, affairs and questionable text-messaging, are elected officials who must be on our radar. We only have municipal elections going in Ontario right now, which means if someone is having carnal knowledge of a sheep, they might live right on your street. The impact isn't nationwide, but it's certainly more fun. The thing is these people whom everyone is watching act as if nobody is watching them. They actually believe no one will care. Huh?

Then you have those who are on my radar for no other reason than the media has invented them and stuffed them into magazine racks and headlines. Britney Spears is of no consequence to me; her husband even less. So why on earth are these people living as if everyone is not only watching them, but that anyone could possibly care? Read this surreal 'interview' with Britney's dork of a husband. He totally believes that everyone cares what he does. I'm ashamed to say it came from Salon today, one of my favourite sites that is losing traction way too often lately.

Actually, reading the two pieces, I'm starting to put a couple of things together, and having a very dark thought.

Kevin Federline for President.

November 7, 2006

Band Culture

Aw. Boy George's former bandmates are all peeved that he's dissing them. I only have one question: What former bandmates?

Nobody remembers anyone but the singer. That should be tattooed on the forehead of every wannabe musician. Sorry kids, but the best you can hope for behind a Bono is to be The Guy With The Hat.

Oh, there have been a few exceptions, like with some of those hair guys (I think Bon Jovi Van Halen is the actual name of the whole band - they just perform at different times). But for the most part, unless you are suggestively holding that microphone, you're just another nameless strummer or drummer. That silly Rockstar show proved that - they just plug in musicians like Lego parts, and then spend weeks choosing a frontman who looks like he just fell out of his mama's makeup bag.

One of my favourite movies is Still Crazy. It's in the Spinal Tap genre, but it's a perfect hoot - a bunch of broken down moldy oldies reuniting for a tour twenty years on. Bill Nighy, Billy Connolly - go find it. It points out what I always thought - a bunch of guys dole out the instruments to fill the slots and form a band. The guy who can't play anything becomes the singer. The guy who can't play anything but is not so pretty becomes the drummer.

As for Boy George's Culture Clubmates, they should be happy they fooled most of the people most of the time for the year or two that they did. Sometimes it's over lads.
Leave the stage and go find your cars.

November 5, 2006

Land of The Free

Why do we give rich people free things?

Well, I don't, but tell me you haven't ever wondered why mega-rich stars get those ludicrous loot bags for going to events. And before you gently explain to me it's because they want these famous and feted to adorn themselves with some specific brand, thereby bringing fame and attention to said brand, let's be clear. I could not tell you in a million years what brand of watch George Clooney wears - and I've spent some serious time poring over pictures of George Clooney.

Someone just gave Prince Charles a yak. I guess he had to accept it graciously ("oh, so sorry, I already have a yak!") and was no doubt relieved to find out the custom was to instantly return it to the giver. Poor yak has probably been given away dozens of times.

I think it's kind of sweet when people send baby gifts to famous people that have babies. But the thinking gets not so sweet when you realize that even if that gift actually finds its way to the new parents, the chances of them ever, ever letting it come in contact with their royal offspring are about zilch. Why don't these people send these gifts to a shelter or hospital in their own community, where it can be appreciated?

I feel the same way about stuffed toys placed on impromptu shrines created for children senselessly taken from us. I watch them become soggy with rain, and dirty from time, and wish they'd been donated instead in the name of the lost.

Companies that pony up their big-ticket items to be put into gift bags for 'stars' would get more mileage by donating the goods to auctions for charity. There, the other rich people can pay for the stuff and feel good doing it. I've read of some big names who do donate the bags - and believe me, that goes a lot further in my give-a-sh*t book then whether or not some swaggering pretty starlet got a free vacation in Tahoe.

I read recently that the IRS has been cracking down on the tax implications of stars accepting loot. Good. My mother used to say 'much wants more'. She said it with disdain. We're the poor slobs who have to work for every nickel, and it grates a little to see someone like Jessica Simpson pout at being told to pay the freight for running through an event grabbing things like her arse in on fire.

Play the 'what would I grab if there was a fire?' game. After kids and pets, I guarantee most people would say photo albums.

If it can be replaced, it ain't worth sweating over.

November 4, 2006

Bigfoot, Shmigfoot

Loch Ness monster? Bigfoot? Yeti? Sasquatch?

Bah. Bunch of nonsense. I remember as a kid loving these stories, poring over grainy photos and being on the lookout for strange happenings at the cottage. The closest I got to finding Bigfoot up there was my father stamping through the bush covered in black flies.

A professor at an Idaho university is bringing about much head-shaking from his peers. Seems he seriously is hunting Bigfoot, and maintains a full-time obsession to go along with his full-time job. He's making them all look silly, and they won't eat lunch with them. Seriously, read down the article.

I am generally of a fairly open-minded nature. But you know, you're gonna have to show me a dead creature to make me believe in a live one. Shouldn't someone have stumbled across the remains by now? And how on earth do supposedly-intelligent people devote so many resources to chasing smoke? I'm not going to call you stupid for believing, granted, but could you keep it down a little? Your kids are groaning.

This prof says it all started when he found a footprint, that he decided had to have been left by a genuine Bigfoot. It was 15 inches long. Ferchristsakes, my kid wears a size 15 shoe, with no end in sight of where his own bigfootedness will stop. He turned 15 a few days ago. Maybe this guy is just making plaster casts of teen boys footprints. Toss on one of those puffy ski jackets, understand that they indeed make grunty howling noises when they're hungry, and you just have a kid lost on a grade 10 field trip.

My prediction? Nessie lives on T-shirts, and Bigfoot lives in this guy's imagination.

November 2, 2006

Door Number Two...

Now that this obscure South African paper made it onto my 'favourites' list (courtesy of the personal ads the other day) I'm pleased to note it hasn't let me down.

Some guy in Romania
solved the problem of being jilted by his bride-to-be in admirable fashion: he announced whoever fit into the dress could marry him.

How can you not love this? It's a modern day Cinderella story! It's better than a reality show! This marriage has better odds than most of the people I know who get married! I'm thinking there are so many things a woman would already know about this guy before she even set foot near him. She would know he's practical. She would know he's not a committment-phobe. She would know he doesn't care if she has a big nose or buck teeth. She would know he's a cheap bastard.

Remember that stupid show about marrying a millionaire? All these women arrayed themselves around the stage like so much produce, breathlessly hoping to be chosen by the millionaire. Who turned out not to be so much of a millionaire after all. He mostly just turned out to be an arsehole (surprise!), and the cabbage he selected turned out to be a flakier than the tart she appeared to be.

Can't believe they didn't live happily ever after.

But I like this Romanian love story. Or whatever it is. I figure you at least have two people who want to be married, rather than one who is being dragged or ultimatumed to the altar. I figure if they both practice good hygiene, pick up their dirty laundry and pretend to like the other's family at Christmas, they have a better shot at success than many.

At least until the dress no longer fits.

Power Shift

The website I talk about in today's Power Shift is LiveDeal.

Have fun.

November 1, 2006

Smoking Gun

This is just in from the land of "Gee - Do Ya Really Think So?".

Teens are more likely to start smoking after they have seen ads telling them not to. Frankly, I'm surprised if kids believe anything we tell them anymore. We tell them drinking is bad as we pull another cork, we tell them war is wrong as we send more of our youth over to die in one, and we tell them to stay in school so they can get a good job - except there are no good jobs anymore. They've watched us lose ours and rage about misplaced loyalties, yet they're supposed to believe us as we keep preaching the party lines.

Follow the reasoning: If you smoke, your kids are more likely to. If you drink, your kids are more likely to. It's not what you tell them, it's what you show them. I catch myself yelling at my kids that yelling is not the way to solve anything. Hypocrite, much, Mom?

I'm not going to argue that our kids aren't inundated with thousands of influences through the media, their friends and their environment. But they're also learning from us. If my parents weren't dead, I'd still be trying to please them. To underestimate this fact is as stupid as overestimating their ability to cope with all this information before they are grown.

When I was a teenager I wanted to do dumb things with all the determination I could muster. Which was considerable. How could any adult not remember that feeling? I wanted to smoke, I wanted to do drugs, I wanted to drink, I wanted to have sex, I wanted to drive too fast, and I wanted to know why there were these two killjoys that kept trying to stop me.

Of course I did those things anyway, but in the back of my head I knew I shouldn't. I hope I'm raising my kids to have that voice in the back of their heads. It's the best I can realistically hope for, and it makes far more sense than trusting some ad campaign to do the work for me.

I'd like the outside world to reinforce my message, but the fact remains it's up to me to deliver it.