Sunday, November 30, 2008

the After-Party

For us, thanksgiving isn't so much about the food as about the music afterward--this time Friday evening. Everyone is welcome to come play, sing, dance, listen, or whatever--and they do. Skill and talent ranges all over the place, from next-to-none, to shower singers, to full-fledged professional musicians. Tim, who falls into the last category, in this clip is playing the keyboard--an instrument he doesn't even play!

Thanks to my brother Jon for making the video and posting it on his blog:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

more funny headlining from the big guys

From the LA Times, the way the headline appears on google news:
"Guard fatally shoots man with sword
at Scientology church"

How do you shoot someone with a sword? Thrust, hack, run through--these I can visualize. But shoot?

When the whole headline appears on one line, it's okay, but the way google news broke it up was confusing.

And the word of wisdom comes out on top once again....

Apparently, eating too much meat can be linked to cancer of the gut, and diets high in fruits and veggies actually reduce risks of breast cancer, as does getting enough sleep (although that part wasn't mentioned in this article).

Once again, we see that God is right, and science is only 170 years behind (or so).


Anda is a real renaissance woman--she prefers to eat with her fingers.

I don't suppose I'm the only mom who thinks this, but thanksgiving with relatives could be interesting. My kids, despite my best efforts, seem to display the worst manners at the most inopportune times.

Funny thing around here lately:

The kids named their doll Anna-anna-anda. Cumbersome, and quaint, right? It ends up being downright hilarious when they're fighting over her.....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Much-needed encouragement

I got a rejection from a top-notch agent today.

I didn't cry this time.

She actually said she took a long time to respond because she thought my writing was really strong, but just wasn't interested in the concept of the book, but please send her my next project if someone else doesn't snatch me up (although she suspects someone will).

This was really really encouraging, since I'd come to the conclusion that I can write a query but not a novel (based on the responses I've had so far).

Now to that next project....

anyone else bothered by this, or is it just me?

"The CEOs of the Big Three automakers reportedly flew private luxury jets to Washington to plead for a $25 billion taxpayer bailout to save their debt-ridden industry — ringing up tens of thousands in charges even as they cried poverty.

Recipients of eight-figure bonuses in 2007, the corporate cowboys used their executive perks — which for GM's Rick Wagoner include the run of a $36 million Gulfstream IV jet — to arrive in style as they went begging before Congress.

Wagoner, whose flight reportedly cost $20,000 round-trip — about 70 times more than a commercial airline ticket — told Congress he expected about $10-$12 billion from the requested bailout.

"This is a slap in the face of taxpayers," Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, told ABC News. "To come to Washington on a corporate jet, and asking for a handout is outrageous."",2933,454844,00.html

Maybe they should start with two things: a good tight budget and a product that is worth something in the free market-place. You know, the things any small business has to have to survive.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Insurance is what's wrong in medicine today

I mentioned previously that I thought there was no cure for the health care crisis unless we found some way to get rid of the insurance companies--THEY are the health care crisis.

This was in the news today:

"Of the 12,000 respondents, 49 percent said they'd consider leaving medicine. Many said they are overwhelmed with their practices, not because they have too many patients, but because there's too much red tape generated from insurance companies and government agencies."

Looks like the crisis is just about to get worse. The Insurance companies are driving doctors out of medicine, causing an enormous crisis and worse care in America, theoretically because nobody is overseeing the care of each patient (which is what a primary care doctor is supposed to do). If 30,000 of these doctors leave the business because of the insurance companies, that exacerbates an already serious problem.

Already the insurance companies don't let doctors give the care they feel is necessary. Already they approve care after patients have died when the care was available and the doctors were anxious to give it. Already they force the poor and needy into the emergency rooms, overwhelming the hospitals with non-emergencies and non-paying patients. Already they cancel or refuse coverage for the people who need it most (those who are sick). Already they pay their own doctors to say what benefits the insurance companies, denying claims of the injured (in accidents--like those who need workers' comp coverage) and destroying lives. And they do all this because they 1) have no medical training, and 2) are driven primarily by profit.

Now they're driving the doctors out of the business altogether.

And we're letting them because they are paying our politicians, and nobody can think of a plan that will provide excellent care without either letting the insurance companies run things, or letting the government do it (socializing things), neither of which will really work.

I'm still laughing that Obama's health care plan boiled down to 'put more people in medicaid'. Nobody takes medicaid except the incompetent and the new (not all of which are bad)--people who have no practice otherwise. Medicaid is a way for rich people to feel like the poor people have care. It doesn't actually work. It's a bandaid. People on medicaid suffer and die--literally--from lack of care. How is that going to solve the problem? "According to the foundation's report, over a third of those surveyed have closed their practices to Medicaid patients and 12 percent have closed their practices to Medicare patients That can leave a lot of patients looking for a doctor."

Maybe we should ask the doctors what to do, instead of asking the politicians. I'd go for this solution, mentioned in the same article: "In order to manage their daily work schedules, many survey respondents reported making changes. With lower reimbursement from insurance companies and the cost of malpractice insurance skyrocketing, these health professionals say it's not worth running a practice any longer and are changing careers. Others say they're going into so-called boutique medicine, in which they charge patients a yearly fee up front for care and don't take insurance.

There's more:

"...only 2 percent of current medical students plan to take up primary care. That's because these students are wary of the same complaints that are causing existing doctors to flee primary care: hectic clinics, burdensome paperwork and systems that do a poor job of managing patients with chronic illness."

"So what to do? Physicians don't have a lot of answers. But doctors say it's time to make some changes, not only in the health care field but also with the insurance industry..."

"One of President-elect Barack Obama's health care promises is to provide a primary care physician for every American. But some health experts, including Pocinki are skeptical. "People who have insurance can't find a doctor, so suddenly we are going to give insurance to a whole bunch of people who haven't had it, without increasing the number of physicians?" he says. "It's going to be a problem.""

Maybe the media and government are looking the wrong way in this crisis.

Apparently, doctors weren't too stressed about insurance until PPOs and HMOs came into being. I've always seen them as an institutionalized conflict of interest. Maybe all of insurance doesn't need to go. Maybe just insurance the way it is now needs to go.

I'm not a 'big government' person in the least, but maybe it's time not for the government to step in with some oversight--not of the medical field at all, but of the insurance field. Someone needs to reign in their power and put them in their place as servants of the people instead of as rulers of the world.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I am interested to see where this all goes....

I found the following quotes here:,8599,1859323,00.html?cnn=yes

The first:
'"My goal was to make it socially unacceptable to give huge amounts of money to take away the rights of one particular group, a minority group," says Fred Karger, a retired political consultant and founder of Californians Against Hate.'

In other words, he's trying to make it socially unacceptable to believe in something he disagrees with. And he's doing this through public humiliation and economic persecution, which may be his right in this country but isn't a very good response to people exercising their duty to vote with their beliefs about what is best for the country as a whole, not with their ideas of what is socially acceptable.

The second:
"The negative publicity is having effects on both companies and individuals. Scott Eckern, artistic director of the California Musical Theatre in Sacramento, whose $1,000 donation was listed on ElectionTrack, chose to resign from his post this week to protect the theater from public criticism. Karger says a "soft boycott" they started against Bolthouse Farms, which gave $100,000 to Proposition 8, was dropped after he reached a settlement with the company. Bolthouse Farms was to give an equal amount of money to gay political causes. The amount ultimately equaled $110,000."

I feel for Brother Eckern, who is now out of a job because he expressed his beliefs and acted on them. Brother Eckern, you notice, did not back down from his stance, but proved his dedication to the arts. Bolthouse Farms, on the other hand, has proven they are wimps. Further, nobody should be subject to any kind of 'settlement' for having beliefs. It's ludicrous. You don't see anyone forcing the Gay and Lesbian Alliance to donate significant amounts of money to anti-abortion campaigns, for example, or to a catholic charity purely because their beliefs are in opposition to those things. Ludicrous may be too gentle a word here. Unbelievably ridiculous, really. And for Bolthouse Farms to agree? How bizarre.

The reason I'm mentioning these (as if I haven't said enough already!) is that I'm interested to see if the persecution and rallies and boycotts and assaults/vandalism and temper tantrums being thrown here are actually going to have the opposite effect than the offended parties intend, making others stand firmer in their convictions rather than back down.

For one thing, the rallies and protests aren't saying anything new or informing anyone about anything we didn't already know and have an opinion about. Consequently, the rallies may be a way to vent anger and frustration, but they are not functioning to enlighten or win over anyone. Conversely, any really thinking person ought to look at the extreme responses and wonder what the problem is. It's like when a 3-year-old throws a fit after being denied a cookie. Doesn't make you want to give it to him, does it? Even if he breaks the cookie jar and calls you names.

For another, the offended parties have assumed that we don't agree because we either are weak (and therefore will change our minds with a little bullying) or just didn't understand (and therefore can be 'won over' or convinced of the error of our ways). They still aren't giving credit to people for actually having beliefs that may differ from their own about what's best for our country as a whole. They also aren't giving enough credit to the powerful pull of religious beliefs.

Do they not realize that they are dealing with people who believe in a tradition that holds it as a badge of honor to be persecuted for your beliefs? Do they not realize that persecution might be a sign to these people that they made a right choice and now should defend it to the death (literally)?

I'm not talking about just Mormons, but all Christians, some of whom tend to be lukewarm in good times but all of whom tend to become fiercely loyal to their religious beliefs when persecuted or faced with staunch opposition. These are people who, if they are true believers, are willing to die defending God's word, and give their all to convince others of it. I imagine non-Christian religious people, many of whom have also dealt with immense persecution in their past (who can deny the Jews that history?) respond the same way. Many religious peoples have firm traditions regarding not backing down under persecution because they've all had to deal with it for centuries.

These are people who sing, with reverence and deep belief, that "Jesus, mighty King in Zion, Thou alone our guide shalt be. Thy commission we rely on; we will follow none but thee" and "God is our sun; he makes our day. God is our shield; he guards our way from all assaults of hell and sin, from foes without and fears within." The Mormons sing: "...Fear not, though the enemies deride. Courage, for the Lord is on our side."

By spending a great deal of time putting a great deal of pressure on the people who donated to the pro-marriage cause, the offended people might just be sealing their own fate. They're dealing with people who are no strangers to persecution, no strangers to difficulties, no strangers to both living and teaching their beliefs in the face of incredible cruelty--and, if they're right in their belief system, have God on their side. And if He's real and if He is what they say He is, no boycott will ever turn them aside, and nobody will be able to prevail against them in the long run, especially through persecutions and temper tantrums.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

dare I write this? I'm getting myself in trouble again....

Among religious people, the debate over homosexual marriage has an aspect that nobody is allowed to talk about in the press (why? I don't know. I don't see any shame in believing in religion or the Bible, but it's certainly anathema to the media to do anything other than belittle it--even though the majority of the country is still religious.). They believe homosexuality is a sin.

So I just thought I'd put in a little perspective from our experiences interacting with high school and college kids in a liberal town in the last 5 years.

Because homosexuality is widely accepted in parts of Colorado, the kids in the liberal towns are all taught about it, exposed to it, and completely tolerant of it, just like the gay community hopes we all would be.

Consequently, when the local kids are 'discovering themselves' in junior high and high school, and their emotions run high and their hormones run higher, and nobody is telling them to save their bodies for marriage (rather, they are taught that following your natural inclinations is both good and healthy), the kids experiment. Now, realistically, close your eyes (or get drunk, which they also do) and kiss someone of either gender and you're likely going to have a hormonal surge. Play at sex and it doesn't matter if its a guy or a girl you're with--if you are 13 or 15, it's gonna be an experience that will feel like a 'defining' experience.

To complicate things further, all emotions to these kids are being methodically tied to physical sexual expression--by their friends, by the media, etc. So if they like someone at all, it's translated in their minds to a sexual thing, even on a slight scale. All warm and friendly feelings are love and all love is sexual. We see this all over the world with teen girls who think they're in love with any boy who smiles at them--that's not new. Acting sexually on it is newer, but even in the 50s it happened a lot. It was just more socially unacceptable then than it is now, when it's not only acceptable, it's expected.

As these kids grow older, they have the usual frustrations that every one of us has had in dealing with the opposite sex--the same frustrations that traditionally have driven women to coffee with their girlfriends and men to drink with their guy friends. People have always gone to their same-gender friends for comfort and solace. But if every warm and friendly feeling is love, and all love is sexual--you see the problem?

We personally know people who broke up in a heterosexual relationship, went crying to their same-gender friends, and announced the next day they were actually gay. If these kids' experiences is any indicator, being gay is actually easier and more immediately 'safe' and 'satisfying' than being heterosexual in terms of the relationship--and if there is no stigma involved socially or religiously, it's easier in every way (especially in communities where 'tolerance' actually means greater respect and more rights). If it's easier to be gay, and cooler to be gay (especially among teens, who LOVE the highs and lows of emotional rollercoasters, 'tempests in a teapot', and social/political crisis of any kind)...what's the motivation to develop the skills necessary to find an opposite-gender spouse, have children, and raise a family? It's the relationship equivalent of moms choosing to have a career instead of have and stay home with children--the career is not only easier, it's more socially rewarding, but the social and cultural implications are enormous, as are the more individual ramifications for long-term satisfaction with your life.

Now, I'm a firm believer that some people are born with homosexual tendencies. Research indicates others may legitimately be driven to it by abuse, and rumor is that others may be 'groomed' and taught by members of the gay community. I am not trying to belittle people who have inborn challenges with homosexuality. We all have challenges with something and don't need people condemning us for that.

On the other hand, when the culture is warped in such a way that there is no motivation to go through the work of a man-woman marriage and work out the difficulties of interacting the the other gender...that doesn't seem very productive for families or for the long-term prospects in the country, where we have to interact successfully with the other gender on a daily basis, even if we aren't married. And if every person who is physically or emotionally or sexually abused believes (as many do) that it automatically makes them gay...what gives?

And if you further believe that homosexuality is a serious sin (which many many people still do, despite the media)--maybe you can see why religious people (even liberals)tend to be deeply opposed to the legitimization of the lifestyle by granting it legal marriage status and by teaching it to young children in schools (and no matter how much they deny it now, that would be in the future--already schools only teach traditional family as one option instead of as the ideal so as not to offend children who have only one parent, are being raised by grandparents, etc).

I'm not sure how to conclude this without getting lots more hate mail and being accused of 'hate speech'.

I suppose the reality is that if you consider homosexuality a sin, then it's important to realize that the implications of making it totally legal and socially acceptable are far far greater than the gay community make it out to be. It's not just a choice between two consenting adults who love each other because they were born with brains that are biologically wired that way. It's not even about children adopted and raised by gay couples. It's not even about grownups who decide they want to sin, if you look at it that way. It has major ripples through all of society in terms of the 'biological' physical/neurological and social development of our teens as their brains and social beings develop, the way people react to and recover from abuse, how heterosexual couples treat each other, expectations for marriage (both in the making of a marriage and how it's supposed to go after that, and how it's 'allowed' to end), the way children are raised and educated, the meaning of and appropriate expression of friendship (little girls used to hold hands and hug to show they were friends...and they can't anymore--even among kindergartners it's considered a defining sexual expression now), and probably a million other areas that we haven't even thought of yet.

It's not the 'little thing that's not hurting you and would make me really happy' that the media makes it out to be. It's not a matter of civil rights only, despite what you hear (It is totally NOT akin to giving black people civil rights like they claim--race is not a sin and never has been). Accepting homosexuality has major implications in our entire culture--for good or ill, depending on which camp you belong to.

Fox news does it again!

"He was breathing and didn't appear to be uninjured.",2933,450905,00.html

" Educators, lawmakers and city officials will try and determine why one in three Nevada high school students quit before graduation Wednesday."

"Mom Grounds Boy After Cop Car Hits Him While Biking" home page Why was that car biking?


Here is the link to Tim's first published song, so you can all look and go 'cool!' and then tell your friends when they happen to be looking for mens' chorus sheet music about pirates.

What happens when you go viral

No, this is not another post on my computer breaking down.

I've had a lot of people say, "So what happens?" now that the Corey Vidal/moosebutter video of 'Star Wars' got 1.6 million views in 2 weeks.

Well, Corey and Tim are fielding phone calls from all over--from news outlets like the one in Atlanta that I linked to earlier and CNN, and from media outlets like NBC and MTV, and from lots of private companies, schools, choral conductors, radio shows, and other people who want to cash in on what they see as emerging potential popularity. Everyone wants to cash in on the next big thing, whatever it might be, and they move fast to guess and get it before the 'next big thing' is 'oh, that again?'.

These things seem more exciting than they really are. Tim and I have been navigating this business for almost ten years now, and that was long enough to learn that most things don't come through. Even if you get so far as arriving in MTV's studios at their expense, if they do bother to film you, you most likely end up in a 5-10 second spot (if that) over the credits of some obscure show that plays at dawn on MTV2 (or whatever their alternative channel is called now). And that's IF they show the video at all, which they usually don't.

Shows are never guaranteed until they start. Contracts with companies to produce songs are never set until they're signed and dated, and then there is still only a 50/50 chance they'll use the product you produce. Radio/internet appearances are only sure when they play on the air--and then it's usually shorter than you thought it would be, and reaches fewer people because there just happened to be a fire in the Library of Congress right at that moment and the viewing public is watching our nation's heritage go up in smoke. Just because a choral conductor buys enough sheet music to use it for a choir doesn't mean it will be sung in the concert.

So, yes, it's exciting. I honestly never thought I'd say we were waiting for a call from MTV to nail down details, but we are. But it's more exciting in the flattery of it all than in the surety of a future from this.

I know--people make millions and launch careers from YouTube hits. But many billions more people DON'T--even after a million and a half strangers see their stuff. I guess that's a little cynical, but it sure is easier than the artificial ups and downs that come from believing that every good thing you see is coming your way right now--and that they are all really good (I mean...can you really see four thirty-something Mormon men doing a talent showcase on MTV? Seems incongruous to me...).

So we're excited. And right now Tim is being forced to work for moosebutter more than full-time just answering phone calls and emails, sending cd orders out, updating websites we'd intended to be archival, and getting songs posted for download (sheet music, mostly) that are ready but have never been readily available. There is talk of more videos (one might get made this week!). There are negotiations going on for concerts/school appearances across the nation, contracts to produce songs/videos for companies, interviews, etc. Stuff is happening. It's fun and new. A lot of it is not stuff I can go public with until the companies do, just to be on the safe side.

It might get the rent paid for next month and hold us over until some of the other jobs Tim has been promised start paying. Or it might not. Or it might take off and we'll be forced to never look back, like Toxic Audio did for a few months.

Whatever happens, we've learned to enjoy the ride and take it for what it is, without getting too excited about all the possibilities.

I mean, really--most of you probably don't even remember five years ago when moosebutter was contracted to perform this very song for the official dvd release party of the remastered original "Star Wars". That call came from LucasFilm--and so did the call that canceled the gig two days later.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Has Tim's song really entered the national consciousness?

I found this while browsing google news yesterday:

"MGM Deal Brings More Premium Content to YouTube
ClickZ News - 52 minutes ago
By Douglas Quenqua, The ClickZ Network, Nov 10, 2008 YouTube has taken
another step in its quest to diversify it content beyond satirical
Star Wars videos and homemade political rants."

Satirical Star Wars videos....that's us!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Hate mail?

I'm an obscure Mormon housewife in Nevada.

And I'm getting hate mail because I expressed my opinion that Mormons shouldn't be targeted (nor should Utahns) for being part of the majority on the Proposition 8 vote in California.

I have no problem with people feeling strongly about it. But I don't think I, personally, should be equated with the KKK or any other like thing.

Some stats for you. According to info I found online, only 2% of California's entire population are LDS (which is, apparently, around 770,000 Mormons there). Assuming that all of them were of voting age, all of them voted, and all of them were in favor of Proposition 8 (none of which are true), that still leaves 4,898,960 people who aren't Mormon who voted in favor of Proposition 8. If you eliminated all the Mormons who are children (and there are usually a lot in any population of Mormons), all who were against Proposition 8 (I have no way to determine what this number would be), all who just didn't vote...the Mormon vote probably didn't even make a difference. The difference between the fors and againsts was less than 500,000 votes--there weren't enough Mormons involved to really tip the scale, now, were there?

So why are we targeting Mormons? Why is the former Mayor of Salt Lake City picketing the Temple in Salt Lake?

Why is an obscure pregnant housewife in Nevada getting hate mail?

Now I have to decide what to do about it--post the comments because I believe in letting people have their say and letting people expose themselves as idiots, or deleting the comments (since this is a moderated blog....) and not opening the door to being flooded with hate mail that I don't want to deal with?

Note, from later:

I have since gotten some nice comments explaining the logic of why they target Mormons and also apologizing for whoever is sending hate mail. I'm still on the fence about posting comments, so that's why the nice ones aren't up yet either. This is my comment about it, though:

Apparently Mormons have been targeted because someone has spread the lie that the Church itself donated $20 million dollars to the Yes on Proposition 8 cause. Members of the church probably did donate that much out of their own resources, but the church as an institution most certainly did not--it would be against the law. Members of the church also donated a significant amount of time in the cause, and the opponents to Proposition 8 believe it would not have passed had the Mormons not invested that much money in the cause.

This is a pacifying explanation for a bunch of angry, hurt people who want someone to blame, but it is not really valid unless you honestly believe that all people vote with the money, not with their beliefs. Now, it may be true that Obama won the election because he had more money to put into it, and the Proposition 8 passed for the same reason. If so, it reflects extremely poorly on all the people who voted because it means they voted purely based on money and propaganda, not on their thoughts and feelings on the issues.

I seriously doubt all the conservative people in California voted not with their beliefs, but because someone either bought them out or manipulated them. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean they're dumb, selfish, intolerant, or manipulated by cash.

Further, if the Mormon people, of their own free will, spent $20 million for Proposition 8, and the total spent on both sides was $75 million--we're still not accounting for the majority of the money spent on the campaign, nor even identifying which side of the issue spent more money, further weakening the argument that the "Mormons did it to us!"

I still think it's bigotry that causes people to figure they can take their pain and anger out on any other group of people.

As for the other argument I keep hearing: "You should have realized this would happen before you spoke against us..." That's just plain bullying. People not only have the right to voice their opinions and vote in this country, it's a duty and obligation, and it should not be met with hate and bullying, even if it hurts to lose.

The funniest thing to me is that I have been targeted purely because I'm Mormon. I'd say that's the height of prejudiced behavior. I don't live in California, so I wasn't part of that vote. I had no money to give, so I personally didn't donate. I have no time, so I didn't donate that way either. I didn't email friends or neighbors, or put signs in my yard, or even speak a word to my own husband about the issue before the vote. Nobody has even bothered to ask where I stand on the issues or which way I would have voted had I the chance. I am being attacked purely for my religion--and that's just the same as being attacked for my race or my sexual orientation, isn't it?

addendum: Some stats (from here:,5143,705262228,00.html?pg=2)

"LDS Church members undertook a perhaps unprecedented mobilization, contributing an estimated 40 percent of the individual donations made to the Yes on 8's $30 million-plus campaign. Yet the Salt Lake-based church, which did not contribute directly to the campaign, sees its involvement in politics as unusual."

So the 'nos' actually had a bigger budget! So much for their accusations that Mormons caused the yesses to win by paying for it.

"Exit polls show that religious views had a profound effect on the result, spanning racial lines: 84 percent of those who attend church weekly voted yes; 81 percent of white evangelicals voted yes; 65 percent of white Protestants voted yes; 64 percent of Catholics voted yes. Catholics accounted for 30 percent of all voters."

Mormon numbers were just too small to make a difference in terms of votes, it looks like, although I realize every vote does count.

Prop 8 in CA

I can't believe a gay rights advocate actually said the words, "We're going to teach those Mormons a lesson." His proposal was boycott the state of Utah, who didn't vote for or against Proposition 8, and most of whose industries that are boycottable (like the Sundance Film fest) would punish non-mormons who happen to live in Utah! Weird logic from people who have always held themselves up as pillars and advocates of tolerance and 'clear thinking.'

The other funny thing about the temper tantrum after the vote is that the legal challenge they have put forth is that the measure wasn't legal to begin with. You know, had they won, they wouldn't be saying that, but if it was illegal now, it sure as shootin' was illegal before they put it to the vote and should have been questioned then. I'd say these pillars of tolerance sure are sore losers.

But I am impressed with the Catholic Bishop who wrote this:

Thank you for a sensible voice in a time of turmoil!

Also, this is the LDS Church's statement on the issues:

"SALT LAKE CITY 7 November 2008 The Church issued the following statement today:

It is disturbing that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election.

Members of the Church in California and millions of others from every faith, ethnicity and political affiliation who voted for Proposition 8 exercised the most sacrosanct and individual rights in the United States — that of free expression and voting.

While those who disagree with our position on Proposition 8 have the right to make their feelings known, it is wrong to target the Church and its sacred places of worship for being part of the democratic process.

Once again, we call on those involved in the debate over same-sex marriage to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other. No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information. "

And you should read this one, too:

I love the way the Church responds to things. There is no sign of being intimidated, or just taking the abuse with no response, but also there is no fight. Elder Hales talked about this in conference, and it is a worthy goal for all of us, not just with people who are throwing fits in our direction, but also with our own families, siblings, and personal contacts in normal daily life. You can read the talk here:,5232,23-1-947-22,00.html

Friday, November 07, 2008

persecution--and a sad show of civic irresponsibility

This will be short because I don't want to jump into the fray. I'm just wondering why it's not okay to persecute homosexual minorities, but it's completely okay to persecute religious minorities?

I have emailed at least 2 major media outlets today requesting they correct misinformation about the LDS church they were passing off as fact.

And what happened to the concept of responsible democratic processes, meaning 'we vote and abide by the majority decision even if we lose'? Isn't that the point of having a vote? How is it okay to insist on a vote if we're sure we will win, but refuse to let someone else win? Is our government that far gone? Or is it just that the media is?

I mean, I, personally, am pretty sure that the democrats are the wrong party to have in power when there is an economic crisis, but you don't see me out attacking abortion clinics and jumping on police cars, or making commercials that are deeply offensive to a large minority group's sacred sensibilities. Really, if I made a commercial about lesbians persecuting mormons, I'd probably be charged with a hate crime. It certainly wouldn't be allowed to air on TV.

The fallout from Proposition 8 is pretty straightforward emotional abuse, designed to harass and intimidate people for expressing themselves. This is scary because studies have shown that many people already are afraid to express opposition to gay marriage because they're fearful of being labeled 'discriminatory.'

The thing that has me most appalled about the whole situation is not just that the losers are getting away with it, but also that the media outlets are openly, unabashedly siding with them against not only the majority in California, but also the majority across the nation--and they've got so many people so intimidated of offending the liberals (it's okay to offend conservatives and white men) that nobody is calling them on it!

And how on earth do they think boycotting Utah (which is only 60-something-percent Mormon) will accomplish anything? It was California that voted to offend them, if you insist on looking at it that way, and the Mormons are a world-wide church, with far more members outside Utah than in.

And can you imagine the media and legal storm there would be if someone tried to insist that we boycott all blacks? Or Jews?

Shame shame shame on a country that puts the will of the minority above the will of the majority, and favors the rights of one minority group over all others.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Guest Blogger Post....

I was guest blogger here today:

Go look!

writing sample: The Poison Spindle Problem

I have often talked about writing on my blog, and the joys and frustrations of looking for an agent, but I don't think I've actually posted some of my fiction on here before. So I decided I ought to correct that failing. Here, for what it's worth, is the first chapter of The Poison Spindle Problem, as it stands now. This chapter has given me hours and hours of agony as I've rewritten it at least 2 dozen times and never been happy with the balance between introducing the main character and getting to the action. (If it's all character, you don't go beyond the first chapter because nothing is happening. If it's all action, you don't go beyond the first chapter because you have no reason to care what happens to the heroine....As Winnie the Pooh would say, "Bother.") I'm still not sure I got it right, but I think we're finally on the right track.

Don't feel obligated to read this if you don't want to (I usually don't want to read other people's fiction, either); likewise, don't feel obligated to comment or offer suggestions--I am so tired of rewriting that I likely won't do anything about them (other than read them, which I will do) unless you happen to be a reputable editor or literary agent.

So, without further blabbing....

Chapter 1: Once Upon a Time

Kate hefted the last box—this one full of antique books from her private collection--onto the heap in the living room and looked around. Uncle Stan had replaced Grandma’s lace curtains with blinds, but, save Kate’s pile of boxes in the middle of the faded floral rug, the rest of the apartment looked the same as it had when Grandma Clark had lived there, only not quite as clean. Even the old green “grasshopper couch” Grandma had had before she went to the rest home was right where it had been Kate’s whole life. She remembered leaning over the back of that couch when she was a kid, pressing her forehead against the tall second-story windows, watching the cars go by on Center Street while the grownups talked.

Kate felt like she was trespassing.

The apartment would probably be great, once she got used to it.

She went into the kitchen and turned on the light. Grandma’s chrome-and-yellow-Formica table, purchased brand new in 1950, still stood in the middle of the room. The cheerful yellow gingham she’d papered her ceiling with was more gray than cheery now, and it was peeling in the corners. One white-painted cupboard stood open, revealing a few mismatched dishes and a shelf full of random cans of food.

Lightning flashed outside, and Kate suddenly thought about all of Uncle Stan’s personal stuff that was left in the apartment--his clothes in the closets, his pillow on the bed, his old jug of milk rotting in the fridge.

What was she supposed to do with a dead man’s stuff, anyway?

She turned off the light, locked up, and went downstairs to the store, twisting her waist-length blond hair into a thick coil at the back of her head and grabbing it with a plastic “bear claw” as she went.

Melba, the bookstore manager and Kate’s new boss (even though Kate now owned the place), was talking to a skinny wannabe cowboy who looked like he was about thirty-five and had never even smelled a horse before.

“Do you think she’ll like this?” the cowboy asked, setting a copy of The Annotated Mother Goose on the counter. The white fringe on his red plaid shirt hung smooth and straight except for a single strand that was snagged on one of the mother-of-pearl snaps. He combed his wavy brown hair back with his open hand. Kate could see sweat darkening his armpits, despite the fact that it was chilly outside and in.

Kate joined Melba behind the counter and started collecting scattered books, the rejects and returns of the day.

“It’s a little hefty for a six-year-old,” Melba said.

“She’s not your average six-year-old. She read this in one day,” the man said. He set an almost new hardback copy of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz on the counter beside the first book. “That’s why I want to trade it in.”

“She might enjoy the Mother Goose, then,” Melba said. “With the trade, it’ll be six fourteen.”

Pulling a leather wallet out of the back pocket of his tight jeans, the man extracted six perfectly smooth, crisp dollar bills and fourteen unusually shiny pennies and set them on the counter. “So when did you start hiring beautiful princesses to work in the store?” he asked, gazing at Kate and leaning on the counter in a studied way that Kate guessed he had seen on TV and practiced at home, hoping to appear both charming and casual.

“This is our new owner,” Melba said with unusual reserve. She dropped his book into a bag and handed him the receipt.

“What happened to Stan?” the man asked.

“Plane crash.”

Unfazed by the news, he kept gazing at Kate. “You don’t look old enough to own a business,” he said with a smile.

“I’m in college,” Kate said. Melba shot her a look that made her stop talking.

Apparently satisfied that she wasn’t jail bait, he smiled a smile that matched his lean—studied, but neither charming nor casual. “Most pretty coeds aren’t interested in running a used bookstore. You must love to read,” he said.

“Actually,” Kate said, “I don’t like to read much anymore, but I love books. I’ve been collecting them for years. Just yesterday I got a copy of a 1942 booklet about arranging flowers, except the last chapter is about how to arrange and serve bottles of Coke. How can you not get a kick out of that?”

The man laughed.

Melba wasn’t smiling. “Closing time, Jake,” she said.

“Go ahead and lock up. I’ll help you tidy up and then take the trash out the back when you’re ready to leave,” Jake said. “Alleys aren’t safe for women, but I...”

Melba didn’t even wait for him to take a breath before she cut in. “We’re skipping the usual stuff tonight,” she said quickly and firmly. “I have to pick up my son at the airport. But thank you for the offer. See you next week?”

“I’ll be here, rain or shine,” Jake said, picking up his bag. “Nice to meet you, Princess.”

Melba followed Jake to the door and locked it behind him.

Kate watched him jaywalk across Center Street. The old two- and three-story buildings across from the bookstore were partially obscured by leafless maples that stood in a gray row down the middle of the street. Rusty dry leaves blew past, piling up against the green metal trashcan that stood on the sidewalk outside. With a rumble of thunder, the rain that had been threatening all day started to fall, splashing against the windows and turning a month’s worth of dust into muddy splotches and streaks.

“He seems nice,” Kate said absently.

“Jake? You don’t want anything to do with Jake. He irons his bills, polishes his pennies, and is fifteen years older than you,” Melba said.

“Nobody polishes pennies,” Kate said.

Melba handed her one of the shiny coins. It was minted in 1987. Bizarre. “What a waste of time,” Kate said.

“Uh-huh. Just be careful,” Melba said. “Falling in love is usually more trouble than it’s worth.”

“Who said anything about love?” Kate asked, taken aback. “Didn’t you notice the sweat tacos he was sporting?” She hoped the disgust was evident in her voice. “I wouldn’t mind falling in love, of course, but Jake belongs on a dude ranch with all the other dudes from the half-way house.”

Melba laughed. “You said he was nice,” she reminded her.

“I know,” Kate said. “I was looking for something to say that wouldn’t offend you or anyone else who might be in the store, since he appears to be a regular source of income for us. Besides, even if he hadn’t been…weird…I thought it wasn’t kosher to let customers pick up on you while you were working.”

“I don’t think you are going to have much choice. The guys will try whether it’s kosher or not,” Melba said. “Might be good for business, though, to have the guys on campus realize you’re here.”

Kate blushed and looked past the displays of antique books in the front window to the rain pelting the cars parked outside. People always said stuff like that to her, but it was all talk and wishful thinking. Stuff like that might have happened in ‘50s movies and fairytales, but it didn’t happen in real life.

Melba finished counting the sparklingly polished change into the drawer and turned to Kate. “All moved in?” she asked.

“My stuff is upstairs now,” Kate said, finally looking away from the dusty display in the front window. She wondered why she hadn’t noticed before that it never changed. She thought maybe one or two of the books had been replaced—probably when the originals were purchased by some collector—but mostly they looked like they’d been sitting there for twenty years. She’d never really paid attention to the condition of the store before, but now that she owned it, she was noticing a lot of things—things that had been that way for so long, she didn’t know if she could do anything about them. “I’m not sure I’ll get it all unpacked right away,” she added.

“I can come up and help later tonight if you want,” Melba said.

“No, thanks,” Kate said, running her hand along the edge of the smooth mahogany counter. The counter was original to the building, and it was darkened with time, polished with use, and beautiful. Kate had always thought it looked a little like a bar from a saloon in an old movie. “The apartment’s not really ready for me to live in yet. Stan’s stuff is still up there, and the whole place needs to be cleaned. I think I’ll go back to my mom’s house until I can get the apartment fixed up some.”

“I thought your parents were in England supervising a study abroad,” Melba said, picking up her book and putting it in her purse.

“They are,” Kate said. “But my brother, Michael, is watching their house while they’re gone. I think the apartment could use a good coat of paint and a serious carpet cleaning, and I want to drag him back here and get his input before I do anything to the old family home.”

“Well, if Michael has time between med school and his wedding preparations, you and he might think about ripping out that old carpet instead of cleaning it,” Melba said. “Stan told me there’s a solid oak floor underneath.”

That actually sounded like a fun project. “We’ll look into it,” Kate said.

“I’m already late picking my son up at the airport, and I still have to drop the deposit by the bank, so I need to get out of here. Do you mind shutting everything down?” Melba asked, putting on her sweater as if the question were already answered.

“Sure,” Kate said.

“Be careful,” Melba warned. “Don’t let anyone in, even if you know them. Jake is notorious for coming back on some pretense or other and then wanting to stay and ‘help’ while he talks your ear off.”

“He’s crazy,” Kate said.

“You never know,” Melba said. “And he’s not the only regular who raises eyebrows. So just be careful. You didn’t park in that alley did you?”

Kate nodded. That was where Stan’s permanent reserved spot had been.

“Don’t go out if anyone’s there,” Melba said. “Jake may be weird, but he’s right about alleys not being safe for women.”

“Are you sure you want me to lock up? Sounds like a two-woman job at least.”

“Usually is, but you’ll be fine this once. Just be careful,” Melba repeated again. Slinging her purse over her shoulder, she unlocked the front door and stepped out into the gusty wind.

Kate locked the door behind her employee-boss and watched her hop into her car as thunder rumbled again. It wasn’t late, but it was already getting dark. She turned off the main lights and went back around the counter to shut down the computer.

Lightning flashed, making creepy shadows appear on the walls just for an instant. Kate stared out at the bare branches of the maples that were waving in the wind in front of the yellow streetlight. They were suitably creepy for October, especially when she was alone, surrounded by hundreds of dusty old books. A dark figure staggered past outside, bumping into the front window. Startled by the noise, Kate jumped. Nervously, she watched the man move on into the wind. Lightning flashed again, briefly illuminating another man, this one hovering in the shelter of the bookstore entryway taking a drink from a bottle that was mostly hidden inside a wrinkled paper bag.

What was Melba thinking leaving her alone in a creaky old building with glass doors and no security gate?!

Kate dug her keys out of her pocket and headed into the labyrinth of mismatched shelves, dodging haphazard piles of books that were scattered here and there. She could finish tidying up the front of the store tomorrow. It wasn’t worth the risk tonight.

As she stepped over yet another cascade of books that had completely overwhelmed their disintegrating cardboard box, Kate realized the apartment wasn’t the only thing that needed updating. The whole building could probably stand to be fixed up. But what could she do? It had always been like this.

In the back of the store, hidden in the shelves and books, Kate felt safely invisible. Even if Jake came back, he’d think she was gone for the night. And this spot, as far from the front door as you could get without leaving the bookstore, was comfortingly familiar to Kate. She had spent hours here as a child, undisturbed while she perused the fairytales and dreamed of magic and princesses. It was like her own private hideout, full of books and happy memories. She’d probably made some of these piles of books herself years ago.

Still, she wished she hadn’t parked in the alley. What if Jake or some off-kilter alley rat were waiting just outside? They certainly seemed to be hovering around the front door, so why not the back? But the car was in the alley, and it was safer to go out this way than walk the length of the alley in the dark.

Kate wiggled Stan’s old brass key into the lock and swung the door open. Then, puzzled, she poked her head through and looked both ways. Admittedly, she had never come out of the bookstore this way. Family members always used the private entrance on the side of the building. And she hadn’t come in this way this afternoon when she arrived--she’d parked the car in the alley, but carried her boxes around to the private entrance so she wouldn’t disturb the customers.

Nonetheless, she had been certain this was the back door. Everyone called it the back door. There was a glowing “exit” sign over it.

But this was definitely not the alley.

She was standing on the threshold of a small room overflowing with old books. Her personal collection looked like garbage compared to the beautiful leather- and cloth-bound volumes that lined the walls and lay in piles on the floor. The only other doorway in the room was hung with a faded red velvet curtain. That wasn’t the alley door either.

How could she have practically grown up in the family bookstore and not known about this? She thought of all the times that Grandpa had set aside valuable new arrivals to show her before he put them up for sale to collectors across the globe. Why hadn’t he brought her back here? Someone should have at least mentioned it!

Leaving her keys dangling in the door, Kate headed in to examine the treasure-trove. She was just reaching out to touch a thick, leather-bound volume with gold lettering on the spine, “Classification of Creatures by Discoursal Ability,” when there was a small shuffling noise behind her.

“Princess?” a man’s voice said.

Kate spun around to find a dark figure standing in the shadows in the corner behind the door. Jake? He must have gone around to the alley and come back in that way. Fully expecting him to say, “Let me walk you to your car,” Kate said firmly, “The bookstore is closed.”

Somewhere beyond the red curtain, a bell tingled, and a man’s voice echoed hers, “The bookstore is closed.”

Also beyond the curtain, a woman’s voice replied, “Do you know the alarm is ringing?”

What alarm was she talking about? There was no alarm ringing.

“Get in,” the man in the shadow said urgently, stepping forward and gesturing to a wooden crate in the corner behind him.

“Are you talking to me?” Kate asked, pointing to herself, her heart pounding.

“You’re going to get us all killed!” the man said with panic in his voice. He stepped forward again, this time into the dim green light that spilled from the exit sign above the door. Jake must have picked up some warmer clothes from his car—a long, ragged cloak hung from his shoulders, and a peaked hat, like the Pied Piper wore in storybook illustrations, obscured his face.

“Go home, Jake,” Kate said, trying to sound authoritative.

“Who is Jake?” the man said, looking over his shoulder.

Without another word, Kate turned to rush back through the door toward the front of the bookstore, but the stranger grabbed her from behind, clamping a strong hand over her mouth. She squirmed, her screams coming out as squeaks against her attacker’s sweaty palm as he dragged her back toward the corner. With a swift movement, he tossed Kate into the large wooden crate.

“Make any noise at all and you’ll die,” he warned, and then he dropped a heavy wooden lid down over her.

Too scared even to wiggle into a more comfortable position, much less to scream, Kate forced herself to breathe slowly so she wouldn’t hyperventilate. She heard the door slam, the key grinding in the old lock. Then there was movement on the lid of her prison-crate, and she heard what sounded like someone eating an apple and turning the pages of a book right over her head. She heard footsteps, and the smell of Christmas unexpectedly filled the air, spicy and sweet like gingerbread men fresh from the oven.

Suddenly, a woman’s voice startled her. “You won’t mind if I check the back room, will you.” It wasn’t really a question, and the cruel condescension in the voice sent chills down Kate’s spine. If the threat of death hadn’t stopped her from crying out, that woman’s voice would have.

“Why are you here after the store is closed?” the woman demanded a moment later.

“I’m reading,” said the cloaked man’s voice over Kate’s head.

“He writes reviews for me,” the other man’s voice added.

There was the sound of someone flipping pages, and then the woman said, “Who is Orson Scott Card? I guess someone named Card might be qualified to write a book about a game, but this looks like utter nonsense to me. And if you’re just back here reading, why did the alarm go off?”

“I didn’t hear any alarm,” the cloaked man said.

“Of course you didn’t. It only rings in the castle,” the woman replied.
Castle? What was she talking about?

“Then only the people in the castle know why it was ringing,” the cloaked man said.

“Don’t be smart at me,” the woman snapped back, “or I’ll rip your eyeballs out and eat them on the spot.” Kate stifled a gasp. She sounded serious.

“The alarm rings when this door is opened,” the other man explained quietly.

“Well you should have told me that in the first place!” the cloaked man said jovially. “Of course I opened the door. I had to use the alley.”

“For what?” the woman demanded.

“I drank a little too much cider.”

“You got me out of bed because you had to…” the woman seethed.

“I didn’t get you out of bed,” the cloaked man interrupted calmly. “The alarm did. If I had gotten you out of bed, I would have piped you to your death in the stream or locked you in a mountain like I do to all the other vermin people hire me to get rid of. I also do weddings. Care to dance?”

The man wasn’t just dressed up—he was actually playing the Pied Piper! What was this, some kind of Halloween trickery? It was the right month for it. Kate heard a light shriek and then quick footsteps leaving the room.

There was a little shuffling overhead, and then, “Are we supposed to wait for Stan?” The whisper in a knothole near her ear made her jump and she bumped her head. It sounded like they were talking to her. Stan? Did they mean her uncle?

“Stan is dead,” Kate said. Suddenly she realized these people had probably been waiting for him, not her. Perhaps she should have shown more tact in the announcement. Of course, they hadn’t shown much tact in locking her in this box.

There was a pause, a jangle of keys, and then the Pied Piper’s voice said, “Let’s get out of here before they come back.”

Out of the crate? That would be a welcome change. Before who come back? Where were they going?

She heard the door open. With a jolt, the crate was lifted and carried, lopsided, a short distance. Kate’s heart sank. They weren’t going to let her out, after all. Air seeping through the cracks felt cold and moist. They were outside. And it wasn’t raining anymore.

How did they get outside? It felt like they’d come back into the bookstore.
There was a scraping sound under her—wood against wood--and then a voice warned to keep quiet, “or else!”, and then everything was still.

Kate tried to slow her panicked brain so she could think. Yes, she was being kidnapped, but it was by people who knew her uncle.

But were they friends of her uncle, or people who wanted him dead? Kate took a deep breath.

What kind of scheme would Uncle Stan have been involved in? Not drugs, knowing him. It seemed unlikely anyone in the government would be dressed as the Pied Piper on an assignment. And why would someone waiting for Stan, knowing they got the wrong person, take her anyway? Unless they thought she knew whatever it was they wanted Stan for. And what was it they wanted Stan for? “That is the question,” her dad would say, making sure she knew he was quoting Hamlet.

Shivering in the fall air, Kate wriggled until she was lying on her side curled in a tight ball to keep warm. Her heart sank as she realized that nobody was going to miss her and come looking. Dad and Mom were off for the next six weeks touring poets’ graves with Dad’s English Lit classes, and Michael and Melba each thought she was checking in with the other. She doubted any of them knew about Stan’s appointment with the Pied Piper, anyway. Maybe Stan hadn’t even known the Pied Piper would be there, waiting in the back of the bookstore.

With a little jerk, the crate started moving, bouncing and swaying in time to the steady clop-clop of…horse hooves? Kate swallowed a sob. She knew what happened to most girls who got kidnapped. Maybe if she cooperated, they would let her live.

another great craigslist headline

"looking for female in bikini shape - "

You know, I've heard of women coming in apple shape, and pear shape, and misshapen, and pregnant shape.... but bikini shaped women?

Cool news

I know I already mentioned this video a few days ago, but this is exciting news: If you go to the basic, generic '' home page, the number one featured video worldwide in all categories today is none other than Corey Vidal's take on moosebutter's 'Star Wars'. It even beat out Obama and other political news!

kids say the darndest things

Daniel refused to eat dinner tonight. He had me dish it out, but wouldn't touch it. When we asked him why, did his teeth hurt? He said,

"No. But I can't eat this because the sugar bugs on my teeth get on my teeth and make me nauseous. And I can't brush my teeth because then the sugar bugs get on my tooth brush and that makes me nauseous, too." And he went on with a lengthy explanation that I can't remember because I was watching Tim trying to hide his laughter as unsuccessfully as I was.

Nobody in our family ever even uses the word 'nauseous,' preferring the less trendy, easier to spell, and less usagely debatable 'nauseated'. I have no idea where he might have heard it!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

'nother funny headline

This one from

"Skydiver Dies in Second Fatal Jump at Virginia Airport"

How on earth did he have two fatal jumps at all, much less at the same airport? I mean, after he died once there, you'd think he'd go somewhere else to die the second time.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

my favorite craigslist posting title this week

'Colonial or Civil War era musicians wanted (Las Vegas)'

I don't think any of those people will respond. Not only are most of them not computer literate--they're dead.

some of the reasons why we homeschool

1. I firmly believe that children should have NO homework before junior high, and then only a little, focusing primarily on what they didn't finish in class.

2. The school day is too long. I don't think children should go to more than 4 hours of school until high school because the 'play' time and outdoor time is valuable, as is time to explore and develop talents, read, and pursue their interests.

3. The school day starts too early. There is ample scientific evidence supporting this, but schools do what is convenient for teachers instead of what is beneficial to students.

4. There is no way for teachers to take into account the personal learning needs of the kids in terms of environment. Some kids learn better in the morning or evening, in a distracting/cluttered room or a sparse one, in groups or solo. Teachers can't deal with this, and kids who don't fit in to the mold are considered inferior or stupider.

5. Unsupervised socialization. Schools tout the necessity of 'proper socialization' as one of the main reason children should go. I'm all in favor of proper socialization, but I don't believe what kids get in school is proper. It is kids teaching kids how to get away with being mean, catty, selfish, sneaky, etc. Without trustworthy adults supervising and teaching values-centered socialization, what the kids get is a good education in being worldly, vain, selfish, mean, etc. How is that proper?

6. Single-level teaching with poorly-designed curriculums. Kids can't learn on their own level, whether that's ahead or behind other students, and if they vary from the mediocre norm, they are teased or humiliated. And when I see kindergartners who can't read at all doing worksheets that don't benefit you if you don't know the letters, I wonder who designed the learning? Not someone who knows about learning--probably a teacher, which is a different thing.

7. Age limits. To support the socialization, the kids are put in age groups. That leaves out kids like Dan, who functions on a very advanced kindergarten level--and he's only 3.

8. The necessity of medicating problems like ADD when a child still has a developing brain--not because it's good for the kid (science says it's not) but solely because of the necessity for a child to sit still and cooperate in class.

9. Homework for parents. This is most homework. Shoot--public school parents spend more time policing and teaching assignments than homeschool parents do! So why send the kids to school? Free babysitting.

10. Misguided educational philosophies like new math and whole language.

11. Classes that are too large.

12. Underpaid, poorly trained teachers who don't like what goes on at school. I have had professional, experienced, top-notch public school teachers tell me they would homeschool their children because they would never expose a child they love to what happens in public schools.

13. A focus on being 'better than' and testing. It seems the purpose of education nowadays is not to improve the quality of life, prepare people to be responsible citizens, enrich lives, prepare people to contribute to society according to their talents, or even prepare them for better jobs. Oh, no. The purpose of education is to be better than other schools and other nations on some arbitrary tests or other measures of academic skills. I thought school was about giving us the best chance at being responsible citizens and having a happy life, not about being better than Japan at science.

14. It's a self-feeding, self-perpetuating system. People who do well at school the way it is structured now go into education. Everyone else--the underserved majority--hated it so much they wouldn't want to. That benefits the people who, like me, flourished, but not most of the people who are supposed to be in the system. Plus, academia lives in its own little world. For example, writing programs in colleges teach a kind of writing and literature that almost nobody reads, almost nobody publishes, and almost nobody likes. Sure, it's pretty, but what about the rest of us? That doesn't even serve the people who are going to be writers, much less the students who simply should be introduced to the joy of books--without valuing depressing stuff over what they would enjoy reading.

15. Little tolerance for differences. Apparently, according to the DSM-IV, the damage kids and adults in the system do to each other is longer-lasting and has more impact than the benefits school provides, especially for kids with unique talents and challenges, like kids with ADD or Tourette's syndrome. Without the problems created by going to school, most of those children who suffer with childhood disorders have a fairly positive outlook for their futures.

I'm sure there are a lot more reasons, including reasons specific to each of my children, but I have to go bake bread.