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Showing posts from November, 2007

One is silver, the other is gold

A hundred years ago I was in fifth grade, at another new elementary school, my fourth. My parents had divorced and my mother returned to teaching. She moved us to the neighborhood near her school, which also happened to be the area a single mom could afford. The neighborhood was vastly different than the cushy middle-class suburbs we'd grown up in. It was a rough school in a tough neighborhood of what at best could be called working class and at worst could be called future gang territory. There were a few other wide-eyed new kids, other suburban exiles, and a couple of other more seasoned suburban exiles. We must have sensed a sort of recognition of one another, because we gravitated and bonded rather quickly. I made friends with Shannon and Kellie, and formed a competitive and slightly antagonistic friendship with Neeley, who had never been challenged for Top Academic Dog before. My heart was broken by Ruby, who rejected my poetically offered friendship request with, "I don&

Blogging Pledge Class for November

Because sometimes it's hard to spot the little treasure in the big picture... THE BRAIN is wider than the sky, For, put them side by side, The one the other will include With ease, and you beside. The brain is deeper than the sea, For, hold them, blue to blue, The one the other will absorb, As sponges, buckets do. The brain is just the weight of God, For, lift them, pound for pound, And they will differ, if they do, As syllable from sound. ---Emily Dickinson Hello all! Yesterday I posted my 600th post. This is 601. It is no surprise to people who know me well that I haven't even come close to running out of things to say. However, today I'm not going to bend your ear about me or my thoughts. Today I'm going to bring your attention to some other bloggers. These are new, new-ish, noteworthy, recommended by someone, or blogs someone found...or any combination of those. The blogosphere is huge, and it's easy to get lost or lose the chanc

Viral Vitriol: The Hump Day Hmm for 11-28-07

A woman complained to a friend, "She told me that you told her the secret I told you not to tell her." "Well," replied her friend in a hurt tone, "I told her not to tell you I told her." "Oh dear!" sighed the first women. "Well, don't tell her I told you that she told me." Back when we were still single, my friend Laura and I as well as some other friends went to see a movie. Afterwards we all decided to pop in to a bar-n-grill place. We ordered food and drinks but I think (more than anything) people just wanted to prolong the socialization. As tends to happen with a larger group, the conversations became fragmented and segmented across smaller pairings of people. Laura and I sat beside each other and joked about the lead actor, who we thought was very good looking. "I wouldn't throw him out of bed for eating crackers," I joked. "Ha ha I'd even have his baby," Laura, notorious for not being keen to start

Inconvenient Truth: Transcript of my testimony to the EPA at the NESHAP public hearing

When I tell people that pollution made me sick, I get one of two reactions: absolute agreement or utter disbelief. I'm not sure why we’re so skeptical that we have a serious pollution problem in our country and that pollution is unhealthy. I think it’s an understandable disbelief, though; it’s the same disbelief we feel when people do terrible things to other people on purpose. But it happens, such as polluting our environment with harmful things---however inconvenient it might be to accept this. It's inconvenient to believe that the industry that makes Houston so prosperous is also the thing that is most harmful to it. It's inconvenient to believe that there are harmful pollutants in our air, water, soil, food, shampoo, cosmetics, and yes, even our children's toys. It's inconvenient to believe that these things---these everyday things---could seriously harm us and our children. But more than that, it's scary, so it's easier to turn our faces and hide from t

How to raise campaign funds using Miss Manners' Guide to Wedding Registry Etiquette

Recently I mentioned missing the lunch party at a private home for guest of honor Barack Obama. When Catherine Morgan ran that article on The Political Voices of Women (a great blog you ought to be reading if you aren't already, and I don't say that just because she listed me in her fantabulous 250 Political Women Bloggers ), a reader somehow thought I was saying Hillary Clinton was better than Barack Obama and used better fundraising techniques. Although I thought it was fairly clear that I was abusing all politicians equally, and expressing my disgust at a system of campaign fundraising that distinctly needs reforming as well as my consternation that an entire majority of voices are silenced due to lack of economic privilege, I grant that the reader's comment had a point. Therefore, when Hillary Clinton's invitation to a coffee and talk landed in my email this morning, I thought I'd better make sure to comment fairly and equally on her fundraising practices and

Monday Mission: How to help a friend achieve her goal

My Monday Mission today is to help a friend, step by step. As you may (or may not) know, Stephanie (aka LawyerMama ) has been hoping her celebrity crush Wil Wheaton will leave a comment on her blog. He did this for our friend Jenny, once. I have decided to throw my hat into the ring and help Stephanie achieve her goal, because that is what friends do, right? They help friends stalk celebrities. We're hoping more friends will join in. But you can leave your bag of duct tape, cutout magazine letters, Richard Nixon mask, and dime store cotton gloves at home. It's not that kind of stalking. (Wait, is that the Stalker Kit or the Bank Robbery kit? Hang on, let me check the labels...oh, oops! Bank Robbery! It's so easy to get those felonies confused. The Stalker Kit bag is the one you get at the military supply store. Right: empty plastic jug, canteen of water, MREs, bag of Twizzlers, and binoculars. Not even one supply in common. Sorry for the confusion. I'm still operatin

Must be something in the water

Hi there. Hope you are having a nice Sunday. I realize that I ought to find something pretty to play or nice to say, but maybe later. For now, click play. * I am so sick. Someone call House. No, wait, don't. He tortures patients. I'm not that sick. * It must be so freeing in a way to be okay with being an asshole. How is that such an endearing quality? * I am loving this song. * No clue whatsoever why someone put the song to a House montage but whatever. * In fact, after downloading this band's version of Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want and playing back and forth between it and The Smiths, I'm hardpressed to say which I like better. I'm shuffling back to my anti-viral tissues, Kombucha tea, and sofa for a Women's Murder Club marathon. But I'll leave you with The Smiths...and please, please, please let me get well. Copyright 2007 Julie Pippert Also blogging at: Using My Words Julie Pippert REVIEWS : Get a real opinion about BOOKS, MUSIC and MORE

A taste for emotions of surprise and recognition

There are two kinds of taste in the appreciation of imaginative literature: the taste for emotions of surprise and the taste for emotions of recognition. * "Anthony Trollope," Century Magazine (July 1883) I have sitting on my bedside table two books: Richard Russo's new one ( Bridge of Sighs ) and Ann Patchett's new one ( Run ). Patchett's book begins Bernadette had been dead two weeks when her sisters showed up in Doyle's living room asking for the statue back. They had no legal claim to it, of course, she never would have thought of leaving it to them, but the statue had been in their family for four generations, passing down a maternal line from mother to daughter, and it was their intention to hold with tradition. Bernadette had no daughters. Aren't you intrigued, immediately? Who is Doyle? Who is Bernadette? How did she die? Why wouldn't she will the statue to her sisters? Did Doyle give the sisters the statue? If so, which sister got it? Wha

The number one reason I'm glad high school was twenty years ago

My blood runs cold...My memory has just been sold... As the paparazzi (aka parents and grandparents) attacked the children yesterday---forcing them to freeze mid-bite, smile and pose, interrupting play to reposition the actors for the better video camera angle or asking them to do a scene over again for the camera , demanding cuteness on cue, and clamoring for poses of momentarily false affection---it occurred to me how much of my life is not documented on any sort of media. And I added a new number one "I'm thankful for..." thing. I'm thankful that very little of my youth is captured on film. I'm thankful there is only one photo of me in a lime green polyester "Sunday go to meetin'" two piece suit. I'm thankful there is no film footage of the great Bicentennial Fourth of July show that I wrote, produced and directed for the parents, using all of the neighborhood kids. I'm especially thankful there are no photos of my outfit from that day: cu

I am thankful, for this and other things

Today I am thankful for beautiful and healthy children patient husband family, all of whom are here now ...the more food than we need today ...that I can provide my children with all they need and most of what they want ...our house that shelters us and is also a home (of just the right size) ...that I can reach out and find friendship, support, and caring when I need it That last one includes you. Thanks for taking the time to read this blog, comment to me, and share. Thanks also to you who write, too. A little Natalie Merchant (Kind and Generous) for you... Have a really happy Thanksgiving! (And if it isn't Thanksgiving for you...have a really happy day.) (Believe it or not...this is a Thursday Thirteen .) Copyright 2007 Julie Pippert Also blogging at: Using My Words Julie Pippert REVIEWS : Get a real opinion about BOOKS, MUSIC and MORE Julie Pippert RECOMMENDS : A real opinion about HELPFUL and TIME-SAVING products Moms Speak Up : Talking about the environment

Hump Day Hmm 11-21-07: Music is my imaginary friend

This week Emily requested we write about the soundtrack of our lives. Little did she know I had a post already written, in drafts, that was a soundtrack moment. She may have been startled by my quick agreement---or not. The fact that I already had something written wasn't the real cause of my complicity. It's because I love music and I constantly have a life soundtrack queued up. I even used to---jokingly, mostly---have a personal "theme" song. It was The Honeymoon from Prelude to a Kiss . Anyone who knows me well and who knows that song has always agreed it was a great pick. It's not so much because of a "theme" as it is a sounds like I'd sound if I were music. But I'm not music so I have loads of it, on, always. I like the radio because I like to be surprised, but often I'm in a particular mood or engaged in a certain activity and I like to pick. For example, cleaning often begs for the electric blues so I frequently clean to t

Put a sock in it, Maddy McWhine, and praise Jesus

This? This is the epitome of how we all feel some days. Is it not? I? Have one nerve left. And it is frayed, my friends. Frayed makes me think of a joke I formerly used to amuse the 5th grade set: A string walks into a bar. Barman points to a sign and says, "See that? It says No Strings Allowed." String stands up, hunches over, and walks out of the bar. In the parking lot, he rips, shreds, rends and tears, then ties himself up. He walks back into the bar, where the barman eyes him suspiciously and asks, "Are you a string?" and the String says, "I'm afraid not." Wuh wuh wuh. Clearly I'm not smarter than a fifth grader. And that blog IQ test agrees. I got Elementary School, which so offends my extremely delicate intellectual sensibilities that I won't even deign to link to the test site. It can suck me. See? Look at that: testy. Testy is exactly how I felt when Persistence pulverized a cupcake in her car seat. (See cake shop story below.). I su

Inconvenient Truth: 70% of the worlds’ coral reefs are threatened or destroyed...but some Florida men have an idea

On Sunday evening my family and I often watch a show called Big Ideas for a Small Planet . It's a Redford/Sundance initiative. I like it because it provides both problems and solutions; moreover, they are usually realistic, "I can do that!" solutions. Plus, it makes me hopeful. I think we all need to feel hopeful about the environment. If we feel hopeful, we don't feel powerless. If we don't feel powerless, we think there is something we can do, and every little bit helps. Last night's episode was called Pray (webisodes available here ), and was about the stewardship of the earth and faith. There were a variety of segments within the episode, but one in particular caught my attention: the destruction of reefs across the globe due to global warming, man's negligence, hostile environment and so on. Here's a little background about reefs: Coral Reefs are the oldest, most complex ecosystems on earth. They are home to more kinds of life than any other oce