Monday, February 28, 2005

Book and Music Lovers, Take Note!

There's a brand new books and music review website out there, Word'N'Bass, launched today. Definitely worth a bookmark!

(Oh, and I get mentioned on it as a "hot debut from St. Martin's"... hee, hee, that tickled!)

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Make the Tape of Tom Gruver's Taser Attack Public!

Tom Gruver, a 55-year old Type 1 Diabetes patient from West Pennsboro Township, PA, is seeking to view the tape of a Taser stun gun attack that was perpetrated upon him when he was experiencing a diabetic emergency.

This is a photo of Tom. Two years ago, while he was in the midst of insulin shock, Tom was shot with a Taser stun gun several times by law enforcement, who believed he was drunk. Six months later, Tom still had bruises all over his body. And now, two years later, Tom STILL has joint pain from the attack. More than anything, he simply wants to know what happened that day, which hypoglycemia has blotted from his memory.



Whenever I see stories like this, I think of my son. And the more of these stories I see, the more I realize that mistreatment of diabetics who are in insulin shock is EXTREMELY common. People can DIE from insulin shock.

Why do things like this continue to happen? Clearly, there is a SEVERE lack of training among law enforcement regarding the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia. True, the symptoms are almost identical to alcohol intoxication. However, law enforcement missed one GIANT signal Tom was diabetic--HIS MEDIC ALERT NECKLACE, which he was WEARING the WHOLE ENTIRE TIME.

From The Sentinel:
Diabetic wants to see Taser tape

By Tiffany Pakkala, February 27, 2005

"Tom Gruver doesn't know what happened to him June 17, 2003. Locked in a diabetic trance that afternoon, he says his only memory of a confrontation with Carlisle Police is the pain of being shot with a Taser three times when they mistook him for a drunk.

"Then 53, the West Pennsboro Township man says he was driving home from work when his extremely low blood sugar put him in a daze....

"The police department had purchased its first Tasers just months earlier. The stun guns deliver a 50,000-volt electrical jolt either through a fired dart or held against the suspect close-range, causing muscles to go limp.

"Gruver remembers being 'terrified' of the officers and 'feeling like someone was burning me, like they stuck a hot piece of metal against me.' But he says he didn't understand what was going on until police found his diabetic necklace and gave him sugar and water.

"Once his sugar levels returned to normal, 'they told me I had been resisting arrest,' Gruver recalls. 'They told me it took three guys to get me in the (patrol) car....'

"Short with a small frame, Gruver — who says he was obviously unarmed in shorts and a T-shirt at the time — wonders why three trained officers couldn't control him without using the device." {more}

There is no excuse, NONE, for what happened to Tom. Because--here is what witnesses saw on his body at the time of the Taser attack!

That medical ID necklace is a very clear indication that the individual WEARING the ID has a medical condition. Tom was doing EVERYTHING right. This is why we TELL OUR KIDS NEVER TO TAKE OFF THEIR MEDICAL IDs. There was no excuse for mistaking Tom's condition for drunkenness.

Why, WHY does this continue to happen? Diabetic teens and adults have died in custody due to law enforcement neglect.

The symptoms of hypoglycemia are similar to those of intoxication, but police officers should be trained to look for a medical ID bracelet or necklace and verbally ask someone if they are diabetic. At the time of the Taser attack, Tom was not threatening anyone or hurting anyone. He had been driving poorly and was then so disoriented, weak, and exhausted that he parked his car and lay down in a parking lot, probably on the verge of passing out from insulin shock. When the police confronted him, Tom, confused and unable to speak, tried to crawl into his car through the window to get away from them. The police then began shooting Tom with their Taser guns.

How hard would it have been to notice the medical ID tag clearly displayed on Tom's chest? To take a half a second to ASK... "Are you diabetic?"

The kicker is--the police have a videotape of the Taser attack. But they won't show it to Tom. That alone speaks volumes. He doesn't plan to sue, he only wants to know what really happened that day.

Here is some more information about the signs, symptoms, and risks of hypoglycemia. This material should be included in Police Academy training throughout the country!

Mild hypoglycemia
The initial symptoms appear as the body responds to the falling blood sugar levels by releasing glucagon, epinephrine (adrenaline), and other hormones. In normal individuals, blood glucose levels when fasting (between meals) are usually between 70 to 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). The symptoms of mild low blood sugar usually develop when the blood sugar falls below 60 to 65 mg/dL. These may include:

Nausea; extreme hunger.
Feeling nervous or jittery.
Cold, clammy, wet skin; excessive sweating not caused by exercise.
A rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
Numbness or tingling of the fingertips or lips.

Moderate hypoglycemia
If blood sugar levels continue to fall, the lack of adequate glucose begins to impair brain and nervous system functions. Additional symptoms appear that affect behavior and judgment. Symptoms usually develop when the blood sugar falls below 50 mg/dL. These may include:

Mood changes, such as irritability, anxiety, restlessness, or anger.
Confusion, difficulty in thinking, or inability to concentrate.
Blurred vision, dizziness, or headache.
Weakness, lack of energy.
Poor coordination.
Difficulty walking or talking, such as staggering or slurred speech.
Fatigue, lethargy, or drowsiness.

Note: A person experiencing moderate hypoglycemia may be too weak or confused to treat the low blood sugar and may need help. Someone with hypoglycemia may appear to be drunk or in a stupor. Mistaking hypoglycemia for drunkenness can be fatal.

Severe hypoglycemia
The symptoms of severe low blood sugar develop when blood sugar falls below 30 mg/dL. Symptoms may include:

Seizures or convulsions.
Loss of consciousness, coma.
Low body temperature (hypothermia).

Prolonged severe hypoglycemia can cause irreversible brain damage. If emergency medical treatment is not provided, severe hypoglycemia can be fatal.
(From Health Watch)

I continue to be furious about the way diabetic emergencies, both hypoglycemic AND hyperglycemic/DKA, are treated in this country. Education is the key, but first people must take these situations seriously, not HIDE EVIDENCE as the Carlisle police appear to be doing in Tom's case. SHOW WHAT HAPPENED. Then, we can ALL learn from it.

Maybe by the time my son is Tom's age, diabetes will be cured... but if it's not, I don't want him to be Tasered when what he needs is a FREAKIN' GLASS OF JUICE.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Happy Birthday, Times Two

It's the twins' birthday today! So I shall be scarce. Back later after the festivities are over! xxoo

Friday, February 25, 2005

Have Your Cake and...

The Girlfriends are back!

The next installment in The Girlfriends Cyber Cicrcuit is DRESS REHEARSAL by Jennifer O'Connell.

Jennifer's book sounds simply delectable. Additionally (AND EXTREMELY IMPORTANTLY), we share last initials with an apostrophe! I'll bet she gets called "Jennifer O'Connor" ALL THE FREAKIN' TIME. (I lost track of how many times I've been called "Martha O'Connell.") And I'll bet she's been called "Jennifer McConnell" more times than she can count. I get called that too. Well, with a "Martha," I mean.

And I'll bet Jennifer's also familiar with my favorite Gaelic blessing:

Go bhfana í ngrá linn,
Iad siúd atá í ngrá linn.
Iad siúd nach bhfuil,
Go gcasa Dia a gcroíthe.
Agus muna gcasann Sé a gcroíthe
Go gcasa Sé caol na coise acu
Go n-aithneoimid iad as a mbacadaíl.

May those who love us, love us;
And those who do not love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles,
So we'll know them by their limping.

ANY-HOO (God, I DO ramble), this time I tried to ask Jennifer questions that had not just to do with her book, but with the publishing and marketing process. I know a lot of my readers are also writers, and Jennifer is a wonderful success story!

(But DARNITALL, I forgot to ask her how many times she has to tell people looking her up in the computer to "Try spelling it without the apostrophe!")

Dress Rehearsal is about Lauren, the owner of a wedding cake business, who has another talent: predicting which marriages will last simply by which cake the couple selects. When she sees her best friend heading for a disasterous match, she's got to decide whether to take her psychic abilities public in order to save her friend. Meanwhile she's got a fiance of her own to deal with... and then there's that matter of her dream cake...

Jennifer's been praised in a number of venues, from Us Weekly to LIFE.

Watch that your eyes don't go blurry with all the O'Cs

MO'C: How did you get started writing? Did you always want to be a writer?

JO'C: I never set out to be a writer, although I've always enjoyed writing. I actually always wanted to work in the publishing industry, but I'm more of a frustrated editor masquerading as a writer. When I had the idea for Bachelorette #1, I just started writing and so began my writing career.

MO'C: What advice would you have for aspiring novelists?

JO'C: I am not a "trained" writer. I wasn't an English major, I don't have tons of unfinished manuscripts in my desk drawer, and I wrote B#1 in two months (I was slightly possessed). So, the only thing I can really say for sure is that you have to absolutely love what you're writing. The second thing I'd tell writers has less to do with writing and more to do with the business of publishing. Understand it, study it, and educate yourselves. Know what agents are accepting, don't waste your time submitting to agents who don't even represent what you're writing. Realize that you'll be your own best publicity tool and milk every contact you have - from alumni groups to local newspapers. Don't be afraid to "market" yourself - writing may be an art, but your books have to sell if you want to keep writing. The best, and maybe worst, thing about writing is that your career is in your own hands.

MO'C: You are working with an agent who lives and works outside of New York, Kristin Nelson. (I've heard many good things about her!) What went into your choice to work with Kristin?

JO'C: When it came to choosing an agent I had wildly different options - go with a huge, well-known firm, or a woman who'd just left a well-known firm to start her own agency. I decided that as a new, unknown author, I'd rather be a big fish in a small pond than the smallest fish in a big pond. By going with someone just going out on her own I felt that I'd be more important to my agent and she'd in turn be more aggressive to sell my work and develop my career. And, in hind sight, I think I made the right choice.

MO'C: Did your foreign sales for BACHELORETTE #1 come before or after publication? What's it like to see your novel translated into other languages?

JO'C: My foreign sales for Bachelorette #1 came before publication and continue to come now, over a year later. It's pretty cool to see your book with a different cover and in a language you don't read, but I'm also curious to see what it says (did they change the cover copy to read: A fascinating story about a girl and her dog! If they did, I'd have no idea). I actually found a web site that you can use to translate things, so I've read a few foreign reviews, and that's neat even if the English is a little choppy.

MO'C: What separates your work from the vast amount of chick lit that is out there today?

JO'C: I don't really know what separates my books from the others out there other than that I will never write about a weak woman or someone who whines. None of my friends would ever sit around and bemoan the loss of a guy. We'd never gripe about a bad boss or stay in a situation that was so obviously wrong. Readers have told me that they like that my characters are strong and funny, and that they have great friendships with other women. So far, none of my books have had the story end with "the girl" getting "the guy." I've always said that my books aren't about the girl finding the guy, but about the girl finding herself.

MO'C: Any regrets or things you'd do differently about the publishing process?

JO'C: I attended the Radcliffe Publishing Program after graduating from Smith, so I pretty much knew about the industry and how it works prior to writing a book. No regrets at all.

MO'C: You are giving away a professionally designed cake as part of a
promotion for DRESS REHEARSAL. How did you get such a creative idea and how has it paid off for you? Are you going to bake the cake
yourself or have it created by someone else? Or is that top secret?

JO'C: My "Win the cake of Lauren's dream" contest just seemed like a no brainer to me. The cake in the book is actually based upon a cake from a bakery in New York. The cake was even written up in O magazine as one of Oprah's favorites. So, for the lucky winner, Soupcon is making the cake and will have it delivered to the winner's door. I don't have any idea if it drives book sales or anything, but I thought it would be fun. Who doesn't love cake?

HEY HEY HEY HEY HEY **If you go to Jennifer's site over the next couple of days, you could still win that cake!

MO'C: How do you separate the brain power used to market a book from the brain power that you need to conserve to write the next one?

JO'C: I own my own market strategy consulting firm, so for me writing and marketing a book are inextricably intertwined. Even as I'm writing I'm thinking about marketing ideas and opportunities to promote the book. I think they're both equally fun, and if you can't get people to buy your book, you won't be writing for very long.

MO'C: What is your next novel about?

JO'C: My third book, Off the Record is coming out in September. Off the Record is about a Chicago attorney who discovers that the number one hit and Grammy winning song her freshman year in college was written about her by a former childhood neighbor. Once the news gets out, her life is turned upside. down. I pictured how cool it would have been if I'd inspired a song (particularly, Sweet Child of Mine by Guns n Roses), and went from there.

You may find Dress Rehearsal through your local independent bookseller at Booksense, or at Books-A-Million, Amazon and B&N.

Read on for my daily rant!

Wouldn't It Be Convenient?

"Wouldn't it be convenient to win a million dollars?" my son asked me last night.

Yes. Yes, it would be VERY CONVENIENT INDEED.

Next: "How old do you have to be to go on Survivor?"

NO NO NO NO NO NO. You are NEVER putting yourself in harm's way, NEVER! I didn't say that, though. I said, Eighteen, I think.

Yeah, OK, I'll cop to it. I DO let my kids watch Survivor, mainly so I can watch it too. (BAD MOTHER! BAD, BAD MOTHER!) Last night my son asked some VERY good questions. And who wouldn't enjoy the convenience of having a million dollars?

Here's the remark that really tugged my heartstrings, though. "I don't think I could really go on Survivor, Mom, 'cos they prob'ly wouldn't let me take my insulin and stuff..." {frowning, shaking head} "My fanny pack would be SO busted!" (He carries all his diabetes supplies--his meter, his insulin pen, his syringes and needle tips, juices, candy, glucose gel for lows, the emergency glucagon injection--all of it in a fanny pack that he wears all the time.)

What do you say to that? It just makes you want to smash something. I HATE THIS DAMNED DISEASE. And even more, I hate that it makes him feel this way--that it makes him feel different or that he can't do something. I'm determined that he NEVER, NEVER, *NEVER* feel that his diabetes can get in the way of following his dreams.

So we talked about Gary Hall Jr. again. (BTW, COMING SOON TO THIS BLOG--The Top 10 Reasons Gary Hall Jr. Should Go on Survivor. Mainly 'cos I like thinking about him in a swimsuit.)

I also reminded him about Chad Crittenden, the teacher from Oakland with an artificial leg who did Survivor last year. [OK, he didn't win, but so far as I remember he NEVER used the "disability card" to make excuses as to why he didn't. Gary's never done that either; great article (and nice pic of Gary) here.]

And I said (as I have before) that diabetes should NEVER get in his way, that he can do ANYTHING HE WANTS TO IN LIFE, other than join the military and pilot a commercial aircraft (which are prohibited to him by law).

For entirely different reasons, though, he decided that he'd MUCH rather win The Apprentice than Survivor. For one thing, you don't have to stay on some crappy, buggy, rainy island; you get to stay in Trump Tower. Instead of roasting tiny little fish over a campfire, you get to cook in a gourmet kitchen. You don't win junk like FREAKIN' GOGGLES for a challenge; you win $20,000 worth of pearls.

And, "At the end of it all, you have a really good job!"

I dunno, what would it REALLY be like working for The Donald? The pressure would get to me.

I hear the pay's quite convenient, though.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Editor Roundtable, Part 2

Dan Wickett at Emerging Writers Forum has another lit journal editor interview up. if you're a new writer, this interview's CHOCK FULL of great tips and inside glimpses of the world of established, respected literary reviews.

Editors on the roundtable are:

David Lynn - The Kenyon Review

Gina Frangello - Other Voices

Jason Sanford - storySouth

Martin Lammon - Arts & Letters

Don Lee - Ploughshares

Esther Lee - Indiana Review

Barry Silesky - Another Chicago Magazine

Aaron Burch - Hobart

Over 'n' out from me today... my parents arrive in town and you could start an amusement park for rats in our veritable cornucopia of CRAP! My office would be Magic Mountain.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

These Shoes Are Made for Walkin'

I got an email from Greg Reisen, a friend of Bill Holden. Bill is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan and 56-year-old teacher who, after having seen the Ron Santo documentary "This Old Cub," vowed to walk from Camp Verde, Arizona, to Wrigley Field in Chicgao, to raise money to cure Type 1 Diabetes. (Santo, the All-Star 3rd baseman for the Chicago Cubs, lost both legs to Type 1 Diabetes and is the first and only major league ballplayer with the disease.) I blogged about Bill here; many of you know how much his walk means to me, as a mom of a child with Type 1 Diabetes.

Greg writes: "[Bill left] Big Spring, Texas [Monday] morning heading for Colorado City and Sweetwater, Texas. We've had lots of newspaper coverage and expect the story to go nationwide at some point soon. Perhaps when Bill gets to Dallas."

Bill's already made it to the Texas border. Follow his heroic walk, and donate to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in his name, here.

Dallas Morning News article here, registration free but required.

bill holden

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A Literary Agent Tells Your Fortune!

This was HYSTERICAL! A literary agent/astrologer (useful career combination, eh?) has put together horoscope readings for every zodiac sign. Not surprisingly, I'm the one who never listens and has to always do everything her own way. HA!

The stars are smiling on Bella Stander for the link.

Just Leaves Me Speechless

The supertalented and supernice Stephen Elliott wrote a heartbreaking post on his blog on Sunday. Apparently his abusive father logged into Amazon and left a scathing review of Happy Baby. It's OK not to like a book, but this is clearly personally motivated. Although the review's since been removed, I still feel so bad that that happened. :o(

Happy Baby
is a brilliant and wonderful book that is raw, honest, heartbreaking and upsetting. While it's not an easy read, it is certainly a rewarding one. And Stephen is such a kind person. Go buy yourself a copy:
Barnes and Noble

I linked to the hardcover on Powells because it's on sale for only a dollar more than the trade paperback.

Frustrated Author?

Do you have enough rejection letters to paper your walls AND decoupage your floors? Have you gotten so desperate you've written rejection letters in response to agent or publisher rejections?


My Girlfriends Cyber Circuit buddy Karin Gillespie (BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAR, Simon and Schuster, 2004; A DOLLAR SHORT, Simon and Schuster, forthcoming) will comment on your opening three pages, query, and "elevator pitch" on her website. For FREE!


(Scroll down to "Manuscript Mechanic.")

Jump at this chance! I'm sure she'll soon be flooded!

Monday, February 21, 2005

"Hand Her a Glass of Wine, and Send Her To Bed"


I am soooo tired. My kids are in the kitchen "cooking," and it's not even 6 pm, so I CANNOT GO TO BED YET. We had a very fun day at Fisherman's Wharf with some out-of-town guests.

Fisherman's Wharf has a BAD RAP. Locals disdain it. But we had a BLAST! Very kid-friendly place and the parking's pricey but close. The Wharf's easy to overlook if you're a LOCAL SNOB who HATES TOURISTS (translation: just about everyone). We all are SNOBS here in the Bay Area, ya know, who live on "Snob Hill" and party with Danielle Steel and Gavin Newsom.

While slumming at Fisherman's Wharf, we ate at the Sea Lion Cafe and watched the sea lions sunbathe. (Oddly, it was LOVELY in San Francisco but raining in Marin--'tis usually the reverse). Then we went to this AWESOME aquarium with an arched tank so you'd stand on a moving walkway and watch SHARKS and BASS and STURGEON *ZOOM* overhead! You could pet skates, bat rays, and starfish at the end of it all. VERY FUN. ('Member how I said YESTERDAY how my childhood was WARPED and my Chinese luck bar PROVED it? This is my second chance, and I'm becoming well known for being a little... well... IMMATURE.)

I wouldn't touch the sea cucumber, though! My son pointed to some goo at the bottom of the tank and asked the docent, "IS THAT SEA CUCUMBER POOP?" The docent went, "ummm yeah I guess so" and so we all RAN AWAY.

That was a premonition of things to come. As we were taking a photo with the boats and Bay in the background, he WHAMMED his hand onto the ledge to make a point--RIGHT INTO A PUDDLE OF FRESH SEAGULL POO. Ughhhhhhh!

Of course, I was once a Girl Scout. (Well, no, I wasn't really, but I like to INFLATE MY CREDENTIALS.) I am a FRIEND TO ALL, a SISTER to every Girl Scout, and I am ALWAYS prepared. My purse is positively BURSTING with Kleenex, Purell, and alcohol wipes. So after a little spit and scrubbing, his hand was COMPLETELY sanitized.

Believe it or not, something similar has happened to him before. A bird pooped on his head one day at school and in his lunchbox another day. Those damned seagulls getcha every time. I HATE SEAGULLS! They're loud, dirty, and aggressive. But 'tis another post, to be posted another time....

According to superstition, it's LUCKY when a bird poops on your head. But I think they just say that to make you feel better about being covered in bird crap. A bird pooped down my back once at Pac Bell Park. (In case you were wondering, BIRD POOP DOES NOT LAUNDER WELL.) I was out a coat, and the Giants got skunked. And my son was the "lucky" one kid in 300 who gets stuck with Type 1 Diabetes. No one ever said which KIND of luck you get.

Maybe you get better results with SEA CUCUMBER POOP. The aquarium docent looked pretty happy with the way his day was going, so who can say?

And then we made it into our cars, and then it began TO RAIN WITH ABANDON.

Ugh, I do RAMBLE!

I started this post with the intention of giving all you writers out there this link:

The Top Ten Self-Promotion Mistakes.

Authors these days know that they can't depend on their publisher to do all their promotion for them, unless they're Stephen King or my MOST BESTEST MOST GLITZIEST MOSTEST GLAMOROUSEST FRIEND, fellow San Francisco Snob Danielle Steel. And I'll bet even Stevie and Dani do some self-promotion. (At those glitzy cocktail parties on Snob Hill, where I hang out with them and my other good friends Gavin Newsom and Gordon Getty and Willie Brown, eating canapes and drinking champagne.)

But seriously, did you know how you might accidentally promote a losing image? Overstay your welcome? Big mistakes you might make on Amazon? This is definitely worth reading and printing out.

Enjoy your week off! (Or is it just us San Francisco Snobs who have to deal with this invention called "Ski Week"?)

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Squeaky Clean Amongst the Lucky Dirt

I am CLEANING MY OFFICE today! Yes sirree, I'm POSITIVELY GIDDY off the lemon fumes from the Costco surface wipes, and my fingers have absolutely SHRUNK with delight!


We aren't going to the Chinese New Year's Parade tonight after all, and I'm going to CRY. The weather's supposed to be bad all night in San Francisco, and we don't care to sit in the pouring rain, shivering and freezing, and get stuck in traffic trying to get home.

But I've looked up my Chinese fortune anyhow. And it explained A LOT!

Do you know about luck bars? Your luck goes in ten year cycles. I was so unlucky as a kid, my luck bar was down almost to ZERO! That's right, ZERO. No wonder I'm so messed up, neurotic and warped!

Stuff has improved for me now, but I'm nowhere near my best decade, between 48-57.

BUT FORTUNATELY I've learned what to do until I hit age 48 thanks to these handy tips!

#Earth (Soil) is your lucky element.
Oh. NO!!! I just got rid of it all! Need to let the office get filthy again.

#Cow, Dragon, Sheep and Dog are your lucky animals.
One of them is mythological and two of them don't live in the suburbs. I knew there was a reason I called Lab Rescue today.

# Years of Cow, Dragon, Sheep and Dog are your lucky years.
You may have heard--this is the year of the ROOSTER. {Insert helpless half- smile here} The Year of the Cow is 2009, The Year of the Dragon is the year 2012, and The Year of the Sheep's 2015. But the Dog's 2006--there could yet be hope!

# Months of Cow, Dragon, Sheep and Dog are your lucky Months.
Couldn't find any information about this anywhere! Guess I'm in the dark all year then.

# The central area is your lucky place.
I guess that is why my office is at the FRONT END of my house.

# You should choose a bedroom in the center of the house.
FUCKITALL. There is no way to do that unless I want to sleep in the bathroom.

# You should wear yellow and brown often.
Love hearing that! Off to Nordstrom!

# You should use a yellow or brown system for decorating your house.
Off to Pier One!

# Wearing jade will bring you luck.
Off to Shane & Company!

# Take care of your Digestive system, Spleen and Muscle.
Off to a fancy dinner! This horoscope stuff's not so bad!

Here's what my year looks like:

"Female Wood is your Money star. This is a period mainly about your money. You will work hard for money and money will come into your pocket -- either by earning cash or borrowing it. The events in this year are related to money, trade, business, property, real estate, housing, capital, furniture, jewelry, investment, economy, finance and diligence. Chicken is your Companion star. A money event will come with your friends in this period. If you and your friends can help each other well, then you have a chance to earn some extra money. If the friendship is not strong enough, then you have the chance to lose your time and investment. The events in this year are related to independence, expansion, lost, plot, complex, challenge, simplicity, competition, egotism, friendship, separation and decision."

THAT IS GUARANTEED TO MAKE ME PARANOID. I'd love to come into some money, but we can't BORROW any more of it! And WHO IS MY MYSTERIOUS RIVAL? What's this CHALLENGE that's complex and simple at the same time? And what decision? What separation?


"Basically, this period will repeat the same luck as the previous cycle. This entire period is connected to your money. You might have money pressures at the beginning of this year and might have to borrow money for your living. Later, your friends or siblings might help you find a job or financial aid. So, you will have money to pay for your loan and relieve your money pressures. Or you might have friends or relatives from long distance asking for capital or investment, which might bring you some trouble. But you can earn money back from them later. Although the pressure from money will decrease in the second half of the period, you still need to invest money on something before trying to earn money back."

Noooo... BORROWING MONEY AGAIN? Friends and siblings sending me money? Ughhh.

You too can find the Secrets of Your Life. Should you want to, that is. WORD OF WARNING--IT GOT ME REALLY WOUND UP TO KNOW ALL THESE SECRETS!

Or for your daily chart click here.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Spies in Our Midst

There is a spy living in my house.

The spy travels with a notebook and writes down everything she hears. Indeed, working for the CIA is her second career choice (the first is being a pop star).

She is a very, very good spy and hears EVERYTHING.

She's asked me to publish her Spy Notebook on the Internet in the hopes that Hilary Duff will read it. I thought this was a brilliant idea. For one thing, I am in a NOTICEABLY YUCKY MOOD, as you can tell from my last few blog posts. I'm sure you'd all WELCOME a guest blogger to brighten things up. And I should be WRITING today--it's the last day before this hopeless invention called "Ski Week" begins. The kids will be off school and we don't ski, so we'll be sequestered in the house for a whole noisy, rainy week making crafts and messes. This is my last chance to make some progress on the chapter edits I'm doing.

Finally, I do, in fact, have readers surfing in from LA. Could be Hilary with some time to kill, who knows?

And now, DRUMROLL, the Spy Notebook.

Valintine's Party/Martha and Phil
(Was this a party? It was just champagne and a discussion. Well...)

Laphing (Thank God there was a little of that)
Marry Evens (best literary agent in the world)
Book Rewvew
Hitler (Whoa, huh! I don't remember discussing Hitler, but the conversation began to get serious from here on out)
Ishues (uh-oh)
Problems (bigger uh-oh)
Money (even bigger uh-oh)
Shavon (At first I thought this was the daughter of a friend of Phil's, named Siobhan. But NO, I figured out it was Michael CHABON!)
Bad Word Scribbled Out
Inglend (my favrit contry)
Money (uh-oh again)
Noon Tomorrow! (Someone meant business about SOMETHING! Watch out WORLD!)
Etedcy (That's what editors do to a book.)
Chicening out (I never do this)
Rershift (I never do this either)
litteray tast (I have very fine litteray tast)
state athor (We were talking about what's going to happen to the Fourth Estate authors, now that their imprint is no more. That was how Michael Chabon came up before...)
Bad Word Scribbled Out

This was all recorded in top secret, while hiding at the top of the stairs for a good hour without being caught. Watch out, Woodward and Bernstein!

And, Ms. Duff. If you catch a glimpse here and are impressed, please do let me know. The spy is available to write songs (one of her past credits is the top playground hit "I'm Totally Obsessed With Me") or movie scripts, as you prefer.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Back to being pissed off....

I won't be online much today--my kids are both home with the icky cold I had yesterday.

I just got wind of this article from ABC news, and it's so disheartening. But knowing what I know about the other potential complications of Type 1 Diabetes, I can't say I'm surprised. Just another thing to add to the list.

THIS is why we fight this disease EVERY DAY for tighter control. THIS is why we test 10 times or more a day and get up at night and test. THIS is why it's so messed up that Lantus insulin was only JUST approved for sale in Canada, yet those POOR CANADIAN DOGS AND CATS with diabetes have been able to have it for years.

As a friend of mine says, "Where's the $%^$^& cure????"

Kids With Diabetes Often Have Impaired Hearing

Feb 16, 2005 — DELHI (Reuters Health) - Hearing loss occurs early during the course of uncontrolled type 1 diabetes in children, researchers report. They say diabetic damage to nerves or blood vessels might be the cause.

Dr. Abdelaziz Elamin, of Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat, Oman, and colleagues followed 63 children younger than 18 years old with a confirmed diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, who were seen at the Khartoum Teaching Hospital, Sudan.

The children had had the disease for an average of five years at the time of study, and the condition was poorly controlled, the team notes.

Hearing assessments showed that all the children had some degree of hearing loss, but one-third of them had a loss of over 25 decibels that indicates functional impairment, the researchers report in the medical journal Indian Pediatrics. {more}

And while you're at it, head over to the JDRF and toss a little spare change their way. My son's only 7. Kids his age should not have to think about going blind, losing their hearing, going on dialysis, having a heart attack. If I have my way, THOSE THINGS WILL NOT HAPPEN TO HIM.

I believe that someday, there WILL be a cure.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I Was Having a Really-Pissed-Off-At-People-Who-Don't-Get-It Kinda Day

Then I reread this, which a friend sent me a few days ago. What more can I say? This essay says it all.

To You, My Sisters
by Maureen K. Higgins

Many of you I have never even met face to face, but I've searched you out every day. I've looked for you on the Internet, on playgrounds and in grocery stores.

I've become an expert at identifying you. You are well worn. You are stronger than you ever wanted to be. Your words ring experience, experience you culled with your very heart and soul. You are compassionate beyond the expectations of this world. You are my "sisters."

Yes, you and I, my friend, are sisters in a sorority. A very elite sorority. We are special. Just like any other sorority, we were chosen to be members. Some of us were invited to join immediately, some not for months or even years. Some of us even tried to refuse membership, but to no avail.

We were initiated in neurologist's offices and NICU units, in obstetrician's offices, in emergency rooms, and during ultrasounds. We were initiated with somber telephone calls, consultations, evaluations, blood tests, x-rays, MRI films, and heart surgeries.

All of us have one thing in common. One day things were fine. We were pregnant, or we had just given birth, or we were nursing our newborn, or we were playing with our toddler. Yes, one minute everything was fine. Then, whether it happened in an instant, as it often does, or over the course of a few weeks or months, our entire lives changed. Something wasn't quite right. Then we found ourselves mothers of children with special needs.

We are united, we sisters, regardless of the diversity of our children's special needs. Some of our children undergo chemotherapy. Some need respirators and ventilators. Some are unable to talk, some are unable to walk. Some eat through feeding tubes. Some live in a different world. We do not discriminate against those mothers whose children's needs are not as "special" as our child's. We have mutual respect and empathy for all the women who walk in our shoes.

We are knowledgeable. We have educated ourselves with whatever materials we could find. We know "the" specialists in the field. We know "the" neurologists, "the" hospitals, "the" wonder drugs, "the" treatments. We know "the" tests that need to be done, we know "the" degenerative and progressive diseases and we hold our breath while our children are tested for them. Without formal education, we could become board certified in neurology, endocrinology, and pschylogy.

We have taken on our insurance companies and school boards to get what our children need to survive, and to flourish. We have prevailed upon the State to include augmentative communication devices in special education classes and mainstream schools for our children with cerebral palsy. We have labored to prove to insurance companies the medical necessity of gait trainers and other adaptive equipment for our children with spinal cord defects. We have sued municipalities to have our children properly classified so they could receive education and evaluation commensurate with their diagnosis. We have learned to deal with the rest of the world, even if that means walking away from it.

We have tolerated scorn in supermarkets during "tantrums" and gritted our teeth while discipline was advocated by the person behind us on line. We have tolerated inane suggestions and home remedies from well-meaning strangers. We have tolerated mothers of children without special needs complaining about chicken pox and ear infections. We have learned that many of our closest friends can't understand what it's like to be in our sorority, and don't even want to try.

We have our own personal copies of Emily Perl Kingsley's "A Trip To Holland" and Erma Bombeck's "The Special Mother". We keep them by our bedside and read and reread them during our toughest hours. We have coped with holidays. We have found ways to get our physically handicapped children to the neighbors' front doors on Halloween, and we have found ways to help our deaf children form the words, "trick or treat." We have accepted that our children with sensory dysfunction will never wear velvet or lace on Christmas. We have painted a canvas of lights and a blazing Yule log with our words for our blind children. We have pureed turkey on Thanksgiving. We have bought white chocolate bunnies for Easter. And all the while, we have tried to create a festive atmosphere for the rest of our family. We've gotten up every morning since our journey began wondering how we'd make it through another day, and gone to bed every evening not sure how we did it.

We've mourned the fact that we never got to relax and sip red wine in Italy. We've mourned the fact that our trip to Holland has required much more baggage than we ever imagined when we first visited the travel agent. And we've mourned because we left for the airport without most of the things we needed for the trip.

But we, sisters, we keep the faith always. We never stop believing. Our love for our special children and our belief in all that they will achieve in life knows no bounds. We dream of them scoring touchdowns and extra points and home runs.

We visualize them running sprints and marathons. We dream of them planting vegetable seeds, riding horses and chopping down trees. We hear their angelic voices singing Christmas carols. We see their palettes smeared with watercolors, and their fingers flying over ivory keys in a concert hall. We are amazed at the grace of their pirouettes. We never, never stop believing in all they will accomplish as they pass through this world.

But in the meantime, my sisters, the most important thing we do, is hold tight to their little hands as together, we special mothers and our special children, reach for the stars.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Hopeful News, hot off the presses

Press Release from the AMA--REALLY hopeful news for those with Type 1 Diabetes, and their families. This study's going to appear in tomorrow's Journal of the American Medical Association:

Newswise — Patients with type 1 diabetes who received islet transplantation from a single donor pancreas were insulin independent one year later, according to a study in the February 16 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on medical applications of biotechnology.

Type 1 diabetes remains a therapeutic challenge, according to background information in the article. The success rate of islet (cells that produce insulin to control blood sugar levels) transplants has recently been increased markedly by transplanting a higher number of islets prepared from 2 to 4 donor pancreases. However, for islet transplants to become a widespread clinical reality, additional advances are still needed. In particular, restoration of insulin independence must be achieved with a single donor, as is also the case with pancreas transplants, to reduce the risks and costs and increase the availability of islet transplantation.

Bernhard J. Hering, M.D., of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and colleagues conducted a study to assess the effectiveness and safety of islet transplantation from a single pancreas. The trial was conducted from July 2001 to August 2003 and enrolled eight women with type 1 diabetes.

During the trial there were no serious, unexpected, or procedure- or immunosuppression-related adverse events. All eight recipients achieved insulin independence and freedom from hypoglycemia. Five remained insulin-independent for longer than 1 year. {more}

The problem, of course, is that there are nowhere near enough cadaverous pancreata to provide islets for the millions who live with Type 1 Diabetes. Also, these patients need to take immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of their lives, drugs which can cause cancers. It's not a solution for our kids. HOWEVER, therein lies the promise of embryonic stem cell research--a potentially unlimited supply of islets with no chance of organ rejection. The current political climate, of course, makes stem cell research very difficult. As many of you know, Bush's approved "stem cell lines" are all contaminated with mouse tissue--making rejection of any islets grown from those lines a near certainty. The lines may be useful for research, but not in transplantation.

However, the above study proves that islet cell transplantation is effective in achieving insulin independence, and reduces the number of pancreata needed for a successful islet cell transplant, which will help more of the truly desperate folks, I guess, those in line for kidney transplants and the like... but someday, SOMEDAY, SOMEDAY it'll be our kids who benefit.

It Would Be Nico Maybe?

Sorry, I'm being very silly, I know. But whenever I hear Alison Pace's title, If Andy Warhol Had a Girlfriend, I can't help finishing the sentence!

Guess I oughta explain... The very hottest and smartest, the most creative, most brilliant, and most interesting female writers on the planet (NOT THAT I'M BIASED OR ANYTHING) have gotten together to form the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit.

And now you know who the intriguing woman is!

'Kay, SO! Alison Pace is the first Girlfriend who will be guesting at my blog! Her killer title got my attention right away. Plus she worked at FREAKIN' SOTHEBY'S. How cultured can you get?

Alison's Press Release:

Alison is a debut novelist living in New York, and she’s drawn on her experience working at Sotheby’s to write her “artsy” novel. She also maintains a blog.

Jane Laine works for the famous (and horrible) Dick Reese at his art gallery in New York City. After she makes an unforgivable mistake in Dick's eyes (she orders the wrong size Reese's Peanut Butter Cups), she is sent on an international tour with the gallery's star artist, Ian Rhys-Fitzsimmons. Jane is sure the trip is a punishment --it is a gut-wrenching schedule and as far as she can tell, Ian is a big fraud and his fifteen minutes of fame should have been long over.

In between juggling the details of Ian's globe trotting tour, appeasing her maniacal boss, and visiting her mother who raises over-indulged miniature schnauzers, Jane begins to realize that Ian is anything but a fraud. She starts to understand the connection between art and love --and the fact that in both, perspective is everything.


MO'C: Are you going to continue writing books with Jane as the lead character?

AP: It is absolutely a hope for the future. I love Jane as a character and would love to revisit her.
MO'C: Was this the first novel you wrote?
AP: Yes.
MO'C: How long did it take you to write it?
AP: About nine months. Literally like a baby.
MO'C: Who was your favorite character to write about?
AP: They were all a lot of fun. I laughed the most writing the Schnauzers though.
MO'C: Do you know any overindulged miniature schnauzers?
AP: Not schnauzers, no.
MO'C: How about any overindulged humans?
AP: Many!
MO'C: Were any of the above an inspiration for the character of Jane's mother?
AP: My mom is way cooler than Jane’s mom and cares about my life about a trillion times more than Jane’s mom cares about hers, but indeed, my mother does love her dogs.
MO'C: Whose books do you like to read? Why?
AP: Pam Houston, because I think she has a beautiful style, and she loves dogs and has bad taste in men. When I first read her it was like the mother ship calling me home. I told her this when we met. Ann Patchett because she is so good at keeping a story moving along, while still being literary. Jenny Colgan, because she cracks me up.
MO'C: What is the most frustrating thing that happened to you during the writing or marketing of this book?
AP: No complaints so far…
MO'C: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
AP: I feel like I always say this, but the best advice I have is, stick with it. Something else: if you can, try to get to a literary festival / retreat of some sort at least once. They are great places to take a class with a writer you admire, meet other writers, and also learn about the publishing business.

Thank you so much, Alison, for taking the time to be a guest here on my blog!

Monday, February 14, 2005

I Hate Diabetes

Can I just say that?

In addition to spending an hour AT the school supervising food issues, I've had 4 calls from them today and had to put 2 into the clinic. The culprit... a Valentine's party with way more sugar than we estimated. And I was there! I put everything on his plate, measured it and instructed him on how much insulin to give.

I guessed WAY wrong. Because....

"Normal" blood sugar ranges are 80-120. My son's blood sugar was 414 after the party, 272 after lunch, and I almost gave an extra shot but the clinic said to wait it out.

Guess what, he was LOW (60) twenty minutes ago and we had to give candy to get his sugars up into a safe range again.

I love my son very, very dearly. And I hate diabetes, I hate it, I hate it.

Some people asked me how this was going to look

Bruna Boeken

I don't think I ever shared my Dutch cover with you guys. I think it's pretty cool, so here it is. Click the image for "meer info..."

Here's the catalog description from Bzztoh, also, for my Dutch readers (don't laugh... I DO have people from Holland landing here once in awhile).

Eind jaren tachtig vinden drie meiden elkaar op een middelbare school: Amy, een cheerleader die haar gewoonheid beu is, Cherry, de verzorgster van haar aan drugs verslaafde, ouder wordende hippiemoeder, en Rennie, de briljantste leerling van de school en degene die het meest van het leven verwacht. Ze delen hun passie voor muziek, hun zelfgeschreven gedichten, hun kledingkeuze, hun haat tegen hun omgeving en ten slotte ook hun bloed: ze zijn de Bitch Posse, de meest onverschrokken krachtenbundeling in een vijandige omgeving.

Vijftien jaar later worstelen de drie vrouwen met hun leven. Rennie is een docent aan een lerarenopleiding die met veel van haar studenten naar bed gaat. Cherry heeft zelfmoordneigingen en wordt opgenomen in een kliniek. Amy is getrouwd, weet dat ze een prachtig leven leidt, maar is altijd bang voor de toekomst. De drie vrouwen worden echter ook achtervolgd door het verleden, door het grote geheim van de Bitch Posse, die één keer op een verschrikkelijke manier heeft huisgehouden.

De Bitch Posse is het tornadoachtige prozadebuut van de Amerikaanse dichteres Martha O'Connor, een echte 'anti-chicklit roman' in een zeer directe en scherpe stijl, waarin de levensechte meiden van de pagina's afspatten.

For those of you who don't speak Dutch, I sent the copy through an online translator here. The results are pretty funny!

Lonely Hearts Club or My Bloody Valentine?

This was a lovely story from Telegraph UK. It's put me RIGHT OFF the chocolate.

Police race against time to stop Valentine's Day suicide pact
By Charles Laurence in New York
(Filed: 13/02/2005)

A worldwide search was under way for more than 30 members of a Valentine's Day mass suicide pact yesterday after American police arrested the man accused of masterminding the plan on the internet.

Detectives said "time is running out" in the hunt for a mother of two in New England who has promised to kill herself and her children. So far those identified in the pact are in North America but others may be scattered across the globe. {more}
The mass suicide was going to be broadcast over the Web via webcams. Gerald Krien, 26, signed people up for the suicide pact through a website and chatroom he ran. There appear to be no religious elements to this planned suicide.

The woman who tipped off the Klamath Falls, Oregon police was going to participate in the suicide herself. Then she heard about the children, which got her to come forward.

What are people thinking? I'm going to hug my kids extra hard tonight.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Yes, You Do Know Willy Loman

Amid the rush of Arthur Miller articles that have been flooding the newswires since the Pulitzer Prizewinning playwright's death last week, this Chicago Tribune piece from today, "Why Miller Matters," really stuck out.

Arthur Miller, 1915-2005

Why Miller matters
Even if you missed his plays

By Julia Keller
Tribune cultural critic
Published February 13, 2005

There's a story they tell about a guy who went to see "Hamlet" and then demanded his money back.

"Piece of junk," he snarled. "Full of cliches."

That's the thing about great works of art: We can't imagine a time before they existed, before certain phrases and ideas were part of the very air we breathed. And thus even if you've never seen "Death of a Salesman" or haven't read "The Crucible" since high school -- you're still influenced by Arthur Miller, who died Thursday at age 89....

This is true of only a handful of writers per century. Some of the best writers who ever lived never attain such a status; despite their talent, their works never become forces of nature. Their works never insinuate themselves so firmly into the culture that gradually they seem to elide with the infrastructure, with rocks and trees and sky, shedding radiance on both the people who know the works well -- the passionate readers and the dedicated scholars -- and on everybody else too.

"Salesman," with its cold shakedown of the American dream, seems hacked out of the side of a mountain. It's all blunt force and ragged edges.

Elia Kazan, the man who directed the 1949 Broadway debut of "Salesman," well understood the play's elemental nature. Miller, Kazan wrote in his 1988 autobiography, "didn't write `Death of a Salesman.' He released it."...

"When a scholar dies," goes the Yiddish proverb, "everyone is his relative." The same is true of certain writers. The whole world grieves because the whole world is implicated.

If you know Miller's work, then good for you; but if you don't -- well, my friend, you do. You do.

Head over and take a gander. Willy'd want you to.

Someone Please Kill Bowling For Soup

Or else you could kill ME before I have to listen to that fucking song one more time. Either way I'd be grateful.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Insensitive Is As Insensitive Does

Was I a bitch yesterday about this? Yeah, I kinda was and I'm sorry. Well, this discussion's continued among my diabetes-pals and a couple of people put it so well. I've paraphrased:

  • People are insensitive because they don't live it. I never really understood until this happened to us.... Oh sure, I was sympathetic before, but I didn't KNOW. Even at diagnosis, I didn't realize how sick my son was or that he could have died. Now I do.

I've lost friends after diabetes--and I've gained friends. It's funny who comes to bat for you when you're in trouble. Most people probably do have the best intentions at heart. I just wish people would listen more and not assume they knew it all just because their goddamned CAT has diabetes or their grandma has THE OTHER KIND. ("Oh, there's another kind?")

Grrrr. OK, I'll stop typing now before I FLIP OUT again. Xxoo

Who is this INTRIGUING woman?

Find out on Tuesday! Signing out for the weekend, xxoo Martha

Friday, February 11, 2005

High Alert!!!

Didn't that make you just JUMP!!!! Make your MUSCLES CLENCH UP and your EYEBALLS FREEZE OVER?


Gol, you must think I've LOST MY FREAKIN' MIND.

OK, here's the scoop. HB Fenn, the book distribution company in Canada, has a weekly magazine that goes to booksellers and reps throughout Canada. On the front page is their HIGH ALERT!! section. And they decided to name The Bitch Posse as their Reps Pick last week! Some other books that have been Reps Picks recently are The Ha-Ha by Dave King and Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.

So I also officially {hearty-heart-heart} Judy Parker from HB Fenn!

Now, I must be ALTOGETHER HONEST and tell you that the HIGHEST High Alerts are Dr. Phil and the guy who wrote the book that they made the movie Sideways out of. (That's OK. I like Dr. Phil and I liked Sideways.) I'm a Reps Pick so I appeared below those two guys. So maybe just grab your sandbags and make sure your earthquake kit is well stocked. No need to EVACUATE THE CITY or anything.

Here's what she said. She's a good writer too! Someone sign her up!

Judy Parker (Sales Rep – Saskatchewan & Manitoba)
The Bitch Posse / Martha O’Connor (031233392, $29.95, hc, May)

After the frothy concoctions of chick lit it is satisfying to sink your teeth into meatier fare and in The Bitch Posse the fare is meaty, indeed. The story cuts back and forth between the present and the past of three seemingly very different women and slowly reveals the connections and divisions between Rennie, Amy and Cherry.

The immediacy and intensity of the writing has the effect of placing the reader into the moment, whether that moment is one of inappropriate sex or the anguish of a failing marriage or the routine of a psychiatric ward. O’Connor writes in the present tense whether the time is 2003 or 1988 but she only writes in the voice of the characters when they are teenagers. This underscores the power and emotional rawness of the girls’ stories in contrast to their attempts to control and repress in their adult lives.

As all three come to a life crossroad they are drawn back, as is the reader, to a time when their bond both bound them together forever even as it tore them apart. The final entry in the Bitch Goddess Notebook makes it clear:

Want to put the puzzle together?
Your weakness is your strength.
Lose your mind to find your heart.
Through rage, make peace.
Dig deep. Make it hurt. Make it bleed.

The Bitch Posse is not always a comfortable read but it is one that will challenge and ultimately, enlighten you.
She totally GOT this novel. I want to meet her. I want to take her out for a bev-er-AGE. Right after I finish stacking these sandbags against the door.

Things That Make People Look Stupid and/or Like Insensitive Jerks

Some friends and I were discussing the STUPID and downright RUDE things that people say to us ALL THE TIME as parents of children with diabetes.

Now some of this stuff is just plain ignorance. I was ignorant, too, before my son was diagnosed. I thought you just gave your kid a couple shots a day and once in awhile he'd need a juice box.

Our son does 8-10 blood sugar tests (finger pokes) a day and takes 4-6 shots every day. If his blood sugars get too low, he could pass out and even die. If they get too high, over time he could fall into a diabetic coma. I am in contact with the school several times a day discussing his blood sugars, exercise levels, and food consumption. And I am in contact with his doctors several times per month discussing insulin dosage. Most nights, I get up and check his blood sugars to make sure he hasn't fallen dangerously low or soared dangerously high while asleep. Seven months into the process and I still feel like a novice. Welcome to my world.

But you know what? We plug away. He's healthy and very athletic. Life with this disease can go fairly smoothly... IF you put in the TIME that it takes to manage it. But yeah, it does take time. Insulin is a lifesaving drug, but it is not some magic wand that you wave and make everything OK in an instant.

Ignorance I can forgive, but rudeness, not so much. The worst is when this stuff is said in front of the kids.

**Ever said something and wished you could take it back? Well, in the world of blogging you actually can! Below I had shared with my blog readers some of the ABSOLUTELY GREAT and HILARIOUS comments that dumb people make to people whose kids have diabetes, which had been in turn shared with me by friends of mine. There was nothing really gross in there or anything, and nobody yelled at me or anything... BUT, in retrospect I don't think it was fair for me to transcribe them without getting everyone's permission. That's kinda like Linda Tripp taping Monica Lewinsky and then playing the tapes right there in front of everybody. Well. Kinda.

Anyway, I have redacted those comments. Kinda feeling like a STOOPID, INSENSITIVE JERK myself right about now. :o( I'm really not making any sense, am I? Agghh. The cost of being a dumbass, I guess.

Trust me, though--people say some REALLY DUMB, RUDE and INSENSITIVE THINGS to parents of kids with Diabetes.**

For lots of great information and FACTS about Type 1 Diabetes, visit the Children with Diabetes website.

Death of a Salesman

Pulitzer Prizewinning playwright Arthur Miller has died.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Hang Onto Your Wisconsin State Quarters

OK, not about books, not about writing, not even about diabetes. But I would hate for any of you guys to miss out on this one.

Some Wisconsin state quarters have grown an extra leaf! Collectors are paying anywhere from $500 to $1,000 for the flawed coins.

Our new California quarter is really ugly and hasn't sprouted anything new that I'm aware of--not even a set of breast implants, which anyone who's been to LA can tell would be an EXCELLENT representation of part of our state.

And Wisconsin gets a sweet-looking cow and an extra leaf on their corncob. I'm jealous.

But we still have better cheese.

More info, and pictures of the "right" and "wrong" quarters, here.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

George W. Bush {hearts} Charlotte Simmons

Our President is a READER! Yes, by shucks golly, he IS!

Our President once told us his favorite book was The Very Hungry Caterpillar. But now he's reading BIG books. He's reading that REALLY REALLY LONG BOOK, I Am Charlotte Simmons! Aren't you impressed? I shore am!

Actually, Pres. Bush says he has read every one of Tom Wolfe's novels, including the lengthy A Man In Full. But he is having a good deal of fun with the "sex-soaked" ramblings about the virgin hillbilly Charlotte Simmons, who attends an Eastern College and is shocked--SHOCKED, I SAY--at the activities of her fellow students.

The book was almost universally panned by critics; many called it "out of touch," and several pointed to the laughable sex scenes. Indeed, Wolfe won the Bad Sex in Fiction Award for the following (he claimed later the passage was SUPPOSED to be bad):
"Hoyt began moving his lips as if he were trying to suck the ice cream off the top of a cone without using his teeth ... Slither slither slither slither went the tongue, but the hand that was what she tried to concentrate on, the hand, since it has the entire terrain of her torso to explore and not just the otorhinolaryngological caverns ... "
According to the International Herald Tribune, Pres. Bush loves I Am Charlotte Simmons and is "enthusiastically recommending it to friends." Just what about Charlotte's tale is tugging at the President's... erm... heartstrings? And WHY is the White House refusing to comment on the President's new curl-up reading material?

If you don't have time to crawl through Wolfe's 676-page tome yourself (I don't!), there's always The Guardian's Digested Read, a mere page. It opens:
"Well, ah-ull be darned," said Charlotte's mother, "Fancy a hillbilly's daughter go-un to Dupont".

Charlotte grimaced at the way her mammy said ah-ull and go-un. She wished she would shut up. "I am Charlotte Simmons," she said to herself.

The cleverest girl ever to leave Sparta, North Carolina felt crippled inside. Her roommate was so posh.

"So here we are in our fuck-pad," grinned Beverley. "Can I use all the cupboard space? You don't have any clothes."

Charlotte bit her tongue. "I am Charlotte Simmons," she said to herself. She had never been amongst people who cussed. She looked down at her floral dress. At least it covered her breasts, whatever they were. Charlotte knew men might want to touch them, but she didn't know why as she had never read Cosmopolitan. "I am Charlotte Simmons," she said to herself. {more}

In somewhat related news, there's speculation that sales for Charlotte are not meeting expectations. Only in the world of Tom Wolfe could several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and 250,000 copies sold be disappointing. More here.