Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

We're going Pop Pop Pop

When I was first pregnant with the twins, I worked for a Japanese company at an office in suburban Boston. The vast majority of the employees were native Japanese and didn't pay much attention to the American workers. Which was fine considering that my Japanese was non-existant and their English wasn't remotely understandable. Plus, they were all men, and they kept referring to me by one word whose meaning I didn't know. Until much later, when I found out they were calling me "Ugly" which is one of their endearing terms for pregnant woman.

Anyhow, one of the real detriments of working at this company is that my office was directly across the hall from the kitchen. Bad enough that I had to endure the smells of microwaving lunches daily, but every afternoon the popcorn brigade would come alive. Bag after bag of microwave popcorn would be popped, and I would have to rush to the bathroom to vomit because the chemical smell made me sick.

Ever since that time, I've avoided microwave popcorn. Unfortunately, my children both love it, and will buy packets for snacks from the variety shop down the street. Usually I can avoid the smell by going elsewhere in the house. But no matter what the brand, the chemical smell kind of makes me nauseated.

At some point I got a lightbulb over my head and decided to buy a container of plain old popcorn. You know, the yellow kernals in a jar? Remember those? Not only are they markedly cheaper, but they do not taste or smell chemically. Plus, you can season to your liking with as much or as little butter, salt, garlic salt, or even cinnamon sugar as you want.

What's so funny about this is that my kid's friends for the most part have never seen regular popcorn made. Some have no idea that you can even make your own popcorn in a pot atop the stove. But you can, and it takes just about the same amount of time as the microwave, and you're not stuffing chemicals into your body when you eat it.

The recipe is simple. One cup of popcorn kernals to about 3 tbs of vegetable oil. Pour the oil inot the bottom of the pan, place the popcorn into the pan, turn on the stove to high, and start shaking the pan over the heat. Shaking makes the kernals fall to the bottom of the pan so you get the most popped kernals. Once the popping slows down, take the pan off the stove, uncover the pot and fluff up the kernals, then add the melted butter and salt and toss. Voila...better than movie theatre popcorn!

I'm not sure how we lost our way on popcorn. It's a great snack and if you're careful with the toppings, it's filling and pretty darn dietetic. Kids love it, dogs and cats clean spilled kernals off the floor, and the house smells great after you've made a nice big pot.

Toss out the microwave stuff and get yourself some real kernals. You'll be really glad you did.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Coming soon to a city near you

Well well well. Isn't this just delightful? The Metropolitan Police being attacked by those oh-so-peace-loving Muslims in the streets of London.

Don't think it could happen your town? Keep on denying. This isn't going away. Violent protest in Muslim countries is a normal and every-day occurrence. We've seen it in this country already. It's happened in France, Spain, Norway, Denmark, and the UK. It's spreading like wildfire. Every protest is nastier, more anti-semetic and anti-American.

Don't forget this when they come to your city. Because they will. Yes, they will.

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The one where my daughter rocks!

Remember last spring, right before school ended, when we had the Girl's IEP meeting from hell? The one where, even though I had refused over and over again, the morons in the SpEd department once again offered only one solution to the Girl's completely failed sophomore year. The one where they wanted to dump her in a program that was clearly inappropriate because they were too damn lazy to find something that would work for her. The one where they suggested firmly that we send her to another high school in the district that she said she would not attend, that I said I did not want her to attend, and that we had no business even discussing? And that when the Girl went and toured the other school and absolutely REFUSED to set foot there because the drug problem was out of hand and she was fearful of getting caught up in it, the head of SpEd told her that "all schools have drug problems" upon which my advocate's head almost exploded.

And then, when we refused what they offered, they left us hanging the entire summer and never told us where she would be going to school in the fall, and the ONLY reason we ever found out where she would be attending school was because the school secretary told me in passing that the Girl had been registered for classes at her regular high school. Classes that were totally inappropriate and all had to be changed and it took three freaking WEEKS for them to get her another schedule.

Yeah, fun times. Fun times!

Once they screwed up her schedule so badly I told her guidance counselor that she was to be totally mainstreamed into curriculum 1 classes (college prep), that she would NOT be in any special program, that she would need contact with someone from the Learning Center for extra help, but she did not need any further support.

Let's just say that the school was not happy with what I wanted, but they were so out of compliance with her IEP and had screwed with her so badly all sophomore year (remember, I ended up homeschooling her because they had screwed her so badly and knew it) so they let me have my way, even though they could not write up her IEP without stating that they did not agree with this and that "the mother" refused their suggestions for alternate classrooms.

So, you remember that?

Well, guess which Girl we know and love made Honor Roll? Guess which Girl has not had a moment's trouble all year. Not a detention, a suspension, nothing. A Girl that has kept up her work, is getting A's in curr. 1 classes where she was expected to fail. A Girl that is doing so well that even her housemaster called her into his office to congratulate her. And whose Guidance Counselor, whom I haven't heard from the entire year, emailed me with the news today.

But just to make it more interesting, after the summer school math class that she Aced last summer and the school screwed up and never gave her credit for, her housemaster TODAY noticed that she didn't get that credit, nor any other credit for all the courses she made up in homeschooling, and granted her another 17 credits, which again puts her way ahead of her class peers. In other words, the SpEd asshole who has fucked her over time and time again and lied through her teeth about it, got her comeuppance today when the housemaster went over her head and did the right thing. At last.

Now, I just have to wonder if all of this good works had a little something to do with the comments I left on our town blog this week? Ya think? Heh.

I don't care what did it. I care that a full year later, my kid FINALLY got what she deserved, and that she showed them all that she can do the work. She proved them wrong. Every single one of them. They were so sure she was a down and out failure and I kept telling them over and over again that kids with NVLD will always go to the lowest common denominator. If you put her in classes with SpEd kids with emotional and behavioral problems, she will become a kid with emotional and behavioral problems. It's TYPICAL of her learning disability. It's in all the literature about NVLD. And something they should know.

If you put her in Curriculum 1 classes with college bound kids, she will rise right up to the top. It's just how she is. It's how she's always been. But they refused to listen to me because who knows best about their kid, the mom or the "experts" at school.

In this case, as in most cases, it's the mom.

So I say, you Go GIRL! She did so well, and that's WITH a job that takes a lot of her time.

I'm so proud of her I just want to explode.

Unfortunately, she's not well and feeling very down in the dumps. She has to (OMG) take pills! The angst. The torture! But she's so proud of herself and she knows just how thrilled I am for her.

Of course, I do love to win, and to prove morons wrong. Just retribution is good.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

So funny I forgot to laugh

The Boy and I have remarkably similar senses of humor. This is not necessarily a good thing. Most people we know do not get us when we get into our little pantos, and I'm guessing that this is because we're not as funny as we think we are. But we crack each other up all the time.

Yesterday, being a snow day and our house being covered with a 2" coating of sheer glare ice, we spent much of the day watching television and chit chatting about this and that. For a while I was on the computer, then he was on the computer, then I read for a bit, and he did whatever he does upstairs in his room, but much of our day was hanging out doing the daytime TV thing. The Girl slept through much of the day.

At some point I started cracking up because daytime commercials have very funny words in them. Words like 5-Loxin and Glucosamine and Relacore. Words that the Boy and and I have inserted into our vocabularies as kind of a private language. He'll be sitting at the computer and I'll yell over to him and say, "Boy, you need Relacore!" and we both start laughing like complete morons. Or I'll be deep in a book and he'll yell over to me, "Mom, how's your fibromyalgia? So tender to the touch?" More wicked peels of laughter.

I know this sounds exceedingly stupid, but those commercials. They are even more stupid. The marketeers come up with words like 5-Loxin and expect us to want to buy OsteoByFlex because we're impressed with the ingredients. But to us, the Boy and me, 5-Loxin is too freaking funny for words. First, is there a 4-Loxin? Or a 6-Loxin? And why isn't it Five-Loxin or Fi-Loxin? I mean, when did a number become a letter? And then the word Loxin. Is that the plural of Lox? Is this a product based on smoked salmon?

We actually discuss this stuff. And then start with the play on words. And then incorporate it into our personal language. Obviously we need a lot of help. Either that or no more snow days.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

LOST Discussion Thursday

Tonight's episode is called The Jughead. It is not named after the Archie comics character. It is named after an item seen late in the episode. A really big bad item.

Last week on LOST Faraday told Desmond to find his mother while the people stuck on the Island were attacked by flaming arrows of death.

LOST begins with Desmond running like a mad man through an Asian fishing village looking for “Salonga.” He finds the man, a doctor, and begs him to come back to his boat, where Penny is in labor.

After a few quick pushes, she gives birth to a beautiful baby boy.

Mazel Tov to Penny and Desmond. They have a beautiful baby boy. And they live on this boat, that isn't that big on the outside, but is HUGE on the inside. Oh, I just love TV.

About 3 years later, Desmond, Penny and their son are on the boat heading back to a very special island called Great Britain. Penny worries about what will happen if her father knows they're back, but Desmond only cares about helping Daniel Faraday save everyone on the Island.

On the Island, Miles, Charlotte and Faraday make their way to the creek, but Charlotte is preoccupied with headaches, double vision, and other signs that she's probably going to die soon. As they're running through the jungle right by the creek, Miles notices a trip wire and tells everyone not to move, but it's too late. The whole creek explodes and everyone flies around.

The people in uniforms with the arrows arrive and Ellie, the woman in charge tells Daniel, “You just couldn't stay away, could you?” Miles looks uncomfortable.

Ellie interrogates them, informing Miles that she didn't put the mines by the creek, his people did. Our others are looking mega confused now. On their way back to Ellie's base camp, Miles tells Daniel that he senses they walked over fresh graves of four U.S. soldiers who died from shooting and radiation poisoning around a month ago. OK than. That's a good clue as to the time.

Meanwhile, Locke, Sawyer and Juliet are debating what to do with their two hostages. The two speak Latin to one another thinking nobody can understand them but Juliet translates to say the men are wondering why these people aren't in uniform. They wonder why Juliet speaks Latin and she tells them that the only reason Juliet can speak Latin is the same way these men can: they're all Others. Okie dokie. My son and I both speak some Latin and we're not Others.

Faraday and his people are brought back to the Others' camp where they meet Richard Alpert, looking young as always. He wonders if Faraday has come back for his bomb.

Putting together the clues at this point, Faraday concludes that they're somewhere around the 1950s when, before DHARMA arrived, the U.S. military came to the Island to do some hydrogen bomb testing, only to run up against the Hostiles. The US were really testing bombs in the Pacific atolls around that time period, which makes this even more plausible.

Daniel also figures out the casing for the H-bomb is leaking, so he convinces Alpert to let him fix it by promising not to explode it because he's in love with Charlotte.

Locke and his group stop to talk to their hostages. Juliet tries to convince them in Latin that they’re friends and they just want to meet Richard Alpert. One of the captives starts to tell them where their camp is, but the other, who wears a name tag that says Jones, snaps his friend’s neck and runs away. Locke refuses to shoot him because Jones is “one of my people.”

Ellie, the young Other woman with the nice big rifle, takes Faraday off to deal with the H-bomb, but first Alpert explains that he had no choice but to kill the U.S. soldiers who were in his jungle because he got orders from his boss.

Jones runs up explaining how he got away, but Alpert is wary that the people may have tracked him. Jones makes some derisive comment about their "leader" being an old man and Jones doubts that an old man knows this island better than he does. Well, golly gee whiz. That old man is gonna show up Mr Jones.

Daniel definitely recognizes Ellie from somewhere, but she has no clue as to who he is. This is my theory. Ellie is Daniel's mother Eloise. And to make things even more complex, I think Charles Widmore is Daniel's father. I'll discuss this later in comments! Back to the storyline.

Locke, of course, did track Jones, and he asks Juliet exactly how old Alpert is, since he looks the same as he did 50 years in the future. Her response: “Old.” That would be the understatement of the year. Locke goes to finish his conversation with Alpert about how to save everyone while Sawyer and Juliet run off to “save the geek.”

Faraday gets to the H-bomb which is called “Jughead.”

He notices the large crack and tells Ellie they need to fill it with lead and bury it in a cement grave, and everything will be fine. He explains that he knows it won’t go off because 50 years later, the Island is still there, but obviously that only makes her more agitated. She does not like Daniel one single bit, and she's confused by who all these new people are on "their" island. Funny how everyone thinks it's "their" island.

Sawyer and Juliet show up with their own guns and get Ellie to drop hers. She is one pissed off young Other.

When Locke barges into the camp calling out for Richard Alpert, Jones pulls a gun on him. Alpert arrives, and after Locke realizes he doesn’t recognize him, he says, “Jacob sent me.” He shows Richard the compass, but that doesn't ring any bells either, because it hasn't happened yet. That gets Alpert’s attention, so he tells Jones to put his gun down, only he calls him “Widmore.” Locke sort of jerked his head up and says "Widmore. Charles Widmore?" Jones says "Yes, Charles Widmore." Locke says it’s nice to meet him. My mouth is totally hanging open. Who could have predicted that?

Yes, you read that right, Charles Widmore was an Other! How and why that wasn’t the biggest revelation left for the final scene of the episode I don’t know, but holy crap, everything starts to make a bit more sense now. It seems that ALL of the shady characters off the island have a relationship with the island because they once lived there. It only took 5 years to give us this little tidbit of information. Damn those writers!

Locke tries to convince Alpert that the time travel stuff is true, but he doesn’t quite believe it. Locke finds out it’s 1954, so he tells Alpert that on May 30, 1956, he will be born, so Alpert should come and visit him. Wow, suddenly everything from “Cabin Fever” makes 100 percent sense, since we already know Alpert did visit Locke when he was born and the process for selecting him as their new leader did start at a young age. And the compass was part of that selection process!

Before he can learn any more, there’s another time jump. It’s worth noting that the ropes used to bind Charlotte and Miles’ hands also jumped with them. Charlotte says she’s fine, but then she starts seizing, falling to the ground as blood pours out of her nose. Daniel cradles her, but sorry dude, she’s probably dying. I don't think she's gonna make it, even with Dr. Juliet the super gynocologist right by her side.

We're back in London. Desmond promises Penny he’ll be in and out of England before Charles Widmore can find out he was there. Penny also makes him promise he’ll never go back to the Island, which is pretty much a guarantee that he WILL go back to the Island. He takes off for "Oxford" which I have to comment is the WORST possible depiction of Oxford I think I've ever seen on film. No colleges. No commons. Looks nothing like Oxford other than some covered walkways with arches. But whatever....

Once at "Oxford", the librarian searches the computer but has no record of Daniel Faraday’s employment. Desmond looks nervous when she asks why he wants this information and takes off. He goes back to the "physics lab" where he originally met Faraday, and the door is closed with a sign about it being fumigated. He breaks in and sees the rat maze and the time machine. He also finds a photograph of Daniel and a woman.

A workman arrives to tell him to leave and not to ask questions about Faraday, especially after what he did to a girl. He doesn't say much more that WE hear, but he must have told Desmond enough for him to start looking for her.

That girl was named Theresa Spencer, and Desmond tracks her down to a row of houses in "London", but is greeted by her sister Abigail.

Theresa is in some sort of catatonic state caused by Daniel’s experiments, and we learn that after she was injured, he fled to the United States without caring for Theresa.

Abigail says that she's just happy that Mr. Widmore is taking care of them, which raises 17 red flags for Desmond. It turns out not only is Charles Widmore paying for all of Theresa’s medical bills, but he also funded Faraday’s research for 10 years. And the plot thickens again.

Desmond takes off and heads straight for Widmore’s office and lays his cards on the line: he wants to know where Faraday’s mother is, and then he’s gone and Widmore will never lay eyes on him again. Widmore says that he hasn't seen Penny in over 3 years and asks if his daughter is safe. He tries to bargain that information with Des, but Desmond asks more forcefully where Mrs Faraday is. Widmore tells Desmond that the woman he’s looking for is in Los Angeles and gives him an address. OK, now is there any doubt that Ms. Hawking is Faraday’s mom? Or do you think it's Jill the butcher? Is Jill too young? I think she is, but they are the only two women we know in Los Angeles that are possible candidates.

Widmore finally pleads with Desmond to deliver his message to Mrs Faraday and then leave without getting further involved because this has nothing to do with him or Penny. I have to say that Ben’s threat to take Penny's life in exchange for Alex last season had an effect on Charles Widmore, and now Widmore is done playing games with Penny.

When Desmond goes back to Penny, he tells her that Mrs Faraday is dead and he’s done with this stuff, because all he cares about are Penny and Charlie. Aww, he named his son after a drug-abusing rock star. No really, I liked Charlie once he was a bit less self-serving and whiny. Penny doesn’t believe that Desmond and makes him tell her the truth. He tells her that Mrs Faraday is in Los Angeles, and she says she knows he can never leave the Island behind him, so she decides to go with him to Los Angeles to find Mrs Faraday. She rocks, doesn't she?

Next week on Lost: It’s back to the Oceanic 6 in a Kate-centric episode that focuses on the mystery client trying to find out Aaron’s true birth mother.

Questions and comments
  • Why was Alpert present when Locke was born? Because Locke told him when it would happen, and Alpert went there as a way to determine if Locke was telling the truth. This must have semi-blown Alpert's mind, since he continued to visit Locke over the course of his youth - and this helps explain why the Island Originals all thought he was so special... because he is a freaking time traveling, future predicting "old guy"!

  • But does this mean that Locke really isn't that special or "chosen"? If the Island Originals only think he's special due to his time skipping, is he really the best choice for the future leader of the Others?

  • This also means that Desmond must be an exception instead of the rule, since he just had the memory of Faraday visiting him at the Swan Hatch in 2008 instead of always having it?

  • Did you catch the scenes from the preview from next week? Showing Locke seeing the light shooting up from the Swan Hatch (the ending scene from "Deus Ex Machina"!) as well as Sawyer stumbling upon Kate helping Claire deliver Aaron (the ending scene from "Do No Harm"!) Time to go back and re-watch some Season One episodes!

  • What this means pretty much blows my mind though. Does that mean that Sawyer could run into himself? Wouldn't that rip apart the space-time continuum, a la Back to the Future?

  • Remember what Faraday told Desmond when he started to become "unstuck" in time? He asked if Desmond had been subjected to an intense does of radiation or electromagnetic energy. Clearly, Desmond had been exposed to the later in the Swan Hatch, and he needed a Constant. But Daniel also had a Constant. Why? Well, guess who was just exposed to a high does of radiation in this episode when inspecting the Jughead?

  • CHARLES WIDMORE USED TO BE ON THE ISLAND. But was he an Island Original? Did he start to age once he left the Island? Or do only some Island Originals not age (like Alpert)? And how did he leave the Island? Was he kicked off? Why does he think that Ben "stole it" from him? It sure didn't look like he was "owning" it when Richard was bossing him around. Maybe he simply views Ben as "ruining" the Island once he started running the show, and Widmore doesn't so much want to turn the Island into a theme park, but wants to restore it to its natural, pre-Ben order when they were able to have babies and lived peacefully. Or is the reason Widmore got booted because he wanted to go commercial on the Island? Lots to think about here.

  • Did you guys watch the "Enhanced" repeat of "The Lie" beforehand? Guess what they said Ms. Hawking's first name was? ELOISE. Just like Faraday's rat. It looks like she is definitely going to end up being Faraday's mother. Also, who names a rat after their mom?

  • Here's something else to think about. Is the Ellie the Girl Soldier on the Island Faraday's Mom as well? Remember how he said she looked familiar to him? Well, if Widmore is off the Island, it would stand to reason that she could have left the Island as well. It would be a possible explanation for why she knows so much about the Island and how/where to find it.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My first Poverty Post

This is my first actually entry in Bossy's Poverty Party post category. I don't usually have that much to say about the ridiculous nature of the economics in the country other than how it affects my family, but today I saw something so bizarre, so ridiculous that I just had to comment.

I was napping on the sofa this morning when I heard a huge boom and crash upstairs. The cats were at it again, and had knocked the Girl's lamp off her bedside table. Fully awakened, I turned on the TV while I made some phone calls. The View was on, and the last segment they had Padma Lakshmi of Top Chef and three winning Top Chefs present what they called economic dinners for a family of 4.

Oh, I like economic dinners. I perked up to watch the segment. The first chef had some frenchy veal and fancy mushroom meal, only he used chicken instead of veal. How inventive. How did he ever think of chicken? The side dish was a beet salad, and after I was done puking (I HATE beets with all the passion I can render) and a dessert, his economic meal came to over $20. Hmmm.

The next chef had some breaded chicken meal with a fancy salad, garlic bread and haricot verte beans. His meal came to about $18.

The last chef, and the one that won the 'challange' was a woman who presented a "greek pizza" with feta, tomatoes, fresh herbs and something else I can't even remember. Her dessert was a greek yogurt and fresh strawberries (in January!) with greek honey drizzled all over it. Cost of her dinner? $27.


How unrealistic can these people be? Nobody can feed a family of 4 economically with those costs. If you were to spend $27/night for dinner, you would spend $810 just on dinner per month. Now add breakfast, lunch and snacks and you're talking about $1600 a month for food. That is not only NOT economical, it's ridiculously extravagant. Who the hell spends that kind of money on daily dinners?

An economical dinner is a box of pasta, some homemade sauce, and a green salad. Total cost, maybe $8. Maybe less. Probably less depending upon how you make your sauce and if you buy in bulk or not.

It really pisses me off that people are using the economic crisis to push their crap when it isn't helpful, and makes you feel guilty that you're not rising to this level of 'caring'. I don't like it when the unrealistic is presented as helpful. It isn't helpful to have someone show a dinner that costs over $20 for a family of four.

Have these jerks never heard of tuna casserole, turkey meat loaf, and grilled cheese with tomato soup. THOSE are economical meals.

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Let's talk about school

It's been a while since I've mentioned the kids school. Things have been relatively smooth despite a couple of rather large bumps, and the second term began this week, so things always improve with a new term, new classes, and new opportunities.

The principal resigned yesterday. That will make something like 4 principals in 6 years. Why yes, there IS a problem with the school. I believe I've mentioned that a few thousand times. This particular principal was a nice guy, quiet, soft spoken, friendly and liked by the students. Well, that's the problem right there. He's not there to be liked. He's there to be the commander in chief of the school. And he wasn't that great at that role. He really never got the whole discipline issue, he certainly didn't get that the SpEd department was running amok and not following federal mandates, and he didn't do so well with communication with parents. As a matter of fact, he spent a lot of time avoiding communication with parents, which was detrimental to his success at the school.

His tenure review was this year, and I have the feeling his resignation came because he wasn't going to be offered tenure. I don't know that for a fact, it's really just a feeling. But I know that I was part of a parent team asked to evaluate him, and the evaluations were not rave reviews across the board. I also know that some teachers, especially in the special programs weren't overly enthralled with him either.

Of course this comes at a terribly difficult time. The schools are kinda broke and they can't offer the huge salaries that we've paid in the past. Additionally, as long as the Stuperintendent of Schools Jeffrey Young is around leeching money from the school making the biggest salary in the freaking state, we're not going to get a candidate that will make the correct types of changes the school needs. Mr Young is so focussed on the touchy-feeley, politically correct leadership of our school that he doesn't see the real problems as they are. He's not involved in the day to day running of the school, nor does he actually understand the issues that the students have to deal with. He is unaware of the bullying, the violence, the stealing, and the harassment that certain kids (not mine, thank goodness) go through. Nor is he ready to acknowledge that the school's academics are twirling around the drain, especially with the less abled kids. As long as he has enough kids going into IVY colleges, he doesn't care about the rest of the kids struggling to get through their classes and into state colleges.

So we've got monitary problems in the school system, limiting the amount a new principal can be offered. We've got a superintendent that will be looking for the wrong kind of person to manage the school, and we have kids who are suffering because they do not have steady leadership due to the constant turnover.

This is NOT a way to run the school.

And it pisses me off no end that I just KNOW there won't be a change that I'll be happy with. Four years ago, both high school principal positions were open. I had high hopes that we would get someone good, because we were holding a nationwide search and our city school system has a good reputation, although mostly based on past and not recent successes. When the new hires were announced, the most salient fact about both of them was that they were both gay. Like that freaking matters. But to our superintendent, that IS what matters. He replaced a much loved middle school principal with a reviled moron because said moron was black. It had nothing to do with experience (the moron was a PE teacher) or talent (he appeared on the local news right after he was hired for the attrocious treatment of certain students who he made crawl down the hallways as punishment). The guy was SO bad I pulled the Girl out of that school and moved her to another middle school with a delightfully appropriate principal (also gay) who was hired well before the superintendent came to stay.

I've heard that at least 4 elementary school principals are also leaving. We've had a revolving door of principals for years, especially in the elementary schools. That speaks of a school system that isn't managed well. People don't leave executive level jobs, especially in this economic climate, unless they're totally miserable at their jobs. I have to believe that this must be the case here, since it's been an ongoing problem since Mr Young arrived.

And please God, we won't renew his contract again.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

This week in Israel and Gaza

Did you ever wonder how Hamas turns it's childen into Heros?

Poor Jimmy Carter. He kinda sucked as a President, he couldn't deal with the Iranians and the hostage situation, and now he's so deluded he believes anything Hamas tells him. I think it's time for Jimmy to stay down on the peanut farm and shut his trap about international relations. When Meredith Viera knows more than he does about Hamas, it's just plain sad.

Pigs DO fly. Hamas bears full responsibility for the war in Gaza, a top EU official said Monday in the Strip, calling the group "a terrorist movement."

Guess how that same article was reported in the Palestinian news?
EU commissioner visits Gaza, confirms Israel violated international law; calls for long-term ceasefire

Needless to say, the report does not contain any mention of Michel’s outright condemnation of Hamas, although there is a small mention of his referring to Hamas rocket attacks as terrorism.

Tunnels? Remember those tunnels that the IDF went after? Here's a report from Al Jizz about one particular tunnel. Tell me what is so disturbing about this particular story. Bonus points if you notice something amiss about the reporter.

A must read article from Sydney Australia. Hamas hijacks ambulances in conflict. What a shock!

The pope just reinstated this whacko. Now the big question is, where did all those people in Europe disappear to, if there were no gas chambers? Did they just walk off the face of the earth?

Needless to say, the Simon Wiesenthal center is a leetle bit ticked off with Il Papa.

An astoundingly beautiful and poignant post from a Soldier's Mother.

The UN's perennially biased language against Israel.

UN agency condemns Israel, enables terror. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is a constant source of criticism of Israeli policies, typically blaming Israel for the suffering in the Gaza Strip without acknowledging the role Palestinian leaders, Hamas especially, have played in causing suffering in the territory. Yet another in the unending examples of UN bias. And they wonder why Jews hate them. I can't imagine why!

Here's a very good collection of video from various recent anti-Israel (pro-Hamas) rallies by The Investigative Project. It's a good one to circulate amongst those of your friends who may not have been paying attention:

This is frightening. It is very similar to the late 1930's in Germany, when the inhilation of the Jews was imminent. The rise in anti-semitism in the USA and in Europe is happening, and it is every person's duty to quell this rise by teaching our children how heinous this is. We need to ensure that holocaust deniers are confronted, that the history of Nazism began with behavior just like you see here, and that we have to be ever vigilent in ensuring that this cannot ever happen again.

Never again. Never again.

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There are these days

I'm not well. I've been near collapse for a few days now, and today I need to just admit defeat and take a few days off to rebuild my strength. Except there is so much to do and it's not going to just disappear off the face of the earth. Like laundry. So many loads backed up that I'm down to wearing clothes 2 sizes too big for me. It's a definite fashion faux pas, but there you go. I think gigantic clothes go well with frizzy dry gray hair, skin with a slight green undertone, and dark circles under my eyes. I mean it, I look like absolute crap.

I keep thinking that I need to do something, just to look human again, but the whole thing got so out of hand in the last couple of years that I wouldn't even know where to start. Hair? Half gray, half brown. Has been growing out for about 2 years now, which makes it long, unruly, wiry and dry. I last colored it a year ago, and it grows so fast that the roots poked out in about 3 weeks. I decided it was too expensive to continue coloring it, so now it's 8 inches of gray and the rest a muddy brown. It's horrible.

Skin? It needs an entire face peel. My skin is dull, spotty, and pale. My eyes are puffy and the skin around them is dark blue. The skin is sagging around my chin and I've developed the horrible middle-age wattle. I'm dying for a lifestyle lift, except now I know that the women in the commercial had chin and neck plastic surgery too. Cheaters. I know that with a lot of expensive products I can look better, but really. In this economy who the heck has money to spend on a $200 bottle of stuff? It's just not possible for me, and honestly, I just don't care that much.

Weight? It is still going down slowly. Very slowly. I knew that at some point my body would get used to the new eating habits and begin to maintain a stable weight, which has indeed happened. Additionally, too freaking cold to go out to exercise. No way am I going to leave the house just to spend an hour at the JCC. Not until I buy a new bathing suit and do some water aerobics with the old ladies. I just do not have the juice to do it right now. Winter doldrums? Sure, I'll blame that.

Clothing? Old, stained, ripped, and too damn big. My winter clothing hasn't been replaced at all in years. I have absolutely nothing to wear that looks decent. I know this, but can't seem to find the impetus or finances to change this. One pair of pants I wear are so huge (3 sizes too big) that I look like a clown when I wear them. I know this, but I just can't deal with an alternative. The only things I own that fit are my jeans. When I wear them I look 20 lbs thinner because they fit. Unfortunately, only 1 pair. Can't wear them every day.

I get so overwhelmed with all this that I just do nothing. Because nothing seems easier than taking small steps towards self-improvement. I want to look better, I want to feel better about myself, but I'm stuck in that mommy trap of spending all the money on the kids and leaving nothing for me. I know this is wrong. I know I need to make changes. I honestly do not know where to start.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Boots: The continuing saga

Now that we have gotten the Boy's boot crisis out of the way, it's time for the Girl to have her own crisis. Because, in our house, nothing ever goes smoothly for too long. It's just our way of showing that we still need Mom to solve our problems. Lucky me!

As you might recall, when the Girl got her job the day after she turned 16 (call her industrious), the very first thing she spent her paycheck on was a pair of chocolate brown tall Ugg classic boots. She had longed for those boots forever and a day, and she was so excited to get them that we had to drive all the way out to Nordstrom because they were the only store that had her size in stock on that particular day.

She bought them with such pride and she was so excited about having this brand new pair of Uggs that she bought on her own. It was huge for her. She's 16, give her a break. Uggs are absolutely THE most popular thing to wear on your feet in the winter out here. They just are. So shut it about how ugly they are. We disagree and our feet are warm and cozy. So there!

As you know, we're not having a nice simple and easy winter. We have tons of snow, and with tons of snow goes lots of salt and sand in the roads. Salt that does an amazing amount of damage to a chocolate brown pair of Uggs. The Girl walks to school, and most people in our city are just TOO entitled to actually shovel their walkways. It's not a law, believe it or not, so people just will not shovel. That means that kids walking to school have to walk in the streets. Streets filled with salt and sand that do severe damage to a brand new pair of boots.

Within a month, her boots were ruined. I mean seriously ruined. The entire footpad was gone. All of the fleece just disappeared and there was no padding left. The entire foot of the outside of the boot was terribly stained with salt. Salt that we could not get off no matter how hard we tried.

And we tried hard.

Now, we're not novice Ugg owners. I've had several pairs over the years, as had the Girl. We've never ever seen anything like how these boots fell apart so fast. It wasn't as if she was doing anything other than walking to and from school. I'm wearing a pair of Uggs right this second that are on their 4th winter and they look brand new. I walk through snow with them all the time. They are in perfect order.

So I went online and contacted Nordstrom customer service and told them about the boots and asked if there were any recourse. The customer service people were so nice and they said "of course" and that they would look for a pair for her, or we could go to our "local" Nordstrom and exchange them. So off we went with the letter from customer service and tried to exchange the boots. Nordstrom refused to take them back, even though we had a promise from cust. serv., we had the original reciept that showed the boots were only a month old, and we had the Nordstrom guarantee that the customer was always right. Except for this time.

The Girl was devistated, to say the least. She was out $160 dollars, she had nothing to wear on her feet that would satisfy her need to be wicked cool, and Nordstrom was a complete disappointment to us, even after I explained that she bought them out of her own money and she was 16 years old. Tough luck. They didn't budge.

The Girl's boyfriend promised to get her another pair of Uggs, but his parents put the kibosh on that idea, so she was doubly disappointed.

She bought herself a pair of rubber boots with a gift card she had, and they're fine IF she puts on 3 pairs of warm hiking socks as well. But the deal is, she's out a pair of Uggs and she's terribly disappointed.

I'm not sure what to do. Do I contact customer service again and tell them that the store wouldn't exchange them? Do we just admit defeat and try and wait out the winter? Or do I let her spend money again on a pair of Uggs? I just don't know what path to take.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009


Today I did something that was amazing. I reunited two friends that had lost touch 12 years ago after one moved out of state. Both of these women are good friends of mine, but I had no clue until yesterday that they knew each other. None whatsoever. It was the most serendipitous occurance I've ever experienced.

My friend Roxanne was walking her infinitesimal dog and called me while she was out to catch up on a few things. While we were talking I happened to mention my friend Jean, and that Jean was the same age as my mom. Roxanne wondered how I knew Jean and I told her that Jean was my Visiting Mom when my kids were infants. Roxanne said "Jean xxx?" and I said "Yes! Do you know her?"

Well it turned out that Jean was her Visiting Mom too! Talk about a small world.

Roxanne had moved to Michigan to be closer to her family when her personal life got really rocky for a bit, and she and Jean lost touch. Jean never loses touch with anyone. She's not only the most organized person I've ever met with an amazing desk filled with copious amounts of correspondence, she's still has friends from preschool. She's 85 years old. I taught her how to use email and a computer about 6 years ago, and now she has two email accounts and a brand new Mac laptop. She's really amazing as a friend.

Nevertheless, they lost touch, and when Roxanne moved back to MA about 10 years ago, she had no idea that Jean was looking for her. Nor did I.

I met Roxanne a while back at my parenting group and we've become close friends. When she told me that she knew Jean, I had the brilliant idea to totally surprise Jean and bring her over to Roxanne's house for a reunion. Roxanne lives in a different house in a different town, and there would be no way that Jean would know where we were going or why.

I called Jean yesterday and told her I had a huge surprise for her. We made a date for me to pick her up today and go to "the surprise." I was so excited for her because reconnecting with an old friend is just about the best thing one can do for Jean. She really values her friendships.

I picked her up today and she was quite curious. We drove over to Roxanne's house and parked in the driveway and she was confused. "Do I get out?" she asked. I told her of course, and then we went up to the front door and into the house. I yelled out my Yoohoo, and Roxanne came around the corner. Jean looked shocked. Like she could not believe what she was seeing. She just keep looking and Roxanne finally said "Do you remember me?" and Jean was so excited and said "Roxanne" in the most amazed voice. They hugged and then Roxanne's husband and kids came out and we had a wonderful reunion. Everyone hugged and kissed and had tears in their eyes. It was as if a family that had been lost for years found their way home at last.

This was such a special thing to do for Jean. It's very hard to give her gifts, as she has everything she wants and needs. It's even harder to surprise her. She's usually very calm and pretty steady about her life. This was truely a huge surprise for her, one she will remember for the rest of her life.

As for Roxanne, she was so glad to have Jean back in her life. Jean is a real steadying influence and for Roxanne, kept her sane when things were totally out of control.

I'm just happy I could do something that was so easy and made such a difference in the lives of two people I adore. Go me!

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Friday, January 23, 2009

What the word Hero means to me

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Sometimes the awesomeness surprises me

Mostly, like every other family, we do the same old dance day after day with all of the inherent ups and downs that go with being a family with teenagers. We get up reluctantly in the morning, the kids go off to school grumbling about how unfair life is, they come home exhausted from hours of socializing and minutes of actual learning, take naps, talk on the phone, complain about this and that, watch TV and recharge their Ipods, and then go to bed. Rinse and repeat.

Occasionally things change this delicate balance, but this is mostly how things are in our house.

Sometimes, usually when I least expect it, they take awesome pills and turn into really cool people for a while. The pills don't last long, because as teenagers awesomeness isn't what one strives for, but when it happens, I kvell because it's just so.... well, awesome.

Today both kids did exactly what they are supposed to do. Which is highly unusual. Usually one complies with the rules and the other one strays. It is rare that they are in synch and compliant. Very rare. Which makes it awesome when it happens totally out of the blue.

The Boy made plans with his BFF and they went to friend's house for the afternoon to work on something for school. I know! Totally awesome.

The Girl stayed after school to work on an English project she wanted to finish before the term ends to get her grade up. This is highly unusual, but again, totally awesome. When she came home she asked me to take her to a store because she wanted to waste her money on yet another pair of designer jeans. I took her, and she got a pair of Sevens for $42 way way way marked down. That child has inherited my el-cheapo shopping prowess in a big way. Awesome. If only she didn't want to buy everything in every store, but as she said tonight, after being deprived for so long due to a lack of money, now that she has money she wants to buy the things she was denied. It's her money. She's earned it fair and square. She'll eventually catch on that spending money on jeans isn't the best use of her money. But for now, I can't fault her for wanting the things that she's desired for so long.

After shopping we went to pick up the Boy who was right around the corner from the Mall. He got in the car with nary a complaint. We stopped at CVS to pick up my prescription refills and nobody complained about the wait. Magically awesome.

We got home, the Girl studied for her history midterm, the Boy studied for his Psych midterm, they both were quiet and busy doing what they needed to do, and I passed out on the sofa for a nice nap.

The Boy made himself some dinner and actually offered to make me something, too. I didn't even have to ask. He volunteered! He even put everything away on his own and didn't leave a huge mess. Awesome.

And then they went to bed. Quietly and peacefully.

What a freaking awesome day. Not one raised voice, not one bout of complaining about how life sucks, and the best thing? They talked to each other. They didn't argue, they didn't judge, they didn't insult. They talked.

Totally awesome!

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

LOST: Discussion Thursday

I don't know about you, but by the end of three hours of LOST, my head is just spinning. I feel like I'm traveling in and out of time right along with our island friends. So much to digest. So little time. I'll do the best I can.

Episode 5.1, Because You Left

A clock turns 8:14am and the alarm goes off. A man wakes up, but his Asian wife tells him to get the baby. He sets about his morning routine while playing a record of Willie Nelson's “Shotgun Willie.” The whole scene is virtually identical to the opening of Season 2 with Desmond in the Hatch.

The record skips and after turning it off, the man exits his home to reveal he's living in the Barracks on the Island. He goes into another house, and as soon as he speaks, die-hard Lost fans recognize him as Dr. Marvin Candle. He begins to film a DHARMA orientation video for the Arrow, saying it's mission is to provide defensive strategies against the Hostiles. I'm guessing they failed, given the eventual Purge.

A Dharma guy runs in yelling and the filming is interrupted because of a disturbance at the Orchid Station. Drills are melting because of their proximity to a strange power source and people are freaking out. An Xray of the already drilled area is handed over to Dr. Candle, and it shows the wheel Ben turned to get the island to disappear.

Dr. Candle orders them to stop because they're closing in on the frozen chamber with the donkey wheel, which holds the Island's mystical power that, when harnessed, can allow them to manipulate time.

However, Candle says there are rules and you can't change the past. Also, if the chamber is opened, “God help us all.” A new technician enters with his hat way down on his head to hide his identity and the first technician asks him, “Time travel, how stupid does that guy think we are?” I'd say very stupid, because the man he's talking to is...DANIEL FARADAY! So Daniel does know how to time travel and has for a long long time. And he doesn't age either. Okay then!

Now we're in the future in the shabby funeral home with Ben and Jack picking up right where we left off, standing over Locke's body. Ben is trying to convince Jack they need to take Locke's body and gather up the rest of the Oceanic 6 in order to get back to the island. Because they have to go back, Ben says. Ben lets Jack get a change of clothes and a shave, and they talk about Locke. Ben claims the last time he saw John was on the Island at the Orchid Station, but I've learned never to trust him. Ben asks Jack when he last talked to Locke, too.

Jack says he's a believer because John told him that everyone would die if they didn't go back, but that John didn't tell him what happened after the Island moved. Ben seems relieved at this last part. Ben doesn't volunteer the information either, just saying that they'll all die if the Oceanic 6 doesn't go back.

Three years earlier...

Ben pushed the wheel and the Island was enveloped in a glowing light. Then all the Others with Locke are gone and it’s raining. Locke is totally alone. The people on the Zodiac boat can still see the Island because, as Faraday says, “We must’ve been inside the radius.” But everything else seems to be gone from the island.

Sawyer and Juliet are also confused because suddenly the freighter is gone, as is Sawyer’s shirt.

Bernard and Rose storm out of the woods to announce that the entire camp is gone too.

Sure enough, when they go to check it out, the entire camp is gone. People are still there, but no tents, no food, no nothing. Very interesting!

Faraday arrives and takes charge, asking for the location of a man-made object. Juliet suggests the Hatch, or what used to be the Hatch, but Sawyer is more preoccupied with where the camp is. Faraday tells him it’s not gone, it just hasn’t been built yet. Sawyer is not a happy camper and doesn't like Daniel at all and of course challenges his every word.

On the way to the Hatch, Sawyer stops to ask Faraday for his shirt. I think everyone would be happier if Sawyer kept going on without his shirt. Sawyer wants to know what’s going on, but Faraday says it would be difficult to explain it to a quantum physicist. In the spirit of great discourse, Sawyer’s slaps his face. Juliet freaks. Sawyer isn't going to back down. He and Faraday are going to be dancing around the hate pole for a long time, I think.

Hitting Faraday proves to be an adequate debating technique, because Faraday says that it’s like a record skipping, and they’ve become dislodged...in time! Faraday isn’t sure if they’re moving or the Island is. Sawyer looks totally confused, but Juliet seems to get it.

Back in the rainy jungle, Locke is still on his own when a plane buzzes over him and crashes into the Island.

But this isn’t any plane, it’s Yemi’s (Mr Echo's brother) drug smuggling plane with the heroin Virgin Mary statues. Locke goes to investigate, but while climbing the cliff, he’s shot in the leg and falls to the ground.

The shooter comes in from the foliage and it's Ethan Rom. Locke tries to talk his way out of the situation by knowing Ethan's name and then saying Ben Linus appointed him the leader of the Others, but Ethan isn’t buying it. The sky glows and suddenly day becomes night and there’s another time jump.

We're back with Faraday, Juliet, Sawyer, Miles, and Charlotte. Faraday tells everyone “We’re either in the past, or we’re in the future.” That’s a narrow view, because for them, it’s always the present. They can only figure out where they are in time by finding man made objects like the hatch and Yemi's airplane to reference whether they're in the past or the future.

Back in the future, two lawyers show up on Kate’s doorstep asking for blood samples from her and Aaron to determine if they’re related. They do this on behalf of an unknown client. Kate tells them to come back with a sheriff, which gives her a chance to pack all her things (plus some money and a gun) so she and Aaron can flee. She takes off running again, this time with Aaron NOT in a car seat (did this bug anyone else?).

Meanwhile, Sun tries to board a plane to Los Angeles, but is stopped by Customs and is pushed into a locked room. Guess who comes in another door? It's Charles Widmore.

He’s not too happy that she "humiliated" him in front of his associates and he demands respect. She agrees and they get down to business: Sun wants to work with him because they have common interests, namely killing Ben Linus. He looks sufficiently interested but doesn't ask why she wants to kill Ben.

Back in California at Ben's shabby hotel/office room, Ben and Jack’s mission gets more difficult when they see a news report that Hurley has escaped the Santa Rosa Mental Institution and is a suspect in the murder of the guy Sayid killed in the car.

Hurley and Sayid are partnered up, stopping for some fast food before heading to the safe house. Hurley is very calm about all this as Sayid warns him never to trust Ben. Things heat up when they get to the safe house and realize it’s been compromised by checking a piece of tape that's been ripped by the door. Lo tech, but oh so useful.

Sayid goes beserko, flipping one guy over the balcony to the parking lot a few stories down. Hurley, who is still on the balcony, picks up the intruder's big giant gun and looks down below at the body. As he looks, 3 men run up to the body, one looks up and sees Hurley and snaps a photo with his cell phone.

Hurley's shirt is conveniently covered in ketchup that he spilled on himself while eating his fast food. Meanwhile, a second guy comes bursting out of the safe house apartment, and Sayid does battle with the second guy as Hurley cowers in the balcony. Sayid gets a dart in the neck, but still fights back, making the bad guy fall onto an open dishwasher full of upward pointing knives. Death by dishwasher. That's a new one on me.

Back on the Island, Juliet, Sawyer, Miles, Daniel and Charlotte finally make it to the Hatch, but it’s a massive crater, helping out those of us trying to figure out when they jumped to. Sawyer decides to go back to the camp to see if people are still there so he can warn them, but Daniel says that’s not the way it works. They can’t change anything, and if they try to change things, they will fail. Time is a constant, and there’s no altering the history of events. As a huge fan of time travel, I’m very happy they’re addressing these important rules right away.

In the jungle, Locke hobblesover to the drug smuggling plane, which has fallen during this last time change, to get a belt to tie off his bleeding leg. Out of the jungle our pal Richard Alpert shows up to help with the bullet in John’s leg.

He gets out his First Aid Kid and pulls out the bullet while Locke wonders how Richard knew where he was. Richard goes over some rules and tells John that the next time they meet, he won’t recognize him, so Richard hands John a compass to give him.

Finally, before the next time jump, Richard tells John that the only way to save the Island is to get the Oceanic 6 back, and that to do that, “You’re gonna have to die, John.”

Ooops, there’s another time jump, and this time the drug smuggling plane is back on the cliff and the Hatch door is still buried. Juliet runs over to where the hatch window is, clears off the foliage, and shows the other Losties the hatch window. Rather than start from scratch, Sawyer rushes to the Hatch’s back door to knock and get some supplies. He calls himself “the Ghost of Christmas Future,” but Faraday keeps trying to convince him it won’t work because Desmond didn’t know him the first time around. He pounds and pounds on the door, but nobody answers it.

Juliet calms Sawyer down and they go back to the beach. Miles goes with them, thinking he has a shot with Juliet. Faraday notices Charlotte’s nose is bleeding and he’s quite concerned about it.

He sends her ahead, telling her that he has left his backpack and needs to go back for it. She leaves with a longing look, and he goes back to the back door with a plan. He knocks until Desmond comes out in hazmat attire and a gas mask, pointing a gun and asking “Are you him?” He thinks that Faraday might be his missing replacement.

Faraday isn’t, but he’s excited because Desmond is uniquely special and the rules of time travel don’t apply to him. Faraday tells him that if they make it back, everyone they left behind is in danger, and the only way to help is for Desmond to go back to Oxford where they met and find Faraday’s mother. “Her name is...” is all Faraday can get out before he time jumps.

Next scene and it's three years in the future. Desmond wakes up, just remembering this chance encounter with Faraday. He realizes that this isn't a nightmare, it was a memory.

Penny is there with him, and he goes up to the topside of the boat he and Penny are living on, preparing to set sail for Oxford.

Now on to the second hour and episode 5.2, "The Lie"

The second hour begins shortly after the Oceanic 6 got picked up by Penny's boat. They call it “three years ago,” which implies the show's future is now it's present, and what used to be the present is now the past. If you're already confused, don't worry, so am I.

The Oceanic 6 are debating what they should tell people when they get back. Jack is pushing the lie about there being no other survivors to protect them from Charles Widmore. Lapidus is willing to go along with whatever the others decide. Everyone agrees to lie but Hurley, who is so refreshingly honest. Hurley doesn't want to lie, asking Penny is she can just call off her dad. After they pick her up off the floor, she says that there is no calling off her father. So Hurley agrees to lie, reluctantly after Jack says everyone will think they're crazy if they tell the truth. Sayid sides with Jack, and Hurley vows that he'll remember this and won't help him in the future.

Cut to the future, where Hurley is helping a now drugged Sayid escape after murdering the two intruders. Hurley is driving like a mad man with the unconscious Sayid in the passenger seat.

Hurley swerves and knocks down a newspaper stand, which causes him to get pulled over by a cop. He freaks out until the cop shows up, and it's...ANA LUCIA!

Crazy Hurley's imaginary friends are back, and Ana Lucia reads him the riot act about being safe and not getting caught. After her pep talk, she adds, “Libby says hi.” I would normally assume this was a manifestation of Hurley's subconscious, but since there's time travel and magic islands, I've decided these ghosts might be real in some manner. Whatever it was, Ana Lucia looked great, healthy and clear-eyed. She tells him to get some new clothes and to clean himself up.

Hurley stops off at a convenience store to pick up a shirt to hide the ketchup-stained one he's wearing. Unfortunately, the only one that will fit him says “I Heart My Shih-Tzu.” It's absurdly hilarious that such a big man and a big shirt have such a tiny dog. The checkout girl recognizes him from the lotto and the Oceanic 6, but thankfully not from the news report on her TV about him being a triple homicide suspect. Funny since the news is on right behind her and guess who is on TV for being a triple murderer. It's our Hurley!

He leaves the store quickly and peels out of the lot, and at that same moment, Kate pulls into the same store with Aaron, who is NOT sitting in a car seat.

She considers calling Jack, but doesn't, then she gets a call anyone from a surprising voice asking her to meet. The next scene is a cute one with Kate and Aaron going through a very plush hotel lobby and she has him push the button for floor 31.

She and Aaron go up to the 31st floor and meet Sun, after knocking on the door of a fabulous suite.

Kate tells Sun about the lawyers showing up on her doorstep, and Sun theorizes the client is clearly less interested in exposing their lie than he is about getting Aaron, so Kate should "take care" of them. Kate is offended by the implication that she's capable of killing someone, and Sun is incredibly passive aggressive about how Kate promised to find Jin, then left him behind to die on the freighter. Sun says she doesn't blame Kate, but that sounds like a lie to me.

Back on the Island, everyone is growing impatient about the lack of food, fire, and the ability to control time. Juliet and Sawyer want to ride the Zodiac away, but Faraday says he’d first have to recalculate the bearing, which would require knowing the exact point in time they’re at.

That night they still haven’t time jumped, so the durations change too. Bernard still fails to make fire, earning the mockery of Neil "Frogurt", who is extra annoying tonight. He goes off about how they have nothing, even calling Sawyer “inbred.”

Juliet tries to calm him down, but he’s furious that they can’t even get fire. In a moment that’s a bit too ironic for my taste, a flaming arrow comes out of the sky and hits Frogurt in the chest at that exact moment.

Then a ton of flaming arrows fall from the sky and Sawyer tells everyone to split up and meet at the creek. Frogurt gets a few more arrows in his body for good measure, just to make sure he’s really really dead. Some other people die too, but they’re all red shirts.

While walking to the creek, Sawyer and Juliet hear some people coming and hide. Unfortunately, they still get captured by some military-looking people I think are Dharma peeps. They ask “What are you doing on our island?” The obnoxious British leader asks for information or else he’ll cut off Juliet’s other hand. “The first one’s not negotiable,” he explains. That’s kind of bad-ass, but just as her hand is about to be chopped off, shots are fired and knives start flying into these people’s bodies. That’s right, it’s time to take lessons on being bad-ass from the master, John Locke. He walks over to one of the dead bodies, yanks his knife from the dead guy's back, and says, “James, Juliet, nice to see you.”

And we're back in the USA. Ben packs his things for the journey, including a box he hid in the ventilation shaft. He has to go away for six hours to put Locke’s body somewhere safe. Jack wonders why he needs to do this, asking if Locke is really dead. Ben refuses to answer the question.

Instead, he goes to a butcher shop to talk to Jill the Butcher. She knows Ben and when he asks her to watch what he has in the van, she asks if it is what she thinks it is. Ben confirms this, and also wants to know if Gabriel and Jeffrey have checked in. Is there any corner of the globe where Ben doesn’t have friends?

At Hurley’s mansion, his dad makes a big sandwich with caviar on top and sits down to enjoy his favorite TV show: Expose! Hurley shows up at the back door with an unconscious Sayid, begging for safe haven, asking his dad to lie to the cops to get them away. Oh, forgot to mention that the popo are staking out Hurley's parents house.

Hurley’s mom arrives and asks why there’s a dead Pakistani on her couch. He’s not dead, but he’s close, so Hurley asks his dad to drive him to see Jack while Hurley stays behind. Hurley’s dad gets him to Jack then wipes his hands of this mess. Jack immediately calls Ben to say he has Sayid before getting him to the hospital to fix him up.

Meanwhile, Hurley’s mom asks her son to tell her the truth, so he explains everything: the smoke monster, the Others, the Hatch, the button, DHARMA, the freighter sent by Desmond’s girlfriend’s father, and the disappearing Island. Proving to be the most trusting mother ever, or the dumbest, Carmen Reyes believes her son. But she looks kinda dubious.

Later that night, Hurley heats up a delicious Hot Pocket in the microwave when Ben shows up behind him. Hurley is so scared he throws the Hot Pocket against the wall. Ben offers to take Hurley back to the Island and make his life simple so he never has to lie again. It sounds good, but Hurley refuses to trust Ben, so he runs outside and begs the cops to arrest him. Hurley confesses to murdering four or three people, or however many are dead.

Finally, we see a hooded woman in a weird room writing mathematical formulas on a chalkboard while a pendulum makes etches on the floor.

She types some numbers into an old-fashioned computer and it says “Event Window Determined.” The woman climbs the stairs into a church where Ben is waiting. She removes her hood and it’s...MS. HAWKING!

Do you all remember her? She was the crazy time lady who told Desmond about his time traveling in “Flashes Before Your Eyes.” She tells Ben that he only has 70 hours. He argues that’s not enough time, but she doesn’t care. He asks what happens if he can’t get them all back, and she says, “God help us all.”

Next week on Lost: Desmond searches for Faraday’s mother and the survivors on the Island learn who these people with military outfits and fire arrows are. And there’s a revelation that’s about 100 kilotons bigger than anything from these first two hours.
Questions and things to ponder:

  • Is Charlotte suffering the same "sickness" that killed Minkowski (and almost Desmond?) Is it because she was on the Island before (as a child) and left, but returned on a different bearing? Or is it because she doesn't have a Constant? Could this be the same "illness" that killed all of CFL's crew? But CFL was somehow spared because she had Alex to act as her Constant?
  • If Desmond is the only one immune to the effects of the Island jumping in time and wiping out memories, is he screwing up the space-time continuum by suddenly having the ability to actually change the past?
  • Who the F is Ms. Hawking? I definitely got the vibe that she is some type of "The Matrix"-esque Oracle character who is trying to prevent the end of the world, mucked up by Desmond changing the past. Is this why she was so adamant about him not marrying Penny and just staying put on the Island?
  • Who was the Jill the Butcher character that Ben left Locke's body with? An Other that he is BFF with from back in the day? Or someone in the Ms. Hawking clan who are just working on preventing the world from coming to an end?
  • Even with Hurley potentially being arrested, it's pretty hilarious how simple the Oceanic Six storyline is in comparison to the Island one. Every time they would jump to an Oceanic Six scene, I would feel slight disappointment on the inside.
  • What are the odds that the opening scene of the season, featuring Faraday inside the Orchid as it is being built, was actually a "flashback", and that at some point this season, the Island will "jump" back that far in time, allowing Faraday to enter the Orchid to try and sort everything out? Will this lead to throwing him into the future? Is this why he was crying when we first met his character last season? Does he have this residual memory of everything that happened, and everyone that dies (Charlotte in particular), but can't quite remember it? Will he be exposed to high levels of radiation like Desmond rendering him able to remember things outside of the "jumps"?
  • Locke ends up with the compass that Alpert gave him, which seems like the object that Alpert wanted him to choose as a child when he visited. However, the knife is actually what was Locke's - the compass is Alpert's. So wouldn't that mean that Locke chose correctly?
  • Is this how the Others knew that Locke was going to be their future leader? Did 1970's Locke tell them all sorts of stuff that had not yet happened and they figured that he was seeing into the future and must be some all-knowing being / witch?
  • My early assumption is that Island Originals are immune from the effects of the Island moving - but any outsiders are not. This would explain Alpert knowing what was going on, but Ethan and the early Dharma folks not. But there are still all sorts of questions about what this means for characters who are alive vs. dead in the different timelines. Could this be why we see characters like Christian Shephard walking around?

Sawyer...because I can

He is the epitome of mmm mmmm good.

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