April 28

These are a Few of My Favorite Words

People make fun of me for the way I talk. Sometimes they are even offended by my use of big or unusual words. They think I’m trying to show off or, even worse, make them feel stupid. But the truth is much simpler (and kinder!) than that.

I’m a word nerd.

I’m a complete language freak. I love words! It’s why I learned French and Russian. It’s why I majored in English and became a language teacher. As my Writing Center colleagues and students can attest, I become positively giddy when I encounter a clever turn of phrase or a brand new word. A new word is like a newly unearthed treasure I want to pull from the ground and share with the whole world! Look at this! Isn’t it shiny and beautiful!

English is such a rich language, full of these treasures, and I don’t see why any word should be buried, relegated to the darkness. If I discover a new one, especially one that sounds funny, trips neatly off the tongue and has a perfectly specific meaning, I will incorporate it into my own vocabulary and use it as often as possible.

And I’m fortunate because I’ve been blessed with the auditory equivalent of a photographic memory. I take no credit for the ability; I didn’t earn it. It’s genetic. My sister and my kids have it too. We can just hear something and forever remember it exactly. That gift makes it pretty easy for me to absorb new words.

So when people accuse me of showing off or belittling them, I’m hurt and a little confused. In general, I don’t “dumb down” my language for anyone. To me, doing so would mean I am assuming the listener is not smart. The only creatures I “dumb down” for are animals and small children, and even then, I don’t speak differently unless I am explaining a difficult concept that a child truly needs to understand.  I talk the same way to pretty much everyone and assume that anyone I speak to is just as smart as I am or smarter. If they don’t understand a word I use, I’m delighted to explain it, and I imagine they feel the way I do when someone shares a new word with me – excited!

Now that I’m older and also since I started teaching at the university, people seem more tolerant of the way I speak. It’s so liberating!

So in the spirit of sharing and educating and getting giddy, may I present some of my favorite words?

It is a diverse list. Some of the words I love for their sound. Some of them for their surgically precise meaning. Others have happy associations with people or places. This list could be 10 or 20 times as long. Believe it or not, I whittled it down!

Entropy  - Learned during an undergrad biology class at IU. It summarizes what I see as the greatest struggle in my life: maintaining order in the face of invading chaos!

Stygian – Learned from a Pakistani chemistry student who was writing a lab report on a dark coagulate. He got tired of the word “dark,” so he pulled “Stygian” out of the thesaurus. It does mean dark, but it’s poetic, so it was completely out of context in a chemistry report. Ah, the thesaurus.

Efficient (usually used with “effective”) – I just love the meaning of these words. They got tossed around so much at the insurance company where I was a tech writer, for a while I hated them. But efficiency is vital in my struggle against entropy, so they’re back in my good graces.

Patois – Learned from one of my fellow grad students at Butler. She kept talking about the “patois” of the aristocratic Indians in Salman Rushdie’s novels. I had to look it up. You should too.

Going concern – Okay, so this one’s a phrase. And it’s kind of jargon-y. But we used it a lot at the insurance company and at Disney, and no other word or phrase in English has this meaning. I just find it an interesting concept.

Delegate – As a verb. It’s something I must do more of, but I’m a control freak.

Hermeneutics – I run across this one often when I tutor rhetoric students. I like the sound of it and the way it looks on paper.

Epistemology – Another one I see in graduate-level papers, especially social work students. I don’t really understand it well, but it’s fun to say.

Ecumenical – Learned this one from the Merriam-Webster “word of the day” app. I like the way my mouth moves when I say it.

Self-deprecating – Learned this one from my mother who used it all the time when my sister and I were adolescents.

Aplomb – The newest word on the list! I heard one of Jon Stewart’s guests use it on The Daily Show a couple weeks ago, ran to look it up, and just like everything about it.

Synergize – Disney-ese. I heard or used this word almost every day during the decade I worked for The Company.

Permutation – First encountered this as a math concept in Mrs. Hender-Bob’s advanced algebra class. I use its non-algebraic definition every chance I get.

Logistics – Another word, like entropy and efficient, that signifies my highest priorities in life.

Contrived – Learned from Simon LeBon of Duran Duran who was arguing with a reporter about whether or not the band was “contrived.” It’s just the perfect opposite of “organic” and so much more specific than “artificial” or “unnatural.”

Shiksa – Learned from my Jewish sorority sisters at IU. Yiddish has fabulous sounds. Even the rude words sound funny. (See “shmuck!”)

Bougie – French word for a fat candle. We don’t have a good word for that object in English. It’s not a taper, a pillar, a votive or a tealight. It’s fatter and squatter.

Ciao – Like “aloha” which I also love, it can mean either “hello” or “goodbye.” That appeals to me. Plus it sounds cool in every way.

Nimble – Learned from “Ghostbusters.” Enough said.

Kaibab – Learned in the Grand Canyon. I love the way it sounds and feels. Plus, it reminds me of our hike.

Cooperate – I use this word a lot when I tickle my children, so it reminds me of them. I tell them, “If you’ll cooperate, this’ll just take a second.” When I get to “cooperate,” they start giggling because they know what’s coming. So the word makes me smile now.

Walrus – Another word that reminds me of my kids. Also, Ferris Bueller (“I could be the walrus. I’d still have to bum rides off people.”), the Beatles and “Alice in Wonderland.” Whenever we have to end an activity or go somewhere, I say, “The time has come, the walrus said, and I am the walrus. Coo coo cachoo,” synthesizing John Lennon and Lewis Carroll. The kids understand. See? Told ya I was a word nerd!

March 30

Uprisings, Earthquakes, Homophobes, Weddings and DAWGS!

Seems like so much has been going on lately, I could do several blog entries a day. From natural disasters in Japan and Myanmar to rebellions in the Middle East to royal weddings in Britain and political antics here at home, the news is chock full of violence, grief, disaster and nonsense.

It’s all too much to try to tackle every topic individually; to be honest, I’ve been so overwhelmed by the volume of news, I haven’t been able to think through any one topic completely. For instance, I’m still not sure how I feel about U.S. military action in Libya. For now, I think I’ll toss everything out there at once. Maybe I’ll come back to one or two of them individually later, but I don’t know. The world seems even messier than usual.

·         ***We can start in Libya since I already mentioned it, and since it seems the messiest of all the topics at hand. Personally, I keep bouncing back and forth in my thinking on it. Having lived through Reagan’s first attack on Libya back in the 1980’s, I hate Gadhafi out of habit. For many years, though, I had happily relegated him to my long-term memory. In the present, he was little more than a figure of ridicule, sporting laughable costumes and a seemingly melting face. When he reacted to his people’s peaceful protests with gunfire, though, he instantly resumed his position as the villain of my childhood. And when his people started asking for military help from the West, I thought, well, yeah! We should totally do that. But then, if we go into Libya, will be go into Syria? Yemen? Bahrain? There are protests all over the Middle East and North Africa right now being met with government violence. Where will we draw the line? And what’s more, how can we possibly afford it? We keep hearing that we have no money; our military is already overextended in Iraq and Afghanistan. I can’t see any logical arguments; even the ever-logical Obama couldn’t quite answer some of these questions in his speech the other night. Nothing would make me happier than to see Gadhafi go down in flames, but I just can’t fully support the U.S. going in there to ensure it.

***Egypt confuses me too. I was so excited for the Egyptian people at first. Then I started hearing from some of my Egyptian students that this whole revolution could actually make things worse, depending on who takes power next. If the military imposes martial law or if a radical Muslim party takes control, the country could turn into dangerous enemy for the U.S., and certain sectors of Egyptian society could be horrifically victimized (women, Coptic Christians, secular non-Muslims).

·         ***Japan. What a nightmare. I have three friends currently in Japan; one is Japanese, the other two are Americans. I am so grateful they are all safe, but the stories coming out of there still make me anxious for them. And some of the comments I’m hearing from my fellow Americans make me sick: “It’s their problem; we don’t have money to help them. We should take care of our own first.” The best use of money is to help people in need – ANY people in need. I can absolutely support using whatever funds we can spare to help the Japanese. Japan offered aid to the U.S. after both Katrina and 9/11. (The U.S. always turns down such offers, though.) They deserve our help. As human beings, we should sympathize and help all we can. I am flabbergasted by some of my fellow “Christians” claiming we shouldn’t bother. It looks to me like racism disguised as pennypinching. Both make me nauseous.

***If you don’t live in Indiana, you may not have heard that an anti-gay marriage/anti-civil union amendment to our state constitution just passed in our Senate. This move depresses me to my very core. Indiana is homophobic and backwards enough without writing it into our constitution. It’s embarrassing. One of my friends, a lawyer for the state, consoled me with the fact that the Senate’s passage is just step 2 of 5. “There’s still plenty of time to kill it,” he assured me. And one of my amazing gay friends had this remarkably optimistic perspective: “It’s a sign of how much progress we’ve made that the haters feel the need to legislate to protect their homophobia.”  I’m clinging to that upbeat viewpoint.

·        *** The prospective Republican presidential candidates are quite entertaining at the moment. From Newt Gingrich’s blaming his infidelity on his patriotism to Sarah Palin’s characterization of the Libyan action as a “squirmish,” I’m really enjoying the G.O.P.’s offerings so far. Donald Trump 2012? Bring it on! He’s a laugh riot!

·         ***If you live under a rock, you may not have heard that England is having a royal wedding soon. Personally, I’m kind of nostalgically excited about it. I have vague, but unique, childhood memories of waking up ridiculously early with my mother to watch Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding. The monarchies are full of pomp and circumstances and centuries-old traditions that Americans just do not have. They have a continuity that is fascinating to me. Plus, I have a rather maternal feeling toward William. I remember the announcements of Diana’s pregnancy and his birth. Along with the rest of the world, I watched him grow up, watched him walking slowly behind his mother’s hearse at her funeral. I want him to be happy. He seems like a nice kid; he deserves that.

·        *** To end on an even lighter note, I’d like to address the NCAA Tournament. I got my Master’s Degree from Butler University. To say that I am proud of their basketball success would be an understatement. As a Hoosier and a rabid basketball fan, though, I love the VCU-Cinderella story too. The game on Saturday will be an emotional roller coaster, and if Butler loses, I will then have to root for VCU. For now, though, GO DAWGS!

As usual, the world presents us with all kinds of news – terrifying, tragic, bewildering, infuriating, amusing and fun. I’m actually going to take a few days off from the awful stuff to concentrate on the excitement of my Butler Bulldogs going to the Final Four. There will be plenty of time to wallow in sorrow later.

Category: Current Events, Popular Culture, Purely Political | Comments Off
March 18

Night Owls of the World – UNITE!

So we’re five days into “Daylight Savings” Time, and I’m still tired. Still fighting the urge to go back to bed as soon as I get home from taking the kids to school.

Five days! My sister says it’s psychological, but I don’t buy that. The fact is, I’m being forced to wake up at 6:30 instead of 7:30 in the morning. You can change the clocks, but you can’t change my circadian clock. That alarm clock might say 7:30, but my body knows better.

I am one of those unfortunate folks who is not only a night owl, but I also seem to need more sleep than many adults. I need eight hours MINIMUM. Ten would be better. If I get below seven, bad things happen. I am not a nice person, not a nice friend, mother or wife. It’s ugly. All that said, I’ve always seemed to have a tougher time than most with time changes, jet lag, and the like.

Needless to say, I hate “Daylight Savings” Time.

You may notice I keep putting the words in quotation marks. Yeah, that’s because the name is stupid. Like you can save daylight. Sure. Stick it in a bottle. Or I can think of some other places you can stick it.

Indiana rejected DST for a long time. We had it for a few years when I was a kid. I don’t remember it well except that my dad said it was the reason our favorite drive-in movie theater closed. Then our Hoosier lawmakers got rid of it. We flipped back and forth between Eastern time and Central time. The only time I ever really paid any attention to the Indiana time anomaly was when I worked for an insurance company that had agents on both coasts. In the summer, the California agents would complain bitterly that we closed too early. In the winter, the Maryland agents would complain bitterly that we didn’t open early enough. Or maybe it was vice versa. I don’t remember; I just remember we couldn’t make anyone else happy. But Hoosiers were fine with being unusual, and it made our lives easier.

Transplants hated our standard time, though. My New Englander husband would grouse about Monday Night Football suddenly being on at a different time when the rest of the country “fell back.” I also worked with a guy from Kansas who was an avid golfer. He complained that he didn’t have time to get in a full 18 holes after work during Indiana summers.

So a few years back, our governor, in his infinite wisdom, not only proposed DST for Indiana, but also decided we should be on EASTERN DST. Eastern! We’re on the same time as Boston (800 miles from Indianapolis) instead of Chicago (180 miles). Last night the sunset around 8:00. We’re not even to the spring equinox! By the time summer solstice rolls around, the sun will set around 11pm. Seriously!

So earlier this week, I was complaining about DST on my Facebook page, and I noticed some trends in the comments. Pro-DST folks tend to fall into three categories: Golf People, No-Kid People and Morning People.

The Time Tyranny Trifecta.

Golf people. What can I say? I don’t play golf. I love sports, but golf isn’t one of them. I don’t think it should even qualify as a sport. Any game where you can be obese and drunk and still do really well should not be considered a sport. Plus, the whole golf culture rankles me a bit. Pay a couple hundred dollars to walk around a field full of holes, sand pits and water hazards? Wear loud, mismatched clothes on purpose? Drink beer while pretending to be engaging in a sport? The whole thing smack of exclusivism and contradiction to me. It certainly doesn’t seem like a compelling reason to make everyone in the state change their clocks twice a year.

Then, there are the no-kid people. If you have no kids, maybe the time change is nice for you. I can see that. An extra hour after work to play in the yard or hang out on a patio drinking wine. It sounds lovely, although you can do still do some of that stuff after the sun goes down when it’s cooler outside.

For those of us with children, though, that extra hour of sunlight is another hour of dealing with kids. Not just our kids, but ALL the kids. For me, that’s a particularly big deal. We live in a large neighborhood with hundreds of kids, many of whom end up at my house. When the bus arrives at the corner, the countdown begins: “I have to deal with this insanity for 4 hours.” Oops. Now it’s 5 hours because we changed the danged clocks.

Some of my parent friends put their kids to bed at 8 or 9, so they’re complaining about DST too because the sun’s still up. Their kids are fighting them about going to bed when it’s still light out.

Yes, indeed, DST is not a parent’s friend. I don’t generally have that problem because my kids are night owls like I am. Thank Heaven! We go to bed at 10. I arranged my life (and theirs) to maximize our sleep schedule in this morning-person-dictated world. I take them to school so we can sleep an extra 45 minutes. I left my full-time job, in part, because the very idea of getting myself and my kids up every morning at 6am so I could haul them to daycare before rushing to my 8-5 job sounded like a complete nightmare. The flexibility of my college teaching schedule is one of the many things that appealed to me when I started at the university.

I have learned to manage in a morning-person’s world, but morning people still drive me nuts. My grandmother was a morning person. My mom tells stories of getting up to go to the bathroom at 4 or 5 in the morning, and her mother would’ve made her bed when got back to her room. Inexplicably, I married a morning person. It’s one of the biggest strains on our marriage. He’s so sweet and happy in the mornings, and I do not want to speak to anyone. And at night, when I’m bouncing around, full of energy, he wants me dead. It’s hard.

But morning people rule the world, which is, I believe, a terrible injustice. These crazy people think it’s perfectly acceptable to call me or knock on my door at 9am. And because the larks rule the roost, they feel justified. I’d like to see their reaction if I called or rang their doorbell at 11:30 at night. Hey, lazy people! Wake up! I’m still awake! What’s wrong with you losers?
Not only is it unfair for the morning folks to have the power, it’s unwise. Studies have shown that night owls are more productive AND more creative! I think it’s time for all the night owls to rise up (preferably around noon) and take control.

—Make schools start later. MUCH later! I never learned anything in a first-period class that started at 7:30 or 8 in the morning. I slept through most of them. If schools started later, the poor kids would get much more out of their classes. Teachers would be fresher too. States want to cut education budgets? Fine. Cut the school day by an hour in the morning. Let everyone get an extra hour of sleep.

—Ban morning meetings. Everyone hates them anyway.

—Move the standard “opening” time of most businesses to 10 or 11. Who really needs to go to the bank at 9am anyway?

—And while we’re at it, get rid of DST. It’s a nuisance. It’s a hardship for most parents. And contrary to popular belief, it does NOT save money any better than it “saves” time.

    Morning people can use their extra morning time any way they want. If they still want to get up at the butt-crack of dawn, let them. But if they wake me up, they’d better be prepared to get slapped.

    Category: Current Events, Family and Kids, Popular Culture | Comments Off
    March 7

    Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Education

    I have started three drafts of a blog entry on the current political environment vis-a-vis education.

    I gave up three times.

    The conversation right now is too close to me. It is too disheartening. It is even shocking.

    As the granddaughter, niece and daughter of teachers, as an educator myself who has always valued education and the myriad opportunities it brings, I guess I’ve been a little sheltered from the vitriol of the anti-school crowd. Not completely, of course.

    My mother often brought home horror stories about angry parents, aloof administrators, and indifferent students. My aunt teaches second grade at a public school in Terre Haute, the methamphetamine capital of the world. She always talks about her 7-year-old students whose parents could care less if their kids come to school. Hell, my grandfather actually had Charles Manson in class for a brief spell before he got kicked out for ditching. Even before I went to college, I knew that many people had low opinions of a formal education.

    And the further I went into my own academic career, the more first-hand experience I collected myself. The summer after I graduated with my bachelor degree, I went to a party with some old high school pals and made the mistake of enthusiastically admitting I was now a college grad. One of the guys I was talking to actually rolled his eyes, snorted and walked away. When I questioned his girlfriend about his behavior, she shrugged. “We’re not big on college snobs,” she replied. I was speechless.

    By the time I got to grad school, I realized that, sadly, there were some circles in which I needed to keep my education to myself. When certain people asked me what I was up to, I would just talk about the two jobs I was working and leave out the classes I was taking.

    Nowadays, when people ask me what I do, I try to gauge the situation, anticipate their reaction. If I’m not sure their reaction will be positive, I just say I’m a teacher. Sometimes, though, they’ll ask further, and I have to admit I teach English at a university. And then I get the “Ooooh, well, I’ll try to watch my grammar” comment. Like I’m going to correct their usage. I rarely correct even my own children; I don’t correct friends. Ever.

    Despite all these experiences, the current discussions about education and teachers and their unions still leave me speechless. What can I say? Can I even be remotely objective?

    Of course not.

    Obviously, education is important to me. And it should be important to all Americans. It’s part of what makes the American dream possible. We must have a baseline of education to succeed in life. We have to learn how to read. We have to learn how to do basic math. We have to learn enough history to understand what’s come before, so we don’t repeat the same mistakes. We have to learn the scientific method.

    At a minimum, everyone should learn these things. The U.S. has to have a literate population to maintain its democracy. Thomas Jefferson understood that: “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.”

    We have to have a literate population to innovate and boost our economy. Even the most creative people will not get anywhere if they cannot articulate their great ideas.

    We have to a have a literate population to protect our nation. Our military needs soldiers and officers who know their history, know multiple languages, know good communication skills.

    Education is important to the success and stability of our nation.

    So when people want to cut funding of our schools, when people want to bash public school teachers as lazy, glorified babysitters, when people want to privatize our schools because they’re not performing as they think they should, I am flabbergasted.

    Our government needs to get its priorities straight. Get back to basics: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For me, “life” means “health” and “safety.” I want my government to provide a bottom-line, safety-net type of health system, and I want my government to keep us safe from our enemies within and without.

    “Liberty” is more complicated, but for me, its about getting to choose our leaders and those leaders’ supporting the Bill of Rights.

    And then there’s “pursuit of happiness.” Now, I know that education does not make everybody happy. My kindergartner told me just today that she hates school. I know that higher education is not for everyone. I certainly do not look down my nose at people who choose or cannot afford college. My husband left school at age 16; he’s one of the most brilliant people I know, and he also appreciates the value of a good education. You don’t need a degree to be educated, but not appreciating education makes you stupid.

    Education allows us to succeed in business. It allows us to get better jobs and make more money. Education helps us to pursue property, which is, of course, the original source of the phrase from which Jefferson co-opted his famous Declaration (John Locke).

    And the current education system, while certainly not perfect, its not in such bad shape that it needs to be completely abandoned. Are there bad schools? Oh yes. Do I know how to fix them? No, but taking away their money and marginalizing the teachers is definitely not the answer! Are there bad teachers? You bet. But I can count on one hand, the number of bad teachers I’ve had in seventeen years of education. In fact, I can think of just two. Two!

    On the other hand, I can think of a hundred really good teachers I have had the privilege to know, either as their student or as a friend. My mom won student-voted awards almost every year of her 30-year career. Even today, people who had her as a teacher come up to me and sing her praises. She worked her tail off for three decades. All those “vacations” and “breaks” people complain about teachers’ enjoying. Yeah, my mom spent most of those “days off,” locked in her room, grading endless piles of essays. I remember Thanksgivings, Easter Sundays, and Mother’s Days, when we would visit family in Terre Haute, my mom spent the two hours in the car grading and doing lesson plans.

    One of my favorite teachers of all time was a lady named Karen. She taught three preps – sophomore AP literature, junior composition, and an awesome class called humanities. I was fortunate to have her twice as a teacher. She was amazing in the classroom. But she was also one of my mom’s best friends, so I got to see behind the scenes. I saw her in tears my senior year, her first year teaching the brand-new humanities course. She was crying on my mom’s shoulder because she was working so hard, prepping all her classes, developing this new curriculum, grading and dealing with all the usual administrative crap. She felt like she was missing her sons’ childhoods. If I hadn’t walked into my mom’s classroom after school that day, I’d have had no idea she was under such stress. She was flawless in front of her students.

    And then there were my band directors. The first two years I was in band, I didn’t give much thought to how much time these three men put into their music program. My senior year, though, I was a drum major, and I spent a lot of time with them. In the summer. On Monday evenings. On Thursday evenings. On Friday evenings when we had football games. Every Saturday from August to November when we had contests. They chose the marching drill, the musical selections, the uniforms, the flags, the staff. They coordinated 350 teenagers, teaching us music, marching routines and dealing with our teenage angst. They dealt with stage parents and vengeful judges. I cannot imagine how many hours they put into that program. And, oh, yeah, they also had to teach music classes, grade papers, and all that stuff too. They earned every dollar they got paid, and I know it wasn’t as much as it could’ve been if they’d taken their degrees and put all those hours into a private business. I know for a fact that band was the only reason many kids stayed in school at all.

    Teachers are alright.

    The cuts in funding, the swipes at teachers’ unions, the pushes for privatization (vouchers and charter schools) reveal some seriously screwed-up priorities in our country.

    We’d better get our heads on straight and start investing in our future. Education is key. If we forget that, we sacrifice our future because part of our electorate has a chip on its shoulder and another part is senior voters who would rather protect their assets than educate our nation’s children.

    Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (or property if you swing that way) is the bottom line. Education is the path.

    February 8

    Resources and Priorities

    I had an argument with my mom the other day. It wasn’t a big deal, and I don’t want to bore you with the details, except that it was about going to the movies.

    I have terrible luck at movie theaters.

    You can ask my sister or my friend Glynda or my husband. Weird, annoying things happen to me in theaters – rude patrons (or even employees!) who talk during the movie, broken film reels, malfunctioning sound, out-of-focus projection. I just have a long history of bad experiences at the cinema. But I do love movies, so I watch a lot of videos, Netflix, AMC and TCM.

    The argument with my mom was really about something else entirely, but in defending my position, I was forced to explain a philosophy by which I have always lived, but never articulated before:

    Life is a struggle against limited resources.

    We have a limited amount of time, energy and money. 24 hours in a day; 3 weeks of vacation; 4 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas; 14 hours of anticipated, productive energy in a day; a certain number of dollars’ worth of salary a month.

    The limits on my resources are the reasons I make to-do lists, calendars, schedules, budgets and routines.  They are the reasons I say “no” to some things but “yes” to others. They guide pretty much every decision I make because I have priorities.

    Personally, my priorities are fairly complicated, extensive and somewhat dynamic. My family, however, always comes first. Sometimes my job comes second, especially if there is an important deadline coming up. But if things are calm at work, my friends supersede my career. Health is more important than education. Entertainment is more important than material stuff, and so on.

    I could probably go on for days spelling out all my various priorities and the ways in which I allocate my resources to satisfy them. In the past few days, though, I realized something more universal.

    Priorities are how we label each other.

    How we use our limited resources is how we put ourselves into groups, communities or even political parties. People who decide to use their resources on education become academics. People who use their resources on video games and computer equipment become geeks or gamers. People who decide to use their resources on GTL (Gym, Tan, Laundry) become “The Situation.” You get it.

    Priorities and the use of limited resources are why we get so annoyed with lawmakers. To me, it is a waste of time and energy for Indiana lawmakers to be debating an amendment to the state Constitution to make gay marriage illegal. Our state is facing far more dire issues than whether or not two people, who are likely upstanding, contributing members of our society, can be married.  We have rampant unemployment, governmental and corporate corruption, gang violence and industry demise. I consider lawmakers’ using their time and MY tax money to discriminate against a small group of people who are not harming anyone else to be a WASTE of limited resources. It ticks me off. Obviously, other people have different priorities.

    I see it as a waste of time and money and energy for the House of Representatives to be debating a bill to redefine rape so the federal government can protect citizens from paying for federally-funded abortions. Because only 191 abortions due to rape were paid for by federal funds last year, and that number won’t change under the new Health Care Law. So they are sitting in Washington, debating something that might cost taxpayers 2/10 of a cent next year. When we have so many other, bigger issues they should be dealing with.

    Priorities are different for everyone, though. Some people buy designer clothes and pay $50 for a weekly manicure while they live in an apartment that should be condemned. Other people think that spending billions on a war with another nation is okay; spending a lesser amount to help maintain the health of our own citizens is a travesty. That’s why we argue. That’s why debate. That’s how we label one another.

    In the end, my mom decided I had the right not to spend my time and money on going to the movie theater. My priorities are different from hers. Long story short – I’ll wait to see “The King’s Speech” on DVD.