I can’t really explain what inspired this little rant except that I heard a little blurb from a John Edwards speech this morning as I was waking up.

From Wikipedia:  Daniele Albertazzi and Duncan McDonnell, in their volume Twenty-First Century Populism, define populism as pitting “a virtuous and homogeneous people against a set of elites and dangerous ‘others’ who are together depicted as depriving (or attempting to deprive) the sovereign people of their rights, values, prosperity, identity and voice”.


I have several problems with this idea of ‘populism’ (I was not familiar with this word until I heard it associated with John Edwards).  My main problem is this idea of a “virtuous and homogenous people”.  I am a cynic.  I believe people are inherently selfish, (certainly not virtuous or altruistic) and Americans are definitely anything but homogenous.  Also, the idea of ‘others’ who are depriving the ‘people’ of rights and prosperity is pretty hard to swallow.  These ‘others’ were created by the populace, by us!  We elected them (politicians), bought their products (oil companies, Walmart etc), bought into their ideas (judges, religious leaders, teachers, lawyers), worshipped their identities (Hollywood actors, athletes).  And now we accuse them of stealing our rights, values, prosperity, voice etc!  Populism sounds a little too much like communism to me.    


I am optimistic about the upcoming presidential election.  I think both democrats and republicans are supporting candidates with more moderate ideas.  No more of these far left wing and far right wing candidates.  I want to see McCain vs. Obama.


Stress Scale

Life Event  ↓ Life Change Units  ↓
Death of a Spouse 100
Divorce 73
Marital Separation 65
Imprisonment 63
Death of a Close Family Member 63
Personal Injury or Illness 53
Marriage 50
Dismissal from Work 47
Marital Reconciliation 45
Retirement 45
Change in Health of Family Member 44
Pregnancy 40
Sexual Difficulties 39
Gain a New Family Member 39
Business Readjustment 39
Change in Financial State 38
Change in Frequency of Arguments 35
Major Mortgage 32
Foreclosure of Mortgage or Loan 30
Change in Responsibilities at Work 29
Child Leaving Home 29
Trouble with In-Laws 29
Outstanding Personal Achievement 28
Spouse Starts or Stops Work 26
Begin or End School 26
Change in Living Conditions 25
Revision of Personal Habits 24
Trouble with Boss 23
Change in Working Hours or Conditions 20
Change in Residence 20
Change in Schools 20
Change in Recreation 19
Change in Church Activities 19
Change in Social Activities 18
Minor Mortgage or Loan 17
Change in Sleeping Habits 16
Change in Number of Family Reunions 15
Change in Eating Habits 15
Vacation 13
Christmas 12
Minor Violation of Law 11

Score of 300+: At risk of illness.

Score of 150-299+: Risk of illness is moderate (reduced by 30% from the above risk).

Score 150-: Only have a slight risk of illness.

Motivational poster


This is dedicated to Aldo in celebration of his last two off-road bike racing seasons.

(ie the broken ankle season-2006 and the broken back season-2007)



Veggy update.  Turns out the problem with this ‘resolution’ is not making the vegetables, it’s eating them.  The cabbage soup just isn’t something I’m excited to come home and eat.  Also, Aldo does most of the grocery shopping and he doesn’t remember to buy veggies or know which ones I like.

My New Years ‘resolution’ is to eat more vegetables. Specifically, I am going to make one vegetable-rich dish every Sunday for the next 4 Sundays. And maybe one additional vegetable as a side dish one weekday/week. I agree with the ‘experts’ who say that a New Years resolution that is vague such as: lose weight, exercise more or get out of debt are doomed to failure, so I decided to be specific. The idea is that in the next few weeks I’ll get in the habit of making a few vegetable dishes and continue making the ones I like. I made vegetable soup yesterday. It’s sort of like that cabbage soup from that ‘cabbage soup diet’ that was popular in the 80s. Not great, but somewhat filling and theoretically good for me. I also made a stir fry which was ok, but I want to try it again with a LeAnn Chin’s sauce or some other stir-fry sauce from the grocery store (mine wasn’t that great).