Ain’t technology wonderful? Here I am, stuck in the basement obsessively keeping up with weather and tornado warnings on TV, radio and computer all at the same time — and smiling with delight at new pics of my week-old nephew. Born to my younger brother and my sweet-and-precious-even-though-she’s-a-Yankee sister-in-law in Maine, this adorable baby does have an actual name but to me he’ll never outgrow what his parents-to-be called him when he was only a tiny image on a sonogram: Splinter, as in A Little Piece of Wood. Can’t you just smell that precious new baby goodness? Splinter’s mom and dad will make excellent parents, and “big brother” Thule, their Siberian Husky, will help, I’m sure. And in no time whatsoever, it’ll be two years later and, just like grandson Capt. Adorable, Splinter will be playing with trains and flirting with girls and demanding yellow crayons instead of red ones. And by the way, it’s a lot harder to build these train tracks then it looks! Not to mention any names, but one day somebody decided to help the Captain lay out a new configuration and that person got hopelessly confused and couldn’t even create a simple circle that would bring Thomas back to the station safe and sound. Thankfully, the Captain had it figured out. And I believe “laying toy train tracks” should be added to the list of brain-boosting activities.

And on another rant, I climbed up on a (Dove for Sensitive Skin) soap box in my weekly newspaper column,,  and explained exactly why I’m mad at Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, John Edwards and Kate Gosselin. I mean, it’s fine to make mistakes and do stupid things and choose wrongly — just don’t look me (and by “me,” I mean all of us) in the eye and lie about it. Except if you’re on Survivor. Then I sort of expect you to lie. And tell me all about it.


I admit I’m not young and cool. I admit I think Lady Gaga should put some pants on. I admit I’m in that demographic of Super Bowl halftime-show viewers who said, “You know, Pete and Roger haven’t changed that much since I first saw them in ’75. When we had to walk 10 miles in the snow uphill both ways to get to the show.” But I was blown away by the great music I heard on the recent Grammy Award broadcast. I mean, despite Lady Gaga’s weird green Tinkerbell ensemble, her performance was powerfully awesome. Same with Beyonce and Pink. And Green Day and Kings of Leon. And I found myself tapping and clapping along with newcomer the Zac Brown Band. And Taylor Swift was intriguing — I mean, she knows she can’t sing but she’s so supremely confident that she does it anyway? Who is this kid??? So then I wanted to hear more from these folks — and of course classic favorites such as the Dave Matthews Band and even the Black-Eyed Peas. If I were music-savvy and had plenty of money, I’m sure I’d already have a Grammy-worthy CD and iTunes collection. But I’m not and I don’t. So, Wal-Mart to the rescue! Running past the electronics department — between office supplies and dairy — I spotted this $11 CD of Grammy nominees and I’ve been rocking out ever since. I promise you have to smile when you hear Fergie promising you a good night and Sugarland bemoaning that “It Happens.”  You can order it from, too. This is like bullet points for pop music of the past few months — your kids and friends will be impressed.

Michelle Obama

Michelle ObamaI think it’s sort of quaint and refreshing that some people are worried about Michelle ObamaMichelle Obama showing her — gasp! — bare arms. I mean, this is 2009, when celebrities walk around in not much at all and steamy makeout sessions light up primetime TV. I had thought that half-naked-and-falling-out-of-your-clothes was the accepted standard for high-profile dressing, but apparently the bar is much higher. It renews my faith in the morality police that folks are raising eyebrows and shaking heads and tsk-tsking Obama for … being a grownup and choosing to wear what she wants to wear. I know, I know — the criticism is that sleeveless is completely inappropriate for Washington, D.C. winters so that perhaps she’s simply going sleeveless to show off her beautifully fit physique. And to that I say, “Yes? So what’s the problem? Good for her!” Listen, who among us would cover up if we had arms like that? Not me, that’s for sure. I think the real question is why this issue bothers some people. Seems to me that Michelle Obama is bringing dignity and respect and vitality and strength to her position as First Lady — and probably an increase in the sales of handweights, exercise DVDs and gym memberships across the country. Economic stimulus, baby!!!

For a great roundup of links and articles about Obama’s arms, go to the post