Deep thoughts from Kenny Chesney on the end of his 4 month marriage to Renee Zellweger:

"It was like opening the door to your house and having someone come in and take your big-screen TV off the wall during the big game, and there's nothing you can do about it."


ward's birthday

This weekend marks what would have been my cousin Ward's third birthday. He died after an accident at a lake this past summer. We celebrated his birthday by dedicating a playground in his memory in Bell Buckle and I've set up a GUESTBOOK where you can leave a message.

I'll have photos of the playground dedication up soon. My children, along with Ward's brothers and all the other cousins sang several songs for everybody who came - Ward's favorite songs -- and then enjoyed the heck out of playing on the new playground.

ADDENDUM: Here is a lovely newspaper article with photos about the dedication and balloon release.


currently on my nightstand...

You should go see...


I have not seen Plan A, but my friend Brandon's band The Twilight Sentinels, is really something. They sound like The Cramps crossed with The Ventures. He plays stand-ip bass and they're incredibly fun to watch.


baby porcupines

These cannot possibly be real, living creatures... but they are (via my friend Marrit Ingman.)

Historic preservation in Knoxville is an issue near and dear to my heart. If it interests you, you might want to check out the current City Council candidates' responses to questions on the topic posed by the group Knox Heritage.
There are people in your life with whom you have brief but intense interactions and then you just lose track of each other. I have a few people like that in my past and I've wondered what has become of them.

Today I heard from someone I haven't spoken to in fifteen years -- a college fling that was some of the most fun ever -- but then he dropped out of school mid-year to move to NYC and be a rock and roll star and we only spoke a few times after that.

It turns out he became an investment banker instead, and next week he's coming into town to visit his family and he looked me up. It was just as much fun to talk to him today as it was a decade and a half ago, so I am really looking forward to seeing him and getting caught up.

pony medals


I am very proud of 10-year-old Jane, who has qualified for the regional Pony Medal Equitation Finals, which will be in Virginia next month.

parents behaving badly

This is a darkly funny blog covering incidents of Really Bad Parenting from all over. The site's motto? "Please don't make us blog you."


OK, I am taking votes. What do you think George Bush meant in his bizarro "P.S." comment in this note to Harriet Mier (which I lifted from The Smoking Gun, which has an entire catalog of personal correspondence between Bush and Mier).

Post your best guess in comments section below.


funny jane

My daughter told me yesterday that she believes she should be good at math because we have several "mathemagicians" in our family...

Last night I watched...


An Ode to T.J. Maxx

By my cousin Julie Anderson (pictured in post below):

An Ode to TJ Maxx

O, TJ Maxx, you satisfy
When I need retail thera-pie.
Driving in downtown Nashville bit
To park and walk for blocks, then sit
And drive, and drive, and drive back home...
With blistered feet, and all alone.
But wait! A cheery red sign beckons.
And I deserve a treat, I reckon.
The lingerie rack is so enticing,
Especially with TJ's pricing.
Five sets of lovely panties and bras
Might help chase away the blahs.
Throw in some bright red fuzzy slippers,
And a ghost candy dish for the lil' nippers.
Thus sated, I pay the smallish fee
For these frilly colorful treats for me.
Spread them out upon the bed
In matching sets of pink and red.
Smile, and give thanks for simple pleasures,
And for discount outlets with cheap treasures.



This is my lovely cousin Julie, last Saturday, helping assemble the parts of the playground being built in my hometown of Bell Buckle in memory of her two year old son, Ward, who drowned in July.

The playground will be dedicated this weekend, on what would have been Ward's third birthday. Our whole family is feeling very sad, but also very grateful.

And Julie is grace personified.
Check it out: we feminists have more fun
This morning was one where we could have used an adult male in the house. H had to wear a tie to school today and he couldn't get it tied right and I did my best, but I'm not that great at it either...


would that it were true...

Press release I got today:


Katy Busser (312)224-8546

BIGfrontier for the Fremont Company

Scientists Find Kimchi Sauerkraut May Cure Avian Flu

A cure in a meal: U.S. Sauerkraut sales expected to skyrocket

Fremont, OH- October 20, 2005- In yet another indication that Sauerkraut is the superfood of the 21st century, scientists at Seoul National University have successfully used Kimchi Sauerkraut to treat chickens infected with avian flu. Kimchi is a seasoned variety of Sauerkraut that shares Lactobacillus bacteria with traditional Sauerkraut, which may be the critical element in preventing Avian Flu. Both Kimchi and traditional Sauerkraut are made by fermenting sliced cabbage, producing a high level of lactic acid.

According to an October 2005 BBC report, Kimchi was fed to 13 infected chickens and 11 of them started recovering within a week. South Korean Kimchi consumption is up as a result of this report and U.S. sales of Sauerkraut are also expected to spike up.

The October 14, 2005 issue of the Wall Street Journal cites growing U.S. concern over a potential avian flu pandemic based on the occurrence of birds found to carry the virus in Turkey, signaling the first instance of an outbreak outside of Asia. Fears of a U.S. pandemic were increased following the release of a study on the 1918-19 pandemic which originated in birds before mutating to a human strain and killing approximately 50 million people.

Avian flu has been on the watch lists of the National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1997, with a recent surge in activity as drug makers race to find a cure and a vaccine. According to an October 17, 2005 story on the MSNBC/Newsweek website and carried on the NBC Nightly News, "Washington was turning its attention to the threat posed by an exceptionally lethal strain of flu virus that could, in the worst case, kill as many people in a few months as AIDS has done in two decades."

The November 2005 issue of Men's Health Magazine advises constructing a pandemic kit, including nonperishable foods: "Make a few of the cans Sauerkraut; it's packed with lactic-acid bacteria, shown by Korean researchers to speed recovery of chickens infected with avian flu."

"If you look at a 19th century Old Farmer's Almanac you'll find recipes for Sauerkraut to treat virtually every ailment under the sun. Now in the 21st century it's been cited as having cancer fighting abilities and may be a cure for avian flu," says Chris Smith, VP of marketing for Frank's Sauerkraut, one of the United States' leading brands of sauerkraut. "It's truly one of the most unassuming superfoods ever created. We expect to see sales go through the roof this Fall."


Lately I've been getting a lot of e-mails from people who have read my book on attachment parenting, wondering if I have any recommendations for books on attachment parenting past baby/toddlerhood.

I do have some, most notably this new book from Hilary Flower (disclaimer: I wrote the foreword). It's a great book:

I also like Barbara Coloroso's books, Dr. William Sears' books on discipline and raising successful children, and also "Becoming the Parent You Want to Be" by (I think) Laura Davis. This last one is especially good if you are anxious about overcoming your own less-than-great childhood.
Today I am finishing up an op-ed piece for a major newspaper about the new AAP SIDS guidelines. My commentary deals with concerns I have with how the recommendations contradict the AAP's breastfeeding guidelines, as well as the influence commercial interests may have had on the new SIDS policy.

Before I finish it up and send it off to the editor, I would love to hear from midwives, doulas, doctors, nurses, lactation consultants, LLL Leaders, etc with concerns or observations about the guidelines that you believe are noteworthy.

Please send them to me directly at



christopher walken for president

Why vote for Christopher Walken when you can go all the way and vote for, say, Crispin Glover?

I think we should all write-in Crispin Glover for president.


Last night I was soooo cold. I live in a 75 year old house and it gets COLD when it's chilly out, which it was for the first time last night. I piled on 4 quilts, slept in my flannel nighgown and long underwear -- and was still cold. I put all three warm dogs in the bed with me - still freezing.

The reason is that the pilot light is out on my heating system --- which is gas -- and I have no idea how to light it and kept putting off finding out until last night, the first cold night of the year. Now I have to figure it out today before my children come back home tomorrow from their visit with their father.

So anybody know how to do this and want to share the info with me (post comment below)?

At times like this, I miss having a handy guy living with me. I'm a bit useless with things like this.


A word of advice: do NOT go see the movie "Elizabethtown." A friend and I went yesterday and it was quite possibly the worst movie ever. NO, wait, that was "The Banger Sisters," which coinicidentally also had Susan Sarandon in it.

I'd read the bad reviews for Elizabethtown but went anway because I am a huge Cameron Crowe fan. Sadly, the reviews were right.

The movie is just a big, muddled mess, with great little moments here and there that never add up to a story. And Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst have about as much screen chemistry as Mr and Mrs Potato Head. They are both nice to look at, though.

The story made NO sense. Things happened in ways and at times that they simply could not happen in real life, which is a problem given that the movie is supposed to be about real people in the here and now.

I didn't even like the soundtrack that much, although that's ususally one of the best things about a Cameron Crowe movie.


good show

Wow! What a great show at the Corner Lounge tonight. I missed Angel and the Lovemongers (although I was gifted with a CD by the drummer that I will listen to post haste) but Stewart Pack's band is just....amazing. Several in the know people told me they think it's the best band in East TN these days.

And the Tim Lee Band always rocks. They played some great new stuff.

Plus, the CL is just a friendly, happening place to be. Ran into some folks I hadn't seen in ages. Also chatted up my waitress from my visit last night to the Gay Street Brewery. She had some sage advice.

Now I crave some macaroni and cheese - missed supper -- and then off to bed to read the next chapter in Dylan's Chronicles. We have a soccer game at 8 am...

carl snow band

Check out some great demos from my favorite local band:


My son is 14...

Originally uploaded by kgranju.
H is now 14 years old. Hard to believe. He's almost as tall as I am and I now wear his hand me down, outgrown shoes. That's little sister adding the bunny ears behind us.

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

He tolerates me... ;-)

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

Good Music Tonight

Originally uploaded by kgranju.
This is where I'll be tonight, with a birthday cake.

Should be fun.


hardly working

I really loved "Nickel and Dimed," B.E.'s last book on the working poor. Haven't yet read her new one (though I have it now), but here's an interesting interview with her on the thin line that separates the middle class from the working poor these days:
One 30 year veteran of the Seattle police force says our country's drug policy is causing far more problems than it prevents.


This is a very interesting article from Russia about how the number of left-handed babies is growing, and how lefties tend to have certain, unique qualities of mind.

The Russian-to-English translation is also very interesting....and amusing.
I don't have access to my mother to make me feel better today, but it's amazing what buying clothes and shoes does for me. I may be addicted.... I found the neatest green silk shirt tonight... and some other good stuff, too. And I feel much better.


Isn't it funny that even at age 38, when I don't feel well, I still find myself wanting my mother...


new liz phair - a review

So I bought the brand new Liz Phair record, and I want to love it. Oh, how I want to love it.

I am not one of those Phairfans who only wants her to repeat "Exile in Guyville." I actually really liked her much-maligned 2003, self-titled release. It was pop, sure. But it was sex-positive, feminist pop that was easy on the ears and fun to listen to on the way to the beach (which is exactly what I did in 2003). It had some great guitar work. While some of the lyrics were pretty banal ("Why Can't I..." comes to mind), others were terrific, like those on "Friend of Mine."

But arrgh, this new record is just plain banal. Period. It's like watered down Sheryl Crow with less interesting guitar. Some of the songs are catchy, to be sure, but hey, I'll admit to sometimes finding myself singing along with my 10 year old daughter Jane's Hilary Duff CD when Jane and I are alone in the car. Most of these are songs Hilary would love.

There are a few high(er) lights, like "Table for One," about a soccer mom alcoholic, and I like the thought behind "Somebody's Miracle," -- that the kind of love that keeps people married for decades is pretty damn miraculous, but yikes, on the whole this record is just....pablum.

Sorry Liz. I still love you. And I'll buy the next record because I do.


It's interesting to me to read everyone's takes on why I am single or will always be single or what I can do to NOT be single, or whatever.

I'm discovering that I rather like it - being single. Not having to consider (not counting my children, of course) anyone else's schedule or quirks or bad days or money hang-ups or musical tastes or anything is quite nice.

I'm glad to have lived with someone. I enjoyed it. But I also like living alone. And doing things alone.

I don't know whether I'll ever want to live with anyone else again. Not ruling it out. Just not sure. And that's okay.

ask the city council candidates...

I am a moderator on a panel discussion with Knoxville City Council candidates tonight - sponsored by League of Women Voters. I'll be asking questions of the candidates. I have some queries of my own in mind, but would love some suggestions for stuff other folks would like to know of them.

Post questions below.

today i'm listening to...


need a new job?

You might start here.

infant formula

I get e-mails from folks fairly regularly asking if I have an opinion as to what type of infant formula they should use if they have to use infant formula.

The best resource to answer this questions very clearly can be found right here.
It was a fabulous weekend in Bell Buckle. Best weather ever. My children had fun playing with the cousins and shopping at the festival and just generally enjoying being free to run around. I got to visit with friends and fam, and do some good head-clearing thinking. Bell Buckle is a good place to think. I took one really long walk out in the country all by myself and that was nice...


no more... hair.

I'm a brunette again.

It seemed like the right thing, with the changing season.

on new orleans

”New Orleans has always been a city that lived on the edge. When you live so close to death, behind the levees, you live more intensely, sexually, gastronomically, psychologically. Louis Armstrong came out of that unbelievable cultural breakthrough unprecedented in the history of American civilization. The rural blues, the urban jazz. It is the tragi-comic lyricism that gives you the courage to get through the darkest storm.”

-Cornel West on NOLA, post-Katrina

new liz phair

I got this record today and have listened to it some -- in the car on the way to pick up my children after work (traffic meant that took an hour one way) and now while sitting on my bed.

I've always liked Liz. She and I are exactly the same age and I've strongly identified with her lyrics, including her much maligned 2003 release, which was all about her own divorce and immediate post-divorce and getting the hang of being a grown-up, sexual, single person who also happens to be a mother.

This new one is much more driven by her vocals than her guitar and it's definitely her softest record. No sharp edges I've heard yet. It's got a wink-wink, "I'm relaxed now and you should chill out too" sort of vibe.

I need to give it a few more listens to figure out exactly what I think, but any time I hear a new Liz Phair song, its like letter from an old friend I haven't heard from in a while -- all about getting caught up on where she's been and what she's been up to...


I am taking my children to Bell Buckle this weekend for a big festival we have there each year. It's always a lot of fun, with parties and people and good food. I have had a very, very stressful last week or two and I need to get away and clear my head some. It will be good to be surrounded by people I love best and who love me unconditionally and soak some of that up. I need it right now.



I'm not famous. I'm not even a little bit famous. But I've been published some. And that alone has earned me some Katie-haters. Witness the latest review of my book on Amazon.

I'm always a little baffled by the power behind the vitriol some folks direct at my writing and me personally.

That's why I found this article from today totally hilarious. It's about a writer and his blogging nemesis. Tres droll. Definitely read it.

apropos of my post below about feeling overwhelmed sometimes....

Give Me the Village and Hold the Politics

by Katie Allison Granju

The African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child” has become a rallying cry for the American far right ever since their perennial favorite object of vilification, Hillary Clinton, used it as the title of her 1996 book about our culture’s treatment of children. Critics of Clinton and her slight tome declared that this talk of villages raising children was all just one more piece of the Orwellian commie-pinko plot to see all childrearing turned over to the state. On the day I first heard this criticism of the book while listening to talk radio, I distinctly remember laughing as I wondered how I could get the government to take my kids for at least the afternoon so I could maybe take a hot bath or go have a beer.

Those of us who are raising children know very well that the idea that parents need support and help in their 24/7 jobs has absolutely nothing to do with politics. Women in every society around the globe depend on what anthropologists call “co-mothers” to help care for their children. This co-mothering comes in culturally specific forms, ranging from Aboriginal older sisters watching younger siblings so their mothers can go out to hunt and gather, all the way along the continuum to the ubiquitous nanny/au pair culture of swanky Manhattanites.

In my own tenure as a parent, co-mothers have been an essential part of family life for both me and my kids. Until we recently moved to a new neighborhood, my next door neighbor ( with whom I originally believed I had so little in common that it was unlikely we would ever even have a real conversation) became my “other mother,” performing mothering tasks I could not, including sewing costumes, french braiding my daughter’s hair for special events, and even convincing my children to swallow nasty-tasting medicine when necessary. On more than one occasion over the years, I would carry a feverish, glassy eyed child next door before bedtime so that Karen could work her magic and unpry the jaws that refused to open for me. After she got the medicine down the toddler gullet, I would whisper a grateful thanks and carry my limp child back home for the overnight shift.

My two-years-younger sister and I have been constant co-mothers since the day I gave birth to my first child eleven years ago. Betsy - dashing away from her final college exams, was in the room, holding my hand while my husband held my other. She missed birth #2 because she was overseas, but made it for birth #3 in 1998. Ten months later, that baby and I were both in the room as Betsy herself became a mother with the arrival of infant Eleanor, and I was there again last year when she had a wonderful waterbirth and became a mother to a son. I have nursed her babies, so close in age to mine, and she has done the same. My children long for their Aunt Betsy when they’ve had enough of me and vice versa.

There are other co-parents in my “village,” as well: my friend Katie C., who has covered field trips and class snacks for me more than once in the past year as I’ve adjusted to being a single, working parent; my daughter’s riding instructor, Susan, who offers my athletic child a focus and perspective she needs that she doesn’t get from me; and even my longtime pediatrician, the wonderful Dr. Glover, who assures my almost-adolescent son that he isn’t going to be a midget (I had already explained his to him over and over, but he needed to hear it from Dr. Glover before he actually believed it).

These individuals, and many others, provide a safety net for me and for my children. I never feel as if I have to do it all myself and in fact, with some years of parenting experience under my belt, I am increasingly aware that I can’t do it all myself. No one person can. Kids need teachers and aunts and neighbors and coaches to weave the supportive web in which they can best thrive.

Call it a village. Call me a commie. I’m just glad that I can call my friend Karen when I need to figure out how to make cookies shaped like inchworms for the preschool spring festival.

Originally published Summer '03 in Metro Pulse

Contact the author at



My friend Dawn on two kinds of men you should avoid. I don't know these two guys, but I have known their brethren.

redneck culture

This article on "redneck culture" from the Christian Science Monitor is sort of interesting, although I think it's a leap to say that "Sex and the City" was all about rednecks in a high rent district...
Some weeks, I feel like I am doing a pretty good job living alone, managing working full time, raising three children, runnning a household (that includes three dogs, a pony, a cat and two rats), getting freelance projects out the door, etc, etc

Other weeks I do not.

This is one of those weeks.

This is my first week producing a TV show I've been assigned, I have a sick 8th grader, there is a parent conference this afternoon with 5th grader's teacher, I have a script to turn in for a sweeps week special I am producing, and we have the usual soccer practice, riding lessons, etc to keep up with. I haven't had a chance to clean my house in three weeks and it looks like a bomb fell on it. My gutters need cleaning, my oil needs to be changed before I go out of town Friday and I need to start thinking about Christmas shopping. Before that, I need to get Halloween costumes figured out.

I need an assistant. A personal assistant. A housewife-type of assistant.

sleep sharing

Apropos of the SIDS prevention discussion below, here is a collection of responses (including mine)to the recent CPSC warning against family bedding.

And here is something I wrote about SIDS and sleep sharing in 2002:

For decades, the foremost rule of family sleep, as promulgated by mainstream American parenting experts, has been that infants and children should never be allowed to sleep with their parents. Last week, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) even got in on the act, warning us that the practice of parents sleeping with their babies is inherently dangerous and should be avoided. After giving birth to three children in six years, I can tell you that these parenting police are way off the mark: the family bed is a sanity and sleep saver for mothers and babies.

In anthropological surveys of families around the world, researchers have repeatedly noted that American and other western parents are unique in their practice of placing infants in separate sleep spaces rather than in a co-sleeping arrangement with one or both parents. In most cultures, the idea of leaving a tiny baby alone in a bed with bars, placed in a room separate from parents is considered as unsafe
and bizarre as if we left our napping baby alone to run out to the grocery store.

"... almost all human infants for the past million or so years have
slept in contact with an adult. And even today, in most places in the
world, infants spend their first year co-sleeping," writes
anthropologist Dr. Meredith Small in her best-selling book, Our Babies,
Ourselves; How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent (Doubleday,

In their statements to the press, officials from the CPSC -- a government agency that generally reviews product safety rather than cultural practices or parenting styles -- noted that in a review of death certificates dating between 1990 and 1997, researchers found 515 instances of American infants who died of suffocation or strangulation while sleeping in some type of "adult bed." What the CPSC failed to
note, however, is that more than 2,000 infants die each year while asleep in cribs, bassinets, and cradles. In many cases, these babies expire from the tragic and still poorly understood phenomenon of SIDS. In other instances, infants are put to sleep in baby beds with unsafe, outdated design features, or they suffocate from bedding that is too soft or in which they become entangled. Yet no one from the government
has come forward to offer a sweeping conclusion that solitary sleeping is de facto unsafe for babies and should always be avoided.

Perhaps not coincidentally, our solitary-sleeping American babies have the highest rates of "crib death" in the world. Intriguing data from a National Insitutes of Health researcher indicate that SIDS rates remain low among communities of co-sleeping Asian families who immigrate to the United States, but the number of deaths rises in relation to the amount of time these families live here, possibly due to the adoption of American-style customs such as crib-sleeping and bottle-feeding for
babies. Exclusive breastfeeding -- which has now been determined to significantly lower an infant's statistical risk for SIDS, along with a host of other potentially fatal maladies - is much more common among mothers and babies who sleep together, in the United States and elsewhere. Additionally, researchers have noted that breastfeeding, co-sleeping infants tend to settle onto their backs or sides alongside
their mothers rather than ending up in the risky face-down sleep position favored by many babies left to sleep by themselves.

In its recounting of the allegedly startling number of infant deaths which took place in adult beds, the CPSC's own statistics revealed that approximately 80% of the total number actually occurred as a result of factors unrelated to the fact that the baby was sleeping with another person. In these cases, babies were placed on bedding that was too soft, leading to suffocation, or they became trapped face-down on waterbeds, or wedged between a headboard and a mattress. Clearly, unsafe, poorly designed sleeping arrangements in which this type of fatal accident is liable to occur are inappropriate for infants, whether an adult is sharing the bed with them or not. In the remaining 20% of cases -- translating to 121 deaths over a seven year period out of 4 million live births in the U.S. annually -- at least some of the
deaths were attributable not to babies' parents, but to an unspecified "caregiver" or sibling rolling on top of the babies.

Again, families who sleep with their babies should be -- and generally are -- aware that young infants should only sleep beside a parent, usually a breastfeeding mother. But the idea that these demonstrably unsafe family bed arrangements are representative of the majority of co-sleeping family situations in the U.S. is as absurd as claiming that the existence of the occasional plane crash means that we should abandon air travel altogether.

As parenting "experts" have attempted to dissuade American mothers from sleeping with their babies in the past fifty years, a variety of arguments have been made. Parents have been warned that co-sleeping would ruin their marriages, create neurotic children, and now, according to the CSPC announcement, that it is likely to literally kill their infants. Yeah right. Personally, I’d prefer for the CPSC to stick to warning us about things like exploding gas tanks and lead paint. I
have no need for them to come into my bedroom and advise me on how I choose to raise my children.


aap on SIDS prevention

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released their new guidelines on SIDS prevention. There are many reasons why these new guidelines fall short, and when I have a bit more time, perhaps this weekend, I will write something about it.

Suffice it to say that corporate interests are clearly
once again playing a role
in creating health policy at the good old AAP.


Interesting stuff from the Memphis Commercial Appeal today:

Al Gore wants us to start talking

By Chris Peck
October 9, 2005

Whatever happened to Al Gore?

''I used to be the next President of the United States,'' he joked a few days ago.

He's more relaxed. He's lost some hair. He's living in Nashville.

More interesting, he's now in the media business.

On Aug. 1 Gore and some investors launched Current TV. It's a cable and satellite network that focuses on news and invites viewers to share in developing content and even supply video for the 20 million households that now can get the network.

Why start his own TV network?

Well, he needs a job.

But the former vice president speaks to a higher calling. He thinks this country's democracy is in grave danger.

"It is no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse,'' Gore explained in New York.

In essence, Gore says the core function of the media, namely to inform and engage the public in a discussion of important ideas facing the nation, has broken down.

''It's almost as if America has entered an alternate universe,'' Gore said.

His examples:

Saddam Hussein didn't have anything to do with the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, yet at least one-third of Americans still think he did.

The gap between rich and poor in this nation continues to grow, yet few leaders even talk about it, despite the pictures from Hurricane Katrina.

Even on huge issues like war and peace, precious little debate bubbles up in the public square.

''Aren't we supposed to have full and vigorous debates about questions as important as the choice between war and peace?'' Gore asked.

In essence, Gore makes the case that our nation is afraid of or disinterested in having vivid, focused discussion about the big public policy issues of our time.

Gore believes we have forgotten about the tremendous value of what was once America's fabled "marketplace of ideas.''

Gore argues that rather than trying to reason through difficult issues, Americans now make political decisions based on TV spots, or on listening only to people who think like they do -- or simply by making a snap judgment without much thought.

"It is the destruction of our marketplace of ideas that accounts for the 'strangeness' that now continually haunts our efforts to reason together about the choices we must make as a nation,'' he said.

And the media are partly to blame.

TV, while clearly the dominant voice in society, is really a one-way broadcast that doesn't allow for much true debate. And entertainment values have now overwhelmed the news.

Newspapers aren't as influential as they once were.

Radio is dominated by entertainers who traffic in one-side politics.

For now, the Internet is too diffuse for people to use as a way to engage in a true public debate.

Gore speaks of a German philosopher, Jergen Habermas, who describes today's barren political discourse as a kind of ''refeudalization of the public sphere.''

''The feudal system, which thrived before the printing press democratized knowledge and made the idea of America thinkable, was a system in which wealth and power were intimately intertwined, and where knowledge played no mediating role whatsoever,'' Gore said.

And that's where the former vice president thinks we are headed today -- toward a nation where a great mass of people live in ignorance, a nation where wealth and power rule without the people having enough knowledge to mediate.

Will Al Gore's Current TV change all this?

smurfs: antiwar activists

The Smurfs, beloved Francophonic icons, are now being used in a graphic anti-war film.


From the story:

"The short film pulls no punches. It opens with the Smurfs dancing, hand-in-hand, around a campfire and singing the Smurf song. Bluebirds flutter past and rabbits gambol around their familiar village of mushroom- shaped houses until, without warning, bombs begin to rain from the sky.

Tiny Smurfs scatter and run in vain from the whistling bombs, before being felled by blast waves and fiery explosions. The final scene shows a scorched and tattered Baby Smurf sobbing inconsolably, surrounded by prone Smurfs."


parental notification

This is an interesting essay from a woman who helped her teenage sister get an abortion without telling their parents.

wal-mart, secret service adjunct

If I were you, I would not get any film developed at Wal-Mart, ever again.

(I don't shop there anyway, but I'm just sayin'...)

latest on baby ward's playground

From the Bell Buckle Park Board Newsletter:

Ward’s playground is on its way. Mark your calendar for Friday, October 21st and Saturday, October 22nd to install the playground. We need at least 20 people to show up to help put in Ward’s playground. We will work rain or shine. We may end up working on Sunday, October 23rd if needed. Please come and help for as little or as long as you can help.

James and Julie Anderson along with the Bell Buckle Park Board have decided on a playground design from Leisure Lines Inc. out of Morrow, Georgia. They are the company that Cascade Elementary decided upon when they installed their new playground equipment this past Spring.

According to Julie, the playground will include “a very large big kids' playset, a toddler playstation, and a swingset with 8 swings, as well as wood based mulch with a drainage system, and a construction supervisor for two days. The total area for this is around 6000 square feet.” The Andersons have commissioned Russ Faxon to create a life size bronze sculpture of Ward holding the bug , and they are also looking into a mosaic-cement sculpture of a lobster by Sherri Warner Hunter. Sherri's work can be seen at Dragon Park and also at the Nashville airport, as well as other places in Nashville and middle Tennessee. Julie has told us that they are looking into a large stone block with engraving “stating that it's a playground in memory of Wardie”. This may be granite or sandstone or maybe some other material depending on the look and the price. Ward's sculpture will probably go on top of this. Donations are still coming in daily. In the future, James and Julie hope to add “a few spring mounted one-person bouncy things that are about $650 each.”

A dedication ceremony on Ward’s 3rd birthday is scheduled for Friday, October 28th at 5:00 at the playground. Plans are still being worked on for the dedication.

In order to keep up with everything that is going on, please continue to check the Bell Buckle Park web site at for information on what tools and materials, etc. may be needed for installation and details on the dedication.

The Bell Buckle Park Board echoes James and Julie’s thoughts, “We are very proud that Ward will have a nice playground and artwork in his honor, built by the love people have for him. We really miss him a lot.”


prisons of wayne

I've long surmised that giving your boychild the middle name "Wayne" (or Lee) is a recipe for disaster and it turns out I may be right.

Dr. Jay, superfriend

I have recently opened myself up to some stuff that I hadn't in a long time (how is that for cryptic?). Suffice it to say, I took a risk.

It didn't pan out, and I am sort of sad about it.

And a little bit ago, I got flowers at work from my sweet, dear friend Jay P., just because he knew I am feeling a bit like an idiot for having taken said risk and fallen on my face.

I am really, really lucky to have Jay as a friend. I'm bummed that he's moving two miles away (now he lives just a few blocks away), because I like having him nearby.

Thanks Jay. You know my plight. And I love you for it.

harriet miers

Saint Molly Ivins has some insight into Harriet Miers.

listening to this morning...


Photos from last weekend's horse show

Jane on Buddy


Jane with Buddy after the Small Pony division


Jane and Rachel with Jane's dog, Cookie

jane and cookie

Jane gives Gracie K. a piggyback ride

jane and gracie

Jane on Cinco in Children's Pony Division


Small Jane on Buddy with very big Gran Prix Jumper (notice Cookie the dog sitting next to Jane's pony on the ground)


write that novel

November is National Novel Writing Month (no, really!) and this year, I plan to participate in the NANOWRIMO thing that people do.

It may sound stupid, but several writer pals have had great luck cranking out 50,000 words in one month along with all the NANOWRIMO folks, and I've been in a bit of a creative dry spell, so I'm gonna do it.


remember the v-roys

For my money, the V-Roys were the best Knoxville band,ever.

And now you can take a trip down memory lane and watch a V-Roys performance from '99 online, courtesy of former Knoxvillian and online musical archivist Kevin Crothers.

mamasink, new and improved

I belong to a very cool online community of women writers that includes some of my favorite authors/essayists/novelists and one of our own, Lynn Siprelle, has created a website for us that aggregates all of our blogs' content. It's called MamasInk and it's right here. You can also see and buy all our various books there.

Check it out.

paging julie f.

Hey Julie - I saw your comment here and I'd love, love to get in touch with you and Maury and go have dinner or something sometime soon and catch up.

So e-mail me (I put my e-mail address in my comment following yours) or call me in the newsroom at WBIR.


bill frist's problem

If you have had a difficult time understanding the fuss over Bill Frist's recent HCA stock sale, you should read this article. It appears Sen. Frist's presidential aspirations may really be over.

exchange with children

Tonight I had a conversation with my children that went like this. We were driving in the car:

14 yr old son: "Mom, can I go to Bell Buckle next weekend?"

Me: "No, you have no way to get there."

14 yr old: "You could drive me."

Me: "I'm not going down there next weekend."

14 yr old: "Dad says I can take the Greyhound bus"

Me: "I seriously doubt he said that."

14 yr old: "No! Really Mom. He did. And what's wrong with taking the bus?"

Me: "You're not taking the bus."

10 yr old daughter pipes in enthusiastically: "Mom! Martin Luther King, Jr won the PULITZER PEACE PRIZE for riding a bus through Alabama to the March on Washington, so buses are an important part of our social fabric!"

Me: "Jane, you have your facts a little mixed up. I think you're thinking of Rosa Parks and it was the Nobel Peace Prize."

14 yr old: "Whatever Mom. I want to take the bus."

Me: "No bus."

14 yr old: "That's so elitist of you Mom. You sound like a, like a REPUBLICAN."

Me: "No bus."

14 yr old: "I know the bus station is at the corner of Magnolia and there might be some shady characters hanging around, but no one's gonna bother me. Plus, I can take my lacrosse stick and hit anyone who bothers me."

7 yr old son joins conversation: "Yeah Mom. Or he could just take me, because I may be small, but I can take down a 6th grader if I have to. I could ride the bus with him and protect him."

14 yr old: "Elliot, I do not need my second grade brother to protect me on the bus."

Me: "Neither of you are riding the Greyhound bus anywhere."

14 yr old: "Can I get a tattoo?"

Me: "No."

14 yr old: "You shelter me too much, Mom."

Me: "I know."


I hate to cook. One of the reasons I hate cooking is that I hate grocery shopping. HATE it. So imagine my happy surprise to discover that you can now order groceries from

I have just ordered a week or two's worth of stuff and I'll see how it goes...

today i'm gonna listen to...

porn for anorexics

Check out the mannequins in Stella McCartney's NYC store window.

tom cruise's worst nightmare

My friend Marrit's very funny new book about depression is out:

And you can read a great interview with her from the Austin American Statesman that ran yesterday.