Friday, June 29, 2012

Follow up.

Everybody is all a-Twitter (and Facebook) about the SCOTUS decision in the Affordable Care Act case, so I feel no urge to write about it, other than to say I'm relieved. There is enough commentary whizzing around the fluorosphere without me putting my two cents in. I am amused most of all by the people who have tweeted that they are moving to Canada because the Court upheld the individual mandate. *  Some people were not paying attention during the debate, methinks.  I hope they like the universal healthcare that they have up north.  I know I would love it.

The Court also announced its decision in United States v. Alvarez, the Stolen Valor Act case.  I have written before about how I wanted this case to turn out; the decision striking down the Act leaves me with mixed emotions.  In spite of my feelings on the matter, I do understand  the plurality's opinion that the law was an infringement on free speech:"[f]undamental constitutional principles require that laws enacted to honor the brave must be consistent with the precepts of the Constitution for which they fought."  I guess lying about military service must now be considered a constitutionally protected activity.

 In spite of sympathy for the free speech issues, I simply think the dissent made the more compelling argument, likening lying about military honors to fraud and trademark dilution. At least the concurrences seemed to indicate that a more narrowly tailored law -- such as one recent bill aimed specifically at punishing false claims of military honors which are made for material gain -- would pass constitutional muster.

Passing this bill would be a good thing.  Our veterans deserve it.

 *Any conservative wanting to leave the U.S. because of the ACA will need to look to developing countries or Belarus: pretty much all of Europe, as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica (to which I have heard Rush Limbaugh has threatened to move), Brazil, Argentina and Chile have some form of publicly-provided universal healthcare.

Monday, June 25, 2012


On Saturday I saw the movie "Hysteria," which was ostensibly about the invention of the electric vibrator in Victorian England. It was a cute, slight, and rather obvious little movie, with the ending inevitable after the first ten minutes.  But any movie with both Rupert Everett and Maggie Gyllenhaal in it cannot be all bad.

I know enough about the era to wonder at the extent to which the writers played fast and loose with events and the characters, especially of the female heroine.  She was too modern, too emancipated.  Nonetheless, it was an amusing movie about what was in fact seen as a serious problem at the time. It makes me wonder what deadly serious issue will be laughed at by our descendants in a century or so.

The movie also suffered from a minor pet peeve of mine: it proclaimed at the beginning to be based on true events, ("Really.") but at the end carried the standard libel disclaimer: "any resemblance to any persons living or dead is purely coincidental."  It is a small thing, but the illogic of it drives me nuts.

All in all, though, a fun little movie. I give it a solid B.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Being out and about.

The parade went well, at least from where I was sitting, er, riding. I did some walking today, not the parade route but probably a half mile before and after the parade while going to various BART stations, and a lot of standing, and stairs up and down.  No pain to speak of afterwards, other than slightly sore feet and a dehydration headache. Considering that in March and April I was having days where I would stand in my kitchen sobbing from systemic pain, I find this very heartening.  Better living through chemistry, indeed.  Next year, I want to be strong enough to march.

A few observations:

While we were looking for our contingent, we had to walk past where the opening groups were lined up, many of whom were crowding the sidewalk.  Life takes on a slightly surreal quality when you are faced with running a gauntlet a full half-block long of people in costumes consisting mostly of balloons.   It is rather like fighting through very colorful and somewhat squeaky forest undergrowth. The muffled roar of the Dykes on Bikes waiting to start off the parade sounded like an angry metal bear.

The Glide Float was blaring "O Happy Day!" from its speakers. I found it made me happy to hear gospel music in this setting.  Later on, I did see a few "Jesus Loves You" signs, which I thought rather sweet, although the intentions of the sign-holders may not have been.

I  saw only two totally naked men.  They were applying sunscreen -- a very wise thing to do. The sun was blazing, and it seemed much warmer than the 64 degrees forecast. And there are places you simply do not want to get sunburned.

The best t-shirt of the day: "San Francisco Public Defender's Office - Getting you off since 1921." Nice Constitution float, too, guys.

I spent most of the parade riding herd on the wheel monitors on my side of the car, who had a tendency to stray beyond the designated distance to the car. I felt perfectly okay doing this for one of them because he was my son. Instead of marching, next year I should simply go all the way and become a safety monitor.  You get a t-shirt and everything! Instead of a button, which none of the contingent monitors in our group got because the parade organizers ran out. 

Market Street in San Francisco is very pretty when taken at a leisurely 1.5 miles per hour, and when you are not sitting in traffic fuming about the lack of places to make left turns.

Based solely on its exterior architecture, the Hotel Palomar joins the itinerary on the tour of luxury hotels I fully intend to undertake after I win the lottery.

The one sad moment of the day was discovering that I had dropped my cashmere purple scarf somewhere after disembarking from the car after we were through the parade. Somewhere in the vicinity of Mission and Ninth someone now has a nice purple scarf.  I hope they enjoy it as much as I did.

We didn't go to the festival area around the Civic Center Plaza, so among other things, we missed the Occupy Pride people.  I can understand their point: we're all fooling ourselves if we believe that anything other than a chance to gain filthy lucre is moving Bud Light and Virgin America to sponsor the parade.  It is an advertising opportunity. And no, I do not view Wells Fargo, or other corporate sponsors, as working towards "Global Equality" (the theme for this year's parade) -- in the case of Clear Channel, radio home to Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and others, they are working actively against equality at home and abroad. 

But large free public festivals like this are extremely expensive to put on.  Just the insurance carries a hefty price tag. Having corporate sponsors means more fun for more people -- and this is supposed to be a celebration. And while I would wish that the event was less corporate, the involvement of corporate America means that LGBT folks are now a market to be paid attention to.  That's huge. And all those Wells Fargo employees on that float next to us when we were getting set up are going to be able to go to work and probably not worry about losing their jobs because they were in the parade.  Maybe it will be okay for them to keep a picture of their partner on their desk, or bring them to the next company party.

Things change so fast these days, and it becomes easy to forget how far we have come.  If you had asked me when I graduated college if we would ever seen legalization of same-sex marriage, I would have answered "not that I can see."  But here I am, twenty-nine years later, and I am far more sanguine about the march towards gay rights than I am about holding on to protections for women's reproductive rights, something which seemed so much more secure back then. There is a lesson in there, of course, about not taking your gains for granted.

Taking a day once a year to celebrate that progress, and remember all those who came before, even while we recognize there is a long way to go, seems right. Even if we let corporations help pay for it.

But then what do I know? It was my first Pride.

It won't be my last.

Friday, June 22, 2012

There is a lot not to like about living in the suburban Bay Area: the insane cost of living, the lack of really good public transit, rush hour, a lack of social cohesion (at least in my neck of the woods). On the other side of the ledger is...

The weather.

It is June 22.  In St. Petersburg, Florida, it is only 84.5, but it feels like it is ten degrees warmer because of the humidity. There is an 80% chance of thunderstorms today, and a better than 50% chance of thunderstorms for the next five days.  I love thunderstorms... occasionally.

In Atlanta, it is 90. In Boston, it is 94, with scattered thundershowers. All of this is quite normal for June in these places. Northern Virginia is not bad today: it's only 85, with thundershowers expected this evening.

Right this second outside my house  it is a clear 68.4 degrees (according to Weather Underground, the expected high is 72), with 56% humidity. There is a small breeze which feels quite nice. Over the next five days the highest temperature forecast is a whopping 73.

It is so easy to get spoiled, here. I just need to bookmark this post for the days coming in August and September when it gets up to 100 degrees and everybody is wilting.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Movie snippets for the attentionally challenged.

I just finished watching Henry V (the Kenneth Branagh version) on Netflix.  It contains one deeply moving long scene when the sides are gathering up their dead after the Battle of Agincourt.  That, along with the wonderful St. Crispin's Day speech, are why I watch this movie.  It got me thinking, though, of the sequences in movies that have come to mean more to me than the movies they are part of, the scenes I am sure to run into the room for if they are being shown on television:

The baptism scene in The Godfather. One of the most riveting five minutes in film. Period.

The lighting of the beacons of Gondor in The Return of the King. This loses some of its effectiveness on the small screen; nonetheless, it is my favorite two minutes in the entire trilogy.

The presentation of Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare in Love. I simply defy you not to cry at the end.  You can't help yourself.

"El Tango de Roxanne" in Moulin Rouge! Dark and dangerous, and full of pain and fury. You'll never listen to Sting sing this song the same way again.

The shower scene in Psycho, natch.

The passage south from Master and Commander. Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey is hanging off the side of the ship, smiling -- and it looks like such fun, until it becomes clear that it is sleeting sideways.

The love story in Up. There is an Internet meme going around about how Pixar made a better love story in eight minutes than the makers of the Twilight series did in three films.  What the meme ignores is that the love story from Up was better than most of the romantic movies -- comedies and otherwise -- made in the past several years.

The "horse of a different color" sequence from The Wizard of Oz. I always wanted to have a horse like that -- although if you look closely, it involves at least three different horses.  The horses don't just change color, they change conformation, as well.

"Dance of the Hours" from Fantasia and "The Carnival of the Animals" from Fantasia 2000. You can never go wrong with dancing elephants and alligators or with flamingos and yo-yos.

The breakfast montage from Citizen Kane.  Years collapsed into minutes, capturing how people grow apart. Brilliant, and in its way heartbreaking.

Casablanca.... Okay, I admit. I can't watch only part of Casablanca. There is just too much good stuff there -- Rick helping the young couple, the first time he sees Ilsa in the bar, the conversations with Major Strasser, "I'm shocked, shocked! to find gambling going on here..." The Paris interlude, The airport scene, "I'm no good at being noble...", "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship..."; all of it. The American Film Institute got it backwards: Casablanca (rated second) is a better movie than Citizen Kane, because it engages the heart as well as the mind.

So what are your favorite movie scenes?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My aunt died yesterday. Mom called me with the news this afternoon. I am not quite sure how to feel.

My aunt was my mother's sister. She had had several strokes over the past few years, and had been living in a nursing home near her daughter. As I recall, she was having trouble recognizing people. Her death was no shock.

My aunt and I were never close. We saw each other at odd family gatherings, and never exchanged more than the most general of banalities.  That said, her death is leaving me feeling fretful and unsettled. It means that Mom is the last of that generation still alive in our family. I worry about her a great deal, even though she is in many ways more healthy than I am. She may well live another ten years.

I find myself wondering odd things, like who lives in the house in Sarasota now.  Or where Mom will evacuate to if there is a hurricane -- the last time she had to evacuate was in the horrible season of '05, and she went to Sarasota to be with my aunt and my then-living uncle.

I wonder if the people living in the house have an aluminum Christmas tree with a rotating light stand and red glass globes on it. As a girl I would sit and watch the tree turn red (pink really) to blue to green to yellow. The globes would be red or orange or black, depending upon the light. It is one of my clearest memories of my aunt and uncle's house, along with watching the 1984 game between Miami and Boston College.

I wonder how I will cope when Mom dies.

I should stop thinking about these things, turn off the computer and go to bed, but I am afraid of the nightmares about dying that have been haunting me occasionally over the past few months.  So many reminders this year of how fragile life and how fleeting time are. So many things to tell me how old I am, and how limited my time or that of people in my life may be.

Sic transit gloria mundi. 


The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. Origin unknown, often falsely attributed to Mark Twain.

I attended a Giants game at ATT Park this evening, and I gotta say, of all the American major league cities I have been in, having a baseball team in San Francisco makes less sense than in any other.  It was 57F when I and my companion for the evening drove away from the ball park, and that's not even counting the wind chill up in the stands.

When a Polar Fleece pullover is not warm enough for a game two months into the season, something's not quite right.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Self-Help movies?

The Bible for mothers-to-be for over the past two decades (I used it for all three of my pregnancies), What to Expect When You're Expecting, was recently made into a "heartwarming" and critically-panned romantic comedy. It's not the first time that a comedy has been made from such material: Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* *But Were Afraid To Ask was a much earlier and far superior effort in that vein.  But the mere existence of What to Expect... simply invites the question,* "What other non-fiction or self-help books** are amenable to being made into full-length feature films?"

How about...

The Interpretation of Dreams, by Sigmund Freud. Viggo Mortensen could reprise his role as Sigmund Freud from A Dangerous Method.  Maybe at the premier they could hand out Freud finger-puppets.***

On the Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin. That might be a bad idea, though: a scary number of people running around on the earth believe evolution was a figment of Darwin's imagination anyway.  On the Origin of Species: The Movie might just confuse them further.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen J. Covey, starring someone highly effective, such as John Cleese.

Our Bodies, Ourselves. This would be an animated feature by Pixar.  The potential for 3D here just staggers the imagination, doesn't it?

What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles. Great possibilities for audience participation. 

Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson. Made by Aardman Studios, the good people behind Wallace & Gromit.

And finally...

The Ethical Slut, by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy. The casting possibilities are rife: Charlie Sheen, Ashton Kutcher, Tiger Woods...

Oh, wait. Ethical. Back to the casting couch, then. None of those guys would be remotely believable.

*Not begs the question.  Sorry, I couldn't help myself, but the misuse of "begs the question" is a rant for another day.
**Self-help books are not always non-fiction, depending upon how deluded the author and/or purchasers are.
***A child psychologist I know has a set of these: they come with Sigmund, Anna, Jung, and ... a couch.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Notes from an exhibition: the limits of Aestheticism.

Today I undertook the field trip I meant to have on my birthday but missed due to illness.  I went to the Palace of the Legion on Honor in San Francisco to see The Cult of Beauty: The Victorian Avant-Garde 1860–1900. Other than a couple of significant missteps on my part (it is a long, expensive cab ride from the museum to the train station, and leaving my phone in said cab means another long slog up to the city tomorrow to retrieve it), it was an enjoyable outing. Herewith, some brief notes from my outing -- a bit on the incoherent side, scribbled down in very bad handwriting on the train home:

I have been a fan of the Pre-Raphaelites for years, mainly because their works are so pretty. But I think that may have been a phase I am outgrowing.  Today, some of the prettiness began to wear thin, and I spent a lot of time on the way home on the train mulling over prettiness versus beauty and what appealed and didn't in the show.  There are times, such as this one, when I wish I were an art  historian so I could place what I see in a larger historical and social framework, beyond just what I read at the exhibit.

I find it interesting that the place where the Aesthetic movement succeeded, for me at least, was in what were traditionally crafts, rather than in painting.  The most appealing pieces were the work of E. W. Godwin and Christopher Dresser, which tended to have clean lines and be strong rather than simply pretty. And when it came to painting, the only painter in the bunch that truly engaged me was James McNeil Whistler.  (Whistler had an advantage going in: his Symphony in White #1, one of my favorite pieces of art  in the world, was in this exhibit. In addition, there was a piece I was unfamiliar with beforehand but nonetheless love,  Harmony in Gray and Green: Miss Cicely Alexander.)

In general I walked away from the paintings thinking "they were on the wrong track." Beauty in and of itself does not make great paintings. Take Dante Gabriel Rossetti's work, for example: his paintings of his  mistress (and William Morris's wife) Jane are idealized to the point of blandness -- and as can be seen by photographs of her in the exhibit, Jane Morris was not a pretty woman. Striking, yes, but bordering on ugly. Edward Burne-Jones's work is populated with ghosts: pale-skinned and perfectly proportioned, with faces as empty and smooth as marble, seemingly portentous but signifying nothing.

Inauthenticity was the hallmark of so much of the painting I saw today. There were a lot of pictures of beautiful women dressed in classical or medieval clothes, at odds with their period. It's pretty, but it's all surface.  I suppose that was the entire point of the  movement, but I like things to have a little more depth than that.

Whistler, though, painted real people. He did not tell their stories -- you can make them up for yourself -- but I got the sense that they had stories. His art encompassed life, not merely decoration. His work had a sense of connection to what we experience in the real world, even if it is only the experience of looking at a pretty girl. I've never seen people like those that Edward Burne-Jones painted; Whistler's subjects look like you could go out to lunch with them.

I can picture the Girl in White (dressed differently, of course) riding on Caltrain, texting her boyfriend. The sulky Miss Cicely Alexander could be the pre-teen at the next table at Hobee's. Burne-Jones's maidens, on the other hand, could be funerary statuary.

Maybe it's an uncanny valley problem: abstract forms engage the intellect and emotions, but since they are abstract they do not invite personalization the way that human forms do. Burne-Jones's people fall into a gray area: concrete enough to demand personalization, abstract enough to defy it. They come across as simply eerie and flat, in much the same way that Gauguin's Tahitian women do. Yet Gauguin's women nonetheless feel authentic in ways that Burne-Jones's people, with their classical or medieval dress, do not.

I think as I am getting older, beauty that is only skin-deep, lacking in other interest or personality, is beginning to pall for me. Maybe as pretty as Rossetti's pictures of Jane Morris are, it would be so much more arresting and moving to see her painted as she was, bug eyes, metaphorical warts and all.

I suppose, in the end, I keep feeling that life is not pretty, and the notion that we can lift ourselves to a higher plane by mere aesthetics seems naive.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

I don't have a lot of time here right now, but I did want to post a reminder to all my California friends to VOTE today.

 It's especially important given the way that the primary has been restructured: the top two vote getter advanced regardless of party affiliation.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Justice is a difficult thing, sometimes

The New Jersey judge in the case of the Rutgers' student who Tweeted his roommate having sex with another man has had to speak out in defense of his sentencing the defendant to 30 days in jail, 300 hours of community service time and a $10,000 fine.  It's a shame he felt he had to do so, but it is also totally unsurprising.

It's a shame because Judge Glenn Berman did the right thing, in a case that was so fraught with emotion, and resisted mistaking justice for vengeance. He showed wisdom and discretion, which is what we want from a judge.

Don't get me wrong, what Rutgers' student Darhun Ravi did was evil; Judge Berman called his actions "unconscionable."  Ravi's callous disregard for the well being of his roommate, Tyler Clementi, and his willingness to expose Clementi's personal life to ridicule for his own amusement speaks volumes about his character, and none of it good. The fact that Clementi committed suicide moves the entire incident from sordid to tragic.

But ridicule and invasion of privacy, as awful as they are, are not physical abuse. Ravi did not beat, rape, torture or murder Clementi.   While there was a probability of emotional harm in his actions, there was no inevitability of physical harm. There is a big difference between sending out Tweets urging others to make fun of someone and beating them senseless.  To conflate the two minimizes the horror of the physical attacks that gay men and lesbians are sometimes subject to.

Furthermore, it minimizes the autonomy of Tyler Clementi himself.

Suicide is a choice.  Someone else might well have been angry, humiliated, or hurt, but might not have turned that destructive horror in on himself.  To ignore that his suicide was a choice is to deprive Tyler of the dignity of selfhood. Ravi may have made his life hellish, but he did not kill him: Clementi did that on his own.  And while Ravi's outrageous conduct may have been the last straw, it cannot have been the only straw.  It becomes too easy to fixate on that final, galvanizing incident, and ignore whatever went before.

Judge Berman was right: prison is not the answer here.  Sending Ravi to prison for five years as the prosecution requested would have done nothing but make him a martyr of sorts for homophobes everywhere.  Prison needs to be reserved for the worst offenders, those whose crime cannot be adequately punished any other way. That we so often fail to do so -- witness the number of people in prison for nonviolent drug-related offenses -- doesn't mean we should throw just anyone in a prison cell because we abhor what they did. It is too easy to rename our desire for retribution as a demand for justice.

The system worked well here.  I hope Darhun Ravi understands how fortunate he is that it did.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Wii woes.

I am trying to change my habits.  Really. Truly.

Part of this change is actually engaging in physical activity.  As my doctors and I get the dosages of the pain meds into something that vaguely provides an acceptable balance between pain relief and intrusive side effects, I have been able to do more.

So, in addition to small things -- taking the stairs up one flight or parking farther away from the front of the store -- I have pulled out the Wii balance board from where it sat collecting dust under the entertainment center.  Once again, I am confronted with the most annoying animated creature in existence.

The Wii Fit board character.

The Wii Fit board character is an animated rendering of the rectangular Wii balance board used to exercise.  It greets you when you start the program and walks you through the weighing in process.  When you switch between exercise categories, it is there in the background, running on a treadmill.  You would think that Nintendo could have figured out something better for these purposes.  Or at least more interesting.

Yes, I know what you're going to say. It cannot be as annoying as the Microsoft Office paperclip.  Oh, but it is. It nags.

It has a little chirpy voice -- not that it says much.  Most of its comments come in the form of condescending little onscreen captions.  It will ask why you haven't shown up in a few days -- or ask about other members of the family who haven't shown up in months -- or remind you that their birthday is coming up and telling you that you need to buy them presents or throw them a party. If you gain weight, it will ask if you know the reason -- and "How the &*%$ should I know?" is not an option.

When you are training, it shows up in the background running on a treadmill.  When you decide to use your preplanned fitness routine, if you don't finish it will question why you stopped too soon.

It's just creepy.

I am not sure why this bothers me so much: it's not like this thing even remotely approaches the uncanny valley, unlike the animated human trainers who walk you through yoga and strength exercises.  (Although to be honest they don't remotely approach the uncanny valley either, being about as realistic as circa 1992 Pixar renderings of humans. Think "Andy" in Toy Story.)  It does not look or sound even vaguely human.

Excepts it reads human. As someone who has a large amount of her social life revolve around people's typed words rather than those they speak, I have become very accustomed to thinking of sentient, responsive comments as being from an actual person, even when whatever it is would fail any remotely rigorous Turing Test.  I find myself talking to it -- which makes me simply annoyed at myself.

It's enough to discourage me from using the program, but then... how would I ever top my "666" ranking in Advanced Step?  Sigh. Maybe I should give up and just do something more natural to begin with, like walking.

At least my shoes won't nag me, then.

I can't believe I never caught that.

The things you learn from  The Monkees' "Last Train to Clarksville" was a Vietnam War protest song. According to the songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, they had to be subtle about their anti-war beliefs because, well, it was The Monkees we're talking about. Their fan base would probably not have gone for it -- not to mention the producers of the television show.  (Sort of like how the fans didn't really go for Jimi Hendrix opening for the band, either.)

The lines  "We'll have one last night together, 'Til the morning brings my train and I must go.... And I don't know if I'm ever coming home" should have been a dead giveaway, though.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Railfan graduated this evening. Both of us are in shock.

I just want to take this opportunity to say how very proud I am of him.

Love you, kid.

Pomp and circumstance.

Odd musings from the cheap seats at a high school graduation:

Am I weird that I would love to go back to school just to be able to wear a doctoral hood?*

Mr. B. clearly got the memo about going casual under the robes: he seems to be wearing khaki shorts and flip-flops. It goes well with the shaved head, the multiple ear piercings, and the hood from Stanford.

Miss E., the world's hardest and best math teacher, got her doctorate from Harvard. Not surprising, really. She is not wearing flip-flops.

I can't take these guys anywhere: my husband and other two sons are critiquing the trend of graduates decorating their caps with the name of the college where they are bound. Loudly. Ignoring the hostile backward glances from the couple in front of us, whom I know from having heard conversations between them earlier have a daughter sporting "UC Davis" on hers.

Cute quip from the student MCs about theirs being the last class to graduate from the High School.  Take that, Mayans.

I wonder how many times across the country Steve Jobs will be quoted in high school commencement speeches.  There have been two quotes here this evening, both from Jobs's Stanford Commencement speech. Hey, people at the school are clearly into recycling.**

They must have sent a memo around saying "short speeches!" I don't think one has topped five minutes yet.

It's cool that they let the kids sit with their friends rather than alphabetically. Makes it harder to tell how far along they are, however -- you have to actually pay attention.

Aaaannnnnddd.... there he goes. Another kid graduated.  I feel old.
Aaaannnnnddd.... that's the lot of them. The Class of 2012 is out. Time to head to the quad for free food.

Next year, the eldest graduates from college.  Then I'll feel really old.

Sufficient unto the day the commencement thereof, however.

*I guess I wore a doctoral hood at my law school graduation; I don't really remember it at all.  I was four months pregnant, throwing up frequently, and severely dehydrated.  I was down in the basement of the law school throwing up in the women's room when I heard two little old ladies out in the hall complaining about graduates being drunk midday.  They decided to complain to the very nice woman in Alumni Relations, who poked her head in the bathroom and asked, "Pat? Is that you?" I groaned in affirmation, and I heard her telling the old biddies "She's not drunk, she's pregnant," and then urging them to go away and leave me alone. Later that afternoon, I went to the E.R. (for neither the first nor the last time during that pregnancy) and was admitted for a four-day hospital stay. So yes, I really wish I could  have a do-over on that graduation.

**They are, actually.  The school's "Green Team" won an award for their environmental efforts.