The Other Daughter

A blog by Lara Jackson’s sister

Still angry about the TSA

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on July 5, 2011

After reading this: Libertarian Party Asks Florida Sherriffs To Arrest TSA Agents I was inspired to write a letter to my rep, Rep. Lamar Smith.  I suggest you write or call your congressperson and ask for support!  No more sexual assault in our airports!

Here’s the text of my letter:

Dear Representative Smith,

I am writing to ask you to support the American Traveler Dignity Act.  Rep. Ron Paul plans to introduce this legislation this week.

On his website, Rep. Paul writes:

“I am introducing the American Traveler Dignity Act, which establishes that airport security screeners are not immune from any US law regarding physical contact with another person, making images of another person, or causing physical harm through the use of radiation-emitting machinery on another person.  It means they are not above laws the rest of us must obey.” (from: http://bit.ly/ip52wE)

The pat-downs and nude scanners are an invasive violation of the 4th Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The pat-down procedure implemented in November 2010, require the TSA agent to touch between clothing and skin and to touch close to a person’s genital organs.  How can such a search be considered reasonable? Travelers are randomly selected for a pat-down, which violates the last part of the Amendment.  Travelers must choose between the pat-down and being scanned by scanners with unproven technology.  Americans have lived with the indignity of removing shoes, belts, having their baggage searched, etc for far too long.  Yet the TSA continues to invade our persons.

Not only are Americans required to give up the sovereignty of their most private body parts in order to travel, but the TSA has never successfully stopped a terrorist!  It’s one thing to give up privacy for security, but we’re giving up privacy for nothing!

The Texas Legislature failed to stand up to the abuse of our Constitution by the TSA.  Texans are smart enough to know that giving up our freedom to fly without being scanned or groped will not ensure our safety.  Searching every passenger who flies on a plane, random selection of passengers for more intrusive searches is not good law enforcement or public safety. Please protect the citizen and travelers with in the U.S. from procedural sexual assault.

Thank you,

Carly Rose Jackson

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Double-blogger

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on May 17, 2011

Today We Texans posted a blog I wrote (with a little editing, of course). I’m so excited to finally put my passion for politics to good use.

I’ve been following certain bills through the Texas Legislature. As the Texas session winds down (end date is Memorial Day), bills are passing or dying everyday. The blog titled The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is about two bills that seem to contradict each other, yet both were passed by the House.

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promise kept

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on May 4, 2011

Have you ever been waylaid by an Israeli cosmetics salesperson? You should, it’s quite an experience. Tonight I was leaving the mall–as it was closing–and a young man with that familiar accent came up to me.

He insisted on rubbing sea-salt on my arm, then serum, then body butter. When I didn’t immediately run away, he applied eye serum and eye cream.  He made me compare my eye circles while he exclaimed, “Amazing!” and “Look how different!”

He started mentioning prices, and I started making that pained, hissing noise when large dollar amounts are whispered delicately into one’s ear.  He lowered prices and added a couple free gifts (for my beloved mother, of course). After I reluctantly agreed to fork over my credit card (reluctance mixed with the joy of getting high-quality skin products), he tried to sell me another line of even more expensive products.  He went through two more full-blown sales pitches, applying products, naming astronomical prices, lowering said prices, throwing in free gifts.  I enjoyed the show, but I stayed firm.  I already spent enough money.

Finally the lights in the mall were turned off, all the store fronts locked, and he slowly put my purchases into a bag–not without a couple interruptions where he made another deal, and kept placing items in my hands, as if I wouldn’t be able to let them ago.  But no, I would get away with just a handful of items, each one guaranteed to last at least a year.

Really, his performance was fit for Broadway.  He gently mentioned my facial imperfections, asked for personal details about my life, acted like he was really interested.  Maybe he was.

One thing I learned in my economics studies is that a sale benefits both parties.  I spent the amount of money that I was willing to pay for such products.  He made a sale.  I assume that’s beneficial for him, because he worked very hard.

Each product is supposed to last a year.  I want to know if I actually got my money’s worth.  So, here is my BEFORE picture:

Yes, I used unflattering light and a white background on purpose.

A year from today, I will post an AFTER picture.  I bet you can’t wait.

For the record, the products I purchased are Vivienne by Dr. Luxman.

I have:

Exfoliating Body Scrub

Shea Nut Body Butter

OnSen Pure-a-Peel

Pure & Calm Facial Cleanser

Mega-Moisture for face

Peptox Eye Cream

Green Seaweed Serum for eyes

and

2 bars of soap

Not for the record: how much I paid, because my mom reads this blog.

If you want to experience the sales pitch of an Israeli salesman, they have locations in El Paso, Austin, Friendswood and Houston.

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Dear John

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on April 26, 2011

Dear Starbucks,
We had a good, long run. Well, that’s a lie. We had a good, short run, but I hung on through quite a bit of bad . . . I didn’t know what else was out there and you were conveniently available. Though you regularly disappointed me, I kept coming back.

I mean, it was easy when I worked with you. I could make my own perfect cappuccino foam, and drink anything I wanted for free. Free coffee beans for home, so even on my days off, I never strayed. That was clever. Why would I drink coffee from anyone else? — I always had free Starbucks. Only now do I recognize that subtle manipulation.

Then I had to stop working with you, because I had to go back to school. But you were at school; two locations, one on either side of the building where I had all my classes.

This is when things went downhill.  Yes, I visited you because you were convenient, but afterwards, I was always filled with regret.  You must have noticed my growing dissatisfaction, because you tried to buy me back with gifts.  First you gave me extra points for having a registered Starbucks card, but then I realized the points didn’t actually mean anything, especially compared to my Boloco card.

Then you gave me this:

A super-shiny gold card with my name on it.

So . . . I’m a girl.

Which means, I am attracted to shiny things.

The name was a nice addition, because it declared:

“THIS SHINY GOLD THING BELONGS TO ME AND NO ONE ELSE!!!!”

And it came in the mail, directly to my house.

Girls like that kind of attention.

I mean, when someone gives you a shiny gold thing just for you, that means commitment– right??

Oddly enough, the presence of gold did not improve the flavor of the coffee.  Nor did it teach the baristas to actually make my drinks correctly or be polite.

So I took that gold card and I cut it in half!

Good-bye Starbucks!

CR

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The Hazards of Flying

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on April 19, 2011

Completely unrelated to Lara’s swimming, I have become very concerned about TSA searches at airports. Here’s the basic info from TSA on the new types of scanners.

Here’s the image that’s been scaring everybody who reads or watches the news:

Basically the TSA agent remotely viewing the scanner pictures gets a detailed image of what you look like with no clothes on.  TSA is working on changing the image so that it only shows possible dangerous items hidden in your clothing.  But for now, everyone gives the full monty.

I knew the scanners were not in the Austin airport.  But I completely forgot that they might be in the Boston airport.  It didn’t occur to me that Boston wasn’t nearly as enlightened as Austin. Anyway, I get in the security line at Boston Logan only to come right up to the horror-machine:

I have read enough about these that I should have been better prepared.  But in the moment I had to decide, either let them take a naked picture of me, or submit myself to 2nd base with a stranger.  Just to add to the horror, I kept thinking about this video of a 6-yr-old going through the TSA-approved pat-down.  I was filled with dread.  Then I was filled with anger.  I AM A FREAKIN U.S. CITIZEN! HOW DARE THE U.S. GOVERNMENT SUBMIT IT’S CITIZENS TO SUCH DEGRADATION!?  And it’s not like this infringement on our rights actually makes us safer!

TSA and Homeland Security must be stopped!

Until then, here’s a list of airports to avoid.  (Also from TSA website.)

Airports who currently have imaging technology:

  • Albuquerque International Sunport Airport
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
  • Boston Logan International
  • Bush Houston Interncontinental Airport
  • Boise Airport
  • Bradley International Airport
  • Brownsville
  • Buffalo Niagara International Airport
  • Charlotte Douglas International
  • Chicago Midway International Airport
  • Chicago O’Hare International
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International
  • Cleveland International Airport
  • Corpus Christie Airport
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
  • Dayton International Airport
  • Denver International Airport
  • Detroit Metro Airport
  • Dulles International Airport
  • El Paso International Airport
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International
  • Fort Wayne International Airport
  • Fresno Airport
  • Gulfport International Airport
  • Grand Rapids Airport
  • Harrisburg International Airport
  • Harlingen/Valley International Airport
  • Honolulu International Airport
  • Houston William P. Hobby Airport
  • Indianapolis International Airport
  • Jacksonville International Airport
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • Kansas City International
  • LA/Ontario International
  • LaGuardia International Airport
  • Lambert/St. Louis International Airport
  • Laredo International Airport
  • Lihue Airport
  • Los Angeles International
  • Luis Munoz Marin International Airport
  • McAllen Miller Airport
  • McCarran International Airport
  • Memphis International Airport
  • Miami International Airport
  • General Mitchell Milwaukee International Airport
  • Melbourne International Airport
  • Mineta San José International
  • Minneapolis/St.Paul International Airport
  • Nashville International Airport
  • Newark Liberty International Airport
  • Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
  • Oakland International Airport
  • Omaha Eppley Field Airport
  • Orlando International Airport
  • Palm Beach International Airport
  • Palm Springs International
  • Philadelphia International Airport
  • Phoenix International Airport
  • Pittsburgh International Airport
  • Port Columbus International
  • Raleigh-Durham International Airport
  • Richmond International Airport
  • Rochester International Airport
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
  • Saipan International Airport
  • Salt Lake City International Airport
  • San Antonio International Airport
  • San Diego International Airport
  • San Francisco International Airport
  • Sarasota Bradenton International
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
  • Spokane International Airport
  • St. Petersburg-Clearwater International
  • T.F. Green Airport
  • Tampa International Airport
  • Toledo Express
  • Tulsa International Airport

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Lara Jackson come back?

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on March 22, 2011

My ever reliable Google Alert sent me these gems today:

“Arizona’s Margo Geer jumped into the top 15 all time in the sprint free with an 11th-ranked effort of 21.79. That swim puts her in contention for Arizona’s fifth win in the event at NCAAs with previous wins coming from Diane Johnson (1982), Ashley Tappin (1995) and Lara Jackson (2008, 2009)” available from Swimming World Magazine.

“Only Lara Jackson (21.27), Vanderpool-Wallace and Natalie Coughlin (21.46) have been faster.” also from Swimming World Magazine.

and my favorite:

“Auburn sprinting sensation Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace , an Olympian from the Bahamas, won the 50-yard free, with her time of 21.38 coming within .11 of the U.S. Open record set by Arizona’s Lara Jackson in 2009.” from the Austin-American Statesman.

That’s right 2011 swimming ladies, Lara’s still the woman to beat in the 50-free.

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Springtime is for awakening

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on April 17, 2010

and rebirth.

I have many reasons for not adding to this blog for the past 6 months.  This blog is supposed to be about my sister’s swimming career. She’s still swimming.  Last fall she traveled the world (South Africa, Germany, Singapore) to compete in the World Cup.  But it’s hard writing about stuff happening so far away.  I was stuck in Boston, so I didn’t have much to write about.  Now Lara is focusing on school and training.  I’m still stuck in Boston.

On the other hand, I’ve been inspired by so many blogs written by friends (Broccolitarian Universe, The Voice and The Song, Giant Old Lady, In the Living Kitchen, Charlotte’s Web, Dulce De Leche Swirl) and people I found through the magic of the internet (Not That Kind of Girl, Full Gastronomic Tilt, “thought gently whispers . . .” ) that I thought maybe I could expand the subject matter.

The real reason I haven’t written much, though, is: since my dad died, I haven’t the heart.  He was my sister’s greatest fan, and his enthusiasm and knowledge helped me figure out the world of swimming.

So this post is about my dad.

My dad and I contemplate the vast hole in the ground.

Last week I was dog-sitting for a friend (author of aforementioned Broccolitarian Universe). As I walked with the dog along the Charles River, I decided to listen to Grateful Dead.  When “Ripple” came on, I put my iPod and repeat and listened to it at least 10 times until we got back to the apartment. 

Listen for yourself.

I looked up the song on Wikipedia, because I had no doubt there were many theories explaining the lyrics that resonated in my brain.  I found The Annotated “Ripple” which made the comparison between “Ripple” and the Psalms.  Ah, yes that was it.  It reminded me of a Psalm.

First verse:

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung
Would you hear my voice come through the music
Would you hold it near as it were your own?

Words glowing with sunshine, songs played on nonexistant strings: what better image for those ethereal communications we sense when thinking about lost loved ones?  I still lose my crap when I think about my father’s voice coming through the music.  I know he loved the Grateful Dead.  I’m sure he spent many hours geeking out– like I am now– analyzing lyrics and appreciating melodies.  So yes, I hold on to this music, and make it my own, because it feels like I’m holding on to my dad.

Second verse:

It’s a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken
Perhaps they’re better left unsung
I don’t know, don’t really care

Love for this hippy music was totally handed down.  He loved it, so he listened to it and shared it with me.  My thoughts are broken, because they are MY thoughts because he never shared HIS thoughts.  So am I really sharing an experience with my dad every time I listen to this song, or do I only THINK I am?  I don’t know and don’t really care.  So I keep singing it to myself, and for anyone who can hear me.

Chorus:

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

A Psalmist sense of causes and actions unexplainable by normal means.  Everything my dad was, his personality, morality, his love for certain movies and humor . . . all those things have participated in the phenomena that make me who I am.  When I read Ann Coulter or watch Lord of the Rings, I do it because he did.  But I also love those things for myself.  Who knows which of his off-hand comments have pushed me down certain paths?  I guess what I’m trying to say is, his life made ripples in my life.  Their causes are untraceable, they cannot be rationalized.

Third verse:

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty
If your cup is full may it be again
Let it be known there is a fountain
That was not made by the hands of men

This verse sends me straight to the Bible.  “My cup runneth over” from Psalms 23.  Many times when I think about how Dad was taken from us so suddenly, without reason, I feel like my cup is empty.  Nothing matters if a good man can be taken away.  But I have reached out in prayer to that fountain of blessings . . . and I realize that my life is good, despite the heartbreaking loss.  Those blessings do not come from men, i.e., they do not come in the forms of admiration, or jobs, or good grades, or nice things.  Just knowing this fountain exists can bring me through the rough patches.  Then I look around and realize my cup is full again.

Fourth verse:

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone

Ah yes, a road.  There must be volumes of scholarship on the use of “road” as metaphor for life.  This also reminds me of Matthew 7:13: “Enter in at the narow gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction.”  A highway is wide (broad), but life is a road.  If we pretend that life is easy: on a broad, flat surface, then we fool ourselves.  We cannot know everything another experiences, so we do travel down the path alone.

Fifth verse:

You who choose to lead must follow
But if you fall you fall alone
If you should stand then who’s to guide you?
If I knew the way I would take you home

The idea of leaders being followers seems to come from my Christian study.  Leaders only become leaders when they follow God’s Word.  I often put myself in the leadership position, and I have made my dad proud.  But now, I do strive to follow God’s guidance.  If I refuse guidance, and rely on myself, I will fall alone.  The last two lines seem to come straight out of my dad’s mouth.  Who will guide me through life?  My dad is gone, but as a mere mortal, he never knew the way either.  I know he wanted what was right and good for me.  And he would have given it to me if he could.  Instead he could only offer himself as an example, because no father, no matter how loving, can give his daughter everything.  His love was enough to help me find my own path.  So I go down that road alone, knowing he’s cheering for me not to fall.

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List of Offenses

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on August 10, 2009

I can’t believe I flew across the country to go to a swimmeet.

Offense the 1st: flyingunited-airlines-boeing-747

There are a multitude of good reasons for the failure of the airline industry.  (for example)  I flew United from Boston to Chicago and then from Chicago to Seattle.  Flying is a de-humanizing activity.  Airports are run to make the passengers feel like cattle.  You are rushed into compressed spaces, stripped, searched, poked, prodded, judged.  Don’t try to talk to the security people, they are handlers, too busy for conversation.  But at least they smile.

The flight attendants for United almost never smiled.  They firmly told us to buckle our seatbelts and turn off all our electronics.  (Why is it necessary for me to turn off my iPod during take-off?  It has no wireless feature, and I need the music to distract from the fact that I’ve been strapped into a metal, airtight germ-incubator that’s about to hurtle thousands of feet above the ground.)

Now that the safety lecture is shown on tv monitors, the flight attendents don’t even have to do the safety dance!

Despite the indignity of flying, I jumped at the opportunity to come to the Pacific Northwest.  The second I drove my rental car onto the tree-lined highway, I was charmed by the trees and the mountains and the 10-lane highway.  Felt like home.

Probably my favorite part of the trip, however, was spending one-on-one time with Lara.  I haven’t spent time alone with Lara ever — at least, not since we stopped playing with Barbies.

Offense the 2nd: the pool.

One word: bleachers.

With all the fancy doodads in competition pools these days (check this out, I mean movable floor???), why can’t some R&D go into designing bleachers that accomodate the human rear end, not flat metal slats that cripple your spine.

The chlorine stung my eyes, and the echo chamber-qualities deafened me.  It was full assault on all my senses, not to mention BORING!  I can only stare at perfect abs for so long, though there were many many perfect abs on display.  Unless you know people to cheer for, swimmeets are boring.  Luckily I’m a champion day-dreamer and people-watcher.

fancy pool, with bleachers

fancy pool, with bleachers

This meet was far more casual than any meet I’ve been to since Lara graduated from high school.  Far more smiles, far fewer game-faces.  Only a handful of Olympians.

Lara swam in the 4oom free relay, which was fun to watch.  According to Lara, none of the swimmers were strong in the 100 Free, but they broke the meet record.  Congrats to Leone Vorster, Lara, Whitney Myers, and Genny Konicke.

Lara swam the 100m backstroke “for fun.” 

Lara jumps into the pool for the 100m Backstroke.

Lara jumps into the pool for the 100m Backstroke.

She swam in Prelims, but she didn’t make Finals, so I went to Seattle that evening.  I went up the Space Needle, but the coolest thing was the Science Fiction Museum.  There was a Jim Henson exhibit that was wicked awesome.  I almost want to move to Seattle just to work at that museum.  Unfortunately, no photography was allowed inside, so I can’t offer any proof of coolness, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

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Luck Be A Lady

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on July 9, 2009

 . . . and that lady is a tramp!

Humans blink their eyes every 5 seconds.

Lightning can move 1 million meters in 1 second.

A hummingbird flaps its wings about 50 times a second.  That’s one wing flap every .02 second.

The time it takes to lose a spot on the U.S. National Team is .01 of a second.

Mom tossed and turned all night.  I woke up with a rhinoceros sitting on my chest.  We made it to Prelims early enough to get good seats.  As the meet progressed we stopped talking . . . then smiling . . . then breathing.

The Prelims for the 50 Free had 10 heats.  Lara would swim in Lane 4 in the 9th heat.  Dara Torres would swim in Lane 4 in the 10th heat.

Heat 1: 26 seconds, then

Heat 2: 25 seconds, then

Heat 3: 25 seconds, then

Heat 4, 5, 6, 7, 8: 24 seconds each.

That’s the thing about the 50 Free: days, weeks, months of anticipation, and the race itself takes less than 30 seconds.

The Heat 9 ladies did not come on deck immediately.  Mom and I reluctantly started to breathe again.  One of the swimmers had to change her suit.  There’s a meet official who examines every swimmer’s suit to make sure it follows the ever-changing FINA guidelines.  A swimmer in Lara’s heat had to change, delaying the meet.  The strain got to me.  Lara gets so primed before her race, any bump could throw her off.  I was wrong.

Lara swam a 25.31, fast enough to get her into Finals, with a shot of First Place, and a chance to compete at World Championships in Rome.

Lara seemed ready when we brought her lunch.  She seemed confident, prepared.

A few hours later, we returned to the pool, again early enough to get good seats in the sold out bleacher section.  We recruited the spectators around us to cheer for Lara. 

A short minute and a half goes by, and all that expectation deflated as we saw the horrible number 3 next to Lara’s name.

1st Dara Torres at 24.43 seconds

2nd Amanda Weir at 24.70 seconds

3rd Lara Jackson at 24.71 seconds

The difference one-one hundreth of a second can make.

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Go Fight Win

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on July 9, 2009

GO LARA This morning Lara got 6th place in the 50 m-Free with 25.31; not her best time, but certainly good enough to get her into the A Final.  Lara seemed to be in a good mood when we brought her something to eat.  She does not intend to get less than 1st place tonight.

You can get results from www.usaswimming.com.  I will keep posting, so keep reading!

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