Tuesday, June 29, 2010

You're Gonna Think It's Rigged

But what's a girl to do? These are the names/numbers that came up in the randomizer. Usually it's someone that I have never even seen their blogs, that win. Not this time. Nope, Good Karma reared her head and out popped:

Jay from Cynical Bastard:

and Dana from Amid Life's Crises:

I thought about dumping everything back in the box and redrawing, but that would BE wrong. It wouldn't just LOOK wrong. So, here I am with Jay and Dana. And I'm piling stuff in a box to send to Arkansas and Illinois!

Congrats! You're going to get some crap from China!!!!

And just in case you thought that I was finished with China pics and stories. I rode a CAMEL. Hell yeah. It was the most surreal thing that I've ever done.

Between the two humps, I plopped myself. He got up on one knee. Then the other and then WHOOF we're UP! Way up.

I was the second person on. Six of us rode. We loped off into the desert from the middle of effin' nowhere to a scene of nothing but dunes. It was like being at sea, but with only sand.

Our local guide got a little too close to one of the camels and wore a spit shirt for the rest of the day. I was lucky. I got to ride the Camillac of the camels. Mine had a seat, with rugs and a blanket tossed on top at the last second.

I was so impressed with the guys. They were shifting right. Then shifting left. Us girls finally figured out the problem. Family jewels stuck between the humps must hurt.

My camel seat had an arched handle. You have no idea how important that holder on-er was! Everybody starting griping and bitching about holding onto a stinky, sweaty hump. They stunk for the rest of the day. I roomed with my cousin and three days later, she was going through her luggage and moved the shirt she wore on the "Camel Day" and I could smell it clear across the room.

Lesson for the day: Try not to touch the stink.

Friday, June 25, 2010

You Wanted to See Her! Here She IS!

After about five days in China, we slowed down and took a three day cruise down the Yangtze River through the Three Gorges ending at the Three Gorges Dam.

Amazing, amazing cruise. I loved the small boat with only 200 passengers. Ten of us spoke English and became fast friends with a couple from England and a Mother/Son from New Zealand.

Absolutely stunning and terribly relaxing. I had two massages. Well, it started out as a $15 foot massage and at the end he offered for $18 more, he would do another full body. OKAY! I'm so easy. Three days. Two massages. My idea of heaven!

This is our guide, the sweetest woman in China....Jean! We were in the Lesser Three Gorges during a small boat trip like the one below.

What a beautiful place!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Nobody Said A Word About THIS

Yep, you're seeing it right. A hole in the floor. Thank GOODNESS that I work out and do squats every week. Those very squats saved me.

Now, I'm no princess traveller. I've been around the block a time or two. Twenty years ago, when I was in France I ran across these. But just one. In China, they're the norm. Squatters are everywhere.

Troughs weren't AS common, but a tad more disturbing when you did find one. The above photos give you a good idea of the common toilet. Yeah, they can copycat the iPhone, but they can't put toilets in restaurants? I'm still a tad bitter from all of the squatting.

We stayed in 5 star hotels, so we always had Western toilets and even occasionally, rose petals decorating them! I was so weary from being out and about all day squatting that I HAD to take a picture of it. I hated to flush, it was so pretty.

On our way out of Shanghai, we had to be at the airport three hours early for the International flight. Luckily, my uncle bought all of our tickets, so everywhere we went, we were allowed into the President's Club Lounge. It's like sitting out there by the gate, except you have an array of snacks, refrigerators full of all types of drinks, your own bartender, big comfy chairs with hookups for your gadgets. And a damn nice toilet.

Shanghai's lounge and snacks were out of this world, but when I went to the toilet, I knew that they had installed this just for me.

As I opened the door, the lid lifted itself for me. I knew that I'd found my soulmate. Oscillating. Pulsating. Rinse Cycle. Wand cleaning. AND A DRYER!!!!! I blew dry my hiney in Shanghai! And I controlled the heat of it. Damn, I want one of these so bad!

I should put up a Paypal Button for my Japanese Toilet Fund.

Three Screams

Our first day in Bejing is when I decided that I never want to fly again. A 16 hour plane ride is, well brutal. It began to hit me around the 6 hour mark. As I watched the GPS plane flying excruciatingly slowly across the top of the world, my imagination ran wild. It's 77 degrees below zero outside at 35,999 feet up. What would we do if we had to have an emergency landing? Freeze.

At eight hours in, I was too tired to watch a movie, but too awake to sleep. The baby behind me didn't help. I wanted to scream, too. At ten hours in, I only had SIX MORE HOURS ON THE PLANE. It gave me plenty of time to work on my character.

I arrive in Beijing exhausted and yet it's only 1:30pm. We take our luggage up to the room and meet back downstairs for a walk. Our guide is lovely and I can't help but wonder if Grant would like her as much as we do!?

We walk and walk and walk. At a vendor on the road, we try Dragon fruit, Mangosteen and man alive.....Lychee (pictured above) are fabulous! I'd had a drink made with lychee here, but if I ever see those little jewels at the grocery, you can be sure that they will be coming home with me!

Finally, we make it to dinner and can sit. Oh the luxury of sitting. Just hours ago, I think I'll never want to sit again, and now it is EXACTLY what I want to do. Jean, our guide, orders our meal for us and dishes begin arriving. I couldn't tell you what anything was, but it was all amazing! She went easy on us and had mostly chicken, beef and pork. But she couldn't help but tell us about one of the most bizarre Chinese dishes, The Three Screams.

The diners would order mice that had just been born and a plate of sauce. The baby mouse would scream first when a diner seized it with a pair of chopsticks. It would scream a second time when it was dipped into the seasonings and its last scream was emitted as it entered the diner's mouth. from ChinaDaily.com

From then on, I went vegetarian. I'm brave like that. If you're brave, poke around with that link above on China Daily. It's another world.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

To Wear Or Not To Wear


Another guest post by Dana


I am a creature of habit and routine. Every morning I do things in the same order, or I'll inevitably forget something. Monday morning? I got out of my routine and I forgot something ... MAKE-UP!

I know, many of you women are asking yourselves, "How did she forget her make-up? Maybe her cell phone, or her keys, but her make-up??"

Confession time - very seldom do I wear make-up on the weekends, so when Monday rolls around it's easy to just forget that step of my morning routine. I used my astringent, I used my moisturizer, I brushed my teeth and then I got dressed and walked out the door ... looking like this ...

Now, I don't wear much make-up to begin with. My "face painting" consists of a mineral powder foundation, a little blush, some eye-liner and mascara. The end. I wear make-up because it is expected, not because I think it makes me look amazingly beautiful. And it pisses me off ...

I can think of a bazillion reasons why I shouldn't wear make-up, including ...

  • I don't want to spend hours in front of a mirror troweling a face on. And what if I'm traveling?? It's $25/bag for checked luggage these days and a bulging make-up bag takes up too much room in a suitcase.
  • No matter what the make-up tells me it will do, it won't. Make-up isn't cosmetic surgery, or even magic fairy dust, it's just a cover-up.
  • I think I look younger without make-up. As you get older, make-up tends to settle in the creases and wrinkles, bringing even more attention to them.
  • Make-up feels weird. You can't do things you'd normally do without worrying about the impending melted face look - like crying or rubbing your eyes.

So what did I do? Well, I was so self conscious that when I went home for lunch, I decided I had better make myself look presentable. I took all of three minutes and did my face, and went back to work looking like this ...

Then I looked at these pictures and realized there isn't a whole lot of difference in my before and after, yet there was a whole lot of difference in the way I felt about myself before and after.

If you are a female reader, do you regularly wear make-up? Are you one of those people who won't go out of the house without lipstick and mascara??

And guys, how do you feel about the natural look (generally, not specifically to me)? Does it scream "natural beauty" to you, or do you want to run away screaming??


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

China: Day Two, Pearls are Kinda Gross

Yeah, doesn't make you wanna get all dressed up and drape on a string of pearls, does it?

The average shell carries about 24 of these little jewels. I guess I've watched too many cartoons where there's only one. The wives at home had told their guys that they wanted lavender pearls. I'd never heard of them.

We arrived at the Pearl Factory and watched a demonstration where we learned all about them and then had a chance to buy all we wanted. They're beautiful, but after watching that first image LIVE, not for me. Plus, I rarely wear lavender.

P.S. I'm not ignoring you guys. I have giardia. Ugly. And I think I got it drinking that tea on the second to last day that was just kinda warm. It occurred to me later that it probably hadn't been boiled properly. I'm sick and frankly, it sucks...except for the weight loss. To come home with all of these stories and not one drop of energy to tell them is a bummer. But hey, I'm tryin', ok?

P.P.S. If you haven't entered for the drawing for something from China, just add your name in the comments. I'll pool everyone that's entered into one big pot and give you something cool that I brought back. Promise. Soon, mkai?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Oh To Be A Fashionista!


Another guest post by Dana


I am many things - fashion forward is not one of them.

I own seven pairs of shoes - 2 pair of flats, same style, one pair black and one pair brown - 2 pair of dress boots, same style, one pair black and one pair brown - 2 pair of Teva sandals, same style, and yes, one pair black and one pair brown - and a single pair of sneakers.

I do not own a purse (I carry a wallet) and I wear the same earrings and bracelet every single day.

Yes ... seriously ...

So when I came across TLC's article titled 10 Trends We Wish Would Die Already, I expected to see my entire wardrobe depicted. Instead, I discovered I'm not even trendy enough to be a fashion faux pas!

I know ... I know ... y'all are curious as to which ones you are guilty of, aren't you? Well, I am here to serve your needs.

Coming in at #10 - Crocs

Ha! I am proud to say that I have NEVER worn a glob of molded plastic on these size 11's. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the only time it is acceptable to wear Crocs is if,

(1) You are under the age of 4 and cannot yet tie shoes. Once you've mastered that skill, Crocs should be off limits.
(2) You are a gardener who uses them for their original purpose.
(3) You live in a dorm with community showers and can't stomach the idea of putting your feet on the same tile where the bacteria live.

#9 - Cutout Dresses

I'm sorry, but this looks like a circus costume, even on Fergie!

#8 - Leggings as Pants

They are leggings people! Unless you are headed to the gym or dance class - or finished off a fifth of tequila and cannot find your pants - they need to stay in that bottom drawer with your jammies!

#7 - Rompers

Or as I like to call them, onesies for grown ups. Fortunately, I am 6' tall and unless I want a perma-camel-toe, I'll never find a romper I can wear. In fact, even back in the 70's when I was 10 and they were actually in fashion, I could never find one that fit. Who knew that was actually a good thing?

#6 - Layered Statement Jewelry

*Fashion Tip* Just because one or two are pretty together doesn't mean seventeen of them are drop-dead gorgeous! I'm thinking that much bling makes a woman walk like she has advanced osteoporosis.

#5 - Distressed Designer Denim

Really? People are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for a pair of jeans that look like Goodwill rejects? I'd be afraid that if I washed these I'd end up with designer dust rags!

#4 - High Heels and Socks

OK people, unless your significant other has a sexual fantasy surrounding Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, and you've decided to give in JUST.THIS.ONCE, socks have absolutely no business paired with heels. NONE!

#3 - Dressed-up Sweatpants

No, carrying a black purse and wearing heels does not magically make this a fashionable look. Any item of clothing that has the word "sweat" in it's description is not made for a night out on the town.

#2 - Super High Heels

These shoes should only be worn by someone who has a pole near by to help them with the precarious balancing act required to stand in these, let alone actually walk. Fortunately strippers don't spend much time on their feet.

Finishing up the list at #1 - High-waist Pants and Shorts

Damn! I knew there was a reason I should have kept my marching band uniform from high school. I could have been trendy if I wore it today!

So, which of you have committed at least one of these fashion crimes?? Come on, I know at least one of you readers is going to be a Croc defender ...


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Jet Lag is a lot like drugs...

just without the fun part. I left Shanghai Saturday night at 11:30pm (our local time) and arrived Monday morning at 2:06am. Being delayed in Newark for almost four hours was not in the plan, but Mother Nature decided to blast through with some ugly storms.

I have over 2,000 pictures. A ton of stories and apparently, I left about 7 pounds over there. It won't hurt any of those Chinese girls that weigh 90 pounds. Chopsticks have a definite learning curve, but I mastered them! And still lost weight.

Above, you'll see me at the Great Wall. Wow. Seriously. Wow. But since I felt a lot like I feel today, I only walked up far enough to get a photo. I'm wearing a visor because China really scared my hair.

I'm so glad to be home!

****Now, please go down and look at Dana's post!*****

Who's Raising The Kids?


Another guest post by Dana


A controversial study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, concluded that children raised in lesbian households were psychologically well-adjusted and had fewer behavioral problems than their peers. (An overview of the study and Journal Reference can be found [HERE])

The study followed 78 lesbian couples who conceived through sperm donations and assessed their children's well-being through a series of questionnaires and interviews.

Dr. Nanette Gartrell started the study in 1986. She recruited subjects through announcements in bookstores, lesbian events and newspapers throughout metro Boston, Massachusetts; San Francisco, California, and Washington.

She interviewed the mothers during their pregnancy or during the insemination process, and again when the children were 2, 5, 10 and 17 years old (the children in the study are now 18 to 23 years old).

The children were interviewed four times throughout their childhood and completed an online questionnaire that focused on their psychological adjustment, peer and family relationships and academic progress at age 17.

Dr. Gartrell used the Child Behavior Checklist, a commonly used standard to measure children's behavioral and social problems, to assess their well-being.

Not only did the children of lesbian couples fare well, they actually rated higher in social, academic and total competence and showed lower rates in social, rule-breaking and aggressive problem behavior.

So why the controversy? Funding for the research came from several lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy groups (i.e. the Gill Foundation and the Lesbian Health Fund from the Gay Lesbian Medical Association).

Here's my take on this. I can see two glaring issues with this study:

  1. It was a very small and specific sample group - only 78 couples and only lesbians who were artificially inseminated.
  2. Results of the Child Behavior Checklist were compared to national norms rather that with a comparative sample group - heterosexual couples who used artificial insemination to have children.
Is special interest group funding a concern? I don't think so. Special interest groups fund all kinds of studies. As a researcher, personal integrity is always on the line, no matter who funds a study.

I cannot look at the funding of this study and come to the conclusion that Wendy Wright, president of the Concerned Women for America (a group that supports biblical values) did - "This study was clearly designed to come out with one outcome -- to attempt to sway people that children are not detrimentally affected in a homosexual household."

I'm also not willing to look at the results of this study and decide that all children should be raised by lesbian couples since the study shows they score higher in social, academic and total competence behaviors and showed lower rates in social, rule-breaking and aggressive problem behaviors.

What I take away from this study is that children growing up in a loving, 2-parent family, where the pregnancy is planned, will likely do better than children born into much different circumstances ... no matter if their parents are heterosexual or homosexual.

What do you think?


Monday, June 7, 2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Happy Anniversary to My Fruit Fly

A year ago today, a random, ax-weilding murdering internet junkie hit me up when I was planning my parents re-wedding. She said that she would help. Yeah, right.

At that very moment, the Universe spun on it's axis and sent me a wedding planner. Do you have the embossed napkins? WHAT???!!! What's your color scheme? Where are you renting the chairs from? Do you have a bout for your Dad? How many roses did you order? Do you have vases? Fans? Who's walking your Mother down the aisle? And a thousand other questions that she asked me from Chicago.

I've never met her. But I she knows more about me than most of my best buddies, because frankly, we had to talk about that wedding and everything else going on in our lives almost daily.

There's one story about kissing a girl that she's still not told me. I'm not bitter much, though. ;)

So, Happy Anniversary to someone that I've never met. She has impacted my life through her words, her deeds and her thoughts. She's amazing beyond belief and I'm so grateful that she found me.

I love you, my little Fruit Fly! MWAH!!!!!

P.S. She's prettier than that model, but I can't show you her pic. You'll just have to imagine how Red Dragon HOT my friend is.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Don't we all young lady...

Just because I saw there wasn't anything else scheduled for today...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tuneage Tutelage - Album Review - MILES "As Fast As You Can"

I am back and once again, sharing some music information while RLL is having the trip of a lifetime over in China...For more reviews like this, please visit my site TUNEAGE TUTELAGE

The band is called Miles and is composed of Marc Plotkin on vocals, guitar, saxophone, percussion, organ, and Benjamin Jacobs on bass, vocals, guitars, percussion, piano, organ, synthesizer, and drum programming. Then they surround themselves with talented musicians like Kenneth Flax, Ryan Andrews and Nick Svoboda on drums, Brandon Sherman on guitar, and Adam Ahyia on piano and what you come up with is a truly enjoyable set of music from this band from Brooklyn, NY.

The album is called AS FAST AS YOU CAN and from the opening riff of acoustic guitar that morphs into a rocking backbeat, you know something is different here.

I have to say it took me two songs to find a comfort zone in Marc Plotkin's vocals. At first his tone kept pulling me away from the music, but then you begin to feel more embraced by it.

As I have said before, I would rather hear the true voice of a singer and not some auto-tune creation of a voice.

Since the creation of this album, the band has solidified themselves as a quartet with Adam Ahuja on keyboards and Jon Smith on drums.

The opening number "Where You Were" puts the band out there with a jaunting riff and a rock back-beat.

"A Little Crazy" might be my favorite track on the album. Opening with a short accapella it then becomes very 60-ish rocker. I kept flashing to Manhattan Transfer during this one.

The band lists its influences as Death Cab for Cutie, D'Angelo, Vampire Weekend, Justin King and Counting Crows.

Throughout the album they bring you into their world. On "Just In Case" they explore that break up, where you want to stand strong, no matter what...
And just in case you wanna leave
The words she chose to use
Slipped right through the armor protecting you
The pain distorts your face
Love never had such a bitter taste

The album took over two years to record and was recorded in a dozen different locations. It show the perseverance these two young men had to get their music out there. All the songs are credited to both Jacobs and Plotkin and they even mixed 4 of the tracks themselves.

I like these guys and look forward to their next step. I will be reaching out to see if they will appear on MUSIC ON THE COUCH as I think their back-story is interesting.

Two from the band Miles..."A Little Crazy" and a more bluesy number entitled "Nothing Wrong At All".

RATED (out of 5)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lola's Diner: Guest Post by a REAL Lesbian!


Welcome to Lola's Diner!

Actually I’m a real lesbian every day…that is from the time I figured it out later in life. Once I did figure it out, I called the only lesbian I knew, my exhb’s best friend. She told me she knew already, and was actually awaiting my call at some point. (Later my exhb told me that when I first met this friend that she took him aside and asked him why he was marrying a lesbian.) I called her to ask her how to meet women, where the lesbian bars were and so on. I did begin going to the lesbian bars, but I’m not the type to walk up cold to a woman. I’m shy like that.

My first forays into the lesbian dating world were online. And they pretty much continued to be until I got into relationships. I started out in the chat rooms. Mostly msn and aol’s lesbian chats. I met several women through them. I also posted profiles on planetout.com and match.com. My first date with a woman was "S" who, like me, was in the process of a divorce. That first date sealed it for me. She picked me up and we went out to dinner, then drove me back to my house and gave me a good night kiss. That kiss confirmed for me that I was in fact a lesbian. Suddenly everything seemed…"right". We dated for awhile, but things went nowhere.

A lot of my other dates were coffee dates and led nowhere. I have quite a few dating horror stories. A few months into my lesbian dating life I met "P" on planetout. We instant messaged and I persuaded her into a date that same Sunday night. I drove out to the suburbs, picked her up and took her to a local pizza joint. The entire date she talked about her ex. She peppered her conversation with "just so you know, nothing’s going to happen tonight". Mkai. I think I could guess that from all the ex talk, but I wasn’t going to cut out in the middle of dinner. On the car ride back, same thing…talk of her ex and "just so you know, nothing’s going to happen tonight". I drove her back to her place and she started making out with me in my car. Again, every once in awhile, stopping the lip lock to say "just so you know, nothing’s going to happen tonight". At some point she grabbed my right hand and shoved it down the front of her pants. I think you can guess what transpired next. Afterward she told me that she wasn’t going to reciprocate, but she continued to make out with me! This went on for quite awhile, to the point that I was thinking I just needed to get her out of my car because I needed to get home because I had to go to work the next day. At one point I got out and opened her door, she got out and proceeded to push me onto the back of my trunk, carrying the make out session further, but…not yet to the point of reciprocating. This went on for what seemed like forever until I finally managed to get back into my car and locked the doors and waved good-bye. My mind was reeling…my first ½ way lesbian experience! I got lost for almost 2 hours on the way home. And did I mention that she stuck me with the dinner tab claming that she would send me a check for her share? Needless to say the check never arrived.

Another horror story was a woman from Canada. We chatted for weeks online and she decided to fly down for a visit. I greeted her at the airport with a dozen roses. She had a stuffed animal for me. But that wasn’t all…she had this look of complete utter contempt on her face. Apparently my appearance did not meet her specifications, even though we had exchanged photos. (This from a woman who looked like a punk rocker with black lipstick and nail polish. Not that I judged her for that. It was her demeanor and behavior that I judged her for.) She made it clear with her actions, words and lack therof, that she was not pleased. Being the polite Chicagoan that I am, I offered to make the best of it and show her the city. I took her to Navy Pier. The entire drive from Midway Airport to Navy Pier she did not say a word! Just disgusted sighs. (I’m not an ogre by the way, I’m dating a young hottie right now.) We got to Navy Pier, we were there maybe 10 minutes and she was on her cell phone trying to get a flight back right away. She wanted to take a cab back to the airport, but I chivalrously offered to drive her back. Again, the entire ride there, not a word, just disgusted sighs. When we got to the airport she grabbed the stuffed animal she gave me and threw the roses I gave her back into my car. Honestly, I’ve never met a more rude person in my life. It’s ok if you’re not physically attracted to someone, just be polite and make the best of it. I’ve had my share of dates where I wasn’t attracted to the person, but we still had polite conversation and never cut the date short.

Valentines Day that same year I had a date with a woman who brought along a straight friend. A wing girl, if you will. I thought it was odd, but decided to make the best of it. We went to a well known Italian restaurant in Chicago. My date told me that I reminded her of her ex, who she apparently was not ‘over’ yet. How did I know this? Every time I tried to start a conversation, she brought it up and started to cry. She cried through nearly the entire dinner! After dinner, my date and her straight friend insisted I take them to the lesbian club down the street. I kept thinking this couldn’t possibly end well, but I guess I was too nice to decline. We went to the club…and still more crying. When I couldn’t deal with it any longer, I told them I had a headache and walked home. It was a considerable distance, but it was certainly better than having to be subjected to any more crying or references to how I reminded her of her ex.

I’ve also had my share of dates that ended well and ended up being relationships. Some of them ended oddly, others ended badly. (Do any relationships really ever end well?) One woman from Michigan wanted me to leave my kids to move to Michigan to be with her. She was my ‘first’. (Who would leave their children for anyone?) The second woman, "C", I met from Michigan ended up moving in with me. I had the occasion to talk to an ex of hers. She warned me that "C" had a pattern. After 6 months she’d move out of the bedroom and eventually leave. Darned if she wasn’t exactly right! Another was a woman who I had seen for several months who just suddenly dropped off the face of the earth. No phone calls or emails returned. Several months later she emailed me to say she was moving back to Florida, did I want to see her one last time for ‘old times sake’. Needless to say, I declined. Then there was my longest relationship with a woman, almost six years. I discovered in February she had been cheating on me for at least 6 months, if not longer. I found out she’d been lying to me about her whereabouts. Turned out when I called her out on the lies she admitted she was with another woman. Not being one to bury myself in self pity, I got back on the horse and started dating again. I’m currently very happy and we are planning a long weekend getaway.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

There's No Such Thing As Free Rent


Another guest post by Dana


... or is there?

According to a recent article in the New York Times, Owners Stop Paying Mortgage ... and Stop Fretting About It, foreclosure is becoming a way of life for some folks.

We've all heard the stories of the increase in foreclosures throughout the U.S. due to a combination of the housing market crash, poor lending practices and poor borrowing practices. Usually those stories end discussing the impact of those vacant - often vandalized homes - on the the homeowners who remain in the neighborhood.

But for a growing number of people whose homes are in foreclosure, rather than loading up the moving truck in the middle of the night, they are opting for their own mortgage modification - one that brings their payments all the way down to zero.

Of course, this modification is not one worked on with the lender, but one that is delivered as an ultimatum: Force me out if you can. Homeowners justify their position by claiming the banks created the crises by duping borrowers into taking loans that put them in debt over their heads.

The numbers? Foreclosure procedures have been initiated against 1.7 million homeowners. Resolving these defaulted loans is a slow process, and getting slower due to legal challenges, foreclosure moratoriums, government pressure to offer modifications and the inability of the lenders to cope with the sheer number of mortgages gone bad.

The average borrower in foreclosure has been delinquent for 438 days before actually being evicted. More than 650,000 households have not paid on their mortgage in 18 months. In 19 percent of those homes, the lender had not even begun to take action to repossess the property. In Florida, the average property spends 518 days in foreclosure, second only to New York’s 561 days.

In states that require judicial proceedings to finalize foreclosure, defense attorneys are keeping this number high.
According to the New York Times article, one local Florida attorney claims he now has 350 clients in foreclosure (10 new clients each week), each of whom pays $1,500 a year for a maximum of six hours of attorney time to “... just do as much as needs to be done to force the bank to prove its case.”

Lenders claim people who stay in their homes without paying the mortgage or actively trying to work out some other solution, like selling it, are “milking the process.”

What do you think? Are banks and other lenders getting what they deserve for poor lending practices? Is there a moral obligation of borrowers to make good faith efforts to resolve their bad debt?