To read the tribute to SFC Marcus Muralles, please click here
Friday, December 31, 2004
Cynical, you say? Well, yeah. I've made all those promises to myself in years past. "I'm going to lose weight." Yeah, that's why I still have too much weight to lost. "I'm going to keep the house cleaned up, neat and tidy." Have you seen our house lately?
We need to face a few facts and come to grips with our weak human nature. We will never make changes, even if they are good changes, if we think we "should." No one likes to be guilted into anything, even we're trying to guilt ourselves. There's no incentive, no positive reinforcement (usually) for the things we "should do" - at least not short term. You can say "well, if I lose 20 pounds, then I'll feel better." Yeah, right. You can say that all you want- but that 3rd (or 4th, or 10th) cookie provides an immediate reinforcement that celery sticks and crunches just can't match.
So, where does that leave us? Are we doomed to the pathetic patterns we've gotten ourselves into? Well, no... if that was the case, I'd be raiding my kids' stash of White Chocolate covered Oreoes right now instead of typing this. It has to be a matter of wanting something enough to make change. Wanting it more than you want the comfortable familiarity of your routine.You have to want to change so much that it becomes a priority for you.
Well, either you have to want it bad enough, or you're left with no other choice- you have to change. (There's a fine line between "should" and "must"- work with me here.) I think I am finally to the point in my life where my desire to change is meeting with the neccessity of change. And I'm hoping that this convergence is powerful enough to push me into the changes I know I need to make.
It's been a crazy year. I discovered that, although South Beach is a good diet that works, it's not the best option for me ( I'm one of the .4% of people - or whatever the percentage is) who get more migraines instead of less while on the diet). Last June, my back went out (again, but evidently not as bad as Spoons- poor guy ruptured a disk), so the doctor sent me for an MRI , just to have a look around. (FYI, when the nurse calls you and says, "we have your MRI results, and we're sending you for a consult to a neurosurgeon," it's probably not a good thing.) In the end, I have a few bulging disks, one slightly herniated disk, and Degenerative Disk Disease. Then, this fall, after my routine physical, I get a call saying "can you come in for some more blood work?" They were checking for diabetes. That turned out to be a false alarm. But...
So... what does that all have to do with New Year's resolutions and life change? Well... guess what both doctors told me... "You know... if you lost some weight and got into shape, this wouldn't be a problem." It's one thing to think to yourself, "hmm... I'd look better if I slimmed down and got rid of the cottage cheese thunder thighs." It's another thing for one doctor to tell you "if you don't get your act together, you not only will not get better, but your pain will get progressively worse and you'll end up having abnoxiously painful surgery, " and another doctor to point out that "if you don't change your diet and lose some weight, you'll end up a complete lard-butt with a medical condition that can kill you and on a diet that is really no fun." (OK... that's not what they said. That's what I heard. Important difference.)
So I'm going to make a plan. First, I know what I'm not going to do- I'm not going to become a slave to my diet. I will buy healthy, sensible food to eat at home (and do my best to keep the junk out- sorry gang!) I will try to make intelligent choices when we go out to eat. BUT, I will not completely deny myself goodies.(SuperBowl Sunday, I'm going to be a piglet. It's just the way it's going to be.) I will exercise (Curves is a good start, but I need to figure out how to protect my back a bit better until I build up those muscles.) I will take my vitamins.
What diet am I going to follow? I have no clue. Low/no carb is out. Maybe Weight Watchers. Maybe the Curves Low Cal. Maybe just eating a little less and a little healthier. I'll figure it out.
When does this start? Today, sort of. Monday, officially. Am I going to grumble and complain? You bet.
Thursday, December 30, 2004
The good news... it's not our dogs making all the noise!!
As of yesterday, we have dogs on either side of us, and behind us. And I'm pretty sure (but not positive) that there are dogs living behind both of our neighbors. I'm not sure what the grand total is, but I think the grand total (if you include Mike and Snort) might be as many as 10 or 12 dogs living in the back yards of these 6 houses. And they can't see each other because of the privacy fences. And that makes them... annoyed.
Since about 9 o'clock this morning, dogs have been barking off and on. Mostly on. But not our dogs. They're sitting here in the living room, looking up at me with these sad eyes, as if to say "Make the noise stop! We're trying to nap here!"
We've had complaints about our dogs from time to time, and Heaven knows they're not perfect. But the electric fence is working, chicken wire covers the weak spots in the fence, and our dogs are being the well-behaved ones for once. Woohoo!!!
Tell Us Something We Didn't Know
The National Academy of Sciences issued a 328-page report based on 253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications, a survey of 80 different gun-control laws and some of its own independent study. In short, the panel could find no link between restrictions on gun ownership and lower rates of crime, firearms violence or even accidents with guns.But, for some reason, they feel the need to do more research. Whatever you guys need to do to help you sleep at night. More research isn't going to change the results.
The panel was established during the Clinton administration and all but one of its members were known to favor gun control.That's got to hurt.
Meanwhile, a study released by the Justice Department suggesting background checks at gun shows would do little to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals.OK... so we've had two studies which, in the end, do nothing but point out what many of us already knew was just plain common sense. And they spent how much of our tax money on them?
The report was the result of interviews with more than 18,000 state and federal inmates conducted nationwide. It found that nearly 80 percent of those interviewed got their guns from friends or family members, or on the street through illegal purchases... Less than 9 percent were bought at retail outlets and only seven-tenths of 1 percent came from gun shows.Really? Never would have thunk it.
Hmmm... wonder what form of Happy Dance™ Kim (and other proper-thinking gun nuts/advocates) will do when he sees this.
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Football Marathon Time
So, chatting with Lord Spatula this evening, he comments that the Alamo Bowl is on this evening. And that he's pretty sure OSU will win.
Gee, Spats! You must be psychic! Or psycho... I get those confused sometimes.
Is it just me...
In a nutshell, this couple had been scuba diving when the tsunami hit, which probably saved their lives. Once they got to shore, they did what they could to help (a very good thing, indeed). They lost everything. They get to the airport, they can't find the US officials for three hours, and then found them in the VIP lounge (which is where the airport officials put them.) Since they had no documentation, they had to have new passports issued, and the officials demanded payment before they would take the passport photos (because the camera was acting up, so they were only using it for the truly desperate- if you had the cash, they wanted you to get your photos taken at another location).
Maybe I would feel differently if I had just been caught in a tsunami and lost all of my possessions. But I would like to think that I would have the presence of mind to remember that the region had just experienced the worst natural disaster in recent history, and things will not go smoothly. There will be problems. Being appalled because you had to pay for documentation and that the consulate officials were exactly where they were told to be just seems... childish.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
They'll Never Get It
But U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland suggested that the United States and other Western nations were being "stingy" with relief funds, saying there would be more available if taxes were raised... "There are several donors who are less generous than before in a growing world economy," he said, adding that politicians in the United States and Europe "believe that they are really burdening the taxpayers too much, and the taxpayers want to give less. It's not true. They want to give more."They just don't get it, do they? In a way, Egeland is correct- a lot of people want to give more. And they do- through charities, not the government. That's because governments, no matter how good their intentions, are notoriously bad at handling money.
In response to Mr. Egeland's comments, Mr. Duffy pointed out that the United States is "the largest contributor to international relief and aid efforts, not only through the government, but through charitable organizations. The American people are very giving."Precisely. We give- just not the way the UN wants us to. Oh, well, they'll get over it. They have to, because we won't change. We get a little... upset... when people try to tell us what to do or how to do it. We're already annoyed enough with the UN for the way they've meddled in our business.
I just wish our government had the guts to take our ball (and our checkbook) and leave that particular playground.
Don't worry, Mr. Egeland - the US will give plenty of money in aid. Too bad for you it won't be under UN control. That is the real problem, isn't it?
UPDATE: There was an Oxfam report about a month ago, claiming that the US (and other "rich" nations) were not living up to a 1970 pledge to make 0.7% of their gross domestic income available for aid. They claim that the US aid budget for 2003 was only .14% of the GDP. Well, yeah... add in all the private donations to international charities made by American citizens and corporations and get back to us, m'kay?
UPDATE 2: Mr. Egeland is backing away from his original statement. Too bad there's that pesky video of him claiming that the US was stingy.
Monday, December 27, 2004
Looking for Signs...
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. (Matt 24:7-8)I'm not going to say that the End Times are here. I'm not going to say that they're not, either. But I will say something. First, two more verses:
There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves (Luke 21;25)
Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door. (Mark 13:29)Hmmm.... "you do not know when the time will come "... "keep on the alert"... "recognize that He is near"... Does that mean to dwell on the Second Coming? To focus on the End Times?
But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come. (Mark 13:32-33)
Some people believe it does. "Look to the Heavens! Christ's return is at hand! " Maybe. Maybe not. The Apostles thought He would return during their lifetimes. Prophets over the last 2000 years have said, "The End is Near!"
There is a story I've heard, and it sums up my view of the Second Coming, The End Times, and how we, if we are Believers, are supposed to act. I've heard to credited to St. Francis of Assissi and to Martin Luther, and I've heard it concerning The Second Coming, and concerning the man's death. Either way, no matter who said it, it's a good explanation. (work with me here).
Someone asked Francis what he would do today if he knew the Lord would return tomorrow.The point is, no matter how much you long for the Second Coming (if you do), no matter how much you study Scripture, you don't know for sure when it will happen. If you focus on what might happen, you can never be part of what is happening in the world around you. We were put on this planet for a purpose- and I doubt it was solely to study End Times prophecy. I know that some people are truly called to eschatology, but the average person needs to just get their spiritual acts together and not worry about the whens and wheres.
"Plant a tree."
"Why would you plant a tree?"
"Because that is what I had planned to do today."
Yes, there are plenty of signs that the Second Coming might be near. If you're not "pre-trib", then you might very well believe we're already in the middle of the Tribulation. But we still need to live the lives that God gave us to live to the fullest. To do less is to squander a great gift.
If you'll excuse me, I'm off to do my version of "planting a tree."
Sunday, December 26, 2004
RIP, Minister of Defense
There are so many great things that can be said about him... his tremendous career, his charitible works off the field, his faith. I'll leave it the professionals to write of his accomplishments.
From what I saw, he was a good man, on and off the field. I was sad when he retired (all 3 times). I'm even sadder now that he's passed away.
Workin' At The Car Wash...
NASA's Mars rover Opportunity seems to have stumbled into something akin to a carwash that has left its solar panels much cleaner than those of its twin rover, Spirit. A Martian carwash would account for a series of unexpected boosts in the electrical power produced by Opportunity's solar panels....Hmmm... you know... there could be another explanation... (click on "Night Watch") teeheehee
Rover team leader Jim Erickson at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, told New Scientist that a process still not understood has repeatedly removed dust from the solar panels. "These exciting and unexplained cleaning events have kept Opportunity in really great shape," he says....
Whatever the process, it has taken place while Opportunity was parked during the Martian night. On at least four occasions over a six-month period, the rover's power output increased by up to 5% overnight. At the time, the team speculated that wind may have swept the dust off the panels or frost may have caused it to clump, exposing more of the panels.
Saturday, December 25, 2004
Christmas, a Day in Review
Remember when I said that I would not be buying the boys Robosapiens for Christmas? Yeah, well... didn't stop my parents from getting it for them. Oh, well...
A haul was made by all. And the livingroom has been declared a disaster area.
But, in the end, it's not the mess in the livingroom. It's not the feast on the table. It's not the wonderful gifts we received. It's not the stress or the carols or the decorations.
It's family and friends. Relationships. Love. And a Baby in a manger.
A Christmas Message
1. "Adoro te devote, latens Deitas.'' "Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore."
On this night, the opening words of this celebrated Eucharistic hymn echo in my heart. These words accompany me daily in this year dedicated to the Eucharist.
In the Son of the Virgin, "wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger'' (Lk 2:12), we acknowledge and adore "the Bread which came down from heaven'' (Jn 6:41, 51), the Redeemer who came among us in order to bring life to the world.
2. Bethlehem! The city where Jesus was born in fulfillment of the Scriptures, in Hebrew means "house of bread.'' It was there that the Messiah was to be born, the One who would say of himself: "I am the bread of life'' (Jn 6:35, 48).
In Bethlehem was born the One who, under the sign of broken bread, would leave us the memorial of his Pasch. On this Holy Night, adoration of the Child Jesus becomes Eucharistic adoration.
3. We adore you, Lord, truly present in the Sacrament of the Altar, the living Bread which gives life to humanity. We acknowledge you as our one God, a little Child lying helpless in the manger! "In the fullness of time, you became a man among men, to unite the end to the beginning, that is, man to God'' (cf. Saint Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, IV, 20, 4).
You are born on this Night, our divine Redeemer, and, in our journey along the paths of time, you become for us the food of eternal life.
Look upon us, eternal Son of God, who took flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary! All humanity, with its burden of trials and troubles, stands in need of you.
Stay with us, living Bread which came down from heaven for our salvation! Stay with us forever! Amen!
Friday, December 24, 2004
Family is in town, so posting will be light. We're going to the Christmas Eve service tonight, then relax all day tomorrow, cooking up a storm, and we'll open whatever gifts Santa drops off tomorrow night once Hubby gets home from work.
Spend some time with family and friends. Focus on the Reason for the Season. If you're not one to celebrate the religious aspects of the Season, then have a wonderful, restful weekend. And, all of you, try not to eat too much!!!
I'll leave you with this:
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirin'i-us was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!" When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Doing the Right Thing, Part 2
Well... evidently, Joe's even more upset about it than me.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
50 Things to Eat Before You Die (with my comments in italics):
- fresh fish (yum!)
- lobster (yum yet again)
- steak (They're joking, right? There are people who have never cut into a perfectly grilled steak? How sad...)
- Thai food (great Thai place in town... love it)
- Chinese food (T1 and T2 think this is comfort food)
- Ice cream (uh... another joke?)
- pizza (just had some last night)
- crab ( mmm... crab legs with drawn butter... )
- curry (I need to check the definition, but... see "Thai food")
- prawns (where's the cocktail sauce?)
- Moreton Bay Bugs (ok... you got me there... what is THAT?)
- Clam Chowder (oooo... I need to make some of that... it's perfect weather for some chowder)
- barbecues (uh... I live in Texas...)
- pancakes (what? do they not have pancakes in England???)
- pasta (one of the reasons Hubby married me is my spaghetti sauce...)
- mussels (favorite meal with mussels was at a place in Virginia Beach- Hubby had something called a "Fish Bowl"- several kinds of seafood in a wonderful broth with rice noodles... maybe I need to figure out that recipe)
- cheesecake (not my favorite, but The Cheesecake Factory is making me a convert)
- lamb (yum... my garlic leg of lamb is "to die for", I tell you)
- cream tea (got me again- never have had a proper tea)
- alligator (tastes like chicken... no, really)
- oysters (tried them... not a big fan... probably need to try them again)
- kangaroo (can't say I've had that pleasure)
- chocolate (oh, yeah... )
- sandwiches (rubens are yum... so are O'Reilly's... otherwise... not a huge fan)
- greek food (mmm.... baklava...moussaka... feta cheese...)
- burgers (like I said, this HAS to be aimed at Brits)
- mexican food (mmm.... real Mexican... not Texican or TeMex)
- squid (not bad fried, but...)
- American diner breakfast (I actually prefer the Full English, but...)
- salmon (raw, smoked, grilled, poached, stuffed, baked... )
- venison (have had jerky and in chili... I like it)
- guinea pig (uh... no)
- shark (a nice grilled shark steak is a beautiful thing)
- sushi (also on T1 and T2's list of comfort food... no joke)
- paella (hmmm... not that I know of...)
- Barramundi (guess I need to make a trip to Australia)
- reindeer (not bad... had it at a restaurant once)
- kebab (yum)
- scallops (I'm all in favor of all this seafood... I love scallops)
- Australian meat pie (technically, I think I make this... isn't that a shepherd's pie?)
- mango (not a big mango fan... but I have had it)
- durian fruit (I've had Durian candy, and that's enough for me... eeewwww)
- octopus (feels like you're chewing rubber bands)
- ribs (once again, I'm in Texas... then again... you need to go to Tennessee for some good pork ribs...)
- roast beef (with mashed potatoes and gravy... yummm)
- tapas (haven't had the pleasure yet... need to remedy that)
- jerk chicken/pork (hmmm... don't think I've had that... sounds yummy, though)
- haggis (uh... no... not sure about that one... just sounds... nasty)
- caviar (yum)
- cornish pasty (my grandmother used to make these all the time... I love 'em)
Jay was asking for additions to the list... I need to think about it... but... I think I'd have to say any ethnic food (Japanese, Korean, African, Turkish... you get the idea)... soul food...
Any additions you'd like to make?
I don't know about this one...
You Are Socks!
Cozy and warm... but easily lost.
You make a good puppet.
Socks? I'm socks? Whatever... (hat tip to Drink This)
Uh... um... just watch...
Hat tip to Ace of Spades and Speed of Thought.
And we thought our moonbats were bad?
MEMRI said the drama (called "For You, Palestine," or "Zahra's Blue Eyes") was written and directed by former Iranian education ministry official Ali Derakhshn.They're joking, right? Unfortunately, they're not. And I'll bet that many of the people who watch this series have trouble distinguishing between fact and fiction. Then again, these are the same people who think the Jews use the blood of Christian children to make matzo.
The series is set in Israel and the West Bank, and it details an Israeli plot to harvest organs from Palestinian children, particularly eyes, for use in transplants.
Oh, yeah... what Israel needs to do is give these people their own country. THAT makes sense. NOT.
Dude! MTV's "The Real World" is headed to Austin, Texas. "We've been thinking about Austin for a long time," co-creator and executive producer Jon Murray told The Associated Press Wednesday.... The show brings together seven strangers between the ages of 18 and 24 to live in a swanky loft or house and films them around the clock, at home and on the town....OK. Let's get a few things straight- first, there is very little "reality" in "The Real World", even if it the original "reality tv" program. The producers use a lot of creative editing to get the story they want. And, there is also very little "real world" in "The Real World"- unless 7 people (chosen for their combustiblility potential) are thrown together with the understanding that everything they do will end up as MTV lore is common place. The only reality of "The Real World" is that it gives those 7 people a free pass for an anything-goes experience for a few months, and then it shows the kids who watch it that anything-goes and juvenile behavior is perfectly acceptable.
Oh, but there's one little tidbit that got me:
Murray also wouldn't say where the house is (as if the kids at UT won't have it figured out within a week- 6th Street beware! - ed.), and he was tightlipped on the identities of the seven strangers, though he said his casting staff did "a bit of an outreach to people returning from Iraq."That's special, isn't it? I'm sure they just want to honor our veterans returning from Iraq, right? I mean, they'd never think about exploiting the valiant efforts of our military for ratings, right? I can just imagine it... it would be best if it was a Force Recon Marine v. some poor vegan antiwar protestor. The Marine would eat him for lunch. But you and I both know that is not what MTV has in mind. They'll probably get a flakey-but-attractive supply clerk with not a lot of spine (no, I'm not deriding supply clerks... they play an important role in the military. I'm just guessing that they will choose someone who doesn't like to argue and take a stand- that could be someone with any MOS) and put him/her up against a rabid pit bull won't-move-on.org hippie chick. That would be more their style.
MTV probably chose Austin, in part, because it is an island of Blue in a sea of Red. Austin, and its illustrious mayor, Will Wynn, might be excited about "The Real World" coming to their neck of the woods. It doesn't mean that those of us who live in the burbs agree with it.
That's about right...
The Twelve Days of Christmas revisted.
On the 12th day of Eurocentrically imposed midwinter festival my significant other in a consenting, adult, monogamous, relationship gave to me:
Twelve males reclaiming their inner warrior through ritual drumming.
Eleven pipers piping (plus an 18 member pit orchestra made up of members in good standing of the Musicians Equity Union as called for in their union contract, even though they will not be asked to play a note.)
Ten melanin deprived testosterone poisoned scions of the patriarchal ruling class system leaping.
Nine persons engaged in rhythmic self-expression.
Eight economically disadvantaged female persons stealing milk products from enslaved bovine Americans.
Seven endangered swans swimming on federally protected wetlands.
Six enslaved fowl-Americans producing stolen non-human animal products.
Five golden symbols of culturally sanctioned enforced domestic incarceration.(After members ofl the Animal Liberation Front threatened to tthrow red paint at my computer, the calling birds, hens and partridge have been reintroduced to their native habitat. To avoid further Animal-American enslavement, the remaining gift package has been revised.)
Four hours of recorded whale songs.
Three deconstructionist poets.
Two Sierra Club calendars printed on recycled processed tree carcasses, and
One Spotted owl activist chained to an old-growth pear tree.
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Good Kwanzaa,, Blessed Yule, and Happy Holidays*
*unless you are suffering from seasonally affected disorder(SAD). If this is the case, please substitute this gratuitous call for celebration with the suggestion that you have a thoroughly adequate day.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Talk About Repulsive!!!
In a nutshell... Fox has a new show called "Who's Your Daddy?" They found a woman who had been adopted and then found her birth father plus several other guys... if she figures out who her birth father is, she gets $100,000.
This is so upsetting to me on so many levels that I'm almost speechless. I can almost imagine the woman's motivation to do this- I mean, I'm sure Fox picked up the bill for the search, which can really add up. And, if it ends up that she finds him and all is good, then that's a good thing, right? But, what about the birth father? It just doesn't make sense to me.
But, mostly, I'm upset about them turning a very emotional process into a game. It cheapens everything about it. The process becomes just another freak show for people to watch once a week. That is truly sad. Fox claims that it was put together with the best of intentions, and that people's lives were changed for the better. For everyone's sake, I hope they're right.
While searching for my birth parents, I went through almost every emotion I can think of. The idea of doing that in front of television cameras is beyond anything I can imagine. I hope the woman and her birth father knew what they were getting into when they signed on for this.
Then again, having gone through the search, I can tell you that they had no idea what they were getting into. There is no way of knowing that.
ISS Sighting Opportunities
|Wed Dec 29/06:02 AM||10 above NNE||10 above NE|
|Thr Dec 30/06:28 AM||13 above NNW||33 above ENE|
|Fri Dec 31/06:54 AM||10 above WNW||19 above S|
|Sat Jan 01/05:49 AM||39 above ENE||39 above ENE|
If you'd like to find out if the ISS will be visible in your area, go here.
Will I be out there? If the sky is clear, you bet. I mean, my dad will be here. This is the same man who woke me up in the middle of the night to see meteor showers (just because I wanted to see them.) He'll have the coffee ready.
And this is bad... why?
Most presidents since the beginning of the 20th century have granted hundreds if not thousands of pardons and sentence commutations, led by Franklin D. Roosevelt's 3,687 over four terms. Only two presidents never used their constitutional authority to grant clemency: 19th century chief executives James Garfield (who held office less than a year before he was assassinated - ed.) and William H. Harrison (who passed away less than a month after taking office- ed.).I'm guessing that only 31 requests met his strict criteria for pardon/commutation (which, while I don't know for sure, probably involves proof of innocence and/or information not available at the time of trial.) He's not the kind of man to use his power for personal gain. No matter what the Left thinks of him, he's not that kind of man.
If you do the crime, you should pay for it. That's the message the President has sent with his lack of pardons. And I like it.
Bring Out Your Bats! Bring Out Your Bats!
Groups targeting President Bush's economic agenda, the legitimacy of his election and the war in Iraq plan a week of events to counter his inauguration Jan. 20."Code Pink"? The GOP is actually supposed to take them seriously? The "legitimacy of his election"? Whatever...
"Our intention is to show President Bush and the world our movement is energized, mobilized and determined to fight back," said Gael Murphy, of the activist group Code Pink.
"What I expect is more people will be here to protest Bush's inauguration than to inaugurate him," Lytel said.Lytel said his group will film events on Inauguration Day and release a documentary online that evening. They also plan a protest near the Capitol on Jan. 6, the day Congress will certify the electoral votes and officially declare Bush the winner.What I expect is that the people who are there (in DC) to inaugurate him (President Bush) will be quietly snickering (or even outright laughing) at these moonbats. We all know that they just don't get it. If (and I thank God that this was not the case) Kerry had won, do you really think conservatives would be acting like that? No way.
Oh, wait. I forgot. We're the mature, responsible ones. We may make jokes from time to time, but we don't usually have temper tantrums and throw fits just because we don't get our way.
Doing the Right Thing
"It's a no-win for people in the House," the moderate, 10-year House veteran from rural Illinois said recently. "We risk our political careers. We risk 30-second ads against you saying, 'You voted to gut Social Security.'"So, this "moderate" Republican (more likely a RINO) is more concerned about his political future than doing the right thing. Doing the fiscally responsible thing means nothing to him if it means he might lose his precious job in DC.
Unfortunately, we can't hope that his constituents in IL will find out what he said and boot him from office in '06. To get elected to office in IL as a GOP, you need to be a RINO. So, they'll probably agree with him.
The good news is that the true GOP in Congress understand the need for change in the system. Hopefully they'll be able to get something done.
Genius! Pure Genius!
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
eh... Could Have Been Worse....
|You are 32% geek|
|You are a geek liaison, which means you go both ways. You can hang out with normal people or you can hang out with geeks which means you often have geeks as friends and/or have a job where you have to mediate between geeks and normal people. This is an important role and one of which you should be proud. In fact, you can make a good deal of money as a translator.
KYLE J. RENEHAN
17 March 1983 - 09 December 2004
We are here this afternoon not to mourn the passing of a Marine, but to celebrate the life of a friend, a brother. Cpl Kyle J Renehan was both of these and much, much more. Kyle was the type of person that you always enjoyed being around. There was something about him that would always make you smile. Whether a smart quip here, or a random comment there, he would always know how to raise your spirits. I would learn all this as we began our journey…
Aside from the actual job, Kyle’s main goal here was to “go down in Cherry Point ATC history.” In the summer of 2003 our NCOIC had gotten some word that we, Lance Corporals, were finding out some things that should never have reached our ears. As expected, plans were made to “squash the Lance Corporal Underground.” Due to this, Kyle, LCpl Foster and myself obviously could not go around calling ourselves the Lance Corporal Underground, so we made a joke of it and shortened the name to the “LCU.” Now I’m only throwing this in here because the LCU wasn’t just about work. The LCU started out as kind of a joke but soon became real. We formed a bond, a brotherhood, a group of best friends that would do anything for each other. Even our ’sponsors,’ as we called them, felt this same way. Sgt Yoder, Sgt Tims, Sgt Hutto, Sgt Setzer, Sgt Spaulding and Cpl Chastain all were major influences on our lives both at work and at home. We knew that they were there for us, and they knew that we would be there for them if they ever needed anything. The LCU encompassed so many and told the story of a tight-knit community that would soon become a family. In fact, we always had a rule that we would impose on each other, thanks to Kyle. “If one goes, two go. If two go, we all go.” This was the rule that Kyle made up so we wouldn’t be separated. Whether it be one person volunteering for field day, one person told to watch out for a new Marine, or one billet, the others were there side by side offering to help. Kyle liked to take advantage of his rule every now and then when it came to helping out the younger Marines. I remember one time a new Marine had failed a barracks field day because the room he was assigned was left in horrible condition. Amongst complaining from both Foster and myself, Kyle volunteered to help this Marine field day at 2100 on a Thursday night knowing we had a day watch the next morning. That’s the type of person Kyle was. He is what made the LCU strong and he is what kept us together. He is what made LCpl Tapia, LCpl Simmons, LCpl Woodard, LCpl Stewart, LCpl Foster and myself part of the self-proclaimed “Greatest Empire in Cherry Point ATC” history.
Kyle was always looking for ‘a way’ to go down in history. He thought about it so much one time, he tried to convince Foster and myself to go in on a Golf cart that was on display in a parking lot along Highway 70. Granted the golf cart was 4x4, had a CD player with external speakers, was equipped with NOS and was pulling a giant pig roaster, but Kyle wanted to use it as a vehicle for the crew. He wanted us to pour $2,000 into a yellow golf cart with red flames on both sides, so that our crew would have something that the other crews didn‘t. He always wanted to have and be the best.
The funny thing is, Kyle isn’t going to be remembered for what he did. He isn’t going to be remember for being the youngest, most junior Marine in the facility’s history with a TRACON rating before he departed for the MEU. He isn’t going to be remembered for creating the “Victory Run” along the airfield, he isn’t going to be remembered for the Meritorious Boards he went up on, and he isn’t going to be remembered for the board he won even though his right back pocket was discovered unbuttoned although he was closely inspected by one of his best friends who also happened to be his competition. Kyle J Renehan is going to be remembered for the person he was. He is going to be remembered for the motivation, dedication, loyalty, and care that he showed everyone he encountered. He’s going to be remembered as the friend that would offer to pick you up from the airport, wait around for a couple of hours because you told him the wrong flight time, and still be there when the plane landed to greet you with a smile and comforting words. He’ll be remembered as the comrade who offers to cancel his plans for a 96 because you need someone take you down to Atlanta to get your car back after a 6 month deployment. He’ll be remembered as the guy who would wake up at all hours of the morning and go out to Burger King or Dunkin’ Donuts to make sure you had a ride on base. He will be remembered as the brother that touched so many of our lives and helped make us who we are today.
“Can someone tell me how this can happen, I guess that God only knows…” I take this quote from a song written by Edwin McCain because that’s the question and answer that continues to run through my mind each and every day. I take solace in this answer only because I know Kyle’s Christian background. He is where he has always expected to be, in heaven, watching over us all. That’s the reason for his volunteering to go fight. He enlisted in the Marine Corps to do a job and he knew the consequences of war, and he was ready to pay the ultimate sacrifice. He actually told Foster and myself that he was going to come back with a scar on his face and two more ribbons than us. He was so proud to defend this great country of ours and dedicated this chance, this opportunity to God.
Now I have attempted the impossible. I have tried my best to come up with the perfect words to describe Kyle Renehan. There simply are not enough words in the English language to describe the friendship, loyalty, and love that Kyle displayed to us all. He talked us up when we were down, he led us through some rough times, and he helped to create an undying force within each and every one of us. Kyle you will not be forgotten, for you achieved your goal. You have gone down as the greatest friend in Cherry Point ATC history!
I found a poem online last week that I would like to read submitted by an anonymous writer:
Do not stand by my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am a diamond glint on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain
When you awake in the morning hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight
I am the soft starshine at night.
Do not stand by my grave and cry,
I am not there--I did not die.
Although Kyle never got his promotion ceremony and he never got to wear the rank that he deserved, he will forever be remembered by me as Cpl Kyle Renehan. He always enjoyed the rank he wore, we all did, but at the same time he continued to strive for the goal he had set forth for himself. He wanted to wear those 2 stripes with that cross rifle on his collar. He wanted to show the world those chevrons on his Dress Blues. He wanted to wear the rank that so many before him had made special so many years ago. He simply wanted to excel. And excel he did, beyond anyone’s beliefs. He was always the best, but he would always be the one pointing out someone better, whether it was true or not. Although he never got to stand behind the formation and raise his hand one more time pledging his determination to “set the example for others to emulate,” those that know him also realize that he lived by that concept every day of his life.
Cpl Kyle J Renehan, an outstanding Marine, a true friend, an amazing brother. Rest in Peace, Kyle, and keep those seats warm for the rest of the LCU. We will carry on and continue to fight as I know you desire. Besides you know the rule, “one goes, two go, two go we all go.” I can’t wait to see you again and reform the LCU for all eternity. Thank you for being a part of our lives, you live on forever in our hearts. And to slightly modify one of your favorite songs, WE will be the greatest fans of your life.
We Love You,
Brandon, Fred, J, Michele, Askia, and Drew
Kyle, Josh, Mike, Scott, Jon, and Sam
Sunday, December 19, 2004
Cooking Tips from Beth
Friday, December 17, 2004
Think, People! Think!
OK, I have to admit it. I thought they were going to rehash the whole "was it a fetus or a baby" routine I referenced earlier today. And I was going to GO OFF on someone. But that's not exactly the case.
(Sheriff) Espey was frustrated that it took hours for a statewide amber alert to be issued. The mother was found around 3.30pm, and the amber alert didn't appear until nine hours later.No sh*t you didn't have all the stats!!! You have a newborn premature baby- causasian, light colored hair (if any at all), probably blue eyes (unless there is a strong tendency toward brown on both sides of the family) and complexion??? She just spent 8 months swimming in a pitch black pool- I'm thinking pale at best. Size? TINY. Weight? The OB/Gyn could hazard a guess, but my guess would be about 3.5lb. There ya go! You're looking for a person with a new TINY baby who didn't have one yesterday, driving a red Honda. Is that too difficult?
"We had a live baby, and I thought that should qualify as an amber alert," he said. "The information I was getting was that we didn't have enough information such as hair colour, eye colour, skin complexion, size and weight."
You need to improvise. Adapt. Overcome. (hmmm... maybe the Amber Alert people should all be Marines.) I'm sorry that the good sheriff didn't have all of your precious stats so you could plug them into your computer. Sometimes emergencies can't be bundled into nice little boxes.
Sometimes, she's bundled in a dirty little blanket with her mother's blood drying on a corner.
Corporal Kyle Renehan Links
First, this is his obituary in the Baltimore Sun. It provides details concerning his funeral service (Monday, Dec. 20th at 11:30am EST).
Second, this is a wonderful story about Kyle from The Marine Corps News.
You know, ever since Spence told me about Kyle's injuries, I've wondered about him. What was he like? As the weeks have gone on, I've had a brief, blurry glimpse of who this young man was. And the more I learn about him, the more I grieve. I grieve more because I'm coming to realize that I will never know this funny, caring, talented young man. And then I cry a little more.
More "Wisdom" From the DU
You know, I was almost ok with some of the stuff they were writing. I mean, it was moonbat drivel, but some of them were almost advocating the death penalty for the perps, so.... Then I read this:
The RW fundies will use it as an argument that there should not be abortion, because, after all, if we had lots of healthy white babies up for abortion instead of being aborted, then whoever killed the mother for the baby would not have been so desperate.So, if there had been more babies up for adoption, this wouldn't have happened? WHAT??? No, this happened because someone was sick/ twisted and/or greedy enough to think that murder to make $100k+ on the black market made sense. This has nothing to do with adoption or abortion, you moron! It has to do with greed and a blatant disregard for the value and sanctity of human life.
It would probably not enter their minds that anyone insane enough to kill a mother and cut out the fetus/baby is not a good candidate for adopting any baby.
And you know what, you're right. It never enter this "RW fundy's" mind that the person who murdered that woman isn't a good candidate for adopting any baby. Do you know why? Because this person had NO INTENTION OF KEEPING THE BABY. They were going to SELL it on the black market. This child was a comodity to these animals. Nothing more.
Oh, and about that whole "if there were more white babies, then this wouldn't have happened" crap... The reasons why people go to the black market for a baby may or may not have anything to do with the number of white babies available. Maybe they don't want to wait for however long it takes to make it through the process (interviews, home studies, etc). Maybe there's something in their past (or present) which would make them ineligible for a normal adoption. Or maybe they're just rich spoiled brats who want what they want WHEN they want it. And, you know what? Most parents who are on the adoption waiting list want A baby, no matter what color they are. Many states prohibit giving a minority child to a white couple. (A fact I'm SURE the moonbats agree with wholeheartedly. I mean, really! Giving a poor defenseless black or hispanic baby to an Evil White Couple would just be too much for their fragile sensibilities.)
This truly amazes me. A woman is dead. Her baby was cut from her womb and kidnapped, presumably to be sold to the highest bidder. And they're worrying that somehow, someway, this might intrude on that precious "right" that women have to have their children ripped from their wombs by choice.
This is just too much. There's no hope for reasonable discourse if they're going to say things like that. Friends have been telling me that, but NOOOOO. I thought there was hope. The Left could be saved (so to speak). Logic and reasoning could reach them.
Forget that. Someone hand me a Cluebat™.
Bring Out Your Loons!
And what inspires LLL behavior more than a tragedy? (uh... thanks -I think- to the Sithmonkey Lord Darth Monkeybone for pointing this out to me... I'll need to scrub my eyes out when I'm finished) The DU, one of the favored havens for moonbats of all ages, has a thread discussing the tragedy. Are they debating punishment of the perps? Nah... Mourning the loss of this vibrant young woman? Hardly. They're whining about the child being referred to as a "fetus".
As you wander through the incoherent ramblings, you get such gems as:
- but the fundy MSM prefers fetus for the sensationalist appeal.
- Sadly, I even heard the BBC refer to the fetus in the Peterson case as an "unborn child".
- If all life is valuable, why aren't there 100,000 amber alerts for Iraqis?
- a BABY does not mean the same to a fundies as a FETUS!!! fetus > baby! comprende?
- We are going to protect the unborn so they can be born into poverty and grow up in an under funded education system so when they fail at school and can not get a job, they will join the military and die in a senseless war to support the wealthy interests.
And they wonder how Bush won the election. It truly boggles the mind.
Buy Blue? Nah...
There's this site where they encourage people to "buy Blue" in order to "take back the nation." Nah... buy Red!!!! Here's some more info from Boortz's site:
Now here is an interesting website for you to take a look at. The title says "Choose the Blue." By searching the various categories through this website you can discover which political party PACs are supported by various corporations and corporate employees in several fields of business. The object of the website is to get loyal Democrats to stop spending their money with companies that lend the greater support to the Republican party.This has been a public service announcement. Now- go stimulate the economy!!!
- In the auto insurance category, Progressive Insurance shows a 91% support for Democrats while State Farm shows an 81% level of support for Republicans.
- Virtually all automakers, with the exception of Toyota, leaned heavily to the Republican side. The donation amounts from Toyota were so small as to be meaningless.
- Ditto for auto dealers. They leaned heavily Republican. Exceptions include the Don Beyer Automotive Group and the Potamkin Companies which leaned heavily Democrat; 100% for Don Beyer who operates in the DC beltway area.
- Grocery stores? Costco is 98% on the Democratic side. Wal-Mart grocery stores and employees donate heavily Republican Starbucks? Are you kidding? Solid Democrat.
- Do you like Brusters ice cream? 100% Democratic. Blue Bird and Flowers Industries? 100% Republican. Coca Cola? 66% Republican. Sara Lee? Democratic.
- How about some fast food! Arby's -- 100% Democratic. Wendy's --- 91% Republican. McDonalds? 80% Republican.
- Restaurants? Hard Rock Cafe International donates 100% Democrat. Waffle House is 99% Republican. No wonder I love Waffle House!
- Beer! Drink up. Anheuser-Bush donates 56% to 44% Republican.
- Retail stores? Barnes & Noble is 98% Democrat. No wonder I had such a rough times getting "The Terrible Truth About Liberals" stocked at Barnes and Noble. Home Depot ... 94% Republican. Bed Bath & Beyond .. 93% Democrat. Dollar General .. 100% Republican.
- For you fashion conscious folks. Anne Klein Inc. is 100% Democrat. Donna Karan is 91% Democrat. Ralph Lauren .. 100% Democrat. Tommy Hilfiger ... 91% Democrat. Fruit of the Loom, 100% Republican. Guess jeans? 83% Republican. Those Cintas uniform people? 100% Republican.
- Computers? Apple Computer, 81% Democrat. Dell Computers? 77% Republican. Vision? Republican.
I want you to cruise these categories ... you will see that there are occasional businesses who support Democratic Party politics to a greater extent than they do Republicans .. but for the most part you will see heavy support for Republican policies.
They Still Rule!
Recently, they performed on CMT's "Crossroads" with country duo Montgomery Gentry (I posted about them before) . Yeah, I know Skynard isn't country- "Crossroads" combines a rock group with a country group and sees what happens. And, as Johnny Van Zant pointed out, country music has made a right turn and has ended up at the peak of Southern Rock (much to the chagrin of many a country purist). One of the songs that Skynard performed with MG was "Red White & Blue." Made me sad that I didn't know they'd put out a new cd. I need to pay more attention.
I'm not going to c/p all the lyrics- they're on the Skynard website if you want them. Better yet, go buy the cd. Here's the chorus:
My hair’s turning white, my neck’s always been red, my collar’s still blueThen there's the last verse:
We’ve always been here just tryin’ to sing the truth to you
Guess you could say we’ve always been red white and blue
My daddy’s worked hard and so have I, we’ve paid our taxes and gave our livesTeeheehee. I saw a message board where someone said that "if they don't like it they can just get the hell out" was a facist comment. That person obviously just didn't get it. I guess it's a Red State thing- they just wouldn't understand.
To serve this great country so what are they complaining about
Yeah we love our families, we love our kids
You know it’s love that makes us all so rich
That’s where we’re at and if they don’t like it they can just get the hell out
CMT has been replaying their episode of "Crossroads". Watch that, too.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
It is with profound sadness that I write this post.
This morning,Thursday, 9 Dec 2004, Lance Corporal Kyle Renehan, USMC,passed away due to complications from injuries he received on Nov. 29th while stationed in Iraq.
He was a son, a brother, a friend, a Marine. He will be missed.
There is no information yet on his return to the States and interment. I will provide whatever information the family wants to share.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to a military charity of your choosing.
This is my prayer for the Renehan family. It is a prayer from the Bible, the Blessing of Aaron.
The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make His face to shine upon you
And be gracious to you.
The Lord lift up his Countenance upon you
And give you peace.
Amen. (Num. 6:24-26)
Please feel free to leave your condolences in the comment section. I will make sure they get to the Renehan family.
Give me a Break
Michelle Malkin brought our attention to this story from Onalaska, TX (the fact that this is in Texas makes it all the more remarkable). Parents are upset because their kids are going to sing a parody Christmas carol. Before we get to the story, here are the lyrics:
About Rudolph and his nose
Well I'll tell you a Christmas tell
That never has been told
Well you may think you've heard it all
But you ain't heard nothin' yet
About that crazy Christmas
That the North Pole can't forget
Rudolph was under the weather
And had to call in sick
So he got on the horn
To his cousin Leroy
Who lived out in the sticks
He said Santa's really counting on me
And I hate to pass the buck
Leroy said Hey I'm on my way
And he jumped in his pick-up truck
When Leroy got to the North Pole
All the reindeer stiggered and laughed
They never seen a deer in overalls
And a John Deer tracktor hat
Well Santa stepped in
And said just calm down
Cuz we all got a job to do
Like it or not Leroy's in charge
And he's gonna be leading you
And it was
Leroy The Redneck Reindeer
Hooked to the front of the sleigh
Delivering toys to all the good ol' boys
And girls along the way
He's just a down home party animal
Two Steppin all across the sky
He makes jingle bells with the rebel yell
And made history that night
Before that night was over
Leroy had changed there tune
He had them scootin a holf
On every single roof
By the light of a neon moon
Santa wrapped his bad with the dixie flag
He as having the time of his life
You could here him call
Merry Christmas Y'all
And all of y'all a goodnight
And it was
Leroy The Redneck Reindeer
Hooked to the front of the sleigh
Delivering toys to all the good ol' boys
And girls along the way
He's just a down home party animal
Two Steppin all across the sky
He makes jingle bells with the rebel yell
And made history that night
He makes Jingle Bells with the rebel yell
And made history that night
OK... horrible, wasn't it? Scandalous... How dare we expose our children to such filth. Right? Well, that's what one parent thinks.
Parent Jennifer Scott said, "I think it's ignorance, number one. Number two, it's very racist." Scott is outraged about the lyrics. "They're just disrespectful, and I don't agree with the school choosing that particular song for their Christmas pageant," she said.Cue world's smallest violin... You're whining, Jen...
A portion of the lyrics say, "Santa wrapped his bag with a Dixie flag, he was having the time of his life." Thats one section that has Scott upset. She said, "Rebel flag to me means Confederate flag. Confederate flag is the flag the KKK recognizes as being their flag."Oh, please, please, please tell me she's joking. She is joking, right? So, the KKK has stolen the Stars and Bars for their flag. They also hijacked the Cross- should we outlaw that, too? Now, I'm not going to get into the whole Civil War issue (no, it was NOT about slavery- slavery was the issue that the North used to rally support- it was about States' Rights- slavery was on the way out... the North's tactics after the war caused more damage to Civil Rights than anything the KKK ever dreamed of doing... oh, wait... I wasn't going there, was I?) I will say that this woman is perpetuating a victim mentality that will do no one good in the long run. Especially her son, Andrew:
Third-grader Andrew Milburn explained, "It makes me feel dishonor to my color." Scott's eight-year-old son, Andrew, is of mixed race. He won't perform in the pageant because of the song.Jen, you should be ashamed of yourself! The average Southerner, who appreciates the "redneck attitude" and a fine heritage that is slowly disappearing, isn't a racist. They aren't out to oppress minorities. Honestly, they don't care about the color of a person's skin- the average Southerner that I know tries to live up to MLK's dream- they look to the content of a person's character. They don't dislike your child because of his race. They will, over time, dislike him because he'll always see himself as a victim, not living up to his potential because YOU'VE taught him that everyone hates him. Way to go.
"Just makes me feel sad that they had to do this," said Andrew. "Cause of my color... Cause they just don't like blacks."
She thinks it's racist. I think she's nuts.
That Pesky "Light Blogging" Warning
Tomorrow morning, T1 and T2 have their class play. But not just ANY play. They're performing their own version of The Nutcracker. This should be interesting.
Tomorrow afternoon is their class parties. I'm room mom for both rooms. As part of the festivities, the kids will be making cards for the troops in Iraq. (You did write your letter, didn't you?)
Tomorrow night is the last minute cleaning, straightening, etc. Why?
Because Friday afternoon (after I take one of the dogs to the kennel for a vacation and go grocery shopping and run other errands) my favorite 5 year-old nephew is coming for a visit. (What's that you say? He's my only 5 year-old nephew? Oh, yeah... well... ) His mom and dad are heading south for a graduation, so we're watching him for the weekend.
But, Friday night, he gets to go to our church's production team Christmas party. WooHoo! I get a new t-shirt!
Saturday morning, it's time to make a ginger bread nativity scene with the nephew and... bake more cookies... Then get stuff ready because...
Saturday evening, it's time for the football banquet. Ummm... yeah. You might get a post out of me on that one.
Sunday morning, we're heading north to Dallas. We'll have an early Christmas with Hubby's family, some time to chill, and some other fun stuff I'm sure I'll mention later....
We get back into town on Tuesday.
Posting will be as inspired until then. I will try to post on Monday because that is when Kyle's memorial service is in Cherry Point.
If I don't get back to you before then, have a great weekend!!!
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Make Up Your Mind!
Because our cheerleaders asked us to wait. You see, they made it to Nationals. Wouldn't it be great to have football and cheer together? So, we waited. Now, I find out that cheer has something planned on their own as well.
Would someone like to explain to me WHY we waited for them if not to do this together? Why bother?
Monday, December 13, 2004
Some Early Campaigning
That's ok, Senator. The GOP has no confidence in you, either.
He's a little old but...
The Army has asked him to return to active duty. At first he thought it was to backfill Stateside billets, freeing up the "younger surgeons" to go to combat zones. But, because of his experience with gunshot wounds and fragmentation wounds, they're sending him to Afghanistan.
Getting ready involved updating his medical credentials and re-establishing military security clearances. His pre-deployment preparation at Fort Benning, Ga., included making sure he was physically fit and could use a gun. Caulfield carries a gun in a holster strapped to his side, sometimes under his scrubs.And when asked how he felt about being asked to return,
Caulfield said he is glad to be able to help. "I've been a soldier for 25 years," he said. "When your country asks, you do it."Best wishes, Dr. Caulfield. Uh... Col. Caulfield. Thank you for your continued service to our country.
So it's all our fault?
Let's see... Yanukovych "won" the election, but the results were overturned by their Supreme Court because of fraud allegations. And that was after the head of the Ukrainian secret service is suspected of poisoning Yanukovych's opponent, Victor Yushchenko, with dioxin.
So, I guess this means Yanu's game plan is "when all else - including murder- fails, blame the US." Hmmmm... are they part of the EU yet?
Can I keep him?
So, I've sat by, listening to tales of woe from other bloggers about their resident trolls. I wondered if I'd ever get one. Not that I really want one, mind you. Just wondering if I'd ever get one.
Well, remember that chilling, deep, provocative post I did yesterday? Yeah, the one about the company Christmas party. Well, according to webopedia's definition of troll, I got one. I'm really kind of disappointed, though. I mean... s/he didn't get overly original with the remark. Racism is so passe as an accusation to fling at Conservatives. Sad, really...
But I need to thank my little visitor. S/he got me thinking... it must be slim pickings out there when you feel the need to get all bent out of shape by a post on a Christmas party at a little, out-of-the-way blog like mine.
So, I'm going to get my rear in gear. The next few weeks will be insane with all the festivities that are the staple of this time of year, but I will do my best to provide my new little friend with plenty of material to which s/he can add his/her quaint inanities.
Yeah, I'm in a mood. And it's only gonna get worse.
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Oh, The Horror!!!
A little background. I'm not a big fan of the PoE Christmas party. Not sure why. Maybe it's been the mediocre food (ok... a couple of years ago, it was good), or the themes (last year was Mardi Gras [at a Christmas party?] and the two years before that, it was "Casino Night"- I'm not much of a gambler, so...) or the lameness of the programs, or more likely, their liberal use of karaoke. I shudder to think of it...
That brings us to this year. This year's theme was Hollywood. You were supposed to come as your favorite Hollywood actor or character or in eveningwear. (I was joking that I hoped someone would show up dressed as Spiderman... thus proving that I should be careful what I wish for.... more on that later...) On the agenda for the evening? Dinner, company awards, a band, a costume contest, door prizes and... a talent show.
OK... so I drop T1 and T2 off at R & J's house (where they were hanging out for the evening), got dressed (driving in a floor length gown and high heels is no fun) and off we went. At least R & I looked good. (uh... R... why didn't we get pics of the guys last night? They had on suits and everything... looked pretty darn good...) Here's R and I before the "chemical fortification" began (and, oh, yeah, we definitely needed it).
OK, we pick up Hubby at work and headed over to the hotel where the party was being held (nice place). Got kinda lost trying to find the way out of the parking garage (that's what we get for following the herd), and signed in. We got a coupon for a free "professional portrait" (more on that later) and coupons for 2 free drinks apiece (not nearly enough). We got our first round and went to stand in line for the photos.
Once the photos were taken, we went into the dining room for dinner. Salad was pretty good (can you really screw up salad?) They cleared those dishes and then brought out the main course- (6 oz.) steak and (3) shrimp, a quarter cup of mashed potatoes, one baby carrot, and a quarter of a baby bok choy. (Hubby immediately sent his back- he's allergic to shrimp. They made him a new plate, but we were almost finished before his dinner got there). The food was good- just not a lot of it. We weren't still hungry when we were finished, but we were definitely not stuffed, either.
During dinner, the winner of last year's karaoke contest sang. Not even close to dinner music. It was so loud that we had to yell to be heard. That was just annoying.
The emcees for the evening were funny... if you knew them and their little inside jokes. If you didn't know them, it was pretty lame. They gave out a few awards (Employee of the year, etc). Then, it happened...
The Bat Signal appeared on the screen behind the stage. Batman, Robin (a girl- this is important to the story), Spiderman, Cat Woman, Wonder Woman, and Superman came up on the stage.(Didn't I say I should be careful what I wish for?) They paired up to announce other awards. (who knew that Superman had a Mexican accent?) This was completely and totally horrid on WAY too many levels. The whole idea was just silly. But, then, the sexual innuendos started. Spiderman started it off by making a comment about Wonder Woman's costume... and Cat Woman's costume. Then Batman said something about Robin as she was trying to find the answer to a riddle. Then Batman said something else about the "closeness" of his partnership with Robin, but then said that, after seeing Cat Woman, he wanted to turn the duo into a trio (at which point Robin and Cat Woman started "fighting" while Batman read the description of another award, but kept making comments about them fighting over him.) It was pathetic and totally uncalled for at a company party, especially considering the strict sexual harassment training they've gone through.
Well, after that embarrassment, the band started up. It's not that they were bad, necessarily... they just didn't play anything anyone would want to dance to. It was so much fun that R decided to do a little origami... And here's the frog she made:
So, after the band played a while (and we'd had more chemical fortification- I'm glad they had a decent bar!) the emcees came back up and they started the costume contest. (Elf was robbed! Robbed, I tell you!) Then... the talent show. I originally wrote a long rant about each act, but... that's not fair. They're not professional performers. All I will say is that the guitar dude was cool, and that karaoke by any other name still stinks. (One cool moment, though. The husband of one of the employees was introduced. He has just returned from Iraq. He got a standing ovation. That was awesome.)
The band came back on for a while longer. Then, it was the moment we've all been waiting for, the reason we'd stayed- the door prizes... (You know it's bad when the company has to have "must be present to win" door prizes and save 'em until the end of the party. Makes you think that maybe they knew that they're not very good at planning Christmas parties. Which is weird, because they're company picnic is always great.) They had a bunch of door prizes- restaurant gift certificates, company electronics, and the big prize was a trip to Cancun. So, they started picking raffle tickets out of the bowl. Except for the Big Prize, if your ticket was chosen, you went back to the prize table and then pick a "bingo ball", and that determined which prize you received.
So, we look up on the big screen and... there's Hubby's number. He heads back to the prize table. While he's gone, I tell R that the one thing we don't need is the DVD/home theater system because we already have one. Hubby comes back, and... he got the DVD/home theater system. Oh, well...
Once they announced the Big Prize winner, we were out of there. The guys went in search of the car (it was easier to find it than it was to find our way out, obviously).
No, it wasn't a horrible night. Yes, there were the bad parts (it was a party by HR for HR, it was boring, and it was offensive.) But there were good points, too. The food was good, if not plentiful. We hung out with good friends. I even got to meet the new wife of one of Hubby's co-workers. That was all good. And we got some new electronics that we don't really need.
Anyone need a DVD/home theater system? I can make you a good deal....