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Thursday, March 31, 2005

In Our Prayers


Pope John Paul II's health has evidently taken a turn for the worse. Some news agencies are reporting that he has received the sacrament of anointing of the Sick (also called Last Rites or Extreme Unction), but that has not been confirmed by the Vatican.

I know that some of my readers are not... comfortable with the Catholic Church for one reason or another. I, myself, am no longer Catholic, but not for any of those big theological reasons- I just chose to worship God in a manner more consistent with my beliefs and, honestly, my personality. That being said, I have nothing but admiration and respect for the Pontiff. And, as I responded to someone several years ago when he asked (rhetorically) whether or not the Pope was saved, "well, Billy Graham seems to think so." (And, upon further research, so does Jerry Falwell). His love of God and fellow man has been clear for the world to see, a Witness to God's Love shining through a faithful servant.

You might not agree with him theologically. That's ok- he probably doesn't agree with you, either. Keep him in your prayers anyway, ok? Pray for his recovery, or... if it's time for God to call him Home, pray for a peaceful, pain-free passing.

And, pray for the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope's passing will leave a vacuum that will have to be filled. Pray that a true Man of God is called to the Office.

Rest In Peace


Terri Schiavo passed away this morning. No commentary, no opinion. Not today. There will be plenty of time for that another day.

My prayers go out to her family.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Peace Studies, eh?


Bill Kristol got pelted with a pie during a speech at Earlham College, a privat Quaker school known for its peace studies program.
A man who later was identified as a student at the private Quaker college jumped onto the stage and splattered Kristol with the pie Tuesday night about 30 minutes into a speech about U.S. foreign policy.

Members of the audience jeered the student as he walked off the stage, then applauded as Kristol wiped the goo off his face with a paper towel and said, "Just let me finish this point," the Palladium-Item reported.

The student was suspended and could face expulsion following a disciplinary review, Earlham Provost Len Clark said today.

So much for tolerance and understanding. Lemme guess... he's a "peace studies" major?


Behold the Power of Chocolate


(h/t to LC Rhi) I'll admit it. Chocolate, to me, is a mood food. While I will almost never turn down a piece of chocolate when offered, I will usually only truly indulge in the tasty treat when the mood strikes me.

That being said... this is a thing of beauty...
This was a chocolate fountain party: 10 kilos of best Belgian chocolate, cascading down a three-and-a-half foot tower in the centre of the table.

And having sampled its delights, I can categorically state that the end is nigh for the Easter egg. After all, what self-respecting woman would allow the man in her life to fob her off with a supermarket-bought egg, when - if he really loved her - he would hire her what is essentially a five-tiered wedding cake made out of liquid chocolate?

OK... all together now... mmmmm.... chocolate... fountain.... mmmmm....

OK... prior to this, my two favorite chocolate creations of all time were a chocolate bag dessert I had at a restaurant in Oklahoma City (they coated a wax paper bag in chocolate, let it harden, then peeled off the paper, placed a kirsch-soaked cake in the bottom, then topped that with some yummy mousse and berry puree) and the dessert at Antares (a white and dark chocolate creation made to look like Reunion Tower, filled with champagne mousse and a berry ganache- oh, my!) Now, while I can't say that a chocolate fountain would be added to this list, I would think it would definitely be a contender.

Oh, wait! Lookie here! You can rent them in Austin! Who knew?

Another Blogging Milestone


Hey, you! Yeah, you, the person from Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon!!! You were my 15,000th visitor (according to Sitemeter).

No, there's no nifty prize. Just a great big Thank You For Stopping By!!!!!

Blind Luck?


Just saw this on Drudge. You know this is going to... uh... tee off a bunch of golfers who have never quite had this guy's luck.
A man who is legally blind was naturally skeptical when he was told he scored a hole-in-one while at a local golf course.

"They've said it before," said Joel Ludvicek, 78, of Cedar Rapids. Only this time it was true.

Ludvicek aced the 168-yard No. 11 hole at Twin Pines golf course with a driver. He had to rely on his three golfing partners to confirm the feat. "A big fluke, it's just one of those things," Ludvicek said. He's been an avid golfer for years and this is his second hole-in-one. It's his first since he lost most of his vision because of macular degeneration.

Ludvicek, who tees up his own ball, said although the ace was special, it's no different from other golfers.

"It's funny how golf goes," he said. "Most of the time I have a heck of a time getting on the green. It's a fun game."
I know golfers who would be thrilled with a hole-in-one. Not me. I'll just drive the cart and meet you at the 19th Hole.

Reason for Tort Reform #2342948754


A lawsuit by a San Diego mother claims that lower-sugar versions of Cocoa Puffs and Froot Loops may seem healthier, but they're really a bunch of Trix.

Jennifer Hardee has sued three big cereal companies, accusing them of misleading advertising through prominent "low sugar" packaging. She was surprised to learn from an Associated Press story last week that the new cereals have no significant nutritional advantage to regular versions of the popular kids' breakfast cereals.
So, I'm guessing she can't read the labels? That has to be the reason, right? She wouldn't be out for a fast buck, right?
Howard Rubinstein of Miami, one of the lawyers representing Hardee, said the companies have intentionally misled consumers by displaying low-sugar labels prominently on the packages. Consumers don't always understand the details in nutritional labels, he said.

"A lot of people, quite frankly, don't have the educational ability to make those decisions. They rely on the one-line ad," he said Monday. "It is that kind of an ad that adds a lot of ambiguity, and it shouldn't."

That is a complete and total crock. If they can read a one-line ad, they can read the numbers on the side of the box after the words "Calories" and "Fat". If they've made it through 4th grade, they can read a nutrition labels- the nanny state school systems make sure of that. And, honestly, what parent doesn't know that 99% of cereals out there are full of sugar and not much else?

You want to feed your kids a good breakfast? Try some protein (eggs, lean meat, cheese, or yogurt) and some fruit. A glass of milk. Maybe a carb or two (some oatmeal or granola or whole wheat toast with peanut butter on it). But, yeah... those sugary cereals are the next best thing, right? Right along with Pop Tarts.
Hardee's lawsuit, filed last week in San Diego County Superior Court, seeks to force the companies to surrender profits from low-sugar cereals and to stop them from marketing the products as nutritionally superior.

The suit seeks class-action status on behalf of all California consumers who bought the new cereals believing they were healthier, said attorney Harold M. Hewell of San Diego.
Oh, well... never mind... they won't win, because none of the cereal companies made the claim that the products are nutritionally superior. Oh, wait... it was filed in California... Well, drat.

I Hab a Cobe


(sound it out... it'll make sense... really...)

Between Blogspot issues (if having "text color" and "blockquote" in text instead of symbols on the toolbar is the only reason, I'm going to be... unimpressed) and my lingering case of the yuckies (between the cough and the fever - which I think just broke- I'm having trouble staying awake), I'm not so sure about posting today. Doesn't really help that there isn't a whole lot of new news going on.

While I have the ability to post, here's the interesting tidbits I found in the news today (like I said, not much):
There's one more article that I found, but it deserves more than a quick sentence or two. I'll see what I can do (after a nap).

Everyone's a Critic


(OR... The Adventures of Seal-Girl...)

So, Sunday afternoon, we met up with R's family and headed off on our next adventure. This adventure took us north of Tyler, TX, to Holly Lake Ranch. All of the kids climbed into the van with R and I (because of our handy dandy dvd player), while Hubby and J kept each other awake in their car talking about whatever it is those two talk about. (I had a little cough, but I didn't think much of it... this will become an important part of the story... in a bit).

The eight of us stayed in this cute little cabin at the resort, and the plan was to just hang out and relax for the most part (with a trip to the Art Museum of Dallas on the way home). When we got there, we unloaded the vehicles (it really is amazing how much stuff eight people need for a couple of days). R and I started putting away the groceries, and noticed something... humorous. We both brought groceries along, and we both brought some wine along (the BIG bottle, even.) (OK, those of you who are wine snobs, y'all can just back off right now- we like it. Get over it. For those of you who have no idea, Riunite Lambrusco is a fruity, barely sweet, almost carbonated red wine.) When both bottles came out of the coolers, J commented, "well, I know what Beth and R will be doing while we're here." Well, duh...

So, while R and I got our Easter dinner ready (ham, black eyed peas, steamed cabbage, and banana cream pie), the guys started Round One of Condo Con. After a brief pause for nourishment, they continued playing and R & I talked. The girls finally crashed around 11pm- no idea when the guys finally finished up.

My cough got worse during the night, to the point where R was offering me some cough syrup at 6am. She got up and made breakfast for everyone, and I slept "in" (until 9am). After we all ate, Condo Con continued, and R, Miss T, and I headed off to WalMart (only 24 miles away- yes, we were in the middle of nowhere). Grabbed some more groceries, then headed back to the cabin. After lunch, I was wiped out. Hubby and J took the kids down to the lake to shoot off some fireworks (thanks, MamaMontezz!!!), R went for a walk, and I took a nap. A two hour nap. (R took a nap, too, once she got back from her walk.) We made dinner, and the guys started the final round of Condo Con. I was in bed, lights out, by 9:30pm (by this time, my cough had turned into that wonderful seal impersonation that I've become (in)famous for).

Yesterday, we packed up (which was much easier that packing to go there, for some reason) and headed for Dallas, destination Dallas Museum of Art (thanks, Howard, for the directions!) Tickets purchased, we decided to do lunch before going into the exhibit. (Question- if the woodwork in the Cheese Club was originally in Pete Townsend's castle, then what's in the castle now?) We took the trolley to and from lunch, which was cute.

Once we had full tummies (for the moment), we went back to the museum and our reason for the trip- an exhibit entitled "Splendors of China's Forbidden City." They had artifacts from the reign of Emperor Qianlong. It was a very interesting exhibit, full of details on the history and culture of the Qian dynasty. I'm pretty sure we all enjoyed that.

That's when it went... downhill. Or, at least, down an embankment. We decided to go through the rest of the art museum while we were there. Classic Mediterranean made sense to the kids, as did many of the European paintings (they made not have liked them, but they knew what they were). Their minds went into the gutter, however, when we got to the Pacific Islands art (which tended to be crude, nude, and well... rude. OK, maybe not rude... they just seemed to have an inflated sense of their own... giftedness... if you know what I mean.) And it just got worse when we got to the Contemporary Art area (where Hubby complained about seeing our tax dollars at work... he's got a point... a lot of it was pretty bad... a kindergartner could have done better). Then there was the Robert Smithson Retrospective. (No, I didn't get any of his work, either... and, as R pointed out, if art is supposed to evoke emotion, then it worked, if everyone's laughter was any indication. But... a pile of gravel? Art?)

I was kind of glad when we left. We're just not artsy people. I mean, we all like beautiful things, but that's not what art is. Art is obviously something I just don't get. And I'm ok with that.

We drove home, and 3/5 of the people in the van napped at some point (and, no, I was not one of them. Kind of hard to do when you're driving.)

All in all, it was a good mini-vacation. Not quite as restful as it could have been, with my seal-impersonation and all. But spending time with friends is always a good thing.

Real blogging will resume after I get the boys out the door to school (and I take a nap).

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Biblical Archeology


When I was in high school, I was in the choir. We sang at every school Mass and several funerals as well as our regular concerts. One of the first songs you learned as a Choir member was one called "The Blessing of Aaron." It was song a capella in four part harmony, and the arrangement was so hauntingly beautiful that it would send shivers down your back every time you heard it.

Many of you have read the lyrics for "The Blessing of Aaron," but you might know it by a different name- The Priestly Benediction from the Book of Numbers.
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. (Numbers 6:24-26)
This has become my prayer. It sums up my hopes, my wishes, my prayers for those around me- that they would be blessed and kept in His care, that He would provide for their needs, and that He would be a true and real part of their lives and give them the peace only He can provide. And, yes, when the world becomes a bit too much, I cling to those words, knowing that, since Jesus is the fulfillment of all of the Old Testament's promises, I can rest easy, with His face shining upon me, in His Peace.

OK. Enough preaching. What brought this on? An Israeli archeologist found some scrolls in a tomb in Jerusalem. On those scrolls were those words. The importance?
In 1979, Barkay found two small silver scrolls in an ancient Israelite tomb on a Jerusalem hillside. On them were written the words of the prayer.

"We have here the name of the Almighty as it appears in the Bible as it appeared to the Israelites," Barkay said.

Barkay dated the scrolls to the 7th century B.C., which would make them the oldest existing evidence of biblical verse. They were corroded and cracked; the writing was difficult to read, raising doubts about the age of the scrolls.

Now, a team of scientists and scholars from the United States has proven Barkay's theory was correct: that the scrolls are about 2,600 years old. That's 400 years older than the Dead Sea Scrolls. It took modern technology to prove their antiquity.
So often, cynics of religion, Christianity in particular, talk about how Scripture has changed over time. Once again, science has shown that it hasn't. That's just something amazingly awesome to read about on Easter morning.

Happy Easter!


Now that the boys are older, we don't have to get up at dawn to see if the Easter Bunny stopped by our particular branch of the Bunny Trail. My morning has been instead spent in leisure, sipping kona (blend) coffee, packing (I'll get to that in a moment) and quiet contemplation. Not a bad way to spend Easter morning. (We went to church last evening.)

There is a lot of debate on which denomination is right and which is wrong. Today, of all days of all days, is not the day for that. On this day when Christians remember the Sacrifice that was made for us, today is the day that we should put that aside and worship and praise what is truly common between all Believers- God, our Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.

We don't worship a man who lived and who died. We worship a God who died and then lived (Mark Lowry).
A lot of people (both those called to the ministry and those whose only claim to the ministry is having their names in the Lamb's Book of Life) have written beautiful Easter messages around the Blogosphere. Go read those. And spend some time with your family.

I won't be posting the next couple of days. This afternoon we're headed out on a minivacation with R's family. We'll be back Tuesday night. Miss me while I'm gone, ok??? Image hosted by Photobucket.com

As we head out of town, I want to leave you with this. Johnny Hart is one of my favorite cartoonists, because of cartoons like this:


Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Well, that was fun...


No, really, it was. A little scary for a moment, but fun, none the less...

This evening, R and I headed out to the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo for the Terri Clark concert. We got there a little early, so we wandered around a bit, grabbing a snack and a couple of adult beverages. Then we went into the market place and... woohoo! We walked out with hats! R picked up a cute natural straw hat (think Toby Keith's latest style, and you've got it) and I got my grubby little mitts on a sweet red straw hat a la Terri Clark. (And, yes, we look darn cute in them, thank you for asking!)

The tickets said 7:30, so we wandered into the area just in time to find our seats before the fun began. The lights went out, introductions were made and "The Voice of the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo" was spotlighted. He immediately asked us to bow our heads on this Good Friday and pray with him. I was floored. I loved it. (I almost dehatted the idiot who was walking up the steps to his seat with his hat on during the prayer, but I was afraid I would have whacked R in the process.) Then the National Anthem was sung, and the fun began.

It really was fun. Neither R nor I had ever been to a rodeo, so it was all new to us. Scoring? Not a clue how that works. But it was really fun to watch. The Mutton Scramble was very cute. Learned a couple of things, too. (One thing, for example, is that T2 would be far too facinated with the idea of some of the events, and I don't think I could handle being a Rodeo Mom.) Got to see a Clydesdales demonstration. Dang, I love those horses.

Then the scary part happened. A storm blew in. (Did I mention that the sun was shining when we got there???) The Expo Center isn't known for being air-tight (with that much livestock there, that's probably a good thing), so you could feel a slight breeze. Then you could hear the rain pounding on the roof. When I say storm, I'm talking 60-80mph sustained winds, driving rain (duh!) and hail. Couldn't get the cell phones to work well (to check on R's kids). It didn't last long, but... well, you know it's bad if they have cops blocking the doors, keeping everyone in.

So, the storm blows over, the rodeo ends, and they wheel out this really cool stage into the center of the arena. (Yes, I really wanted to get my hands on that light board. What about it?) Lights dim (again) and the concert begins.

We saw Terri a few months ago when she opened for Toby Keith. She did a good job then, but I think she did a much better job this evening. She was great. Her band was great. It was all good. She did try out a few songs from the new cd (which comes out... sometime later), and, while the acoustics at the Expo Center will never be confused with those of the Met or or Carnegie Hall, they sounded pretty good. That cd is definitely on my "to buy" list.

By the time the concert was over, the clouds were parting and the moon was shining bright. It was bizarre. Except for the puddles... and downed tents... and toppled trashcans... you would never have known that a severe storm zoomed through. We wandered around a little more, over to the tent where the Clydesdales hang out. (They were in their jammies... very cute red "coats"... guess it was bed time). Found the van, and "zoomed" out fairly quickly. Got stuck in a bit of a traffic jam, but that was because of all these really cool sparks flying from a power line. Once we got past that, it was smooth sailing back to R's house (since the house was still standing when we got there, I'm guessing everything was ok).

Tonight was a lot of fun. Only one problem... I really want a horse. Or two.

Umm... well... now... g'night...

Friday, March 25, 2005

You Can't Have it Both Ways


(This post is going to get me in trouble. I know it is. But this is really bugging me. There is no easy answer. That's the point.)

I wasn't going to post about Terri anymore, unless something happened. There is nothing more to say that hasn't been said by people much more eloquent than me. But, I've been reading some posts that are really starting to get to me.

First, if you've read my blog for any amount of time, you know I'm Pro-Life, anti-euthanasia. For the record, I think Terri's feeding tube should be put back in, Michael should divorce her, and her family should become her guardians. Got it? Keep that in mind before you tar and feather me.

Several people are pointing out how horrific starvation/dehydration death is. In detail. And complaining that we wouldn't put prisoners on Death Row through what Terri is going through right now. And, they're right.

BUT... let's change some of the circumstances a bit... make this hypothetical, for just a moment. What IF there was a woman who had a chemical imbalance and had a heart attack. She became severely brain damaged ( some say no higher function at all). She had a living will, but the doctors didn't know about it in time, and they put in a feeding tube. They do everything they can for her, but... there is no chance of recovery. She is truly in a PVS. Her husband, who wanted nothing more than her recovery, turns over her living will over to the doctor.

What happens next? Her wishes are right there, for all to see. They take out her feeding tube, and make her as comfortable as possible, right? So... this woman is faced with the exact same horrific death that Terri is going through right now. No, they can't give her just a little too much morphine- that's against the law. They can just make her as comfortable as they can and let her go.

Where am I going with this? I'm not entirely sure. I mean... I am against euthanasia. I think that Dr. Kevorkian and his type are evil (because he wasn't helping terminally ill patients- he was helping whoever wanted to die). But, I really don't want people to suffer like Terri is, and people do suffer this way every day.

Am I saying that we should legalize euthanasia? Definitely not. That sends us down a road I'm not willing to travel, where Peter Singer and the people behind the Groningen Protocol would get to decide who lives and who dies. That is unacceptable.

Any time you take a stand, there are consequences. (Allowing abortion means millions of children who are wanted by someone, if not their biological parents, are killed. Making abortion illegal means that there would be more women injured and killed by illegal abortions and that women who are too selfish to do what's right will raise children they never wanted, and those children will know that. Euthanasia? Make it legal, and people who are not terminally ill will choose to take the easy way out. Keep it illegal, and terminal patients will linger in agony until their bodies finally surrender. Just a couple of examples.) That's just part of the deal.

I'm just asking that those of us who have taken the stand that every life, no matter how impaired, is sacred remember those we keep in this life. All of your lofty words mean nothing if that's all they are. Compassion is active, not passive.


Some Thoughts on the Right's Behavior...


What Sherry said. (Sorry, gang. I know emotions are high right now. I know there is a lot of pain and anger. I feel it. But, still... Sherry wrote what I was having trouble putting into words.)

Thursday, March 24, 2005

It's a Girl!!!


I have a new niece. Emerson Elliot M. was born today around 2:30pm. She weighed in at a respectable 7 pounds 13 oz. Big sis is quite pleased with Emmy's appearance. Big bros are unimpressed.

I Did It!!!


Some of you (the more observant ones) might have noticed a pesky little > floating out in the middle of space near my banner. Well, I found it. I FOUND the little monster and it is gone.

Sorry. Just had to share. It's kinda cool when I figure HTML stuff out without the help of The Blog Doctor™.

News Round Up


I'm in the mood for a rant, but... there is no more to be said about this subject. It's up to God now. If He wants to perform a miracle, He will. If He wants to bring her home, that is His call as well. All any of us can do now is pray for her, her family, and everyone involved.

That being said, let's see what else is going on around the world. On to some "lighter" news:

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I is Smart


Took this quiz. (got it via HDD) Here are the results:
English Genius
You scored 93% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 93% Advanced, and 94% Expert!
You did so extremely well, even I
can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon
intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You
have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly!
Way to go!


Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!



For the complete Answer Key, visit my blog: http://shortredhead78.blogspot.com/.





My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 32% on Beginner
You scored higher than 69% on Intermediate
You scored higher than 39% on Advanced
You scored higher than 98% on Expert
Link: The Commonly Confused Words Test written by shortredhead78 on Ok Cupid
OK... in the spirit of full disclosure, the first time I took it, I ended up scoring really high in "expert" but bombing on "beginner" stuff... in my defense, I was half asleep. I can't even talk when I'm half asleep... you can't really expect me to be able to type and use proper grammar, can you?

Say What?


An Indian bride was married off to a pot by her relatives after her groom failed to turn up for the ceremony.

Savita took her vows with a clay pot when her fiance Chaman Singh, an officer with the Indo Tibetan Border Police, reportedly got stranded on the border because of heavy snowfall, reports newspaper Deccan Herald.

Savita from Jaunsar Babar agreed to go through with the wedding to the clay pot.

It is reported a photograph of the groom was placed behind the pot.

I'm hoping that the pot is just a stand in... right? I am right... please tell me I'm right...

Where To Place The Blame...


More thoughts on the Terri Schiavo case.

Yeah, Michael's a dweeb. He's wanted her to die for years, if the anecdotal evidence is to be believed. The judge is incompetent, dismissing some hear-say while allowing other. Terri never put her wishes in writing, so, in a way, she shares a bit of the blame (although, in her defense, 99% of people in their 20s think they'll somehow cheat death, so she's not alone in this.) But that's not who I look to cast some of the blame.

Look at the federal rulings (let's ignore Greer's findings for a while). Here's what the appeals courts said:
In a 2-1 ruling early Wednesday, a panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta said the parents "failed to demonstrate a substantial case on the merits of any of their claims" that Terri's feeding tube should be reinserted immediately.

"There is no denying the absolute tragedy that has befallen Mrs. Schiavo," the ruling said. "We all have our own family, our own loved ones, and our own children. However, we are called upon to make a collective, objective decision concerning a question of law."
By design, the courts are limited in what they can do. They have to look at the law, not what is the right thing to do. They can't legally, from the Bench, go beyond what the law says to what it should say.

Consistently, the parents' lawyer has failed to make their case. He has to convince the judges that they have a good chance of winning the case, in order to establish the injunction. That is the law- it's the way it has to be. And he has consistently not done that.

This is horrible, tragic. And there is plenty of blame to go around.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Learning from Terri


This is not a post about Terri Schiavo, her husband, Congress or the Courts. This is about what each and every person can learn from this horrific series of events.

Talk to your family. Let them know what you want. I'm not talking about just your spouse. Have a frank and uncomfortable conversation with your parents, your siblings, your spouse, your kids if they are old enough. Then, put it in writing- specifics, if possible. "Extraordinary means" is a little vague. Feeding tube? respirator? Which one? And when? Do you want to be kept alive if you are brain damaged? Or should it only be pulled if you are brain dead?

These are decisions that are very personal, depending on who you are and what you believe. You have to make your wishes known, or your family will make decisions based on their wishes, not yours.

And, although you might not agree with your family member's wishes, I believe you have an obligation to follow through with their wishes, not your own. Hubby and I had a talk about this yesterday. We don't agree on where the line is, but, if something were to happen, we would have to honor the other person's request. It would be difficult, but...

When Hubby was in-patient at Bethesda, his first roommate had DNR printed in huge red letters on his chart. I freaked when I saw this. I had talked to him several times, and, honestly, he didn't even seem sick. But he was sick... very sick... not leaving the hospital sick. His wife was right by this side the whole time. They moved Hubby to a new room one day, and his former roommate slipped away in his sleep that night. They had made him comfortable, and he faced the end of his life with grace and dignity. And I'm sure that his wife wanted him to fight on, but that was no longer an option. That is how I think most of us would like to go.

All of that to say... share your wishes with those you trust around you. Then PUT IT IN WRITING. Here are some resources to help. (h/t to The Other Beth)

Blogfest 2005 Re-cap


Well, I've returned from the Texas Blogfest 2005. I think I could sleep for a week.

Thursday, I drove up to Dallas, met up with Spats, did a little shopping (including watching Spats spend $80 on ingredients for his "Train Wreck Stew™"), visited our host location for Friday evening, and went to the Realm™ to finalize the plans for the weekend. Got back to the hotel midnight-ish. MamaMontezz and Delftsman arrived about 2am.

Friday morning, we headed to the airport to pick up Deathknyte. Then I took DK, Mama, and Delfts to Central Market. We met up with Denita, Eric and Zane there. After indulging in some sushi and some other CM goodies, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the evening.

We headed over to Humperdinks around 4:30. Spats was already there, web cam up and running. I got the second one going (sorry, gang- I had no idea what I was doing... sorry about that whole invite thing... ) Attendees began arriving, and the fun was on! Several other people brought laptops, so you can check out live blogging entries from several sites. Susan brought all of us "Count me Red" wristbands (woohoo!) I had to duck out for a while to pick up Humble Devildog at the airport. Went back to Humperdinks, and the festivities wound down around 11:30 or so. (The Attendees: Spats, Denita, Eric and Zane, MamaMontezz and Delftsman, Deathknyte, Humble Devildog, ZiPpo, El Capitan, Andy, Martin, Random Numbers (along with Random Wife), Lady Mac (and hubby), Brian Travis, Dr. Flykilla (and sister), Alan K. Henderson, and Tig & Moona. Did I forget anyone? )

Saturday morning started slow. We loaded everyone up around 11:30 and headed over to Spats' apartment for our introduction to The Comfy Chair™ and Train Wreck Stew™. (Oh, my... that stew is good eats!) Then the heralds sounded the arrival of his Imperial Rottiness, Emperor Darth Misha I (which was a very good thing, because I really didn't want to be arrested for kidnapping, which was on the agenda if he didn't appear under his own power). Zippo brought out some cigars of unknown origin (hush up, attendees... ), so HDD, Eric and I headed out on an emergency run for other provisions. We returned with 2 bottles of 21 year old Scotch (Dalwhinnie and Balvenie Portwood) and something called Absente (no, not Absinthe). So... I had my introduction to single malt Scotch and $35 cigars. Woohoo!!! (Both were absolutely wonderful. Thank you, ZiPpo and AJ!)

After a not-so quick run back to the hotel to change clothes/primp/preen, we all crammed ourselves climbed into the minivan and headed out to Ft. Worth. (FYI, the only drawback to being wedged between Humble Devildog and Emperor Misha in the back seat of the van for the hour's drive to and from Ft. Worth was the constant "Are we there yet?" And, I would really like to know how DK managed to fall asleep in the cargo area of the van... that couldn't have been comfortable). Billy Bob's was all that I expected and far more. Chris Cagle was GREAT, and the house band was pretty good, too. I managed to drag Denita out onto the dance floor for the Cotton Eye Joe (have you forgiven me yet, D?) Got myself a new t-shirt and a couple of gifts, and I'm happy to report that everyone had a good time. (Whew... I was worried about that.) The van rolled back into the Holiday Inn Express parking lot at 2:30 am... and the chatting continued for a while longer.

The alarm went off at 6:45 am, because T1 and T2 knocked on my room door at 7am (so Pop could head out of town). Got everything packed up, checked out of the hotel, and loaded everyone up into the correct vehicle. Hugged DK goodbye, and it was off to D/FW Gun Range.

The fine folks at the range were kind enough to open up a couple of hours early just for us. When we (HDD, Mama, Delfts, T1, T2 and I) arrived, El Capitan, Andy, and the Randoms were already there. Spats and Brian Travis joined us a bit later. Much ammunition was fired and fun was had by all. (Cap and Andy both took a turn at the range's Uzi - full auto. They seemed to enjoy themselves.) T1 and T2 seemed to enjoy themselves, looking around and learning about various firearms. I decided not to shoot- I had left Mr. Friendly at home (no place to store him securely at the hotel/in the vehicle), I wasn't entirely sure about firing something new without a thorough overview by someone in the know, and I know T1 and T2 are good kids, but the idea of leaving them more or less to their own devices in a gun shop just seemed like a not-so-good idea. (Next year? I'm sure I'll make a different choice- that Uzi was very tempting).


Once every had their (temporary) firearms fix, we headed up the road for a quite bite to eat at Whataburger. This lunch break turned into an impromptu steering committee meeting for the '06 Blogfest. Woohoo!!!

With full tummies and heads swimming with more ideas for next year, we moved up the road even further to Boot Town. AJ, Spats and Delftman walked out with new (black) felt Resistol cowboy hats, and Mama made a few gift purchases for family. (I could feel my wallet quaking in fear as I wandered the aisles, noticing this or that boot, weighing the pros and cons of traditional boot v. roper, noticing some of the more unique boot styles, going through the clothes racks. No, I didn't buy anything- only because they didn't have the boots I really wanted).

When everyone had purchased everything they were going to, we gave our hugs goodbye (that was rough). The boys and I dropped off HDD at the airport on the way out of town, and we were cruising down the highway toward home. We got home around 9pm, and I was out cold by 10pm.

The De-Brief:
What went wrong: ended up not getting a sitter for Denita and Eric's son, so Eric stayed at the hotel with him.
What to add/change:
(1) We probably need to find a quieter place for our initial meet/greet. Humperdinks was AWESOME (don't get me wrong), but it was the first weekend of March Madness, and Humperdinks is a sports bar. Needless to say, it was a little loud.
(2) I worried about not having enough "stuff" to do. I overplanned as it was. More time to talk, less stuff.
(3) As we (hopefully) grow, we need to work harder at getting a hotel where all the attendees were all together, and that have some special features available to us (a blogging room, with a high speed hook-up, wifi, and a couple of machines ready to go for one).
(4) As we grow, we need to reach out to other blogging groups. The Blogosphere is more than the VRWC (pity, that), and if we're going to be a true Texas blogfest, we need to have representation from as many viewpoints as possible. We're not going to agree (duh!), but we can have civil discourse. ( Andy, you have NO idea how much I admire your willingness to go into the lion's den like that. We need to create some sort of reward for you.)
(5) 2.5 months isn't as long as you think it is. Time flies when you're trying to plan a fest. More time is always a good thing.
(6) Hugs are a thing of beauty and should be handed out frequently and with much enthusiasm.
(7) The people you talk to and become friends with online are even better in person.


Thursday, March 17, 2005


Happy St. Pat's Day!

In a few hours, I will be driving north to help with final preparation for Blogfest 2005. We should (baring technical difficulties) we will have web cams and possibly AIM and/or YIM chat rooms. Check the site for more information tomorrow night.


Behave yourselves while I'm gone. I will probably be posting while I'm up there. So, check back from time to time. All else fails, I'll be back to posting on Monday.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Patronizing, But In a Good Way


Hubby drove the van to work today because he went out to his car and found out he had a flat. (Yes, he put the spare on before he left! He's nice that way!!) The plan was for me to run it down to Wally World and have them patch it.

So much for plans. They couldn't patch it because the nail was too close to the sidewall. Well, they could have, but that could cause a blowout somewhere down the road. Well, Hubby bought the road hazzard coverage from the place he got the tires at, so I told them I was just going to take it there.

The guy was totally fine with it, and told me exactly what the problem was and that if the other place says they want to patch it, tell them no because it would be too dangerous. He was very nice to explain all of this, and I'm sure it was because I'm female. But, in case, as patronizing as it may (or may not) have been, I appreciate it. I mean, if I didn't know anything about cars, I might have been suckered at the other place by some guy who thought he could just patch the tire and be done with it.

So, I guess in this case, patronizing was a good thing. (The plan is for Hubby to take it to the other place tomorrow- he didn't want me to drive it that far on the spare.)

Dinner and a Comedy Club (our evening out)


Yesterday, I drove the boys up to Dallas to meet up with Hubby's parents for a few days with them (it's Spring Break). That was a long drive. Spent about 30 minutes at my sister-in-law's house before I turned around and headed back.

Last night, we went out for R's hubby's birthday. First, we went to Texas Land & Cattle for dinner. I wasn't overly impressed (some of the steaks were overcooked, and I think the rest were undercooked) and it took forever to get our food. But, we all managed to eat to much. Oh, well...

Then we went to Cap City Comedy Club. This week they're trying something new- Christian comedy. There is a certain group of Christians who don't go to comedy clubs because they don't want to pay to sit there and listen to cussing and a bunch of tacky, tasteless jokes. So, Cap City decided to try this, and if the crowd last night was any indication, they've got a money maker (well, sort of- I think their alcohol sales were down a bit, but the room was packed on Tuesday night- not something that happens every week). I can't remember the name of the warm up guy, but... he needs some work. But Leland Klassen and Daren Strebow, the headliners, were great! We were all laughing, almost to the point of tears. It was great- and I would have been perfectly fine having the boys hear every single joke told last night. They love listening to comedy- parody songs and stand up. Nice to find people I feel comfortable letting them listen to.
It was a fun evening. And we'll do it again if Cap City has Christian Comedy night again.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Excuses? We don't need no stinkin' excuses!


Yeah, I know. I didn't post yesterday. Probably won't post today. Sorry 'bout that. Yesterday was spent running errands, and today I drive the boys up to Dallas for a few days with Hubby's parents.

While I'm gone, check out everybody on my blogroll. (The first list are all of the attendees to Blogfest this weekend. My "complete" blogroll apprears farther down the sidebar.)

Have a great day!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Blog Sabbath


Once again, it's Sunday. The Sabbath.
Following in the footsteps of Dr. Rusty Shackleford (who has his own Blog Sabbath), The Laughing Wolf (who, like his blogfather, has good-news-only Food For Thought Saturdays), I'm test-driving the idea of a Blog Sabbath.

To quote Dr. Shackleford, "Just remember folks, blogs were made for bloggers and not bloggers for the blog." To paraphrase him, "Bloggers need breaks. A day to connect with real people. A day to devote to family. A day to do something other than just blog and read other blogs. Sunday will be that day for me... People, get a life. The next Rathergate can wait a day!" (The "paraphrase" is the addition of the word "just"- I'm a news junkie. I'll check things out, because that's who I am.)

My version? Light blogging if any, and (unless it's just this amazingly HUGE world-changing event) only good news/light-hearted/funny/fun stuff.

Playing The Race Card (again)


(ATLANTA) The state Senate's Democratic caucus, led by the chamber's black members, walked out of the Legislature Friday after an emotional vote on voting rights.

Immediately after a 7 p.m. vote that would eliminate 12 of the 17 forms of identification that may be used at Georgia polls, a majority of Senate Democrats, including all black members, left the chamber.
Must have been something major, right? Voting rights? Wow... what could this vote has been about?
The bill, which passed 32-22 along party lines, would require a photo ID to vote.

It would remove other forms of ID, including a Social Security card, birth certificate or student identification, from the list.
Well, isn't that just common sense? I guess not.
Democratic critics compared the effort to the poll taxes, literacy tests and other laws aimed at suppressing black votes during segregation. They said poor and minority voters are more likely to be without photo ID than other voters.... Staton said the bill allows anyone, even non-drivers, to apply for a state ID card from Georgia's motor vehicles department. He said people who can't afford one may request one for free.
Fine. they don't have a photo ID. They have a choice- get one (for free if they can't afford one) or don't vote. My grandmother didn't have a driver's license until she was in her 50s, and she had a Illinois state ID card. It wasn't a big deal.

This isn't about race. This is about voter fraud and trying to prevent it. Oh, wait! Now I see the problem. If they're checking photo IDs, then y'all can't engage in voter fraud... NOW it all makes sense to me.

Miracle Baby


First, take a look at this picture. Just look at it for a minute.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Yes, that's a baby stroller. Hit by a truck. Here's the story.
A baby escaped without a scratch after her pram was pushed 100 metres down the road by a lorry.

The little girl owes her life to a quick-thinking schoolboy who leapt out and flagged the down the truck.

The Dutch driver, 33, had parked his lorry in front of a flower shop in the Swiss city of Zurich while he made his deliveries.

A young mother, who arrived at the shop a few minutes later, left her baby in her pram in front of the vehicle.

A police spokesman said that once the driver had delivered the flowers, he got back into his cab from the left side - without seeing the pram - and drove off.

The schoolboy saw what was happening and gesticulated wildly at the lorry until the driver stopped about 100 metres down the road, where the pram crashed to the floor.

Talk about having angels watching over us! Can someone please tell me what the mother was thinking, leaving her baby parked in front of a truck? That is just insane.

That schoolboy needs to have heaps of praise piled on him. He saved that baby's life. It's just a good thing he didn't panic. He did the right thing, and he should feel very proud of himself right now.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Playing By The Rules


FoxNews morning show, Fox & Friends, has had a bit of a controversy this week. They had a story about a woman who pulled her child out of a private school because she was asked to spank him (or the child would face a one day suspension). This started a whole spank/don't spank debate, which ended with experts from both sides explaining their positions.

(Before I go on, here's my take on spanking. You cannot reason with a toddler. You don't beat the snot out of a child. A firm whack across the rear end - or hand if they're reaching for something dangerous- gets across a message that logic and reasoning just can't to little kids. Once they get older, spanking should be necessary less frequently as other discipline proves more effective. When the boys turned 4 or 5, it became clear that spanking was no longer effective for one of them- time outs, on the other hand, worked really well. The boys are now 11 years old. There are much more effective ways of disciplining them than a swat. All that said, while I might not agree with those who choose not to spank, I respect their right not to do it- as long as they can effectively discipline their children.)

OK... on to this story. For me, the "big deal" wasn't the spanking. It was that this mom chose to put her child into this private school because of "its academic reputation and its moral teachings," and then she turned around and ignored the rules of the school. The rules stated that once a child reaches a certain point with his or her behavior, the disciplinary actions would be a spanking (given by the parent) or a one day suspension. (How giving a first grader the day off from school is going to teach him not to goof off in class is beyond me, but... ) This woman's son had reached this point (through a combination of discipline problems), and she was called into the school to either spank him or take him home.

For some reason, this upset her. You see, she never signed the parent letter that explained the discipline policy because she didn't agree with it. I'm sorry- by placing her child in the school (it's a private school- he didn't have to go there) she implied consent with the rules. But, because she didn't sign the letter, she thought that she didn't have to follow the rules. When they told her that, well, those are the rules, then she decided to pull her child out of school (they're getting ready to move, anyway, so...)

It should have ended there, right? The mom made her decision, the school said goodbye to little Chandler. All's well that ends well. Uh... no. For some reason, she took it to the media. They're not suing the school, and the school isn't suing them. This is all for 15 minutes of fame.

What I think happened was that someone pointed out that they never said she had to spank Chandler- that was one of two options available to her. Someone probably pointed out that she really over-reacted. And it hit a little too close to home. So, she took it to the media (which is also against the discipline poicy), hoping to get some sort of vindication for her actions. Unfortunately, for her, it just made her look whiny.

What did she teach Chandler through all of this? Hmmm... let's see... you don't have to obey rules that you don't like... if you're in a conflict, deflect attention from yourself by making your opponent look like the bad guy... if you whine enough, you just might get your way. Lovely. That's just what we need kids to learn.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Discovering History


I have a feeling that a lot of people would be bored silly going on vacation with Hubby and me. We don't hit the touristy spots, at least not if we can help it. We look for the old stuff. When we were in England, we visited the old churches, the museums, and all those cool spots. (We visited a church that sat on ground that had been a worship site for literally thousands of years. It started as a Celtic site of some sort, then a Roman temple, and then a Catholic church, and now an Anglican church.) I could spend days in the British Museum if they would let me. Our trip to central and eastern Europe was the same way- we just wandered around the antiquity. (If Hubby isn't as into all of this as I am, he has never said a word.)

So, needless to say, I was more than a bit happy to see pieces of history in the news:
Science news. History news (ok... that sounds weird, but... you know what I mean). Yeah, I'm a political junkie, but... this kind of stuff is just plain cool.

So... we're going to try to head to DC this summer. What are the odds of them just dropping me off at the Smithsonian and picking me up on the way out of town?

Why Does This Surprise People?


A great white shark that has been held in captivity in California far longer than any other member of its species has killed two smaller tankmates, heightening critics' calls for the animal's release.
Big shark kills little shark and this makes the news? Sounds like Nature at its finest.
One of the soupfin sharks at the Monterey Bay Aquarium died Feb. 23 after an attack by the great white. The second soupfin died Tuesday from injuries received in an attack a day earlier, said Randy Kochevar, a marine biologist at the aquarium.
Soupfin, eh? Well, that explains it. Dinner!
The year-old shark has been at the aquarium for nearly six months; no other great white has stayed alive for more than 16 days in captivity. The female shark came to the aquarium Sept. 15 after a halibut fisherman accidentally netted it off the Orange County coast. Aquarium officials believe the 88-pound, 5-foot-3-inch shark attacked the smaller, slower animals only as a reflex when it bumped the other sharks, not in a predatory rage.
Seriously now, they need to release her back into the wild as soon as possible. I know that marine biologists are giddy over the idea of being able to observe a great white up close and personal, and I know that having her in the tank is great for getting the public involved. But, as the article points out later, she's in a giant bucket. Great whites have huge territories, and while they might think it's plenty of room, it's like moving from a mansion on several acres to a studio apartment.

There is a reason that great whites don't usually last in captivity- they weren't made that way. Let her go. She's obviously nervous and frustrated. Just let her go.

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Bloggus Interruptus


Posting has been light today, but not for a lack of trying. Blogspot evidently had some kind of issues. I wasn't the only one with problems.

Sorry 'bout that. You missed some great rants. A couple of them got eaten. Oh, well...

Muy Interesante


(That's "very interesting" for those of you who never got around to taking high school Spanish.)
Spain's Islamic Commission, which groups the nation's Muslim community, said it was issuing a fatwa against Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

'We are going to issue a fatwa (religious decree) against Bin Laden this afternoon,' Mansour Escudero, who leads the Federation of Islamic religious entities (Feeri) and co-secretary general of the Spanish governmenmt-created Commission told AFP.
Finally, there is a Muslim organization who is willing to put it on the line.
The Commission invited Spanish-based imams to condemn terrorism at Friday prayers, when the whole country will be remembering the 191 people who were killed in the train blasts and the 1,900 injured a year ago. The attacks have been blamed on mainly Moroccan Islamic extremists loyal to Bin Laden.

'We have called on imams to make a formal declaration condemning terrorism and for a special prayer for all the victims of terrorism,' Escudero said.

The Commission has also drawn up a document designed to 'thank the Spanish people and the government for their attitude towards Muslims' since last March 11, in particular for not taking 'disproportionate' measures similar to those which the Sept 11 attacks sparked in the US.
The Commission called on Muslims to take part in Friday's c
ommemorative programme being organised by Spanish authorities and community groups and to work with them to ensure terrorism was defeated.
Too bad this won't do any good. In fact, it will probably just lead to fatwas against them. But, still, it's refreshing to see a Muslim organization making an official declaration again these fanatical monsters.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Annoying Commercials (a continuing series)


Wrigley's Doublemint Gum has a new commercial, complete with the Doublemint Twins. They're riding around on a bicycle-built-for-two. Singing a stupid song. It's like a musical version of an Orbit Gum commercial.

Fabulous? Uh... no.

Stuff Not Making the Headlines


Everyone knows that Dan's done, 42 is having surgery tomorrow, Lebanon is still trying to figure out that whole "kick 'em out and make your own government" thingie, and the insurgents in Iraq are still evil. But there are some other news items that somehow slipped under the radar.

There. Now you know all the news. Well... all the news I care to talk about right now.

mmmm... meat....


(found at Alan's, who got it from Meryl) Tuesday, March 15th, Is The Third Annual International Eat an Animal for PETA Day. Go read's Meryl's post to get the whole story.

Hmmm... let's see... we'll have some sausage for breakfast... maybe a nice chicken sandwich or maybe even a Big Mac for lunch... and for dinner? hmmm... R, we need to talk.Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Well, duh...


Got this via Delfts.

I am 16% Idiot.
Friggin Genius
I am not annoying at all. In fact most people come to me for advice. Of course they annoy the hell out of me. But what can I do?I am smarter than most people.
Take the
Idiot Test
@ FualiDotCom

Well... this wasn't exactly news. But... 16% idiot? Hmmm... wonder where that came from?

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!


Can anyone tell me what's wrong with this?
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Gov. Jon Huntsman on Tuesday signed a bill replacing regular Utah driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants with driving privilege cards that can't be used as official identification to board airplanes or register to vote.

The move comes a day after hundreds of demonstrators gathered to protest the bill, arguing that the cards amount to second-class status for minorities.

The driving privilege card must be renewed annually. Undocumented immigrants must surrender their driver's licenses on their birthdays or on July 1, whichever is sooner.

Huntsman spokeswoman Tammy Kikuchi said the governor has been "pretty strong, from the beginning, in support of this bill" and was undeterred by opposition in the minority community.

The bill's Republican sponsor, Sen. Curtis Bramble, said the measure was a compromise, because it still allowed undocumented immigrants to drive.

"I don't believe that it's the role of the State of Utah to provide documentation or some type of ID so that someone who is illegal can travel with impunity," Bramble said.

Bob Gallegos, president of the Hispanic lobbying group RAZ-PAC, vowed Tuesday to seek legal action against the law, and said he and other minority leaders would organize a one-day strike to prove how important undocumented workers are to the Utah economy.
I guess my question should have been "what NOT wrong with this? They're giving driving priviledges to undocumented aliens? Second-class status to minorities? This has nothing to do with minority citezens- we're talking about people who are in the country only because they broke the law. Why are they not shipping them off to jail or out of the country back where they came from?

I do have to admit that I like Mr. Gallegos' idea concerning the one-day strike. Whoever doesn't show for work that day- make a list, check it twice, and haul them out of the United States at their first possible convenience. Don't give them driver's licenses or drivers' permits or whatever they call them.

Good Neighbors?


The last few years, I've tried to figure out what makes a good neighbor. Growing up, I think we had good neighbors (at least the ones right next door). Not perfect, but good. (Mom and Dad moved away from the house I grew up in several years ago, but they still keep in touch with some of our old neighbors.) And, I've learned a bit about what makes a bad neighbor (spying on your neighbors, dealing drugs from your garage, knocking on people's doors at 2am, and trying to scam cash from your neighbors). So, while I'm not exactly an expert, I do a know a little about neighbors. (and, no, don't start- I know we're not perfect neighbors. Gimme a break!)

So... SoS Condi Rice is headed to Mexico to spend some time with our neighbors to the South. And she might get a chilly reception whie she's there. Evidently, we've been saying stuff they're not happy with. Like what, you ask?
Mexican congressmen and Cabinet members have denounced recent U.S. warnings about violence on the border, human rights abuses, continuing drug trafficking problems and possible election-related instability.

U.S. ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza added fuel to the nationalistic fires last week when, during a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Mexico City, he spoke about corruption and crime, Mexico's dependence on remittances from the United States and the country's failure to adapt "to the new rules of the globalization game."

Garza earlier irritated many in January with a letter saying that "the inability of local law enforcement to come to grips with rising drug warfare, kidnappings and random street violence will have a chilling effect on the cross-border exchange, tourism and commerce."

The letter accompanied a State Department travel advisory about rising violence on Mexico's northern border.

A passing CIA reference last month to Mexico as a potential "flashpoint" for electoral instability and a State Department report alleging some human rights abuses in Mexico also brought indignant responses.
So, they're irritated. So? There's nothing there that isn't true. Isn't that the real problem? No likes people to point out our blemishes, our flaws, or errors.
"What we want is a good neighbor ... not someone who judges us," said Interior Secretary Santiago Creel. In a separate appearance, he denounced U.S. "interference." ...

...President Vicente Fox himself said the travel advisory and Garza's statements were "excessive and sensationalist" and he said they qualified as "meddling" in Mexican affairs.
Excessive? Sensationalist? I don't think so. The border between Mexico and the United States is no better than a sieve. American citizens are worried about going over the border for the day- too many bad things happen to tourists these days. Everything else Ambassador Garza and the CIA pointed out is true and accurate. It's just the way things are.

The United States would probably be willing to help out with several of Mexico's problem (that's what good neighbor's do), except for one little issue. The border. No one can deny (with any sense of integrity) that Mexico depends on the funds brought across the border by illegal aliens to prop up their economy. The Mexican government provides tips for those trying to get into the US illegally. It's really difficult to respect and want to help a country who has no respect for the laws of our country. Call us mean, that way.

I'm not a fan of fences- in back yards. Six-foot privacy fences make it hard to make friends. But, in this case, I'm willing to make an exception. The Israelis have the right idea- we need to build a wall all along our southern border.

Somewhere There is a Failure to Communicate


Girl Scout cookie time has come and gone. (mmm... Thin Mints... ) I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of the new way they sell cookies (the cookie stands in front of grocery stores/Walmart/etc.), but this is a little silly.
A Long Island man was ticketed in Brooklyn for selling Girl Scout cookies with his 13-year-old daughter. Hoi Louis was in Williamsburg delivering the cookies with his daughter over the weekend. Louis said it was his old neighborhood, before he moved to Bethpage, and he and his daughter have been selling Girl Scout cookies there since his daughter was in first grade. At 4:50 p.m. Saturday a police captain and a uniformed officer pulled up to their van as they were unloading cookies. Louis said the captain from the 94th Precinct ticketed him for selling cookies without a license. The NYPD said the man and his daughter were not delivering the cookies, but instead were selling the cookies from a table they had set up on the street. The child's grandmother, who was in the van, said her granddaughter was frightened by the police and the girl's father was flabbergasted.
There's actually a law against selling cookies without a license? These people need a life. This is just like ticketing some poor kid for setting up a lemonade stand. And, in this case, the police can't claim the man and his daughter were trying to profit from this, and there was no health issue- the cookie boxes are sealed. If this 13 year old girl had gone to City Hall to get a license, they would have told her not to worry about it- I mean, she's just a kid. And, if she had been out there by herself, the police would have gotten on the dad's case for his carelessness. Poor family can't win for trying.

While I do miss the way they used to sell cookies (you went door to door, people ordered cookies, you turned in the order form, picked up the order, then delivered them to your friends and family), I can see one reason they had to change their ways- safety. There are too many weirdos in the world today. Going door to door nowadays is just not smart anymore. And, that's just sad.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Let The Sunshine In


The clouds have broken. The sun is shining. It's time to clean out the flower bed and make it nice and pretty for Spring.

There's only one problem with this plan. Unlike Denita, I was not blessed with some amazing ability to make things grow. I do have an amazing ability... to kill things that rely on chlorophyll. I love flowers, and I love the taste of veggies fresh from the garden. I just tend to kill then before their time is up. Sad, really.

But, the flower bed looks bad (the hibiscus bushes that I planted last year died tragic deaths in an unannounced early freeze). It needs to be cleaned up before we start getting nasty-grams from the home owners association. At some point, we also need to fix the pump in the pond. Fun, really, I'm sure.

So... I'm off to buy some sacrifices pretty flowery things to brighten up our yard. "Normal" posting will resume this evening.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Joining the Insurrection


I've been tossing this around for a couple of days, and I decided to just dive in. I'm joining the McCain-Feingold Insurrection. This is what Geek with a .45 has to say about the Insurrection:
The First Amendment says this:
---------------
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
---------------

And that's precisely what it means.

Accordingly, I believe we can all get behind these following points:


  1. Freedom of speech and the press is of critical importance to the preservation of both individual freedom, and the free character of our nation.

  2. It is a traditional American Liberty that we guard jealously.

  3. This Freedom is directly and unambiguously protected by the Bill of Rights.

  4. Our Blogs are the way we choose to directly manifest that freedom. They are our sacred 21st century soapboxes, and we view them as being completely protected.

  5. The Infrastructure that enables blogs is the instrumentality of that freedom, and is therefore also protected.

  6. The universal criticality of this transcends partisan consideration.

  7. Therefore, We, the proud members of the McCain-Feingold Insurrection, will continue to excercise our right of free speech through our online venues as we see fit, without limitation.

  8. We shall vigorously defend our right and ability to do so going to such lengths and using such means as the situation and our individual consciences dictate.
What brought that on? Well... This.
Bradley Smith says that the freewheeling days of political blogging and online punditry are over.

In just a few months, he warns, bloggers and news organizations could risk the wrath of the federal government if they improperly link to a campaign's Web site. Even forwarding a political candidate's press release to a mailing list, depending on the details, could be punished by fines.
That's where this came from. This is my little spot of free speech. This is where I get to put forth my thoughts and ideas. This is my version of a pamphlet. I'm far too opinionated to just back down when the BCRA tries to tell me to be quiet. Our Founding Fathers (who are spinning in their graves because of the BCRA) were so worried about the citizenry having the guarantee of free speech that it was the FIRST Right (not that the others aren't important, but...) guaranteed to us in the Bill of Rights. It is to honor the Spirit and Letter of the Constitution that we stand up against this.

With that, I join the Insurrection. I hope this isn't necessary, but... better safe than sorry.

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Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Blog Sabbath


Following in the footsteps of Dr. Rusty Shackleford (who has his own Blog Sabbath), The Laughing Wolf (who, like his blogfather, has good-news-only Food For Thought Saturdays), I'm test-driving the idea of a Blog Sabbath.

To quote Dr. Shackleford, "Just remember folks, blogs were made for bloggers and not bloggers for the blog." To paraphrase him, "Bloggers need breaks. A day to connect with real people. A day to devote to family. A day to do something other than just blog and read other blogs. Sunday will be that day for me... People, get a life. The next Rathergate can wait a day!" (The "paraphrase" is the addition of the word "just"- I'm a news junkie. I'll check things out, because that's who I am.)

My version? Light blogging if any, and (unless it's just this amazingly HUGE world-changing event) only good news/light-hearted/funny/fun stuff.

My inaugural post for the Blog Sabbath? This little gem I got in an e-mail from Delftsman. Yeah, I know it's supposed to be passed on through e-mail (if you recently got an e-mail from me that make you laugh out loud and spray coffee all over your keyboard and monitor, don't bother clicking the link. You KNOW what it is!)

Update (sort of): I've seen this on several blogs (most recently Triticale), and this looks like fun.
The Book Game
1. Grab the nearest book
2. Open the book to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog, along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it. Just grab what is closest!

"This is a fairly large hook. To make smaller hooks, use smaller material. A gorge is a small shaft of wood, bone, metal, or other material." US Army Survival Handbook, Department of the Army. (Honest- it's always sitting on our coffee table, along with Unexplained Mysteries of WWII, Liberty and Freedom, and An Illustrated History of the First World War.)

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