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Thursday, June 30, 2005

This is INSANE

We do have freedom of religion in this country, right? We are able to raise our children as we see fit (as long as we're not raising them to be criminals, that is), right? Then please explain this to me:
A Wiccan activist and his ex-wife are challenging a court's order that they must protect their 9-year-old son from what it calls their "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals." ...

A court commissioner wrote the unusual order after a routine report by the court's Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau noted that both Jones and his ex-wife are pagans who send their son, Archer, to a Catholic elementary school.

In the order, the parents were "directed to take such steps as are needed to shelter Archer from involvement and observation of these non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals." The judge let the wording stand.
What in the world was that court commissioner thinking? I mean, anyone who knows me knows that I'm quite the evangelical Christian, and I think that the Wiccan faith is... incompatible with my belief system. But I'm on their side on this one.

By this ruling, the commissioner (and the judge) have said that you can only raise your children by one set of rules- their rules. If your beliefs are not "mainstream" (by whose determination?) then you don't get to raise your kids.

Let's take a look at the rules we're supposed to be following, shall we?
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.
Y'all might recognize that. It's the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Just to play fair, let's check out the Indiana Constitution, as well.
Section 2. Right to worship
Section 2. All people shall be secured in the natural right to worship ALMIGHTY GOD, according to the dictates of their own consciences.

(History: As Amended November 6, 1984).
Section 3. Freedom of religious opinions
Section 3. No law shall, in any case whatever, control the free exercise and enjoyment of religious opinions, or interfere with the rights of conscience.

Section 4. Freedom of religion
Section 4. No preference shall be given, by law, to any creed, religious society, or mode of worship; and no person shall be compelled to attend, erect, or support, any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry, against his consent.
Hmmm... "according to their dictates of their own consciences"... "no law shall... control the free exercise and enjoyment of religious opinions"... So, what I'm reading here is that the court has violated these parents State and Federal Constitutional rights.

'Why should you, an evangelical Christian, care about a Wiccan activist not being allowed to "indoctrinate" his child in what is (according to some) a "non-mainstream" and maybe even "evil" religion?' I can hear some of you asking. Glad you asked.

This moron is trying to determine which religions qualify as "mainstream" and which are not. If they set up those boundaries, then those lines can officially be changed. When an atheist gets in there (or... probably even worse, a radical Islamist) they can move those lines. And then I would not be able to raise my children as I see fit.

That it why I care.

Yeah, I'm a Science Junkie...

For anyone interested in watching Deep Impact do its thing on Sunday night, NASA will have a webcast. Coverage begins on NASA TV at 10pm Central, and expected time of impact will be 12:51am Central Time on the 4th. And yes, the boys will be allowed to stay up that late... if they're paying attention to the computer. Image hosted by

Saving The Country...

... one cup of coffee at a time.

There is a group of retired gentlemen who gather several mornings a week at a local Hardee's for a cup of coffee and some honest debate. They talk about everything from the new coffee shop down the street (they tried it once- they'll stick with Hardee's, thankyouverymuch) to foreign policy and everything (and I mean everything) in between. City roads? Yup. The latest county scandal? They're all over it. Social Security reform? They've already solved the problem, if anyone would bother to ask. Gossip? Sorry to say it,but y'all are almost as bad as a bunch of old biddies at a quilting bee some days.

How do I know these guys? My dad's one of their ring-leaders, and I get a play-by-play every once in a while.

So, today, in an IM, my dad said this:
xxxx: I told Durbin he should be back at his alma mater and he said it was a prison now,and I said exactly. That got a big laugh.
Uh... Dad... when were you talking to Senator Durbin? "At Hardee's... he came in with (Rep) Costello. We get politicians in there all the time. And they always come to our table. Don't worry. He knows me. " (Little background... Senator Durbin was born and raised in East St. Louis, IL and attended Assumption High School, which has been closed for ten years and turned into a state prison.)

'Scuse me? Why did I not know this? I would love to meet him... give him a piece of my mind...

Oh... that's why I'm never invited...

A Bitter Sweet Anniversary

Today is the anniversary of my mom's kidney transplant. Twenty-nine years ago today (yes, I said 29) they wheeled my mom into an operating room and my grandmother into another one, and the rest, as they say, is history.

With today's advances in medicine, a kidney transplant recipients have a pretty good outlook, all things considered.
Most centers have patient and organ survivals of over 90% at one year, and more than 80% at three years. By 10 to 15 years, about 50% of transplanted kidneys are still functional. Kidneys from living related donors do better than from deceased donors.
So... 29 years later... the doctors have my mom come back for function tests, look at the results, and say, "well... uh... um... keep up the good work."

Like I said, it's a bitter sweet day today. It's my mom's first anniversary without Grandma... and that's a little bit rough on everyone... Mom especially.

Learning an Important Lesson

It's important to remember when you make a ham salad sandwich that you should always place said sandwich in such a location as to prevent pillaging by large mutts. Big dogs like ham salad sammiches.

Getting from one to the other

How in the world do you get from a discussion of patriotism and flag-flying to hurling racial slurs? Evidently, there's a short-cut straight through the Pennsylvania House.
A Pennsylvania House session was suspended for more than an hour Wednesday after a black lawmaker, upset by a white colleague's comments about ethnic groups, referred to him as a "cracker."

The comments came during debate on a bill that would allow residents of communities governed by homeowners' associations to fly the American flag on their property, even if association rules prohibited them from doing so.
Do I really need to explain my views on home owners associations? I didn't think so. The idea that someone can't fly an American flag because they purchased the wrong flagpole is just a bit beyond me. But... unfortunately, on the other hand... when you buy a house, you know the rules. ( I just didn't know all the rules before we moved in... but that's another story... )

In this particular story, everything took a turn toward the ugly when Rep. Thomas Yewcic (who is white) said (my paraphrase) that if you don't like it (the American flag), you can go back to where-ever you came from and fly that flag. That didn't sit well with Rep. John Myers (who is not white).
Rep. Thomas Yewcic... said people shouldn't be ashamed to support the American flag. "If any ethnic group wants to fly ... a flag, and they're embarrassed to fly an American flag, they should go back to their ethnic origins and fly it there," he said.

In response, Rep. John Myers accused Yewcic of espousing "a belligerent, racist doctrine."

"I think that those type of remarks would come from a cracker," Myers said, using a derogatory term for a poor, white person.
The Speaker gave them both a time out and made them play nice. Wonder how Mr. Speaker feels playing Kindergarten Cop for these two?

Honestly, Rep. Myers, that wasn't a racist or ethnic slur. It was a commentary on multi-cultural inanity. What's wrong with being patriotic? Nationalistic, even? We live in an amazing, wonderful country. Why not show pride in it?

Besides, I'd like to think Rep. Yewcic was talking about another ethnic group- the Fwench.

Well, Now, That's Sneaky...

Imagine my surprise when I read that Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev) has put forward three pro-life, Republican names as suggestions for Supreme Court nominees.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that he is recommending at least three Republican senators, all lawyers with anti-abortion records, as nominees in the event of a Supreme Court vacancy.

Reid's remarks to reporters at the Capitol seemed to catch a wide range of interests off guard, from liberal and conservative social activists preparing to campaign for or against potential nominees, to the senators themselves: Mel Martinez of Florida, Mike DeWine of Ohio and Mike Crapo of Idaho.
Now... why in the world would Reid (who, is, by the way, not personally pro-choice) put forth names in such a... well, cooperative manner? My first thought is that, if you get rid of these guys, then they might be replaced by nice "moderate" Republicans or something like that. Or... maybe it's to reward someone for past kindnesses???
Martinez and DeWine represent swing states. DeWine took heat from conservatives last month for joining a bipartisan group of 14 senators that preserved Democrats' right to filibuster judicial nominees in "extraordinary" cases in exchange for confirming several contested appellate bench nominees. It was not immediately clear how the senators might handle abortion in a judicial, rather than a political, context.
So... by playing nice and mentioning those two, Reid looks like the good guy in swing states, and DeWine gets a warm fuzzy feeling for being one of the Gang of Seven. Lovely.

DeWine's office said, "thanks, but no thanks." Crapo was honored that Reid thought so highly of him. Martinez' office didn't issue a statement.

When it all comes down to it, Reid is a politician. He doesn't do anything just because. There's a reason for what he suggested. We just need to figure out what he's up to. I'm sure someone from the GOP is all over it. At least, I hope they are.

Is He or Isn't He a Terrorist?

Several of the former hostages who were the "guests" of militant students at the US Embassy in Tehran for 444 days in 1999-1981 claim that Iran's president-elect was one of their "hosts".
Former hostages Chuck Scott, David Roeder, William J. Daugherty and Don A. Sharer told The Associated Press that after seeing Ahmadinejad on television, they have no doubt he was one of the hostage-takers. A fifth ex-hostage, Kevin Hermening, said he reached the same conclusion after looking at photos. A close aide to Ahmadinejad denied the president-elect took part in the seizure of the embassy or in holding Americans hostage.
President Bush did not directly answer when questioned about this revelation (well, DUH!), but Scott McClellan had this to say.
"I think the news reports and statements from several former American hostages raise many questions about his past," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said of the Iranian president-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "We take them very seriously and we are looking into them to better understand the facts."
Uh... we're taking them very seriously? I know there has been a bit of a shake-up in the American intelligence community, but I have to hope that the CIA knows what Ahmadinejad had for breakfast. They know who this guy is... what he was doing 20-some-odd years ago... whose side he was on.

And... considering President Bush's "if you're not with us, you're against us" attitude toward terrorism, you have to wonder what they've got up their sleeve...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Villian Has a Point

We went to see Batman: The Beginning today. Yeah, it was the best of the Batman movies. I heard something that the villian said that I had to agree with. Let me know what you think:
Criminals thrive on society's understanding.- Ducard
Well... yeah. That's why there are so many calls to look into a criminal's childhood when determining sentencing. That's why some many goons are on the streets because of a minor technicality. That's why more innocent people become victims when the bad guys get off with a slap on the wrist.

Too bad the League of Shadows had the wrong ideas about how to take care of the problem. I could have liked the guys.

A Prayer Request

Many of you may have heard of the Chinook helicopter that went down in Afghanistan. R's step-brother's name was on the manifest. The fate of the people on board is not immediately known.

Pray for those on board, that they may have survived. Pray for those who are on the rescue teams, for their safety. And pray for the families of those on board who are being told that the fate of their loved ones is unclear right now.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Are You Stupid?

The Stupid Quiz said I am "Totally Smart!" How stupid are you? Click here to find out!

A Little Scared, eh?

You know, I think I'd be a little scared, too, if I had an object the size of a washing machine barreling at me at 23,000 miles per hour.
A comet that will be whacked by a NASA probe next week almost looks like its having some pre-impact jitters, flaring up in a new picture taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

The image shows a plume of gas and dust shooting out from comet Tempel 1. The plume does not appear in another photo taken a few hours earlier.

The outburst is normal for a comet, said Paul Feldman, a Johns Hopkins University astronomer who led the observations. It likely originates from a crack in the comet's crusty shell, which releases volatile material from below.
So, who's going to be awake with me at 0600 UT to watch it and see what happens? And are there any observatories near by where we can watch the fun?

A Special Request

Several people who attended the Bacchanal on the Comal requested my Whiskey Slush recipe. While some recipes are top secret, this is not one of those.

12 oz. frozen lemonade concentrate
6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate
2 c. tea (yes, brewed tea)
1 to 1½ c. sugar (I used 1.5c)
6 c. water
1-2 c. whiskey (I used 2, and my mom usually uses Bourbon, if I remember correctly. Dad also said that rum might be tasty.)

Mix it all together. Pour into a freezer-safe container. Freeze at least 24 hours. Scrape it out and serve in a glass with a spoon. Or, you can serve it with 7-Up or Sprite if you want to (and actually drink it), but I don't see the need.

The Saddest Thing About Tiggers...

... is that he was the only one.
Ventriloquist Paul Winchell, who was the voice of Tigger in Disney's Winnie the Pooh films, has died aged 82.He was a popular children's TV host in the US, and first voiced Tigger in 1968 in Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, which won an Academy Award. Winchell also voiced Gargamel in The Smurfs and Boomer in The Fox and the Hound, as well as voicing other Disney and Hanna-Barbera productions.
This is sad. His passing, along with the passing of Thurl Ravenscroft, tells me a bit about myself. I'm getting older. The characters (and their creators) that were part of childhood as I grew up are leaving us, one at a time. Makes me feel old.

But it also makes me wonder. What characters will my kids hold onto as they grow up? Who will get stuck in the back of their minds? Whose passing will make them pause and say, "well, drat"? Tommy Pickle? Spongebob? I have no idea.

One of my favorite t-shirts is Pooh nose-to-nose to a real bengal tiger, asking, "Is That You, Tigger?" No, Pooh... no, it's not.

UPDATE: It was just brought to my attention that John Fielder, the voice of Piglet, passed away last Saturday. Another loss... Shall we raise a spoon of honey in memory of our childhood friends?

Some Good Advice from the Dude in the Funny Hat

Pope Benedict XVI urged motorists Sunday to take care as they embark on their summer holidays, lamenting the "tragic" loss of life on highways from careless drivers...

The pope noted that the end of June marks the start of summer holidays, when many Italians head to the seashore or the mountains -- and the death toll from highway accidents increases, particularly on weekends.

Benedict wished everyone a good "well-earned" rest, but he said he also wanted to make an appeal for "prudence" for those who will be traveling.
I think this is cool. I'm not sure if it will do any good or not, but... it's still cool.
"Life is precious and unique: It must always be respected and protected, including with correct and prudent behavior on the roads."
Is it wrong of me to say, "Preach on, Pontiff!" ?????

And The Greatest American (ever) is...

President Ronald Reagan.
Former President Ronald Reagan was named the "Greatest American" of all time in an interactive contest tonight, topping fellow Republican Abraham Lincoln.

Of more than 2.4 million votes in the survey sponsored by America Online, Reagan, who died last year after a long bout with Alzheimer's disease, captured the title with 24 percent of ballots, just edging out Lincoln by 0.44 percent, according to host Matt Lauer.
When this special was announced, I'll admit it. I was worried. I mean, who knows what kind of people the mind-numbed sheep in this country might choose. I'll also admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the results.

In the top five along with The Gipper were Abraham Lincoln (who came in a close second), Martin Luther King, Jr., George Washington, and Benjamin Franklin. Not a bad top 5, eh? Rounding out the top ten were President George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, Elvis Presley, Oprah Winfrey, and Franklin Roosevelt.

W, Clinton, and FDR I can almost understand- for younger Americans, they are the three most well known presidents in the 20th (and start of the 21st) Centuries. But... Elvis? Oprah? Those are the kind of votes I was worried about. What have they really done? I mean... besides having fluctuating waistlines, the ability to make (and spend) large quantities of money, and celebrity status?

So... Reagan is The Greatest American ever... Well, duh...

Is He TRYING to Get Himself in More Hot Water?

Remember Ward Churchhill? He of the "Little Eichmanns" comment concerning 9/11 victims and questionable Native American ancestry is at it again. This time, he's backing the time-honored despised tradition of "fragging".

As always, let's go to for some clarification (in case you're unfamiliar with the term):
frag: To wound or kill (a fellow soldier) by throwing a grenade or similar explosive at the victim
So... what did our esteemed professor from the University of Colorado (thank heavens I didn't go there!) have to say about fragging? Have a look:
"For those of you who do, as a matter of principle, oppose war in any form, the idea of supporting a conscientious objector who's already been inducted [and] in his combat service in Iraq might have a certain appeal," he said. "But let me ask you this: Would you render the same support to someone who hadn't conscientiously objected, but rather instead rolled a grenade under their line officer in order to neutralize the combat capacity of their unit?"

Later, in a question-and-answer period, Churchill was asked whether the trauma "fragging" inflicts on that officer's family back home should be considered, he responded: "How do you feel about Adolf Eichmann's family?"
First, what is this guy's deal with Adolf Eichmann? I hope he's discussing this obsession with his therapist.

Seriously, though... he wants people who are opposed to war to support people who would kill others? I don't get it. If you're a pacifist (as I'm guessing most anti-war people usually are), why in the world would you want a soldier to kill his line officers? Wouldn't you instead want them all home, using their equipment as flower pots, sitting around singing "Kumbaya" or something?

But, for Ward, I don't think it's about pacifism. It's about a seething hatred for the United States. The land of his birth. The nation that allows this free speech. And the soldiers who defend his right to that free speech.

So... CU hasn't dismissed him for academic fraud. Can he be dismissed for encouraging illegal activities? Just a thought...

They Blinded Me With Science!!!

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

(h/t to El Capitan)

Sunday, June 26, 2005

And Where Were YOU This Weekend?

First, let me say one thing... when Zippo throws a party, you'd be well advised to show up. Fun WILL be had by all.

The entire weekend went more or less according to plan. Friday night we got a bit of a late start thanks to Austin traffic. HDD, Denita and Eric, Zippo and SWF, El Capitan and I met at Zippo's Southern Command, and we were off to have some fun. We met up with Mr. and Mrs. Minority at the Gristmill. The food at the Gristmill was just as yummy as I remembered. After stuffing our faces, we wandered next door to Gruene Hall, where we met up with Dash (and, I'm sorry to say, a couple whose names have escaped me right now) to listen to some music. Buckwheat Zydeco and his band are awesome. Lord Spatula I met us there. We headed back to Zippo's, and I prepped the ribs to meet their destiny.

Saturday morning, we met back at Zippo's, then almost everyone (including Mr. & Mrs. M's kiddos, and Zippo's son and niece) headed to the Comal River for some toobin. Thanks to my cranky back, I hung back and smoked some ribs. A bunch of ribs. When they returned, we ate and proceeded to retire to the living room and the front porch for a bit of adult beverage and some fun conversation. Hubby arrived as soon as he could after work- I think we managed to save a little food for him, but not much.

This morning, our adventure took us to Dietz Gun Range for a little range time.

A side note... until today, I had fired only a few weapons in my life- my grandpa's bb gun, a friend's .22 pistol, and a few of the handguns at the store where we purchased Mr. Friendly. Since Mr. Friendly joined our family, I haven't fired anything else.

Until today. Today, I had the opportunity to fire another .22 and another .357 . Oh, my. This was also the first time I have ever used .357 rounds in Mr. Friendly (after trying them in El Capitan's very nice . 357 - I loved that grip!) And I learned something new about me. I'm a left-handed shooter. I just never thought to try to shoot left-handed. Why bother, right? I mean, I am right-handed. But, I guess it makes sense, since I'm a bit ambidextrous. And I bat left-handed when I play softball.

This weekend was awesome. Thanks to Zippo and his family for hosting this most wonderful of adventures. And thanks to everyone who showed up... it was fun.

Oh, yeah... we also had a blogfest steering committee meeting at the range. Our discussion was interesting, as always. More info as it becomes available.

C-ya at the next one!

But wait! There's more: That couple I couldn't remember? Kurt and his wife. Sorry, 'bout that!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Sprinting as Poultry with Cranium Removed

I'm getting ready to head down to New Braunfels for the Bacchanal on the Comal. Salsa is made... sauce is simmering (still)... cake is cooling... tater salad is in fridge... slush is slushing in freezer... packing list getting checked off item by item...

Later in the day, I'll pick up the ribs, drop off the boys, pick up HDD, and head south on I-35. Stop off at Zippo's, drop off the munchies, and head to the Gristmill. Then Gruene Hall. Is there room for a nap in there? Tomorrow, while everyone else is toobing, I'll be smoking large quantities of animal parts and pieces. Sunday is a trip to an outdoor range to make things go boom.

Needless to say, I will probably not be posting much this weekend. We'll be too busy doing important things like eating... and drinking... and talking... Yup... too busy to blog (maybe).

C-ya on Monday!

True or False?

From Strange Cosmos:

Can you guess which of the following are true or false:

1. Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.

2. Alfred Hitchcock didn't have a belly button.

3. A pack-a-day smoker will lose approximately 2 teeth every 10 years.

4. People do not get sick from cold weather; it's from being indoors a lot more.

5. When you sneeze, all bodily functions stop, even your heart!

6. Only 7 per cent of the population are lefties.

7. Forty people are sent to the hospital for dog bites every minute.

8. Babies are born without kneecaps. They don't appear until they are
2-6 years old.

9. The average person over 50 will have spent 5 years waiting in lines.

10. The toothbrush was invented in 1498.

11. The average housefly lives for one month.

12. 40,000 Americans are injured by toilets each year.

13. A coat hanger is 44 inches long when straightened.

14. The average computer user blinks 7 times a minute.

15. Your feet are bigger in the afternoon than any other time of day.

16. Most of us have eaten a spider in our sleep.

17. The REAL reason ostriches stick their head in the sand is to search for water.

18. The only two animals that can see behind themselves without turning their heads are the rabbit and the parrot.

19. John Travolta turned down the starring roles in "An Officer and a Gentleman" and "Tootsie."

20. Michael Jackson owns the rights to the South Carolina State anthem.

21. Most television commercials advertising milk, a mixture of white paint and a little thinner is used in place of the milk.

22. Prince Charles and Prince William NEVER travel on the same airplane, just in case there is a crash.

23. The first Harley Davidson motorcycle built in 1903 used a tomato can for a carburetor.

24. Most hospitals make money by selling the umbilical cords cut from women who give birth. They are used in vein transplant surgery.

25. Humphrey Bogart was related to Princess Diana. They were 7th cousins.

26. If coloring weren't added to Coca-Cola, it would be green.

(Now go back and think about No. 16!)
You know... I'd almost be willing to believe that they're all true, except... Alfred Hitchcock didn't have a belly button? How is that physically possible? He was a pod person?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

A Civics Lesson

Let's start with the Constitution:
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments. (Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2) (emphasis mine)
That's been a popular phrase tossed around a lot lately. Democrats think that means that they can fillibuster President Bush's judicial nominees if they feel like it (oh, I'm sorry... If they're "radicals"). The Republicans think that means that the Senate should give an up or down vote to the President's nominees. Which brings us to this story:
Senate Democrats are urging President Bush to consult with them on a possible Supreme Court nomination to help avoid the kind of controversy that engulfed his lower court picks.
OK... let's check with on this one:
consult: 1(a) To seek advice or information of:
So... the Democrats want President Bush to seek their advice? Uh... isn't that what the Constitution says he's supposed to do anyway? "and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate," right? Oh, wait... that's not what they mean?
"It doesn't take much to get our consent," Kennedy said. "All the president has to do is seek out his preferred non-ideological choices, ask us about them, and listen to our answers." (emphasis mine)
So... who gets to decide who is a "non-ideological" choice? The President? The Democrats who want to stack the Judiciary with activist judges?

You know... I'm sure the President is more than willing to ask the Democrats about his nominees. He's a nice guy that way. Just don't be surprised if he ignores what they have to say about them. His choices tend to be strict constructionists, not people who do their darnedest to legislate from the bench.

When a Democrat was in the White House, the GOP did not fillibuster any judicial nominees who had majority support. They voiced their opposition. They made their feelings known... BY VOTING AGAINST THE NOMINEE. None of this temper-tantrum whining. Maybe the Dems should try it. Just a thought.

Why is this a big deal? Rumor has it that Renquist will announce his resignation next week. So... that's two appointments- one for Chief Justice and one to replace the person who gets elevated to CJ. That's why it's a big deal.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

A Few Good Actors

I was watching FoxNews' "Dayside", Dean Cain (remember him?) was a guest. He and his girlfriend, Amanda Swisten, made a trip to Iraq to support the troups, and he was there to talk about that, and about his latest campaign- to send shoes and school supplies to the kids in Iraq. Very cool. Here's the info, if you'd like to help:

Also, if you'd like to help Dean Cain send supplies to Iraq, please send only supplies to:

Cpt. Brad Miller
APO AE 09331
Thunder Alley, Talil AB, Iraq
DSN 318 833 1518 OR 1653
Trailer 3147A

In other "Hollywood better not hear about this" news, Denzel Washington visited Brooks Army Medical Center in San Antonio recently. What happened next was... just plain cool. (h/t to William @ Pardon My English)
The base has buildings known as Fisher Houses, founded by the Fisher family of New York real estate fame, where relatives of the wounded can stay for little or no charge. When Washington heard there weren't enough Fisher House facilities, he asked how much one would cost to build. "He wrote a check for the full amount right there on the spot."
Makes me wonder how many more good-hearted actors and actresses might be out there... It's so easy for them to take the anti-war, anti-America route... it's most likely paved with movie and endorsement deals. But... what about the people in the entertainment industry (with the exception of country music- it's almost expected from them) who want to support the troops... or Heaven-help-them, the President? Do they have to do it anonymously? Would they be shunned if they offer support (in word or deed)?

I'll admit it- if I had money, I'd give to causes anonymously. Not because of fear. It's a purely selfish reason, if I'm going to be honest. It would be to see the look on someone's face when they're given a gift. Kind of like watching a small child on Christmas morning, before the "truth" is told. I wouldn't need their words of thanks- that look would be enough for me. More than enough.

Learning Something New...

I believe that it's important to learn something new every day. It might be something HUGE, or it might be something seemingly small and insignificant.

What did I learn today? I learned that YRW's Central Command is at
Lat: 30:32:31.826N Lon: 97:49:45.134W

Like I said, some days, it's the little stuff. But it's still cool info.

Updates to the SideBar

I added the button link and the blogroll for The Cotillion to the sidebar.There is also the "Blogmap"- kinda cool. And I added a link to a new blog- Suitably Flip. A conservative living in NYC. Gotta love it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Crispy Critters

OK... so maybe critterS is an exaggeration. One crispy critter- ME.

We went with R and her kids (and a nephew) to Volente Beach- Austin's waterpark. The kids had a blast. The adults hung out in what I thought was the shade of the Lazy Lagoon. Yeah, well... tell my nose that.

We got season passes, so I'm sure I'll be doing my Rudolf impersonation on Lake Travis for the foreseeable future.

At least the piña coladas are tasty. Image hosted by

Do a Little Dance...

Ooops. I goofed. Today was the Cotillion. Did I remember? Nope. Oops. Check out Sadie, Crystal, and Tammy's posts for the latest in what all the smart cool ladies of the blogosphere are up to.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Farm Team

I may have mentioned that I volunteer at our church. I started helping with lighting back when we were portable (having services at a movie theater every Sunday morning). Since then, I've helped with several other aspects of the production team. It's a lot of fun. And, it looks like the boys have been paying attention to what Mommy's been up to.

This weekend, T1 trained on the video cameras that we use in the services, and the video director let him run one of the cameras for the last 10 minutes or so of the Saturday evening service. Then, Sunday morning, T2 trained on the light board (which will be used by the youth once we move into our new building). In fact, T2 knows more technical aspects of that board than his mom does, and she's been working with it for a couple of years now.

The teaching pastor asked me if I was recruiting for the farm team. Well, of course!

An Old Diet Made New

Ew... just Ew... (from Strange Cosmos)

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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Blog Sabbath

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

Here's a handy hint for all the dads out there: if your kids talk you into sitting in the front row at church so you can be part of the Father's Day Challenge ($50 Best Buy gift card was the prize), don't be surprised if you have to do something unique... such as singing the Oscar Mayer bologna song for 300+ of your closest friends.

Saturday, June 18, 2005


Austin is the 21st sweatiest city in the US.
The rankings are based on the average U.S. male/female height/weight and the average high temperature for 2004 in each of the cities during June, July and August. The sweat level was analyzed based on the assumption that an individual was walking for one hour.
Well... at least we're not Phoenix.

A Bookish Meme

Red Falcon at The Steiner Aid tagged me for the following meme. Hmmm... we'll see how this goes...
  1. Total number of books I own- I have NO idea. I have about 20 cookbooks. 5 or 6 in my "to read" pile. Maybe 20 or 30 others. (Hubby has a whole lot more that he keeps to read over and over again.) The rest I take to Half Price Books as soon as I have a nice pile and start all over again.
  2. The last book I bought- Critical Thinking Skills (workbook) and Synapse (book one of the Cogno:The Alien Legends series) for the boys. A little summer-time brain exercise for them.
  3. Last book I read- you mean finished? Yikes... been a while. I'm working on The Politically Incorrect Guide to US History by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. And several cookbooks.
  4. Five books of notable influence on me:
    1. The Bible (duh)
    2. Ariel (first sci-fi book I ever read)
    3. The Space Shuttle Operator's Manual
    4. Calculus textbook
    5. Understanding Psychology (psych textbook)
  5. Five people I'll hand this off to - not gonna do that. I got in trouble the last time I handed one of these memes to someone. If anyone wants to take it and run with it, let me know.

They're Voting on WHAT???

Warning: religion post. You have been warned.

There are a few things that just seem to go with Christianity. The Cross. Christmas (for most). Easter (no matter when you celebrate it). (No, we don't need to go into some of the uglier stereotypes... thanks, though.) In fact, from, we have this:
Christian:Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.

Christ: The Messiah, as foretold by the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures. Often used with the.
One of the other things that just seem to go with the belief system known as Christianity is the belief in Jesus' divinity- He is God the Son. Right?
A venerable Protestant denomination - at the behest of some of its conservative members - is preparing to vote next month on a measure declaring that Jesus Christ is the Lord, and making it mandatory for clergy to accept his divinity.t may seem like a slam dunk, but delegates for the 1.3 million-member United Church of Christ may reject the resolution. Several Bergen County pastors, who aren't delegates to the convention, said they expect the measure to fail.

Rev. Raymond Kostulias (said) "But there is a judgmental quality to it that implies very strongly that those who do not agree with us are condemned or damned or hopeless - and that's exactly the thing that UCC is against."
Uh... Rev. ... there is a judgemental quality about the Bible... or haven't you read it lately? Here's a few tidbits that you may have missed (empasis mine).
That's just a few. I could go on, but you get the idea.

This isn't a matter of being judgemental at all. It's a matter of asking a few simple questions:Is Jesus who He said He is? Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God? Do you believe what the Bible says?
The handful of United Church of Christ churches that submitted the resolution - including a congregation in Woodbridge - say Christ's divinity is the biggest issue facing the denomination.... The Woodbridge pastor said the denomination has to get back to basics.

"The whole point of this is that many of these people have a very fuzzy idea of faith in God," said the Rev. Albert W. Kovacs of the Hungarian Reformed Church. "We have significant numbers of clergy who don't believe in God."
Clergy? Who don't believe in God? Why bother?

There are "issues" within Christianity which are open to interpretation. In fact, I have a "list" of questions that can't be answered in this life- I'm planning on pulling up a chair and asking them when I get to Heaven. But some fundamentals are just not up to debate. God is God. Jesus is God the Son. Then you go to John 14:14 (Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.") and you go on from there.

I think I know what the "conservatives" within the UCC are trying to do- they're trying to cull the herd a bit. Force the issue to get some change within their denomination. Sounds like a plan to me. They're forcing a break within the church one way or the other. Everyone in the UCC will have to choose sides... literally, "Believers" and "Non-Believers."

Hmmm... wonder which side I'd fall on...

Sparing the Rod...

Proverbs 13:24, "He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly."
We all know that verse. Every child hates it. Every parent tries to figure out what it actually means. Does it mean to swat your toddler on the tush when s/he runs out into the street? Does it mean to leave your teenager unable to sit for a week when s/he doesn't take out the trash? (In my never -to -be -confused -with -humble -opinion, yes to the first... uh... NO to the second.) In Massachusetts (go figure) it might be a mute point pretty darn soon.
Two weeks after Brookline's Town Meeting passed a resolution discouraging spanking by parents, lawmakers yesterday considered banning so-called corporal punishment on children across the state.

A bill filed by an Arlington lawmaker and backed by more than 60 residents from communities including Waltham and Newton would make it illegal to inflict "the willful infliction of physical pain" -- including spanking -- on children under 18.
Oh, for the love of... your 2 year-old is about to put his hand on the hot stove. Pulling him away and saying "no, Johnny, that will hurt you" just won't work. Trust me on this one. And the 3 year old who has a nasty habit of biting? Bite him back. It works. (No, don't break the skin. Geez... that 3 year old might not realize that it actually hurt. Consider it a teaching moment.)
The bill defines corporal punishment as willfully inflicting pain through acts including: hitting, whipping, slapping, spanking, kicking, biting, striking with an object, pinching, punching, poking eyes, twisting limbs, boxing ears, shaking, "hot-saucing" (putting undiluted Tabasco sauce or soap in the mouth) and administering electric shocks.
Hold it. They're comparing a swat on the behind with administering electric shock??? Flicking lips (to stop biting) with twisting limbs? "Hot Saucing" with punching? Pinching with kicking? These people really need to get out of their ivory towers once in a while. There is reasonable physical discipline, and then there is abuse. There is a big difference. Figure it out.
The measure is not about prosecuting parents for spanking but is about preventing abuse, Pollard said. In 41 percent of cases where a child is killed by parents, she said, the parents raised the defense they were using corporal punishment.

"Massachusetts can be the first state to wake up to this," said Pollard.

Lawrence presented the committee with facts showing corporal punishment harms children physically and emotionally.
"Facts"? Really. Sure. There are parents who can take it too far- they instill fear instead or respect and obedience. I do believe, however, that the vast majority of parents who swat Junior's bottom don't emotionally or physically harm their children. I would think that my kids wouldn't be quite as warm and loving toward me as they are if I had really harmed them.

Like I said, there are parents who take it too far. Parents who seriously injure or even kill their child and then claim they were just disciplining the tyke. Yeah, right. And there's also the parents who think that the same discipline methods that worked on Johnny when he was 3 will work on him when he's 15. (There's a story I was told about a mother who tried to swat her son when he was a teenager. He simply blocked it. Bit of a wake up call, I'm sure.) Then there are the parents who for some reason think the same methods work on all children.

T1 wasn't phased by spanking, but time outs where the ultimate in punishment to him when he was little. T2, on the other hand, had no problem with time outs, but freaked at the mere mention of a swat. That was when they were little. Now they're almost 12. I wouldn't dream of trying to spank them now- that's just... illogical. Taking away all electronics, on the other hand... that'll get their attention every time.

Parents who realize that an occasional swat on the tush (or flick on the lip, or slap on the hand, or... or... ) need not fear. There are many states (23?) who have affirmed the parents' right to use reasonable physical discipline in raising their children. That includes Texas, whose legislature just passed a bill okaying physical discipline in parenting. So... all the "kinder, gentler" parents can head on over to Taxachusetts where they can reason with their toddlers to their hearts' content. The rest of us will be living in the reasonable part of the country.

Oh, wait. My bad. That's pretty much the way it is already. Carry on.

(Yes, Dad... I know you were never big on spanking. Then again, your darling angels daughters never did anything wrong weren't really of the temperament to respond well to them once we got over the age of about 4. Just sayin'... works for some kids... but maybe not for all... )

One Week and Counting!

168 hours from now, there will be a group of TX bloggers and friends toobing down the Comal River. 174 hours from now (give or take), said group of adventurous souls will sit around Captain Zippo's table for some food, fun, and probably more than a little frivolity.

So... the question is... why haven't you signed up to join us?

Friday, June 17, 2005

Fifi's Flyin' High!

The Air Force announced that Capt. Nicole Malachowski will be the Thunderbird's first female demostration pilot.
In fact, she’s the first female demonstration pilot on any U.S. military high performance jet team.

An F-15E pilot assigned to RAF Lakenheath’s 494th Fighter Squadron, Malachowski (call sign Fifi- ed.) just returned from a deployment in Southwest Asia and was on leave when she received the news.
Go check out the story. It's pretty darn cool. And guys... on top of being a dang good pilot, she's a cutey, too.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

A Round-Up for Your Morning...

Here's a few headlines to get your day started.
I found a couple of other news tidbits, but they seem worth more than a snarky comment. I'll get to those later on.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Well, THAT'S Good to Know

Nice to know Whacko Jacko has seen the light. Come to his senses. Grabbed something vaguely resembling a clue.
Michael Jackson's Web site trumpeted his courtroom vindication Tuesday... while his lawyer vowed his client wouldn't be sharing his bed with boys anymore. "He's not going to do that anymore," attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. told NBC's Today. "He's not going to make himself vulnerable to this anymore."
You know, I really thought he would have figured that out after he forked out how many millions of dollars to some other kid who accused him of things I'd really rather not think about, thankyouverymuch. But Jackson obviously didn't, because he found himself in that same situation not too many years later. And having three children by in vitro didn't really help his reputation.

Rumor has it that Whacko Jacko is going to try to get his music career back out of the gutter. That will make his psycho fans (you know... the ones who have been at the court house every day) happy. These people came from all over the world. Do they not have jobs? Now they can go find gainful employment so they can buy all his new cds he'll be cranking out.

Do us a couple of favors, Mike... stay away from kids... stay away from the public eye for a while... take a nap... and, for goodness sake, have a sandwich or two.

MSM... can you do us a favor, as well? He was found "not guilty"... LET IT GO.

A Time To Dance

Many of you may have heard of The Cotillion by now. From the main site:
What is the Cotillion?

First and foremost, it is a celebration of the diverse voice that is the conservative woman. Not just one person can speak for us, and no one person should have that obligation. There are so many of us here and willing to share our thoughts and our ideas that it seems a shame that woman in the blogosphere have been outshined by the men.

Name five women in the top twenty of the Ecosystem. Can you do it?

Last February, Kevin Drum could only name three in the top thirty. Once again, the boys seem to have a headstart on this "blog" thing, but that doesn't mean that we can't show them a thing or two. This isn't about making it an "us" versus "them" thing either, it's just about celebrating and highlighting some of the best female writers that shine.

Our intention is to be able to give the reader a wonderful place to start their journey into the feminine side of the blogosphere. And to show everyone that although we may not have the "links" of an Instapundit, we certainly have enough opinions to make up for it.

We hope to stick around, not take ourselves too seriously and maybe just enlighten everyone about who the conservative woman really is...
That just sounds cool, doesn't it? Well, I feel very honored that I was asked to participate in this estrogen adventure. I can only hope I do them proud!

Here's this week's Cotillion: here , here and here. Check out the links, look around a bit, dance a dance or two. This is some good stuff.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Blog Sabbath

Once again, it's the Blog Sabbath. Spend time with family and friends. You know you want to. Really. Trust me.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Playing with Sweetness...

Secretary of State Condi Rice took time out of her schedule to play in a concert for an ill soprano.
A musician long before she became an academic and then a world-famous diplomat, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took to the Kennedy Center concert stage Saturday to accompany a young soprano battling an often-fatal disease.

Rice's rare and unpublicized appearance at the piano marked a striking departure from her routine as America's No. 1 diplomat. A pianist from the age of 3 she played a half-dozen selections to accompany Charity Sunshine, a 21-year-old singer who was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension a little more than a year ago.
I just thought this was cool. No politics. Just art. (the post's title? Condi's name comes from musical term con dolezza- play with sweetness.)

These Dreams (when I close my eyes)...

OK... all you shrink wanna-bes... everyone has that high school dream, right? You know... where you're back in high school and can't remember your locker combination.

Well, I've had that back in high school dream a lot lately. Except, the good news is I do remember my locker combination. The bad news is I'm in calculus... again.

Any thoughts? What's up with that? (And before any of you pervs ask... yes, I and everyone else is completely dressed- appropriately.)

She's Baaaaack! (kinda)

We got back to Texas yesterday. Did ya miss me?

Blogging will be light for the next couple of days- I need to unpack 2 weeks of stuff (as well as deliver some plants to R and some boxes to HDD) and repack the boys. "Repack? What are you thinking?" I hear you ask.

Well, tomorrow, we're going to Schlitterbahn (company picnic). We'll spend the night somewhere down there. Monday morning the boys head off to church camp (somewhere in between Schlitterbahn and the TwoDragon's Tinyville).

A week of quiet. Can it be true? I'm sure I'll be blogging in true YRW form in a few days. Let me catch my breath first, ok?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Giving The Rest of Us a Bad Name

The other day, I pull into the parking lot at St. Louis Bread Company (Panera, if you have one of those near you). I start to pull into a spot, but I can't because a Suburban is taking up a big chunk of two different spots. I grumble, pull around, and pull into one of the spots behind the offending vehicle. Then I took a look, and I began to fume.

The license plate read "THYWORD". Bumper stickers proclaimed "He Still Saves" and "Jesus is my Friend." Lovely.

You gotta love people like that. They wear their religion on their sleeve (or on their car, or on a trendy t-shirt with a catchy phrase). I guess they think they need to do that or maybe no one will know that they're Christians. The only problem is that when they do something like that, and then act discourteous to others (or even break any of a number of traffic laws), they act as a beacon for all the world to see. They sure do have a witness, alright- Christians are selfish, self-absorbed, hypocritical jerks.

Yeah, yeah. I'm exaggerating. After all, she just took up two parking spaces. What's the big deal, right? The big deal is that it's the little things that we do as people of faith that sometimes leave the greatest impression on those around us. It's not that we wear a cross on a chain, or a fish on the back of our car. It's what we say and do each and every day that tells the world who we are as Christians.

Our pastor once "joked" that you'll never see bumper stickers with our church's name on it. When asked why, he said, "because I've seen how you people drive." He's got a point, maybe. In a similar story, Jeff Foxworthy talks about being behind a car with a bumper sticker that read "Honk if you love Jesus." He honked, and the guy flipped him off.

I admit it. I had my fair share of "God's Gym" t-shirts when I was in college (they're long gone now). I wear a cross on a chain around my neck almost every day- not as a witness to the world that I am a follower of Jesus Christ, but as a quiet reminder to myself of who I am - a child of God. Some people can gracefully shout it out from the mountaintops (Billy Graham and Mother Teresa come to mind). Me? I know I'm far from perfect. I'd rather you take the time to get to know me so you can see the amazing things God has done in my life. Flawed, but forgiven. Chichéd, I know, but true, none the less.

I guess I'll end my little tale of Suburban woe with this caution... for the sake of your fellow believers, unless you've got a pretty good handle on the Fruits of the Spirit (you remember those, right? love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness [meekness, humility] and self-control), try not advertise too much. It would probably be better to cultivate relationships, showing how God is working in your life... a sort of friendship evangelism, so to speak. Otherwise... you end up giving us all... and Jesus, as well... a bad name.

On The Road Again...

We're outta here. Today, the boys and I are driving from STL to OKC. Tomorrow, we'll finish the trip to the Austin area with a side trip to visit the cousins in Dallas. Needless to say, no more posting from me today.

When I get back, remind me to tell you about the Suburban. I was unhappy with it... you'll see...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Animal Magnetism

Remember when I told the story about when a Clydesdale used T1's head as a saltlick? Well, that was at Grant's Farm, and another animal tried to nibble on T1 today at the Busch family farm.

This time it was a camel. And it wasn't trying to bite T1, exactly- it was trying to nibble on his hat. Then we had goats trying to eat shirts and shorts and shoes- but they were cute. Over-zealous, perhaps, but cute.

I can't count how many times I've been to Grant's Farm, and I never get tired of it. Looks like the boys feel the same way. They have some cool animals (not as many as a zoo, but, then again, most zoos don't have zonkeys and zonies). Riding the tram through the deer park is relaxing (and informative), and so is the bauernhof (a courtyard full of umbrella-covered tables where you can sit and rest your weary feet and have a (free)beer or two. Then there's the tram ride back to the parking lot. Across the lot, you can get a glimpse of my favorite horses- the Clydesdales. And all of this is in suburban St. Louis. Gotta love it.

Now, if I can just convince the animals that T1's head is not snackable...

Missing a Milestone

Wow! While I wasn't paying attention, my sitemeter rolled past 20, 000 and just kept going.

Thanks to all of you who stop by to read my stuff, be it serious rants or goofy family tales.

Wow... just wow...

Her Fifteen Minutes of Fame

We interupt our regularly scheduled vacation for this ramble.

By now, almost everyone in the United States has heard of Natalee Holloway. In case you've been living under a rock, she's the Alabama teen who went missing in Aruba over a week ago. Although there is no evidence (that has been made public), most people think she is dead. Her story got me thinking. About a lot of different things.

From what we've been told, Natalee is a not-so-typical teen. Straight A student. Scholarship recipient. Very attractive. Popular. Good-hearted. As a CBS article stated, "Miss Perfect." Everything ahead of her. And something went very tragically wrong. Why?

Well, it would be easy to put the blame on the bad guys (if there was truly foul play- some are wondering about an accidental death). And, in the end, that would be right. IF someone murdered her, then they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But that's not really what I'm talking about here.

She was young- just eighteen. Now, I know some eighteen year olds are incredibly mature and responsible, but let's face facts. Most aren't. And, even though those who claim to know her best say that it was out of character for her to leave with strangers, witnesses say that she did, and, from all appearances, of her own free will. Because she was young. And young people have this tendency to think they're bullet-proof.

I vaguely remember being eighteen. I was a very intelligent, incredibly STUPID kid who did really stupid things. Oh, I didn't think they were stupid at the time. Of course not. They were "grown up" things to do. "Mature," even. Or so I thought. But, in hindsight, I cringe and thank God on a regular basis that He had what had to be an army of guardian angels watching my backside, almost always protecting me from myself and my blatant immaturity.

Back to Natalee. Mom and Dad probably wanted to reward all of her hard work at school, so she's in an island paradise, enjoying freedoms she's never had before. She no doubt had more than token attention during her vacation from guys (tourists and locals alike. I mean, she's a hottie, and I'm not saying that's a bad thing.) It's her last night before she has to head home to summer school and that summer job. A couple of guys (yeah, I'm guessing at all of this) invite her out to the beach to a party. What could go wrong, right?

From what we can tell, Natalee's mom and dad did a pretty fine job raising their little girl (see her praises above). They spent eighteen years teaching her right from wrong, fostering a possitive work ethic, and, more than likely, showing her the best of humanity while shielding her from as much of its evil as possible. That's a parent's job, right? And then they put her on a plane so she could celebrate her high school graduation with her friends, and they prayed that they did a good enough job and that she would be safe.

No, I don't want to blame Natalee for what appears to have happened to her. It takes very extreme circumstances before I'd even think about blaming a victim of a violent crime for that crime. And I don't want to blame her parents- although they did nothing wrong, they will live with a parent's guilt the rest of their lives. But... there are facts to look at. If she hadn't left the bar with those guys (even if they weren't the ones who hurt her, in the end), she would probably still be alive right now. And if her parents hadn't bought that plane ticket, she'd probably still be alive today.

Thinking about this (at 3:00 in the morning), I'm of two minds about a parent's job. As a mom, my first instinct is to wrap my babies in bubble wrap and protect them from every bump and bruise- that's what moms do, right? But, I also have to prepare my boys, my too-soon-to-be young men, for life outside the nest. I need to do my best to provide for them a firm intellectual, moral, ethical, and spiritual foundation, and help foster the skills that will enable them to make wise decisions. And, then, when the time comes, let them go and pray I got it right (and that God would double the size of that angel army and send them my boys' way). But does that mean that I'd buy them two tickets to Aruba when they're eighteen? Sorry, boys, but unless you want Mommy Dearest tagging along, y'all are out of luck.

Natalee had big plans. Every teen does. Graduate from college and get that great first job. Have a stellar career. Get married. Maybe have a couple of kids. Be a good friend and have a good life. Maybe have her fifteen minutes of fame, but maybe not.

It just makes me sad to think that Natalee got her fifteen minutes of fame- but she more than likely had to die to get it.

Like I said... it's 3am... we now return you to our regularly scheduled vacation.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

More STL Yummies

Tonight we ventured to another one of those truly St. Louis locations... Ted Drewes. I took Hubby there a few years ago... he (in his words) "just didn't get it." So, I was a little worried when T1 asked me why we had to drive that far "just for ice cream".

"It's not 'just ice cream.' It's frozen custard- it's special."

So, we get there, and it's takes a while for the boys to decide what they want- there are just too many choices. T1 and I got "Cardinal Sin" concretes- super-thick shakes with tart cherries and hot fudge- and T2 got a "cookie dough" concrete.

On the drive back to my parents' house, I heard a lot of slurping, but not much else. Finally, curiosity got the best of me. I had to ask.

"So... what do you guys think?"
"So... was it worth the drive?"
"Oh, yeah."

Hmmm... I'm running out of "St. Louis yummies" for them to try. I make my own fried ravioli, so that's nothing new to them... Think, Mom! Think!!!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Madagascar - a review

Just got back from seeing Madagascar (and running past the local Chinese place for some take out).

It was hilarious. I don't know why it got bad reviews. I was almost in tears a few times from laughing so hard. If I wanted to get nit-picky, I'd point out that there is some behavior that I'd rather not see little kids mimic, and some words that I'd rather not hear come out of little kids' mouths, but I'm VERY picky that way.

But, all in all, it was a fun way to spend a couple of hours (after you add in the previews). And I've got a new motto...

"Smile and wave, boys... smile and wave."

Flying High

We (Dad, the boys, and I) started off the day at the St. Louis Science Center, watching the IMAX movie Fighter Pilot. Very cool movie. If you like dogfights, you should see this movie.

Then we drove across town to the Boeing facility to see their "Prologue Room". The boys loved it. It's basically the history of the aviation and space industry in St. Louis. Lots of model airplanes and capsule mock-ups. And lots of "product" cards with cool info about different airplanes. There was also a cute 10 minute video which explains the basics of why airplanes fly. It's a cool (but short) trip.

We're going to see Madagascar tonight. I'll give you the review... later...

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Culinary Adventures

I pride myself on the fact that, for the most part, my kids are not picky eaters (T1 orders all of his burgers with "no onions, tomato, or lettuce", but that's about it). The first restaurant they were ever in was an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet place in Virginia Beach (on their 2 week birthday), and it's been one culinary adventure after another ever since. On the Disney cruise, they ordered off the adult menu (they were 7) because it just sounded better. T2 broke his arm, and, when told he could have whatever he wanted to eat, he asked for sushi. McDonalds and Burger King are rarely if ever on their gastronomic radar.

That being said, I have to admit that I was a bit surprised when I realized that my boys had never experienced the culinary adventure known as White Castle. Dang! I'm falling down on the job here!

My grandfather loved White Castle, and I get my appreciation for the greasy little monsters from him, I'm sure. I've never understood why people hate them... they're not great, but they're not all that bad, either.

So, I announced my intentions to introduce the boys to the wonders of White Castle, and that idea was quickly shot down.

"No way, Mom. White Castle is gross."
"Have you ever had it? How do you know it's gross?"
"No, we've never had it. Dad told us it was gross."

A quick phone call to Dad confirmed that he did think they were quite nasty, but that his judgment might have been a tad clouded since he had them when he was in the Navy and it was one of the only places open when the bars closed. Ah, yes... culinary advice from a man who despises green beans but loves lima beans. (He actually usually has great culinary judgment... usually.)

So... off to White Castle I go. $17 dollars later (do you know how hard it is to spend $17 at White Castle???) and it's back to the house. Each child got two regular burgers, two cheeseburgers, two bacon cheeseburgers and an order of fries.

Final verdict? Not bad. Not Wendy's good, but not bad. T2 thought they were a little bland because all he could taste was the horseradish mustard. Me thinks he put on too much horseradish mustard.

Hmmm... wonder what else I can get them to try...

BlogSabbath and Reminders

Believe it or not, I'm actually looking for stuff to do some serious posting on... but not today. Today is a day to sit on the parental units' patio, drinking coffee and reading the funny papers and the ads (done), then do some grilling on same patio (will do) and maybe talk my sister into going with us to see Madagascar (will do once she gets here). Tomorrow I'll see if there's anything that gets my blood boiling... or at the pressure raised a bit.

I've already mentioned the Texas Hill Country Tunes, Toobs, and Targets Blogfest (also known as the Bacchanal on the Comal). El Capitan has an excellent reminder post concerning excuses you might come up with. I think the boys will be coming- not sure yet. And, unless my back stages an amazing recovery, I won't be toobing, either. That will give me plenty of time to smoke all that yumminess the day of the feast and not have to worry about reheating it all. We'll see.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Monkeying Around At The Zoo

The boys, my dad and I went to the St. Louis Zoo today. Wonderful, as always. No wonder it was rated the #1 zoo in the nation in the US Family Travel Guide.

There is a new "fragile forest" area that's really interesting. And they're constantly updating the habitats. The River Walk area is awesome, with only one complaint. They have an amazing cheetah breeding program, and you used to be able to see all of those magnificent cats run. Now, because of all the natural landscape they've added, you can't see them. (Yeah, yeah, I know... the cheetahs are happier.)

T1 did have a good point, though... it's probably best to go to the zoo in the spring or in the fall. Many of the animals were napping in the shade to get out of the heat of the day (and it's just the beginning of summer here in STL). On the other hand. the penguins and puffins were having a good time in their 45° habitat. And the Asian elephants didn't seem to mind the heat- they just sprayed more water onto their backs.

One area the boys went into for the first time (and I've lost count of how many times they've been to the St. Louis zoo) was the 1904 Flight Cage. You see, my mom has this "thing" about birds (IOW- she's scared of them), so a gigantic bird cage that you walk through just isn't her idea of a good time. Since she stayed home to baby her foot, we took the boys through the flight cage. Very cool.

I have to admit, though... the prairie dogs are still my favorite.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Observations on Being a Slug...

We went to Six Flags on Wednesday. In spite of the fact that I went on a grand total of one (yes, 1) ride, my back rebelled yesterday. And I'm not even sure that the Scooby Doo ride counts as a real ride if you're over the age of 5.

I think if given the choice, the boys would have stayed in the Hurricane Harbor side of the park the entire time. They went on all the slides, and my sister and I worked on our sunburns. There was no fear there (ok... maybe a little when T1 found out he'd be going backwards on the Tornado... but that's it). We get to the other side of the park, have an ice cream cone (maybe not the brightest of ideas) and head towards the rides. Both boys went on the Joker ride (giant pendulum) and then T2 went with my sister on the Screaming Eagle (large wooden coaster- used to be the biggest, baddest thing at Six Flags Mid America... when I was the boys' age, that is). Then they were ready to go (evidently the combination of ice cream and fear of having to go on Mr. Freeze was enough to do T1 in). Next year, we'll just go to Raging Rivers (a water park not far from here) and be done with it.

Some random observations from Six Flags...

So... we took the day off yesterday. Boys played with the r/c Hummer. My grandma came over for a while. (Yes, I know how lucky I am that up until a couple of months ago, I had both of my grandmothers still with us). Went to Steak & Shake for dinner last night (there are none in Central Texas.) Today I think is another lazy day (well, another day to baby my back... that's more accurate). Tomorrow, I'm thinking about the zoo... Next week, we'll go to the Science Center to see the IMAX movie Fighter Pilot and visit Boeing's Prologue Room (mini museum talking about McDonnell Douglas' contributions to aerospace and space flight). We'll also go to Grant's Farm (weather permitting). There might even be a trip to a casino for the adults in the house... not sure about that, yet.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Something's Not Right... Right?

Just saw a commercial for DirectTV's NFL Sunday Ticket. It was a musical number featuring Payton Manning and Dick Butkus. And when I say "musical number", I mean guys in football jerseys dancing like they're in a Rogers and Hammerstein production.

Is it just me, or is there just something not right with that?

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