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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Winter Has Arrived

Yesterday, the high temperature here in Central Texas was a toasty 78 degrees. Sometime during the night, a front moved in, bringing rain and wind with it. Today's forcast high? 42 degrees. Tonight's low is forcast to be below freezing.

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The down side to this is that people in People's Republic of Austin don't know how to drive unless it's sunny and 80 degrees. Put something slick on the roads, and people freak out.

Never fear. It's supposed to be up near 60 by this weekend.

At Least They're Creative

Someone with entirely too much time on their hands did a survey, asking hiring managers some of the more unusual excuses people have given for not coming in to work. Here are the top responses.

Can you think of any more?

How Sweet It Is!

TVLand, that bastion of black and white tv shows that I try to NEVER NEVER watch, has compiled a list of the top 100 TV Quotes & Catchphrases. No, I'm not going to list all 100- click on the link.

Here are some of my favorites, though:
Looking at the list, I had to chuckle. If the quote is over 5 years old, I probably knew it. "Friends"? nah... Jon Stewart? nuh-uh... Dave Chappelle? Not so much...

Am I out of touch? I don't think so... I'm just not a fan, anymore, I guess.

Round and Round We Go

It's been a while since I've done a round-up. Let's see what the media thinks is important this morning.
Well, that's it... I need another warm beverage. The cold front is here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wednesday's Hero

Cpl. Jason E. Meier
Cpl. Jason E. Meier
From Arlington, Wisconsin
1st Team, 3rd Squad, 3rd Platoon, Bravo Battery, 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, Marine Wing Support Group 37 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Air Wing (Forward)

Cpl. Jason E. Meier plays soccer with an Iraqi boy during humanitarian efforts while on a Mounted Combat Patrol in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq, November 8, 2006. Meier is the vehicle commander for 1st Team, 3rd Squad, 3rd Platoon, Bravo Battery, 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, Marine Wing Support Group 37 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Air Wing (Forward). He is an Arlington, Wis., native.

These brave men and women risk their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams.
Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by clicking here.

Blogs Participating In Wednesday Hero
Yankee Mom
Bear Creek Ledger
Mail Call! Supporting The Troops
Yeah, Right, Whatever
Gazing At The Flag
Ohio Military Reserve
DeMediacratic Nation
My Point
A Day In The Life Of.....
Blue Star Chronicles
Pet's Garden Blog
Hooah Wife & Friends
Right-Wing & Right Minded

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Pantry Pests

No, I'm not talking about the boys and their voracious appetites. I'm talking about annoying little moths that have decided that they like living in my pantry.

At first, I thought, 'a moth is a moth is a moth.' Silly me! The cedar blocks I bought and put in the pantry will just make the pantry smell good- they mean nothing at all to these nasty little monsters.

My only option is going to be long, drawn out, and not cheap. We'll have to take everything out of the pantry (except the washer and dryer... those are staying put), trash all of the carbs (flour, sugar, pasta, rice, dog food), toss in a bug bomb, and scrub everything down. Then I'll have to watch out for the little buggers, just in case they leave more eggs around.

Oh, yay. Yippee skip.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday

So... how many of you were up bright and early this morning, credit cards and check books in hand, ready to take on the hordes of other insane shoppers trying to get that really good deal? Come on... admit it... you were out there, standing in front of Best Buy, waiting for the doors to open.

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(AP photo)

No, I'm not in that photo. But I took the fact that I was wide awake at 5:30am as a sign that I was to venture out into the insanity. I picked up some stocking stuffers and a gift or two... nothing major, but I did get a start on the Christmas shopping.

I'm not going to forget the Reason for the Season. Believe it or not, it's really not all about turning the big box stores' accounts from red to black. That's just a perk for them.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Real Story of Thanksgiving

This was in the book See, I Told You So by Rush Limbaugh, and he reads it routinely the day before Thanksgiving. Definitely food for thought, no?

On August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail. It carried a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims led by William Bradford. On the journey, Bradford set up an agreement, a contract, that established just and equal laws for all members of the new community, irrespective of their religious beliefs. Where did the revolutionary ideas expressed in the Mayflower Compact come from? From the Bible. The Pilgrims were a people completely steeped in the lessons of the Old and New Testaments. They looked to the ancient Israelites for their example. And, because of the biblical precedents set forth in Scripture, they never doubted that their experiment would work.

"But this was no pleasure cruise, friends. The journey to the New World was a long and arduous one. And when the Pilgrims landed in New England in November, they found, according to Bradford's detailed journal, a cold, barren, desolate wilderness," destined to become the home of the Kennedy family. "There were no friends to greet them, he wrote. There were no houses to shelter them. There were no inns where they could refresh themselves. And the sacrifice they had made for freedom was just beginning. During the first winter, half the Pilgrims – including Bradford's own wife – died of either starvation, sickness or exposure.

"When spring finally came, Indians taught the settlers how to plant corn, fish for cod and skin beavers for coats." Yes, it was Indians that taught the white man how to skin beasts. "Life improved for the Pilgrims, but they did not yet prosper! This is important to understand because this is where modern American history lessons often end. "Thanksgiving is actually explained in some textbooks as a holiday for which the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians for saving their lives, rather than as a devout expression of gratitude grounded in the tradition of both the Old and New Testaments. Here is the part [of Thanksgiving] that has been omitted: The original contract the Pilgrims had entered into with their merchant-sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store, and each member of the community was entitled to one common share.

"All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belong to the community as well. They were going to distribute it equally. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well. Nobody owned anything. They just had a share in it. It was a commune, folks. It was the forerunner to the communes we saw in the '60s and '70s out in California – and it was complete with organic vegetables, by the way. Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that this form of collectivism was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as that first harsh winter, which had taken so many lives. He decided to take bold action. Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage, thus turning loose the power of the marketplace.

"That's right. Long before Karl Marx was even born, the Pilgrims had discovered and experimented with what could only be described as socialism. And what happened? It didn't work! Surprise, surprise, huh? What Bradford and his community found was that the most creative and industrious people had no incentive to work any harder than anyone else, unless they could utilize the power of personal motivation! But while most of the rest of the world has been experimenting with socialism for well over a hundred years – trying to refine it, perfect it, and re-invent it – the Pilgrims decided early on to scrap it permanently. What Bradford wrote about this social experiment should be in every schoolchild's history lesson. If it were, we might prevent much needless suffering in the future.
"'The experience that we had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years...that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing – as if they were wiser than God,' Bradford wrote. 'For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense...that was thought injustice.' Why should you work for other people when you can't work for yourself? What's the point?

"Do you hear what he was saying, ladies and gentlemen? The Pilgrims found that people could not be expected to do their best work without incentive. So what did Bradford's community try next? They unharnessed the power of good old free enterprise by invoking the undergirding capitalistic principle of private property. Every family was assigned its own plot of land to work and permitted to market its own crops and products. And what was the result? 'This had very good success,' wrote Bradford, 'for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.' Bradford doesn't sound like much of a..." I wrote "Clintonite" then. He doesn't sound much like a liberal Democrat, "does he? Is it possible that supply-side economics could have existed before the 1980s? Yes.

"Read the story of Joseph and Pharaoh in Genesis 41. Following Joseph's suggestion (Gen 41:34), Pharaoh reduced the tax on Egyptians to 20% during the 'seven years of plenty' and the 'Earth brought forth in heaps.' (Gen. 41:47) In no time, the Pilgrims found they had more food than they could eat themselves.... So they set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Indians. The profits allowed them to pay off their debts to the merchants in London. And the success and prosperity of the Plymouth settlement attracted more Europeans and began what came to be known as the 'Great Puritan Migration.'" Now, other than on this program every year, have you heard this story before? Is this lesson being taught to your kids today -- and if it isn't, why not?

Can you think of a more important lesson one could derive from the pilgrim experience? So in essence there was, thanks to the Indians, because they taught us how to skin beavers and how to plant corn when we arrived, but the real Thanksgiving was thanking the Lord for guidance and plenty -- and once they reformed their system and got rid of the communal bottle and started what was essentially free market capitalism, they produced more than they could possibly consume, and they invited the Indians to dinner, and voila, we got Thanksgiving, and that's what it was: inviting the Indians to dinner and giving thanks for all the plenty is the true story of Thanksgiving. The last two-thirds of this story simply are not told.

Now, I was just talking about the plenty of this country and how I'm awed by it. You can go to places where there are famines, and we usually get the story, "Well, look it, there are deserts, well, look it, Africa, I mean there's no water and nothing but sand and so forth." It's not the answer, folks. Those people don't have a prayer because they have no incentive. They live under tyrannical dictatorships and governments. The problem with the world is not too few resources. The problem with the world is an insufficient distribution of capitalism.


Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor -- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be -- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks -- for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation -- for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the tranquility [sic], union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed -- for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted -- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions -- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually -- to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed -- to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn [sic] kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord -- To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease [sic] of science among them and us -- and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York
the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

George Washington

That About Sums It Up

I found this at Dry Bones. Sounds about right, doesn't it?

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First Thanksgiving Proclamation

"The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgements he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions:

The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour, many Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of God's Afflictions, have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being perswaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and soulds as a living and acceptable Service unto God by Jesus Christ."


The First Thanksgiving Proclamation (June 20, 1676)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tossing and Turning for Charity

David Blaine, famous for his daring insane stunts (being frozen in ice, staying underwater for days at a time, being buried alive... stuff like that), is in the process of doing another stunt- this one for charity and close to his heart.
The 33-year-old magician stepped inside a gyroscope Tuesday in Times Square. His hands and feet will be shackled to the spinning scope Thursday afternoon. He will then have until Friday morning — a total of 16 hours — to make his escape.
Like I said, he's doing this one for charity. If he is successful, 100 needy children (selected by the Salvation Army) will be given a $500 shopping trip to Target. This charity is close to Blaine's heart because his mother clothed him with Salvation Army clothes while he was growing up.

The good news for Blaine is that almost no one gets sick in one of those gyroscopes (the only one I recall is a Space Camp counselor who was an extra in the movie Space Camp... she was in there for several hours). The bad news is that he's suspended five stories above Times Square, and the weather forecast is for temps in the 40s (for the highs and lows) and scattered rain showers today and tomorrow. If he can keep from getting hyperthermia, he should be ok.

I know we can't all do crazy things like David Blaine, but... we can all do our part. Find the bell ringers and give to them... clean out your closets and take your old but usable stuff to a resale store... give some food to a food pantry... we can all do a little bit.

Wednesday's Hero

Army Spc. Donald L. Wheeler
Army Spc. Donald L. Wheeler
22 years old from Concord, Michigan
A Company, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division
October 13, 2003

Spc. Donald Laverne Wheeler was affectionately known as "DJ" to his family, which included three sisters and eight brothers. In the military, he picked up the nickname "Sunshine." "They called him Sunshine at Fort Hood in Texas because he was so tall he stood out from everyone else and he was always smiling," said one of his sisters, Andrea Barrett. Wheeler died on October 13, 2003 in an attack in Tikrit. His mother, Mary Cay Wheeler, said he decided to enlist after the Sept. 11 attacks. "He loved the Army but at the same time he missed his family", she said. They had a photo of Wheeler blown up to near life size and brought it to his sister's wedding reception because he couldn't attend. "I shall always remember him, a big kid who gave everything he had on that dusty day," said Lt. Jason Price at a memorial service in Tikrit. "It's difficult to say goodbye."

These brave men and women have given their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams.
Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by clicking here.

Blogs Participating In Wednesday Hero
Yankee Mom
Bear Creek Ledger
Mail Call! Supporting The Troops
Yeah, Right, Whatever
Gazing At The Flag
Ohio Military Reserve
DeMediacratic Nation
My Point
A Day In The Life Of.....
Hooah Wife & Friends
Right-Wing & Right Minded

Monday, November 20, 2006

Non-Cerebral Posting Alert

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Well, I will be posting the next few days, but I'm not responsible for the coherency of the posts.

Last night, I thought allergies were getting to me. This morning, I felt like I'd been run over by a truck, and I'm pretty sure that allergies don't, as a rule, cause fevers or all over body aches.

And... in case anyone was wondering... if a cold medicine says it's "cherry flavored"... they LIED. That stuff is NASTY.

Driving Through STL

Another one from Strange Cosmos:
Visitor's Guide To Driving in St. Louis, MO.

If you live in St Louis, you'll understand this.

If you've ever visited St. Louis you'll understand this.

If you've never been to St. Louis, consider this your Visitor's guide To Driving in St. Louis.

1. There are 75 "unofficial neighborhoods" in the City of St. Louis. St. Louisans commonly give directions (especially for restaurants) to strangers based on these neighborhoods, which aren't marked on any maps that are handed out by the tourist board, the AAA or Mapquest.

2. There are 54 school districts -- on the Missouri side alone - each of which has their own school bus system and scheduled times to block traffic. (And people on the MO side usually use what high school their graduated from as a geographic marker/identity the rest of their lives.)

3. There are 91 official municipalities in St. Louis County. Each Municipality has its own rules, regulations, and often their own police departments.

4. More importantly, most have their own snow removal contracts so it's not uncommon to drive down a road in winter and have one block plowed, the next salted, the next piled with snow and the last partially cleared by residents wanting to get out of their driveways.

5. Snow plowing is never a problem in the City of St. Louis. They plow nothing, and if the forecast calls for snow, they close everything. Except on "The Hill" (refer to #1 above) where each homeowner goes out to the street and shovels out one car-sized rectangle and then stands watch over it.

6. Any car parked longer than 4 hours in the city is considered a parts store.

7. The City of Ballwin actually proposed that drivers use connecting strip mall parking lots to get from place to place rather than drive on Manchester road to cut the traffic on Manchester. (For good reason. There is a stoplight at every intersection on Manchester). Manchester goes east and west.

St. Charles Rock Road is the north/south version of Manchester.

8. Laclede Station Road mysteriously changes names as you cross intersections.

As do McCausland, Lindbergh, Watson, Reavis Barracks, Fee Fee, McKnight, Airport Road, Midland, Olive and Clarkson.

Gravois Road can only be pronounced by a native (grav oy). Same for Spoede (spade-y) and Chouteau (show toe). (And a native St. Louisan will pronounce highway 40 as "farty".)

9. A St. Louisan from South County has never been to North County and vise versa. West County has everything delivered.

10. No native St. Louisan knows that Lindbergh runs from South County to North County! And, if you tell them, they will not believe you.

11. Lindbergh belongs to every neighborhood except Kirkwood, who had the nerve to creatively change the name to "Kirkwood Road." (Which may be the reason for number 10.)

12. There are 2 interchanges to exit from Highway 40 onto Clayton Road and 2 for Big Bend. Stay alert, people!

13. If you need directions to O'Fallon, make sure to specify Illinois or Missouri. This is also true for Troy, Maryville, St. Charles, Springfield, Columbia....

14. The Page Avenue extension and Airport expansion projects took over 20 years to get approved, and St. Louisans lost track of how many political figures claimed them as their own ideas.

15. St. Louisans were aghast when the federal government required them to redo the highway signs to indicate that the federal highways went to cities in other states instead of local municipalities.

16. Drivers are starting to cut their OWN plates rather than go through the Missouri Department of Motor Vehicles to get new tags. You can also purchase tags from dealers behind Quick Shops in the city. They are cheaper, the clerks are nicer, and the service is faster.

17. Lambert Field and St. Louis International Airport really are the same place. The East Terminal, however, is a different place.

18. Highway 270 is our daily version of the NASCAR circuit. (Same goes for Highway 70.)

You can go all four directions on Highway 270: North and South in West County, East and West in South County, and East and West in North County.

Confused? So are the St. Louis drivers.

19. The outer belt is Highway 270 which turns into Highway 255 in South County. The inner belt is Highway 170. Highway 370 is an outer-outer belt.

Highway 40 is the same as Interstate 64 (but only through the middle part of St. Louis). And if you are listening to traffic reports and they are calling it
64, the traffic jam is in Illinois. If they are calling it 40, the traffic jam is in Missouri.)

20. The morning rush hour is from 6:00 to 10:00 AM.

The evening rush hour is from 3:00 to 7:00 PM.

Friday's rush hour starts Thursday morning.

Never ever try to cross a bridge in St. Louis during rush hour unless you have a sack lunch and a port-a-potty in the car.

21. YIELD signs are for decoration only. No native St. Louisan will ever grasp the concept.

22. If someone actually has their turn signal on, it is probably a factory defect, or has been on for the last 17 miles.

23. Construction on Highways 40, 64, 70, 255, 270, 44, 55 and 170 is a way of life, and a permanent form of entertainment.

24. All blue-haired old ladies in Cadillacs (driving on Olive west of 270) have the right of way.

25. If it snows or rains? Stay home!!

26. It is called a rolling stop at any stop sign intersection. Only native St. Louisans can do it just right... (And 20 cars will go through an intersection with a stop light while the light is still yellow. Longest yellow lights I have ever seen. If you actually stop on a yellow light, you will get rear-ended or someone will angrily sound their horn at you.)

27. I'm adding another one... drivers from the Illinois side are terrified of drivers with Missouri plates because Missouri drivers don't have to take drivers' ed.


I got this list at Strange Cosmos, but I can't help but wonder if Steven Wright had something to do with it.
O x y m o r o n' s ...

1. Is it good if a vacuum really sucks?

2. Why is the third hand on the watch called the second hand?

3. If a word is misspelled in the dictionary, how would we ever know?

4. If Webster wrote the first dictionary, where did he find the words?

5. Why do we say something is out of whack? What is a whack?

6. Why does "slow down" and "slow up" mean the same thing?

7. Why does "fat chance" and "slim chance" mean the same thing?

8. Why do "tug" boats push their barges?

9. Why do we sing "Take me out to the ball game" when we are already there?

10. Why are they called "stands" when they are made for sitting?

11 Why is it called "after dark" when it really is "after light"?

12. Doesn't "expecting the unexpected" make the unexpected expected?

13. Why are a "wise man" and a "wise guy" opposites?

14. Why do "overlook" and "oversee" mean opposite things?

15. Why is "phonics" not spelled the way it sounds? !

16. If work is so terrific, why do they have to pay you to do it?

17. If all the world is a stage, where is the audience sitting?

18. If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

19. If you are cross-eyed and have dyslexia, can you read all right?

20. Why is bra singular and panties plural?

21. Why do you press harder on the buttons of a remote control when you know the batteries are dead?

22. Why do we put suits in garment bags and garments in a suitcase?

23. How come abbreviated is such a long word?

24. Why do we wash bath towels? Aren't we clean when we use them?

25. Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

26. Why do they call it a TV set when you only have one?

27. Christmas, what other time of the year do you sit in front of a dead tree and eat candy out of your socks?

Taxed To Death

I found this at Strange Cosmos. What's scary is that it's true.
Tax his land, Tax his bed, Tax the table At which he's fed.

Tax his tractor, Tax his mule, Teach him taxes Are the rule.

Tax his cow, Tax his goat, Tax his pants, Tax his coat.

Tax his ties, Tax his shirt, Tax his work, Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco, Tax his drink, Tax him if he Tries to think.

Tax his cigars, Tax his beers, If he cries, then Tax his tears.

Tax his car, Tax his gas, Find other ways To tax his ass

Tax all he has Then let him know That you won't be done Till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers, Then tax him some more, Tax him till He's good and sore.

Then tax his coffin, Tax his grave, Tax the sod in Which he's laid.

Put these words upon his tomb, "Taxes drove me to my doom..."

When he's gone, Do not relax, Its time to apply The inheritance tax.

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax,
Fuel permit tax
Gasoline Tax (42 cents per gallon)
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Interest expense
Inventory tax IRS
Interest Charges
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License
Tax Medicare
Tax Property
Tax Real Estate
Tax Service charge taxes
Social Security Tax
Road usage taxes
Sales Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone federal excise tax
Telephone federal universal service fee tax
Telephone federal, state and local surcharge taxes
Telephone minimum usage surcharge tax
Telephone recurring and non-recurring charges tax
Telephone state and local tax
Telephone usage charge tax Utility
Taxes Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

COMMENTS: Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was the most prosperous in the world.
We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What happened?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Misplaced Priorities

When you see or hear the phrase "the nation's priorities," what do you think of? Border security? Welfare reform? The War on Terrorism? Education? Tax relief? Health care?

I'll bet that nowhere on your list of priorities is "kill defenseless babies," right? Well, evidently, we're "out of touch with the nation's priorities."

Here's the scoop. President Bush appointed Eric Keroack, a Massachusetts Ob/Gyn, to head the Office of Population Affairs. He is currently the head of A Woman's Concern, a Christian nonprofit organization that offers free pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, and counseling. And Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, is unhappy about this appointment.
"The appointment of anti-birth control, anti-sex education advocate Dr. Eric Keroack to oversee the nation's family planning program is striking proof that the Bush administration remains dramatically out of step with the nation's priorities," Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.
So... thinking that easy access to birth control might just lead to out-of-wedlock pregnancy and abortion is wrong? Thinking that a cavalier attitude towards sex is demeaning to women and men is "out of step"? Thinking that a human life is a human life, before or after birth, is draconian?

Cecile... YOU are the one out of step with the nation's priorities. Most people in this country believe there should be more restrictions on abortion (if not made illegal outright). Most people believe that a child's right to live trumps a woman's right to sleep around and not care about the consequences.

Oh, yeah... most people think your organization should lose federal funding... how out of step with the nation's your priorites would that be?

Secret Santa Unveiled

You may have heard about the Secret Santa who would go around handing out money during the month of December.
For 26 years, a man known only as Secret Santa has roamed the streets every December quietly giving people money. He started with $5 and $10 bills. As his fortune grew, so did the gifts. In recent years, Secret Santa has been handing out $100 bills, sometimes two or three at a time, to people in thrift stores, diners and parking lots. So far, he's anonymously given out about $1.3 million. It's been a long-held holiday mystery: Who is Secret Santa?

...(he) went to the bank that day and took out $200, then drove around looking for people who could use a lift. That was his "Christmas present to himself." He's hit the streets each December since.
Reporters have known his identity for years, honoring his request to remain anonymous. But Larry Stewart, ill from cancer treatments and wanting to pass on his generous spirit to others, has come out from behind the beard.
Now, his mission is bigger than handing out $100 bills. Stewart wants to speak to community groups about his devotion to kindness and to inspire others to donate their time and money.

"That's what we're here for," Stewart says, "to help other people out."
I'm not sure why that amazes me, but it does. His medical insurance won't cover his cancer treatments (which cost over $16,000 a month, when you add in travel and lodging), and he's concerned about his families finances. Nonetheless, his goal is to hand out over $100,000 this December. I guess this is still his Christmas present to himself.

Contageous random acts of kindness. That's a kind of virus I'd love for more people to catch.

Well, That Was Better Than I Expected

Harvey had a link to a site that would tell you just where you rank in the blogosphere. I was expected to be quite far from the big guns, but... I didn't rank nearly so low as I thought.

B-List Blogger

Woohoo!!! I may even make A List one of these days... if I actually posted on a regular basis or something.

nah... where's the adventure in that?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Oh, This Would Be a Fun Place to Retire To... NOT

I heard a commercial on the radio for a new retirement community in the Austin area named "Longhorn Village."
Developed in association with The Ex-Students' Association of The University of Texas, Longhorn Village will offer men and women 62 and better a spirited, luxurious, service-oriented lifestyle with advantages no other retirement community in the Austin area can offer.

The location is perfect, in the master-planned community of Steiner Ranch near gorgeous Lake Travis and the UT Golf Club. Longhorn Village represents the finest of a new and growing trend in retirement living: affiliation withthe alumni association of a major university and all the recreational and educational benefits that result. Longhorn Village is a new brand of retirement living.
Oh, yeah... sounds lovely... really... all that burnt orange and cow horns. Ugggg....

There is one thing that made me chuckle, though... their motto is "A New Brand of Retirement Living." I couldn't help but wonder if that new brand was "13-0". (Here's the story if you don't get the joke.)

Get Over It

So... I'm driving around town yesterday, and, in front of me there's this sedan. Plain old boring car, except for one thing. Completely covering the back window was writing- not huge advertising-style writing, but letters about 2 or 3 inches tall. Yeah, it looked goofy, and you couldn't really read it while driving, so I stayed behind him until we finally came to a stop light.

What was so important that this person felt the need to write it all over his car in little bitty print? Honestly, it read like a talking points memo. Seriously. "Scandal. Hypocrisy. Valerie Plame. No WMDs. 3000 troops dead. 30,000 casualties. 300,000 Iraqis dead. Mark Foley. Bob Ney." And it went on and on... 8 or 9 lines of writing, going all the way across the back window.

I can only guess that the guy wrote all of that prior to the election in order to get his opinion out there. Message to the KosKid- get over it already!!! Y'all won. Deal with it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wednesday's Hero

Maj. Guy Barattieri
Maj. Guy Barattieri
36 years old from Seattle, Washington
National Guard's Alpha Co., 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group
October 4, 2006

Everyone called him "Bear." In fact, many of his colleagues at FOX News learned Guy Barattieri's full name for the first time when they read his obituary.

To FOX News journalists, Bear was a protector. He worked with FOX as a guard in their Baghdad bureau, leading their large security team when that office was attacked with a cement mixer full of explosives last year.

A 1992 West Point graduate, Barattieri first served in the regular Army infantry before becoming a Green Beret and serving with the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Lewis.

After leaving active duty as a captain, Barattieri became a citizen-soldier in August 2000 with the state National Guard's Special Forces outfit in Buckley, which is east of Tacoma. From August 2001 to 2004, he was a Seattle police officer in civilian life, and he was elected president of his police academy class.

Barattieri went on active duty in 2002 as a Special Forces detachment commander in Kuwait. In March 2003, his team led the 101st Infantry Division on its march to Baghdad. Barattieri received a Bronze Star and Combat Infantryman's badge for his role.

He was killed when a roadside bomb while traveling to a power plant near Baghdad. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

These brave men and women have given their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams.
Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by clicking here.

Blogs Participating In Wednesday Hero
Yankee Mom
Bear Creek Ledger
Mail Call! Supporting The Troops
Yeah, Right, Whatever
Gazing At The Flag
Hooah Wife & Friends
Right-Wing & Right Minded

Sunday, November 12, 2006

This Is What Everyone Wanted, Right?

Last week, America voted for change. Right? That's what we've been told repeatedly.

Well, we got it, that's for sure. Never before have the words "Allahu Akbar" been chanted when a Congress Critter acknowledges his victory in an election (it's at the end of the video). Here's more about Rep. Ellison.

For some reason, I don't think that's the change everyone was hoping for...

eh... I Never Really Liked Them, Anyway

Well, The Simpsons has never been one of my favorite shows, but... now I actually have a real reason to not watch them. Evidently, Family Man did that last week.

Lovely... and people wonder why I don't watch cartoons anymore...

Let's All Learn a New Word

Today's new word is "expensivedom." Can you use "Expensivedom" in a sentence? Cindy Sheehan can.
On site report from Kristinn at a Cindy Sheehan anti war rally being held at the Independence Mall outside the Constitution Center.

Cindy said that she is determined t not only wants to see George Bush impeached but she wants to see him tried for Crimes Against Humanity. She states is so determined to see this done she says she will live for 1000 years. She went further by saying that even if she were involved in a fiery plane crash she would walk out alive just to see this done.

Kristinn yelled out to her as she was leaving the stage that the Iraqi’s have a memorial to the victims of terrorism saying that Freedom Isn’t Free. Cindy got back on the stage to say of course freedom is free, if it wasn’t it would be called expensivedom.
Yeah... that's who I'd want leading the charge for my cause... geez!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Blind to Corruption

For the past few weeks, we've heard about the "culture of corruption" in Washington and how horrible and corrupt the GOP is, right? Well, the Democrats had a chance to do a little fall cleaning of their own, but instead of tossing him out on his rump, William Jefferson (D-NOLA) finds himself in a run-off situation. (In case you don't remember Jefferson, he was the Representative from NOLA who had the National Guard take him to his house and wait for him while he got "important papers"- money that was stashed in his freezer) from his residence. His offices were raided, and he's still under investigation for bribery.)

So much for cleaning House, eh?

A Lesson In Citizenship

OK... she probably shouldn't have dialed 9-1-1, but you have to admire her spunk:
READING, Pa. - Anna Urban has been voting since Franklin D. Roosevelt was president and wasn't about to miss an election.

When the 95-year-old Reading resident didn't have a ride to the polls Tuesday, she didn't hesitate. She dialed 911.

Dispatchers forwarded the call to the Berks County Election Services office, where it was considered a compliment.

"To call 911 and ask for help to vote really says a lot," said Deborah M. Olivieri, election services director. "It meant a lot to everyone in this office; it made us feel what we do is worthwhile."

County Commissioner Judith L. Schwank immediately picked up Urban, and Urban walked to the voting booth at Millmont Elementary School on her arm.

"All my life I voted," said Urban, a Democrat, who cast her first ballot in the 1930s. "You need to vote to be a good citizen."
Like I said, dialing 9-1-1 wasn't the best option. (And, yeah... she probably didn't vote for Santorum...) Arranging for a ride would have been better. But, still...

Was This Necessary?

I'll admit it. I'm not a fan of "old" movies, for the most part. If the movie is my age or older, odds are I haven't seen and probably don't want to change that fact. It's my own little prejudice, and I'm ok with it.

Also, I'm not a big fan of Robert Redford or Paul Newman (except for his food... that's some good stuff). It's not their acting- they're darn good actors. It's more of their need (like many other celebrities) to inject themselves into politics. (My attitude is that you're probably not an expert, even if you did play one on tv. And, yes, they're entitled to their opinions- this is still a free country and all that. I just don't have to listen to it when the media tries shoving it in our face constantly.)

All that being said, I'm not sure I understand this article about their recent reunion for the 25th anniversary of the Sundance Film Festival. It wasn't about their friendship or their careers- it was about their looks.

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I don't think they look half bad for being a combined 151 years old. Do you? (Redford has had a little eye work done, but that was because his sight was impaired by a skin flap. Newman is opposed to plastic surgery all together.) And the "Crutch Cassidy and the Sunset Kid" title? That's a bit cruel, don't you think?

Yeah, I'm grasping at non-political things to blog about today... but this just made me a little sad. Seriously... I'm happy to see two Hollywood actors who aren't trying to find the Fountain of Youth by going under the knife over and over. It would be nice to see more like them.

Just Some Observations

After yesterday's elections, I don't have much to say. A bit, but not much.
That is all.

(update 8:20am) OK... so after reading a little more, I have a couple more observations:

eh... I'm one of the happy people... I'll get over it. IF, and that's a big if, the GOP actually got the message, then '08 might be very, very interesting.

update #2: Who really cares what the world thinks? They want our money, they want our influence, but they don't want our politics and policies. You can't have it both ways, people.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I Surrender

I'll admit it. I was a Raiders fan. Not necessarily the team of 2006, but the teams of yester-year. The hard-hitting rebels who always played fair... but just barely. John Madden has forgotten more about football than most people will ever know. Howie Long was my hero. But, alas, that was long ago.

Last night was the final straw. I can no longer consider myself a fan. I just can't.

I mean, it wasn't bad enough that the Raiders got shut out (but, hey, they have the "honor" of being the ONLY team in Monday Night Football history to get shut out twice in one season... that's something... right?) It wasn't the NINE sacks that poor Anthony Walter (who???) had to suffer because, evidently, NO ONE on the Raiders' offense knows how to block. It wasn't the obvious apathy of several of the players. It wasn't Randy Moss alternating between looking frustrated one moment and looking completely lost the next. It wasn't the ejection of Tyler Brayton for kneeing Jerramy Stevens where a guy really shouldn't be kneed. It wasn't Art Shell sniveling after the game, trying to find the words to describe just how bad his team was on the field. It wasn't Al Davis' continued dominance as the worst owner in the NFL. I guess it was all of the above.

It's obvious that there is no discipline in the Raiders' organization, on or off the field. Players who don't like Shell's game plan just don't bother practicing. There is no structure, no teamwork. They claim to want to bring back the Raiders of old... the rough and tough, take no prisoners teams that dominated the NFL back in the day. Unfortunately, the Raiders of today are nothing like their predecessors. They will never be a powerhouse.

They're nothing but thugs.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Today In History

(h/t to Linda for reminding me) On November 4, 1979, the Iranian Hostage Crisis began.
The Iran hostage crisis was a 444-day period (approximately 14 months), during which student proxies of the new Iranian regime held hostage 66 diplomats and citizens of the United States inside the U.S. embassy in Tehran. The standoff lasted from November 4, 1979 until January 20, 1981. During the crisis, some hostages were released, but 52 were held until the end. The United States launched a rescue operation, Operation Eagle Claw, which failed and caused the deaths of eight servicemen. Historians consider the crisis to have been a primary reason for United States President Jimmy Carter's loss in his re-election bid for the presidency in 1980. The crisis also punctuated the first Islamic revolution of modern times.
No, this wasn't the first time the Religion of Peace let its true face be seen, but it was one of the first Islamic attackd directed at the United States (as far as I can tell).

There is also some "controversy" as to whether our friend Mo (my favorite loony as of late) was involved in the crisis. Many of the hostages claim that he was one of the students who took them captive. Just how relevent his involvement could be is under dispute as well. I mean, really... the man's a maniacal nut-job... this would just add another bullet-point for his Whacko Leaders of History Hall of Fame application.

Looking back, this might have been a turning point for me, as well. I had just turned 10 when the hostages were taken captive, and I was just really "getting into" current events, the news cycle, politics, and stuff like that. Yes, I joke that I became a Republican in 1976 (at the ripe old age of 6) because the Democrats chose Jimmy Carter as their candidate for President. But, in all honesty, I think events that took place during Carter's administration were what really helped shaped my political ideology. (S0, I guess Carter was good for something, after all).

We've known for a long time that the RoP isn't... and yet we still try talking to them... and I bet those hostages are still wondering why...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Too Cute!

I just got this from the Ladies of The Cotillion:

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Thanks, Ladies!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Ticker

I'm still without most of my bookmarks, so here's a (very) brief look news you might have missed:
That's it... for now...

Titles- So What?

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You might be wondering why I haven't gotten around to writing a "woohoo!!! we won!!!" post about the St. Louis Cardinals' World Series victory last week. I thought about writing one... started a time or two, but I couldn't come up with much more than... well... "woohoo!!! we won!!!" I mean, Little Davey Eckstein's MVP was pretty cool... and Yaddie's batting average was nothing to sneeze at. Reyes did better than anyone could have ever hoped. All the good guys got healthy just in time (no offense, Izzy.) After 24 years, it was about time. But everyone's heard all that before. Nothing new.

But then, a couple of days later, St. Louis received another title, one I'm sure the Mayor isn't quite so proud of.
A surge in violence made St. Louis the most dangerous city in the country, leading a trend of violent crimes rising much faster in the Midwest than in the rest of nation, according to an annual list.
To me, that just doesn't make sense. OK, sure... it's not the safest city around. But the most dangerous? Nah...

I mean, take last weekend for example. There were no riots after the World Series. There was a parade. No mayhem. Just a huge party with 500,000 Cardinal Nation faithful. Does that sound like "the most dangerous city in America" to you? Not to me.

Then again, St. Louis does have a bit of a reputation when it comes to their baseball fans.

Anyway... Congrats to the Cards for their awesome victory... and to St. Louis for their not-quite-so-dangerous display of how Championship celebrating is supposed to happen.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hey, Senator Kerry!!!!

These guys need your help... really... they do...

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(h/t to Alabama Improper)

Wednesday's Hero

Lt. Emily Perez
2nd Lt. Emily Perez
25 years old from Fort Washington, Maryland
204th Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
September 12, 2006

The nation is mourning the death of Lt Emily Perez, 23, the first Black woman to serve as corps commander sergeant major at West Point. Perez, who graduated in the top 10 percent of her class, out-ran many men, directed a gospel choir, read the Bible every day. She also headed a weekly convoy as it rolled down treacherous roads, pocked with bombs and bullets near Najaf, Iraq. As platoon leader, she insisted on leading her troops from the front. She died Sept. 12 when a bomb detonated near her Humvee in Kifl, south of Baghdad. Shortly before shipping out to Iraq with the 204th Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, she flew cross-country to be a bone marrow donor for a stranger who was a match. She was the 64th woman from the U.S. military to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Quick and intense. That's how Emily J.T. Perez performed on the track, one coach said - and the same could be said for the rest of her short life. She was a star student and talented athlete. She was a captain of her high school track team and a leader at her alma mater, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She helped start an AIDS ministry at her church.

The rest of Lt. Perez's story can be found here.

These brave men and women have given their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams.
Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by clicking here.

Blogs Participating In Wednesday Hero
Yankee Mom
Bear Creek Ledger
Mail Call! Supporting The Troops
Yeah, Right, Whatever
Gazing At The Flag
Hooah Wife & Friends
Right-Wing & Right Minded

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