Tuesday, May 31, 2005

1085 Blake's story

Glory Be tells a wonderful story about a young man whose friends give him a prom night to remember and the rest of us renewed hope in young people.

Monday, May 30, 2005

1084 Laura the wonder wonk

Can a mild mannered former librarian save the world? Of course, if she'd just stop talking about books and literacy and get down to being a female Jesse Jackson (unelected do-gooder) and run around the world telling people of other cultures how to run things.

The latest hoot was Christine Lahti opining on AIDS in Africa and how the First Lady really needed to be addressing this (at Huffington blog). I think she is a great actress, but when the Hollywood types try foreign policy they can get pretty silly.

And Annie Applebaum of WaPo says Mrs. Bush "failed to put the issue of women's rights in the middle of the democracy debate going on in the Muslem world." She thinks Mrs. Bush should change the entire structure of Moslem culture--the Shariah religious laws, the religious courts, the power of the local clerics and how the Quran is interpreted. Tall order, but she'll whip into a ladies room and put on her Wonder Woman costume and change thousand years of tradition.

Over at LISNews someone was calling her a hypocrite for NOT speaking out on a topic other than literacy and reading. Go figure. Librarians 223:1 liberal, which is worse than Hollywood but with better shoes and faster computers.

1083 No Grandma Left Behind

The Plain Dealer reported yesterday that Medicaid In Ohio will be reined in by tying money to quality of care. The better the care, the more money a nursing home gets. And this saves money because. . .?

I tried Googling this story for another source, but kept finding plans to save Medicaid and improve health dated 2000, 2002, etc.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The joys of librarianship--Green Tuna News

Life on Hold suggested I check out Green Tuna, a librarian blog, so I did and found it quite amusing. Here's a typical job description:

"Let me tell you how it is. Library work is part detective, part computer hacker, part Name-That-Tune expert (Music side), part Antiques Roadshow appraiser, (Art side), part HazMat employee (the removal of a plastic bag containing beer and underpants hidden in the folio stacks comes to mind) and part social worker, to name just a few.

But more often than not, the job is a blast. Be nice (treats help), and the librarian will go the extra mile for you. Case in point: A few weeks back a doctoral student came in looking for organ music he was requested to play at a wedding reception. Not the regulars. Not Bach, Mendelssohn or Wagner. Not Pachelbel or Purcell.

He needed Circus Music.

Specifically, he needed "you know -- that circus song they always play." And he sang it for me. And of course, I knew exactly what he was talking about, but had no idea what it was called.

I asked Google. I asked Amazon. But it's hard to know what to ask for when all you can do is doot-doot-doot the tune.

But because the question was so awesome (Circus music for weddings. Love IT!) and I didn't know the answer, I was determined not to give up. So, I did what any answer-obsessed, wedding music hating, computer-savvy music library type person would do. I consulted the ultimate reference source.

I emailed a clown.

As I am writing this email, trying to explain a musical tune in words..."

For the answer, and more fun, see Green Tuna News

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Don't laugh

More bad news on the medical front.

"More than half of patients with asthma can have an attack triggered by laughter, New York researchers reported here at the 2005 American Thoracic Society International Conference.

Fifty-eight percent of patients reported that laughter was a trigger for an asthma attack, making it a common trigger, said Stuart Garay, MD, clinical professor of medicine, New York University Medical Center in New York. "This occurs more commonly than most physicians appreciate." " Seen at Medscape.com.

1080 Friday Feast, a day late

Here are the questions posted at the May 27 Friday Feast, and my answers.

Appetizer What job would you definitely not want to have?

If the job required math or measuring, I would be miserable and in tears most of the time. So that would be engineer, architect, carpenter, seamstress, landscape designer, etc.

Soup Oprah calls and wants you to appear on her show. What would that day's show be about?

Defintely about why using coupons and loyalty plans and other gimmicks cost the consumer money and time. This would really get her audience excited because Americans like to think there is a free lunch out there waiting for them.

Salad Name 3 vegetables that you eat on a regular basis.

Raw carrots definitely--usually for breakfast, but I enjoy them in a dessert like carrot cake too, shredded in a green salad, or mixed with pineapple and raisins in its own salad. I like broccoli in soups and salads. Squash of all kinds in casseroles, or grilled in a little butter with cinnamon, or in a pie. Yum.

Main Course If you were commissioned to rename your hometown, what would you call it?

Although I've lived in Columbus, Ohio, for almost 40 years, I still call Mount Morris, Illinois my hometown. It's not a bad name--there are towns named this in a number of states, but it is a bit boring. And the "mount" is the high place on the prairie. I've traveled back more times than I'd want to count, so I'd name it "Destination, Illinois."

Dessert If you had a personal assistant, what kind of tasks would you have her do?

I'd have her put freshly washed and ironed sheets on my bed everyday; I'd have her clean out the auto interior and see that my van goes through the carwash once a week; I'd have her keep me up to date on all the techie things I don't know about and of course, she'd have to know the best prices and downloads; she'd be paid handsomely to make all the phone calls and wait for service people to come to the house; she'd be a good seamstress and let the seams out on my slacks and skirts; she would drive if the trip meant going outside our suburb; she'd nag me to do my walks and then go with me and set the pace.

Thank you Friday Feast for these good questions.

1079 Finding Belmont Club

Belmont Club is one of my favorites, but my blog link doesn't work, nor did it work at any other site I checked. Finally I found someone who reported Belmont Club can be found here. I have no idea what is going on, since the fall back is still on blogger as was the original.

1078 Get the rest of the story from Iraq

Michael Yon is a freelance journalist in Iraq. Ever wonder about some of those stories you're reading? Michael explains how it is done, and what sort of a business he is in. This story has some great photos that are not MSM newsworthy--a medic helping a little girl, a soldier holding a puppy, ducks crossing the road with the military.

1077 New Game in Town--a Real Coffee Shop

Coffee and Cream is a new coffee shop at Second and Walnut in Lakeside. It opened yesterday and I was there about 6:30 this morning sitting on the pleasant sun porch facing the street. When I left about an hour later, there was a big crowd enjoying the good Cup of Joe coffee and their breakfast pastries provided by the bakery at Bassett's. You can bring your laptop; there is free wi-fi.

I talked to the owner, who like me, used to leave the grounds for a decent cup of coffee. 7 or 8 a.m. is just too late for a lot of us early birds. His teen-age children are helping and his dad did the remodeling. Also, this corner spot is prime real estate with a handsome cottage, so it is a good investment for the family. I also talked to Sue, the morning staff and like us, she is a cottage owner here.

Coffee and Cream has a warm, inviting color scheme--the walls are a warm gold with white bead board 3/4 up, natural wicker furniture with burgundy cushions on the porch, and nice small tables with black seating, on the light wood floors. The brick patio has metal furniture with beige umbrellas and plenty of seating for people watching. In the warm weather, there will also be an outside grill for brats and hot dogs for hungry people returning from an afternoon of sailing or swimming off the dock.

This is a wonderful addition to Lakeside's main business district (about 2 blocks square).

1076 Fever Pitch

Lakeside has the only movie house in the county, so last night we went to see Fever Pitch with Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon. I'd seen them talking about it a few weeks ago on Regis and Kelly. It was really pretty good, and I'd recommend it for Anvilcloud and his lovely Cuppa when they park their bikes. It's a romantic comedy about a couple who fall in love during the off-season, so she doesn't learn of his obsession with the Boston Red Sox until she sees him making an idiot of himself on TV at the Florida spring training.

The down side was we sat in front of two couples also out for a lively night at the lake, only they wouldn't stop talking. Two must have been hard of hearing (I'm guessing they were in their 70s--old enough to know better) so if one would miss a line, or what one of them said, they'd be retelling the scene: "What'd she say?" "I'm late," the other woman said. "Late for what?" "Her period's late," the lady's husband said loudly.

So I did what you can only do if it isn't crowded, we moved up two rows and enjoyed the rest of the movie.

Friday, May 27, 2005

1075 A Peep of Librarians

Somewhere I've seen a collective noun for a group of librarians congregating. Everything the librarian tells you has previously been worked out in a meeting--even the pauses and punctuation. What would be your vote? I'm not giving a right/wrong answer, because I can't remember, but here are some of my favorites:

a peep (chicken)
a troop (fox, giraffe)
a kindle (kitten)
a gaggle (geese)
a mob (kangaroo)
a pride (lion)
a sleuth (bear)
a school(fish)
a tittering (magpie)
a convocation (eagle)
a chatter (budgerigars)
a trip (reindeer)
a gam (whale)
a brace (duck)
a descent (woodpeckers)

One time when MLA met in Chicago, a tittering mob of us veterinary librarians (out of school) with kindled appetites trooped to a white limo and chattered all during the trip to the Cheesecake Factory where we showed a little gam as we mobbed the restaurant line and braced for a long wait.

1074 Queen for a Day

Forreston, IL celebrated its German roots with Sauerkraut Day in September for about 50 years. The last event was in 1960. But when my family lived there (when I was a little girl) the odor would permeate the whole town. 30,000 hungry people would come to our tiny town (about 1,000) and stand in line for two tons of free sauerkraut and a ton of hot dogs. As little ones we looked up to and admired the "Sauerkraut Queen" one of the glamorous high school girls. But I've often wondered if later in life, while living maybe in San Diego or Houston, a woman would admit to a past of being Sauerkraut Queen or maybe the Ogle County Pork Queen (another biggie in our farming county)?

This morning's paper reported that the Port Clinton Walleye Festival will not have a queen this year because it is under new management, and the committee didn't know how to run a queen pageant, so it was dropped. Some lucky young lady will not be able to tell her grandchildren, "I was first runner-up to Miss Walleye in 2005."

Thursday, May 26, 2005

1073 We posed for this cartoon

Check out today's Non Sequitur by Wiley (May 26, 2005). I swear, that could be us. I'm always reading some strange article to my husband or quoting off-the-wall statistics. In the cartoon, the wife is in a double bed reading the newspaper. Lamps on either side of the bed. Check. Cat on the bed asleep. Check. The husband in his underwear is admiring his reflection in the mirror wearing a beret. The caption says "Bob maintains his majority status," while the wife is reading aloud, "Only a small percentage of the population actually looks good in a beret."

I showed it to my husband, laughing so hard tears were streaming down my cheeks. His only comment: "We're not getting any younger, are we?"

Have a nice Memorial Day Holiday. We'll be gone for awhile. Don't know if I'll find a computer. Catch ya' later.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

1072 Let my people know

The National Coalition to End Judicial Filibuster. Where do I join? In fact, let's not stop with the judiciary, let's dump the filibuster altogether. Can you think of another organization that uses this? And it is misused by both parties--I'm not pointing fingers at the Democrats, at least not in this paragraph.

There may have been a time when the minority party needed to stall while members waited to hear from their constituencies about an issue or point of law or bill or appointment. But in this day of e-mail, fax and instant messaging? What congressperson doesn't hear immediately from his supporters if s/he is heading in the right direction? What congressperson doesn't have a huge staff, polling and franking privilege.

Whatever the original purpose, it is gone. Now it is just used to wear down the other party. Pictures of cots for Senators is just bizarre. This is a time honored tradition? Ohio's Mike DeWine has joined Voinovich in being a turn coat Republicans. I hope both are defeated in their next attempt at office, whether it's for dog catcher or Senator.

The battle over judgeships during the Bush years demonstrates how desperate the Democrats are to keep the blacks and Hispanics down on the plantation. They can see that they are making a break for it, and find nothing to hold them in their "proper place" (inside the Democratic Party) except talking the other side to death.

1071 What's wrong with this sentence?

Yes, it's a play on words, but read it anyway.

"Lionel Tate, 18, who was freed from prison after being the youngest person in recent history to receive a LIFE SENTENCE [for beating a 6 year old girl to death when he was 12] was arrested after allegedly pulling a gun on a pizza delivery man at a 12 year old friend's apartment and beating up the friend. . . " USAToday May 25, 2005

Mama and those who lobbied for an early release, of course, don't believe he'd do that; and apparently neither did the court system that put him under house arrest and on parole for 10 years after serving very few years of that "life" term (sentenced in 2001).

1070 It's broken zipper season

Last fall I wrote a story/blog, sort of about my life in 1982, based on the events and travels of a pair of khaki slacks that I wore for over 20 years. Then the zipper broke as I was getting ready for a yard sale. It was sort of a strange starting point for a memory, but apparently there are a lot of people like me who have a favorite item of clothing with a broken zipper, because this week, that blog has had 7 or 8 hits after being quiet all winter. People must be unpacking their summer clothes and breaking the zippers with the extra pounds put on during the winter. I feel badly that I'm drawing them in with fantasy and hope of finding a method to get those little teeth back on the track, but as far as I know, slack zippers that are 22 years old, widely traveled and part nylon and part metal are not fixable.

1069 Would you purchase on an appeal to your baser motives?

Of course, but you‘d have to test drive, too. And check with the bank. But auto makers are spending a lot of money on ads (all seen today) to get you to at least consider these models. Some appeal to power, some to a generation, some to childhood rules you want to break, some to prestige, some to “I deserve this” attitude, and some to mid-life crisis--wanting to be wild and crazy when you’re balding with teen-agers that need braces. I didn’t see the “lust and greed” ad today, but I know it’s out there.

Guess which ad goes with the car of your dreams. My favorite ad (although not the car), is definitely #9. It’s edgy--like a Laura Bush joke. Answers at the bottom of the page.

1. Freedom isn’t knowing your limits, but realizing you have none.
2. The luxury vehicle that tows other luxury vehicles away.
3. Moving at the speed of surround sound.
4. Can you resist? Absolutely nothing in moderation.
5. It’s all grown up. Drivers wanted.
6. A luxury car designed to protect you from blending in.
7. However unwarranted, improvements were made.
8. Take everything you know about design and nudge it. Push it. Simplify it. Modernize it. Liberate it.
9. Holds four keisters. Kicks all the rest.
10.Take no prisoners. Well, no more than six.

a. Cadillac SRX
b. Mazda
c. Aston Martin
d. Honda Acura
e. Jaguar XJ
f. Volkswagen Jetta
g. Saab
h. Land Rover
i. Nissan Infiniti
j. Lincoln Mark LT


1-c. 2-j. 3-d. 4-e. 5-f. 6-g. 7-h. 8-i. 9-b. 10-a.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

1068 This has a familiar ring to it, doesn't it?

You'd be best served by reading the whole article, reading a more extensive review, or doing your own Google search on this. (Or, read the book!) I'll just lift a few key sentences that caught my eye.

“The New York Times consistently buried news of the Nazi Holocaust in its back pages and downplayed the Jewish identity of the victims, according to the first scholarly study of how the Times covered the Nazi genocide. Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America's Most Important Newspaper, by Prof. Laurel Leff, has just been published by Cambridge University Press.” Wyman Institute

“Among the book's key findings:

... New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, an assimilated Jew of German descent, feared that the newspaper would be engaging in special pleading and thus deliberately downplayed news of the Holocaust and the Jewish identity of the victims.

... Holocaust news was consistently relegated to the Times' back pages. Of the 1,186 articles that the Times published during 1939-1945 about Europe's Jews, only 26 (about two percent) of them appeared on the front page, and even those articles "obscured the fact that most of the victims were Jews."

... The Times only rarely published editorials about the annihilation of Europe's Jews, and never ran a lead editorial about the Nazi genocide.

... Because of its importance, the Times helped set the tone for the rest of the media's coverage of Holocaust news; the Times "might have been able to help bring the facts about the extermination of the Jews to public consciousness ... [instead,] the Times helped drown out the last cry from the abyss."

... When the Nazi death camps were liberated, the Times' coverage downplayed the fact that the victims and survivors were overwhelmingly Jews.”

Just as the tragedy and scale of the horrific events in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s were not considered a big story, so the good news coming from Iraq and Afghanistan are not newsworthy and the Palestine/Israel conflict seems to lean in favor of the Palestinians. The column inches devoted to prisoner abuse and a fallen dictator's underwear far exceed any news of the seeds of freedom and democracy struggling to take hold and flower.

Monday, May 23, 2005

1067 Paula said, Just do it

She isn’t bothering with tagging, so here goes. If you want, go ahead.

A) Total number of books I've owned: I have no idea, but it’s probably in the thousands. We’re trying to get back a 36” 7 shelf unit we loaned out a few years back. For years I hung on to practically every textbook I’d owned--gradually with time they’ve slipped out the door to book sales. I have to keep moving them out, usually donating, so I can bring more in, also usually from book sales. Plus, I have many of my grandmother’s and some of my great grandfather’s. Oldest is around 1840, The Economy of Human Life. I still have my first book, The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen, and my first Bible, a Christmas gift from my parents.

B) The last book I bought: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

C) The last book I read: Answer in B, and since I’m leading a discussion on it, I’ll probably keep reading and re-reading.

D) 5 books that mean a lot to me:
Holy Bible, NIV
The Story of English
War Record of Mount Morris
11th edition, Encyclopedia Britannica
How the Irish Saved Civilization

E) Tag five people to do this exercise. If you’ve read this, you’re it.

Blogger is sooo slow tonight, and all the comments are disabled on sites I've visited, so I'm taking a short cut. S'Okay?

1066 Clearing out the Clutter

This morning I cleaned out three closets--just working on the one in my bathroom required rearranging two others. Do you save ribbons, bows and paper from Christmas and holidays? Goodness. I have enough bows to last until 2047! And those cute little gift (reuseable) bags--I had no idea I had so many. Birthdays. St. Pat's Day. Valentine's Day. Christmas. All purpose. I'm guessing I found about 25. And the gift boxes. Did I fear if I bought a piece of jewelry, it would come box-free? I think I had 3 color schemes of boxes from Lazarus, which changed about every 10 years, and now it is Macy's.

I took the largest shopping bag and filled it with dry cleaning bags, bows beyond their life span, beyond safe cosmetics, grocery bags (I must have had 522 small plastic bags awaiting reuse). This bathroom is also my dressing room, so I went through all the unmentionables and sleepwear and tossed anything with tired elastic or which I'll never wear again. I had some small pictures in a box and those got moved to another spot, which means that spot had to be cleaned too. In the guest room closet and chest I rediscovered old greeting cards from a variety of holidays that needed to be corraled, the tape from my wedding, and my sister-in-law's jeans which she left here in 2003. I'd started the day hauling a huge bag of clothes out to the car for our church resale shop, and found another 10 items or so and bagged those too.

When I was finished, I ate lunch and then went through my blogs and cleaned up my recipes into one linked collection, dating it October 1, 2003, which makes my blog look much tidier since I started on October 2. As I find more, I'll make more links, but I don't think I've really posted a lot of recipes. Next I'll link my poetry--there seems to be quite a bit of that here and there.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

White House News Photographers' Dinner

Just watched President Bush's slide show live on C-Span. What a hoot. Can't imagine how mad the liberals are going to be. He just can't resist tweaking their blue noses--41, 43, 44, 45, etc. I'm sure the video will be out there on the web soon.

1064 Tagged by Grace

For this one I have to tell 10 things I never done, so here goes.

1. I've never lost any permanent teeth--I even have all my wisdom teeth.
2. I've never tasted beer--have you ever smelled it!
3. I've never been to Europe, but that will change soon.
4. I've never broken a bone.
5. I've never learned to program the VCR and now technology has moved on.
6. I've never painted a ceiling.
7. I've never completed reading the Bible.
8. I've never changed oil in a car.
9. I've never removed the cookies in my computer or the tags on my mattress.
10. I've never ridden in a helicopter.

Now I have to find 5 people to pass this on to. Vox Lauri, Ayekah, Greg S, Matthew and Walt.

1063 Tag you're it. . .If I could be

The game consists of answering five questions and then tagging three blogger friends to answer five questions. I can also add three categories. Vox Lauri has tagged me. The questions she sent are:

If I could be a scientist...
If I could be a farmer...
If I could be a musician...
If I could be a doctor...
If I could be a painter...
If I could be a gardener...
If I could be a missionary...
If I could be a chef...
If I could be an architect...
If I could be a linguist...
If I could be a psychologist...
If I could be a librarian...
If I could be an athlete...
If I could be a lawyer...
If I could be an inn-keeper...
If I could be a professor...
If I could be a writer...
If I could be a llama-rider...
If I could be a bonnie pirate...
If I could be an astronaut...
If I could be a world famous blogger...
If I could be a justice on any one court in the world...
If I could be married to any current famous political figure...
If I could be an Office Supply Salesman...
If I could be a Dog-show judge...
If I could be a Coal Miner...
if i could be a baker...
if i could be a comedian...
if i could be a monk.

My response:

If I could be a musician, I would play piano like my sister who is fabulously talented.
If I could be a dog-show judge, I’d be biased toward Dalmatians.
If I could be a farmer, I wouldn’t use pesticides or herbicides and eat corn on the cob with hot butter and salt in early summer.
If I could be writer, I’d show up at Regis and Kelly, Oprah and the bank while enjoying 67 weeks on the best seller list.
If I could be an Office Supply Saleswoman I’d set up a flashy web site and work from home while I blogged.

And I’m adding,
If I could be a publisher
If I could be a spy
If I could be a greeting card designer

And I'm tagging Karin, Cuppa, Pat in NC.

1062 Preparing for guests

Tomorrow I'm having guests for brunch/lunch. Some women are fastidious housekeepers, some are gourmet cooks and some are fabulous hostesses. I'm none of those, but for a few hours I can fake an average of the three. Maybe I can't be a 10, but I can be a darn good 5. Today I am cleaning and setting the table; yesterday I prepared most of the food. This will allow me to be a good hostess tomorrow and only pay attention to my guests instead of freaking out over water spots on the knife blades or a missing salad plate that's in the dishwasher.

Today I'm dusting everything at eye level, for anyone 5'2" to 5'8". The men don't care, so I'm only measuring the women. I'm really going after the cat hair too. You never know when a guest might have allergies and sneeze all over the end table you just cleaned. Also, I vacuumed the cold air returns. That's something you don't usually look at in your own house, but if you have a pet, your returns probably look like a piece of gray felt. Also, your HVAC will work a lot better.

I'm also really cleaning the bathrooms. Again, only women notice, but I hate going in to freshen up at a dinner party and find dust on the toilet and cobwebs on the mirror. Just makes me a tad suspicious about the food prep area, eh? Do you have Cross and Bible interior doors? Maybe you didn't know they were called that, but I'm married to an architect, and boy are they dust catchers--the doors not the husband. And computer equipment. Yikes. My desk is next to the only downstairs "powder room." Nothing attracks cat hair and dirt more than technology.

One of my guests is a collector--of antiques, seasonal ceramic things, and just about anything historical having to do with cooking. So I gave a swipe across my great-grandmother's "wachamacallit" (I think it was used to punch down rising bread dough) and my grandmother's ceramic butter churn that looks like a small cement mixer. People do like to touch, and I'd be embarrassed if they got dirty fingers (these things are dusted only if company is coming). One guest is a piano teacher, but I gave my piano to my daughter in 1996, so now she is dusting that.

That's enough blogging for now. I have to go poke the artificial day lilies around the patio wall and make a pecan pie. My husband hates them, but they are my favorite, so I only make one when I have guests around to eat at least 60% of it. The other pie is apple--for that, I am unmatched, a complete 10.

Friday, May 20, 2005

1061 Pepsico's gonna pay for this

Have you ever been in a group and noticed someone, usually an outsider, trying too hard to be an insider? That’s what Pepsico’s CFO Indra Nooyi did at Columbia’s Commencement Sunday. She gave the U.S. the finger. Just trying to be one of the good ol' boy blue staters. Suckin up, as it were. And then back peddling when she set even a few liberals, to say nothing of conservatives, back on their heels, she claims her speech was “misconstrued.” In this day of blogging, you’d better be ready to have your text analyzed and your hand gestures videotaped.

The Times of India reports: “She pointed in particular to paragraphs from her speech where she spoke of her fealty to her adopted country. "Although I’m a daughter of India, I’m an American businesswoman. My family and I are citizens of this great country," she said, adding, "This land we call home is a most-loving, and ever-giving nation -- a "promised land" that we love dearly in return. And it represents a true force that – if used for good -- can steady the hand along with global economies and cultures." “

Sweet. But I'm not impressed. Wes Martin, an MBA graduate in the audience reported (at Power Line) that holding up the middle finger "She launched into a diatribe about how the US is seen as the middle finger to the rest of the world. The rest of the world sees us as an overbearing, insensitive and disrespectful nation that gives the middle finger to the rest of the world. According to Ms. Nooyi, we cause the other finger nations to cower under our presence. But it is our responsibility, she continues, to change the current state of world opinion of the US. It is our responsibility to make the other fingers rise in unison with us as we move forward. She then goes on to give a personal anecdote about some disrespectful US business women in an Asian country and how that is typical of Americans overseas. No talk of what the US has done for the world throughout its history. No discussion about the ills that have been cured and the rights that have been wronged by the US. Just how wrong we are for the way we are perceived and how right they are in their own perceptions of the United States."

It’s a shame when a woman and a minority makes it through the glass ceiling only to embarrass herself digitally. Oh well, I needed a reason to stop buying Fritos.

Link to her speech

1060 Got gas?

For high flying frequent flyers.

Seen at Badaunt and My best gadgets.

1059 The Shopping Adventure

A few people are coming for brunch on Sunday so I needed some items and some kitty litter. Only one Kroger, the one south and west of the University carries "our" brand. While noticing the new construction on the campus I got in the wrong lane, and turned down another street, thus taking me past a huge new apartment complex near Krogers that I hadn't seen before. This area when it was on the rural far northwest side of Columbus was settled by African Americans in the late 19th century. Gradually, the white suburbs grew up around it and its little church, and from what I could see, it has now been pretty much obliterated by progress--and they probably got a hefty price for the lots.

That Kroger has also changed since the last time I bought kitty litter. I spent a lot of time just wandering the aisles looking at dishes, small kitchen appliances, and the new book and magazine sections, much fancier than the old ones. It had everything imaginable--even a Starbucks--except the one item I really needed, Half n half. I got so carried away looking at the goodies I also forgot to pick up the white flour for the apple pie.

When I got to the check out I asked for a courtesy card, and was told "We don't do that any more, but you can type in your phone number." "I don't have a Kroger card and don't want one." So I tapped the guy in front of me and asked if he'd slide his card through for me. And he did (he gets the goody points for my purchase). The flustered clerk then told me I wasn't allowed to do that (it was done by then). I told her it still recorded the purchase, so why did it matter. She had no answer, but I think she thought it was cheating. She then told me I could go to the office and get an application, and again I repeated, "But I don't want a Kroger card."

Oh well, I suppose I could try stealing the kitty litter. It might be easier than going through this routine each time. Loyalty cards are the 21st century's wooden nickle. I do let them stamp my coffee card at Panera's, but no one asks me to fill out an application to get it. They sell that information, you know--probably a bigger profit than Half n half.

1058 Reducing Radiation Exposure

“Use of a custom-designed lightweight tungsten-antimony shield during chest computed tomography (CT) examination reduces the radiation dose delivered to female breasts by 43% to 73%, without compromising diagnostic information or image quality, according to the results of a study presented here at the annual meeting of the American Roentgen Ray Society 105th Annual Meeting.”

Story at Medscape.com, now celebrating its 10th anniversary

1057 Flush out the Perps

Library books and some Portage County taxpayers are victims of the stacks urinator in two public libraries. Sounds like a guy thing, although I've seen pictures of women urinating standing up, so you never know. Blake reported this at LISNews.com. This has as much appeal for library users as the unfiltered terminals with porn that librarians seem unable to handle.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

What color are you?

you are palegreen
#98FB98

Your dominant hue is green. You're logical and steadfast, focused on figuring life out and doing what makes sense. You value being trusted because you know you're taking the time to figure things out and everyone should just follow you.

Your saturation level is lower than average - You don't stress out over things and don't understand people who do. Finishing projects may sometimes be a challenge, but you schedule time as you see fit and the important things all happen in the end, even if not everyone sees your grand master plan.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.
the spacefem.com html color quiz

1055 The next bogus news story

It's just a hunch here, but I'm thinking the next news story proven to be bogus and blown out of proportion (with fewer casualties than the Koran flushing story) will be the one about pushy Christians at the Air Force Academy. It seems to have originated with a female Lutheran Chaplain, if the one I saw on TV is the person referred to here.

"A chaplain at the Air Force Academy has described a "systemic and pervasive" problem of religious proselytizing at the academy and says a religious tolerance program she helped create to deal with the problem was watered down after it was shown to officers, including the major general who is the Air Force's chief chaplain."

I'm a Lutheran (but not pre-natal or sprinkled--I grew up anabaptist and have been immersed) and I know Lutherans are touchy about their wallets and tongue tied about evangelizing. If a Baptist were to breathe a word that he found his relationship with Christ a help in times of stress or battle, a Lutheran might be clueless because that's not "our" terminology. Also, Lutherans believe baptism and communion are sacraments and a means of Grace, but only those two, so that too might cause some disagreements, say over coffee or even in the classroom, with Catholics or other Protestants. Christians can get very heated about this, and feel quite threatened if someone hints their belief system doesn't measure up. And this problem seems to have arisen in the "Respecting the Spiritual Values of all People," class or R.S.V.P, created by Capt. MeLinda Morton. If she attended a Lutheran seminary, she probably skipped the class on "How to share your faith."

But the fact that the New York Times , WaPo, and the Socialist web sites are on this story like ants at a barbeque makes me suspicious that the story is a lot of hot anti-Christian air.

I would have tossed her program just for the cutesy acronym.

1054 Is Poverty Generational--Answering Vox Lauri

In response to my blog about “Easy does it,” the ten easy, personal lifestyle choices of the last 30 years that are causing people in the their 30s and 40s to fall behind their parents’ standard of living, Lauri, a college educated librarian who is the primary support of her family, wrote:

“You made mention of your stable, supportive family that helped you start out in the world, that, as you know, is priceless. Imagine trying to live and pay for your future while going to school. Even a state school can break someone with no funding. Add into that mix kids who have never had squat wanting to fit in with kids who have new clothes and cars, you end up with bankruptcy. And once you are in debt, good luck getting out-- I swear the system is rigged to keep you down. And ironically those who shrug off astronomical interest rates as "punishment for foolishness" well they pay too in taxes to support social service agencies and greater demands on charity.”

Yes, a stable, caring family is a wonderful asset. I can’t tell you how thankful I am that often Dad said, “No,” when I wanted a loan. It caused some hurt feelings and arguments, but “father knew best,” as the saying goes. Also helpful was the fact that in the early 1960s banks would not consider a wife’s income in calculating how much money they’d loan for a mortgage. Tithing our income for church for the last 30 years also had the added benefit of never having any extra cash for eating out or movies. All this worked together to start a pattern for us of never relying on my income until my husband went into business in 1994. And by then the children had left home, the cat died, and I had tenure, benefits and a wonderful career.

Generational poverty is a nice theory, until you really look at the sons and daughters of my generation. Most of my peer group--the educated, upper middle class 4th and 5th percentile group, living in some of the finest suburbs with the best public schools and private schools--have children and grandchildren making many of the “easy choices” I listed, and some will probably never be able to permanently attain their parents’ standard of living until the will is probated. Even if they inherit a generous amount, a life time of bad choices may cause them to squander that. I can’t think of a single family in my social group whose adult children haven’t lived together before marriage, or brought a "before the union" child into the marriage, or experienced falling income from a divorce or two or three, or filed for bankruptcy from extensive consumer credit, or leased too many a new cars, or bought a bigger home they didn’t need, or had problems with alcohol and drugs decimating the family income. Suicides, jail terms, prostitution, gambling and lots of returning prodigals--you name it, and my financially comfortable generation has seen it happen in their families.

The level of CEO salaries, the outsourcing of American jobs, and being a wage “slave,” Lauri’s other points (and I agree CEO’s salaries are way out of line, but we've taxed American businesses into leaving the country) would not have changed any of this spiraling downward creating the income gap between generations. We are still a nation of great opportunity and freedom--but freedom of choice comes with a huge price tag that says "WAIT," and for some that price is just too high and too painful.

Update: Read Walter E. Williams' article on How not to be Poor. A family of four is "poor" by our gov't standards with a household income of $18,810 (2003). Although my 10 easy steps were about a gap developing between generations in the upper percentiles, not poverty per se, it is clear that unmarried parents are the biggest cause of poverty among children, so single parent homes aren't helping the middle class stay afloat either.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

1053 Hard to believe where this came from

"The filibuster is an inherently reactionary instrument most famously used to block civil rights legislation for a generation. Democratic senators themselves decried the filibuster not long ago when they were in the majority and President Clinton's judicial nominees were being blocked.

Frist is on the verge of doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. He plans to bring the nomination of Priscilla R. Owen, a Texas Supreme Court justice, before the full Senate today. Democrats have blocked her nomination in the past, and Frist is now threatening to force a change in rules to prohibit filibusters of judicial nominees. That would be a great triumph for the American people. It would be an even greater triumph if the Senate were to destroy the filibuster altogether."

LA Times editorial, May 18, 2005 (unless this is an example of one of those "pharming" tricks).

1052 The Newsweek Story that Killed

http://www.coxandforkum.com/archives/05.05.15.Flushed-X.gif

I heard a former MP from "GITMO" call in on the Glenn Beck show yesterday and he outlined the careful procedures to protect the Koran. He disbelieved this story from the first time he heard it. In fact, he thought the military was at risk. He said only a Moslem chaplain could touch it, and the MPs were not allowed to look through them for hidden explosives.

Christians know that God's Word is not on the paper. Whether we print it out from the Internet, read it in 16th century English, or recite what we learned in Bible School 40 years ago, it is all God's Word. Nor is our freedom in the flag or the pledge. Not so with Moslems and the Koran, and I think terrorists will take advantage of how the US bends over backward to protect the beliefs of that faith group.

1051 Cold and Creepy--Planning my Funeral

When we married in 1960 we had a huge emotional and financial safety net--between us we had six parents, seven grandparents, and one great-grandmother. Not to mention our own siblings and all the siblings of our parents and grandparents. We brought to our marriage about $200, some wedding gifts I'm still using, an old Buick that stalled at every intersection, two incomplete college educations, and a lot of youthful naivete. I know we didn’t appreciate the wealth in that bank of knowledge and support--I mean, no one is smart in their early 20s, right? I remember an uncle helping me with the income tax property depreciation in 1962, and my dad explaining mutual funds to me in 1990. My mother’s wise counsel went far beyond finances to religion, marriage, parenting, gardening, cooking, sewing, reading and friendships. One of my aunts never failed to appear with a cheery hello and her bubbly personality when we visited my parents, making us feel special even in our mid-50s. Now they have all “gone to their reward,” “passed on” or are “in the arms of Jesus.” (see my poem “Dying for a Verb). I will always miss my grandmother who died when I was 43.

During the grief of losing each parent (only one was sudden and unexpected), we’d vow to pre-plan (called pre-need in the funeral business) so that cost would be covered and our children or surviving spouse wouldn’t get drawn into bad decisions at a difficult time. Now it is just us, so yesterday we met with a person (salesman? director? planner?) at a local funeral home.

After all the paper shuffling, throat clearing, chit-chat and carefully chosen words, we went back into the room with all the overpriced paper goods and the array of caskets. It was very cold and dark in there. Frankly, I don’t think I need to buy a Kincaid register book for $110, or a $50 box of thank you cards. But if you think you’ll save money by ordering your casket from somewhere else and using it for storage until you need it, think again. We discovered the casket is a very small expense, at least the style I selected, a tasteful olive tone in 20 gauge steel for $1795. Even the Monticello Oak, which was very handsome and simple and my husband’s first choice was under $3,000. The ballooning costs are in the vault (ground or mausoleum), the transportation, and opening and closing the grave.

It’s a good thing we had this little chat, because we definitely discovered we had very different tastes in funerals! (We’ve always had trouble agreeing on furniture and d├ęcor, so I suppose I’m not surprised.) It reminds me a bit of planning my daughter’s wedding in 1993. I started with a how-to-book and a dollar figure, and she took it from there. My husband’s plan came to about $13,000 and mine was under $5,000. And yes, you can pre-pay, but it is actually an insurance plan, and it only looks good if you pay at the beginning, because if you pay over 10 years, it doubles the cost and probably eats up any savings. We brought all the worksheets home, and we’ll have to hammer out a few more details, but here’s a break down of their charges (not necessarily what we chose):

Basic services and overhead $1,245
Embalming $ 595
Body prep $ 260
Facilities for viewing $ 425
Ceremony at funeral home $ 495
Memorial service at funeral home $ 325
Ceremony at another funeral home $ 495
Ceremony at any other facility $ 495
Memorial service at any other facility $ 325
Anatomical donations $ 495
Organist $ 70
National music service $ 20
Refrigeration $ 75
Cremation $ 275
Transfer of remains (30 miles) $ 175
Hearse (30 miles) $ 225
Limo (30 miles) $ 195
SUV (30 miles) $ 175
Caskets $795 to 24,000
Outer container $595 to 18,000
Burial clothing $100-$200
Forwarding remains $2,315
Receiving casket from another mortuary $ 895
Immediate burial (no ceremony) $1,720
Direct cremations (no ceremony) $1,664
Cremation containers $95 to $3,975
Package basics $2,195

On top of these costs are the cemetery costs which we’re still looking at. Per square foot, this is pricey real estate, probably Hawaiian coastline prices. I don’t think anyone will be visiting our grave site, especially if we live as long as our parents. So a little flat marble slab in the ground is sufficient, and I haven’t looked at the prices. These prices don't differ greatly from a 2002 article by Motley Fool, but you can see the price creep in just 3 years.

I used to think cemeteries that looked like set-aside prairie reserves or jogging parks were nice, but after visiting Buffalo’s Forest Lawn Cemetery last summer to see the Frank Lloyd Wright’s Blue Sky Mausoleum, I’m lusting after marble monuments and mature trees.



I’d like to write a somber but pithy concluding paragraph for this entry, and usually they come to me if I just keep typing, but somehow, nothing comes to mind.

* * *

Five things not to say at a funeral is at my other, other blog. Caution: contains theological concepts.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

1050 Easy does it, the widening gap between rich and poor

If you are a liberal and you don’t read the Wall Street Journal, you’re missing a great opportunity to find out what is wrong with our business driven economy and culture. It won’t do you much good to read a left wing or socialist screed--everything you read there will be incorrect and biased. Preaching to the choir, as it were. But the WSJ comes down hard on misbehavior in business, government and education and doesn’t pull any punches. The female journalists are particularly ruthless in finding graft, fraud and the soft underbellies of the capitalist system.

Right now the WSJ is running a series on the widening gap between the rich and poor in the United States. The first installment by David Wessel had the oddest statement about American politics that I’ve seen in a long time: “Americans have elected politicians who oppose using the muscle of government to restrain the forces of widening inequality.” Really? Ever heard of Title 9, or Medicaid? Earlier in the article was the phrase, “Despite the rise of affirmative action. . .” Can both statements be true? It would appear to me that the constant tinkering our government has done (and for most of my adult life, the people I elected, the Democrats, were in control of the Congress) has made our life what it is today.

Today’s installment by Bob Davis was about easy credit, and most of his examples were from Utah, a state we generally think of as conservative, religious and Republican. I haven’t seen the rest of the series, but I’m offering my ten easy and ubiquitous reasons, in no particular order, why the gap has widened in the last 35 years.

1. Easy credit cards: We got our first credit card in the late 60s--I think it was a "Shopper’s Charge." We now have one department store credit card and one bank card--we’ve never carried a balance. Since the late 80s and into the 90s, many new households have never known what it was to live on their earned income.

2. Easy divorce: Christians now have the same divorce rate as anyone else in the culture. When we married 45 years ago, regular religious observance offered families some protection. No fault divorce particularly hurt women and children, pushing them economically into competition with two income families.

3. Easy sex: Casual one-night stands were glorified in the movies of the 70s and 80s. Although adultery and fornication had long been a theme in literature, drama and movies, casual sex and living together before marriage became the gold standard of relationships by the 80s, even though it’s been proven that it increases the divorce rate. Then easy sex came into the living rooms via TV so that even young children think who’s spending the night is no more important than what toothpaste mom buys. Women having and raising babies alone is the biggest cause of growing poverty.

4. Easy birth control and abortion: The millions of Americans that might have sprung from the loins of some of our best and brightest have been denied life itself, and thus their slots in the pie chart has been taken by poor, uneducated immigrants. Obviously this creates a huge gap between the middle class and the poor, who instead of having a solid footing as those aborted citizens might have had, flood across our borders or arrive as refugees with nothing.

5. Easy technology and gadgets: Time wasted on I-pods and text messaging and vegging out in front of bad movies on DVDs has certainly absorbed billions of hours that could have been invested in networking, education or advancing up the career ladder. Cable and cell phone monthly costs easily equal what we spent on a mortgage.

6. Easy bankruptcy: Load up the credit cards with consumer spending, mortgage your future, then make the rest of us pay it off for you. It might have been Plan B 20 years ago, but is now Plan A. Interest only mortgages, leases for larger and more expensive vehicles, second mortgages--for a generation who thinks the future will be paid for by someone else, it’s a recipe for a growing gap.

7. Easy leisure: Thirty five years ago (1970) few middle class families took vacations--if Dad had a week off (and most companies didn’t offer it) he spent it fixing the house. Sure it’s a huge industry and employs a lot of people, but we’re looking at the gap aren’t we? We’d probably been married 10 years before we took a family vacation (my parents never had one), and then it was at my mother’s farm for a week. Our daughter and her husband had been to Key West, Arruba and took a Mexican cruise in the first 5 years of their marriage.

8. Easy entertainment: This is related to leisure and technology, but today’s young families have difficulty being alone or quiet, it would seem. Even 30 years olds seem unable to walk around without head phones. They are spending their children’s future at movies, sporting events and theme parks. A visit to the library is most likely to pick up a movie, not a book.

9. Easy college loans: Instead of attending a state school, working during the summer or attending closer to home, many young people begin their working lives with huge debt, a debt that takes years to pay off, assuming they don’t default. Loans were so easy in the 80s, that parents who could well afford to pay tuition had their children at the public trough.

10. Easy shopping: You can be a couch potato or a computer novice and never leave home to shop. Addiction is easy. Just call in with the credit card.

See? And I haven’t even said a word about how much health care costs, or how the women’s movement changed our culture, public transportation or taxes. And while the government is tangentially involved in these areas, mostly it boils down to perfectly legal choices, choices which when they become ingrained in our way of life lead to poverty or slippage down by a quintile for the next generation.

Monday, May 16, 2005

1049 R.I.P. My New Yorker subscription has FINALLY died

Scott Esposito is blogging today about something he read in the New Yorker. I'm sure it's just great--I have myself occasionally found something worthwhile in the New Yorker. But I realized today when I was clearing the coffee table in preparation for company coming (removed about 13 magazines) that my subscription has finally ceased. Oh blessed day, I thought you'd never arrive. Scott's Blog, Conversational Reading, is a litblog and contains reviews. He's also a writer.

1048 Learning Denglish

The Blonde Librarian was surprised when she settled in Germany with her husband how many English words permeated German. But she was also surprised to find out they sometimes didn't mean what she thought. Read her story here about das Handy, das Mobbing, and der Smoking.

1047 Addicted to the Truth

I got 5 out of 5 correct on this test. See how you score.

1046 Spring planting time

I planted my red geraniums today--with just a sprinkle of white baby’s breath (I think) to set off the color. I can see them out my office window near the Japanese Maple (I think) and Magnolia (I think). All my flowers are artificial, but the dirt and the pot are real. I think I have a few sprigs of artificial ivy I can poke in the pot. Here’s a poem my brother-in-law, the horticulturist, sent me last year.

Norma works in fertile soil
And gently tends her seed;
She diligently plies the hose
And pulls up every weed.

In time, her flowers bloom with joy,
Their colors quite fantastic;
But they won't die or fade because
Each one is made of plastic.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

1045 Blogging at its Best--The Vietnam Experience

If you want to read blogging at its best, drop by the web page of Neo-Neocon, a 50-something woman (I think) writing about why and how she is no longer a liberal, but isn't sure what to call herself (I can certainly identify). She is doing a series on Vietnam and its aftermath, how the war changed our culture and is affecting us to this day. She has just finished part 4-C of "A Mind is a Difficult Thing to Change." Her own excellent essays are expanded by the comments from her readers, many of whom are Vietnamese-Americans, or Vietnam era vets, or people who now feel betrayed--yet a second time. When I last looked at 4-C she had 58 comments, many of which are long essays themselves.

Neo Neocon writes: "Subsequently, if the press continues to be seen as the truthteller and the government the liar, no number of press releases by the government can ever overrule what the press says about an event. These beliefs have been adopted for a reason--to make sense of a terrible experience, based on the best knowledge available at that time. Part of the "never again" reaction is that it becomes a point of pride to never again let oneself be duped, to never again naively believe. Those who no longer trust in the government are seen as sadder, but infinitely wiser.

But what if, at some time in the future, evidence surfaces that that hard-won knowledge may be wrong? How many people, having lost faith because of a betrayal, and having laboriously reconstructed a new worldview, can revise that worldview again? What if that worldview turns out to have been a house of cards? Who can stand two betrayals--trust having been placed in a rescuer, the press, who is now exposed as having been a liar and a betrayer, also? Who can return to believing that the government--although flawed (there is no returning to the initial state of naive, unquestioning trust)--is now to be trusted more than the press, after all?"

Blog on, Neo Neo. We're all waiting for the next part of the series.

1044 Imagine chaperoning on this school trip

Cindy (one of my linkers) and her husband were chaperoning a group of 12 seniors in Washington DC and were in the Capitol Building when it was evacuated during that airspace scare last week.

When they weren't moving quickly enough, one cop yelled: ""Don't you remember 9/11? This is not a drill! RUN!!!"

Meantime, sirens of all kinds were sounding, official cars were zooming by with police escorts, whistles were blowing, and we heard fighter jets overhead. My first reaction was confusion, then disbelief--"This CAN'T be happening!" Then fear sets in, then self-preservation. My husband was struggling to keep our group together. Girls were having trouble running because of sandals and flip-flops; one boy in our group lost a shoe at one point and had to get it back on; all the while people continued to yell at us to "run! move! get out of here!"

I don't know how far we ran, maybe only a few blocks, but we re-grouped in front of the Department of Health and Human Services building, and shortly afterward a security guard informed us that the all-clear had been given. Shaken, out of breath, still on edge but relieved, we started calling family members on our cell phones."
Whole story here.

My story isn't nearly as exciting, but I'll tell it anyway. Friday night we went with our neighbors Bill and Jean to "Old Bag of Nails" where we'd eaten almost every Friday night since it opened until mid-February when they changed the menu. We hadn't been there in almost three months. Last night we were watching the 10 p.m. news and that restaurant was the focus of a robbery/chase story on Saturday.

"Upper Arlington and Columbus police chase a suspected robber through the streets.
Police say Darryl Kelly robbed the Old Bag of Nails Pub in Upper Arlington, and took off with police cruisers close behind. The chase went on for 7 miles through Upper Arlington and Columbus. At one point Kelly's car smashed into one of the police cruisers trying to stop him. The chase finally ended 11 minutes later at Taylor and Rosethorn Ave." . . . [Recently, we've been eating at Lane Ave., but apparently he was there on Friday and we weren't]. . . "Upper Arlington police say a man armed with a revolver entered into the Christopher and Banks store at the Lane Avenue mall late Friday afternoon."
(Channel 10 story)

1043 Halcyon Days

After church this morning I was talking to Lori who is teaching knitting to the children of Highland School where many of our members, including my husband, volunteer. She was excited about what she is learning about teaching knitting, so I said I wished she had an adult class. She was waiting for a live one, because within 2 minutes we'd arranged for her to come to my house Thursday morning at 8 a.m. to teach me to knit!

When I got home I remembered I had an old knitting/crochet guide book that had belonged to my Mother, and I thought I'd scan the cover to use with the story I'd planned to do about Lori teaching me to knit (later in the week). In the hunt for the book, which I haven't found, I came across a plastic bag of paper memorabilia I must have brought home after Mother's funeral in 2000. It contained things like a poetry book she'd created in high school, the 1933 Century of Progress guidebook, a dear post card in child script from her brother Clare (died in WWII) from Winona Lake, IN, and two score cards for the Chicago Cubs for 1934, which were probably picked up during my parents' very brief honeymoon. The odd piece of paper was a stock certificate for 300 shares of the Halcyon Mining Company of South Dakota. At $1.00 per share that had set my Dad back $300 ($4,000 in today's money) at a time when they had two toddlers and were in the midst of the Depression.

I called my brother, who is a stockbroker and who ably handled my father's investments in his later years, and asked if he had any recollction of this or why Dad would have taken such risks. He wasn't familiar with event, but speculated it might have been a salesman passing through town with the lure of quick riches. I'm sure the company went belly up, and it doesn't take much imagination to recreate my parents' discussion of the use of their very limited funds (assuming my Mother even knew about it). I think Dad hung on to it as a reminder--because I have a dim memory of his showing it to me many years ago.

Old stock certificates are collectibles even if the stock itself is worthless. This hobby is called "scripophily" and is related to stamp collecting. "Scripophily, the collecting of canceled old stocks and bonds, gained recognition as a hobby around the mid-1970s. The word resulted combining words from English and Greek. The word "scrip" represents an ownership right and the word "philos" means to love. Today there are thousands of collectors worldwide in search of scarce, rare, and popular stocks and bonds. Collectors who come from a variety of businesses enjoy this as a hobby, although there are many who consider scripophily a good investment. In fact, over the past several years, this hobby has exploded. Dot com companies and scandals have been particularly popular." (Wikepedia)

Here's a site that sells gold and silver mining stock certificates, and you can see for yourself how interesting and artistic they are. I did find a Halcyon certificate on the Internet selling for about $45 in one offer. My husband has matted and framed it for me so we'll keep it around as a reminder that things aren't always as good as they seem in the heat of a sales pitch.


Halcyon Mining Company

Saturday, May 14, 2005

1042 Back to my hobby

My friend Bev gave me a new premiere issue, Red, so I've entered it on my hobby page, In the Beginning. Paula, this is called "real life in fabulous shoes" so you must take a look.

>
Diane Lane on the cover of Red

1041 Michigan trounces Ohio

So near and yet so far. Our neighbor to the north has the technology in place for 70.8% of its counties to locate 9-1-1 cell phone callers in distress. Ohio has only 3.4%. If your car is hijacked on a 2 lane road, and you have no idea where you are when you're stuffed in the trunk, you'd better hope you're in Michigan and not Ohio. Story from May 12 WSJ.

Friday, May 13, 2005

1040 Pope Who?

Our friend Ken was attending Mass last Sunday at the church of his son and daughter-in-law. The priest was praying and asked for prayers for Pope Benedict XV. Someone in the congregation piped up and corrected him, "Sixteenth."

1039 Phony through and through

Yesterday Glenn Beck was doing a parody/schtick on Florida weatherman Bill Kamal who was caught in a police dragnet of a “men and boys” web site when Kamal made arrangements to meet a “boy” he thought was 14. He only wanted to comfort him in the death of his father, he said. Beck really took him to the comedy woodshed for this tearjerker:

“In the interview with Channel 10, Kamal denied the chat room was called BoyzForMen, saying it was either SonsAndDads or DadsAndSons. He said he was hoping to be a big brother to some poor, unfortunate kid, because he was a fat child and he knows what it feels like to be picked on and teased.”

I don’t know if it safe for anyone to meet a lover on the internet, but it seems to be risky if you are a public figure involved in something your audience or constituency wouldn‘t like. Take this story about the Mayor of Spokane, Jim West. He is calling the Spokane reporters of the Spokesman-Review that trapped him soliciting a 17-year-old on the Internet the “sex Nazis.” As it turns out, these are not isolated incidents for either the Floridian or the Washingtonian. Men just don’t suddenly decide, “I think I’ll go on the Internet today and look for young boys to entice.” Others are coming forward and charging West with molestation some years ago.

Talk about a phony. For years he masqueraded as a “fiscally conservative Republican opposed to gay rights, abortion rights and teenage sex.” That’s a really great cover, isn’t it? He was married five times, and dated women, but it apparently was not a well kept secret that he was gay. Many Republicans are really Libertarians and a legislator’s sex life is of no interest as long as he does his job. But most voters don’t like a politician’s phoniness, or violating the basic values of his supporters.

“West has been no friend to Spokane’s gay community, said Dean Lynch, a former Spokane city councilman and the city’s first openly gay politician. Spokane’s gay and lesbian community has “general knowledge that Jim West is a closeted gay man,” but they are quiet because of the “tremendous power that he wields." Lynch said.”

Editor and Publisher on May 12 ran a column on the ethics of the undercover work of the Spokesman. It includes excerpts from an on-line chat with 10 editors.

1038 Storage space, is there ever enough?

My husband was in California last week to attend his father's funeral and spend time with his brother and sister (the three didn't grow up together but have become close as adults). Flying over Orange County he noticed all the swimming pools which seem to be a fact of real estate there just as basements are here. In California, I haven't met anyone in a metropolitan area who had a home with a basement. . . slab on grade seems pretty natural to our warm weather sibs.

But in Ohio, we have $100,000 basements. At least that's what you're led to believe if you sell a house without one. For 34 years we lived in a lovely neighborhood of more expensive homes because our two-story, colonial house was slab on grade. When we put it on the market in 2001 we were always told how much it could have sold for if only we had a basement. Never mind that in the big flood of the 1970s, ours was the only home for blocks that wasn't flooded. One of our neighbors had a wine cellar in the basement. All the labels came off in the flood.

We thought we'd left basement woes behind us, but the other night my husband took a phone call from someone interested in buying that house (it has been on the market because the new owners are divorcing). Would you believe the guy wanted to know if he could jack up the house and put a basement under it? I guess he'd heard the previous owner was an architect and apparently thought he'd designed it (my husband was born the year that house was drawn up). Asked him why he hadn't built it with a basement. My advice: throw out some junk or rent a storage facility. It's a heck of a lot cheaper than a $100,000 basement.

1037 Grandma's smoking gun

Children whose grandmothers smoked have a legacy--more health problems, more than if just their mothers smoked. And if your prenatal nourishment wasn't good enough for you to pad your little fetal thighs and hips, then you're more likely to put on weight in your middle and have all the health problems associated with the "apple shape."

Another thing to thank my sainted mother, and not-quite-so-saintly grandmother for: neither were smokers, and both paid very close attention to the food they prepared for their families. Because of the Depression and WWII, both had gardens and limited meat. Fruits and vegetables were home canned. Sugar was rationed so desserts were limited to special occasions and Sundays. They both died in January of their 88th year.

According to Sharon Begley's column in today's Wall Street Journal (May 13, 2005) "if you are undernourished as a first trimester fetus, you won't pad your hips and thighs with enough fat tissue." Then as an adult, all the extra calories go to your waist (apple shaped as opposed to pear shaped). This makes you more susceptible to heart diseases, diabetes, and breast cancer. Every extra calorie that goes into my mouth goes immediately to my hips and thighs. Thanks, Mom.

Unfortunately, she doesn't cite sources, although she collects some interesting items. So I did a look through Google and did find a fairly recent book that may be available in your public library, called Prenatal Prescription. The smoking-fetus connection can be found in the article "Maternal and Grandmaternal Smoking Patterns Are Associated With Early Childhood Asthma" by Yu-Fen Li, PhD, MPH; Bryan Langholz, PhD; Muhammad T. Salam, MBBS, MS and Frank D. Gilliland, MD, PhD in Chest. 2005;127:1232-1241.

And obviously, if grandma decided to have an abortion, you aren't reading this.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

1036 Academentia

Would you spend $40,000 a year to send your daughter to Smith if you couldn't even figure out the restrooms? The OpinionJournal article by Roger Kimball who wrote about tenured radicals 15 years ago when things were simple (plain vanilla marxism) is quite enlightening. He suspects, that along with Mark Twain's demise, the death of the counterculture is greatly exaggerated. I agree with his solution. Dump tenure which has become a means to stifle dissent and fresh ideas. Seems to be the only way.

"Many parents are alarmed, rightly so, at the spectacle of their children going off to college one year and coming back the next having jettisoned every moral, religious, social and political scruple that they had been brought up to believe. Why should parents fund the moral decivilization of their children at the hands of tenured antinomians? Why should alumni generously support an alma mater whose political and educational principles nourish a world view that is not simply different from but diametrically opposed to the one they endorse? Why should trustees preside over an institution whose faculty systematically repudiates the pedagogical mission they, as trustees, have committed themselves to uphold? These are questions that should be asked early and asked often."

When I get these phone calls from the Alma Mater appealing for money, I just tell them I'm retired and can no longer support either the College of LAS or the GSLIS. But I think I'll come up with a new line.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

How Normal?





You Are 60% Normal
(Really Normal)






Otherwise known as the normal amount of normal
You're like most people most of the time
But you've got those quirks that make you endearing
You're unique, yes... but not frighteningly so!

1034 Charles Schumer and Alexander Hamilton

Is Charles Schumer (NY-Dem) crazy or just uninformed? Has he forgotten that it is the House, not the Senate that is proportional? Each State has 2 Senators. Now he’s saying his vote should count for more because he represents 19 million and Hatch only represents 2 million. Now he wants “checks and balances”--says the founding fathers wanted filibuster? And we had no parties back then either. Our founders thought parties a bad idea, and maybe they were on to something. Wonder if he’s read American history? Perhaps it was out of vogue when he attended school? I recommend Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. I listened to clips of Schumer on the Hugh Hewitt show yesterday and could hardly believe my ears.

I also listened to the Putin interview on 60 minutes the other night. He said democracy can’t always be imported (to Iraq and Afghanistan) and it will be experienced differently in different cultures (like Russia, for instance). I agree. Russia, Iraq and Afghanistan will never have an Alexander Hamilton, and our country would look very different if we hadn’t had him. Unfortunately, we are loaded with Schumer types.

1033 Blogging about Libraries, Librarians, Books and Readers

Here is a collection of my blog entries that concern libraries, librarians, and books/literature. Sometimes I wander and wonder, but I eventually get to the point. I will add more as I come across them.

Bossy Librarians

How many Lutherans?

Banned Books Week

Anti-Bush books at UAPL

Time to think about privatization?

Librarians and nurses

WSJ includes 2 articles on libraries and I comment

What's on the library shelves

American Archives

Women's Building at the Chicago Columbian Exposition, 1893

Cybils award for children's literature

Damage from photocopying

Oregon Illinois Public Library

Department of Athletics donates to library renovation

Social Capital in Librarianship

Samuel Hodesson and the Vet Library

Gay Book Burners

Dude! What have you done with my library?

Walt and Meredith Survey Librarian Bloggers

Laura Bush

1991 White House Conference on Library and Information Science

Dear Donna Sapolin [inquire at your local library]

Acknowledgements to librarians

The Hungarian

If there were no ALA

Libraries aren't for everyone

Fecal count

On reading

Biased Book Reviewers

When work is no fun--Andy Geiger

Viruses in the library

Hunter Thompson

Harold Bloom

The Real Nancy Drew Author

William T. Coggeshall and Abraham Lincoln

Got Game?

Calico Cat

Library Cats

Librarians, Left and Right

What do librarians do?

Why I became a Librarian

Who has more fun than a librarian?

Myths about librarians

Top library job goes to non-librarian

The Librarian's Job--a poem

What is your librarian buying?

Shush

My Life imitates the Internet

Digging deep, piling high

Librarians wonder about this

Mt. Morris Public Library

How to Run a Bookclub

Two librarians recall childhoods with books

Ag Econ Bibliographer

Stop Setting Goals

How to donate books to your library

Are you prepared for retirement?

Tribute to a Mentor

If I were the library director
Part 1;
Part 2;
Part 3;
Part 4;
Part 5

Librarians as babysitters

My bio: I began my library career in high school working at the Mt. Morris, Illinois Public Library, continued at Manchester College and the University of Illinois as an undergrad student employee. Sometimes tragedy points you in the right direction, and after the deaths of my two oldest children I returned to graduate school and got an MLS from the University of Illinois and worked in Slavic Studies there. I worked briefly as a Slavic cataloger at Ohio State University and then stopped working to raise my children.

I returned to professional work in the late 1970s with part time and temporary contracts in a variety of subject fields at The Ohio State University Libraries including agriculture, user education and Latin American Studies. This allowed me always to be home when my children were there. In 1986 I settled into a wonderful tenure track position in the Veterinary Medicine Library, retiring as Associate Professor in 2000. My career included publishing, attending professional meetings, teaching, lots of one-on-one contact with the patrons and students and planning a new library which opened after I retired. For the last 11 years I've been the "staff" for my architect husband of 45 years. One of his designs will be appearing in a book later this year (2005).

My motto is you can have it all--but not all at the same time. I loved being a full-time, stay-at-home Mom, I loved being an academic librarian, and I really, really love being retired with time to write and paint and read and, of course, take naps.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

NYT isn't crying Uncle

Some bloggers seem to think that the New York Times is finally admitting its liberal bias, but I read through its internal audit report, and I don't see it. Saying you're going to cover more religion and rural issues is hardly admitting you've been biased against people of belief or fly-over country. They could just report more bad stuff, you know. Perhaps some were encouraged by the phrase they were going to listen to "unorthodox views and contrarian opinions." If that's their view of conservatism, then I won't hold my breath for a more balanced cover of the news.

And taking surveys, creating blogs, and answering readers' e-mail? All that admits to is they've been kind of set in their ways with big heads. That's not necessarily being biased or slanted. And checking their sources and using fewer anonymous sources? Gracious, how in the world did they get to the top without checking their sources. For instance, take this in depth review of policy:

"As just one example among multitudes, a sprightly feature described the lengths that
assistants to celebrities go to keep their bosses happy and satisfy their every whim. Its reliance on an unnamed source left readers wondering whether the source had worked with the star in question and knew the star’s petty preferences or was simply passing along second-hand gossip, or even whether the source was seeking to present the star unflatteringly for self-serving reasons.

The point is not that particular individuals failed, but that the newsroom as a whole often fails to honor the paper’s stated policy in the course of reporting and editing. Too often we do not trouble to challenge our sources to speak for attribution even when a request to do so can be easily accommodated. In the chain from reporter to reader, too few editors realize that it is their job to challenge evident violations of our policy."

Of course, perhaps this silly story didn't need to be run at all. Leave that one for People Magazine.

1031 Nothing like a Sousa March

Makes me want to get out my trombone--this story I saw at Florida Cracker about the U.S. Military Band performing in Moscow.

"I've met every president. I've met hundreds of kings and queens. But marching through Moscow behind three of my soldiers carrying the American flag is pretty much the highlight of my career," said Lt. Col. Thomas H. Palmatier, commander of the Army band, which came here along with President Bush and other U.S. officials to help mark the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. LA Times Story.

"We played inside the Kremlin walls! We played 'The Stars and Stripes Forever' on the streets of Moscow! It was a pretty emotional experience," Palmatier said."

Victory Day, the war being called in Russia the Second Great Patriotic War, is sort of tricky to celebrate. Viewpoint of the Moscow Times.

1030 Bits and Pieces, This 'n That

We had our passport photos taken this morning. Except for travel to Canada, we've never been out of the country, but that will change this fall.

We passed a Bob Evans on the way up to the Lake on Mother's Day. A long line snaked into the parking lot about 11 a.m. Every woman and girl was in jeans or slacks and a big t-shirt. Mother's Day certainly isn't the dress up occasion it used to be. My sweet daughter left a gardenia corsage in the frig on Friday because she was doing the right thing and visiting her mother-in-law in the nursing home that day. I wore it Saturday night and Sunday morning.

We noticed a man using a walker in his yard, trimming the grass with an electric trimmer. Looked a little unsafe to me.

Another yard with a mailbox by the road, had an umbrella propped up against the post, but no one around. The house was set back about 100 ft. Looked like someone took a stroll down the lane in the rain, the sun came out, she found a letter, or maybe a Mother's Day card, and was so happy, she forgot the umbrella and walked back to the house in the sunshine. Do you owe anyone a letter? More fun than e-mail.

Overheard at McDonald's near Port Clinton where I had coffee yesterday--me and about 10 old fishermen. "My rod and my reel, they comfort me." "I fish, therefore I lie." Then the talk shifted to a missing friend, Paul, then World War II, and VE Day. They were probably all WWII veterans. Thank you all for your service.

Boogers. I know young people think studs through their noses and eyebrows and upper chin look daring and fashionable. But I wear tri-focals, and I assure you, from a little distance viewed through the mid-range (for computer screen or auto dashboard viewing), it looks like you missed something after a big sneeze.

Gasoline in Columbus on Friday was $1.97 and was $1.94 in Bucyrus (Rt. 4). I'm getting whip-lash with these price changes. Two blocks south of the $1.94 Shell there was a Marathon station selling it for $2.09. How unhappy would you be if driving north in a gas-guzzler SUV you filled up and then saw it for $.15 less a gallon two blocks later?

A house on our street in Lakeside had a "pending" sign. We were a bit surprised, but know the owner has three cottages. We thought--"Maybe he needed the money for college for the kids." Later, we were pleasantly surprised to learn he has purchased the last "fixer-upper" (almost falling down). We'll all be grateful when he takes care of that eye sore. So he probably needed the money for that.

Monday, May 09, 2005

1029 Science was never this much fun when I was a kid

Patsy posts pictures (say that five times fast) of nature camp--stocking a stream, riding horses, climbing a wall, separating hydrogen and oxygen, watching wildlife and sleeping in cabins. Homeschooled kids are so lucky.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy Mother's Day

To everyone who had, or has, or is a mother--Happy Mother's Day. It's lovely here--we're off to the Lake.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

1027 Intelligent Design and Evolutionary Theory

On the way home from the coffee shop I was listening to NPR on the radio--a discussion of the current battles in Kansas. Apparently, some Kansians are worried they might look like rubes. I guess no one worries about how silly evolutionists look--they are running so scared and are so protective of their beliefs, that they've even renamed university departments of biology, see Ohio State.

Whole Wheat Blogger takes aim on May 6 at a recent article that blames ID-ers, and of course, President Bush, for our drop in science skills (everything that is wrong is Bush's fault--he's so powerful he made my stocks drop in 2000 before he became President). Bunk and blather, he says to that biology-biased author.

"It seems to me that Mr. Bice is suggesting that theists cannot be scientists. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronics Engineering Technology. I've had classes in algebra, calculus, Laplace, physics, electronics theory, and digital systems (among many others). Not once did I have to apply evolutionary theory in any of my classes. Whether or not animal A evolved into animal B is irrelevant to an electron traveling through a transistor. I don't think that Isaac Newton was pondering his origins when he decided to create a new kind of math (with funny symbols, no less). I doubt he was pondering the origins of the apple that fell on his head as well.** I'm sure he was more concerned with the how and the why.

Mr. Bice also seems to be pushing biology as the be-all, end-all of public science education. He says, regarding science education, Such an education, despite the protestations of theocrats, requires comprehensive instruction in the central, unifying concept of modern biology: evolution. I think that many people would agree with me if I said that statement would be more accurate if instruction was replaced with indoctrination. When it gets right down to it, I think that's what it's about. It's about driving a wedge between parents and their children. People think that Christians are fanatic in their desire to have some alternate theory of origins taught in public schools, but evolutionists are just as fanatic in allowing only one option."

He then moves on to outline what is most likely the reason for the fall off of interest in science--inadequately prepared students, and the teaching of self-hate. You may not agree with all his points, but he makes more sense than Mr. Bice. It's not like there was a golden age of having more than one idea on origins in the last 50 years. I was in grade school over 50 years ago, and was never taught anything except evolutionary theory cum a little old fashioned paganism. I believe "Mother Nature" was the term used in the social sciences, and in the science classes we were treated to drawings of pre-humans and horses with toes. Of course, no fossil record, just drawings by textbook publishers. I could look around me and figure out there was a Creator, and take a closer look and see that everything aged and eventually fell apart. (I'm experiencing this personally.) This wouldn't be an approved class trip today, but they used to take us to the "state hospital" in Dixon where we stared at babies and children who were apparently going through some sort of "evolutionary" change, and it certainly wasn't for the better.

When I go to the doctor, I'm hoping s/he has warmer feelings for the Creator than for Darwin. My chances of solid, ethical care are much better!